Special Collections and Archives

Sheila Tabakoff papers

Special Collections and Archives

Sheila Tabakoff papers

Important Notice: Due to a grant-sponsored project to digitize materials from the May 4 Collection, in-person use of the May 4 Collection is available by appointment only. Please help us serve you better by contacting us in advance to schedule an appointment for access to this collection.

Sheila Tabakoff papers, 1970


Finding Aid

Prepared by Scott L. Bills, August 15, 1980; Updated by Penny White, June 2013.

Extent: .50 cubic foot (1 half-size record storage box)

Physical Location: 12th floor

Historical Note / Scope and Content:  Sheila Tabakoff was an instructor in the School of Art at Kent State University in May of 1970. After the shootings of May 4, the University was closed by court injunction, and it remained closed for the duration of the spring quarter. Special arrangements were subsequently made in each academic department for students to complete coursework. In the case of the Art Department, mimeographed letters were sent to students' home addresses offering them alternate ways either to receive partial credit or withdraw from the course. In large part, this collection consists of the student responses to the forms that she sent out in the weeks following the shootings.

Professor Tabakoff sent not only academic information but also included informational items and her own commentary on the Kent State situation. She wrote, "It is my personal hope that you will use this period to reexamine your beliefs and aspirations, and to question the direction and policies of your university and your country." She urged her students to contact groups of other Kent State students which had gathered at Oberlin College and Case Western Reserve. When the University would eventually reopen, she hoped it would be as a "vanguard of modern education."

Folder one contains, for the most part, intrauniversity memos and mailings; folder two contains the forms and letters which Professor Tabakoff sent out to her students. The student responses have been arranged alphabetically. Responses not including full names have been placed together in folder fourteen. Several items, including a May 1970 issue of the Cleveland underground newspaper Burning River and a poster by the Cambridge Strike Committee, were oversized. They can be located in the map case.

This collection will be of value to researchers examining student and faculty attitudes in the period following May 4, 1970. Students returning their forms often wrote notes concerning the shootings and their feelings on the closing of the University. Interesting as well are materials in folder eighteen which indicate faculty sentiments within the School of Art. Individual items of interest are the Kent State Faculty Resolution of May 5, 1970 (folder nineteen); the May 18 and May 22 issues of the Kent Strike Paper (folder twenty-seven); and informational leaflets from Kent students at Oberlin College (folder twenty-one).

Acquisitions Information: Sheila Tabakoff donated these materials to the Kent State University Special Collections and Archives on March 19, 1980.

Restrictions on Use: Professor Tabakoff has kindly donated to the Kent State University Archives whatever property and literary rights that she possesses in this collection.

Restrictions on Access: A small amount of material in this collection is completely restricted due to the presence of information protected by privacy laws. Some information has been redacted where present on documents in the collection. Un-redacted originals, in all cases, have been retained by Special Collections and Archives.

Box 59
Folder -- Contents

  1. Correspondence: General: May 11, 1970-May 27, 1970
  2. Correspondence: Tabakoff to students: May 12, 1970-May 27, 1970
    Scope and Content: Includes Tabakoff commentary on Kent State situation
  3. Correspondence: Students to Tabakoff: Names: A-C
  4. Correspondence: Students to Tabakoff: Names: D-F
  5. Correspondence: Students to Tabakoff: Names: G
  6. Correspondence: Students to Tabakoff: Names: H
  7. Correspondence: Students to Tabakoff: Names: J-L
  8. Correspondence: Students to Tabakoff: Names: M-N
  9. Correspondence: Students to Tabakoff: Names: O-Q
  10. Correspondence: Students to Tabakoff: Names: R
  11. Correspondence: Students to Tabakoff: Names: S
  12. Correspondence: Students to Tabakoff: Names: T-V
  13. Correspondence: Students to Tabakoff: Names: W-Z
  14. Correspondence: Students to Tabakoff: Names: unidentified surnames
  15. Correspondence: Students to Tabakoff: Names: unmatched envelopes
  16. Class rosters: Art Survey 180 and Art History 111
    Restrictions on Access: This file is restricted.
  17. Subject file: School of Art faculty: May 1970
    Scope and Content: Includes faculty letter to Robert White, May 11, 1970; and faculty letter to students, May 13, 1970
  18. Agenda: American Association of University Professors, Kent State Chapter, Executive Committee meeting: May 28, 1970
  19. Resolution: Kent State University Faculty: May 5, 1970
  20. Kent State University Monthly Calendar: June 1970
  21. Leaflets: Kent State University community in exile: May 1970
    Scope and Content: Includes the "Oberlin Proposals"
  22. Leaflets and flyers: 1970
  23. Newsletter: Official Bulletin (Kent State University): May 13, 1970; May 20, 1970
  24. Newsletter: For Your Information (Kent State University): May 17, 1970
  25. Newsletter: National Strike Information Center: May 7, 1970; May 11, 1970
  26. Newsletter: National Strike Information Center: May 12, 1970
    Physical Location: Shelved in map case.
  27. Newspaper: Burning River: May 13-May 27, 1970
    Physical Location: Shelved in map case.
  28. Newspaper: Kent Strike Paper: May 18, 1970; May 22, 1970
  29. Newspaper clippings
  30. "Words are inadequate...": Undated
    Scope and Content: An undated, unsigned manuscript (photocopy only), possibly written in contemplation of the Kent State shootings
  31. Poster: "The Struggle Has Just Begun ...," Cambridge Student Strike Committee: [summer?] 1970
    Physical Location: Shelved in map case.