Stories about college campus life during World War II have been somewhat marginalized in history books. Telling the tales of the brutality of war, the heroism and sacrifices of men and women at home as well as abroad, and the war’s impact on global and national policies and economics took precedence. Even in the small collection of histories about military programs on college campuses during this period (e.g., Herge, 1996; Schneider, 1987; Cordozier, 1993), the focus was the military presence on campuses. While these histories are important to our understanding about and knowledge of WWII, they leave behind the long-silenced richness of campus life.
Muhlenberg Narratives from WWII Era is a collaborative, student-centered project that contributes to the democratization and accessibility of the college’s history. The students of Dr. Kathryn Ranieri’s Documentary Research course, working in close collaboration with Trexler Library Archivist Susan Falciani Maldonado, researched primary sources to create short digital documentaries about the cultural and military life on campus during the WWII era.
These short digital documentaries, created by novice documentary students, have been researched and produced under faculty and librarian supervision and with a determination to work ethically and responsibly. While we strongly encourage accuracy, we understand that errors occasionally occur in student work. We apologize for any errors or omissions.
Administration to Ettinger by Nick Brower provides a brief tour of the Administration building fire, started during the night before graduation in spring 1946, and of the rebuilding and renaming of this beloved edifice, now called Ettinger.
Berg Beauty in the 1940s by Thomas Littrell chronicles the tradition of beautiful gardens and majestic trees on campus.
A Time of Uncertainty by Amanda Quinn highlights key attributes of President Levering Tyson’s strength and wisdom during turbulent times.
Alvin “Doggie” Julian by Brandi Vallely recounts the many accomplishments of a beloved coach for many of the sports teams during the 1940s.
The Psychology of Tyson by Matt Solnick honors the intellectual rigor and progressive program of President Tyson’s decision to develop a psychology department in the 1940s.
The Mar Kay Club by Annese Silva provides insight into the lives of married women who wanted to support their husbands’ academic work and provide a nurturing community for their own children.
Dining Life at Muhlenberg by Hayley Steckler is a lively comparison of dining options in the 1940s with the array of choices the campus has to offer today.
Sharing the Stage by Rebecca Phillps is a comparison of President Roosevelt’s social and cultural Good Neighbor Policy involving the United State’s Latin American neighbors with a more localized Good Neighbor Policy between Muhlenberg and Cedar Crest College.
Let’s Get Lit by Emmia Newman chronicles the smoking culture on Muhlenberg College campus during the WW II years and illustrates the connections of American consumer culture, cigarettes and patriotism.
Swing and Jive by Jason Silberman offers a window into the music culture on Muhlenberg College in the early 1940s. From college newspaper columnist Wilmer Cressman writing about swing and jive dancing to events that included big band names like Tommy Dorsey and Glen Miller, music was a huge part of Muhlenberg culture.