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….”




Cover page of this Athenian issue.

Cover page of this Athenian issue.


What does the archives keep?

Someone recently asked me to create a source that would make it easy for people to know what the archives considers…well…archival! The image linked below leads to a slide show designed to help clarify how YOU can help me save your history for future generations.


This slide lists some of our major collecting points, but if you have questions feel free to ask!

Let me know if you have questions about anything in this overview!

October is Archives Awareness Month

You can become aware of what’s in your University’s Archives at the IWU Mini Museum Tent on the Quad during Homecoming! Stop by Saturday the 6th from 8-11:30 AM for a condensed view of IWU’s 162 year history. We’ll have artifacts, photos, Wesleyana yearbooks, event programs, Argus issues and more.

The tent is also hosting the contents of the time capsule that will be placed in the new classroom building at 10AM in a ceremony organized by Associate Dean of Students for Campus Life & Director of Residential Life Matthew Damschroder. See it before it’s sealed and then let your descendents know so they can keep an eye out for it!

Visit Tate Archives & Special Collections on The Ames Library’s 4th floor or click on the leaf to visit us online!

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{@}

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!

Where have all the lawyers gone…

IWU was home to the “Bloomington Law School” (aka The College of Law) from 1874-1927. The archives holds registration records, course descriptions, photographs and a book with the constitution and minutes of the Class of 1903. One undated history of the school, written by one of its graduates, is now digitized and available for viewing on the Web.

Cover of undated four-page circular (L) and 1888 Commencement invitation