Contribution to “America in Color”

The producers took the image of the team picture taken at the first season and colored it for the program. [source: University of Miami Historical Photograph Collection]

About a year ago we were contacted by a British company asking for materials about the early history of the University of Miami including images. Last month they contacted us for another inquiry so I asked them if they had created a program using the materials we had provided.

They said yes and told me that the series they produced titled “America in Color” would start airing in July on Smithsonian Channel. Please read the recent Miami New Times’ story (link below) to find out how the series was created as well as to watch the Miami segment from the Episode titled “The 1920s.” I have never seen such a vivid presentation of the Great Hurricane of 1926.

Read Miami New Times article “Here’s Amazing Footage of the Great Miami Hurricane of 1926 Restored in Full Color”

I googled to look for more about Ralph Earle, who was the movie cameraman captured the hurricane footage, and was surprised to find so many websites and videos about the Great Hurricane of 1926 are available on the Internet.

The University of Miami Libraries is listed as a contributor among the prestigious institutions around the country.

Please go to the link below to find out more about the 5-part series “America in Color.” A full story of Episode 1, as well as snippets from the rest of the episodes, are available at the website.

Smithsonian Channel’s website “America in Color”



Denman Fink as UM Professor

Denman Fink (1880-1956) is often remembered as the artist and illustrator who left an important legacy through the designs he created for George Merrick’s real estate projects in Coral Gables during the 1920s. But he was also a highly regarded educator of art and architecture at the University of Miami, from the founding of the University in 1926 until his retirement in 1952. Since the University of Miami was always an integral part of Merrick’s planned community, Fink, a board member of the consulting architects of Coral Gables, was involved with the University from its inception.

Professor Fink first appeared as Consultant in Architecture in the 1929 Ibis.

The University Archives holds original materials by Denman Fink in the University of Miami Campus Architecture Collection. Fink created the iconic promotional poster entitled Keep the World Coming to Florida, Build the University of Miami, and the collection also includes artistic renderings and preliminary studies for the campus, many never realized, as well as lesser-known architectural drawings of the Solomon G. Merrick Building, campus dormitories, studio apartments, a research lab, and a stadium. A portrait of President Ashe painted by Fink, and the master’s thesis “Denman Fink: Dream Coordinator to George Merrick and the Development of Coral Gables, Florida,” represent other important items that are available for research.

View of the exhibition on the 8th floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.

These materials complement The Life and Art of Denman Finke, an exhibition currently on view at the Coral Gables Museum. University Archives partnered with the museum and provided a number of digitized items for their exhibit.

Trustee Julian S. Eaton commissioned the Ashe portrait in honor of the University’s 25th Anniversary in 1951.



UM’s Historical Image on the Cover of “Preservation Today”!

The University of Miami’s two most iconic historical images were featured in the inaugural issue of “Preservation Today” published by Date Heritage Trust in May 2017.

We were pleasantly surprised when we saw the cover of the inaugural issue of “Preservation Today,” which was published in May by Dade Heritage Trust. On the cover is the iconic historical image of the University of Miami taken on January 14, 1925 at the groundbreaking ceremony of Solomon G. Merrick Administration Building.

The elegantly dressed dignitaries gathered here are (from left to right) Phineas Paist, architect for Coral Gables; Denman Fink, artist, artistic advisor to George Merrick, and Professor of Architecture and Art at UM ; Frederic Zeigen, Managing Regent of the University of Miami; Myrtle Zeigen; Bertha M. Foster, Regent and first Dean of the School of Music; and Clara Price, wife of Regent Judge Mitchell D. Price.

Also, the feature story of the publication “How to Succeed in Business: Miami’s Oldest Businesses Share their Secrets of Survival” written by Karen Buchsbaum displays the another iconic image of the University “Keep the World Coming to Florida, Build the University of Miami” illustrated by Denman Fink circa 1925. The author contacted the UM’s University Communications for assistance in April, we provided her introduction to UM history and offered her available images on the early days of the university, and she selected the two impressive images for the publication.

The promotional poster “Keep the World Coming to Florida, Build the University of Miami” was illustrated by Denman Fink circa 1925. He was a nationally known artist, artistic advisor to George Merrick, and Professor of Architecture and Art at UM.

This informative and educational publication advocates preservation of architectural, environmental, and cultural heritage of the Miami-Dade County. We look forward to assisting them again in the near future because we think Richter’s distinctive collections (Cuban Heritage Collection, Special Collections, and University Archives) could contribute to their mission by providing research assistance and historical materials.



New Addition to the UM Campus Architecture Collection

We were excited to receive over 360 blueprints of the residence halls, which my Campus Planning & Development colleague has not seen before.

Two months ago we were delighted to receive a phone call offering over 300 never-before-seen architectural blueprints of UM buildings from the 1960s. They are plans of the UM’s residence halls designed by the Miami firm Connell, Pierce, Garland, and Freeman in 1967 and 1968. The donor of this wonderful gift is Mr. Lorenzo Otero Jr., a retired architectural draftsman, who studied at the University of Miami in the 1950s and worked for several architectural firms in Miami for four decades.

We appreciate very much the kindness of Mr. Otero’s two grandsons, Benjamin and Brian, who brought us the huge pile of the drawings in the rain saying that “we did not want to throw them away because we thought they could be valuable for the University.” They were very happy to find out that we would create an inventory list of all the drawings donated, preserve them with a help of Richter’s Preservation and Conservation specialist, and make them accessible for the University and the public.

I would like to share with you a picture of Mr. Otero when he was a Cane. I also looked up Mrs. Otero (maiden name Sylvia Masson) because the brothers told me their grandparents met when they were students at the U. Below please see their pictures from the 1952 and 1955 Ibis yearbook.

Meet Mr. Lorenzo Otero, Jr. in the lower right corner of the group photo fond in the 1955 Ibis yearbook.

Meet Mrs. Sylvia Otero in the lower right corner of the group photo found in the 1952 Ibis yearbook. You can also see her graduate portrait (1954 yearbook) as well as her name in the Spring 1955 commencement program.

Architectural drawings, blueprints, and historical images of the University of Miami’s buildings are important components of the University Archives. The collection has been developed in close coordination with UM’s Campus Planning and Development Office, and it has provided excellent materials for our exhibitions, University’s anniversaries and celebrations, and the School of Architecture’s faculty and students. Please go to the links below to find out more about the collection.

Click here for the archival collection of the UM Campus Architecture Collection and its downloadable container list (inventory list in PDF format)

Click here for the digitized blueprints from the UM Campus Architecture Collection

Click here for the digitized historical images of the UM’s buildings and campuses



Media Reaction to “First Black Graduate Project”

The article was published on February 16th online and the printed article came out on the 19th in the Neighbors section.

Because of the PR effort of the hard-working organizers of the First Black Graduates Project, their program has been receiving favorable media attention. Please go to the links below for two articles. The exposure is wonderful for us because they mention our current exhibition “We Were Pioneers.”

Miami Herald, February 16, 2017 article by Dr. Dorothy Jenkins Fields

University of Miami News, February 10, 2017 by By Robert C. Jones, Jr.

Also, stay tuned in on WVUM this Friday from 8 PM to 10 PM and Saturday from 1 PM to 3 PM because several UTrailblazers will appear on their programs!

WVUM 90.5FM – Listen Live