Behind the Curtain: Julia Kilgore, Bicentennial Oral History Intern

Behind the Curtain is a series highlighting IU Archives staff, partners from various departments of the IU Libraries, and students who make all of our work possible. Continue to follow over the coming months to read how and who make the magic happen!

Role: Bicentennial Oral History Intern

Educational Background: BA in History, BA in Art from Hillsdale College; Current MLS student with a specialization in archives and records management.

How she got here: Julia started working in archives as an undergraduate at Hillsdale College. At the College, she mainly worked in special collections as the caretaker of the campus Library’s coin collection, but she occasionally helped the college Archivist with various projects. One particular project she enjoyed was helping to rearrange documents from the Winston Churchill Project.  She also had the pleasure of working with and organizing an entire archives collection at a local historic house, the Grosvenor House Museum.

When Julia volunteered for the Grosvenor House Museum, she never knew what to expect.  It was like Christmas every day! One afternoon she would be flipping through a pile of graduation announcements from the local schools and the next she would be trying to identify individuals in a stack of nameless photos. There were old maps, rail road tickets, letters, articles on local war heroes…one time she and a friend found a military commission from King George III for a local townsman with its wax seal still intact! Meanwhile at the College, Julia would sift through and rehouse tons of letters between Winston Churchill and his wife, secretary notes from meetings, letters to dignitaries from around the world, and other great documents. After working with these collections, Julia knew that she wanted to work in an environment where she could interact with archives and special collections in some way, whether it be in a library, museum, or a similar institution.

Julia began her dual MLS/Art History degree in the fall of 2015 and found work as a Public Services Assistant in Wells Library. In the spring of 2016, she began processing collections for the IU Archives and transitioned into her current position as Bicentennial Oral History Intern the following semester.

Favorite item in the collection: One of Julia’s favorite items in the archives is Volume 5 of the Sycamore Logbook from 1944-1945 from the IU Women’s Residence Halls scrapbooks (see more info about the scrapbooks in her posts titled “Snippets from Dorm Life” and “Mail Call“). She was reordering all of IU’s women’s dorm scrapbooks when she decided to flip through a few to get an idea of what these ladies were like. As she turned page after page of unidentified photographs, she wondered if she would find anything that would tell her their names or what their lives were like at IU. She turned a page and saw the headline “Mail Call.” She was immediately drawn to it because she knew the book was from around the end of World War II, meaning it had to be something about soldiers during the war.

It turned out to be a really great piece describing a typical morning in Sycamore Hall where the ladies would dash downstairs immediately after waking up to see if there was news from the front lines. It really struck a chord with Julia and reminded her yet again the amazing things you get to discover while working in archives (and purely by accident too!).

Current project: Julia interviews staff and alumni for the Oral History Project about their time here at IU.

Favorite experience in the IU Archives: Julia loves when she is interviewing someone for the Oral History project and they talk about old student hangouts or past events.  It’s really great because she can research these places and events after the interview and she always finds great things in our collections on them.  Sitting there listening to them talk about these things really helps her to connect with our collections on a different level.  It makes it all the more real to her.

What she’s learned from working here: Restaurants, bookstores, and other places downtown have such a rich and wonderful history that are so interconnected to IU and its students. The best thing about it? Many of them still exist.  It is wonderful to go into places Nick’s or the Gables after hearing about all of these different experiences and think about what it was like then versus now.

Behind the Curtain: Nick Homenda, Digital Initiatives Librarian

dsc_0472Title: Digital Initiatives Librarian for IU Libraries

Role: Nick assists the IU Archives with digital projects and the ongoing use of services and workflows that his department manages.

Educational Background: BA in Clarinet Performance from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University; MA in Clarinet Performance from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University Bloomington; MSIS with a specialization in Music Librarianship from the University of Texas at Austin

Previous Experience: Nick has worked in libraries and archival repositories since 2001, first as an undergraduate intern, followed by working for the Digital Library Program scanning sheet music while attending IU. When he worked as an orchestral musician in West Virginia, he also worked at a public and an academic library in paraprofessional positions. Nick’s first professional job was as a music librarian at the University of South Carolina.

Favorite item in the collection: Nick loves the Archives Photograph Collection– he notes that it’s really interesting to see how our campus has grown over the past 200 years and he likes photos of familiar places from long ago.

Old Crescent, 1900
Old Crescent, 1900. Archives image no. P0035214

Current project: Lately, he has been working with collections of materials described in different ways- uniquely-formatted spreadsheets, databases, etc., and using XML technologies like XSLT and XQuery to quickly turn them into EAD container lists for Archives staff.

Favorite experience with the IU Archives: Working on the IU Folklore Institute student papers finding aid has been great. Carrie Schwier, Outreach and Public Services Archivist, recently collaborated with Nick to programmatically produce an EAD container list from an Access database, and it was really gratifying to do. With the collection now publicly accessible, it was recently promoted at the American Folklore Society conference.

What he’s learned from working with the IU Archives: Nick has learned how to have a successful social media strategy in a University department. The @IUBArchives twitter presence is really impressive, and other library units and centers on campus should use it as an example of how to reach out to thousands of potential users and share enthusiasm for really fascinating content.

The Origins of the IU Logo and Colors

Andrea has since graduated and moved on, but she left us with some of her amazing blog posts ready to go! Congratulations to Andrea and we think we convinced her that archives is where she wants to be!  

Indiana University Archives P0024505, 2006

Nowadays, the above image is such an iconic and powerful symbol that you can ask pretty much any Midwestern American what it means and they’ll be able to tell you right off the bat: “That’s Indiana University.” It’s on almost every licensed set of apparel or memorabilia you can purchase under the university’s name. And if the letters don’t immediately tip you off, surely the colors will. Over the past century, the IU interlocking insignia in crimson/cream has become a statement that adds up to so much more than the sum of its parts; it means Hoosier pride, excellence in education and athletics, and to many, home. We tend to take things like this simple and enduring design for granted. But where did it come from? After all, someone had to have designed it.

Indiana University Archives P0026900, 1898

The earliest known version of the interlocking insignia can be found in the 1898 Arbutus on the introductory page before the Athletics section. This design was, as labelled, drawn by Claude McDonald Hamilton. We’ve been unable to find any instance of the symbol that predates this one, but from this moment on, you can find many instances of the IU logo in the early 20th century. Many of the early examples of the symbol were used for athletic purposes. Hamilton, notably, was a member of the IU football team for four years, served as editor of the Arbutus, and graduated with a degree in Economics in 1898. There’s no telling whether Hamilton designed this logo himself or borrowed it from some other unknown source.

Indiana University Archives P0026905 1900

As for the colors, we have a somewhat more comprehensive history of their origins. The December 1887 Indiana Student noted that the “colors of the university are crimson and black. Senior class cream and gold.” So, at some point, the two different color combinations must have fused together. By 1903, The Daily Student published an article that stated most of the students and faculty had no idea what IU’s colors were, but several answered confidently that the colors were some variation of crimson, red, white, and cream. The writer of this article explicitly stated that the colors of the university were cream and crimson, explaining that these colors were adopted fifteen years prior (in 1888). Apparently, the colors gained popularity due to their catchy alliteration.

In later years, IU switched to a simpler red and white. It wasn’t until around 2002 that they reverted back to the signature cream and crimson. The University hired Michael-Osborne Design from San Francisco to redesign the interlocking IU symbol with instructions to apply the crimson color to it. Designer Paul Kagiwada gave the logo a newer, cleaner look. The result is that same iconic symbol you’ll see all over campus today.

Indiana Daily Student, November 5, 2002

Behind the Curtain: Tyler Davis, Summer Intern

Role: Intern at the Indiana University Archives

Educational Background: Tyler received his bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Miami University, Ohio in 2015. He is currently entering his second year of the Master of Information and Library Science graduate program at IUB, where he is specializing in Archives and Records Management.

How he got here: This is Tyler’s first time working in an actual archives. Before he joined the MLS program, he spent a year volunteering for the special collections department of a library in Ohio, where he was able to process an amazing collection of memorabilia from a World War I aviation historian. He also worked for a digitization project in undergrad where he scanned and preserved photographic negatives from the 1940s-1960s. These experiences helped him to know that archival work was something that he wanted to pursue further.

He has been studying archives and records management in the MLS program and when it came time for an internship, Tyler wanted to get as much hands-on experience in these areas as possible. When he spoke to the staff at the IU Archives and learned that he would be able to work on some great projects with both an archivist and a records manager, he knew he’d found the right place!

Favorite Collection in the IU Archives: Tyler’s favorite item(s) that he has encountered in the Archives so far is the Kathleen Cavanaugh scrapbook collection (C617). Cavanaugh made these scrapbooks by hand as a student at IU in the early 1960s, and they are full of amazing memorabilia from that time – everything from photographs and cards to matchbooks and corsages from school dances. These scrapbooks are fun to flip through, and it is a very unique and personal way of interacting with the IU student experience of the 1960s.

Current Project: There are quite a few projects in the works! Tyler has been doing some web archiving work, including crawling and preserving all IU-affiliated social media accounts on Archive-it.org (see his previous post “Tweeting and Pinning: Archiving IU’s Social Media sites” on that project). He has also been processing a few incoming collections, as well as imaging born digital media in the Born Digital Preservation Lab. Recently, he began doing research into state laws and University policies to help compile a records retention schedule for the School of Informatics and Computing as they prepare to make the big move into Luddy Hall this winter.

Favorite experience in the IU Archives: Tyler’s favorite experience has been getting to know the staff, who are great to work with and are excellent at what they do. He is glad to have had the opportunity to learn from their example!

What he’s learned from working here: In addition to learning many useful archival practices, Tyler has also picked up some fun facts about IU history by working with the collections. For example, when he was processing the Institute for Urban Transportation records (C682), he learned that Bloomington’s first public transit system was established in 1973 by a collaboration between the institute’s founder, Dr. George Smerk, and a geography professor at IU, William R. Black. In the University’s early years, the city and the campus were obviously small enough for students to get around without automotive assistance, so he thinks this goes to show how much the University has steadily grown and expanded over the years.

Behind the Curtain: Sylva Osbourne, Summer Intern

Role: Summer Intern at the IU Archives

Educational Background: B.A. in Music from the University of Chicago. Current graduate student in the School of Informatics and Computing seeking a Master of Library Science (MLS) with a specialization in Archives and Records Management and interest in preservation/conservation.

How she got here: Before coming to IU, Sylva spent most of her undergraduate years working at the Regenstein Library, the University of Chicago’s main library. As a student assistant in circulation she became very familiar with the complexities of maintaining a large stacks collection. After graduation, she switched gears landing a part-time position in the technical services department of the law library for Sidley Austin LLP in downtown Chicago. It was here she decided to pursue a career in librarianship, leading her to IU and the MLS program.

This internship has been her first experience working in any kind of archival repository. Prior to this, her main work and library experience have been more on the technical services side of things. Her previous experience is what led her to decide that she wanted to do more hands-on work with library materials, sparking her interest in archives and preservation.

Favorite Collection in the IU Archives: Sylva’s favorite collection at IU is the collection of yearbooks housed in the archive reading room. Before the University became too big, the yearbooks contained pictures of all the students at IU each year. They also include pictures of all student organizations, sports teams, and faculty members, just like a traditional yearbook. Following the student population explosion after WWII, the yearbook however had to adapt. Rather than just pages of pictures of students, the yearbooks started to include interesting pieces on and photos of the various events and activities that happened around IU each year. At the end, you will still find portraits of the graduating class and student organizations but the majority of the books offer a fascinating glimpse of IU life as the years go on.

Current Project: Currently, Sylva is processing a recently acquired collection from the Commission on Multicultural Understanding (COMU). Despite the occasional papercut, she is enjoying being able to dive into the folders and get an in-depth look at the work COMU did for IU. She is also researching the story of a student at IU from the late 1910s who was accused of building “infernal devices” with various mechanical parts found in his room. He was an expert watchmaker who was cleared of all charges as all of the parts were found harmless. Using ancestry.com and different parts of the IU Archive collection, Sylva is trying to track documents relating to this man’s life to be used in a future active-learning exercise for instruction sessions at the archives.

Favorite experience in the IU Archives: Sylva’s favorite thing about being an intern at the archives is the chance to learn from some amazing people. Having had very little experience with archives before, she has gained a lot of practical knowledge.

What she’s learned from working here: Sylva has learned a great deal about some of the key figures in IU’s history from sifting through the papers of the president office, in particular President William Lowe Bryan (1902-1937). It’s nice to be able to connect buildings and things around town to the people for which they were named!