Our Lives with Animals

Throughout history, humans have interacted with animals of all kinds on a daily basis. Whether it’s our beloved cat or dog at home, or a squirrel running among the trees of Dunn’s Woods, their antics captivate us, and many times we find ourselves taking photos or videos and sharing them with our friends. Animals fascinate us, and our interactions with them help us learn and develop as humans. They provide entertainment, help with work impossible for humans to carry out alone, and aid us in research.

IU Archives, image no. P0081205

The Indiana University Archives is filled with a rich, diverse collection of photos highlighting our interactions with animals, whether it be for research, for work purposes, or for our general amusement. These photos are just a small sample, but they offer a glimpse into our interactions with animals.

IU Archives, image no. P0081271

Humans rely on animals to provide assistance when jobs become too difficult to perform. Clarence Flaten was the Supervisor of Photography at the I.U. Audio Visual Center from 1948-1974, and also worked in the School of Education faculty from 1958-1974. During World War II, Flaten was photographer, primarily in India. Flaten’s collection of photos from that time illustrate the value of animals in performing tasks for humans. Whether it be an elephant lifting large barrels onto cargo planes, or a camel pulling a wagon, animals help us carry out our business and perform tasks too great for human strength. (View the finding aid for C660 Clarence M. Flaten papers here. )

IU Archives, image no. P005220

Animals provide humans with invaluable information through our observations of their behaviors and genetic makeups. Beginning in 1957, I.U.’s Department of Biology hosted a breeding colony for axolotls, a member of the salamander family also known as the Mexican walking fish. The colony supplied embryos, larvae and adults to classrooms and to labs for genetic research, specifically for their regeneration ability. The colony remained at I.U. until 2005, when it was moved to the University of Kentucky.

IU Archives, image no. P0050605

Scientific research helps us understand how a species has evolved over time. This Hoosier jellyfish, a member of the only freshwater species of jellyfish, was found in a flooded quarry near Bloomington in 1959, and used by an I.U. graduate student studying the evolution and distribution of the species.

IU Archives, image no. P0033398

For most of us though, animals above all provide a sense of entertainment. We become obsessed with them, and we are quick to share with our friends our interactions with them. Even stuffed animals can provide a sense of fun, as evidenced by the photo of I.U. President and Chancellor Herman B Wells riding a stuffed horse in South Dakota around 1927. Wells, resplendent in furry chaps, was captured riding “Black Dynamite” about three years before his arrival at IU.

IU athletics, while lacking an official mascot, experimented for a brief time with mascot ideas. Ox the Bulldog, shown here before the Old Oaken Bucket game against Purdue in 1959, served as the mascot for I.U. football from 1959 to the mid-1960s. Later in the decade, the football team attempted using a stuffed bison as its mascot, but this also proved to be short-lived.

IU Archives image no. P0030198
IU Archives, image no. P0048588








Whether we interact with them for entertainment, work, or for research, animals help us conduct our daily business, and at the end of the day make us smile, and give us a reason to take a photo and share.


IU’s Civilian Pilot Training Program

In the years leading up to World War II there was an escalating climate of unsolicited preparedness. With a certain level of foresight, several countries in Europe, such as Italy and Germany, began government-sanctioned pilot training for civilians. The United States was quick to follow suit, and in 1939 the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP), a program designed to nest within eligible colleges and universities, was formed under the supervision of the Civilian Aeronautics Authority (CAA). The CAA began accepting applications from interested academic institutions and Indiana University, at the urging of President Herman B Wells, was among the first to apply.

Application for IU to join CPTP

At that time, Bloomington did not have an airport with suitable facilities for the program; nevertheless, the CAA accepted IU’s application contingent on the completion of a new municipal airport, which the City of Bloomington, under the auspices of the Works Projects Administration (WPA), intended to complete by September of 1940. The WPA had approved a $306,000 budget for construction of this new, “modern” airport. When completed the airport would boast classroom space set aside specifically for the CPTP and four runways varying between 2500 and 4000 feet in length. In the meantime IU was authorized to begin the program with somewhat lower numbers of trainees than completion of the airport would eventually allow for.

Eligible students were required to pass a physical examination and submit a laboratory fee of $40, a small sum according to the CAA, which claimed that the course was valued at $500. Colonel John F. Landis, professor of military science and tactics at IU, was chosen as director of the program. Ground school classes, which included such topics as the history of aviation, the theory of flight, meteorology, navigation and civil air regulations, began on January 8th, 1940. Lieutenant Charles Daudt, professor of aviation, was instructor for the first ground school course. Students were required to complete 72 hours of ground school curriculum, in addition to 35 to 50 hours of actual flight training. The flight training was split into three different stages: dual instruction, primary solo flight and practice, as well as advanced solo flight and practice. After completion of the ground school and flight training requirements, pilots-in-training were required to complete a private flight test. It is unclear exactly where the CPTP students underwent their hands-on flight instruction and practice, but some correspondence refers to the site of the “old airport,” which may allude to the Bloomington Airport once located on White Hall Pike. Graduates of the first CPTP class included 28 men and 1 woman.

It is interesting to note that not everyone was as supportive of the program as President Wells. In retrospect, the motives behind the establishment of the CPTP may seem obvious, but when the program began there was still a generally ambivalent attitude on involving the United States in a foreign war which had not yet hit home, so to speak. Pearl Harbor, the event which is attributed to spurring the U. S. into the second world war was still over a year away when the CPTP was getting started. So, while the training program was praised and welcomed by some, others were not so favorably impressed. Edwin C. Johnson, a Democrat and two time governor of Colorado (1933-1937, 1955-1957) published a pamphlet in the early spring of 1940 entitled “Mars In Civilian Disguise.” The pamphlet set out to “expose” and criticize the program for essentially being “a camouflage for a definitely militaristic project,” a project that was attempting, from the very start, to propel the American people down a war path.

In contrast, President Herman B Wells, along with other members of the administration and student body were enthusiastic about the program from the very start. In a letter to Robert H. Hinckley of the CAA, President Wells stated that the CPTP “[had] been a splendid addition” to IU’s educational offerings. Along with Col. Landis, Wells worked hard to convince the CAA to increase IU’s allotted quota of students from thirty to fifty, but the CAA insisted upon completion of the Bloomington Municipal Airport before allowing IU to increase its numbers. The goal was to eventually allow for three groups of fifty students to be trained per year. While several more CPTP graduating classes were ushered through the program from 1940 to the summer of 1941, problems arose when construction of the airport did not progress as planned. As a result, the CPTP was temporarily discontinued and re-implemented shortly thereafter following completion of the airport. As far as we know the program continued through the early part of 1942. At some point the Civilian Pilot Training Program was shut down permanently at IU, although the CPTP would continue at other universities across the United States through 1944.

Further research is needed to definitely answer the question of what caused the permanent shut down of the Civilian Pilot Training Program at IU. Perhaps it was due to inadequate facilities at the new airport, or perhaps it was a decline in interest. About a dozen files pertaining to the CPTP are located in Herman B Wells’ President’s Office Records. If you are interested in learning more about IU’s short-lived Civilian Pilot Training Program, please contact us at the Archives.

The start of a new internship

Hello everyone, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Kris Stenson, and I’m one of the newest interns here at the IU Archives. I’ve recently completed the last of my classes for my MLS here at IU, so this is my sole remaining requirement before I receive my degree. In next few months I will be posting updates on work I’m doing for the archives, as well as my own opinions and musings related to those projects. Hopefully this proves as informative to you as it will be to me.

I’ve just made it to the end of week two, and am still very much feeling out my role here. Later in the summer I will be working on processing a collection or two, as well as perhaps some records management work with departments here on campus. Right now my immediate task involves new digital exhibit software the archives is trying out: Omeka (http://omeka.org/). It’s an open-access program which is being worked on as a way to present certain archival materials to the public in an interesting and visually stimulating way. While most of the design work has been done by a colleague from digital libraries, I will be working to select materials for display, upload them into the software, add contextual metadata, and provide text to explain and tie together the objects.

April 1969

In conjunction with Indiana University’s upcoming fall Themester, “Making War, Making Peace,” I have been tasked with creating an exibit of materials related to student protests here at IU, particularly during the 1960’s. Thus far I’ve been digging through press clippings, leaflets and such, and next will look at photographs, administrative papers and student government materials. I’ve so far identified several different events which will have pages devoted to them: a 1962 Anti-Cuban blocade protest and counter-rally, the 1967 Dow Chemical sit-in, the 1968 Little 500 sit-in to protest racial inequality, the May 1969 student fee class boycott, the related Ballantine Hall lock-in and the October 1969 Vietnam War Moratorium Day protests. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface, but there is much more to be found.

I plan to present more details of each of these events in this blog as the summer progresses, so that we all might understand a little more about a controversial and influential time here at IU.

Until next time.