The 1961 yearbook records the passion for argumentation among the UB Debate Club, whose members still meet regularly for reunions. “In debate this concept of always questioning manifests itself into verbal battles, the victory going to the most persuasive,” the yearbook reads. “It is through an activity such as intercollegiate debate that the facts and ideas learned in the classroom are transmitted into practical working entities.”
Paging through a sampling of UB yearbooks, the details and color of individual experiences pop out to the reader unfamiliar with the people portrayed, capturing how events were viewed by those living in the moment. In the 1961 yearbook, we learn of the “1960 Campus Stunt Night” won by Cooke Hall. A collection of uncaptioned photos is titled “Transient Moments,” and photos of Suzanne Cofran, Monika Goerth and Patricia Ciesiel recall the three 1960 campus queens chosen that year for Homecoming, the Interfraternity Council Ball and the Military Ball, respectively.
Eight years later, the university was transformed in personality. At this point in campus history—with UB at the height of campus unrest—a blurb in the 1969 Buffalonian understates Norton Union’s qualities as a hotbed of campus activism, terming it simply “a place for the politically oriented, the writer, the artist, the film buff and many more.”
Some of the yearbooks are exemplars of beautiful design, then and now. The 1931 Iris is “stunning,” says archivist emerita Shonnie Finnegan. “It had this beautiful silver cover that appears with a drawing of an iris. And there’s an image of the then-new City Hall, which is very much art deco.”
The 1934 Buffalonian, edited by J. Robert Winegar, was also visually appealing, says Finnegan. “It was Winegar who gave the university many of the yearbook’s original photographs that are so striking, and that were used extensively in exhibits and in university publications.”