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

      

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!

Archives finding aid

What is a finding aid? Basically, it’s our version of a catalog. It helps archivists and patrons find out what material we hold and where it lives.

For a number of years we’ve been trying to get an interactive, 2.0 type of finding aid online. We’re still trying to make that dream a reality, but in the interim we’ve got a pdf linked from the archives’ website and available for direct download.

Keep in mind that that we make frequent updates to this document in-house and will only update the posted version twice each semester (mid-term and after finals), so let me know if you can’t find something you expect us to have!

IWU and war-time activities

Memorial Day seems like a good time to highlight military-related documents held at IWU. Students, alumni, faculty and administrators have served in all U.S. wars since IWU’s founding. Diaries, correspondence, service records and recollections are held in both our archives and special collections.

Examples of these documents include service applications of the WWII-era Nurse’s Cadet Corps, alumni responses to a post-WWII survey of activities, correspondence from WWII soldiers to IWU student Nell Carmichael, correspondence and sketches from alumnus and Professor of Art Fred Brain to his family during WWII, index of WWI veterans plus photocopied clippings of articles related to their service, Nursing Superintendent Maude Essig’s WWI diary, and administrative meeting notes and student reporting on war-related activities on campus and abroad.

We lack significant documentation on the WWII-era S.A.T.C. and welcome donations related to this group’s purpose and activities on campus. Some dilligent researcher’s eyes may uncover details on this and other student groups’ efforts in existing documentation, and all our records are open and available for that work. Leave a reply (below) to contact me about arranging a visit!

Digital Commons

The Ames Library’s Digital Initiatives Team launched IWU’s electronic record storage and access system in fall 2008. Digital Commons serves as the central location for outstanding student work, faculty scholarship, University records, and campus history. It holds 3,552 works to date. To launch this repository, the archives supplied research honors theses and scores dating back to the 1960s, as well as peer-reviewed student journals.

 

Our goals are to:

  • Promote and disseminate academic and creative achievements of students and faculty
  • Ensure preservation of and persistent access to said work
  • Increase discovery of IWU scholarship and artistic expressions
  • Foster scholarly collaborations with colleagues
  • Document and record IWU’s history and progress

If you create or control documents related to University history and have been wondering how to store them electronically, leave me a comment below and I will walk you through what DC @ IWU can do for you. If you are interested in getting faculty or staff members’ scholarly or creative works into DC, or wish to recommend outstanding student scholarship from your department, contact our Scholarly Communications Librarians Stephanie Davis-Kahl: sdaviska {at} iwu.edu.

Poetry

April is National Poetry Month, and I thought I’d mention a few places where poetry can be found in our vaults.

Special Collections

We have a growing collection of Beat Generation material. This is primarily poetry in book and magazine/journal review format but biographies and some criticism is held here, too. More of the primary and secondary source material is available in the main library stacks. A title list is available, but each title is also cataloged and so they’ll turn up if you search in our online holdings, too.

Individual titles in special collections are usually accompanied by an inscription or autograph of an author such as 39 Poems by John Ciardi; The Unicorn and Other Sonnets by Thomas S. Jones, jr.; For My People by Margaret Walker, Threads by Dorothy Quick.

Archives

We hold various incarnations of IWU student-compiled journals containing poetry from the literary societies of the late 19th century through to today’s Tributaries and material on the Tounge & Ink conferences.

Records Management project

I am conducting interviews across campus to describe and assess current records creation and storage practices on campus. The process and potential outcomes were reviewed by the President Wilson’s Cabinet in Fall 2008. If you have a pressing need to discuss these issues, feel free to contact me for an on site visit!

My goal is to make sure the work you do in helping the University grow and change is available for use over the long term! Here’s the original proposal for the project.

IWU’s longest-running student publication

The Argus Digital Collection was our first large-scale digitization project. Illinois Wesleyan University’s newspaper The Argus has been published under student supervision continuously since 1894. For most of that time, it has been a weekly publication. This site went live with a browse-by-date interface in May 2003. Searchable sets of indexed terms became available in September 2003 and cover 1955-2003. Issues published since 2004 are available from the same link and are full text searchable within their individual pdfs.

A new project to make The Argus fully searchable is currently under way. Stay tuned for news on its progress!