October 30, 2020

Faculty Members Receive Emeritus Status

The 2020-21 school year will start with five noticeable voids as long-serving faculty leave the University of Mary Washington with emeritus status. The College of Education will say goodbye to professors George R. Meadows and Leslie Jo Tyler, the Department of Theatre and Dance will do the same with Professor Helen M. Housley, and two Jacks – Kramer and Bales – are departing the College of Arts and Sciences.

Professor of Education Emeritus George Meadows

Professor Emeritus of Education George Meadows

George Meadows came to Mary Washington in 1997 not only with an Ed.D. from West Virginia University, but also with a wealth of teaching experience. After earning degrees in geology – a bachelor’s from Marshall University and a master’s from Emory University – the West Virginia native served more than two years with the Peace Corps as a lecturer in geology at the National University of Malaysia, where he taught in the local language.

Meadows was an early adapter to technology. Known today for his instructional technology skills, he was already teaching online in the 1990s when he was research instructor for a National Science Foundation-funded project to support K-12 science teachers across a large geographic area. At Mary Washington, he was as likely to help faculty as students on use of technology, said longtime colleague Professor of Education Marie Sheckels.

She said that Meadows’ students loved his classes and appreciated the opportunities he gave them to explore new technologies, instructional equipment and hands-on material. She said his career demonstrated “he is a generous person who enjoys sharing his knowledge, expertise and excitement for learning with others.”

Meadows has focused in recent years on community outreach in the development of technology and makerspaces in local schools and libraries. He volunteers to support environmental education and STEM studies for the Fredericksburg area’s diverse, low-income children, and he plans to continue both in retirement.

Professor Emeritus of Education Leslie Jo Tyler

Professor Emeritus of Education Leslie Jo Tyler

Leslie Jo Tyler was hired in 1999 for a new master of education post-baccalaureate program in what was then the Mary Washington College of Graduate and Professional Studies. She “single-handedly directed the development” of UMW’s program to prepare classroom teachers to support English language learners – just when the need was taking off in the Fredericksburg area, according to Professor of Education Jane L. Huffman in a tribute to her colleague.

A linguist with a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, a master of education from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Florida, Tyler taught linguistics, sociolinguistics, cross-cultural communication, phonetics, phonology and other courses.

Huffman said that Tyler’s students recognized her demanding standards, just as they recognized her excellence. She became known for hosting annual gatherings so graduates and area professionals could get to know one another and share knowledge and best practices.

“Jo embodies the standards of quality, principles of innovation, and collaboration that are at the core of our programs,” Huffman said.

Professor Emeritus of Theatre Helen Housley

Professor Emeritus of Theatre Helen Housley

In her two decades at Mary Washington, Helen Housley directed 29 productions and was the department’s primary vocal instructor and coach. She taught an impressive variety of theater courses and stepped forward to develop a first-year seminar, which she taught every fall since its inception, according to Gregg Stull, department chair and professor of theater. An example of Housley’s devotion to her craft is that she volunteered over the years to watch thousands of high-schoolers audition for UMW Theatre.

An expert in the Lessac technique of voice, speech and movement training, Housley holds a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, a master of arts from Western Illinois University, and a bachelor of arts from St. Mary’s College.

In a tribute to Housley, Stull said the department in 2019 scheduled Much Ado About Nothing just so his colleague could direct her favorite Shakespeare comedy before retiring. Rehearsals were under way when the pandemic hit, and the production seemed doomed.

But Housley’s show went on. She innovated and directed the performance via Zoom. More than 1,500 people in 37 states and five countries watched a livestream of the performance, and thousands more saw it on YouTube.

“I never would have imagined when we left campus on March 12 that this semester, in all of its uncertainty, would reveal to me, yet again, Helen’s gifts as a teacher, director and colleague. But it has,” Stull said. “Helen ends her career at UMW in the same way she has lived it for the last 20 years – by giving tirelessly to our department and selflessly to our students, demanding as much from all of us as she does from herself. Such is her hallmark of excellence.”

Distinguished Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Jack Kramer

Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science and International Affairs Jack Kramer

Distinguished Professor of Political Science and International Affairs Jack Kramer is retiring with numerous distinctions after half a century at Mary Washington. During his long tenure, Kramer served as visiting professor of strategy and policy at the United States Naval War College, research fellow for the Russian Research Center at Harvard University, senior fellow for the National Defense University, and Fulbright-Hayes Fellow in the former Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia.

After earning an undergraduate degree at LaSalle College and a master’s at the University of Virginia, Kramer received a doctorate in political science and Soviet area studies from U.Va., where he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, a DuPont Fellow and a University Fellow. In 2002, the Virginia Social Science Association named him the “Outstanding Political Scientist of Virginia,” and UMW awarded its 2006 Grellet C. Simpson Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching to Kramer. He wrote The Energy Gap in Eastern Europe (D.C. Heath, 1990) and numerous articles and professional papers on political life in Communist and Post-Communist polities in Europe. In addition, he was the longtime co-leader of Mary Washington’s unique study-abroad program called European Capitals.

“I’m a happy camper,” Kramer declared on the eve of his retirement. “I’ve had a good run [having] been blessed with many fine colleagues and wonderful students and been paid to teach and write about a subject I still find fascinating and gripping.”

His colleague and current department chair, Professor Elizabeth Freund Larus, said Kramer, longtime chair, “has been the cornerstone of the department … building a collegial environment in which we all appreciate what each of us contributes to the department and the discipline.”

Kramer added: “I had never heard of Mary Washington – or Fredericksburg, for that matter – before I came here; I took the job because we were dead broke and desperately needed money.”

He used that experience as a life lesson for his students, many of whom have gone on to fill high-ranking government positions. “It’s good to plan,” Kramer said, “but don’t obsess about it.” He added, “Life works in funny ways and much of what happens in it is purely serendipitous so be open and receptive to unanticipated opportunities and seize the moment to exploit them.”

Reference and Humanities Librarian Emeritus Jack Bales

Reference and Humanities Librarian Emeritus Jack Bales

After four decades at Mary Washington, Reference and Humanities Librarian Emeritus Jack Bales has retired from the University of Mary Washington. But the meticulous researcher and expert on the history of baseball won’t quit studying and writing about his beloved Chicago Cubs.

“What am I going to do without Jack?” asked University Librarian Rosemary Arneson, his friend and colleague. Bales has led about 100 research sessions for students annually, she said, and his Citing Sources is UMW Libraries’ most popular guide, with over 6,000 hits. Faculty depend on him for support, too, including some of his former students who now teach at their alma mater.

“He is happiest when he is in the library early on a Saturday morning, poring over the microfilm of early Chicago newspapers, and he loves nothing else so much as a good footnote,” Arneson said in a tribute to Bales.

The Positivity Post, a UMW student-led weekly newsletter designed to spread good news during the gloomy COVID-19 days, recently described Bales as a UMW “institution.” The article went on to say that Writing Center director Gwen Hale once hailed Jack Bales as “the Mick Jagger of librarians.” A student countered, according to the article, ‘‘Mick Jagger is the Jack Bales of rock and roll!”

In 2019, Bales released Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team, published by McFarland & Co. A book about the life of Violet Popovich, the woman who shot Cub Billy Jurges, will be published later this year by The History Press. Bales’ books include literary studies on American authors Horatio Alger Jr., Kenneth Roberts (Northwest Passage), and Esther Forbes (Johnny Tremain).

In addition, he’s written extensively about the late Southern author Willie Morris, who is best known for his award-winning North Toward Home and the memoir My Dog Skip, which was made into a popular film. Morris and Bales became friends, leading to Morris’ memorable guest lectures at Mary Washington in 1998, during which he captivated students, faculty and community members.

“Jack is much more than a great teacher and researcher,” Arneson said. “He is a generous colleague, always willing to take an extra shift on the reference desk or to offer words of praise. We will all miss him greatly. And we hope he doesn’t have to wait another 100 years to see the Cubs win the World Series again.”

Crawley Announces Creation of Scholarship Honoring Jack Bales

Jack Bales at the celebration held by the University of Mary Washington in honor of his new book. Photo Credit: Erin Wysong.

Jack Bales at the celebration held by the University of Mary Washington in honor of his new book. Photo Credit: Erin Wysong.

A message from Bill Crawley.

When classes resume at UMW for the fall semester, things will not be the same — and not just because of the COVID-19 restrictions. Something will be missing – or, more accurately, someBODY will be missing. Jack Bales. Yes, difficult as it is to imagine the University without Jack, he has, in fact, embarked upon a richly merited retirement, effective at the end of last month.

I am sure that you will agree with me that the extent and quality of Jack’s contributions over the past 40 years are unparalleled – both to our students in their research and to us as faculty in our courses.  Many are the students whom I have heard say, “I would never have graduated without Mr. Bales” – or words to that effect. Many of them, I suspect, are not exaggerating, such was the attention and professional care he offered to any student who came knocking at his (always open) door.

To honor Jack for his exemplary service, a scholarship is being established in his name, which seems an altogether appropriate means of perpetuating his legacy of service to students. Activation of the award will require total donations of at least $25,000 – a goal to which I believe many of you would like to contribute as acknowledgement of the help he has given through the years.

To begin the process, my wife and I are donating $5,000, and we respectfully request that you consider joining us in whatever amount you wish. You may make your contribution at:

http://umw.edu/onlinegiving

Every donation will help to achieve our goal, which will serve as an appropriate tribute to this wonderful friend of the University and its students.

Bales Interviewed about Cubs, Research and Impending Retirement

Jack Bales at the celebration held by the University of Mary Washington in honor of his new book. Photo Credit: Erin Wysong.

Jack Bales at the celebration held by the University of Mary Washington in honor of his new book. Photo Credit: Erin Wysong.

Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales was recently interviewed by his alma mater, the University of Illinois’ School of Information Sciences, about his research, impending retirement and his lifelong passion for the Chicago Cubs.

As baseball teams gear up for spring training this month, Jack Bales (MS ’74) will begin another season of following—and researching—the Chicago Cubs, a team whose history he knows well. Bales, a reference and humanities librarian, combined his expert research skills and interest in the Cubs to author a book on the team’s early history. His book, Before They Were Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Team, was published last spring by McFarland & Company.

“It took years of research and writing (I have a full-time job), and since some of the newspapers I needed to consult are not available online, I spent several years going through microfilm page by page and year by year,” Bales said. “I would spend every Christmas vacation camped out by the library’s microfilm reader-printers. One of my colleagues still remembers how she came in one day when I wasn’t there and noticed my CD player, sweater, water bottle, snacks—and even my bedroom slippers—all neatly arranged beside reels of microfilm.” Read more.

Bales’ Chicago Cubs Book Reviewed in The Free Lance-Star

UMW Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales has written a new book, "Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team." It's due out this spring. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales has written a new book, “Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team.” Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales’ new book “Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team” was recently reviewed in The Free Lance-Star. The review states, “It is truly a perfect book to start a baseball season with. Not reading it before the season started certainly does not make it a less perfect book, but what a book to whet the appetite of any baseball fan and a must-read for fans of the Chicago Cubs.” Read more. 

Bales Discusses The Chicago Cubs Origins on Sports Podcast

UMW Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales has written a new book, "Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team." It's due out this spring. Photo by Karen Pearlman.

UMW Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales has written a new book, “Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team.” Photo by Karen Pearlman.

Reference and humanities librarian and baseball historian Jack Bales (Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team) was interviewed by the Good Seats Still Available podcast to delve into the surprisingly rich history of Major League Baseball’s long-time North Side Chicago franchise well prior to 1903, when they formally adopted their now-signature nickname.

http://goodseatsstillavailable.com/listen/2019/6/15/episode-117-the-chicago-cubs-origin-story-with-jack-bales

Bales' new book covers the Cubs' formative years.

Bales’ new book covers the Cubs’ formative years.

EPISODE #117: The Chicago Cubs Origin Story – With Jack Bales (Good Seat Still Available.com)

Two New Baseball-themed Exhibits in Simpson Library

UMW Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales has written a new book, "Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team." Photo by Karen Pearlman.

UMW Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales has written a new book, “Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team.” Photo by Karen Pearlman.

The next time you’re walking along Campus Walk, stop by Simpson Library and enjoy the two new exhibits on the first floor, arranged by Reference Librarian Jack Bales and Convergence Gallery Supervisor/Serials Assistant Tammy Hefner.

One of them features photographs and baseball history from Bales’ new book, Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team (McFarland, 2019).

The other exhibit focuses on the strange story of jilted lover Violet Popovich, who in June 1932 made headlines after she shot her Chicago Cub boyfriend, Billy Jurges. Violet’s wound was superficial, and she was booked on a charge of attempted murder. Billy recovered, and in a few weeks he was back on the baseball field. Although he refused to sign a complaint, Violet signed a singing contract with a local burlesque theater, billing herself as Violet Valli, “The Girl Who Shot for Love.” Preceding her on stage were the theater’s “Bare Cub Girls.”

Violet Valli adThe photographs and detailed narrative are based on Bales’ research and his award-winning article, “The Show Girl and the Shortstop: The Strange Saga of Violet Popovich and Her Shooting of Cub Billy Jurges” (Baseball Research Journal, fall 2016). “It’s an incredible story,” Bales said in a recent interview. “We’re talking attempted murder, stolen love letters, blackmail, a burlesque show, sex, and, of course, baseball. What else is there?”

UMW Libraries to Celebrate Bales’ Cubs Book Release

Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales

Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales

UMW Libraries will hold a gathering to honor Reference and Humanities Librarian Jack Bales in celebration of the recent publication of his book Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team. The festivity, which promises baseball, books and even hotdogs, will be held Monday, April 15, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Jepson Alumni Executive Center located on Hanover Street.

Bales, who grew up near Chicago and became a diehard Cubs fan, covers the team’s  rarely addressed formative years. In true librarian style, he cites thousands of original sources—though the amazing read isn’t limited to baseball lovers.

“Comments have been positive and gratifying, especially from people who don’t particularly enjoy baseball,” says Bales, who’s assisted generations of students with research and taught hundreds of library classes in his nearly four decades at UMW. “They’re getting caught up in the stories and the vignettes of the players, as well as just the whole period that is covered—19th-century America.”

To view the invitation and RSVP, go to:

Meet the Edit Sober Secret Society (The Free Lance-Star)

Jack Bales Writes Baseball Book

Jack Bales, Simpson Library’s Reference and Humanities Librarian, has finished researching and writing his book on the Chicago Cubs baseball team, tentatively titled Before They Were the Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago’s First Professional Baseball Team.  Bales uses–and cites–more than 2,000 sources, including newspaper articles, memoirs, and archival records, to chronicle a history of the team from its nineteenth-century planning stages to 1902, when a sportswriter referred to the young players as Cubs in the March 27 issue of the Chicago Daily News.  The book will include 30 photographs and other illustrations, some of which Bales found by poring over numerous reels of microfilm. His history will be published next year by McFarland & Company, a leading publisher of baseball books and academic nonfiction.