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Kent American Revolution Bicentennial Commission records, 1974-1977

Finding Aid

Prepared by Scott L. Bills August 20, 1979; Prepared for the Web by Mikhail Slobodinskii, June 18, 1999
2 record storage boxes, 1.5 cubic feet


This material is housed in an off-site storage facility and requires up to 5 business days for retrieval. Please call or email the department with requests for this material prior to your visit.


Scope and Content

The Kent State University Archives obtained the records of the Kent American Revolution Bicentennial Commission from its Co-Chairperson, Donald M. Hassler, at that time the Dean of the Honors and Experimental College. The first installment of the collection arrived on June 25, 1975, but the bulk of the materials were delivered on July 26, 1978.

The Kent American Revolution Bicentennial Commission (KARBC) was formed in March, 1974, as a means to combine University and the City of Kent observances of the Bicentennial. The Co-Chairpersons of the Commission were Dr. Hassler and Loris Troyer, Executive Editor of the Kent-Ravenna Record-Courier. During 1975-1976, the Commission was very active in planning numerous and ambitious Bicentennial programs. Its first major event, a "Patriots' Day Symposium," took place on April 22-23, 1975. Titled "The Morality of Change -- 1775-1975," the keynote speaker for the program was the Reverend William S. Coffin, Jr. This and subsequent KARBC activities were financed largely by grant monies received through the Ohio American Revolution Bicentennial Advisory Commission. Kent State University, the City of Kent, the Davey Foundation, the Thenus Club, and the Kent Kiwanis Club also contributed financial assistance.

Other projects of the Kent Bicentennial Commission included music concerts, a "Tour of Historic Kent," a scholarly conference, a symposium on Thomas Paine, theater and opera productions, special publication, and support for construction of Franklin Mills Riveredge Park by the Kent Environmental Council. These efforts culminated with the festival of July 3, 1976. The Commission issued its final report in November, 1976.

Researchers should consult folder seven in box two for the Kent Bicentennial Commission statement of purpose. Following general correspondence and financial records in folders 1-10 in box 1, Commission materials have been arranged topically with subject files organized alphabetically. Correspondence regarding particular topics was retained with the subject files. Within the folders, the principle of provenance was observed even where item order seemed to violate strict chronology. Subject files contain a range of materials: correspondence, financial records, press clippings, and printed matter. Bicentennial posters have been placed in the horizontal file, identified as (hf) after the respective entry.

The materials in this collection document the tentative beginnings of the Kent Bicentennial Commission and its growth into a more broadly representative organization. The correspondence clearly shows the purpose and direction of major programs developed. It also reveals certain conflicts over differing interrelations of the Bicentennial celebration and the significance of historical as well as contemporary issues. The records of the Commission offer a straightforward account of community priorities and decision-making as demonstrated in the internal debate over project coordination and emphasis. Additional and complementary records might be found with the Ohio American Revolution Bicentennial Advisory Commission and at Kent City Hall. In microcosm, the efforts of the Kent Bicentennial Commission delineate those areas of agreement and disagreement that characterize American society as a whole. During the three year period of its existence, however, the KARBC tended to emphasize cooperation more than conflict. Indeed, "everyone knew from the beginning that the constituencies were not distinct but rather complementary; and one important initial and continuing intention was to break down distinctions and barriers between the University and the Town in order to make the observance of the Bicentennial a joint effort as much as possible throughout," noted Dr.Hassler in a narrative of Commission Activities.

 

BOX 1

Folder

  1. Membership lists: 1974.
  2. Minutes: April 19, 1974 - May 6, 1976.
  3. Correspondence, general: February 22, 1974 - June 4, 1974.
  4. Correspondence, general: March 24, 1974 - May 1, 1974.
  5. Correspondence, general: January 23, 1975 - April 2, 1975.
  6. Financial records: March 7, 1974 - September 30, 1974.
  7. Financial records: October 23, 1974 - March 31, 1975.
  8. Financial records: April 2, 1975 - August 31, 1975.
  9. Financial records: September 24, 1975 - April 30, 1976.
  10. Financial records: May 26, 1976 - May 5, 1978.
  11. America and a "Candid World" Conference: February 21, 1975 - April 5, 1976.
  12. America and a "Candid World" Conference: March 31, 1976 - December 15, 1977.
  13. Bicentennial Address Lists. Includes minutes and proposals of the University of Akron American Revolution Bicentennial Advisory Committee: Fall, 1973 - April 23, 1974.
  14. Bicentennial Community / Bicentennial University: 1974-1975. Includes program and application forms.
  15. Bicentennial Community / Bicentennial University: June 5, 1974 - August 22, 1975. Includes approval of applications.
  16. Bicentennial Covers for Undergraduate Catalogs: November 29, 1974 - January 15, 1975.
  17. Bicentennial Flag Presentation: August 30, 1974 - December 13, 1974. Includes Certificate of Commendation from the Ohio American Revolution Bicentennial Advisory Commission to Kent State University.
  18. Bicentennial Flags: September 27, 1974 - December 1, 1975.
  19. Bicentennial Information Network (BINET), Kent entries: March 24, 1975 - November 9, 1975.
  20. Bicentennial/Ohio History, audio-visual materials: October 31, 1974 - October 27, 1975. Includes a May, 1969, publication of the KSU Audio-Visual Service.
  21. Bicentennial Planning Course, student papers: 1975. This course (40295) was taught by Dr. Donald Hassler as part of the curriculum of the Honors and Experimental College.
  22. Bicentennial Planning Course, student papers and correspondence: December 15, 1975 - June 9, 1976. Includes photocopy of the article "The Spirit of '89: Conservatism and the Bicentenary" by Richard F. Gibbs.
  23. Bicentennial Programs: 1974 - 1975. Includes materials on the Historic Tour of Kent, the Patriots' Day Symposium, and meetings of the Kent Bicentennial Commission, January 14, 1975 - May 27, 1975.
  24. Bicentennial Program, Projections and Summaries: June, 1975 - July, 1975.
  25. Bicentennial Programs, correspondence: July 11, 1974 - August 22, 1975.
  26. Bicentennial Speeches, Dr. Hassler. Includes minutes of University Arts Commission meeting of February 11, 1975.
  27. Bicentennial Themes in Education: December 1, 1974 - January 7, 1976.
  28. Century III Communities Program (C3CP): July 15, 1974 - September 7, 1975.
  29. "Common Sense" (Thomas Paine) Symposium: July 2, 1975 - November 19, 1975.
  30. "Common Sense" Symposium: December 2, 1975 - January 10, 1976. Includes photograph of "We The People, Inc."
  31. Conference of Mayors, Kent participation in the program "The Community Bicentennial: Lasting Reminders": 1976.
  32. Davey Junior High Bicentennial Committee: May 26, 1975 - July 26, 1975. Includes miscellaneous materials on general youth involvement in the Ohio Bicentennial.
  33. "Deborah Sampson" Bicentennial Opera: September 12, 1974 - April 8, 1975. Includes materials on a Jazz Festival, which did not receive funding and was therefore not produced.
  34. "Deborah Sampson" Bicentennial Opera: September 4, 1975 - September 30, 1977.
  35. Erie-Lackawanna Depot Restoration: 1974.
  36. Historic Tour of Kent: February 24, 1974 - July 2, 1976. Includes group photographs of school children taking the tour.
  37. History Day: June 11, 1975 - November 8, 1976. Includes materials from the Ohio American Revolution Bicentennial Advisory Commission regarding History Day programs at the state level.
  38. History Day: June 11, 1975 - July 28, 1975.
  39. History Day: August 12, 1975 - November 5, 1976.
  40. History Day: January 7, 1976 - May 18, 1976. Includes photographs of exhibits.

 

BOX 2

Folder

  1. Honors and Experimental College, correspondence: February 11, 1975 - July 14, 1976.
  2. John Brown Tannery / KSU Theater Production of "John Brown's Body": April 30, 1974 - June 2, 1976.
  3. Kent Acting and Touring Company, materials regarding the proposed production of the play "1776": April 30, 1976 - May 14, 1976.
  4. Kent American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, intracommittee correspondence: January 3, 1973 - December 8, 1975.
  5. Kent American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, Chairpersons' correspondence to Commission members: December 5, 1973 - March 13, 1975.
  6. Kent American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, Hassler summary of KARBC activity: 1074 - 1976.
  7. Kent American Revolution Bicentennial Commission, miscellaneous materials: October 18, 1974 - March 18, 1976. Includes photographs of the Marvin Kent home (the Masonic Lodge), a Kent cemetery, and signs showing designation of Kent as a "Bicentennial Community." Also contains Commission statement of purpose.
  8. Kent Chamber of Commerce: May 2, 1974 - July 14, 1975.
  9. Kent City Festival: November 19, 1975 - June 30, 1976.
  10. Kent Environmental Council (KEC): November, 1974 - June, 1976. Includes Kent Reveredge Park materials.
  11. Kiwanis Club: November 14, 1974 - July 9, 1976.
  12. KSU Arts Commission: 1975.
  13. Mapping of Ohio/Fort Laurens publications, correspondence: October 22, 1974 - June 23, 1976. Includes catalogs of pertinent university press publications.
  14. National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), project and grant proposals/applications: 1974.
  15. National Register of Historic Places, Kent listings: 1974 - 1975.
  16. Ohio Bicentennial Calendar of Events, Kent listings: [1975?].
  17. Ohio Bicentennial Communities, directories: 1975 - 1976.
  18. Patriots' Day Symposium: May 17, 1974 - December 30, 1974.
  19. Patriots' Day Symposium: October 9, 1974 - January 24, 1975.
  20. Patriots' Day Symposium: January 24, 1975 - March 31, 1975.
  21. Patriots' Day Symposium: April 2, 1975 - July 1, 1975.
  22. Portage County Bicentennial Commission: March 3, 1975 - April 19, 1976.
  23. Press clippings, general Bicentennial activities: June 2, 1974 - July 1, 1977.
  24. Press clippings, Kent Bicentennial activities: May 14, 1974 - December 29, 1975.
  25. Press clippings, Kent Bicentennial activities: January 7, 1976 - May 7, 1977.
  26. Projects in Progress Calendar: January 27, 1976.
  27. Reference to Kent Bicentennial Commission in Activities of Other Community Groups: 1975 - 1976.
  28. Restoration and Beautification, Kent Bicentennial Commission: December 26, 1975 - August 9, 1976.
  29. Sale of Bicentennial Items in Kent, correspondence with Diana Martens: August 4, 1975.
  30. Summaries of Kent Bicentennial Programs: 1976.
  31. Trory Photographic Exhibition, miscellaneous materials: February 27, 1976 - September 3, 1977.
  32. WKSU-FM, Bicentennial Forum Serie3s: 1975.
  33. Trory Photographic Exhibition, special reprint of Record-Courier: [January, 1977?] (hf).
  34. Bicentennial Posters (hf).

NOTE: Also in this container are an official Bicentennial Flag, two reels of a tape recording of a speech by William S. Coffin, Jr. on April 22, 1975, for the Patriots' Day Symposium, and a video-tape of Coffin's speech.