Check out this compilation of sources in a timeline of the currently known events in IWU’s multicultural history.*
On April 17, 1970 Argus writer Paul McVicker (’72) introduced readers to the IWU activities planned for the first-ever United Nations Earth Day by saying, “The purpose of the program is to educate students and the community…about what they can do to help solve environmental problems.” McVicker was also a member of the College Republicans and the Chairman of the Intercollegiate Information and Programming Commission and so must also have been at the planning meeting for the event on March 20th.
The meeting announcement in the Argus on that date shows this was a student-driven effort organized by a “Special Pollution Committee” but that group is only mentioned once in IWU’s digitized news sources and the extent of its members is not know. The April 24, 1970 Argus reported on all the campus activities that took place that first year.
Curiously, the only student to list Earth Day as an organization he wanted commemorated in his yearbook list of activities is Kevin Jones, whose entry in the 1971 Wesleyana shows he was a Sophomore.
The 1971 Wesleyana carries a story by Kathy Larey Lewton (’70) that sets Earth Day into the larger context of student activism taking place in the 1969-70 academic year. The close ties between IWU and ISU are apparent in this article, and IWU also holds primary sources that we can consult to get a broader view on community activities involving the environment.
Sophomore Vicki Wenger is the only student who lists Operation Recycle among her activities in the 1971 Wesleyana or any of the yearbooks that were published afterwards. But Anne McGowan (’76), community activist and spouse of Emeritus Professor of English Jim McGowan, provided an interview in 2013 about her experiences. The excerpt below contains just the part of her remarks that include her involvement with the community-based Operation Recycle and the origins of her interest in recycling.
IWU’s archival holdings also include contributions from Abigail Jahiel, Professor of Environmental and International Studies, who led a May Term 2003 course on Environmental History in which her students interviewed local citizens who influenced the ecological health of our community. Dr. Jahiel deposited these materials to complement IWU’s existing special collections that are related to Environmental Studies. An online collection is now available of the recordings that could be digitized and whose subjects gave permission for their interviews to be released:
- Operation Recycle/Ecology Action Center interviews: Michelle Bell, Michelle Covi, Myra Gordon, and Carol Reitan.
- John Wesley Powell Audubon Society interviews: Angelo Capparella and Laura Miller.
- The Land Connection interviews: Terra Brockman, Teresa Santiago and David Williams.
If you have additional information about these people or groups, comment on this post or send an email to email@example.com. And visit this page if you would like to know more about the records of local organizations that are held in Tate Archives & Special Collections.
The University made an audio recording of the cornerstone laying at Mark Evans Observatory and the University Archivist added the sound track over three brief (and silent) home movies that were donated in 2016. One of the films shows Borman placing a time capsule in the observatory’s wall. The photo on the left shows just part of the crowd that this event drew; several other photos are available online.
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). 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
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.
Students today may not know that their predecessors were responsible for bringing the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to campus twice in the 1960s. The first time was in 1961 for an event sponsored by the Religious Activities Commission. Articles in The Argus and Wesleyana offer details. In a Letter to the Editor published a week after King’s assassination, IWU alumna Sara Ellen Long recalled her role in the 1961 group that invited King (April 12, p. 2).
The University Archives received a special copy of the program for this event just a few years ago. The story of how this artifact came to the archives is told below the pdf version of the program.
Dr. King visited a “Principles of Sociology” class during this visit and is shown below talking with Sociology professors James K. Phillips and Emily Dunn-Dale.
In 1966 Dr. King returned at the request of the Student Senate’s Convocation Commission. This event took place after Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and was held at the Fred Young Fieldhouse to accommodate the crowd. IWU student Elizabeth Lindblom was Chair of the Commission and provided an introduction to the event.
University Communications maintains a series of web pages with a transcript of the 1966 event and a link to a recording of a broadcast from local radio station WJBC. The University Archives holds an audio cassette tape of that broadcast, photographs and the other records of Dr. King’s two visits to IWU.
A recent donation to IWU’s Special Collections from Emeritus Theatre Professor Jared Brown contains primary sources, including recordings and transcripts of over 150 interviews, he used in the publication of four books:
The Fabulous Lunts: A Biography of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne (1986),
Zero Mostel: A Biography (1989),
Alan J. Pakula: His Films and His Life (2005), and
Moss Hart: A Prince of the Theatre (2006).
A complete collection description is available in the finding aid for the Jared Brown Collection of Biographical Sources.