Elephant Ears Anyone? – The Monroe County Fair on Campus

The rides, the animals, the demolition derby and don’t forget all the fried food delicacies – we all have our favorite reasons for attending the Monroe County Fair every year but few of us have any idea about the interesting history behind what for many of us is now a summer tradition. While the date of the first official county fair is rather murky as the early records of the Chamber of Commerce (the original sponsors of the event) were destroyed in a fire, it is believed that the first fair probably occurred somewhere near the turn of the century. It is known, however, that after 1924, the fair fell into a 22 year hiatus until it found a temporary home in one of the city of Bloomington’s most surprising places – the Fieldhouse on the IU campus (today know as the Ora L. Wildermuth Intramural Center, aka the HPER to most of us).

 While the fair was “good University relations with the home folks” according to a 1952 memo to IU Vice-President Joseph A. Franklin, understandably there was a certain amount of apprehension among the university staff, particularly concerning the use of the campus grounds for livestock exhibits.

Zora Clevenger

Most notably, in June of 1946 long-time Director of Athletics Zora Clevenger vehemently opposed the possible use of the football practice fields as a site for the animal exhibits, stating “First, the danger to the boys playing on those fields; they might become infected with tetanus: Secondly, we do not want our fields torn up in any way immediately before the opening of fall practice.” His pleas fell to deaf ears, as two months later, the August 13, 1946 issue of the Indiana Daily Student described the Fieldhouse:

“Walls have been made festive with orange curtains, and along the north wall, there is a stage for vaudeville acts and a 4-H Club style show. East of the Fieldhouse tents have been erected for the display of livestock and poultry. Displays will include automobiles, farm machinery, plumbing, furniture, jewelry, and groceries by local retail merchants and industries. There will be open class displays of canning and needlework…There will be several refreshment concession stands. Over 800 4-H Club members from Monroe County will contribute to the exhibitions.”

Notes showing the arrangement for the 1953 Fair

Following a nearly ten year run, in 1954 the Chamber of Commerce announced that it would no longer be able to sponsor the annual event, leading to the formation of the present-day fair board and the fair’s move to its present-day location on Airport Road.

For more information about the history of the Monroe County Fair on campus or if you happen to have any photographs of the fair on campus, please contact the IU Archives.

A Change in Tone: The 1967 Dow Chemical Sit-in

For the next in my series of posts relating to student protests at IU I’d like to discuss one of the seminal moments in the fight over student rights and power on campus.

Students force their way past university officials.

On October 30, 1967 recruiters from the Dow Chemical Company came to Bloomington to conduct interviews with IU students. Dow was frequently a target of protests due to its production of napalm for use by the US military in Vietnam. Less than two weeks prior a similar recruiting visit to the University of Wisconsin had led to violent clashes between protesting students and police, and IU security officials were on edge.

On the day of the visit about 35 students showed up at the IU Business School where interviews were being conducted and asked to speak with Dow representatives.  When this was refused the students forced their way into the lobby area outside of the interview rooms and staged a sit-in. Bloomington police were called, and when they arrived all the students were arrested, some being beaten severely when they refused to leave.

A student publication reflects prevailing sentiments about the incident.

Reaction to the incident varied: the Board of Trustees and Faculty Council applauded the swift action taken by the administration, but the Student Senate, numerous individual faculty members and the student body at large widely condemned it.  The main issues of contention were the fact that the students faced punishment from both the university and civil authorities and the use of town police on campus.  IU President Elvis Stahr and Dean of Students Robert Shaffer placed students involved with the incident on disciplinary probation, with the threat of expulsion for any further disturbances.  Additionally, notice was given that any students violating university rules on demonstrations in the future would face immediate suspension.  Student groups were outraged at the summary judgment, as the punishments had been meted out without due process.  Twelve protesters were found guilty of disorderly conduct in local court, while one protester was convicted of assault and battery against a police officer.   The incident would prove emblematic of Stahr’s tumultuous time in office, and served as a catalyst for much debate over students’ rights in the years following.

A Student Senate resolution condemning Dean Shaffer's actions against protesting students.

Sadly, I have been unable to find any original negatives of the incident at the archives (much of the local media was focused on Secretary of State Dean Rusk’s visit the following day- more on that later).  Newspaper clippings in the reference collection remain one of the best resources for photographs of the event.  The records of the IU Student Senate, as well as those of the student-run Eggshell press, help provide a good idea of what students were thinking at the time.

Next up, we will examine the nearly concurrent visit by Secretary Rusk and the events that surrounded it. 

Finding Aid Update! Rudy Pozzatti papers

Rudy Pozzatti. Reproduced in Arts Indiana, 1989.
Updates have been made to the papers of Rudy Pozzatti, IU Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts. Pozzatti recently moved and the Archives has received additional correspondence, exhibition catalogs, and other publications. The two largest sections of the existing collection are dedicated to correspondence and exhibition catalogs and these files now include materials dated through 2010.

An exciting addition to the collection are the plates and woodblocks used by Pozzatti to create his work. Over 150 zinc, aluminum, and copper plates and some 50 woodblocks were deposited in the Archives, along with a number of matboards. These items represent Pozzatti’s work from the late 1950s to 2009. In addition to materials used to make artwork, there are also personal items, such as a zinc plate that Pozzatti used to create a back-splash in the kitchen of his house for his wife, Doti. There are also plates and woodblocks used to make holiday cards and the birth announcements for Pozzatti’s daughters, sent to friends and family.

Zinc plate for Pozzatti family Christmas card, 1965. Collection of University Archives.

The plates and woodblocks document Pozzatti’s creative process over the decades. His artistic career continues today and the materials map his experimentation with styles and methods.

Left: Woodblock for Darwin's Bestiary. Right: Echo Press announcement for the publication of Darwin's Bestiary, 1986. Both in the collection of University Archives.
In 1986 Pozzatti created illustrations to accompany poems written by Philip Appleman in the fine art book, Darwin’s Bestiary. The book was published in a limited edition by Echo Press, an independent print workshop founded by Pozzatti in Bloomington in 1979. The Archives has an edition of the book with the original lithographs in the Pozzatti papers.

The collection as a whole is a glimpse into Pozzatti’s artistic production. The inspiration to create work and challenges encountered during production are discussed in correspondence about projects and letters sent by Pozzatti to friends and colleagues. The results of his work are represented and analyzed in exhibition-related material and published articles. Now the physical materials used to create Pozzatti’s work are also available for study.

Left: Matboard stencil for Temple at Paestum I. Collection of University Archives. Right: Temple at Paestum I, 1991-1993 (Not held in the IU Archives collection.)

The print materials represent commissioned work, award-winning work, and some woodblocks and plates that were never editioned.

There are a number of plates from prints inspired by or made during Pozzatti’s travels and as a visiting scholar, such as the zinc plate for Belgrade I. This print was completed in Yugoslavia as part of a U.S. State Department cultural exchange in 1966. The prints Pozzatti produced during the 1966 trip were shown during the International Trade Fair and were seen by nearly half a million visitors to the fair. In addition to this print, there are many other pieces that have fascinating origins.

Belgrade I (Not held in the IU Archives collection), 1966.

If you are interested in learning more about the Rudy Pozzatti papers, please review the online finding aid and contact the Archives!

The Henry H. H. Remak Collection- Processing Blog #4

Recently, I heard an IU alumnus apply an appropriate description to Professor Remak. She called him a true “renaissance man,” and I hope that my blog posts thus far have shown this to be true. Having taught and, at various points, served in an administrative capacity at IU for just under sixty years, Remak contributed much to IU and the Bloomington community. While most who knew him will remember him best as a caring teacher and friend, Remak was also a dedicated and successful scholar on a variety of subjects.

Since a comprehensive list of his professional interests would be quite extensive I will only mention several of the most prominent to the collection: the modern German novella and novel; German writers Goethe, Fontane and Thomas Mann; Franco-German literary and cultural relations; European Romanticism; and comparative student movements and countercultures of the 1960s and 70s. The collection contains a particularly rich source of information pertaining to the last of these. In addition to publishing several articles about student movements/life in Western Europe and the U. S., Henry Remak also taught an honors course that focused not only on student unrest at the university level but also faculty unrest, which he refers to in his course description as a “much neglected problem.”

The collection contains several files on this topic with German, French and American newspaper clippings, many of which were sent to him by friends living or traveling in Western Europe. Also contained in the files are some interesting ephemera, such as a newsletter from the University of Hamburg which gives a detailed chronology of student protests that occurred between January and February of 1969. Another particularly rare document from an earlier time and a much earlier era of political and educational unrest is a letter written by Ludwig Borne to his friend, Jacob Mass, in 1835. Ludwig Borne, who must have interested Henry Remak for both his relevance to student movements and for the fact that he immigrated to France due to religious persecution, was among a group of German writers who inspired young German liberals, especially students, to protest the rigid authority and Romantic ideology prevalent at the time.

Letter from Ludwig Borne to Jacob Maas, 1835

Professor Remak’s interest in student movements from this time period carried over, in many ways, to his concern for the structure and organization of IU. More specifically, Remak remained constantly watchful of student and faculty welfare, as evidenced by his research, publications and lectures given on topics of concern or needed areas of improvement for the organization and structure of the university, and even the interaction between faculty, students and administrators.

I had meant to deviate from the theme of my previous posts on this collection, but I think I’ve simply reiterated my earlier realization. Even in his scholarly research, Professor Remak seemed bent on safeguarding his beloved university, students and friends.

Cuban Blockade Protest at IU

I’m back!  Sorry for the gap in blogging, but I’ve been working behind the scenes to get

Pro- and Anti- blockade marchers

some actual pages up in the new site.  They won’t be public for quite some time, but I will be presenting snippets of the exhibit pages as I create them. Here’s the first one:

On October 24, 1962, members of the Ad Hoc Committee to Oppose U.S. Aggression in Cuba staged a protest of President Kennedy’s naval blockade of Cuba.  Denouncing the blockade as a belligerent and imperialistic action, approximately 30 members of the recently assembled student group marched through the IUB campus towards Bloomington’s courthouse.  At the same time a pro-blockade rally was held by members of the conservative group Young Americans for Freedom, although that group carefully chose to assemble far away from the other demonstration.  Thousands of unaffiliated students soon assembled to follow and heckle the small anti-blockade group, although contemporary reports vary widely as to the exact number present.  As the protesters moved on to Kirkwood Avenue they were assaulted by a non-student who worked at a local pizza parlor.  Further scuffles soon broke out, and the group retreated back to the main library building (now Franklin Hall) on campus.  Within a few hours both the crowd and protesters dispersed.

Conservative Pro-blockade rallyWhile this incident was short-lived, it served as a harbinger for future events at IU.Shortly thereafter the Young Socialist Alliance (YSA), of which many of the protestors were members, came under fire from Monroe Country prosecuting attorney Thomas Hoadley.  Hoadley alleged that the activities of the student organization were subversive, and thus illegal.  The university stood behind the group, recognizing their right to assemble.  After four years of legal wrangling all charges were dismissed, but the battle lines had been drawn.  The YSA students were emblematic of a new type of student, which would increasingly have a voice in campus activities as the decade advanced.

Materials for this exhibit have been pulled from the IU  Archives reference files, student government records, and IU News Service photo collections.  Want to learn more?  Contact the archives!