Les Arends’ artifacts

In a previous post, I described collections we hold related to Political Science. One of these collections contains manuscripts, publications and memorabilia related to 17th Congressional District Representative Leslie C. Arends (1935-1975). Thanks to the talents and efforts of Physical Plant employees, we were able to move a cleaned and polished Arends’ desk, previously stored in Sheean Library, into the archives’ reading room last year. And with funds from the Ames Library’s budget this year, we were able to have a local upholsterer repair and clean the chair that was donated with the desk. Physical Plant transported the chair from its Mennonite storage room to the upholsterer and then into the archives this week. Both pieces now provide the Archives’ Student Assistants with an ample work surface that’s also elegant and inspiring!

Now, what to do with his bull whip, wall tapestry and golf clubs…?

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!

Selected mysteries, part one

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.”

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!

Political Science

Special Collections has two manuscript collections related to state and national politics: The Leslie Arends Congressional Collection and the 1970 Illinois Constitutional Convention papers of IWU PoliSci professor and Con-Con delegate John Wenum. The 1970 Con Con resulted in a first-ever state Constitution that explicitly guaranteed citizens the right to a healthy environment.

The Arends Collection is well organized and largely unused. The Wenum Collection has not been examined since acquired and awaits some eager researcher’s eyes to tell us what treasures it may hold!

Religion collections

As can be expected, given IWU’s origins, special collections holds an array of books related to Methodist Church governance, history and liturgy. Sermons and insights into the religious and philosophical leanings of IWU presidents, many of whom were also Methodist ministers, are available in the archives. Samplings of other religions represented in special collections are below.

Additionally, we hold one manuscript collection of former Bloomington Wesley Methodist Church minister and mystery writer Charles Merrill Smith. Our collection holds photographs, book manuscripts, publicity material, correspondence and more. Smith was also an IWU Board of Trustee’s member from 1958-1968.

A selection of more traditional religious texts in the collection follows. Many are in languages students on campus are studying, and the varying publication dates offer opportunities for exposure to different type-faces. These books could be great for developing reading skills in languages over time!

[al-Qurơān]. Manuscript of undetermined date, written in Naskh letters within gold leave border and occasional floral illumination. (Call no.: BP100 1000z)

Lombardica hystoria. An incomplete incunable also known as Legenda aurea regarding the lives of saints. (Call no. BX4654 .J3 1496)

The life of Mahomet : together with The Alcoran at large / translated out of Arabick into French, by the Sieur De Ryer, Lord of Malezair, and Resident for the French King at Alexandria : now faithfully English’d. (Call no.: BP75 .L57 1718)

Directorio para informaciones de los pretendientes de el santo habito de N. seraphico P.S. Francisco. (Call no: F1381 .C37 1737)

Evangelische Deutsche Original-Bibel : das ist, die gantze heilige Schrift. Polyglot Bible in German fractur, Hebrew and Greek. (Call no.: BS701 1740)

Biblia Hebraica. (BS715 1753)

Vollständiges marburger Gesang-Buch. (Call no: BV410 .V65 1774)

The whole book of Psalms collected into English metre. “This Sternhold and Hopkins version of the psalter was given a first class treatment, with its green morocco binding with gilt decoration, marbled endpapers, gilt edges, and, most important, a fore-edge painting. Such paintings were expensive additions to books printed between the 1780s and the 1830s. A watercolor, applied to the edges of the pages as they were fanned, was evident only when the book was open. This scene shows an English cathedral.” (Call no.: BX5145 .S74 1787)

Codex sinaiticus petropolitanus. Two facsimile volumes of the Greek New Testamaent held at the Imperial Library of St. Petersburg. (Call nos.: BS64 .S32 1911 and BS64 .S3 1922)

Codex juris Canonici (Call no.: BX1935 .C31917)

And some texts mentioned in the last blog post. Click on the images for a larger picture and available descriptions:

Medieval manuscript Bible Leaf from a Medieval manuscript Bible.

We have 10 matted Medieval manuscript leaves with accompanying descriptions like this one: Medieval manuscript leaf

pali mss Untitled Buddhist manuscript in Pali

This is a Burmese text with gilded edges, decorated front cover; written in ink on hand-made paper; accordion folded. The physical description is [247] p. ; 1072 cm., folded to 16 x 39 cm. And that’s everything we know about it!

Selected collection teasers

Much of what is housed in Special Collections hasn’t been fully explored or described. We have manuscript collections for art, environmental studies, history (local and national interest), nursing, political science. There are book collections related to drama, literature, the sciences, women’s studies and more — research opportunities await! 

This post highlights a few images, but you are welcome to come by and explore more. Click an image for available descriptions.

Powell and the American West

Special Collections has four collections of material for researchers interested in John Wesley Powell and the western U.S. 

  • a manuscript collection of correspondence and articles written by researchers who have contacted IWU for information on Powell over the years,
  •  a collection of books by and about Powell and the American West,
  • a wide range of material collected by Marcia Thomas during two years of research for the award-winning volume John Wesley Powell: An Annotated Bibliography, and
  • a web-based collection of images providing access to the John Wesley Powell Collection of Pueblo Pottery.  The physical collection is located on the first floor of the library.

Anyone interested in using these collections is welcome to contact me or visit the archives. 

Ecology Action Center Collection

In October 2006, we opened a new collection for primary source materials: The Ecology Action Center Collection of organizational records.  The group began as one of the first not-for-profit recycling centers in Illinois in 1971.  Today, it continues to work with the three local governments (McLean County, Town of Normal, and City of Bloomington) to increase recycling and environmental awareness for business and community members.

World War II Correspondence

October 29, 1943

Fred Brian, October 29, 1943

Tate Archives & Special Collections opened this digital collection in 2004.

The World War II Correspondence of former faculty member and alumni (’49) Fred B. Brian are now available to virtual visitors.  On-site visitors to the archives are always welcome, too! We are located in the beautiful Ames Library on the southern end of the Illinois Wesleyan University campus.