Stories about college campus life during WWII have been somewhat marginalized in history books. Telling the tales of the brutality of war, the heroism and sacrifices of men and women at home as well as abroad, and the war’s impact on global and national policies and economics took precedence. Even in the small collection of histories about military programs on college campuses during this period (e.g., Herge, 1996; Schneider, 1987; Cordozier, 1993), the focus was the military presence on campuses. While these histories are important to our understanding about and knowledge of WWII, they leave behind the long-silenced richness of campus life.

Muhlenberg Narratives from WWII Era is a collaborative, student-centered project that contributes to the democratization and accessibility of the college’s history. Instead of populating the library’s profile with collection highlights selected by staff, the students of Dr. Kathryn Ranieri’s Documentary Research course, working in close collaboration with Trexler Library Archivist Susan Falciani, researched primary sources to create short digital documentaries about the cultural and military life on campus during the WWII era.

These short digital documentaries, created by novice documentary students, have been researched and produced under faculty and librarian supervision and with a determination to work ethically and responsibly. While we strongly encourage accuracy, we understand that errors occasionally occur in student work. We apologize for any errors or omissions.

Let’s Get Lit chronicles the smoking culture on Muhlenberg College campus during the WW II years and illustrates the connections of American consumer culture, cigarettes and patriotism.

Emmia Newman

Swing and Jive offers a window into the music culture on Muhlenberg College in the early 1940s. From college newspaper columnist Wilmer Cressman writing about swing and jive dancing to events that included big band names like Tommy Dorsey and Glen Miller, music was a huge part of Muhlenberg culture.

Jason Silberman

Sharing the Stage is a comparison of President Roosevelt’s social and cultural Good Neighbor Policy involving the United State’s Latin American neighbors with a more localized Good Neighbor Policy between Muhlenberg and Cedar Crest College.

Rebecca Phillps

Dining Life at Muhlenberg is a lively comparison of dining options in the 1940s with the array of choices the campus has to offer today.

Hayley Steckler

Berg Beauty in the 1940s chronicles the tradition of beautiful gardens and majestic trees on campus.

Thomas Littrell

Alvin “Doggie” Julian recounts the many accomplishments of a beloved coach for many of the sports teams during the 1940s.

Brandi Vallely

Administration to Ettinger provides a brief tour of the Administration building fire, started during the night before graduation in spring 1946, and of the rebuilding and renaming of this beloved edifice, now called Ettinger.

Nick Brower

A Time of Uncertainty highlights key attributes of President Levering Tyson’s strength and wisdom during turbulent times.

Amanda Quinn

The Psychology of Tyson honors the intellectual rigor and progressive program of President Tyson’s decision to develop a psychology department in the 1940s.

Matt Solnick

The Mar Kay Club provides insight into the lives of married women who wanted to support their husbands’ academic work and provide a nurturing community for their own children.

Annese Silva