Professor Stan Shelmidine and His World

Collins Memorial Library’s Spring 2014 exhibition Stan! celebrated the life of Professor Lyle S. “Stan” Shelmidine (1906-1966), a well-loved member of the University of Puget Sound and Tacoma communities. The professor of Near and Far East history left the Archives & Special Collections a remarkable collection of artifacts, letters, and books collected during his travels abroad. In addition to teaching at Puget Sound, Stan spent a number of years traveling the Middle East and teaching in Turkey. The exhibition included selections from his personal collection of rare books, maps of his travels to Turkey and beyond, and letters, photographs, and foreign artifacts from his adventurous life. The exhibit Stan! presented a look into the life and studies of an important member of Puget Sound’s history.

Liana Hardcastle, a senior Art History major and one of four student curators, said, “I thoroughly enjoyed unfolding the life of someone I have never met through the letters and cards he received during his lifetime. There is a certain wonder one receives from seeing how something so mundane as a travel pamphlet can gain meaning by simply surviving and being attached to a life, especially one as rich as Stan’s.”Other art history students who worked on the exhibit include Brendan M Balaam, Margaret A O’Rourke, and Tosia B Klincewicz. Margaret said, "My experience with Stan! has been wonderful! Flipping through book after book, jumping from one fading pencil scribble to the next – all to uncover pieces of the life of such an important person in our community’s history. I hope viewers become as enthralled with Stan Shelmidine’s life and travels as I have!" Tosia shares many of the same feelings, "I’ve most enjoyed reading through Stan’s many correspondences. He was such an interesting person and he wrote with so much personality. Also, I’ve gotten really good at deciphering script handwriting."

The students, along with C. Mark Smith, whose article on Professor Shelmidine appeared in the Winter 2013 edition of Arches, shared their research and thoughts on Shelmidine on April 17, 2014 as part of the Behind the Archives Door series.

Learn More about Stan: "The Early Years" >>

More about Professor Shelmidine can be found in the University Archives at Collins Memorial Library.