Posts Tagged ‘miami university’

George L. Rider

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At Oxford Cemetery, faculty and staff of Miami University can be buried with university tombstones, but I didn’t need the university seal on this stone to know that the man buried here was associated with the university. When I was in graduate school, I walked or drove by Roudebush Hall every single day.

Wallace Pattison Roudebush

The years inscribed on either side of the university seal record his long tenure at the university. Roudebush graduated from Miami University and was almost immediately appointed as secretary to the university president in 1911. he served the university continuously until his death in 1956. Author Chris Maraschiello’s Wallace P. Roudebush: Spirit of the Institution argues that that administrator’s most lasting legacy is the look of Miami’s campus. For those who have never visited Miami University of Ohio, the campus is populated with red brick Georgian-style halls interspersed among a few older gray stone buildings, all sprawled across a significant amount of open green land and gardens. Roudebush was also respected as an honest and competent financial administrator, particularly devoted to student financial assistance. At the time of his death, he was the university’s financial manager.

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Emily Jessup

For a little more than five years of my life, I supported myself, something I could not have achieved without the education I was able to receive. The past sometimes seems so distant that it is hard to remember that, had I been born just a century earlier in the same place, my sex might have prevented me from receiving any more than a rudimentary education. It is exceedingly unlikely that I would have been able to obtain a college education, let alone a master’s degree.

Helen Peabody

I stand on the shoulders of educators like Helen Peabody, Emily Jessup, and Caroline D. White, women who not only fought for their own right to be educated, but then taught the next generation after them. They lived in a time when women’s very capacity for learning was questioned. They inhabited a society that accused educated women of neglecting their natural destiny and damaging the reproductive systems merely by learning.

Caroline D. White

these women made what were probably in some case hard choices, choices that aligned them to their academic institution more closely that most women are today.  They paved the way for myself and countless other women. This post is but a small token of my gratitude.

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Helen Peabody

When I was a student at Miami University of Ohio, everyone knew about the ghost of Helen Peabody. Helen Peabody was graduate of Mount Holyoke and a teacher there before she moved westward and became the first principal of Western Female Seminary (once Western College for Women, now preserved as Western Campus of the University). By all accounts, she loved her school and her students, although she did not love the proximity of the male students at the University. By all accounts, she did not believe in coeducation After thirty-five years of service, she left her name on Peabody Hall, a stately dormitory and classroom building, and, some say, her spirit inside. (The existing Peabody Hall was built on the foundations of previous seminary buildings that burned down.) Even though she died in California in retirement, her body was brought back to local cemetery in Oxford for burial. The stories about Peabody Hall and President Peabody are multiple.

The simplest is that she still roams the halls, and students see her apparition walk by, which they recognize by the portrait of her on the first floor. Vigilant in the protection of her legacy, she supposedly shook awake the student that raised the alarm the last time Peabody Hall had a serious fire. The most sinister versions of the Helen Peabody ghost stories have her as a fierce protector of female students, engaging in a sort of psychological warfare against male students who mistreat them. A friend of mine swore up and down that a male student experienced unexplained and untraceable calls to his answering machine where a low female voice threatened him and ordered him to get out of her hall. This story sounds similar.

Whatever your belief about her spirit, the earthly remains of Helen Peabody rest in Oxford Cemetery, just a hill or two over from her beloved academic home. Her grave is flanked by other colleagues who shared her dedication to higher education for women.

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In Oxford Cemetery outside Oxford, Ohio, the home of Miami University, there is an interesting section of tombstones. All those interred were faculty and staff of Miami University or members of their immediate family. The tombstones have the seal of the University, the person’s name, birth year, death year, and usually position at the University or relationship to a member of the faculty or staff. Sometimes they also include an epitaph.

Guy Potter Benton

Robert T. Howard

So far, I haven’t been successful in discovering much about these tombstones. I have no idea if this sort of thing is common for academic institutions. They fascinate me because they are different.

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