Category Archives: Alumni

Tales about Purdue alumni.

Herman Murray: Breaking the Color Barrier for Purdue Football

In 1948, Herman Murray began playing for the freshman football squad at Purdue. According to the student newspaper, Murray stood out as a player in a game between the “frosh” team and the “B eleven,” when he pounced on a fumble and helped turn the tide in favor of his team (Exponent November 13, 1948). Murray joined Purdue’s “B Team” (similar to a junior varsity squad) as a tackle in 1949. Jim Smith, writing for the student newspaper, pointed out the significance of Murray’s place on the team: “Here’s hoping that the plucky Murray can help the varsity and here’s also hat’s off to the athletic department for helping to break down racial prejudice at Purdue” (Exponent, February 23, 1949).

Herman Murray, shown in the center of this photo of residents of the International House at Purdue. Debris 1949.

Murray’s athletic skills were not lost on Purdue coaches or students.  The following year he became the first African American student to play in an official varsity football game when he played in the November 11, 1950 game against Northwestern at Ross-Ade Stadium (Exponent, November 14, 1950). Students in the crowd enthusiastically chanted his name from the stands.  The student newspaper pointed out the hard work and persistence on Murray’s part that led to this important moment in Purdue history, writing that although Murray “played but a few minutes he deserves mention for his long road up. Big Herman Murray finally got his chance to appear in a ball game and he has really worked for that chance. Herm has been plugging away for the past two years serving as bait for the varsity and doing his bit in the “B” games. A good example of what determination can do.” (Exponent, November 14, 1950).

Murray is shown in back row, #99. Debris 1950

Murray was born in Indianapolis on January 2, 1930. He graduated from the Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis (1948), where he served as captain of his football squad and was named most valuable player. Murray entered Purdue University in 1948, graduating in 1952 with a BS degree in Science. For at least some of his years at Purdue he lived in the International House on Salisbury Street.

Herman Murray, Boilermaker tackle, circa 1948-1952.

Following graduation, Murray served for over twenty years with the U.S. Navy as a doctor of dentistry. He also worked for Arco Durethene Plastics and Arco Chemicals. Following retirement, Murray drove a school bus for special needs children in Long Beach, California. He passed away on August 2, 2017 (Source: Obituary, Serenity Funeral Services, 2017).

The archives staff recently learned of Murray’s passing and we wish to respectfully express our condolences to his family. 

Purdue and India, Part 2: The Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur

Editors Note: This is part 2 of a series about the connections between Purdue and India.  See part 1, about the first Indian students at Purdue, here.

Program booklet, Box 2, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur records

Purdue forged new connections with India in the 1960s, collaborating in the planning and expansion of educational programs at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur. The IIT, a government funded educational institution, was founded in 1959. Starting in 1962, IIT participated in the Kanpur Indo-American Program, which provided technical assistance from nine U.S. institutions (including Purdue) to develop strong engineering programs, enhance instruction, and research.

In a document titled, “The P.K. Kelkar Library: The first ten years and the collaboration with the Purdue University Libraries,” former Purdue Librarian Professor Richard Funkhouser explained the background for the development of the Institute, “…the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur (IIR/K) was a joint project of the Government of India and the United States Agency for International Development (U.S. A.I.D.). The aim was to build a world-recognized, doctoral degree granting, research university of the highest quality.”

Bulletin, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, Course of Study, 1966-1967

In addition to Purdue, eight other United States universities collaborated on this effort: University of California at Berkeley, the California Institute of Technology, the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon), Case Institute of Technology (now Case Western), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Michigan, Ohio State, and Princeton University. All of these universities were, and still are, well known for the excellent science and engineering programs they provide. These universities also provided visiting faculty and support staff to serve as advisors.

According to notes kept by Funkhouser, “The Purdue Libraries had a unique role in the development of the Institute’s library, especially the collection. Four Purdue Librarians had active participation in the project. George Meluch and I each spent two years there and Robert Cain spent 18 months there, Oliver Dunn the Libraries Associate Director, was the Purdue Libraries liaison for the project and spent several weeks each in 1962, 1964, 1966 and 1968 at the Institute gathering data and writing the original development plan, reviewing progress and updating the plan.”

Program Description

A valuable resource on the history of Purdue’s collaboration in this effort is the collection of records on the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, part of the Purdue Archives and Special Collections. The collection was assembled by employees of the Purdue Libraries who helped build the new library at the IIT Kanpur. The records focus primarily on the books that were purchased and new procedures established for library staff. They also include documents on the early years of the IIT Kanpur, such as early reports, course bulletins, newsletters, and brochures. These records provide insight into the development of IIT Kanpur and the roles Purdue University and other university employees from U.S. institutions played in contributing to the developing infrastructure of the new institute.

Although participation in the Kanpur Indo-American Program ended in 1972, Purdue continues to work closely with the Indian Institute of Technology system. In 2015, President Mitch Daniels signed a memo of understanding with Uday B. Desai, director of the Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad. The goal of this agreement was to strengthen and expand contacts between the two universities, with Purdue partnering on innovative approaches to course content and delivery. The agreement also included plans for faculty and student exchange and collaborative research and education programs.

Blog post by Mary A. Sego (’82), Processing Assistant, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections.

References

MSP 152, Purdue University International Students collection, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

MSF 462, Richard L. Funkhouser book chapter, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur records, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections

Vertical File, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

Purdue, Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad to expand educational, research collaborations, Purdue Today, May 5, 2015. https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/purduetoday/releases/2015/Q2/purdue,-indian-institute-of-technology-hyderabad-to-expand-educational,-research-collaborations.html

Purdue and India, Part 1: The First Indian Students at Purdue

Editors Note: The materials in this post are presented as they were originally created. In some cases, outdated terms and phrases were used that may be offensive today, but they are presented here unedited so that the context of the difficulties faced by international students may be understood.  Please click on images for better view.

In Recognition of the World at Purdue’s Doorstep 1887 – 1955

Students have traveled from India to study at Purdue since the early 1900s. In this post, we highlight those early Purdue students from India.

A university publication titled “In Recognition of the World at Purdue’s Doorstep 1887 – 1955” identifies two students who were likely the first to come from India to study at Purdue. Those men were Amar Nath Bery of Kashmir and Ram Lal Bery of Lahore.

Ram Lal Bery, 1905 Debris

Ram Lal Bery (BSME, 1905) appeared as a senior in the Purdue yearbook, The Debris. After graduation, he returned to Indiana and became Principal of the Hindu Diamond Technical Institute.

Amar Nath Bery (BSEE, 1905) graduated the same year as Ram Lal Bery but does not appear in the Debris. He later became Secretary of the Public Works Department, Jammu and Kashmir. 

 

1905 Debris

The Debris yearbook includes other students from India in subsequent years. The next student from India was Albert Norton. As noted in the necrology, Norton passed away on October 6, 1906.  H.D. Wohra  (Class of 1913) appears in the Debris as a member of the Cosmopolitan Club/Corda Fratres, but he is not pictured with the other seniors in the 1913 yearbook.

Birendra Nath Das Gupta, 1914 Debris

Narendra Nath Sen, 1914 Debris

The next student from India known to graduate from Purdue was Birendra Nath Das Gupta (BSEE, 1914). As stated below his photo, Das Gupta came from India in October 1911, and he spent his first year at Wisconsin. He then came to Purdue and was able to complete his studies in three years.

Also among the Class of 1914 was Narendra Nath Sen.  Like Gupta, Sen first spent a year at the University of Wisconsin before transferring to Purdue. He planned to continue his education with advanced degrees in engineering after earning his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering.

Purdue Exponent, September 24, 1921

1922 Debris, p. 385

The 1920s saw another group of students coming to Purdue from India. Per an Exponent article from 1921, six students from India made their way to Purdue and faced unique challenges. Those students also formed the Purdue Hindusthan Association, a local chapter of a national organization to support students from India as they represent their culture in America.

Three of the men featured in the Exponent article appear in the Debris:

 

 

Kameshwar Nath Kathju, 1922 Debris

 

Kameshwar Nath Kathju (BS, 1922) of Bikaner, who was a Fellow of the Royal Colonial Institute of London

 

 

Syed Habibuddin Ahmed, 1923 Debris

1923 Debris

 

Syed Habibuddin Ahmed (BSEE, 1923) of Burhanpur

 

 

Gyan Chand Sharma, 1924 Debris

1924 Debris

 

Gyan Chand Sharma (BSEE, 1924) of Lahore, who played a key role in organizing the Foreign Students’ Union, a club that provided support for other international students.

Purdue Exponent, October 4, 1923

Many of the students gave presentations on campus, supported other international students, and provided insight into what it meant to travel across the globe to study at a university far from home.

Per statistics gathered for 1941-1942, there were no students from India at Purdue, but by 1946 the Lafayette Journal and Courier reported that there were ten students from India at Purdue that year.

MSP 152, Box 2, Folder 3, Purdue University International Students collection

As the years went by, outreach efforts resulted in increases to the number of International students attending Purdue. As International alumni spread the word about the value of their Purdue educations, the number of international students continued to rise.

A letter home to students in India

Purdue at India, Call # LD4767.2 .I523

In 1963, students published the “India at Purdue” newsletter. This short-lived publication focused on news and events in India for those who were far from home. The quotation on the cover states “In diversity we strive for unity.”

By 1963 there were 120 students from India enrolled at Purdue and that number has continued to grow ever since. Today, more than 2,000 students from India attend Purdue and Purdue Indian students are integral contributors to celebrations of diversity and multiculturalism on campus.

Our next post, Purdue and India, Part 2, focuses on Purdue’s collaborative efforts to establish the Indian Institute of Technology.

 

 

Blog post by Mary A. Sego (’82), Processing Assistant, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections.

References

MSP 152, Purdue University International Students collection, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

Purdue University. Senior Class. (1889). Debris.

Purdue University. (1961). Alumni directory, 1875-1961, Purdue University. Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue Alumni Association.

Purdue University. India Students Association. (n.d.). India at Purdue.

Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur records, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections

Vertical File, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

Kassandra Agee Chandler Broke Barriers as Purdue’s first African American Homecoming Queen

Kassandra “Katie” Agee Chandler was born to a blue-collar family from Gary, Indiana. She originally aspired to attend an out of state college following high school graduation. This plan was disrupted when she was contacted by Dr. Cornell Bell of Purdue University. Bell discovered Kassandra Agee during her senior year of high school and persisted in efforts to recruit her for the Business Opportunity Program (BOP) at Purdue, despite Kassandra’s initial desire to live out of state.

Business Opportunity Program pamphlets

Through the BOP, Dr. Bell brought bright and promising students to enroll in the Krannert Business School. The initiative was started after Bell observed that Krannert and other business schools were historically lacking in diversity, which contributed to an overall lack of diversity in the profession of business.

Business Opportunity Program group photo

After entering the program, students like Agee received mentorship, tutoring, and a sense of family and belonging at Purdue. Kassandra entered the program in the fall of 1977 and graduated in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Purdue.

Kassandra Agee Chandler at Homecoming

As a sophomore in the fall of 1978, Agee was elected Purdue’s Homecoming Queen, the first and, to date, only African American Homecoming Queen in Purdue’s history. As a representative of Meredith Residence Halls, she competed against 23 other competitors to win her title.

Newspaper clippings

When reflecting later upon the nomination and campaign experience, Kassandra remembered being told, “They’ll never let you win this.” But she drew upon the strength of her faith, family, friends, and dorm-mates, as well as her own tenacity.

She worked tirelessly on her campaign, going door-to-door, speaking with groups across campus, and hanging campaign posters.

Homecoming campaign materials

She remembered, “I didn’t let it get to me. I never let anyone talk me down…. In the end, I was able to make my family and sisterhood proud…I felt like Cinderella…it was all a collective effort of sisterhood, of campus-hood, of brotherhood.”

Congratulations notes

After winning, Agee received local and national press, as well as campus and community wide support. Along with the many press releases, newspaper clippings, and congratulatory notes, she was invited to appear in the Rose Bowl Parade alongside the Homecoming Queens from the other Big 10 Universities. As she later said, “I’m a blue collar daughter but I was queen on the campus of Purdue. In sharing my story of what is possible during the most improbable and seemingly impossible time, I hope [to] inspire.”

Rose Bowl materials

In addition to her role as Homecoming Queen and a leader for African American students on campus, Agee was also active in extracurricular activities. She was a member of Alpha Lambda Delta freshman honor society, Purdue Pals, and the Black Voices of Inspiration Choir. Agee was also a president and founding member of Purdue’s Society of Minority Managers. She served as a social counselor for the Business Opportunity Program and was a member of the Mortar Board senior honors society.

Mortar Board

Her involvement in student activities reflected her leadership role on campus, as well as her excellent academic record.

After graduating from the Krannert School of Management, Agee held positions at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Exxon, Dow Chemical and Procter & Gamble.

Agee Chandler speaking at podium

In the years since her graduation, she has frequently returned to campus to give presentations on topics ranging from her work in the business world to her experiences as homecoming queen. After years of professional experience working for industry leaders in both the public and private sector, she founded Systematic Design Consultants, where she is the principal consultant. The company is an information technology consulting firm located in Texas.

Cornell Bell letter

Agee is also a founding member of the Business Opportunity Program Alumni Network, which seeks to further the legacy of Dr. Cornell Bell and ensure the continued success of the BOP. The Network engages in fundraising, advising, and seeks to provide a support network for BOP alumni by keeping them connected while providing opportunities that will ensure their continued success in the professional business world.

Kassandra Agee Chandler returns to her alma mater this year to serve as grand marshal of the Boilermaker Night Train Homecoming Parade on September 21. This homecoming is particularly special, as Purdue officially launches the start of its sesquicentennial celebrations from fall 2018 through fall 2019.

The Black Cultural Center is offering a display of historical photographs and related items on Kassandra Agee Chandler, on the 2nd floor near the library, through the end of October. We hope you will join us in celebrating Kassandra’s rich life and legacy — at Purdue, and beyond.

Sources:

MSA 363, Kassandra Agee Chandler papers, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries, West Lafayette, Indiana

Chandler, Kassandra Agee. “My Pieces of History: A Queen’s Journey to Archival Peace (and Release).” 6 February, 2018, Krannert Auditorium, West Lafayette, Indiana.

Written by Virginia Pleasant. All images from the Kassandra Agee Chandler papers.

Overcoming the Odds: A Look Back at Our Earliest Chinese Students

Items from the Purdue University Chinese Students collection, MSP 155, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections

Editor’s Note: All the names in this post are presented as they appeared in the original Purdue publications.  The preferred Anglicized spellings of names may have changed since that time.

Continuing in our series on Purdue firsts, we take a look at some of our earliest Purdue alumni from China.

1916 Purdue Alumni Directory

One can search the earliest Purdue Alumni Directories to see who these students were. The 1916 Alumni Directory, which can be found in the Purdue Archives, shows this list of men as the first alums in China.  Upon further research, one learns that G.L. Hagman was from Louisville, Kentucky; H.H. Arnold hailed from Denver, Colorado; and L.E. Crowell was from Portland, Indiana, when they attended Purdue. One can deduce that they must have moved to China after graduation.

Fuchen K. Sah, the first Chinese student to graduate from Purdue, 1910 Debris. Click image to view larger version.

That leaves F.K. Sah, 1910, and P.L. Yang, 1911, as the first Purdue graduates from China.

Fuchen K. Sah (sometimes spelled Fuchuen Sah) graduated from Purdue in 1910 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering.  He later became Engineer-in-Chief on Chiou-Chi Railway (The Chinese Students at Purdue, 16).

The earliest membership of the Purdue C.E. Club, 1910 Debris. Click image to view larger version.

Further research shows that another student from China was also part of the class of 1910 at some point. The membership roster for the Civil Engineering Club for 1910 lists L.C. Yen as a member and a part of the Class of 1910.

Cosmopolitan Club, 1909 Debris. Click image to view larger version.

L.C. Yen also appears in this 1909 photograph of the Cosmopolitan Club. The Cosmopolitan Club was first established at Purdue in 1907 and its membership comprised international students.

Per the listing for Yen in The Chinese Students at Purdue booklet, Yen “swung himself into action immediately after graduation. He served as District Engineer for the Szechuen-Hankow Railway and the Caton-Hankow Railway from 1910-1916. Then he took his own initiative in promoting an engineering company in Shanghai, China” (18).  Yen led the Pacific Engineering Company, while also managing the Pacific Trading Company.

Both Sah and Yen made tremendous contributions to the infrastructure of China in the early 1900s. They were pioneers in their efforts, and made important contributions to improve transportation in China.

From The Chinese Students at Purdue, Purdue University Chinese Students collection, MSP 155, Folder 3. Click image to view larger version.

The Purdue Chinese Students’ Club was founded in 1909 with only six students in the initial club. (The Chinese Students at Purdue, p.12). The Club’s 1925 publication The Chinese Students at Purdue is a valuable resource about both the club and its members. As stated in the text, “As an instrument for developing a cooperative spirit among the Chinese students in American universities, and for cultivating and promoting friendly relations with the people of the United States, the club has proved itself worthy of its existence.” Cora Whang, one of the first female Chinese students appears on the first row. The Chinese Students at Purdue booklet lists her as “Cora Wang, Sc., ex-’25.” (15) Note the difference in the spelling of her last name. There are no other photographs of her in the Debris yearbook under Whang or Wang.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following profiles highlight several other early Chinese alumni.

Chi Ting Sun, 1915 Debris

Chi Ting Sun graduated in Electrical Engineering in 1915. Sun reminisced about his time at Purdue in Purdue in China, a 1961 publication by the Purdue Alumni Association of Taiwan: “I arrived at W. Lafayette in September 1911 by rail and was welcomed by a Y-man at the station. At that time a rough game, Tank Scrap, was to take place at the beginning of each school year. In the evening when the Scrap was going to start, Mrs. Goldsmith treated me as her own son. She pulled down the curtains of my room and told me to be quiet. Soon I heard shouting outside, ‘Freshmen out!’ She answered from downstairs, ‘He has been out already.’ She then turned and said to me, ‘Our American boys are accustomed to games of rough nature and they are near to their parents. You come to America for education and your parents are far away, on the other side of the Pacific. I must act as your mother. I want you to stay away at such occasions.’ Her lovely attitude toward a foreigner made me remember her forever.

I passed that winter without an overcoat for some unavoidable reasons. But Prof. Cole questioned me about the overcoat every time I met him. He watched over the foreign students so closely that it impressed me deeply.

I was in Purdue for four years and was getting on well with the professors and classmates. In the fall of 1915 I registered in M.I.T.  But before long I was badly homesick for Purdue. I am having the same feeling for Purdue in Taiwan now as I did in Boston 49 years ago.” (26)

Chi Ting Sun taught at Nan Kai College after he left Purdue. He later gave up teaching and went on to hold prominent positions with the famous Chiou-Chi Railway. It is said that many students held his recommendations in high regard. (The Chinese Students at Purdue, 16).

Kwo-Chun Lee, 1918 Debris

Kwo-Chun Lee (later spelled Kuo-Chun Li) also shared his accomplishments in Purdue in China.  He wrote, ”Just before the war broke out in July 1937, I joined the Ministry of Railways and was assigned to supervise the construction of a large railway workshop in Chuchowm Huan. Having completed this job the following year, I took up a post as section engineer of the war time construction of the Huan-Kwangsi Railway. My section was located half-way between Kweilin and Liuchow, in Kwangsi Province, winding alongside a small stream through a narrow deep valley fully infested with malaria. In worst cases, victims died within three days and due to this disease we had lost several thousand men within a period of two years.” (Purdue in China, Purdue Alumni Association of Taiwan, p. 19).  After the war, Li went on to help rehabilitate the war torn railroad system in three provinces. He was able to accomplish the rehabilitation by May 1949, the railway was opened to traffic, and an extension of the railway was undertaken. Li reported that he left the mainland for Taiwan about this time. His first job in Taiwan, as reported by Li, “was the erection of sixteen spans of 205 feet steel trusses for the Silo Bridge, the famous highway bridge in central Taiwan.” (Purdue in China, 20). Li later went on to hold prominent positions within the Military Construction Bureau, Ministry of National Defense. In his words, “The Bureau undertakes all kinds of construction projects, including designing and building airfields, harbor, roads, barracks, shops and all kinds of installations for the armed forces.” (20).

Practical knots, hitches and splices Norman, C. A. ; Purdue University. Division of Rural Engineering 1920. Click image to access the full publication.

Chen Yew Tang, 1921 Debris

Chen Yew Tang graduated in 1921 with a B.S. in Agriculture and was a skilled illustrator. His talent is shown in this Purdue Extension Bulletin he contributed to while a Purdue student.

 

 

 

J.C. Li, 1923 Debris

Ju Chi Li also contributed to agriculture worldwide.  He graduated from Purdue in 1923. As a student, Li wrote about agriculture in China in the October 1922 issue of The Purdue Agriculturist 

 

Purdue Agriculturist, October 1922. Click image to view larger version.

Purdue Agriculturist, October 1922, p. 14. Click image to view larger version.

This fictionalized diary page from the 1927 Chinese Students’ Year Book describes what it was like for a Chinese student at Purdue in 1927. “Rent $12.00…”

Page from a Chinese student’s diary, Chinese Students’ Year Book, Purdue University Chinese Students collection, MSP 155, Folder 5. Click image to view larger version.

Alumni graduate students from China have also made major contributions to their fields.

Yong-piao Liu, Purdue in China, p. 35

Dr. Yong-piao Liu’s work was important to the field of veterinary science. As Liu recalled in the Purdue in China booklet, “Through the recommendation of Dr. I.E. Newsom, veterinary advisor of JCPR (the former president of Colorado Agriculture and Medical College) as well as the financial aid offered by China Foundation, I joined the Department of Veterinary Science of Purdue University to study veterinary bacteriology for one year from 1953-1954. I spent many a happy hour there in carrying out various experiments with adequate laboratory facilities, materials and assistance of the staff. Before going to the States I investigated Swine Pneumonia and this work I continued at Purdue University in order to determine the real cause. From 108 heads of the diseased pigs, I isolated Listeria organism from three cases. This was the first successful trial of isolation of Listeria organism for swine in Indiana.” (23).

Dr. Y.P. Liu later became the head of the Department of Veterinary Medicine at National Taiwan University, in charge of Veterinary Bacteriology and Infectious Diseases of Domestic Animals.

Deng Jiaxian, 1950. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Another Chinese Ph.D. student from Purdue to make his mark in history was Deng Jiaxian, known as China’s “Father of the Atomic Bomb.” He received his Ph.D. in Physics from Purdue in 1950. After graduation, he returned to China and dedicated over 20 years working with a team of scientists who developed the nuclear and hydrogen bomb for China. Jiaxian’s contributions were critical to China’s nuclear program. In 1999 he was posthumously awarded the National Merit Medal for his contributions to Chinese Military Science.

The Purdue University Archives and Special Collections has a collection of articles that document some of the press releases after Deng Jiaxian’s death, from a local story by Jack Alkire of the Journal and Courier to publications from China. The Archives also has Jiaxian’s Ph.D. dissertation, The Photo-Disintegration of the Deuteron.”

The Chinese Students at Purdue booklet provides a list of the earliest Chinese Purdue alumni. Two women, Lillian Lee, (ex ’25) and Cora Wang, (ex ’25), do not appear in the Debris yearbook, but are noted as alumnae.

The earliest Chinese Purdue alumni. From The Chinese Students at Purdue, Purdue University Chinese Students collection, MSP 155, Folder 3. Click image to view larger version.

 

The 1927 Chinese Students’ Year Book lists Anna Lee as the only female Chinese student at that time.

 

Pages from Chinese Students’ Year Book, Purdue University Chinese Students collection, MSP 155, Folder 5

Programs from the Chinese Students’ Alliance Mid-West Conference, 1921. Purdue University Chinese Students collection, MSP 155, Folder 4

Another important contribution Chinese students at Purdue made was participation in the Chinese Students’ Alliance. The Alliance was a nationwide organization of Chinese students studying in the United States, the first nation to which modern China sent students for an education. 

Program from the Chinese Students’ Alliance Mid-West Conference, 1925. Purdue University Chinese Students collection, MSP 155, Folder 4

The Alliance was divided into three sections; the Eastern, Midwest and Western. Each section was composed of a number of Chinese Students’ Clubs.

Chinese Students’ Annual Conference Closed Wednesday, Purdue Exponent, September 10, 1921. Click image to view larger version.

Each year during early September, an annual summer conference was held by each section at a convenient location for the purpose of bringing the Chinese students together to exchange ideas and discuss important problems. Purdue University was the site of the Mid-West Conference in 1921 and again in 1925.

There are so many other stories that could be featured as firsts among the Chinese Purdue students! This is just a sampling of those that made an early impact among the Purdue community and worldwide. Their efforts have made the world a better place.

Blog post by Mary A. Sego (’82), Processing Assistant, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections.

References

Purdue University. Chinese Students’ Club. Alumni Committee. (1924). The Chinese students at Purdue. LaFayette, Ind.: Purdue University.

Purdue Alumni Association of Taiwan. (1961). Purdue in China. Taipei, Taiwan.

Burg, David F. “Chinese Students’ Alliance.” Encyclopedia of Student and Youth Movements. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 1998. Modern World History Online. Facts On File, Inc. Web. 17 June 2014.

Yu, C.C. “The Chinese Students’ Alliance in the United States.” Young China, July 1921. Web. 17 June  2014.

Bevis, Teresa Brawner. “The Chinese Students’ Alliance.” A History of Higher Education Exchange: China and America.  New York : Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2013. Web. 17 June 2014.

File:鄧稼先普渡照片.jpg. (2017, October 3). Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository. Retrieved 20:28, July 18, 2018 from https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:%E9%84%A7%E7%A8%BC%E5%85%88%E6%99%AE%E6%B8%A1%E7%85%A7%E7%89%87.jpg&oldid=261298137.

Celebrating Black History Month: Firsts by Purdue African-American Students & Alumni

Items from the Purdue University African American Students, Alumni and Faculty collection

Black History Month is a great time to take a look back in Purdue’s history and honor our African American pioneers, the people who broke new ground and paved the way for others. Actually, any time is the right time to honor people who have succeeded, but particularly those who faced obstacles outside the norm of typical student life.

If one flips through the Debris yearbook from the earliest years in Purdue’s history, it becomes clear from the atmosphere that is portrayed, the cartoons that are illustrated, and the words that are used that students were not always kind or inclusive towards one another. Although all students struggle from time to time, it is important to remember that people of color, or any people who differed from the majority, faced additional struggles inside and outside the classroom, and their voices are not always included in these historical accounts of student life. We believe this creates even more cause to celebrate, as a means of honoring those individuals who succeeded despite the odds.

According to historical accounts in the Archives, in 1944 there were twelve African American students at Purdue (Cornelius 10), and records show 145 black students in 1965.  Thirty years later, during the 1994-1995 school year, there were 1,175. In 2015, the number was only a bit higher, at 1,183.

Below are some of the Purdue “firsts” among the African American student population:

1890, Purdue’s First Black Graduate

George W. Lacey is noted as having graduated from Purdue in Pharmacy. He is not found in the Debris yearbook, but he is mentioned elsewhere as having been Purdue’s first black graduate. His name is found in the 1890 Druggists’ Circular and Chemical Gazette with the listing of those who graduated from the Purdue School of Pharmacy that year. Fred Whitford, author of The Grand Old Man of Purdue University and Indiana Agriculture: A Biography of William Carroll Latta, also makes mention of Lacey as being the first black Purdue graduate (Whitford 37).

 

Or was it David Robert Lewis?

David Robert Lewis has also been noted in Purdue’s historical accounts as the University’s first black graduate. He was from Greensburg, Indiana, and he earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering in 1894. His senior thesis was titled “Highway Road Construction.”

 

 

Click to learn more about Lewis.

One problem in identifying the first African American graduate of Purdue, is that although Purdue began offering courses in 1874, the first records that include images of students are in the Debris yearbook, which did not exist until 1889. Therefore, the possibility exists that neither Lacey nor Lewis were the first African American graduate from Purdue– it is possible that a student who graduated prior to invention of the yearbook may have been African American, but thus far there is no record in the University Archives that confirms this. Official university records did not include race or ethnicity prior to 1974.

Other Early African American Graduates

Richard Wirt Smith graduated from the School of Pharmacy in 1904.

1904  Debris

 

 

 

 

 

Smith in a Purdue Pharmacy Lab in 1904.

Indianapolis Recorder, February 4, 1939

1904 Debris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Per Mr. Smith’s obituary in the Indianapolis Recorder, February 4, 1939, he died a successful druggist, at the young age of 54.

1905,  John Henry Weaver, Pharmacy

As noted in John Henry Weaver’s Debris entry, he was also a member of the track team for 4 years. Sadly, as mentioned in Alexandra Cornelius’ research, “Purdue teams, like other national sports teams, became segregated in the 1910s and 1920s. They remained segregated until 1947, when black attorney Willard Ransom, a Purdue alumnus, challenged the University, and a student protest led to a black football player being put into the game.” Cornelius found other evidence that life must have been difficult for black students in the early years of the 20th century. Her research has provided valuable evidence of early African American life at Purdue and is used frequently in the Archives.

 

1905, Samuel Saul Dargan graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Science Degree in 1905. He went on to become the first black man to earn a Law Degree from Indiana University (1909). He was curator of the IU Law Library for 39 years and assisted many law school students during that time.

1905 Debris

 

 

 

More about Dargan

 

 

1913, David Nelson Crosthwait Jr., Mechanical Engineering

1913 Debris

David Crosthwait became a pioneer in the field of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning, and is known for finding a way to heat Radio City Music Hall.

More about Crosthwait

 

 

 

 

Who was the first black woman to attend Purdue?  As one turns the pages of the earliest Purdue Debris yearbooks, very few females look up from the pages. Even fewer black females are present. Per Caitlyn Marie Stypa, in her 2013 master’s thesis, Purdue Girls: The Female Experience at a Land-Grant University, 1887-1913: “While university publications make it difficult to determine who the first black woman was to enroll in or graduate from Purdue University, it is quite certain that she was not a student until after 1913.”  Stypa goes on to write that “as late as 1911, black women made up just one-third of one percent of female college and university students. Common reasons for the low enrollment rate included lack of funds or outright discrimination” (Stypa 5).

As mentioned earlier, the fact that prior to 1974, a student’s permanent record did not include any racial or ethnic identification makes efforts to locate the first African American students a difficult task.

1910, First African American Women

One of the first black females to be found in the Debris yearbook appears in the middle of this photograph of the 1910 Junior Pharmacy Class. If one looks for her in the following years, she does not appear. Not every student had their photograph taken for the Debris, which makes it difficult to rely upon as a source for verifying the first African American students at Purdue; however, as one of the few early historical records containing images, the Debris yearbook is often our best available source for finding clues about Purdue’s early African American students. Because this woman could not be identified in later issues of the yearbook, it is possible that she was a student who did not finish her degree at Purdue.

1910,   Junior Pharmacy Class

1913, Summer School for Teachers

In this photograph from the 1913 Debris, one finds another black woman. Her name is not noted, but she participated in Purdue’s Summer School for Teachers, which included Indiana high school and college students from around the state. It is unknown whether she was a full-time student enrolled in courses (outside of the Summer School for Teachers) at Purdue. 

1910, Summer School for Teachers

1927, Inez Mason

In 1927, Inez Mason was the first cited member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, an early Greek organization established for African-American college women.  She received a Bachelor of Science degree the same year. Her membership in the sorority is noted under her photo in the 1927 Debris.

Inez Mason, 1927 Debris

 

 

 

 

 

 

1931, Thelma F. McDonald

McDonald, 1931 Debris

 

No further information has been located in the Archives about Thelma McDonald.

 

 

1932, Silance Sisters

Sisters Delia and Ella Belle Silance of Lafayette appear to be two of the first black female graduates of Purdue. Both graduated with distinction and are shown below in the 1932 Debris.

Silance Sisters, 1932 Debris

“…Male black students could only live in West Lafayette in International House on University Avenue. However, black female students were denied the right and had to live across the river. ‘Practice House’ was a requirement in order to earn a degree in Home Economics. It was a program of 6 weeks duration, during which time home making duties were rotated among the girls each week. During those weeks two girls roomed together in the house. However, I was assigned to a group of five which included a very well liked black student. Those making the room pairings were planning to assign her to her own room, thinking incorrectly that no one would want to room with her. But she did have a room mate and one of the white girls roomed alone. Therefore, all of the assignments had to be rescheduled to accommodate a class of five. Thankfully, those restrictions were lifted long ago.” (Source: The Way It Was at Purdue 1941-1945, by Esther Conelley Boonstra, HE ’45).

Read more of Connelly Boonstra’s firsthand account of Purdue in the early 1940s

1942 – International House established

The first members of International House, 1942

International House became the home for Purdue black male and international students, appearing in the Debris in 1942.

 

1949 Debris

 

 

This page from the 1949 Debris describes International House. Click on the photo for a full view of the page.

 

 

Jean Douglas, 1945 Debris

 

 

1945

If one searches the Debris for the Home Economics graduates for 1945, the lone black face that looks up from the pages is Jean Douglas.  She is most likely the student mentioned in Esther Conelley’s account above.

 

 1940s-50s, Purdue Athletics

As mentioned previously, Purdue athletic teams remained segregated until at least 1947. The pages of the Debris yearbook rarely mention black student athletes before 1950. According to Athletics sources, the first African American students to join the Purdue football team were Herman Murray and Lively Bryant, both in 1949. The Purdue student newspaper reported that Herman Murray played in practice games of the “B Team” against the freshmen as early as November 1948 (Exponent, November 13, 1948). Murray became the first African American Boilermaker to play in an official football game when Purdue played Northwestern at Ross Ade Stadium on November 11, 1950. The 1950 Debris yearbook shows Herman Murray in the team photograph for the Football “B” team. Murray, a tackle, received his varsity letter in 1951.

1950 Debris

 

1955

Lundy, 1955 Debris

In 1955, Lamar Lundy was a center for the Purdue basketball team.

Many other exceptional black athletes would one day follow in their footsteps.

 

 

 

 

Other Firsts

Cooper-Shockley

1955, first African American Woman to Earn Ph.D.

In 1955 Dr. Delores Cooper Shockley became the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. from Purdue and in the United States.   Read more about her

 

 

1968, first African American Faculty Member

Bass Williams

It was not until 1968, when Helen Bass Williams was hired, that Purdue had a member of the faculty who was African American. Williams was a key figure in the Civil Rights Movement before coming to Purdue. She was hired as an instructor in French and a counselor in the School of Humanities, Social Science, and Education.

More about Helen Bass Williams

1975, The National Society of Black Engineers

The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) began as the Society of Black Engineers (SBE) and was founded at Purdue University in the 1970s. Because of this, Purdue is also known as the mother chapter of NSBE. The National Society of Black Engineers came into being as a result of a conference planned and hosted by SBE at Purdue in April 1975.

1975 Debris

Per the Purdue University Minority Engineering web page:

“In the early 1970s, only 20 percent of minority engineers stayed in the engineering program after their first year. With this low retention rate, there was a large disparity in the student population. John Logan, Edward Coleman, George Smith, Stanley Kirtley, Brian Harris, and Anthony Harris became known as the Chicago Six, as they took action to help their fellow students. In 1975, they founded the Black Society of Engineers (BSE) with the help of their advisor Arthur Bond at Purdue. Anthony Harris proposed changing the name to Society of Black Engineers (SBE) in 1976 and he began reaching out to engineering programs and advisors throughout the nation, proposing a national organization and collaboration. In 1976, the first national conference was held at Purdue University and included participation from 32 schools and 48 students from all parts of the country.”  More Information

1975 Debris

Anthony Harris, one of the society’s founding members, was named chairman of the national advisory board for the society in 2007. He is president and CEO of Campbell/Harris Security Equipment Company, a manufacturer of equipment that detects contraband, explosives and “dirty bombs.” Its primary customers include the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. He earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Purdue in 1975 and an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business in 1979. He was named a Purdue Outstanding Mechanical Engineer in 1999.

 

1978, Kassandra Agee – Purdue’s First Black Homecoming Queen

1979 Debris

In 1978, as a sophomore, Kassandra Agee was elected as Purdue’s first African American Homecoming Queen, following an extensive and energetic campaign. Kassandra “Katie” Agee (now Chandler) took part in many activities on campus.  She was a member of Alpha Lambda Delta freshman honors society, Purdue Pals, the Black Voices of Inspiration Choir, and the Society of Minority Managers. In addition, Agee also served as a social counselor for the Business Opportunity Program in the School of Management and was a member of the Mortar Board senior honors society at the time of her graduation. Following graduation, she was successfully employed at a variety of businesses, including the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, Exxon, Dow Chemical, and Procter & Gamble, as well as running her own information technology business.

1990, Robert J. Taylor (M.E. ’60), Purdue’s first black trustee

“Taylor named Purdue trustee”   Taylor served as a member of Purdue’s board of trustees until 1996.

1990, Tarrus Richardson was elected as Purdue Student Body President

1991 Debris

In 1990, Tarrus Richardson became the first black Purdue Student Body President, with 70% of the vote. Richardson was very active on campus.  He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Purdue in 1991and a MBA from Harvard Business School in 1996. He later became CEO of IMB Development Corporation.

 

There are so many more diverse individuals in Purdue history who could be featured, and the Archives looks forward to continuing to preserve the histories of these individuals and share them with you. It is an honor to highlight the lives of Purdue pioneers who faced tremendous obstacles and persevered, forging the way for future generations of Boilermakers.

As part of Black History Month, and beyond, we aim to celebrate all individuals who helped make Purdue University the outstanding institution of higher learning it is today. To learn more about early African American life at Purdue, please contact us to view the references cited below, as well as related collections on the topic, in the Archives.

Blog post by Mary A. Sego (’82), Processing Assistant, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections. Post updated 7/29/19 with additional source information about Herman Murray, by Sammie Morris.

References:

Cornelius, Alexandra, “Evolution of the Black Presence at Purdue University,” (1994, July 5) Purdue University African American Students, Alumni and Faculty collection, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections (Box 1, Folder 10), Purdue University Libraries, West Lafayette, IN.

Whitford, F., & Martin, A. (2005). The grand old man of Purdue University and Indiana agriculture : A biography of William Carroll Latta. West Lafayette, Ind.: Purdue University Press.

Stypa, Caitly Marie (2013). Purdue Girls: The Female Experience at a Land-Grant University, 1887-1913, Unpublished master’s thesis, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Boonstra, Esther Conelley (1945). The Way it was at Purdue 1941-1945, Esther Conelly Boonstra collection, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, (Communal Collections 3, Placement 20), Purdue University Libraries, West Lafayette, IN.

Debris Yearbook, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN.  earchives.lib.purdue.edu, 18 February, 2018.

Related collections:

The records of the Black Cultural Center (BCC) are a treasure trove of source material on African American student life at Purdue, dating from circa 1969 to present. In partnership with the BCC Library, the Archives makes these records available for research and study.

The 2009 film Black Purdue, created by Jamar White, Derek Fordjour, Keith David, and the Purdue Black Alumni Organization provides excellent primary source material. The film includes interviews with many of the students and faculty involved in the early days of the founding of the Black Cultural Center. This film is available through both the Archives and through the media collection of the Black Cultural Center.

 

Collection Spotlight: The Romance of Bernice Nelson and L. Murray Grant

Editor’s Note: The Collections Spotlight series will highlight small collections that provide unique glimpses of Purdue and its people.

Among the holdings of Purdue University Archives and Special Collections are many materials that belonged to Purdue students during their time in West Lafayette.  Each collection is different and provides a personal view of the student and his or her college experience.  In the case of the L. Murray Grant and Bernice Nelson Grant Papers, we get to glimpse two different students during their college days.

Lloyd Murray Grant, 1904 Debris

Bernice Nelson, 1905 Debris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lloyd Murray Grant graduated from Purdue with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 1904.  His future wife, Bernice Nelson, graduated the following year with a B.S. in Science (1905).  Both Murray and Bernice were popular students who participated in many clubs and societies.  They crossed paths as members of the Debris Yearbook staff, Murray as business manager and Bernice as associate editor.

Bernice Nelson’s dance cards

Bernice attended many social events held by campus groups and kept her dance cards, which document the dances of the evening and allowed young women to record the names of their dance partners.  Almost every one of her dance slots was filled.  Interestingly, though most of Bernice’s seven remaining dance cards are from the 1903-1904 year, she never once listed Murray as a dance partner.  Despite this absence, Grant’s senior biography in the Debris hints at a connection: “Murray holds a strength record in the Gym and also one outside.  He is known as the man with the ‘strong hold’ – the ‘full Nelson.'”

Programs (clockwise from left): Annual Dinner of the Purdue Alumni Association of New York City 1906, 1904 Commencement Program, Class of 1905 Junior Banquet, Invitation to 1904 Commencement

Gala Week, the days leading up to graduation, was packed with activities for seniors and their families.  Murray saved the programs from many of those events, including the senior class banquet, invitation to commencement, commencement program, and full list of Gala Week activities.  The program for Bernice’s commencement in 1905 is also part of the collection, as is the program for a Purdue Alumni Association of New York City Annual Dinner of 1906.

The collection also includes two articles about Purdue written by Bernice Nelson and published in the Exponent.  The first, simply titled “Purdue,” extols the prominent role of Purdue graduates in the world.  The second, titled “The Purdue of Yesterday,” is a handwritten draft.  “The Purdue of Yesterday” shares anecdotes passed along by Purdue students from earlier years, including stories about sneaking out past curfew, riding trains around campus right after the track was laid, and playing lighthearted pranks during chapel services.

“Purdue” (left) and “The Purdue of Yesterday”

After graduating with his Mechanical Engineering degree, Murray Grant found work first in New York City and then in his hometown of Spokane, Washington.  Bernice Nelson moved first to Illiopolis, Illinois, then to Rawlins, Wyoming, to teach science.  In 1909, the couple married in her hometown of Lowell, Indiana, then moved to Seattle, where they lived for the rest of their lives.  Murray built a successful career in water works and piping, and is credited with “design[ing] and construct[ing] most of the large, continuous stave penstocks and pipe lines in the U.S” (Who’s Who in Engineering, Vol. 1, 1922-1923).

David E. Ross to L. Murray Grant, June 7, 1933

The Grants remained active in Purdue alumni organizations throughout their lives.  Murray was President of the Purdue Alumni Association from 1907 to 1908, participated in local chapters everywhere he lived, and even co-founded the Spokane chapter in 1908 (Exponent, 12 December 1908).  Their move to Seattle was announced in the Exponent with the note that “they will be glad to have all Purdue friends call when in Seattle” (Exponent, 18 September 1909).  The Grants were often visited by Purdue’s President Winthrop Stone, an amateur mountain climber, when he traveled to the western United States and Canada to climb the Rockies.  The Grant Papers include multiple letters between Stone and Grant planning their reunions during Stone’s visits.

The final item in the Grant Papers is a letter from Purdue Trustee David E. Ross, written in 1933, asking Murray Grant to meet with an international exchange student from Purdue who would be visiting the Seattle area.  Nearly thirty years after graduation, Murray was still involved in the promotion of Purdue.

The L. Murray Grant and Bernice Nelson Grant Papers are available for research in the Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center.

MSA 330, L. Murray Grant and Bernice Nelson Grant papers, Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

‘Lil Orphan Annie Attends Purdue

Did you know that Harold Gray, the creator of ‘Lil Orphan Annie, was a Purdue grad?

Harold Lincoln Gray was born near Kankakee, Illinois, on January 20, 1894, to Ira Lincoln Gray, a farmer, and Estella M. Rosencrans. As a child, his family moved to a farm near West Lafayette, Indiana. Gray graduated from West Lafayette High School in 1912. After graduation he entered Purdue University. Due to losing both parents before he graduated high school, Gray had to serve as a construction worker to pay his college tuition. During college he also worked for the Lafayette Morning Journal creating cartoons and selling advertising.

Gray’s activities while a Purdue student. 1917 Debris yearbook

Gray was assistant art editor for the Debris yearbook for three years and art editor during his senior year. He drew political cartoons for the yearbook and also for the Exponent student newspaper. He served briefly as a reporter for the Exponent as well. Gray graduated from Purdue in 1917 with a Bachelor of Science degree. As was customary in yearbooks of the era, his name was listed along with nicknames such as “Grace” and “Cart.” Below his entry in the yearbook is the phrase “Oh! what a noble mind.”

Gray, 1917 Debris yearbook

Gray’s early student artwork published in the 1916 and 1917 Debris yearbooks speaks to Purdue life from the student perspective, and provides a glimpse of the artistic style for which he would later become known. It has been said that his artwork “cast a spell that enhanced his story. Filling his drawings with solid blacks, heavy shadows, and darkly shaded nooks and crannies.” (Harvey, 2013)

From the 1916 Debris

Gray’s artwork from 1916 Debris

Artwork done by Gray for a Purdue Student Handbook

Gray’s artwork from the 1917 Debris (his senior year)

MSA 255, Collection on Harold Gray, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

A week after graduating from Purdue, Gray accepted a job as a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, at a salary of $15 a week. He soon transitioned to the art department. Gray left the Tribune to enlist in the Army during World War I. He became a bayonet instructor, and rose to the rank of second lieutenant.  After a short period in the Army he returned to the Chicago Tribune where he began a 5-year apprenticeship as an assistant to Sidney Smith on the comic “The Gumps.” Gray appreciated the training he received from Smith and began to develop some of his own ideas. At first he created a prototype boy hero and named him “Little Orphan Otto.” At the suggestion of an influential friend from his days at the Tribune, Joseph Medill Patterson, Gray drew a dress on  the figure and renamed the character “Annie.” Part of this was because there were 50 boy comic strips at this time and only 3 girl comics. Both the Tribune and the New York Daily News launched “Little Orphan Annie,” on August 5, 1924.  The main characters, “Annie,” her dog “Sandy,” and her billionaire foster father, “Daddy Warbucks,” soon took a growing number of readers on adventures, many with a slant toward social commentary.

Gray did not forget his Indiana and Purdue roots. Some of the strips from 1927-1929 featured adventures in Lafayette, Indiana and the vicinity, including Purdue University. Since Gray enjoyed exploring Happy Hollow Park as a boy, his comic strip often mentioned a fictional Happy Hollow Seminary.

In the comic below, Little Orphan Annie prepares to go to Purdue.

MSA 255, Collection on Harold Gray, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

In the following cartoons from 1928 and 1929, Annie again interacts with Purdue. Note the Purdue pennant in the first frame, and mention of “Happy Hollow” in the 3rd. Please click on the comic strips to get a better view.

MSA 255, Collection on Harold Gray, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

In these comics, Annie studies hard, while Gray reflects on his college days.

MSA 255, Collection on Harold Gray, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

Annie has a touch of spring fever, is happy Purdue beat its rival Indiana University, and learns about some famous Purdue alumni. Note the Purdue pillow that is prominently displayed.

MSA 255, Collection on Harold Gray, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

Bob Kriebel, a columnist for the Lafayette Journal and Courier newspaper wrote that Gray’s character, Annie, in many ways “reflected Gray’s personal convictions that all Americans should act with honor, independence of thought and industry; mind their own business and remain true to the traditional pioneering virtues.” (Kriebel, June 3, 2016)

The “Annie” cartoon took on a more political color in the 1930s.  Eventually, the comic strip incorporated subtle commentary from Gray on income tax, organized labor, communism, left-wingers, food and fueling rationing, and public welfare. In regard to the latter, he named one of his characters Mrs. Bleeding Heart.

MSA 255, Collection on Harold Gray, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

By the late 1930s, hundreds of U.S. newspapers presented “Annie” to tens of millions of readers. Gray was sometimes criticized for his use of the comic strip to voice his conservative Republican political and social views. When he died of lymphatic cancer on May 9, 1968, in La Jolla, California, Gray was a millionaire, owing much of his wealth to his creation of “Annie.” Other artists later tried to draw “Annie,” but not with the same success. In the fall of 1979, Leonard Starr began writing and drawing new adventures under the title “Annie.”

In October 1995, the U.S. Postal Service chose “Little Orphan Annie” as one of 20 “Comic Strip Classics” in a series of commemorative stamps.  Gray was also part of a select group of artists inducted into the Hall of Fame of the International Museum of Cartoon Art.

“Little Orphan Annie” as one of 20 “Comic Strip Classics” in a series of commemorative stamps from 1995.

Article by Mary A. Sego, Purdue Archives Processing Assistant.

References:

MSA 255, Collection on Harold Gray, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

Harvey, R.C. (2013, May 13). “The Orphan’s Epic.” The Comics Journal. Retrieved from http://www.tcj.com/the-orphans-epic/

Kriebel, Bob. (2016, June 3). ‘Annie’ cartoonist got his start in Lafayette. Journal & Courier. Retrieved from http://www.jconline.com/story/news/2016/06/03/annie-cartoonist-got-his-start-lafayette/84825770/

Thomis, Wayne. (1968, May 10), “Harold Gray, Orphan Annie’s Creator, Dies in West at 74.” Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1968/05/10/page/3/article/harold-gray-orphan-annies-creator-dies-in-west-at-74

1967 Rose Bowl, Purdue Astronauts and the Anticipation of the Moon

moon

January 2, 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of Purdue’s win against the University of Southern California in the 1967 Rose Bowl game. The theme for the 1967 Tournament of Roses parade was “Travel Tales in Flowers.”

Rose Bowl program from alum, Gary J. Glazer papers

Rose Bowl program from alum Gary J. Glazer papers

This comes as no surprise considering NASA’s success with the space program and its mission to land a man on the Moon, per mandate of recently slain President Kennedy. In 1967 the American public was waiting with bated breath to see NASA land an astronaut on the Moon. The Soviet Union had entered the race first with the successful launch of Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, on October 4, 1957.  President Eisenhower reacted slowly, but eventually set the gears in motion to launch the United States’ first satellite, Explorer 1, four months later on February 1, 1958.

pamphlet

Pamphlet distributed to nation-wide outlets hailing the achievements of Purdue, from Purdue University Athletics Collection.

In anticipation of the Rose Bowl game and the guaranteed national media coverage, the Purdue University News Service created promotional documentation that they sent to newspapers, radio stations, and television stations all over the country so that they could accurately tell news stories about Purdue.  These news bulletins documented information about the school ranging from the official colors, mascot, and famous alumni to different education programs. Also included were photographs, the float that the students created for the parade, and stories about the astronaut alumni anxiously awaiting their ride to the Moon. One bulletin boasts “Purdue University had aviation ‘in its blood’ before it had Rose Bowl fever.”  This bulletin goes on to celebrate the pioneering history of Purdue aviation by telling of early years of the airport and the connection the university has with Amelia Earhart.  Another bulletin titled “Purdue Astronauts on Moon, Natural as Apple Pie,” opens with the eerie prediction, “It would be hard to imagine reaching the moon without a piece of Purdue going along.”  The bulletin continues talking about how there is as much anticipation for the Apollo mission as there is the Rose Bowl.

float

“A Purdue tribute to the heroism of her men” 1967 Debris, p. 549.

The float that Purdue students constructed for the 1967 Tournament of Roses parade honored four of their own Purdue alumni astronauts at the time of the game. The float depicts a Gemini capsule and the names of the four current Purdue astronauts: Armstrong, Cernan, Chaffee, and Grissom, along with the caption, “Alma Mater of Astronauts.”

Footage of 1967 Tournament of Roses Parade Courtesy of Purdue University Athletic Department

 

armstrong

Above is Armstrong’s Debris yearbook photo from 1954. He is second from the left.

Neil A. Armstrong

At the time of the Rose Bowl, Neil Armstrong had already completed the Gemini 8 mission. The significance of this mission was the successful rendezvous and docking with another spacecraft.

Finding Aid for the Neil A. Armstrong papers

Gene Cernan

cernan

Above, third from the left, Cernan is pictured here in his 1956 Purdue Debris yearbook photo.

By 1967 Gene Cernan had completed the Gemini 9A mission. Lasting from June 3 to June 6, 1966, NASA planned for Cernan to complete a spacewalk, strap into the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), and perform tasks while rendezvousing with an Agena Target Vehicle. This task was not easily completed. Cernan struggled tremendously moving about while spacewalking. His suit became rigged, his visor fogged up, and there were not enough hand-holds and foot-holds on the craft for Cernan to steady himself. To make things worse, the Agena Target Vehicle failed to release its casing, making it impossible for Cernan to complete that part of the mission.

Finding Aid for the Eugene Cernan papers

grissom

Virgil “Gus” Grissom’s yearbook photo from the Purdue Debris 1950. Grissom is on the far right.

Gus Grissom

Gus Grissom was the first Purdue graduate that NASA chose to be an astronaut.  NASA selected Grissom as part of the Mercury 7.  This group of astronauts flew the single piloted Mercury missions.  NASA selected Grissom, along with Alan Sheppard and John Glenn, for the first Mercury flight.  Sheppard eventually received the seat on the first flight, but Grissom flew the second sub-orbital mission.

Virgil I. Grissom papers

Roger Chaffee

chaffee

Roger Chaffee’s yearbook photo from the 1957 Purdue Debris. He is first on the left.

At the time of the 1967 Rose Bowl, Roger Chaffee was a rookie. He had not yet completed any spaceflights but was the capsule communicator for the Gemini 4 mission. Chaffee graduated from Purdue in 1957 with Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical Engineering. Chaffee was killed along with Gus Grissom and Ed White in the Apollo 1 fire.

Roger B. Chaffee letter and postcard

The 1967 Rose Bowl was the first time Purdue had ever been to a bowl game, and it was a special milestone to many. The astronauts were just as excited about the 1967 Rose Bowl as other fans. Memorabilia from the game can be found among various astronauts’ papers.

Ticket and Pamphlet from the Jerry L. Ross papers

Program and Ticket from the Jerry L. Ross papers

Jerry Ross was not yet an astronaut at the time of the 1967 Rose Bowl. He was a student at Purdue in his junior year and watched the game from the stands.  His ticket and program from the Rose Bowl are a part of his papers, which he donated to the Purdue Archives in 2012.

Jerry L. Ross papers

“For Purdue, it was enough that we were there playing in the Rose Bowl. We didn’t have to win it to be satisfied. I had many great football memories after that, but certainly, the 1967 Rose Bowl was the pinnacle of my collegiate career. I felt a great sense of responsibility and was real proud of what we did. Taking the fans and everyone to the Rose Bowl was the greatest highlight, for me. Just being out there, seeing all the people, going to the Christmas party, visiting Universal Studios, eating at Lowery’s. The overriding factor was that we were taking part in something no one else had. We were the first, and there’s something to be said for that.”   – Bob Griese, 2002

The overriding factor was that we were taking part in something no one else had. We were the first, and there’s something to be said for that.” The astronauts most likely felt the same about their mission to reach the Moon.

roseFootage of 1967 Rose Bowl Game:

debris

1967 Debris, page 558

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Purdue football team gave Neil Armstrong, Gene Cernan, Gus Grissom, and Roger Chaffee each a football signed by the 1967 Purdue Football team. The football pictured here was given to Armstrong. It is part of the Neil A. Armstrong papers, which reside in the Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center at Purdue.

MSA 5, Neil A. Armstrong papers, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

MSA 5, Neil A. Armstrong papers

Note that near the “Made in the U.S.A.” text on the football, below the laces, is the signature of star quarterback and Purdue football legend, Bob Griese.

Note that near the “Made in the U.S.A.” text on the football, below the laces, is the signature of star quarterback and Purdue football legend Bob Griese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

champsThis football game represents a moment in the history of the Space Age filled with anticipation. Both the American public and NASA knew that the impending goal of landing a man on the Moon crept ever closer each day. As 1966 came to a close, so did the Gemini series of missions. These missions set the groundwork for the Apollo missions that lay ahead. Gemini proved that astronauts could stay in space for long periods of time and survive a lengthy three-day trip to the Moon. It also proved that spacecraft could be piloted and controlled in space. The Gemini spacecraft was the first spacecraft to have controls similar to an aircraft. The astronauts were able to adapt more easily than the mostly autonomous controls of the Mercury capsule. Living and working in space, rendezvous and docking, and long duration spaceflights became possible due to Gemini.pennant

1967 meant more than a new year and first time opportunities for the participants and attendees at the Rose Bowl.  It meant the beginning of a new era in space travel.  An era when astronauts went somewhere other than Earth’s orbit, it meant succeeding in trumping the Soviet Union’s Space program once and for all, and finally it meant completing President Kennedy’s grand goal that he set during his tragically cut short presidency. The Moon was within reach.

Visit this page for a history of Purdue’s college football bowl appearances.

Co-authored by Mary A. Sego, Archives Processing Assistant, and Max Campbell, former Graduate Assistant, Purdue University Libraries Archives and Special Collections.

Bailey Hall and Purdue’s Musical Myth

Editor’s Note: The Purdue University Buildings Project is an ongoing effort to document and describe every building that has ever existed at Purdue.  From time to time, we will highlight buildings on campus and the research taking place to document their histories.  For a more detailed description of the Project, see Part I, “Beginning the Research Process, Challenges, and Unfolding Histories.”

Through the Buildings Project, The Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center is trying to collect the history of all of the past buildings on campus up to the present. I currently work on gathering the information about the buildings on campus that have been built in the 21st century. These buildings are particularly interesting because of the similarities and differences the physical structures have with older buildings, as well as the donors, dedications, and other aspects of adding a new addition to campus that have changed over the years. I have recently worked on buildings such as The Fred and Mary Ford Dining Court, Krach Leadership Center, Marriott Hall, and Bill and Sally Hanley Hall. I find the information on these buildings through our physical archives as well as archives materials that have been digitized.

Bailey Hall

Bailey Hall

Although the classic Purdue myth made up by students and alumni states that it was John Purdue’s request to not have a music major at Purdue University, the Purdue Musical Organization (PMO) has still managed to surface on campus. I know you’re thinking that this defiance of John Purdue’s wishes is definitely fake, but I promise not having a music major really is a myth. Plus, the PMO was inevitable due to all of the successful musical organizations on campus throughout its history. Technically, no supposed requests have been broken here because music majors are still not an option at Purdue. Almost 80 years after PMO’s founding, its six choral ensembles and one hand bell choir are very successful and continue to grow. Several of the groups have been broadcast on television and radio networks. According to the PMO website, through more than 100 performances each year and over $300,000 in scholarships annually, the PMO has shown how important creativity and hard work really are. Performances like their Christmas Show and Fall Show are annual favorites among attendees. Certain performances are even a tradition for many families.

Ralph and Bettye Bailey at the October 11th dedication.

Ralph and Bettye Bailey at the October 11th dedication.

The Ralph and Bettye Bailey Hall, completed in 2014, is the home for the Purdue Musical Organizations. It features large and small rehearsal rooms, a student lounge and study area named for PMO founder Albert P. Stewart, a music library, and environmentally controlled storage space. Ralph and Bettye Holder Bailey donated $4.5 million of the $7.6 million raised for the building. The Baileys, who reside in Connecticut, have been longtime fans of the PMO. Ralph graduated in 1949 with a degree in mechanical engineering. The couple also established the Ralph and Bettye Bailey Professorship of Combustion in Mechanical Engineering and the Ralph and Bettye Bailey Purdue Merit Scholarship.

The private dedication ceremony for Bailey Hall was held on October 10, 2014, and the public open house was held on October 11, 2014, according to the Purdue University News Service.

Editor’s Note: Erin Hamilton is a junior in Hospitality and Tourism Management. She has worked at the archives for a little over 4 months.