History

Special delivery: Mail calls treasured by WWI doughboys

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For the American doughboys overseas in World War I, mail from back home was a true treasure. To the farm boys who had never been beyond their fields, and the city boys whose borders ended at the edge of their boroughs – mail call was a brief visit to home sweet home. “Those were the two most important words of the day – mail call,” said Gary Levitt, from the Museum of Postal History located in Delphos, southwest of Bowling Green. Mail call meant a box of hand knitted socks from mothers, newspaper clippings of hometown festivals or football games from siblings, and letters full of sweet talk from sweethearts back home. “You didn’t have any other form of communication,” Levitt said recently during one of the monthly “teas” at the Wood County Historical Center. This gathering focused on mail during World War I, since the museum is featuring an extensive look into the war and the Wood County men who served in it. “To many, letter writing may seem a quaint and charming pastime,” Levitt said. But a century ago, when America entered WWI, it was all families had to keep in contact. “Writing letters was considered a patriotic duty, along with food rationing and buying war bonds,” he said. But it certainly wasn’t easy for mail to reach the right destinations, since the doughboys were spread out and many of their troop locations were secret. “Americans were all over Europe,” Levitt said. “No one wanted to let anyone know where anyone was.” Plus there were no transatlantic flights, so mail…

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BGSU library acquires trove of Great Lakes research materials

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS The University Libraries at Bowling Green State University has greatly expanded its collection of Great Lakes research materials thanks to a significant donation from the National Museum of the Great Lakes, which is owned and operated by the Great Lakes Historical Society. More than 160 cubic feet of photos, pamphlets, slides, bound materials, postcards and archival materials have found a new home in the Libraries’ Historical Collections of the Great Lakes (HCGL), housed within the Center for Archival Collection. “We are grateful to the National Museum of the Great Lakes for entrusting us with their extensive collection, and we are excited that the consolidation of their materials with our existing Great Lakes archives has now created the largest collection of its kind on the U.S. side of the Great Lakes,” said Mary Ellen Mazey, Ph.D., president of Bowling Green State University. “Thank you to the Museum, its board of directors, the Great Lakes Historical Society and the University Libraries staff who helped to facilitate this exciting and symbiotic new alliance in the name of historic preservation.” These additional materials bolster the already robust offering of Great Lakes-related research and artifacts curated by the University Libraries at BGSU. “The Great Lakes materials recently donated to HCGL is a wonderful addition to our holdings and provides many opportunities for collaboration between BGSU, the National Museum of the Great Lakes and the Great Lakes Historical Society,” said University Libraries Dean Sara A. Bushong. The addition of these materials to BGSU also will make University Libraries a major research destination in the U.S. for Great Lakes history….


Visiting musician Doug Yeo brings ancient sound of the serpent alive at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News After two hours of discussing the fine points of trombone playing – articulation, dynamics and the like, Doug Yeo left the student trombonists at Bowling Green State University with message. “We live in a messed up world,” the visiting artist said. All they had to do was look out the door to see that. “What you do with trombones … matters.” When people come to a concert, whether a student recital or a performance by a major symphony orchestra, the performer doesn’t know what brings them to listen. They may have just lost their job or a loved one. They might have just gotten engaged. “You don’t know what their story is, but you’re playing for them and what you play can change their lives. They’re giving you something they’ll never have back, their time.” And it’s up to the musician to make that time they spend together worthwhile. “What you do,” Yeo said, “really, really, really matters.  … I’ve been to concerts, and my life has changed.” That’s not just hearing star soloists, sometimes it has been a recital by one of his own students. Yeo has been making a difference for listeners for decades. That included 27 years as the bass trombonist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Since 1994, though, he has also performed on the serpent, a musical instrument dating by to the 16th century, and prominent through the 19th in military bands. His visit to BGSU s to mark the donation and renovation of a serpent given to the College of Musical Arts by Glenn Varney, a professor emeritus of…


Art history students survey the lost heritage of the Syrian city of Palmyra

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Syrian city of Palmyra was a crossroads in the ancient world’s global economy. In the second century A.D. the city called The Bride of the Desert sat astride the major trade route from Rome to the east. It was a place where cultures met. Now Palmrya is in the crosshairs of global conflict that’s taken thousands of lives. Another casualty of the war in Syria and the emergence of ISIS is the ancient’s city’s cultural heritage. An exhibit in the School of Art, Palmyra: Exploring Dissemination, looks at the city though the lens of the ancients but also through that of the Europeans who visited its ruins in the 17th and 18th centuries. The exhibit, in the lobby gallery of the Bryan Gallery in the School of Art, is the work of students in the graduate art history course, Iconoclasm: Ancient and Modern taught by Sean Leatherbury. In its heyday the city showed the cultural influences of the Romans and the Persians. When Europeans started visiting the ruins again they were enthralled. The images shows panoramas of the ruins, some with stylishly dressed Europeans strolling about, and another with fancifully costumed inhabitants. The cultural influences came together in the Temple of Bel, and that had an impact of European tourists. “The Temple of Bel influenced architecture of that time,” Leatherbury said. “You go to a manor house in England and you can see ceilings influenced by the Roman Temple.” But these ties to Western culture and to ancient pagan religion made them particular targets of ISIS. ISI blew up the temple a few…


Musical serpent to be celebrated at BGSU

There’s a serpent in the College of Musical Arts at Bowling Green State University. Not of the reptilian variety, but rather the musical type. The college will host a residency on the snakelike historical horn featuring Douglas Yeo, the leading scholar on the instrument. The event takes place April 4-6 at Moore Musical Arts Center and includes a free public concert, a seminar and a lesson on playing the serpent, plus master classes with college students and faculty members on the serpent and the trombone. The serpent master class, led by faculty member David Saltzman, will take place from 9:30-10:20 a.m. April 5 in 2002 Moore Musical Arts Center and is open to the public. The seminar will be held from 2-3:15 p.m. April 6 in 2117 Moore. “The Ruth P. Varney Serpent: A Conversation and Concert Led by Douglas Yeo” will begin at 8 p.m. that evening in Bryan Recital Hall in the Moore Center, with a reception following in the Kennedy Green Room. The program includes marches written by Christopher Eley, Samuel Wesley and Josef Haydn for the Duke of York, the Prince of Wales and the Derbyshire Cavalry Regiment, plus a divertimento in four movements attributed to Haydn. Yeo’s performance will be accompanied by students and faculty from the College of Musical Arts. The idea for the BGSU serpent conference came about when the college received the donation of a serpent from Dr. Glenn Varney, professor emeritus of marketing. The instrument had belonged to his late wife, Ruth, whose grandparents had purchased it for her mother. “It is an English military serpent with four keys by an anonymous maker, likely constructed in the mid to late 1830s…


Holocaust survivor to share her story of strength

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As a child in Belarus, Miriam Brysk and her family were rounded up by Nazis and sent to die with other Jews from their city. Now, as an 82-year-old in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Brysk said she refuses to sit around drinking tea and playing cards with other women her age. After spending her adult life teaching biochemistry and raising two daughters, Brysk now spends her time reminding people of the horrors of the Holocaust. “I am doing it in memory of all those who perished,” she said. “I’m preserving their memories. As a survivor, I continue to cry for them. It gives me meaning in my life.” On Tuesday, Brysk will share her story of survival during a talk at Bowling Green State University, at 7 p.m., in Room 101 of Olscamp Hall. “I made a pact with God that I would spend the rest of my life making sure the Holocaust would not be forgotten.” Brysk’s Holocaust story is not the typical experience told by survivors. Her story is not about death camps, but about escaping the Germans to live in resistance camps in the Lipiczanska Forest. “Most people know about the Holocaust,” she said during a phone interview from her home. “This was a different cup of tea from the regular German holocaust.” Starting in 1941, Jews rounded up in Russia by the Germans were not sent to camps. “Not only are they Jews, they are communists,” Brysk said the Germans believed of the Russian Jews. “We can treat them like absolute dogs.” Many were lined up along ditches and…


Chautauqua returning to Rossford, July 19-23

From the ROSSFORD CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU If history was your favorite subject in school, or even if it wasn’t, you will be amazed and delighted when history comes to life before your very eyes in Rossford July 19-23. The Rossford Convention & Visitors Bureau received a grant from Ohio Humanities in Columbus to produce the local event. Join us at Rossford Veterans Park & Marina along the banks of the Maumee River for Chautauqua Rossford 2017, “Seeds of Change: America in the Early 20th Century” featuring a keynote performance of ‘Gone With the Wind’ author Margaret Mitchell by Chautauqua veteran Debra Conner Other characters include Henry Ford, Amelia Earhart, John Barrymore and Nikola Tesla. Rossford High School students will portray influential figures from local NW Ohio history including Edward Ford, Florence Scott Libbey and Samuel ‘Golden Rule’ Jones. Building on the 19th-century tradition established on the shores of New York’s Chautauqua Lake, Chautauqua Rossford is a five-day event that combines living history performances, music, education, and audience participation into a one-of-a-kind cultural event the entire community will enjoy. “Combining Riverfest with the local Chautauqua this year will create a bigger and better experience for locals and visitors alike,” said Rick Reichow of the Rossford Business Association. Favorite Riverfest events such as the fireworks, beer tent and games for the kids will take place on Saturday evening, July 22nd . The troupe is under the tutelage of Jeremy Meier at the new Chautauqua training program at Owens Community College, which also received an Ohio Humanities grant for the program. “The interactive presentation style of Chautauqua promotes an exciting interaction between…