Remembering Amelia Earhart’s Round-the-World Flight: The 80th Anniversary of Her “Shining Adventure” (Part 1 of 2)

Eighty years ago Amelia Earhart attempted to become the first person to fly around the world at the longest distance, along the equator. She disappeared during this flight, and the mystery of what happened to Earhart, her navigator Fred Noonan, and her Lockheed Electra airplane continues to fascinate and intrigue us. During that fateful summer of 1937, the Purdue Exponent student newspaper, with the co-operation of the New York Herald Tribune, kept readers updated on Earhart’s flight progress. In this post, we will relive her amazing 27,000-mile journey by sharing features from the Exponent, a first-hand account from one of Earhart’s friends, and handwritten notes that Earhart took to summarize each leg of her flight, which she subsequently shared with the news media and planned to compile into a book.

Letter to Amelia Earhart from President Elliott, thanking her for accepting the position at Purdue in the fall, dated June 4, 1935. MSP 9.

Amelia Earhart and Purdue’s paths first crossed in September 1934 when she addressed the fourth annual “Women and the Changing World” Conference sponsored by the New York Herald Tribune. Purdue President Edward Elliott was at the same conference to speak on “New Frontiers for Youth.” He stayed to listen to Earhart speak on aviation’s future and the role of women in its advancement. Elliott, intrigued by her speech, arranged to meet her and her husband, George Palmer Putnam. Elliott and Putnam hit it off. After they dined at the Coffee House Club in New York, Elliott got right to the point, letting Earhart know that he wanted her to work at Purdue, where she would be in a role to inspire Purdue’s approximately 800 women students to seize new opportunities in America’s changing society.


MSP 188, Collection of Amelia Earhart Related Materials, Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries


Elliott and Earhart sat down and worked out the details. Due to Earhart’s busy schedule, she could not be a full-time faculty member, but she would attempt to spend at least one month at the university during the school year as a careers consultant for women students. Purdue in turn would pay her a $2,000 salary (Boomhower, 38). Along with guiding women students toward new careers, she also served as a technical adviser in aeronautics to Purdue, which was, at that time, the only university in the country equipped with its own airport. The connection between Amelia Earhart and Purdue University had begun. It would later expand in ways they could not have imagined.

Vertical Files, Amelia Earhart.

Although she spent only a short amount of time at Purdue, Earhart’s ties to Purdue played a key role in securing the money and equipment necessary for attempting her round-the-world flight. On April 19, 1936 the university announced the establishment of the Amelia Earhart Fund for Aeronautical Research. With contributions totaling approximately $50,000 from J.K. Lilly, Sr. and David Ross, and later donations of cash and equipment from companies such as Bendix, Western Electric, Goodrich, and Goodyear, Earhart purchased her “flying laboratory,” a twin-motored Lockheed Electra 10E airplane that would allow her to attempt her greatest long-distance flight yet, to circumnavigate the globe.


Letter from Amelia Earhart to Edward Elliott acknowledging receipt of letters concerning her leave of absence from her position as Consultant in Careers for Women, and the use of the Purdue University Airport in connection with her flight, May 8, 1936. MSF 450.














The Purdue Research Foundation established the “Amelia Earhart Fund for Aeronautical Research” and Earhart purchased a new “flying laboratory,” April 21, 1936.

Purdue Exponent, April 21, 1936








Financial statement in regard to Lockheed and flight expenses, provided by George Palmer Putnam to President Elliott, September 26, 1936. MSF 450.

The plane was constructed at the Lockheed factory in Burbank, California, and included special features, such as extra gas tanks for long-distance flights, automatic pilot, deicing equipment, a radio homing device, and a two-way radio.

Close-up view of Amelia Earhart standing in the cockpit and looking over plans prior to finished construction on her Lockheed Electra plane, Burbank, California. MSP 9.

Vertical Files, Amelia Earhart.

Amelia Earhart sitting atop her Lockheed Electra plane with group of Purdue students, September 20, 1936. MSF 450.

Preparing for the world flight was a huge undertaking. During preparations, Earhart was asked numerous times why she decided to attempt this flight. Her answer was always “because I want to.” She called the trip a “shining adventure, beckoning with new experiences, adding knowledge of flying, of peoples, of myself” (Boomhower 41).  She also noted that with the flight behind her, she would become more useful to herself and to the aeronautical program at Purdue (Earhart, Last Flight 55). She called the Electra her “flying laboratory” because her intent was to use the plane to conduct research on the effects of long-distance flying on pilots . Once the flight was accomplished, the plane would be returned to Purdue where it would be used to further pure and applied scientific research in aeronautics. Royalties from the book Earhart planned to write about her flight would also support this research.

Bo McNeeley, Earhart’s mechanic, Amelia Earhart, and Captain L.I. Aretz inspecting the Lockheed Electra plane at the Purdue University Airport, circa 1936. MSF 450.

Earhart was to attempt her world flight twice. Originally, her flight team included Fred Noonan and Harry Manning. The original plans were for Noonan to navigate from Hawaii to Howland Island, a particularly difficult portion of the flight; then Harry Manning would continue with Earhart to Australia and she would proceed on her own for the remainder of the project.

As Earhart prepared for her world flight, anticipation continued to grow both on campus and in the minds of the public. Americans wanted to keep up to date on the progress of Earhart’s latest adventure. Purdue students claimed her as one of their own, and waited anxiously to hear of her progress.

Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan with map of the Pacific showing the route for their world flight, circa 1937. MSP 9.

Earhart is ready for flight, March 11, 1937.

Purdue Exponent, March 11, 1937, p. 1, c. 2-3

Earhart is ready for flight, March 11, 1937. MSP 9.


 To be continued…                            


Boomhower, R. “Amelia Earhart at Purdue: The aviatrix and the university.” Traces, Summer (1994): 36-41.

Earhart, Amelia, and George Palmer Putnam. Last Flight. New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1937. Print.

MSF 450, Amelia Earhart at Purdue Collection, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

MSP 188, Collection of Amelia Earhart Related Materials, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

MSP 9, The George Palmer Putnam Collection of Amelia Earhart Papers, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

Vertical Files, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

Purdue Student Publishing Foundation, and Purdue University. The Purdue Exponent (1889). Print.

Editor’s Note: Writer Mary A. Sego is an archival assistant and processing specialist within Archives and Special Collections.

Looking Down, Looking Out, and Looking Up: Maps and the Human Experience

The latest exhibit in Archives and Special Collections explores the history, art, and science of maps and their interaction with the people who create and use them. “Looking Down, Looking Out, and Looking Up: Maps and the Human Experience” will be open until June 23, 2017, in the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections.  Populated entirely with maps from our collections, this exhibit highlights the wide variety of uses and styles of maps and their applications in many aspects of modern society.  This blog post will highlight just a few of the maps and artifacts in the exhibit.


Navigantium atque Itinerantium Bibliotheca

Navigantium atque Itinerantium Bibliotheca…by John Harris

One of the earliest items on display is a large volume published in 1744, Navigantium atque Itinerantium Bibliotheca. Or, a Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels… by John Harris, a compilation of travel notes and discoveries of more than 500 writers.  The text includes extensive analyses of geography, science, and culture.  The book, which is dedicated to King George II, also includes a world map in the front.  Especially notable is the “Parts Undiscovered” over the area now known as Alaska and the northwestern regions of Canada.


Wright's history notebook

John S. Wright’s history notebook, 1889, MSA 27

In 1889, Purdue student John S. Wright illustrated and colored historical maps to accompany his history class notes and assist him in his studies.  Multiple maps are pasted into this notebook, illustrating wars and political boundaries from the Ancient Roman Empire to nineteenth century Europe.  The notebook must have served Wright well; after graduating in 1892, he became an executive of the Eli Lilly Company.


A General History of Inland Navigation

Canal map from A General History of Inland Navigation… by J. Phillips


This foldout map shows extant and planned canals throughout England, designated by pink or green lines.  The map is part of A General History of Inland Navigation, Foreign and Domestic; Containing a Complete Account of the Canals Already Executed in England, with Considerations on Those Projected, by J. Phillips, published in 1792.





Wilmer Stultz flight plan

Wilmer Stultz flight plan, 1928, MSP 38

In 1928, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean.  The pilot of that flight was Wilmer Stultz, and this is his hand-notated map with extensive navigational notations and charting of multiple possible flight courses for that famous trip.  The exhibit also includes maps from the planning of Earhart’s final flight in 1937, during which she disappeared.


Cloth maps

Cloth maps used by Ralph Schneck, MSP 123

During World War II, cloth maps could be crucial to the survival of downed Army Air Force pilots.  These cloth maps were distributed to pilots and sometimes secretly passed into prisoner of war camps by concealment in books or games.  The maps in the exhibit belonged to Ralph Schneck, pilot in the 8th U.S. Air Force, and were carried in a waterproof bag marked “MAPS ONLY.”



Lunar surface maps

Lunar surface maps used by Captain Cernan, MSA 288

This book of lunar maps was used on the surface of the moon by Captain Gene Cernan during the Apollo 17 mission, the last human mission to the moon.  The book contains 24 segments of the Taurus-Littrow Valley along with a larger overview map of the valley.


map pins

Map pins owned by Lillian Gilbreth, MSP 8

Among the map-related items in the exhibit are these map pins owned and used by Lillian Gilbreth, Purdue professor and expert in efficiency and organizational management.  Pins like these were stuck into large wall maps for various purposes; the variety of colors and shapes allowed for the owner to create her own identification system using the pins.


You can see these items and many more in the exhibit, open until June 23, 2017.

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


“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



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


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


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


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:


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.


Remembering and Honoring Our Purdue World War I Veterans Who Gave Their Lives – Lest We Forget

The idea for the construction of a Purdue Union was first suggested by an undergraduate in 1912. He wanted a building where students could meet and work on their various extracurricular activities. The class of 1912 voted an assessment of $5 from each senior to start a fund to erect a home for students, alumni, and faculty activities. Succeeding classes followed the same procedure until 1917.

Photo by Mary Sego – Click on Image

Then came the Great War (World War I). At its close, Purdue looked at the record of 4,013 men and women in the service, at the 67 gold stars, and in many minds there arose the thought that the Union should stand as a permanent memorial to those who had died for it. With this in mind the “Purdue Memorial Union” came into being.
In June of 1922, ground was broken for the Purdue Memorial Union. The building was opened for use in September of 1924. Five additions have been added to the original structure since that time.

A plaque listing the names of those Purdue men who lost their lives during World War I appears on the wall to the right of the main entrance to the Purdue Memorial Union.

“To Perpetuate the Memory of These Men, the Members of the Class of 1926 of Purdue University Have Donated this Tablet.”       

The plaque as it appeared on November 11, 1934 during President Edward C. Elliott’s Armistice Day radio address (Purdue Archives photo #PPBUC00797)

As one passes the plaque in the Union bearing the names of those who lost their lives, one wonders what they were like as students or how their short, promising lives came to an end. Many of them came to Purdue for military training; some cut their educations short or put careers on hold. Others made it through the majority of the war, only to face diseases and medical conditions that they could not win the battle against. The influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 took more lives than the war itself, and many died from it before the armistice between the Allies of World War I and Germany, which took effect in the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. All gave their lives defending our country in one form or another, and out of respect for them, this document was compiled to provide an enduring record of who they were.


World War I barracks on campus (Purdue Archives photo #PPBUC00915)

Information about the veterans was first sought through the Debris yearbook. In its earliest days, the Debris yearbook often supplied a caption which noted a senior’s activities and sometimes a note about one’s personality. The quotes about each came from those entries. For those who enlisted before they finished their educations at Purdue or came to Purdue solely for military training, other sources were used to find biographical information. The “EX” on the plaque indicates the year the men left Purdue for the service. Otherwise the year indicated is the year they graduated from Purdue.

These are the 67 Purdue World War I veterans who died serving their country.

Killed in Action:  

Arthur H. Berges, ‘10


Berges, 1910 Debris

Berges graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. While he was a student he was a member of the M.E. Society, Governing Council, and Forum Debating Society.

“Berges stands in a class by himself…”

Jack Burns, ’17      

Burns was killed in action on the battlefield. No further information is available.

Sharon McKinley Danford, EX- ‘17 

Danford entered the service December 3, 1917, in Indianapolis, IN.  He was sent to Ft. Thomas, KY, and then overseas in April 1918. He was assigned to Company D, 1st Army Supply Train. While stationed in Toul Sector, he was killed in a motor truck accident, November 6, 1918, and was buried in Toul, France.

Joseph Gray Duncan, ‘08

Duncan 1908

Duncan, 1908 Debris

Duncan received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. He was a merchant and enlisted in U.S. Regular Army in August 1917. He was commissioned Captain at Ft. Niagara, NY, assigned to 315th Infantry, 79th Division. He sailed overseas July 7, 1918.

Duncan was killed in action September 20, 1918, near Montfaucon and buried near Montfaucon, France. He was cited for bravery in action.

James Blaine Fellinger, ’16

Fellinger was killed in action July 25, 1918. No further information is available.

Stimson Webb Goddard, EX- ’18

Corporal Stimson Webb Goddard, Company H, 138th  Infantry was killed in the Argonne Forest, France, on October 2, 1918.

John M. Ginney (no date given)

Ginney went to California in early 1917 and was employed on a ranch when he enlisted in Company M, 7th Infantry, California National Guard. He was sent to Camp Kearney, CA.  He went overseas in June 1918, assigned to Company F, 58th Infantry, 4th Division. He was killed in action on August 6, 1918, near Bazoches and was buried in Fismes Aisne, France. The American Legion Post, Bunker Hill, IN is named in his honor.

Willard E. Hensley, EX- ‘17


Hensley circa 1917. Photo courtesy of Gold star Honor Roll: a record of Indiana men and women who died in the service of the United States and the allied nations in the world war.

Willard Hensley attended Purdue for one term and was then employed as a clerk in an agricultural store. He enlisted in the United States Marines on June 13, 1917, in Indianapolis, IN, was then sent to Port Royal, SC, and transferred to Quantico, VA. Hensley was then sent overseas on October 6, 1917, assigned to 97th Company, 6th Regiment, 2nd Division.

He was killed in action June 6, 1918, near Bouresches and buried there. The American Legion Post, Morristown, IN, is named in his honor.

Benjamin H. Hewitt, ‘11


Hewitt, 1911 Debris

Hewitt graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering. As a student, he was a member of the Civil Engineering Society, Purdue Athletic Association, and the Varsity Football Squad.

“With as wise a head and as big a heart as is his, the future can show but one word – Success.”

Floyd D. Holmes, EX- ‘13


Holmes. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Holmes was educated at Purdue and became a journalist. He enlisted in Company D, 31st Infantry, Michigan National Guard, Detroit, MI, June 4, 1917. He was sent to Camp McArthur, TX, and then sent overseas in January 1918. He was assigned to Company D, 125th Infantry, 32nd Division. Holmes was killed in action July 31, 1918, near Cierges. He is buried in American Cemetery, Seringes-et-Nesles, Plot 3, Sec. R, Grave No. 144.

Alexander Ferdinand Matthews, EX- ’17

Matthews was a Mechanical Engineering major at Purdue. He was also an alum of Cornell. He served during the war as a First Lieutenant, Aviation, and was killed in action, July 1918. No further information is available.


Worsham circa 1917. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Elijah William Worsham, EX –‘08

Worsham was a graduate of Purdue. He saw service on the Mexican Border in 1912 as First Lieutenant of a Machine Gun Company. He re-enlisted in April 1917 and was sent to Camp Lewis, WA. Promoted to 1st Lieutenant of Machine Gun Company, 326th Infantry, and later to Captain. He was killed in action September 29, 1918, in Meuse-Argonne Offensive and was buried in the Argonne Forest.


Died of Wounds:

Frank Seely, EX- ’97 

Seely died of wounds on the battlefield. No further information is available.

Robert Earl Symmonds, EX- ’16

Symmonds entered the Military Academy in June 1914. He soon endeared himself to those with whom he came in contact by his never-failing good humor and quiet friendliness. He graduated on August 30, 1917, and was assigned to the 2nd Cavalry at Fort Ethan Allen, Vermont. In December 1917, he was assigned to Headquarters Troop, 2nd Division, and proceeded overseas. On June 27, 1918, he was promoted to be a temporary Captain of Cavalry. While with the above organization he took part in the fighting at Belleau Woods, Soissons, and St. Mihiel.

He then left the division, taking a short course of instruction at the Machine Gun School at Sangres, on the completion of which he was reassigned to the 2nd Division and ordered to report for duty with the 5th Machine Gun Battalion. On the afternoon of November 3, 1918, he reported to the commanding officer of this organization, which was then heavily engaged with the enemy in the Meuse–Argonne offensive. Upon reporting he requested that he be assigned to a company that was in actual contact with the enemy. He was consequently placed in command of Company D, which that very night made an attack upon a ridge just south of Beaumont. It was while leading his company in this attack that he was mortally wounded. He was removed to a nearby hospital, where he died November 22, 1918.

These facts were given in a letter by his commanding officer.

Leslie C. Weishaar, EX- ’18 


Weishaar, 1918. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Weishaar studied Mechanical Engineering at Purdue and entered the service September 5, 1918. He was sent to Camp Taylor and assigned to 34th Company, 9th Training Battalion, 159th Depot Brigade. Weishaar died of influenza on October 16, 1918, at Camp Taylor, KY. He was buried in the Brook Cemetery, Brook, IN.

Walter Dewey White, EX- ’15 

White was a Private in the 309th Infantry. He died of wounds on November 9, 1918. No further information is available.


Wilson, 1912 Debris

Richard Morton Wilson, ’12

Wilson was from Cincinnati, OH. He received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Purdue and was a member of ASME, the Harlequin Club, and Athletic Association.

“Very few have studied as little, cut as much and still made as many A’s as the ‘Billiken’… With his ability to work electrical problems, we believe he will someday be another Steinmetz, provided he stays away from the Cincinnati Traction Co., and quits ‘riding the rods’.”


Died in Foreign Service:


Buell, 1908 Debris

Frank Andrew Buell, ‘08

Buell graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, member of Varsovienne Club, Ohio Club, Athletic Association, and Color Guard Cadet Corps.

“‘Shorty’ hails from the city of Toledo.  He has completed the four years’ of work in three and attracted the attention of the Tau Betas by the manner in which he did it.”

Warren Francis Fisherdick, ‘18

Fisherdick enlisted for service in 1917 as a member of Company F, 16th Railway Engineers. He was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in November 1918 but died of disease in Base Hospital No. 79, Bazrilles Sur Meuse, France, on February 20, 1919.

Charles F. Greene, EX- ’15

Green died in France in the service of his country on October 10, 1918. No further information is available.

Edward John Harty, EX- ’16

The exact years Harty attended Purdue are unknown. He moved to Tippecanoe County in 1896 and was a railroad employee. He entered the service February 10, 1918, in Brooklyn, NY. He was assigned to 77th Machine Gun Company, 306th Infantry, 77th Division. He went overseas on March 18, 1918, and was made prisoner by the Germans in July 1918. Harty contracted a disease as a prisoner of war and died December 22, 1918, in Vichy, France, where he was buried.

Reginald Wallace Hughes, ‘06


Hughes, 1906 Debris

Hughes graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He was a member of Phi Delta Theta, the Athletic Association, and Exponent and Debris staffs. His thesis was on tests of steam automobiles.

After Purdue he was an employee of Fletcher Savings and Trust Company. He entered Second Officers Training Camp, Ft. Benjamin Harrison, IN on August 1917 and was commissioned Captain. He was then sent to Camp Funston, Kansas; assigned to 164th Field Artillery, Bridgade Headquarters, 89th Division; and went overseas June 23, 1918, with Army occupation into Germany. He died of pneumonia February 1, 1918, in Bitburg, Germany.

Howard William Irwin, ‘03  

Irwin 1903

Irwin, 1903 Debris

Irwin, nicknamed “Flicker,” was from Northhampton, MA. He graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, was a member of Mandolin Club and Phi Delta Theta, and took Efficiency Test in the Home Heating Company, Indianapolis, IN.

“A romantic young man with a passionate desire for the society of young ladies. Fond of displaying his skill for the use of the French language. Operator of the dog house in the mandolin club. Owner of a fifteen pound blue and white sweater. Morose and jolly by turns. He will get along in the world.”

After graduating from Purdue he worked for General Electric in Schenectady, NY, Northern Electric in MN, and later Bay State Railway in Boston. On June 10, 1910, he entered the Army as Captain of Engineers. In France he was superintendent of a major railway system. He died of bronchial pneumonia on January 6, 1919, at Tours, France.

Harold Douglas MacLachlan, EX- ’14

MacLachlan was a Mechanical Engineering major while a student at Purdue. He was a Major in the 13th Regiment, United States Marines and died of disease on September 27, 1918.

Gladstone Bertram Newhouse, EX- ‘20


Newhouse circa 1917. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Newhouse was a student at Purdue when he enlisted in the U.S. Regular Army in May of 1917. He was sent to Jefferson Barracks, MO and then assigned to Troop M, 21st Calvary. He was transferred to Camp Logan, TX and assigned to Battery F, 79th Field Artillery, 7th Division. On August 18, 1918, Newhouse was sent overseas. He died of pneumonia on September 17, 1918, in Ploermel, France, and was buried in an American cemetery, grave no. 55,  Camp Coctquidan, France.

Elmer Earl Rothenberger, EX- ‘18


Rothenberger, 1918. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Rothenberger was a student at Purdue when he enlisted in the U.S. Regular Army in Air Service on November 3, 1917, in Austin, Texas. He trained at Kelly Field, TX and went overseas on May 20, 1918. Rothernberger was an instructor in Aerial Observation at Chatillon-sur-Seine, where he was accidentally killed September 4, 1918. He was buried at St. Thibault, France. He left behind a widow, Ruth Aldrich Rothenberger, of Lafayette, IN.

Carl James Shipe, EX- ‘19 

Shipe 1919

Shipe, 1917. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Carl Shipe was a student at Purdue when he enlisted in First Officers Training Camp, Ft. Benjamin Harrison, IN in May 1917. He was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant and sent to Camp Taylor, KY; then to Washington, DC, to Camp Wadsworth, SC, and later Camp Colt, PA. He was sent overseas on August 30, 1918, and assigned to Company B, 328th Infantry. He died of spinal meningitis on January 8, 1919, Haute Marne, France. He was buried in an American cemetery, grave 48, Haute Marne, France.

Earl Thomas Steinhart, EX- ‘18

Steinhart 1918

Steinhart, 1918. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Steinhart was a Purdue student when he enlisted in Quartermaster Corps, Regular Army on August 26, 1917, Washington Barracks, DC, and transferred to Camp Meigs, Washington, DC. He was assigned to Headquarters Repair Unit No. 301, Motor Transport Corps. Steinhart was sent overseas on January 4, 1918, and assigned to Administration Company, 13th Motor Transport Corps.  He died of pneumonia, March 3, 1918, in Verneuil, France, and was buried in the American cemetery there.

Ernest Raymond Warbritton, EX- ‘10

Warbritton 1910

Warbritton, 1917. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Warbritton studied at Purdue in Civil Engineering. He entered First Officer’s Training Camp, Ft. Benjamin Harrison, IN in May 1917. He was sent to Camp Sherman, OH and later assigned to Company B, 334th Infantry, 84th (Lincoln) Division. He was sent overseas September 1, 1918, and died October 14, 1918, Hospital No. 101, Fort Manor, England. He is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Crawfordsville. He left behind a widow, Anna Warbritton.

Merle Jesse Weatherly, EX- ‘16   

Weatherly 1916

Weatherly, 1916. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Merle Jesse Weatherly was in the U.S. Army and died in France of the flu. He left a wife, Florence Rema (Barnett) Weatherly, and an unborn son, Merle Howard Weatherly. Additional information unavailable.





Died in Service:

Myron Bertman, EX- ’09

Bertram 1909

Bertram 1917 Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll

Bertman was educated at Purdue and West Point Military Academy. He was commissioned Captain, assigned to 1st U.S. Engineering Corps, and stationed in Washington, DC in June 1917. Bertman was sent overseas in July 1917 and died of pneumonia on September 18, 1917, at St. Nazaire, France, where he is buried. The America Legion in Mount Vernon, IN is named in his honor.

Samuel Lewis Booth, EX- ’22

Booth was in the Purdue Student Training Corps and was a Civil Engineering major. He died of disease while in the service on December 12, 1918.

Arthur J. Burgess, EX- ‘22

Burgess 1922

Burgess, 1918. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Arthur Burgess was a farmer and entered the Student Army Training Corps at Purdue in October 1918, where he was assigned to Headquarters Company, Section A. He contracted pneumonia and died in St. Elizabeth Hospital in Lafayette on December 14, 1918. He is buried in the Goodland, IN cemetery. The American Legion Post (Burns-Burgess Post), Goodland, IN is named in his honor.

Henry E. Cobb, EX- ’11

Cobb circa 1918

Cobb circa 1918. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Henry Cobb was educated at Purdue. At the time of his enlistment he was a supervisor of Manual Training in the public schools of Elgin, IL. He entered the Military School for Aeronautics, Cornell University, November 8, 1917. He graduated February 16, 1918, and was sent to Ellington Field, TX where he died of pneumonia, April 23, 1918. He is buried in Riverview Cemetery in Seymour, IN.

Bruce Culmer, EX- ’14

Culmer circa 1917

Culmer circa 1917. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Bruce Culmer attended Indiana, Illinois State, and Purdue Universities. He was a railroad employee when he entered the service on November 27, 1917, in Indianapolis. He trained in Pittsburgh and Chicago, was transferred to Camp Mineola, Long Island, and assigned to Aviation Section, Signal Corps, 816th Aero Squadron. Culmer was killed in an airplane accident July 9, 1918, at Mineola, Long Island. He is buried in Martinsville, IN.

Edwin C. Danner, ‘09

Danner 1909

Danner, 1909 Debris

Danner graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. While at Purdue, he was a member of the Transit Club, Civil Engineering Society, Webster, Athletic Association, Cadet Corp – Second Lieutenant, Mandolin Club, and Band (Manager Senior Year).

“His only deficiency was in the matter of Junior essays and it was only after a conference with Dr. Hatt that ‘Claudie’ decided to hand in the required essay.”

Russel Harrison Dwiggins, EX- ’19 

Dwiggins circa 1917

Dwiggins circa 1917. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Dwiggins attended Purdue and entered Officers’ Training at Ft. Benjamin Harrison, IN on May 1917. He transferred to Aviation Service, was sent to Columbus Barracks, OH and then to Ellington Field, TX, where he was killed in an airplane accident on April 4, 1918. He is buried in Waynetown, IN. He left behind a wife, Mabel E. Dwiggins, and one son, Gerald Russell Dwiggins.

Louis Earl Eisensmith, ‘10

Eisensmith 1910

Eisensmith, 1910 Debris

“Eisey” graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. While at Purdue he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, ME Society, and a member of the Football Varsity Squad his senior year.

“He is a product of Kentucky, and he never tires of telling of the good old ‘Blue Grass’ state. He is a good fellow, and is always ready to listen to a good story. If things become too quiet, he has the happy faculty of stirring them up…”

Records show he died October 31, 1918.

Edward B. Foresman, EX- ‘20

Foresman circa 1918

Foresman circa 1918. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Foresman trained at Camp Purdue and entered the service on October 9, 1918. He was assigned to Company 5, Student Army Training Corps. He died of pneumonia on December 8, 1919, in Lafayette, IN and is buried in Lafayette.

Walter Raymond Gartin, ‘12

Gartin circa 1917

Gartin circa 1917. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Gartin was educated at Purdue and served on the Mexican Border in 1916. He entered First Officers’ Training Camp, Ft. Harrison, IN in May 1917, was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, transferred to Camp Bowie, TX, and then to Camp Taylor, KY. He was assigned to 46th Infantry and died of pneumonia on February 18, 1918, at Camp Taylor. He was buried in Rushville, IN.

George Everhard Glossop, ‘15 

Glossop 1915

Glossop, 1915 Debris

Glossop graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering.  As a student he was active in the Varsity Club, Canoe Club, AIEE, Jeffersonian Debating, Football, Track, Basketball, Athletic Association, Student Council, and Student Union Committee.

After graduation he became the Athletic Director at University of Washington. He entered the service May 15, 1918, at Walla Walla, WA, and was sent to Camp Taylor, KY. He was an instructor in Officers Training School, Field Artillery. Glossop died of influenza October 16, 1918, at Camp Taylor, KY. He was buried in Brownsburg, IN, and was survived by his wife, Alfrieda, and children, George and Sarah Ellene.


Grounds, 1917 Debris

George Lester Grounds, ‘17

Grounds’s parents died when he was nine months old and he was reared by an aunt and uncle. Grounds received his Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from Purdue. After graduation he was a life insurance salesman. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on April 29, 1918, in Indianapolis. He was sent to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station, Chicago, IL, where he died September 30, 1918. He is buried in Second Prairie Creek Cemetery, Vigo County, IN.

Albert Leas Hall, EX- ‘05

Hall circa 1913

Hall circa 1913. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Albert Leas Hall entered the Civil Engineering School at Purdue in 1901. Before graduating, he passed a competitive examination for a commission in the U.S. Regular Army, appointed Second Lieutenant in the Infantry, April 11, 1905. He was promoted to First Lieutenant, July 11, 1907. He graduated with honors from the Mounted Service School, Ft. Riley, KS and the School of Fire, Ft. Sill, OK, and appointed Inspector and Instructor of Artillery for Indiana, Ohio, and Michigan in 1913.

At the outbreak of World War I he was stationed in the Philippine Islands, ordered to return to the United States and appointed Director of Artillery, Ft. Sill, OK. When the 38th Division was formed he was the choice of his state for Brigadier General for Artillery, but was barred because of his young age. He was appointed Commanding Officer at Camp Bowie, TX and Colonel of the Fiftieth Regiment of Artillery. He died October 18, 1918, of influenza at Camp Bowie, TX, and buried in Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, IN. He was survived by his wife, Daisy De Graff Hall, and one son, Lewis Albert Hall.

He was the highest ranking Army Officer from Indiana who died while in service during the World War.

Carl A. Heilman, ’06 

Heilman died in the service to his country in July 1919. No further information is available.

Daniel George Hood, EX- ‘18 

Hood circa 1918

Hood circa 1918. Photo courtesy of The History and Achievements of the Fort Sheridan Officers’ Training Camps, Chicago.

Daniel Hood was a Purdue student in Electrical Engineering when the war broke out. He gave up his studies and was admitted to the First Officers’ Training at Fort Sheridan, 5th Company. Upon receipt of his commission, he requested a transfer to the Aviation Service, which was granted, and he was transferred to the aviation school at Austin, TX, then to Geratner Field, Lake Charles, LA. He was then ordered to Mitchell Field, Mineola, NY, where he was assigned to the 52nd Squadron. He was awaiting his sailing orders when he became ill with pneumonia and passed away November 2, 1918. He was survived by his wife, Cora Amphlett Hood.

Harold Roscoe Johnson, EX- ’18

Johnson was a Private, Company F, 36th Infantry when he died of pneumonia at Camp Devins, MA on September 25, 1918.

Lewis Merrill Kirkpatrick, EX- ’20 

Kirkpatrick circa 1918

Kirkpatrick circa 1918. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Lewis Kirkpatrick was a farmer.  He entered the service on August 31, 1918, and was assigned to Automobile Mechanic School at Purdue, was transferred to Motor Transport Corps, Ft. Sheridan, IL, and then Ft. Wingate, NM. He was assigned to the Motor Transport Corps, 578th Company. He died of pericarditis at Ft. Wingate on April 13, 1919. He is buried in East Hill Cemetery, Rushville, IN.

Eugene Haskins Kothe, ‘07


Kothe, 1907 Debris

Kothe graduated from Culver Military Academy in 1902 and Purdue University in Civil Engineering in 1905. He was a buyer for Kothe, Wells, and Bauer Company. He was commissioned Captain in Quartermasters Department, U.S. Regular Army in June 1917 and called into service September 8, 1917. He was then sent to Washington, DC, in January 1918. He died of influenza October 14, 1918, in Washington and is buried in Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis.

Albert U. Loeb, EX- ’98 

Albert Loeb died in the service of his country on June 7, 1920. No further information is available.

Lynn Rowland McBroom, ’02

Lynn McBroom died February 7, 1918. No further information is available.

Herbert Stahl McCauley, EX- ’20

Herbert McCauley was an Electrical Engineering student at Purdue. No further information is available.

John Ray Mertz, ‘11

Mertz 1911

Mertz, 1911 Debris

John Mertz graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering. While a student he was a member of Fluer-de-Lis, A.I.E.E. and the Purdue Athletic Association.

“ ‘Squirt’ received a great many votes as the funniest man in the class, deserved them, though his funnyisms are sometimes ill-timed and out of place.”

Robert Elmer Morse, ‘11

Morse 1911

Morse, 1911 Debris

Robert Morse graduated from Purdue with a Ph.C. (Pharmacy degree) and belonged to the Pharmaceutical Society as a student.

“To look at him you would not think it, but he must have been pretty nervy when he answered one of Sturmer’s class questions with ‘Who wants to know’.”

He entered the service on June 26, 1918, in Lafayette, IN. He was sent to Camp Sherman, OH, assigned to 20th Company, 5th Training Battalion, 158th Depot Brigade, then transferred to the Medical Department at Base Hospital, Camp Sherman, OH. He died of accidental causes at Camp Sherman, August 19, 1918. He is buried in Lafayette, IN.

Herbert Newby, EX- ‘22

Newby circa 1918

Newby circa 1918. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Herbert Newby was a farmer. He enlisted in Student Army Training at Purdue on October 10, 1918. He was assigned to Company I, Section A. Newby died of scarlet fever December 1, 1918, at St. Elizabeth Hospital, Lafayette, IN. He is buried in Gartland Brook Cemetery, Columbus, IN.

Earl Franklin Retherford, EX- ‘21

Retherford circa 1917

Retherford circa 1917. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Retherford was a student at Purdue when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy on November 20, 1917, in Chicago, IL. He was assigned as radio service electrician, Company Clerk. He died of pneumonia on March 21, 1918, at Great Lakes Training Station, IL. He is buried in Muncie, IN.

Raymond Frederick Reitemeier, EX- ‘21

Reitemeier circa 1917

Reitemeier circa 1917. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Reitemeier was a student at Purdue when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy December 13, 1917, in Indianapolis. He was sent to Great Lakes Naval Training Station, IL and then transferred to Aviation Repair Unit, U.S. Naval Base, at Eastleigh, England. He died of pneumonia in January 1919 at Navy Hospital, Pelham, NY. He is buried in St. Boniface Cemetery in Lafayette, IN.

Sherman Lawin Rhude, EX- ‘22

Rhude circa 1918

Rhude circa 1918. Photo courtesy of Gold Star Honor Roll.

Rhude was an employee of Nordyke-Marmon Company, Indianapolis, IN when he entered the Student Army Training Corps at Purdue, October 1, 1918. He died of influenza January 23, 1919, at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Lafayette. He is buried in Garland Brook Cemetery in Columbus, IN.

Anthony Arthur Sego, ‘17

Sego 1917

Sego, 1917 Debris

Sego graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy. While a student he was a member of the Purdue Athletic Association and Varsity Track Squad.

“The mile wasn’t the only thing he could run.”

He enlisted in Aviation Service May 1, 1917, in Chicago, IL and trained at the Aviation Ground School, Cornell University, NY. He transferred to Camp Dick, TX, then to Ellington Field, TX.  He was rated as Reserve Military Aviator at Door Field, FL and commissioned Second Lieutenant, August 7, 1918.  Sego was killed in an airplane accident September 12, 1918, Love Field, TX and buried with military honors in Kentland, IN.

Leslie Selby, EX- ’17

Selby was educated at Arsenal Technical School, Indianapolis, IN, and Purdue University. He was later a teacher at Vincennes High School. He was rejected for military service but accepted for Y.M.C.A. war work on September 5, 1918. He was sent to Great Lakes Naval Training, IL, where he contracted pneumonia after three weeks duty and died on September 27, 1918. He was buried in Vincennes, IN.

Harry Wiltrout, EX- ‘20

Wiltrout was a student at Purdue when he enlisted in the United States Navy on May 17, 1918. He was sent to Great Lakes Naval Training Station, Chicago, IL and promoted to 2nd Class Seaman. He died of empyema on October 21, 1918, at Great Lakes Naval Training Station, IL and buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Warsaw, IN.

William Willington Smith, ‘17

Smith 1917

Smith, 1917 Debris

Smith received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue. While a student he belonged to ASME, Purdue Athletic Association, and the YMCA.

“He has common sense in a way that is uncommon.”

Sidney Bain Swaim, ‘10

Swaim 1910

Swaim, 1910 Debris

Swaim’s  nickname was “Sid” and he was from Dallas, Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science from Purdue in Mechanical Engineering.

It is noted in the Debris, “While not possessing all the qualities of a mixer, ‘Sid’ is known to us as a quiet, unassuming, good natured fellow, who takes an active interest in his work, and is never too busy for a chat on Heating and Ventilation or Automobiles.  Swaim’s specialty is finishing mechanics tests ten minutes before anyone else in the class.”

Ilo Ivan Taylor (no year noted) 

Taylor circa 1910

Taylor circa 1910. Photo courtesy of Colorado School of Mines Alumni Magazine, Mines Magazine, volumes 3-4, 1913, p. 211.

Taylor may have been a Purdue instructor.  He became a First Lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  He died at Camp Lee, Virginia, perhaps of the flu, on January 25, 1919.

Douglas Viele, ‘14

Viele 1914

Viele, 1914 Debris

Viele received a Bachelor of Science in Science with honors from Purdue. He was a member of the Purdue Athletic Association and the Glee Club. He was a Captain of the Purdue Cadets for 2 years.

He entered First Officers Training School at Ft. Benjamin Harrison, where he became ill and died of spinal meningitis on July 7, 1917. He was buried with military honors in Oak Hill Cemetery, Evansville, IN.

Carl Williams, ‘15

Williams 1915

Williams, 1915 Debris

Williams graduated from Purdue with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. As a student, he was a member of the Band, Orchestra, ASME, and P.A.A., and was a Cadet Lieutenant.

He enlisted in May 1917 and was sent to Ft. Benjamin Harrison, IN. He was transferred to Camp Shelby, MS, where he served as a member of Headquarters Company Band, 151st Infantry. He contracted pneumonia, which caused his death on April 21, 1918, at Camp Shelby, MS. He was buried with military honors in Poseyville, IN.


Purdue University. Senior Class. Purdue … Debris. (1889). e-Archives, Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center,

Hepburn, William Murray, and Louis Martin Sears. Purdue University Fifty Years of Progress. Indianapolis: Hollenbeck, 2008.

Oliver, John Williams. Gold Star Honor Roll. A Record of Indiana Men and Women Who Died in the Service of the United States and the Allied Nations in the World War. 1914-1918. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Commission, 1921. Print. Indiana Historical Collections, [vol. VI].

Fort Sheridan Association, and Fred Girton. The History and Achievements of the Fort Sheridan Officers’ Training Camps. Chicago?: The Fort Sheridan Association, 1920.


Respectfully compiled by Mary A. Sego, Processing Assistant, Purdue Archives and Special Collections. Mary lost four great-uncles during WWI, and she is committed to honoring their legacy.

Politics at Purdue, Part I: Visits from Presidential Campaigns

Young adults are a large voting demographic and their support can make the difference between victory and defeat in an election.  That means college campuses are prime locations for campaign rallies, and Purdue is no exception.  Here are some highlights of Purdue’s encounters with presidential candidates during the most exciting times of their campaigns.

Until 1971, the voting age in the United States was 21, not 18, limiting the possibility of participation on college campuses.  The Purdue student newspaper reported in October of 1900 that “about seventy-five per cent of the Senior class will get a vote this fall, and about two-thirds of the number will vote for McKinley and Roosevelt” (Exponent, Oct 4, 1900, p. 13).  That number was limited not only by the age restriction but also by the fact that women were still twenty years away from gaining the right to vote.

The seniors were excused until three o'clock Wednesday afternoon, to hear Roosevelt, most of the class took the opportunity to see and hear the "Rough rider" of New York. The Exponent, 4 October 1900

Exponent, October 18, 1900

The week after the report of the Republican McKinley-Roosevelt ticket’s popularity, the Exponent reported that “the Seniors were excused until three o’clock Wednesday afternoon, to hear Roosevelt, most of the class took the opportunity to see and hear the ‘Rough rider’ of New York” (Exponent, Oct 18, 1900, p. 14).  Though Roosevelt did not come to West Lafayette, students would have easily traveled to Fort Wayne (on October 10) or Indianapolis (on October 11) to hear him speak.

Screenshot from 1960 Purdue Newsreel

John F. Kennedy visits Purdue (1960 Newsreel)

Democrat John F. Kennedy made at least two visits to Purdue in as many years.  On April 13, 1959, Senator Kennedy visited campus to attend a special student convocation at Elliott Hall of Music, where he “spoke well, handled the question period with finesse, and the Hall was filled, thus making a fine performance in every way” (Purdue Board of Trustees Minutes, May 1, 1959).  Kennedy was also rumored to have attended a Purdue-Notre Dame game in West Lafayette on October 3, 1959 (Lafayette Journal and Courier, Oct 3, 1959).

Purdue Drill Team with President Kennedy at the White House

Purdue Drill Team with President Kennedy at the White House (Purdue Alumnus, Summer 1961)

The following year, after his presidential campaign had commenced in earnest, Kennedy won the Purdue students’ mock election as the “Purduvian Party” candidate.  One week later, Kennedy adjusted his campaign schedule to visit West Lafayette and accept the nomination in person, saying he hoped that “as Purdue goes, so goes the nation” (Newsreel 1959-1960).  The nation did go with Purdue and put Kennedy into the White House, where the Purdue Drill Team visited him in 1961 while visiting the area for the Cherry Blossom Festival (Purdue Alumnus, Summer 1961, p. 1).

Jack Carter, PS0000078

Jack Carter at Purdue (Purdue Archives photo     #PS0000078)

Family members of the presidential candidates are often involved in their campaigns. In 1976, Democratic nominee Jimmy Carter’s son, Jack, visited Purdue to campaign on behalf of his father.

Robin Dole at Purdue

Robin Dole at Purdue (Journal and Courier, October 29, 1976)

Later that year, incumbent Republican President Gerald Ford’s daughter, Susan, gave a brief speech at the Purdue airport as part of a quick campaign stop on October 29 (Lafayette Journal and Courier, Oct 30, 1976).  Ford’s Vice Presidential candidate Bob Dole’s daughter, Robin, also visited Purdue that week (Lafayette Journal and Courier, Oct 29, 1976).

Dan Quayle at Purdue

Dan Quayle at Purdue      (1993 Debris)

President Ford and his running mate Dole lost that election.  Sixteen years later, in 1992, Vice President Dan Quayle returned to his home state to campaign for George H.W. Bush’s reelection.  The results of the election were foreshadowed when, according to the Purdue student yearbook, “the student body showed discontent” during Quayle’s speech on the steps of Hovde Hall (Debris 1993, p. 38).

Candidates from outside the Republican and Democratic Parties have also visited Purdue.  In 1972, Dr. Benjamin Spock, the People’s Party nominee, visited campus.  As the student yearbook noted, “Dr. Benjamin Spock made the sole presidential candidate appearance at Purdue.  From the two major parties, we could not even attract a campaign manager” (Debris 1973, p. 387).

Ross Perot, 1996 Newsreel

Ross Perot at Purdue (1996 Newsreel)

In 1996, Ross Perot of the Reform Party gave a televised speech in the Armory weeks before earning more than 8 million votes in the general election (Debris 1997, p. 324; Newsreel 1996).  Purdue’s most recent campaign visit happened on September 13, 2016, when Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson visited campus (Exponent, Sept 9, 2016).

Other notable political figures have visited Purdue before, during, and after their times in office, but campaign season always inspires some of the most interesting visits.  Do you remember any other campaign visits to Purdue?  If you have memories or memorabilia such as photographs or historical documents related to those events, we would love to hear from you!

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series highlighting political visits to Purdue.  Part II will take a look at visits from presidents during and after their time in office, most notably Ronald Reagan’s 1987 visit.

The President’s Freshman Brother

In 1900, Winthrop Stone became President of Purdue University.  In the fall of that year, Lauson Stone, his much younger brother, enrolled as a freshman.  What was life like for a student whose older brother was running the university?


Winthrop Stone in 1902; Lauson Stone in 1904

A 21-year age gap between the brothers meant that by the time Lauson was born in 1883, his brother Winthrop was already a college graduate who had left the family home.  After studying in Germany around the time of Lauson’s birth, Winthrop moved to Tennessee. He later became a Professor of Chemistry at Purdue, in 1889.  When Winthrop’s oldest son was born in 1890, Uncle Lauson was only seven years old.

Winthrop Stone was promoted from being the first Vice President in Purdue’s history to being President after the sudden death of President James Smart on February 21, 1900.  It’s unlikely that the brothers spent very much time together before Lauson’s arrival at Purdue in the fall of that year.

Lauson became famous early in his college career for being the president’s brother.  The Debris yearbook, created by seniors who usually had little time to spend on freshmen, included a joke about the Stone brothers in its 1901 volume:


Great disturbance in the Dormitory! A Freshman kicking posts out of the banisters, just to see ‘em drop down the stairs.  Prof. Alford rushes wildly upon the scene.  “Stop that noise, immediately! Who is the cause of all this disturbance?” “I, sir.” “Report to Dr. Stone at once! No explanations are necessary.  Save them for Dr. Stone.”  Dr. Stone is greatly surprised to receive, within the next few minutes, an official call from his brother. (p. 301)

Despite the attention, or maybe because of it, Lauson was a popular student active in many clubs, including the Chemical Society, Mechanical Engineering Society, Minuet Club, Irving Literary Society, and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.  He was also a Cadet Captain in the Cadet Corps, Associate Editor of the Debris yearbook his junior and senior years, Junior Class Secretary, and part of the Senior Class Banquet Committee.  When the 1903 Debris yearbook made humorous suggestions for the following year’s yearbook titles, one suggestion was, “How I was Chased by All the Frats at Purdue, by L. Stone.” (p. 296)


Sigma Alpha Epsilon in 1904.  Lauson Stone is in the center row, fourth from the right.

Lauson contracted typhoid fever in late 1903, and his prolonged absence from school meant he would not be able graduate with the Class of 1904 as planned.  Still, he was listed among the seniors in the 1904 Debris with this thorough biography:

Lauson Stone has labored under three handicaps in his college career, any one of which would have had nine out of ten of us down and out before we had passed the Sophomore mile­stone. In the first place the incubus of being a brother to the president of the University has weighed upon him in the shape of his nickname of “Doc,” which was bestowed on him early in our Freshman year, and has clung to him ever since. Secondly, at about the same time as above mentioned, he developed what is technically known as a “case,” which has not become any less acute with years, and which was partly responsible for his attempt to take both Mechanical Engineering and the Science Course at the same time. Lastly, a six months’ tussle with typhoid did indeed send his chances of graduating with us glimmering, but he is an ’04 man through and through, even if he does have to fall back on ’05 for his sheepskin. He is from Amherst, Massachusetts. (p. 112)

Lauson spent the following year working as a student assistant in the Practical Mechanics department while completing his coursework, and finally graduated in spring 1905 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering.  In 1909, he married Helen Estelle Darby, a fellow member of the Purdue Class of 1904.  Their marriage announcement in the Exponent student newspaper makes no mention of Lauson’s notable brother.  It also misspells Lauson’s first name.


Helen Estelle Darby, 1904

The marriage of Miss Helen E. Darby and Mr. Lawson Stone occurred yesterday at 3 o’clock at the Darby home on East Main street. The ceremony was performed by Rev. G. W. Switzer and was witnessed by the relatives and a few intimate friends of the bride and groom. Both Mr. and Mrs. Stone are graduates of Purdue of the class of ’04 and have a host of [f]riends at the University. Mr. Stone holds a government position in the department of the interior at Pittsburg[h]. He is a member of the S. A. E. fraternity. (March 28, 1909)

Lauson did not stick around Purdue after graduation.  He spent his career in Pennsylvania, first in a teaching position at Western Reserve University, then with the United States Geologic Survey, and later in the steel industry.

Meanwhile, as Winthrop and Lauson Stone were advancing their career and education at Purdue, their middle brother, Harlan Fiske Stone, was building his legal and political career and eventually became the most notable member of the family.  Harlan served as Dean of Columbia University Law School, United States Attorney General, Associate Supreme Court Justice, and eventually Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

All images from the Debris Yearbook.


Celebrating 60 Years of Purdue Pete

University Bookstore Pete

1940 University Bookstore “Pete”

When Purdue Pete ran out onto the football field September 24, 2016, he was 4 days shy of his 60th birthday. Pete was actually born in 1940, as a logo for University Bookstore. University Bookstore owners Doc Epple and Red Sammons hired artist Art Evans to create Pete as an advertising logo. He appeared on different products and dressed to portray the different majors.

Petes in Costume

Vertical Files, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries. Original copies courtesy of University Bookstore.

The logo became popular, and Pete made his way from University Bookstore to the pages of the 1944 Debris student yearbook. He also became officially known as “Pete” at this time, when Doc Epple was asked what his name was.  Pete may have also served as an image of strength for Purdue during World War II.

1944 Pete

1944 Debris

War Pete

1944 Debris











Purdue Pete took on human form in 1956 when athletic director Guy “Red” Mackey gave the go-ahead to create a sports mascot to inspire fans at home football games. Larry Brumbaugh (ME ’57) was selected to be the first Pete by the Pep Committee. Brumbaugh was tasked with creating a costume for Purdue Pete. After doing research and contacting various costume companies, he was still at a loss as to what Pete should look like. Mrs. John Keltner from Brumbaugh’s hometown of Union City, Indiana, made a head out of chicken wire and papier-mache. The head weighed 36 pounds, and the chicken wire made it cumbersome to move.  Purdue Pete made his first public appearance on September 28, 1956, at a pep rally before the Missouri game.

Two other students donned the first version of the Purdue Pete costume, David Hull (AAE ’58) and John Knote (LA ’59).

Happy Birthday Pete

Pete and Golden Girl









Tragedy struck in 1962 when Pete’s head flew out of the Boilermaker Special on the way back from the Iowa State game and was never found.  This led to a makeover in 1963.

Big Head Pete

1976 Debris, page 252

The new Pete had a larger head, rosy cheeks, and a smaller open-mouthed smile. This Purdue Pete costume was in use circa 1963-1976.  His big head limited the movement of the student portraying him, and his head even served as a target for snowballs at a Michigan game.

1976 was the dawning of yet another Purdue Pete. This Pete was created by Van Betulius (A ’76) with the help of an artist from Evansville. His head was all fiberglass, and his look was more boyish and less like something from the pages of a cartoon strip. Unfortunately, the head weighed 50 pounds.

Boyish Pete


Photo courtesy of











Purdue Pete saw a few more changes in 1977, his hat got bigger, his eyes were bolder, and his ears were less flat. Pete’s head was five feet high, and still weighed around 50 pounds. This Purdue Pete costume was used circa 1977-1980.

Pete friends

1979 Debris, page 121




Pete on Boilerrmaker Sp

1980 Debris, page 73








A new decade in 1980 saw the creation of a scowling, meaner Pete with thick eyebrows and furrowed brow. The new head, weighing only 10 pounds, was a welcome relief for those who wore it. Keith Butz, art director in the Telecommunication Center, worked with Donald Carter, a designer in the office of publications, to create the tougher Pete. This Purdue Pete would be around 1980-1983.

Mean Pete 2

1981 Debris


Pete Kiss

Debris 1983










In 1983 Purdue Pete sprouted hair and a construction hard hat. His scowl was replaced with a slight smile. The chin strap made his eyebrows wiggle up and down. This head weighed 12 pounds. This Pete costume would remain in use until circa 1989.

Touchdown Pete

MSP 160, Purdue University Athletics Collection, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

In 1989, the Aviation Technology Composite Manufacturing Laboratory created a 5 pound head that was easier to move around in. They continue to make several heads out of composite materials over the course of a year and fix any damages that occur. Starting in 1995 the individuals who were selected to portray Pete were allowed to paint their own hats. This version of Purdue Pete continues to this day.

Purdue Pete Sept 2012

Purdue Pete doing research in the Purdue Archives and Special Collection, September 2012. We welcome all researchers!









2011 Pete

Image courtesy of



There was an attempt to replace Purdue Pete in 2011 with a softer, more kid-friendly Pete. He donned a one piece suit, and big bulky shoes. Fans made it known that they were partial to the current Pete and demanded that the Purdue Pete they had known and loved be returned!




In 2014 Purdue fans rallied to help Purdue Pete win the Chicago Tribune’s Big Ten best mascot contest. Purdue Pete won with a landslide 5,422,716 votes: 74% of the total.

Surfer Pete

2004 Debris


Over the years Purdue fans have made it known that Purdue Pete is an important member of the Purdue family. Kids flock to him, he pumps up the fans at sporting events, and he is a loyal ambassador for Purdue in general.  We in the University Archives wish Purdue Pete a Happy 60th!  Boiler Up!





If you would like further information on Purdue Pete, please see:

Purdue Alumnus

Purdue Alumnus, January/February 2011



Composite lab

Aviation Technology Composite Manufacturing Laboratory


Purdue University ECN





The Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center would also like to thank Tom Frey, Manager of University Bookstore, for sharing his file on the original “Pete.”

Submitted by Mary A. Sego, Processing Assistant, Purdue Archives and Special Collections.

The Women’s Health Movement Comes to Purdue: Discovering the Sisters for Health Education Records

In 1979, at the height of the Women’s Movement, three women at Purdue University formed the Sisters for Health Education (S.H.E.), a student organization founded on the principle that “every woman has the right to understand and control her own body” (“History of S.H.E.,” Box 1, Folder 1). For the next few years, they set out to single-handedly educate themselves, and the women of Purdue, about their bodies in an effort to put back into the hands of women the knowledge to care for themselves, their children, and their communities.

In 1981, Purdue had no gynecologist on staff and lacked express resources for its women students in the areas of birth control, unwanted pregnancy, and sexual assault. In a letter to Ms. Dunkle, Director of the Health Equity Project, dated June 18, 1981, S.H.E. founding member Marcia Whisman relates several stories of women who came to S.H.E. in search of support and information after bad experiences with the sole nurse on staff at the student health center who handled “sexual matters”:

She should have her certification to practice taken away from her….[she] is opposed to abortion, doesn’t seem to have a very good attitude about sexuality in general, doesn’t like to deal with sexual matters, and is very inept with examinations to the point of hurting a friend of mine when she was examining her.

Another student was referred to the staff nurse for vaginal infections and was told to “quit fooling around” though she was not sexually active. Yet another requested a pregnancy test but never heard back from the staff nurse regarding the results. When she finally called, the nurse scolded her: “I have known for several days that you were not pregnant, but I thought I would let you worry—have you learned your lesson?”

In relating these stories, Whisman reveals the difficulties that women students faced in attempting to access unbiased healthcare in order to make informed decisions about their bodies – decisions that would also impact their education. Letters and articles describe the pushback encountered by Purdue staff who had previously advocated for a women’s center (one was short-lived, but the campus currently lacks one). Knowing this, S.H.E. proceeded with caution when petitioning the university for funds as a student organization, choosing their words carefully to “sanitize” their mission to counsel women on matters of birth control and abortion.

An early flyer distributed by the Sisters for Health Education invites Purdue students to a feminist consciousness raising meeting focused on women’s health (Sisters for Health Education Records [S.H.E.], MSP 150, Box 1, Folder 1).

An early flyer distributed by the Sisters for Health Education invites Purdue students to a feminist consciousness raising meeting focused on women’s health (Sisters for Health Education Records [S.H.E.], MSP 150, Box 1, Folder 1).


Despite institutional resistance, S.H.E. was operational by 1980; eventually they acquired a space in the Wesley Foundation and opened their “clinic” on March 2, 1981. They were soon busy hosting educational workshops, advising women over their hotline, and disseminating calls to action to protect women’s reproductive rights at the national level.

A collection of pamphlets addresses puberty, sexism, and teen pregnancy, and advises parents how to talk to their children about sex (Sisters for Health Education [S.H.E.] records, MSP 150, Box 3, Folder 11).

A collection of pamphlets addresses puberty, sexism, and teen pregnancy, and advises parents how to talk to their children about sex (Sisters for Health Education [S.H.E.] records, MSP 150, Box 3, Folder 11).

Fed up with the ways that sexism and racism shaped interactions between medical professionals – almost exclusively men at that time – and their patients, the Women’s Health Movement aimed to put medical knowledge directly into the hands of women. S.H.E. correspondence captures a national dialogue among feminists working to put knowledge directly into the hands of diverse women and questioning the epistemological assumptions inherent in healthcare practices of the time (see Wendy Kline’s “’Please Include This in Your Book’: Readers Respond to Our Bodies, Ourselves, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Spring 2005).

 A cartoon in a copy of Lesbian Health Issues brings a queer perspective, and some humor, to the Women’s Health Movement (Sisters for Health Education [S.H.E.] records, MSP 150, Box 2, Folder 32).

A cartoon in a copy of Lesbian Health Issues brings a queer perspective, and some humor, to the Women’s Health Movement (Sisters for Health Education [S.H.E.] records, MSP 150, Box 2, Folder 32).

Inspired by the movement’s motto, “Knowledge is power,” S.H.E. researched not only debates surrounding the Pill’s safety, but also mental health, fat-shaming, lesbian women’s sexuality, the beauty industry, and food additives and natural remedies for common ailments like menstrual discomfort and bladder infections. They corresponded with feminist organizations and women’s health clinics in solidarity around the country and ordered speculums directly from medical supply companies to distribute at workshops where they taught women how to view their own cervices.

In addition, they brought together local resources for victims of rape and sexual assault, including a brochure (shown below) from the Indianapolis Police Department advising women to “Trim bushes and shrubbery” around their homes “so no one can hide in them” (Box 2, Folder 22), advice that now seems comically outdated.

A booklet doles out advice to women on how to protect themselves from rape contemporary anti-violence activists and educators would now characterize as victim-blaming (Box 1, Folder 7).

Brochures, Sisters for Health Education (S.H.E.) records, MSP 150, Box 1, Folder 7.

A booklet doles out advice to women on how to protect themselves from rape; contemporary anti-violence activists and educators would now characterize this as victim-blaming (Sisters for Health Education [S.H.E.] records, MSP 150, Box 1, Folder 7).

A booklet (front and back) doles out advice to women on how to protect themselves from rape; contemporary anti-violence activists and educators would now characterize this as victim-blaming (Sisters for Health Education [S.H.E.] records, MSP 150, Box 1, Folder 7).

S.H.E. members compiled and circulated lengthy lists of recommended reading that covered topics ranging from feminist theory to a history of midwives. Oft-referenced throughout is the Women’s Health Movement bible, Our Bodies, Ourselves, a self-help guide to women’s health first published by the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective in 1970. Updated and reissued every four to six years and now available in more than thirty languages, the text remains the gold standard for many feminists and health educators today.

Brochures collected from women’s reproductive rights organizations offer information about U.S. eugenics programs targeting women of color under the guise of eliminating poverty (Box 2, Folder 34).

Brochures collected from various women’s reproductive rights organizations offer information about U.S. eugenics-like programs targeting women of color under the guise of eliminating poverty (Sisters for Health Education [S.H.E.] records, MSP 150, Box 2, Folder 34).

What unfolds in this collection is nothing short of a dynamic portrait of a nation’s healthcare practice under radical reform. Grassroots feminist health activists raised crucial questions about medical epistemology and literally rewrote how women understood and cared for their own health and for each other. This history, told through the correspondence and clippings of a small but dedicated group of Purdue feminists, continues to impact our healthcare today. Though the revolution may be incomplete, we see echoes of it in contemporary debates for reproductive justice and in renewed activism around home birth and midwifery, for example, the Big Push for Midwives campaign and Ricki Lake’s hit documentary The Business of Being Born.


If the collection reveals the progress made by grassroots women activists, it also foreshadows a growing conservative backlash that would carry through the 1980s. S.H.E. members actively  advocated for women’s right to access safe and legal abortion and protested the Human Life Amendment, wrote to prominent politicians at the state and national level, a precursor to today’s fetal personhood amendments. Though member’s letters are not included in the collection, the responses they received are, including letters from prominent politicians such as Richard Lugar and Dan Quayle. Newsletters penned by the then newly-founded Moral Majority defame the content of Our Bodies, Ourselves and “the feminist agenda” as a threat to the nation.

Insert caption and cite

A copy of the proposed Human Life Amendment, annotated by a S.H.E. member (Sisters for Health Education [S.H.E.] records, MSP 150, Box 2, Folder 6).

Insert caption cite

Senator Richard Lugar’s response to a letter sent by a member of S.H.E. (Sisters for Health Education [S.H.E.] records, MSP 150, Box 2, Folder 6).

For contemporary readers, reproductive rights debates often seem a clear-cut dichotomy, a war between pro-life or pro-choice advocates. But the S.H.E. records expose much more nuanced and complicated perspectives on the issue than we might now imagine. Among proponents of the Women’s Health Movement, many were involved in other causes, including the anti-war and burgeoning environmental movements. Feminist small presses exploded across the country in the 1970s, capturing the conversation of the Women’s Movement and its intersecting discourses with other social movements for justice and equality – and the members of S.H.E. were tapped in.

A copy of the feminist small press magazine Win demonstrates the growing intersectionality of causes (Box 3, Folder 17).

A copy of the feminist small press magazine Win demonstrates the growing intersection of causes (Sisters for Health Education [S.H.E.] records, Box 3, Folder 17).

A political cartoon accompanies a New York Times article on abortion from 1980, its critique surprisingly contemporary (Box 2, Folder 6).

A political cartoon accompanies a New York Times article on abortion from 1980, its critique surprisingly contemporary (Sisters for Health Education [S.H.E.] records, MSP 150, Box 2, Folder 6).


Ultimately, the collection ends abruptly and offers no explanation of what became of S.H.E. and its inspiring members. After the last materials dated 1982, there is silence. Earlier articles and letters hint at a struggle to maintain the flow of funds necessary to keep the resource going – the phone bill their largest expense. Marcia Whisman continued to send postcards and letters to her feminist sisters at S.H.E. even after she moved to Maryland to pursue graduate work. In a letter, she shares her intention to establish a similar resource at her next university, anticipating that women everywhere were in need of the knowledge to understand and care for their bodies.

In fall of 2015, Purdue hit another major milestone in caring for its women students: after years of student activism amid a growing national discourse surrounding sexual assault on college campuses, Purdue University announced the establishment of C.A.R.E., the Center for Advocacy, Response, and Education, a relationship violence and rape crisis center slated to open at the start of the 2016-17 academic year.

As one of the students who spent four years writing to university administration, organizing and speaking at Take Back the Night rallies, and talking with local media about the need for this resource, I cannot help but wonder what the members of S.H.E. would think of this newest result of grassroots feminist efforts at Purdue.

And I wonder, where did their feminist rabble-rousing take them and were they thanked enough for the work they did?

The struggle continues, sisters. Fight on.

P.S. Look for a newly donated collection on the years of student activism and advocacy that went into getting the Center for Advocacy, Response, and Education in the near future.

Editor’s Note: Dana Bisignani is a graduate assistant working in the Women’s Archives and an anti-violence activist and educator. A two-time recipient of the Berenice A. Carroll Award for Feminism Peace, and Social Justice, and former graduate instructor in Purdue’s Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program, Dana left her doctoral program this year in order to pursue anti-violence education and prevention work full-time.

All the Best and 73s!: A Record of Amateur Radio Aboard STS-45 Preserved within the David C. Leestma Papers

STS-45 QSO Card

This is the QSL card that NASA sent out to HAM radio operators who made a contact with the Space Shuttle Atlantis.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) today perform a number of objectives ranging from scientific experiments, station maintenance, to studies on the physiology of the human body in micro-gravity environments.  With a rigorous schedule of experiments, little time each day is reserved for recreation. That said, recently the astronauts aboard the ISS viewed the newly released science fiction film, The Martian.  This widely publicized event may not seem as bewildering as one would think as lately, astronauts on the ISS have been able to stay in constant contact with the public on Earth via social media.  Astronaut Scott Kelly recently completed a year-long mission aboard the ISS as part of a study of the effects of long duration space flight on the human body.  He regularly used to post images and updates to his more than 869,000 (Twitter) followers. Perhaps the first to garner the social media public’s attention was Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield who made headlines in 2013 when he posted pictures to his Twitter page and uploaded videos to the Canadian Space Agency’s YouTube Channel, documenting the day-to-day routine of the astronauts (YouTube).  Public involvement and participation was enormous during this time, with Hadfield alone getting over millions of views on his posts, especially with his YouTube video covering David Bowie’s hit song, “Space Oddity,” while floating in the ISS.  This video alone had six million views within days of its upload and now has over thirty million views (YouTube).  The social media public is now actively involved with astronauts. Yet, the rather direct public interaction and exchanges with spacefarers 155 miles above the Earth is not really new.  In fact, direct public interaction with astronauts took place years prior to the existence of Twitter and YouTube.  People communicated with astronauts during space flights through the use of Amateur Radio.

HAM Radio QSO Card

This QSL card comes from Indiana and features the Space Shuttle. 4/1/1992

Amateur Radio, or HAM radio is a way for people with proper training to legally operate powerful radios to communicate with other operators.  The term HAM is not an acronym, but instead it is a derogatory term that commercial radio operators gave to amateurs in the early 20th century when they were frustrated with amateur radio operators clogging the airwaves.  A HAM radio is different than a typical AM/FM radio because HAM radios allow for two-way communication either through voice or Morse code.  Amateur Radio operators, colloquially referred to as HAMs, use their radios to speak to people all over the world through different radio frequencies.  The different frequencies allow for varying lengths of physical distance between radios.  A 2-meter frequency is best for talking around town while a 10-meter frequency is best for long distances.  This changes, however, if you increase the power of the radio.  A standard hand-held HAM radio operates around one to five watts power.  Increase the power to fifty watts, and the signal will travel much further.  The same radio frequencies used by HAM radio operators to talk to one another locally and around the globe were even used by NASA to stay in contact with astronauts in their spacecraft and on the surface of the Moon.

HAM Radio Operator and his cat.

Here is an example of a QSL card. Pictured is a HAM radio operator and his radio shack, along with his feline friend. 4/1/1992

After a two-way communication is made, called a QSO, both HAM radio operators will send each other a QSL card. The term QSL and QSO are not an acronyms, as they are taken from early maritime Morse code communications that used a system of “Q” codes to convey long messages.  These “Q” codes were three characters long starting with the letter Q.  “Q” codes are no longer used, but the QSL and QSO codes have found a place within amateur radio as a way to describe a two-way communication.  A QSL card, similar to a postcard, is a fun way to physically represent the contacts that a HAM has communicated with.  Amateur radio operators’ call signs are also not acronyms.  These are assigned to the operator after they pass a licensing test given by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).  Printed on the card is usually the operator’s call sign, the Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) of the communication, information about the radio used, their geographical location, and sometimes a picture of the operator sitting in front of their ‘radio shack,’ (their HAM radio setup).  The reverse side of the card is where one would find the technical details of the contact, such as the operator’s name, their address, a short message, type of radio, antenna, or other radio specifications.  HAMs even use unique language when talking to one another.  For example, saying, “73” is a friendly way to say goodbye and if a HAM says they are “workin’ DX” that means they are using their radios for worldwide contact.  These two colloquialisms emerged from Morse code, and similar to the “Q” codes, have stuck with HAM radio.  (Click here for a link to a glossary of HAM radio terms.)        

Husband and Wife HAM radio operators

This QSL card shows two call signs that of a husband and wife team from Alaska. 3/30/1992

Husband and Wife HAM radio operators

This is the reverse of the QSL card from Alaska. 3/30/1992

During NASA’s Space Shuttle program, astronauts used the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) to communicate with amateur radio operators on Earth.  These contacts were short conversations usually just long enough to hear each other’s call sign.  In most cases, the operator on the ground would only hear the Shuttle and not be able to communicate with it. The length of these conversations depended on many different things, such as radio properties, geographical location, and the Shuttle’s location in relation to the radio operator on Earth.  The purpose of SAREX was to engage the public in space flight.  NASA created the program so that students, children, and the general public could have the chance to talk with the astronauts without an intermediary.  For more information on SAREX, click here.

STS-45 Crew

Crew of STS-45. (L-R Back Row: Byron K. Lichtenberg, Michael Foale, David C. Leestma, Kathryn D. Sullivan, Dirk Frimout. Front Row: Brian Duffy, Charles F. Bolden, Jr.) 6/11/1992 (Courtesy of NASA)

HAM radios flew on twenty-five Space Shuttle missions total, from 1983 until 1999.  In 1992, four of the seven astronauts on STS-45 Atlantis were licensed HAMs. Kathy Sullivan (N5YVV), Brian Duffy (N5WQW), Dirk Frimout (ON1AFD), and David Leestma (N5WQC) operated the Space Shuttle radio and made roughly 1,804 contacts with people from thirty-one different countries, including three contacts from Antarctica.  David Leestma recalls, “I just had a QSO with a K1OIQ on Palmer’s Station Andrew’s Island, Antarctica…That was really a thrill to be able to get Antarctic[a] on the radio,” (David C. Leestma papers, Box 27, Folder 4).  Leestma used the term QSO, which is another “Q” code for a two-way communication.  The majority of these contacts, 1,067, were made with HAMs in the United States.  The country to make the second-most contacts was Belgium with 314 QSL cards, as STS-45 Atlantis was the first time a Belgian citizen, astronaut Dirk Frimout, was launched into space.

QSL Card from Palmer Station, Antarctica

This is the only QSL card to come from Antarctica. 3/30/1992

HAM Radio QSO Card from Belgium

This is one of the 314 QSL cards that came from Belgium during STS-45. 3/29/1992

HAM radio QSO card

This card comes from California and features an operator and his shack. 3/29/1992

Below you will find two graphs, one detailing all of the QSL cards received by state and one detailing all of the QSL cards received by country, as well as an interactive world map with pin points located where a QSL card was sent to by the crew of STS-45 Atlantis.

Click on the map below to see if anyone from your hometown made contact with the Space Shuttle!

United States QSL Cards Graph

This graph shows the number of QSL cards received from each state.

International QSL Cards

This graph shows the number of QSL cards received by country.

QSO Card Map

Click on this image to view an interactive map of the QSL cards!

All of the QSL cards pictured here come from the David C. Leestma Papers.  This collection contains the personal papers of Astronaut David C. Leestma from his time as a pilot in the Navy, a Space Shuttle astronaut, and his work in NASA’s administration offices during the Mir and ISS programs.  Also, included in this collection are Leestma’s personal journals from 1981 to 2014.  While Leestma’s papers offers some great insight into the daily workings of an astronaut and a NASA administrator, his collection of QSL cards are eye-catching.  The cards offer a unique, visual look into the HAM radio tradition.  They also show a segment of national and international enthusiasm that existed for the space program during the 1990s.  HAM radio allowed for astronauts to be accessible to the entire world.  From Alaska to Antarctica, and thirty other countries in between, HAM radio allowed for public participation in the space program long before astronaut Chris Hadfield released his music video from space on YouTube in 2013.



Editor’s Note: Co-author Max Campbell is a second-year graduate student in the Purdue University Department of History. Co-author Hannah Vaughn is a senior at Purdue, majoring in History.