Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Tracing YSU's History

This week, Lincoln Avenue runs the second of its YSU Centennial interviews. In February, I talked with Maag Library Director Paul Kobulnicky about the new University Archives. This week, I’m talking with Dr. Martha Pallante, chair of YSU’s History Department and co-author of Youngstown State University: From YoCo to YSU, written with her colleague Dr. Donna DeBlasio.

Pallante and DeBlasio spent many hours with the materials in the University archive, tracing the history of the university and locating a wide range of photographs to provide a well-illustrated, informative, and entertaining overview of YSU’s formation and mutations over the years. The first image in the book is an almost idyllic photo of Wick Avenue from 1890, almost two decades before the YMCA decided to create the adult education program that would eventually become YSU. In between, you can read about and see photos of everything from early auto mechanics courses to the 1995 national champion football visiting Bill Clinton at the White House. In the interview, Martha tells the true story of how Pete the Penguin became YSU’s mascot, who attended Youngstown College in the early years, and the big picture of -how the university grew and changed.

But the interview just gives you a taste of what the book provides. I’ve always loved all the old photos hanging in Kilcawley Center, and Pallante and DeBlasio’s book publishes many more. If you’re into local history or if you ever attended YSU, you should get a copy of Youngstown State University: From YoCo to YSU.

The photo above, showing a display made by home economics students in 1958, comes from the University Archives. You can view more historical photos of YSU by visiting Maag Library's Digital Collections.

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