Project update: The Coronavirus Days

In the early days of the pandemic in March 2020, like many archives and special collections across the nation and world, the IU Archives, in collaboration with Sarah Knott (Sally M. Reahard Professor, Department of History) released a call to document the historic moment that we knew we were entering. Inspired by the Mass Observation project in the United Kingdom, our call similarly asked participants to “to keep a diary of living through the crisis in Indiana. Diarists may type or write by hand, draw, compose poems, gather stories and so forth. No stress needs to be placed on ‘good grammar’, spelling or style. The emphasis is on self-expression, candor and a willingness to be a social commentator.” It is important to note that this project is focused specifically on collecting the observations of individuals associated with Indiana University (including the regional campuses) and residents of Monroe County. Nearly one year into the project, we would like to share a few of the submissions we have received and provide a few updates on future plans.

Submissions

To date the IU Archives has received submissions from over 40 individuals ranging from current undergraduate and graduate students at the Bloomington campus, faculty and staff from the Bloomington, Southeast (New Albany) and IUPUI campuses, and residents of Monroe County. Their self-identified occupations include servers and cashiers; students and instructors; nurses and social workers; visual artists, poets, and authors; court reporters and lawyers; contractors and facilities managers. In addition to these individuals, another 200 have signed up as participants in the project and are still actively documenting their experiences.

While the original call for submissions to this project focused on diaries, in practice these take many different shapes including photographs, videos, and text and offer both creative and documentary perspectives. The vast majority of these are in an electronic form, rather than the handwritten form that we might traditionally associate with diaries. A few visual samples are included throughout this post and below are links to some additional examples:

Next Steps

IU Archives will be accepting submissions to this project for the foreseeable future, and, in collaboration with Sarah Knott, we were recently awarded a grant through the IU College Arts & Humanities Institute (CAHI). As we wrote in our proposal, this additional funding will allow us “to expand our reach deeper into historically under-represented communities, most especially among BIPOC faculty, staff, students and community residents. This matters greatly, given the specificity of everyday racialized experience in this country, as well as the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on these communities.”

After donation to the IU Archives, staff members accession each contribution with a unique identifier and and record the donor information, including any requested restrictions. For a variety of reasons, many of the individuals who have already donated materials to the project have requested that their submissions remain restricted for a 5-year period or that they remain anonymous with only basic demographic details shared. This is an option that the IU Archives offers participants in an effort to protect their privacy while allowing them to share an honest account of their observations and thoughts.

At this point individual items are routed for appropriate storage. Physical diaries and photographs are placed in acid-free folders and sent to the IU Libraries’ Auxiliary Library Facility for storage in an environment with temperature and humidity controls. Contributions such as websites, YouTube videos, and other material published on the Web are captured via Archive-It, while other born-digital documents such as digital photographs and text files are preserved in the Scholarly Data Archive. Once we move past the collecting phase, this collection will be processed and described in the applicable access points (including Archives Online, Image Collections Online, and Archive-It), and we hope to be able to develop an access portal that will connect all the components of this collection into one searchable interface.

As mentioned, we are still actively collecting for this project. Further information about how you can contribute can be found at https://libraries.indiana.edu/coronavirus-days-archive-story.

Sincerely Yours – The Dwyers and V-J Day: “That was our celebration.”

With the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 and the swift entry of the United States into World War II, the Indiana University Bloomington campus quickly transformed itself to participate in the war effort. On December 13, 1941 President Herman B Wells addressed the anxious students of the University saying:

In this crisis, every patriotic American wishes to make a contribution to the defense of the nation and victory. In keeping with the tradition established in other wars, the students of the University are naturally eager to do their share….Some of you will be chosen for service in the army as rapidly as needed…But most of you will have to serve elsewhere….Most of you, therefore, can serve best through devoting extra time to the matters at hand. Study a little more, use the library a little more, use the laboratory apparatus a little more, learn a little faster….

University administrators, faculty and staff joined the Indiana Committee for Victory and the College Civilian Morale Service to encourage widespread participation “in all types of military activities” and the University quickly adopted a three semester academic plan so that the traditional four year program could be completed in two and two-thirds years in an effort to graduate as many students as possible before they were called to active military duty. By the end of 1942, U.S. Navy yeoman, WAVES, SPARS, and Marines were training on campus and the in 1943 the University signed a contract with the the US Army for an Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) unit. In addition, hundreds of men and women affiliated with IU (either current students or alumni) were called to active service in the various branches of the military.

Dwyer005Between 1941 and 1945, Margaret “Meg” Shaw Dwyer (BA Psychology 1941) continued to correspond with her university days mentor Frank Beck (advisor to the Student Religious Cabinet and the Town Hall Club) to share personal milestones and heartache of she and her husband, Robert “Bob” Arthur Dwyer (BS Business 19Wedding_Page_142). These included the announcement of their wedding, birth of their child, and the glorious news that Bob, presumed dead after being shot down over France, had been released from his POW camp and that the couple had been enjoying a recuperative vacation in Vermont when they heard the news of the war’s end on September 2, 1945.

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The Dwyers lived an active and full life filled with family, work, travel, lifelong learning, and even glider flights following the war. Meg passed away at the age of 95 in 2014. Her beautifully written obituary gives us just a taste of the woman she had become.

The Education Vacation: Mini University

 Each year, hundreds of individuals flock to Bloomington to attend what Fromer’s Travel Magazine has consistently referred to as one of the best learning vacations in the United States. With record setting attendance over the last few years, Indiana University’s widely popular Mini University now consistently sells out. However, the program came from much more modest beginnings.
Founded in 1972 as a result of a partnership between the Indiana University Alumni Association and the Bloomington Office of Continuing Studies, the first program hosted approximately 75 participants and functioned more as a family summer camp for both children and adults. Spanning the course of a week, participants brought their families to campus, lived in the dormitories and attended a variety of lectures and courses while their children attended their own programs. Adults chose from an option of 25 course listings taught by some of the most distinguished members of the university faculty. Courses were divided into six different categories: compelling issues of the ’70s on topics such as “China in the ’70s”, international issues, the family in contemporary society such as “After Spock, What?”, women’s changing role in society, creative participation in arts and the humanities, and preparing for retirement.

Mini University, ca. 1978-1981

Picnic, ca. 1978-1981

Children (over the age of five), on the other hand, were loaded each day onto a London double-decker bus for transport to the Health, Physical Education and Recreation Building (HPER) for recreation, games, and swimming. Children under the age of five could attend a day nursery. Evening entertainment options for the whole family included rap sessions, visits to the Brown County Playhouse, the IU Fun Frolic as well as a picnic and beach party with campfire along the shores of Lake Lemon. By 1978, the program had expanded to include nearly 60 course options covering topics on the humanities, domestic issues, human growth and development, business, international affairs, science and the arts.
Today, the program is significantly different – there is no longer a children’s program and attendees now stay primarily in the Indiana Memorial Union where the majority of courses are taught.  Open to all adults, not just Indiana University alumni, including qualified teachers seeking continuing renewal credits, the program has now expanded to include more than 100 course selections ranging in topics from business and technology, domestic issues, fine arts, health and fitness, international issues, humanities, music, theater and science. Mini alums receive a newsletter called Mini Happy Returns to keep them abreast of upcoming events. Each year the professors are chosen based upon recommendations from the chairs of their department or other faculty for being outstanding teachers. The 2016 Mini University program reads much like a who’s who of the university faculty and administration such as Lee Hamilton (Center on Congress), and James Madison (History) whose personal papers are all included in the University Library collections, as well as several of our esteemed library colleagues such as Dina Kellams (IU Archives), Carey Beam (Wylie House Museum), and Lori Dekydtspotter, Cherry Williams, Craig Simpson, Rebecca Bauman, and Andrew Rhoda (all Lilly Library).
The University Archives also holds the Mini University records as well as those of the School of Continuing Studies.
For those interested in registering for next year’s program, you can request a brochure here – just remember Mini U sells out QUICKLY!

British Suffragist Emmeline Pankhurst’s Visit to Bloomington, May 3, 1916

IDS May 3-2, 1916

100 years ago Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928), the British political activist and leader of the suffragist movement, spoke to a packed crowd at Indiana University Bloomington. Women in Indiana women still did not have the write to vote. Raised by politically active parents, in 1879 Emmeline Goulden married Richard Pankhurst, a barrister 2 years her senior known for supporting the women’s right to vote. A staunch advocate of suffrage for both married and unmarried women, Pankhurst’s work became known for physical confrontations, window smashing and staged hunger strikes and is today recognized as a crucial component in the fight for women’s suffrage in Britain.

Emmeline Pankhurst, ca. 1913 - United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3b38130 (Public Domain)
Emmeline Pankhurst, ca. 1913 – United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3b38130 (Public Domain)

In the lead up to her visit to campus, the Indiana Daily Student reported on April 29, 1916 that

“Mrs. Pankhurst can boast no masculine element in her make-up; she is all woman, in spite of her strenuous activities several years ago. Emmeline Goulden, as she was in her maiden days, was remarkable for the girlish prettiness that time and hunger strikes have not effaced. After the death of her husband, it became necessary for Mrs. Pankhurst to do something to earn a livelihood for herself and children, so she became a member of the School Board and the Board of Guardians in Manchester. Her experience on the later board taught her much of the pressing needs of the poor, and the bitter hardships of the women’s lives especially. Although always active in many reform movements, she found her efforts so much thwarted and limited by her sex, that she finally resigned all other work to devote her life to the winning of votes for women. She organized and managed the great suffrage association of England, the Woman’s Social and Political Union, known as the W.S.P.U.”

Sponsored by the Women’s League of the University and the Bloomington Woman’s Franchise League, Pankhurt’s lecture was much anticipated, with the student newspaper noting that “This is to be the only lecture by Mrs. Pankhurst in the State and because of the fact that she is so well known, due to her activities in advocating women suffrage, it is likely that there will be a large crowd to hear her speak. The admission will be twenty-five cents. Tickets are now on sale at the University and City Book stores.” Others in the university community likewise expressed enthusiasum for her visit. Professor James A. Woodburn of the History Department, when interviewed concerning the lecture, said

“I have long desired to hear Mrs. Pankhurst. She is one of the most prominent women of the world, and one of the most capable and influential. I heard two of her associates and co-workers in Hyde Park several years ago, and though they were not so effective in speech and leadership as Mrs. Pankhurst is, yet they held more than a thousand standing men in close attention for two full hours. It was a heckling rather than a friendly audience, but the women were so forceful and eloquent, of such quick wit and repartee that they were more than masters of the situation. They carried a resolution overwhelmingly from that crowd in favor of Mrs. Pankhurst, who was then a political prisoner. These English suffragettes are women of education, gentility and refinement. Many of them are of high social standing and most agreeable manners, though some of them may be convinced that to break an Englishman’s head is about the only way to get a new idea into his cranium…whether we agree or not with what they did we must recognize the courage, devotion, and self-sacrifice of their fight.”

Reportedly only in Bloomington for a total of eight hours (she spoke in Nashville and Chattanooga, Tennessee the day before and Columbus, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois immediately following), Mrs. Pankhurst and her secretary Miss Joan Wickham were entertained by IU Professor of Political Science Amos Hershey during their visit.

IDS May 3-3, 1916Introduced to a packed crowd in the Men’s Gymnasium by IU English Professor William E. Jenkins, Pankhurst’s remarks, according to the May 4th issue of the Indiana Daily Student, included a summary of the political conditions in England. She noted that “We did not hunt notoriety. Mere notoriety hunters would have been snuffed out at a very early state of our career. Women do not invite the experiences which we have had unless they feel very keenly their abuses. The difference between a militant and an ordinary suffragette is that we realized a little sooner and a little more keenly the work that women must carry on. There is no excuse for violence until ordinary means are exhausted.”

In 1918 the Representation of the People Act in England granted votes to all men over the age of 21 and women over the age of 30. In 1928 the vote was extended to all women over 21 years of age. Nationally, women in the United States gained the right to vote in 1920 with the 19th amendment.

IU Day Begins at Midnight!

IUDay_FB_clocksRemember 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.