1966 UD Town & Gown Series: Fiesta Mexicana


As part of the University of Detroit Town and Gown Celebrity Series, a program “Fiesta Mexicana”, a company of 30 of Mexico’s top singers, dancers, and musicians gave a performance at the Memorial building (now Calihan Hall). The company had performed all over the world including London, Milan, Paris, Berlin, and Tokoyo. The performance covered Mexican culture from the pre-Hispanic Aztec and Mayan civilizations to modern times through folk and popular dances and customs.



BEAUTIES FROM A BEAUTIFUL LAND, Melina Oritz, Princess Teo Xocitl, Maria Luisa Ortiz and Antonieta Casas performed in “Fiesta Mexicana”


Fiesta Mexicana program, October 30, 1966














Scene from Dance to the God of Music. Background is the House of Idols in Mexico City, reproductions of temple ruins of Yucatan.

















Marimba artist Mario Salguero


Charro Valentino, a Mexican gentleman horseman who is expert with the ropes, also a man of rank would wear similar attire on formal occasions.


“Deer Dance”, Mario Dominguez: Mayan warriors emerge from the forest on a deer hunt. The new young deer chief and his mate are slain by the warriors.


















Jose Rodriguez and the Rio Blanco Singers


Banned Books Week: The Freedom to Choose or Express an Opinion


While this may be a little off the premise of this blog, it can be argued that it will be about “Special Collections”.

For years the American Library Association have published a list of books that have been challenged and/or banned that range from Ulysses, by James Joyce, burned in U.S. (1918), Ireland (1922), Canada (1922), England (1923) and banned in England (1929) to  And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell in 2014 because it is anti-family, has political and religious viewpoints, unsuitable for age group and “promotes the homosexual agenda”.banbook2

Yes, even the Captain Underpants series can top the list of “Most Frequently Challenged”. How much harm can a story do with character names like Captain Underpants fighting against the evil Dr. Diaper who gets defeated by some fake doggy doo-doo!

There are the more adult titles with serious subjects that have come under fire for being offensive or disagreeable. They include such classics as: The Great Gatsby, The Grapes of Wrath, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Color Purple, 1984, Of Mice and Men, Gone with the Wind, For Whom the Bell Tolls, Slaughterhouse-Five, Lord of the Rings, A Clockwork Orange and many, many more. A listing is available at the American Library Association page on Banned Books Week.

There was a recent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education titled, For Our Free Speech, We Have Censors to Thank. It is about Anthony Comstock, a U.S. postal inspector and secretary and a special agent of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, an organization empowered by state statute to supervise the morality of the public (1873-1915). In his effort to ban or seize material he considered indecent and obscene, he had a number of laws passed and incarcerated thousands of citizens. Public opinion, however, created a whole different  reaction to what was objectionable. If anything, if it was something that Mr. Comstock wanted censored, promoters and publishers loved it and even hoped it would get his attention because they would see in increase in sales! Talk about unintended consequences!

banbook6 banbook3 banbook4 banbook5












Books have been around for hundreds of years, but similar campaigns to censor material can be found in other media including art, music, movies, television, video games and even the internet. Wherever there is controversy, someone is going to object to its expression. The question becomes what should be censored, who should be authorized to censor the material and maybe the bigger question is why and are the reasons valid?



Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Broadside Press


Dudley Randall was the poet in residence as well as a librarian at the University of Detroit Mercy. He founded the Broadside Press in 1965 as a venue to publish and promote African American poets and writers. The works of Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Gwendolyn Brooks and many others that were mainly Detroit natives had their works published by Randall’s Broadside Press. Dudley Randall passed away August 5, 2000, but his legacy has continued through the publications of the Broadside Press.

broadside2 broadside3broadside5 broadside4 broadside7


Celebrate Spirit!

spirit1aThe University of Detroit Mercy started a new tradition in 2000 to celebrate the beginning of the new school year. Celebrate Spirit! the official welcoming event for all UDM faculty staff and students, is part of a long tradition dating from the founding of the great European universities in the Middle Ages. The occasion welcomes new members and invites them to commit themselves to UDM’s mission.

As part of the celebration, a mass is held in Calihan Hall followed by a picnic lunch and student organization fair. Morning and afternoon class schedules are revised so everyone can attend.


In the procession into the assembly, banners from each of the colleges are carried in followed by the freshmen in the college. Another set of processional banners carry medallions of major world religions: Star of David (Judaism), the Cross (Christianity), Star and Crescent (Islam), Yin-yang symbol (Confucianism), Dharma Wheel (Buddhism) and the OM (Hinduism). Often with the diversity of the students and staff of the university, these medallions can be carried by a person who follows that faith.


The Celebrate Spirit! event held September 13, 2001 was a very somber occasion with the recent tragedy of 9/11. In front of the library there is a peace pole to commemorate the event.


Celebrate Spirit 2014




Welcome Freshmen-Class of 2019!

Welcome Freshmen!

Welcome to all the new and returning students! The library has lots to offer and not just within the building. Online access to most of the material and reference assistance is available 24/7. Just check the library page: http://research.udmercy.edu

The new students may find the first week a bit overwhelming, but that is normal. In the archives are copies of what Freshmen went through in past years. A lot has changed over the years, but one thing has not-DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP! If you don’t know what to do, chances are you are not the only one and everyone on the library staff can help point you in the right direction.

freshman1 freshman2 Freshman3 freshman4

Alpha Theta Chapter of Alpha Mu Gamma at Mercy College of Detroit

“The name Alpha Mu Gamma is composed of the names of the initial Greek letters found in the phrase “Amphi Mouse Glosson,” meaning “For the Muse of Languages.” Alpha Mu Gamma was established at Los Angeles City College on April 29, 1931, by five members of the foreign language faculty who recognized the need for society to honor achievement in all languages at an early stage in the student’s career. The interest shown by other colleges inspired an almost immediate expansion into a national organization….In 1957 the National President of the Society persuaded President Eisenhower to proclaim National Foreign Language Week.. ” (From Alpha Mu Gamma Initiate brochure)

alpha1 alpha2

On April 2, 1957, the charter members of the Alpha Theta chapter of Alpha Mu Gamma were installed at Mercy College in Detroit.


The charter members initiated:

French: Miss Mary Ellen Favara, Miss Mary Geraldine Green, Mrs. Dorothy Wagner

Italian: Miss Sharon Schumaker

Spanish: Miss Gail  Bowler, Miss Patricia Francis, Miss Therese Gostomski, Miss Bernadine Sherby, Miss Darlene Smith, Miss Carol Verreau

Not sure what the requirements were for the very first group to become a member of the Alpha Theta Chapter, but there is in the file a listing of what potential members needed to do in 1962 to be accepted into Alpha Mu Gamma:

1. Each candidate must memorize:

  • the names and terms of the first officers of Alpha Mu Gamma
  • the Greek alphabet
  • the names, locations, and sponsors of the first ten chapters of Alpha Mu gamma plus that of Alpha Theta chapter
  • the date of writing and the dates of revision of the constitution
  • Article 2 of Alpha Theta’s constitution
  • an excerpt in the language which the  candidate is studying

2. Each candidate must wear a costume on Monday, May 7, 1962, which represents the language she is studying.

3. Each candidate is to wear a ribbon until date of induction. This ribbon will be given one week before induction.

[All the material they were required to memorize, was listed on the same pages listing what they needed to memorize.]

Some of the activities the Mercy College chapter included;

      • Books for Asia drive (in 1970 contributed 925 books, came in third place!)
      • Co-sponsored a Christmas party and open house featuring a multi-lingual sing-along, a pinata, and a feast of ethnic goodies
      • Marked National Language Week by hosting 300 students and teachers from the Metropolitan Detroit area at a Foreign Language Festival. There were awards given in foreign language skills contests while non-contestants viewed films and took part in games.
      • Recorded on tapes a Spanish book to be used by a blind teacher.
      • Brought in guest speakers to give lectures on various topics.

There is nothing in the file dated any later than 1975. I can only guess that a lack of interest and/or perhaps low enrollment in the language classes probably ended the Mercy College chapter.



When the circus came to town to U of D, August 1944

circus1From August 7 to August 20, 1944, the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus used the University of Detroit Stadium for its performances. At the time it was the only facility available in the city of Detroit that could be used.  It was an open air performance since the tragic disaster in Hartford, Connecticut, just a month earlier, had destroyed almost everything when the tent and seats caught fire. According to an article in the Detroit Times, August 8, 1944, “The performers say they like playing in the open, for no matter how hot the sun is, it can’t equal the temperatures high under the canvas.” Since there was no tent to limit the heights the Wallendas could go, their high wire act would operate at 130 feet in the air, twice as high as under the big top.

Since World War II was going on, the circus cooperated with the Treasury Department War Finance Committee to stimulate the sale of war bonds. Only purchasers of war bonds were admitted on the opening day and a special section was set aside on all other days for those who purchased war bonds.

I don’t know if the weather held out for the duration of time the circus was scheduled for all its performances. If the show did not go beyond the “fifth inning” (not sure how circus time is divided), rain checks would be issued.

For the citizens in and around the Detroit area, that summer of ’44 was a time when as Mayor Jeffries put it: “it was a good attraction for Detroiters who are spending their vacations, patriotically, at home.”




Mystery of Ten Pounds of Peanuts


This is another one of those files that does not have enough information to know what is going on! There are pictures and a very brief description of a photo, but no news article to explain anything. There is just a tantalizing bit of a news press release in one photo, but a search through the student newspaper, Varsity News, comes up with nothing. So here is what information is available:

  • “Peanuts project” April, 1963 (label on file folder)



  • From the little bit of the news release: “the red peanut in the midst of the…?….message from the students. so just search…?…you find it) and read away.”



  • Members of the Regency Heights House of the University of Detroit Shiple Residence Hall writing “U of D” on ten pounds of peanuts
  • The students in the picture: (L. to R.) Tom Weisenberger, junior, majoring in accounting; Micky Hellrung, freshman, majoring in mathematics; Dick Hicke, sophomore, majoring in political science; and Bob Douglas, freshman, majoring in accounting

No contact information is available for any of these students if they are still around (its been more than fifty years since this picture was taken!). If anyone knows what this “peanut project” was all about, I would love to hear from you.





Page 1 of 1612345...10...