ALTOONA, Pa. — Penn State Altoona is launching a series of short videos highlighting parts of the Robert E. Eiche Library’s archives.
Each video features a voiceover narrative accompanied by scanned photos and newspaper clippings. One large portion of the archives is a scrapbook project spanning 1939 to 2011 that includes clippings from local newspapers like the “Altoona Mirror,” “Tribune Democrat,” “Tyrone Herald,” “Bedford Gazette,” “Ivy Leaf,” and “Somerset American.” The clippings cover a wide range of topics such as sporting and performing arts events, student activities and achievements, campus construction and expansion, and employee news.
Another portion includes a collection of over 100 letters between Eiche and students and faculty serving in World War II.
“Archival research is very hard and tedious work,” states Daniel Thacker, reference and instruction librarian. “Where the historical record is incomplete or missing, detective work is required to piece together a story and make sure it is accurate. That is where we come in. We scour the archives, newspapers, literature, and first-hand accounts to put together the story as a narrative.”
Thacker and Gale Biddle, information resources and services support specialist, have put together videos featuring the WWII letters, the history of Penn State Altoona, the Edith Davis Eve Memorial Chapel, Oak Residence Hall, the Harry E. Slep Student Center, and Thor, Penn State Altoona’s dog of war. More will be forthcoming, along with a collection of oral history videos featuring past staff, faculty, administration, and students.
The video series is a way for the archive to be viewed and enjoyed during the pandemic and reach more people interested in the college's history or seeking a snapshot of what campus life was like from its founding to the present.
“It comes down to heritage,” says Thacker. “The people of Altoona have sacrificed their blood, sweat, and tears to make Penn State Altoona what it is today. We want to document that history. The more time one spends studying history, the more it comes alive. Ideally, through the study of history, one can see their own place in it and feel a part of the whole through the generations.”