This post was written by Zach Greenfield, Student Processing Assistant.
Over the course of the semester I have been working as a processing assistant in the Special Collections Research Center. I have had the very interesting job of going through the University Records, specifically the Office of University Relations. What I am doing is looking through the many boxes of news releases and coming up with short descriptions for the contents and re-labeling the folders to give a better idea of their contents as well as create an inventory for use with a finding aid. George Mason University has a relatively short but fascinating history with many gems found throughout my journey into the public relations of past decades. Here is a handful of some of the most interesting things that I’ve found so far.
In May 1967, a retired physicist donated over 1,500 journals and periodicals to then George Mason College library, simply because he wanted to play his piano again. Dr. H.F. Stimson, who donated the scientific journals was quoted in the news release as saying, “I sent the college about a cubic yard of magazines, I guess. I wanted to exhume my piano. They were stacked all over it. Now I can play again.”
In October 1975, the university observatory was completed. It was built by a group of three students over the course of three years and while teaching themselves how to build a telescope almost entirely from scratch. They received the support of other students, faculty and the wider community, completing a telescope that was valued at $50,000 with only $3,000 from the university and countless hours devoted to the task.
From April-May 1979, Fenwick Library hosted an exhibition of German art from World War II, including some of Hitler’s own paintings. The paintings were part of a collection of captured war art held by the U.S. Army. These paintings were created under the authority of Adolf Hitler as part of an effort to immortalize the achievements of the German military and provide a groundwork for propaganda to strengthen the morale of the country.
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