Monday, February 27, 2006

Erin McKenzie Virtual Welcoming Space

Erin's "Virtual Welcoming Space" has been created with the Otterbein College Library in memory of Erin McKenzie, a 2004 Westerville South High School graduate who worked with the Otterbein College Theatre Department from the summer season of 2003 through August 2004.

The purpose of this space is to gather books, media and people that encourage conversations and facilitate our discovery of one another's cultures, experiences and struggles and how we are connected.

This is a conversation that encourages thinking differently about how we listen, observe, reflect, learn, and share our stories – in this case through art. So join the discussion! Be a part of a community where all are valued.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Historical Photo of the Week - The Grave of Philip William Otterbein

In 1913, one hundred years after the passing of the Reverend Philip William Otterbein, a monument was erected at his grave site in Baltimore, Maryland. This image, found mis-filed in a box of oversized photographs, is presumably a snapshot of the dedication.

Rev. Otterbein was a German missionary of the Reformed Church who had come to accept many of the teachings of John Wesley. He came to the United States in 1751 and settled in Baltimore, Maryland in 1774. In 1800, at a revival meeting in Pennsylvania, he met the Reverend Martin Boehm (pronounced "Baim") and together they founded the United Brethren Church. As the denomination's first bishop, Otterbein shepherded the U.B. Church until his death in 1813.

The church where Otterbein was buried is today known as the "Old Otterbein Church." It is one of the few churches of the eighteenth century still in use in the city. For more information, you can visit their web site at

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Historical Photo of the Week - The Chapel

The center of Towers Hall once contained this magnificent chapel. Daily services, lectures, concerts, plays, dances, conventions and mock conventions were held in this space for just over eighty years. An addition, the United Brethren congregation that is today the United Methodist Church of the Master held services in the Otterbein chapel until its building was built across the street in 1916.

The chapel fell into disuse after the completion of Cowan Memorial Hall in 1951. To accommodate the growing library collection, the chapel was gutted and filled with three floors of bookshelves. A reading room was added to the back of Towers, and the Centennial Library was born. After the Courtright Memorial Library was completed in 1972, the floors that filled the old chapel were converted into offices for the math, computer science and history departments. Today the only remnant of the chapel is the curved wall on the second floor of Towers.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Historical Photo of the Week - Library

Otterbein's first library was located on the second floor of Towers Hall, on the east side of the building. This photograph was taken around 1900. According to Rev. Henry Garst's History of Otterbein University:

The college library is classified and catalogued according to the Dewey system, and all is made readily accessible by means of classification, indexes, bibliographies, etc. The library is open six hours each school day, ad two hours on Saturday, and students are encouraged to use its resources freely as aids to class-room work and to general culture.

These two rooms would remain in use as the college library until 1907 when the Carnegie Library was built across the street. Today the Carnegie Library is known as the Clippinger Administration Building.

Monday, February 06, 2006

New Library Database

Otterbein's Courtright Memorial Library has recently gained access to the Library, Information Science & Technology Abstracts. LISTA indexes more than 600 periodicals, plus books, research reports and proceedings dating back to the mid-1960s. Subjects include librarianship, cataloging, classification, online information retrevial, information management and much more. Click here to utilize this new database!

Kids Search Database for Student Teachers

Hey Teachers!
Helping your students with a report?
Are other search engines too advanced?
Want a better resource for research?

Check out KIDS SEARCH, a database made just for kids like your students! Search through topics like art and music, health, in the news and much more! Find valuable information from Time for Kids, USA Today and Funk and Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. You'll be able to easily find the information your looking for without the struggle of more advanced research databases. Help your kids form good research habits by using KIDS SEARCH today!
Click here to get started!

Friday, February 03, 2006

Remembering Bert Horn

Former Otterbein treasurer and member of our Friends of the Library group Albert "Bert" Horn (on the left holding the helmet) died on Thursday. He was one of the many Otterbein graduates (class of 1949) that returned to work in the quiet, peacefully village. He served as treasurer from 1953 until his retirement in 1989. This photograph was taken in the summer of 1960 when he paid a visit to Lockbourne Air Force Base. The pilots offered to take him for a ride, and as Horn later recalled, they didn't pull any punches with the aerial acrobatics.

In his retirement Bert Horn continued to serve Otterbein, assisting with parental programs at Orientation and the many alumni gatherings on campus. Everyone here at the Courtright Memorial Library would like to offer their sympathies to his wife Jane and to the rest of his family and friends.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Historical Photo of the Week - Otterbein Faculty, 1866

In the 1865-66 school year, Otterbein University (as we were then known) had six professors, one of whom doubled as the university librarian, and two arts instructors. This photograph shows the six professors. From left to right, they are:

The Reverend Samuel B. Allen (A. M.), Professor of Greek language and literature

Mrs. Lizzie Kumler Miller (M. A.), Principal of the Ladies' Department

The Reverend Lewis Davis, President and Professor of Mental and Moral Sciences

Dr. Thomas McFadden (M. D.), Professor of Natural Science and Librarian

The Reverend Henry A. Thompson (A. M.), Professor of Mathematics

Mr. John E. Guitner (A. M.), Professor of Latin language and literature

We do not know much about Rev. Allen. He was a graduate of Otterbein who for a time worked at Oberlin and after his tenure as professor at Otterbein became president of Westfield College.

Mrs. Miller was an educator, author and editor. She came from a prominent United Brethren family - her grandfather was a bishop and her father was one of the three men who opened the first mission in Sierra Leone, Africa. Mrs. Miller worked in the "common schools" before returning to her alma mater to teach and to serve as the Principal, or the Dean of Women. After leaving Otterbein she served as editor of the Women's Evangel, a United Brethren publication and as president of the Women's Missionary Association of the U. B. Church.

Rev. Davis is known as the Father of Otterbein College for his tireless efforts on behalf of the institution. He helped to raise the money that purchased the property that became Otterbein University, served on the Board of Trustees, served as Financial Agent (the chief fund raiser) and served twice as president. He shaped the curriculum that led to the first graduates of the college and led the institution through the difficult years of the Civil War.

Dr. McFadden was a local physician who volunteered his time to the university. Before he knew it the Board of Trustees named him professor of science. He left Otterbein briefly to serve as a battlefield surgeon during the Civil War. After the war he returned to the classroom and took up duties as university librarian. The older half of the science building was named McFadden Hall in honor of Dr. McFadden and his family.

Rev. Thompson, in addition to his teaching duties, also served as president of Otterbein University from 1872 until 1886. He was active in the political wing of the Anti-Saloon League, running once for Vice-President of the United States on the Prohibition ticket. His wife, Harriet E. Thompson, was the art instructor at Otterbein in 1866 and painted several portraits of Otterbein faculty that can be seen in the archives.

Prof. Guitner was another Otterbein graduate who chose to return to his alma mater to teach. He was also the first of many graduates to spend their lives in the service of the college and the Westerville community. He was well regarded in both church and educational circles in the state of Ohio. His home still stands on the south side of College Avenue (#75), but is incorrectly labeled as the "Davis-Guitner" house.

More information can be found in the Otterbein Room, located at the top of the stairs on the third floor of the Courtright Memorial Library.