Category Archives: guest blogger

Corinna Shattuck – Heroine on a Mission

Corinna Shattuck Oorfa Turkey

Corinna Shattuck was a young girl when she was orphaned. Born on April 21, 1848 in Louisville, Kentucky, Shattuck lost her father at the age of one and her mother three years later. Before her death, Shattuck’s mother moved her family consisting of a young Corinna and three more siblings to Acton, Massachusetts, her home town. The four children lived with their maternal grandparents in Acton after the loss of their mother. Shattuck’s grandparents instilled a deep religious faith which she carried with her for the rest of her life. This mixed with a strong desire to help those less fortunate than her lead her to missionary work.

Shattuck’s time at Framingham Normal School is characterized by her correspondence with Framingham alum Myra Proctor. Proctor was working as a missionary in Aintab, Turkey at the time. She had opened a school and was more than happy to write to Shattuck about her life and her mission work. Proctor became Shattuck’s inspiration. Shattuck set her sights on Turkey and after her graduation from the advanced program in 1873 that’s exactly where she went. She arrived there on August 27, 1873. In her first few years in Turkey she spent her time learning the language, adapting to the culture, and riding horseback for over one thousand miles to see the country. Shattuck had persistent health problems that sent her back to the United States in 1879 for several years. Unfortunately, she was prone to tuberculosis which limited her ability to breathe; she essentially had one functioning lung. By 1883 she resumed her work in Turkey.

Shattuck’s time in Turkey is known for several major accomplishments. In her time teaching she encountered one student, Mary Harootoonya who lost her sight. Shattuck worked to get Harootoonya into the Royal Normal College for the Blind located in London. After her return to Turkey, Harootoonya and Shattuck teamed up to build the Corinna Shattuck School for the Blind.

Shattuck had been placed in multiple locations across Turkey, and in 1892 she requested to be moved from Marash to Oorfa (present day Urfa). Her request was granted and she was moved to her new city. It was her influence in Urfa that made Shattuck particularly well known. Tensions had been on the rise in Turkey between different religious groups, particularly the Muslims and Christians. In October of 1895 Christians were confined by soldiers to a section of the city and forced to give up any weapons they may have owned. For a couple of months they were allowed to go about their daily lives. Shattuck sensing trouble requested the Turkish government for a permit to leave the city for her safety. Her permit was granted on December 28th, 1895, one hour before the Oorfa Massacre.

The Muslims and Kurds in combination with the soldiers raided the Christian section of Urfa. They attacked any Christian man they found, leaving the women and children alone unless they tried to protect their fathers and husbands. Their houses were ransacked and everything of value was stolen, even the front doors. Soldiers were posted outside of Shattuck’s door to keep the trouble out, but her neighbors jumped her fences and crowded her home. For fear of the government discovering how many people she was hiding, Shattuck moved the men to a nearby Protestant church to hide until the attack was over, and she provided sanctuary to their wives and children.

By the end of it all the death toll was in the thousands. A Georgian church was set on fire with three thousand people trapped inside. The soldiers inspected Shattuck’s home for any fugitives, and satisfied in not finding any men they departed without any trouble. That night Corinna Shattuck saved the lives of over three hundred people.

After the massacre there were hundreds of orphans and widows. Shattuck’s heart broke for the orphans, especially as someone who was orphaned herself. Seeing the rising desperation around her Shattuck got to work. She adopted over 150 orphans and started several new institutions. She began by teaching the young girls and the widows how to sew and embroider. Shattuck found a wholesale company in Ireland that helped her sell the products her girls were making, and the business became a surprising success. The extra profit allowed her to expand her operations to include three homes for the children. The boys were in charge of the vineyards, making shoes, and in their off time the local tradesmen taught them carpentry, tailoring, and the like. To her credit, Shattuck allowed all ethnic groups to her homes. This helped ease some of the religious tensions and eliminate some prejudice amongst the children. At its height, her operation employed over two thousand people.

All of this success built a reputation for Shattuck. She became known for settling disputes and facing government officials with a cool head. In an interesting turn of events, an Arab man named Ibrahim Pasha sent his horsemen to attack Shattuck’s farms. Angry at the men for trying to hurt her students she took to a horse herself and rode to Pasha’s settlement. There she waited until he finally opened his tent for her. What was said when she officially met with him is unknown, but by the time she rode back to Urfa Pasha had sworn his eternal protection for her farms. After this incident she was used as a mediator for any other disputes that occurred near Urfa.

Shattuck dedicated over thirty years of her life to her work in Turkey. By 1910 her sickness was overwhelming her and she left Turkey to seek treatment back in the US. She made it to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and from there she was sent to Cullis Consumptives’ Home. She lived out her final days in the Cullis Home where she died on May 22, 1910 at the age of 62. Shattuck’s impact on the lives on her students in Turkey is undeniable. In a time of terror, she sheltered them. In a time of turmoil, she gave them food and a home. When raiders appeared in the hills she sent them flying away. Here is a woman who should make us proud to be a part Framingham.

          Photo Courtesy of Independent Association of Framingham State Alumni

Written by,
2017 English Intern

Ryan Toomey

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Did You Know? 163 Years in Framingham: From Normal Hall to West Hall

 

Part 1: The First Residents

 

Normal Hall

 

When the first State Normal School was relocated to Framingham Massachusetts in 1853, there were limited living accommodations available for students. It was not until 1869 that Normal Hall, the first dormitory here at Framingham, opened its doors to the first class of “boarding students.” These first residents of Framingham faced new opportunities as well as challenges, and their living situations were ones that today’s Framingham State University residents might be appalled by.

As the oldest state supported institution for teacher training in the United States, Framingham State University has a diverse history with thousands of alumni who have walked through our campus. During the initial years at Framingham, when the school had less than a hundred students enrolled, Normal Hall was the only dorm available for resident students.

Henrietta Graves a student of the class of 1884, recalls the rough experience of living in this dorm. “The last of the double beds was banished from Normal Hall in my day,” she states. “Many a night [had] I lain awake trying to keep from sliding over the outer edge of one while my roommate slept peacefully on the continental divide in the middle. The joy of the new single bed with good springs and a level mattress remains with me yet.” Though, to today’s residents, the very idea of sharing a bed with one’s roommate at FSU might seem like a scene from a nightmare, it was the reality for the earliest students. If that is not enough to make anyone appreciate modern times, it should also be noted that the Normal Hall dormitory was not only home for these students, but it was also home to the principal of the school and some of these students’ teachers.

 

Normal Hall dorm

Courtesy of Framingham State University Archives

Another resident student, referred to only as Mrs. Brockway, a graduate of the class of 1871, describes living in Normal Hall, “when water had to be brought in barrels and our baths were limited to one per week in three inches of water, when the guaranteed heating apparatus proved altogether inadequate, so that in cold weather we put on our coats when we dressed in the morning and kept them on until we went to bed at night.” She also remembers times when the lights “went out all over the house and [students] huddled together in the corridors with the few little oil lamps we were able to procure.” Crocker Hall was the next dorm to be constructed; in 1886. It was at first home for students and teachers, but later became the center for Household Arts. This building, after a fire, a hurricane, and a great deal of reconstruction, currently still stands on campus. What were once dorms for students are now office spaces used by FSU faculty.

Normal Hall dormitory, on the other hand, was eventually destroyed on February 13, 1914, in a fire ignited by a defective fireplace chimney in the principal’s quarters. What was left of the building was completely demolished in 1919 so that Horace Mann Hall could be constructed. This second dorm still stands on campus to this day, and remains a home for resident students.

As Framingham State University’s newest dorm, West Hall, nears its fall, 2016 completion date, the differences between this new building and the first dormitory on FSU property become striking. The new dorm has six stories and can comfortably house 315 residents. There is currently enough space for more than 1770 students to live on campus in one of FSU’s many dorms (not yet including West Hall). Comparatively, when Normal

 

Student Dorm

  

Hall only had three floors and housed less than seventy residents at any time. In Fact, the class of 1905 only had 63 students in total, and not all of these were “boarding students.”

 

Though “living on the hill” at FSU has become an entirely different experience for today’s students, times were not all bad back in the early 20th century. Things were simpler; the Framingham campus was mostly farmland and was referred to as “bare hill,” students could get to personally know their classmates and communicate regularly with their teachers, and school was only a two year endeavor. However, the women that attended Framingham State Normal School were still creating history by bravely making unexpected choices for this era. During these days, not as many girls continued their education after high school as do now. This was a time when “Serge bloomers, serge blouses and high collars, and long black stockings” were the style, a time when “the average citizen scoffed at the idea of [it] being necessary to teach teachers.” These first students at Framingham were defying expectations by continuing their studies. From Normal Hall to West Hall, this goal remains a constant. However, luckily for them, FSU residents can now continue to learn in much more comfortable environment than they might have in the past.

Written By,

2016 English Intern

Rebecca Waitt

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The Creation of the Challenger Collection, Pt. 3

This is the last of a three part series describing the creation of the Challenger collection, a project to digitize and make available primary source materials related to the Space Shuttle Challenger and the disaster that occurred on January 28, 1986.

The collection can be accessed here.

 

The final step in creating the Challenger collection was to upload the material to the repository.  We first needed to create the appropriate structures on the repository to hold the material.  Each type of material required a slightly different structure.  Once the structures were created we began to make the material available to the public.

Our repository is hierarchical.  The Challenger collection is under the larger heading of “Centers” (for the Christa Corrigan McAuliffe Challenger Center for Education and Teaching Excellence.  Other headings include, for example, the Henry Whittemore Library, and the Academic Affairs Office.  The Challenger collections itself is broken down into two categories, called series.  We created one series for the images and one series for everything else, which we titled “Documents”.  The Document series was further broken down into three series: Correspondence, Ephemera, and Reports.

There were two methods to upload the items to the repository: individual or batch.  Individual uploading involved fewer steps but was more time consuming.  We chose this method for the correspondence, of which there were three, and the governmental reports, of which there were two.  The second method, a batch upload, allowed for multiple items to be sent to the repository at once, but required more steps.  The first step was to store the material where it could be downloaded to the repository (in contrast to the individual method, where the material could be uploaded directly, the batch-uploaded material needed to be hosted elsewhere.  We chose Dropbox for this purpose).  The next step was to download a spreadsheet specifically created for the task of a batch-upload, populate it appropriately, and re-upload the spreadsheet to the repository.  If all was done correctly a confirmation email would arrive once the material was successfully sent to the repository.

In order to make sure the material is findable to the public, we had to ensure the correct metadata was associated with each item.  Unfortunately the batch-upload method was not very efficient for doing this.  While the batch-upload spreadsheet contained cells for metadata, with larger sets of files it became difficult to associate the correct metadata with each file.  For this reason we chose to individually add the appropriate metadata to each batch-uploaded item after it had been posted to the repository.  The process of adding metadata was time consuming but indispensable to a functioning repository.

 

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Humans (not robots) digitize newspapers

Here at the library’s Digital Commons team, we are building a digital version of The Gatepost student newspaper collection. (The print version lives in our Archives and Special Collections, as always.)

Doesn’t Google do that?

No. Actually, humans put newspapers on the internet. Sure, we use computers and cameras, and lots of software tools. But overall, the process of digitization is more manual than automatic. It involves a lot of planning and prioritizing as a team.

Human eyeballs, hands, and good judgement are required every step of the way.

Essentially, we are stitching together searchable PDF documents of each issue from hundreds of scanned images, organizing them, adding background information, and finally serving documents up on the internet, such that Google can crawl and index them, and users can find what they want.

We will publish the finished product on our repository website, DigitalCommons@Framingham, so that anyone can search the FSU student newspaper back issues for names and events of the past. We plan to roll out a decade or two of the paper at a time: the Thirties, the Forties, etc. For each volume, we will highlight some notable campus events, personalities, or artwork on the website so that the high points don’t get lost among the dozens of issues.

 

What’s the benefit of digitizing newspapers?

We can never quite anticipate who might find our treasures useful, but we believe that open access to our collections will enrich intellectual and artistic work of the future. It’s vital for us to share the collection to anyone with an internet connection and an interest in the content.  I hope that the digital newspaper archives will be valuable to all sorts of users.

Possible users of the collection:

  • Explorers of the history of journalism, teacher education, and 20th century collegiate life
  • Nostalgia-seekers
  • Current campus group officers who want to read up on the group’s past adventures, successes, and follies
  • Genealogists and descendants of Framingham community members

 

We look forward to sharing our history with you! We will keep you updated with more Gatepost digitization news as it happens.

 

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The Creation of the Challenger Collection, Pt. 1

This is the first of a three part series describing the creation of the Challenger collection, a project to digitize and make available primary source materials related to the Space Shuttle Challenger and the disaster that occurred on January 28, 1986.

The collection can be accessed here.

 

The process of creating any collection begins with curation.  In the case of the Challenger collection most of the heavy lifting had been done for us already.  Because Christa McAuliffe is an alumna of Framingham State our archives and special collections departments have a trove of primary source materials relating to many aspects of her life.  Our goal is to create a collection that focuses specifically on the Challenger disaster and the lives of the astronauts involved.  We are in a fortunate position to have the physical materials concerning Christa already processed and cataloged.  Our first step was to select which material we planned to digitize for inclusion in our collection.

We combed through the hundreds of photographs in the library’s collection, selecting 53 images appropriate for our project.  We eliminated photographs for a number of reasons, such as poor quality or the inclusion of a visually similar image.  We also eliminated photographs due to ethical considerations; for example, we did not think it appropriate to include images of the explosion itself, or of the wreckage salvaged during the recovery process.

In addition to photographs we also have a large collection of ephemera related to Christa’s training and the launch.  We’ve chosen to include parking passes, press kits, personal guest lists, as well as three personal letters written by Christa while she was training at the Johnson Space Center.  The selection process for these materials was straightforward as most of the items pertained directly to the launch.  We selected only the letters Christa wrote while training.

The final items we’ve chosen to include in the collection are two congressional reports written about the Challenger.  The first report was published by the Senate Committee on Science and Technology on June 9, 1986 and is commonly referred to as the Rogers Commission Report.  The second report, Investigation of the Challenger Accident was published by the House of Representatives on October 26, 1986, and is a detailed investigation into the cause of the accident.  As both of these reports were published by the U.S. government they are in the public domain.

With the items for the collection selected we turned to the process of digitization.

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The Creation of the Challenger Collection, Pt. 2

This is the second of a three part series describing the creation of the Challenger collection, a project to digitize and make available primary source materials related to the Space Shuttle Challenger and the disaster that occurred on January 28, 1986.

The collection can be accessed here.

 

Once the items were selected for the collection our attention turned to the digitization process.  Because we had selected such disparate material we had to adopt a number of different strategies to ensure the items were digitized properly.

The most straight-forward items to digitize were the photographs.  They fit neatly on our scanner and transferred well to the electronic medium.  Scanners are in essence made for digitizing photographs, so the process presented few problems.  We chose to scan the photographs at the highest resolution our scanner allows.  This gave us the most freedom to manipulate the image if need be, with the trade-off of increased file size.  Since our collection is relatively small the larger file size was not a problem.  The letters and other more or less standard textual material (press-kits and applications) were similarly easy to digitize.  We chose to render these items at a slightly lower resolution as we saw no significant difference in quality between highest and medium resolutions.  Again the scanner was essentially made for these types of items.

The ephemera — that is, those items which did not readily fit into any other category — were slightly more difficult to digitize.  One item — a bright orange parking pass meant to be left on the dashboard of a vehicle parking at the launch site — was larger than a standard 8” x 11” sheet of paper.  It took a few tries to get the coloring to render faithfully for the digitized version.  Other items underwent a similar trial-and-error process before we were satisfied with the result.

The item that gave the most trouble was a governmental report.  It was a 438 page book that could not be pressed flat enough to be scanned on the flatbed scanner we’d used for the photographs and other items.  In order scan the report we had to use a standing scanner.  The book was laid flat and the scanner lens was positioned over it in such a way as to capture the page as a JPEG.  The page was turned and the next page captured.  In order to save time — and so the book could remain roughly in the same place — the odd pages were scanned first.  The book was then flipped and the even pages were scanned starting at the back of the book.  The pages were then converted to PDFs and oddities — such as a slightly rotated page — were corrected.  A few pages required rescanning.  Once all pages were acceptable they were combined in the correct order into a single file.

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Open Access II: Consider a Move to Open Course Content

By Justin Daras

As a faculty member, it is likely that the cost of textbooks is on your mind when planning your next class. However, the prices students are paying may be higher than you think—leading to academic disengagement and potentially poor learning outcomes.

Inside Higher Ed reported on a 2014 poll that found that 65% of students have forgone purchasing a textbook due to price, and 94% of them “were concerned that their grade would suffer because of it.”[1]

Another 48 percent of students said the cost of textbooks affected how many and which classes they took each semester. At the same time, 82 percent of students said free online access to a textbook (with the option of buying a hard copy) would help them do “significantly better” in a course.[2]

One estimate puts the increase in textbook prices between the years 1978–2014 at 945%, outpacing both the Consumer Price Index (262%), and the cost of medical care (604%) during the same period.[3] In 2014, the Wall Street Journal published an estimate that students “typically [spend] between $600 to $1,200 a year” on textbooks.[4]  The College Board’s Average Estimated Undergraduate Budgets for 2015-2016 puts the total cost of books and supplies for students in public colleges at $1,298 for the entire academic year,[5] suggesting that textbook prices are not going down any time soon.

At this point, you might be asking yourself “What can I do?” At the individual level, faculty have few levers to pull with publishers. You cannot prevent them from revising even the most basic texts every year or two; from including single-use electronic content that hinders the reusability of texts; or from simply raising prices yearly at a rate that students are forced to fold into their student loans, and end up paying off over 10 years. The best signal faculty can send to textbook publishers is to stop expecting students to buy textbooks in the first place.

Two major efforts are working to bypass the financial barriers posed by the reliance on commercial textbooks for course content. First, there is the open textbook movement, now sometimes referred to as Open Textbooks 2.0. Open textbooks once had a reputation of being the projects of individual authors, tailored to specific institutions, and even classes—making appropriation time-consuming for faculty hoping for an overlap between the books and their own syllabi.

The contemporary model of open textbooks is collaborative, peer reviewed, and designed to directly substitute for the commercial textbooks traditionally assigned by instructors. Both OpenStax College and The Open Textbook Library are sources of the open textbooks many faculty are using in their classes today. There is significant academic leadership and funding behind these efforts. For example, OpenStax is a product of Rice University, and is funded in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Open Textbook library is a network of universities and libraries that includes the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Temple University.

Second, faculty should be aware of Open Educational Resources (OER), which are freely available digital course content. Open educational resources include OpenStax CNX (Rice University), OER Commons, and Merlot (peer-reviewed). These OER collections include individual webpages, learning exercises, interactive mini-sessions and simulations, and even full university courses from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. All are free to use for students and teachers.

As the curator of the university’s physical and digital collections, the Henry Whittemore Library is uniquely suited to helping faculty and departments:

  • Search for and evaluate open textbooks and OER
  • Examine the library’s digital and print collections and integrate them into Blackboard and reserves/e-reserves collections
  • Work with faculty who want to develop their own open textbooks

Commercial textbooks will likely always exist, and publishers can bring to bear a lot of resources to develop content suitable for the university classroom. But, at what price? Open educational content, written by faculty, and peer-reviewed by faculty, puts subject material into your hands to use as you see fit—and into students’ hands without regard to their ability to pay. Open educational content may not be a fit for the course you are designing today, but it can be next semester.

[1] https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/01/28/textbook-prices-still-crippling-students-report-says

[2] Ibid.

[3] https://www.aei.org/publication/the-new-era-of-the-400-college-textbook-which-is-part-of-the-unsustainable-higher-education-bubble/ Cited in: https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2015/08/04/era-400-college-textbook-affordability-initiatives-take-utilitarian-approach

[4] http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-tough-lesson-for-college-textbook-publishers-1409182139

[5] http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/average-estimated-undergraduate-budgets-2015-16

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