A Snowy Story

A Student Assistant’s Day in Special Collections:  A Snowy Story
by Ashley Reid, Class of 2016

Lehigh University campuses were subject to an especially large onslaught of snow in the Winter of 2013-2014. Classes were frequently delayed while Lehigh staff and volunteers attempted to clear the campus of snow; more often classes were cancelled for the day altogether. This is far from the first time Lehigh’s campus has been relentlessly hit by snowstorms and blizzards during Pennsylvania’s Winter season. A look back at Lehigh’s recent history yields many articles in The Brown and White documenting the snowfall and it’s effects in the early to mid-1990’s.

The day of  March 12, 1993 marked the end of classes and the start of a highly anticipated spring break. But, the weather in Pennsylvania on that day was the antithesis of Spring. By 3:00 p.m. the blizzard of ‘93 that would eventually dump more than 15 inches of snow on the Lehigh Valley was in full swing. The Governor at the time, Robert Casey had declared a state of emergency and closed Pennsylvania interstates.

Many Lehigh students planning on travel home or to warmer climates for vacation were in for an unpleasant turn of events when they found themselves instead trapped in airports or snowed in on campus. Keith Sutton, ‘93, a student at the time, gave an account in The Brown and White of how the flight delays caused by the snow cut out 48 hours of planned week long vacation on the sunny Caribbean island of Jamaica. He and his co-travelers were stranded at John F. Kennedy Airport -located ironically in Jamaica, Queens, NY- until 3:00 a.m. on the Monday morning after the storm. He gave some insight into the less than ideal circumstances “We slept on tile and brushed our teeth in bathroom sinks.”

The campus wide inconveniences caused by large amounts of snowfall are a continuous presence at Lehigh during the Winter season. The Brown and White also documented that over a foot of snow fell in January of 1994 on the Lehigh Valley; as well as the emergence of a bitter cold front that originated in Siberia. The enormous snowfall caused classes to be cancelled on the morning of January 18, after 4:00 p.m. on January 19th, and classes were cancelled for the entire day of January 20th. The delays and cancellations disrupted the add/drop period and left professors and students scrambling to make up lost time. The snowfall caused professors and students to fall behind so significantly that in January and February of 1994 Lehigh made the decision to hold classes on Saturday and sunday; an occurrence that hadn’t happened since the late 60s.


This decision was met with a wide range of positive and negative response by the student body. It also prompted The Brown and White to feature an article written by a student with a dissenting view on the decision entitled Weekend classes are not a solution. The student makes the claim that “We [the student body] view this decision as yet another disruptive element in this already muddled spring semester…The semester began three weeks ago, and this is our first full week of school. In another week the university plans to interfere with this long-awaited return to normalcy by suggesting weekend classes.” This students passionate stance has been echoed decades later by many students whose professors scheduled weekend makeup classes because of the snowfall in the Winter of 2014. Finally, the snowfall of the Winter of 1994 may have put a bit of a damper on the semester but The Brown and White also mentions some happier and more beneficial changes brought on by the mass amounts of snow on campus. It appears that when February 14, 1994 came around students accustomed to hopping in cars to celebrate a Valentine’s Day off campus with the object of their affections, found themselves stuck on campus because travel anywhere beyond Lehigh’s bounds was so difficult. Students were forced to diverge from the cliched heart shaped boxes of candy or romantic dinners at restaurants. Instead the weather inspired a more resourceful and creative, homemade approach to the acknowledgement of the holiday.


Looking back into Lehigh University’s history of snowfall exemplifies the fact that although years have passed and our world has changed in infinite ways; today’s student are not nearly as dissimilar as one would think to the Lehigh students that came before them. My research into The Brown and White archives gave light to a wealth of historic documentation and primary source accounts of what life on campus was like in the midst of a Pennsylvania Winter; the parallels between the past and our present were constantly present in my research and distinctly relatable to the Lehigh student of today. Delving into the past is vital for understanding the present, and never fails to provide one with a more contextually concise and complete perspective of the world around them.


XC Meets at Lehigh

A Student Assistant’s Day in Special Collections:  XC Meets
By: Nick Hirdt, Class of 2017

Lehigh’s Athletics Program thrives off its athletes’ dedication to succeed in the classroom and on the playing field.  Our athletes are motivated by the great sense of school spirit and the famous Lehigh Lafayette Rivalry.  When looking at our athletic program today it is often easy to forget the student athletes who once wore the brown and white uniform and helped establish the great rivalry and tradition that is existent today.


Cross Country Coach John Covert, circa 1968.

While browsing the Special Collections Digital Brown and White archive, I stumbled upon a mass of old articles on Lehigh Sports containing a wealth of information on Lehigh Athletics history.  As a member of the XC (Cross Country) Team, I searched for and found several articles on the team from year past, containing recaps of competitions, meet results and interviews.  I was able to read a meet recap from the first race ever on the course we currently use, which took place back in 1974.  I also read about the first time the team raced in the Patriot League Championship in 1990.  In addition, I was able to read several articles on John Covert a retired cross country coach, after which one of our track meets is named.


Cross Country Schedule, 1973

I looked up several of our course record holders names in order to read articles on them from when they went to Lehigh. Reading these articles gave me an appreciation for the past members of the cross country team and the history behind of athletics department.  I highly suggest any athletes and sports fans at Lehigh to look at the Special Collections Digital Brown and White Archive to browse through old sports articles and learn about Lehigh’s rich athletics history.





“Remember the Sand Hogs”

A Student Assistant’s Day at Special Collections: “Remember the Sand Hogs”

by Abby McBride, Class of 2017

Forgotten in Lehigh history are a rambunctious, dirt-coated, and curious band of children called “Sand Hogs”. The product of Bethlehem Steel’s vast number of employees, young children used to be in abundance in Bethlehem. These children represented the plethora of immigrants that early 20th century America is famous for. These are the children that assembled the Sand Hogs Brigade and posed a perplexing (and amusing) problem to the Lehigh University Athletic Committee.


> Lehigh Baseball team 1921

As young boys often are, the sons of workers in the Bethlehem community were drawn to sports. In large numbers, the boys used to trespass into the Lehigh sports stadiums to watch the various athletic matches. Destruction of property and missing athletic supplies would follow in their wake. With Lehigh’s sterling engineering reputation, the school tried to protect the stadiums from trespassing. Various measures were taken- such as not allowing windows on buildings even though there were ways to protect them from the damage of a stray ball. However, undeterred and unabashed, the youth found their way into the sporting events.


Timmy and Two Sand Hogs 

In an act of desperation, the Athletic Committee decided to make the boys into an asset rather than let them continue as a problem. Thus the idea of the official Sand Hogs Brigade had formed. Already being the informal name of the group- because of the ways the children would build hidden tunnels and passages in the sand to enter stadiums- the Athletic Committee legitimized it. The boys were given Sand Hogs cards. On the cards was a pledge. The boys had to swear to stay loyal to Lehigh, practice good sportsmanship, and respect visiting teams and college property. They were to bathe themselves before coming to games. The Athletic Committee felt a civic responsibility for these children. Give them a healthy past time and then they would hopefully stay out of trouble.
The Sand Hogs Brigade swiftly evolved. The cheerleaders taught them Lehigh chants, cheers, and songs. Fifteen-hundred children would show up for the athletic events, sitting in the designated “kids” section of the bleachers. They praised their Lehigh teams with pride and vigor. The Lehigh community embraced the children. When Mr. Charles Taylor was at a Lehigh-Lafayette football game, he was called before the whole assembly of the Sand Hogs. A small boy bestowed upon him a floral tribute on behalf of the Sand Hogs Brigade. Mr. Taylor, accepting the tribute, emotionally quipped, “This is the finest thing Lehigh has ever done.”

Bosey Reiter

Lehigh Athletics Director “Bosey” Reiter

While reorganizing the box of Lehigh Sports History Collection, I rediscovered the story of the Sand Hogs in our Sports History collection. The collection details the athletic history of Lehigh University. There are many personal accounts from primary sources of the Lehigh’s athletic evolution. The particular writing of the Sand Hogs came from Howard R. Reiter. Reiter praised the Sand Hogs and he saw the group as a way to build a stable environment for young boys. Through the Sand Hogs, these boys gained skills in sportsmanship, teamwork, and respect. Buried in the past, the Sand Hogs are worth remembering.


“Portable Newport Folk Festival” or Pete Seeger at Lehigh, Grace Hall


The legendary folk musician Pete Seeger passed away yesterday (January 27, 2014). Special Collections would like remind the readers that Pete and the “gang” were at Lehigh in 1972 (Saturday, April 28, 1972) for the “Portable Newport Folk Festival”.


Remembering JFK After 50 Years: “The end of an age of innocence”

Guest authors Arielle Willett, Class of 2015, and Eleanor Nothelfer, Class of 1980.

Today, November 22 2013, marks 50 years since John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Fifty years ago today the world came together to mourn the sudden and tragic loss of the 35th president of the United States. It was a dark day in American history, and in the midst of preparations for the upcoming Le-Laf game, the campus was devastated by the news.



Half staff flag on November 22, 1963.




Half staff flag on November 22, 2013.



Lehigh’s Special Collections in Linderman Library holds many memories from that day. As she is paging through the Special Collections’ “Kennedy Memorabilia”, volunteer archivist Eleanor Nothelfer, Class of 1980, retired from Civil and Environmental Engineering Department after 42 years of service as the librarian in Fritz Engineering Library and recalls hearing the news: “I worked at the Allentown Public Library at the time, and I was in the back filing catalog cards, my supervisor came and said that it was just on the radio, and that President Kennedy had been shot and honestly, I don’t cry easily, but I just sobbed and sobbed, it was such a shock, so sudden. He and his wife and his children represented the US in such a glamorous and hopeful image it was just such a shock. We didn’t think about those things it those days. It just didn’t happen. That was the beginning of when public officials were subject to that kind of mayhem. You would never have expected it. It was the end of an age of innocence.”


Eleanor Nothelfer reading through the Kennedy Memorabilia in Special Collections.


Even 50 years later, the world still remembers John F. Kennedy and the legacy he left behind. They hold ceremonies and memorials; and on our own campus the flag is half staff as it was fifty years ago.


Samples from the Kennedy Memorabilia in Special Collections


To learn more about the Kennedy Memorabilia and other rare and unique documents, please visit Special Collections.


On the South Mountain Halloween Meant House Party!

By Guest Author Arielle Willett, Class of 2015

This upcoming week begins final preparations not only for the next round of four o’clocks, but also for Halloween, one of Lehigh’s most deeply rooted traditions.

In the past, Halloween was one of the most celebrated holidays on Lehigh’s campus, second only to Le-Laff Weekend and House Party (or Houseparty). Fall House Party took place around Halloween, so that the Fraternity Houses were decorated accordingly*. Nowadays we celebrate around campus with decorations and pumpkins, but back in the day it was a full blown campus wide event- there were parades, dinners, and dances, and students went all out to win decorating competitions between residence halls: “The men of Taylor plan to transform the section E lounge into an orbiting space station, where they can spend the “Evening on the Moon”. The void of space will be filled with stellar sounds taped and recorded prior to blasting off.” -Brown and White, October 30th, 1959

Greek parties were brought down to campus as students dressed in masks and costumes flooded down from the hill spookily, in many cases even bringing the festivities to South Bethlehem residents. The administration was in on the festivities too, bringing in Halloween themed speakers and sponsoring Halloween performances in Packard. Halloween was the number one party theme for fraternities. Check the digital archives of the Brown and White for the historical coverage of these amusing events.

Halloween is still one of the most emphatically celebrated holidays on campus, and with a history like that it’s no wonder why.

*Brown and White Vol. 67 No. 11: HP (i.e. House Party) Goers Will Whirl In Hellish Atmosphere (1955-10-28)



Victory Peace Reunion 1919: World War I Peace Celebrated at Lehigh

By Guest Author Kevin Augustyn, Class of 2017

A Day that Will be Remembered in History

On June 28, 1919, Lehigh University held its Victory Peace Reunion in celebration of the end of World War I and in mourning of the alumni who gave their lives in service to the country. According to the Lehigh Alumni Bulletin article*, Lehigh was the only University to hold a peace celebration on this day, the same day as the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. Every class from 1870 to 1919 was represented in the attendance for this event. There was an event known as the P-rade that is one of the most remembered events during this celebration. Each class marched with its class flag while returning veterans held American flags and their squad numbers. The air was filled with cheers of “Lehigh! Victory!! Peace!!!” That night, the entire student populace and the returning alumni witnessed Lehigh defeat Lafayette four to one in a baseball game. The next day, memorial services were held at the chapel. Many who attended these two days said that this event would be remembered forever.


Lehigh Alumni Bulletin, volume 7, issue 1, August 1919

*LTS and Special Collections are proud to bring you digital archives of Lehigh’s historical publications such as Lehigh Alumni Bulletin (1913-1951), The Brown and White (1896-2012), The Epitome (1875-2008), Course Catalogs (1866-1994). Contact Special Collections to access to these and many other significant collections.


Scholarly blogging at Lehigh

Blogging is increasingly becoming an accepted part of the academic conversation. Blogs are often a great place to do collaborative work. They can serve as a space in which to get feedback from peers on ongoing research projects. The scholarly conversation conducted in a blog setting is more timely than is possible within the peer-review process, although the peer-review process is important and will not be replaced by blogs any time soon. Here at Lehigh, we have a growing number of faculty who maintain blogs. In this new series, we will periodically highlight the blog of a Lehigh faculty member.

Lehigh Squirrel chomping on a nut in a tree.

Lehigh Squirrel chomping on a nut while in a tree.

The first blog that we’d like to highlight is Among The Stately Trees, by Earth and Environmental Sciences professor Bob Booth. In his blog, Professor Booth writes about ecological, environmental, and conservation issues and about his research in those areas. His latest post, Trembley’s “tangled bank” on the Lehigh campus, focuses on a forgotten piece of Lehigh history. No spoilers here,  but do check out the link to the post to learn more about an early example of experiential learning at Lehigh. Among the Stately Trees is a fine example of the academic use of blogging technology to generate and foster a scholarly conversation.




Ciao, Jean Johnson

Jean Johnson’s last day of employment at Lehigh is today, May 31.


She’s been here for more than three decades, for the last fifteen years as Team Leader for the LTS College of Education Team and Education Librarian.

Throughout her career, she’s displayed grace and warmth, insatiable curiosity and an unmatched ability to connect with library inquirers in a productive and personal way.

Jean has given so much of herself to life, learning and fun(!) at Lehigh, for which we will always be grateful.

Yesterday, she requested, so uncharacteristically, an event in her honor. She helped a small group turn the page of the Audubon Birds of America volume on display in Linderman in a little celebration marking the elephant-folio-sized page turn in her own life.


Closing the Poetry Month

April 1913 issue of the Poetry magazine

Cover of the Poetry  Magazine, April 1913

It is not an exaggeration to say that it would be surprising if you have not written any poetry in your youth even though you may hide it from everyone –even from yourself!

Thus, I have been writing poetry since my childhood, which is probably the common denominator of the people of the Mediterranean countries, rich or poor, wise or fool. You don’t have to be a poet to write a poetry, says an ancient Turkish poet; of course, one has to realize that not every poem you write makes you a poet.

The following poems of mine were written in Turkish and were then translated into English by me, humbly.  I promised Heather Simoneau, our Humanities Librarian, to contribute to the library’s celebration of the National Poetry Month. Here they are as the closing of the Poetry Month.

Let’s not forget life treats well those who treasure poetry. Until the next Poetry Month, “be well, do good work and keep in touch”*


Discourse on Poet’s Memory

He memorized everything he has ever lived, they say. Word by word.
But he doesn’t remember a thing: Blurred are all the images in his imagination.
Light bulbs with tuberculosis, paralyzed machine.
Gramophone’s needle touches to his heart.
cheap boulevard song hissing in the background.
They cut his speech at the podium. They mock him,
lower the mike’s volume at the climax of his poem.
It is a specialty to read poetry aloud.
The patriarch of Guild of Orators is so woeful,
his sermon is weeping with only consonants now.

“If we were as humble as sand
We would have had rain’s reputation”

Horses, Our Civilization
Sorrel stallions!
We never left you waterless
We replenished your food
Swept your feces; scraped your saliva from
the edges of water buckets, never ever complained,
as if we were in a worship service.

The world was spinning because you were walking
Trotting first, then galloping.
Our civilization has followed your march.

*Garrison Keilor’s closing line of his radio show Writer’s Almanac on NPR.

Sages of the Pages

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