Ithaca, NY - We hear their voices and listen intently as they share with us their joys, sorrows and enthusiasm for life at Cornell: “The crowning event of the day was a reception given at Cascadilla Place by Mr. and Mrs. Ezra Cornell.” (Royal Taft, 1869). “Well, I’m a regular bona fide freshman now. Went up and registered this morning. I got 80 on my English exam, German only got 73…. Went down to football practice this afternoon. Got it good and hard.” (W. Forrest Lee, September 23, 1902). First Person Cornell, written by historian and Cornell lecturer Carol Kammen, and published by Cornell University Library, invites us into the daily lives of Cornell students and captures, through their own words, the undergraduate experience.
Kammen includes excerpts from diaries, letters, scrapbooks and other memorabilia from the day Cornell opened in 1868 to the present. The book’s entries are drawn primarily from documents in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library, and that were collected by archivists or donated by students and their families. In Carol’s hand they entertain, cause us to ponder and transport us through time to experience student life in a particular period. Perspectives may change, but students’ interest in writing about their classes, professors, friends and Ithaca’s weather remain a constant over the generations. First Person Cornell takes you on a journey and rekindles your own personal reflections.
Cornell President Hunter Rawlings wrote in the book’s Foreword, “Their four years in Ithaca are a memorable time for Cornell students—a time when they are cut adrift from family and home and thrust into a world of intellectual challenge and college culture…. Their descriptions—of their courses and professors, of their friends and activities, of themselves—are the heart of this engaging book.”
Cornell Library will host a book signing for First Person Cornell during reunion on Friday, June 9, in Olin Library from 11:00 am until noon and from 1:00 pm until 3:00 pm. Books will be available for sale during these times.
Carol Kammen is a senior lecturer at Cornell. She is the Tompkins County Historian and for 2005-06 the Public Historian of the Year, appointed by the New York State Regents. She has lectured and written extensively on New York history, including articles for the New York State Historical Association’s Heritage magazine, History News, the journal of the American Association for State and Local History, and for 30 years she has written a weekly newspaper column in the Ithaca Journal on local history. She has written three local history books, What They Wrote (1978, published by the Cornell Library), The Peopling of Tompkins County: A Social History (1985) and On Doing Local History (1986), which is now in its second revised edition. In addition, she has written Pursuit of Local History (1996) and the Encyclopedia of Local History (2000), which she co-edited with Norma Prendergast. First Person Cornell (2006) is Kammen’s second book on Cornell University; her first, Cornell: Glorious to View, was published in 2003.
Carol Kammen lives with her husband, Michael, a member of the Cornell University faculty, and her cat, Tess of the Storm Country.For more information about the book signing, contact Lynn Brown at (607) 255-4813 or email <email@example.com>.