Connecting the new to the old: time travel through “Re-Photography “

This recent addition to the archives offers an opportunity to introduce the campus to a trend in the archives world called re-photography.

1960_Holmes_hall_plantRe-photography involves re-enacting a scene from an earlier period in time by recreating it in a modern context. This is done in at least two ways: by deliberate restaging or reenactment without any variation such as is illustrated here, or by using an old photo for inspiration to create something with a modern twist.

 

2014_Holmes_hall_remakeWe are illustrating the first case with the 1960 photo (above). It was donated to the archives recently and arrived with an article about planting the nascent rubber tree in Holmes Hall (see this Fall 2007 IWU Magazine story for more on the plant). Last summer Archives Student Assistant Melissa Mariotti (right) posed for a re-shoot in the same spot so it is possible to see how different the same location looks today. (Photo credit: Megan Dickey)

The second way we’ve seen this done is by offering a new interpretation of an old scene that isn’t dependent on the specific location. Anyone can try this out by looking up old photos such as the ones added below. Over 1400 historical IWU photos, scanned from among the many thousands held in the University Archives, are available at http://tinyurl.com/iwu-historical.

Make your mark on IWU history…re-make an old scene in your own way today!

 

 

Hot off the presses!

Read on for an announcement about a digital preservation project that The Ames Library participated in on IWU’s behalf!
POWRR project logo
The Digital POWRR Project (Preserving digital Objects With Restricted Resources), is a multi-institutional, IMLS National Leadership Grant project that has been working in the field of digital preservation (DP) since 2012. Its focus has been on investigating scalable DP solutions for small and mid-sized institutions that are often faced with small staff sizes, restricted IT infrastructures, and tight budgets. These institutions hold unique digital content important to their region’s cultural heritage, yet many of the practitioners are unsure how to approach the stewardship of the content and are overwhelmed by the large number of DP tools/services available. As the project progressed, the team uncovered the particular challenges, advantages, needs, and desires of under-resourced institutions. They worked to address and overcome obstacles that often prevent practitioners from taking even initial steps in preserving their digital content. POWRR sought to create a well-marked, realistic path towards sustainable digital stewardship for this often overlooked group. For example,
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- The team delivered a well-received, graphic-based tool grid that shows, at-a-glance, the functionalities of over 60 DP tools and services and how they fit within an OAIS-based digital curation lifecycle.
- POWRR successfully petitioned select DP-solution vendors for scaled-down and transparent pricing geared towards smaller institutions.
- The team created materials to aid practitioners as they attempt to build awareness around the need for a DP program and advocate for the necessary resources.
- They developed a pragmatic, hands-on workshop to teach the initial steps necessary to accession and inventory digital content as well as how to realistically approach developing a DP program. Recognizing that many of their target institutions currently have little-to-no travel and training budgets, the POWRR team is traveling across the country to conduct these workshops for very little cost to the practitioners.
- Because institutions can achieve economies of scale by working together (not to mention the value of the “we’re all in this together” approach!), POWRR is producing collaboration models and the underlying legal framework often needed for these endeavors…all directed at small and mid-sized institutions.
These are just a selection of the efforts put forth by the POWRR team to guide and empower their peers on the path to digital stewardship. Stay tuned to the POWRR website for further activities and developments!
IWUNIU

Research files: The Meditation Room

Illinois Wesleyan University’s Meditation Room

Guest posted by Melissa Mariotti

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Photo taken by Melissa Mariotti, 2014

Not much is known about Illinois Wesleyan’s Meditation Room; in fact many people are unaware of its existence. The purpose of this room is all in the name; a place for quiet reflection and meditation. It is located on the second floor of the Memorial Center, up the stairs from the Davidson room.
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Photo taken by Melissa Mariotti

It is a small space filled with six chairs, an altar, several crosses (both big and small), a prayer kneeler, paper and note cards for writing notes and prayers, several Bibles, rosaries, and a large plaque dedicated to the Wesleyan students who died in combat during World War II. It is interesting to note that the Meditation Room was not part of the original plans for the Memorial Center. While the building was constructed in 1947, the Meditation Room was not added until about 10 years later during the 1957-1958 school year after students began requesting a space for quiet meditation. It is well-known that Illinois Wesleyan began as a Methodist institution, so it is somewhat surprising to see that students requested a non-denominational meditation room. It may have begun as nondenominational, but it is clear that after time that its purpose has shifted from a small war memorial to a small church. Many people have found a sanctuary in this room. On the door there is a sign-in sheet where you can see how often the room gets used. People, both students and alumni, have written notes on it, saying how thankful they were for the space.

It is unclear as to when most of the items in the room were added or by whom.  The earliest evidence Wesleyan has is a photo taken during the 1960s of the altar and a cross. According to a 1954 Argus article, the room was “furnished by the Lee McClure family.” At that time, there was only the altar, a cross, and the chairs. As for the rest of the items, such as the large crosses, it is uncertain. There are six chairs placed against both sides of the room that were donated by Mr. and Mrs. Lee McClure in honor of their son, Bruce McClure, a student at Wesleyan, who died in combat in 1945.

"The Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lee McClure, in Memory of their Son, Bruce, 1924-1945."

“The Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Lee McClure, in Memory of their Son, Bruce, 1924-1945.” Photo Taken by Melissa Mariotti

Each chair has a small plaque on them to commemorate him. Bruce came to Wesleyan in 1942 and was enlisted that following spring. He was a member of Phi Gamma Delta.

It is uncertain whether or not every item in the room was donated by the McClure family


There is a large plaque that is placed on the wall with the names of the students who fought and died in combat. The plaque is titled, “Illinois Wesleyan University Students Who Made the Supreme Sacrifice in World War Two.”

Plaque commemorating the students from IWU who gave their lives during WWII

Plaque commemorating the students from IWU who gave their lives during WWII. Photo found in RG 18-1/17

Among those names is George Lansing Fox, whom the room is now dedicated to. There is small collage dedicated to him and “The Four Chaplains.” George L. Fox graduated from Illinois Wesleyan in 1932 and served in World War I, receiving many prestigious awards, such as the Silver Star, Purple Heart, the Croix de Guerre, and the Furaguerre. He enlisted in World War II as a chaplain as was put on a ship called the USS Dorchester.

Plaque commemorating George L. Fox

Plaque commemorating George L. Fox Photo taken by Melissa Mariotti, 2014

 

In 1943 the USS Dorchester was torpedoed by a German submarine. Fox was one of three chaplains on the ship, one Catholic, one protestant, and one Jewish rabbi. After finding that there were not enough life vests on the ship, the four chaplains gave up their own so others could survive. They were last seen kneeling on the deck of the ship in prayer as it sank.In 1951 president Truman dedicated a chapel at Temple University, Pennsylvania, The Chapel of the Four Chaplains, and made a commemorative postage stamp in their honor.

 

Research files: Tommy as a cartoon character

This plaque is the first record we have showing Tommy Titan as a cartoon

This plaque is the first record we have showing Tommy Titan as a cartoon

In this post, we have two views of the same object: a plaque in the archives that contains the first image of Tommy Titan as something other than a person in costume. This artifact contains the earliest record we have of the transition from Tommy as a person dressed in titan-esque attire (see details in previous post) and the costume-wearing student who serves as our mascot today!

Close up of 1st time Tommy shown as a cartoon

Close up of 1st time Tommy shown as a cartoon

 

Research files: From GAW to Tommy

Any time a student or any member of the community attends an IWU sporting event a constant image and cheerful presence is the IWU mascot of Tommy Titan. Tommy Titan is undoubtedly one of the important symbols of Illinois Wesleyan University, but when did Tommy become the official IWU mascot?

The IWU Titan name was first mentioned in October 27,1927 issue of the Argus.The IWU football team previously had no specific name and they were the first to acquire the nickname Titans. Soon all IWU sports teams chose to use the name of the Titans, but the first name of Tommy did not appear until much later and we can thank a man named Lee Short!

Tommy being pulled onto the field in a chariot.

Click on the image to go to the Argus issue containing Tommy’s debut!

Class of 1944 alumnus Lee Short earned the credit of creating the gladiator-like image of our beloved mascot and giving him the first name of Tommy in 1951.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Tommy’s appearance evolved even more, but you can read the story about Tommy’s origins in the November 2, 2007 Argus. The first image we have of Tommy is at this football game against ISU on September 25, 1965. The student portraying him is Steve Reeser, Class of 1969.

Long before Tommy Titan, the IWU colors of green and white were documented as our school colors in 1898 report of the Daily Pantagraph. It is interesting to think that before adopting the name of the Titans the sports teams of the past (pre-1927) simply referred to themselves as the GAW (for Green and White) and continued to do so for some time until the Titan name decidedly became the commonplace term.

Be sure to look at the Argus issues linked in this post and all the other resources for IWU history! And check out our campus traditions page for pep songs and more. Lee Short has a long and interesting association with IWU, and he contributed an oral history recording in 2010 that is also available online.

A note about Records — NOT the Olympic or turntable kind!

Some people find it odd to learn that archivists spend a lot of time thinking about what to throw away. It’s true, though, not everything needs to be saved forever. In fact, if we aren’t consciously making decisions it can actually cost more–in terms of staff time and resources to preserve objects–to take care of things we don’t truly need compared to the cost of caring for what we truly value.

The graphic below is part of a page I created to help IWU offices identify what types of records they create and to determine how long they should keep them. The page also contains terminology to help people think through record keeping decisions.

records flowchartThis does not have to be a solo effort! Questions are welcome and you can contact me to talk these decisions through.

Research files: Famous Commencement quote

President Myers at the 1993 Commencement

President Minor Myers, jr., 1993 Commencement

“Go forth and do well, but even more go forth and do good.” — noted in the 1993 Commencement files (RG 6-1/2)

People often remember the parting advice former President Minor Myers, jr. made at Commencement each year, and we were recently asked to find out when he first said it and if it had any other origin.

President Myers didn’t read from complete scripts during speeches; the above quote was in the brief, typed outline of his remarks for Commencement 1993.

But how did he come to develop this phrase? We followed the trail back to his first campus speech and found two instances that illuminate a possibility.

An earlier notation we found comes close to the eventual phrase: “We shall both prosper only as we serve well.” This note was penciled in on an “Outline for Talk at Writers [sic] Conference” dated March 28, 1990 (RG 2-12/3/1: Speech Outlines, July 1989-March 2002, folder 3 of 3).

The typed notes directly above this line show an origin: “Anglican / read of Wesley, went to his house, found his bust / example of unremitting effort to do good. / and unending joy in doing it. / that is the satisfaction of what we are doing, // the frustrations, / but the reward is the sense we are contributing to the maintenance of that which is good by unending efforts to make it better.”

And going further back, a note on Myers’ 1989 Inaugural Address also refers to John Wesley’s “devotion to doing good,” so perhaps we can say that the founder of Methodism itself is the inspiration for the quote that Myers crafted over the next four years and made his own!

Research files: Shortest serving president

Someone recently asked, “Who was IWU’s shortest-serving president?”
With a length of service at just 14 months, the record goes to Clinton W. Sears: August 1855-October 1856 (see p. 54-55 of Elmo Watson’s IWU Story; available at http://archive.org/stream/illinoiswesleyan00wats#page/n7/mode/2up).

Photographs of all of our presidents are available at http://www.iwu.edu/president/history.html.

Others who served short terms include
Wiley G. Brooks (22 mos.) took office in December 1937 and left in September 1939 (Watson p. 168-169).

Samuel J. Fallows (23 mos.) served from August 1873 until the 1875 Commencement which was in mid- to late-June in those days (Watson p. 113).

Wayne Anderson (24 mos.) August 1, 1986 – July 31, 1988
The official inauguration didn’t take place until April 25, 1987, but archival records confirm that Anderson was appointed in April 1986 and his first day in office was August 1, 1986. A letter from the Board of Trustees (filed with Anderson’s appointment documents in RG 2-11/1) verifies receipt of his resignation letter and says it was effective July 31, 1988. The same letter confirms Dr. Wendell Hess would serve as interim president. Dr. Hess discusses this period and others in his long association with IWU in his oral history interview (see http://digitalcommons.iwu.edu/oral_hist/46/). An April 15, 1988 Argus news story on this topic is available at http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/u?/iwu_argus,6439.

Note: We’ve combed our research files for interesting requests and with this post will start publishing “staff picks” and the ones that seem likely to be asked again. Stay tuned!

What does the archives keep?

Someone recently asked me to create a source that would make it easy for people to know what the archives considers…well…archival! The image linked below leads to a slide show designed to help clarify how YOU can help me save your history for future generations.

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This slide lists some of our major collecting points, but if you have questions feel free to ask!

Let me know if you have questions about anything in this overview!