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.
History Quiz--Questions from the recent and more distant past, taken from NPR’s “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me”  and from the History Channel.

1. Herman Cain, the former pizza executive and current Republican presidential candidate, has said that even though "I don’t have the facts to back this up," he believed what?
   a) If her were to capture Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, Mr. Geithner would grant him three wishes.
   b) The White House is orchestrating the Occupy Wall Street protests to distract attention from its own record.
   c) Phil Collins is the greatest singer-songwriter ever.
   d) Kittens are the snuggliest.

2. Concerned about the skyrocketing divorce rate, politicians in Mexico City have put forward a proposal to allow what?
   a) Couples bringing disputes about household chores, movie choices, and annoying habits to city courts.
   b) Temporary marriages for as short as two years.

   c) A law barring sociologists from measuring the divorce rate.
   d) Polygamy

3. A British woman, along with her children, recently was convicted of trying to murder her elderly father partly on the basis of what evidence?
   a) She put a sign on her front door: "Out to commit murder. Back in 15 minutes."

   b) She and her family Googled the phrase "Easiest way to kill an old person."
   c) She told the funeral director, "He should be ready by Friday, depending on how fast he can run."

   d) She pretended to be a mugger and said "Hand over your money, Dad."

4. A Florida ice cream shop is getting complaints after an employee, dressed as a vanilla cone, was mistaken for what?

   a) Mitt Romney
   b) a real cone
   c) a Ku Klux Klan member
   d) A hamburger

5. The United States Marine Corps is now offering civilians an officially endorsed what?

   a) Amphibious troop carrier
   b) Perfume
   c) Home tattoo kit
   d) Toy predator drone
6.  Which American general was relieved of his command in Korea in 1951?
   a) Colin Powell
   b) George Patton
   c) Douglas MacArthur
   d) Dwight Eisenhower

7.  Which country was England's enemy in the Hundred Years War?
   a) France
   b) Scotland
   c) Spain
   d) Germany

8. Who was the author of a book of quotations popularly known as The Little Red Book?
   a) Mao Zedong
   b) Friedrich Engels
   c) Joseph Stalin
   d) Muammar Gadaffi

The final two question are simply tests of one's gray matter.

9.  If a farmer has five haystacks in one field and four haystacks in a second field, how many haystacks will he have if he combines them all in a third field?

10.  What was the President's name in 1985?

Scroll down for the answers.

History Faculty
This is the final installment in a series introducing members of the History Department.

Dr. Karen Robbins

Robbins, Tate, Stanleys Machu Pichu 2010.JPG

Dr. Robbins (in black) with her husband Dan (a member of our Philosophy Department)
and Dr. Chris Stanley (of our Theology Department) and his wife Laurel at Machu Picchu

Dr. Robbins specializes in United States history, with special focus on the revolutionary era, women, and constitutional history.  Though she is a longtime director of our Women's Studies Program, at present she is examining masculinity in the period of the American Revolution .  She grew up in the military, as her father was a doctor in the Army Medical Corp.  Because of her father's career, she has lived in many parts of the US and indeed the world. Of her most recent expedition, she reports:  All of this moving has left me with a hunger to see more of the world.  Two summers ago my husband and I traveled with friends to Peru to see Machu Picchu, one of the wonders of the world.  Although I have visited most of Central America, this was my first trip to South America.  It was fascinating.  We got to the old Incan town of Cuzco in time for their summer celebration of the Sun God and saw their recreation of old ceremonies, perhaps made more colorful for us tourists.  They do insist on some purity, however, as the ceremonies are not held in Spanish, but in their old native tongue.  Although we visited other pre-colonial ruins, Machu Picchu was breathtaking.  The engineering is legendary, as their stonework construction still stands for us to study.  Their intelligence was obvious, not only due to the stability of the structures, but because of their harnessing of water and the layout of the village.  A temple to the sun and the moon was built in symbolic circular form, and the highest point caught the rays of the sun at special times of the year for their sacrifices.  Alpacas roam the ruins, and one took a special interest in my husband, which was not requited.  The setting was magnificent, indeed very moving if one takes a quiet moment to merely feel the environment and imagine the past.--Those who know Dr. Robbins realize that she has not traveled much in recent months.  She slipped on ice and broke a leg last winter, and she still has not fully recovered.  She and her husband are avid ballroom dancers, and she hopes that by this coming Christmas she will once again be able to take (slowly) to the dance floor.

Dr. Joel Horowitz


Dr. Horowitz Participating in a Gaucho Parade in Buenos Aires

Dr. Horowitz is our Latin American expert.  His specialty is twentieth-century Argentine history, about which he has published two books and numerous articles.  He is spending most of this semester in Argentina doing research on yet another book.  He is studying civic associations roughly from 1916 to 1943.  One of the major groups he is working on is soccer clubs,  which were important avenues for young men socializing with each other.  Just as we at St. Bonaventure are heading into colder weather, summer is arriving where Dr. Horowitz is right now.   He is traveling to various parts of the country, giving talks,  doing research, meeting old friends, and seeing the sights.   He has provided ample details on his experiences in the History Department blog.  Actually, the picture above is not of Dr. Horowitz, but if he did join some gauchos in a parade this is what he would look like.

History Blog
Everyone is reminded that the History faculty have been posting entries in the new departmental blog.  For musings about serious topics like Argentina or lighter topics like Dr. Seuss's green eggs and ham, check it out.  Go to

Spring Course Offerings
Registration for the spring semester will begin soon.  Students can go online to explore the rich offerings by all departments on campus.  If you have room in your schedule for electives, you should take some time to investigate.  You might be surprised.  In addition to the usual survey classes, the History Department will be offering several courses that are not taught every year.  Therefore if you want to take one of these courses before you graduate, you should sign up for it now.  Here is a partial list of the spring courses:  Modern Latin America (History 308), The World since 1450 (361), Modern Japan (364), Women in East Asia (366), Europe in the Middle Ages (394), The Early National Period of the US (403), United States since 1945 (408), United States Constitutional History (410).

Marathon Man
Congratulations go to Dr. Payne,  who competed in the annual Empire State Marathon in Syracuse on Sunday, 16 October.  He finished the 26+ miles in just a little over four hours.  That beat his time of last year by several minutes.   Like fine wine, he just gets better with age.  Most amazing of all is that he was able to make it in to school the following day, albeit with some pain killers. 

A Sneak Peak at What the History Department Will Look Like on Halloween


Quiz answers.1. b. Mr. Cain, formerly chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza, cheerfully admitted that he didn’t have the facts to back up his accusation, but went ahead with it in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
2. b. At the end of the agreed-upon period, the marriage can be renewed or it will simply end.
3. b. Her family’s computer recorded Google searches for the phrases "easiest way to kill an old person," "10 easy ways to kill someone with no trace," and "dangerous drugs for the elderly."
4. c. Owners of the Ice Cream Family Corner noticed a significant drop in business when their "ice cream cone" mascot, wearing what appeared to be a white sheet over his head, was mistaken for a KKK member.

5. b. The perfume is called Devil Dog and is a "finely crafted fusion of sandalwood, cedar and citric spices."
6.  C
7.  A
8.  A
9.  One.  If he combines them, he will have one large haystack.
10.  Same as it is now--Barack Obama.

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