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In association with Purdue Today, we introduce our new From the Archives series, sharing glimpses of Purdue’s past through photographs from the Purdue Libraries Archives and Special Collections.  On alternating Mondays during the academic year, this feature will allow readers a chance to view a historical photograph and guess what is taking place in the image.  On Fridays, we will reveal the story behind the photograph, allowing readers to learn more about Purdue history and see if their guesses were correct.

To start the series, here is a moment in Purdue history related to another beginning.  What is happening, and, for an extra challenge, who is this person?


On Nov. 25, 1922, David Ross, Purdue trustee and co-namesake of Ross-Ade Stadium, laid the cornerstone for Purdue Memorial Union, a structure dedicated to the memory of those who fought and died in World War I.

The official groundbreaking for the Memorial Union building was held earlier that year on June 13, 1922, during Gala Week. Ross broke ground with a shovel, then the task was continued with a horse and plow in front of an excited crowd. Three months later came the cornerstone ceremony, with speakers including Indiana Gov. Warren T. McCray; Charles W. Morey, president of the Purdue Alumni Association; and Purdue President Edward Elliott.

Purdue Memorial Union officially opened two years later on Sept. 9, 1924.

Purdue Memorial Union shortly after construction

Congratulations to those of you who correctly identified the Purdue Memorial Union and David Ross! Our “From the Archives” photo series will continue to share views of Purdue history on alternating weeks throughout the spring. Our next photo will be online on April 10.

14 Responses to “From the Archives Photo Challenge”

  1. Rob Dorn

    Not sure who it is, but I would guess that it is a Time Capsule ceremony.

  2. Debbie Horton

    i believe this picture is laying to cornerstone for the Purdue Memorial Union. My guess on the person in the picture is David Ross.

  3. mark hickman

    Completion of the SW Patio at the Purdue Memorial Union Upon Completion of the SW Student Patio
    Just a deduction for the age of the structure and its appeared location

  4. DSBrandt

    According to http://www.purdue.edu/purdue/about/history.html the only thing happening in 1922 was the creation of WBAA… so, is that an old turn-table being installed?


  5. Gene Carlson

    Laying the cornerstone for the Purdue Memorial Union. The person is David Ross.

  6. Tom Brown

    That is David Ross laying a Cornerstone of/at the new Purdue Memorial Union.

  7. Ethan Chitty

    That’s the cornerstone capsule being placed in the PMU building. Most likely its Purdue President Henry W. Marshall, as he became the interim president when Winthrop Stone died during a climbing expedition a year earlier. He was the head of the Journal and Courier in Lafayette.

  8. Scott Warner

    Memorial Union cornerstone was laid at Homecoming, November 25, 1922, by Edward C. Elliott.

  9. Colton

    Looks like they’re putting the capstone on the Brown Chemistry building during its dedication

  10. Ron

    Installation of a time capsule for the original Purdue library (Stewart Center) 1922.
    The person setting the memorabilia is President Hovde.

  11. Jan A. Cover

    This looks like a cornerstone — and perhaps the sealing of a time-capsule. My guess is that it’s the Memorial Union here on campus, during some colder but snowless month — say, November or December — in 1922, judging by the stone. I don’t recognize the gentleman in the fine wool coat doing the honors (again, my guess is leaving the cap on a time-capsule), but if I were to guess I would say David Ross. — j.a.c.

  12. .Kelly

    Purdue Memorial Union Cornerstone laying during Homecoming in November. Guessing Jack Walters or Edward Elliott.

  13. Michelle McBrite

    This is the cornerstone of the Purdue Memorial Union. David Ross is the individual laying the cornerstone

  14. Randy Bond

    I think it is the cornerstone ceremony of the PMU on Nov 25, 1922. David Ross was chairman of the building committee, so my guess is he is the one pictured setting the cap on the stone.


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