IU’s Civilian Pilot Training Program

In the years leading up to World War II there was an escalating climate of unsolicited preparedness. With a certain level of foresight, several countries in Europe, such as Italy and Germany, began government-sanctioned pilot training for civilians. The United States was quick to follow suit, and in 1939 the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP), a program designed to nest within eligible colleges and universities, was formed under the supervision of the Civilian Aeronautics Authority (CAA). The CAA began accepting applications from interested academic institutions and Indiana University, at the urging of President Herman B Wells, was among the first to apply.

Application for IU to join CPTP

At that time, Bloomington did not have an airport with suitable facilities for the program; nevertheless, the CAA accepted IU’s application contingent on the completion of a new municipal airport, which the City of Bloomington, under the auspices of the Works Projects Administration (WPA), intended to complete by September of 1940. The WPA had approved a $306,000 budget for construction of this new, “modern” airport. When completed the airport would boast classroom space set aside specifically for the CPTP and four runways varying between 2500 and 4000 feet in length. In the meantime IU was authorized to begin the program with somewhat lower numbers of trainees than completion of the airport would eventually allow for.

Eligible students were required to pass a physical examination and submit a laboratory fee of $40, a small sum according to the CAA, which claimed that the course was valued at $500. Colonel John F. Landis, professor of military science and tactics at IU, was chosen as director of the program. Ground school classes, which included such topics as the history of aviation, the theory of flight, meteorology, navigation and civil air regulations, began on January 8th, 1940. Lieutenant Charles Daudt, professor of aviation, was instructor for the first ground school course. Students were required to complete 72 hours of ground school curriculum, in addition to 35 to 50 hours of actual flight training. The flight training was split into three different stages: dual instruction, primary solo flight and practice, as well as advanced solo flight and practice. After completion of the ground school and flight training requirements, pilots-in-training were required to complete a private flight test. It is unclear exactly where the CPTP students underwent their hands-on flight instruction and practice, but some correspondence refers to the site of the “old airport,” which may allude to the Bloomington Airport once located on White Hall Pike. Graduates of the first CPTP class included 28 men and 1 woman.

It is interesting to note that not everyone was as supportive of the program as President Wells. In retrospect, the motives behind the establishment of the CPTP may seem obvious, but when the program began there was still a generally ambivalent attitude on involving the United States in a foreign war which had not yet hit home, so to speak. Pearl Harbor, the event which is attributed to spurring the U. S. into the second world war was still over a year away when the CPTP was getting started. So, while the training program was praised and welcomed by some, others were not so favorably impressed. Edwin C. Johnson, a Democrat and two time governor of Colorado (1933-1937, 1955-1957) published a pamphlet in the early spring of 1940 entitled “Mars In Civilian Disguise.” The pamphlet set out to “expose” and criticize the program for essentially being “a camouflage for a definitely militaristic project,” a project that was attempting, from the very start, to propel the American people down a war path.

In contrast, President Herman B Wells, along with other members of the administration and student body were enthusiastic about the program from the very start. In a letter to Robert H. Hinckley of the CAA, President Wells stated that the CPTP “[had] been a splendid addition” to IU’s educational offerings. Along with Col. Landis, Wells worked hard to convince the CAA to increase IU’s allotted quota of students from thirty to fifty, but the CAA insisted upon completion of the Bloomington Municipal Airport before allowing IU to increase its numbers. The goal was to eventually allow for three groups of fifty students to be trained per year. While several more CPTP graduating classes were ushered through the program from 1940 to the summer of 1941, problems arose when construction of the airport did not progress as planned. As a result, the CPTP was temporarily discontinued and re-implemented shortly thereafter following completion of the airport. As far as we know the program continued through the early part of 1942. At some point the Civilian Pilot Training Program was shut down permanently at IU, although the CPTP would continue at other universities across the United States through 1944.

Further research is needed to definitely answer the question of what caused the permanent shut down of the Civilian Pilot Training Program at IU. Perhaps it was due to inadequate facilities at the new airport, or perhaps it was a decline in interest. About a dozen files pertaining to the CPTP are located in Herman B Wells’ President’s Office Records. If you are interested in learning more about IU’s short-lived Civilian Pilot Training Program, please contact us at the Archives.

The Dream of an Indiana University Outdoor Museum of Early Indiana Life

Many readers are likely familiar with open air and living history museums. Here in Indiana, for example, school groups and the general public visit attractions such as Conner Prairie, Historic Prophetstown, and the Pioneer Village at Spring Mill State Park to learn about lifeways and folk traditions of the past in recreated farmsteads, towns, or villages. However, did you know that Indiana University once had ambitious plans to erect its own open air museum near the Bloomington campus? Here at the Indiana University Archives, you are welcome to stop by and dig through the Warren E. Roberts papers, fully processed in 2010, to learn more about Roberts’ proposed “Outdoor Museum of Early Indiana Life” or “Pioneer Village.”

"Indiana University Outdoor Museum of Early Indiana Life," interior of publicity pamphlet created during the late planning stages for Warren E. Robert's intended museum, undated, circa 1976

Warren E. Roberts, born in Maine in 1924, first came to Indiana University in 1948 to study for his M.A. in English, which he received in 1950. After redefining his academic interests, Roberts next chose to work towards his PhD in Folklore and finished in 1953, which made him the first individual in the United States to earn a PhD in this field of study. Over the next several decades, Roberts immersed himself in his studies and effectively helped to found the study of folklore and material culture as it exists in the United States. His research interests and accomplishments far exceed the limits of this blog post, though it is worth focusing on one of his most influential efforts in terms of Indiana University’s history–his research concerning traditional Indiana culture.

Exterior view of the Waggoner Farm House, a building intended for inclusion in the Indiana University Outdoor Museum, 1966

During his time spent studying in Norway courtesy of a Fulbright Award, Roberts developed an interest in open air museums, first conceived in Norway in the late 1880s, which feature vernacular architecture and material culture to educate museum-goers on past lifeways. Upon his return to the United States, Roberts sought to evoke a similar experience with the goal of preserving and enlivening traditional lifeways of nineteenth century Indiana settlers, thus educating modern locals and visitors on “the old traditional way of life.”

Interior view of Albert Hickey House prior to dismantling, anticipated to be included in the Indiana University Outdoor Museum, 1968-1969

Roberts surveyed south central Indiana in search of buildings which embodied the rural architectural traditions of the region, with the hope of finding structures to include in an eventual museum. With support of Indiana University administration, he visited, photographed, and took notes on over 700 log buildings to learn traditional aesthetics. Over the course of his survey, he acquired a number buildings through donations or at a low cost, which were deconstructed and stored awaiting funding to bring the Museum’s plans to fruition. Modest log village homes, a church, a doctor’s office, a general country store, and farm buildings–all furnished with period pieces and tools–were planned for the museum, as was a general visitor’s center. Unfortunately for Roberts, widespread enthusiasm for the project waned by the mid-1970s, and with it the chance for sufficient financial support.

Detailed architectural drawing to ensure appropriate reconstruction of building dismantled and planned for reassembly within proposed Outdoor Museum, Albert Hickey House, 1968-1969

Now in 2011, only the memory of Robert’s Museum of Early Indiana Life remains, along with his various photographs, notes, pamphlets, architectural drawings, and correspondence preserved at the IU Archives. Through Robert’s papers, one may explore his local Indiana research in support of the Museum, most of which he pursued in the 1960s-1970s. Extensive records on covered bridges and log cabin buildings, as well as materials documenting interactions with open air museums established throughout the United States and Europe, make it possible to envision the reaches of Robert’s aspirations. Furthermore, the Indiana University Department of Folklore & Ethnomusicology maintains a website where users can explore a virtual version of Warren Roberts’ Museum of Early Indiana Life through photographs, drawings, and historic summaries. It certainly doesn’t create the enveloping experience of Roberts’ dreams, but it does lend an insightful perspective for a rainy day.

Updated Collection: Kenneth R. R. Gros Louis Speeches

Kenneth R.R. Gros Louis

The archives recently received and processed additional speeches from Kenneth R. R. Gros Louis. Gros Louis has a long history at IU. In 1964 he relocated to Bloomington and began a new position as both Assistant Professor of English and Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature. In 1978 he was named Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. On September 15, 1980, he was named Vice President of the Bloomington campus before being promoted to Vice President of all of the Indiana University multi-campus system as well as adding the title of Chancellor of Indiana University-Bloomington on July 1, 1988. Effective August 11, 1994, IU president Myles Brand, expanded Gros Louis’ role in the universities administration and changed his title to “Vice President for Academic Affairs.” In January 2006, the Board of Trustees conferred upon him the title of University Chancellor, making him just the 2nd person to hold the esteemed title, which was created and held by IU’s beloved Herman B Wells from 1962 until his death in 2000.


Gros Louis’ primary responsibilities as Vice President and Bloomington Chancellor were the fielding of complaints and comments from students, faculty, and staff at IU. He was also responsible for aiding in the development of the universities academic agenda. In order to strengthen IU’s academic agenda, he often advocated that a stronger undergraduate curriculum will attract and keep good professors at IU. It was issues such as racism, sexism, quality of education, faculty concerns, and student living that were the motivating factors behind many of his administrative decisions. In 1994, with a change in job title to Vice President for Academic Affairs, he was then responsible for faculty promotion and tenure decisions; academic planning and program reviews; major curriculum revisions; accreditation; and improved interaction with the universities deans. On top of these administrative responsibilities, he also made great strides in improving IU as an educational and social institution by creating the Herman B Wells Program for Outstanding Scholars; he championed the effort to open the Office of Gay, Lesbian, & Bisexual Student Support Services; influenced the founding of the Film, Jewish, & Afro-American studies departments; and was instrumental in the development of the School of Journalism, formerly a department, and the School of Informatics.

Kenneth Gros Louis Greeting Students

The recent accession primarily includes speeches that Gros Louis made from 2002 through 2011, including ones given at faculty memorials and retirements, various anniversary celebrations, commencements, awards ceremonies, and much more. These, along with the rest of Kenneth R. R. Gros Louis’ speeches can be found in C220. This collection contains the speeches that he made while employed in his various IU administrative capacities, spanning from 1979-2011, including those relating to faculty councils, freshman introduction ceremonies, campus events, as well as various inspirational speeches on topics such as “Women in Science” and “Minority Mentoring.”


Lynton K. Caldwell papers

 Indiana University’s Lynton K. Caldwell became known as the “grandfather of biopolitics,” “the father of the environmental impact statement,” and “one of the most influential people in the entire protection movement” (Indiana Alumni, May/June 1993, p.12). He devoted his life to researching and debating environmental science. Caldwell was an Arthur F. Bentley Professor Emeritus of Political Science and professor emeritus of public and environmental affairs at IU. He held the degree of Ph. B. (Bachelor of Philosophy, 1934) and Ph. D. (Doctor of Philosophy, 1943) from the University of Chicago, an M.A. (Master of Arts, 1938) from Harvard University, and an LLD (Doctor of Laws, Honorary, 1977) from Western Michigan University.

Caldwell began his teaching career at IU as an assistant professor of government at IU South Bend from 1939-1944. He returned to IU Bloomington in 1965 where he taught political science as well as public and environmental affairs until his retirement in 1984. He also served on the faculty of several other institutions of higher education including the University of Chicago, Northwestern University, the University of Michigan and the University of California at Berkeley. In addition to his teaching career, Professor Caldwell held staff and consulting assignments for United States Senate, Congressional Research, and the United Nations, just to name a few.

Dr. Caldwell was a recognized authority on environmental policy. One of Caldwell’s major accomplishments was the origination the environmental impact statement in the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, “[The] National Environmental Policy Act, was one of the first laws ever written that establishes a broad national framework for protecting our environment. NEPA’s basic policy is to assure that all branches of government give proper consideration to the environment prior to undertaking any major federal action that could significantly affect the environment.” The legislation was signed by President Nixon at the beginning of 1970. NEPA resulted in the establishment of, among other important environmental legislation, Earth Day, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Clean Air Act, the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act. Caldwell was recognized internationally as one of the early leaders in the study of environmental policy, law and administration, and his work influenced the course of national legislation in the environmental protection movement. He continued to play an active role in environmental affairs and was the catalyst for the establishment of the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University in 1972.

Caldwell was an avid researcher and writer from 1943-1993. His collection of papers held by the University Archives includes his dissertation, “Contributions to thought on Public Administration: Hamilton and Jefferson,” (1943); over books and collaborative works including: Environmental Policy, Law, and Administration: A Guide (1979), Biocracy: Public Policy and the Life Sciences (1987), The National Environmental Policy Act: An Agenda for the Future (1998) and International Environmental Policy: Emergence and Dimensions (1984), which received the Sprout Award from the International Studies Association in 1985.

Dr. Caldwell passed away in 2006.

Interested in learning more about Lynton Caldwell or would like to access his collection? Contact the Archives!