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‘SPEC’ category

Head of the Purdue Archives and Special Collections and Professor Sammie Morris (front row, far right) with her graduate students who compiled the "Voices, Identities, & Silences: Investigating 150 Years of Diversity in the Purdue Archives" online exhibit. Students are (back row, L to R): Narim Kim, Erika Gotfredson, Lee Hibbard, Arielle McKee, and E. C. McGregor Boyle III; (front row, L to R): Maddie Gehling, Elise Robbins, and Dee McCormick.

Head of the Purdue Archives and Special Collections and Professor Sammie Morris (front row, far right) with her graduate students who compiled the “Voices, Identities, & Silences: Investigating 150 Years of Diversity in the Purdue Archives” online exhibit. Students are (back row, L to R): Narim Kim, Erika Gotfredson, Lee Hibbard, Arielle McKee, and E. C. McGregor Boyle III; (front row, L to R): Maddie Gehling, Elise Robbins, and Dee McCormick.

Every story has untold pieces. Purdue University Archives and Special Collections contains millions of stories in the many papers, books, objects, items, and other memorabilia carefully preserved and stored there. Yet, it does not hold them all—particularly those that may have not been “judged to be…important,” as noted in the introduction of the new online exhibit, “Voices, Identities & Silences: Investigating 150 Years of Diversity in Purdue Archives.”

The exhibit is the result of a graduate course led by Purdue University Archivist and Professor Sammie Morris this past spring semester.

The exhibit’s introduction notes that Purdue’s past, present, and future are comprised of much more than stories about feats associated with its engineering programs, its tales about athletic teams, or its strides in agricultural research and practice. It also explains why the student curators took on this effort:

[N]ot all of this history is (or will be) preserved in the University’s archive. Inevitably, some people and events are judged to be more important and thus more worthy of preservation. Our exhibit, then, aims to focus attention on elements of Purdue’s history that have been otherwise overlooked, not in order to ‘correct’ that history but rather to expand it and (if our aim is true) change our understanding of what ‘counts’ as that history in the first place. — Voices, Identities & Silences: Investigating 150 Years of Diversity in Purdue Archives

According to Morris, the idea for the course coincided with Purdue University’s faculty and staff members’ preparation for Purdue’s Sesquicentennial.

“As Purdue’s 150th anniversary approached, I often found myself reflecting on how the history of Purdue is preserved in the Archives, but not completely. There are many hidden gaps or silences representing people in Purdue history whose stories have not been widely known,” Morris said. “I began thinking about ways to fill in gaps in Purdue history, while engaging students in learning archival research skills.”

Erika Gotfredson shares her thoughts about the work she did for the "Voices, Identities, & Silences: Investigating 150 Years of Diversity in the Purdue Archives" online exhibit. Gotfredson researched and composed "Title IX in the 1970s," and in her research she found a Sept. 4, 1974, article in The Exponent that "the newly formed women’s intercollegiate athletics program had released a female 'insignia,' or mascot, intended to represent the emerging female athletes," Gotfredson explains in the exhibit. "Criticism of Polly Purdue emerged a single day after her drawing appeared in the Exponent. On September 5th, the Exponent staff published this piece entitled 'Polly Purdue must go, insult to women' in the 'Opinion/Viewpoint' section of the paper." Read more at http://1350-omeka.cla.purdue.edu/s/investigating-150-years/page/title-ix-in-1970s

During a private reception highlighting the online exhibit project, Erika Gotfredson shared her thoughts about the work she did for the “Voices, Identities, & Silences: Investigating 150 Years of Diversity in the Purdue Archives.” Gotfredson researched and composed “Title IX in the 1970s,” and, in her research, she found a Sept. 4, 1974, article in The Exponent that shared news about how “the newly formed women’s intercollegiate athletics program had released a female ‘insignia,’ or mascot, intended to represent the emerging female athletes,” Gotfredson explains in the exhibit. “Criticism of Polly Purdue emerged a single day after her drawing appeared in the Exponent. On September 5th, the Exponent staff published this piece entitled ‘Polly Purdue must go, insult to women’ in the ‘Opinion/Viewpoint’ section of the paper.” Read more in her part of the exhibit at http://1350-omeka.cla.purdue.edu/s/investigating-150-years/page/title-ix-in-1970s.

The course, too, coincided with Purdue Libraries’ expansion of its teaching mission through the creation of the new “Purdue University Libraries and School of Information Studies.”

“With digital humanities being one area the new school focuses on, the course offered the right opportunity to teach digital scholarship methods while providing students the opportunity to delve into Purdue’s lesser-known history,” Morris explained. “The overarching goal for students was to learn how to conduct archival research, but the broader goal was to benefit from the results of their research projects by highlighting diversity in Purdue’s past. Students in the course were encouraged to consider the identity of Purdue and how their experiences as students today are preserved. Students learned how the records of their experiences (that are preserved in the Archives) become sources of study for scholars in the future.”

Lee Hibbard, a third-year Ph.D. student in the Purdue Department of English studying rhetoric and composition, said the title of the exhibit came about as the students "played with the theme of the course and our process of research, as well as what we wanted viewers to take away from the exhibit."

Lee Hibbard, a third-year Ph.D. student in the Purdue Department of English studying rhetoric and composition, said the title of the exhibit came about as the students “played with the theme of the course and our process of research, as well as what we wanted viewers to take away from the exhibit.”

Students in Morris’ class each focused on an individual era and/or topic in Purdue’s history, and the contents covered in the online exhibit are the result of each student’s work. For instance, Lee Hibbard, a third-year Ph.D. student in the Purdue Department of English studying rhetoric and composition, focused on queer life in the 2000s at Purdue.

“The work on the exhibit was entirely collaborative, with every person taking on distinct roles both on the front and back end of the exhibit’s appearance and contents,” Hibbard explained. “To come up with the title, we took a portion of class time and brainstormed some ideas together. The title came about as we played with the theme of the course and our process of research, as well as what we wanted viewers to take away from the exhibit. The wording was especially important to us as Purdue students wanting to tell a coherent narrative that depicted our goals for the exhibit, as well as the things we took away from the course as a whole,” he added.

“The three core pieces of archival work we focused on—voices, identities, and silences—became the first part of the title. The second half emphasized our process, which was very much a journey of going through the archives with an eye towards investigating diversity, rather than discovering,” Hibbard continued. “Discovery has an end point while Investigation is a process, and even though we all uncovered many interesting and fascinating examples of diversity, all of us felt by the end of the course that we had just scratched the surface of our areas, and could easily return to them to try and learn more.”

Hibbard, who is also interested in archival practices, noted that he found this course essential to unpacking the complex ideas he had for his dissertation.

“At the beginning of the semester, I knew I wanted to look at some archival things, but didn’t have the tools to do so. After a spring of reading complex theory, getting hands-on archival experience, and learning the importance of selection and curation in an exhibit setting, I feel more comfortable with the prospect of working with archives for my dissertation and my future scholarship as a whole,” he said.

Like his fellow students in the course, Hibbard chose to home in on a specific area of Purdue’s history because of his personal stake and interest in the selected topic and era.

“As a queer person, specifically a transgender man, I am very interested in the way support and networks for queer students developed at Purdue during the time that I was an undergraduate (2006-2010) at a similar large Midwestern university (University of Nebraska in Lincoln),” he explained.

Shortly before the end of the Spring 2019 semester, students in Morris’ course shared their personal stories about their work on the exhibit at a small, private reception held in the Archives and Special Collections. Below are more photos from that reception.

 

Dee McCormick, E. C. McGregor Boyle III, and Elise Robbins, listen to Narim Kim as she discussed her work on the "Foreign Teaching Assistants in the 1980s" part of the "Voices, Identities, & Silences: Investigating 150 Years of Diversity in the Purdue Archives" online exhibit.

L to R: Dee McCormick, E. C. McGregor Boyle III, and Elise Robbins listen to Narim Kim (far right) as she discussed her work on the “Foreign Teaching Assistants in the 1980s” part of the “Voices, Identities, & Silences: Investigating 150 Years of Diversity in the Purdue Archives” online exhibit.

Maddie Gehling's part of "Voices, Identities, & Silences: Investigating 150 Years of Diversity in the Purdue Archives" focused on "Women’s Leadership in the 1890s." In her archival research, Gehling found that Agnes Eugenie Vater served as the very first editor-in-chief of The Purdue Exponent "(the university’s student newspaper), the first edition of which was printed in December 1889."

Maddie Gehling’s part of “Voices, Identities, & Silences: Investigating 150 Years of Diversity in the Purdue Archives” focused on “Women’s Leadership in the 1890s.” In her archival research, Gehling found that Agnes Eugenie Vater served as the very first editor-in-chief of The Purdue Exponent “(the university’s student newspaper), the first edition of which was printed in December 1889.” Vater was the only who woman who served on the board of editors for the 1891 edition of the Debris, Purdue University’s now-defunct yearbook. Read more at http://1350-omeka.cla.purdue.edu/s/investigating-150-years/page/womens-leadership-in-1890s.

Purdue at 150: A Visual History of Student Life by David M. Hovde, Adriana Harmeyer, Neal Harmeyer, and Sammie L. Morris with a Foreword by Drew and Brittany Brees tells Purdue’s story through rare images, artifacts, and words. The authors culled decades of student papers from scrapbooks, yearbooks, letters, and newspapers to historical photographs and memorabilia preserved in the Purdue University Libraries Virginia Kelley Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center. Many of the images and artifacts included have never been published, presenting a unique history of the land-grant university from the student perspective.

What prompted the authors to undertake such a monumental task? Where do you start when you have the entirety of the archives as your source? We asked the authors to take us inside the process of making Purdue at 150.


 

David M. Hovde

Q: What prompted you to start this project?

David Hovde: I have spent most of my writing career, beginning in 1973, writing historical works. When I started to work in the Archives and Special Collections in 2006, I read everything I could about the history of Purdue using primary, secondary, and tertiary sources. Then, I started to teach classes about how to do historical research using archival resources. I quickly noticed that the students were far more attentive when I discussed material created by students from Purdue’s past rather than material about presidents and famous faculty. The students could relate to the students of the past. At the same time, I noted that few official histories really discussed students and their lives on campus. Their voices were largely silent. Since I have a long-standing interest in folklore, I also noticed how much of the campus folklore had little basis in fact. For a number of years, I mulled over the idea writing a book about student life and student customs and traditions. When the sesquicentennial was approaching, I presented the idea to Sammie Morris and the entire staff, and the rest so to speak is history. The book is a bit different than what I had envisioned years ago, but this is a collaborative effort and that collaboration brilliantly highlights the collections in the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections and is strengthened by the many voices of those who contributed to the final product.

Sammie Morris: The Archives and Special Collections unit began discussing and preparing for the Purdue sesquicentennial many years in advance. One thing we discussed early on was a coffee table type book that would include beautiful realistic facsimiles of treasures from the Archives that provide evidence of Purdue’s past. We tossed around ideas about a scrapbook style album, or something featuring historical images and student memorabilia. David Hovde had a suggestion that we work together on a book project and there was a lot of enthusiasm amongst the staff in the Archives on taking on this challenge. From the start, it was important to me that we focus on filling in gaps in the past histories of Purdue by telling stories of some of the lesser known individuals and events in our history. As John Norberg worked to create an updated comprehensive Purdue history we differentiated our books by focusing solely on student experiences and featuring only items that are part of the Archives and Special Collections’ holdings. In this way, we let the evidence existing in the Archives tell the story of Purdue’s past students, while being aware that there are many gaps in the archival record that we would like to fill and enhance in the future.

 

Purdue at 150 on a ledge in front the Purdue Memorial Union

“Purdue at 150” is 280 pages, 10”×13” trim size with over 675 illustrations.

Q: How does one start the process of gathering all the materials needed for a project like this?

David: I began my post-college career as an archaeologist. Archival research is like archaeology. On a dig, you slowly and carefully peel back the layers of soil, recording the artifacts and their places on the site both horizontally and vertically and place each artifact in context with all the others on the site, sites in the region, and the time period the site represents. Archival research is much the same. Each document or artifact is a story and part of a larger whole. Each file, photograph, or box is a layer, and each relates to all the other files and boxes that tell the story of the site. A document is an artifact, a collection a layer, and each relates to other artifacts and collections temporally and spatially. The site in this case is the history of Purdue University. Each document, photograph, and artifact is equally as important as the others, and together they contribute to the story. This book has fifteen cultural layers that make up the site known as Purdue University.

As with any project, one starts looking at the secondary and tertiary sources and then the voice is chosen. In this case, the voice was the students. Then the structure is developed, and the researchers begins to look for primary sources, scrapbooks, photographs, letters, documents, etc., that bring the voice of the participant in the story to the forefront and gives the story life.

Prior to this, I had written a number of short articles about student traditions that would be the basis for a web site about Purdue student customs and traditions and to aid the staff to help students and researchers with questions about such things. These became elements of the future book. No one person in this collaboration knows all the collections. The authors each have their expertise and individual interests, but all wanted to give voice to the students who came and went over the past 145 years.

Adriana Harmeyer

Adriana Harmeyer: We decided early on that we would let the archival materials tell the story. We reviewed the items in the Archives, thought about which ones are most interesting, surprising, and engaging, and built the story from there. There are some seminal moments and traditions that we knew would have to be included and were able to find archival materials that would illustrate them.

Sammie: It was a big undertaking. We wanted something new and fresh that didn’t retell past Purdue histories and we wanted something that would complement, rather than compete with, John Norberg’s forthcoming book. With 150 years of history come 150 years of documents, photos, and artifacts. There are thousands of boxes of these records in the archives, but we had to start somewhere. Once we decided to focus on student life and organizing the book by decade, it helped us to hone in on what collections we had on those topics. We also made a serious effort to seek out—to the best of our abilities—diverse stories and perspectives, focusing not exclusively on famous alumni, but rather trying to tell the story of the average student experience by decade. We wanted to show that all Purdue students played a role in shaping the university, and we wanted to represent as many voices and perspectives as possible.

Q: What was your favorite decade to research?

David: I would say the 1900s, since that was the decade the many of the long standing and most colorful traditions were established or codified.

Adriana: I really enjoyed diving into the 1910s. So much was happening at that time as enrollment grew, old traditions faded, and new traditions developed. By the end of the decade, World War I really helped define what Purdue and the community could offer to the world.

Neal Harmeyer: My favorite decade to research was the 2010s. Studying archival content from the very recent past helped me to connect current issues and topics to those from past decades.

Professor Sammie Morris, director of Libraries Special Collections (Purdue University/ Mark Simons)

Sammie: I love the 1930s, it’s this fascinating time in American history between the two world wars when art and design and culture are becoming more streamlined and modern, Prohibition was ending, Art Deco was popular, and women were beginning to have more freedom after earning the right to vote in 1920. It also happens to be the decade when two women heroes of mine joined Purdue: Lillian Gilbreth and Amelia Earhart. It was the decade when Purdue opened the first university-owned airport. I just feel like there was a lot of growth and excitement, at Purdue, and in the U.S. during the 1930s. There was this can-do spirit seen in photos and documents that seemed celebratory despite the effects of the Great Depression. It was a fascinating time of highs and lows.

Q: Was there a single photo that you enjoyed the most that sticks out to you?

David: One of the most difficult parts of a book like this is choosing the best photo to tell a particular story. Sometimes there could be three or four similar images you like, but only one can be used. I like the photo on page 24 of the students being students, the two women on page 28, and the three women on page 34 showing early campus life of women. I also like the victors and the defeated on page 41, particularly the look of concern by the student with 08 sign hung around his neck.

Neal Harmeyer

Adriana Harmeyer: There are so many great photos in this book! One that comes immediately to mind, probably because I had never seen it until this project, is of Olympian Clifford C. Furnas running through ankle-deep water at a state track meeting as crowds cheer him on. This photo originally appeared in the 1922 Debris Yearbook, a great source of historical images.

Neal Harmeyer: I enjoy many of the images within the book. One that stands out is an image of the entrance to campus at State and Marsteller Streets in the 1940s. The intersection looks very different today.

Q: What were some of your favorite photos that didn’t end up making it into the book?

David: The one that did not make it in the book, because it is so commonly used, is Fred Hovde walking with a group of young men, some in World War II military clothing. The confident stride and the smiles reflect the new beginnings, growth, and promise of Hovde’s vision of a comprehensive research university and the GI Bill.

Adriana Harmeyer: There is a nice photo album from the 1930s, called “Purdue Panels,” that is filled with campus scenes. My favorite part of it, though, is the cover, which has sketches of the Power Plant and Heavilon Hall. It is a simple but eye-catching illustration of what the most prominent features of campus were at that time.

Neal Harmeyer: My favorite photos that did not make the book were a comparison of State Street during and after the redevelopment project of the 2010s.

Q: Were there any Purdue legends or stories that you found to be untrue?

David: Gobs and gobs…In particular, all those that start with, “In John Purdue’s will…” He did not have a will and all those stories about no foreign language instruction, red brick, no building taller than University Hall, etc., are completely bogus.

Portrait of John Purdue and with its corresponding page in “Purdue at 150”

Q: Neal, what is it like being involved in a project as a Purdue alum?

Neal Harmeyer: Working on this book as an alumnus was an interesting experience. I have spent many years in and around Purdue University, first as a student and later as a professional archivist, and through those experiences many historical details were already known to me. Yet, there are always new things to learn, and I was learned numerous facts during the research process. I found it fascinating each time a new fact was uncovered or myth debunked. Therefore, I am certain that anyone connected to Purdue will learn something from Purdue at 150.

Q: How similar is the work that you did for this book to the work that you do at the archives?

David: From the beginning, one of my roles was to recover lost bits of Purdue’s history and put dates, names, and context onto numerous photographs in the collection. Much of what is in the book cannot be found in other published Purdue histories.

Adriana Harmeyer: This book felt like a natural extension of our work in the Archives. We often assist researchers in identifying archival materials to help with their projects, and by working with these collections every day most of us have a good understanding of the broad strokes of Purdue history. This book gave us a chance to dive a little more deeply into the collections and piece together more of those historical details. I also manage the Archives social media accounts, so I am very familiar with identifying interesting images and writing descriptive text to accompany them.

Neal: As an archivist I am constantly helping researchers conduct their own research, creating metadata for collections and images alike, composing my findings, and enabling access to Archives and Special Collections content. Working on Purdue at 150 was similar to my daily activities, albeit with a longer research period.

Q: What do the archives provide to Purdue?

David: The Archives and Special Collection since its creation in 1913 strove to collect, arrange, describe, preserve, and make available the records of the University, staff, and alumni. It is not a mere collection because the highly trained professional and knowledgeable staff in the Archives bring the history of this institution to life and preserve it for the future.

Adriana: The Archives are the access point for these stories, housing the original documents, photographs, and objects that are part of the university’s history. However, we are not just a physical location, but a highly skilled team that can work with people through every step of the research process, from identifying primary sources for their research through to donating their own collections to the archives for future generations of researchers to study and enjoy.

Neal: I believe Archives and Special Collections provides unique opportunities for persons of all ages and educational backgrounds to self-discover and create new ideas. The collections with Archives and Special Collections document the histories of individuals, the university, and the community. A visitor may select, learn, and write about topics of their choosing, all while studying the original one-of-a-kind items of their creators. In turn, those studies generate new primary documents to be preserved for the next generations. Archives and Special Collections support research and learning. These are not only places of the past; they are places of the present and places of the future.

Sammie: The University Archives is the memory of Purdue. Here, we collect and manage the evidence of Purdue’s past activities, decisions, accomplishments, and the lives and contributions of its people. When a date or other fact needs to be checked, we provide the documentation for a reliable answer. But much more than that, the Archives is an accumulation of stories of the people who have shaped Purdue—the students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the University who have collectively made it what it is. It’s the Archives that preserves those memories for use by current and future generations of Boilermakers, and it’s the archivists who teach students how to do archival research and come to appreciate and connect with Purdue’s history. Finally, the Archives serves as the access point for scholars worldwide interested in writing books, articles, creating films, or exhibits on Purdue history; without the Archives, Purdue’s past would be an unreliable mix of rumors and hearsay, but most importantly, the legacies of so many ordinary people who helped build and sustain Purdue would be difficult to discover. I think the Archives make Purdue history real for people in a way that facts cannot; there is something exciting about learning through interacting with historical documents, photos, and memorabilia, old digital files and media. The past becomes, for a brief moment, the present when one interacts with these relics from history.

 

 


 

Enter code PURDUE30 at checkout on our website to get 30% off Purdue at 150.

 

Courtesy of Purdue News Service

The public will have a chance to get a closer glimpse into Purdue alumnus Neil Armstrong’s life through an exhibit presented by Purdue Archives and Special Collections.

The free, public exhibition, “Apollo in the Archives: Selections from the Neil A. Armstrong Papers,” runs through Aug. 16 in the Purdue Archives and Special Collections, which is open 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. It is located in Stewart Center inside the Humanities, Social Sciences and Education (HSSE) Library on the fourth floor of the library.

The exhibit commemorates the 50th anniversary of the first manned spaceflight that landed on the moon – where Armstrong took those famed first steps – and coincides with Purdue University’s July celebration of the moon landing, as well as the University’s sesquicentennial celebration, 150 Years of Giant Leaps.

Tracy Grimm, associate head of Archives and Special Collections and Barron Hilton Archivist for flight and space exploration conducts a tour of “Apollo in the Archives: Selections from the Neil A. Armstrong Papers” exhibition. The exhibition is open from March 18 until Aug. 16. (Purdue University/ Mark Simons)

Tracy Grimm, associate head of Archives and Special Collections and Barron Hilton Archivist for flight and space exploration conducts a tour of “Apollo in the Archives: Selections from the Neil A. Armstrong Papers” exhibition. The exhibition is open from March 18 until Aug. 16. (Purdue University/ Mark Simons)

“Neil wanted his collections to be used for both scholarship and research at his alma mater,” said Tracy Grimm, associate head of Purdue Archives and Special Collections and the Barron Hilton Archivist for Flight and Space Exploration, and curator of the exhibition. “Students and researchers have the unique opportunity to have a behind-the-scenes look at Neil’s life and legacy when they conduct research using Neil’s personal papers. This exhibition offers the public an opportunity to get to know Armstrong and the steps leading up to the Apollo 11 mission through access to Armstrong’s papers.”

The exhibition charts Armstrong’s experiences leading up to Apollo 11 mission, including training and coursework, planning for how and where to land on the moon, the success of the mission itself, and the impact it had on society. The following 11 items represent a portion of the items the public can expect to see on display at “Apollo in the Archives”:

  • An Apollo 11 flight suit, worn by Armstrong;
  • Armstrong’s NASA astronaut program acceptance letter;
  • A script for a skit written by Armstrong and Elliot See Jr., both part of the Gemini 5 backup crew;
  • A bag of Gemini 8 capsule personal items;
  • LLRV lunar lander research vehicle pilot flight checklist;
  • Apollo translunar/transearth trajectory plotting chart from the Apollo 11 mission;
  • Lunar dust disturbance on descent memorandum;
  • Model of Apollo lunar lander, made by the Grumman Corp;
  • Purdue centennial flag flown to the moon on Apollo 11 in 1969;
  • Apollo 11 lunar module lunar surface maps; and
  • Apollo 11 lunar module lunar ascent card.
A Purdue centennial flag that was flown to the moon on Apollo 11 in 1969 is just one of many items on display in “Apollo in the Archives: Selections from the Neil A. Armstrong Papers.” (Purdue University/Mark Simons)

A Purdue centennial flag that was flown to the moon on Apollo 11 in 1969 is just one of many items on display in “Apollo in the Archives: Selections from the Neil A. Armstrong Papers.” (Purdue University/Mark Simons)

In addition to the “Apollo in the Archives,” Purdue’s Ringel Gallery, in partnership with Archives and Special Collections, will present the exhibition “Return to Entry,” which will feature artwork inspired by Armstrong’s archival collection, March 25 to May 11, in the Ringel Gallery, Stewart Center. A reception and a panel discussion will be held at 5:30 on April 4.

For this exhibition, the artists’ challenge was to bring art, engineering, and science together to imagine new horizons informed by archival documents and artifacts contained in the Armstrong Papers and the papers of other astronauts and engineers. This exhibition will feature work by Frances Gallardo, Michael Oatman, and Jennifer Scheuer, who will be part of the panel discussion on April 4.

These exhibitions are one of many events celebrating Purdue’s Sesquicentennial, 150 Years of Giant Leaps. The yearlong celebration is highlighting Purdue’s remarkable history of giant leaps, while focusing on what giant leaps Purdue can take to address the world’s problems. The celebration concludes in October with an astronaut reunion.

round the World in 150 Years: Purdue International Footprint

A new Purdue Archives and Special Collections exhibit that focuses on the experience of international students at Purdue University throughout the institution’s history is open!

“Around the World in 150 Years: Purdue International Footprint”

Items in the Purdue Archives and Special Collections exhibit “Around the World in 150 Years: Purdue’s International Footprint,” which runs through Friday, March 8.

“Around the World in 150 Years: Purdue’s International Footprint” highlights a variety of cultures, countries, activities, and time periods represented in the holdings of Archives and Special Collections, with a special focus on students who were among the first from their home countries to attend Purdue. Items on display include photographs, articles, and publications by or about international students, as well as artifacts given to the university by alumni groups from around the world.

According to Archivist for University History Adriana Harmeyer, the idea for the display came about as Purdue archivists have been considering the University’s Sesquicentennial, which is being commemorated through Homecoming 2019. She noted that a team of individuals in Purdue Archives helped curate the exhibit.

“As we mark Purdue’s 150th anniversary, we are looking back and celebrating the people who have made the University what it is today. The international student population has been a presence on campus for a longer period of time than many people realize, and international students have made amazing contributions to the academic and social life of campus,” she noted.

The exhibit includes materials from some of the earliest international student groups on campus, including the Cosmopolitan Club (established in 1909) and publications by the 1920s-era Chinese Students Association, including a “Chinese Students Year-Book” from 1927, Harmeyer added.

“Around the World in 150 Years: Purdue International Footprint” will run weekdays (Monday-Friday) from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. through Friday, March 8. The exhibit is on display in the Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center, located on the fourth floor of the Humanities, Social Science, and Education (HSSE) Library.

For more information, contact Harmeyer at aharmey@purdue.edu.

Courtesy of Abbey Nickel, Purdue Marketing and Media

Imagine being able to open a time capsule with just a click of a button.

The newly launched Purdue Campus Facilities and Buildings Historic Database allows users to take a closer look at the metamorphosis of Purdue’s buildings over the years that goes beyond just maps and illustrations.

Neal Harmeyer, digital archivist in Purdue University Libraries’ Division of Archives and Special Collections, debuted the historic online database this month that documents the historic grounds and structures of Purdue’s West Lafayette campus. The project took five years to complete.

Neal Harmeyer, digital archivist at Purdue University Archives and Special Collections talks about his the new Purdue Campus Facilities and Buildings Historic Database at a reception Nov. 13, 2018.

Neal Harmeyer, digital archivist at Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, debuted the new Purdue Campus Facilities and Buildings Historic Database at a reception Nov. 13, 2018. Photo by Teresa Koltzenburg.

Using an interactive map, researchers will be able to find and sort campus buildings by architects, contractors, university president at time of construction, building materials and keywords. Each building has data related to his specific history, including construction information, renovation information and images from various stages of their use.

Harmeyer has helped lead the creation of the exhibit, which was funded by a 2013 gift from Richard Funkhouser, professor emeritus.

Through studying the history of Purdue’s facilities, Harmeyer said the intention of the database is to help researchers understand and visualize Purdue’s growth over the years — and perhaps study how those facilities will impact Purdue’s future.

“The Historic Database will provide all members of the Purdue community the opportunity to experience the West Lafayette campus from an entirely new perspective,” Harmeyer said. “As the university has changed over its existence, the places Purdue students, faculty, and staff have visited, studied and lived have also changed. For the first time, there is a resource to search and study the physical campus, re-visit, and even share those experiences.”

Betty Nelson, dean of students emerita, and her husband, Dick, professor emeritus of educational studies, explore the new historic building database as computer science professor Chris Clifton looks on.

Betty Nelson, dean of students emerita, and her husband, Dick, professor emeritus of educational studies, explore the new historic building database as computer science professor Chris Clifton looks on. Photo by Teresa Koltzenburg.

Haymeyer said data has been gathered from archival collections, reports and publications regarding all known structures throughout the West Lafayette campus history. Priority is given to academic buildings, but the project encompasses non-academic buildings as well.

The database is entirely online. Digitized campus maps have been created to visualize the history of campus. Meanwhile, Purdue Libraries information technology staff have worked alongside those from Archives and Special Collections to create a database to incorporate that information.

Harmeyer hopes the database is also used for educational purposes in addition to traditional research.

“For example, Purdue Polytechnic or Engineering faculty can use the database to learn more about construction materials and building techniques over time,” Harmeyer said. “Or, political science students can analyze building numbers in micro or macro scales to determine economic trends in campus buildings infrastructure.”

And, of course, former Purdue students can check out just how much campus has changed since their days at the university.

The University Development Office and Archives and Special Collections are partnering to provide donor information data for different buildings on campus. All information related to donors is maintained and managed by the development office, and information is being added or amended in the Database incrementally.

Harmeyer said the database will continue to be maintained, and information will be added on an annual basis to reflect new buildings or demolition of older buildings.

Purdue Libraries’ Geographic Information Systems and Digital Programs also assisted with the development of the project. Explore the Purdue Campus Facilities and Buildings Historic Database at http://collections.lib.purdue.edu/campus/.


Editor’s Note: The article is also posted at www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2018/Q4/travel-back-in-time-with-purdue-archives-new-online-building-database.html.

A Look Back Exhibit in Purdue Libraries' HSSE Library, Fall 2018

“A Look Back” in the HSSE Library was designed by Purdue Libraries Professor Judy Nixon, Director of Purdue Libraries Facilities Nanette Andersson, Library Assistant Pat Whalen, and the “A Look Back”-exhibit planning team.

“A Look Back” is a new exhibit in the Humanities, Social Science, and Education (HSSE) Library that pays tribute to Purdue University’s first Library in University Hall.

The event “Celebrating the History of Purdue Libraries”–to highlight the display and commemorate Purdue Libraries’ history–is set from 3-4:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8 in the Periodical Reading Room on the first floor of the HSSE Library. The event is open free to the public.

At 3:30 p.m., Purdue Libraries Professor Judy Nixon will provide a brief background about the exhibit and introduce David Hovde, Professor Emeritus, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections. Hovde will share his work on his book about the history of Purdue Libraries. At 4:15 p.m. attendees can take part in a tour of the 1913 stacks.

The display in HSSE Library was designed by Nixon, Director of Purdue Libraries Facilities Nanette Andersson, Library Assistant Pat Whalen, and the “A Look Back”-exhibit planning team.

“A Look Back” is part of the Purdue University’s Sesquicentennial Celebration, 150 Years of Giant Leaps. Learn more at takegiantleaps.com.

Purdue University Libraries Professor Sammie Morris and Assistant Professor Nastasha Johnson are part of a Purdue University interdisciplinary team that received a grant from the National Historical Records and Publications Commission (NHPRC) “to provide training for archivists across the country by developing and facilitating the Archives Leadership Institute (ALI) for the next generation of archivist leaders.”

Last month, the Purdue Polytechnic Institute announced the award.

The announcement, below, appears here courtesy of Purdue Polytechnic Institute Director of Marketing and Communications Melissa Templeton.

Purdue University Libraries’ faculty Sammie Morris and Nastasha Johnson are part of a Purdue University interdisciplinary team that received a grant from the National Historical Records and Publications Commission (NHPRC) “to provide training for archivists across the country by developing and facilitating the Archives Leadership Institute (ALI) for the next generation of archivist leaders."

Mesut Akdere, associate professor of human resource development (HRD) and director of HRD Virtual Lab at the Purdue Polytechnic Institute, along with professors in Purdue Libraries and the Center for Intercultural Learning, Mentorship, Assessment, and Research (CILMAR), received a grant from the National Historical Records and Publications Commission (NHPRC) to provide training for archivists across the country by developing and facilitating the Archives Leadership Institute (ALI) for the next generation of archivist leaders. The new program, ALI@Purdue, will provide advanced training for archival leaders in the United States, giving them the knowledge and tools to transform the profession in practice, theory and attitude.

Other members of the multidisciplinary project include Sammie Morris, professor and director in the Purdue University Libraries Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center; Nastasha Johnson, assistant professor in Purdue Libraries; and Kris Acheson-Clair, associate director of intercultural pedagogy and scholarship at CILMAR.

The grant’s three-year funding will enable the use of virtual reality, an immersive learning technology new to the field of archives, to train 20 archivists each year from across the country. The project will create more interculturally and technologically competent leaders in the archives profession who are prepared to advocate on behalf of their institutions as well as the broader archives field.

“This is really about incorporating future learning technology into the field of archives,” Akdere said of the project. “Virtual reality provides hands-on, immersive experiences which supports the development of trainees’ cognitive abilities.”

Akdere also highlighted various capacity enhancement opportunities associated with the ground-breaking use of virtual reality technology, which will allow ALI trainee archivists to conduct various workshops in their respective institutions. Trainees will also learn how to develop and share their own virtual reality training simulations.

“Our virtual reality training has the potential create a powerful cascade effect, making it possible for even more archivists to learn, transform and share their work,” said Akdere.

Learn more about ALI@Purdue at polytechnic.purdue.edu/ali.

Stephanie Schmitz is the first Betsy Gordon Psychoactive Substances Research Archivist at Purdue University.

Stephanie Schmitz pictured in the Purdue Archives and Special Collections. (Photo by Purdue Marketing & Media)

Purdue University Libraries’ unique archive on psychoactive substances research has been named and is now known as the Betsy Gordon Psychoactive Substances Research Collection. Recently, with Gordon’s support, Purdue Libraries established an endowed archivist position in the Purdue Archives and Special Collections (a division of the Libraries) to lead and grow collections relating to the history of psychedelics research.

Stephanie Schmitz is the first Betsy Gordon Psychoactive Substances Research Archivist at Purdue University (effective July 1, 2018).

First established in 2006 with generous funding provided by the Betsy Gordon Foundation, the archival collections comprise unique materials that document the history of psychoactive substances and their applications for medicine and healing. In recent years, there has been a resurgence of research studies surrounding psychedelics, e.g., the Heffter Research Institute‘s studies on psilocybin for cancer distress and addiction.

“I am pleased to be able to help in developing, through Purdue Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections, an archive and library centered on the work of so many dedicated chemists and clinicians who have worked in the field of psychoactive substances,” noted Gordon, a founder of the collecting initiative, who recently donated funds to name the collection and endow the archivist position. “As we have learned from the past, psychoactive substances hold untold potential in the area of reducing human suffering and healing. With such an archive, and through sharing with other universities and research institutions, all the work can be collectively stored and shared through this collection at Purdue,” she added.

Photograph of an article on "The Hallucinogenic Drugs" from a 1964 issue of Scientific American. Image courtesy of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections

Photograph of an article on “The Hallucinogenic Drugs” from a 1964 issue of Scientific American. Image courtesy of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections

According to Purdue University Archivist, Head of Archives and Special Collections, and Professor Sammie Morris, the renaissance in research surrounding the use of psychedelics for mental, physical, and spiritual health is attracting a growing number of scholars to Purdue to use the collection.

“Substances that once brought panic and fear to the public are now being recognized as having substantial health benefits in treating post-traumatic stress disorders, addiction, individuals facing terminal illnesses, and other health concerns,” she noted. “What many people may not know is that there is a long and rich history of psychedelics research conducted by psychiatrists, scientists, and health care professionals prior to the association of these substances with the counterculture movement. The past discoveries and research findings are highly relevant today in informing the future of this research.”

The Premier Collection in Psychoactive Substances

Betsy Gordon

Betsy Gordon (Image courtesy of Gordon)

In 2006, Gordon and David Nichols, Professor Emeritus of Pharmacology at Purdue, recognized the need to create a unique collection on the history of psychoactive substances research. According to Morris, the collection has increased dramatically over the last 12 years.

“The scholarship and learning that have resulted from the use of this growing collection would not be possible without Gordon,” Morris noted. “The Betsy Gordon Psychoactive Substances Research Collection is the premier archival collection of its kind in the United States. It is the only major research collecting effort in the nation specifically centered on acquiring the original, historical primary-source papers of researchers in the field. Other libraries and museums have some collections on this topic, but no other academic institution has been dedicated to collecting these types of one-of-a-kind, original documents, images, and artifacts comprehensively. These items are critical to supporting an understanding of the history of psychedelics research.”

The endowment of the archivist position allows the collecting effort to expand and ensures the sustainability of the collection into the future, Morris added.

The collection benefits researchers in a wide array of disciplines, attracting historians, anthropologists, chemists, and clinical psychologists. Scholars have traveled from around the world to consult the collection, and faculty and students at Purdue and in the local community routinely use the collections for teaching and learning.

Schmitz has led the collecting initiative since 2007. She frequently collaborates with faculty to incorporate the collections into Purdue’s educational mission.

Assorted publications from the Betsy Gordon Psychoactive Substances Research Collection. Image courtesy of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections

Assorted publications from the Betsy Gordon Psychoactive Substances Research Collection. Image courtesy of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections

“One of the most compelling things I do is to introduce this fascinating and interdisciplinary area of research to others. There is nothing more gratifying than witnessing the trajectory of archival materials from their inactive use while still in the possession of the donor, to their transfer to archives, and ultimately into the hands of scholars, where their work is referenced in publications such as books, journals, and presentations, further legitimizing this area of research,” Schmitz noted. “These collections of archival materials capture the triumphs and struggles of the work that was carried out in the past, helping to inform current and future research. Betsy’s generous gift will allow me to take this collecting area to new levels, increasing our acquisition of collections, promoting them for research use, and using them in course instruction,” she added.

Purdue University Department of History Dema G. Seelye Chair in the History of Medicine Wendy Kline said the collection is one of the most valuable sources she has encountered on the history of psychiatry and mental health.

“My forthcoming book, ‘Coming Home: How Midwives Changed Birth’ [Oxford University Press, 2018] draws on the papers to demonstrate the curious and fascinating connections between alternative birth and psychedelics,” Kline explained. “This collection draws historians from all over the globe, and it will continue to draw in more scholars as interest in these substances and their history grows, as it undoubtedly will. I have used the papers in undergraduate history research seminars and witnessed students come to life as they discover the collection’s fascinating contents. It has made them rethink the connections among science, medicine, and the counterculture.”

These substances, when used in appropriate settings under care of a medical professional, have been shown to increase the quality of life for people suffering from a wide array of illnesses from cancer patients to veterans of war to individuals who have had lifelong struggles with addiction.

“Works by authors such as Michael Pollan (‘How to Change Your Mind’) are informing the public about the health benefits of psychedelics and their potential in addressing issues of national concern, such as the opioid crisis,” noted Interim Dean of Libraries Rhonda Phillips. “The Libraries is proud to hold a comprehensive collection of archival materials dedicated to this research, to preserve and share the history of psychedelics for current and future generations of scholars.”

Learn more about the Betsy Gordon Psychoactive Substances Research Collection at http://collections.lib.purdue.edu/psychoactive/.

For more information, contact Schmitz at sschmit@purdue.edu.

Building Purdue - Aug. 27-Dec. 14 - Purdue Archives and Special CollectionsPurdue University Archives and Special Collections (ASC) latest exhibit highlights the physical growth and evolution of Purdue‘s West Lafayette campus since the University was founded in 1869. “Building Purdue: 150 Years of the West Lafayette Campus” will be on display from Monday, Aug. 27–Friday, Dec. 14 in the ASC (located on the fourth floor of the Humanities, Social Science, and Education, or HSSE, Library in Stewart Center). Exhibition hours are 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, and it is free and open to the public.

According to Digital Archivist Neal Harmeyer, who curated the exhibit, the display will include selected maps, photographs, documents, and artifacts that tell the story of campus—with a focus on its construction—as Purdue nears the sesquicentennial.

“Prominent topics are the fire of Heavilon Hall that inspired ‘One Brick Higher,’ the creation of the Purdue Memorial Union, the University during and after the World Wars, and the ever-changing nature of the campus all Boilermakers call home,” Harmeyer noted.

Later this year, Archives and Special Collections will launch the Campus Buildings and Facilities Project, a searchable database documenting the full history of the physical West Lafayette campus.

The exhibit helps Purdue Archives and Special Collections, a division of Purdue Libraries, kick off Purdue University’s Sesquicentennial Campaign, 150 Years of Giant Leaps. The campaign is a yearlong celebration of Purdue, its remarkable people, its unique history, and its visionary drive to meet the world’s future challenges. From Homecoming 2018 through Homecoming 2019, the Purdue community will spend the year celebrating its unique legacy, which has included giant leaps across every field of endeavor, and further advancing the mission set forth since its founding as a land-grant university in 1869. With the campaign serving as a springboard for a renewed commitment to growth, innovation, and discovery, Purdue’s call is simple: Whatever your pursuit, take Giant Leaps.

For more information about “Building Purdue: 150 Years of the West Lafayette Campus,” contact Harmeyer at harmeyna@purdue.edu.

#TakeGiantLeaps

A new exhibit, “The Sixties: A Decade of Triumph, Struggle, and Change” from Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, a division of Purdue Libraries, features a rich variety of artifacts, photographs, and documents, all from the Archives’ collections. According to Archivist for University History Adriana Harmeyer, the artifacts and displays spotlight the student experience at Purdue throughout the eventful decade.

The exhibit is free and open to the public from 1-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday in the Archives and Special Collections, located on the fourth floor of Humanities, Social Sciences, and Education (HSSE) Library, Stewart Center. An exhibit open house is set from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, May 23 in the Archives and Special Collections, and the event will include light refreshments, activities for children, and a chance to meet the exhibit curators.

“Student scrapbooks, senior cords, and underground student newspapers appear alongside aeronautics textbooks, Rose Bowl tickets, and Grand Prix programs,” noted Harmeyer and Digital Preservation and Electronic Records Archivist Carly Dearborn, who both curated the exhibit. “Topics range from Purdue’s astronaut alumni to the 1969 centennial celebrations to student protests that marked the final years of the decade.”

“The Sixties: A Decade of Triumph, Struggle, and Change” is on display through Friday, Aug. 10 in Purdue University Archives and Special Collections.

For more information, contact Harmeyer at aharmey@purdue.edu or Dearborn at cdearbor@purdue.edu.