Mason’s Fairfax Campus turns 50!

George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus turns fifty years old this Sunday.  On September 14, 1964 George Mason College of the University of Virginia opened its doors to 356 freshman and sophomores.  The faculty, which numbered fifteen, comprised seven full-time and eight part-time professors.

George Mason College director, Robert H. Reid (center) confers with state Senator, Charles R. Fenwick (left foreground) and Buildings Superintendent, Richard Best (right) in late August 1964. Temporary sign (removed from the Bailey’s Crossroads Campus) stands behind Reid. George Mason University photograph collection #R0120 Box 1, Folder 16. Special Collections and Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

The four original buildings were named North (now known as Finley), South (now known as Krug), East, and West.  A fifth building, the Lecture Hall, was scratched from the original build-out because of budget issues and later added in 1968.  The weather on opening day was sunny and seventy-five degrees. The students and faculty were treated to air conditioning, a luxury they did not have at the Bailey’s Crossroads campus. Actually, George Mason College at Fairfax was the first educational institution in the Commonwealth to be built with central air conditioning.

Fairfax Campus, Spring 1965. George Mason University Photograph Collection # R0120 Box 1, Folder 11. Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

Fairfax Campus, Spring 1965. George Mason University photograph collection # R0120
Box 1, Folder 11.  Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

 The Quadrangle, Fairfax Campus, ca. September 1964. George Mason University photograph collection # R0120 Box 1, Folder 11. Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

The Quadrangle, George Mason College Fairfax Campus, ca. September 1964. George Mason University photograph collection #   R0120Box 1, Folder 11. Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

During the early to mid-1960s students at George Mason College, following a University of Virginia tradition,  dressed up for classes to show respect for their professors. Men were expected to wear jacket and tie, while the women wore dresses or blouses (often with sweaters), skirts, and hose. The still image below, taken from a 1964 film of the Fairfax Campus, shows how the typical student dressed for attending Mason in 1964.

Student members of a tour group in the lobby of the North Building (now known as Finley), 1964.

Student members of a tour group in the lobby of the North Building (now known as Finley), 1964.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The resignation of Richard Nixon

This is the final post in a series on Richard Nixon during the Watergate investigation. The first one can be found here, the second one can be found here, the third one is here, and the fourth one is here.

Although Nixon made transcripts of the Oval Office tapes available in April 1974, the special prosecutor, Leon Jaworski, insisted on access to the physical tapes. Nixon’s attorneys appealed a decision by a federal court that ordered the release of the tapes. Finally on July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court ruled that Nixon must turn over the tapes. The recordings revealed that he did play a significant role in the cover-up of the Watergate burglary, and his impeachment appeared to be imminent unless he resigned. On August 8, 1974, Nixon announced his resignation for the following day.

Nixon and Ford talking in the Oval Office before Nixon announced his resignation, effective at noon the following day (August 8, 1974). Oliver F. Atkins photograph collection, Box 48, Folder 1. George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections & Archives. Copyright not held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections and Archives.

Nixon and Ford talking in the Oval Office before Nixon announced his resignation, effective at noon the following day (August 8, 1974). Oliver F. Atkins photograph collection, Box 48, Folder 1. George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections & Archives. Copyright not held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections and Archives.

Following his final meal in the White House, Nixon addressed the White House staff in the East Room, and then he walked out to board a helicopter accompanied by his family and the Fords.

President Nixon's last meal in the White House: pineapple, cottage cheese and milk (August 9, 1974). Oliver F. Atkins photograph collection, Box 26, Folder 2. George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections & Archives. Copyright not held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections and Archives.

President Nixon’s last meal in the White House: pineapple, cottage cheese and milk (August 9, 1974). Oliver F. Atkins photograph collection, Box 26, Folder 2. George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections & Archives. Copyright not held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections and Archives.

The Fords and the Nixons walk across the White House lawn to the presidential helicopter Marine One  (August 9, 1974). Oliver F. Atkins photograph collection, Box 26, Folder 1. George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections & Archives. Copyright not held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections and Archives.

The Fords and the Nixons walk across the White House lawn to the presidential helicopter Marine One (August 9, 1974). Oliver F. Atkins photograph collection, Box 26, Folder 1. George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections & Archives. Copyright not held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections and Archives.

Nixon gives a final victory sign before he boards Marine One (August 9, 1974). Oliver F. Atkins photograph collection, Box 26, Folder 1. George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections & Archives. Copyright not held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections and Archives.

Nixon gives a final victory sign before he boards Marine One (August 9, 1974). Oliver F. Atkins photograph collection, Box 26, Folder 1. George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections & Archives. Copyright not held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections and Archives.

Following Richard and Pat Nixon’s departure, the Fords returned to the White House East Room for the swearing-in of Gerald Ford as President of the United States. One month later, he pardoned Nixon. For more on Watergate, see this page on the Washington Post website.

Closed: July 23 – early September

Construction

Special Collections & Archives will be temporarily closed for renovations and facilities improvements starting July 23rd until we reopen at the beginning of September. During that time, we will not have physical access to our collections. We will respond to your inquiries, but will not be able to access collections to make any copies or answer questions that require us to search through books or archives and manuscripts.

We apologize for the inconvenience. For more information, please see http://tinyurl.com/m982hrt .

A braille program from the Arena Stage records

smallWorldBraille_ArenaStage2

Oversize braille program for “A Small World” from the Arena Stage records, Collection #C0017, Special Collections and Archives, George Mason University.

Currently I’m working with Kerry Mitchell, one of our student assistant archivists, on reprocessing the Arena Stage records. The collection consists of approximately 675 boxes of scripts, correspondence, photographs, and audiovisual materials, so even with two people working on it, it has been a time consuming and complex project.

While going through the “Arena Stage Printed Materials” series, I noticed a number of programs created for individuals with disabilities. There are braille programs, large-print programs, and sign-interpreted programs. The braille programs are completely unique due to their tactile nature. I haven’t had much experience with braille materials so this was an interesting item to me. The raised dots on the programs are only on one side of the pages, and the pages are up to 14 x 12 inches. The longer programs are quite thick and only three or four will fit in a five inch document box. This is in stark contrast to printed programs which can fit up to 50 or more programs per box. Larger programs are stored in flat boxes such as the example shown here. The images on this page are of a program for “A Small World” from the 1993-1994 season.
smallWorldBraille_ArenaStage

Detail of braille program for “A Small World” from the Arena Stage records, Collection #C0017, Special Collections and Archives, George Mason University.

Some of the concerns with preserving braille materials is the acidity of the paper used, fragile or damaged bindings, and flattening of the raised dots. A nice introduction to saving braille documents is Helen Kuncicky’s paper “Saving Raised Dots: A Feel for Braille Materials and Preservation” from 2007.

Braille was invented by Louis Braille in 1824. Braille “letters” consist of six dots that are arranged three high and two across. Dots within this pattern range in size indicating which letter the reader is feeling.
Braille letters from Braille Cards (http://www.braillecards.co.uk)

Braille letters from Braille Cards (http://www.braillecards.co.uk)

For more on disability services at Arena Stage and George Mason University, follow the links below.
At Arena Stage braille programs are available for patrons to use during performances.
Disability services at Mason.