Putting the Past Online: Widener-PMC AnnualsFebruary 22, 2013
By Brittany Cassidy ’16
Tracking down a photograph from an old Widener or Pennsylvania Military College yearbook no longer requires finding your dusty copy in the attic or visiting campus.
Widener University’s archivists have posted more than a century’s worth of yearbooks online in a digital format that is easily accessible and free to use.
Jill Borin, assistant archivist, said family members and friends often would contact the library asking if they had a yearbook that had a picture or information on their relatives or friends. Now, anyone seeking the information can find online by going to the Wolfgram Memorial Library’s Digital Collections and scrolling down to the yearbook collections.
The process of scanning thousands of pages took a year and a half to complete, Borin said. She added, “Putting the yearbooks online was a satisfying project. There are high quality pictures that can be found online, and those who wish to search will find some impressive resources.”
In addition to alumni, the project makes much information available about Pennsylvania Military College and Widener to historians and current students. The early yearbooks contain humorous comments, nicknames for PMC cadets, and pictures of cadets that students drew themselves. All yearbooks are stored as PDF files so that they remain searchable for those who wish to seek information.
Also searchable in the Digital Collections are all of the issues of the Dome and PMC News, as well as biographies of notable alumni, old photographs and scrapbooks, course catalogs, and a digital version of the award-winning Connections Timeline.
Jan Alexander, university archivist, is excited by the sheer quantity of historical resources the archives has been able to put online, and reports that “increasing numbers of alumni, historians and genealogists are utilizing this information in their research.”
If you happen to find a picture that you would like to have in better quality, or you have more questions about finding information on a family member or friend who attended PMC or Widener, you can contact either Borin or Alexander via e-mail at email@example.com.