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Past Events and Exhibitions

Special Collections and Archives

Past Events and Exhibitions

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Special Collections and Archives

Past Events and Exhibitions

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This page includes information and links related to past events and exhibitions in Special Collections and Archives. Please see our Exhibitions page for information on current programs.

We have also compiled a comprehensive list of past exhibitions, dating from 1970 to the present.


Exhibition: Lafayette Tolliver: Visual Footprints in Time
Marovitz Gallery, 1st Floor, University Libraries

Kent State student photojournalist Lafayette Tolliver (BS '71) documented Black campus life, from 1967-1971. The exhibit provided viewers with an array of subjects he documented and included selected editorials he wrote in the Daily Kent Stater. (Curated by Cara Gilgenbach)

Exhibition: A Full and True Account?  Four Sensationalized Trials in Great Britain and America, 1824-1935
Marovitz Gallery, 1st Floor, University Libraries

The intersection of crime and cultural production has a long history. Popular consumption of trials, now accessible online in the form of video clips, and commentary shared swiftly on apps like Facebook or TikTok, has been in practice for centuries. The materials in this exhibition focused on four sensationalized trials: the trial of Ephraim K. Avery for the murder of Sarah Cornell, the trial of John Thurtell, Joseph Hunt, and William Probert for the murder of William Weare, the trial of Maria and Frederick Manning for the murder of Patrick O’Connor, and the trial of Bruno Richard Hauptmann for the murder of Charles Augustus Lindbergh, Jr.

Items featured were selections from the Borowitz True Crime Collection, housed in Kent State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives. (Curated by Haley Antell)


Exhibition: Liberation through Communication: Publications of Black United Students
Marovitz Gallery, 1st Floor, University Libraries

Black United Students (BUS), a student-run organization, was founded in 1968 with a mission to unite and advocate for Black students at Kent State University. In its decades-long history, BUS has taken direct action to address multi-faceted institutional racism in areas such as facilities, budget allocations, student enrollment, faculty representation, academic programming, departmental organization, and anti-racism, among many other issues. BUS began publishing a newspaper titled Black Watch in 1969. Since then, the publication was renamed The Spectrum, and later changed to its current title, UHURU.

This exhibition featured cover pages from the official publications of Black United Students: Black Watch, The Spectrum, and UHURU. (Curated by Haley Antell)


Exhibition: Campus Strike Papers: The Aftermath of May 4, 1970, Marovitz Gallery, University Library, 1st Floor, August 2020 - September 2021

In the aftermath of the shootings of May 4, 1970, Kent State University Libraries sent letters to colleges and universities across the nation requesting campus strike newspapers and related documents to be archived for future research. This exhibit highlighted a selection of the responses that are found in the Campus Strike papers in Special Collections and Archives. (Curated by Anita Clary)


Exhibition: The Kent State Shootings: Through the Lenses of Two Photographers, Borowitz Gallery, University Library, 12th floor, August 2016- December 2019

This exhibition showcased the events surrounding the May 4, 1970 Kent State shootings with photographs taken by Lafayette Tolliver and Howard Ruffner. Both were student photo-journalists at Kent State in 1970. Selections of their work was on semi-permanent display in Special Collections and Archives during the lead-up years to the 50th anniversary milestone of an event that placed Kent State in the international spotlight and changed the trajectory of the Vietnam War. (Curated by Lae'l Hughes-Watkins)

Exhibition: You CAN Judge a Book by its Cover!, Marovitz Gallery, University Library, 1st floor, July 1 - October 9, 2019

Every bookbinding has a story to tell in addition to the one offered by the text of the book itself. This exhibit focused on the wide range of materials and methods that have been used to bind and cover books from the medieval period to the present day in Europe and the United States. A continuous theme of balancing the necessary functional and structural elements with the desire to have books also be decorative, artistically expressive, or marketable objects in the style of their time could be seen in the many examples on display. (Curated by Anita Clary and Kate Medicus)

Exhibition: The Truth Demands Justice: A Snapshot History of the May 4th Task Force, Marovitz Gallery, University Library, 1st floor, October 9, 2019 - August 2020

This exhibition featured posters, flyers, and other items created by the May 4th Task Force, a student-run organization founded in 1975 to raise awareness among students, faculty, administrators, and the general public about the Kent State shootings of May 4, 1970. (Curated by Haley Antell)


Exhibition: 1969: Selections from Special Collections & Archives, Marovitz Gallery, University Library, 1st floor, April-June, 2019

Featured a selection of materials from Special Collections & Archives from the year 1969--both from the local level of Kent State University to national events, literature, and the arts. (Curated by Haley Antell and Cara Gilgenbach)

Exhibition: Herman Melville and Walt Whitman: an exhibit to mark the bicentennial of the birth of two great American authors, Marovitz Gallery, University Library, 1st floor, January 11-March 21, 2019

This inaugural exhibition in the newly created Marovitz Gallery marked the 200th anniversary of the births of Herman Melville and Walt Whitman and featured early and special editions of the works of these major American authors. (Curated by Haley Antell and Cara Gilgenbach)

Exhibition: 50 Years of Special Collections & Archives at Kent State, Special Collections & Archives Reading Room, University Library Room 1212, August 2017-December 2018

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Kent State Library's Special Collections & Archives programs and collections, an exhibit spotlighting interesting and representative items from the collections and affording students a window into the research opportunities these unique resources provide. This exhibit is also viewable online. (Curated by Kathleen Siebert-Medicus)

Exhibition: Kent and the Great War, WWI, On display at the Kent Historical Society and at the Kent Free Library, Kent, Ohio, July-December, 2018. 
Sponsored by: Ohio Humanities

A showcase of the men and women from Kent who served in the Great War through amazing artifacts, including photographs, letters, uniforms, postcards, and other mementos. Special Collections and Archives loaned a group of material from the Apple family papersfor this exhibition. This content was located at the Kent Free Librarylocation. Associated lecture and film events ran concurrently with this exhibition. 

Exhibition: 100 Years of Homecoming at Kent State University - Featuring selected materials from Special Collections and Archives, University Library, 1st floor, September 28 - November 1, 2018

An exhibition featuring Kent State University Homecoming traditions through the years, including student and alumni traditions that celebrate our diverse Kent State community. (Curated by Katie Clements and Cara Gilgenbach)


Exhibition: BUS at 50: Photography of E. Timothy Moore and Lafayette Tolliver, Uumbaji Gallery in Oscar Ritchie Hall, February 21-March 14, 2018

The Uumbaji gallery hosted BUS at 50: Photography of E. Timothy Moore and Lafayette Tolliver, and others. This show chronicled the development and programming of Black United Students at Kent State University over the last 50 years. BUS at 50 included photographs of African American student life ranging from 1968-2015 and covered diverse events including iconic national figures speaking on campus to student-led protests and social events. (Curated by University Archivist and Assistant Professor Lae’l Hughes-Watkins and Associate Professor of Pan African Studies Idris Kabir Syed.)


Exhibition: The Virginia Hamilton Conference; Past and Present, March-April, 2017
A look back on the history of the Virginia Hamilton Conference. The display was co-presented by Special Collections and Archives and the School of Library and Information Science. (Curated by Viola Chontos, Tess Hamilton, and Michelle Baldini.)

Exhibition: From Franklin Mills to Kent: Prominent Families in Kent’s History, September 1, 2016 - May 12, 2017
In celebration of the birthday bicentennial of the City of Kent’s namesake, Marvin Kent, Special Collections and Archives showcased several collections originating with prominent and influential families in the history of Kent. These collections document the lives of early European-American settlers and what was originally established as Franklin Mills and later renamed Kent. Members of the Kent, Merrill, Haymaker, and Davey families, among others featured here, shaped the history of commerce, transportation, politics, and education in Kent. This exhibit featured only a few of the many local history collections held in University Libraries and was displayed in tandem with the Kent Historical Society’s bicentennial celebration of the birthday of Marvin Kent. (Curated by Amanda Faehnel, Cara Gilgenbach, and Elizabeth Traina.)


Exhibition: Code Makers vs. Code Breakers: Cryptography in History, Literature, and Popular Culture, January 19 - August 9, 2016
The history of cryptography can be seen as an ongoing evolutionary struggle between code makers and code breakers. Throughout history, monarchs, religious officials, and military leaders have relied on secret communication in order to govern their domains or command their armies. Each new development in cryptography has been met with a counterattack by code breakers searching for a weakness in that encoding method. Once broken, the code either becomes extinct or it evolves into something stronger. This exhibit highlighted interesting moments in the history of cryptography and focused on its many cultural influences, particularly in literature and popular culture. (Curated by Kathleen Siebert Medicus and Edith Serkownek.)

Exhibition: Books Are Paths That Upward Lead, June - August, 2016
An exhibit of a selection of World Publishing imprints from the Library of Alfred B. Cahen, a Cleveland-based poet and painter who donated several books from the World Tower Books series. The Tower Books line, started in 1939, featured popular self-help, hobby, and health related titles. (Curated by Cara Gilgenbach.)

Exhibition: Albert J. Flogge Performing Arts Collection: Selections from Recent Donations, January 25 - Summer 2016
This exhibit showcased a selection of memorabilia donated by prominent Kent State alumnus Albert J. Flogge (1934-2015) from his vast performing arts collection. The materials, donated in recent years by Mr. Flogge, included autographed photos of film and sports stars, a Gone With the Wind souvenir album, and posters from musical and dance performances. Of particular note were several autographed photos of major league baseball icons. (Curated by Cara Gilgenbach.)

Exhibition: Charles Simic: on the verge of understanding
An exhibit on the occasion of Charles Simic’s visit to Kent State University on April 6, 2016, featured selections from the holdings of Special Collections and Archives. Simic, a prolific poet, translator, essayist and educator, is a Pulitzer Prize winner and former US Poet Laureate. (Curated by Anita Clary.)

Borowitz Lecture: Michael Blanding, author of The Map Thief, April 28, 2016
The Kent State University Libraries hosted Michael Blanding, author of the bestseller The Map Thief on Thursday, April 28, at 6:00 p.m. in Library Room 1018. The event included a presentation by Blanding and a book signing. In The Map Thief, award winning investigative reporter Michael Blanding tells the true-life story of a map dealer-turned-criminal E. Forbes Smiley III, who stole more than $3 million worth of antique maps from rare book libraries around the country. Smiley was ultimately caught in 2005. Blanding discussed exclusive new information about the case and shared information about the history behind the maps Smiley stole, and the continuing implications for library security.

2014 - 2015

Exhibition: The Kent State Shootings & Their Aftermath: Through the Media's Lens, September 2014 - August 18, 2015
In honor of the 45th commemoration of the Kent State Shootings, the Department of Special Collections and Archives’ feature exhibit examined the media’s coverage and interpretation of the anti-war movement beginning with the National Moratorium on the Vietnam War in the fall of 1969, to the Kent State shootings, the Scranton Commission, through the controversy surrounding the building of the gym annex in 1977. The exhibit presented a cross-section of some of the most famous newspaper headlines, magazine covers, posters, flyers, photographs, newsletters, and comic strips produced in the period leading up to the Kent State shootings, the shootings themselves, and in the aftershock that followed. This exhibit was featured in our August 18 Society of American Archivists' (SAA) tour event, part of the SAA annual conference that was held in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2015. (Curated by Lae'l Hughes-Watkins and Elizabeth Campion.)

Exhibition: Rita Dove and US Poets Laureate, March 30 - April 30, 2015
This exhibit included an introduction to the work of Rita Dove, who spoke on campus Thursday, April 2, 2015. This exhibit provided coverage of the major themes in this important poet’s work. Also on display are selected works by other US Poets Laureate. (Curated by Kathleen Siebert Medicus and Tammy Eschedor Voelker.)

Online Gallery: Riverside Press Editions Designed by Bruce Rogers
A new gallery was created on Kent State's Digital Commons that features selected Riverside Press editions by noted book designer Bruce Rogers. This gallery was created by Troy Cherrington, a University Libraries student employee and School of Library and Information Science graduate student. Troy selected books for this gallery from Special Collections and Archives. (Curated by Troy Cherrington.)

Lecture and Reception: Ibram X. Kendi: Student Lives Matter: Resistance and Violence from Kent State to Jackson State. March 12, 2015
In May 1970, four White students in Kent resisting American imperialism, and two Black students in Jackson resisting American racism were all killed by officers dispatched on two state campuses to restore order.  The tragedies at Kent State University and Jackson State University proved to be the most bloody ties of the predominately White Antiwar Movement and the Black Campus Movement.  The stories of the tragedies at Kent State and Jackson State are customarily told in isolation. This presentation merges these two stories into one story of students demonstrating against injustices and then Americans demonstrating that student lives do matter. (Sponsors: University Libraries, Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Center For Student Involvement, and the May 4 Visitors Center.)

Exhibition, Lecture, and Reception: Coming of Age at Kent 1967–71: A Pictorial of Black Student Life, October 2014
This exhibition of photographs by Lafayette Tolliver included selected images that depict the wide breadth of the black student experience during the late 60s and early 70s at the height of the black campus movement. The exhibit took attendees on a journey from the birth of young love, to the spirit of competition through athletics, ending with victory through protest. Tolliver was a Kent State student and photo-journalist from 1967-1971. In conjunction with the exhibit, Tolliver gave a presentation about his work on Homecoming weekend, October 18, to an audience of 100 people, many of them Kent State alumni who also were here in the late 1960s and early 1970s. (Curated by Lae'l Hughes-Watkins.)

Event: Digital Collections Showcase and Reception. October 17, 2014.
Participants learned about our Kent State historical collections now available in digital format, including the Digital Chestnut Burr yearbooks and Digital Kent Stater.

2013 - 2014

Exhibit: Ted Kooser: Everyday Extraordinary, April - May 2014
An exhibition of selected works of Ted Kooser, Pulitzer Prize winner and former US Poet Laureate.

Event and Exhibit: The Printed World: European Travel Writing in an Age of Global Encounters (1500-1850)     
Showcase of rare books from Special Collections, presented by Dr. Matthew Crawford, department of History, and students in his European Exploration course. Dr. Crawford and his students Paul Boyle, Traci Hoffman, John Potwora, and Amy Vartenuk presented on their exploration of European travel works from the Early Modern period. These selected original works were on display during this event.

Event: Borowitz Lecture: "Little Lindy Is Kidnapped: The Media Coverage of the Crime of the 20th Century" 
Dr. Thomas Doherty of Brandeis University presented on media coverage of the 1932 Lindbergh baby kidnapping case. A Borowitz 25th Anniversary Event

Event: Library Live: Special Collections Spotlight: The Borowitz Crime Collection
Presented by Cara Gilgenbach and Kathleen Siebert Medicus at University Libraries' Library Live annual conference. Discussed the history and selected highlights of the Borowitz Crime Collection. A Borowitz 25th Anniversary Event

Event: Kent Reads! Crime in Verse: Selections of crime-related poetry from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries
Kyle Snyder, Katelynd Jarvis, and Robin Scheuerman read crime-related ballads and poems, selected from the Borowitz Collection in Special Collections and Archives. A Borowitz 25th Anniversary Event

Event: Kent Reads! Featuring James Jessen Badal
James Jessen Badal discussed his book, Twilight of Innocence, and the disappearance of Beverly Potts from Halloran Park on Cleveland's West Side. A Borowitz 25th Anniversary Event

Exhibit: From Crime to Culture: The 25th Anniversary of the Borowitz Collection at Kent State University, October 2013-June 13, 2014
The exhibit showcased popular fact-based crime publications dating from the seventeenth through the twentieth century. Included in this chronological exploration of the literature were cautionary pamphlets, sensationalistic "penny dreadfuls," popular true crime series such as England's Newgate Calendar and France's Pitaval literature, and classics of twentieth century and contemporary true crime works. The exhibit also highlighted examples of specific true crime literature sub-genres: crime-related broadsides, part of the nineteenth-century street literature scene; prison postcards, a fascinating sub-grouping within the once wildly popular picture postcard tradition; and selections from the Wild West collection exemplifying America's (and the world's) seemingly endless fascination with tales of crime from the Western frontier. Finally, the exhibition paid homage the collection's founders, Albert and Helen Borowitz, both of whom made their own contributions to true crime literature, among other scholarly pursuits. A Borowitz 25th Anniversary Event

2012 - 2013

Event: Collections Spotlight: The Borowitz Crime Collection
Presented by Cara Gilgenbach at the Ohio Library Support Staff Institute, Heidelberg College, Tiffin, OH, July 29, 2013. Discussed the history and selected highlights of the Borowitz Crime Collection. A Borowitz 25th Anniversary Event

Exhibit: US Poets Laureate
Works by past poets laureate of the United States were on display, selected from the strong collection of 20th century American poetry in the University Libraries' Special Collections and Archives.

Lecture:  Bibliomysteries by Dr. Joanne Dobson
The 2013 Borowitz Lecture, held April 9, 2013, featured mystery author Joanne Dobson who spoke about bibliomysteries--mystery novels in which a book or manuscript is an essential feature of the plot. Dobson is the author of the popular Professor Karen Pelletier Mysteries, set at a fictional small New England college, including titles such as The Northbury Papers, The Maltese Manuscript, and Death Without Tenure. Her recent book, Face of the Enemy, is part of her New York in Wartime Mystery series.

Exhibit: Meet Me at the Library: 100 Years of Libraries at Kent State University, October 2012 - June 2013
The Library has for 100 years comprised the University's center for knowledge and learning, scholarship, exhibitions, lectures and programs, meetings and many other activities. Generations of students, faculty, administrators, and visitors have passed through our doors. "Meet Me at the Library: 100 Years of Libraries at Kent State University"  featured photographs, maps, artifacts, and a timeline commemorate the centennial of Kent State University Libraries.

Exhibit: Bibliomysteries: Bound by Crime, October 2012 - June 2013
"Bibliomysteries: Bound by Crime" featured a little-known mystery sub-genre, the bibliomystery--mystery stories about books and bibliophiles. This exhibit highlighted the themes commonly found in this mystery sub-genre.

Exhibition: Publishers' Canvassing Books, November 2012-January 2013
"Canvassing books," "sample books," "salesman's dummies," "prospectuses," and "order books" all are terms related to the phenomenon of subscription publishing. These terms apply to any book volume produced as a partial representation of the full work, used by publishers and their book sales agents to secure buyers of the complete work. This exhibit featured several examples from Special Collections and Archives' collection of over 90 publishers' canvassing books specimens.

2011 - 2012

Exhibition: Edith Wharton: 150th Birthday of a Great American Novelist, June-August, 2012
Special Collections and Archives celebrated the 150th birthday of Edith Wharton, the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for literature. The display featured first edition copies of six of Wharton's novels, including her Pulitzer prize-winning novel The Age of Innocence with its original dust jacket still intact.

Exhibition: Detective and True Crime Pulps, April-August, 2012
This display highlighted the celebrated pulpwood paper magazines from the early 1920s to the 1950s including some of its most enduring characters and notorious cases. From Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler's hard-boiled detective to some of the early 20th century's captivating true crime who-done-its, the pulp magazine enjoyed all the popularity that satellite T.V. does today.

Exhibition: Babar the Elephant's 80th Birthday, September 2011-June 2012
Happy 80th Birthday to Babar, our favorite elephant! Kent State University's Special Collections and Archives is home to over 3,600 Barbar-related items including books, posters and toys. Our birthday exhibition celebrated this famous elephant with a sampling of original Laurent de Brunhoff illustrations, Babar art posters and more.

Exhibition: Civil War Exhibits, September 2011-June 2012
In commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War, Special Collections and Archives held two exhibitions highlighting our Civil War collections. The first exhibition featured selected materials from the department's Civil War holdings including personal papers of Ohio soldiers and Union Army officers, memoirs, biographies, poetry and literature related to the war, and materials related to Civil War crime and prisoner of war camps. Also featured are original issues of the popular illustrated magazine, Harper's Weekly, including dramatic illustrations of battle scenes and other war-time events. 

The second exhibition, "A Nation in Mourning: The Assassination of Abraham Lincoln" included archival sources dating from the time of Lincoln's assassination in 1865. A highlight of this exhibition was a very large photograph of The Old Nashville, an engine that drew Lincoln's funeral train through Ohio as part of the burial processional from Washington DC to Illinois.

Exhibition: Black United Students at Kent State, 1968, February 2012
A sampling of photographs and archival materials from Special Collections and Archives that documents the activities of the Black United Students (BUS) at Kent State. Photographs of the march across campus in memory of Martin Luther King, held on the Monday following King's assassination, supplemented by a sampling of books published during the immediate aftermath of the assassination. Also on view was a striking photograph of the Nov. 18, 1968, BUS walkout in protest of the Oakland City Police's recruiting visit to campus.


Exhibition: A Doorway to the Work of W. S. Merwin, October-December, 2011
This exhibition featured selected works of the 2010-11 US Poet Laureate, W. S. Merwin, acclaimed poet, translator, and prose writer. This exhibition was held in honor of Merwin's visit to Kent State University, October 10, 2011. The items featured are held as a part of the department's literature collection. A printed hand-list of exhibited items accompanied the exhibition.

Exhibition: The Nature of Natural Science, January - August, 2011
The Nature of Natural Science exhibit featured some of the most significant holdings in the history of science held by the Kent State University Libraries' Department of Special Collections and Archives. The exhibition also featured archival materials from two Ohio naturalists and the works of natural science artists.

Lecture: Science as a Bookish Enterprise? April 4, 2011
In tandem with this exhibition, Dr. Matthew Crawford, Kent State University Assistant Professor of History, presented a lecture entitled Science as a Bookish Enterprise? Text and Image in the History of Science (1500-1900).