In 1953, Malcolm “Mac” Fleming joined the Indiana University School of Education and the Audio-Visual Center of Adult Education, where he began as an instructor and acting supervisor of motion pictures. What students may not have known is that their young instructor had been taught the trade by Uncle Sam.
Originally from Oregon, once the Army heard Fleming knew his way around a camera, they transferred him to the Signal Corps Photo Center in New York to be trained as a combat photographer. Billeted near Times Square, Mac practiced his craft on the streets of Manhattan, capturing shots of the busy metropolis, the results later reviewed and critiqued by his trainers. At his next stop in England, Fleming was told the Army needed motion picture photographers, so “[the sergeant] quickly taught me how to load a one-hundred-foot roll of 35 mm motion picture film into a handheld Eymo camera and I became a cinematographer overnight.”
In the belt pouch meant for a first aid kit, Mac instead carried his own small camera so that in addition to the official Army photos, he could capture shots of scenes that were of personal interest. In a field notebook, he documented these images just as he did the Army photos and films, and what resulted was a rich record of one young soldier’s experience in the European Theater. The destruction, the refugees carrying what possessions they could, and village life that went on as it could were all captured by Fleming’s little camera.
Now in his 90s, Prof. Fleming has donated his extensive collection to the University Archives, but not before collaborating with the IU Press in a gorgeous book, “From War to Peace in 1945 Germany: A GI’s Experience.” The book which includes his original notes, partnered with updated captions and a foreword by James H. Madison, IU’s Thomas and Kathryn Miller Professor Emeritus of History, and an afterword by Brad Cook, Curator of Photographs here in the Archives, is a must have for anybody with an interest in World War II.
Tomorrow is the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, and many universities, libraries, scholars, and public are joining in the celebration of his life’s work. The Indiana University Archives has an alluring assortment of material that document how Indiana University has celebrated the bard’s work over the last 100 years. From James Whitcomb Riley’s tribute to Shakespeare to a Shakespearean version of Star Wars and the building of The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Indiana University has certainly done its part over the years to honor and preserve the works of Shakespeare.
Arguably, the most exciting of the material is a Shakespearean version of Star Wars written in verse by someone in the Department of English at Indiana University. The play was to be performed by students on Shakespeare’s birthday in 1984. Act 1 begins in Luke Skywalker’s spaceship, Luke: “….Darth Vader – that beast – / Will cower from th’ advancing host / When he discerns your forceful visage / Rushing intrepid at the force.” The script is full of wit, and the impeccable verse is impressive. Unfortunately for Leia, she is accused of being unfaithful and is slain by Luke. Han speaks to Leia, “Thy wench, the princess false, is cover’d with / The rude mechanical storm trooper robot. / You’ll have computers for cousins. I die, but thou art a cuckold. (Han dies).” Luke exclaims, “Miserable strumpet!” and kills Leia. Alas, what fools these mortals be.
Under the presidency of William Lowe Bryan, Indiana University contributed funds to the American Shakespeare Foundation to help build the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon. The original theatre burnt down in 1926; the new theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, was built adjacent to the original site and opened in 1932. “In behalf of the American Shakespeare Foundation I have much pleasure in reporting that the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon is now complete and will be formally opened by the Prince of Wales on April 23rd – Shakespeare’s Birthday.” Not only was enough money raised to build the new theatre, there were also “substantial” funds left over from the American Shakespeare Foundation for an endowment.
Hubert Heffner, Professor of Speech, Theatre, and Dramatic Literature at Indiana University (1955-1971), also served as acting director of the University Theatre from 1959-1960 and 1970-1971. Heffner was invited to a prestigious gala weekend for a celebration honoring the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth in 1964. The weekend included a visit to the Folger Shakespeare Library and a reception at the White House, hosted by President and Mrs. Johnson. Listed to the left of the letter is, “Mrs. John F. Kennedy, Honorary Chairman.” Professor Heffner taught courses on Shakespeare at Indiana University. His research and lecture notes are still preserved in his collection and can be accessed at the Indiana University Archives.
100 years ago, Indiana University celebrated 300 years of Shakespeare by performing “A Dramatic Tribute for the Shakespeare Tercentenary Celebration of Indiana University, at Bloomington Indiana,
April Twenty Sixth Nineteen Sixteen” written by William Chauncy Langdon. The tribute is a beautifully printed pamphlet, with the first two leaves printed on handmade paper; some of the leaves remain uncut. Included in the celebration are notable Indiana writers: “A Tribute from James Whitcomb Riley will be read by his nephew, Edmund H. Eitel; also Tributes from Meredith Nicholson and George Ade; and a Tribute in behalf of Indiana writers and scholars as a whole will be spoken by Will David Howe.” During the tribute, Marlowe says, “HA! Here he is at last! But hush! Be still! The Indiana poet, Riley sends his word of tribute to our Will!” Riley’s nephew Edmund Eitel rises from his seat in the audience and says, “From James Whitcomb Riley: – ‘By divine miracle most obvious, more vitally than ever in life, Shakespeare lives today!”
Indiana University’s Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance has kept Shakespeare’s works alive and well with their many performances over the years. Macbeth has been among the more popular of Shakespeare’s works, not only for the brilliant plot but also for its length; it is far shorter than his other plays. The Department of Theatre performed Macbeth both in 1965 and this year. If you missed their outstanding performance of Macbeth, fear not! The King Lear project is coming to the Wells-Metz Theatre May 5-8 in honor of the 400th Anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Murray McGibbon is directing the cast who will perform King Lear in original pronunciation, as it would have been spoken during the 17th century.
Whether it is in Bloomington, Indiana, Washington, D.C., or
England, Indiana University has played and still plays an important role in honoring Shakespeare and preserving his works. The University is home to some the greatest works by and about Shakespeare. The Lilly Library has the First Folio along with many other magnificent pieces. The Indiana University Art Museum has beautiful works on paper depicting scenes from Shakespeare’s plays and the famous Henry Fuseli painting of The Tempest. To learn more about how Indiana University has celebrated Shakespeare over the years, visit the Indiana University Archives.
“…but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born.” – Beatrice, Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare
Tucked away in a seemingly innocent folder labelled “Correspondence, 1941-42” in the Training Course for Social Work collection is a reminder of a dark time in the history of Indiana University. Amid memos detailing billing statements and curriculum plans is a notice from the Office of Admissions to various deans and directors, including the Director of the Training Course for Social Work. The letter is dated June 12, 1942 and begins with, “In view of the present uncertain military status of the southern Indiana geographical zone in which Indiana University is located, the trustees of this University have decided that Japanese students should not be admitted to Indiana University at the present time.”
In the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 which led to the relocation and internment of thousands of Japanese Americans living in established military zones. In compliance with this legislation, universities along the West Coast discharged all students of Japanese descent. Church leaders, university officials, and the YMCA-YWCA responded by establishing the National Japanese Student Relocation Council. The organization assisted displaced students in applying to inland universities and finding housing in potentially hostile environments.
On April 26, 1942, the University of Minnesota set a precedent in the Midwest by refusing to accept relocated Japanese-American students. The president of the University of Minnesota, W.C. Coffey, wrote to his peers to express his hesitancy in admitting Japanese students until the US government could address the issue and outline a clear course of action. The admission question came to a head at IU on May 2, 1942 when the Department of Botany and Bacteriology received a request from UC Berkeley to admit two Japanese-American graduate students.
One week later, on May 9, 1942, President Herman B Wells addressed the Board of Trustees: “There is this to be said about the situation–when the casualty lists begin to come in–even though they might be loyal Americans as anybody, feeling is going to mount very high and you might have disturbances on the campus.” One Board member responded by stating his fear that Japanese students “would get into subversive activity whenever he would have a chance.” The Board swiftly disapproved the admission of Japanese students.
The Board’s decision did not end the debate. The director of the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council sent a letter on August 14, 1942 to Frank O. Beck, Executive Secretary of the IU Committee on Religion with information about the program stating that “among the evacuees are approximately twenty-five hundred American-born Japanese students, who were enrolled in college. These young people are not ‘aliens,’ but Americans by birthright, brought up in our American schools, eager to demonstrate their loyalty to American ideals, and go on with their education in preparation for useful service and still fuller assimilation into our national life.” Officials at IU argued that they could not admit Japanese students based on overcrowding of native Indiana students, “important laboratory research on war problems,” and the proximity of the Naval Depot for the Atlantic fleet.
In October 1942, Bloomington residents and IU students held a Town Hall to discuss the question “Should an American citizen of Japanese ancestry be deprived of his university education?” The responses to this question were mixed and included the following:
“Bring ’em here – they’re just as much American citizens as I am.”
“Can’t tell about loyalty even tho FBI investigated them.”
“Can’t be done – this is war!”
“A university education does not have anything to do with Japan’s policies.”
“I wouldn’t want to room with a Japanese but it’s all right with me if they come here to school.”
“Ought to lock them all up”
“Essential that it be done to show the practicality of democracy even in war time.”
You can read all of the responses here. A writer at the Indiana Daily Student offered some wise words in response to the chaos: “We mustn’t lose our heads in the case of hating our enemies. We should not exclude a chosen few from the periphery of the Japanese and condemn all that has any part of Japanese of any other aliens just because we happen to be warring with their patterns of living.”
A year after the town hall meeting, in October 1943, a 19-year-old Japanese-American woman wrote to Kate Mueller, IU’s Dean of Women. She explains, “I am…greatly interested in applying for entrance into Indiana University for a year or so to take up a Pre-nursing Course. At the present, I am employed at the Medical Center, Robert Long Hospital in the Nursing Division. I am one of the millions of people who are engaged in an essential war industry and realize that I am contributing towards the welfare on the homefront. However, I feel as though I could do more if I could become trained for the profession that is so vital at this time. My parents are still at a War Relocation Authority Camp in Hunt, Idaho but are all for this plan of mine….I hope and trust in God that you will aid me in every way possible.” Although, the Dean of Women passed along the letter with a plea to President Wells, she was forced to comply with university policies and reject the application.
Three honorably discharged veterans managed to change the prevailing attitude of university officials. In late 1944, the Japanese-American veterans submitted letters to the Office of Admissions to request enrollment at the University. The Board of Trustees revisited the issue of Japanese enrollment on December 13, 1944. After reviewing the veterans’ qualifications and patriotism, the Board “approved the recommendation of President Wells for the admission of honorably discharged veterans of Japanese-American ancestry on the same basis as American citizens of any other ancestry.” In the same meeting, they also approved the admission of Japanese-American students from the state of Indiana.
Victory in Japan was celebrated on August 15, 1945 with a formal surrender ceremony following on September 2. The Board of Trustees finally repealed the decision to deny Japanese students admission to the University on September 21, 1945. However, reminders of such grim wartime decisions continue to haunt many of IU’s collections.
Remember to join the IU community tomorrow (beginning at midnight) for #IUDay — an online, worldwide celebration of all things cream and crimson.
Follow the IU Archives on Facebook and Twitter to read and/or listen to the stories of former students about brain sandwiches at the Book Nook, the tradition of Sophomore men cutting the hair of freshmen men caught without their “Freshie” caps, the experience of one alum who served in the trenches of WWI, memories of racing in the Little 500, and the struggles of minorities on campus. Told through oral histories, diaries, correspondence and photographs all kindly donated over the years by alumni and their families to the IU Archives (in one case, literally pulled from the dumpster), these stories document a varied student experience that for each is uniquely cream and crimson.
If you’re interested in supporting the preservation of these stories, you can do so through the IU Foundation (just specify that the gift should be directed to the University Archives in the Comments field).
As always, contact the IU Archives if you have questions.
Born in Zistersdorf, Austria on September 7, 1919, Charlotte (Lotte) Lederer arrived in New York, New York on August 28, 1939 via the S. S. Bremen through Southampton, England. The recipient of one of three refugee scholarships from the Indiana University Board of Trustees that covered her tuition in full, she enrolled at Indiana University that fall while student organizations such as the Student Refugee Committee organized benefit dances and raffles to cover room and board. After a year at IU, Lotte penned this note of gratitude:
While at Indiana University, Charlotte met and subsequently married fellow student Hugh Grant Freeland on April 24, 1941. The pair graduated in May 1942; Charlotte with a B.A. in Psychology and Hugh with his LL.B.
While the details of their life after graduation are a little hazy, we know that the Freelands immediately moved to Louisville, Kentucky where Charlotte initially took a job at the University of Louisville in the office of the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts while Hugh worked as an attorney for Seagrams. She wrote her mentor Frank Beck back at IU that “I really had first planned on doing something in connection with the war-effort. But I was not able to find the right thing…. I feel all at home here – as you know I have always been crazy about university-atmosphere, etc.” She later took a position doing “personnel research work” at Seagrams. On January 21, 1944 she became a naturalized United States citizen. By that point Lt. Hugh G. Freeland of the US Naval Reserve was stationed in the Pacific, and she had relocated to Washington D.C. in 1945 where she was working as a Classification Analyst in the Personnel Division of the Office of the Secretary of War. She wrote the IU Alumni Association on October 27, 1945 that “It’s a swell and very interesting job. There are many I.U. grads in the Pentagon, and we are all enjoying the good news of our Football Team this year.” Following the war the couple moved to Beaumont, Texas where Charlotte taught German at a Beaumont high school and Hugh began a law practice specializing in corporate law.