Maude Essig in World War I

Maude Essig

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, ca. 1925

Essig in mock hospital room

Maude Essig with students, ca. 1928

 

Maude Essig in 1933

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

 

IWU after Pearl Harbor

Headline, three days after http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm/ref/collection/iwu_argus/id/18410

Note the location of “Classes Dismissed…”
http://collections.carli.illinois.edu/cdm/ref/collection/iwu_argus/id/18410

Three days after the attacks on Pearl Harbor the student newspaper shows measured responses to the events leading to our country’s entry into WWII. The front page story about dismissing classes, nearly below the fold, describes how students heard President Roosevelt’s address to Congress and states that faculty were telling students to “carry on in the regular routine….”

IWU’s President Shaw had the same message, adding that “the greatest service” was to be “ready for the demand which will be upon us in the days ahead.”

An editorial on page 2 began on a note of sympathy, making clear who these students thought the real enemy was.1941-12-10_p2_editorial_cropped

The Editorial Board goes on to call the attack “treachery on the high seas” that used “premeditated, knife in the back tactics.” The commentary also commends students for their calm response, saying this is “proof of an intelligent and educated [student] body.”

45 years after Kent State #May4Matters

1971Wesleyana_flagpoleIn the early days of May 1970, Illinois Wesleyan University joined more than 1,250 colleges in protesting the shootings at Kent State and Jackson State. In coordination with the May 4 Visitor’s Center, today the archives is remembering four students who died at Kent State University and looking back at the effects that these killings had on students at IWU.

Below is a timeline of student activities and images drawn from the collections in IWU’s archives. If you have memories, documents, or photos of your own to share, feel free to comment but use the #May4Matters so that IWU’s recollections will join others who are commemorating this day.

“The Kent State killings set off a planned program of protest and community education unlike anything previously seen at Wesleyan. It brought together an unlikely coalition of ex-Senate officers, freshman activists, moderates, radicals, tired seniors and enthusiastic underclassmen.” — Kathy Larey Lewton. IWU 70, in the 1971 Wesleyana, pp 6-8)

The events of May 5-8 were reported on in the Friday, May 8 issue of our weekly student newspaper The Argus. The links for each day in the timeline below lead to the pages in that issue containing the stories mentioned.

Tuesday, May 5: 11:40AM The flag was lowered to half mast “in mourning of the four students killed at Kent State University and those who have died in Southeast Asia.”     Following a 3:30PM meeting with 200 students attending, “The consensus was that the goals should be campus and community education, rather than alienation.”

Wednesday, May 6: Memorial services led by Chaplain William White. “Students scattered in the audience then read ‘some words for reflection in a time of. crisis.'”

Thursday May 7: President Robert Eckley cancels classes “to permit those who wish to participate in the activities planned by the Action Committee for Peace.” The decision followed a vote by Student Senate Wednesday calling for classes to be recessed all day Friday to acknowledge the incident at Kent State and the expanded Southeast Asian war.

Friday, May 8: The Action Committee for Peace (ACP) announces organizes a group assembly on the Quad at 3:45PM for a march to downtown Bloomington. 7:00PM rally with faculty and students speaking on campus.

The May 8th Argus also includes a range of feelings among students, such as those expressed in a Letter to the Editor shows that some found the responses at IWU disrespectful:
         The tragedy of Kent State should not be blown out of proportion by a                                small minority of dissenters who find it to their advantage to martyr four violent                  demonstrators as heroes of their cause. Richard Reinert and 64 other students,              May 8 Argus, p. 2

Another student used artistic expression:

1970-05-08 Argus p.3

1970-05-22_p7

 

The killings at Jackson State University in Mississippi received less coverage in the Argus but one photograph of a class walkout appears on May 22, p. 7. Other images are in the gallery below.

 

 

 

“…the whole issue of what kind of free speech students could have, and what kind of political activity and political involvement or political activism students [should] have, I would argue, was basically redefined by that era here at Wesleyan.” — former ACP member Mark Sheldon, Class of 1970, oral history interview, August 2012.

Friday, May 22: Honors Day Convocation, Ron Klipp wore an American flag upside down (universal distress symbol) upside down, walked in last and started an uproar.

Tuesday, May 26: “Seniors received a ballot Tuesday concerning whether or not Commencement should be held.”

Wednesday, May 27: “They suggested a senior caucus be held Wednesday afternoon to decide on a third alternative for a possible new ballot.” (photographs below)

Ultimately, Commencement takes place as planned on June 7 with divisions over the controversies expressed in word, deed and dress. (see photograph below and more in the 1971 Wesleyana)

Below is a gallery of images selected from the photographic negatives in the University Archives:

 

 

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.”