From the Archives: The Digitized Voice of Wabash
by Jon Pactor '71
May 9, 2011
More than 100 years of The Bachelor—“the student voice of Wabash since 1908”—are now available online in a searchable digital archive available to alumni, students, faculty, and staff. The digital archiving project was spearheaded by Archivist Beth Swift and was funded by a generous gift from Jon and Andrea Pactor ’71.
“While at a conference of the Society of American Archivists I saw a company that was doing just what we needed done, digitizing and serving over the Internet large runs of student newspapers,” Swift explained when the new archive debuted in November. “I knew a project like this would be costly, so for the next several years I spoke with everyone I could about how wonderful it would be to have this for the Wabash family. I am so pleased to announce the most incredible project of my career at Wabash (so far).”
The online Bachelor archive is accessible from the Alumni and Parents page of the Wabash Web site and is password protected. Alumni who wish to browse the archive should use their Alumni eServices accounts.
“Andrea and I believe in print, and we want The Bachelor always to be printed,” says Pactor. “It is not just a newspaper, but a tangible symbol of our Wabash family. It makes us a stronger, more vibrant community.”
Swift says the genesis of the project came several years ago during Big Bash Reunion Weekend.
“For the first Big Bash Reunion, I pulled bound issues of The Bachelor in case anyone was interested. A group of three alums walked in and I offered them The Bachelors from their years here. They started looking through them and suddenly they were 20 again, laughing and sharing reminiscences from 50 years ago.
“Later, a professor brought his class in to work with The Bachelors. We spoke about being exceedingly careful with these old papers, and for the most part, the students were. Yet when they left, the floor was covered with little shreds of paper. It was clear that a sound preservation and reliable access strategy were needed.”
Enter Wabash history buff Jon Pactor and his wife, Andrea.
“This project has personal significance for us,” says Pactor. “My advisor, Professor of Latin and Mathematics Ted Bedrick H’52, headed the Board of Publications. He was a kind man, loved and respected by students and fellow faculty members at a level probably unsurpassed in my lifetime. This gift gratefully honors Ted’s character and friendship.
“Our son, Jacob ’04, worked on The Bachelor for eight semesters, six as editor-in-chief. This gift also honors the editors and other students who have labored on The Bachelor.”