In celebration of its 150th anniversary, Ohio State is highlighting its vibrant past through an interactive website.
The Carmen Collection is an online archive of stories and experiences of historically underrepresented groups at Ohio State, according to the collection’s website. As part of Ohio State’s sesquicentennial celebration, the collection is one part of various university projects that celebrate its diverse history.
The partners and sponsors of the program range from Women & Philanthropy to the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, according to the website. The collection features stories about women, Africans and African Americans, people with disabilities, Jewish people, military veterans, LGBTQ people, Middle Eastern people, Native Americans, Asian and Asian Pacific people, Latino people and international students.
Tamar Chute, the university archivist and head of archives, said the idea to tell an untold history of Ohio State stemmed from a national conference of archivists.
“Usually history — not just at Ohio State, but in general — is told from more of the administration point of view,” Chute said. “This is a chance to find stories of people that aren’t often talked about and to show their impact on the university.”
Robert Solomon, assistant vice provost of ODI, said Ohio State has come a long way as society has grown, evolved and changed.
“It is really important that Ohio State, in its representation and celebration of its sesquicentennial, be a history that is representative of all the richness that has existed throughout the time of the university,” Solomon said. “It would be a disservice to really only talk about white males in our history.”
Chute said the archival staff used yearbooks, The Lantern’s digitized archives and student organization records.
“The Carmen Collection site is not complete yet, so we keep adding stories,” Chute said. “The goal is to get to 150 by the end of the sesquicentennial spring semester.”
Tyler Osborne, the sesquicentennial archives assistant, put together programming about Ohio State’s 150 years for the public and students. She said that during the spring semester, the University Archives and Sesquicentennial Scholars will lead facilitated discussion and dialogue with student organizations and residents in university housing.
“Everyone has a very specific place in the Ohio State community, and I think it’s really important to make sure that that place and that story is told,” Osborne said. “I just really like preserving these people’s stories and not just stories in the Carmen Collection but preserving all the stories that come to the archives.”
Chute and Osborne said a story about two physically disabled women, Jean Williams and Julie Cochran, stood out to them. According to the Carmen Collection website, people carried the women up the stairs in campus buildings before they were wheelchair accessible.
“Their bravery, their commitment to social justice paved the way for the creation of this office, the creation of the African and African American studies department [and] the creation of a vice provost,” Solomon said. “It created an opportunity for the hiring of more African American faculty.”
Chute said she has the most fun seeing the reactions people have to these untold stories.
“I am hoping that people will see that. They’ll see where we are now, where we’ve been and maybe where we want to go,” Chute said.