October 4th is #AskAnArchivist Day!

#AskAnArchivistIt’s that time of year again – October 4th is #AskAnArchivist Day! This is the day when archivists across the country (and the globe) tell everyone more about what kind of work they do, and the types of interesting material you can find in archives. Below are some FAQ’s with information about the Bentley Archives. If you want to know more about any of these topics, find us on social media and ask your question using #AskAnArchivist. You can also email your question to archives@bentley.edu.  Want to see photos of campus or students in a certain time period? Curious to find out more about Bentley’s early days in Boston? Ask us to find out!

What is an archive? What’s in the Bentley Archives?

There are lots of ways to describe archives but essentially they are repositories for items of historical value that relate to a common topic. The Bentley Archives preserves the historic records of (you guessed it) Bentley University! We have historical papers and objects documenting all 100 years of life and learning at Bentley. These items are preserved and organized so that people can use them for research – although archives material cannot be checked out like library books. You can find out more on our Archives LibGuide.

Can I use the collections in the Bentley Archives?

Yes! If you have a specific idea or project in mind, or if you know what kind of historical items you’d like to see, please email archives@bentley.edu. If you’d like to get a better sense of the types of material you can access, a good place to start is our Archives Subject Guide. We are always happy to help identify photos, documents, or objects that might be helpful in your work. You’ll need an appointment to view material in the Archives, so try to send in requests early and we can work with you to get history into your hands!

Where can I look at material from the Bentley Archives online?

You can view all of our online exhibits on the archives website! If you’d like to see a collection of historic photographs from the Bentley Archives, you can view them online at Digital Commonwealth. If you need help searching through images, or if you have any other questions about our online material, please let us know.

Where else can I explore & interact with archival material online?

There are lots of great places to explore and contribute to archival research online. Many are linked in our Online Volunteering LibGuide, and a few highlihts are included below.

  • NYPL Labs is the homepage for digital projects from the New York Public Library. You can view and search through digitized material, or participate in research and information-gathering projects like “Building Inspector” – where you help to update and correct historic maps.
  • Online Exhibits from the U.S. National Archives can be a good place to start browsing through such a vast collection. You can also help transcribe and ID documents on their Citizen Archivist
  • The World Digital Library lets you search collections from over 190 different countries, and to browse featured items related to world history.
  • Beyond Words from the Library of Congress digital collections lets you explore historic newspapers while helping to identify and caption illustrations.
  • Lastly, the Knitting Reference Library from the University of Southampton. This quirky collection contains Victorian texts about knitting, historic knitting patterns, and more. This collection is hosted via the Internet Archive – where you can explore many other archival collections as well!

Can I donate material to the Bentley Archives?

Yes! Read our FAQs about donation. We’ll also be reaching out to faculty, staff, and students this year to identify and collect material for the Archives. If you have personal or family records (non-Bentley related) that you want to preserve, you may be interested in our page about Caring for Archival Material.

Don’t forget to send us your questions on Wednesday, October 4th, and of course you can always contact us year-round at archives@bentley.edu!

Birthday Celebration! Time Capsule Viewing & Letter-Writing: Tues. 2/28, 12-4

By now you probably know that Bentley is celebrating its historic centennial year. But you may not know that we have some important milestones coming up– this week marks the official founding of Bentley University, and the birthday our founder Harry C. Bentley!

Harry C. Bentley was born on February 28th, 1877 in Connecticut. He discovered a passion for business in his youth, and by the time he reached his 30’s he was a successful teacher, writer, and businessman. On February 26th, 1917 he held the first class at what would soon be called the “Bentley School of Accounting and Finance.” Turning 40 and starting your own school in the same week – quite an accomplishment!

To honor both of these historic dates, we’re planning an all-day birthday celebration across campus on Tuesday, February 28th.  At the library, we’ll be using the day to honor and explore Bentley’s past. From 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. on Tuesday you can visit Room 101 on the main level to see the contents of the 1992 time capsule, and the video that students produced to go along with it. There are letters from student organizations, t-shirts, memorabilia, photos, and more to browse through. While you’re here, you can also write a letter to your future self that will be stored in the Archives and given to you at a future Bentley Reunion!

If you’d like to learn more about the early history of Bentley, and even get to hear Mr. Bentley’s voice, see our new Archives Birthday Wishes web exhibit.

In this video, you can hear remarks delivered by Harry Bentley at Commencement in 1950.

You’re Invited! Reception for Centennial Exhibit, Wed. 1/18 at 12:30pm

Please join us at the opening reception for the second Bentley centennial exhibit – The Bentley Campus: From Boston to Waltham – on Wednesday, January 18, at 12:30 p.m. Trustee emeritus and Centennial Committee chairman, George Fantini ‘64, will offer brief remarks.  Light refreshments will be served. We hope to see you there!

Library clock tower arrives
“The Growth of the Bentley Campus: From Boston to Waltham”
On view in the RSM Art Gallery, January 17 – March 5, 2017

About the exhibit:

The Bentley Campus: From Boston to Waltham traces the university’s history from a small room in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood to the sprawling suburban campus we know today. Find out what life was like for Bentley students in the early decades of the 20th century, discover how Bentley’s leaders made the bold decision to move to Waltham, and get a glimpse of “Cedar Hill” before our now iconic buildings were constructed.  A wealth of new video content from the Bentley Archives will premiere with this exhibit. Gallery visitors can use the new interactive viewing tablet to watch founder Harry C. Bentley give a speech, see construction workers lay foundation for the Waltham campus, and view what the dormitories looked like in the 1980’s.

Now Showing: “The Bentley Campus: From Boston to Waltham”

The Bentley Campus: From Boston to Waltham
Bentley University Centennial Exhibit
January 17 – March 5,  March 2, 2017 [Note new closing date]

Opening Reception
Wednesday, January 18 at 12:30 p.m.
Remarks by trustee emeritus and Centennial Committee chairman George Fantini ‘64

The Historical Subcommittee is proud to present the second in a series of three Centennial exhibits in the RSM Art Gallery. The Bentley Campus: From Boston to Waltham traces the university’s history from a small room in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood to the sprawling suburban campus we know today.

Find out more about what life was like for Bentley students in the early decades of the 20th century – the classrooms on Boylston Street, early dormitories on Commonwealth Avenue, and the ever-present sound of the Prudential Center being built! Discover how Bentley’s leaders made the bold decision to move to Waltham, and get a glimpse of “Cedar Hill” before our now iconic buildings were constructed.

This exhibit is now interactive, thanks to the addition of a video viewing tablet located in the gallery. Come see historic footage of our founder Harry C. Bentley and hear him give a speech! Watch as construction workers lay foundation for the Waltham campus, or see what dormitories looked like in the 1980’s. A wealth of new footage from the Bentley Archives will premiere with this exhibit.

George Fantini ’64, trustee emeritus and chairman of the Centennial Celebration, will offer brief remarks at an opening reception for the exhibit on Wednesday, January 18 at 12:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served. We hope you can join us!

To view an online version of this exhibit, please visit the Bentley Archives website.

You’re Invited! “Bentley Leaders” Reception with Gloria Larson, 9/14 @ 4pm

Please join President Gloria Cordes Larson for the opening reception of Bentley Leaders, the first of three centennial year exhibits chronicling the history of Bentley University. The reception will begin at 4:00 p.m. in The RSM Art Gallery. Light refreshments will be served.

Bentley Leaders exhibit case
The Bentley Leaders exhibit is on view in the RSM Art Gallery through October 26, 2016.

While this exhibit offers an introduction to many important individuals, there are countless more that are worthy of note. An additional group of Bentley Leaders have been profiled in a companion exhibit that is available online through the Bentley Archives website. Please visit the two online exhibits, Bentley Leaders and Bentley Leaders: Firsts

Now Showing: Bentley Centennial Exhibit, “Bentley Leaders”

The Bentley Library is proud to host Bentley Leaders, the first of three Centennial year exhibits profiling the history of Bentley University. The exhibit is on view in the RSM Art Gallery through October 26, 2016. An opening reception with President Gloria Cordes Larson will be held on Wednesday, September 14, at 4:00 p.m.

Bentley University Centennial Exhibit – Bentley Leaders
August 22 – October 26, 2016 October 24, 2016

Opening Reception with President Gloria Cordes Larson
Wednesday, September 14
4:00 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.

Bentley's first three presidents
Bentley’s first three presidents (from left):
Thomas L. Morison, Harry C. Bentley, Maurice M. Lindsay

Our 100th anniversary is a momentous occasion, and provides an unprecedented opportunity for our community to join together in celebration. Over this year, we hope that members of the Bentley community will learn about how we have grown as an institution, and use that knowledge to develop our hopes for Bentley’s future. Many know that our school began with a single individual – Mr. Harry C. Bentley, who started the Bentley School in a small rented classroom. He was buoyed in his ambitions by a natural entrepreneurial spirit and the enthusiasm of his students, who wanted a modern, comprehensive education in Accountancy. While his hard work and vision built our foundations, Mr. Bentley knew that he would need equally dedicated, innovative partners and successors to help his school realize its fullest potential.

Over the last 100 years, generations of leaders have devoted themselves to that very cause. For our innovative curriculum, our beautiful campus, and our wealth of educational opportunity, we have so many to thank. This exhibit profiles a selection of those leaders who helped the “Bentley School of Accounting and Finance” become Bentley University. We hope that learning about these individuals will inspire gratitude for their contributions, and ideas for how to help Bentley grow in our next 100 years.

While this exhibit offers an introduction to many important individuals, there are countless more that are worthy of note. An additional group of Bentley Leaders have been profiled in a companion exhibit that is available online through the Bentley Archives website. Please visit the two online exhibits, Bentley Leaders and Bentley Leaders: Firsts

Centennial Celebration

Remembering President Gregory H. Adamian

As many of you have recently heard, Bentley’s fourth President Gregory H. Adamian passed away on November 21, 2015 at the age of eighty nine. Dr. Adamian’s involvement with Bentley spanned six decades, including twenty-one impressive and influential years as our President.  During those years, President Adamian helped to develop Bentley’s curriculum, expand our beloved campus, and increase the school’s endowment. He was consistently committed to providing a valuable education to Bentley students so that they could become capable, engaged leaders.

Our campus and our programs grew significantly under President Adamian’s leadership – for example, he was instrumental in the establishment of both the Graduate School and the Center for Business Ethics. Bentley students past and present are all grateful for his dedication! For those who would like to learn more about President Adamian’s life and work, or simply remember his contributions to our community, the Bentley Archives has prepared an online exhibit that can be viewed here. If you would like more information about President Adamian or about Bentley’s development during his tenure please contact Jaimie Fritz, Project Archivist, at archives@bentley.edu.

Photos from the Remembering President Gregory H. Adamian online exhibit

Online Archives Exhibit: Bentley Through the Years

As you prepare to take part in all of Bentley’s amazing Homecoming activities, we thought you might be interested in becoming more “In the Know” about Bentley’s history! For example, did you know that the original class consisted of just 30 students who used to meet not far from what is now the Hynes Convention Center? Or that tuition was $120? Do you know when Bentley became co-educational (for the first time), or what the original buildings on the Waltham campus were? Over nearly 100 years, we’ve evolved from the “Bentley School of Accounting and Finance” to “Bentley University” through a series of impressive developments that were the work of many dedicated people.

Our new exhibit, Bentley Through the Years, will introduce you to these changes as you look at photos and documents from every decade of Bentley’s history. You’ll learn how the school navigated through two World Wars, how Bentley students lived & worked, and how the campus developed, along with many other fun facts. You – students, faculty, staff, alumni, family & friends – are all a part of Bentley’s rich history! We hope this exhibit will connect you to your campus community and inspire you to keep making Bentley a place of innovation and collaborative spirit.

A group of male students, seated at desks in a classroom, presumably in one of the Boylston Street buildings on the Boston campus.
A group of male students, seated at desks in a classroom, presumably in one of the Boylston Street buildings on the Boston campus. Click to view a larger image.

Please contact our Archivist, Jaimie Fritz, at archives@bentley.edu if you have questions about the exhibit, or if there is another part of Bentley history that you want to learn more about!