Beneath the Stacks

Scroll this

The basement of the Masland Library may not sound like much, but it is a surprising, Little-Mermaid-worthy treasure trove for those who have the privilege of exploring it. It’s home to hundreds of boxes filled with items from the formal and ordinary to the fun and unexpected. The archive and rare collections housed down there are not available to Library patrons, so Cairn has taken the opportunity to show just a sampling of the countless discoveries hidden beneath the stacks.

An old book, a historic hymnal collection, and . . . a Crimson Eagle mascot?

College and university libraries have the unique honor of preserving history in and beyond the institution to which they belong. Some things are collected over time, and others are historic collections that are donated and entrusted to the Library staff. Established over 100 years ago, Cairn has a unique and storied history that can be seen through official letter correspondences and documentation but also through personal items and marketing trinkets. So, in addition to the history with which we have been entrusted, we also have a substantial history of our own.

We hope you enjoy this brief survey of some of the history housed in the Library archives. If a name or place sounds foreign to you, make use of the timeline included below.

The oldest yearbook the Library owns is from 1936. A copy of nearly every yearbook since 1936 is available to read in the “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” Exhibit on the second floor of the Library.

a collection of pins, each one representing a previous name iteration of the institution

a pair of ear muffs and glasses worn by BIOPA Founder W.W. Rugh during his preaching circuit tours in the 1920s

The University has nearly 6,000 records, including the Star Wars soundtrack pictured here.

The University has an impressive hymnal collection, boasting copies as old as 1591!

a Bible printed in Germantown in 1776, when paper was in short supply at the start of the Revolutionary War

There are over 60 boxes of retired athletic uniforms kept in the archives, including this PCB basketball jersey.

an alumni association reunion dinner program from 1935

a Reformation-era Vulgate from 1591 (not 1951, 1591!)

the mascot for the Crimson Eagles, the University’s athletic identity from 1983–2012

a mailbox door from the mailroom in the 18th & Arch building