Sesquicentennial Gate (aka Hedding College Pillars)

It’s almost twenty years since the pillars were installed as our main campus entry! Due to newly re-discovered images you will find below, this post commemorates that legacy. The text that follows is from this August 23, 2000 press release by Bob Aaron. [Photos were not part of the original press release. Click to enlarge. Additional images are available in the online historical collections.]

The University’s Sesquicentennial Gateway, located at the corner of Park and Empire, was
dedicated on Oct. 14, 2000 as part of Homecoming festivities. The two-section curved gateway to the campus features two inscriptions: “Illinois Wesleyan University” and “1850 Scientia et Sapienta 2000” (the University’s motto, “Knowledge and Wisdom”).

Four pillars are the gateway’s architectural highlight. They were key design features that
straddled the entrance to a building at Hedding College, an Abingdon, Ill., campus, that merged with IWU in 1930.

The four limestone pillars are composed of eight segments each. Each pillar is about 25-feet tall. They stand on a wall five-to-six feet tall.

The Rev. Henry M. Bloomer, president of Hedding’s Board of Trustees, preserved the pillars in the hope they would one day be used to honor his mother and father and the joint heritage of Hedding College and IWU. His son, H. Harlan Bloomer, presented the pillars to IWU to commemorate the university’s sesquicentennial. The late Harlan Bloomer was married to Florence Bloomer, who is the granddaughter of Joseph Fifer, governor of Illinois from 1889-93, an 1868 graduate, and the 37th student to earn an IWU diploma.

Help preserve our heritage!

May Day 2019 logo from SAA

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 material to protect the analog items in our care. We also subscribe to high quality digital preservation services and redundant storage media to protect historically important electronic files. 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.

Protecting our collections is one of our fundamental responsibilities as archivists. But sometimes disasters are so devastating that all we can do is offer funding to support clean up and recovery. That was true in 2018, when Hurricanes María and Irma wreaked havoc on repositories in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Society of American Archivists' May Day 2019 logo

The SAA Foundation’s National Disaster Recovery Fund for Archives was there to help, providing more than $37,000 in grants to support our colleagues. Here at the Ames Library, we also take a building-wide approach to disaster preparedness by conducting fire drills, having 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 insights into our safety practices.

The whole reason we can have repositories for cultural heritage like archives and museums is because people have saved items significant to their lives and our collective history. Here’s what you can do to help:

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 storage 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 the Library of Congress’s Personal Archiving tips and the American Library Association’s Preservation Week as opportunities 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 heritage safe for years to come!

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

First African-American PhD in Sociology

This guest post was contributed by Carl Teichman, Director of Government and Community Relations, IWU President’s Office, and member of the Class of 1980. Teichman created this biographical summary through information found in Randall K. Burkett’s book Black Redemption: Churchmen Speak for the Garvey Movement (Temple University Press, 1978).

James Robert Lincoln Diggs, Ph.D., 1906
James Robert Lincoln Diggs, Ph.D., 1906

James Robert Lincoln Diggs was awarded a Ph.D. in Sociology from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1906, thereby becoming the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in that discipline and the ninth to earn a Ph.D. in any field in the United States.

Diggs, whose Ph.D. thesis was titled “The Dynamics of Social Progress,” graduated from Wayland Seminary in Washington, D.C., in 1866, and went on to earn the A.B. and A.M. degrees from Bucknell University in 1898 and 1899.

After completing his academic training, Diggs was the head of several small black Baptist colleges in the south, including State University in Louisville, Ky., Virginia Theological Seminary and College in Lynchburg, Va., and Selma University in Selma, Ala. In 1914, he was named president of Clayton-Williams University in Baltimore. A year later he was called to the pastorate of Trinity Baptist Church in Baltimore, and he served as the minister there until his death in 1923.

Diggs was a colleague of W.E.B. DuBois and was one of the few black educators to participate in the Niagara Movement. Diggs was among the group of 29 prominent African-Americans who met secretly in Niagara Falls, Ont., in 1905 and drew up a manifesto that called for full civil liberties, abolition of racial discrimination, and recognition of human brotherhood. The Niagara Movement was the forerunner of the NAACP.

At the Niagara Movement’s Harper’s Ferry Convention in 1906, the year he received the Ph.D. from Illinois Wesleyan, Diggs lectured alongside Du Bois and Reverd D. Ransom. He was also a principal financial backer of the Niagara Movement’s journal, the Horizon. An early member of the NAACP, Diggs was president of the Baltimore division. He was also a member of the national Equal Rights League and served as its national vice president. Diggs was regarded for his scholarly sermons, including an eloquent defense of Marcus Garvey during the third International Convention of Garvey Universal Negro Improvement Association in August 1922.

Research files: IWU Baseball & segregation

IWU Athletics made history with a 1930 spring Baseball training trip to the South (See the 1932 Wesleyana p. 133). A brief mention in the 1950 Wesleyana says IWU was the first school to take a team on this kind of trip annually. The trips spread IWU’s reputation and so were a good recruiting tool for out-of-state students. The Argus often attributes the success of our baseball teams to these non-Conference games and from the first mention on April 16, 1930 (p.6) it was clear that extra practice time was the primary goal.

A recent research request raised the question of our involvement with segregated schools during these trips. I have yet to find mention in the earliest articles on the subject, but in 1955 the Board of Trustees issued a statement that included a point about discrimination based on religion and race with regard to education. Our records are not clear about why such a policy was implemented but this was the year of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, so it is not difficult to imagine how topics in the larger world could influence decisions inside the Wesleyan Bubble.

Statement of Policy excerpt
Excerpt from a three page May 1955 IWU Bulletin insert titled “A Public Statement of Policy.”

More to the point of this post, on December 3, 1956 the Faculty Meeting Minutes show a question raised about policies regarding “colored players on our baseball trips and on other sports teams.” The Athletics Committee of the Board of Trustees took up the question.

IWU Board of Trustees' Committee on Athletic Relations with the stated purpose of reviewing athletics' policies and schedules.
1956 committee details are unavailable. The 1958 Board of Trustees committee name and purpose is pictured here.

The committee brought a policy back to the faculty on January 7, 1957 which was debated and approved. The policy below was written by the Committee on Improvement of Athletics Relations on December 13, 1956.

A 1958 restatement of the 1956 policy that IWU would not schedule games with athletic teams that discriminated against members of IWU teams.
1956 policy on athletics (Click to enlarge.)

A revision reported to the faculty on October 6, 1958 is pictured below and is attributed to the Committee on Athletic Policy. No separate records of these groups exist in the University’s archives and this statement was actually found in the March 1965 Faculty Meeting Minutes. It does not explicitly mention race and instead defines two criteria IWU uses, and expects its opponents to use, in determining eligibility of players.

1958 revision (click to enlarge)

Of course, agreed upon policies don’t always translate into actions. By early 1965 the faculty raised the question again. A February 5 (p. 3) Argus article implies that the Southern trips to segregated schools continue “because we at present have no Negro on the baseball team….” That statement is affirmed in a quote attributed to Jack Horenberger in the February 12, 1965 Argus (p. 1). Horenberger “agreed ‘in principle to the recommendation'” and added “that the present policy has never been fully invoked due to the fact that ‘he (sic) has never had a Negro come out for baseball.'” The same article mentions a new proposal that would prohibit IWU scheduling games with segregated schools regardless of the presence of an IWU athlete who is black.

A motion from the Human Relations Committee, which the February 5, 1965 Argus reports was recently formed, is raised at the March 1965 Faculty Meeting and is more explicit than previous statements regarding integrating athletic teams. It appears to receive approval and yet the record pictured below concludes that it is the 1958 policy that is ultimately affirmed.

This document shows the faculty affirming an explicit statement about playing only racially-integrated teams but the less explicit 1958 policy is affirmed.
March 1965 Faculty Meeting (click to enlarge)

At least one alumnus, the person who most recently prompted this inquiry, feels the policy was enforced. A further search of the student newspaper only reveals a later interview with a faculty member reminiscing on the controversy in the 1960s (February 22, 1985 Argus p. 6). She thought the lack of black athletes on IWU’s teams wasn’t a coincidence considering the poor climate of social justice on campus in the 1960s. Alumnus Luther Bedford (’59; track and 3x football letterman) shared his experiences, including examples of discrimination in this era, in a 1999 interview for the Minority Alumni Network.

Call for participation from Meg (your archivist):
A review of the sources for this post reveals several mentions of College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) policies regarding scheduling competitions. It would be an interesting exercise to compile a list of the IWU Spring schedules in this era in order to identify segregation policies of the schools we played and to look at the development of specific rules for CCIW schools. I would also be interested in hearing stories from IWU athletes during this time period and from any others who were impacted by these decisions. You, too, can contribute to our knowledge of IWU’s history! Any takers? Contact archives {at} iwu.edu

Named places: Hansen Student Center

Hansen Student Center is named in honor of lead donor Tom Hansen, Class of 1982. His gift made it possible to remodel the Memorial Gymnasium, the first athletic facility on IWU’s campus, which was built in 1922. The building was dedicated to IWU students who died in World War One and their names can still be seen at the entry to the main court, across from the Information Desk. The basement, now Tommy’s, once contained IWU’s first swimming pool. A dedication ceremony for Hansen took place on January 12, 2002.

The campus announced Hansen’s gift in an October 28, 1999 press release and the IWU Magazine ran a post-renovation feature story titled A Place to Call Their Own in the Summer 2002 issue.

Photo selections from the Memorial Gym’s early days are available online; more of these and of Hansen are held in the University’s archives online.

Student Senate President Harold Gauthier examining a scale model of the Memorial Gym/Hansen renovation with other students looking on.
Student Senate President Harold Gauthier, Class of 2000 sharing renovation plans with other students. October 25, 1999

Illinois political history in Special Collections

John Wenum

John Wenum, 1974 Wesleyana

In addition to legislative Illinois alumni, IWU has another connection to Illinois’ political history through the work of Political Science Professor John Wenum who compiled a collection about the fourth (and currently in effect) iteration of Illinois’ Constitution.

John Wenum was a delegate to the 1970 Illinois Constitutional Convention (Con-Con). The work at this Con-Con resulted in a first-ever state Constitution that explicitly guaranteed citizens the right to a healthy environment. Wenum joined IWU’s faculty in 1971 and received the Award for Teaching Excellence in 1992.

Click to enlarge

The Con-Con items in the display pictured here are a Farm Bureau handbook, the Constitutional Convention Newsletter, and correspondence between Wenum and the State Chamber of Commerce. These are just a few selections from the 14 linear feet (unprocessed) collection of materials Wenum gathered during his campaign to become a delegate and his work at the Con-Con itself.

Within The Ames Library’s 4th floor department called Tate Archives & Special Collections are thousands of unique materials and all are available to benefit people in the IWU and surrounding communities.

The items displayed in these posts about Special Collections holdings are just a small portion of the kinds of materials found in Tate Archives & Special Collections. These collections are in a variety of languages and formats (artifact, book, manuscript, and media) and creation dates range from the 11th-21st centuries. Some collections are completely described and identified and some have yet to be thoroughly organized or examined.

Although many holdings do have a direct connection to the University, many are distinct and unrelated to the others such as the supporting materials for research on the people who created and collected the pottery and basketry items displayed in the entry level rotunda.

Curious minds seeking inspiration for creative works and original research are welcome to stop by and explore the possibilities!

Apollo 8 and IWU

Earth rising above the lunar horizon

Earthrise, December 24, 1968. Photo by Apollo 8 Astronaut Bill Anders. (credit: NASA)

December 21st marks the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Apollo 8 mission–the first manned orbit of the moon. Just three months after that on March 18, 1969, the three Apollo 8 astronauts–Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders–were awarded honorary PhDs at the 1969 Founders’ Day Convocation (the latter two in absentia). During his time on campus, Borman, who was Apollo 8’s commander, laid the cornerstone for the new Mark Evans Observatory and spoke at a luncheon for the Board of Trustees.
Towards the end of the Founders’ Day recording Borman speaks and has some pointed and interesting comments about education in direct response to the event’s main speaker William Arrowsmith, University of Texas Professor of Classics and University Professor in Arts and Letters. A March 21, 1969 Argus article (p. 15)  describes the event.
Astronaut Frank Borman and a crowd of onlookers at the Evan's Observatory dedication

A sizeable crowd watches as Frank Borman gets ready to place the time capsule in the Mark Evans Observatory. [click to enlarge]


The University made an an audio recording of the cornerstone laying at Mark Evans Observatory and the University Archivist added the sound track over three brief (and silent) home movies that were donated in 2016. One of the films shows Borman placing a time capsule in the observatory’s wall. The photo on the left shows just part of the crowd that this event drew; several other photos are available online.
The time capsule included many items that were not connected directly with the campus such as a package of space food, the Apollo 8 astronaut’s Christmas Eve tape, a road atlas, the Illinois Agricultural Association (IAA) Record and fifty-year history, and the Bloomington-Normal Phone Directory on microfilm.
In President Eckley’s remarks at the dedication, he says he intends to open the time capsule in seven years, but the University’s archival holdings do not contain evidence of that happening. With the 50th anniversary of the observatory’s dedication coming up, Physical Plant personnel are examining the building to see if the time capsule is still there.
After the dedication, Borman gave a presentation to the Board of Trustees in which he shared details of the Apollo 8 mission and displayed a great sense of humor!
The Winter 2011 IWU Magazine story “Star Attraction” offers additional details on the history of the development of this observatory.

Happy Birthday, Illinois!

Illinois 200 logo

Illinois celebrates its 200th anniversary this month. This post honors Illinois Wesleyan’s connection to this history. One way that IWU alumni have distinguished themselves in our state is through service in elected offices. Here’s a list that includes names of alumni who have attained Federal and State offices in Illinois.
[Input on other names welcome! Contact archives@iwu.edu]

Federal
Executive Branch: Adlai Stevenson, Class of 1853, Vice President of the United States from 1893-97

Legislative Branch: Adlai Stevenson, Class of 1853, House 1875-77 and 1879-81
John A. Sterling, Class of 1881, House 1902-1912, 1914-1918.
Louis FitzHenry, Law Class of 1897, House 1913-15
Scott Lucas, Law Class of 1914, House 1935-1939 and Senate 1939-1951

State
Executive Branch: Joseph Fifer, Class of 1868, Governor of Illinois 1889-1893

Legislative Branch: John F. Winter, Class of 1867, House (1874-?; also served as U.S. Consul to Rotterdam and Mannheim, ca 1880s-90s)
Joseph Fifer, Class of 1868, Senator 1881-1883
Archibald E. Stewart, Class of 1872, Senate 1872-76(?)
Abraham Phillips, Law Class of 1884, House 1905-07
George R. Tilton, Law Class of 1884, House 1889-?
Reed Green, Law Class of 1886, IL House – 4yrs, IL Senator – 4yrs
Craig Curtis, Law Class of 1888, IL House – 41/42 Gen Assembly
Lee Brown, Law Class of 1889, House 1901
George English, Law Class of 1891, House 1907-12
Wesley Owen, Law Class of 1894, House 1902
Andrew Dennis, Law Class of 1898, House
Walter Dysert, Law Class of 1901, House 1906
Martin Brennan, Law Class of 1902, IL House 1913-1917/IL Senate1918-
Everett Werts, Law Class of 1904, IL Senator 45/48/51 Gen Assem
James Henson, Law Class of 1906,IL State Senator
Gerry Bradley, Class of 1950, House
J. Bradley Burzynski, Class of 1977, Senate
Tom Cross, Class of 1980, House Minority Leader/State Representative 84th District
Bill Brady, Class of 1982, Senate 2002-present/ House 88th District 1993-2000/Republician Gubernatorial Candidate 2010

Judicial Branch: Craig Curtis, Law Class of 1888, IL Supreme Court Judge

Rev. Dr. (and author) Charles Smith records in Special Collections

Within The Ames Library’s 4th floor department called Tate Archives & Special Collections are thousands of unique materials and all are available to benefit people in the IWU and surrounding communities.

Charles Merrill Smith

click to enlarge

The Reverend Dr. Charles Merrill Smith was a Methodist minister, a prolific mystery writer (whose detective was another Methodist minister), and a member of the IWU Board of Trustees from 1958-1968. Smith is best known for his Reverend Randolph mystery series, starring Reverend “Con” Randolph, a former professional football player turned clergyman and detective in Chicago.

 

Click to enlarge

The display pictured here shows selections from his collection (6 linear feet, unprocessed) comprised of manuscript and typescript works, correspondence, photographs, and all of the works he published in English plus four of the same that were translated into Dutch, German and Japanese.

The items displayed in these posts about Special Collections holdings are just a small portion of the kinds of materials found in Tate Archives & Special Collections. These collections are in a variety of languages and formats (artifact, book, manuscript, and media) and creation dates range from the 11th-21st centuries. Some collections are completely described and identified and some have yet to be thoroughly organized or examined.

Although many holdings do have a direct connection to the University, many are distinct and unrelated to the others such as the supporting materials for research on the people who created and collected the pottery and basketry items displayed in the entry level rotunda.

Curious minds seeking inspiration for creative works and original research are welcome to stop by and explore the possibilities!