From the IU Archives Trenches: Graduate student processor Amy Jankowski bids a fond farewell

After spending nearly a year and half working as a graduate student processor at the Indiana University Archives, it is time for me to bid adieu to my colleagues and fellow students as I embark on my first professional adventure. I have highly enjoyed my time here–both in Bloomington generally, as well as specifically here at the IU Archives–and a part of me is quite sad to see this chapter of my life come to a close.

Graduate Student Processor Amy Jankowski, installing her exhibit, "Borkenstein and His Monster: The Man Behind the Breathalyzer," in the Indiana University Archives reception area, March 2011

I was lucky enough to begin working at the Archives in February 2010 during my second semester of graduate work towards my Master of Library Science degree, which I pursued through the IU School of Library and Information Science, earning my degree in May 2011. Even before beginning the academic program, I developed a passion for cultural heritage preservation by way of archival documentation, thus I tailored my coursework to meet the requirements for the Archives and Records Management specialization. Coming to work at the IU Archives was instrumental in my ability to understand archival work from a stance of personal, experiential depth. I was able to apply the theories I learned in the classroom and through professional literature to hone my archival processing skills and better understand not just the technical concepts of archival work, but also the intricacies and unique issues with which one must contend to best address arrangement, description, and access as suitable for each individual record collection… not to mention I got to process some really fun collections and develop a deeper appreciation for Indiana University’s rich history! I am indebted to this position and to my supervisors for providing me with a diverse range of real world experience–including collection processing, encoding finding aids for online access, exhibit curation, basic reference, participating in social media outreach (i.e. this blog post!), and even just sharing day-to-day archivally oriented conversations–which proved invaluable during my job hunt.

Beginning in mid-July 2011, I will begin my first professional position as the Assistant Librarian at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, located within the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in Escondido, California! This position is a surreal melding of my childhood and graduate student dreams, and I feel all too lucky for my good fortune. I could not be more excited about this opportunity, where I will have a diverse range of responsibilities including but not limited to: maintaining, preserving, organizing, and promoting access to the library’s archival and rare book collection, pursuing digital access and preservation efforts, exploring outreach opportunities, and otherwise supporting the library’s general plans, objectives, and operations. Perhaps I will even have the opportunity to begin my own repository blog at the San Diego Zoo Library!

The move to Southern California will be a major transition for my Midwestern roots, but I look forward to the adventure, as well as to learning more about regional and zoo history. For now, I bid one final thank you to my supervisors and colleagues at the IU Archives. Your guidance, encouragement, support, and archival wisdom never went unappreciated. I hope our paths cross again someday!

Best,
Amy Jankowski

Another New Finding Aid: Indiana University Strategic Directions Charter records!

When many people hear the word “archives,” romantic thoughts of decades-old civil war letters, ornate scrapbooks, brittle newspaper clippings, and sepia toned photographs likely spring to mind. However, an archival repository such as the Indiana University Archives, which actively preserves the University’s institutional memory, is also home to relatively contemporary materials documenting history within the memorable past. Such is the case with the recently processed Indiana University Strategic Directions Charter records.

Strategic Directions Charter guide for publicity, undated, circa 1996
Strategic Directions Charter guide for publicity, undated, circa 1996

This collection documents an initiative spearheaded by Indiana University’s sixteenth president, Myles Brand, beginning in 1995 in response to acknowledged fundamental changes in the general environment for higher education. The initiative, deemed the Strategic Directions Charter, was founded upon a goal to enact institutional changes and plans which were to sustain Indiana University’s excellence, thus enabling it to emerge as a model for “America’s New Public University.” Though at present such initiatives may merely sound like stale news, for future generations of students, administrators, and institutional historians, this collection will serve to preserve a poignant point of Indiana University’s strategic development into the twenty-first century.
The title page for a proposal aimed at technological advancement, #1996-37, Internet-Based Distance Learning Programs; submitted by Michael Yoakum, Round One, 1996

The archival collection at the IU Archives includes documentation of the Charter’s formation by a diverse steering committee made up of more than 250 Indiana University affiliates. It also includes reports and planning documents created by eight targeted task forces, which honed in on specific genres for improvement such as “Partnerships with the Public and Private Sectors,” “Excellence in Teaching and Research,” and “Minority Attainment/Underrepresentation.” The official charter was widely distributed across Indiana University campuses in January 1996, which served as a call for University faculty panels to create project proposals and solicit University funding for new initiatives or improvements to current programs, particularly those which would help to push Indiana University towards its newly outlined goals. More then 25 million dollars of funding was allocated to proposals accepted over the course of three rounds throughout 1996 and 1997.
Portion of a newspaper article published in the Herald Times, which offers an antagonistic perspective on the Strategic Directions Charter, as voiced by the Bloomington Faculty Council

The IU Archives’ record collection includes organizational planning documents surrounding the Charter’s formation and publication; however the majority of the collection is comprised of proposal materials submitted by faculty panels. Records from both funded and unfunded projects are retained, which provide an interesting perspective on Indiana University’s values in the late 1990s. Many proposals are technology focused, though other aspects of development focused on areas such as diversity and various facets of scholastic excellence are also represented. A number of newspaper clippings in a corresponding Strategic Directions Charter reference file attest to the fact that not all university constituents, namely faculty and students, were pleased with the Strategic Direction Charter’s aims and outcome.

To delve deeper into this period of significant directed change in Indiana University’s priorities in the late twentieth century, contact the IU Archives. If you haven’t tried it yet, I encourage you to test out the convenient chat reference service that we provide during most operating hours!

Fun Frolic Over the Years

Fun Frolic, June 24, 1959
A small boy enjoys a night out at the third annual Fun Frolic on June 24, 1959

The days are long, humidity is high, swimming pools across town are bustling, and ice cream for dinner is starting to sound like a good idea. Summertime is here, and I think it’s finally here to stay! As many of you likely know, one more thing synonymous with the summer season in Bloomington is the annual Fun Frolic carnival, scheduled to start this coming Friday, June 10 and run through Saturday, June 18 at the Memorial Stadium Athletic Complex. It’s a can’t miss event for those looking to indulge in the delights of carnival rides, games, and fried delicacies!

Fun Frolic (slightly subdued by today's standards), 1960

Not only is the Fun Frolic a great escape, it’s also a fundraiser for a great cause rooted to a 54 year history. Beginning in 1957, the Fun Frolic was organized as an annual fundraiser by the Bloomington Staff Council, a representative body of University staff members created to provide staff with organized representation and a medium of exchange with University administration. The council used proceeds from the event to award scholarships on a basis of merit and need to children of University staff level employees. When the Bloomington Staff Council dissolved in 1993, the Fun Frolic was picked up by as a joint initiative between the Indiana University Day-Care Centers (more recently the IU Early Childhood Education Services) and Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Central Indiana.

IU Physical Plant employee Robert Zink volunteers for the "Dunk-a-Man" game, 1970

The original Fun Frolic was not the elaborate carnival affair that the event grew into over the years. Instead, the first event in 1957 consisted of tents and simple games such as bean bag tosses and basketball, all set up and run entirely by staff council members. Proceeds the first year were just over $1,000. The event gradually grew to include other rides, games, and amusements, such as Add em up Darts, Dunk-An-Athlete (later Dunk-A-Man), a glass-blowing shop, and pig races in the 1960s and 1970s. In recent decades, the carnival has transformed into an elaborate celebration with the assistance of local amusement companies; Cumberland Valley Shows has been contracting with the Fun Frolic since 1975. Every year, classic rides such as the Ferris Wheel and Tilt-A-Whirl mix with new attractions that change with the times.

The Fun Frolic lights up a summer night, undated
The Fun Frolic lights up a summer night, undated

If you visit the Fun Frolic this year and want to know more about its history or see some of these great photographs in person, stop by the Indiana University Archives! Documents related to the fundraiser–including financial records, correspondence with event constituents, contracts, newspaper clippings, publicity information, and photographs–are available to indulge your curiosity.

Access Alert! Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama records

The finding aid for the Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama records is now available online!  A portion of the collection was processed in 2007, however I had the pleasure of integrating two substantial additional accessions of related material in 2010 and tied everything together with revised descriptive information.

Set Design, from the University Theatre performances of Broken   Dishes, 1937.
Hand painted watercolor Set Design, from the University Theatre performances of Broken Dishes, 1937.

I know, I know: enough with the archival jargon.  (Sometimes I just can’t help myself!)  What exactly is in this collection, you ask?  Well, it’s an exciting mix of materials documenting the Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama from 1925-2007.  It does not merely include administrative and course records, but also a plethora of visually captivating programs, newspaper reviews, scripts, posters, and performance photographs documenting theatre productions in association with the University Theatre, Brown County Playhouse, Indiana Theatre Company, and I.U. Theatre Circle.  Overall, the collection provides a rich history of dramatic expression and theatrical training at Indiana University, which attests to the maturation of the department and associated performance initiatives.

Poster advertising the University Theatre 1965-1966 season.
Poster advertising the University Theatre 1965-1966 season.

My favorite aspect of processing this collection was working with the Production Files series, which includes more than twenty boxes of materials documenting various stage productions, both time honored classics and modern productions.  It was incredibly interesting to see the gradual stylistic and topical changes apparent in performances over the course of more than seven decades.  The events and movements taking place in the world at large were often reflected on the stage, including relatively barren set designs during the Great Depression era, lavish productions typifying the 1950s post-war America period, and creatively stylized performances dealing with race and gender issues in the 1960s-1970s.  Even the evolution of poster and program designs within the collection lends an interesting component to understanding artistic expression and the role of drama on campus over time.

Antigone, as performed by the Indiana Theatre Company--a regional   touring performance group which included Indiana University Department   of Theatre and Drama students.
"Antigone," as performed in 1969 by the Indiana Theatre Company--a regional touring performance group which included Indiana University Department of Theatre and Drama students.

Materials which originated from the Brown County Playhouse, with which IU had a partnership from 1949-2010, offer a wealth of documentation on the origins and development of this unique cultural offering highly popular with South Central Indiana locals and visitors alike.  The Brown

Performance photograph of The Barker, as performed at the Brown   County Playhouse, 1951.
Performance photograph of "The Barker," as performed at the Brown County Playhouse, 1951.

County Playhouse began as a rudimentary stage constructed in a barn with an adjoining tent covering the otherwise outdoor audience space, though a more solid, rain resistant structure was built in 1977 to accommodate a growing audience base.  It operated as a summer theatre, and specialized in comedic plays.  Performance programs exhibit the theatre’s unique, laid-back style, while many newspaper clippings attest to the popular success of the venue and actors’ prowess. The Playhouse closed its doors for good at the end of the 2010 season.

Some other specific highlights that may be of interest to researchers, alumni, student actors, and casual theatre fanatics include materials documenting the 1941 world premier of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright William Saroyan’s Jim Dandy at the then newly opened Indiana University Auditorium and evidence of one of the IU Theatre and Drama Department’s most highly celebrated alumni, Kevin Kline, in 1960s era performances such as Wingless Victory.  Many more treasures lie in waiting within the collection!

[Note: Additional photographs related to performances in the collection may also be available through the IU Archives Photographs Collection.  Don’t hesitate to ask!]

“Borkenstein and His Monster: The Man Behind the Breathalyzer” — A New Exhibit at the IU Archives

OFFICIAL Press Release: New exhibit at the Indiana University Archives on display now through May!

Borkenstein and His Monster: The Man Behind the Breathalyzer

Robert F. Borkenstein working on his Breathalyzer Prototype, invented in 1954.
Robert F. Borkenstein working on his Breathalyzer Prototype, invented in 1954.

Over the course of his life, Professor Robert F. Borkenstein (1912-2002) rose from a full career in the police ranks to become an Indiana University professor, administrator, and highly respected leader in forensic science and traffic safety. Borkenstein’s most celebrated single achievement was his groundbreaking invention of the Breathalyzer in 1954. This instrument, which uses breath samples to measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC), was the first practical device for roadside BAC testing for use by police officers investigating traffic violations and accidents. In the years since its initial invention, the Breathalyzer went on to revolutionize law enforcement practices and legislation concerning traffic safety and the combat against drunk driving.

A portion of the mechanical plans submitted along with Borkenstein's original Breathalyzer patent application, 1954.
A portion of the mechanical plans submitted along with Borkenstein’s original Breathalyzer patent application, 1954.

The Robert F. Borkenstein Papers at the Indiana University Archives contain a rich record of Borkenstein’s many professional and personal endeavors as well as his enduring influence, beginning in the 1930s and extending to the present. Highlights from this collection—including the original Breathalyzer prototype, several successive models, photographs, mechanical designs, and evidence of Borkenstein’s extensive influence—are featured on display through May.

All are encourage to visit the exhibit in the Indiana University Archives reception area (room E460) on the fourth floor of Wells Library at Indiana University in Bloomington.

Curated by Amy Jankowski, graduate student studying under the Archives Specialization in School of Library and Information Science.

Borkenstein (third from left) stands with colleagues displaying his Breathalyzer Prototype, circa 1954.
Borkenstein (third from left) stands with colleagues displaying his Breathalyzer Prototype, circa 1954.

Notes from the Curator: Earlier this semester, I had the pleasure of processing the Robert F. Borkenstein papers. The collection contains many document types that I am accustomed to working with in the archives, including correspondence, photographs, awards, news clippings, writings, and the like. However, the paper-based materials in this particular collection are complemented by more than a dozen three-dimensional artifacts, which are products of Borkenstein’s research into breath test technology with the goal of measuring blood alcohol content of motorists. In fact, Borkenstein was the inventor of the Breathalyzer–the portable, easily operated device used for decades by United States police forces in the combat against drunk driving.

Borkenstein examining a Breathalyzer Model 900B, manufactured by the Drager Corporation, circa 1985-1995.
Borkenstein examining a Breathalyzer Model 900B, manufactured by the Drager Corporation, circa 1985-1995.

Through his inventions, research, and heavy involvement in national discussions on traffic safety, Borkenstein became a renowned professional icon and a noteworthy figure in Indiana University’s history. Because of his significant influence and the visually engaging nature of his materials, the IU Archives decided to install an exhibit showcasing a number of Borkenstein’s Breathalyzer instruments and complimentary documents.  It provides an excellent opportunity for students, staff, researchers, and the otherwise curious to explore the diversity of the Archives’ holdings and learn a bit more about one of IU’s celebrated personalities from years past.

I hope you have the opportunity to swing by and take a look at the exhibit!