In its annual memory of the General Assembly of the state of Ohio establishing Ohio University on Feb. 18, 1804, Ohio University Libraries celebrates Founders Day each February with an exhibit that focuses on an aspect of OHIO’s past.
Because 2018 marks the 150th anniversary of the enrollment of OHIO’s first female student, Margaret Boyd, it was only too fitting to highlight women in this year’s exhibit, said Bill Kimok, University archivist. Kimok titled the exhibit “Women at Ohio University: 150 Years of Life and History.”
Although Boyd’s 1868 enrollment was the reason behind the theme, the exhibit features the life and times of many OHIO women—some of whom were “firsts,” some of whom were prominent leaders, and others who have just been part of everyday life at OHIO, he said.
“The significance of being the first is that you cannot have a second until you have a first,” said Kimok. “…the door and possibility is then open for a second and so on. So, when the founders established the University here in Athens, they were pioneers in higher education, blazing a trail on what was then the frontier of the young new country.”
The exhibit, which opens on Feb. 19, is located in the lobby outside the Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections on the fifth floor of Alden Library.
Kimok said that the lives of women such as OHIO’s first female professor, its first black female graduate, and its first female dean will be depicted in photographs, biographies, archival documents, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, handbooks, letters, dance cards and other memorabilia.
“Women’s athletics, sororities, OHIO’s first ladies, and philanthropic women will be among those highlighted in the exhibit,” said Kimok, who added the exhibit will run through the end of the semester. “Depending on the individual, this could be an education in OHIO history, a walk down memory lane, or just a feel-good celebration of the lives and times of women at OHIO.
Photos courtesy of Ohio University Libraries’ Mahn Center