October 27, 2007


Out of the blue I decided to Google my favorite high school teacher, Mr. Schwendemann, or Schwendy. Schwendy taught honor's history and I had him for 3 years. He was just an incredible teacher. He taught lecture-style--we never had a textbook, just lectures each day and a test after each unit. He retired shortly after I graduated, in part because of his "unconventional" teaching style (which honestly did more to prepare us for college than any other teacher I had).

So I Googled him, thinking, "How many Glen Schwendemanns can there be?"

Turns out there are two.

Glen # 1 was apparently an academic who published widely on "Exodusters." Exodusters was a name given to black Americans who fled the Southern United States for Kansas in 1879 and 1880. Glen # 1 and his Exodusters was the first search results.

However, I did find Schwendy right there 3 entries down, and it turns out that all this time he had a book bindery in his garage and collected, bound, and restored hundred of very rare and old books. WHO KNEW??? I do remember one day he had a book in class that was in a binding clamp, but that's about all I can think of. So I was very surprised to see that Schwendy donated 500 rare books to Cal State Dominguez Hills two years ago.

From the CSUDH library's rare book collections website, I found this:

Glen Schwendemann Collection
The Glen Schwendemann Collection includes nearly 500 books, dated 1556-1990, and was donated to the library in 2005. Schwendemann, a retired Torrance history teacher and book binder, personally rebound and repaired over 300 of the books. Mr. Schwendemann's interest in rare book collecting reflects both his interest in historic exploration and excavation, and his skill at repairing books damaged by misuse or age. In his garage/book bindery, Schwendemann would de-acidify the book, sew the binding and cover the book with decorative paper and a leather, cloth or vellum casing. The books are both beautiful and useable thanks to Schwendemann's expertise. Topics in the collection cover a wide range, including European expeditions of the Arctic, Africa, South America and Tibet; ancient history; excavations and travel memoirs.

Really--who knew?

Posted by Shelby at October 27, 2007 02:30 PM

Wow! It's been a while since I thought of Mr. Schwendemann. I remember his classes as bringing the stories of history to life. However, I recall the tests required memorization of facts, not analysis. Memories and more memories.

A bit behind on your blog since the baby was born - sorry.

Posted by: Sarah Jacobson at December 12, 2007 06:40 PM
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