Research Files: The Founder’s Gate/West Gate

Guest posted by Melissa Mariotti

IWU West Gate. Found on IWU Website.

IWU West Gate. Photo copied from IWU Website.

As most students and faculty know, there are several main entrances into Wesleyan’s campuses. There is the North entrance on Franklin Avenue, the South entrance by Empire Street, the East entrance by Park Street, and the West entrance by Main Street. There is not much known about the latter entrance. It stands between Pfieffer and Gulick Halls and bears the inscription:

“We stand in a position of incalculable responsibility to the great wave of population overspreading the valley of the Mississippi. Destiny seems to point out this valley as the depository of great heart of the Nation. From this center mighty pulsations, for good or evil, must in future flow, which shall not only affect the fortunes of the Republic but reach in their influence other and distant Nations of the earth.”

The West Gates, looking north toward the Women’s Dormitory. From a 1931 booklet of pen sketches of Illinois Wesleyan University.

The West Gates, looking north toward the Women’s Dormitory. From a 1931 booklet of pen sketches of Illinois Wesleyan University; RG 4-16/2/4.

Upon further research, it was discovered that the gates were ”erected and presented to the school by the Bloomington Association of Commerce in 1921” (Founders’ Day Convocation, 2006). There are two differing theories about where this quote came from. According to the 1960 Wesleyana, it is “an excerpt from the report on education to the annual meeting of the Illinois Conference held in Springfield in 1854.” But according to an Argus article from February 13th, 1940, it was said on December 18th, 1850 from the “Conference Record.”

The quote was verified in the Methodist Conference Record of 1854 by the archives that holds those documents: The Illinois Great Rivers Conference Archives at MacMurray College, Jacksonville, Illinois. There is more to the quote than was summarized on our West Gates, but the spirit of the passage resonates just as much today as it did for our Founders.

Students around the West Gate in 1951. From the 1951 Wesleyana.

Students around the West Gate in 1951. From the 1951 Wesleyana.

The quote that is inscribed on the gate is said to represent “the ‘incalculable responsibility’ the founders of Illinois Wesleyan felt in the work they had undertaken” in establishing Illinois Wesleyan as an “institution of learning” (President Wilson, Founder’s Day Convocation Remarks, 2006). It describes the passion that the Founder’s had for teaching and learning, along with the many obstacles they had to face into creating the school. This inscription is referenced many times during Founder’s Day Convocations, and is evident in the care and consideration of all who work to sustain and advance that goal today.

 

Research files: Acquisition/construction dates

Guest posted by Melissa Mariotti

As students and faculty, we are constantly on the move across campus, but while walking have you ever wondered about all the different buildings that are around us? Though Illinois Wesleyan is not a large campus, the number of buildings and their individual histories make up for its small size. The dates of acquisition and construction of each building range over time, creating a blend of older and newer buildings on campus.

The most recent building, State Farm Hall, was finished in 2013 and replaced the Sheean library, constructed in 1968. Before the Sheean and State Farm Hall, the first building on IWU’s campus, Old North Hall, was built in roughly the same area and lasted from 1856 until 1966.

The Alumni Relations Office was created in 1991 on January 15th alongside the later dedication of well-used Baseball Field in honor of Jack Horenberger on April 11, 1999. Only a year later, on April 14, 2000 the Softball Field also held its inauguration when the Titans hosted North Park.

Dialing the clock only a little farther back, the records of the Physical Plant also reveal the creation of buildings such as Publications, Printing, and Mailing Services on January 3, 1996; Information Technology on August 4, 1983; and the well-known Multicultural Center on November 20, 1980.

Some of the more common and well-loved buildings of campus also have long histories. The E. Melba Johnson Kirkpatrick Laboratory, or better known by theatre goers as the Lab Theatre, is actually part of the Alice Millar Center for Fine Arts which received its dedication on March 18, 1973. It was not until the autumn of 1993 that the Lab Theatre received its name in dedication. The Memorial Center has been home to many offices, rooms, and places of events. For instance, the Bertholf Commons, the campus’s largest dining hall, can be found there. The commons was dedicated to President Bertholf, who held office between the years of 1958 and 1968. Even the International Office, which is currently located in the Center for Liberal Arts (CLA), used to be housed in the Memorial Center. Some of the oldest buildings on campus are some of the least known. The English House was built in 1911, but was not acquired by Wesleyan until 1947. The Security office that we know today was a coach house for what is now called Blackstock Hall (acquired in 1937). The coach house has also been an art studio and the English House was once the Gallery Building. Look through the changes to our campus at the collection of historical maps online at http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/u?/iwu_histph,1185.

For many of the students on campus, after a day of classes, work study jobs, extracurricular activities, and studying, we all enjoy being able to return to our various residence halls for a bit of relaxation and rest, not to mention a place to live during the school year. The first residence hall was built in 1878 and was known as Henrietta Hall, a residence hall for women only. It was run by a group expressly created for that purpose: the Women’s Education Association of IWU. It was also originally known as the Young Ladies’ Boarding Hall. The second residence hall was Kemp Hall. It was formerly known as the DeMange Mansion and was renamed in honor of President Kemp after it was acquired in 1912 and was also an all-women residence hall. Until 1987, it also was home to a dining hall and offices for faculty members. Dolan Hall – formerly Franklin Hall for Men – was built in 1955 and was one of the first dormitories established for men. Prior to this time, men either lived in fraternities or resided off campus. A new Women’s Residence Hall is opened on the corner of East and University Streets in October of 1956. We know it today as Anna Gulick Hall. At the time of opening, it was also home to “The Sarepta Bane Whipp Department of Home Economics.” See front page story in the 1956 IWU Bulletin.

Until 1998, IWU’s Publications, Printing, and Mailing services resided in Holmes Hall. It was decided that the space was too small for the services and was moved to its current location, a small building off of Franklin Avenue nearby the TKE fraternity house. Before that, the building was actually a dentist’s office until it was acquired by Wesleyan at an unknown date. The space was vacant for sometime, and it was supposedly meant to be used as a child care facility. See the full article in the February 6,1998 IWU Argus.

Publishing, Printing, and Mailing services

Publishing, Printing, and Mailing services. From the IWU website.

Architectural history is alive and well on our campus, but this is only a short list of the buildings that cover the grounds. You will find photographs of these and other IWU landmarks in our online collection.

To learn more about other buildings new or old you can also visit Tate Archives and Special Collections in the Ames Library, or contact the Archives at archives@iwu.edu!

 

Qualities of a “record”

Let’s all admit it, archivists may think they’re speaking English but a lot of our terminology sounds like gibberish (MPLP, anyone?) or is industry-specific (e.g., archival value vs. legal value) or can just be misunderstood due to other, non-industry usages (e.g., appraisal–it’s not always about monetary value or processing–we’re not using it in the psychotherapy sense!). Every profession has its unique vocabulary and this post is about an unusual twist to a word that’s used in my profession but not easily understood: recordness.

I subscribe to several professionally-oriented listservs, and one that just started a year or so ago is something the Society of American Archivists calls the “Word of the Week.” It’s all part of an effort by a team of SAA members to enhance professional understanding via standardized terminology. This will culminate in a dictionary of terms used in archives and builds on the amazing work of the original “Glossary of Archival Terms” which can be found at http://archivists.org/glossary.

“What kinds of records do you keep” is a common question, and even more “Why isn’t something like a database considered a record?” There seems to be a lot of confusion about the kinds of things that are official records. I created a blog post about them last year and used an image adapted from another archives to illustrate document lifecycles.

records flowchart

How to tell if something is a record in the archival sense of the word. [click to enlarge]

So in the interest of augmenting the definition of a record, I give you the SAA Dictionary Work group’s definition of the larger concept behind records:

Recordness

n. ~ the quality of being a record; the state of having the characteristics of a record

Related Term
record

Notes
The definition of “recordness,” just as the definition of “record,” changes according to purpose, law, and context, yet there are some features that most archivists agree are defining features of a record: a record preserves the content of some human action or activity, its content is fixed, and it encompasses at least some of the context needed to make it comprehensible beyond itself. However, meaning is pliable in both the content and the definition of a record. Especially with regard to electronic records, for example, fixity is more a property of ensuring that a record does not change over time after capture by an archives rather than the property that a record (say, in the form of a database or a webpage) does not change during its active use.

Cited In
Bearman, David, “The Implications of Armstrong v. Executive of the President for the Archival Management of Electronic Records,” The American Archivist 56 (Fall 1993): 679.

Gilliland, Anne J., Conceptualizing 21st-Century Archives (Chicago: Society of American Archivists, 2014): 170.

Kumar, Sushil, Archives: Principles & Practices (New Delhi: Isha Books, 2011): 8-10.Sternfeld, Joshua, “Archival Theory and Digital Historiography: Selection, Search, and Metadata as Archival Processes for Assessing Historical Contextualization,” The American Archivist 74 (Fall/Winter 2011): 549.

Williams, Caroline, “Chapter 1: Records and archives: concepts, roles and definitions,” in Caroline Williams, ed., Archives and Recordkeeping: Theory into Practice (London: Facet Publishing, 2013): 14.

Remember the archivists’ rallying cry!

Periodically, people go through attics and storage boxes and send items to the archives that are related to IWU history. Sometimes amazing finds arise from the people who take time to send them “home.”

Just today I opened a box that held Student Senate Minutes dated May 17, 1970…how timely! On May 4 of this month, we took part in a commemorative event for the 45th anniversary of the Kent State killings in 1970. Documentation for events on our campus that were recounted in that blog post were limited to the Argus, Wesleyana and a few photographic files.

While researching that event, I marveled to discover that the IWU archives holds no Student Senate meeting minutes from March 22, 1970 until January 10, 1971.

It sure would help us appreciate the Senate’s actions if we had the primary sources they created to consult! Don’t get me wrong, the news sources are great to have, but it’s these kinds of gaps that make anyone doing historical research a little crazy.

So yes, it was good to see minutes in a recent donation, but it was a huge letdown to find that pages 2-15 of those minutes had been removed. We may never know why that happened, but on the very last page there is evidence that helps us understand a little more about the May 1970 student reactions in that turbulent month. The first image below was scanned from the minutes and it contains an announcement that the Black Student Union was responsible for the walkout. From this brief note, we also find out why they felt compelled to walkout 14 days after Kent State.

There was also a green flyer (image below) that explains the Peace Symbol students wore during Commencement in 1970–that event was also described in the previous post on the May 4th commemoration. These kinds of documents connect us with our past in tangible ways…stop by the archives if you want to see the real things someday!

Think you can’t make a difference? There’s only one way to find out…if you ever come across Senate records — or other records from IWU — give me a call! (309-556-1538)

And here’s a catchy little phrase to help reinforce the point:
When in doubt, don’t throw it out!

[click on images to enlarge]

Flyer stating reason for wearing the peace symbol at Commencement.

5×7″ flyer stating reason for wearing the peace symbol at Commencement.

45 years after Kent State #May4Matters

1971Wesleyana_flagpoleIn the early days of May 1970, Illinois Wesleyan University joined more than 1,250 colleges in protesting the shootings at Kent State and Jackson State. In coordination with the May 4 Visitor’s Center, today the archives is remembering four students who died at Kent State University and looking back at the effects that these killings had on students at IWU.

Below is a timeline of student activities and images drawn from the collections in IWU’s archives. If you have memories, documents, or photos of your own to share, feel free to comment but use the #May4Matters so that IWU’s recollections will join others who are commemorating this day.

“The Kent State killings set off a planned program of protest and community education unlike anything previously seen at Wesleyan. It brought together an unlikely coalition of ex-Senate officers, freshman activists, moderates, radicals, tired seniors and enthusiastic underclassmen.” — Kathy Larey Lewton. IWU 70, in the 1971 Wesleyana, pp 6-8)

The events of May 5-8 were reported on in the Friday, May 8 issue of our weekly student newspaper The Argus. The links for each day in the timeline below lead to the pages in that issue containing the stories mentioned.

Tuesday, May 5: 11:40AM The flag was lowered to half mast “in mourning of the four students killed at Kent State University and those who have died in Southeast Asia.”     Following a 3:30PM meeting with 200 students attending, “The consensus was that the goals should be campus and community education, rather than alienation.”

Wednesday, May 6: Memorial services led by Chaplain William White. “Students scattered in the audience then read ‘some words for reflection in a time of. crisis.'”

Thursday May 7: President Robert Eckley cancels classes “to permit those who wish to participate in the activities planned by the Action Committee for Peace.” The decision followed a vote by Student Senate Wednesday calling for classes to be recessed all day Friday to acknowledge the incident at Kent State and the expanded Southeast Asian war.

Friday, May 8: The Action Committee for Peace (ACP) announces organizes a group assembly on the Quad at 3:45PM for a march to downtown Bloomington. 7:00PM rally with faculty and students speaking on campus.

The May 8th Argus also includes a range of feelings among students, such as those expressed in a Letter to the Editor shows that some found the responses at IWU disrespectful:
         The tragedy of Kent State should not be blown out of proportion by a                                small minority of dissenters who find it to their advantage to martyr four violent                  demonstrators as heroes of their cause. Richard Reinert and 64 other students,              May 8 Argus, p. 2

Another student used artistic expression:

1970-05-08 Argus p.3

1970-05-22_p7

 

The killings at Jackson State University in Mississippi received less coverage in the Argus but one photograph of a class walkout appears on May 22, p. 7. Other images are in the gallery below.

 

 

 

“…the whole issue of what kind of free speech students could have, and what kind of political activity and political involvement or political activism students [should] have, I would argue, was basically redefined by that era here at Wesleyan.” — former ACP member Mark Sheldon, Class of 1970, oral history interview, August 2012.

Friday, May 22: Honors Day Convocation, Ron Klipp wore an American flag upside down (universal distress symbol) upside down, walked in last and started an uproar.

Tuesday, May 26: “Seniors received a ballot Tuesday concerning whether or not Commencement should be held.”

Wednesday, May 27: “They suggested a senior caucus be held Wednesday afternoon to decide on a third alternative for a possible new ballot.” (photographs below)

Ultimately, Commencement takes place as planned on June 7 with divisions over the controversies expressed in word, deed and dress. (see photograph below and more in the 1971 Wesleyana)

Below is a gallery of images selected from the photographic negatives in the University Archives:

 

 

May Day preservation tips

MayDay_History_12

The Society of American Archivists promotes May 1 as a day for all cultural heritage institutions to take time to consider how well their collections are protected. At IWU’s University Archives, (located in Tate Archives & Special Collections, 4th floor, The Ames Library) we conduct collection assessments and use high quality boxes and other material to protect items on our shelves. Physical Plant’s Heating/Cooling crew conducts regular maintenance to make sure our environmental conditions are efficient and effective. Other maintenance personnel and cleaning crews from Physical Plant keep our building in good condition, too.

Here at the Ames Library, we also take a building-wide approach to disaster preparedness and there are probably many students, staff and faculty who’ve been inconvenienced by our fire drills, but we hope everyone values their significance in keeping people safe! We have regular site visits with the crews of Bloomington’s Fire Department both to familiarize them with our floor plans and collection concerns and to give us their opinions on our safety practices.

Also at this time of year, The American Library Association and partners that include the Library of Congress, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, The American Institute for Conservation, Heritage Preservation, and the Society of American Archivists, are promoting Preservation Week to highlight collections of all kinds, and suggest simple steps to help you make sure your treasures and memories last a lifetime and are passed on to future generations.

What can you do?

1. Take a look around your home or wherever you store the mementos of your life and the lives of people who are important to you. Is a lot of it in long-term storage? Is the storage room subject to temperature and humidity fluctuation?

TIP: You don’t need to have cold storage to make paper and print photographic collections last. Constant levels of each are the most important thing. 70 degrees F is the upper recommended limit, but keeping spaces well-ventilated and preventing frequent fluctuation can help your stuff go a long way into the future.

2. Are your mementos sitting on the ground? Try putting a pallet underneath boxes or raising them 4-6 inches off the floor with something else.

3. Avoid stacking boxes directly on each other if at all possible. Open shelving is optimal: leaving space on all sides of stored material promotes air circulation and limits the chance that mold will develop.

4. Do you have digital files? Do you back up your hard drive or use a commercial company for online storage? If you’ve got a back up hard drive, is it located near your primary digital storage place? Explore ways to back up your important files and keep them in a separate location to lessen the chance for loss if there’s a fire or natural disaster in your area.

5. Are your digital images labeled? File names like DSC7723, DSC7724, and so on can accumulate faster than you think. After awhile, how will you know what you are saving?

TIP: At a minimum, make folders with event names and dates to store photos in or create an index that associates this information with the program-generated file names.

6. Are your physical collections falling apart? Books, photo albums, scrapbooks and textiles need attention if they are to last. Taking photos out of old albums whose adhesives are failing and making sure they’re labeled is a good start. Some books may be rebound, but many will survive well into the future in a box or wrapper designed for them. Photocopying or scanning newspaper clippings can preserve their information without the worry of deterioration due to typically acidic scrapbook pages and/or newspaper itself.

TIP: Don’t seal anything in a plastic bag! Condensation forms quickly in plastic and damp, airless environments promote mold growth.

If you have concerns about any of your personal collections, I’m happy to talk with you about them. Use Preservation Week as a time to take stock of what you’re keeping, why it’s important to you and how you can act in ways that will keep your stuff safe for years to come!

Note: more ideas are available in one of my previous blog posts.

Photo project complete!

In 2011 the archives acquired a group of photographic material from the Office of Communications. Since then a succession* of diligent archives student assistants have worked steadily to place the contact sheets and negatives together in high quality sleeves, transfer information from the old filing sleeves, and then to store them in hanging file drawers for ease of access. Actually, many people** at IWU deserve the thanks of all future IWU photo seekers.

Below are a few then-and-now pictures to give a sense of this effort. The years spanned in these image files are 1966-2002, though the bulk of the negatives are from 1970s-1990s. A rough estimate of the total comes to about 40,000 images. Some information is searchable in a database (available in the archives) created by a couple of generations of photographers, but most images are at least in chronological order and correspond with activities that occur regularly each academic year. This order itself, even without complete descriptions, is significant for the work of the archives in satisfying the many research inquiries we receive each year.

* Students (now alumni!) assisting in this project were Kaylee, Kenny, Kirsten, Melissa, Rachel, Shirley, and Tia.

**Special thanks to the photographers who took the images and saved their log books, Physical Plant for moving everything so carefully, and University Librarian Karen Schmidt for making it possible to purchase the supplies that will help keep our history safe and in order for future use! Karen also alerted me to the policies of State Farm that allow non-profits to acquire used furniture from their surplus warehouse. We wouldn’t have all the vertical file cabinets without them!

 

 

Alumni stories: Edelbert Rodgers, Class of 32

This entry marks the start of a new series in this blog: stories of IWU Alumni that emerge during research with the collections in the University Archives.

Rodgers' Senior Class photo from the 1934 Wesleyana

Rodgers’ Senior Class photo from the 1934 Wesleyana

The Argus editor in 1932 posted a summary of sociology research completed by Senior Edlebert Rodgers.
January 13, 1932 Argus headline: WESLEYAN SENIOR MAKES
CIVIC SURVEY OF HIS PEOPLE

“In  a  survey  of the  Social and  Economic progress of Negroes in  Bloomington  and Normal Edelbert  Rogers has found that the negro population of these two  cities  is  804.  This number makes up 2.8  percent of  the  entire  population of these  two  cities.  The  negroes  of Champaign make up 7.8  percent  of the population  while  4.7  percent  of  the people in  Springfield are negroes….”

There are only a few mentions* of Rodgers in The Argus at different points in his campus career, but the story above is the only substantive information from his IWU days that we know of at this time. All the stories linked below only share his debate team activities. Other information is available during his only known return to campus.

Edelbert Rodgers at Founders' Day Convocation 2001. Provost Janet McNew is pictured on the left.

Edelbert Rodgers at Founders’ Day Convocation 2001. Provost Janet McNew is pictured on the left.

The quote that follows is from a Press Release for Founders’ Day 2001 (similar wording appears in an Argus Article about the event). At that event Dr. Rodgers was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

“Edelbert Rodgers, class of 1933, IWU’s oldest living minority alumnus, retired professor, Flint Junior College (now Mott Community College) in Michigan. Rodgers also was a practicing psychologist. He will meet with a group of students at 4 p.m. on Feb. 20 in the Cartwright Room, IWU Memorial Student Center, 104 E. University St. Rodgers also will meet with psychology faculty and students in C009B of the Center for Natural Sciences, 201 E. Beecher, at 9 a.m. on Feb. 21.”

The stories related during Rodgers’ visit had an impact on then-Dean of Students Jim Matthews. In a Fall 2007 IWU Magazine story, Matthews recounts the visit and his decision to use Rodgers’ picture as one of the focal points for visitors in the newly-remodeled Hansen Student Center.

Next time you’re in Hansen, stop by the front desk and take a moment to consider the life of Edlebert Rodgers.

*Other Argus stories Rodgers is mentioned in. Note: Spelling in these stories is for Rogers without a “d.”

Debate team activity described on page 1 of the issue at 1931-12-15.

“James Hidden and Edelbert Rogers argued the question [not specified] with a team of men from the same school” (see p2 at 1932-02-24).

The story on p8 of 1932-04-27 is for another debate. Rogers was timer for one “section” of the competition.

And on p3 of 1932-05-04, Rogers is listed with Titan Varsity Debate team: “During the season Edelbert Rogers, and James Hidden also saw action. The debaters wish to thank the fraternities and sororities of Wesleyan for their splendid cooperation in entertaining visiting teams during the season. Teams from eight different schools were taken care of overnight at the various houses. With the majority of the debate squad returning to school next year the outlook for another successful season is very bright.”

Advice from the past

Recent readings in old  IWU student publications are yielding time-tested advice. It is difficult when you’re caught up in the hurried days of deadlines and commitments to think of the broader implications of college on an educated person’s development. Take a look at some of these ideas and see if there’s an intersection with your 21st century life.

An October 1888 editorial offers this series of thoughts: “In study, college students slight nothing more than they do themselves….The student who has done nothing but study has little notion of what he is capable of doing. His school work so absorbs his attention that he fails to study himself….To accomplish the most possible, one must have a practical and general knowledge of things. A broad foundation is essential….Finally, and briefly, don’t hurry through school. It is better to be an educated graduate at tweny-five, than an inexperienced one at twenty. Young people at twenty are apt to make unfortunate ventures….”

Here is another excerpt from some advice given by another Editorial Board in 1890: “The aim of all college students should be to gain knowledge…We are here as a body of students to cultivate our minds, so that we may be able to cope with the outside world….”

1890-02-25_Athenian_right_col

 

 

Cover page of this Athenian issue.

Cover page of this Athenian issue.