Things We Kept

As we celebrate our quasquicentennial, we take a look at an assortment of objects, on campus and beyond, that serve as reminders of our past. Some are deeply personal; others speak to institutional and national change. Unless noted, all artifacts are part of URI’s Special Collections in the Carothers Library. By Pippa Jack
Things We Kept



A baseball, decorated and later donated by the late Helen Leon Matthaei ’41, from a 1939 game in which URI beat New Hampshire 2-1.

Things We Kept


Milk Can

From the early 1910s, just after the Rhode Island College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts became simply Rhode Island State College, comes this reminder of URI’s roots. Students likely used this jug to hold milk from campus cows.

Things We Kept

Dance Card

This ornate program for the 1937 Freshman Banquet belonged to Marguerite “Peggy” Regina (McEnneny) Masterson ’37, who had no problem finding dance partners. Thanks to her daughter, Carole (Masterson) Lamendola ’77, for loaning it to us.

Things We Kept

Lecture Exhibit

The Powerpoint of its time, this early 1920s three-foot-high presentation case contained photographs of experiments performed at the Agricultural Experiment Station at Rhode Island State College, along with detailed explanations of their results. Professors would have taken it on the road when presenting to farmers and other institutions.

Things We Kept

Men’s Basketball Jersey

This 1940s jersey belonged to Stanley John Stutz ’42, a star member of Coach Frank Keaney’s basketball team. At the time, he went by the name Modzelewski, but was known by the catchy monicker Stan Stutz during his successful pro career. Above, Stutz (front row) and teammates get a pep talk from Coach Frank Keaney on the steps of Rodman Hall—the armory-turned-gymnasium where Keaney invented the fast break, forever changing the game. The jersey is part of a textiles exhibit at Quinn Hall this year.

Things We Kept

Japanese Ceremonial Sword

At the close of World War II, this sword was presented to Brigadier General Elliott R. Thorpe ’19, Hon. ’51, then chief of counterintelligence on General MacArthur’s staff and stationed aboard the USS Missouri. It was 1945 and the sword, presented by Thorpe’s opposite number on the Imperial staff, marked the formal surrender of Japan. Thorpe later gifted it to URI.

Things We Kept


Student Pin

Robin Winter ’83 has kept this pin since her freshman year. “Food fights in the dining halls were a Halloween tradition, and of course the school was trying to put an end to them. That year, the administration gave out these pins, closed the dining halls for that one night, and gave us bag dinners. We were supposed to dislike the bag dinners so intensely that we would never have food fights again.”


Branding Iron

Once used to brand animals, this iron was in storage when an enterprising facilities staffer dug it out in the 1970s. Rewired, it was used to “brand” the computers that had started to become ubiquitous around campus, guarding against theft.

Things We Kept
Things We Kept


Time Capsule

This box, buried in 1890 under a cornerstone of Davis Hall, was retrieved for URI’s centennial in 1992. It contained documents related to the college’s founding, and an Indian head penny.