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The Way We Were

Posted on Mar 1, 1994

The Wireless Baby Carriage
Baby Carriage
May 6,1921

A group of students rigged a wireless receiving set into a wicker baby carriage and, complete with baby, wheeled the contraption through the streets of downtown Schenectady. Projecting from the top was the antenna, between the handles was the tuning device, concealed within the carriage was the vacuum tube amplifier and associated components, and strapped underneath were the storage batteries.

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Bicentennial Puzzler

Posted on Mar 1, 1994

Question 4:

A member of the Class of 1855, he became a missionary in the West and in Alaska, acquiring the nickname the “Bishop of All Beyond.” He also founded a town in Alaska and a college that bears this name. Who was he?

Question 3:

This nineteenth-century alumnus was the inspector of Sing Sing prison; consul general to France; discoverer and publisher of Benjamin Franklin's
Autobiography; an important diplomat during the Civil War; and an author, editor, and man about town in old New York. Who was he?

Suggested by Christopher O'Connor '76

The Answer:

The nineteenth-century writer and diplomat we were looking for was John Bigelow of the Class of 1835.

What our answer lacked in quantity they made up for in quality. Here's what two of you told us about Mr.

To the Puzzler:

While in France, Bigelow located the original manuscript of Franklin's Autobiography, publishing his edition in 1868. Strictly speaking, Bigelow did not “discover” Franklin's autobiography since there were extant flawed copies and translations.

Before Bigelow's 1868 edition there had been English translations of a French translation of the original manuscript or imperfect version going back to Temple Franklin's edition published in 1816. Bigelow corrected approximately 1,200 errors in the Temple Franklin text of the autobiography. Bigelow's copy text (Franklin's holograph draft) is now in the Huntington Library, San Marino, Calif., and is used as the authoritative basis for modern reprintings of the work.

Frederick S. Frank '57
Meadville, Pa.

To the Puzzler:

The Civil War might have been lost by the Union forces and Franklin's original manuscript, only one of which existed, might have been lost but for the decision of John Bigelow to transfer, in his junior year, from Trinity College in Connecticut to Union College….

(1) His earlier journalism experience writing editorials as part owner and editor of the New York Evening Post in firm favor of anti-slavery and free trade was put to good advantage in France as consul and minister by awakening the French ideology to the cause of abolition and the French businessmen to the advantages to be found in trade with the industrial North …. He scuttled the Confederate navy on that side of the Atlantic, so that the Union blockade of Southern ports held. In American diplomacy during the Civil War, his work ranks second in importance only to that of Charles Francis Adams in London.

(2) Benjamin Franklin had started his memoirs in August 1771 on a visit to England. After the war, as minister to France, he continued it in a long letter to his son, William. The year before his death, in 1790, Franklin sent two copies of the parts completed to a friend each, in England and in France, for opinions on publishing and suggestions. The original manuscript, with Franklin's own handwritten additions and corrections, was lost for seventy-three years until Bigelow, ending his term as American minister to France in 1865-66, had begun a search for it. In 1868,
ninety-seven years after Franklin began it, Bigelow published the first edition of the work to be based directly on the original manuscript.

Richard Mitchell '50
Monticello, N.Y.

Others who answered correctly were:
William Fisher '47, Washington, D.C. David Hall '67, Pownal, Vt.
Wally Meyer '57, Westport, Conn. Larry Pellettier '40, Ellicott City, Md. Frank Taormina '50, Schenectady

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The Nott as you’ve never seen it

Posted on Mar 1, 1994

nott 1

One-hundred-eighty one years ago a dream assumed visible form
on Nistiquona Hill. The dreamers were Joseph Jacques Ramee, a French architect, and Eliphalet Nott, Union's president; the dream was a new home for the College. At the heart of the Ramee campus was a great domed cylinder-a Roman rotunda. Now, that centerpiece is being restored to the majesty of its youth. Here are a few photographs of a Nott Memorial many of us have never seen.

It was not contemplated in building the Alumni and Memorial Hall that it should be permanently used as a Library. For its intended uses viz. as
a place for holding great gatherings and receptions of the Alumni and others, it is admirably adapted.

William Appleton Potter, architect, 1881

nott 2

The building will be devoted to the uses of a Library and of an Art and Memorial Alumni Collection in one large room, with alcoves and galleries, open from floor to roof.

Eliphalet Nott Potter, President of the College, 1874

I have now the opinion that the best plan for a Graduate Hall will be to put up a central building of two stories making the one a chapel & the other the Grad. Hall. This would relieve the present Geol. Hall and give us room for some space for our library & museum. When however a library is needed we would erect a fireproof building on purpose for it-say in the space back of the Central Building.

Jonathan Pearson, treasurer of the College, 1856

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May I have the next dance?

Posted on Mar 1, 1994

It may have been decades since Union students moved to dance steps with names like the Fox-trot or the Jitterbug.

But they're doing it again, courtesy of the Ballroom Dancing Club.

Dancers had eight lessons during the fall term with four informal Wednesday Relaxers” to practice their steps, according to Heather Reynolds '95, who organized the club with classmates Jennifer Huang and Pam Lin.

The core of the dancers, mostly women, signed up at an activity fair last fall. To remedy the gender imbalance, club members did some recruiting in men's residence halls. Now, the club is evenly split between women and men.

In the winter term, there were two classes – beginners on Mondays, intermediates on Thursdays. The teacher was from the local Arthur Murray Dance Studio.

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Gifts, grants, and bequests

Posted on Mar 1, 1994

Recent gifts, grants, and bequests to the College include:

Nearly $2 million was received in distributions from estates and trusts. This includes:

  • $779,000 from the estate of Marshall W. Quandt '33, which will be used for scholarships; 
  • $750,000 from the estate of Neil B. Reynolds '24, which will support the renovation and expansion of Schaffer Library; 
  • $167,400 from the James B. Schmidt '17 Trust; 
  • $244,000 from the Helen M. Smith Trust; 
  • A total of $39,000 from the estates of Anthony B. Cieri '31, Ernest Ligon, James R Kelsey '22, and the Sanford P. Thompson '42 Trust. 
  • The College received $345,530 in gifts for life income arrangements. Edgar A. Sandman '40, Niel Pendleton '33, Jerry L. Thurston '61, Karen Singer Miller '79, George P. Haskell '37, Charles D. Lothridge '44, William C. Bachtel 70G, Kevin A. Kilbourne '79, and Christine 1. Reilly '75 made gifts in exchange for Charitable Gift Annuities. 
  • A two-year grant of $59,100 from the NYNEX Foundation to support the Computer-Assisted Bulletin Board System (CABBS), which serves secondary mathematics and science teachers in fourteen upstate New York counties. The grant will support workshops at the College to train teachers on how to use CABBS. The system, a network designed to enhance math and science teaching, is based on the College's mainframe computer. 
  • An unrestricted gift of $17,737 from the estate of Reginald L. Brooks '26. 
  • A gift of $10,695 toward the Pooled Life Income Fund from Codman Hislop '31, research professor emeritus of American civilization. 
  • Robert B. Lee '43, Robert E. Groundwater '42, Lee L. Davenport '37, D. Vincent Cerrito '32, and J. Dawson Van Eps '28 each made contributions to one of Union's Pooled Life Income Funds. 
  • An undeveloped lot in Williamsburg, Va., was donated to the College by Barbara Brugh, widow of William Gietz '49. When sold, the proceeds will be used to create a scholarship in Mr. Gietz's memory.
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