Before My Time is about the ancestry and extended family of my four grandparents: John Samuel Krentz (Indiana/North Dakota), Margreta Tjode Hedwig (Gertie) Buss (North Dakota), Rosmer Pettis Kerr (Pennsylvania/Michigan), and Evelyn Elvina Hauer (Michigan), and other topics in genealogy and family history.

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Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Another Diploma from the Alice Wilcox Collection

Apparently, overlarge diplomas were a thing a hundred years ago. I have my grandfather's high school diploma which measures 17" x 22". It had been rolled up for ... well, decades, eh? In contrast, Alice Wilcox's 1940 high school diploma was about the size of a sheet of typing paper, and was folded in half.

It was difficult to unroll my grandpa's diploma, but at some point I managed to do so without destroying it, and I attempted to flatten it out by storing it under a heavy load of books. After awhile, I put it into a large Itoya Art Profolio Presentation Book/Portfolio, which is a great solution for storing oversized documents, newspaper pages, artworks, and such. I've stored the portfolio flat under a metal shelving unit in my den for years. Still, when I open the cover, the pocket page holding the diploma tries to curl up a bit.

But let us not belabor that point now. Today we are here to discuss my second rolled-up 17" x 22" diploma. Now, there's something I never expected to say. The new one is the 1918 nursing school diploma of Elma Graver Williams, Alice Wilcox's mother.

The first thing I did when I received it was to begin the process of unrolling it. I didn't try to flatten it all the way out immediately, for fear of cracking the paper. I just did my best to loosen up the roll a bit, and I let it rest that way for a day or two. When I was able to get it to lay more or less flat between two foam-core boards, I left it to relax for another day or two with just enough weight on the boards to keep the diploma from popping itself back into a roll.

I can't tell you the diploma is ready to lay flat, but at least I was able, with great care, to get it onto my 11" x 17" scanner bed--first the left side, then the right side, and then put the two scans together, cropped off the large margins, and reduced the size for your viewing pleasure.


You'll notice that the calligrapher misspelled Elma's middle name, which really is Graver, not Grover. I do have the Paint Shop Pro skills to fix that error and, reader, it took considerable reining in of my OCD not to become a revisionist historian!

This diploma now has its own pocket page in the portfolio with my grandpa's. Both still wish to curl up. Don't hesitate to leave a comment if you've been successful with a safe method of resolving this problem.


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Our Family in Books: A Bibliography

  • My Ancestors in Books (a library of resources and notes pertaining to Reverend Samuel Stone, Major General Robert Sedgwick, Elder John Crandall, and other early Americans in the forest where my family tree was grown)
  • The Zahnisers: A History of the Family in America by Kate M. Zahniser and Charles Reed Zahniser (Mercer, Pa. 1906)
  • History of St. James Lutheran Church [full title: A little of this and a little of that in the 141 year (1861-2002) History of St. James Lutheran Church, Reynolds Indiana] by Harold B. Dodge, published at Reynolds, Indiana, 2002; 170 pages.
  • Lisbon, North Dakota 1880-2005 Quasuicentennial, published at Lisbon, North Dakota in 2005; 391 pages.
  • The Paschen and Redd Families of Cass County, Indiana by Alfred Paschen, c. 2005 (Gateway Press, Inc., Baltimore, MD); 322 pages.
  • Sheldon Community History: Sheldon Centennial 1881-1981, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 1981; 376 pages.
  • Sheldon, North Dakota 1881-2006 - 125th Anniversary: The Queen of the Prairie, published at Sheldon, North Dakota in 2006; 498 pages.
  • A Standard History of White County, Indiana, written under the supervision of W.H. Hamelle, c. 1915 (The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago and New York).
  • The Roots of Coventry, Connecticut by Betty Brook Messier and Janet Sutherland Aronson, c. 1987 (Coventry 275th Anniversary Committee, Coventry, CT); 206 pages.
  • "Elder John Crandall of Rhode Island and His Descendants" by John Cortland Crandall; New Woodstock, New York, 1949; 797 pages.
  • "The Descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island." Nellie (Willard) Johnson, Pd.B.: H & L Creations, LLC.

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