Research Files: IWU’s First International Students

Photo scanned from a scrapbook held in IWU archives. The person is unidentified but the book belonged to an 1895 graduate.

Photo scanned from a scrapbook held in IWU archives. The person is unidentified but the book includes named graduates from classes in the years after 1890.

In 1890, Wesleyan’s first two international students graduated from IWU’s Law School. Their names were Yeizo Osawa and Kashiyira Tanaka. They were from Tokyo, Japan, and were in residence on campus when they graduated. Stories in our student publications relate how they shared their culture with IWU’s campus, such as delivering lectures and describing some of the customs of Japan. Their presence among the graduation class of 1890 was even noted in local newspapers and in the Chicago Tribune.

Even earlier, other graduates with international addresses received degrees through our Non-residential program, meaning they did not have to attend classes on our campus. This program is described the following way in an 1895 publication:

The object of this step was to furnish lines of systematic study for those
professional men and women whose duties and environments are such
as to make a resident course of study an impossibility, and yet who
earnestly desire systematic study.

Sounds a lot like what online learning programs promise today, doesn’t it?

An early graduate of the program with an international address is Rev. John Oakly Spencer of Japan, who graduated with a Ph.B in 1888. One wonders about the possibility of Osawa and Tanaka meeting Oakly and finding out about our small school in Central Illinois!

Other Non-resident graduates living abroad in the same time period were Rev. Myron Chesterfield Wilcox of China who also graduated with a Ph.B in 1886, and William Groves of Uruguay who graduated with an M.A. in 1897. William C. Armstrong and Frederick W. A.Meyer, of Ontario, Canada and Arthur Thomas Carr of Birmingham England all received M.A. in 1896.

These men were not international students in the same way we think of today, but they demonstrate our current philosophy has long-standing roots: bring the world to Wesleyan and Wesleyan to the world!

To learn more you can visit Tate Archives and Special Collections in the Ames Library or contact us at archives@iwu.edu!

Photo project complete!

In 2011 the archives acquired a group of photographic material from the Office of Communications. Since then a succession* of diligent archives student assistants have worked steadily to place the contact sheets and negatives together in high quality sleeves, transfer information from the old filing sleeves, and then to store them in hanging file drawers for ease of access. Actually, many people** at IWU deserve the thanks of all future IWU photo seekers.

Below are a few then-and-now pictures to give a sense of this effort. The years spanned in these image files are 1966-2002, though the bulk of the negatives are from 1970s-1990s. A rough estimate of the total comes to about 40,000 images. Some information is searchable in a database (available in the archives) created by a couple of generations of photographers, but most images are at least in chronological order and correspond with activities that occur regularly each academic year. This order itself, even without complete descriptions, is significant for the work of the archives in satisfying the many research inquiries we receive each year.

* Students (now alumni!) assisting in this project were Kaylee, Kenny, Kirsten, Melissa, Rachel, Shirley, and Tia.

**Special thanks to the photographers who took the images and saved their log books, Physical Plant for moving everything so carefully, and University Librarian Karen Schmidt for making it possible to purchase the supplies that will help keep our history safe and in order for future use! Karen also alerted me to the policies of State Farm that allow non-profits to acquire used furniture from their surplus warehouse. We wouldn’t have all the vertical file cabinets without them!

 

 

Advice from the past

Recent readings in old  IWU student publications are yielding time-tested advice. It is difficult when you’re caught up in the hurried days of deadlines and commitments to think of the broader implications of college on an educated person’s development. Take a look at some of these ideas and see if there’s an intersection with your 21st century life.

An October 1888 editorial offers this series of thoughts: “In study, college students slight nothing more than they do themselves….The student who has done nothing but study has little notion of what he is capable of doing. His school work so absorbs his attention that he fails to study himself….To accomplish the most possible, one must have a practical and general knowledge of things. A broad foundation is essential….Finally, and briefly, don’t hurry through school. It is better to be an educated graduate at tweny-five, than an inexperienced one at twenty. Young people at twenty are apt to make unfortunate ventures….”

Here is another excerpt from some advice given by another Editorial Board in 1890: “The aim of all college students should be to gain knowledge…We are here as a body of students to cultivate our minds, so that we may be able to cope with the outside world….”

1890-02-25_Athenian_right_col

 

 

Cover page of this Athenian issue.

Cover page of this Athenian issue.

 

Tree Map is posted!

One of our talented archives student assistants spent a few days uploading files donated by retired IWU Groundsman Art Killian. These jpegs and pdfs were used in creating the dynamic version of the IWU Tree Map and are now permanently part of our static digital photo collection. The photos and information derived from the main site will remain available in this larger historical IWU website as a record of the look and layout of campus grounds in the 2010s.

Why was this static capture necessary?

The Illinois Wesleyan University Tree Map project was created in Photoshop and edited with Dreamweaver. The current CAD (Computer-Aided Design) map, which the Tree Map was derived from, is on file at Illinois Wesleyan University’s Physical Plant. When the landscape changes on campus, Physical

Plant uses the CAD version to maintain records of their work on the campus grounds. As working records, the campus maps are updated frequently.

The Tree Map website was completed by Art Killian with assistance from Curtis Kelch and the landscaping and grounds crew. This dynamic website is hosted on the campus server and contains photos by Diane Trevor, Ken Detloff, Marc Featherly (circa 2006), and Art Killian (circa 2010).

More historical photos

If it’s been awhile since you looked through the online photo collection, check it out. One of our outstanding archives student assistants worked away at our backlog of photos that have been digitized for one reason or another in the past few years and there are over 1,100 uploaded now.

There are quite a few that we know little or nothing about. Click on the “Help ID Photos!” tab at the top of this page to search solely for those images. If you have information to share, let me know!

We recently acquired the IWU Tree Map files for the current and previous interactive websites created by Art Killian. We can’t make the map interactive in our photo collection, but I know we can at least save the map pages for each tree and include an image of each tree so that changes to our arboretum can be noted well into the future. Stay tuned!

More 19th Century student works

Awhile back the complete run of Argus issues, 1894-present, was posted online. Since then we have added ten other periodicals to the same website. With publication dates beginning in 1870, these student and alumni news publications are now available for viewing through keyword searches or browsing by year or decade.

Spoof issues sit side-by-side with works that were published by and for Greeks and Independents; news accounts and reports from other schools are present with literary efforts of students; competing orations are printed much as prized athletic competitions are emphasized about today.

News tidbits from alumni as well as observations on campus society and politics are included, and ads for local businesses show types of preoccupations outside students’ academic work.

Browse or search for topics and names from IWU’s history. This collection offers countless glimpses of life at IWU spanning 140 years!

Source for IWU Historical research

As part of a presentation titled “Gems from IWU History” given during the 2010 Homecoming Back to College program last Friday, a research guide devoted to sources people could consult on their own from off campus was created. Links for descriptions we’ve prepared on IWU’s physical collections are also provided. At the bottom right of the guide is a copy of the powerpoint and notes for the presentation; links into our digital collections are in both of these documents and were used to illustrate collection content as well as the many ways archives staff search for answers when working on research questions.

If you have a question about IWU history, explore the research guide but feel free to contact the University Archivist, too! (309-556-1538 and archives{@}iwu.edu)

Check out the Museum class exhibits!

Four groups of students prepared exhibits for ANTH 270 this semester. This project required them to become familiar with artifacts on a topic, research it using primary and secondary sources, and create a visually appealing and informative display.

One of the groups used ethnographic material collected by Dr. Rebecca Gearhart. Their exhibit, titled Rhythms of the East African Coast is located in a display case by the Anthropology department on the second floor of CLA.

The remaining three groups used materials from the University Archives. The exhibit titles and locations are as follows:

The Long Lost Fame of the IWU College of Law, 1st Floor, John Wesley Powell Rotunda

     –photographs and documents related to the Bloomington law School and IWU College of Law.

Turbulent Titans: Student Issues from 1970-1971, 1st Floor, across from Circulation

     –an analysis of issues tackled by the student publication “Rhetoric and Propaganda.”

The Center of the University: Its Rise and Its Demise, 3rd Floor, outside Thorpe Center

     –photographs, an architectural plan and documents surrounding the history of Old Main/Hedding Hall/Duration Hall.

Great job, ANTH 270!

Help wanted

Two archives interns created the framework for an oral history program last summer. We now have a series of sample questions geared towards alumni, staff and faculty that the students arrived at after reading some campus histories. Nell and Robert Eckley were kind enough to be our first interviewees and we’re experimenting with ways to make those interviews available on the web with corresponding photographs and transcripts.

Now we need interviewers! I would like to have current students and alumni involved in conducting these interviews as a way to get them involved in a new tradition and to bring their own perspectives to the table when asking others about their time here.

Our first pool of subjects will be alumni at the 50+ anniversary mark and faculty/staff who have worked at IWU over 40 years. People who reside locally are all we can accommodate right now, but during Homecoming we will  actively invite out-of-town participants. All interviews will be audio-only and participants will be given a chance to review their transcripts before releasing them for future use. Contact me if you are interested in interviewing or being interviewed: mminer{at}iwu.edu

Audio and video recordings

The archives recently had several recordings transferred from media we could not listen to (due to outdated formats or fragile magnetic tape) to digital formats. The content of these recordings is mostly unexplored but includes some film clips of the 1952 incoming class and an undated commencement with nurses in capes. There are also a series of audio recordings, some labelled “Peopletalk,” that have alumni and faculty in the 1970s talking about what IWU means to them.

Some recordings are talks given for specific events like a 1949 dinner on the west coast that featured the then-oldest living alumni: Dr. Sam VanPelt, Class of 1875; or a 1969 recording by Hubert Humphrey during the long-running Steveson Lecture Series; or a 1971 visit by Helen Hayes who is speaking to students in Theatre Arts. An undated recording has Sociology Professor Dr. Emily Dunn Dale responding to commentary by Phyllis Schlafley on the topic of women’s roles in society.

Additionally, current faculty member Dr. Pam Muirhead created a video interview with Dr. Paul Bushnell in 2004 for the McLean County Black History Project. The original video tape had 10 minutes of sound distortion at the beginning, and the archives contracted with a media restoration company that was able to make all but the first two minutes understandable again. The subject of Dr. Bushnell’s interview is his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement.

There are other digitized recordings available and many other analog recordings await exploration in the archives, too. Some of these recordings could be added to our online collections, but first they could use a reviewer to determine suitability of content and basic descriptions that will let online researchers know how they are relevant. Some may be suitable for research projects and some may hold interesting insights into IWU’s history. All are here for the asking!