Archives On The Move – Day Two

It was days like October 8, 2012, when undergraduate researchers and campus scholars crowded our long-superseded reference room, that helped us define the kind of space we wanted to have created for University Archives’ users.

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Undergraduate Researchers, Oct. 2012

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Undergraduate Researchers, Oct. 2012

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Archives On The Move

Stay Tuned! Daily Updates on the progress of the move, including new photos, will be added starting May 21!

In 1963 the University of Illinois Archives opened its doors to the public. For 52 years the basement of the Main Library Building has been our home and it has served our needs well, but as the collections grew and as ever more students and scholars came to use the Archives, Room 19 became too cramped and unsuitable for our users. For the past three years, the archivists and the Library’s Assistant Dean for Facilities have been working to create a space more fitting to the Archives’great collections and users.

On May 21, 2015 the University of Illinois Archives will begin to relocate its core collections and public service operations from the basement to the former Applied Health Sciences Library (room 146 Main Library).

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New Reading Room

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New Stacks

The new home of the University Archives has been recently remodeled and outfitted with new equipment, large tables, improved wireless connectivity and expanded oversize storage. In addition to new equipment the remodel includes designated archival instruction and exhibit space as well as expanded stations for staff working with born-digital and digitized archives.

 

To ensure a speedy move our basement location (room 19 Main Library) will close its doors to the public between May 21 and May 29, 2015.

Only the Main Library location will be unavailable to the public during this time. The Student Life and Culture Archives and the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music will continue their regular hours of operation.

We will continue to check our email (illiarch@illinois.edu) and voice mail (217-333-0798) during the move.

Looking forward to opening our doors June 01, 2015!

For more photographs documenting our move please visit: https://uofi.box.com/ArchivesNewSpace

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Langston Hughes at the University of Illinois

Langston Hughes, circa 1942

 

The poetry of Langston Hughes has been widely published and analyzed by critics, academics, and students, and it is no surprise that Hughes enjoyed a good relationship with American colleges and universities.  Hughes made a side career of speaking engagements at schools, and the University of Illinois was no exception.  Hughes made multiple visits to the Urbana campus, including a well-documented trip in 1957.

The exhibit “Dream Singer and Story Teller” explores the background and events related to this visit through historical documents and contemporary accounts.

Enter Exhibit

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Champaign County On Film

Champaign County On Film, the second event in the Town & Gown Speaker Series, will be held in the Lewis Auditorium at Urbana Free Library, Wednesday, October 15, at 7pm. The Champaign County Historical Archives and the Student Life & Culture Archives will present an evening devoted to the changes of Champaign County from the 1920s through the twenty-first century as captured by the film lens. Read More »

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School of Military Aeronautics

The last of four posts written for “WWI and Champaign County” of the Town & Gown Speaker Series, a collaboration between the Student Life & Culture Archives and the Champaign County Historical Archives.

Research for this post contributed by Maggie Cornelius.

Besides ROTC and SATC, the Department of War instituted another military training program at the University of Illinois during World War I. The School of Military Aeronautics (SMA) was not a permanent addition to the University, but its activities preoccupied the campus during the latter years of the Great War.

School of Military Aeronautics instructors, fall 1917. In March 1917, the Daily Illini reported on this development: “The aviation section of the military department of the United States has become active during the present crisis and is desirous of interested students at all the universities in aviation.”[1] To meet the nation’s need for pilots in time of war, the federal government commissioned six U.S. universities to open aviation schools. Illinois was the first American university to offer its facilities and resources to the government to aid the war effort.[2] Read More »

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Student Military Training and the Great War

The third of four posts written for “WWI and Champaign County” of the Town & Gown Speaker Series, a collaboration between the Student Life & Culture Archives and the Champaign County Historical Archives.

Research for this post contributed by Maggie Cornelius.

America’s entry into World War I required the mobilization of the country’s brightest minds and ablest bodies for military training and leadership. The War Department looked to American universities to recruit capable men for its military departments. These recruitment efforts prompted the establishment of two prominent military organizations at the University of Illinois, both of which served as the foundation for the current Illini Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) program. Cadet George Wellington Rider, 1915

Prior to ROTC, the 1862 Morrill Act obligated land-grant universities to instruct its male students in “military tactics.”[1] Anticipating the American entrance into the war, the National Defense Act of 1916 established the ROTC as part of its reorganization of the American military. Illinois created its ROTC chapter in 1917 and fundamentally changed how the University fulfilled its Morrill Act obligation.  ROTC’s primary purpose was to train and enroll men into the Reserved Officers’ Corps who were qualified to be “captains or lieutenants of volunteer organizations in times of war.”[2] In its early days, ROTC was divided into seven units: medical corps, signal corps, engineers, cavalry, field artillery, coast artillery, and infantry.[3] Read More »

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The Women Behind the Men Behind the Guns

The second of four posts written for “WWI and Champaign County” of the Town & Gown Speaker Series, a collaboration between the Student Life & Culture Archives and the Champaign County Historical Archives.

Research for this post contributed by Maggie Cornelius.

The United States government asked Americans to knit socks, sweaters, and other garments for soldiers during World War I. Most of this knitting was produced by volunteers working under the auspices of the American Red Cross. Illini women, like many women during the war, devoted their free time and money to contribute necessities and luxuries to the war effort. The former provided subsistence and the latter provided morale. Read More »

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Remembering Dora-Mittelbau

This year marks the 70th Anniversary of the Allied Invasion of Normandy. Memorial services for the war’s causalities are taking place around the world. These services commemorate the dead and also attest to the scope and ferocity of the Second World War. Those who liberated concentration camps felt it was of utmost importance to ensure that this history was kept alive.

In the early morning of April 11th 1945, the Third Armored Division, specifically Task Force Welborn from the north and Task Force Loveday from the south, led the capture of what they thought was a prisoner-of-war camp.[1] After a few light skirmishes the nearby town of Nordhausen (in Northern-Central Germany) was secured. Once Nordhausen was seized 3AD units investigated rumors of a prisoner camp on the outskirts of the town. First person accounts note the bewilderment and nausea that the soldiers experienced upon finding the concentration camp. James D. Mathews recounted his own experiences: Read More »

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Illini Ambulance Volunteers, 1917

One of four posts written for “WWI and Champaign County” of the Town & Gown Speaker Series, a collaboration between the Student Life & Culture Archives and the Champaign County Historical Archives.

Research for this post contributed by Maggie Cornelius.

University of Illinois students found multiple ways to aid the Allies in Europe prior to the U.S. entry in April of 1917. Among the students who traveled to war zones was a committee of volunteer ambulance drivers. On May 15, 1917, over twenty Illini men set sail for France to help deliver the wounded from the front to military hospitals.[1] The chairman of this Ambulance Committee was Christian “Chris” Gross. An agriculture student and a member of the Daily Illini editorial board, Sigma Delta Chi, Alpha Gamma Rho, and Psi Upsilon,[2] Gross organized and sent volunteer ambulance drivers to Europe for a six-month stint. Read More »

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Halfway House

Observant pedestrians on Mathews Street may have noticed an absence on campus since early summer. Halfway House, the little waiting station that has been a campus landmark since at least 1884, has been temporarily relocated because of construction at the Natural History Building.

Halfway House illustration used in the Daily Illini in the 1960s.

Halfway House illustration used in the Daily Illini in the 1960s.

Originally, the landmark stood where the street car track turned into Wright Street, but there is little information about the structure during its early years. One of the earliest substantive references to the Halfway House on campus was an 1894 observation by the Daily Illini. “Although the street car company [Urbana and Champaign Electric Street Railway] has reaped abundant harvests from the pocket-books of the students and professors of the University, it has not deemed it necessary in the least to arrange for their comfort, having provided no protection from storms for persons waiting for the cars at the University stopping place.”[1] In response, Trustees voted to reconstruct the Halfway House at the north entrance of the main grounds (now the front of the Illini Union). The railroad stopped service in 1908, but the shelter remained.

Read More »

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