Centennial of Advising

Here’s a serendipitous find: While looking through the 1916-1918 Faculty Meeting Minutes I came across the entry below that indicates this year could be the centennial of academic advising at IWU! (I haven’t read every meeting’s minutes back to 1850…any volunteers?)

October 29, 1917 p. 1

October 29, 1917 Faculty Meeting Minutes (click to enlarge)

About midway down on the page number 61 it says,
“The committee on Advisers made a report and the faculty passed the following points. 1. That advisers be appointed for students in the Freshman year to serve until the student has elected his major. These advisers are to be appointed by a committee of which the President is a member.”

October 29, 1917 p. 2

(click to enlarge)

The minutes go on to state, “2. The duty of the adviser is to k [sic]
(a) To know as much about the student as possible, such as his previous training[?], special talents or inclinations etc.
(b) To help him select his major.
(c) To receive reports of the work of the student in his charge.
“The following action was taken.
No student shall be permitted to change a study without the consent of the adviser.”

The recording Secretary that day was Pearl Cliffe Somerville, Professor of English Literature.

Here are the Advising Center’s services today

Advising Center homepage

Advising services today

Visit them at http://www.iwu.edu/advising and wish them a Happy Birthday!

Research Files: Gwendolyn Brooks @IWU

In honor of this year being the centennial of Gwendolyn Brooks’s birth, Ross Hettinger from the English Honors Society Sigma Tau Delta contacted the archives about putting together an exhibit based on her connection with our campus. As a result of that request, archives’ staff found news articles and photographs that document her five visits to campus between 1972-1999. Ross created an exhibit that will remain in the library’s entry level rotunda until November 30th. This post provides links to news stories and a selection of photos found in response to this query. All black and white photos were scanned from University’s collection of negatives and the color photos were scanned from slides.

Brooks with Buck Library in background

Brooks and unnamed individuals heading towards her reading during the 1972 Fine Arts Festival

A March 3, 1972 front page Argus story details the plans for the March 9-21, 1972 Fine Arts Festival. The story states that Miss Brooks “will head a list of dignitaries” who would be visiting campus.

Brooks signing autographs

Brooks and unnamed individuals during the 1972 Fine Arts Festival

The Argus published on the 24th provides a detailed recap of her reading.

 

 

 

 

 

The 1972 Wesleyana also contains photos of Brooks and others who shared their talents during the Festival.

 

 

 

 

 

Brooks with President Eckley prior to Commencement 1973

Brooks with President Eckley prior to Commencement 1973. Former president Bertholf is on the left.

The following May The Argus announced that Brooks would be the Commencement speaker for 1973. Only a small photo made it into the IWU Bulletin that summer and fall but details on her remarks are lacking, except for a brief mention in the 1973 Wesleyana.

Brooks at Commencement 1973

Brooks being vested with an honorary doctorate during Commencement 1973

Brooks giving a reading in March 1979

Brooks giving a reading in March 21, 1979

There was speculation that Brooks would return for her third visit during the Black Fine Arts Festival according to the March 2, 1979 Argus at the invitation of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. The March 23, 1979 Argus carried a photo and caption on p. 1 showing that she did.

Brooks giving a reading in March 1979

Brooks signing an autograph for an unidentified attendee during a reading in March 21, 1979

Brooks in Evelyn Chapel

Brooks speaks with students at Evelyn Chapel, February 1988

In 1988 the February 12 Argus stated that the English Department and the Student Senate were sponsoring Brooks’s visit on February 18 at an event to be held at Evelyn Chapel. A follow up article on the 26th described her visit in detail. She titled her presentation “Life, Love, Laughter, Liberty and Laceration.”

Brooks in Evelyn Chapel

Brooks speaks with students at Evelyn Chapel, February 1988

Brooks at the Soul Food Dinner

Brooks speaking at the Shirk Center for the Soul Food Dinner, February 7, 1999

Her final visit to campus was as the speaker at IWU’s annual Soul Food Dinner. Her appearance was announced in The Argus on February 2, 1999. A follow up article notes that IWU student Teri Lahmon, Class of 2000, introduced Brooks and read one of her own poems at Brooks’s request.

Brooks at the Soul Food Dinner

Brooks at the Shirk Center for the Soul Food Dinner, February 7, 1999

The Argus also ran an obituary for Brooks on December 8, 2000 which briefly recounts her 1999 visit and mentions that IWU awarded her an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree in 1973.

Research files: First Black faculty member

John W. Martin

John W. Martin, Ph.D., Associate Professor

During a recent visit by some wonderfully curious Gateway students, someone asked about the first African-American professor. Our first Black professor arrived in 1961 when John W. Martin joined the Sociology faculty. This is documented on p. 176 of the Myers and Teichman book Illinois Wesleyan University: Continuity and Change, 1850-2000.

In future posts I will share more of the questions posed by these students.

The next African-American faculty member (as researched by the archivist) was Frank Starkey, Professor of Chemistry, who taught from 1971-1980 and received the 1978 IWU Century Club Teacher of the Year Award.

Frank Starkey

Frank Starkey, Ph.D., Professor

Research files: History of LGBT+

First known announcement for an activity related to LGBTQ+ students

The following are the findings from a recently asked question about the founding of  G.L.O.W. (Gays and Lesbians of Wesleyan). The archives holds no records created by group members. Anyone who has records to donate on this (or other) IWU organization is invited to contact archives@iwu.edu

1992-03-13 Argus p. 1 & 7 Announcing the formation of G.L.O.W. There’s mention of faculty endorsement at the end of the article and p. 2 has a letter from a faculty member about its formation.

1992 Wesleyana p. 48 Includes GLOW among the new student organizations for that year and confirms a founding date of early March 1992.

There are 23 occurrences of G.L.O.W.  in The Argus, but I didn’t look through them all. Explore the issues available at that link and let me know if you need anything else!

There’s a 1997 Wesleyana mention of a name change to Gay/Straight Alliance but I didn’t do any further searching for that name.

I did a search for events leading up to GLOW’s formation and came up with these articles:

1988-03-11 Argus p. 4 ad for Gay & Lesbian Awareness Week

There was a controversy after “Anti-Jeans Day” runs in this April 22, 1988 issue and at least the two after.

1989-04-28 Argus p. 3 Progressive Student Union (P.S.U.) Gay and Lesbian Awareness Day

1991-09-27 Argus p. 2 Editorial arguing for better institutional support for homosexuals

1991-12-13 Argus p. 1 and 7 article on campus forum about homophobia and refers to an unspecified incident of vandalism in Gulick. There could be information in other campus sources to shed light on this. The article closes with details about an ISU group (Gay and Lesbian Alliance, GALA) that IWU students were welcome to connect with.

Maude Essig in World War I

Maude Essig

undated Maude Essig portrait

While researching her own Great Aunt Agnes Swift’s involvement with the American Expeditionary Forces WW1 hospitals in Contrexeville, France, Molly Daniel of Charleston, IL came across the diary of Maude Essig’s experiences, who worked with Swift in the same facility. Maude Essig was Brokaw School of Nursing Director (ca 1923-56). The Brokaw Hospital School was the forerunner of IWU’s School of Nursing.

In writing to ask about using a photo of Essig on her website, Daniel shared comments about her research process that others may find instructive as well: “I have especially appreciated having access to Maude’s journal as well as the academic article about her published by her former student [and former IWU School of Nursing Director], Alma Woolsey. Her journal helped me put into better context the information in my great aunt’s letters to family members.”

Daniel shared the biographical sketch of Essig she compiled and that will be included with Daniel’s submissions for the U.S. Centennial website commemorating the Army Nurse Corps.

Daniel also discovered a picture in the National Library of Medicine’s Digital Collections that has a caption indicating it is from Base Hospital No.32, Vittel, France but she is “confident that it comes from the Contrexeville hospital” based on her research. Daniel also believes Essig may be the second nurse from the left–the only one shown with glasses. Additional photos of Essig from the University’s archival collections are below.

For information about the School of Nursing program’s development, see “Nursing Education at Illinois Wesleyan University: 1923 to 1976” by Lori Ann Musser, Class of 1992.

Maude Essig, ca. 1925

Maude Essig, ca. 1925

Essig in mock hospital room

Maude Essig with students, ca. 1928

 

Maude Essig in 1933

This photo is identical to the composite she is in with the Brokaw Hospital Class of 1933 http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm/ref/collection/iwu_histph/id/2786

 

May Day: Help others and save your own digital life!

Society of American Archivists' May Day 2017 logo

Happy May Day!

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.This year there’s a twist: a call for support of the SSA-SAA Emergency Disaster Assistance Grant Fund. The Society of Southwest Archivists and the Society of American Archivists created the fund to address the stabilization and recovery needs of archival repositories affected by Hurricane Katrina.

To learn more about this collaboration, including how to receive funding, visit the SAA page that describes the program. If you are able to assist our colleagues by donating to the fund, please click here.

Below are some tips from the Library of Congress on how you can help save the digital objects that mean the most in your life:

Visit http://digitalpreservation.gov/personalarchiving/ for more details!

Visit http://digitalpreservation.gov/personalarchiving/ for more details!

Digital objects are not durable–threats to them include but are not limited to losing account access (third party providers can disappear at any time) and losing the ability to read file formats and media due to obsolescence.

Digital files can’t be placed on a virtual shelf and forgotten. All digital preservation strategies include specific ways to record as much information about the original file as possible.

Digital objects proliferate so take time to organize versions and apply standard names to your files. It is often difficult for archivists to arrange digital files other than by creation date, but creators have the first-hand knowledge required to identify and arrange versions of their works.

STEPS YOU CAN TAKE:

    • Retain original physical media. Never dispose of physical media and never copy over original bit streams. Even if files are unreadable today, new technology may enable archivists to view “unreadable” files in the near future.
    • Migrate files to new software and hardware. The easiest way to increase the longevity of digital material is migration, or the transfer of materials from one hardware and software configuration to the next generation of hardware and/or software. Files stored on 5.5″ or 3.5″ floppy disks should be transferred to a hard drive and a back-up. Migrate files written in older software to newer versions of open-source or standard software. It is desirable to retain at least two versions of migrated digital files: one in its original software format (this is the “original” bit stream) and one in a more current software format. If you purchase a new computer, migrate files from the old hard drive to the new one. Migration to a CD is not an effective solution as the life of a CD is rather short.
    • Avoid specialized software.Migration can be hindered if the original files were not saved in a standard format. Although non-proprietary formats are the best options for saving digital files (e.g., ASCII or Rich-Text Format (RTF)), Microsoft Office products also serve as de-facto standards due to their prevalence. For images, we recommend using file standards such as Tag Image File Formats (TIFF) or Portable Network Graphics (PNG) files.
    • Never compress or encode your data.Compression and encoding provide one more obstacle to preserving electronic material. Electronic material should be as transparent as possible to facilitate preservation. Compression and encoding software prevents others from readings your data, including archivists

Remember Ozymandias

Ramses II

Image from http://energyblog.nationalgeographic.com

If worries about the future life of your past weigh heavily on your mind, read on!

An 1818 poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley recently inspired me to think of a way to communicate the services available through archives. The poem contains the lines
“‘My name is Ozymandias*, King of Kings;
Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!'”

The irony is that Shelley was reflecting on the ruins of a great civilization. The lines beg the question: What  will remain of the work we do?

The programs and services of the University’s archives include research assistance with IWU’s collections. We advise on what among the works we produce are important to retain and how these works, whether physical or digital, can be preserved. We also have an Oral History program that allows us to go beyond just the products of our daily lives and helps preserve the context they were created in.

The way people view their experiences at IWU add dimensions to our historical records that statuary never will. Meg Miner, your archivist, stands ready to help preserve your legacy today!

*Ozymandias was an Anglicized version of the Greek’s name for Pharaoh Ramesses II.

Research Files: Boarding Clubs

In an earlier post we sketched out known histories of a variety of buildings on campus, including early residence locations for students. This time we have an intriguing new piece of knowledge about student life thanks to a new donation: a gold pocket watch.

J.P. Edgar’s watch

The granddaughter of Reverend John Perry Edgar, Class of 1893, gave the university his watch and an inscription in that gift led me to an interesting finding. The inscription reads “Presented by Edgar Club, IWU, 1893.” The owner of the watch was the Club’s founder and its purpose was to provide students with room and board.

John Perry Edgar, Class of 1893

John Perry Edgar

 

 

An article describing the Club says it was formed in 1889 with 22 men enrolled as members. In 1891 the group held a “unanimous vote that ladies be admitted.”

This seems shocking, at first glance. Men and women boarding together in the 19th century? The article continues with descriptions of the benefit of such an arrangement: providing suitable company at “the dinner table [where] character is developed, courteous behavior and polished manners reign.”

1893 Edgar Club

1893 Edgar Club

The official word from the University was that young women should board at Henrietta Hall, a residence run by the Women’s Education Association from 1874-1892, but the same publication also acknowledged the existence of the privately run clubs.

But what about the rooms? The details with regard to the descriptions provided by the clubs seem ambiguous but the 1895 IWU Catalogue of Courses is quite clear:

1895 Boarding description

1895 Boarding description

With the closure of Henrietta Hall,* rooming took place in private homes of “suitable” families but boarding with clubs continued for at least a few years after Edgar left and two (Bundy and Ross) credited him as the originator of the idea.

But back to the watch…it still keeps time well and both covers are etched but worn down with use. Still, the designs are visible: on one side are the initials JPE and on the other is a building. In this enlarged and enhanced image, it looks like Old North, which was built in 1856 and so was the first building on our campus. Edgar would also have had classes in Old Main, erected in 1870. Next time you’re on the 4th floor, stop by the archives to check out this “new” addition!

Old North

Old North in center of watch

 

*After Henrietta closed it wasn’t until 1956 that a dorm for women opened again. That was known as “Southwest Hall” and was operated by the Women’s Guild of IWU until it became a co-ed dorm–IWU’s first–in 1976. That’s also when it was renamed for benefactor Anna Gulick, a name it carries today.

Our digital collections are now part of DPLA!

Thanks to our membership in the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI), the collections they host for us are now part of the

Visit their homepage at https://dp.la

In 2010, DPLA was founded with the idea of providing “an open, distributed network of comprehensive online resources that would draw on the nation’s living heritage from libraries, universities, archives, and museums in order to educate, inform, and empower everyone in current and future ­generations.”

As of this writing, DPLA holds the records for 15,247,823 items. Of that total, 8,033 were acquired from our own IWU collections and through our outreach to campus and community partners. DPLA also contributes records to European organizations that work in these collaborative ways. It is an honor to be in this mighty company!

Rather than hosting content themselves, DPLA took on the task of pulling together collections held on individual and consortial websites in order to bring them together into one searchable location. As they do this, they are able to leverage the power of our work on descriptions that provide individualized but structured data.

Look to the top of their pages for ways you can visualize and search for interesting connections to your past!

Ways to change browse features.