Monday, April 28, 2014

A Look Back: Howard College Alma Mater Plate

Printing Plate and Alma Mater Print

This printing plate, dated 1927, is for the Howard Collage Alma Mater. The plate came into the Special Collection in 1961, four years before the name was officially changed to Samford University. The lyrics of the Alma Mater seem to have stayed the same after the name change, except for a necessary replacement of Howard with Samford, as can be seen on a print of the Samford Alma Mater from 1994. 

Printing Plate marked with acid

Like most music printing plates, the Howard College Alma Mater plate is etched in mirror image to be used in an intaglio printing process, so it no doubt looks strange to anyone who can read music. Though our records indicate the plate is made of steel, zinc was a far more commonly used metal for engraving plates, as it was easier to etch with acid and on the back of the plate, the marks of the acid can clearly be seen. 

 Though perhaps not the flashiest piece in the Special Collection, SC 186 reminds us that our Alma Mater has been sung for at least 87 years. 

Text and Photographs contributed by Rachel Cohen of the Samford Special Collection.

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