Time capsule discovery
Documents from 1940s and 1960s found in the wall of the Little Bob
1:51 p.m., Sept. 7, 2012--Mementos from the past were found in a time capsule in a wall of the University of Delaware’s Carpenter Sports Building, commonly called “the Little Bob,” on Monday, Aug. 27.
“The capsule and its contents are in pretty good condition, for being in a wall,” Lisa Gensel, coordinator of University Archives and Records Management, said. “In the five years I have been at the University of Delaware, this is the third time capsule found.” For a detailed list of what was found in the time capsule, click here.
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A backhoe operator discovered the box during the ongoing renovations to the building. Gensel documented the find for the University Archives. “The copper and lead box was nicked badly, but the documents look good, considering.”
Jake Olkkola, associate athletic director, had the privilege of opening the container. “Documents from two eras were preserved inside,” he said. University materials from 1941 and 1967 had been stored in the time capsule.
A brochure from a Delaware-West Chester football game on Sept. 27, 1941, was particularly interesting. “It’s funny, because that was the first football game UD played against West Chester and this year was the last,” Olkkola said. Back in the 1940s, the brochure sold for 15 cents and other sports programs were 10 cents.
Edgar Johnson, the former athletic director who retired in 2009 after a 25-year tenure, was listed as a grad student on a late 1960s document that listed members of the athletics administration. And there were more intriguing “blasts from the past” including a University of Delaware catalogue that detailed the University’s history from 1743-1940. Historically, UD’s name changed multiple times. In 1834 it was known as NewArk College -- later Delaware College -- and it was not until 1921 that the University of Delaware became the institution’s name.
The capsule was originally placed in the building during construction in 1941, with the facility opening in 1942. In the 1960s, during renovations, when the curve to the entrance was added, more items were added to the capsule and replaced in the wall.
“We would like to create a poster of the contents, and put the box on display in the Little Bob,” Olkkola said, “The contents will be placed in a new time capsule with stuff from 2012 and put back into the wall.”
Olkkola is collaborating with the Facilities department to design a new, sturdier, box. “We are still deciding what to add to it from 2012,” he said. It will be another 6-8 months before the time capsule is replaced in the wall.
Article by Sarah E. Meadows
Photos by Lane McLaughlin