The Mysterious Board of Aeons

A box recently arrived at the University Archives with this t-shirt inside:

Aeons Shirt Front      Aeons Shirt Back

As the shirt suggests, students here at IU generally do not know much about the Board of Aeons.  I did not know anything about the group myself when I began processing this collection since I’m new here and I was a little afraid to ask when I saw this shirt! After a little research and some work in the existing Aeons collection, I am ready to give you an explanation that will not be as dangerous as one from a wearer of this shirt.

The Board of Aeons has quite a long history at Indiana University.  The group was established in 1921 under President William Lowe Bryan.  With a name inspired by the mythical Aeons placed between heaven and earth, they were charged with serving as liaison between university administration and the student body.  Although the group has never been truly secret, it does keep a low profile so that they can continue their work effectively without undue influence. The Aeons conduct research and create resulting recommendations on campus matters at the request of the administration but their role as active members of the campus community also give them the opportunity to address issues as they see them on campus.  As a result, in the course of its history, the Aeons have had significant impact on policies relating to major issues such racism and discrimination both on campus and in the community. Known to few, the Aeons have been quietly affecting big changes on campus for over 90 years.

Interested in learning more about the Aeons? Contact the Archives!

The Association of Women Students: Advocating for Women

Good news! The Indiana University Association of Women Students records have been processed! This  student group formed in 1895 as the Indiana University Women’s League. The organization’s name changed to the Association of Women Students in 1927 and remained active until sometime around 1969. This collection primarily covers the group’s activities in the 1960s, a time in which many things were changing for women in the United States.

Prominent in the collection are records relating to the work of the AWS to change women’s hours on campus in the early 1960s. These hours imposed curfews for women, limiting the time that they were allowed to spend outside of the residence halls, required women students to get permission to go out of town or to spend a night away from their respective halls, and put regulations on male visitors. Keen on ridding the campus coeds of these restrictions, AWS wrote proposals, surveyed students and their parents, surveyed other Big Ten universities, and sought approval by the appropriate entities. The following is a proposal drafted by AWS, circa 1965:

Hours ProposalThe AWS was successful in instituting a senior privilege system, whereby upperclasswomen and women students 21 and over and in good standing had unrestricted hours, and women under 21 could have unrestricted hours with parental permission.  Here are the hours regulations, circa 1967:

Hours RegulationsIn the fall of 1967, the Student Senate declared that putting hours restrictions on women but not on men was discriminatory and  in violation of the Student Bill of Rights. That resolution appears as follows:

Resolution on Hours Regulations

Much more information on the movement to change hours regulations for women can be found in the Indiana University Association of Women Students records, Collection C478, at the IU Archives. Interested? Give a call!

New collection! Union Board records, 1912-2010

Indiana University boasts a diverse, active student body with more than seven hundred registered student organizations on the Bloomington campus. Despite outreach efforts, many student groups are not officially represented in the Indiana University Archives at present. The Union Board, the governing body of the Indiana Memorial Union and the largest student programming group on campus, is one exception.

A newspaper clipping which depicts a minstrel serenading a table of diners at the Union Board sponsored Madrigal Dinner, 1965. The Madrigal Dinners were extravagant annual productions on the IU campus from 1947-2001.

The Union Board records at the IU Archives, which span the years from 1912-2010 (bulk 1922-2010), represent rich documentation of student-led initiatives and activities at Indiana University throughout most of the group’s hundred-plus year history. Materials–including meeting minutes, other administrative documents, group sponsored publications, records from various programs and events, and a number of videocassette recordings–are described online and available to researchers in the Archives’ reading room with advance notice. In addition, the minutes from the Union Board records are slated for digitization in the coming months, thus researchers near and far will have access to nine decades of administrative decisions, which offer a unique, student-oriented perspective on Indiana University history.

John Whittenberger, student and founder of the Union Board, 1909

The Union Board was originally organized by John M. Whittenberger in 1909 as an organization that would “further the interests of Indiana University and her students.” Founding members included male students and two individuals in advisory positions, including University President William L. Bryan. In its early years, the male-only group met in the Student Building and old Assembly Hall before construction of the Indiana Memorial Union building was completed in 1932. In 1952, women were first admitted to the Union Board following a merger with the Association of Women Students.

A promotional photograph of British rock band Jethro Tull. The band played a concert sponsored by the Union Board on October 31, 1975

Over time, the Union Board grew to consist of a governing body including an elected student Executive Team and group of student Committee Directors. As of 2011, the Union Board supported thirteen active programming committees overseen by three executive team members, making a combined total of sixteen student positions, all of whom work in tangent with Staff Advisors, Faculty and Alumni Representatives, and the Executive Director of the Indiana Memorial Union.

A publicity photograph of acclaimed author and poet Maya Angelou, who lectured at a Union Board sponsored program on April 11, 2001


The goal of the Union Board is to serve students, faculty, alumni and the greater IU Bloomington community through a diverse range of events, activities, and programs. Major recurring activity initiatives organized by the Union Board include film screenings, concerts, performing arts acts, comedy shows, lectures, debates, the publication of Canvas arts magazine, Live From Bloomington local music programming, holiday Madrigal Dinner performances, and a variety of international and culturally oriented events, many of which are documented in the Union Board records. From rock concerts to lectures by worldwide diplomats, the collection has much to offer in terms of gauging student interests and trends throughout the years. Contact the University Archives if you are interested in further exploring IU’s history through the Union Board records!

Furthermore: Are you a student or faculty sponsor involved with a registered student organization here at Indiana University? Do you want your own organization’s work and influence on campus, however great or small, to play a role in documenting the history of student life at Indiana University? Do you have an abundance of files left over from past officers that you’re not sure what to do with? If you answered “Yes!” or even “hmm… maybe…” to any of these questions, contact the University Archives to learn more about the possibility of depositing your records!

The IU Ethnomusicology Students Association – Films, Concerts, and the Original “Folklore Shuffle”

 The Ethnomusicology Students Association collection finding aid is now available, and the materials depict a very active student organization throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. The ESA was established in 1978 to provide IU students interested in ethnomusicology with a place to share their common interests, and they quickly set to work planning the usual kinds of social events, lectures and workshops often offered by student groups.

But they didn’t stop there. They became involved in the The Archives of Traditional Music Noon Concert Series, and they began hosting an ethnomusicology film festival in 1983 that ran until at least 1991. The first “Filmfest” schedule featured films like Roberta Flack (1971) and Chulas Fronteras (1976).

 They also supported “The World Music Radio Program” on WIUS, which later moved to Bloomington’s community radio station, WFHB.  The earliest mention of the radio program is on a 1991 advertisement to “tune in” with host Ross Veatch.

However, the ESA wasn’t all work and no play. In the back of the Minutes/correspondence folder from 1985-1986, I found a copy of “The Folklore Shuffle,” a light-hearted take on the 1985 Chicago Bears football team’s “The Super Bowl Shuffle.”

Dated April 1986, the folklore version of the rap appears to have been written on the occasion of W. Edson Richmond’s retirement from his position as professor of English and folklore. A number of folklore faculty members had a verse, including now Associate Vice Provost for the Arts Ruth Stone and Associate Professor Emeritus of Folklore John Johnson. The chorus follows, but if you’re prepared to let the entire folklore shuffle blow your mind, please click the image.

We are the folklore shuffling crew.
Shuffling on down, doing it for you,
We’re so bad, we know we’re good,
Blowin’ your minds, like we knew we would.
We’re just here, annotating for fun,
The masters and the prelims, will keep you on the run.
We’re not here, to feather your ruffle.
We’re just here, to do the folklore shuffle.

As always, if you have any questions or would like to see the collection, contact the Archives!