SBU HISTORY NEWSLETTER
"Griff" –Another Bona Legend
Every day throughout the school year most Bona students pass by a portrait of Griff. But how many of today’s students have any idea who he was? His name was Francis Griffin, but everyone called him "Griff." He is perhaps the only person ever associated with our campus whose portrait is hanging on public display in not just one, but two, locations. The portrait that most people see hangs on a wall in the RC Café. The other one is near the steps leading to the lower level of the library. St. Francis would probably be pleased to know that Griff is honored in two places, for Griff was one of the "little people." He was born in Allegany in 1900 and died in the friary’s infirmary in 1978. From the 1930s to the 1970s he was a member of the campus maintenance staff. He worked on the campus farm, which was located where the McGraw-Jennings field is today. After the farm closed he used a team of horses to pick up trash around campus. He became a beloved fixture. Every spring he said he was preparing the horses for the Kentucky Derby. In his retirement years he continued to come to campus each day. At lunchtime he would sit in the RC Café, and students would compete to get a chair near him. He lived in an old farmhouse across from campus–where the Uni-Mart sits today.
Visit the Rare Books and Manuscripts Wing of the Library
I will be taking a few of my students to the see some of the medieval manuscripts and rare books in our library. Did you know that, among other things, our library owns part of one of the first printed books–a Gutenberg Bible from the 1450s? There will be room for an additional six students. This tour will take place at 4:00 pm on Tuesday, the 17th. The first six students who email me can join our group.
Ordering Library Books
If you know of any history books that you think should be in our library, but aren’t, let me know. Each year the members of the History Department order numerous books for the library. We don’t have enough money to buy every book published–no library does. But if a book is in print and a student thinks we should have it, there is a good chance we will be able to purchase it.
History News Network
History Department Blog
Don’t forget to check out the History Department’s blog: http://bonashistorydept.blogspot.com/ . Among other things, you will be able to find a virtual tour of Ellis Island given by recent Bona History grad Peter Wong, who is now a National Park Ranger stationed there. If any students wish to contribute to the blog, they can email me their material and I will upload it.
Have a good week.