The Henry H. H. Remak Collection has been processed!

Over two years ago I started processing the papers of Professor Emeritus Henry H. H. Remak. Now his papers are available for research! Before telling you more about the collection, let me tell you a little about Professor Remak himself.

Who was Henry H. H. Remak?

Photo courtesy Tyagan Miller, Heartland Photography

Henry H. H. Remak was born a German Jew in Berlin on July 27, 1916. In 1936, Remak came to the United States on an international YMCA scholarship that provided funding for young Jewish refugee scholars. IU Bloomington’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu, a fraternity with strong Jewish ties, sponsored Remak upon his arrival to the United States. Remak eventually attained a master’s degree from IU in 1937. After receiving his PhD from the University of Chicago, he returned to IU as a full-time professor for the Department of German in 1948. From there, Remak went on to play an instrumental role in the founding of two other departments with which he would remain actively involved – the Department of Comparative Literature and West European Studies founded in 1949 and 1966, respectively. He would serve as chairman for the Department of German during the summer of 1962, for the Department of Comparative Literature intermittently between 1954 and 1963, and for West European Studies from 1966-1969. Another administrative role that Remak filled during his tenure at IU was as Vice Chancellor and Dean of the Faculties from 1969-1974.

Though Remak officially retired from IU in 1987, he remained active at the university. For one, Remak volunteered to teach undergraduate honors courses from 1987 until his health began to fail in 2005. Additionally, it was following his official retirement that Remak was appointed director of the Institute for Advanced Study from 1988-1994 and again as interim director from 1997-1998.

In addition to his active involvement as a teacher and administrator, Remak was also a prolific scholar in the field of comparative literature. As such, he published numerous articles, chapters and books on a variety of topics including the modern German novel and novella, the history and principles of Comparative Literature as a discipline, Franco-German literary and cultural relations, European Romanticism, German and European Realism, and student movements and countercultures of the 1960s and 1970s.

Throughout his life, Remak was committed to serving IU and the Bloomington community at large. As testament to his exemplary services as a teacher, administrator, and scholar Remak received a number of awards including the Lieber Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1962; IU’s Distinguished Service Award in 1987; and the prestigious statewide Sagamore of the Wabash; to name just a few examples. Professor Remak passed away on February 12, 2009.

The Collection

The collection – comprised of 73 boxes – contains papers spanning the years 1914 to 2010. It is organized into the following series: Administrative; Teaching; Research and publications; Professional activities; Correspondence; and Chronological. While it would be difficult to address all of the interesting facets of this collection, I will outline a few highlights that make these papers truly unique:

Letter from student. "Making trails and moving and feeling the Earth beneath us is what life is about--you, Professor, leave humble footprints wherever you go, whether running, playing tennis, or teaching."
Letter from student. “Making trails and moving and feeling the Earth beneath us is what life is about–you, Professor, leave humble footprints wherever you go, whether running, playing tennis, or teaching.”

Remak’s correspondence: For Remak, writing correspondence was an art. Whether to current or former students, university faculty and administrators, or scholars from around the world, Remak’s letters were eloquent expressions of his keen wit, charm, and energetic personality. I was constantly impressed by the sheer effort that Remak placed into his relationships with others, as evidenced by his correspondence. The collection contains a plethora of student files filled with letters that trace the path of young undergraduates into their lives beyond school – getting jobs, having families, perhaps becoming professors themselves. Remak’s correspondence is also reflective of the many changes that have taken place at IU, and the individuals responsible for those changes, which brings me to my next highlight.

A glimpse into 68 years of IU’s history: From the year Remak completed his master’s degree in 1937, to his final year teaching in 2005 – Remak spent roughly 68 years of his life being involved with IU, in some form or another. That’s nearly 1/3 of the time that IU has existed as an institution. As such, this collection reveals much about IU’s history. To provide just a few examples, there are materials pertaining to Alfred Kinsey and the founding of the Kinsey Institute; correspondence and clippings on Bobby Knight’s controversial firing from IU; correspondence between Remak and Herman B Wells; and clippings, research notes, and course materials pertaining to Remak’s interest in the student revolts and faculty unrest of the 1960s and 1970s. Remak’s interest in the latter extended beyond IU to student revolts and faculty unrest in other parts of the United States and the world, bringing me to my next point.

The teaching and research files provide evidence that Remak continually brought the world to IU and IU to the world: Remak’s prodigious research and constant involvement in communities of both domestic and international scholars allowed him to educate generations of IUs students on a variety of global topics such as “Masterpieces of German Literature,” “The Age of Goethe,” “Franco-German Literary and Cultural Relations,” “Student Movements in Western Europe and the United States,” to name a few. The collection contains dozens of Remak’s course syllabi, lesson plans, and materials on these and other topics. In addition to bringing the world to IU, Remak also helped IU students make connections abroad. Files detailing Remak’s involvement with several study abroad programs are contained within the collection. Lastly, many of Remak’s research notes, monograph and article drafts, as well as conference presentation papers are available in this collection, serving as yet another example of Professor Remak’s dedication to his domestic and international scholarly communities.

It is obvious from the paper trail he left behind that Henry H. H. Remak was well-loved by just about everyone who had the pleasure of meeting him. Though I cannot count myself among those lucky enough to have met him in person, I feel like I have come to know him well. In me, Remak has gained yet another admirer, and I am sure that anyone else who has the chance to peruse this collection will be as easily charmed.

For more information, please contact the IU Archives.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the wonderful staff at the Archives for making my time as a processor there an enjoyable and educational experience! In particular, Dina Kellams, who was my supervisor, and Phil Bantin both encouraged and assisted me in many ways while I had the pleasure of working for them.

The Student Religious Cabinet — a student organization concerned with overcoming religious and racial differences

The Student Religious Cabinet in 1949

If you are looking for insights into university life during the late 1930s through the early 1950s, the records of the Student Religious Cabinet will provide an interesting perspective. From its name, one might assume that the goal of the religious cabinet was a narrow one, but in fact this student organization was concerned with a variety of issues. From eliminating racial segregation to promoting collaboration among members of all religious denominations, the Student Religious Cabinet sought to do good works in their community and beyond by focusing on the commonalities between all people rather than the differences.

The Student Religious Cabinet was established as a result of Indiana University’s Committee on Religion. This committee had been formed by President Herman B Wells a year earlier in order to support and bring about collaborative efforts between all religious groups represented by the students and faculty of IU. The Executive Secretary for this committee, Frank O. Beck, helped to organize the Student Religious Cabinet and participated in many of the Cabinet’s meetings and activities. Initially, there were four main groups represented by both the University Committee on Religion and the Student Religious Cabinet: Catholicism, Judaism, Christian Science, and Protestantism. The primary goal was to include representatives on the Cabinet from all student religious organizations.

On October 2, 1938 the Student Religious Cabinet held their first meeting with thirteen students in attendance. They would continue to meet on the first Sunday of every month for breakfast, fellowship and business. Throughout the Cabinet’s years of activity (1938-1951), their roster grew to include around forty members and they became extremely active on campus, in the Bloomington community, and beyond. The Cabinet sponsored events to raise money for student refugees, wrote letters to protest discrimination toward African-American students at IU and at other universities, hosted peace rallies, bolstered morale during World War II, to name just a few of its endeavors.

In addition to hosting a variety of events and activities, the Student Religious Cabinet also maintained two weekly publications. The first publication was The Voice of Religion on Indiana University Campus. This single page newsletter was published weekly and announced events and activities hosted by the Cabinet. The other publication, The Campus Home Front, was for a more particular purpose, namely the war effort. Its goal was to build “war time morale on campus, thus aiding in winning the war and winning the peace.”

Our collection here at the archives includes the Student Religious Cabinet’s meeting notes from October 1938 through April 1951, as well as several issues of The Campus Home Front and a near complete run of The Voice spanning 1939-1947. These documents provide a unique and intriguing view into how university students from another time not only dealt with, but also tried to overcome issues of war, race and religion.

If you are interested in viewing this collection, good news! The IU Libraries Digital Projects and Services department has recently completed scanning the collection in its entirety and it is now available online! Contact the Archives for any questions!

Remembering our Track and Field Olympic Greats

Two-Mile Relay Team: (L to R) Campbell Kane, Wayne Tolliver, Paul Kendall, Roy Cochran; 1941

IU Hoosiers at the Olympics!

From July 27 to August 12, thousands of athletes from over two-hundred countries will strive for gold at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.  Among them, there will be Hoosiers, continuing a long line of 173 Olympians from Indiana University who have collectively won 49 gold, 16 silver and 21 bronze medals (IU Hoosiers).  These 173 Hoosiers have represented 15 countries, including the United States, and competed in 19 different sports. Among IU’s most memorable Olympic accomplishments include Mark Spitz’s astonishing 7 gold medal win at the 1972 Munich Olympics and Bob Knight’s role as head coach for the gold-medal-winning 1984 U. S. Men’s Basketball Team, which included IU Hoosier Steve Alford.

IU’s Olympic tradition has been so strong, in fact, that the familiar term “Hoosier Nation” has taken on a new meaning – an Indiana Daily Student reporter said of the 1968 Olympics that the seven gold medals won that year by IU Hoosiers “would rank IU 11th among the nations of the world.” Not only that, but the “14 medals possessed by Hoosier athletes” in 1968 “[made] a total surpassed by only 16 nations.”  In addition to holding its own as a “nation,” in 1964 IU “[produced] more Olympic athletes than any other school in the United States” (Indiana Alumni Magazine).  Another impressive statistic is that IU athletes have competed at every summer Olympics since 1932, apart from the 1980 Games in Moscow, which saw the U. S. government’s controversial protest against the Soviet Union’s involvement in Afghanistan.  Over the years, Hoosiers have been especially strong at swimming and diving, but it is IU’s track and field competitors who started it all and who will be the focus of this post.

IU’s Early Track and Field Olympians: From 1904 to 1952

Leroy Samse, 1906

In 1904 Leroy Samse and Thad Shidelar began IU’s tradition of Olympic formidability by bringing home silver medals in the pole vault and 110 high hurdles, respectively.  Following a hiatus that spanned nearly three decades and six Olympic games, IU returned to Olympic competition in Los Angeles in 1932 with two more track and field representatives – Ivan Fuqua and Charles Hornbostel.  Hornbostel finished sixth in the 800-meter run, while Fuqua set a world record in the 1600-meter relay as the squad’s lead-off man, becoming the first IU Hoosier to win Olympic gold.  The success of these two men has been attributed, in part, to IU-Bloomington’s head track coach at the time, Earl C. “Billy” Hayes.

Coach Earl C. "Billy" Hayes, 1939

Hayes, who was inducted into the USA Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1976, served as head track coach for the Bloomington campus from 1924 until his death in 1943 and was known for raising IU’s Track and Field program from the dust to a first-rate championship team worthy of national and international acclaim.  Under Hayes’ leadership, the IU Track and Field team won three NCAA team titles, the national collegiate outdoor team title, and eight Big Ten conference titles.  Not surprisingly then, “Billy” Hayes was selected as assistant track coach for the U. S. Men’s Team in the 1936 Berlin Games.  He took with him three of his own – Charles Hornbostel for his second Olympics, Tommy Deckard, and Donald “Don” R. Lash.

Of these three, Don Lash – who was himself an eventual Hall of Famer – is undoubtedly the best known.  Lash was a talented long distance runner who won twelve national titles during his career, including seven consecutive national cross country championships.  Additionally, in 1936 Lash broke a world record in the 2-mile race.  Though Lash competed in the 1936 Olympics – finishing thirteenth in the 5,000-meter and eighth in the 10,000-meter – he did not bring home a medal.  Lash had high hopes to come back and redeem himself in 1940, but due to the onset of World War II, he never had the chance.  Despite this, Lash’s experience in the 1936 Olympics had a life-changing impact on him.  In a 1992 interview, Lash recalls:

In 1936 when I was on the Olympic team we went to Berlin and Adolph Hitler sat right behind the American stand and I saw him almost every day.  I saw those people rise when he would come into the stadium and they were just like stiff pokers with their hands out saluting him.  I realized that he was more like a God to them than a leader of a country.  When I got back and realized what he was really trying to do, I got into the FBI. . . I knew that we didn’t want Nazism and so I was very devoted in my work.  I was sincere.

Coach Hayes timing Don Lash, 1939

The image that Lash so vividly relates was a startling harbinger of the war to come.  As a result of World War II, the 1940 and 1944 Olympics were cancelled.  However, 1948 was an exciting year for IU Track and Field Olympians.  Not only did Roy Cochran take home two gold medals from the 1948 London Olympics – one in the 400-meter hurdles and the other in the 1,600-meter relay – but he became the first person from IU to win an individual gold medal.

Cochran, who was yet another one of Hayes’ stars, struck fame not only by winning gold, but by being singled out by King George VI during a cocktail party at Buckingham Palace.  The Indiana Alumni Magazine (September 1948) relayed the following, which originally appeared in the syndicated column of Vincent X. Flaherty:

For some reason, the King singled out Roy Cochran, America’s 400-meter hurdles Olympic champion . . . Roy, a real guy, who is extremely intelligent and versed, kept the conversation kicking 15 minutes with the King.  The two sat off in one corner of the big room all by themselves.  Other members of the party wondered why the King devoted so much time to one individual . . . “He’s one of the swellest guys I ever met,” said Cochran thoroughly enthralled.  “And do you know something else?” said Cochran.  “It took a real King to make me taste my first drink of liquor.  He didn’t make me, of course.  I just sort of felt it wouldn’t be right if I didn’t.”

Roy Cochran, 1939

While it was difficult to compete with Cochran’s individual gold medal win, not to mention his media-worthy encounter with the King of England, Fred Wilt was another one of IU’s outstanding long-distance runners who also competed that year and finished 11th in the 10,000-meter run.  Wilt returned to Helsinki in 1952, finishing twenty-first in the 10,000-meter.  He would be the last of Hayes’ men to compete at the Olympics, essentially marking the end of an era.

The Legacy Continues:  Highlights From 1952 to the Present

Since the end of the Hayes’ era, IU has continued to send exemplary Track and Field competitors to the Olympics.  The following list offers some highlights:

Milt Campbell, 1955
  • Helsinki – 1952: Milt Campbell won silver in the decathalon.
  • Melbourne – 1956: Milt Campbell competed again in the decathalon and brought home gold this time.  Greg Bell took gold in the long jump.
  • Rome – 1960: Willie May won silver in the 110-meter hurdles.
  • Montreal – 1976: Sam Bell was assistant coach for the U. S. Men’s Track and Field Distance Team.
  • Los Angeles – 1984: Sunder Nix was the gold medalist in the 1600-meter relay, while Timi Peters brought home bronze in the same event.
  • Sydney – 2000: For the first time, the Women’s Track and Field program was represented – DeDee Nathan finished ninth in the heptathlon.
  • Beijing – 2008: David Neville was the gold medalist in the 400-meter relay and bronze medalist for the 400-meter run.
DeDee Nathan, 1988

It’s been over a century since Leroy Samse and Thad Shidelar began IU’s Olympic legacy.  Since then, IU has excelled not only in Track and Field but in a wide variety of events from swimming and basketball to fencing and diving.  Undoubtedly, the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics will be no different.  This summer IU high jumper Derek Drouin will join the Canadian Olympic Team, while IU swimmers Dorina Szekeres, Nicholas Schwab, Marguax Farrell and Kate Fesenko will represent their native countries of Hungary, the Dominican Republic, France and Ukraine, respectively.  Additionally, diver and IU alumnus Christina Loukas has earned a spot on the U. S. Olympic Team.  We wish them all the very best of luck !

If you are interested in learning more about IU’s rich Olympic history, please contact the IU Archives.


“A Pure Artist Working for the Good of the Cause”: The Creative Endeavors of Henry H. H. Remak

Henry H. H. Remak as "Servant Henry," 1997

Today, I came to an alarming realization – I have been working on the papers of Professor Emeritus Henry H. H. Remak (1916-2009) for almost exactly a year!  During that time I truly feel that I have come to know this professor-extraordinaire, a man who spent almost sixty years at Indiana University teaching, administering, and being a delightful friend and mentor to those who knew him.  The most recent update I have to offer you – in this, my 9th, processing blog about the Remak collection – is that the teaching files have been arranged!  Contained within this 12-box series are the course materials from over 60 courses that Remak taught at IU in the Departments of Germanic Studies, West European Studies, Comparative Literature, and Honors.  This series also contains correspondence between Remak and many of his former students, as well as student papers and autobiographies.  In addition, there are files on several of Remak’s visiting professorships, including the Fulbright Award he received in 1962, which enabled him to conduct a course on Faust at the University of Lille in France.

A personal poem by Remak, 1997

Through my blog posts over this past year, I have attempted to highlight some of the most fascinating, interesting, even touching aspects of this man’s life and work as viewed through his personal and professional papers. In doing so, I have often focused on Remak’s remarkable talents as a teacher, but for this post I’d like to focus on something a bit different and share with you two lesser known facts about Professor Remak.  The first is that Remak was a poet, not just at heart but in practice.  He would often author short compositions to honor a colleague’s accomplishments or in the event of a retirement or death.  Included in the collection here at the IU Archives are poems written to colleagues Dan Zaffarano, Charles Jelavich, and Paul Gebhard.  Remak even attempted to have one of his poems published – a lament written in 1965 for politician Adlai Stevenson.

The second lesser known fact is that Remak took great pleasure in yet another creative endeavor – acting.  During his tenure at IU, he appeared in a total of seven IU operas, the last of these being the 1997 IU Opera & Ballet Theater’s production of La Traviata.  From Vice Chancellor and Dean of Faculties and Director of the Institute for Advanced Study to the ever-humble “Servant Henry,” Remak was absolutely delighted to join the cast.  Did “Servant Henry” sing, you might be wondering?  Unfortunately, no – a decision, which Henry jokingly assesses as: “‘very narrow-minded of them.'”  When asked about his experience during an interview for the Indiana Alumni Magazine, Professor Remak reflects:

I was engaged as one of four waiters.  Then we were upgraded to four butlers.  And then, in the second week of rehearsals, the stage manager upgraded me to head butler.  So I told my university colleagues, ‘It took me a week to get promoted in the opera, and look how long it took me to get promoted in the university.’

Contained within the collection are clippings about the opera, programs, rehearsal schedules, photos, and detailed descriptions of “Servant Henry’s” duties.  In a mischievous caption added to his “Rehearsal Schedule for Supernumeraries,” he underlines the term supernumeraries (i.e. extras) and writes: “that means: way above any other opera participants.”  At the bottom of the page, in his characteristically witty fashion, he adds:

Puschi – PLEASE tell the Press and TV  as well as Radio that I will not give any interviews about my skyrocketing career because I am a pure artist working for the good of the cause, not for  fame. – Henri Remac (please note my real – my artistic – name).

From browsing these files, it is apparent that Professor Remak – or Henri Remac, if you will – put forth as much care and devotion into performing as an extra in the opera or composing a few lines for a friend, as he did into his professional activities.  Perceiving Henry Remak as an aspiring actor and poet, as well as a teacher and scholar adds yet another layer of enjoyment to this rich and multifaceted collection.  Please do not hesitate to contact us at the IU Archives if you are interested in learning more about the Remak collection.

Henry H. H. Remak as Administrator – or as he put it – “a Lamb in Lamb’s Clothing”

Remak in his IAS office, 1992

Since May of 2011 I have been processing the professional papers of Henry H. H. Remak (1916 – 2009) who served Indiana University as a devoted professor, scholar and – at various points – administrator. At the end of last semester, I finished sorting this 108-box collection into groups of related materials – or series – based on Remak’s various roles at IU. This semester my work has begun on arranging and organizing each series. Last week, I finished arranging the administrative series, which highlights Remak’s diverse leadership roles. He served as chairman not only for one, but for three departments on campus – Germanic Studies (1962), Comparative Literature (1954-1963, intermittently) and West European Studies (1966-1969). Remak also served as Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Faculties (1969-1974), as well as Director of the Institute for Advanced Study(1988-1994, 1997-1998). While files from each of these diverse roles are included in the collection, for this post I’ll be focusing on Remak’s term as director of the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS).

IAS was founded in 1982 with the goal of bringing distinguished lecturers and visitors from all over the world to Bloomington in order to pursue their research and collaborate with IU faculty and students. Composer Leonard Bernstein, author Ursula K. Le Guin, and anthropologist Sir Edmund R. Leach are just a few of the noteworthy individuals that IAS has brought to IU in past years.

Remak with IAS fellow, Toru Haga, 1991

In 1988, when Remak assumed directorship of the Institute, he had already retired once. Yet, at the ripe, young age of 72 Remak was still teaching. He was also still active in his research, so what would stop him from directing “Indiana University’s leading center for the pursuit of new knowledge and new directions of inquiry in all fields of study” (Institute for Advanced Study)? In one of his “memos to fellow faculty members” – which were, without fail, characteristically enthusiastic, charming and rather lengthy – Professor Remak reassured his colleagues that he came to them “as a lamb in lamb’s clothing.” He went on to explain that his objectives were to “serve” the research needs of IU’s faculty and students, as well as “re-personalize” faculty interactions “in a university whose size and universality are great assets behind which lurks the danger of becoming a well-run bureaucracy where process is smothering substance.” During his tenure as director, Professor Remak certainly followed through with these promises by contributing to the Institute’s prolific list of fellows and visiting scholars.

Remak with Ivona Hedin of IAS and IAS fellow, Toshie Kawamoto, 1992

In 1989, Remak welcomed world-renowned semiotician, historian, and fiction author – Umberto Eco – to the Institute. In 1994 two-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize and spokeswoman for the Chinese Democracy Movement – Chai Ling – came to IU thanks to the Institute. Leading European chemist Lord Lewis of Newnham and Sergei Denisov, who won the prestigious Lenin Prize in Physics, are just two more examples of the high-caliber scholars that Professor Remak helped bring to IU for the benefit of faculty and students alike. While I have just listed some “big” names to give you a small sample of what kinds of fellows the Institute was able to procure, as Remak noted:

The Institute for Advanced Study stands for more than bringing ‘big shots’ to Indiana University for ephemeral headlines. We have had our share of Nobel Prize winners and other celebrities (and that is fine), but we have also had “Assistant Lecturers” and “Resident Tutors.” Titles don’t matter. What matters is the quality of thinking and how it may contribute to Indiana University.

In 1994, Henry H. H. Remak retired from directing the Institute for Advanced Study. However, it would seem that Professor Remak had quite a flexible interpretation of the term retired. In 1997 he came back to the Institute in full swing and served as Interim Director for one more year. As gratitude for his many contributions as director, in 1994 the Remak Distinguished Scholarship award was set up in his honor. Additionally, in 1991 various IAS fellows contributed to a Liber Amicorum (a book compiled to honor a respected academic while they are still living) not only to thank Remak for his contributions to IAS but to mark the occasion of his 75th birthday.

As always, Remak did his job not just as a job but as a privilege that he undertook with skill, amiability and contagious enthusiasm.