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  • Tags: University Archives
  • Collection: Center for Archival Collections
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Educational Memorabilia Center: Little Red Schoolhouse

The collection is comprised of two parts, the first from 1969-2004 contains three linear feet of minutes, correspondence, files, literary productions, articles, news clippings, and photographs documenting the development of a one-room schoolhouse museum and education center on the campus of Bowling Green State University.  Documentation features information about the schoolhouse’s use, tours, classes, fundraising, donations, and future development.  Basic research materials about one-room school houses in Wood County, Northwest Ohio, and other parts of the state are also included in the collection.  

The second part of the collection contains educational artifacts including penmanship booklets, textbooks, reference works, grade cards, teaching certificates, diplomas, slates, inkwells, bells, lunch pails, and various period teaching instruments, many of which were in use from 1876-1940, the approximate years the university’s Little Red Schoolhouse operated as District School # 6, Norwalk, Ohio.

MS 778 - MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music

Preliminary inventory available at the Center for Archival Collections.

UA 001 - Board of Trustees

The records of the Board of Trustees document the functions, policies, procedures, decisions, operations, and other activities of Bowling Green State University.

The BGSU Board of Trustees is a group of eleven individuals appointed by the Governor that by law is authorized to "do all things necessary for the proper maintenance and successful and continuous operation" of the University. In general, the Board of Trustees: establishes and monitors the execution of policy that guides the administration in the day-to-day operations of the University; selects a president, and on his or her advice, a staff to administer policy; and supports the efforts of the President and the staff in relation to the Ohio Board of Regents, members of the state legislature, and state officials.

The collection consists mostly of official meeting minutes and agenda materials of the board and various committees. There are also some biographical materials on former members, correspondence, and documentation on various academic programs.

Materials found in this collection may be duplicated in other University Archives collections and holdings. Access to confidential information is restricted. Periodic transfers of records are expected from the office indefinitely.

UA 002A - Homer B. Williams [1865-1943], President (1912-1937)

Homer B. Williams was born to John and Mary (Secrest) Williams on October 16, 1865, in Mt. Ephraim, Ohio. After graduating from high school, he entered Ohio Northern and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. He continued his education at Baldwin-Wallace and completed graduate degrees there and at Columbia University in New York City. While a student at Ohio Northern, Williams met his future wife, Cora Brewer. The two were married in 1890 and had four children: Lloyd, John, Elbert and Mary Elizabeth. Williams and his wife were actively involved in the Bowling Green community. Williams took a leadership role within the community, specifically the Methodist Church, Kiwanis, the Town and Gown Club, and the Chamber of Commerce. He died on September 22, 1943 and his wife died September 5, 1954.

His career as a teacher started in 1885, in rural and village schools. He was superintendent of schools at Dunkirk, Ohio from 1887 to 1889. He served successively in similar capacities at various Ohio school districts, such as Caldwell (1889-1992), Kenton (1892-1894) and Cambridge (1894-1898), before being appointed as superintendent at Sandusky, a position he held until 1912.

In May of 1912, Williams accepted the position of president of the newly organized normal college in Bowling Green, Ohio. He remained president until his retirement in 1937. He was named as head of the Bureau of Alumni Relations and then returned as interim president in 1938 when the current president, Dr. Offenhauer, was killed in an automobile accident. He then stepped down when the next president, Frank Prout, was hired in 1939.

When Williams retired, the institution had grown from a normal school to a state university, with an original faculty of 15 to one numbering over 100, and a student enrollment of 153 to that of over 1800. The campus had grown from the original Administration Building to nine buildings.

UA 002B - Roy E. Offenhauer [1881-1938], President (1937-1938)

Dr. Roy Ernest Offenhauer was born to Julius and Elizabeth Yaney Offenhauer in Montezuma, Ohio in 1881. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from Marion Normal College in 1903. While still studying at Marion, he began his teaching career in Mercer county. Eventually he became the principal of Sandusky High School. There, his superintendent of schools was Homer B. Williams, who later became BGSU's first president. He earned a Masters of Arts degree from Columbia University in 1917. Because of his exceptional work during his thirteen years as superintendent of public schools in Lima, Ohio, Northern University conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Pedagogy. Dr. Offenhauer was nationally recognized as an educator and was repeatedly elected as Treasurer of the National Education Association. He was also a member of the Ohio and Northwestern Ohio Educator Association.

Dr. Roy E. Offenhauer became Bowling Green State University’s second president in 1937 when the Board of Trustees unanimously invited him to take the office. However, he served only fourteen months. While he and his wife were returning home from an Ohio Education Association meeting in Columbus, he was fatally injured in a car accident and died on December 29, 1938.

As president of Bowling Green State University, Dr. Offenhauer instituted a number of policies that increased enrollment by eighteen percent. It was under his leadership that the university began offering extension classes. He established the Policies Commission, which was the first step in providing faculty with a greater say in developing the policies of the University. During his presidency, the university adopted the 1925 statement of principles of the American Association of University Professors, creating the first official tenure policy for the University.

He also began an extensive building program designed to expand and improve the campus. During his presidency, three buildings were constructed, the largest amount of simultaneous construction undertaken up to this point in the university’s history. The buildings were the Women’s Gymnasium (1938), the Natatorium (1938), and the Men’s Dormitory (completed 1939). The dormitory was named Clayton C. Kohl Hall in honor of the distinguished social science teacher who had died only four months before Dr. Offenhauer. The president also instituted a beautification and improvement project for the University. The program, which cost nearly $700,000, repaired and redecorated buildings, reconstructed athletic fields, and provided additional facilities for physical education. It also constructed sidewalks, an outdoor theater, and improved the landscaping on campus. Much of this work had been deferred thanks to the economic hardships of the Great Depression.

UA 002C - Frank J. Prout [1883-1967], President (1939-1951)

After the unexpected death of the former president, Roy Offenhauer, Frank J. Prout was selected to lead the university. Prout had served as the Superintendent of Sandusky, Ohio City Schools from 1921-1939 and had been a member and President of the University's Board of Trustees (from 1933-1939), giving him vital experience in serving the needs of students and educators in northwest Ohio. During his twelve-year term, he guided the campus through the difficult years of the WWII and oversaw the development of BGSU as it changed from a teachers' college to a university.

World War II caused the student population to decrease drastically as many students were drafted or enlisted in the military. The deflated enrollment meant the university would not be able to pay its faculty. The most viable solution was to secure government training programs. Under Prout’s leadership, the university was chosen as the site for the Navy College Training Program, also known as the V-12 program. With this program in place, the university's financial problems were almost entirely solved. However, there was a shortage of housing.

Dr. Prout ensured that BGSU would be able to handle the increased housing needs caused by the V-12 program during the war as well as the increased enrollment of the post-war era. He took advantage of legislation that allowed universities to issue bonds for building dormitories. Kohl Hall had been financed in this way before he became president. As a result, several more dormitories were constructed, including Rodgers Hall, and BGSU was able to handle the population increase, while the number of permanent buildings on campus increased to fifty.

The university's national reputation rose thanks to Dr. Prout’s leadership. The construction of cottage-style housing on campus (also known as fraternity and sorority rows) enticed national Greek organizations to accept local fraternities and sororities as chapter. The Graduate College was also founded during this time. By the time of Prout's retirement, enrollment had nearly quadrupled and the total campus acreage doubled from pre-war figures.

Frank J. Prout was born in 1883 at Prout’s Station, in north central Oxford Township, Erie County, Ohio. He received his Bachelor’s degree from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1906. He taught at Ohio Wesleyan and Zanesville High School until 1914 when he became principal of Chillicothe High School. He received honorary degrees from Ohio University (1919), Ohio Wesleyan University (1924), Miami University (1951), and Bowling Green State University (1952). After his retirement in 1951, Dr. Prout continued to maintain an active interest in the university, serving as an advisor to his successor, Dr. Ralph McDonald and being continually involved with the university’s landscaping.

UA 002D - Ralph W. McDonald [1903-1977], President (1951-1961)

Dr. Ralph McDonald became Bowling Green State University’s fourth president in 1951. During Dr. McDonald’s presidency, student enrollment nearly doubled and the total campus acreage more than doubled, increasing from 240 acres to 600 acres. Over the course of his ten-year term, he oversaw the construction of ten new buildings and the renovation of many others.

At the outset of Dr. McDonald's presidency, lack of on-campus housing was a major problem. In response to this need Rodgers, Founders, Conklin Quadrangles, and the Alice Prout Residence Hall were constructed. In addition, the University Union, Memorial Hall (housing Anderson Arena), West Hall, and South Hall were completed. By the end of Dr. McDonald’s term, all but one of the temporary buildings put in place during World War II had been eliminated or replaced. The total cost of all the building construction and renovation during Dr. McDonald’s term amounted to almost $35 million.

Dr. McDonald’s experience and qualifications marked him as someone who would move Bowling Green State University from its traditional role as a teacher training college to a full-fledged liberal arts university, preparing its graduates for leadership in a troubled and complex world. With this goal in mind, Dr. McDonald sought to increase the number of faculty holding Ph.D. degrees who were active in research and publication, in addition to classroom teaching. During this time there was a movement at universities across the nation aimed at providing faculty and students with greater liberty and opportunities to influence university policy. In contrast, Dr. McDonald viewed the role of university president as strongly authoritative. Controversies inevitably flared from time to time, and faculty and student morale suffered. Over the years, the situation worsened, culminating in student demonstrations in 1961 and numerous faculty petitions. Dr. McDonald resigned the office of president in 1961.

Ralph Waldo McDonald was born March 1, 1903 in Gallatin County, Illinois. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in 1925 from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. At Duke University, he earned both his Master's and doctoral degrees (1933, in educational psychology) and attended law school, later serving as a member of the North Carolina legislature. A member of Phi Beta Kappa and active in many professional associations relating to higher education, Dr. McDonald served as executive secretary of the Department of Higher Education of the National Education Association for seven years before accepting the presidency at BGSU.

The Board of Trustees approved a leave of absence for Dr. McDonald following his resignation and retained his position as a professor of higher education. After leaving the university, he served as executive director of the National Committee for the Support of Public Schools in Washington, D.C. Upon his retirement from that position in 1965, he and his wife lived in Florida for ten years, retiring to Arkansas in 1975. Dr. McDonald died in January, 1977.

UA 002E - Ralph G. Harshman [1893-1974], President (1961-1963)

Ralph Garling Harshman was born November 6, 1893 near Williamstown, Hancock County, Ohio, the son of Will and Alberta Harshman. He received his Bachelor’s degree in 1917 from Ohio Northern University, going on to receive both his Master’s and his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in 1926 and 1933, respectively. He died in January 1974.

Beginning his career at BGSU in 1936 as an assistant professor of business administration, Harshman eventually became the first Dean of the College of Business Administration. As dean, he oversaw an enrollment explosion as the college grew from fifty-one students in 1937 to over 1,400 following the Second World War. Under his leadership, BGSU gained full membership in the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business in 1954. He also served as Dean of Administration and Vice President.

The Board of Trustees elected Dr. Ralph Harshman to be president of BGSU in1961. Dr. Harshman was the first university president at Bowling Green State University to have come from the ranks of university staff. He had been retired for a year before the Board of Trustees chose him, and he agreed to return for a term of two years.

During his short term as president, Dr. Harshman instituted a number of policies aimed at improving faculty morale and instilling faith in the University. He began decentralizing the administration with policies delegating more authority to the college deans. He also invited faculty cooperation in the selection of department chairs and new deans for the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Education. Dr. Harshman also worked to restore student morale, largely through the creation of the Committee on Student Affairs.

In 1963, Dr. Harshman was awarded the “Scroll of Appreciation” by the US Air Force, the highest honor that service may confer upon a civilian educator. Extremely active in university athletics as well, Dr. Harshman served for fifteen years as chairman of the University Athletics Committee. During that time, Bowling Green State University joined the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and helped found the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Harshman also served as secretary, vice president, and president of the Mid-American Conference.

UA 002H - Paul J. Olscamp [1937-], President (1982-1995)

Paul J. Olscamp was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on August 29, 1937. He received his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Western Ontario in 1958 and 1960, respectively. He went on to receive his doctorate in philosophy from the University of Rochester in 1962, the first such degree awarded there. His continuing love of the subject was evident during his time at BGSU, as he taught a philosophy course almost every semester while simultaneously managing all his duties as president.

Paul J. Olscamp was appointed as president of Bowling Green State University on March 15, 1982. Before coming to BGSU, he served as president of Western Washington University for seven years. His appointment as BGSU’s president was the result of an eleven month search following the death of Dr. Hollis Moore. Due to the public perception that the Board of Trustees was not willing to share adequate information about the search, his transition to office did not go smoothly. Despite his rocky beginning as president at BGSU, Dr. Olscamp strove to embody the slogan, “An Environment of Excellence.”

Over the course of Dr. Olscamp's twelve year term, academics at BGSU improved greatly. Graduate student enrollment increased by 23 percent during this time, with five new doctoral programs created. In addition, the number of scholarships for academic excellence increased greatly. Dr. Olscamp was also instrumental in the development of the Center for Photochemical Sciences. The number of holdings at the library increased to over 4 million volumes under his leadership.

Dr. Olscamp played an active role in improving BGSU’s financial situation. The university's endowment increased from $1.9 million to over $47.4 million during his presidency. As a result, he created the first endowed professorships at BGSU. During this time, the faculty was given a role in developing the annual budget and shared authority with the president in interpreting the academic charter. He also held periodic forums with students where they could voice their concerns about campus issues.

While president of BGSU, he held a position on the Board of Directors of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. He was appointed to the National Council on the Humanities by President Reagan in 1987. In 1989 he was elected as the Mid-American Conference representative to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Presidents' Commission.

Due to statewide budget cuts, the Board of Trustees asked Dr. Olscamp to stay on as president beyond his anticipated retirement in 1994. Following his retirement from BGSU in 1995, Dr. Olscamp served as interim president of the University of South Dakota and then went on to hold the same position at Mayville State University in North Dakota.

UA 019 - Undergraduate Student Government

The Undergraduate Student Government’s mission is to act as an influential governing service to advance and accurately represent the needs of the student body by initiating any action necessary to develop an acceptable solution. The Undergraduate Student Government hears the concerns of undergraduate students. It works to find beneficial solutions by engaging all members of the campus (administrators, faculty, staff, student groups and the student body at large) to address undergraduate concerns. 

The members of USG are elected annually to represent the student body. Senators serve as representatives from the academic colleges and the residential areas, as well as in at-large and diversity affairs positions. They serve on nearly every administrative body of the University, and speak regularly with the administration of various on-campus departments and offices involving undergraduate students. 

The collection consists mostly of governance documents (including minutes, agendas, bylaws, constitutions, etc.), as well as correspondence, subject files, and official reports.

Materials found in this collection may be duplicated in other University Archives collections and holdings. Access to confidential information is restricted. Periodic transfers of records are expected from the office indefinitely.


UA 022 - Administrative Staff Council (1979-2014)

The Administrative Staff Council (ASC) supports the mission of BGSU through representing administrative staff members by promoting their general welfare; seeking professional development opportunities maintaining communications among staff members; and reviewing, initiating, and making recommendations on institutional policies.

The collection consists mostly of official meeting minutes of the council and its various committees, including its executive committee, personnel welfare committee, and salary committee. There is also correspondence, handbook revisions, and materials relating to awards given by the council.

Materials found in this collection may be duplicated in other University Archives collections and holdings. Access to confidential information is restricted. Periodic transfers of records are expected from the office indefinitely.

UA 027 - Sports Press Guides and Programs

The Athletic Communications office creates publications focused on University athletic teams known as sports press guides, programs, game notes, and a variety of other names. These programs are made for specific games, entire seasons, and special events. They are created for media outlets and fans of sports at BGSU, and document coaches, players, statistics, standings, etc. Programs often include pictures of players and coaches, as well as local and national advertisements. This collection includes paper programs as well as digital programs created by the Athletic Communications office and its preceding office. Materials found in this collection may be duplicated in other University Archives collections and holdings. Access to confidential information is restricted. Periodic transfers of records are expected from the office indefinitely.

UA 029 - Center for Regional Development (2000-2009)

The Center for Regional Development (CRD) is an interdisciplinary research platform with expertise in regional economics and community development that exists at Bowling Green State University.

The Center's mission is to design and implement innovative and pragmatic solutions to a wide variety of regional challenges. Community and regional development may be defined as a process whereby the economic, social, cultural, and environmental resources of a region are harnessed for the betterment of the people in that region.

The center works with other research centers in the region and around the globe to explore and share development and research opportunities. With research partners around the world, the CRD is working hard to provide world-class ideas and move them from BGSU to the general public.

The collection consists of promotional materials, newsletters, conference and workshop materials, and special publications, reports, and studies of the CRD that relate to Northwest Ohio and/or the University.

UA 031 - Greek Affairs 1923-2008 (1950s-1990s bulk)

This collection documents the history of Greek life on the BGSU campus with both organizational files and subject files.

UA 047 - Political Science Department

The Political Science Department began in the fall of 1946. Before then, political science courses were offered in the Department of History. The department is devoted to the study of political power, political institutions, public policy, public opinion, citizen participation, political economy, and the international system. The department offers an undergraduate major and minor in political science, a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree, a dual Master's degree in Political Science and German, and a Bachelor of Science degree program in Fire Administration. It prepares students for success in graduate study, law school, and public service, as well as a variety of non-governmental and private sector careers. It is part of the College of Education and Human Development.

The collection consists of correspondence from the various chairs of the department; departmental reports such as annual reports, program reviews and self-studies, degree proposals, etc.; minutes of faculty meetings; publications and promotional materials such as brochures and newsletters; and subject files relating to various departmental business and program planning.

Materials found in this collection may be duplicated in other University Archives collections and holdings. Access to confidential information is restricted. Periodic transfers of records are expected from the office indefinitely.