20th Century Care Packages: Student Life in 1915 and Today

Black and white portrait of Helen Hopkins Wampler
Helen Hopkins Wampler Pi Beta Phi Portrait: IU Archives photo no. P0066988

When I started my first project at the Indiana University Archives, I didn’t know that I would be hit with a wave of nostalgia; especially because I was looking at a collection from the 1910s. I was assigned to search the Helen Hopkins Wampler papers for World War I content for a history class that will be visiting the IU Archives later this semester for an assignment. This collection holds around three years of letters that Helen sent to her mom Clara while she was a student at IU from 1915-1918.

Helen Hopkins Wampler was an enthusiastic student at IU participating in the Classical Club, Botany Club, the Browning Society, YWCA, and was an active member of Pi Beta Phi. She studied Latin and was elected into the student honorary Phi Beta Kappa. While Helen doesn’t talk much about the war, she does talk to her Mom about her time in Bloomington and what it is like as a new IU student. I smiled as I read through Helen’s letters because they reminded me of the calls and texts I would send to my Mom during my freshman year in 2018 at the University of Minnesota. Whenever we talked to our families, Helen and I would share a lot of the same topics. Such as what we ate:

Helen (September 20, 1915): “For breakfast at the Pi Phi house, we had peaches, corn flakes, and cream for the first course; minced chicken, French fried potatoes, two hot biscuits and some jelly for the second course, and home-made dough nuts and coffee for the third course. This is the life!!!”

Me (September, 2018): “Can you believe that I can have ice cream for breakfast if I want? Also, last night I tried mac and cheese on pizza. This is the life!!!”

Group photograph of the Classical Club with individuals seated in 4 rows
Classical Club Group Portrait (Helen is pictured in Row 3, No. 5 from the right): 1918 Arbutus

How classes were going:

Helen (October 5, 1915): “I’m just so happy about school. I don’t know whether it’s really easier than Shortridge or whether I expected it to be so much harder than it is.”

Me (October, 2018): “I passed my first Spanish test, do you want to put it on the fridge?”

Care packages:

Helen (January 30, 1916): “Received the dandy fine basket. Everything is mighty good and you tell Aunt Edith she’s a dear.”

Me (October, 2018): “Hey Mom, thanks for the care package and the cute note inside! Keep sending the granola bars, they are the best for in-between classes.”

At Home Laundry Service:

Helen (April 6, 1916): “PS: Will send washing to-morrow.”

Me (November, 2018): “Is it okay if I bring a load of laundry home with me?

And even being impatient when family has something else to do besides talk to us:

Helen (October 21, 1915): “Dearest Mother, Was surely glad to get your letter as I thought sure you had forgotten me when I didn’t hear from you Tuesday or Wednesday.”


Me (October, 2018): “Mom, check your phone, I left 4 voicemails!!”

Helen would also share the things she would do as a student in Bloomington. She would regularly take trips to the Book Nook (a commons-type area with food and goods), take walks on campus, and even go to football games. (Pictured here are the Book Nook and two games she attended – Indiana v Purdue 11/24/1917 and Indiana v The Ohio State 11/03/1917).

Helen’s letters show that no matter what century you’re in, going off to college can be a scary and intimidating time full of new experiences. So if you’re feeling homesick, need some advice, or just want to talk through your first few weeks of class, take a moment to reach out to loved ones with a nice letter. Show your appreciation to whoever is in your corner for supporting us as we pursue our goals at IU.

Helen to her Mom (December 13, 1917): “Well, I have gained a thing I have longed for the past three years. I have been elected to Phi Beta Kappa and honey, I owe it all to you and Dad, my own sweethearts. I don’t know how I will ever repay you for these happiest years of my life.”

Me to my Mom (Present Day): “The only way I could have accomplished the last 4 years and been able to start my new time at IU is because of you and your endless support. Honey, I owe it all to you!”

For other stories about Helen, the blog post “Sincerely Yours: Linen Dresses and Infernal Machines” shares more about her time at IU Bloomington.

Additionally, you can read more of the Helen Hopkins Wampler papers by contacting the IU Archives.

Heart and Seoul: Early Korean Students at Indiana University Part 2

In a follow-up to her post on Eung Tyun Cho from earlier this spring, archives assistant Briana Hollins continues on here to write about three other early students from Korea to attend Indiana University. You can still view Brianna’s related exhibit poster which was part of Korea Remixed, a campus-wide initiative to celebrate Korean culture, in the Wells Library Lobby.

Pongsoon Lee (Pusan, Korea) (MA, Library Science, 1953) 

Cover of the book Libraries and Librarianship in Korea
Pongsoon Lee and Young Ai Um, Libraries and Librarianship in Korea. Westport, CO : Greenwood Press, 1994.

The first known Korean woman to attend Indiana University, Pongsoon Lee arrived in the United States in 1951 in pursuit of a master’s in library science. She already held a library science degree from E Wha University in Korea. While a prestigious Fulbright scholarship funded her first year of study at IU, funding for the remainder of her studies fell through. A church in Clayton, Indiana stepped up and helped to raise funds so that she could renew her visa and complete her degree. With the help of kind Hoosiers, she completed her degree in three years. Pongsoon persisted and went on to become the director of the E Wha University for Women library in Seoul in 1964. A 1977 recipient of the Beta Phi Mu Chi Chapter Service Award, in 1994 she co-authored the book Libraries and Librarianship in Korea. 


Chonghan Kim (Ichon, Korea) (BA, Government, 1950; MA, Government, 1951; PhD, Government, 1953) 

Black and white group photograph of men from Rogers I, building F
Residents of Rogers I, building F, 1948. Chonghan Kim is the third row, far left. IU Archives image no. P0046943

Chonghan Kim began his college education in Korea and Japan and came to the Unites States in 1948 to attend Indiana University for his B.A. in Government. He was a part of the Cosmopolitan Club, the Asiatic Club, and resided in Rogers I Residence Hall (Ashton). He was a recipient of the Edwards Graduate Fellowship for 1952-1953. Following graduation, Kim worked at Marquette University as an instructor in political science from 1957-1961. He then worked for the Korean Foreign Service as Counselor of the Korean Mission to the United Nations. In March 1963, he was appointed as the Charge d’Affaires of the Korean Embassy in Uganda, where he stayed until May 1964. Following a brief appointment as the Director of the Bureau of International Relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Seoul Korea, Kim became a professor at the College of William and Mary where he remained until his retirement in 1992. In 1978, he served as the first president of the Korean Association of the Virginia Peninsula Area.  


Thomas Kunhyuk Kim (Pusan, Korea) (MBA, General Business, 1954) 

Black and white group photograph of residents from North Cottage Grove.
Residents of North Cottage Grove, 1952. Kim – middle row, second from right. IU Archives image no. P0109573

The son of a Methodist minister who served the Korean government in exile in China, Thomas Kunhyuk Kim and his family spent the early part of his life as refugees from the Japanese occupiers of the Korean peninsula. His family was finally able to return to Korea after WWII. In 1948, Kim traveled to the U.S. to attend college; first attending Berea College where he received a B.A. in Economics in 1952 and then IU where he received a M.B.A in 1954. He continued on to receive a PhD in Economics from Tulane University in 1961. Following graduation after a series of teaching positions at Berea College, University of Akron, Baker University in Kansas, and Texas Tech, he became the eighth president of McMurry College in Abilene, Texas, serving from 1970 to 1993. After retiring as President in 1993, he returned to teaching. He taught Economics at Abilene Christian University and later Hardin-Simmons University.  

Heart and Seoul: Early Korean Students at Indiana University

As part of Korea Remixed, a campus-wide initiative to celebrate Korean culture, this spring the IU Archives is recognizing the earliest Korean students to become Hoosiers! Via a series of blog posts and an upcoming poster in the Wells Library Lobby, you will get a peek into the lives of four IU alumni from Korea while on the Bloomington campus and the ways they excelled afterwards.

Whether you’re a fan of K-pop, Kimchi, or their extensive skincare routines, there is a lot to love and appreciate about Korean culture. Respecting your elders and authority, caring deeply for family, and working together to advance their nation are all core values in Korea. Even up to recent years, it was not uncommon that younger generations had to leave their family behind in Korea to pursue better educational opportunities in order to create a better life for their family. While many later return to their homeland, some go on to become citizens of the United States and remain here for the rest of their lives. Acknowledging the hardships and perseverance each of the following early IU students from Korean went through in the pursuit of higher education brings a new perspective on the many different paths to excellence.



Eung Tyun Cho (Pyeng Yang, Korea) (PhD in Physics, 1928)

Before coming to the United States, Eung Tyun Cho, born circa 1897, attended a Korean Presbyterian Mission School followed by a Presbyterian Boys’ Academy for his secondary education. As a young adult, he attended Union Christian College where he received his bachelor’s degree. Upon graduation, Cho returned to Mission High School as a math teacher to teach young students much like his younger self, eventually working his way up to become superintendent of the high school. Despite his accomplishments, Cho felt the need to gain more education to better serve his home country, so he chose to leave his family at his father’s home so that he could travel to the United States – and Indiana – in 1922. Once in the Hoosier state, Cho enrolled in Tri-State College in Angola, where he earned a BS in civil engineering before continuing on to Purdue University to earn his MS in physics. (Indianapolis Star, 1928).

Eung Tyun Cho entered Indiana University in 1925 in pursuit of his PhD and a few years later was made a member of Sigma Xi, an honorary science organization (Indianapolis Star, 1928). To support himself financially during his student years, he did housework, mowed lawns, janitorial work, and other odd jobs he could find (1930 Census for Bloomington, Indiana). Cho specialized in research about radio and TV, completing his dissertation on the topic “A study of three-electrode vacuum tube oscillator: conditions for maximum current ”. In addition to his technological research, he published works on language learning, one being Spoken English, a manual for Korean teachers of spoken English and for students who were learning the English language (Indianapolis Star, 1928).

1927 black and white photo of the cosmopolitan club members, which were largely international students.

The 1927 Cosmopolitan Club which was largely comprised of international students such as Cho, IU Archives P0109572


After completing his studies at IU, Cho wished to return to Korea in order to be a scientific educator to young students like himself. At the time Cho was one of only 12 men in Korea to have a PhD! Even with his impressive credentials, some Korean authorities frowned upon his work, calling it a “waste of time”, which kept him from his dream of teaching. His research and science experiments lacked funding, so he had to give them up. He remarked, “I am a man without a country” (The Bedford Sunday Star, 1936).

Taking a break from his educational and scientific interests, Cho served three years as chief of police communications during the US Military Government period after Korea was liberated from the Japanese in 1945. He then served eight years in the Korean Army, four as chief signal officer. He later was appointed as vice minister of the Korean Ministry of Communications (The Daily Record, 1954). Before, during, and after his career, Cho participated in church communities as well as the YMCA in America and Korea.

And, finally for a satisfying conclusion. In 1964, Eung Tyun Cho became the new president of Tongkuk Engineering College in Seoul, Korea. After decades of perseverance, he became an educator, while at the same time reuniting permanently with his wife and children (The Indianapolis News, 1964).

**This blog post is the first in a two-part series. The next installment will features three more alumni from Korea. Pongsoon Lee, Chonghan Kim, and Thomas Kunhyuk Kim.

By Martha: Advice from The Veteran

The Veteran was an independent newspaper published by Indiana University students from the Fall 1946 to Spring 1947. The intent of this paper was to provide information to incoming and current veteran students at Indiana University about current events and functions that were happening on campus.

Masthead from "The Veteran: An Independent Paper for Veterans of Indiana University", Vol. 1, No. 1, February 11, 1946, 5 cents a copy

Within The Veteran were several reoccurring columns that touched on student life, personal issues, and any questions that a veteran might have in reference to their training or education. All were very interesting and cleverly named, however, none of them seemed to catch my attention like the column By Martha.

By Martha was an reoccurring opinion column featured directed mainly towards the wives of veterans. The author of By Martha was unknown to the reader, as it functioned as an anonymous advice column. Each column outside of its first appearance, was structured around answering questions that a wife might seek advice on such as cooking, budgeting, home improvement, and childcare. The information given was very informal to the woman of that day, and frankly some of the advice is still applicable to readers today.

Newspaper clipping with the following text: Eloise Kelly Bride-elect - A wedding which will take place during the Christmas holidays is that of Miss Eloise Kelly and William Lee Small both of Indianapolis. The bride elect is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Kelly of Howe and Mr. Small is the son of Mr. and Mros Floyd Small, Knightstown. Miss Kelly is a gradaute Manchester College and the bridegroom will re-enter Indiana University this fall. He has been discharged from the Army after spending the last six months in Europe.
The Indianapolis Star, September 3, 1945, Page 7

During the last issue of Volume 1, it was stated that originally The Veteran was supposed to be a one semester project. However, due to the support from readers and faculty, its release was extended into the following semesters. During this issue they also gave thanks to the writers and staff members who made The Veteran possible each month. Here, the identity of the By Martha columnist was revealed to be co-editor Eloise Kelly Small. A graduate of Manchester College, Eloise married William Lee Small on November 22, 1945. William graduated with his B.S. in Business in 1946. After the birth of their child, Eloise took a break from writing and subsequent columns in Vol. 3 were written by various staff members whose identities remained anonymous.

Newspaper clipping with the following text: Monday, June 3, 1946 By Martha “What shall I have to eat?" Three times a day, seven days a week, this cry is heard in almost every kitchen where there is a busy working-girl housewife. In answer, here are scads of simple dinner menus. For most part these menus call for food that can be purchased now or that will be on the market very shortly. A bread and spread are not given with the menus as every person's taste differs. How­ever, since this commodity has practically disappeared from the racks in the groceries, you can bake cornbread, all types of muf­fins, biscuits, and even yeast bread IF you have the time and energy. Or you can use packaged mixes. Here are your menus: Salmon croquettes, buttered peas, red cole slaw, fruit cup. Macaroni and cheese loaf, but­tered cabbage, sliced tomatoes, grapefruit halves. Fried oysters (you can buy them canned at almost any grocery), tartar sauce, mashed turnips, escalloped tomatoes, peanut cook­ies, baked pears. Barbecued hamburgers, mash­ed potatoes, buttered carrots, cauliflower with chive butter, toasted doughnuts. Fish fillets baked in lemon sauce, baked potatoes, buttered beets, hearts of lettuce with French dressing, fruit gelatin, chocolate cake. Lamb chops, corn-on-the-cob, tomato and romaine salad, pack­aged chocolate pudding with chopped pecan topping. Tomato juice, chicken pie (make it from a jar of canned chicken giblets thickened with cream sauce and topped with biscuit crust), spinach, rice and apricot pudding. Clam chowder, cole slaw, cottage pudding. (Cheese baking powder biscuits would be wonder­ful with the chowder). Individual meat loaves, butter­ed succotash, apple and banana salad, oatmeal cookies. Sausage shortcakes (fry saus­age patties and place between two buttered biscuits. Serve with milk gravy), turnip greens, pick­led beets, diced fresh pineapple. Tomato juice, cheese rarebit on toast, buttered string beans, hearts of lettuce salad, peach shortcake (canned or fresh peaches on store sponge cake served with cream). Codfish cakes, whole kernel corn, stewed tomatoes, cole slaw, cut up bananas and oranges. Baked beans, panfried sausag­es, cabbage and pineapple salad, baked pears (Tint them pink with vegetable coloring, sprinkle with nutmeg and sugar, bake. Serve with cream.) Italian spaghetti, tossed salad fruit cup (hard rolls were mad for spaghetti dinners)."
“By Martha,” The Veteran June 3, 1946

A common theme in the By Martha columns centered on food frugality–it is obvious that providing their families nutritious meals without spending too much on groceries was important to veteran families on campus. Here are some tips that Martha gave on making your shopping last:

“Help your shelf and help yourself”. “Take advantage of the variety of canned foods that line the grocers’ shelves.” “Take for example the humble can of tuna fish. You can have tuna salad, tuna sandwiches, creamed tuna on toast squares, tuna served with spaghetti or macaroni, tuna with rice and cheese sauce, or tuna chow mein …” (Vol 1. No. 1, pg. 2)

“Topmost in the minds of most housewives these days is what can be done to conserve on food, especially wheat.” “In the first place buy only bread you absolutely must use. Reduce your family’s bread diet to a minimum.” “If you must use flour, remember it will be an emergency flour. Emergency flour is a creamy white to beige colored wheat product.” “Emergency flour does not keep as well as white flour. It should be bought in small quantities and stored in a dark, cool place.” (Vol 1 No. 8, pg. 2)

“Be sure your meals provide best food value for money spent.” “Don’t wait to plan your meals at the grocer’s. Make out menus two or three days ahead, taking into account the perishable foods you have on hand.” “It’s the cost of the food you actually eat that counts.” “Avoid leftovers, but use well those you have. Work them into the day’s meals.” “Compare prices of canned, quick-frozen and market vegetables and fruits. The canned or quick-frozen foods are often cheaper than the fresh, and require less fuel, time and effort to prepare.” (Vol 2 No. 4, pg. 3) 

The advice that By Martha gave seems like advice that would be useful to someone now. I know that I am someone that needs to be more frugal with food, so I am sure that her readers found the advise useful.  Along with cooking tips, By Martha also offered cleaning and gardening hacks. Here are some tips to help you spend less time and yield the same results:

“A dash of salt is wonderful on grapefruit. It brings out that natural flavor and decreases the sourness, to say nothing of helping on short sugar rations.” “Lemon-soured milk can replace natural sour milk or buttermilk in any recipe.” “Small apartments and trailers are wonderful to keep clean and have a cozy atmosphere, but what to do about cigarette smoke, a stale odor or the lingering breath of cooked cabbage or onion? Worry no more – get a bottle of Air Wick. Pull out the wick of the magical little bottle and the air soon is sweet and clean.” (Vol 1 No. 5, pg. 2)

“You who make your home in temporary quarters must garden, if you garden at all, in pots and window boxes.” “Don’t make the window box too small. Make it as long as it is wide. Extend it past the window opening four to six inches on either side rather than fit it into the sill.” “Choice of soil depends on the type of roots on the plants you decide to grow.” “In this type of box, watering is required almost daily.” (Vol 1 No. 6, pg. 3) 

“Are you freshening up your apartment with a coat of paint? If so, mask your windowpanes when you paint woodwork and you won’t have to spend tedious hours removing paint spatters. Just cut newspaper to fit the glass, dampen the paper and press it in place. It’s far easier to remove than hardened paint.” (Vol 1 No. 2, pg. 2) 

Newspaper clipping with the following text: February 25, 1946 By Martha (Send your home - making questions to Martha, The Vet­eran, 302 South Madison.) From time immemorial the fate of women has been to spend all her waking hours chained to her home (particularly the kitchen) and children. The modern woman slowly is growing away from this but there's no doubt that even the working wife gives a great deal more time and effort to housework than she feels should be necessary. Occasionally a single suggestion can save precious minutes and even hours, not to mention frayed nerves. To simplify shredding lettuce, dicing celery and many other sim­ilar tasks buy a pair of shears from the dime store-or if you're more flush most hardware stores have regular kitchen scissors for sale. This single purchase saves time and often a cut finger or a scrc1tched table top when you don't own a chopping board. Turning stale bread and crack­ers into crumbs need not be messy if you slip a paper bag over the head of your grinder. It will catch those flying particles and you won't have to wipe a film of crumbs off the floor. You can grind the crumbs right into an­other paper bag if you want to. Are you freshening up your apartment with a coat of paint? If so, mask your windowpanes when you paint woodwork and you won't have to spend tedious hours removing paint spatters. Just cut newspaper to fit the glass, damp­en the paper and press it in place. It's far easier to remove than hardened paint. While we're on the subject of woodwork, have you been having a daily hair-pulling session when you try to remove fingerprints? To remedy this put several coats of a good grade of paste wax sparing­ly on your woodwork and rub each well into the grain of the wood. Fingerprints will disappear with one swish of a damp cloth. Incidentally, this wax treatment does away with a lot of surface film and spots. Have you ever tried paper dust­cloths? The latest type on the mar­ket is packaged in a roll. You dampen one piece and wipe the dusty surface. Then you polish with a dry sheet. This paper is created with a polish which makes wood surfaces gleam. It's truly a remarkable innovation. And what do you do with Junior or little Susan while you try all these wonderful time savers? For one thing you might give them a nickel's worth of cranberries or similar fruit and a box of tooth­picks and show them how to make tables, chairs, wigwams, etc. Lack­ing these materials, hand over your clothespin bag. Or better still let them paint shell macaroni with water colors.
“By Martha,” The Veteran, February 25, 1946.

Another important topic of advice in By Martha centered around childcare. This topic however wasn’t as frequent as other topics discussed and only appeared in two columns. The columns mainly focused on how to prepare for a new addition to the family, and the types of items one should get before the new arrival. One column in particular was all about diapers and here are a few tips:

“If you are a new mother or even not so new, you’ll agree to one thing. Diaper washing is the hardest, most time-consuming job in your daily routine.” “Of course the best solution to the problem would be a good diaper supply service, but if you can’t do that, decide on a regular time for the job and stick to it.”

“An excellent diaper to use when traveling, or for contagious diarrheal condition, is one which can be disposed of after it is soiled. Such a diaper is on the market and consists of two layers of gauze between which is a soft, highly absorbent cellulose fiber.”

“Wash the diapers thoroughly in hot suds, either by hand or in the washing machine, and put them in fresh suds for boiling. Boiling diapers is really a safety measure, and although it is sometimes inconvenient, and time-consuming, it is not wise to omit. (Vol 2 No. 5, pg. 3) 

The final topic of advice shared from By Martha is centered around budgeting. Given the advice shared above, it would be fitting that they would all filter down to the unspoken idea of having a budget. Budgeting was a very important and useful skill for the veterans to have, as most of them were given monthly bonds based on their family size or marital status. To help those families and veterans from being financially burdened, here are some helpful tips:

“It must be custom-made to meet the particular needs of your family group. There is no such thing as a ready-made or standard budget, because no two families spend their money in exactly the same way. So when you start to plan your budget, sit down and decide what you want to get out of life.”

“Successful budgets are based on past experience. Before you start yours, keep a written record of all personal and household expenditures for a month. Total all of these items and multiply by 12. This give you the part of your annual income which may be used for running expenses.”

“How well the budget works is up to you. The best budget can’t help you unless are resolved to stick with it religiously. If you feel you need more help than given here you might want to consult the library shelves. Two particularly good books on the subject are: Managing Personal Finances by David F. Jordan and How to Make Your Budget Balance by E.C. Harwood and Helen Fowie. “ (Vol 1 No. 7, pg. 2) 

If you would like to view The Veteran in its entirety, contact the IU Archives to set up an appointment.

Sincerely Yours: Edna Hatfield Edmondson Describes a Tokyo Earthquake in 1922

As southern California re-stabilizes from two serious earthquakes on July 4 and 5, it may be sensible for us in southern Indiana to revisit some earthquake safety precautions. After all, Bloomington is situated near two significant fault lines: the New Madrid Seismic Zone and the Wabash Valley Seismic Zone. And although Hoosiers might not be too familiar with earthquakes (though some of us might remember the 5.2 magnitude quake in 2008—I know I sure do!), a letter from Edna Hatfield Edmondson shows how a group of Indiana University (IU) athletes handled a large quake back in 1922.

Black and white photograph of 14 members of the IU baseball team and their coach in front of their hotel
The 1922 baseball team at the Tsukiji Seiyoken Hotel. April 14 or 15, 1922. IU Archives image no.
P0042249

Hatfield Edmondson served as a faculty member for the IU Extension Division from 1919-1942. She and her husband, Clarence Edmund Edmondson (a physiology and social hygiene professor and later Dean of Men at IU), chaperoned the IU baseball team during a landmark trip abroad to Tokyo, Japan from March-April, 1922. The University Archives is fortunate to have a collection of letters and postcards that Hatfield Edmondson wrote during this trip. Her letters include attentive recaps of games the baseball team played, descriptions of events to welcome the group in Tokyo, travelogues, and photographs. A particularly lively letter addressed to the IU Director of Publicity (Frank R. Elliot) on April 30, 1922 describes the team’s experience during a large earthquake (see the letter in its entirety at the bottom of this post). She begins:

“The Indiana baseball team is getting the worth of its money on this trip. All sorts of stunts have been staged for me—such as stormy seas, hotel fires, (and the Imperial Hotel was to have housed us but was too full—this we learned the day after our arrival).

Now an earthquake.

The earthquake did itself proud—the worst since 1894. For fear we might be disappointed it jolted us up and down, north and south, and east and west. We were quite “shaken up” by the incident.”

The 1894 quake to which she refers was indeed terrible. The 6.6 magnitude quake occurred on June 20, 1894 and affected downtown Tokyo, Kawasaki, and Yokohama. In addition to widescale physical destruction in these cities, it claimed 31 lives and injured 157 people. Japan has a long history of earthquakes because it is situated on four different lithospheric plates; as such, Japan’s written record of earthquakes goes back around 1,500 years. Fortunately for Edna and the team, this earthquake wasn’t nearly as bad. Her descriptions of how team members fared, however, illustrate how dangerous earthquakes can be in a city full of buildings:

“Lynch, Gilbert, Sloate, Gause, and Wichterman were upstairs in an ivory shop. The proprietor yelled “earthquake” and vanished. The boys rushed to the stairway and stuck there. Gilbert said they rattled around like dice in a box and opened up a new entrance to that shop trying to get out.

Coach, Mrs. Levis, Kidd and Minton were making a call on a Buddha in a temple at the time but lost confidence and deserted the shrine.

Walker was alone in his room on the third floor, waiting for the final blow before jumping along with the tiles from the roof.

Denny and Macer were playing billiards and were only a few jumps behind the Japanese who were playing with them, in getting into the open.”

Edna continues to describe how she and her husband dealt with the shaking, all the while showing her sense of humor about the event:

“Mr. Edmondson and I looked across the table in our room at each other, laughed, then opened up our eyes, rose as one man and found ourselves at the window ready to slide down a telephone pole.”

We know now that proper earthquake safety procedure is to drop onto your hands and knees, cover your head and neck, and hold on to something sturdy. Edna’s jape about sliding down the telephone pole would in fact have been a very dangerous thing to do! The next two players she accounts for experienced firsthand the scary physical consequences of the quake (still with Edna’s trademark sense of humor):

“Clay has always believed his number elevens were a firm

Portrait of Leonard Ruckelshaus in his baseball uniform
The heroic Leonard Ruckelshaus, 1922. IU Archives image no. P0042596

foundation until he saw the sidewalk meeting him in all directions, where he lost confidence.

Kight was shaken out of a sound sleep and came to in the middle of the street—he doesn’t know whether he reached the street by fair means or foul.”

Edna ends her account on a more positive note, describing team member Leonard “Ruck” Ruckleshaus’ bravery:

“Ruckleshaus proved himself the only hero in the crowd by rescuing a beautiful young lady. Trust Ruck!”

We can see the impact the baseball team had on the local community! None of the team members were injured, and in fact they went on to play their next game in the series on May 2. Although the IU team lost more games than they won (the final series record was one victory, one tie, and five losses) they had many thrilling experiences. Aside from the earthquake, they experienced Mount Fuji, the largest tea house in Japan, and the Tokyo Imperial Palace. You can view many images of the team’s Japanese tour in our database.

Scene of a moat surrounding the Imperial Palace in Tokyo
Image from the photo album kept by James Byron Walker who was captain of the 1922 baseball team. A note found on this page reads, in full: “This is a moat that surrounds the Imperial Palace & grounds.” IU Archives image no. P0085306

In the end, it was fortunate timing for Edna and the IU team to experience a Japanese earthquake in 1922. In September 1923 the Great Kanto Earthquake struck the nation and left a devastating path of destruction, killing 140,000 people in resulting fires, floods, and physical destruction. The event is a chilling testament to the tragic potential of earthquakes.

On a more positive note, you can learn more about the IU baseball team’s trip to Japan in multiple places. Be sure to check out previous blog posts here and here, the Edna Hatfield Edmondson correspondence collection (C705), and the Leonard C. Ruckelshaus papers (C519). Both the Edmondson and Ruckelshaus collections are digitized for your perusal. If you have further questions, be sure to contact an archivist.

Scan of page 1 of Edna Hatfield's April 30, 1922 letter to Frank R. Elliot - written in cursive handwriting. Scan of page 2 of Edna Hatfield's April 30, 1922 letter to Frank R. Elliot - written in cursive handwriting. Scan of page 3 of Edna Hatfield's April 30, 1922 letter to Frank R. Elliot - written in cursive handwriting. Scan of page 4 of Edna Hatfield's April 30, 1922 letter to Frank R. Elliot - written in cursive handwriting. Scan of the envelope of Edna Hatfield's April 30, 1922 letter to Frank R. Elliot - includes Japanese stamps.