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

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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

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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.

 

Rare treats

October 22-24, 2014 marked a unique series of events for IWU students, staff, faculty and the wider community. With funding from the Mellon Foundation-sponsored series titled Re-centering the Humanities*, The Ames Library hosted a visit by University of Iowa professor Florence Boos and noted book collector Jack Walsdorf. The topic that brought them here was their shared interest in and knowledge of 19th-century English designer, writer, philosopher and founder of the Kelmscott Press. Walsdorf and Boos are current and past-presidents of The William Morris Society in the United States. Links to a press release and follow up story are included at the end of this post.

Overall,110 students in seven classes, 66 guests in three public campus events and 25 participants in an event held at the McLean County Museum of History were beneficiaries of the expertise our guests shared across our community.

In the classrooms, our students heard about Morris’s influences in design elements for architecture, clothing, home furnishings and more. Our guests addressed these topics in a frame that conveyed the stark conditions of life for people in Victorian Era England, with all the excesses and blight brought on by the Industrial Age, and drew a line to contemporary issues. Environmentalism, labor issues, equity of speech and free expression of ideas are concerns in society today and were issues that Morris and his peers engaged with in their society.

Mr. Walsdorf loaned us more than 60 items from his personal collection on Morris. Some were used by students during the classroom visits and many more were displayed in the library, in varying combinations, from October 17-November 14. One class also made a follow up visit to Tate Archives & Special Collections where they were able to view selected Morris works up-close and to handle Kelmscott proof sheets loaned by Walsdorf.

The library exhibit carried the title “Boundless Spirit: The Words, Works and Legacy of William Morris.” This image gallery contains selections from the class visits, campus and community events.

* Other campus events in this series can be viewed at https://www.iwu.edu/grants/recenteringhumanities.html. On campus viewers will also be able to access the original grant proposal on this page.

On October 13, University Communications’ distributed a press release that is available at https://www.iwu.edu/news/2014/events/10-william-morris.html.
[Note: The permanent IWU News archives is located http://digitalcommons.iwu.edu/news/. Stories are harvested and collected there annually to prevent loss of information due to website changes.]

Anna Lowenthal’s Argus story about these events was published on October 31, 2014 and is available at http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/u?/iwu_argus,38360

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.