Back in March, as life across the world and at IWU’s campus changed dramatically, I sent out an open call to the IWU community, inviting reflections on their lives in this pandemic era.
An exhibit with contributions from 15 students is now available. I also added content from IWU’s webpages and made a personal contribution to the exhibit as a way of breaking the ice.
Students were given an option to answer as many of a set of pre-determined questions (see below) as they wanted to. They were also given the option of remaining anonymous online with the understanding that their identity would be associated with their remarks in the archives’ offline files.
Additions to this collection are welcome, and anyone who wants to keep their reflections offline may still participate. Participants may use the questions below if they’d like some ideas on how to start, but truly any way that people are comfortable expressing themselves for sharing their experiences is fine. Visit the project description for details or contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have questions.
[Questions on student submission form]
Name (indicate if anonymity online is desired)
Where are you living during the Pandemic of 2020?
How did you feel when you were informed the remainder of the semester would be held online?
What has been your experience with moving classes online?
If applicable, tell us a little about your thoughts and reactions to moving off campus or out of town.
How are you staying connected to your friends and wider community, through IWU or elsewhere?
How has the virus or the precautions taken to prevent it spreading impacted your daily life?
What is giving you hope and/or strength right now?
Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about what you’re feeling or experiencing right now?
Share a photo of yourself, or any photos, videos, or audio recordings you’d like to add to this historical record!
undated Maude Essig portrait
While researching her own Great Aunt Agnes Swift’s involvement with the American Expeditionary Forces WW1 hospitals in Contrexeville, France, Molly Daniel of Charleston, IL came across the diary of Maude Essig’s experiences, who worked with Swift in the same facility. Maude Essig was Brokaw School of Nursing Director (ca 1923-56). The Brokaw Hospital School was the forerunner of IWU’s School of Nursing.
In writing to ask about using a photo of Essig on her website, Daniel shared comments about her research process that others may find instructive as well: “I have especially appreciated having access to Maude’s journal as well as the academic article about her published by her former student [and former IWU School of Nursing Director], Alma Woolsey. Her journal helped me put into better context the information in my great aunt’s letters to family members.”
Daniel shared the biographical sketch of Essig she compiled and that will be included with Daniel’s submissions for the U.S. Centennial website commemorating the Army Nurse Corps.
Daniel also discovered a picture in the National Library of Medicine’s Digital Collections that has a caption indicating it is from Base Hospital No.32, Vittel, France but she is “confident that it comes from the Contrexeville hospital” based on her research. Daniel also believes Essig may be the second nurse from the left–the only one shown with glasses. Additional photos of Essig from the University’s archival collections are below.
For information about the School of Nursing program’s development, see “Nursing Education at Illinois Wesleyan University: 1923 to 1976” by Lori Ann Musser, Class of 1992.
Maude Essig, ca. 1925
Maude Essig with students, ca. 1928
This photo is identical to the composite she is in with the Brokaw Hospital Class of 1933 http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm/ref/collection/iwu_histph/id/2786
Special Collections houses a number of mysteries some enterprising researcher may be able to mine for treasures. Here are a few items and what little information we have about them:
Five photo albums from the 19th Century, some with people identifed, some not, and only one with clues about the people’s relationship to IWU.
Barry Lennon Farm Records, 1842-52
Correspondence and photos from World War I soldiers
Correspondence from several World War II servicemen to Nell (Carmichael) Livingston
Notes, reports and ephemera of Henry Filip, physicist at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory in the 1970s
A journal with some ledger-type of entries (1842-45) but mostly a beautiful, albeit dense handwriting. The name that appears the most is Thomas Storm Hubbard. Interestingly, on one page where he writes his names several times there also appears, in large letters, the word “Fearlessness.”