The University Archives recently received a generous donation of materials documenting social movements at IU in the late 1960s and Robert Kennedy’s 1968 campaign from IU Alumnus Sally A. Lied (MS Education, 1963; Ed.D., 1972; JD 1974). The gift coincided with the recent digitization of a recording of Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s April 24, 1968 address at the IU Auditorium,
The 1960s at IU, as well as the rest of the country, saw a surge of student involvement in social justice issues. Sally Lied, in her position as a residential counselor at Foster Quad and director of the Foster Project (IU’s first living-learning community), observed, participated in, and designed educational programming around some of these movements. Specifically, the materials Lied has donated to the University Archives relate to IU students’ grappling with the aftermath of the Vietnam War and race relations in the United States.
These social movements also extended to reforming education. At IU, this meant the establishment of the Foster Project, the first living-learning community. It also meant programs like Project OK (Orientation to Knowledge), which brought students and faculty together to discuss important academic issues. IU also began participating in Upward Bound, a national program designed to help low-income or first-generation students bridge the gap between high school and college. Sally Lied was active in all three of these developments, and each are documented in her collection.
The 1968 presidential campaign of Robert F. Kennedy was fueled by some of the discontent of these social movements, discontent that was exacerbated by the assassination of both Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr., in the same year. Lied worked with the staff of Kennedy’s campaign in Indiana, and her collection contains a variety of campaign and press materials, including buttons, stickers, leaflets, and another recording of Kennedy’s speech at IU. The collection also contains personal correspondence with Kennedy’s campaign staff following his assassination and artwork by an IU student reacting to Kennedy’s and King’s deaths.
The materials could be of great interest to those curious to study 20th century African-American experience, social and political movements of the 1960s, or the beginnings of the living-learning community program and other educational reforms at IU. In addition to these primary materials, Sally Lied included her own explanatory notes to go along with many of the files to provide context.
Kathleen McKee Butts was born June 7th, 1900. She attended Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, where she was a staff member for the school’s Daily Echo newspaper. Well-liked and relatively popular, she had an early interest in reporting and writing that followed into her college career. After graduating high school in 1918 with an unprecedented number of credits she enrolled at Indiana University at Bloomington, majoring in English and minoring in Journalism. She attended from 1918-1921, and though she did not complete her degree she worked as a reporter for the Indiana Daily Student until 1921. On May 24, 1922 McKee married Albert W. Butts in Marion County, Indiana. After that point she worked for several advertising agencies and publishers in Indiana and Washington, D.C., and wrote editorials for Plainfield, Indiana’s Plainfield Messenger in 1934. She wrote a number of stories and radio scripts, some of which were submitted for publication but not picked up. Kathleen wrote under several pseudonyms, including Kay McKee, K. Wesley Butts, and McKee Butts, though it is unclear to us how many of her stories and radio programs ever reached the public.
The available story of Kathleen’s life is limited, and told mostly through letters, newspaper clippings, and notes kept by her father between 1902 and 1944. Her parents, Dr. Joseph Fennell McKee and Irene Sullivan McKee, divorced messily in May of 1904. The divorce grew into a long, drawn-out legal battle with accusations of child cruelty, kidnapping and neglect on both sides, with Irene first returning to live with her father John E. Sullivan and eventually leaving Indiana for Louisville, Kentucky. A further legal battle between Dr. McKee and Mr. Sullivan regarding the theft of business documents caused further divisiveness. The media of the time seem to have reported every controversial detail surrounding their numerous court cases, though the truthfulness of some of the accusations is uncertain. J. F. McKee fought unsuccessfully for years to gain full custody of Kathleen, though he eventually succeeded in achieving custody for a few months of each year. Ultimately McKee grew estranged from Kathleen, losing contact with her altogether. During the 1940s, anticipating his death, Dr. McKee attempted to reconnect with her, corresponding with a number of individuals and attorneys in attempt to locate his daughter and her husband. He wrote a letter in an attempt to reach Kathleen on October 22, 1943 with an incomplete address of Hotsprings, Arkansas, which was returned unclaimed. It is unclear if she ever reconnected with her father before he passed away.
There are decades of time almost entirely undocumented, with only hints as to her activities. She moved quite a bit, living and working in Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and Washington, D.C. Her husband grew ill and passed away sometime before 1934, and she does not appear to have had any children, as the 1940 census lists her as widowed and living alone. After a time of failing health in which she stayed at the Mar-Salle Convalescent Center in Washington, D.C., she was assigned a ward to care for her in her final months. She died in July 1977, and the materials in this collection were held by her friend and neighbor Benita Kaplan before being donated to the Archives in 2015. A finding aid is now available for the materials and those interested in accessing the papers should contact the Archives.
For much of the twentieth century, scrapbooking was all the rage for college women. The impulse still exists, even if the medium has changed – what is a Facebook wall or an Instagram feed other than a type of digital scrapbook? The scrapbooks of D. Joan Richards Neff, in IU’s University Archives, offer a glimpse into the life of an IU student in the late 1940s.
The collection includes four scrapbooks, one from each year Joan was at IU. Her time here was spent not much differently than students today, though of course with a distinctive 40s flair: there were football games, birthday parties for friends, trips to local state parks for picnics, dances and parties at various fraternities and sororities, music concerts and theater productions, dates with different boys (eventually settling on the one she would marry upon graduation, Franklin Neff, IU class of 1949) and of course schoolwork and meetings with professors. Joan typically saved a small token from each of these events for inclusion in her scrapbook, always making sure to include a short note of explanation.
Some tokens are obvious choices: football programs, name tags, ticket stubs, photographs, pressed flowers. Others are meant more to simply spur a memory: napkins, matchbooks, the corners of dollar bills, a water cup from the train. And then there are the items that are a conservator’s nightmare: a whole cookie(!), a frog eye lens extracted in Zoology class, a friend’s chewed gum (“a special offering for my scrap-book”), the edge of another friend’s panties from her wedding (“which she trimmed to keep the ridge from showing”).
Looking through each scrapbook is itself a wonderful trip through one student’s unique somewhat quirky IU experience. To view the scrapbooks in person, contact the IU Archives.
Faye Calvert Abrell attended Indiana University from the 1930s until 1941, receiving both her B.S. and M.S. in Education. Following her time as a student, Abrell landed a position teaching in the Dependents School Service in war-torn Frankfurt, Germany during the program’s earliest days, 1946-1947. The majority of the collection given to the Archives documents this year abroad and includes correspondence, photographs, scrapbooks she made and souvenirs she collected during this time.
As a teacher for the Dependents School Service, Abrell spent the year in the American occupied zone of Germany teaching American children who had moved overseas with their parents. (their fathers were deployed officers). During her periods of leave from teaching, Abrell traveled around Europe sightseeing and visiting places such as Hitler’s home, also known as “The Eagle’s Nest.” Abrell was also able to attend some of the Nuremburg Trials while she was in Germany.
The photographs taken by Abrell document the resiliency of the German people to continue forward and rebuild after World War II. Abrell photographed the numerous bombed-out buildings and devastated countryside she witnessed during her year abroad. In fact, she described the apartment building she lived in during her time in Frankfurt as being “half-bombed away.” Not surprising, considering the destruction the city faced during the war.
Abrell also created several scrapbooks incorporating the photographs, tickets, and souvenirs she collected while teaching and travelling in Europe. One of the most interesting finds (I thought!) is within the largest scrapbook. In it, Abrell pressed a flower she stated was from a bouquet on Hitler’s table and a piece of broken marble from his mantle piece. (We did a little research and not only is the marble is the same red as Hitler’s mantle but she also documented the visit in her journal, so we think it’s legit!)
Contact the IU Archives if you would like to learn more about this alumna and her papers and see a piece of Germany post-World War II!
The Archives is proud to say that the finding aid for the Cecilia Hennel Hendricks family papers is now available because this collection truly is a veritable treasure trove of both American and personal family history!
As this rich collection tells the story of the family of Joseph and Anna Thurman Hennel, it will help to know a bit of their family history. Joseph and Anna had three daughters: Cecilia, Cora, and Edith and in 1905 they chose to move from Vanderburgh County, Ind., to Bloomington so that their daughters could attend Indiana University. All three daughters went on to teach at IUB, with Cecilia and Cora having the lengthiest careers, beginning in 1904 and serving for 30 and 46 years, respectfully. (Cora became the first woman to get a PhD in mathematics at IU, and only the second person, male or female, to do so!)
Cecilia married John Hendricks and had three children, namesake Cecilia (married Henry Wahl) , Anne (married John R. DeCamp), and Jules Ord (Lois Armstrong Hendricks). Edith married lawyer Edward Ellis, while Cora remained single.
War, finances, and land
If soldiers are your interest, you might like to know that during the Civil War Joseph Hennel was a member of Company I, 65th Regiment of the Indiana Volunteer Infantry and included in the collection is a small Civil War diary from 1864. John Hendricks fought in the Spanish-American War in 1898, where he was wounded in battle. Several folders of correspondence chronicle his lifetime petition for his rightful veteran’s pension. The collection also includes correspondence with his family during his time in the war and hospitalization.
Interested in the financial lives of people living in the mid- to late 1800s? There are ledgers and account books galore for Joseph’s personal and business finances. We also have a folder of receipts and checks written to “Stables and Livery,” “Boots company,” and “Undertaker” services, as well as bills paid for telephone/telegraph services and electricity services.
The collection also includes personal and business ledgers and account books for Cecilia Hennel Hendricks and her husband John who lived in Cheyenne, Wyoming as homesteaders for a number of years, and raised bees for honey on their farm Honeyhill.
(By the by, Cecilia & John’s daughter Cecilia later published a selection of their correspondence in Letters from Honeyhill: A Woman’s View of Homesteading. It – and rightly so – gets rave reviews on Goodreads!)
The Hennel-Hendricks Women
The stars of this collection, however, are the women in family. While the collection does not house anything from Anna Thurman Hennel’s household life, there are numerous folders of correspondence over the years with her daughters. She was also very vocal (according to family letters) in getting the Hennel family to move from Evansville to Bloomington, Indiana so that their daughters could attend Indiana University.
The collection houses years of personal diaries and date books for both Cecilia and Cora, as well as boxes and boxes of family and business correspondence. While Edith’s voice is present throughout the years of correspondence, her presence is most felt through the many years’ worth of annual scrapbooks she put together documenting the families’ whereabouts and doings, using cartoons and handwritten or typed captions, which she made and sent to Cecilia Hennel Hendricks as holiday and New Year’s greetings. Cecilia and Cora were both published poets, as well as playwrights, and their various writings, musings, manuscripts, acceptance/rejection letters are housed in the collection. Cecilia also coauthored the first Palau-English Dictionary while she taught in Palau via IU in 1950, and Cora coauthored a mathematics textbook, A Course in General Mathematics in 1925.
If giving up a university teaching position to marry (a man she had only met a few times!) and moving to the wilds of Wyoming doesn’t tell you about Cecilia’s drive, perhaps a little political work will? In 1926 during her time in Powell, Wyoming, she worked on the Nellie Tayloe Ross‘ re-election campaign for Wyoming governor, after Ross served as the first female governor in the United States when her husband died and left the office vacant in 1924. Cecilia was supported for the position of State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and campaigned with Ross.
The richness of this collection is evidenced through the hand and typewritten boxes of letters, published and unpublished writings and manuscripts, ledgers and account books, diaries and date books, and much much more. The lives of an entire family are essentially chronicled through this collection, and provide a lens through which we can look at American history and the lives of 19th Century female American scholars, homesteaders, and business-folk.
A blog post cannot do this collection justice, so as always, if you would like further information or would like to schedule an appointment to see the collection, please contact the Archives!