A Collection Highlight!
American Archives Month
Each October Lehman Library Celebrates American Archives Month. American Archives Month was established in 2006 to bring more recognition, appreciation, and overall understanding for what archives house and why they are important. This year, Lehman Library’s Special Collections is honoring American Archives Month by highlighting the McCune Collection.
The documents in this collection tell a story of the trials and successes that board members faced during the organization of the Shippensburg Normal School (Shippensburg University) in the late 19th century. The materials show how different challenges were met and what worked and what did not. The biggest challenge was the financial trouble that surrounded the school during its infancy. There are debt collection letters, unpaid bill receipts, and correspondence between board members that express the dire situation and possible solutions. The collection also tells the story of technological advancements and cultural dynamics during the late 19th century. Below are just a few examples from this invaluable collection.
Above is a list of people who were paid for services to the school during the month of October 1874. Below is a receipt for payment to a gentleman for “7 ½ days work at Normal School” for a total of $9.37. Most of these receipts were written on torn scraps of paper now discolored from all the years gone by. Employees ranged from skilled and unskilled labor, and were white, black, male and female. Mary Gross and Arabella Taylor, listed above, were both black women. Mary was unable to read or write and a widowed mother of several children. Arabella is listed as a black woman but also as a Mulatto from Virginia. She had been the housekeeper of a
The document above shows the tuition charged to one female student in 1890. It also shows the state aid she received and her graduation fee. The document below shows a total of $70 was paid by a student for both tuition and room and board. Students paid additional fees to use the gymnasium. They also paid more for special art and music lessons.
The 1894 documents below are from a few creditors of the Shippensburg Normal School asking to be paid for services already rendered. It was not just businesses who went unpaid, but students were not given timely refunds and faculty also found their salaries in arrears at times.
The last document is an early letter dated 1870 from John McCune, Esquire, who also became one of the first members of the school’s Board of Trustees. Mr. McCune discussed the reactions of some on how the project (school) would be funded. He discussed the possible use of scholarships rather than shares. Eventually, creators used a stock-holder based system to finance the creation of the school that continued to be a major funding source for some time.
Contact SU’s Archives and Special Collections
Lehman Library’s Archives and Special Collections is located on the upper level of Ezra Lehman Memorial Library, in room 207. We are open by appointment only. Please email email@example.com or call 717-477-1123 (x3357) to schedule an appointment, or for more information.