New Finding Aid: Newell and Eleanor Long Show files, 1939-1982

The finding aid for the Newell and Eleanor Long Show files is now available!  Newell Long was a music professor at Indiana University from 1935 to 1975 and his wife Eleanor taught English at IU from 1939 to 1962.  Together the couple wrote a number of musical pageants, plays, and skits for university and local events.  Newell Long would write the musical scores and Eleanor Long composed the scripts.  The collection includes general information on the shows, music, programs, and scripts.

Many of these shows were either Indiana or IU themed, including “All’s Wells That Ends Well,” a musical tribute to Herman B Wells upon his retirement as IU President in 1962.  The musical revue was performed by faculty and their spouses and included songs such as “The Might of the Humble B,” “Wells’ Belles,”  and “Be Yourself.” Other items you will find in the collection about “All’s Wells that Ends Wells” includes notes, musical scores, lyrics, scripts, and a newspaper article.

“Gloriana, Indiana,” a musical history of IU, was written by the Longs and presented to the University Club for the 150th anniversary of Indiana University.  Original songs include “Tomorrow is Foundation Day” and “Equality for Women.”  The show files also contain music for “Hymn to Indiana” and “Hail to Old IU.”

Among other shows featured in the collection are “The Cradle of the Commonwealth,” for the Corydon Sesquicentennial, “The Tale of the Lonesome Tulip Tree,” for the Tulip Trace Council of Girl Scouts, and “Never Underestimate the Power of a Woman,” for the University Club.

“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.

This week in the archives…

Hello again. Interning in the archives this week has been relatively less busy from previous weeks, but of course there is always something interesting going on here. Having finished W.T.K. Nugent’s publications series, I moved on to his academic life series, since that ties in directly to his time at Indiana University. So far it’s mainly been a process of sorting through correspondence dealing (mostly) with colleagues and publishers, though I have found a few sensitive materials such as loan forms, and some less important items like television receipts. This series will be restricted to patrons for awhile, for a couple of reasons: Nugent specifically marked the boxes out for restriction, and as archivists we must follow the donor’s wishes; and although these materials are around four decades old, they still deal with people – and their families – who are alive and perhaps do not know we have their correspondence with Nugent, and it is advisable to keep this kind of information restricted for privacy reasons. Researchers, don’t despair. If you’d like to research Nugent’s correspondence from his time as an IU professor, this series should be entirely open in 2035 (as per Nugent’s wish).

Privacy and sensitivity is a daily issue in archives, especially when dealing with personal papers and correspondence. Some donors may not care if their personal correspondence can be read by researchers forty years later, but some donors want to keep that information private for as long as possible. It’s a personal preference, and archivists should learn some PR skills in dealing with donors. As I learned in my internship readings, if archivists can explain their typical restrictions on files, some donors can be persuaded not to keep their files closed forever. There is no point in preserving papers indefinitely if they can never be accessed and used by researchers. Having said that, Nugent’s collection has typical restrictions on correspondence, financial information, and personal information. This is fair, since researchers are more likely to want his professional information.

Sorting through Nugent’s professional correspondence has allowed me to get a better indication of how he worked, both with his publications and with his colleagues in his department. Though the majority of the series so far is made up of letters, notes, and memos, there are the occasional objects that make the job more interesting, such as air mail letters, postcards, and the occasional receipt. Once again it is proven that you can find almost anything in the archives. Earlier this week I happened upon this drawing, mixed in with meeting notes and agendas:

"Indiana Triumphs Against the Forces of Evil"
"Indiana Triumphs Over the Forces of Evil"

This appears to be an inspired New Mexican-influenced drawing. At first I thought Nugent had a talent never before displayed, but turning over this drawing I found this:

The abstract image was drawn by one of Nugent’s colleagues in 1975, curiously titled “Indiana Triumphs over the Forces of Evil.” I would love to know the story behind this drawing, but unfortunately there is no mention made of it anywhere other than the date Nugent collected it. This is one of the few mysteries in Nugent’s collection. I hope I can find more information about this particular piece of paper.

The Tradition of the Spring Break at IU

With the approach of another spring break, I thought I might address the question: when did the tradition of a spring break or vacation begin at IU?

The best and most convenient sources of information on this topic are the official calendars which until recently were printed in the IU Bulletins, the first of which was published in 1829.

No Spring Break As We Know It Today
From 1829-1850, IU divided the school year into two terms or sessions each five months long. The first session typically began in November and ended in March, and the second session began in May and ended in September. There were two, month long vacations each year in April and October. No other vacations or breaks are listed in the Bulletins for this time period, so presumably there was not a spring break as we know it today.

In 1850, IU went to a three term or session schedule of the type that we have at the present time, but for the period from 1850-58 the pattern differed somewhat from what we have today. The first or fall session began sometime in September and ended a few days before Christmas. The second or spring session began the first week of January and ended in the first week of April. The third or summer session began in the first week of May and ended the first week of August. The vacations were during the seven week period between summer and fall sessions, and the four week period between spring and summer. Although the four week recess between the spring and summer sessions could be called a spring break (although officially it was not), its length in no way resembles our modern day spring break. One can say, I believe, that this month long vacation belongs to the older nineteenth century tradition of long breaks between sessions with little or no time off during the term or session.

Spring Break Tradition Established
In 1858 the pattern changed. The fall term stayed the same but the other two sessions were altered: the second or spring term ended late in March rather than early April, and the summer session began a week later in April and ended at the end of June or early in July. There is no formal mention of a spring break in the Calendars, but the one week period in early April between sessions has the “look and feel” of a spring vacation that resembles the modern day version. In fact, in the 1872-73 calendar we find the first mention of a “Spring Vacation” occurring in the first week of April 1874.

So, one can safely say that the tradition of an IU spring break that resembles what we have today began in 1858, though if one wants to establish an official date, the year 1874 when the term appeared in the Calendar might be the better choice. However, over the years the exact dates of the spring break or vacation moved between mid to late March and early April. In addition, the length of the break varied. For example, in 1887, the spring break which had been a week or ten days including the weekend was reduced to four days including the weekend. However, in 1891 the break was again extended to ten days including the weekend, which was the pattern until 1913 when the spring vacation was again reduced to four days. The four day pattern persisted until 1942, when the War Service Plan formulated by a University Administrative War Council changed the school year to three semesters, discontinued the summer session, and lengthened the spring break to ten days. After the war, in 1945, the school year reverted back to the two semesters and a summer session pattern, and the spring break was again reduced to four days including the weekend. However, in 1949, the spring break was lengthened to seven days plus the weekend, and that pattern has persisted until the present day.

New finding aid: School of Fine Arts professor and fiber artist, Joan Sterrenburg

The finding aid for retired IU School of Fine Arts faculty member, Joan Sterrenburg, is now available! The collection offers a unique view into the teaching theories and professional development of fine arts faculty. Sterrenburg taught at IU from 1970 until 2004 and was part of an innovative group of professors who helped develop studio art into the dynamic program it is today.

In the late 1970s and early 80s IU offered one of the largest and most comprehensive textile programs, teaching traditional and non-traditional techniques, handwork, and off-loom processes. The Sterrenburg papers reflect the evolution of the program. In addition to her work as faculty in textiles, Sterrenburg founded and directed the Indiana University Handmade Paper Facility from 1979-1989. The collection contains an extensive amount of research about the history and practice of papermaking and development of dye recipes.

In a 1983 exhibition catalogue, Sterrenburg explained her artistic practice, which combined “image involvement with color interaction, modular construction, and an interplay of visual systems composed of constants and variables. I work to create energy and tension. I am totally seduced by the surface and ‘edge’ quality I can generate with hand-made paper. I have always worked to achieve a magical interaction of surface/material and structure/process.”

This philosophy of aesthetics is apparent in the large amount of 35mm slides included in the collection. There are also exhibition catalogs containing images of Sterrenburg’s works such as this piece from a 1983 show at the Hillwood Art Gallery, Long Island University, New York:”

Joan Sterrenburg, Colorado Strata, 1982. Dyed handmade rag paper, 70 x 72 x 2 in.
Joan Sterrenburg, Colorado Strata, 1982. Dyed handmade rag paper, 70 x 72 x 2 in.

There are also numerous teaching slides that illustrate the perception of color, perspective, and pattern, meant to inspire students to integrate the concepts into their work. Sterrenburg maintained contact with many of her students; the collection contains letters from appreciative students describing their post-graduation accomplishments and slides of their artworks and exhibitions.

This collection demonstrates the effort that goes into developing the curriculum of a studio art program and the challenge of balancing the inspiration of students along with the maintenance of one’s own artistic development. Sterrenburg’s papers are evidence of the excellence and creative spirit of the School of Fine Arts faculty.