1970s School of Drama productions

Winnie the Pooh and friends

Winnie the Pooh and friends in “A Pooh Picnic,” Summer 1975

Even though thousands of photos have been taken of theatrical performances, due to issues surrounding intellectual property rights, very few of them have been recorded and saved. In fact, the University’s archives has only six known films of performances. They have recently been digitized and are now available to the IWU community at the links that follow. Each link leads to a file that contains clips from all of the productions that were on that reel of film. All are in color but only the first three have sound. We welcome any information people can provide to expand our knowledge of the time periods, performances and individual performers shown in the clips.

A timeline of changes in the program name and degree requirements was published in an earlier post.

New special collection

BuscandoMiColor

Buscando Mi Color (2017) by Lucero Sanchez

Bamboo Quay by Kyobashi Bridge (Kyobashi Takegashi) by Utagawa Hiroshige NOW ON EXHIBIT see https://blogs.iwu.edu/library/japanese-woodblock-prints/

There’s a new addition to the University’s special collections! It doesn’t all live in The Ames Library but we are going to be administering it in the same way that we handle all materials Tate Archives & Special Collections.

That means that everything in the IWU Campus Art Collection is available for classroom and research use! The online exhibit is the result of a four-year initiative* to locate, catalog, and photograph the variety of art on campus.

The collection contains more than 1,000 pieces of artwork which have been created or donated by Friends of the University, alumni, faculty, and students.

It contains paintings, prints, sculptures, pottery, and more by famed artists including Salvadore Dali, Arrah Lee Gaul, Frederick Hart, Utagawa Hiroshige, Leroy Neiman, and Rembrandt van Rijn. Notable faculty artists are Miles Bair, Fred Brian, and Rupert Kilgore. Items in the collection date from the 12th century to the present day.

We invite you to peruse the collection, and we emphasize that the collection is available for classroom use, individual students’ assignments, and research. To discuss specific needs, please contact the University Archivist, Meg Miner, at mminer@iwu.edu or phone at (309) 556-1538.

*Library Technology & Resources Director Suzanne Wilson led the project over the past four years with the assistance of library staff Tod Eagleton, Julie Wood and Elizabeth Jensen, spouse of former president Eric Jensen, who worked diligently to research and describe each work. The Jensens also supported the project with funds for flat-file storage. Photographers Jason Reblando, Trey Frank III, and Nick Helten ensured that our digital images reflect the beauty of the tangible artworks. Past University Librarians Karen Schmidt and Scott Walter lent their strong support of the project from its inception. Physical Plant crews moved much of the collection to a secured storage location that they also adapted for this purpose.

World War I and II primary sources

What we now know as Veterans Day was first celebrated as Armistice Day, the day that active hostilities during World War I ceased in 1918. President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the focus of the day in 1954 “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose.” (see this Dept. of Veterans Affairs page for more).

This post offers an opportunity for promoting several unexplored collections in the University’s archives & special collections that contain perspectives on the experiences of veterans and their communities. The images in the gallery below (click to enlarge) highlight just the items currently on display across from the Library Services Desk in The Ames Library. These and other collections are available for exploration throughout the year on the library’s 4th floor.

Fred Brian, January 1945

Examples of these documents include service applications of the WWII-era Nurse’s Cadet Corps, alumni responses to a post-WWI and WWII survey of activities, correspondence from two brothers during WWI to their sister Ester Vissering, correspondence from several WWII soldiers to student Nell Carmichael, correspondence and sketches from alumnus and Professor of Art Fred Brain to his family during WWII,  Nursing Superintendent Maude Essig’s WWI diary, and administrative meeting notes and student reporting on war-related activities on campus and abroad. And, of course, The Argus provided extensive reports on campus involvement in world events.

We have no primary sources related to veterans of the Cold War or the active U.S. wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq, but thanks to Pat Rosenbaum, administrative specialist in the Dean of Students Office, we have a list of all known alumni with military affiliations. Contact the archives to find out how you can contribute more to our knowledge of the effects these events had on your lives.

Timeline of visiting activists

Human Rights Activists @IWUFor quite some time I have marveled at all the prominent human rights speakers who have visited campus. I’ve done physical exhibits in the library on this topic but have also wanted to be able to share this information online and, hopefully, reach a wider audience. This timeline contains a compilation of my research on the topic.

A good overview can be found on pp. 49-53 of Through the eyes of the Argus: 100 years of journalism at Illinois Wesleyan University by Barrell, Jennifer and Christopher Fusco, but coverage ends in the 1970s. The present work contains sources that take our understanding closer to the present.

This is only a start. Someday I hope we’ll have a comprehensive view of the amazing speakers who have come here. If you know of more I’d love to hear it!

Resources for #ScholarStrike @ IWU

#ScholarStrike

This blog post is a response to the #Scholar Strike that’s being organized by Dr. Anthea Butler of UPenn and Kevin Gannon, director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Grand View University.
I am compiling a selection of e-texts here and plan to sit in front of The Ames Library (Tues 9-12:30, Wed 11-2:30). I will be happy to listen to and/or share them with anyone who passes by. Masks and social distancing will be observed!
Many of these links go to IWU sources but anyone in IWU’s community can contribute to this list anonymously and is welcome to read them aloud in front of the library or reflect on them individually.
1) The organizers of this event developed this resource page.
2) Closer to home, Dr. Nicole Brown ’99 gave a stirring address titled “All the Lies are White” during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Teach-In on January 16, 2017. She provided an oral history to the archives’ collection in which she relates examples of IWU’s lack of progress on lasting change with regard to hiring and retaining Black faculty.
3) March 8, 1985 Argus coverage of the Reverend Ralph Abernathy with the headline “The greatest problem in America is racism.” He also spoke at IWU’s Chapel Hour on April 13, 1977. “In a speech entitled ‘A Nation in Crisis,’ Abernathy addressed the issues of unemployment and national health insurance.”
4) Titled “Lest We Forget”, this is a recording of a 1963 meeting in Birmingham, Alabama that includes Revs. Abernathy and King and others. Available though a library subscription.
5) Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider : Essays and Speeches. Crossing Press, 1984.
6) Smithers, Gregory D. Native Diasporas : Indigenous Identities and Settler Colonialism in the Americas. University of Nebraska Press, 2014.
7) Pimblott, Kerry. Faith in Black Power : Religion, Race, and Resistance in Cairo, Illinois. University Press of Kentucky, 2017.
8) During an October 23, 1967 speech at IWU, Dick “Gregory names U.S. prime racist country.”
9) Sullivan, Denise. Keep on Pushing Black Power Music from Blues to Hip-Hop. Lawrence Hill Books, 2011.
10) “Reform Jewish Movement Votes to Support Reparations for African-Americans.” Israel Faxx, Electronic World Communications, Inc, 2019.
11) Nolen, Claude H. The Negro’s Image in the South: The Anatomy of White Supremacy. The University Press of Kentucky, 2015.
12)This oral history interview Paul Bushnell: Nashville Memories is with Emeritus Professor of History Paul Bushnell and includes memories of training for non-violent protests and being part of lunch counter sit-ins. The interview is conducted by Professor of English Pam Muirhead ’68, who has also been interviewed: once in 2016 (this is the only one with a transcript so far), once in 1997, and once at an unspecified date for an IWU promotional purpose. She gave a presentation in 1989 when she received IWU’s award for teaching excellence.
14) TBD. Additions this list are welcome!]
Still under development as of posting time: a timeline of Civil Rights and other activists who have spoken at IWU. Check back in on it to see additions. You can also use the comments field to suggest people/events you know of that haven’t been included yet!

New story collection initiative: Racism, COVID-19 & the IWU curriculum

Black Lives Matter logoIn March, I sent out an open call to the IWU community, inviting reflections on their lives in this pandemic era and in May I created a collection of the responses to that call. I set a deadline for those initial collections as the time when IWU’s campus started in-person classes again. That date was August 17th. This post announces the beginning of a second story-seeking initiative that expands on that call.

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. At the time, this latest incidence of anti-Black racism brought a global response that continues. More anti-Black violence has taken place and just last night a police officer in Kenosha, WI shot Jacob Blake multiple times. He is in the hospital as of this writing on August 25, 2020.

Protests in response to Floyd’s killing have increased public attention on anti-Black violence and other forms of racism. Throughout the summer and into our early times of gathering as a campus this fall, the issues of racism and white supremacy are being called out and named in our community. The pandemic has also unevenly affected communities of color and people who had fewer personal resources to begin with.

Protests have also taken place virtually and physically at IWU regarding recent announcements of program closures and termination letters that are being sent to faculty. Issues of power and privilege are evident in the responses from alumni, administrators, faculty (current and retired), and in the local press.

IWU community members (alumni, students, staff, faculty and administrators) are invited to share their experiences of these events or other, similar periods in history they have been involved in.

CURRENT IWU students may complete this brief form and/or submit reflections by the methods below. (Note that the form allows you to request a copy of your responses.)

Everyone in our community is invited to share reflections on these events:
Have you observed or experienced racism or other forms of social injustice on our campus and/or in your home community? In what ways has the pandemic affected your life? How is distance learning affecting your perspectives on your classes? What are your views on IWU’s responses to the pandemic and/or incidents of racism? How are you reacting to the recently announced program/curricular changes? If you have you participated in any activities related to these events as a volunteer or activist, please describe them. Anything else you’d care to share?

Other ideas are welcome and physical items may be accepted at a later date, but here are a few ideas on how you can make contributions now:

  • recollections–in text, audio or video (for video, please limit submissions to <5 minutes);
  • photographic images of physical art you create; and/or
  • copies of digital art or performances.

You may only submit material created entirely by you and not copied from or based, in whole or in part, upon any other photographic, literary, or other material, except to the extent that such material is in the public domain, or you have permission of the copyright owner, or its use is allowed by “Fair Use” as prescribed by the terms of United States copyright law.

Please include a signed/e-signed copy of this form with your submission to archives@iwu.edu. IWU’s archives is not obligated to include your content in this project or preserve it in perpetuity.  Decisions to decline submissions will adhere to the guidelines of our collecting policy.

If you would like to refer or nominate material which you do not own, please contact Meg Miner at mminer@iwu.edu.

U.S. Suffrage history poster exhibit

As has so often been the case at Illinois Wesleyan University, student activism is a vital force in any force for change. This post announces the opening of a poster exhibit that explores the long road through U.S. history for women’s suffrage. There are ten posters in the exhibit and they are now on the walls around the library’s entry level.

College Women Picketing

College Women Picketing at White House (click to enlarge)

 

 

 

 

 

August 18, 2020 marks the Centennial of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The Ames Library is pleased to host the Smithsonian Institution’s Traveling Exhibition Votes for Women: A Portrait of Persistence.  The crusade for women’s suffrage is one of the longest reform movements in American history. Between 1832 and 1920, women citizens organized for the right to vote, agitating first in their states or territories and also, simultaneously, through petitioning for a federal amendment. These ten posters address women’s political activism, explore the racism that challenged universal suffrage, and document the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment which prohibits the government from denying U.S. citizens the right to vote on the basis of gender. They also touch upon the suffrage movement’s relevance to current conversations on voting and voting rights across America.
 
More information on the topic is available through Ames Library collections. Contact a librarian for assistance!
 
This exhibit was organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in collaboration with the National Portrait Gallery. This project received support from the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative.

Commencement history

Today’s Commencement marks a new milestone in IWU history. Due to the pandemic, Titans are gathering online across the globe to celebrate. This is definitely a first! This post traces the other ways in which IWU Commencement has changed over the years.

Commencement_19501960

ca 1950-60 in front of Duration Hall in the center of the Quad (click to enlarge)

Although Commencement is sometimes held inside due to inclement weather, IWU has a tradition of holding the ceremony outdoors going back to the early 1900s. The second building IWU built served as backdrop and it was positioned on the northern end of what we now know as the Quad. It was first known as Main and Old Main (1870), the Hedding Hall (1936) and finally Duration Hall (1943).

Commencement1970

Commencement 1970

Sometime between 1960-1970 the location changed to McPherson Beach, on the north side of the School of Theatre Arts.

In 1990, the location for Commencement changed from McPherson Beach to its present location.

ca. 2002 In our current Quad location but note the arches of Sheean Library in the foreground

 

The backdrop for Commencement from 1990-2011 was Sheean Library until it was razed in 2011 and replaced with State farm Hall, which was built on Sheean’s footprint. This location was named Kemp Plaza in 2013, the same year that State Farm Hall opened.

Commencement 2019

State Farm Hall, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a selection of Commencement photos from days gone by. We have also made it possible for programs and some recordings from 70 Commencements of IWU’s 170 year history to be available online.

Below are some fun facts about IWU customs and graduation requirements. In looking at how they have changed over the years, just imagine what will happen in future Titan times!

Did you know that

  • Commencement festivities used to last for a week? They involved performances, Baccalaureate sermons, Class Day celebrations (for Juniors AND Seniors), alumni reunions, and dinner at the President’s house.
  • students used to be required to deliver a speech, without notes, as part of the ceremonies? The text had to be 1000 words long!
  • classes sometimes issued their own elaborate invitations, created Class mottos and chose Class colors?
  • alumni from the 1930s-1966 had to pass a swimming test?

Interactive view of IWU’s multicultural history

Check out this compilation of sources in a timeline of the currently known events in IWU’s multicultural history.*

*Note: Records by and about student groups and events are sparse after the 2010s. If you have information to share, contact archives@iwu.edu!

COVID 19 exhibit

Back in March, as life across the world and at IWU’s campus changed dramatically, I sent out an open call to the IWU community, inviting reflections on their lives in this pandemic era.

covid exhibit page

An exhibit with contributions from 15 students is now available. I  also added content from IWU’s webpages and made a personal contribution to the exhibit as a way of breaking the ice.

Students were given an option to answer as many of a set of pre-determined questions (see below) as they wanted to. They were also given the option of remaining anonymous online with the understanding that their identity would be associated with their remarks in the archives’ offline files.

Additions to this collection are welcome, and anyone who wants to keep their reflections offline may still participate. Participants may use the questions below if they’d like some ideas on how to start, but truly any way that people are comfortable expressing themselves for sharing their experiences is fine. Visit the project description for details or contact me (mminer@iwu.edu) if you have questions.

[Questions on student submission form]

Name (indicate if anonymity online is desired)
Class year
Major(s)/Minors(s)
Where are you living during the Pandemic of 2020?
How did you feel when you were informed the remainder of the semester would be held online?
What has been your experience with moving classes online?
If applicable, tell us a little about your thoughts and reactions to moving off campus or out of town.
How are you staying connected to your friends and wider community, through IWU or elsewhere?
How has the virus or the precautions taken to prevent it spreading impacted your daily life?
What is giving you hope and/or strength right now?
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about what you’re feeling or experiencing right now?
Share a photo of yourself, or any photos, videos, or audio recordings you’d like to add to this historical record!