The last days of summer always bring the nostalgia of being away from Glasgow for far too long. It was in this context that I applied to the Archives Services with the intention of joining the International Story Project upon my return to the University from Romania.
I had been put in charge of researching 12 people who studied at the University of Glasgow in the first half of the twentieth century and had connections with my home country of Romania. The first student was Sergiu Pascanu for whom the archives held a good amount of information which I was able to use in his University biography. Confident with the ease with which I found information, Pascanu became my favourite alumni to research.
Another interesting story was that of Misha Louvish, who I came across while studying another Louvish, Ruth. It was quite a coincidence to have a man and a woman with the same family name, the same Glasgow address, and studying the same degree? My first thoughts were of a lovely university romance story. However, with closer inspection of their matriculation slips, Ruth and Misha Louvish proved to be two ambitious siblings from Kimpulung, Romania who rewarded their father’s efforts of sustaining their studies with remarkable grades, class prizes, and scholarships.
The ease with which I found information on these students did lull me into a false sense of certainty – that the archives would hold all the documents that I required in order to complete every subsequent students’ biography. This was not the case, and as the archival material ran dry for some students, I was left frustrated, staring at ‘ghost-people’, who seemed to have enrolled one year and then disappeared the next without trace. As the duty archivist explained, this was common place until the second half of the twentieth century: It was normal for people to come and take a course at one university, get the knowledge they required, and then move to another university to complete their studies, or continue with their chosen career often without graduating in any degree.
Finally, I hope my overview of the Romanian project proves interesting – and I would be happy to hear from anyone who wants to share their stories of Romanian students of the University of Glasgow.
By Ioana-Nicoleta Gaurean, MA History & Politics, Romania, Club21