Summer fun at the Biological Field Station

 In the summer of 1895, Professor Carl H. Eigenmann established a “Biology Station” at Turkey Lake in Kosciusko County, Indiana – the first inland biological station in the United States. Established with the consent of University Trustees, Eigenmann was allowed to use the apparatus from the zoology department for the duration of a nine week summer session with the understanding that there would be no cost to the University as a result of operating the station. The first year, however, was such a success that thereafter the trustees provided permanent equipment.

The purpose of the station was research and instruction in the biological sciences with a focus on the study of variation. The first year 19 students attended. That number grew to 32 the second year, 63 the third, and 103 the fourth year. The number of classes offered also increased so that by the summer of 1898, students could study zoology, botany, bacteriology, mathematics, French, and German. At the end of the fourth year, the station was moved to Eagle Lake (Winona Lake), where land was gifted by the Winona Christian Assembly along with funds for building two small, two-story frame buildings.

Buildings at Winona Lake

The 1920 announcement for the summer session outlines living arrangements for the students. It states students have a wide choice – they can tent camp; rent a room for $2-$4 week; or even stay at the local hotel with weekly rates of $10 and up. Boats could be rented for private use for $5-$10 for the entirety of the summer. Laboratory fees for the summer were $25. Work every weekday consisted of one lecture and six hours of laboratory or field work, with supplementary reading, or two lectures and five hours of lab or field work. Saturdays they finished up at noon.

In 1938, formal instruction at the station ceased, a victim of the Depression. After that, it was primarily used as a research center for faculty and graduate students. In 1960, the Department of Zoology brought forth a proposal for a new program in field biology, complete with a new Biological Station and Aquatic Research Unit, in cooperation with the Indiana Department of Conservation. The Board of Trustees approved the proposal, and in 1961, a new location was selected at Crooked Lake in Whitley and Noble Counties. In 1965, the land at Winona Lake was sold back to the Winona Lake Bible Conference for $2,000.

With support from the National Science Foundation, the Station at Crooked Lake was up and running within a few short years. Research centered on the utilization of normal stocks of fish in Indiana lakes as well as the exploration of ways to increase fish production. This field station is still owned and used by Indiana University researchers and students.

Interested in knowing more about any of the Field Stations? We can help; just drop us a line. I also recommend checking out this blog post from the Wylie House. In addition to being a museum, Wylie House also holds manuscript collections, including the papers of Morton C. Bradley, Sr. Among Bradley’s papers are letters he wrote whilst courting Theophilus Wylie’s granddaughter, Marie Boisen. In the linked-to post, the Wylie House has transcribed several letters written while Bradley was a student at the Turkey Lake Biological Station in 1897 and 1898.

Ballade of Commencement Eve

Congratulations to all those receiving their IU degrees this weekend!! We hope you enjoyed your time in Bloomington and remember your Alma Mater fondly. Today we’d like to share a poem written by IU alumna Bertha Burns Lee Broyles, Class of 1905, upon the occasion of her 50th class reunion.

Jim Thorpe: World’s Greatest Athlete

Jim Thorpe with punters
Jim Thorpe with Indiana punters

I recently caught the documentary “Jim Thorpe, The World’s Greatest Athlete” on WFIU. I love documentaries and this one is worth a watch. But unless I missed it, they never mentioned the time this legend spent at Indiana University!

If you do not know the story, Thorpe, a Native American, began his athletic career at Pennsylvania’s Carlisle Indian Industrial School in 1907 where he played baseball, football, and was a member of the track team. He excelled in football and under the tutelage of Glen Scobey “Pop” Warner, Thorpe became a star on the Carlisle team. Before long the small school was winning against the likes of Harvard and Yale.

In 1912, Thorpe went to Stockholm as a member of the American Olympic track team. There he smashed previously held records, winning gold medals for the pentathlon and decathlon. He came home with $50,000 in trophies, including a chalice in the shape of a Viking ship presented to him by the Czar of Russia. Sadly, within a month, the Olympic Committee stripped him of his hard won medals, as it was learned that he had been paid a small sum for playing summer baseball – Jim Thorpe, they decided, was no amateur athlete.

This hardly meant an end to his sports career – quite the opposite, in fact. In 1913, he signed a contract to play baseball with the New York Giants, and went on to also play for the Chicago Cardinals and Canton (Ohio) Bulldogs. In 1920, he was elected president of the American Professional Football Association, the forerunner of today’s NFL.

Clearly, this guy was a big deal.

So where’s the IU connection?

Well, in 1914 IU hired C.C. Childs as its head football coach. In seeking out additional coaching staff, Childs considered — and passed over — job-seeker Knute Rockne (some of you may have heard of him) and remembered his fellow Olympic team member Thorpe. Thorpe was wrapping up a season with the Giants and he looked with interest at the opportunity to return to football. To assist with IU’s 1915 football season, he asked for $1000 plus a room for his family at a Bloomington hotel. A deal was struck and the students were thrilled to learn that the World’s Greatest Athlete would be joining the coaching staff. Sadly, his addition to the staff did not help lead the Hoosiers to glory that season. They finished with one victory, over Northwestern, and tied with Washington and Lee. Despite the poor record, Thorpe was welcomed as a hero on the campus and in the Bloomington community.

Thorpe left Bloomington to continue his professional athletic career in baseball and football. Throughout his life, Thorpe struggled with alcoholism and after retiring as a player, he found himself moving from job to job. When he died of a heart attack in 1953, he was penniless. Thorpe, however, would be long remembered for his athletic prowess. In 1983, the International Olympic Committee restored his Olympic medals and in 1999, Senator Rick Santorum sponsored a U.S. Senate resolution to name him Athlete of the Century.

“Man on the Floor!”: The Coming of Open Visitation

But alas, in this land, children are not always trained the way they should go. Still we welcome them with hope — we spurn none away without trial, even the surly and self-willed youth. We throw around him arms of love, pour into his ears the voice of entreaty, and bedew his cheeks with the tears of fraternal sympathy. – Indiana University President William M. Daily, 1856

For nearly 150 years, Indiana University managed students under in loco parentis – “in the place of a parent”. Discipline was to be meted out with a paternal, not punitive, hand. Rules regarding housing and social activities were plentiful and were to be followed. In general, there were more regulations guiding the lives of the coeds than for the male student population.

From the 1962-63 student regulations
From the 1962-63 student regulations

For many years, women could only participate in social functions on university property unless approved by the Social Affairs Committee; freshman women who held jobs requiring them to work 4 or more hours a day were not allowed to enroll for more than 10 credit hours without permission; and one we frequently hear about from alums — women’s hours. Unless previously approved, women had to be in their residence by a certain time because doors were locked. If they weren’t in by that time, they had to find a collaborator within the sorority or residence hall to stealthily sneak them in; otherwise, they had better be adept at climbing into a window!

The changing landscape of the 1960s brought an end to in loco parentis at Indiana University; women’s hours were discontinued, open visitation was ratified, and students were no longer required to live in university-approved housing.

Open Visitation?

After a considerable amount of work by student leaders, open visitation was approved by the Board of Trustees in 1968. Open visitation, or open guest privileges, meant three days a week, residents of university housing could have visitors of the opposite sex in their rooms if two-thirds of the residents in a given housing unit approved, determined via secret ballot. This change in university policy brought a firestorm of criticism from Indiana lawmakers, citizens, and, not surprisingly, parents.

60% of parents surveyed were against open visitation.
60% of parents surveyed were against open visitation.

IU’s new president, Joseph Sutton, prepared a letter for critics, stating, “Other state universities have instituted such a policy without public objection and I am puzzled why Indiana residents are so distrustful of their youth. Surely training in Indiana homes is just as effective as elsewhere.”

Despite the backlash, open guest hours remained in place and expanded for those who requested it. Although availability dwindled in numbers over the years, closed visitation housing remained an option for students until recent years, even if it was just a floor within a larger housing unit.

I know I am not doing this subject justice, but truly, one could write a book about student regulations at IU! If you are interested in researching this topic, let us know! We have extensive clippings files, student handbooks, university administrative records, as well as the records of student and faculty groups that could prove valuable.