While cleaning out one of The University of Toledo’s document storage areas, staff members found dust, boxes and even frogs — but that’s not what really caught their attention.
Inside the box, Patrick-Redd found University documents dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s, when the University was just getting started. When she saw names like Jesup W. Scott, Edward Drummond Libbey and Albert E. Macomber, she knew she had found something important.
Patrick-Redd first showed the two students that were helping her organize — Logan Griesinger, who is studying professional sales and marketing, and Sarah McNutt, who is majoring in new media design. She then told others in her department about the find.
Toni Blochowski, executive assistant to the vice president for finance, suggested archiving the documents in the Ward M. Canaday Center for Special Collections. Blochowski helped Patrick-Redd set up a meeting with Barbara Floyd, director of the center.
“It was a wonderful find. Among the items they discovered was the first annual report of the Toledo Manual Training School of Toledo University from 1885,” Floyd, who is also university archivist, said. “The Manual Training School was a unique educational idea where students attended academic classes for half the day and vocational training classes for the second half.”
Floyd said the idea was that such education would not just educate the head, but also the hand, and make for a well-rounded person. Students took classes in subjects such as woodcarving, carpentry, welding, domestic science (more commonly known today as home economics) and also classes in history, literature, geography and political science.
University archives did not have any of these documents, which made these materials even more important.
After countless hours of organizing and cleaning since last April, Patrick-Redd, McNutt and Griesinger are happy to have been a part of this important discovery.
“We’re honored because we were able to find a part of UT’s history,” Patrick-Redd said.
Instead of being left to the elements of a warehouse, the collection was added to the Canaday Center’s climate-controlled archives. There, it joins the rest of the University’s collection of historical documents, which are available for viewing by the public in the center.
“I just think it’s cool that it’s something that’s going to be around for a while longer,” McNutt said. “Now that it’s been found, it’s going to be taken care of properly and preserved so that other people can see it.”
The documents have been scanned and can be viewed electronically from the Canaday Center’s electronic archives.