May 17th, 2019
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.”
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.”
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.
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March 18th, 2019
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 Saturday, Oct. 12 in the Purdue Archives and Special Collections. It is located in Stewart Center inside the Humanities, Social Sciences and Education (HSSE) Library on the fourth floor of the library. The general exhibit hours are 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. On Saturday, Oct. 12, in celebration of Purdue University’s 2019 Homecoming, the exhibit will be open 8-11 a.m.
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.
“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”:
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.Filed under: general, SPEC if(!is_single()) echo "|"; ?>
November 28th, 2018
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.
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.”
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.Filed under: general, SPEC if(!is_single()) echo "|"; ?>
September 7th, 2018
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.
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.”
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.
“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/.
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August 22nd, 2018
Purdue 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 email@example.com.
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April 27th, 2018
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.
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April 22nd, 2018
For our final From the Archives photo this semester, we look way, way back to the Archives’ oldest photo of campus. Where is this? Can you identify any of the buildings? When would this have been taken? Share your ideas in the comments and check back on Friday to learn the details about this photo.
This early view of Purdue was captured in 1876, only two years after Purdue first offered classes.
The buildings are, from left to right:
Just visible in the middle of the picture is the construction site that would become University Hall, which opened the following year. University Hall became the oldest building still standing on campus when Purdue Hall was demolished in 1960.
Many photos of campus were taken from this exact angle over the years, but this is the only one that does not yet have University Hall in the center.
Purdue in 1891
Purdue in 2005
Thank you to everyone who has joined us for this series of mystery photos. We will have many more exciting highlights from the Archives to share during Purdue’s sesquicentennial celebrations beginning this fall!Filed under: general, SPEC if(!is_single()) echo "|"; ?>
April 8th, 2018
In this photograph, we see an important part of campus that has moved many times during its existence, housed in a building that is still standing today. Can you identify this space and where it was located? When was this image captured? What details stand out to you? Share your ideas in the comments and we will reveal the story behind the image on Friday.
University Hall was built in the center of campus in 1877, and in the center of University Hall stood the library. In this image, captured on October 21, 1899, we see the library with its grand central staircase, busts and artwork on the walls, banners celebrating class victories during Field Day each year, the librarian’s desk in the middle of the room, display cabinets for artifacts, and bookshelves on the second floor. The library eventually outgrew this space and moved in 1913 to its own building, which is now part of Stewart Center.
The image below shows an art exhibit in the University Hall Library in 1896.
Please join us again on Monday, April 23, for our next From the Archives mystery photo.Filed under: general, SPEC if(!is_single()) echo "|"; ?>
March 25th, 2018
Spring is here, which means warmer weather and baseball season! Baseball has always been a popular activity at Purdue. Can you identify the location of this baseball game? When was it? How many landmarks can you identify in the background? Share your theories in the comments and check back on Friday for the full story!
Stuart Field hosted most of Purdue’s outdoor activities from its creation in the 1890s until the construction of Ross-Ade Stadium in 1924. Everything from football and baseball games to ROTC drills and marching band parades took place on the field. At the time of its creation, Stuart Field’s location just east of the Armory was the northern edge of campus. Today, the Elliott Hall of Music occupies much of Stuart Field’s former footprint and a plaque commemorates the location of this early Purdue landmark.
Additional views of Stuart Field provide a glimpse of the area surrounding campus:
Seniors follow the Marching Band across Stuart Field, 1911. Michael Golden Labs are visible in the background.
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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!Filed under: general, SPEC if(!is_single()) echo "|"; ?>