Two “new” alumni interviews

Last summer a diligent student assistant started evaluating our analog audiovisual recordings. Old media formats deteriorate or sometimes becomes unplayable just because the machines are no longer available. Before that happens we want to make sure we transfer content into new formats that are not media-dependent. Thanks to funding from the library we have started to digitize these selections.

The two interviews linked below were conducted by Development Officer Yvonne Jones in 1999 for the Minority Alumni Research Project. More information on the project is available in archives Record Groups 4-3/1/9 and 12- 2/1/3.

We don’t have transcripts for them yet but I’ve created robust abstracts and added links to related material whenever possible. Enjoy!

Edelbert Rodgers, Class of 1933, during a campus visit in 2001

Rodgers during a campus visit in 2001

 

Edelbert Rodgers, Class of 1933

This photo of Rodgers should be familiar to anyone who has visited Hansen Student Center. Dr. Rodgers is part of the mural that’s behind the information desk!

He was a Sociology major at IWU and in a previous blog post I provided links to campus news sources he appeared in. Rodgers earned a Ph.D. in Psychology at New York University and had a career in both private practice and teaching.

 

 

 

Below are two photos of Luther Bedford, Class of 1959. Bedford was a Physical Education major who lettered three times in varsity football and was also on the track team. After graduation he taught at Marshall High School, Chicago, IL and was Athletic Director for 33 of his 40 year tenure.

Luther Bedford in football uniform

Bedford in the 1958 Wesleyana

Luther Bedford receiving diplomma from President Eckley in 1959

Bedford in 1960 Wesleyana

 

 

On the value of 50-year-old advertising

A local store purchased an impressive full page ad in the August 25, 1970 Argus — no doubt a back-to-school style advertising strategy! The last page of that issue caused an alumnus to reminisce on campus life and the value of research to cultural studies. The following comments are posted here with permission of Larry Ekin, Class of 1970.

Cigarette ad

An ad from the Discount Den store in the first Argus issue of the 1970-71 academic year

Looking through a 1970 Argus, I was struck by an ad offering three packs of cigarettes for 89 cents! (that’s three packages of 20 cigarettes each). This prompted several lines of thinking. First, I hope students (and faculty) realize they have a potential trove of research material within easy grasp — I think a really interesting study — or series of studies could be designed using ads in the Argus as an indicator of merchants reaching out to a student audience. This could be done both in-depth in a year or two, or across several decades.

Second, I have long believed that if we were to identify the most striking social changes in American society over the past 20 -30 – 40 years, of course technological change would probably be number one, and I could easily see women’s role in society being second. However, I think a close third might well be tobacco. I’m sure most students today would be shocked at the thought of a student-run and student-oriented publication promoting cigarette use thought its advertising. But that would only be the tip of the proverbial iceberg. In 1970, you could smoke almost anywhere, even at IWU. Students smoked in their dorm rooms, in their fraternity and sorority houses. Faculty smoked in their offices. And, while I don’t believe you could smoke in class, every classroom building would likely have several standing ashtrays on every floor. You could smoke in the student union. I seem to recall a cigarette vending machine in the student union, but that should probably be checked against other people’s memories. In Magill, one of my floor mates came across a discarded toilet that he somehow dragged up to his room and used as a giant ashtray until the dorm mother (yes, we still had “dorm mothers”) made him clean it out because it really did stink up the whole dorm. My memory is vague regarding whether or not smoking was allowed during Student Senate meetings as well as in the cafeteria, but the point is that the norms were entirely the opposite of what exists today — the assumption was you COULD smoke. As a side note, my parents were considered somewhat eccentric because if someone visiting our house asked to smoke, my parents provided them an ashtray, but then told them to do it outside the house.

Out of curiosity I did a little research — at that time, a pack of cigarettes cost between about 35 to 60 cents, which was consistent with what popped into my mind — which was a cost of 50 cents a pack — 2 quarters pumped into the cigarette vending machine, which likely carried at least half a dozen brands. So, three packs for 89 cents was still quite a bargain — a rough adjustment for inflation would mean that it would be approximately 3 packs of 20 cigarettes for a total of $6.00. Big tobacco always worked to make their product cheap, plentiful, and easily accessible.

Medieval manuscripts in IWU’s Special Collections

The Ames Library is pleased to participate in IWU’s “A Year with The Saint John’s Bible”! The first volume completed for The Saint John’s Bible project, Gospels & Acts, will be a featured part of many campus activities and presentations in Spring 2018. From June – December 2018, we will have the Pentateuch Heritage Edition.

Illuminated initial letter Q

16th Century illuminated Q

The original is on vellum and was created in using traditional medieval techniques of calligraphy and illumination. Illinois Wesleyan’s Special Collections holds 11 vellum leaves of medieval manuscripts (see more images below) and one bound folio of liturgical music created in that same era.

Manuscripts, meaning documents created by hand, are part of the historical evolution of books and one of the many book arts traditions used to enhance the way we convey information. Some manuscripts like The Saint John’s Bible are illuminated, or decorated, also by hand and hand bound.

The Special Collections vault in Tate Archives & Special Collections on the library’s 4th floor holds these and thousands of other unique items that curious minds are welcome to explore.

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. Sadly, we don’t know much else about his life. Anyone who has records about him to donate is welcome to contact the archives (archives {@} iwu.edu).

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

Frank Starkey

Frank Starkey, Ph.D., Professor

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. In comments he shared during the Black Fine Arts Festival, reported on in The Argus (p. 1) March 22, 1977, Starkey remarks on the need for the Black Student Union to improve on their efforts (re BFAF’s purpose) and also includes a critique of IWU’s poor recruiting efforts of Black students, faculty and administrators.

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