The University Library has had a number of interested spectators of the popular Zeppelin display located in the Lobby. The Zeppelin airship display includes materials from various sources and formats, including videos, old books, photos, magazines, and pamphlets. Many of the items in the display are from the collection of Rudolf Schmetzke, the father of Axel Schmetzke. Axel is a librarian at the University Library and is the Coordinator of Instruction.
Rudolf Schmetzke was born in Berlin in 1907 and was the son of a merchant. Fascinated by the emerging aviation technologies, he enthusiastically took to the air himself — first in balloons, later in gliders, and finally in small engine-powered planes. He studied business and actuary science, and he worked in the insurance industry until WW II broke out. Drafted into the German air force (Luftwaffe), he spent six years in logistics, planning and setting up air fields in German occupied territories. After the war, he worked for several large insurance companies, helping to build their commercial aviation divisions. After completing his doctoral thesis (an historical account of insurance as it applies to aviation), he took on various positions teaching courses in actuary science. He retired from his last position as professor at the University of Cologne in 1975, and he died in 1999. While he had given up flying after becoming a family man and after suffering severe injuries in a plane crash, his interest in aviation persisted and he continued to add to his collection of aviation books until close to his death. The German books on display here are just a few examples of his extensive collection (some 2000 volumes).
Please stop by the Library to see this unique and popular display that will be up through mid-November. It is also posted on our Facebook page and Blog that you can find on our Library Homepage http://library. uwsp.edu.