Ecology Action Center 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.

Ecology Attention Center (EAC) Collection

Materials from the Ecology Action Center (EAC) Collection (click to enlarge).

This image shows selections from the Ecology Action Center Collection, one of a group of records about local and IWU environmental organizations. The EAC collection is comprised of 8 linear feet of administrative and non-for-profit business development information as well as historical information and publications pertaining to Operation Recycle (estab. 1971 by ISU Professor Derek McCracken) and the Ecology Action Center (EAC, estab. 1994).

The Ecology Action Center, created in and based out of Normal, Illinois, continues the education efforts of Operation Recycle which was officially disbanded in 1998, by providing the community with tours, workshops, classes, earth-camps, fairs, and many other events.

The items displayed in these posts 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!

 

 

 

Named places: Eckley Quadrangle

Robert and Nell Eckley

Robert S. and Nell Eckley

At the heart of IWU’s 82-acre campus is the park-like Eckley Quadrangle, named for IWU’s 15th president Robert S. Eckley (1968-1986) and his wife Nell. They were instrumental in developing and implementing a landscaping plan for the Quad after Dutch elm disease destroyed almost all of the trees in the 1970s.

1970 campus aerial view

1970 campus aerial view prior to Quad redesign

 

1974 Aerial view of campus

1974 Aerial view of campus following redesign

Named places: Minor Myers, jr. Welcome Center

Minor Myers, jr.

Minor Myers, jr.. 1989

The Minor Myers, jr. Welcome Center, honoring Illinois Wesleyan’s 17th president (1989-2003), houses the Admissions Office and the Hart Career Center. Myers tenure saw the creation of the Shirk Center, the Center for Natural Sciences and The Ames Library.

Then-BOT President Craig Hart, 2003

Craig Hart, 2003

 

 

 

 

Craig C. Hart, former president of IWU’s Board of Trustees, is the Career Center’s namesake. The Welcome Center received Silver certification as a leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building – the first building in Bloomington to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Medieval (and other) manuscripts 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.

Our collections include 12 medieval manuscript leaves and three manuscript books from the 16th, 18th and 19th centuries. A two volume set of the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus, the first bound facsimile edition of the Old and New Testaments, is also available.

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[Pictured] A Buddhist manuscript in Pali (shown here in two parts), dating from the 19th century, is at the back of the shelf. The matted leaves are from
(L) a Bible in Latin, on vellum, with contemporary glossing. England, ca. 1220.
(R) a Bible in Latin, on vellum, with decorated initials and marginal penwork, including a scribe’s use of the pointing finger. The text is from Zachariah. Italy, Bologna, ca. 1280.

This display holds 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!

Newly digitized recordings

Tate Archives & Special Collections is pleased to announce that over 170 interviews, originally recorded on audio- and microcassette, are now available in digital form. Due to privacy concerns, researchers are required to use these sources in Tate Archives & Special Collections, The Ames Library, or make special arrangements with the University’s archivist (archives@iwu.edu). Nevertheless, these unique primary sources contain valuable perspectives for people interested in 20th century America theatre and film.

The following guest post was researched and written by Archives Student Assistant Noah Jett, Class of 2020, who recently completed comprehensive descriptions of the recordings. The digitized originals were edited by Archives Student Assistant Giovanni Garcia in order to make it possible to hear a single interview subject in a single audio recording.

An analysis of the Jared Brown collection of biographical sources

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Emeritus Professor Jared Brown taught theater full time at IWU from 1989-2002, and was director of the School of Theater Arts from 1989-1999. Brown has had a lifelong connection with show business. In addition to his own career as a professor, he has written multiple biographies on notable film and theater figures to positive receptions, and his father was a radio and film star who was blacklisted in the McCarthy era. These biographies  include: The Fabulous Lunts: A Biography of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, Moss Hart: A Prince of the Theatre, Zero Mostel: A Biography, and Alan J. Pakula: His Films and His Life (abstracts for all are available below). Brown chose his biographical subjects not just because they were important to theater or film, but because he felt they had been neglected in literature, and were being forgotten by the public despite their contributions.

Upon completion of his books, Jared Brown designated Illinois Wesleyan University’s Special Collections as the repository for all of his research materials. The sources are primarily original interviews with people who knew or worked with the research subjects, including actors, directors, writers, and producers from multiple generations of Hollywood. Also included are correspondences, broadcast interviews, and recorded performances. These materials possess a wealth of knowledge on their subjects, and would be beneficial to researchers, or to anyone interested in seeing firsthand the process of researching a comprehensive biography. These sources contain all descriptive information that was provided to the library, as well as descriptive notes on the content created during a 2018 collection analysis by this author.

Abstracts of the four books created with the research material available in Tate Archives & Special Collections:

In Moss Hart: A Prince of the Theatre, Brown explores the life and career of theatre director and playwright Moss Hart. Hart was known for his long time partnership with George S. Kaufman, who wrote many of his plays. Hart’s biggest success and surviving legacy was his direction of the original My Fair Lady in 1956, which played for over seven years and won Hart a Tony award for best director. He also wrote scripts for films, such as A Star is born and Gentleman’s Agreement. Moss Hart: A Prince of the Theatre is one of the foremost biographies on Hart, and the only one listed on Hart’s Wikipedia page.

In The Fabulous Lunts, Brown recounts the glamorous lives of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, two of the original superstars of show business who are widely regarded as the best acting duo in the 20th century American theater. The Lunts are known for their incredible stagecraft and acting technique, and Brown explores in detail how this is the result of their hard work and dedication. Despite their stardom, and their reputation for class and elegance, the Lunts resided in a country home in Genesee Depot in Waukesha County, Wisconsin, Alfred Lunt having attended nearby Carroll College. The Fabulous Lunts is a comprehensive biography of the duo, discussing both their exceptional talent in the theater and the personalities that left them so fondly remembered by everyone who knew them.

Zero Mostel: A Biography is an attempt to pin down the truth about Samuel “Zero” Mostel, an actor, comedian, and artist most well known for being the original “Tevye” in Fiddler on the Roof. Described as irreverent, boisterous, and exuberant, Mostel was a polarizing figure who garnered strong feelings from everyone who knew him. Mostel had a tendency towards storytelling and exaggerations, but Jared Brown sifted through story after story until his book represented the closest thing to the truth as could be found. Mostel was also a victim of the McCarthy era blacklisting, but he is one of the few who survived, and even went on to have a greater career afterwards.

Alan J. Pakula: His Films and his Life is an extensive insight into the life of a talented and influential, but widely forgotten director. Pakula’s notable films include his “paranoia trilogy”: Klute, The Parallax View, and All the President’s Men, for which he won an academy award. He also directed Sophie’s Choice, and produced To Kill a Mockingbird. Pakula died tragically in a traffic collision in 1998, and was fondly remembered by all who knew him as a deeply intelligent and caring man. In this biography, Jared Brown discusses Pakula’s life and how he came to have such keen psychological insights, as well as how his directing career could be so successful yet so largely forgotten.

Riley Jackson’s Script Collection

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A recent archives researcher helped shed light on a mysterious collection of books in IWU’s Special Collections. Why do we have a set of scripts from radio and TV mystery series that were produced on the West Coast?

We now know to thank Riley Jackson’s (’38) work in radio and television for donating more

1948 Suspense episode

A 1948 Suspense episode (click to enlarge)

than five year’s worth of the original scripts for the Suspense radio series, as well as the screenplays for the entire series of The Front Page Detective. These scripts and screenplays contain unique details about the production of these series, such as the actors, air time and dress rehearsal times, as well as directions related to the cuing, staging, and camera angles. Several of the Suspense scripts and all of The Front Page Detective screenplays are rare. Illinois Wesleyan is one of the few locations in the United States known to hold copies. Some recordings of these productions are available through the Internet Archive.

The following guest post was researched and written by Archives Student Assistant Katharine Teykl, Class of 2019.

Riley Jackson 1936

Riley Jackson, Freshman Class photo, 1936 Wesleyana

Riley Jackson came to Illinois Wesleyan in 1935. Although he never graduated from Illinois Wesleyan, he is considered a member of the class of 1938. He was actively involved in campus activities, particularly with the radio station and the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity (1936 Wesleyana, p. 123). One of the most distinguished roles he took on at Illinois Wesleyan was radio announcer for the 1937 Homecoming program, which included the Homecoming parade and football game (Argus, p. 1, Sept. 29, 1937). After leaving Illinois Wesleyan, he took a position at WJBC radio, located in Bloomington, IL, as a radio announcer (Argus, p. 3, October 17, 1939). In 1938, he left WJBC and began working for WIND, a Christian-based radio station located in Chicago (Argus, p. 1, April 6, 1938). There, he took on the role of radio engineer, working behind the scenes. This experience would serve him later, as he took on various roles in production and management for different media companies.

Margaret Reeser Jackson, 1936

Margaret Reeser Jackson, Freshman Class, 1936 Wesleyana

In 1951, Jackson and his wife Margaret (nee Reeser) ’37 moved to North Hollywood, California. There, he became the radio and television manager for Cecil & Presbrey (IWU Bulletin, p. 11, Aug. 1954). In this role, he supervised the production for several radio and television series. Many of the series that he helped to produce and supervise dealt with suspense, mystery, unexplained phenomena, and science fiction. Among the most well-known were Suspense, an immensely popular radio mystery series on CBS, and The Front Page Detective television series, which ran from 1951 until 1953 on the DuMont Television Network. After The Front Page Detective finished its run in 1953, Jackson worked in the film industry in Hollywood, serving as the executive producer for films such as Storm over the Pacific (1960) and Mill of the Stone Woman (1960), and serving as the post-production supervisor on the US version of King Kong Escapes (1967) and dialogue supervisor for the US version of The War of the Gargantuas (1966). (compiled from information on Jackson’s IMDB page, https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0413979/).

Despite living and working on the West Coast, the Jacksons returned to Illinois Wesleyan on multiple occasions, maintaining a close connection with their alma mater. On their visits, they took interest in various student activities, such as the Spotlight Alley Theatre, run by the Illinois Wesleyan School of Theatre Arts, in addition to attending dinner at the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity house (IWU Bulletin, p. 15, Aug. 1956 and Argus, p. 3, Dec. 6, 1938, respectively).

As radio productions become all but extinct, looking at these scripts and early TV screen plays provides an interesting look into the history of popular culture and a fresh perspective on the ways in which Americans engaged with the media available to them at the time. Anyone interested in viewing the scripts for the Suspense radio series or The Front Page Detective should come up to the archives (The Ames Library, 4th floor). You never know what sort of mystery could be waiting inside!

Named places: Bertholf Commons

President Lloyd Bertholf

Bertholf Commons, aka “Saga,” in the Memorial Student Center honors President Lloyd Bertholf (1959-1968) who was a professor of Biology. During his presidency IWU established the practice of offering a “short term” in our academic year. What we now know as May Term started out as travel course offerings in a January short term. IWU added ten new buildings during the Bertholf era, including three dormitories.

For more on President Bertholf, see the blog post containing his biographical description and his 1984 book, A Personal Memoir of the Bertholf Years at Illinois Wesleyan: 1958-1968

 

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

 

 

Departmental History: Classical Languages

From 1851-the early 1910s IWU offered diplomas in two liberal arts tracks resulting in degrees in of BA and BS. In the earliest years the essential differences were whether or not Classical languages were required. The first catalog (pictured below) shows students in the Scientific track did not have to take “Ancient Languages” and would receive a “Bachelor of Science and English Literature.” The Collegiate track resulted in a Bachelor of Arts.

There is a bit of variation as time goes on but for our first 75 years, the Courses of Study fall into these tracks: Classical (meaning Greek), Latin Scientific (Latin) and English (with Modern languages being required). In about the 1920s there is a transition to referring to language offerings by courses rather than courses of study but overall, between 1851-1954, there are
29 catalogs that contain the phrase Ancient Languages (sometimes describes courses, sometimes departments)
21 catalogs that contain the phrase Department of Latin
19 catalogs that contain the phrase Department of Greek

Page 17 of IWU's first Catalogue of Courses, 1851-52
Degrees available in 1852 (click to enlarge)

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.