Boyd, Elizabeth R.
"Rutgersensia exists to serve the University, as well as to preserve the things of its history." (1)
The Rutgers historical items found in the Boyd Collection were once part of Rutgersensia—a university history collection. The term Rutgersensia is still used to refer to Rutgers items.
Although Rutgersensia materials' existence parallel the history of Rutgers, as a library collection it first was unofficially under the charge of Alexander "Sandy" Stuart Graham. Graham, a self-educated man, came to Rutgers in 1915, after forty years working as a cutter and designer at the Janeway & Carpender wallpaper firm in New Brunswick. He became interested in systematizing and making usable the items he found about Rutgers in "old stone cellars." He also initiated the alumni biographical files and started a Rutgers bookcase featuring the work of Rutgers graduates. Graham's work at Rutgers extended beyond the library. In 1927, he undertook a commission to search for the original Queen's Charter in Europe. He worked on tracing the artists of the portraits in Kirkpatrick Chapel. He also ran a small rare and used bookstore At The Sign of the Thistle at his home on Hale Street in New Brunswick. Graham retired in 1936. (2)
In addition to Graham's work, George Osborn, Rutgers' head librarian from 1907 to 1945, had collected objects relating to Rutgers' history. In 1934, these items combined with Graham's material and other Rutgers historical objects and documents were opened as a collection called the Rutgersensia section in Voorhees Library. Elizabeth Boyd, who had come to Rutgers from the Princeton Library in 1932, was named curator. She left Rutgers in the mid-1950s. (3)
In the early 1960s, the library established a university archives department and hired William Miller to serve as Rutgers' first university archivist. The Rutgersensia materials then fell under the province of the University Archives.
It is likely that in the course of doing research on Rutgers History, Elizabeth Boyd selected some Rutgersensia documents along with some of Graham's notes, and took them home to help her in her work. These documents were not returned, however, until the 1990s, and with the changes in the library that had occurred over the years, the original placement of many of these documents became difficult to determine.
(1) "Of and About Rutgers" Rutgers Alumni Monthly Vol. 29, no. 4 (Jan. 1950), 13.
(2) Information about Graham can be found in Milton Tucker's "Alexander Stuart Graham—Gentleman" in Rutgers Alumni Monthly Vol. 6, no. 9 (June 1927), 252-252, and in E.W.D. [Elizabeth W. Durham], "Garry and Sandy—in Appreciation," Alumni Monthly Vol. 26, no. 4 (January 1947), 27.
(3) Information about Boyd and Rutgersensia can be found in "Of and About Rutgers" Rutgers Alumni Monthly (Jan. 1950), Vol. 29, no. 4 (Jan. 1950), 12-13.
From the guide to the Guide to the Elizabeth R. Boyd Historical Collection on Rutgers University, 1795-1956, (Rutgers University Libraries. Special Collections and University Archives)
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