Salaita Reference File

A searchable index of publicly available materials regarding the Steven Salaita hiring controversy  is now available from the University of Illinois Archives.

The Steven Salaita Reference File and Index is comprised of preservation copies of documents, news stories, blog posts, social media traffic, and other materials, providing the most comprehensive source for material concerning the decision by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2014 to rescind a job offer to Steven Salaita and the subsequent controversy and lawsuit regarding this decision.

This project was designed and launched in August 2014, with the goal of capturing in real time not only web-available news reports and institutional releases, but especially social media content from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like. Controversies create not only internal strife but a flood of reports, counter-reports, news stories, editorials, and blog posts not to mention social media postings.  Early on, the Archives realized that if we didn’t capture everything we could about the Salaita affair in real time, we would lose the ability to create an enduring, authoritative record of the controversy.

As of September 6, the resultant Salaita “clipping file” contains direct links to approximately 2,249 distinct documents from 653 sources in 14 separate categories, including news stories, responses to Freedom of Information Act requests, social media postings, videos, etc. The materials are intended for use in private research, teaching, and study. For all other uses, including but not limited to publication, broadcast, and distribution, users must obtain written permission in advance from the original author, creator, or copyright owner.

The Steven Salaita Reference File and Index can be found at  This new collection is also described in our holdings database

The Illibuck Stops Here

By Lindy Smith, Research Service Archivist, The Ohio State University, and former Graduate Assistant, Student Life and Culture Archives.

Long before the OSU-Michigan game ended play for the regular season, it was a tradition for the Illini-Buckeye rivalry to bring things to a close. From 1921-1933, Ohio State and Illinois met to play their final games.

Continue reading “The Illibuck Stops Here”

Halloween Post: Hugh Atkinson

Don’t ever try telling me that archivists don’t know how to have fun! Case in point: Our intrepid assistant and blogger Rory Grennan is paying homage to former University Librarian Hugh Atkinson today, with a bit of a nod to the fact that many archivists (and librarians) at Illinois now bike to work.  Do you see the resemblance??? Continue reading “Halloween Post: Hugh Atkinson”

Fighting Illini Name

Over the years, staff at the University of Illinois Archives have answered numerous questions regarding the origin of the terms “Illini” and “Fighting Illini.” This post answers some of the most frequently asked questions on these topics by summarizing evidence found in the Archives’ printed collections. Links to digitized sources are provided. Many additional sources may be consulted by students, faculty, and members of public during our normal hours.

When and how did the term “Illini” originate?
The earliest recorded usage of the term “Illini” appears to have been in January 1874, when the weekly student newspaper changed its name from The Student to The Illini. An editorial (pdf, 150KB) in the first issue of the renamed journal (Volume 3, Issue 1) implies that the term was coined and had not formally existed prior to 1874. A similar statement about the name appeared in the December 1882 (jpg, 268KB) issue of the Illini. During the late 19th century and the first years of the 20th century, it was often used to refer to the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of the University, as well as to the campus as a whole.

When did the University change its name? Continue reading “Fighting Illini Name”

History of the University Name

By William J. Maher and Bryan Whitledge
August, 2011

Illinois Industrial University and the Change to the University of Illinois

The University of Illinois began in 1867 as the Illinois Industrial University, a name with roots in the philosophy of higher education that led to the creation of land-grant universities. In an October 4, 1866 statement Jonathan Baldwin Turner, a long-time advocate of providing landgrants to states, for the purpose of raising funds to establish public universities, referred to institutions established under the 1862 Morrill Act as ‘Industrial Universities’ (University of Illinois Archives, Record Series 1/1/802, First Report, 1868, p. vii). Continue reading “History of the University Name”

World War I Memorial and Fountain

With the long-deferred plans for the renovation of Lincoln Hall finally coming to fruition, attention has turned to some of the finer points of this landmark structure. Among the lesser known aspects of the building is that it contains a World War I Memorial Courtyard and Fountain. The memorial is in a courtyard that has been open to the public, but which has often been overlooked except by those students and staff who have had to traverse it to get to offices. Nevertheless, the courtyard space has been carefully designed as memorial to serve as an alumni gift to the University. This FAQ provides background information and historic and contemporary photographs. Many additional sources may be consulted by students, faculty, and members of public during our normal hours, 8:30-5:00 pm, Monday through Friday, in Room 19 Library, 1408 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL 61801.

What is the World War I Memorial Courtyard and Fountain?
The World War I Memorial Courtyard and Fountain are a memorial gift to the University of Illinois from the Classes of 1918 and 1919 on the occasion of their 50th anniversary. It is located in the south light court of Lincoln Hall, partially visible from the main north/south corridor and accessed via a door to the rear of the southeast stair case. The Memorial consists of a landscape design, walkway, plaque, and fountain/monument.

Who designed the Memorial?
The landscape design and fountain monument were developed by Donald Molnar (Class of 1960) a landscape architect in the University’s Physical Plant Planning and Construction Department. Its general design can be seen in a March 12, 1968 Campus Planning office Drawing.

What was the concept for the courtyard?
As a class memorial, the courtyard was dual purpose: to provide a pleasant space for Lincoln Hall theater patrons to spend intermissions during performance as well as between-class relaxation and to provide a Memorial for how World War I affect the Classes of 1918 and 1919. The ideas were explained in a September 16, 1968 memorandum from Donald Molnar.

What did the Memorial look like when it was first completed?
Images held in the University Archives from 1973 show the installation soon after completion and the initial maturing of the plantings. These are:

What does the Memorial look like in 2009?

What is the George Halas Connection?
George Halas, a member of the class of 1918 (and founder of the Chicago Bears), served as honorary Chairman of the gift fund committee as seen in the Dedicatory Plaque as well as Halas’1968 letter (with Chairman Alexander Bush) requesting support from his former classmates.

What is the meaning of the numbers and symbols on the Fountain/Monument?
According to a June 13, 1969 letter from designer Donald Molnar, “The year softly stated at the bottom is symbolic of the relative lack of disturbance as the war began. The 1918-19 years above it and assembled in reverse to symbolize the disruption of these two classes due to the war. The dates above World War I are likewise symbolically confused to indicate the impact on succeeding classes.” These numbers reflect Wold War II, the Korean Conflict, and the then in-progress Vietnam War, in computerized numbers suggesting how impersonal war had become in the 20th century. In addition to the obvious guns and swords, the monument contains plowshares to reflect the midwest farm lands from which many of the class members came.

Brief History of the University of Illinois

My first meaty post will be in honor of our founding archivist Maynard Brichford.  The text below was written by Maynard in 1970 and was revised on June 1, 1983.  The figures cited are valid as of 1983.

The history of the University of Illinois is the history of over 250,000 people who have studied, taught and worked at the University and several million Illinois taxpayers who make annual investments in higher education. Continue reading “Brief History of the University of Illinois”