May 9, 2017

Mark Wolfe Wins Excellence Award

Mark Wolfe, along with fourteen UAlbany faculty and staff, was named a winner of this year's President's Excellence Award, which honors those who are "exemplary models of the outstanding performance expected from all University employees."


Mark Wolfe (center) with Dean Mugridge (left) and President Stellar (right).

Mark is the Curator of Digital Collections, and this November 2017 will mark his 10th anniversary since starting his job.

June 8, 2016

When Muhammad Ali Came to UAlbany

On January 30th, 1979, just three months after winning the world heavyweight championship for an unprecedented third time, Muhammad Ali made his way onto a stage at the University at Albany.

To read more of the press release:[Link].

May 7, 2015

Marcia Brown, Class of '40, (1918-2015)

Marcia Brown, New York State College for Teachers Class of 1940, was an internationally renowned illustrator and author of children's books. She was a three-time winner of the Caldecott Medal, the American Library Association's highest award for excellence in children's'picture-book illustrations, for three of her books: Cinderella, or the Little Glass Slipper (1954); Once a Mouse (1961); and Shadow (1982), and six more of her books are Caldecott Honor Books.

Brown produced over 30 children's books during her career and many titles have been reprinted in other languages, including Afrikaans, German, Japanese, Spanish and Xhosa-Bantu. Critics marveled at Brown's use of spare texts, strong images and the vitality reflected in the use of a variety of media ranging from her trademark woodcuts to pen and ink and gouache. Her characters -- lively, humorous and full of magic and enchantment -- included handsome princes, sly cats, evil sorcerers, flying elephants and snow queens. Ms Brown died on April 28th 2015 in her home in Laguna Hill, California.

Marcia Brown's collection of original illustrations and artwork are available in the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives. For more information, see digital exhibit and a video of Marcia Brown accepting an honorary doctorate from the University at Albany.

May 6th, 2015 New York Times Obituary

April 24, 2013

Waterbury Hall, Dedicated April 23, 1960

On April 23, 1960, the School formally dedicated Waterbury Hall formally for President Edward R. Waterbury, the first graduate of the New York State Normal School to serve as its president, 1882-89. ("Administration to Dedicate Waterbury Hall Tomorrow," State College News, April 22, 1960, p. 1)

Waterbury Hall, the last of the Alumni Quadrangle dormitories constructed, opened as a men's dormitory housing 200 students in September 1959. An underground dining hall shared by both Alden and Waterbury Halls was opened later in the year. Designed by Architect Harold O. Fullerton, the building's cost of $1,050,000. (including the dining hall) was funded by the State Dormitory Authority. From September 1959 until it was formally dedicated as Waterbury Hall in April 1960, the dormitory was known as the Men's Dormitory.alumni_waterbury.jpg

Edward P. Waterbury (1831-1889) Diploma, NYSNS 1849, A.M., Ph.D., served as president of the New York State Normal School from June 1882 until his death on August 28, 1889. Waterbury was the first graduate of the State Normal School to lead it. Among his accomplishments were supervising the construction of a new school building on Willett Street, authoring the first history of the school, A Historical Sketch of the State Normal School at Albany, N.Y. and a History of its Graduates, 1844-1884 (1884), reorganizing of the Alumni Association leading the school's first Alumni fund-raising drive to build the Alumni Memorial Window, and the introduction of a Kindergarten Department.waterbury_drop.jpg

March 19, 2013

Today in UA History: 50th Anniversary of Great Campus Pond Flood on Western Avenue

Fifty years ago on March 21, havoc was created during construction of the University at Albany's new uptown campus when the retaining wall for the pond burst,Pond Flood sending millions of gallons of water, large, thick chunks of ice, and trees cascading across Western Avenue, into homes and businesses and stranding one homeowner's car in a tree well south Pond Flood of Western Avenue. ("Flood Hits Western Avenue," Knickerbocker News, Late Edition, March 21, 1963).

The University at Albany's uptown campus was built as part of Governor Nelson Rockefeller's program to improve the State University system in the early 1960s. Rockefeller commissioned Edward Durell Stone to create a master plan and oversee the construction of the new campus resulting in one of the largest modern academic campuses in the United States. Unlike traditional campuses that grow and develop over time, the Uptown Campus was conceived and constructed all at once, over a short period of time, designed and overseen by a single architect. The groundbreaking took place in 1962, and by 1971 all of the buildings were complete and operational.

The site of the uptown campus was at one time known as the Albany Country Club. Founded in 1893 by a private group, Country Club the new country club was an instant success, and quickly won the support of prominent Albanians. In addition to golf, by 1930, the club offered tennis, and later dammed a pond (named Kuyl or Kill) for swimming and skating. Country Club The damming was done by erecting a 300 foot earthen and wooden dam in exactly the same location as the Campus or Indian Pond is located today. It was the Country Club dam that gave way in March of 1963. For more information on the history of the Uptown Campus site see the "Ask Geoff" column of the Fall 2012 UAlbany Magazine:

October 10, 2012

From the Great Experiment to the University

The M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives welcomes a new exhibit, "From the Great Experiment to the University: Historic Images of the University at Albany, 1844 - 2004." The exhibit will run from October 10, 2012 through April 15, 2013 in the Science Library Atrium.

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Founded in 1844 as the New York State Normal School, the University at Albany was the first state funded school for higher education in New York and fourth in the nation. Using documents, photographs, and artifacts, this exhibit traces the University's administrative history and student culture in the 19th and 20th Centuries, as it transitioned from the New York State Normal School to the New York State College for Teachers to the University at Albany.
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In 1962, as part of SUNY's expansion plan, the College for Teachers was designated a university adopting the model of a broad-based public research institution, charged with providing a liberal arts education for large numbers of undergraduates and a robust range of graduate programs.
Exhibit prepared by Special Collections' Faculty members Jodi Boyle and Brian Keough. In December 2012, University Archivist Geoffrey Williams will provide a guided tour of this exhibit. Specific date for this guided tour will be forthcoming.

For more information about the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, please visit:

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September 12, 2012

Historic Beauty: Dewey Library

From its colorful stained glass to its lush murals, University Archivist, Geoff Williams talks about why the University at Albany's Thomas E. Dewey Graduate Library is an historic treasure.

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May 9, 2012

143rd Commencement, 25 Years Ago...

Donna E. Shalala spoke at the 143rd Commencement on May 17, 1987. Shalala served under President William Jefferson Clinton and is currently president of the University of Miami since 2001. A video of her address is now available online:


February 28, 2012

Minerva: UAlbany’s Enduring Symbol Since 1888

UAlbany TV interviews University Archivist, Geoff Williams, and he tells the history of the statue of Minerva:

February 11, 2011

Search the Albany Student Press Online

For BLOGPages from 1985_06_01.jpg
The University at Albany Libraries’ M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives has made the State College News, 1916-1962, and the Albany Student Press, 1963-1986 available online. The search box below allows for keyword searching of the student newspapers. The Libraries is currently developing advanced search techniques, such as by date, and is working on digitizing the student newspaper from 1900-1916 and 1985-2008. If you want to search keywords in the Albany Student Press, click here: Search the Albany Student Press

May 14, 2010

University at Albany’s 137th Annual Commencement, May 24, 1981

This is video footage of distinguished author Isaac Bashevis Singer’s speech at the University at Albany’s 137th Annual Commencement held on May 24, 1981 at University Field. The master video is part of the University Archives and it was digitally reformatted for your viewing pleasure. Singer was a Polish-born Jewish American author and one of the leading figures in the Yiddish literary movement who received the 1978 Nobel Prize in literature. The footage is of Singer’s Commencement speech as his acceptance of an honorary degree from the University. President, Vincent O'Leary introduces the Nobel Laureate.

University at Albany’s 137th Annual Commencement program:


April 10, 2009

Student Newspaper Available Online From 1916-1985

The M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives is pleased to announce the online availability of the University at Albany’s student newspaper from 1916-1985. You can browse each issue from the State College News, 1916-1963, State University News, 1963-1964, and the Albany Student Press (ASP), 1964-1985. The ASP , 1986 - 2009, and The Echo, 1892-1916, are available in hard copy at the Special Collections' Marcia Brown Reading Room. Issues are available at:

Support for this digital project came from the Friends of the Libraries and would not have been possible without their assistance. In collaboration with the Library Systems Department, we are developing a full text database of the newspaper that will allow searching across multiple issues, years, or decades. In addition, the Department of Special Collections will develop a plan to digitize the ASP,1986 -2009, and The Echo, 1892-1916, a student news and literary magazine.

November 19, 2008

Stress of academic work nothing new – selections from the University Archives

While writing those end of semester papers and preparing for finals current students might find some truth in Carrie J. Goddard’s 1894 notes on Professor James Wetmore's class in Sanitary Science at the New York State Normal College (reproduced below). The title of the lecture, or at least of Goddard’s notes on the lecture, was “Dangers of School Life to the Brain.� According to Goddard’s notes below, Wetmore told the class that “impure air, over study, examinations, punishments� could lead to diseases of the brain such as “St. Vitas’ Dance, epilepsy, brain fever, [or] nervous prostration,� or simply to “insanity.�


Pictured below is Professor Wetmore with his Natural Science Class in our Willett Street Building, ca. 1890. No picture of Goddard exists.


For the original 1894 notebook and photos of our school, at the time the State Normal College, in the 1890 consult the University Archivist Geoffrey Williams in the , M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives Science Library 356.

December 12, 2006

New Finding Aids

Finding aids recently added to the Department of Special Collections and Archives' Website are briefly described below. Be sure to visit the finding aid for additional information about the collection.

Duncan Blanchard
The papers of Atmospheric Sciences Research Center scientist and professor Duncan Blanchard include manuscripts and correspondence.

William Kennedy
The inventory for the papers of William Kennedy continues to be updated with the most recent additions including the series for Kennedy's O Albany! and Charlie Malarkey books.

National Organization for Women--Albany (N.Y.) Chapter
The collection includes correspondence, minutes, by-laws, financial reports, subject files on women's issues, and printed materials pertaining to NOW with particular strength in documenting the Albany and New York State chapters. The records of this women's organization pertain to sexual discrimination in education and employment, reproductive rights, gay and lesbian rights, the Equal Rights Amendment, and other gender-related issues.

Alexander Semmler
The inventory for the papers of composer Alexander Semmler is also now available online. Semmler was active in radio and film, serving as staff conductor and pianist fo rthe CBS Orchestra and as composer and conductor for films released by RKO Pathe. Semmler's compositions include opus numbers as well as numerous songs and other short works. These include works for orchestra, string and chamber orchestra, chamber groups of all sorts, piano, organ, and voice.

October 10, 2006

Who is...? Part IV

University at Albany alum Harvey Milk (class of 1951) is the featured leader for October 10th at the GLBT History Month website. While the papers of Harvey Milk are held by the San Francisco Public Library, researchers can review the column Milk wrote for the Albany Student Press while a student at the University in the Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives.

October 9, 2006

October is GLBT History Month

In addition to American Archives Month, October is also designated as GLBT History Month, which provides an ideal opportunity to highlight collections in the Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives.

The Department's subject guide for Human Sexuality and Gender Identity collections has expanded a great deal in recent months as new inventories and finding aids have been added for a number of collections including the Capital District Gay and Lesbian Community Council, Steven F. Dansky, Campus Action, and others.

Another collection researchers should be aware of is the papers of Joseph Norton. In addition to material related to Joseph Norton's career as a professor in the School of Education at the University at Albany, the papers also include two cubic feet of correspondence, minutes of meetings, and printed materials relating to Norton's involvement in the gay liberation movement. Norton was an advisor to the Gay Liberation Front in New York State (1971–1972); a member of the Board of Directors of the National Gay Task Force (1976–1978); a founder and director of the National Caucus of Gay and Lesbian Counselors of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists; and a founder and director of the Caucus of Gay Counselors of the American Personnel and Guidance Association (1977–1978).

The Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives continues its efforts to add to the historical record of LGBT history in New York State with a particular emphasis on the Capital Region. If you or someone you know has material that should be transferred to an archival repository to ensure that the records are made available and accessible to all interested researchers and preserved for generations, contact me.

Continue reading "October is GLBT History Month" »

September 6, 2006

Exhibit: Edward Durell Stone and the Building of the Uptown Campus, 1961-1971

The exhibit Edward Durell Stone and the Building of the Uptown Campus, 1961-1971 is on display near the entrance of the University Library. It includes items drawn from the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives' University Archives and book collections about the Edward Durell Stone designed Uptown Campus of the University at Albany, SUNY.

The physical exhibit will be on display in the University Library through December 2006 and an expanded version will be unveiled in January 2007 in the Science Library. For questions regarding the exhibit, contact Geoffrey Williams at 437-3935 or

Continue reading "Exhibit: Edward Durell Stone and the Building of the Uptown Campus, 1961-1971" »

August 14, 2006

Department Awarded Grant

The M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives is one of nine institutions in New York State to receive a grant from the New York State Archives' Documentary Heritage Program for 2006-2007. The award of over $12,000 will be used to arrange and describe records related to environmental affairs including the collections of New York Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides and Lou Ismay.

Louis Ismay was a member of the Department of Fine Arts at the State University of New York at Albany (as the University at Albany, SUNY was then known). However, this collection documents his work with the Environmental Studies Program in general and the Environmental Forum class in particular. The collection also documents organizations such as the Protect Your Environment Club. New York Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides (NYCAP) was formed as a non-profit citizens' organization committed to reducing hazardous chemical pesticide use through education and advocacy. The issues that NYCAP championed included: safe pest control for schools, hospitals, and public places; reducing work exposure to chemicals; farm worker protection; prevention of groundwater pollution; environmentally sound farming; and strict regulation of pesticides. NYCAP also sought to provide leadership on these issues to other organizations such as parent teacher associations, labor unions, and general environmental groups.

The Department of Special Collections and Archives has been building its collections in the area of conservation and environmental affairs since 2001 and now holds the records of over 50 organiations and individuals. A complete list of collections held by the Department in this subject area is available at The records of the New York Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides and Lous Ismay will be available to the public in Spring 2007.

August 9, 2006

Exhibit: The Sciences at the University at Albany, 1845-2006

The Sciences at the University at Albany, 1845-2006 is currently on exhibit in the lobby of the Science Library.

The exhibit contains items from the University Archives as well as contributions from current faculty members. A small number of items and information from the exhibit are made available online at as an introduction to the physical exhibit.

The exhibit examines the growth of and changes in science education and research at the University at Albany over its long history through publications, photographs, class notes, memorabilia, and other records documenting University students, faculty, departments, and research centers.