A virtual walk through IWU history

Curious about what changes have taken place to IWU’s campus over the years? Interested in exploring locations related to campus lore? The University Archives is pleased to offer a few insights on an interactive map.

ca 1940 aerial photo

IWU ca. 1940

Pandemics can’t keep us down! Visit this online walk through IWU history! At the bottom of each entry’s description is a line that starts with “Permalink” and contains a link to that location’s “Pin.” When you open that page there’s a comment box. Leave a memory, post a selfie, or let me know if I got something wrong!

“HOURS” was a codeword for WOMEN’S Curfew

Editor’s note: This story was published in the June 2021 Class of 1971 newsletter  “Remembering our College Days” and is reprinted here with the permission of the author.

Guest post by Judith Schulz, Class of 1971

In our 1967-68 student handbook they were called CLOSING HOURS. That is when the dorm entrance doors were closed, and Locked. Hours really meant “curfew.”   It was a form of in loco parentis.

I didn’t think anything about these rules when I arrived at IWU as a freshman in Sept 1967 at age 18. Those were the rules, so those were the rules.  Both the 1967 and 1968 IWU student handbooks had the same closing hours listed for Women (but not for men students!) (Men had NO closing hours.)

excerpt from1968-69 IWU student handbook

(click any image in this post to enlarge)

WOMEN STUDENTS HAD TO BE INSIDE BY 10:30 pm
On weeknights we had to be inside our residence hall/dorm by 10:30 pm, Friday & Saturday by 1 am, Sunday night by 11 pm. It didn’t matter to me anyhow during my first semester as I was tired, had homework or was working late hours in the Dug Out as a short order cook/ order taker.   Men did not have any of these rules, just we women. (hmmm.)  Obvious double standard. HOURS were an issue at many colleges around the USA at the time.

DORM BED CHECK?
I lived in Pfeiffer Hall, second floor East wing and right after 10:30 there was a “bed check” where an assigned student living in the dorm came around and checked your name against the list to make sure you were in your room.… we didn’t actually to have to be “in bed.”   Just writing this on paper, I mean on the computer, makes we wonder why we didn’t question this.

AFTER 10:30 pm
Sometimes after the bed check there would be a “house” meeting, party, holiday activity or gathering in the first-floor lounge. (I see they called it a “parlor” in the handbook, but we called it “the Lounge.”)  These after- hours gatherings helped us to make friends and become part of the residence hall “family,” but it also functioned to distract you from the fact that we were under a strict curfew, even though we were of adult age.

IF YOU WERE LATE: LATE MINUTES!
And if you were late coming into your residence hall, after hours, “late minutes” resulted in punishment.

One Saturday night I signed out for a 2 o’clock, but was late just 2 minutes getting back inside Pfeiffer Hall. This was considered very serious. (And whoever was working the desk had to wait up until you came in.)

– Pfeiffer’s House Council voted to restrict me to the dorm for the entire next weekend, only being allowed to go for a short visit to the commons to eat meals. It was called “dorm pro” for probation.  I was also required to contact the house mother regularly, proving I was in the dorm.    I thought this restriction was extreme and absurd, so I called the house mother every hour throughout the weekend and even late into the night to report in, hoping frequent calls would make a point.  (They did.)

IN THE SPRING of 1968, the idea of changing or getting rid of “hours” was a topic of discussion everywhere. Was the university really supposed to be in the role of parenting, and supervising students who were of age?  Student Senate made motions, there were “university studies” and a growing frustration among students.

May 15, 1968 handout, Q&A about hours & a protest

POSTERS were hung up around campus and talk of having an after-hours protest was everywhere.  The protest was to be at 10 pm Thursday, May 17, 1968 and last until 11:30 pm—AFTER HOURS!— We would definitely be breaking the rules!  And think of it: more than 60 LATE MINUTES?

While I agreed 100% with the cause and the protest, it made me nervous.  I knew what late minutes meant, and we would all be more than 60 minutes late if we attended the protest.

Note: I have this original handout (above) and poster (next image) 8.5×11” paper. Copies were made on an old fashion ditto duplicator machine in purple lettering. (not old fashion at the time.)

May 17 flyer

May 17, 1968 Original poster, 8.5×11” ditto

That night I heard many students encouraging others to attend saying “they can’t make the late minutes stick” which matched the posters that were also all over campus.

It was a time to think for yourself, and support what you believed in.  I was still very nervous walking over, even with so many others, to the outdoor stage of McPherson.  I recall Wenona Whitfield encouraging everyone in the group I was with while walking over to the protest.

May 17, 1968 Argus coverage

IWU ARGUS newspaper story May 17, 1968 – note both stories

 

Women's hours protest

May 17, 1968 Hours Protest, after hours- IWU Archives

Women students and men students attended the hours protest, even a few IWU staff.  There was a band, and 4 students spoke: Vicki Wentrcek, Marcelle Wilkins, Brian Spears and Connie Husson.

WERE YOU THERE? Did you stay out 1 hour past “Hours” and get any “late minutes?” Please share your stories and memories about hours in the reply box below.

~ Watch for the stories of what happened next…..
what changed and what didn’t.

~ SEE you at our 50th Class of 1971 reunion in October 2021!

The actual posters shown here, MORE artifacts and photographs from this time will be on display at our 50th IWU Class of 1971 reunion October 2021.

       ~author Judith Schulz, Pfeiffer Hall resident, IWU class of 1971(and in the crowd in the photo above) written June 2021 for the Class of 1971 Alumni newsletter

Research info from Judi Kasper Ballard, Mark Sheldon, IWU archivist Meg Miner, Vicki Wenger Warren, and Judith Schulz

Images from Judith Schulz’s collection and IWU Archives

The Legacy of R. Bedford Watkins

The expansive collection of musical compositions by retired professor R. Bedford Watkins is now catalogued and available for use at IWU’s Archives & Special Collections.

R. Bedford Watkins, an exceptional keyboardist, composer, and educator, was a prominent faculty member of IWU’s School of Music from 1956 to 1988. He earned a bachelor of music degree from Rhodes College, a master of music degree from the University of Michigan, and a doctorate from the University of Iowa. He created an impressive portfolio of compositions throughout his decades as a musician, which he donated to the University in 2019.

Watkins was prolific: his collection contains dozens of compositions, ranging from fantasies for cello to large orchestral works. His modern writing style continually questions traditional harmonic practices by embracing atonal structures. In addition to the vast collection of handwritten and original copies of his compositions, Watkins writing, correspondence, and even poetry is included. Recordings of his works are digitally available from a link to his online archive catalog. Watkins even donated his own harpsichord to the university, which can now be found at the School of Music.

IWU Women’s History via JeopardyLabs

Several years ago I co-presented on IWU women’s history during a Council for IWU Women Summit with Claudia Brogan (’77), Stephanie Davis-Kahl. I gamified my findings on the topic up to that point by using PowerPoint. Recently I updated it and now it can be played three ways, all at a safe distance in these pandemic times, of course 😉 Test your IWU-quotient today!

1) The version pictured here is as it was originally presented: IWU Women’s History (2021 update) in ppt format.  This version has photos and behind-the-scenes details, not just the facts!

3) And here is the same JeopardyLabs edition but in an embedded format.
Note: numbers 2 & 3 due not have photos since I used their free version 😉

 

1970s School of Drama productions

Winnie the Pooh and friends

Winnie the Pooh and friends in “A Pooh Picnic,” Summer 1975

Even though thousands of photos have been taken of theatrical performances, due to issues surrounding intellectual property rights, very few of them have been recorded and saved. In fact, the University’s archives has only six known films of performances. They have recently been digitized and are now available to the IWU community at the links that follow. Each link leads to a file that contains clips from all of the productions that were on that reel of film. All are in color but only the first three have sound. We welcome any information people can provide to expand our knowledge of the time periods, performances and individual performers shown in the clips.

Carnival and Equuis(?), 1978-79 Season

unknown summer productions Summer productions not named but some songs are from Follies so may be 1977-78 season. They include Mrs. Worthington, Let’s Fall in Love, Waiting for the Girls Upstairs, Who’s That Woman. A drama and other musical theater clips follow.

Unlabeled but the first is Midsummer Night’s Dream so may be 1976-77 season

Summer Theatre 1974 The label reads “Prisoner of 2nd Ave. – Drama 1975” but clips include images of production programs. Titles shown are Dames at Sea, Arsenic and Old Lace, The House of Blue Leaves, and The House at Pooh Corner.

1974-75 The label reads “Equus; Drama 1974-75” but clips include images of production programs. Titles shown are The Boys from Syracuse, The Night of the Iguana, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Good Woman of Setzuan, She Stoops to Conquer. At the end of the footage there is about a minute of film with images of IWU School of Drama personnel and a sign-off note from Director John Ficca.

Summer 1976 and 1976-77 The label reads “IWU: Summer 1976: Where’s Chelsey; Forty Carats; Good Doctor. 1976/77: Pajama Game; Delicate Balance; Jacques Blvd.”

A timeline of changes in the program name and degree requirements was published in an earlier post.

World War I and II primary sources

What we now know as Veterans Day was first celebrated as Armistice Day, the day that active hostilities during World War I ceased in 1918. President Dwight D. Eisenhower changed the focus of the day in 1954 “In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans’ organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose.” (see this Dept. of Veterans Affairs page for more).

This post offers an opportunity for promoting several unexplored collections in the University’s archives & special collections that contain perspectives on the experiences of veterans and their communities. The images in the gallery below (click to enlarge) highlight just the items currently on display across from the Library Services Desk in The Ames Library. These and other collections are available for exploration throughout the year on the library’s 4th floor.

Fred Brian, January 1945

Examples of these documents include service applications of the WWII-era Nurse’s Cadet Corps, alumni responses to a post-WWI and WWII survey of activities, correspondence from two brothers during WWI to their sister Ester Vissering, correspondence from several WWII soldiers to student Nell Carmichael, correspondence and sketches from alumnus and Professor of Art Fred Brain to his family during WWII,  Nursing Superintendent Maude Essig’s WWI diary, and administrative meeting notes and student reporting on war-related activities on campus and abroad. And, of course, The Argus provided extensive reports on campus involvement in world events.

We have no primary sources related to veterans of the Cold War or the active U.S. wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan or Iraq, but thanks to Pat Rosenbaum, administrative specialist in the Dean of Students Office, we have a list of all known alumni with military affiliations. Contact the archives to find out how you can contribute more to our knowledge of the effects these events had on your lives.

Timeline of visiting activists

Human Rights Activists @IWUFor quite some time I have marveled at all the prominent human rights speakers who have visited campus. I’ve done physical exhibits in the library on this topic but have also wanted to be able to share this information online and, hopefully, reach a wider audience. This timeline contains a compilation of my research on the topic.

A good overview can be found on pp. 49-53 of Through the eyes of the Argus: 100 years of journalism at Illinois Wesleyan University by Barrell, Jennifer and Christopher Fusco, but coverage ends in the 1970s. The present work contains sources that take our understanding closer to the present.

This is only a start. Someday I hope we’ll have a comprehensive view of the amazing speakers who have come here. If you know of more I’d love to hear it!

Resources for #ScholarStrike @ IWU

#ScholarStrike

This blog post is a response to the #Scholar Strike that’s being organized by Dr. Anthea Butler of UPenn and Kevin Gannon, director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Grand View University.
I am compiling a selection of e-texts here and plan to sit in front of The Ames Library (Tues 9-12:30, Wed 11-2:30). I will be happy to listen to and/or share them with anyone who passes by. Masks and social distancing will be observed!
Many of these links go to IWU sources but anyone in IWU’s community can contribute to this list anonymously and is welcome to read them aloud in front of the library or reflect on them individually.
1) The organizers of this event developed this resource page.
2) Closer to home, Dr. Nicole Brown ’99 gave a stirring address titled “All the Lies are White” during the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Teach-In on January 16, 2017. She provided an oral history to the archives’ collection in which she relates examples of IWU’s lack of progress on lasting change with regard to hiring and retaining Black faculty.
3) March 8, 1985 Argus coverage of the Reverend Ralph Abernathy with the headline “The greatest problem in America is racism.” He also spoke at IWU’s Chapel Hour on April 13, 1977. “In a speech entitled ‘A Nation in Crisis,’ Abernathy addressed the issues of unemployment and national health insurance.”
4) Titled “Lest We Forget”, this is a recording of a 1963 meeting in Birmingham, Alabama that includes Revs. Abernathy and King and others. Available though a library subscription.
5) Lorde, Audre. Sister Outsider : Essays and Speeches. Crossing Press, 1984.
6) Smithers, Gregory D. Native Diasporas : Indigenous Identities and Settler Colonialism in the Americas. University of Nebraska Press, 2014.
7) Pimblott, Kerry. Faith in Black Power : Religion, Race, and Resistance in Cairo, Illinois. University Press of Kentucky, 2017.
8) During an October 23, 1967 speech at IWU, Dick “Gregory names U.S. prime racist country.”
9) Sullivan, Denise. Keep on Pushing Black Power Music from Blues to Hip-Hop. Lawrence Hill Books, 2011.
10) “Reform Jewish Movement Votes to Support Reparations for African-Americans.” Israel Faxx, Electronic World Communications, Inc, 2019.
11) Nolen, Claude H. The Negro’s Image in the South: The Anatomy of White Supremacy. The University Press of Kentucky, 2015.
12)This oral history interview Paul Bushnell: Nashville Memories is with Emeritus Professor of History Paul Bushnell and includes memories of training for non-violent protests and being part of lunch counter sit-ins. The interview is conducted by Professor of English Pam Muirhead ’68, who has also been interviewed: once in 2016 (this is the only one with a transcript so far), once in 1997, and once at an unspecified date for an IWU promotional purpose. She gave a presentation in 1989 when she received IWU’s award for teaching excellence.
14) TBD. Additions this list are welcome!]
Still under development as of posting time: a timeline of Civil Rights and other activists who have spoken at IWU. Check back in on it to see additions. You can also use the comments field to suggest people/events you know of that haven’t been included yet!

New story collection initiative: Racism, COVID-19 & the IWU curriculum

Black Lives Matter logoIn March, I sent out an open call to the IWU community, inviting reflections on their lives in this pandemic era and in May I created a collection of the responses to that call. I set a deadline for those initial collections as the time when IWU’s campus started in-person classes again. That date was August 17th. This post announces the beginning of a second story-seeking initiative that expands on that call.

On May 25, 2020, George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. At the time, this latest incidence of anti-Black racism brought a global response that continues. More anti-Black violence has taken place and just last night a police officer in Kenosha, WI shot Jacob Blake multiple times. He is in the hospital as of this writing on August 25, 2020.

Protests in response to Floyd’s killing have increased public attention on anti-Black violence and other forms of racism. Throughout the summer and into our early times of gathering as a campus this fall, the issues of racism and white supremacy are being called out and named in our community. The pandemic has also unevenly affected communities of color and people who had fewer personal resources to begin with.

Protests have also taken place virtually and physically at IWU regarding recent announcements of program closures and termination letters that are being sent to faculty. Issues of power and privilege are evident in the responses from alumni, administrators, faculty (current and retired), and in the local press.

IWU community members (alumni, students, staff, faculty and administrators) are invited to share their experiences of these events or other, similar periods in history they have been involved in.

CURRENT IWU students may complete this brief form and/or submit reflections by the methods below. (Note that the form allows you to request a copy of your responses.)

Everyone in our community is invited to share reflections on these events:
Have you observed or experienced racism or other forms of social injustice on our campus and/or in your home community? In what ways has the pandemic affected your life? How is distance learning affecting your perspectives on your classes? What are your views on IWU’s responses to the pandemic and/or incidents of racism? How are you reacting to the recently announced program/curricular changes? If you have you participated in any activities related to these events as a volunteer or activist, please describe them. Anything else you’d care to share?

Other ideas are welcome and physical items may be accepted at a later date, but here are a few ideas on how you can make contributions now:

  • recollections–in text, audio or video (for video, please limit submissions to <5 minutes);
  • photographic images of physical art you create; and/or
  • copies of digital art or performances.

You may only submit material created entirely by you and not copied from or based, in whole or in part, upon any other photographic, literary, or other material, except to the extent that such material is in the public domain, or you have permission of the copyright owner, or its use is allowed by “Fair Use” as prescribed by the terms of United States copyright law.

Please include a signed/e-signed copy of this form with your submission to archives@iwu.edu. IWU’s archives is not obligated to include your content in this project or preserve it in perpetuity.  Decisions to decline submissions will adhere to the guidelines of our collecting policy.

If you would like to refer or nominate material which you do not own, please contact Meg Miner at mminer@iwu.edu.

Commencement history

Today’s Commencement marks a new milestone in IWU history. Due to the pandemic, Titans are gathering online across the globe to celebrate. This is definitely a first! This post traces the other ways in which IWU Commencement has changed over the years.

Commencement_19501960

ca 1950-60 in front of Duration Hall in the center of the Quad (click to enlarge)

Although Commencement is sometimes held inside due to inclement weather, IWU has a tradition of holding the ceremony outdoors going back to the early 1900s. The second building IWU built served as backdrop and it was positioned on the northern end of what we now know as the Quad. It was first known as Main and Old Main (1870), the Hedding Hall (1936) and finally Duration Hall (1943).

Commencement1970

Commencement 1970

Sometime between 1960-1970 the location changed to McPherson Beach, on the north side of the School of Theatre Arts.

In 1990, the location for Commencement changed from McPherson Beach to its present location.

ca. 2002 In our current Quad location but note the arches of Sheean Library in the foreground

 

The backdrop for Commencement from 1990-2011 was Sheean Library until it was razed in 2011 and replaced with State farm Hall, which was built on Sheean’s footprint. This location was named Kemp Plaza in 2013, the same year that State Farm Hall opened.

Commencement 2019

State Farm Hall, 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s a selection of Commencement photos from days gone by. We have also made it possible for programs and some recordings from 70 Commencements of IWU’s 170 year history to be available online.

Below are some fun facts about IWU customs and graduation requirements. In looking at how they have changed over the years, just imagine what will happen in future Titan times!

Did you know that

  • Commencement festivities used to last for a week? They involved performances, Baccalaureate sermons, Class Day celebrations (for Juniors AND Seniors), alumni reunions, and dinner at the President’s house.
  • students used to be required to deliver a speech, without notes, as part of the ceremonies? The text had to be 1000 words long and a faculty member had to hear it in advance!
  • classes sometimes issued their own elaborate invitations, created Class mottos and chose Class colors?
  • alumni from the 1930s-1966 had to pass a swimming test?