The Mastery of Language

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If there is one constant throughout the work of Ernest L. Boyer it is his empahsis on the mastery of language.  He stressed it in speeches and featured it prominently in Carnegie Foundation publications like Ready to Learn: A Mandate for the Nation, High School: Secondary Education in America, and College: The Undergraduate Experience.  Whether his work pertained to primary education, secondary education, or college, language was a key element regardless.  Boyer spoke candidly of his own personal joy learning to read while attending Miss Rice’s first grade class.  His earliest introduction of language obviously made a lasting impression and, from an outsider’s perspective, established a sort of lifelong love affair.  Language was the key to not only a quality education, but a quality life.  In the words of Boyer, “…language defines our humanity.”

Combining his leadership in the field of education and his deep personal love of language, Boyer promoted literacy throughout his entire career.  At the 1988 Virginia State Library and Archives Literacy Conference, he reminded the crowd that advocating for literacy went beyond the mechanics of learning to read.  That is merely the surface issue.  But beyond that is comprehension and the ability to make connections.  ”Literacy means the ability to think clearly and creatively, and engage in constructive discourse.  Above all, we need integrity in literacy – an understanding that the use of language is a sacred trust.”  Language is a tool all humans use, all day, every day.  Have you ever considered it a sacred trust? My guess is most of us view it as a common necessity.  Boyer reminds us, though, that it is anything but a necessity.  It is the fount of emotion.  It is the source of connection.  It is the key to life.

Word cloud of Boyer's speech "Today we learn to read."

Read Boyer’s entire speech delivered at the 1988 Virginia State Library and Archives Literacy Conference, “Today we learn to read.”

Family Values

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“There may be differences in lifestyle – some of it by choice, others by necessity.  But for us to somehow draw moral skirts around us and say that we’re holier than someone else because of their family circumstances is a lose-lose situation.  [It] doesn’t make me feel any better, and it certainly doesn’t make you feel any better either.  So I think that’s not the issue.  The issue is that although people’s family circumstances might differ, overwhelmingly we are convinced that we ought to do right by children.  That’s the point that brings us together.” – Ernest L. Boyer, when asked about “family values” during an interview on the Carnegie Foundation publication “Ready to Learn: A Mandate for the Nation”.

*Sometimes you’re watching an interview with Ernest L. Boyer and are struck by a profound statement and need to rewind and pause multiple times to jot it all down, because the words still hold so much meaning today.*

This one time in Kentucky…

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Ernest L. Boyer met triple crown winner, Secretariat.  Who’s watching the Kentucky Derby today?

Black and white photo of Ernest L. Boyer with three unidentified men and the Triple Crown Winner, Secretariat.

Image: 1000 0000 0319

So what does an archivist do?

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This video from the Huntington Library answers the question for us.  Great work they are doing!

The Leaden-Eyed

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On this last day of National Poetry Month, here’s a poem frequently quoted by Dr. Ernest L. Boyer: Vachel Lindsay’s “The Leaden-Eyed.”

Let not young souls be smothered out before

They do quaint deeds and fully flaunt their pride.

It is the world’s one crime its babes grow dull,

Its poor ox-like, limp and leaden-eyed.

Not that they starve; but starve so dreamlessly.

Not that they sow, but that they seldom reap,

Not that they serve, but have no gods to serve,

Not that they die, but that they die like sheep.

Quoted in a speech entitled “Truth in Education,” October 29, 1979.

Access to the Archives: Spring 2014

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All of the chapter manuscripts for Ernest L. Boyer’s Ready to Learn have been digitized and are available online for the convenience of researchers.  The two publications the archives team is currently working on are: School Choice and Campus Life: In Search of Community. Student workers are in the process of digitizing the School Choice manuscripts and records are currently being added for Boyer’s Campus Life report – digitization has begun for those boxes too.

Manuscript box 025 holds various manuscripts from the Carnegie Foundation publication "Campus Life: In Search of Community." All the archival processes for this box were completed on April 15, 2014.

Quote of the Week

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“The scholarship of engagement means connecting the rich resources of the university to our most pressing social, civic and ethical problems, to our children, to our schools, to our teachers and to our cities…”

March Madness

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It’s that time of year again.  Rabid college basketball fans are obsessing over their bracket picks and following every game in the NCAA basketball tournament.  As a freshman at Messiah Bible College, Ernest L. Boyer played guard for the varsity basketball team.  The team ended the season with four wins and one loss.  Their opponents?  Various alumni from Grantham, Carlisle, Franklin, and Lancaster. Judging from the photo below it seems Boyer specialized in defense.

Ernie Boyer - a defensive specialist.

Ernie Boyer (bottom row, first on the left) with his intramural basketball team.

Quote of the Week

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“It is my deep conviction that artistic expression is one of humankind’s most essential forms of language.”

Access to the Archives: Kicking off 2014

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Happy 2014, all!  It’s been a few months since we updated the blogosphere about the current work being done at The Ernest L. Boyer Center Archives of Messiah College. With a new year, we figured this was the perfect time to provide a little insight into the daily operations of the archives.

Due to the return of our work-study students this fall we have digitized all the chapter manuscripts of the Carnegie Foundation publication Scholarship Reconsidered (catalog numbers 1000 0001 9635 – 1000 0002 0644). Currently the chapter manuscripts for Ready to Learn (catalog numbers 1000 0002 0645 – 1000 0002 1799) are being scanned and made available to researchers online.  Recently the manuscripts for Tribal Colleges (catalog numbers 1000 0002 1800 – 1000 0002 1833) have been cataloged and are next on the docket for digitization. School Choice is the Carnegie Foundation publication currently being organized and cataloged in preparation for digitization. We better get back to work!

Champion of Education

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“Education is the great engine of personal development.  It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of a mine, that a child of farm workers can become the president of a great nation.  It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”

- Nelson Mandela

Digitizing History

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Sometimes other blogs do our job for us.  Head on over to an article at History@Work (affiliated with the National Council on Public History) to hear about one historian’s perspective on “bridging the new digital divide.”  The Ernest L. Boyer Center Archives is aware of new research methods and is working hard to make our holdings accessible to those interested.

Ernie and Kay Boyer, Moscow April 1974.

Last week Messiah College celebrated “International Education Week.”  It provided an opportunity for the campus community to celebrate the various cultures represented among the student body and the strength those cultures add to the educational experience.  As a leader in education in the 20th century, Dr. Ernest L. Boyer played a fundamental role in promoting that very understanding.  Colleges must do everything in their power to establish and advance an intercultural exchange – bridging nations and cultures with one’s own is an education of itself that lasts beyond the classroom.

As the United States Commissioner of Education, Ernest L. Boyer was invited to speak at the Conference on International Education in Washington, D.C. on February 28, 1979.  In his speech he discussed his trip to Moscow, Russia the year before where he, as Chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY), signed an agreement with representatives from Moscow State University, agreeing to an exchange of faculty and graduate students.  Four years earlier, in 1974, an original agreement between the two universities had been signed ensuring an undergraduate student exchange. This was the first compact of its kind between an American and Soviet educational institution.

Dr. Boyer was proud of his efforts to further the reach of international education and believed deeply it added needed dimension to one’s education.  Any reminder that global citizens are more alike than different was worthwhile in his book.  Boyer ended his speech at the Conference on International Education by saying: “I’m confident that as we better educate ourselves and make more sensitive the human spirit, we will indeed make our future more secure and prevent this angry, frightening world from self-destruction.”

Thoughts on the Digital Humanities

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“I hope to see an age of radical access soon, where we pour energy into making our collections as discoverable and usable as possible. We’ve worked hard to digitize and to inform others of our collections. But researchers often find it difficult to locate our materials, and discovery tools that make that process as easy and rewarding as possible are really needed. There is such inspiring potential at the intersection of rare materials, linked data, digital humanities, and beyond, and I feel lucky to be part of this profession at such a transformative time.”

- Anne Bahde, History of Science Librarian in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center at Oregon State University.

Source: Fine Books & Collections.

Quote of the Week

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“To push for excellence today without continuing to push for access for less privileged students is to undermine the crucial but incomplete gains that have been made.  Equity and excellence cannot be divided.”

Ernie at Sea: Solid Ground

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Here is our last installment of Ernest Boyer’s participation in a humanitarian relief effort with the Brethren Service Committee after World War II. Thanks to a scrapbook, we have been able to share photos and journal entries written by Ernie.  This final installment includes Ernie’s last days on the Wesley Barrett – read further to discover the condition of the sea, the beauty of a rainbow, and where the crew learns the ship will dock.  On July 20, 1946, Boyer went through United States Customs and re-entered the country in Highgate Springs, Vermont.  After over a month away, Ernie returned with a German helmet, a German gas mask, some chinaware, and plenty of memories.

Friday, July 12, 1946 –

A typical “calm after the storm” day the sun shone brightly and the sea was calm.  This afternoon I spent the time taking a sunbath and got rather “red.”

Saturday, July 13, 1946 –

It was rather cloudy today.  The sea is “choppy” again.  Got official news today that we are going to Montreal Canada.  The cowboys are really in an uproar because there is a possibility we cannot get off the ship since that is a foreign part.  They say we may have to stay by it for another trip.  Sea got very rough again tonite!  I could hardly sleep because I kept rolling from side to side and cups, plates, glasses [and] the like kept rattling [and] breaking.  Solid ground would feel very good right now.

Sunday, July 14, 1946 –

It was a very nice sunny day even though the boat was very rocky.  Had our Sunday service today with Melvin Hess in charge.  Ship still heading for Montreal.  We are supposed to stop at Halifax Nova Scotia to get maps of the St. Lawrence.  Had a chicken dinner today.  Spent the afternoon taking a sun bath.  Had news tonight that the ship might be turned over to Canada.  Don’t know if its the truth or not.  Rocky tonite again.

Monday, July 15, 1946 –

Today was rather cold and chilly.  The sea is becoming more calm which is proof that we are getting near land.  Tonite we got our first glimpse of land which was Nova Scotia.  We stopped at Halifax to pick up charts of the St. Lawrence River.  Land sure looked good.

Tuesday, July 16, 1946 –

Have been going past land all day still Nova Scotia and surrounding territory.  The country is beautiful up here.  We were within several hundred feet of land.  We entered the Bay of St. Lawrence this evening.  Since it was such a beautiful day, I was up in the turret most of the day enjoying the sun.

* I forgot to add that on Monday evening I viewed several of the most beautiful sights I have ever witnessed.  First of all we were called up on topside to witness the most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen.  Words cannot describe it but as compete semi-circle formed in the Eastern sky the colors grew in intensity until they were almost unbelievably rich and distinct, richer than any artist could paint it.  And then as a crowning feature, another one formed just above it.  The colors were just as distinct although slightly paler.  The area within the semi-spheres was very light and radiant while without it was rather dark.  It reminded me of a very immense [and] indescribably beautiful amphitheater.  These had hardly faded out until a most beautiful sunset met our gaze.  To top it off, about ten o’clock a gorgeous full moon appeared that lit up the sky and made a glorious reflection on the water.  I don’t imagine I will ever witness such a night again.

Wednesday, July 17, 1946 –

When I awoke this morning it looked as it would be a beautiful day.  However it has been cloudy and windy all day.  We entered the mouth of the St. Lawrence this morning.  Our fears of not being able to get off the boat were smashed today when Mr. Crist told us to sign up if we were getting off and that our checks would be waiting for us.  I am thinking now of hitch-hiking home.  Anyway it will be good to be back in the states.

Thursday, July 18, 1946 –

It was another beautiful day.  I slept until almost noon.  I was up on deck all afternoon watching the scenery as we steamed down the St. Lawrence.  It was really beautiful.  We were at Quebec about 3:00 PM today.  It is said we will get to Montreal about 6:00 A.M. tomorrow morning.

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6.

Ernie at Sea: Reverse Course

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Continue on with Ernie Boyer and the crew of the Wesley Barrett as they set sail once again – this time heading back west.  Read the next ten entries and discover how the sea treated the liberty ship on its back to the states.

Tuesday, July 2, 1946 –

It was clear today.  Our messman has been sick for several days.  The dishes are not washed and the food is not served right.  Today we had a showdown.  Some of the fellows went to the Captain and others went to Mr. Crist.  The cowboys organized and elected a chairman.  We set sail about 2:45 P.M. for America.  We had a fire and boat drill.  We anchored just off the harbor while the ship was searched for stowaways.  We entered the Baltic Sea that afternoon and it was rougher than the other time we had crossed it.

Wednesday, July 3, 1946 –

It was clear and warm today.  Our messman is finally back with us.  We turned our watches back an hour.  Expecting to hit Kiel Kanal about 12 A.M.  Saw Sweden clearly this morning.

Thursday, July 4, 1946 –

It is a wonderful day.  The sun was hot.  Around 12 AM we dropped anchor at Kiel and a waterboat came out [and] filled up our water tanks.  We entered the Kanal about 7:30 this morning.  I thought of the folks at home [and] what they would be doing since this was the “fourth.”  Traveled through canal all day and left it about 5:30 P.M.  We then entered the North Sea.

Friday, July 5, 1946 –

It was cold [and] windy today.  The sea was rough.  We are traveling about 13 knots an hour.  The slopchest was open today.  Not much happened except tonite we entered the channel.

Saturday, July 6, 1946 –

Today was clear and cool.  We spent the day coming down the English Channel.  We passed Dover [and] her Cliffs about 3 A.M.  We saw the shores of England this morning.  Turned watches back [and] left the Channel about noon.

Sunday, July 7, 1946 –

It was a clear warm July day.  We are now in the North Atlantic.  Had our Sunday services at 10 A.M. and Mr. Crist was in charge.  We had a good Turkey dinner.  I was feeling a little dizzy since the boat is rocking a little more.  The slopchest was open for the last time.

Monday, July 8, 1946 –

It was cloudy [and] cool today.  We had a discussion period today on God vs Evolution.  Had another fire [and] boat drill.  Some fellows caused a lot of confusion [and] noise last night by pretending to clean the joint up about midnight [and] waking every one up.

Tuesday, July 9, 1946 –

Cloudy again today.  Another day that was almost uneventful except for reading, sleeping, and playing games.  What a life.

Wednesday, July 10, 1946 –

It was chilly [and] cloudy again today.  Sea was very rough.  This makes it bad because we loose time.  A notice came in today that the ship was going to Seattle, Wash and then to Hawaii, from there to China.  It had the cowboys pretty excited but it is probably just a joke.  We can’t be sure where we are going to land since we have heard Boston, New York, Newport News, Houston, Pensacola [and] Baltimore.

Thursday, July 11, 1946 –

It was cloudy [and] chilly again today.  The sea was the worst I have seen it yet.  The water would come shooting over the bow which is 50 or 60 ft high.  The bow would raise about 10 ft out of the water and then plunge in the water to a depth of about 30 ft.  Large waves about 30 ft high would roll past the boat and she would really toss.  It wasn’t safe to walk across the deck.

Images and journal entries taken from a scrapbook of Boyer’s experience (catalog # 1000 0001 4085).

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5.

Ernie at Sea: Poland

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This installment of “Ernie at Sea,” sees Ernest Boyer come face to face with the destruction and terror of the Second World War.  In the final days of June, 1946, the liberty ship, Wesley Barrett, reached Poland to unload cattle – part of a wider humanitarian relief project aiding war-torn Europe. These next four entries of Boyer’s account highlight his reaction to the scenes in Poland he stumbles across and seeks.

Friday, June 28, 1946 –

It was warm and cloudy today.  We fed cows for the last time.  We brought up our equipment for the last time.  The poles started unloading the ship about nine.  After dinner we were given shore leave and for the first time in two weeks, my feet touched land.  We [hopped] a bumpy ride to Tangford and from there took a ride in another truck (their bus system) to Danzig.  The destruction is almost beyond description.  Block after block of houses and buildings completely destroyed and laid to the ground.  Children would flock around us and beg for cigarettes and candy.  It is surprising how soon you become accustomed to the destruction and poverty and hardly notice it.  That is the shame of it.

Saturday, June 29, 1946 –

It was clear and warm today.  We were not permitted to have shore leave after 9 A.M.  I did go ashore in the morning to try to get souvenirs.  However most of the stores were closed due to election time.  Went ashore in the afternoon again to take some pictures.  Went to a bombed out church.  We were not back on the ship until about 3 P.M.  The [?] had the ship unloaded by this time and had the manure hauled out.  They did a very thorough job and even scrubbed the ship down with water.

Sunday, June 30, 1946 –

No shore leave permitted again today.  Still due to the elections.  The streets are considered unsafe.  However we were told that after 6 P.M. we had shore leave.  Some of us went to a battlefield.  It is supposed to be the place where the first shots were fired at the beginning of World War II.  We were warned of the Poles to be careful because there were still a lot of land mines around.  There were pillboxes in which there were helmets, gas masks and other equipment.  I got several for souvenirs.  There were also skeletons of men lying around with parts of clothing still on their frame.  We returned to ship about 9 P.M.  We didn’t have any church service today.

Monday, July 1, 1946 –

It was clear [and] warm today.  Went ashore in morning until 10 AM at which time we were supposed to be back on ship.  The ships board then read that we would sail 9 AM. Tuesday.  I then went ashore [and] took more pictures.

Images and journal entries taken from a scrapbook of Boyer’s experience (catalog # 1000 0001 4085).

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.

Ernie at Sea: Land Ho!

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We last left Ernest Boyer and the crew of the liberty ship, Wesley Barrett, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean heading to Europe.  After two weeks at sea, land is finally spotted – the countryside of England.  Read Ernie’s next five entries as he describes entering the English Channel and continuing on through the North Sea before reaching his ultimate destination, Poland:

Sunday, June 23, 1946 –

Today was the day!  We had entered the English Channel about midnight last night.  Although it was foggy earlier it lifted about 9:45 A.M. and we got the first sight of land.  It was a point on the English coast called Lizards Point.  It was very pretty and we could see farms and pasture land.  Had our Sunday Services on deck after dinner.  We were also given a short talk on what to do and what not to do in a foreign part.  Almost rammed another boat this evening.  Wrote home and to Kay because we were to stop for a pilot at Dover who would take us through the channel.

Monday, June 24, 1946 –

Cool cloudy today.  It rained this afternoon.  We saw the coast of England again today and around ten o’clock we saw the white cliffs of Dover.  It was almost hard to believe I was viewing a spot I had heard so much about.  They were very impressive as seen through the mist and fog of morning.  About 10:30 we dropped anchor at Dover.  At this point our pilot got off and took our letters ashore.  Since we were anchored we had a good view of land.  We entered the North Sea late this afternoon.  Some of the fellows  are getting sick again.  The percer says it is probably due to the change of climate.  I have been getting along O.K. though.

Tuesday, June 25, 1946 –

Two cows died today.  It will probably not prove of interest later on but it is important news on ship.  We took on a German Pilot to guide us through North Sea since this area is heavily mined.  We saw many sunken ships which was proof of the fact.  Around seven o’clock we could see the German coast and around nine o’clock we entered the Elbe River.  After going down the Elbe for about three hours we came to the entrance of the Kiel Kanal.  There we were so near land we could almost touch it.  Men flocked around the boat trying to trade all sorts of things for cigarettes.  I stayed up until about one but finally retired knowing I had to get up at six.

Wednesday, June 26, 1946 –

It is a clear warm day.  This proved one of the most interesting days of the trip.  We spent nearly all morning going through the Kiel.  We past the very beautiful part of German countryside.  Children ran down to the waters edge and we threw them oranges and apples.  Leaving the Kanal we entered the Kiel Bay at the City of Kiel Germany.  We entered the Baltic Sea this afternoon.  Mr. Templeton, one of our foreman has become very ill.  Our destination is not far off.

Thursday, June 27, 1946 –

Cloudy this morning.  It rained about dinnertime.  We saw land about suppertime and at 8:00 P.M. we entered the Harbor of Newport, Poland.  A tug took us in and docked.  Polish officers entered the boat with Tommy-guns strapped to their backs.  It seemed like about every officer or soldier carried a rifle or something.  They had a hard time finding the stowaway.  We stayed up late mainly because our bunkroom was filled with Poles trying to trade off cameras, binoculars etc. for cigarettes.  We finally got to bed.

Images and journal entries taken from a scrapbook of Boyer’s experience (catalog # 1000 0001 4085).

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

Ernie at Sea: Crossing the Atlantic

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In the last installment of Ernest Boyer’s adventure on the Wesley Barrett, the crew finally set sail for Poland to deliver cattle to the war-torn country. This installment continues the trek across the Atlantic Ocean.  What does Ernie consider “one of the most beautiful sights [he] has ever seen”?  Want to know how he helps a stowaway that joins the trip?  Find out below.

Here are Ernie’s next five entries:

Saturday, June 15, 1946 –

Rained again today.  We passed two other ships.  Got into the routine of feeding watering and bedding the cows.  We turned our clocks up one hour.  It cleared up this evening and there was a full moon on the ocean.  It was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen!

Sunday, June 16, 1946 –

It was a beautiful day on the ocean.  We had to move some cattle up [a] deck because Hold 2 was too hot.  After supper we had a short religious service.  Mr. Wolgemuth was in charge.  We passed another ship today.

Thursday, June 20, 1946 –

Arose this morning to see another day of fog.  Had a wonderful meal this noon.  It was claimed it was due to the Louis victory since our entire Galley crew is colored.  Fog lifted a while in the afternoon but settled down again this evening.  We saw sea gulls today so land can’t be too far.  Turned our watched up another hour.  Passed another ship.

Friday, June 21, 1946 –

Today was a perfect sailing day.  There were no white caps and the ocean was peaceful.  When we got up we could see the Queen Elizabeth several miles away.  There were more sea gulls.  We are anxiously awaiting the time we will see England.

Saturday, June 22, 1946 –

It was rather cloudy again today.  Had a rather interesting experience today.  About two-thirty I felt our engines stop so went topside to see what the trouble was.  I discovered we had been hailed by the Boulder Victory and were given stowaway from that ship to take back to Poland.  He was a young fellow who was going to try to get to his uncle in New York City.  His parents were dead.  I gave him a shirt and he seemed thankful.  Worked pretty hard today pulling straw.  We turned our watches up another hour.

Images and journal entries taken from a scrapbook of Boyer’s experience (catalog # 1000 0001 4085).

Part 1. Part 2.

Today would have been Ernest L. Boyer’s 85th birthday.  Here he is blowing out the candles on his cake in 1971 at SUNY Geneseo.

Image: 1000 0000 0104

Ernie at Sea: Setting Sail

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Continuing the story of Ernie Boyer’s participation in a humanitarian relief effort after World War II, here are his next four entries as a “seagoing cowboy”:

Tuesday, June 11, 1946 –

Got up at about 5:30 and packed.  Ate breakfast and went to Pier X.  Sam decided to wait for Bruce so that was one less.  We were told we would leave on the Wesley Barrett a liberty ship which took cattle to Danzig, Poland.  We reported back at 1:00 P.M. at which time we were injected for Tetnus and [examined] for V.D.  The Maritime Commissioner signed us on the ship and we then boarded a launch to the Wesley W. Barrett.  We started bedding stalls and really had to work hard.  Since we had missed ships supper and hadn’t eaten any supper we were really hungry.  All we had to eat was salmon and crackers.

Wednesday, June 12, 1946 –

They started loading the cattle on about 12:30 A.M. and finished about noon today.  I didn’t feel too good.  I think it was the fish and crackers.  We watered and hayed the animals.  We set sail for Poland about 7:30 P.M. and about 10:30 P.M. the boat began to rock.  Went to bed tired but not seasick.

Thursday, June 13, 1946 –

Got up at six which was our regular rising hour.  I began to feel dizzy and so did most of the fellows.  I didn’t do much work.  Sent my breakfast and dinner overboard.  I was alright laying down but when I tried to walk I would get dizzy again.  I was lucky though.  By the afternoon I was feeling O.K.  It [made] me feel better to laugh at the other fellows.  A good joke was when Prof. vomited his teeth overboard this afternoon.

Friday, June 14, 1946 –

Feeling good today.  Some of the fellows are still pretty sick.  It rained today which made it rather gloomy.  We were assigned regular places to work.  My place is hold 2 with Joe Brechbill, Bert Asper and Nevin Smith.  We had a fire Emergency Drill today.  Saw another ship.

Images and journal entries taken from a scrapbook of Boyer’s experience (catalog # 1000 0001 4085).

Part 1.

Ernie at Sea: Pierside

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Back in July we unveiled the story that in the summer of 1946, seventeen-year-old Ernest Boyer, traveled to Poland by sea on the Wesley Barrett and helped deliver over 900 cattle to the war-stricken country.  At the time the blog post was written, we had only a letter Boyer wrote home to his family on June 11, 1946 and a notecard from the Brethren Service Committee thanking him for his assistance with their livestock project.

Last Friday, Sarah, a Boyer Archives work-study, was accessioning a box and came across a scrapbook entitled “Cattle Boat Trip to Poland.”  Jackpot! Ah, the joys of working in an archives – you never know what treasures await you in a box.

The scrapbook includes a day-by-day account of Ernie’s experience at sea and photos he snapped along the way.  Over the next few days, we will share his entries and offer a glimpse into the life of a “seagoing cowboy” after World War II. His notes have been transcribed and any spelling or grammar mistakes have been preserved for authenticity purposes.

Here are Ernie’s first four entries detailing the buildup before setting sail:

Friday, June 7, 1946 –

We left Lancaster, Penna about 8:00 A.M. and traveled by car to New Windsor, Md.  We were told to go from there to Newport News, Va. And be ready to sail in a few days.  Ate dinner at the Brethren Service Center and left about 2:30.  We hitch-hiked to Baltimore and took a ferry to Norfolk.  We traveled all night and arrived at our destination about 6:30 A.M.  We took the ferry with no reservations so I slept on an overstuffed chair.

Saturday, June 8, 1946 –

Arrived at Norfolk about 6:30 and took another ferry to Newport News and took a taxi to Pier X which is the UNRRA [United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration] shipping dock.  There we were told to resort [?] Monday morning.  We went back into town and secured lodging at the Catholic Maritime Club.  The fellows in our group were as follows: Barry Paugstat, Joe Brechbill, Prof. Wolgemuth, Bruce Lehman, Sam Derr (?), Royce Saltzman, Bert Asper, Ellis Krieder, Jean Kerr, Bob Lehman, Clyde Solhenberger, Nevin Smith and Melvin Hess.  Booked the town over that afternoon.

Saturday, June 9, 1946 –

Went to church at a large Methodist church.  We were made to feel very strangely, the “Southern Hospitality.”  After loafing that afternoon we returned there for the evening service.  Shorty decided to leave the group and take a coal boat to Maine.  We were sorry to see him go but he was determined.

Sunday, June 10, 1946 –

Found out we were to leave Tuesday at 8:00 A.M.  This made me feel good since we were tired waiting.  We bought sport equipment to be used on the ship.  Spent the afternoon at the Lutheran Service Center reading and playing games.  Went to bed early.

Want to know what happens next?  Check back soon.

Images and journal entries taken from a scrapbook of Boyer’s experience (catalog # 1000 0001 4085).

Freshman Year

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Today marks the start of classes for the 2013-2014 academic year at Messiah College.  Books have been purchased, pencils have been sharpened, syllabi are ready for distribution, and I am almost certain that assignments have already been allocated.  For returning upperclassmen, this routine is old-hat. For incoming freshman, however, every experience is a new one.  It’s both exhilarating and terrifying all at once.  On the one hand you can have only dessert for dinner and your parents don’t have to know.  Exhilarating!  On the other hand you may experience startling moments of comprehension that you are well on your way to being a full-fledged adult.  Terrifying!  Freshman year for anyone is full of changes, transitions, and a new beginning.  And yes, even Ernest Boyer was once a young freshman at Messiah Bible College during the 1946-1947 academic year. Perhaps following Ernie’s lead will make for a successful freshman year.  The excerpt below is what The Clarion had to say about Boyer under his yearbook photo:

ERNEST BOYER – Full of fun… congenial…interested in the deeper things of life.

Boyer served on student council, sang in the male chorus, played guard on the varsity basketball team, and was editor of The Clarion.  So, for those incoming freshman wondering what they should seek out during their first year in college, just ask yourself “what would Ernie do?”.  The answer seems to be…a little bit of everything.  Most importantly, enjoy your first year of college because it will be over faster than you expect.  Oh, and remember to be congenial too.

As the summer is winding down, we here at the Boyer Archives are still scanning all the chapter manuscripts from the Carnegie Foundation publication Scholarship Reconsidered. Once the students return to Messiah College and our lovely work-study students are back in the archives all seven boxes full of the manuscripts will be available online soon!

Image: word cloud of Ernest L. Boyer’s speech “Scholarship Reconsidered: Priorities of the Professoriate.”

Quote of the Week

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“To put it simply, school readiness means creating in this country a public love of children.”

Seagoing Cowboy: Back in the USA

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Interested to discover what young Ernie Boyer brought back into the United States through Customs after returning from his journey to Europe?  Check out his declaration form.  Boyer entered the country on July 20, 1946 through Highgate Springs, Vermont after he volunteered to accompany livestock across the Atlantic en route to war-torn Poland.

Quote of the Week

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“Literature is an inquiry into the deepest yearnings of the human spirit.”

Seagoing Cowboy

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Two weeks ago we shared a quote from Ernest Boyer regarding the influence his grandfather had on him and his understanding of service.  The importance of service is very apparent through the many works of Dr. Boyer. For instance, the Carnegie Foundation’s publication, High School, suggested that American high schools incorporate a service unit that students must complete before they graduate and enter the “real world.”  In the mind of Boyer, community service was just as valuable a learning experience for high schoolers as efficient time in the classroom.  As it turns out, Boyer knew about the significance of service as a high school student firsthand.

On June 12, 1946, as a recent high school graduate, a young and vibrant Ernie Boyer left Newport News, Virginia on a ship called the Wesley Barrett bound for Poland.  Fighting in Europe had finally ended one year earlier, but the devastation left in the wake of the Second World War could not be mended overnight.  After World War II ended, European countries were desperate for aid – in any and all forms.  Countries around the world and renowned service organizations rose to the occasion and worked hard to help get an entire continent back on its feet.

One such form of aid was shipping livestock across the Atlantic to ensure that families living all throughout Europe had access to basic food. Providing a family with a cow rather than just a ration of milk, helped provide ongoing relief.  And after an event as destructive as World War II, that’s exactly the type of aid most Europeans needed.  This is still the premise of Heifer International today.  Of course, shipping livestock from one continent to another is no easy feat and requires volunteers willing to make the month-long trip with the animals.

Heifer International estimates that over 7,000 “cowboys” crossed the Atlantic Ocean with these shipments of animals, caring for them along the way. Ernie Boyer, at age 18, was one of them.  After becoming involved somehow with the Brethren Service Committee, a faith-based organization shipping livestock to Europe after the war, Boyer left for Poland.  In a letter to his family, dated June 11, 1946 (a day before his departure), Boyer wrote: “We are really lucky to get heifers because almost every boat leaving is taking horses.  Our supervisors said it would be at least an 8 week trip because we have a slow ship.”

It is probably not wrong to imagine that many young men signed up for this task because they sought a sense of adventure.  It gave them the chance to see more of the world, meet new people, and experience new things.  I’m sure Ernie Boyer was thrilled to have that opportunity.  One can also imagine, though, that despite the excitement, the joy of serving others in need and making a small but powerful impact had more of an effect on the young man than anything else – one that shaped his future career, beliefs, and energy – all because he chose to serve.

Check out the history page of Heifer International for more information about seagoing cowboys.

The box currently being digitized in The Ernest L. Boyer Center Archives contains some of the sources, correspondence, and manuscripts related to the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching’s publication High School: A Report on Secondary Education in America.  In 1983, Ernest Boyer and the Carnegie Foundation published a comprehensive study on the state of high schools throughout the country.  The Carnegie Foundation spent more than two years gathering information and conducting interviews and observations in various high schools.  Recently digitized is the entire manuscript of the high school study, dated July 18, 1983.

Quote of the Week

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“As I watched my grandfather work with people who were impoverished, I began to understand that to be truly human, one must serve.”

Want to know what we’re currently working on in the Boyer Archives?  These seven boxes contain the countless manuscripts and final printing proofs of the Carnegie Foundation Report, Scholarship Reconsidered.  Each box is in a different stage of the cataloging and digitizing process and will be available to researchers online soon.  So, if you’re interested in reading the very first version of this report and then the final version – stay tuned!

In 1990, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, with Ernest L. Boyer at the helm, published Scholarship Reconsidered.  The book challenged the traditional teaching v. research model for university professors and offered ways to widen the general understanding of scholarship throughout the world of higher education.

Ever wonder the effort it takes to publish such an esteemed report? Consider this: the Boyer Archives has 120 versions of chapter 1 (“Scholarship over Time”) alone! It seems the popular saying that there is no great writing – only great rewriting rings true.

Read the very first manuscript of chapter 1 here.  And then check out the final proofed version of “Scholarship over Time” here.  Notice the changes?

Quote of the Week

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“Education must prepare students to be independent, self-reliant human beings. But education, at its best, also must help students go beyond their private interests, gain a more integrative view of knowledge, and relate their learning to the realities of life.”

This quote seems extremely relevant in the midst of graduation season.

Ready to Learn

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Two weeks ago President Obama delivered his State of the Union address to the country.  In his speech, he made a point to acknowledge the importance of early education and stated that every American child has the right to enroll in a quality preschool program.  President Obama gave three specific reasons as to why focusing on early education is good for the nation in the long run: it will ultimately boost graduation rates, reduce teen pregnancy, and reduce violent crime.  During his second term in office, the President explained that he and his staff will look to work with states to ensure that all children start their education career in a respected preschool program.

If you’re aware of the work of Ernest L. Boyer, this may sound familiar.  During his career as a lifelong advocate for education, Dr. Boyer had a lot to say about the early years and how critical they are for further development.  In a speech entitled “Ready to Learn: A Mandate for the Nation,” he posed a simple question: ”Children are our most precious resource.  In the end, they’re all we have.  And if we as a nation cannot prepare all children for learning and for life, then just what will bring America together?”  With the polarizing nature of American politics today, President Obama could have posed that same question to that nation two weeks ago.

Dr. Boyer’s speech was derived from a special report of the same name published in 1992 by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  The report outlined seven initiatives for school readiness.  The third priority had to do specifically with preschool education.  The Carnegie Foundation stated that every disadvantaged child is entitled to a good head start in a high quality preschool program.  In his speech, Dr. Boyer again challenged his audience, asking: “How is it that we [the United States] can spend $300 billion every year on national defense?  How is it that we can send space shuttles into orbit?  And never seem to have enough money for our children?”  The Carnegie Foundation’s report also wanted to recognize the importance of preschool teachers by raising their salaries, hopeful that doing so would also bring them respect.

President Obama perhaps said it best during his State of the Union address: “These initiatives in manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, housing – all these things will help entrepreneurs and small business owners expand and create new jobs.  But none of it will matter unless we also equip our citizens with the skills and training to fill those jobs.  And that has to start at the earliest possible age.”  I think Dr. Boyer would agree.

Miss Rice

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Page from Dr. Boyer's school scrapbook.

Think back to all the teachers you’ve ever had.  There may be a couple you are more than happy to forget about, but I’m sure there are a chosen few that rise to the top of the list.  If we’re really lucky almost everyone has at least one teacher they could never forget.  For me personally, I know I’ll never forget my very first teacher – Mrs. Bentz.  Thanks to her, I have very vivid memories of my experience in preschool. Mrs. Bentz ensured that each preschooler felt supported and loved and worthy of her attention. I can still recall the extremely specific feeling of joy after receiving praise from her.  I’d say she did her job right if I still have such fond memories of her after all these years, and I think Dr. Boyer would agree.

In fact, Dr. Boyer himself did not shy away from reminiscing about his former teachers. In a number of speaking engagements he recalled a night when he couldn’t fall asleep and instead of counting sheep, decided to count his past teachers.  Like most of us, one name in particular towered above them all – Miss Rice, his first grade teacher.

Here’s what Dr. Boyer had to say about his recollections of her:

On the first day of school she said, “Good morning class, today we learn to read.’” Those were the first words I ever heard in school. We spent all day on four words – “I go to school.”  We traced them, we sang them, we even prayed them.  I ran home that night ten-feet tall, and, announced proudly to my mother, “Today I learned to read.”  I doubt I had mastered decoding but I had been taught something much more fundamental.  Miss Rice had taught me that language is the centerpiece of learning.  Fifty years later, when I got around to trying to write a book called High School, I had a chapter right up front entitled “Literacy: The Essential Tool.”  And in our book on College, we have a chapter on the essentialness of language.  I say that to pay tribute to an unremembered first-grade teacher – Fairview Avenue Elementary School, Dayton, Ohio, 1930 – who said something of the foundations of formal learning and shakes my thinking to this day.  Great teachers live forever.

Miss Rice had no way of knowing that her presence in young Ernie Boyer’s life would be so monumental.  Nor could Mrs. Bentz say with certainty that her preschool students would remember her fondly as adults. These two women were simply doing their jobs and being great teachers.

To read more about Dr. Boyer’s experience as a first grader and his thoughts on acknowledging teachers read, “A Celebration of Teaching.”

Quote of the Week

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“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if every home has good books instead of knick-knacks and plastic flowers on the bookshelves?  And wouldn’t it be great if every child heard good speech and received thoughtful answers to their questions instead of ‘be quiet’ or ‘go to bed’?”

You can read this quote in Dr. Boyer’s speech “Ready to Learn: A Mandate for the Nation.”

Researching From Home

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Did you know that you can conduct research on Ernest Boyer from the comfort of your own home?  Yes, it’s true!  While we love hosting researchers in the archives on campus, we understand that for some people it is not feasible nor altogether necessary to travel to Messiah College.  That’s why over the past two years the Ernest L. Boyer Center Archives has made a major push to digitize its collection and make resources more accessible to researchers online.  While there is still a lot of work to be done and plenty of materials left to be scanned, major achievements have been made.  This post is to help walk you through the steps of researching the work of Ernest Boyer via the web.

To begin your research go to the Ernest L. Boyer Center Archives homepage.  Once there, click on “search the catalog.”  Once there, enter relevant search terms or keywords you hope to find in the collection.

The picture to the left is a screenshot of archival record #1000 0000 0038.  As you can see, the information available to researchers are as follows: catalog number, object name, the scope and content of the record, the date, the event this record is related to, collection, people, related search terms, and multimedia.  For those researching at home, the multimedia field will be the most useful.  Our goal is to give researchers the ability to read the exact drafts of speeches, manuscripts, articles, and other resources of that nature on their own computer screens.  So, if the PDF version of a document is available to researchers the last field will have a hyperlink, directing you to “click here” (see picture below).

Clicking on the hyperlink will direct you to the PDF version of a speech Dr. Boyer delivered on June 6, 1984, upon receiving the Distinguished Fellow Award of the Academy of Educational Development (AED).  You’ll notice that the speech is handwritten, so you can read (or try to read) the words Boyer actually wrote.

So, what are you waiting for?  Happy researching!

Martin Luther King, Jr. acknowledging the crowd gathered in Washington, D.C.

Today we Americans observe a federal holiday in remembrance of one of the greatest forces for peace and justice that ever lived.  Yes, for a lot of people the best thing about today is having a day off work or school.  I won’t deny that is a nice perk.  I mean, who doesn’t love a three-day weekend? No one.  However, amongst the extra errands you may be running to get a head start on the work week, or the extra relaxing you may be enjoying to recuperate from the hectic weekend, we should all carve out a few minutes of our day to remember the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.  To remember how he lived so fearlessly for a cause of equality which he pursued tirelessly.  To remember the words he spoke so eloquently.  To remember that the echoes of his words still ring today, and that some are hearing his words for the first time.

In 1988, Ernest Boyer spoke at a conference sponsored by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission in Washington, D.C.  The conference was organized to discuss meaningful ways to infuse the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. in school curriculums across the nation. Boyer delivered a speech entitled “The Life of Martin Luther King: An Educational Imperative.”

To Boyer, incorporating the memory of Martin Luther King into the nation’s classrooms was a crucial necessity – and served as a way to expose students to the civil rights movement in the United States, the understanding and power of nonviolence, and reverence for the written and spoken word.  Not doing so would mean Martin Luther King, Jr. Day would “be a time when we remember only the symbols, not the substance of his work.”

Boyer’s speech outlined three specific reasons why school curriculums should include a study on Martin Luther King, Jr.:

1.) A study of Dr. King’s life, work, and legacy introduce students to the 20th century freedom movement in the United States.

2.) Dr. King’s legacy lives on today through the words he spoke and penned.  He has left the world a multitude of literary devices within his speeches and letters that teachers should tap into and incorporate in lessons.  Boyer never stopped triumphing the centrality of language, and for him, Dr. King’s lasting words can teach students that “language is a sacred trust.”

3.) Students that understand Dr. King learn that what you learn in life influences how you live.  Education has the power to teach morality. Education has the power to inspire service.  Education has the power to fuel mission.  The life of Martin Luther King, Jr., better than most, highlights these human imperatives.

In short, Boyer said it quite simply with one sentence in his speech: “No student in America’s schools can be considered well educated if he or she does not learn about this nation’s long and agonizing crusade for civil rights…”

Photo courtesy of The Seattle Times gallery on Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement.

Ernest L. Boyer as SUNY Chancellor.

On Monday the country will observe its 57th Presidential Inauguration.  In front of a massive crowd in Washington, D.C., and perhaps millions of Americans watching on their television sets, computer screens, or smart phones, Barack Obama will once again take the presidential oath of office and begin his second term as President of the United States of America.

Ernest L. Boyer knew about swearing-in ceremonies too.  Maybe not in front of millions of Americans – and people certainly weren’t watching on their smart phones in 1971.  But, on April 6, Boyer was inaugurated as the chancellor of the State University of New York (SUNY) in Albany, New York.  At the ceremony, Chancellor Boyer delivered a speech entitled “To the Deeper Rituals.” The early ’70s was a time of turmoil for many public institutions of higher education. Aftershocks from the uprising and outcries of the late ’60s could still be felt and Boyer was very much aware of this reality.  Instead of shying away, he acknowledged the present challenges head on, claiming: “Campus turmoil of the recent past has ripped our institutional fabric, and we, in the university, enter the decade of the seventies much more sober and mature.”  To Chancellor Boyer, however, it did no good to dwell on the sobering realities SUNY faced.  Instead, he focused on the solutions.  ”I do not for one moment misjudge the urgencies we face.  They are very real. And yet, ultimately, the issue is not the gravity of the crisis but rather the quality of the response.  The strength, the fiber, of an institution, as in all of us, is not revealed in tranquil, easy times.  Rather, character shines through when adversity looms large and hard choices must be made.”

As a college chancellor, Boyer launched new innovations and policies to further the reach of the SUNY system, which boasted 64 separate institutions, 350,000 students, and 15,000 faculty members.  One of his most notable accomplishments was establishing the Empire State College – an institution specifically designed to meet the unique needs of adult learners.  While chancellor, Boyer also created a Bachelor of Arts program that could be completed in three years and started the nation’s first student exchange program with the then Soviet Union.  Seems like Chancellor Boyer responded quite well – and pretty impressive considering he accomplished all that without a smart phone.

Hockey Anyone?

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Anyone excited for the return of hockey tomorrow? Here is Ernest Boyer dropping the puck.

Human Commonalities

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Read a few of Ernest Boyer’s speeches and you will begin to notice certain themes.  It doesn’t seem to matter what specific topic Boyer was asked to speak on or write about – a few “Boyerisms” always seemed to slip through.  One thing I’ve learned since I began working in The Ernest L. Boyer Center Archives two years ago, is that Boyer liked making lists.  Like, a lot.  Many of his speeches are riddled with sequences and lists.  Perhaps he did this for his own organizational purposes?  Perhaps he learned it made for clean media sound-bites?  Or, perhaps he just had a thing for lists?  If so, I can relate, I have a thing for them too.

One of Boyer’s favorite list to incorporate in his speaking engagements was the eight things all humans on this earth have in common.  No matter what nationality, tribe, or culture we associate with, we can all relate to these eight universal experiences.

1.) The Life Cycle (all humans experience birth, growth, and death)

2.) Language (all humans use symbols to express their thoughts, feelings, and emotions)

3.) The Arts (various art forms serve as a universal language)

4.) History (all humans, at some point, recall the past and look to the future)

5.) Groups/Institutions (all humans belong in some way)

6.) Work (all humans make a living in some way)

7.) Search for Meaning (all humans, in their own personal way, ponder the larger purpose of life)

8.) The Natural World (all humans are connected to the ecology of the earth)

Read more in “The Human Commanilities: Multiculturalism and Community in Higher Education.”

The photo above is a word cloud created from Boyer’s speech “The Human Commonalities.”

The Man in Action

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After spending too much time brainstorming the best way to introduce Ernest L. Boyer to those reading this blog, it finally came to me – why not let him speak for himself?

Over the course of his career, Dr. Boyer had multiple speaking engagements.  While heading up the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching he could be scheduled to speak or attend a conference every day of the week.  Frequent flier miles; Dr. Boyer had them.  The clip above comes from a program entitled “Quest for Peace.”  The interview was recorded in 1984, during the start of President Ronald Reagan’s famed “Star Wars” initiative.

Dr. Boyer did not shy away from mentioning the country’s defense strategies while still embroiled in the Cold War, and poses a unique question: Where is the Manhattan Project for peace?

Hello world!

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Question for you.  Are you familiar with the life and work of Dr. Ernest L. Boyer?  If you answered yes, congratulations!  If no, then that’s why we are here.

This blog will serve as the voice for the Ernest L. Boyer Center Archives of Messiah College.  Currently the archives contains over 480 linear feet of manuscripts, audio and visual materials, correspondence, speeches, and other materials documenting the life and work of Dr. Boyer.

So who was he and why should you care?

Dr. Boyer was a pioneer in the world of American education in the 20th century.  He most notably served as the United States Commissioner of Education under President Jimmy Carter, and then went on to lead the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (CFAT) as their president from 1979-1995.  At the time of his death, in 1995, his colleague, Samuel G. Sava, called him the “foremost educator of our time.”

Since Dr. Boyer’s education began at a small two-year bible college in central Pennsylvania, his family thought it right to donate his personal library and archives to Messiah College.  In 1998, the Ernest L. Boyer Center was established at Messiah College to promote learning, advance scholarship, foster community, engage society, and educate “servant leaders” – goals Dr. Boyer held close to his heart throughout his whole career.  The Boyer Archives is a large facility to help ensure these realities in American education.

The Ernest L. Boyer Center Archives is a great resource for students and scholars alike in the field of education.  Currently the archival staff is working to promote the work and legacy of Dr. Boyer by cataloging and digitizing its holdings and then making materials available for researchers online.

Interested in learning more about Dr. Boyer and how his work continues in the 21st century?  Stick with us.