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Posts tagged ‘Archives and Special Collections’

From the Archives: Paperwork

March 11th, 2018

In this image, many people have gathered to complete an important task that is a regular part of every student’s college experience.  What are they doing?  How was it organized?  Where is this? Share your ideas in the comments and check back on Thursday for the full story!


For a large portion of Purdue’s history, course registration took place not on a computer or in a registrar’s office but in a large room alongside hundreds of potential classmates.  Beginning in 1926, registration took place in the Armory, where each of Purdue’s thousands of students arrived to sign up for classes at an assigned time during a three-day registration period.  Each department had its own table, identified by signs on tall stands, where students could ask questions and enroll in their preferred class sections.  After signing up for all their classes, students proceeded to a bursar’s table to pay their fees and finally to the registrar for schedule approval, all in one place.  The process changed slightly from year to year.  This large-scale registration event disappeared in the 1960s with the introduction of computer-based enrollment through the Registrar’s Office.

This image shows registration in the Armory, circa 1930s, with a large schedule board listing class sections along the back wall.  Below is a closer view of the schedule board being examined by President Frederick Hovde.

Join us again on March 26 for the next image From the Archives!

Purdue students have always enjoyed hands-on activities as part of their coursework, gaining real world experience as they prepare for their future careers.  What course of study are these students following?  What are they doing?  Where are they?  Share your ideas in the comments and check back on Friday for the reveal!


These Dairy Production students are working in the Purdue Creamery in Agriculture Hall, which still exists today as Pfendler Hall.  In Purdue’s fully functioning dairy operation, College of Agriculture students gained practical experience making cheese, butter, and ice cream.  In this image, circa 1911, they are making and packaging butter, which was later sold to the public under the Purdue University Creamery label.  The dairy moved to Smith Hall when it opened in 1913 and continued selling dairy products to the public until 1969.

butter box

A butter box from the Purdue University Creamery


Join us on March 12 for the next From the Archives mystery photo.

From the Archives: A Campus House

February 11th, 2018

Many buildings have housed Purdue’s departments and organizations.  Those that are gone often played an important role in the foundation and growth of programs that still exist on campus today.  Do you know what organization was based in this structure?  How long was this building its home?  Where was it located?  Share your ideas in the comments and we’ll reveal the story behind this image on Friday.


The Black Cultural Center (BCC) was established in 1969 and moved into its first home, this house at 315 University Street, in late 1970.  At that time, coordinator of black student programs Dr. Singer A. Buchanan said the BCC would be a place “where anyone feels welcome to come in for discussions, readings, social events – or to just sit down and talk for a while.  If people…can get to know a bit more about each other it will go a long way toward mutual understanding and appreciation” (Journal & Courier, Dec. 14, 1970).  The house included offices, meeting rooms, kitchen facilities, lounges, and space for events and presentations.

This remained the home of the BCC until the current Black Cultural Center building opened at the corner of Russell and 3rd Streets in 1999.  Centrally located between the academic and residential communities of Purdue, the BCC features distinctive architectural design inspired by the art and architecture of ancient Africa.

Black Cultural Center, 2001

Today, the Black Cultural Center “provides purposeful, holistic, scholarly and co-curricular programming designed to strengthen understanding of African American heritage.  It enhances the academic, cultural and social development of the entire Purdue community.”

Parade of people with balloonsIt’s always a good time to celebrate Purdue!  In this image, we see a large group of people parading along a West Lafayette street.  Can you identify the location and the time period?  Where might they have been going?

Share your guesses in the comments and check back on Friday when we reveal the full story behind the photo!


The October 20, 1923, football game was a special event not just for Purdue but also for the whole Lafayette community thanks to a “Lafayette Day” theme.  At 12:30 p.m., a crowd of about 1,000 people gathered at Sixth and Columbia Streets in downtown Lafayette to form one of the largest parades in the city’s history.  Led by the Purdue Military Band, they marched over the bridge, up the hill, and across campus to Stuart Field and a specially reserved seating area for parade participants.  This photograph captured the parade moving up the hill on State Street in West Lafayette near the intersection of River Road.

Purdue Military Band, 1923

The Purdue Military Band leads the parade

Bleachers at the Purdue vs. Wabash game, 1923

The Lafayette section of the bleachers on Stuart Field, next to the Armory

In addition to a ticket for the game, everyone in the parade received a gold-colored balloon emblazoned with the words “Let’s Go, Purdue!”  The words are just visible some of the balloons in this close look at the original photo.

Close up look at parade balloons

On the field, Purdue and Wabash were evenly matched and ended the game with a 7-7 tie.

Organizers hoped that Lafayette Day would become an annual tradition that would encourage Boilermaker spirit on both sides of the river.

University photographer J.C. Allen captured the images of the parade and they are now part of the J.C. Allen negatives and photographs collection.  Information about Lafayette Day comes from the contemporary news coverage in The Purdue Exponent.

We’ll be back on February 12 with our next From the Archives challenge!

Kassandra Agee Chandler

Kassandra Agee Chandler

In early February, Purdue University alumna Kassandra Agee Chandler will be back on the West Lafayette campus to present “My Pieces of History: A Queen’s Journey to Archival Peace (and Release).” Agee Chandler — who was crowned Purdue University’s first (and currently only) African-American Homecoming Queen in 1978 — will deliver her lecture as part of a lecture and presentation program to begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6, in the Krannert Auditorium (Krannert Building, Room 140).

Sponsored by the Zeta Theta Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Agee Chandler’s visit to her alma mater will also include the presentation of her papers to the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections (a division of Purdue University Libraries). A reception in the Krannert Drawing Room will follow the formal lecture and presentation program. The event is free and open to the public.

“I’m honored to have the opportunity to return to my alma mater and share my experience as Purdue’s first African-American homecoming queen,” said Agee Chandler. “During this critical time of divisiveness in our nation, I hope that revisiting this significant milestone in Purdue history inspires students to engage in an enlightened dialogue on race, class, gender equality, and other relevant issues facing us today.”

Agee Chandler, who earned her Bachelor of Science in Management in 1980, is the founder and principal consultant at Systematic Design Consultants, a boutique information-technology consulting firm based in the Houston, Texas area.

Kassandra Agee, Purdue University Homedcoming Queen 1978

Purdue University President Arthur Hansen hands flowers to Queen Kassandra Agee, Purdue’s first African-American Homecoming Queen (1978).

While at Purdue, Agee Chandler distinguished herself academically and as a student leader, serving as a counselor for the Business Opportunity Program (BOP), member of Mortar Board, and a founding member of the Society of Minority Managers.

After earning her degree from Purdue, Agee Chandler worked in the private sector for such companies as Proctor & Gamble, Dow Chemical, and Exxon. Additionally, she served as Texas A&M Transportation Institute’s Chief Information Officer, as well as Director of Computing Services at the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station.

In July 2015, she and two other Purdue alumni formed the Dr. Cornell A. Bell Business Opportunity Program (BOP) Alumni Network, a Purdue alumni group “committed to continuing the legacy and vision of Dr. Cornell A. Bell” (see http://bopalumni.org/about/ and www.krannert.purdue.edu/centers/bop/about-us/dr-cornell-a-bell.php).

Agee Chandler’s visit is co-sponsored by the Black Cultural Center (BCC) and the Purdue Archives and Special Collections.

For more information about Agee Chandler’s lecture, contact BCC Director Renee Thomas at rathomas@purdue.edu or Emma Noelke (Delta Sigma Theta) at enoelke@purdue.edu.

For inquiries regarding Agee Chandler’s gift of her papers, contact University Archivist/Head, Archives and Special Collections Sammie Morris at morris18@purdue.edu.

Students walking through snow on Purdue's campus

Winter break is over and classes are back in session, but Purdue’s campus still looks like a winter wonderland.  Students have been trekking through snow to travel between their classes, dorms, and activities, just as they always have.  The features in this photograph are no longer part of the campus landscape, but can you identify what campus landmarks appear here and approximately when the image was taken?  Take a close look and share your theories in the comments.  The full story of this scene will be revealed on Friday.


This picture of campus, circa 1909, shows students walking across The Oval along the hedge walk toward Ladies Hall. The Oval still exists today as Memorial Mall, but the hedge walks that used to circle The Oval have long since been removed.  Here’s another view of that scene during warmer weather:

Hedge Walk leading to Ladies Hall

Ladies Hall, also known as Art Hall, was the women’s dorm and for many years the site of home economics and art classes.  Its unusual architectural style and ivy-covered walls stood out among the traditional brick buildings on the rest of campus, making it a popular subject of campus imagery like the postcard below.  Ladies Hall stood along State Street on the site of what is now Founders Park between Matthews Hall and Stone Hall.  It was demolished in 1927.

Ladies Hall

This snowy photograph and many other views of Purdue student life in the 1900s can be found in the photo album of Loretta Mae Wallace, available online in e-Archives.

We’ll be back on January 29 with our next From the Archives mystery photo.

From the Archives: Study Space

December 4th, 2017

In addition to Christmas and snow, Purdue students know that December means finals.  Students are filling study spaces across campus as they prepare for exams and term papers, just as they have throughout Purdue’s history.  Can you identify this location filled with studying students, what it was called, and where it was located?  Share your theories in the comments and check back on Friday for the full reveal!


The Bookstall on the second floor of the Humanities, Social Science, and Education Library in Stewart Center was a student destination.  The large open space, the result of a 1961 renovation, housed newspapers and periodicals and included ample room for dozens of students to complete assignments or study for exams.  It remained a popular study spot until a new Bookstall opened with the Hicks Undergraduate Library in 1982.

In addition to study space, the HSSE Bookstall was sometimes an event destination.  It hosted a series of “coffee concerts” as musicians performed and crowds assembled in the space.

Many buildings have been part of Purdue’s campus landscape over the years.  Some became institutional landmarks while others were here only briefly, built to serve a specific purpose for a limited period of time.  Can you identify the structures in this photograph, their purpose, and where they were located?  Share your theories in the comments and check back on Friday for the whole story!


Purdue was a military training location during World War I and men from across the country traveled to West Lafayette before shipping out to other parts of the world.  To accommodate the influx of so many new people on campus, many of whom stayed for just a few weeks before being replaced by the next group of recruits, the university constructed temporary military barracks on the north side of campus in what had been farmland.  This photograph looks south toward the barracks that sat on the site of the current Mechanical Engineering Building with the tower of Heavilon Hall visible in the background.  They were demolished shortly after World War I ended in 1918.

Interior scene of Company 5 Barracks photographed in Fall 1918.

Please join us again for our final From the Archives photo of the year on Monday, December 4.

Missing You: Navigating Amelia Earhart's Last Flight and Enduring Legacy - Open House and Reception Set for Nov. 18

An Open House and Reception for the “Missing You: Navigating Amelia Earhart’s Last Flight and Enduring Legacy” exhibition at Purdue University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections (ASC) is set from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18. The ASC is located in the Humanities, Social Science, and Education (HSSE) Library, Stewart Center, on the fourth floor.

The family-friendly event will offer activities for kids and a chance for individuals to visit the “Missing You” exhibit before it closes Friday, Dec. 8.

Refreshments will also be served, and paid parking will be available in the Grant Street Garage across the street from the Purdue Memorial Union.

For more information, contact Tracy Grimm at grimm3@purdue.edu.

Clubs have always been an important part of student life at Purdue.  This photo provides a glimpse into the activities of one club and includes its most famous member.  Can you identify the club and one of the men in this image?

Share your theories in the comments and check back on Friday for the reveal!


Neil Armstrong, Purdue class of 1955, was an active member of the Purdue Avionics Club, also known as the Aero Club or Aeromodelers.  In the mystery image, Armstrong (right) and fellow club member Frank Claire wear Purdue Aeromodelers t-shirts as they stand among partially assembled model airplanes and parts at Purdue.

Armstrong put his aviation skills to good use as a test pilot before entering the astronaut program and becoming the first man to walk on the moon.

Test Pilot Neil Armstrong poses here with the X-15 rocket plane after a research flight in 1960.

Original X-15 photo courtesy of NASA. Aeromodelers photograph courtesy of Andrew Claire.