From Woody's Couch

Our Playbook on OSU History

Author: Olivia Wood (page 1 of 2)

Happy Thanksgiving from the Archives

Written and assembled by Olivia Wood

Happy Thanksgiving!  To celebrate the most delicious time of the year, we’ve decided to post some pictures commemorating different types of feasts here at Ohio State ranging from the late 19th century up until the 21st century.  Enjoy!


A Food and Nutrition class in Hayes Hall preparing a meal, circa 1900.


A Food and Nutrition course holding a meal, 1950.


An Ohio State home economics class preparing a meal, 1895.


Two students sharing dessert, circa 1930.


A group of students sharing a snack of celery, crackers, and cigarettes…yum? Circa 1940.


Students and chefs with a dessert spread of cake and cookies, 1942.


Student-employee appreciation event hosted in the Oval with a feast of pizza and cake, 2000.


The International Party hosted by the Mother’s Club, 1954.


Two students toasting to each other, circa 1930.


An ox roast held at Ohio State, circa May 1916. An ox roast really isn’t actually roasted ox–it’s roast beef!

Sunny Days: Forecast cloudy when student humor magazine Sundial found to be not-so funny


Written by Olivia Wood

Sundial cover of the “Freshman
Uplift Issue,” September 1944.

On the morning of October 5, 1944, a new issue of the Sundial hit the Ohio State newsstands.  For twenty cents, anyone could purchase the “Freshman Uplift Issue” of the student-run humor magazine.  The cover, a cartoon, depicted a freshman girl upset at her companion for staring at another woman; the sidebar read “this issue filthy with fun.”  The magazine was riddled with sexual innuendos, double entendres, and risqué pictures of scantily clad women, while the centerfold included a detailed article that read: “FRESHMEN: HAVE FUN IN BED; Some Pertinent Notes on Sleeping with Strangers.”  By the end of the day, University President Howard Landis Bevis ordered all copies of the “Sunny” turned in to his office, declaring it “the filthiest issue” produced.

The September 1944 issue is perhaps one of the most controversial of the Sundial to date, but it wasn’t the magazine’s first run-in with University administrators that school year.  Earlier in the year, the March issue of the Sundial faced accusations of printing nude photographs and obscene jokes.  Bevis, who had previously warned the Sundial to clean up its crude content, addressed Professor James E. Pollard of the School of Journalism—through which the magazine was published—about his discontent with the magazine’s false promises of improved content on March 31, 1944: “The result is always the same—a ‘clean up’ for an issue or two, jocosely referred to in the improved editions, then further descent to the depths.”

“The Killing of Tom Dewey or the
Rise of Honest John” in the September 1944
issue of the Sundial.

Concerned about the University’s image, Bevis called for an investigation of the Sundial under the Committee on Student Publications.  The Sundial faced repercussions as a result of the March issue, as the committee provided strict guidelines for the magazine which included “warn[ing] the Sundial staff to improve the quality of the remaining issues this spring of 1944” or face further problems with the University.  The committee also demanded the appointment of a censorship board that promised to “carry out the strict standards outlined in our discussions” by heavily editing the magazine’s content, hopefully ridding the repeated inappropriateness of the Sundial.

The satirical piece regarding
University President Howard Bevis,
“Our Beloved President,” in the
September 1944 issue of the Sundial.

However, the magazine proved its inability to clean up its content and finally went too far for Bevis.  Its punishment resulted in Bevis’s suspension of the Sundial indefinitely after dismissing the two newly-appointed student editors and the student business manager.  However, the explicit sexual overtones were probably not the single issue that Bevis found appalling in the October-released issue.  Page six bore the satirical article “The Killing of Tom Dewey or the Rise of Honest John,” which regarded John Bricker, an Ohio State alum who was the Governor of Ohio and Republican nominee for Vice President in 1944.  The same article poked fun at the Alumni Monthly, an Ohio State-sponsored publication read by thousands of alumni, some of whom contributed financially to the University.  A few pages earlier, the issue featured a short soliloquy about Bevis’ supposed lavish lifestyle compared to that of the students at Ohio State, remarking on his out-of-touch and supposed questionable philosophies.

The reaction to Bevis’ disassembly of the Sundial was mixed among the University crowd.  In personal correspondence to the president, some students and parents praised his actions and swift justice.  However, others felt the Sundial did not deserve to be shut down, as seen in some guest editorials published in the student newspaper, The Lantern.  Students made the argument of replacing the staff rather than shutting down the magazine altogether.  One student wrote to The Lantern that “such a magazine is necessary to the campus,” while another wrote “[students] feel that the University was a little too harsh in suddenly discontinuing its publication.”  One student even argued the staff was only catering to the public’s demands, therefore deserved no punishment for their actions.

The controversial “Freshmen: Have Fun In Bed”
spread in the “Freshman Uplift Issue” of
the Sundial, September 1944.

A week after its termination, a petition to begin a new humor magazine launched, then an official request for the new magazine was submitted to the president’s office in February 1945.  President Bevis and Vice President Bland Stradley agreed to the publication, but they required specific guidelines: the magazine must launch two trial issues; the magazine must have an acceptable budget; there must be an editor, art editor, and business manager; a faculty advisor has full authority over the magazine content; and, finally, a new name must be found for the magazine.  A contest was held which allowed the student body to contribute to the new name; students provided the new magazine with 550 name suggestions.  The winner of the contest was Scarlet Fever, which printed its first issue in May 1945.

Another questionable and sexually explicit sketch
in the September 1944 issue of the Sundial.

The name change went over well with many students but did not sit well with alums, most notably previous Sundial contributors like James Thurber and Gardner Rea, both of whom were well-known authors and illustrators.  The two men pushed for the switch back to Sundial, as they both felt it held a stronger place in Ohio State’s heart than Scarlet Fever.  “Frankly,” Rea wrote to Bevis, “I could never see the slightest need for the change in the first place. I could see the need for a complete staff change … but no reason for the change of name. […] Scarlet Fever means nothing to anybody.”  Bevis defended the name change, stating the Sundial’s lifespan was over and Scarlet Fever was the new, better-welcomed humor magazine.

Most students changed their minds about the new magazine just three months after the first issue of Scarlet Fever hit the newsstands.  A large group of petitioners from across campus demanded Scarlet Fever change its name to its predecessor.  This eventually caught fire in the president’s office, as Bevis approved the name change in late 1946.  The Sundial reclaimed its title as Ohio State’s official humor magazine in October 1946, just over the two-year-anniversary of its banishment from the campus.


A Passage to India: Diary documents professor’s contributions to agriculture programs on subcontinent

Written by Christina Holmes

In September 1955, a team of four faculty members from The Ohio State University’s College of Agriculture travelled to India. The purpose of their trip was to aid in establishing and maintaining an agricultural education system in remote areas. As a joint venture between the university and the International Cooperation Administration – now the United States Agency for International Development – the Ohio State team’s objective was to assist in the establishment of agricultural universities in the states and territories of Punjab, Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh, and to provide them with the capacity to plan and administer statewide programs in agricultural teaching, research, and extension education.[1] The team from Ohio State included Prof. Thomas Sutton, assistant dean of the College of Agriculture; Prof. Everett L. Dakan, the Department of Poultry Husbandry; Prof. Charles L. Blackman, Department of Dairy Science; and Prof. Jacob B. Schmidt, Department of Rural Sociology.[2] The team was based out of the Government College of Agriculture in Ludhiana, Punjab.

Chandigarh school faculty
viewing a corn field, 1956

Professor Schmidt recorded his experience in India between April 1956 and August 1957 in a series of diaries that his family recently donated to the University Archives. In addition to Prof. Schmidt’s diaries, also acquired (was) is the diary of his wife, Lorene Schmidt, dated between September 1955 and January 1956. Combined, the three diaries provide valuable insight on the trials and tribulations of the agricultural program, as well a peek into the inner thoughts of Prof. and Mrs. Schmidt. Mrs. Schmidt’s diary also includes detailed accounts on the couple’s travels on their way to India.

Professor Schmidt and his wife, Lorene, 1957

Professor and Mrs. Schmidt left Ohio on September 22, 1955, and made numerous stops along the way that included brief stays in New York, London, Paris, and Rome before arriving in Bombay on October 6. Mrs. Schmidt’s diary includes complaints regarding missing hotel reservations, reviews for superior and inadequate restaurant fare, weather reports, and details of their tourist excursions. It becomes evident at one point that Mrs. Schmidt had become tiresome of sightseeing.  On October 15, 1955, she wrote, “Took 2 taxis over to TCM – from there went on a tour of 7 cities in and around New Delhi & Old D. A lot of ruins. Have seen so many am getting tired of it.” Mrs. Schmidt also never failed to include even the most insignificant of details. For example, on October 5, 1955, she wrote that a small box of Tide detergent cost $1.00 in Rome and that she did not purchase it.

An exhibit for insect control, 1956

Professor Schmidt’s diaries, however, tell a different story than that of his wife’s. Although he was also meticulous with his inclusion of miniscule details – such as whom he received letters from on a particular day, or what he had for each meal – it becomes clear that he felt as though he was fighting an uphill battle when it came to his objective in India: “After all these less than 2 years in India cannot be counted too long as measured by a life time. Yet, there is a hauntingly empty feeling that I have not nearly achieved fulfillment of mission in India. Only sporadically have I felt that my efforts have been productive and fruitful.” Faced with unfamiliar roadblocks, such as religious and cultural differences, lack of supplies, government involvement, and student attendance (or lack thereof), Schmidt’s hands were often tied and his frustrations were frequently expressed through his writing.  On July 2, 1957, 36 days prior to his departure from India, he wrote, “More than halfway through another year. This time in India has not added an unalloyed richness to a productive life. In fact, the frustrations and inconveniences, if not hardships (for an older person) have more often than not been the center of thinking. This is bad, but it is true.”

Chandigarh school faculty
in a corn hybrid field, 1956

Although Professor Schmidt only spent two years in India, the joint project between The Ohio State University and USAID continued long after his departure. In October 1961 the local government in the state of Punjab passed legislation to establish the Punjab Agricultural University, with assistance from OSU team members.[3]  Professor Schmidt may have felt that his time spent in India was fruitless, but it paved the way for a series of comprehensive improvements in the years that followed in the Punjab state. By 1964, the end of the initial nine-year regional contract, Ohio State team members helped to develop new university courses and youth programs, introduced new equipment and teaching methods, provided advanced training for 102 Indians in the U.S., and helped develop agricultural curricula, including a Master’s degree program in Farm Management at Punjab Agricultural University.[4]

Agriculture Extension Sign
at the OSU Office in India, 1957

In his last diary entry on December 31, 1957, Professor Schmidt wrote, “Of mother it was said it is good to be great, but it is greater to be good. So may it be said of me.” Although he left India without feeling any sense of great accomplishment, it was his consistent effort, dedication, and time spent attempting to enrich the lives of others that established Professor Schmidt’s true goodness. Professor Schmidt passed away in April 1965, and therefore never knew the totality of the extensive agricultural advances in India he helped pioneer. However, may it be said that his time spent in India was not as wasteful as he believed, but rather contributed to the overall success of the agricultural program in which he partook.

[1] AID-University Rural Development Contracts: 1951-1966 (Urbana, Illinois), June 1968; 59.

[2] “India’s Agriculture Gets Help,” Ohio State Lantern (Columbus, Ohio), October 10, 1956.

[3] Terminal Report: USAID Contract /Nesa-14. November 1, 1964-June 30, 1973; 15.

[4] Terminal Report: USAID Contract /Nesa-14. November 1, 1964-June 30, 1973; 18-19

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