The Archives Behind Disney’s Howard: Guest Blog Post by Lori Korngiebel and Don Hahn

The Indiana University Archives had the honor of assisting Lori Korngiebel and Don Hahn in their quest for archival materials on IU alumnus, Howard Ashman, for their documentary Howard. Director of Howard, Hahn is also a film producer who has produced some of Disney’s most beloved animated films, such as Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King. Korngiebel, producer of Howard, has worked on several Disney films and served as Associate Producer for Maleficent and the soon-to-be-released Cruella.

We are so pleased to share that Lori and Don were kind enough to answer a few questions about their research process as they worked on Howard!

Can you tell me about your archival research process? What repositories did you visit?

We were fortunate because Howard’s estate had gifted his archives to the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Don and I started our journey there and spent days excitedly going through archival boxes, finding hidden treasures from Howard’s life (such as his handwritten notes during the “Little Shop” casting process and an audio recording of Howard talking to the “Little Mermaid” directors, Ron Clements and John Musker).  

After we left the LOC, Don and I traveled to NYC were we interviewed Howard’s friends and family, who were also so generous to share photos and videos with us. So, between the LOC and our F&F interviews, we went back to California with a strong foundation to begin building the documentary.

From there, as we began editing the film, Don and I would do research online, reaching out to the people and places that Howard may have had contact with during his life and career. The Indiana University Archives was one of the places we reached out to when we happened upon Kristin Leaman’s Howard Ashman blog post during our online research.

What are some of your exciting archival finds for this documentary?

We knew that Howard had done interviews at THE LITTLE MERMAID junket in Walt Disney World but after searching high and low we were not able to find any of them. Tragically, the 80s are a black hole of lost video tape archives and we had all but given up. Then, one day Don Hahn received a phone call at the office from a colleague saying they had found an audio cassette from the MERMAID junket that they believed had Howard interviews on it. Well, after literally YEARS of searching, we jumped on it and were over the moon when we heard Howard and Alan (Menken) answering questions. It may not have been video but that audio was like GOLD to us!

Did you find any archival materials that significantly impacted the film in a way you were not expecting?

We were told that Howard had learned about his HIV diagnosis on the same day that he spoke at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. We discovered that the Y did not video tape lectures back then but they did record audio and lucky for us they were able to find that audio. With this discovery we knew we would have to find a way to show the significance of this lecture. No one there knew what Howard and his partner Bill had just been told and it is gut wrenching to listen to the interview with the understanding that he is keeping it together, answering questions and making people laugh all while grappling with this horrible news.

What is the most exciting thing you discovered in the Indiana University Archives?

One of our most exciting archival finds came from the IU Archives! We were told there could be a local interview with Howard when he came to the University to see their production of LITTLE SHOP in 1987. When we received the footage we were THRILLED. Our goal was always to have Howard tell his story as much as possible in the film and there he was in an interview that probably hadn’t been seen in over 30 years. It was amazing!

Why was doing archival research and including archival materials in the documentary so important to you?

This is the story of an amazing man, who during his short time on earth, changed the lives of millions (and continues to do so) through his lyrics and songs. In order to do Howard justice, we needed to ensure that we uncovered every lyric, photo, interview and song so the audience could know the man who created the songs we already love and by doing so, fall in love with him, too.

Is there anything that you want people to know about the documentary?

I just feel so lucky to have worked on the film. Like our audience, I never met Howard in person, I only knew him from his work. But, because of the generosity of Don, Sarah (Howard’s sister), Bill (Howard’s partner) and countless other friends and family who donated their time, love and memories to the film… I feel like I do know Howard now and I am blessed to consider him a friend.

Howard Ashman sitting on desk during 1987 campus visit
Howard Ashman, April 1987, courtesy Indiana University Archives, P0026314

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.

Advocating for support for student veterans – the American Veterans Committee Scrapbook

While the IU Archives remains closed to the public due to the COVID-19 crisis, I have been digging into the collections available digitally through Archives Online to discover and highlight some of the great artifacts the IU community can explore from the comfort of their homes. I came across a scrapbook put together by a veteran’s group for IU students that was active during and directly following WWII that allowed me a fascinating glimpse into veteran student issues.

The Second World War transformed life at Indiana University in many ways, and these transformations extended into the postwar time as many men came back to attend college and start the next chapter of their lives. Many organizations were established to help veterans make their transformation from soldier to civilian, including a newly formed progressive veterans committee called the American Veterans Committee (AVC), originally formed as an alternative option to what some considered the more conservative veterans groups like the American Legion. The American Veterans Committee, formed at the national level in 1943 and disbanded in 2008, pledged to support veterans of all races and creeds and was notably offering racially integrated committees across the country when other veterans groups were not. Their political agenda included petitioning the local and state government to start or support legislation related to improving veteran support in all facets of life and supporting advocate groups like the NAACP that fought for civil rights and racial equality.

Scrabook page for the 1946-47 school year which includes a resolution concerning AVC policies. The resolution reads: l. As progressive citizens we pledge our active support to any reforms which in our opinion broaden the benefits and security of all people. 2. As progressive citizens we pledge our ative support to help fight bigotry, prejudice, and discrimination against any minority group. 3. As progressive citzens we pledge our active support to fight against all organizations which menace the liberties of the people. 4. We do not identify ourselves with any party, nor do we place ourselves at any point on a political line from left to right. To determine our policy on any issue we will consider that issue and vote our descision in a democratic manner. 5. As student citizens of Indiana University we support the furtherance of academic freedom and building a yet better institution of higher knowledge. We pledge our aid to the University administration to improve in any manner possible the scholastic, and social program of the University.
American Veterans Committee’s Resolution concerning AVC policies for the 1946-1947 school year, AVC Scrapbook, 1946-1949.

The AVC Bloomington chapter offered support to veterans on IU’s campus and in the Bloomington community as a whole. The collection is fully digitized and includes one scrapbook that includes clips of newspaper, photographs, and chapter items from the years 1946-1949, and offers an interesting glimpse of what life was like for veteran students during these years right after WWII.

Black and white photograph of members of the AVC.
American Veterans Committee, from the 1946 Arbutus Yearbook, IU Archives P0034240

Like the national organization, Bloomington’s chapter was committed to supporting all veterans on campus and in the community, regardless of nationality, race, or religion. Their main policies included fighting bigotry, which included a push to bar Bloomington restaurants from discriminating against people of color. They were supporters of the Bloomington NAACP. In 1948, the organization wrote an op-ed to the Indiana Daily Student that outlined their support for national integration of all colleges and to end all college discrimination.

The Bloomington AVC also focused on the financial aspects of IU veterans’ lives. In 1947, the AVC compiled the GI Subsistence Survey that asked 1500 current student veterans about their finances and the support they receive from the government; based on their results, they asked the university and local and national politicians to increase veteran subsistence pay, arguing that veterans were paying more for housing and food than they should be.

Scan of a scrapbook page from the AVC
Results of the AVC’s Subsistence Survey with press clippings, AVC Scrapbook, 1946-1949.

The American Veterans Committee also hosted social and educational events on campus to support their initiatives. In 1947 the group hosted an Autumn Festival informal dance at the Indiana Memorial Union. The AVC also hosted speakers for their members and the general public, including history novelist Howard Fast, sports writer John R. Tunis, and the famed IU professor Dr. Alfred Kinsey right after his release of Sexual Behavior in the Human Male at an AVC meeting in 1948. It was one of the only public lectures he gave on campus after the release of the book.

The scrapbook is a fascinating glimpse into a few of the issues that student veterans faced as they returned from war, adjusted to life back home, attended university, and moved forward in their lives. Aspects of life that affected veterans as they transitioned back into society are deeply compelling to see from the student perspective. Check out the finding aid and the full scrapbook here!

Behind the Curtain (Work from Home Edition): Carrie Schwier, Outreach and Public Services Archivist

Tell us about yourself and your work with the IU Archives (including your role and educational background).  

I have worked at the IU Archives on a full-time basis since 2008, first as the Assistant Archivist and now as the Outreach and Public Services Archivist. I have a B.A. in Art History from Hanover College, and an M.A. in Art History and M.L.S. from Indiana University. In my current role I do a little bit of everything, but my core functions include overseeing public services, outreach initiatives, and instruction.  

How did your work change once everything became remote? Was it a smooth or rough transition?   

During the academic year, the bulk of my time is spent collaborating with teaching faculty to design and implement primary source–based instruction sessions and assignments. The IU Archives regularly serves over 30 separate departments across the University including the School of Art and Design, the Media School, the School of Music, the School of Education, and a wide swath of the College of Arts and Sciences ranging from Art History, to Folklore, to History, to Psychology. Prior to mid-March 2020, this always meant that classes visited the IU Archives for hands-on active learning sessions where students evaluated diaries, student publications, and university records based upon the course learning objectives and then often returned to conduct follow up research. As was the case in all sectors of education, after mid-March this was no longer possible and I had to make the rapid shift to online instruction.  

I can’t say that this shift was incredibly smooth, but it was one that I enjoyed as a new challenge. I’ve been interested in exploring remote or asynchronous instruction as an option to support the increasingly large courses (up to 150 students) that I now work with, but I had never had the time to dedicate to learning new methods and technology. The pandemic forced me and for that I’m thankful! This semester, the instruction sessions I’m doing are all virtual but still feel really interactive. For synchronous (live) sessions I lean on Zoom breakout rooms to facilitate small group discussion, and tools such as Padlet, Google Jamboard, and Google Drive to facilitate student interaction with our collection. For asynchronous sessions I’ve developed a set of Video tutorials using Kaltura to walk student through how to access our collection remotely and lean on LibGuides and Google forms.

How has your work environment changed (ie the view, new “office assistants” such as pets, kids, etc.)?    

Personally, this has been one of my favorite changes. While I enjoy my co-workers, I work in an open office environment that can be distracting when I’m trying to focus on tasks such as writing or planning. While my husband is also working from home, we are privileged to have enough space that we can work from separate parts of the house. Now my main distractions have fur. Our cat Ollie and our 1 year old pup Lucy frequently think they need food, cuddles, and walks (just the dog though on that). Additionally, my home office space has 3 windows which is a wonderful change from the painted concrete block of my workspace in the archives. These are going to be a HUGE asset over the cold dark winter when I usually only see daylight on the weekends. The main downside is that working from home my entire day is spent in front of a screen, whereas when I was back in the office screen time was broken up by helping patrons in our reading room, working with students in the classroom, looking through a collections, or in person meetings.  

What do you think are some of the advantages or silver-linings of working remotely? Disadvantages?  

There are some parts of my job that seem to be working better in a remote environment. For example, undergraduates seem more comfortable reaching out to me after instruction sessions for individualized research consultations. While these were always available in person before, I think the move to holding these over Zoom has actually broken down some barriers. Plus in a remote environment we can share screens to talk through discovery tools, they can easily record the conversation so that they can go back and listen later, etc. I think this is definitely something that will become part of our regular offerings once we return to onsite work full time. I’m also really appreciating the increased opportunities for remote professional development. On the downside, I do really miss the conversations that inevitably happen with colleagues in the hallways between meetings. I feel like those are the times when the best ideas for cross-departmental collaboration happen.  

What are some projects and activities that you were able to focus on that were second thoughts with in-person work?   

As I mentioned above, the move to remote work really forced me to rethink and get creative about the way that I do my work and over the last several months I’ve been forced to dedicate time to my own professional development and learning new things so that I can adapt. I’ve found this to be a fun and energizing challenge. I learned a TON from the Teaching with Primary Sources (TPS) Community through participating in and helping to plan the TPS Community Calls and the TPS Unconference

What has been your favorite remote project to work on?   

My colleague Maureen Maryanski (Lilly Library) and I recently wrapped up a study for Ithaka S+R about Teaching with Primary Sources with the goal of identifying and developing recommendations for supporting this work at the local level. Prior to lockdown, we interviewed 15 instructors at Indiana University who regularly integrate primary sources into their curriculum and over the spring and summer we coded the transcripts and then wrote a report on our findings. The report covers four general themes we identified during the course of the study: The Importance of Teaching with Primary Sources (including educational equity and increased student engagement), Learning to Teach with Primary Sources (including mentorship and learning from librarians and archivists), challenges with Discovery and Access, and Physical Primary Sources and Collaboration (see the full report here). 

What are the aspects of remote work that you hope to carry over to when in-person work returns?   

While the IU Archives still isn’t open to the public, most of the full-time staff has been going in once or twice a week for some time in order to help remote researchers and to support instruction. That said I doubt that our staff will be back in the office full-time for some time. Overall I hope that the option of remote work continues to be an option (at least occasionally) even once things return to “normal.”  I find that I’m less distracted at home and that I have more space to think creatively. I also feel like it’s easier to eat healthy when I don’t have to brown-bag it every day, plus at home I have a dog to motivate me to take a walk every day at lunch!  

Outside of work, what are some pastimes that you have started up and are bringing you joy during this time?   

We got our pup Lucy in January right before lockdown and we’ve been spending lots of time with her – we did a remote Zoom training series of classes in March and April (that was a challenge) and we’ve been going on lots of walks and to the dog park. During the warmer months we spent a lot of time gardening and hiking and I now I find myself moving to cooking, puzzles and books. I’ve also been enjoying Zoom cocktail dates with old friends I haven’t seen in person in years because we live all across the country. 

H228 Creating Archival Stories #7

Mary Elizabeth Campbell by Karolina Sroka

Mary Elizabeth Campbell

Devoted, driven, and dauntless. These adjectives describe Mary Elizabeth Campbell’s persona perfectly. She devoted much of her life to make an influential impact on Indiana University. Mary’s driven personality propelled her to publish several original works which includes a popular favorite: Scandal Has Two Faces. Finally, Mary’s dauntless acts throughout her life include serving in World War II, confronting problems that faced professional and educated women, and teaching the first comparative literature course offered at Indiana University. 

Kokomo Tribune

Although Cambridge, Ohio was Mary’s birthplace, she had a connection with Bloomington early on in her life. When she was around thirteen years, Indiana University offered her father a position as a professor. As a result, her whole family moved to Bloomington. Just three years later, her father became a professor at Harvard. Nonetheless, IU remained a short-lived, yet inspiring experience and held a special place in Mary’s heart. In fact, after finishing school from Cambridge Latin School and Radcliffe, Mary became an English instructor at IU in 1927 and rose through the ranks, retiring as Professor Emeritus in 1973. Talk about devotion! Throughout her time as a faculty member, Mary took the time to advance her education at Yale, where she gained her PhD in the year 1938. As seen in the clipping from The Kokomo Tribune,  Mary along with other notable IU faculty members discussed an English literature series called British Men of Letters. Not only did Mary devote her time as an English professor at IU Bloomington, but she also participated in spreading her knowledge to a broader audience. 

Indianapolis Star

Mary made the most use of her time as a professor at Indiana. She always had a passion for writing and took it upon herself to publish something. In the year 1938, the same year she gained her PhD, Mary published her first book named Defoe’s First PoemThis publication focuses on Daniel Defoe, a writer, journalist, pamphleteer, and even spy who was seen as an early and passionate proponent of the English novel. Defoe must have been an inspiration for Mary as they share a passion for English literature and novels, and ultimately helped drive Mary to publish her own works. Actually, in 1943, she published yet another book called Scandal Has Two Faces, which sparked more popularity. This murder mystery came out before academic novels were considered popular, so it intrigued critics and scholars. Set in academia, this novel excited all ages with its clever humor and plot. The fictious story takes place on a college campus, making it even more enticing for students. It allowed them to engage and feel a part of the story. Even in the Hoosier Accent, as seen in the clipping, Mary receives much praise on her novel. This hopefulness ande ncouragement the article displays further fuels Mary’s drive for writing. There was a lot of positive feedback on the novel, and for some time Mary seriously considered writing a sequel to the mystery, but ultimately could not because of unplanned yet critical events. This goes to show how great of an impact Mary made on English literature at Indiana, mainly because of her driven personality.  

Shortly after the publication of her mystery novel Scandal Has Two Faces,  Mary took a year’s leave for the unplanned, yet critical event mentioned earlier. It was to serve and help in World War II. Mary specifically went to serve in Italy. There, she worked with the Overseas Hospital Service of the American Red Cross. In all of the hospital service units located in Italy, the nurses and medical teams worked long hours and their time and effort was very much appreciated. One article stated that many units had “periods when the patient load was heavy” (Merrick 40). Mary’s dauntless acts as a nurse and the whole experience impacted her views and thoughts of women, but specifically the importance of their duties. Thus, after returning to the United States in 1945 and Indiana University for the spring semester, she started to engage in the Indiana University Bulletin called “What Makes an Educated Woman.” As an editor, Mary tackled and addressed problems facing professional woman. What makes this so inspiring and daunting, is the fact that these issues were not relevant yet. Amidst all these events, when Mary was at Indiana University, she taught comparative literature, which was actually the first comparative literature course ever taught at IU. Because “literature was alive and exciting” for her and “she was able to communicate its vitality to her classes,” Mary had an innovative style of teaching (IU Bloomington Faculty Council). All of these daunting acts contribute to the moving life-story of Mary Campbell. 

Death certificate, which shows Campbell died as a result of lung cancer.

Mary Elizabeth Campbell passed away on February 21, 1985 at the Meadowood Retirement Community in Bloomington, Indiana, as seen on her death certificate. Mary retired as an IU professor after almost fifty years of teaching in 1973. No surprise when she received emeritus status by the university at that time. She never married, but instead lived an unselfish, courageous, and admirable life. Not only did she inspire and impact her own students, but also faculty across IU and the audience who read her publications. This can be seen not only through her connection to IU from an early age, but also her role as a professor, a writer, and a nurse. Mary Campbell’s devoted, driven, and dauntless personality will continue to live on and influence others not only at Indiana University, but across the United States.   

Bibliography 

“Archives Photograph Collection of Mary E. Campbell.” Indiana University Bloomington, webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/archivesphotos/results/item.do?itemId=P0067323.  

“Daniel Defoe.” Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation, www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/daniel-defoe. 

“Indiana Death Certificate for Mary Campbell.” Ancestry.com, www.ancestrylibrary.com/imageviewer/collections/60716/images/44494_351913-00535?treeid=&personid=&hintid=&queryId=88f0b9ea827548f57ffb54872139d3db&usePUB=true&_phsrc=kXW1&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&pId=2793800.  

“The Indianapolis Star from Indianapolis, Indiana on October 27, 1943 · Page 12.” Newspapers.com, The Indianapolis Star, www.newspapers.com/newspage/104924129/.  

IU Bloomington Faculty Council. “Memorial Resolution Professor Emeritus Mary Elizabeth Campbell.” Bloomington Faculty Council Minutes, 24 Sept. 1985, webapp1.dlib.indiana.edu/bfc/view?docId=B06-1986.  

“The Kokomo Tribune 6 Mar 1957, Page 11.” Newspapers.com, The Kokomo Tribune, www.newspapers.com/image/2451840/?image=2451840.  

Merrick, Ben A. “The 56th Evacuation Hospital (Baylor Unit) Overseas in World War II.” 

Taylor & Francis, 28 Jan. 2018, www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08998280.1992.11929794.