This summer, I interned at The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which I have written about on occasion in the past. While there, I signed on to my supervisor, Mila Sanina’s, Tumblr project called “The Digs.” This project, started in August 2012, pulls photos out of the Post-Gazette’s photo library and then finds clippings to back up the stories presented in the photos. The Post-Gazette’s libraries were overflowing with old articles and photos, and The Digs literally digs out the interesting tidbits of Pittsburgh’s history and features them.
One of my first articles for The Digs covered the history of LGBT movements in Pittsburgh, and was published when gay marriage was finally legalized in Pennsylvania. I was able to pick out photos from up to sixty to fifty years ago and find a consistent narrative throughout the course of Pittsburgh’s past that made a new story. It was an exciting experience and enriched my knowledge of a city I did not know very well.
Here at The Denisonian, we have recently started doing something very similar. In the features section, there is a new column entitled “The Dunestones” which is what the campus was nicknamed by students before we started calling it “Camp Denidoo.” This section draws on past issues of The Denisonian, and highlights events that have affected our entire campus at some point or another. While the recaps involve old issues and articles, they are also researched and are taken from a different angle when looked back upon.
Last week’s Dunestones highlighted Denison alumni who have gone on to political careers, and the murder of Laura Carter, a student on campus whose death was not covered by The Denisonian, but remembered in Adytum.
Articles like these are crucial to our publication and this campus. Denison is nearly two hundred years old, and has a rich history. We all have stories about the tunnels that supposedly exist underground, and we all hear stories from alumni about the old days of crazy Greek life on campus, but we have the primary sources at our fingerprints. Old issues of student publications, ranging from The Denisonian, the satire journal, and others are archived in the library, on its supposedly haunted seventh floor.
The older articles not only teach us about our past as a campus physically, but also help us connect with alumni and are, arguably, incredibly important to the current campus climate. While it might be a cliche to say that history repeats itself, many of our current campus issues are things the school has seen in the past, or are similar. If you take classes from professors who went here and came back to teach here, like David O. Woodyard, ‘54 and Frederick Porcheddu-Engle, ‘87, you realize the significance of the history of our school, and the pride and passion that is taken in learning about it.
Take a cemetery tour, browse the archives (with permission from a librarian), or talk to some professors. They would be more than willing to give you more on the past.