“The Phantom of the Night”: Cop Ed Linker

Hello! I’m Hannah Foltz, class of 2013 and current PhD student in rhetoric at the University of Texas at Austin. This summer, I’m working with the Humanities program and the Archives and Special Collections team.

Between 1939 and 1972, a lot changed at Davidson College—significantly increased enrollment; integration; the relaxation of rules related to dancing, drinking, curfews, and church attendance; the end of compulsory ROTC; even the first waves of coeducation. But despite it all, one thing didn’t change: the presence of “Cop” Edgar N. Linker, Davidson’s Security Officer. Hired as the (one and only) nightwatchman (Davidsonian, 12 Oct 1939, p. 6), Linker became an iconic symbol of probity whose flashlight and pipe struck fear into the hearts of many. In today’s post, we’ll dig a little deeper to uncover the man behind the myth. 

Cop Linker on patrol. 

Davidson’s mid-century campus security concerns seem quaint today. Although Linker did occasionally investigate external threats—notably tracking down a notorious burglar of East Coast college dormitories in 1954 (Warlick, Tom. “Linker’s Hunch Pays Off; Fields Awaits Jury Action,” Davidsonian, 12 Feb 1954, p. 1)—most of his duties appear to have been policing student behavior. Parking tickets, alcohol consumption, and amorous indiscretions were his bread and butter. In fact, he reported that on average he broke up three romantic encounters each night of a dance weekend (Duggin, Ervin. “Sixty-Three Weekends: That’s Cop’s New Record,” Davidsonian, 21 Oct 1960, p.1). He recounted his approach: 

I’m not trying to make romance unpopular….It’s the natural thing to do. But we’ve got to obey the rule. You won’t find that rule in the handbook. It’s just understood…Most boys think I get a kick out of seeing how many I can catch, but I’m always hesitant. Usually I tap my truck horn and flick the lights, then drive on slowly. If they don’t move I come back, and then maybe there’s some talking done (Duggan).

Cop Linker’s parking tickets were lamented in the 1966 Quips and Cranks. 

Generations of Davidson “gentlemen” and their dates came to know, fear, and love Cop Linker. In fact, the 1950 edition of Quips and Cranks was dedicated to this “phantom of the night” (14-15), an honor typically reserved for college presidents, deans, or long-time faculty members. One can find numerous photographs, anecdotes, and depictions of Linker in Davidsonians and  Quips and Cranks alone. 

Quips and Cranks 1950

As cultural mores and college rules relaxed, Linker’s job grew more challenging. In Duggin’s profile, Cop complains, “One thing about this modern generation. They don’t need a dark place to do their kissing. They’ll do it most anywhere.” In fact, Cop Linker’s retirement in 1972 seems to represent an official acquiescence to canoodling and a turn towards a more crime-oriented campus security force. After Linker’s departure, the College negotiated a contract with the town’s police force that eventually led to the establishment of Precinct #2, an expanded, college-focused force (McLawhorn, Dennis. “Davidson Precinct Institutionalizes Security Force,” Davidsonian, 21 Jan 1977, p. 6). In 1978, Precinct #2 was spun off into the autonomous campus police force that still exists today (Summie, Salley. “Davidson Police Department Divides,” Davidsonian, 27 Jan 1978, p.1). 

Price, Ed. “Alright, son, let’s call it a night!” Davidsonian, 19 Feb 1954, p. 2. 

But who was Ed Linker? Research in the archives of institutions beyond his beat reveals a life more nuanced than what figures in the Davidson imaginary. We were surprised to learn that the State Archives of North Carolina holds the Edgar N. Linker Papers! A subset of their Military Collection, Linker’s papers are primarily letters written to his family in Mooresville while he was serving in the Navy during World War I. Linker served on the cruiser the U.S.S. Des Moines, and the majority of his letters were posted while the ship was in port along the United States’ Atlantic Coast. Linker writes about his time in the Navy, as well as about his family’s experience with the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic. Linker’s papers from the U.S.S. Des Moines are the only known complete set of World War I correspondence from the ship, and include an original menu from its 1918 Thanksgiving meal

One of Linker’s letters home mentions his vaccination against the 1918 flu pandemic.  

The archives of Linker’s church, Davidson College Presbyerian, are housed at Davidson College and also provide some information about the Cop’s life. After returning from the service, he married and ran a dry cleaning business in the Main Street space now occupied by the Soda Shop. In an article written upon his retirement, the author explains, “Mature citizens don’t have to be told why his business stopped [in 1932]; the ‘Hoover Years’ had descended on the land” (Gee, “It’s ‘Cop’ Linker….No More!,” Scrapbook, Davidson College Presbyterian Church Women of the Church Collection). It appears Linker then served as a police officer for the Town of Davidson; a 1939 Davidsonian article about his hiring mentions that he had previously been the department’s head (“Watchman Named,” Davidsonian, 12 Oct 1939). Linker was also a 50-year Mason, and enjoyed beekeeping and gardening at his home on Davidson’s South Street . 

Clipping from the DCPC Women of the Church Scrapbook 

Gee’s article mentions Cop Linker’s fine sense of humor, which no doubt went a long way during more than 40 years of policing undergraduate hijinks. In 1960, he admitted: 

Freshmen of course are the ones you get the most kick out of. You have to tell them we don’t allow mixed car parties on dance weekends. I say, “About bedtime, sonny,” and sometimes they ask, “Well where can we park?” Doggone! That’s already supposed to be settled.” 

Doggone, indeed! Cheers to a Davidson legend—and a veteran, civil servant, businessman, and beekepeer. 

Justice, Equality, Community (JEC) Student and Alumni Advisory Council

The Justice, Equality, Community (JEC) grant is a three year, campus-wide initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support increased interdisciplinary engagement with issues of race, gender, religion, and social justice within the humanities at Davidson College.

The grant documents state: “A more publicly available and promoted archives will inspire transdisciplinary coursework in the humanities through the use of archival materials, promote avenues for increased original student research in the humanities, and enable Davidson to develop reciprocal relationships with community partners—all in support of increased dialogue around issues of justice, equality, and community in the curriculum and in the community.”

To accomplish these goals, the archival component of this initiative has four main tasks:

· Identify and digitize JEC collections.

· Integrate JEC materials into at least 5 new courses.

· Expand archival collections related to JEC, particularly the oral history collections.

· Lead public programming about JEC materials, both on campus and in the larger community.

Jethro Rumple reminiscing about the college circa 1840

This handwritten reminiscence of life at Davidson College was written in the 1840s by an alumnus, Reverend Jethro Rumple. The document contains a description of the College President’s “body servant,” Esom. This item was digitized with JEC grant funds and can be found on DigitalNC.org.

In order to more effectively engage our audiences and build a stronger collection, we selected a thematic focus for each year. For the academic year 2017 – 2018, we focused on 19th century Davidson. Working with partners like DigitalNC and H.F. Group, we identified and digitized thousands of items related to this theme. These materials are available through Davidson College’s research guides – a centralized platform familiar to our students and faculty, while also being accessible to the general public.

We have built on these efforts throughout the 2018 – 2019 academic year by highlighting and expanding our records related to alumni and student activism through support for course-based oral history projects, the on-going digitization of our existing oral history collections, and more targeted student outreach. 

Some of these materials have already been incorporated into a variety of classes, including Introduction to Africana Studies (AFR 101), Environmental History (ENV 256), Slavery and Africa (HIS 366), Native Women (HIS 243), WRI 101, the Humanities Program (HUM 103, 104), US Latinx History (HIS 259), Women and Slavery in the Black Atlantic (AFR 329), and Origins of the American South (HIS 242).

Green Books, Contempo magazine, For 2 Cents Plain, and MLK publications arranged on a table for a Humanities course.

Special collections material pulled for the Fall 2018 Humanities course.

In many of these classes, as well as others, students often express concern that “Davidson is always talking about where we’re going, but rarely talks about where we’ve been.” Students wonder about how their legacy will be represented—and if it will be represented.

Understanding we were uniquely positioned to address this concern, we formed the JEC Student and Alumni Advisory Council—if we were targeting students, we wanted to empower students as full archival partners to recognize their labor for us, as well as in the community.

The JEC Advisory Council, composed of Davidson College students and recent alumni and led by the JEC Project Archivist, was established in the Fall 2018 semester to document and publicize the ways in which students have engaged with and responded to historical and contemporary manifestations of injustice and inequality in Davidson and the surrounding area.

Image of students, townsfolk, and professors interacting with archival materials in the fishbowl as part of the Davidson Disorientation Tour in 2018.
Attendees interacting with archival materials during the debriefing session for the Davidson Disorientation Tour co-led by one of our council members, H.D. (April 2018).

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

Supported by the archival portion of the JEC Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, we are working to synthesize information from academic, administrative, and social spheres for a better understanding of campus culture and greater acknowledgment of student work. The ultimate goal of this project is to address gaps between student needs and institutional responses, empower students to better leverage archival resources, and to promote dialogue around increased accountability for supporting student-led projects. 

To accomplish this, we will identify, collect, and digitize the data, records, and oral histories of student organizations and their community partners, both through the acquisition of existing documentation and the recording of information that does not exist in a formal or textual source; following this, we will organize programming according to our findings in order to facilitate meaningful conversations and tangible impacts. 

We are confident that, in addition to meeting our primary goals, this project will also promote a better understanding of the archives as a resource and increase transparency around the processes and accessibility of college documentation, thus creating a foundation for future projects and coalitions.

MEMBERSHIP

Kaitlin Barkley, ’21

Yashita Kandhari, ’20

H.D. Mellin, ’20

Carlos Miranda Pereya, ’18

Arianna Montero-Colbert, ’19

Jonathan Shepard-Smith, ’18

The statement of purpose was written and approved by the inaugural members of the JEC Student and Alumni Advisory Council in March 2019. The group has met on a monthly basis since January 2019. If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact Jessica Cottle at jecottle@davidson.edu.

The Davidson College Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Concerns, 1984

The Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Concerns was appointed by Davidson College President John Kuykendall on September 10, 1984 in response to growing student frustration around support for students of color, particularly as related to academic resources and campus social climate (see page 28 of the Report).

Page 28 of the Task Force on Racial Concerns which lists the "past and current actions" of Davidson's Black Student Coalition between 1970 and 1984.
From page 28 of the Final Report: “The Black Student Coalition works to present black cultural events and opportunities to learn more about the Black Experience.”

Twenty appointees and one recorder made up the Task Force’s membership. Those members were chosen by either the college president or by a committee as representatives of five distinct groups, each delineated, below:

Students:

  • John C. Laughlin (Student Government Association President)
  • Janet Stovall (Black Student Coalition President)
  • Andrew Yon (R.A.C.E President)
  • Atondra Williams (Appointed by Student Senate)
  • Rodney Holman (Appointed by Student Senate)

Faculty:

  • Dr. R. Bruce Jackson (Co-chairman, appointed by the president)
  • Dr. John Kelton (Vice Chairman pro-tem of the faculty)
  • Dr. Lauren Yoder (chosen by faculty executive committee)
  • Dr. J. Alberta Hernandez-Chiroldes (chosen by faculty executive committee             

Administrators:

  • Will Terry (Dean of Students)
  • Dr. John Griffith (Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid, co-chairman, appointed by the president)
  • Dr. T.C. Price Zimmermann (Dean of Faculty)
  • Paula Miller (appointed by the Advisory Committee on Minorities)
  • Dr. Leland Park (Library Director)

Alumni:

  • Daniel Clodfelter
  • Dan LaFar, Jr.
  • Calvin Murphy

Trustees:

  • Dr. Thelma Adair
  • John A. Mawhinney, Jr.
  • Dr. J. Randolph Taylor

Recorder:

  • Dr. Malcolm O. Partin

These members were then divided into one of the four following committees: Past Davidson Committee, Current Davidson Committee, Higher Education Committee, and Policy Committee. Each group conducted in-depth research on their respective topics for inclusion in a report due to the campus community “no later than November 30, 1984.”

A paragraph snippet from page 3 of the Task Force's final report. The paragraph states, "Through a series of discussion forums, to be held in early January, the Task Force plans to record, consider and include in the report the reaction of faculty, staff, students and alumni of Davidson College."
From page 3 of the Final Report: “Through a series of discussion forums, to be held in early January, the Task Force plans to record, consider and include in the report the reaction of faculty, staff, students and alumni of Davidson College.”

After submitting the report, the Task Force made the document available for comment and critique through a series of forums. This feedback was either included or reflected in the final report submitted to the college president in February 1985.   

The Report presented several critical conclusions that later led to some institutional changes, a selection of which are paired and outlined, below:

Screenshot of page 10 of the Task Force's Final Report. The report states: “While, in the judgment of the Task Force, Davidson's current efforts in student, faculty and staff recruitment are similar to the best efforts of a number of the schools visited, our efforts in terms of social and academic support for black students are less adequate.”
From page 10 of the Final Report: “While, in the judgment of the Task Force, Davidson’s current efforts in student, faculty and staff recruitment are similar to the best efforts of a number of the schools visited, our efforts in terms of social and academic support for black students are less adequate.”
A memo dated September 3, 1986 sent to all faculty and staff about the formation of SCOPE (Standing Committee on Pluralistic Environments) in response to findings from the Final Report of the Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Concerns. Membership included: Paula Miller, Brenda Tapia, William Brown, Charlie Summers, Gary Mason, Tom Jennings, Mark Lomax, Debbie Young, Ruth Pittard, Jack Perry, and Ruth Ault.
Memo sent to all faculty and staff about the formation of SCOPE (Standing Committee on Pluralistic Environments) in response to findings from the Final Report of the Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Concerns (September 3, 1986). SCOPE facilitated and promoted programming designed to inform the campus community about pressing social issues and discrimination.
A group of about one dozen students balancing on a log as part of the August 1984 FOCUS Davidson College orientation program.
FOCUS, August 1984. FOCUS was a Davidson College orientation program that was re-organized to better address the needs of incoming African American students after the Task Force report was completed.
Excerpt from page 27 of the Task Force's final report that states: “Surveys of and interviews with black students point to this as a significant area of concern. Naive comments and stereotyped images projected by some students, faculty and staff reflect a lack of experience with and sensitivity to blacks. Recognizing this fact as a failure of our educational system, blacks and non-blacks alike have called for more opportunities to address this concern. The Project '87 proposal (see Appendix 16) represents a culmination of this expression of concern and focused on: the academic program, minority representation in the community, programming and social life.”
From page 27 of the Final Report: “Surveys of and interviews with black students point to this as a significant area of concern. Naive comments and stereotyped images projected by some students, faculty and staff reflect a lack of experience with and sensitivity to blacks…The Project ’87 proposal (see Appendix 16) represents a culmination of this expression of concern and focused on: the academic program, minority representation in the community, programming and social life.”
A scan of the second page of the February 1988 Black Student Coalition newsletter. Included is the date for the formation of the Davidson Black Alumni Network (DBAN) - January 30, 1988.
This is the second page of the February 1988 Black Student Coalition newsletter. The newsletter details resources available on campus, as well as the formation of the Davidson Black Alumni Network (DBAN). Support for DBAN was specifically requested in the Final Report of the Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Concerns (1984).
This is the third page of the Davidson College Black Student Coalition newsletter from February 1988. Note the closing message - "Sometime in February, black alumni will meet with Dr. Kuykendall once again to follow-up on the task force report.
This is the third page of the Davidson College Black Student Coalition newsletter from February 1988. Note the closing message – “Sometime in February, black alumni will meet with Dr. Kuykendall once again to follow-up on the task force report.”
A black professor assists a black student with a microscope as part of the 1995 Love of Learning summer program.
A professor with the Love of Learning program assists a student (1995). Love of Learning was established and led by Davidson College assistant chaplain Rev. Brenda Tapia in 1988 when four classes of 8th grade African American students were selected for the pilot five year program. Through Rev. Tapia, Davidson College, in partnership with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System, designed the program to enable secondary and post-secondary educational success for “at risk” and “promising” students by considering the whole person in addition to their academic needs.
The 1988 pilot class for the Love of Learning program. Rev. Brenda Tapia, the newly hired assistant chaplain, stands in the middle of the photograph in the red t-shirt.
The 1988 pilot class for the Love of Learning program. Rev. Brenda Tapia, the leader of the Love of Learning program, was hired as an assistant chaplain in direct response to the Task Force report. Rev. Tapia stands in the middle of the photograph in the red t-shirt.

The Task Force ended their report by stating, “…we hope that the “wheel will not need to be reinvented” when there is significant representation of another racial/ethnic group in our community. It is important that members of the community think creatively about implementation of strategies so that members of other racial/ethnic groups can avoid the problems blacks have experienced,” (41). One way the Archives facilitates this closing goal is by preserving and providing access to documents that detail the work and responses of previous generations.

A screenshot from page 41 of the Task Force's final report that states: “…we hope that the "wheel will not need to be reinvented" when there is significant representation of another racial/ethnic group in our community. It is important that members of the community think creatively about implementation of strategies so that members of other racial/ethnic groups can avoid the problems blacks have experienced,”
Page 41 from the Final Report of the Task Force on Racial and Ethnic Concerns, 1984.

If you are interested in reading the full report, Archives & Special Collections is open Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 5:00pm. You can read this report and similar documents upon appointment – simply email archives@davidson.edu with your research question and we will find an available time.

Dog Days

Student with puppy drinking from a cup

Student with puppy

We are definitely in the “dog days of summer” right now, so I thought it might be fun to take a look back at some “dog days” on Davidson’s campus.  Staff members, professors, and students have all enjoyed having dog pals on campus!

Freshmen class in 1889 with "class dog"

Freshmen class in 1889 with “class dog”

Two students in front of Chambers pet a white dog.

Two students in front of Chambers pet a white dog.

Prof. Gordon Michalson with his dog in 1977.

Prof. Gordon Michalson with his dog in 1977.

ROTC cadets on the lawn of Old Chambers with a dog.

ROTC cadets on the lawn of Old Chambers with a dog.

Three students in 1984 study with dog pals.

Three students in 1984 study with dog pals.

19th century students, class of 1890, pos with their dog.

19th century students, class of 1890, pose with their dog.

John SYme lounges with Oscar.

John Syme lounges with Oscar.

Commencement...complete with dog.

Commencement…complete with dog!

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Archives & Special Collections, Molly!

Join us as we celebrate the arrival of Molly Campbell, the new Digital Archivist! I took a little time to interview our newest addition to the team to introduce her to Around the D.

Woman on a mountain trail wearing a white t-shirt and black sunglasses.

Molly Campbell

You’re just beginning to get to know Davidson’s Archives & Special Collections–what’s your background in archival work?

I first became interested in archives when I was an undergraduate student studying  public history at James Madison University. I was lucky enough at that time to acquire a summer internship at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, DE. Over the course of that summer I really fell in love with archives and decided to pursue a MA in History to further my knowledge of the field. Once I had obtained my MA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst it was fairly apparent that I was also going to need a Master in Library Science (MLS) in order to better understand archives, so I did just that at the University of Maryland, College Park. After graduation I worked in the archives of The Lawrenceville School, which is a boarding school in Lawrenceville, NJ. At Lawrenceville I had the chance to work on a number of exciting projects, including working with students and faculty.

What about the Digital Archivist position interested you?

The position interested me for a number of reasons. I think initially the title “Digital Archivist” attracted me because I am particularly interested in working with and managing electronic records. Thanks to the proliferation of digital technology our society is producing a massive amount of data that archivists are trying to collect, organize, preserve, and make accessible. I want to be part of that movement to preserve digital records and this will be a fantastic opportunity to do just that. Davidson is currently producing a large amount of digital material and I hope that I can help collect that information so future students, faculty, and staff can easily access it. I am also excited to make our print and a/v collections more easily accessible through digitization initiatives.

Are there any projects you’re particularly passionate about introducing to Davidson?

I have a number of ideas relating to projects that I think would be exciting to introduce to Davidson, but for the time being I am going to try and better understand what this particular community values and how the Archives & Special Collections can better serve it. I would really like to take the time to learn how people currently utilize the materials in Archives & Special Collections to see what projects would best serve our userbase.

White sheet cake that reads "Welcome Molly"

A welcome party was held in the Library for Molly on Wednesday, April 4!

You haven’t been here long yet, but what has been your most memorable or surprising experience at Davidson thus far?

I was pleasantly surprised how welcoming everyone has been since I arrived. The most memorable experience thus far was when a group of the Library staff surprised me with a welcome song set to the tune of “Hello, Dolly.” It was great and certainly very memorable!

 

What are three things you want Davidson’s community to know about you?

More than anything else I would like the community to know that I am excited to be here and am ready to hit the ground running!  I am excited to begin meeting students, staff, and faculty across campus and would like to hear how they envision Archives & Special Collections best serving them. Please feel free to drop me a line anytime!

Reckless Driving Incident Sheds Light on Life and Service of Mr. Enoch Donaldson

 

Fallen gravestone on dead leaves.

Photograph of desecrated tombstone of Enoch Donaldson from earlier this month.

On Wednesday, March 7th a currently unidentified reckless driver speeding through Davidson at twice the posted speed limit was found to have damaged headstones at the Christian Aid Society Cemetery on Ridge Road. The Christian Aid Society was founded as a group of black churches in Davidson in 1905 and the cemetery was originally a designated resting place for Davidson’s black community. Although not owned by the college, the Christian Aid Society Cemetery can be found just beyond the baseball field.

A sepia-toned photograph of a black man in a vest and dress slacks standing in front of a columned building

Mr. Enoch Donaldson

Among those whose headstones were desecrated by the reckless driver was Mr. Enoch Donaldson, a man who served Davidson College for decades during the early to mid-twentieth century eventually becoming “Dean of Janitors.” Donaldson was born after the Emancipation Proclamation marked the start of the abolition of slavery. Although the exact date of Donaldson’s birth is unknown, he was born in 1867 according to his death certificate. He passed away at the age of approximately 95 on February 25, 1962.

Throughout Donaldson’s lifetime of service to Davidson College, the town and the institution examined and changed racist policies. According to the 1870 census, only 630 of the 1,605 residents of the town of Davidson were black. During his early childhood, in 1875, Davidson College students were granted the requests made in a petition to “keep out of the College all colored persons to whom express permissions had not been given to enter or labor there.” The only exceptions were those who attended church on campus and two men, Jim Burton and George Wilson, who were employed as laborers. Towards the end of his life, campus conversations regarding integration and civil rights became increasingly accepting of interracial connections. In the 1950s, Louis Armstrong performed at the college three times and Otis Redding visited once to perform in 1961.

In February 1961, a year prior to Donaldson’s death, the Board of Trustees voted to integrate the college, a decision which was poorly received by the majority of students and local residents. Unfortunately, Mr. Enoch Donaldson did not live to see the campus’ welcome to Ben Nzengu, the student who broke the color barrier, in the fall of 1962.

The life of Mr. Enoch Donaldson offers unique perspective and appreciation of the black slaves and laborers whose tireless, lifelong efforts built the foundation of Davidson College. Those curious to learn more about Mr. Donaldson’s life can read his story here: Born after Freedom.

Headstone reading: ENOCH DONALDSON  BORN AFTER FREEDOM  DIED FEBRUARY 25, 1962  AGE ABOUT 95 YEARS  FOR JUST UNDER A CENTURY, SON, FATHER, HUSBAND,CHURCH FATHER & FRIEND   ROMANS 5:3-4  ERECTED IN HONOR OF A LIFE LIVED

Headstone of Mr. Enoch Donaldson

The maintenance of the Christian Aid Society and its cemetery is integral to the preservation of the legacy of black existence and influence in the Davidson community. The Society is in need of contributions to aid restoration of the historic burial site. Those interested in contributing may write a check to the Christian Aid Society and mail it to Davidson Christian Aid Society, PO Box 1323, Davidson NC 28036.

Library Directors of the Past, Present, and Future: Welcome Lisa Forrest!

On July 1, Lisa Forrest of Hamilton College will become the second Leland M. Park Director of the Library and Davidson College’s fifth Library Director since its founding in 1837.

Portrait of a white business woman with short blonde hair in a gray blazer and purple blouse against a light blue background.

Lisa Forrest

Forrest’s career prior to Davidson includes service as the director of research and instructional design for Hamilton College’s Burke Library and as an associate librarian at SUNY Buffalo’s E.H. Butler Library.  Ms. Forrest has been honored with the Excellence in Library Service Award from the Western New York Library Resources Council and as a fellow of the EDUCAUSE Leading Change Institute.

As Davidson College and other elite institutions of higher learning explore the future of facilities built around books in the digital era, Forrest’s expertise in both traditional and experimental models of teaching, learning, and research in the liberal arts will be of great service.

Past Library Directors of Davidson College

Sketched portrait of a woman in early 1900s attire, reads: "MISS CORNELIA SHAW LIBRARIAN AND REGISTRAR A faithful friend and true advisor to every college man"

Cornelia Rebekah Shaw, 1907-1936.

The Library Director position was inaugurated by Cornelia Rebekah Shaw, who was elected “Librarian and Registrar at a salary of $900.00 per annum” on May 28, 1907. Shaw’s twenty-nine year career on campus was notable in many respects–she was the college’s first woman employee, first librarian, first registrar, and first secretary to the President. She was well respected by all on campus and her hospitable service to the library made her well-known as every student’s best friend. In fact, the college yearbook Quips and Cranks, was dedicated to Miss Shaw in 1912. During her time, Shaw oversaw the movement of the library’s collection of little more than 10,000 volumes from the “Union Library” room in Chambers  to the Carnegie Library, which has served as a guest house since 1942. Shaw’s history of the school, Davidson College, was published in 1923 with a foreword from College President Henry Louis Smith (1901-1912) and can be found in the Davidson College Special Collections.

Portrait of Chalmers Gaston Davidson smiling in from of a campus building, appears to be either Phi or Eu Halls. Black and white.

Chalmers Gaston Davidson, 1936-1975.

Following Miss Shaw’s retirement in 1936, Davidson College’s longest serving Library Director began service: Chalmers Gaston Davidson ’28. Affectionately known across campus as “Dr. D,” Davidson was the college’s first professional librarian, he earned his Master’s in Library Science from the University of Chicago in 1936. When Dr. D’s career began, the library was very small and not the hub of student life as it is known today. The collection was a mere 39,000 volumes, the annual materials budget was $3,500, and there was only one other employee: assistant librarian, Miss Julia Passmore. However, barring the years Dr. Henry Lilly took over the position whilst Davidson served in WWII, Davidson revolutionized the library space, including overseeing the move to the Grey Memorial Library in 1941. Not only was Davidson also a member of the college History department, but by 1961, he had grown the annual library budget to $41,000. Perhaps Dr. D’s success was in his blood, given that he was a direct descendant of William Lee Davidson, the college’s namesake.

Headshot of a laughing man wearing glasses, black and white.

Leland M. Park ’63, 1975-2006.

The 1974-1975 school year brought much change to the Davidson library: Dr. D retired, Leland M. Park ’63 became the new Library Director, and the E.H. Little Library was dedicated in September of 1974. Park earned his Library Sciences degrees from Emory University and Florida State University before serving as Library Director for 31 years. At his retirement in 2006, the Quips and Cranks yearbook staff elected to dedicate their volume to Park and his service to the school and the Library Director position was named in his honor.

Portrait of Gillian Gremmels. Woman with black glasses, wavy brown hair with bangs and a pink blouse against a black background.

Gillian “Jill” Gremmels, 2007-2017.

In 2007, Gillian Gremmels was named the first Leland M. Park Director of the Library. Unlike her predecessors, Gremmels was neither an alum of the college nor a long-time resident of the area. Gremmels was raised by two professors on the campus Iowa’s Wartburg College, is a descendant of Wartburg’s founder, and continued on to attend the school and act as their Library Director. Although currently on sabbatical from the mentoring seminar faculty of the Association of College and Research Libraries and after serving Davidson College for ten years, Jill Gremmels will serve the Dean of Cowles Library at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa beginning on July 1.

SaveSave

SaveSave

Guest Blogger: Tiffany Waddell Tate, Recognizing Synergies Among Staff

As I step into the role of Staff Council chair for academic year 2018 with an excellent executive team and representatives of every area of campus, I’m excited to share a snapshot of the organization’s history, evolution, and current vision for the future at Davidson.

Tiffany Waddell Tate standing in front of Career Development

Tiffany Waddell Tate, current Chair of Staff Council and Associate Director for Career Development

Staff Council (formerly known as AAG) was established in 1996 by the Davidson College President, after a small group of exempt (salaried) staff began to realize that the expertise and experience they were contributing to the broader college community did not coincide with the level of voice or impact needed around campus issues. At the time, this group felt the strength of faculty and office administrative / support staff, but identified a gap for a large faction of the professional community on campus. Out of these early conversations, the Administrative Advisory Group (AAG) was born.

In the years since its launch, the work of AAG representatives has led to stronger connections between staff and administration, increased transparency & communication, and a highlight of the great benefit and values associated with signing on to work at Davidson – in any capacity. Tangible outcomes from the tireless work of AAG representatives and working groups over the past two decades include:

• Exempt staff representation on campus-wide committees / working groups that impact the full campus community
• Campus-wide review of staff positions and staff equity funds, led by Human Resources
• Launch of pilot parental leave program for staff

Past AAG Officers, William Brown seated, Meg Kimmel and Carl Sorrenson standing, ca. 1996-2001

Past AAG Officers, L to R, William H. Brown, Meg Kimmel, Carl Sorensen

Past AAG Officers, Marcia Makl, Kurt C. Holmes, William Brown standing before a portrait gallery ca. 1996-2001

Past AAG Officers, L to R, Marcia Makl, Kurt C. Holmes, William Brown

The original design of Staff Council was connected to a broader vision for the staff community at Davidson, and the group mobilized to promote and affirm the mission and goals of the College – which is simply not possible without facilitating conversation and action that highlights the value of all staff contributions to the robust education environment in which we work and live. Today, we inherit that legacy, and are committed to the great responsibility required to continue the work.

In summer 2017, we had an overwhelming majority of staff vote to shift Council from a group that only included exempt salary staff, to one that is inclusive of all staff at Davidson. This shift in bylaws reflects a modern-day landscape of our community – one that includes all staff, regardless of position status – and allows us to recognize and identify synergies among the veritable brain trust we have among the entire staff community.

We are excited about this (and the name change!) to assist us as we continue the work of our predecessors to create opportunities for information sharing, networking, and heighten community impact & engagement of the staff community.

Our focus is clear – and we are excited about carrying the torch forward to continue to build connections among the staff community on campus, across divisions and with faculty and senior administration alike.

In Partnership,

Tiffany Waddell Tate

Justice, Equality, and Community Archivist Is In The Library!

Hello, my name is Jessica Cottle and I am the recently hired Justice, Equality, and Community (JEC) Project Archivist.

A group of dedicated faculty and staff developed this new position to further the goals of the “Justice, Equality, Community: Reimagining Humanities Curricula for an Interconnected, Rapidly Changing World” initiative, funded by a generous Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant. Over the course of 3.5 years, the initiative aims to “reimagine humanities curricula through the lens of three ideas that…cut across cultures, time, and disciplines: justice, equality, and community…to demonstrate the critical role of humanistic inquiry in public discourse, global problem-solving, engaged citizenship, and democratic leadership.”

The grant includes funding for innovative partnership between faculty and students, a humanities practitioner-in-residence program, community-minded experiential learning projects, and archives-supported assignments centered on questions about race and religion in the greater-Davidson area.

As the JEC Project Archivist for this endeavor, I will be developing, promoting, and digitizing archival resources related to the research and teaching of social justice issues (particularly race and religion), and facilitating collaboration between community partners, faculty, and students. I was raised in Charlotte—I graduated from Harding University High School in 2011—so I plan on tapping into personal connections to homegrown groups to ensure the initiative’s positive impact on both the campus community and local residents.

I graduated from Appalachian State University with my B.A. in May 2015. I majored in Global Studies with a concentration in East Asia, and double minored in Women’s Studies and Chinese. I returned to Boone that fall to complete my M.A. in Public History, graduating in May 2017. I believe unearthing connected historical and current marginalized narratives and subsequently serving as a conduit through which people can address their communities for themselves is my foremost responsibility as a public historian and archivist. When applying for jobs this summer, I immediately connected with the project goals described in this position’s advertisement as I saw my understanding of history and archives reflected in them. I am excited to familiarize myself with the archive’s resources and getting to know everyone as the JEC initiative moves forward!

Jessica Cottle
Email: jecottle@davidson.edu
Phone: 704.894.2669
Office: E.H. Little Library, Room 203

Research, Teaching, and Collection department's contributions to welcome Jessica Cottle. Table full of donuts, cake, bread, and paper plates

Research, Teaching, and Collection department’s contributions to welcome Jessica Cottle.

Jessica Cottle's Welcome Cake. Carrot cake with 8 icing carrots on the top with, "Welcom Jessica" written on the top as well.

Jessica Cottle’s Welcome Cake
August 28, 2017

Happy Retirement, Jan Blodgett!

A few weeks ago longtime College Archivist and Records Management Coordinator Jan Blodgett retired after 23 years of service to Davidson (for information on our new College Archivist, DebbieLee Landi, see our earlier blog post introducing her). Jan has made an impact all across the Davidson College campus and the town of Davidson, including on this very blog – Jan started Around the D on January 21, 2009! This week we’ll celebrate her time as College Archivist by delving into our photo archives for images of Jan:

Jan sits at a table in the archives in 1994, with Loyce Davis and Barbara Butler.

Jan sits at a table in the archives in 1994, with Loyce Davis and Barbara Butler.

Jan leads a discussion on Davidson history in the Davidsoniana Room during Freshman Orientation in 1996. Jan's introduction to the past and present of Davidson College has been a part of orientation for over 20 years.

Jan leads a discussion on Davidson history in the Davidsoniana Room during Freshman Orientation in 1996. Jan’s introduction to the past and present of Davidson College has been a part of orientation for over 20 years.

Jan stands by one of the columns of the Chambers Building in 1997, while then Library Director Leland Park chats with Josh Gaffga.

Jan stands by one of the columns of the Chambers Building in 1997, while then Library Director Leland Park chats with Josh Gaffga.

Members of Common Ground, including Jan, a local grassroots organization designed promote communication and understanding and improve relations among people of all races in Davidson, gather for a Christmas Day memorial service in 1998.

Members of Common Ground, including Jan, a local grassroots organization designed promote communication and understanding and improve relations among people of all races in Davidson, gather for a Christmas Day memorial service in 1998.

Library staff, including Jan (in the pink skirt and shirt), gather in the lobby of E.H. Little Library, circa 1998.

Library staff, including Jan (in the pink skirt and shirt), gather in the lobby of E.H. Little Library, circa 1998.

Library staff gather in front of Beaver Dam in 1999. Jan is towards the back of the group.

Library staff gather in front of Beaver Dam in 1999. Jan is towards the back of the group.

Jan chats with then Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, in the Rare Book Room during his visit to campus in 2001. Billington is looking at the Arabic language Bible of Omar Ibn Sayyid, one of the highlights of our rare book collection.

Jan chats with then Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington, in the Rare Book Room during his visit to campus in 2001. Billington is looking at the Arabic language Bible of Omar Ibn Sayyid, one of the highlights of our rare book collection.

Jan works with a student on researching campus architecture, looking at a blueprint in the Rare Book Room in 2014.

Jan works with a student on researching campus architecture, in the Rare Book Room in 2014.

Jan leading a paddleboard tour of the history of Lake Norman in July 2015, in partnership with Davidson Parks and Recreation.

Jan led a paddleboard tour of the history of Lake Norman in July 2015, in partnership with Davidson Parks and Recreation.

A full Archives & Special Collections staff #shelfie (a picture in which the photo is taken using the front camera on a phone, in this case a "shelfie" because they are next the shelves) in 2015! From right to left: Caitlin Christian-Lamb (me!), Sharon Byrd, and Jan Blodgett.

A full Archives & Special Collections staff #shelfie in 2015! From right to left: Caitlin Christian-Lamb (me!), Sharon Byrd, and Jan Blodgett.

Jan (with her back to the camera) works with ENV 340 students in the Rare Book Room, in 2016.

Jan (with her back to the camera) works with ENV 340 students in the Rare Book Room, in 2016.

Hilton Kelly is photographed while photographing Jan (meta!) working with Charlotte Mecklenburg public school teachers on a workshop in summer 2016, aimed at integrating archival materials across secondary education.

Hilton Kelly is photographed while photographing Jan (meta!) working with Charlotte Mecklenburg public school teachers on a workshop in summer 2016, aimed at integrating archival materials across secondary education. The teachers’ projects can be found here.

Jan, Roman Utkin, and Caroline Fache drinking archival gloff in December 2016

Jan enjoys archival glogg in December 2016 with Roman Utkin and Caroline Fache.

Jan addresses the crowd at her final campus history tour outside of the union on the patio facing the football field in April 2017

Jan addresses the crowd at her final campus history tour in April 2017 (you can view the livestream of the tour here).

Jan Blodgett was the first professionally trained archivist to work at Davidson College, and her work building and organizing collections, as well as fostering community and curricular connections is fundamental to the Archives & Special Collections current and future work. We will always be grateful to Jan for her tireless, generous, and energetic work – please join us in wishing Jan a fond farewell and a happy retirement!