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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.

In celebration of Purdue’s 150th Anniversary on May 6, Purdue University Press is offering a special Giant Leaps Celebration Sale featuring two new books on the University’s history: Ever True: 150 Years of Giant Leaps at Purdue University and Purdue at 150: A Visual History of Student Life.

Take 50% off each book by ordering directly from Purdue University Press at press.purdue.edu or by calling 1-800-247-6553 and use the discount code GiantLeaps at checkout. This special sale ends on May 6 at 11:59pm EST.

Ever True: 150 Years of Giant Leaps at Purdue University by John Norberg with a Foreword by Purdue University President Mitch Daniels captures the essence of our great university. In this volume, Norberg takes readers beyond the iconic redbrick walls of Purdue’s West Lafayette campus to delve into the stories of the faculty, alumni, student, and leaders who make up this remarkable institution’s distinguished history.

President Emeritus Martin C. Jischke calls Norberg’s work, “an engaging, inspiring, and beautifully written history of one of America’s most distinguished public universities. It tells the story of Purdue from its humble origins to its emergence as a preeminent research university.”

Hardback with jacket, 496 pages, 6.75”x9.75” trim size with over 150 illustrations.

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.

The Brees’ say in their Foreword, “Purdue at 150 is the definitive visual history of student life at our beloved alma mater, recalling stories through rare images and artifacts as well as words. Whether you are a long-time alumni or a recent graduate, we know you will enjoy the trip down memory lane.”

Hardback with jacket, 280 pages, 10”×13” trim size with over 675 illustrations.

That Sheep May Safely Graze (March 2019, Purdue University Press), by David Sherman, brings light to the human story of Afghanistan, the disruptive impact that decades long conflict has had on rural Afghans, their culture, and the timeless relationship they share with their land and their animals.

David Sherman

The book describes the story of one of the most successful and lasting U.S.-funded development programs in Afghanistan since the start of American nation-building efforts there in 2001. It is a story of bringing essential veterinary services to a society that depends day in and day out on the well-being and productivity of its animals, but also a society that had no reliable access to even the most basic animal health care.

The author of the book, David Sherman, has worked all over the world to provide essential veterinary services such as animal health service delivery, veterinary infrastructure development, transboundary animal disease control, goat health and production, and veterinary and veterinary para-professional education. His work has brought him to over 40 countries, working for a variety of international agencies including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Bank, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), Heifer International, and Farm Africa.

Prior to the book’s publication, we asked David Sherman about his personal experiences in Afghanistan, the way the world views the country, and more.

 


 

Q: What made you want to write about your experiences?

David Sherman: Several things. The United States has been involved militarily in Afghanistan indirectly or directly since 1979 and yet Americans remain largely unaware of the country, its history and its people.  Having been involved in relief and development activities in Afghanistan since 1991, I have been able to gain a long-term experience with the country and its culture and I wanted to share that experience with a wider public. Also, for those who have followed events in Afghanistan, the prevailing view has been that billions of dollars have been spent on nation building with little to show for it. Therefore, I wanted to tell the story of our successful effort to provide sustainable animal health care in the country to a wider audience to illustrate that indeed, effective development in Afghanistan is possible.  Finally, I wanted to invite readers to get to know some of the fine and decent Afghans with whom I worked, so that they can better appreciate the warmth, grace and resilience of these people in the face of the tremendous hardships and losses they have suffered.

 

Q: What is the best story that didn’t make it into the book?

Sherman: Oh, so many it is hard to choose. But there was one that epitomized the challenges of doing development work in Afghanistan. I was able to organize a collaborative effort between my employer, the Dutch Committee for Afghanistan, US Army Civil Affairs officers, a British NGO and several volunteer veterinary practitioners from the US to refurbish the teaching clinic at the Kabul University Veterinary Faculty and restore their desperately needed clinical teaching program for veterinary students. Unfortunately, after we had it up and running and farmers were bringing their livestock and expats were bringing their dogs and cats for treatment, the clinic was bulldozed to make way for the newly created American University of Afghanistan!

 

Q: How do you feel the world’s perception of what is going on in Afghanistan lines up with your own experiences there?

Sherman: Sadly, what the world hears about Afghanistan – widespread corruption, ineffective governance, the opium trade, instability, poverty, insurgency and violence are all true, but the tragedy is that the world hears only about these things. Afghanistan is a country of 35 million people, the vast majority of whom get on with their lives, demonstrating a remarkable inner strength. Every day, they go to work, to market, to school, to the mosque to pray, to the fields to tend their crops, to the pastures to tend their animals, to funerals to mourn their dead and to weddings as an affirmation of their hopefulness for a better future. What the world does not hear about is the dignity and humanity of these Afghan people and their desire for peace and a better life for their children.

 

Q: How would you explain the importance of the work you did to a layperson?

Sherman: Through our work, we were able to establish reliable access to clinical veterinary services throughout Afghanistan. This was a vitally important achievement. Afghanistan is mainly a rural society whose people still depends largely on agriculture. It is estimated that the livelihoods of up to eighty percent of the population depend directly or indirectly on livestock. Nomadic herders, of which there are millions in the country, depend almost completely on their livestock to survive. Since the Soviet invasion in 1979 and the prolonged fighting that followed to this day, what little veterinary service that had been available to farmers and herders through government had essentially disappeared. As a result, the nation’s livestock had succumbed to a wide range of preventable and treatable diseases due to lack of vaccines and medicines and personnel trained in their use. The livelihoods and well-being of livestock owners as well as the national economy suffered as a result.

While there were numerous relief efforts over the years to provide veterinary services through various donor projects, these interventions were not sustainable because the service was provided for free and the personnel were paid salaries. When the projects ended and the free medicines and salaries disappeared, so did the veterinary services. We took a different approach, recruiting and training young men and later women from their home districts, providing them with a six-month training along with the necessary equipment and supplies required to provide good quality clinical services to their home districts once they returned after training. We made it clear from the beginning that we would pay no salaries and that these trained paraveterinarians would have to charge for their services so that they could earn enough money to provide their own income and to purchase their resupply of additional medicines and vaccines to continue working. This private sector, fee for service model worked very well. Since the first paraveterinarians were trained in 2004, almost 90% of them continue to provide animal health care services to the farmers and herders in their districts, some now for almost 15 years. As a result, hundreds of jobs were created for paraveterinarians, the health, welfare and productivity of Afghanistan livestock have been improved and the livelihoods of rural Afghans enhanced throughout the country.

David Sherman (center rear) in Afghanistan

 

Q: What are the most important ways your work affects the general public?

Sherman: Throughout the developing world and even in some parts of the developed world, tens of millions of animal owners do not have access to reliable animal health care. There are many reasons – remoteness, lack of roads, telecommunication and other infrastructure, war, civil unrest, misguided policies, insufficient numbers of veterinarians, lack of economic incentive for veterinarians to serve small holder farmers and nomads, poverty and inadequate knowledge of the benefits of veterinary services. The fee for service, private sector, community-based veterinary paraprofessional model for sustainable animal health care delivery that we refined in Afghanistan can serve as a model to improve access to veterinary services around the world.

The benefits of regular access to reliable animal health care are many, particularly in developing countries. Healthy, vaccinated animals offer protection against the disaster of unexpected loss of flocks and herds to disease, improved food security, better nutrition, increased income, expanded opportunities for value chain development in the livestock sector and even social stability for communities that depend on animals for their survival.

 

Q: If you could have readers take one thing away from this book, what would that be?

Sherman: If I may, I would like to quote a passage from the book to sum up what I would like readers to take away from it. “Sadly, despite so many years of American involvement, the Afghan people remain largely invisible to most Americans, and their hopes and aspirations, so similar to our own, remain unknown. My life has been enormously enriched by the many years spent in their midst and I have grown to love some individual Afghans as if they were my own family. The Afghan people are not faceless ciphers, conniving thieves, ruthless terrorists, and rabid fundamentalists. All societies are complex and contain undesirable elements. It is true of Afghan society as it is true of our own. The Afghans I worked with and came to know well are decent, hardworking people. They are generous, hospitable, good-humored, trustworthy, and devoted to family and community. They have deep and abiding religious faith. Afghans are proud of their country’s beauty, its varied cultures, and its long, rich history. Most of all, Afghans are resilient. They have suffered in ways over the past thirty years that most of us cannot even imagine. They want and deserve better. They want and deserve peace, security, prosperity, and a hopeful future.”

As I write this, the American government is engaged in peace talks with the Taliban. I pray that respect for the quality of life and the basic human rights of ordinary Afghans, especially Afghan women, is on the agenda.

 


 

That Sheep May Safely Graze: Rebuilding Animal Health Care in War-Torn Afghanistan is available now. Check out a free preview of the book.

Get 30% off when you order directly from the Purdue University Press website and enter the code “PURDUE30” at checkout.

 

 

The book, “More Than a Memory: Exploring Purdue University’s History Through Objects," was printed in Spring 2017 and was recognized with a Purdue Honors College-sponsored book launch event in late April.

The book, “More Than a Memory: Exploring Purdue University’s History Through Objects,” was printed in Spring 2017 and was recognized with a Purdue Honors College-sponsored book launch event in late April.

The research paper is a fact of life in college. If you have completed a college-level class, it’s almost guaranteed you have received a syllabus that instructed you to format a paper according to a particular academic style and directed you to turn in a double-digit-page composition citing at least three-to-five (or more) sources. While many college students get hung up on the number of pages required, it’s likely there are just as many who lament how many sources—and about their type: primary or secondary—they will have to read and consult to meet the minimum source-number requirements for the assignment.

But for students in the Spring 2016 Purdue University Honors College course “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Writing” 199 (section 03), co-taught by Kristina Bross, associate professor in the English dept., and Neal Harmeyer, an archivist in Purdue Archives and Special Collections (ASC), the oft-dreaded assignment resulted in getting their work published by the Purdue University Press—an unexpected perk for the inevitable undergrad research paper assignment. According to Harmeyer, the book, “More Than a Memory: Exploring Purdue University’s History Through Objects” (which is also available as an e-book via e-Pubs, Purdue Libraries’ open access repository) was printed this spring and was recognized with a Purdue Honors College-sponsored book launch event in late April.

In the 2016 course, the students, through honing their writing, sought to understand the history of Purdue University and to recover the student experience at the turn of the 20th century. Harmeyer added the course also provided students with a way to learn about primary-source research and gain hands-on experience working with the collections and artifacts stored in the ASC.


Students in the Spring 2016 Purdue University Honors College course “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Writing” 199 (section 03), co-taught by Kristina Bross, associate professor in the English dept., and Neal Harmeyer, an archivist in the Purdue Archives and Special Collections, a division of Purdue University Libraries.

Students in the Spring 2016 Purdue University Honors College course “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Writing” 199 (section 03), co-taught by Kristina Bross (far right, seated), associate professor in the English dept., and Neal Harmeyer (left, next to Bross in foreground of photo), an archivist in the Purdue Archives and Special Collections, a division of Purdue University Libraries.


Neal Harmeyer, Purdue Archives and Special Collections

Neal Harmeyer, Purdue Archives and Special Collections

“Over the course of the semester, we asked the students to go through the collections, pick an object—a photo, a personal memento of some sort, or a document, perhaps—and then ask and answer three questions: 1. What is in front of you? 2. What do you think about what you’re seeing? and 3. What could this mean? We used this approach as a scaffolded step of deliberation and archival research methodology to help inform their writing,” Harmeyer explained. “From the class, 10 of the 13 students agreed to have their works published. The book, ‘More Than a Memory,’ provides a snapshot of the sources they found and the final outcomes of their individual research.”

Each student who agreed to have their work published received a few copies of the book to keep and to share. Their individual compositions included the image (a scan or photo) of the object they each chose, a little bit of background about themselves, and about 900 words or so about their research, their insights, and the object itself.

Extending Student Writing and Research

According to Bross, when she was first approached about teaching the class, she knew she wanted to have students research issues/topics that would matter to them, that would feel “real.”

“Having students dive into special collections is a sure way to give them that experience,” Bross said. “I’ve asked students to do archival searches for years, so I know they respond well to such assignments, and I think it’s especially important for students to know something about the history of Purdue,” she added.

Kristina Bross, associate professor of English at Purdue University and director of the Purdue College of Liberal Arts Honors program.

Kristina Bross, associate professor of English at Purdue University and director of the Purdue College of Liberal Arts Honors program.

The collaboration between Bross and Harmeyer that went into the spring 2016 course “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Writing” 199 and the book, “More Than a Memory,” was not the first time they worked together to instruct students in this particular Honors course. In 2013, they co-taught the course with the same title, and through their students’ research, they published “Little Else Than a Memory: Purdue Students Search for the Class of 1904,” also printed by Purdue University Press.

“I had been somewhat involved in the course in 2013, but when one of our archivists took a position at another institution about halfway through the semester, I took over her role as co-instructor,” Harmeyer said. “While students in that class implemented a similar project, for the 2016 version of the course, Professor Bross and I planned to focus more on teaching students about archival research and primary-source research. One of our objectives was to get them more accustomed and familiar with the various research avenues they may need to undertake, for whatever their disciplines were, as we had majors enrolled from across the various disciplines in the 2016 version,” he added.

Bross noted the ASC provided a fruitful learning laboratory to accomplish the goals of the course.

For Purdue University students who were enrolled in the Spring 2016 Purdue University Honors College course “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Writing” 199, he oft-dreaded research paper assignment resulted in getting their work published by the Purdue University Press—an unexpected perk.

For Purdue University students who were enrolled in the Spring 2016 Purdue University Honors College course “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Writing” 199, he oft-dreaded research paper assignment resulted in getting their work published by the Purdue University Press—an unexpected perk.

“The Purdue Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections Division is ideal for undergraduate research, not only because it’s local, but also because its faculty and staff are so knowledgeable about Purdue’s history and our collections. In addition, they know how to introduce archival research to undergrads and help them understand the stakes involved in the work they are doing. Having a co-teacher from the ASC makes this course possible—and Neal is simply terrific in that role,” Bross said.

“The interdisciplinary part of the course title is represented by the Archives and the primary sources, and the writing part is Professor Bross helping the students hone their writing,” Harmeyer added. “Over the course, she assigned the students primary sources, dating back centuries, such as diaries and first-person accounts, along with secondary source materials, and she asked them to write about and respond to those. So the two things met in the middle—our idea was they would learn about writing along the way, they would learn about research along the way, and at the end, they would have a research paper.”

As part of the research and writing process, the students also contributed to a blog (see http://ascblogs.lib.purdue.edu/spring2016-honors19903/), “a site devoted to the sharing of undergraduate archival research and scholarship.” The blog was a fundamental component of the course; during the semester, the students composed three responses to their findings, which in turn were posted on the site, Harmeyer said.

“This blog allowed us to see their work in progress. Through it, too—because we encouraged comments on the site—they were able to communicate with one another and experience feedback from the larger community, as well. This site also enabled students to get their research out and think more critically as they were writing,” Harmeyer explained.

“The blog posts were just as—perhaps more important than—their final publications,” Bross added. “Neal was absolutely central to making the website excellent. It was interesting asking them to write about their individual processes, as well as to represent their findings. If we get the chance to teach this class or another like it, I want to think some more about the best way to use in-process digital media to publish their work.”

According to Harmeyer, ASC personnel are committed to keeping the blog site available for future research purposes.

“Not only do the final essays showcase the students’ work, but the research they compiled and shared on in their papers and through their blog posts, also serve as secondary sources. Later, students may be able to build and use their research.”

Harmeyer noted he thinks the course will be offered again, with the Purdue Archives and Special Collections again serving as a laboratory for Purdue students who enroll in it.

“For many of them, it was only their second semester in college, and I could see the light-bulb moments expressed in their faces and in their words: ‘Wow, this is hard… but interesting.’ Overall, I think most of them had that feeling and were extremely rewarded by it.”

Download the full text of “More Than a Memory” at http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/sps_ebooks/9/

Purdue University Press Book Previews is a new initiative from the Purdue University Libraries Scholarly Publishing Division and their open access text repository, Purdue e-Pubs. PUP Book Previews, created from the first proofs of the book to include several pieces of the front matter and first chapter, will provide an early look at forthcoming books.

To begin this new initiative, PUP has posted previews of books from very late 2016 and forthcoming books for early 2017. New books will be added monthly to coincide with the 25 new books published by Purdue University Press annually.

The first five previews posted are:

The Writers, Artists, Singers, and Musicians of the National Hungarian Jewish Cultural Association (OMIKE), 1939 – 1944 by Frederick Bondy

From Shtetl to Stardom: Jews and Hollywood by Vincent Brook and Michael Renov

Leaders of the Pack: Women and the Future of Veterinary Medicine by Julie Kumble and Donald F. Smith

Advances in Research Using the C-SPAN Archives by Robert X. Browning

Mishpachah: The Jewish Family in Tradition and in Transition by Leonard J. Greenspoon

 

Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with new previews and information from Purdue University Press.

Happy New Year!  It’s officially 2017! The new year is a new beginning, a fresh start. It is all about resolutions, change, and challenging yourself. Kick off this year and make it your resolution to become a more avid reader.

You can do this by reading an array of books, books by the same author, or even by completing a reading challenge. Purdue Press is here to help, below are ideas to get you started accompanied with some of our published books.

Reading Ideas

More Ideas for Books to Read

Reread a book from your childhood.
Read a book from a new genre.
Read a book that became a film.
Read a previously banned book.
Read a book by your favorite author.

Purdue University Press publishes in a variety of areas to help you tackle your 2017 New Year’s Reading Resolution: aerospace, agriculture, animal science, Purdue and Indiana, and more. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to discover what’s to come in 2017! #PurdueUP #ReadUP