Hammermill Paper publication now preserved forever

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By Steve Orbanek
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend

The name “Behrend” was well known in the Erie region long before Penn State Behrend ever existed.

Hammermill Paper Company, one of the region’s largest employers for nearly a century, was owned by Moritz Behrend and his three sons, Ernst, Otto, and Bernard. Thousands of people worked for Hammermill from 1898 until 1984 when the company was purchased by International Paper Company.

To communicate with its employees, Hammermill published a newsletter, The Hammermill Bond, which is now digitized and archived as part of the Hammermill Paper Company Collection at the John M. Lilley Library at Penn State Behrend.

“It preserves it for eternity,” says Jane Ingold, reference librarian. “It’s also a big time-saver for us now.”

In the past, Ingold handled requests for old newsletters. Now, family members of former Hammermill employees can access them on their own. The newsletter is available to anyone; you do not have to be a Penn State user.

The Hammermill Bond was first published in 1917, and it continued through the 1960s. The only break in publication came during the Great Depression.

A step above traditional company newsletters, the publication included interesting feature stories, colorful covers, and rich photography. It was much more reminiscent of a modern-day magazine than a newsletter.

“They did some really cool things,” Ingold says. “In an early issue, Mr. Behrend wrote a letter to his employees, and they published it in Polish, Russian, German, English, and other languages just to make sure that he accounted for the different nationalities of his workers.”

The Lilley Library currently has a display commemorating The Hammermill Bond. Various issues are featured, including the issue that was printed following the death of Ernst Behrend in 1940. The display will remain at the Lilley Library through Monday, November 24.

To access the digital archives of The Hammermill Bond, click here.

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Women in History Month: Meet Jane Ingold

By Steve Orbanek
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend

In recognition of Women’s History Month, we’d like to introduce you to just a few of the dynamic women in Penn State Behrend’s history.  Our college has a rich history of leadership and involvement by strong, forward thinking, and generous women. Each Monday in March, we’ll highlight a woman who has made, or is currently making, her mark on the college.

Today, we’d like you to meet Jane Ingold, a reference librarian in the John M. Lilley Library.

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It’s not believed that any member of the Behrend family still lives in the Erie area, but Mary Behrend’s grandsons might beg to differ.

“The grandsons (Dick and Bill Sayre) have told me I’m an adopted Behrend,” Penn State Behrend reference librarian Jane Ingold said.

Given Ingold’s knowledge of the Behrend family history, it’s an appropriate remark.

Since 1999, she has worked as a librarian at the John M. Lilley Library. On a typical day, Ingold might be helping a student with a research project or reorganizing library materials, but there’s a good chance that she’ll be working in the archives, located on the bottom floor of the library.

The archives at Penn State Behrend are comprised of three permanent collections: the Behrend Family Collection, the Hammermill Paper Company Collection, and the Penn State Behrend Collection. Since 2006, Ingold has worked to organize and categorize the collections, and she’s become something of an expert when it comes to Behrend history.

Ingold has a great knowledge for every detail surrounding Behrend’s history, dating back to when Mary Behrend donated her family’s Glenhill Farm estate to Penn State in 1948.

Through the years, Ingold has received countless relics and souvenirs that somehow tie into the Behrend family, the college, or the Hammermill Paper Company, the company owned by Mary Behrend’s husband Ernst as well as his brothers, Otto and Bernard, and their father, Moritz.

Ingold has made a meticulous effort to carefully keep track of everything she’s found or been given since she first came to Behrend. She’s viewed as the historical expert on campus, and the archives even earned the Local History Award in July 2011 from the Erie County Historical Society.

Ingold said she has seen plenty of interesting artifacts in the archives, but there’s one particular item that stands out above the rest.

“It’s the letters that Mrs. Behrend wrote to her son Warren right before he died in a car accident in 1929.” Ingold said. “It made me cry.”

Because of her knowledge, Ingold has become a great resource, both to students and former Hammermill employees. Many of the Hammermill retirees recognize the importance of the archives, and they help to contribute and spread the word.

This is especially true of Harry Hahn, a 104-year-old Hammermill retiree. Hahn communicates frequently with Ingold, and he’s always doing what he can to help grow the archives.

“He’s one of the joys of my life,” Ingold said.

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In a newspaper story discussing his impending open-heart surgery at age 101, Hahn even encouraged former employees to donate materials to the archives.

For all the work that Ingold does with the archives, her main passion remains the Penn State Behrend students.

“My favorite part of the job is helping students. It’s like a treasure hunt when you’re looking for something for someone, and they’re always so grateful,” Ingold said.

This was true a few years back when a student came to Ingold in the eleventh hour for help with a program on Behrend’s history.  Ben Lane, the former director of admissions and author of Behrend Remembered, had been scheduled to make a presentation on Behrend’s history, but he had to cancel. Ingold quickly gathered up all the information she could and stepped in to replace Lane.

“It tickled me,” Ingold said. “It made me feel very helpful.”

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In the future, Ingold said she would like to possibly update Lane’s book.

Considering her wealth of knowledge, that seems like a realistic goal.

About Jane Ingold

Birthplace: Cranesville, Pa.

Education: B.A. in English from Gannon University, M.S. in library and information science from the University of Texas at Austin

Family/pets: “I spend a lot of time being what Elizabeth Gilbert terms a “sparent” or spare parent to my nieces and their children. I have a brown tabby, Tye, who was adopted from a local shelter.”

Favorite thing about Behrend: “The resources we have to help students are great. We have access to almost anything in the world that a student would need.”

Advice for today’s students: “Having a librarian in your corner can make a big difference in your academic career. Befriend one.”

Favorite hobbies: “Reading (now there’s a surprise), organizing anything from papers to events, genealogy.”

Last book read:  Eleven Rings by Phil Jackson

Three books that everyone should read: The Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, and Getting Things Done by David Allen

Why is it important that we preserve history?:  “This series that you and your colleagues are writing on Women of Behrend wouldn’t be possible if we hadn’t chosen to preserve our history.”

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Women in History Month: Meet Mary Behrend

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’d like to introduce you to some interesting women in Penn State Behrend’s history.  Our college has a rich history filled with strong, intelligent, and generous women, from Mary Behrend, who donated her Glenhill estate to establish the campus, to Dorothy Holmstrom, the first student (and an engineering student, at that) to enroll in 1948. Each Monday in March, we’ll highlight a woman who has made, or is currently making, her mark on the college.

Today, we’d like you to meet Mary Behrend, the “mother” of Penn State Behrend.

 
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The butterfly effect and Penn State Behrend

Most of us are familiar with the butterfly effect, the phenomenon whereby a small change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere, but do you ever think about how it comes into play in your own life?

Case in point: Were it not for the tragic and untimely death of Ernst and Mary Behrend’s 20-year-old son, Warren, who died in a car accident in December 1929, Penn State Behrend would probably not exist and tens of thousands of people would not have earned degrees and gone on to change, improve, and enhance the world around them.

Warren died a hero. He and a friend were headed south on Christmas break when a bus full of school children cut in front of them in Pleasant Hill, North Carolina. Warren swerved off the road to avoid a collision. He was killed instantly. His passenger lived and no one on the bus was injured.

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Warren Behrend (source: Behrend Remembered)

Had Warren survived, it’s unlikely his mother would have donated his family’s country estate – Glenhill farmhouse — and the 400 acres surrounding it to Penn State.

In his book Behrend Remembered, author Benjamin Lane, associate professor of English and dean of Student Affairs emeritus, explains, “With Ernst Behrend’s death in 1940 a decade came to an end in which events had conspired to extinguish the legacy of his family name. His only son had died in 1929. One of his brothers had committed suicide a few years later, and the other had no children.”

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Ernst Behrend

It would seem that the Behrend name would be extinguished, but in the spring of 1948 Mary encountered two men from Penn State who had come to Erie to search for a place to establish an extension campus.

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Glenhill Farmhouse

A lasting legacy

With her daughter Harriet grown and married and her husband and son deceased, Mary had been thinking that it may be time to sell the farm. On a stop by Glenhill on her way back from a trip to California, Mary noticed two men walking near the swimming pool. Ever the gracious host, she went out to greet the men. She gave them a tour of the farm and was happy to learn that they were interested in acquiring the property to establish a center for higher education.

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Harriet Behrend and her beloved dog, Bruno

A few days later, after discussing it with her daughter, Harriet, Mary decided to donate the property to the college, saying “I think this is something that would be a wonderful memorial to Father—something he almost could have planned himself. I think I should give it all to the college.”

And, in that gift, the Behrend name will live on forever.

Dedication of Behrend Center, October, 1948

Dedication in 1948

At the dedication of what was then known as the Behrend Center on October 30, 1948, (photo above) Mary said “Looking back over the years, I know I was able to make two important and very right decisions. The first was in 1907 when I consented to marry Ernst Behrend. The second decision…was to make this outright gift to the Pennsylvania State College of Glenhill Farm as a memorial to my husband.”

It’s a fitting tribute to Ernst Behrend who, along with his father and brothers, Bernard and Otto, founded Hammermill Paper Company, an innovative and respected leader in the paper industry for nearly 100 years, in Erie.
According to Behrend Remembered, for many years Mary visited the college annually to meet with administrators and board members as well as students. She took pleasure in chatting with students individually and took genuine interest in them.

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As the school grew, it became impossible for Mary to speak with each and every student, but she tried to meet as many as she could before addressing a mass audience, which it was said she did with true affection, like any proud mother would.

About Mary (Brownell) Behrend 1879-1976

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Family: Husband, Ernst (1869-1940); son, Warren (1909-1929); daughter, Harriet (1911-1986)

Nickname: Molly

Hobbies: Playing the harp, painting, horseback riding, gardening, and throwing dinner parties.
Well-traveled campus: Mary and Ernst loved world travel and would often bring back a tree as a sort of living souvenir. Their journeys are the reason that Penn State Behrend has a unique collection of exotic trees and is a recognized member of the American Public Gardens Association.

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Monument to Warren: The Behrends erected a monument by the side of  the highway in North Carolina to mark the spot where their son had died. Years later, when the state decided to widen the road, the monument was moved to Erie. It now stands before the entrance to the Behrend chapel in Wintergreen Gorge Cemetery.

Hanging of the Greens: Each December following Ernst Behrend’s death in 1940, Mary would have a wreath of Christmas greens cut and placed on the door of the Behrend chapel in Wintergreen Gorge Cemetery. In 1948, T. Reed Ferguson, administrative head of the new Behrend Center, decided to continue this practice as a sign of thankfulness and respect to the Behrend family. Every year since then, a brief informal service led by Behrend administrators and students has been held in the chapel. It’s the college’s oldest tradition.

A Memorial for Mary

After attending the Hanging of the Greens ceremony in 2012, a group of student leaders led a campaign to create a memorial on campus befitting Mary Behrend.

“A bunch of us got together and brainstormed ideas” said D.J. King, a senior Marketing major. “We wanted to do something prominent and eventually settled on the idea of a monument.”

The memorial—to be located next to the Studio Theatre, across from Glenhill Farmhouse—includes a monument in a plaza of engraved pavers. At least 500 pavers must be sold to begin construction. Learn how you can buy a paver and leave a permanent mark on campus here.

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Story behind the Hanging of the Greens (the college’s oldest tradition)

Hanging the Greens

By Robb Frederick
Public Information Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

In December 1948 – just two months after the dedication of what was then called the Behrend Center – T. Reed Ferguson, the administrator of the new campus, placed a wreath on the doors of a small chapel in Wintergreen Gorge Cemetery.

That was a favor to Mary Behrend, who had donated her family’s Erie farm property to Penn State. She had moved to Connecticut and was unable to visit the chapel, as she had in years past. She asked Ferguson to hang the wreath in honor of her husband and son, who were interred inside.

Every year since, a small group of students, faculty members, staff and alumni has returned to the chapel. Holding candles, they sing Christmas carols and give thanks to the family that made Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, possible.

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This year’s program will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6. Shuttle service will be offered from the Reed Union Building.

“It’s a very different feeling, when you gather in there,” said Ken Miller, senior director for campus planning and student affairs. “You’re singing Christmas carols. Everybody’s holding a candle. It’s special.”

Singing

The program honors Ernst and Mary Behrend, whose 400-acre farm property is now a four-year college with 4,350 students. It also pays tribute to their son Warren, who died on Dec. 19, 1929, while driving to South Carolina for a family holiday. He had swerved to avoid a school bus, which a 16-year-old student was driving.

No one on the bus was hurt.

Warren’s death devastated the Behrends. “They say Ernst never got over it,” Miller said.

Mary Behrend spent less time at the farm, choosing instead to live at the family’s home in Connecticut. In the spring of 1948, while returning from a cross-country trip, she stopped at the property. From a window, she noticed two men walking. She went out to talk and learned they were scouting land for a new Penn State campus. Within six months, they would have it.

Entering the chapel