Friday, December 9, 2011


I'll miss you Harry

Edward K. Eckert

I had not expected to write another musing for a couple of months, but the news of Harry Monaco’s death shook me to my roots. Truly, the good die young. But why Harry? He only wanted to do good for so many people and he wanted to find a meaningful life for him to live. I know he found it, but I wish he stayed with us longer so that we could learn from him.

Every so often a student touched me deeply. Harry Monaco was one of those students. Harry had taken my classes while he was a history major at Bona’s in the early 1980s. He was a good student, far above average, but was never the brilliant student-scholar or, thankfully, a history nerd. What Harry was was a caring individual. He was a man with deep interests who pursued them to the fullest. I remember when he and his best friend Chris stopped after class to chat with me. They were not looking for extra points; they were discussing far more important issues. They both were seeking meaning in the future lives they would lead. Both men wanted to be more than materially successful. They wanted to be men of character, honesty, and concern. They were men who would contribute more to society than they would receive.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Beginnings of St. Bonaventure College
By Edward K. Eckert

It has long puzzled me why anyone would build a college “in the middle of nowhere,” as my father used to say. Although there are tales about Nicholas Devereux dreaming of a college in Western New York that would be modeled after institutions in his native Ireland, the truth was that he had not anticipated building a college nor did Buffalo’s first bishop, John Timon. Both men, however, hoped to populate the area with Catholic immigrants. They knew that to succeed would mean finding priests to tend to their spiritual needs. It was priests they wanted, not a university.

But perhaps I am getting ahead of the story. The time was the middle of the nineteenth century. It was an era of enormous growth in the United States. The American population more than doubled, not only due to many immigrants who came to the United States from Europe, but also through natural growth among Americans. The demographic surge came alongside a booming economy based on industrialization, new roads, railroads and canals, commercial banks, and lots of factory and construction jobs. The American dream was to buy enough land to grow ample food to feed a family with surplus crops to trade for the many new items created by industrialization. To attain that goal most people had to borrow money to buy land, tools, and seeds to plant a crop. The annual harvest would pay off the debt so a family would own the property free and clear.

Monday, December 5, 2011

SBU History Newsletter no. 5 (Year 17)


YEAR 17, NO. 5 5 DECEMBER 2011


1991 History Grad as Guest Speaker

Recently I have become reacquainted with a History major who graduated in 1991. He is James I. McAuley. After leaving St. Bonaventure, he attended law school and then pursued a career that took him to various places around the country. In 2005 he decided to return to his roots, and he opened a private law practice in Franklinville. Among other things, he is the attorney for five towns in this area. In the first conversation that we’ve had in twenty years, Mr. McAuley mentioned how valuable his History courses were in preparing him for a professional career. He volunteered to come to talk to current students about the practical values of a liberal arts education. Tomorrow, Tuesday, the 6th, he will visit my Research Methods class. This class starts at 11:30 am in Plassmann 310. There are seats for extra people. If you wish to come, please join us.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

News from 2010 History Grad Rachel Engl

After graduating from St. Bonaventure in 2010 with a degree in history and French, I moved to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania to attend graduate school at Lehigh University.  I am in a Master's/PhD program for history.  I am interested in Colonial American history, especially during the Revolutionary period.  While at Bonas, I wrote a honors thesis under the direction of Dr. Robbins and Dr. Schaeper about the relationship between the marquis de Lafayette and George Washington.  This year I am writing my Master's thesis which was somewhat inspired by my thesis at Bonaventure.  My Master's thesis is focusing on the relationship between soldiers in the Continental Army during the American Revolution and what their relationships (or lack there of) tells historians about masculinity during the Revolutionary period.  I am lucky to live in Bethlehem, which is close to New York City and Philadelphia, which has made research much easier!  After I finish graduate school, I hope to become a professor.  This past summer I got married to a fellow Bonaventure graduate -- Bob Taggart, also class of 2010.  

News from 1991 History Grad Amy Sayward

Amy Sayward graduated from St. Bonaventure in 1991 with a B.A. in History.
With the sage counsel of her advisors (especially Drs. Thomas Schaeper and
Joel Horowitz), she pursued her Ph.D. in U.S. Diplomatic History at Ohio
State University, where she graduated in 1998. She has worked for the
History Department at Middle Tennessee State University since then, serving
as Chair of the department for four years (2007-2011) and eventually being
promoted to Full Professor.

Dr. Sayward has published two books. The first, based on her dissertation,
was published by Kent State University Press in 2006 and entitled The Birth
of Development: How the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization,
and the World Health Organization Changed the World, 1945-1965. It was the
subject of a roundtable on development in the newsletter of the Society of
Historians of American Foreign Relations and led to her being named the
Sherman Emerging Scholar in International Affairs from the University of
North Carolina, Wilmington. Her second book was co-edited with Professor
Margaret Vandiver and was entitled Tennessee's New Abolitionists: The Fight
to End the Death Penalty in the Volunteer State. Published in 2010 by the
University of Tennessee Press, it married her academic endeavors with her
current activism.

Dr. Sayward continues to reflect on how well her education at St.
Bonaventure prepared her for a career. She presented her first academic
papers at the regional Phi Alpha Theta conference in Western New York, and
this year she is hosting the Phi Alpha Theta regional conference in
Tennessee for the second time at Middle Tennessee State University. And she
seeks to impart the key research and historical ideas that she learned in
her classes then to the classes that she teaches today. Someday she hopes
to match Dr. Schaeper's book production and Dr. Horowitz's enthusiasm in the

Friday, November 18, 2011



My name is Edward K. Eckert and for many years I was a member of the history department at St. Bonaventure University, first as a major (1961-1965) and then as a faculty member (1971-2005). Technically I still am a faculty member carrying the lifetime title of professor emeritus. The best part of being professor emeritus is that I do not have to do anything. No more classes to teach, meetings to attend, or courses to prepare; the bad side, of course, is no more salary. I am a retired member of the department, but keep in touch by maintaining a St. Bonaventure University email address (, following the history department’s newsletter and blog, and, whenever possible, watching the Bonnies play basketball.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

SBU History Newsletter no. 4 (Year 17)

YEAR 17, NO. 4 16 nOVEMBER 2011
Bona Students in the Rathskeller, 1961
Calling All Alumni
Numerous History grads receive this newsletter. We in the department can use your help. We'd like to update a display case in the department. This case features pictures of some of our History majors from the past along with a paragraph or so summarizing highlights of each person's life and career since graduation. The purpose of the display case is to show current students the rich variety of fields that History majors enter. If you have contributed a picture and personal information in the past, please consider emailing to me a new picture and updated information. And if you have never contributed anything, now is the time to do so.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Dr. Horowitz in front of the Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Goodbye Buenos Aires (Dr. Joel Horowitz)

I left Buenos Aires on October 31 and arrived the following day in Buffalo. What struck me immediately besides the change in weather—going from spring to fall—and a fall that is about as cold as winter in Buenos Aires, was the quiet. There is no noise on my street or, when there is, it is sporadic. Buenos Aires is like all big cities noisy, but, even more than most, there is constant noise and bustle. The only time my street seemed quiet was in the early morning hours. There is also, with the exception of the early morning, seemingly always lots of people going somewhere or doing something, even if it is drinking coffee in a café. I would guess that in a three block radius of the apartment where I stayed there were almost as many cafes as in all of western New York. It was an area with a very large number. (I could see five cafes from my balcony). Nevertheless it says something about life in Buenos Aires. People’s social life is often in public places and eating and drinking well is important. It is also a society in which, because of a history of numerous periods of high inflation, believes that money might as well be spent.

What could have been an exciting event, the presidential elections of Sunday October 23, turned out to be a non-event. Elections are always held on Sundays and voting is a requirement. The weeks before the election there was no real excitement. There were ads on television but not a lot of posters or people handing out fliers. I only received two fliers during my time there. (Not because I look any different than Argentines—I was asked countless times for directions. If I knew the answer, people always looked embarrassed to be getting directions from a foreigner but until I spoke and my accent was displayed I looked and dressed no differently than many others.) The reason for the lack of interest was that everyone was sure that Cristina Fernández de Kirchner would easily win reelection. They were correct. While she won with roughly 54 percent of the vote, she had a 36 percent margin over her closest opponent. The opposition was deeply split and there were many candidates. None of the opposition candidates articulated very clear positions.

Monday, October 31, 2011

History Newsletter No. 3

YEAR  17,  NO.  3    26  oCTOBER  2011

The Campus Floods of 1942 and 1972

          Several readers were curious about the photo of the pig rescue that appeared in the previous newsletter, and so I thought I might publish another view of that event.  Students and staff created a makeshift barge to rescue the campus pigs and take them to higher ground.  For the first two-thirds of our institution's history, much of the meat, milk, and other foods that St. Bonaventure students consumed was grown right on campus.  The old corn fields and pastures are now sports fields.  The photo on the right shows flood waters nearly reaching Hopkins Hall in 1972.  Several buildings on campus received serious damage in that flood. 

One of the most important things students can do to prepare for careers is to have internship experiences.  Serving as an intern gives one an intimate look at what life in various careers might actually be like, and it also can provide valuable networking contacts with professionals in "the real world."  Our Career and Professional Readiness Center will host an Internship Summit in the Quick Center for the Arts on Thursday, 3 November, from 4:00 to 6:30.  This event is for students in all majors.  There will be a variety of guest speakers, refreshments, and even a short fashion show on how to dress for success.  For more information, email  There will be a prize drawing for all students who pre-register by 28 October.

While on the topic of internships, let me remind students that the History Department offers internships every semester.  Contact Dr. Phillip G. Payne for details.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Writing about Thich Nhat Hanh (Dr. Elise DeVido)

I have been invited to write a chapter on the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh for the two-volume Religious Leadership: A Reference Handbook, part of the Sage Publications Reference Series on Leadership. Thich Nhat Hanh is an internationally-known Zen monk, teacher, and author of many books on Buddhism. During the 1960s in Vietnam, he coined the term "Engaged Buddhism" which involved Buddhists in social work and war relief, and he negotiated for peace in both the U.S. and in Paris. He and Thomas Merton were close friends. Thich Nhat Hanh is now in his late 80s. I have met him twice in Vietnam and once in Hong Kong during his many lecture tours.

Special Topics

As scholars we all have areas that we bore into as we write books and articles. A lot of times this passion shows up in the classroom in ways that doesn't show up in the catalog or on mysbu. For example, you won't find a class on scandalous 1920s presidents listed under my name. However, we make room for this in various classes, including the seminars and special topics courses. History 100: First Year Seminar is a place this happens, which Dr. Robbins is currently teaching. The Advanced Reading Courses, History 491 and 492, is another place. This semester, Dr. DeVido is focusing the readings on Religion, Protest, and the Politics of Change. The newest member of the department is adding new courses. Dr. Marinari is teaching a special topics course on immigration and ethnicity. I'm teaming up with Paul Spaeth to teach a special topics course on history and science fiction. To point being, for you students, is to look beyond the catalog and course numbers to see what we're offering. You never know what we might be working on.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Recent Discoveries

Here are some serious and not-so-serious things that I have learned in the past few days.

First, here are some disturbing statistics about recent trends in the United States. Thirty years ago, 10 percent of California's general revenue fund went to higher education and 3 percent to prisons. Today nearly 11 percent goes to prisons and 8 percent higher education.--Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz reports that "The top 1 percent of Americans now take in roughly one-fourth of America's total income every year. In terms of wealth rather than income, . . . the top 1 percent now controls 40 percent of the total. This is new. Twenty-five years ago, the corresponding figures were 12 percent and 33 percent." In other words, the rich are getting richer. Yet some politicians and special interest groups oppose higher taxes for the wealthy--The Pentagon now reports that 75 percent of young Americans, between the ages of 17 and 24, are unable to enlist in the military today because they have failed to graduate from high school, have a criminal record or are physically unfit.

On a lighter note: Everyone has heard Dr. Seuss's story about green eggs and ham. I always thought that he had made up the part about green eggs. But a couple of days ago a neighbor of mine gave me some eggs from his chickens. Two of the eggs are green! It turns out that at least one breed of chickens, the Americana, actually lays them that color.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Further Musings from the Far South (Dr. Joel Horowitz)

Last Thursday, I flew from Buenos Aires to Argentina’s second city, Córdoba, to give a talk at the University of Córdoba, the country’s oldest university. The university dates from the seventeenth century, though most of the university is presently housed on a campus away from the city center. This is unlike its peer in Buenos Aires, where each of the different faculties (schools) have buildings scattered around the city and there is no direct physical contact between them. The newer university buildings in Córdoba are attractive, if somewhat Spartan. They do have a newly rebuilt library with plenty of space to study and use computers and open stacks. The talk went well.

I stayed in the home of the colleague who invited me and her husband who teaches bio-chemistry. It was extraordinarily pleasant. I stayed in a little house on the back of the property, which the husband uses for a study. One day, while I was there, my hosts put on an asado (a traditional Argentine barbeque) for me and some of their friends, and it was wonderful.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

National Women's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony (Dr. Elise DeVido)

On October 1, Alva Cellini (Department of Modern Languages), Kathleen Premo (Business), and myself represented our University at the National Women's Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Seneca Falls, New York, site of the first Women's Rights Convention in 1848. Every two years, inductees are chosen "based on their lasting contribution to society" in all fields. This year's inductees included Billie Holiday, Coretta Scott King, Lilly Ledbetter (lobbyist for equal pay), Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (longest serving female Senator), and Donna E. Shalala (former Secretary of Health and Human Services). On Sunday October 2, we visited the National Women's Hall of Fame Gallery and the Women's Rights National Historical Park, including the newly-refurbished Wesleyan Chapel in which the 1848 Convention was held. The trip took us through the beautiful wine country of Seneca and Keuka Lakes, and on the way home we stopped at a produce stand to buy vegetables and delicious Concord grapes. A welcome break from our usual schedules!

News from the History Club

The History Club held its first meeting on Thursday, September 29, and elected its officers for 2011-12: Diana Phalon, President; Chaz James, VP; Max Schneller, Secretary; and Paul Bremmer, Treasurer. The Club discussed writing of the club's constitution; showing a history video series; organizing fieldtrips to historic sites; fundraising; and undertaking community service. The History Club is open to all students not only history majors. Be sure to join if you are interested!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Balancing Teaching, Research, and Writing (Dr. Karen Robbins)

Hi everyone. Professor Marinari has asked me to contribute to this blog, telling you about my recent experiences professionally. As many of you know, it is one of our goals as your professors to help our disciplines further themselves, and that is generally translated as doing publishing of articles and books in reputable presses. Our department is very active in this area, and I am currently trying to publish a book I’ve been working on for a long time, as well as start a new book length project. Unless one is an established, well-published scholar, it can take time to find a good press to accept one’s work.

Recently, my publishing life seems to be on the upswing. The University of Georgia Press is considering my book. A good press sends one’s manuscript to anonymous, scholarly readers, which they have done. One reader suggested changes, most of which I have made, and the press has now sent it back to her/him for their reaction. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I am turning blue from holding my breath. It does happen that publishers reject a book and then the author needs to try another press.

SBU History Newsletter October 2011

SBU history newsletter
year 17, no. 2 2 October 2011
by Dr. Thomas j. Schaeper


In 1942 flash floods forced St. Bonaventure students and staff to create a makeshift barge in order to rescue the 150 pigs from the barns on campus. Flooding again visited the campus and caused serious damage in 1972. This photo comes from the university's archives and is reprinted in the newly-published book The Good Journey: 150 Years of History at St. Bonaventure University.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Random thoughts on my life here in Buenos Aires (Dr. Joel Horowitz)

Everything takes place much later here. I have two dinner invitations coming up and both start at nine in the evening. I went to a talk the other night, which started at seven in the evening, and then everyone, including me, went home to eat dinner. I have been eating dinner at between 8:30 and 9:00, which is relatively early. How people do it, I am not quite sure, as I got an e-mail this morning from one of my friends at whose house I am going to arrive at 9, dated 5:30 in the morning.
The number of people who have dogs is very large. A great side feature is the dog walkers. These are people who get hired to walk dogs. Sometimes they have about ten dogs of all different sizes and breeds and they seem to get along quite well. The other morning I passed two dog walkers who seemed to be going somewhere together and it was a real sight to see the twenty or so animals peacefully trotting down the sidewalk. The large number of dogs does mean that one does have to watch carefully where one walks, as people are not necessarily good about picking up after their pets.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Greetings from the far South (Dr. Joel Horowitz)

Argentina is a changing country. When I was here in the mid-1970s, the military was not only repressive, killing some 30,000 people, but was decidedly socially conservative as well. Certainly one of its targets was people who were different. Argentine has fairly recently passed a law legalizing gay marriage. One day this week the newspapers had a story about a captain and a coronel who had gotten married (both male). The military spokesman said something about obeying the laws of the land and made it appear to be no big deal and it was not.
One way in which the country has not changed is that it is still a country of book stores. There are numerous small book stores around and this afternoon (Saturday)I went to a giant one which had been converted from a large movie theater with a ceiling mural and boxes etc. It is full of books and had a fair number of CDs. I, of course, spent too much money but money on books is rarely wasted. By the way the music that was being played was the Beatles which added a certain air of incongruity. I do remember the place from when it showed movies and it was magnificent but given the economics of movies it was probably doomed. Most of the old theaters have closed and been replaced by multiplexes in other parts of the city.
One place in which the poverty in the country can be seen is on the formerly elegant shopping street of Florida. It is now mostly a tourist trap and far from elegant, though there are expensive stores. It is a walking street (no cars permitted) where the inhabitants of Buenos Aires used to walk to be seen. Clearly that is no longer the case. The middle of the street is full of venders selling all sorts of trinkets from blankets laid out on the pavement. This is a clear sign of true poverty.
The large number of small stores, while very nice, is also a sign of lack of wealth. For example the large number of places selling fruits and vegetables in my neighborhood has to mean that the profit margin is thin. Yet there is a wonderful sense of pride involved. Today I was in what has become my store (the owner seems already to recognize me but perhaps it is my accent), and I asked for some pears, the son told me that they were not yet ripe and would the day after tomorrow be okay. It was.

History News Letter 14 Sept. 2011


YEAR 17, NO. 1 14 SEPTEMBER 2011


Billboard advertisement for St. Bonaventure’s College, ca 1949.

On behalf of the Department of History, I wish to welcome everyone back to campus for a new academic year. This electronic newsletter is distributed periodically through the semester. It goes to all History majors, students in my classes, various faculty, administrators, alumni, and other friends of the university.

Monday, September 12, 2011

History at the movies (Dr. Karen Robbins)

Last Friday, my husband and I wound up going, unplanned, to see the new movie "Contagion." It is fairly clinical, and shows the audience how science (and society) might respond to a new major epidemic, but there were interesting references back to the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918 as well as smallpox. It serves as a reminder that, no matter how technologically advanced we become, we remain at the mercy of things we cannot see. Still, our only way of fighting these things is through reason - and luck.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Blogging from Argentina (Dr. Joel Horowitz)

I left Olean on Thursday September 1 and arrived the next morning in Buenos Aires after changing planes in Atlanta. All flights to Buenos Aires seem to go over night which is not fun unless you have the rare ability to be able to sleep soundly on airplanes. I lack that ability.
The apartment which I am renting is in a newly fashionable sector of the city which is absolutely bustling. I am living on what the Argentines say is the sixth floor but which we call the seventh (they along with most European countries do not count the ground floor). It is a highly modern apartment. I have internet connection and a microwave etc. Unlike most US cities the ground floors of many buildings have stores—ranging from food stores of many types to all sorts of different stores. One can eat unbelievably well in Argentina as great pasta, fruits, vegetables and meats are easily available. Within a couple of block radius of where I live, there are several small supermarkets (some of which are part of international chains) as well as many individual stores. Most interesting are the self-service stores, as they are called, which are owned by Chinese immigrants and sell everything except fruits and vegetables. Frequently these are sold in the front of the store by Bolivian immigrants and are a separate business. How exactly that works I am not sure.


The fall 2011 semester is underway. Maddalena Marinari is new to the history faculty this semester. Her specialization is Italian-American history and immigration. In addition to our regular course offerings she will be adding new courses in these areas. We're delighted to have her join our community.