Tuesday March 17th was not only a day dedicated to St. Patrick, but at the Walter Havighurst Special Collections and Archives, it was a day to celebrate scholars and their research. Special Collections and Archives held a public reception celebrating their spring exhibit and honoring two particular individuals: published historian Jack White and History graduate student Katie Wright.
Kicking off the event, Dean Jerome Conley gave a special announcement in honor of Jack White. He dedicated the Special Collections’ exhibit room to Jack and his mother, naming it the Christine S. White and John H. White, Jr. Exhibit Gallery. Jack requested his mother be included in the dedication because she insisted that he continue his education following high school. Since then, Jack has been a lifelong learner. Jack’s amazing life journey as a historian brought him back to Miami University, where it all began for him. He has published several books and articles, primarily focusing on travel and regional history. His extensive use of the collections, and the Covington Collections in particular, previously earned him the title of Special Collections’ Distinguished Scholar. Jack is a great scholar, wonderful individual, and enthusiastic proponent of the historical significances within the department’s collections.
Jack and his family.
Following the dedication of the exhibit room, Katie gave a presentation on her process of completing the Special Collections’ spring exhibit, The Ready Ones: American Children, World War II, and Propaganda. Katie, a second year graduate student from Miami University’s history department, used the Special Collections’ exhibit space and materials for her thesis project. Dedicating over a year’s worth of research, she collected personal stories and mementoes from local residents on their experiences growing up during World War II. Her compassion for others was evident in the presentation she gave at the reception. She confessed to the crowd that this project was a “labor of love.” “This exhibit,” she said, “does not belong to me.” She professed her gratitude for the individuals who told their stories to her and to Special Collections for their extensive collection of books and posters from the era.
After the dedications and presentations, the crowd walked around the exhibit, chatting with others and taking in the images on display. Overall, Tuesday was an evening for colleagues, families, and friends to gather and appreciate the work done by dedicated scholars, and the diverse research opportunities Special Collections and Archives provides the community.