A Day in the Life: Pauline Day’s University Years Through Her Scrapbook

A picture is worth a thousand words. I would argue that a scrapbook is therefore worth tens of thousands of words. Scrapbooks are ways for people to collect photos, objects, and other items they deem important in order to reminisce on them later. Of course, as years go by, the value of the scrapbook changes. For modern researchers, scrapbooks become windows into a world that does not exist anymore, or at least one that is very different.

Pauline Day pictured with two unknown men
Pauline Day (foreground), circa 1915.

Pauline Day’s scrapbook is no different. She lived in Indiana her entire life, starting when she was born in Dunkirk, Indiana in 1894. She and her parents lived in Winchester for most of her life. She came to Indiana University in the fall of 1912 to get her degree in English, though she also took several courses in education. Looking in the Arbutus yearbook of 1916, one might wonder what Pauline did in her spare time, considering she was not part of any student group or sorority chapter. For all intents and purposes, it seemed like she wasn’t very involved in anything. Her scrapbook tells a different story.

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Sally A. Lied and Social Conscience at IU

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,

Foster Quad Seminar on Black America
Bob Johnson, leader of IU African American Association, teaching at the Foster Quad Seminar on Black America. Johnson also team-taught Upward Bound with Sally Lied. One of his published articles on race relations in the US is also included in the collection.

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.

Upward Bound 1969

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 reaArtworkcting 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.

To view the Sally Lied papers in person contact the University Archives.

Kathleen McKee Butts papers

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 Kathleen McKee ButtsIndiana 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.

The Scrapbooks of D. Joan Richards Neff

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.

Residents of Sycamore Hall. Joan is 4th row, 8th from left. This image appears on page 366 of the 1948 Arbutus yearbook.
Residents of Sycamore Hall. Joan is 4th row, 8th from left.
This image appears on page 366 of the 1948 Arbutus yearbook.

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, matc hbooks, 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: Teacher in Occupied Germany

Faye Abrell sitting on the old city wall Nuremburg.

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.

Items allegedly taken from Hitler’s “Eagle’s Nest”

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.

Faye Abrell standing among ruins in Nuremburg

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!