New at the SLC Archives

Kappa Delta Pi Archives

The Student Life and Culture Archives acquired the national archives of Kappa Delta Pi, an "International Honor Society in Education" in early 2011. These items have been processed and are now available for use. The archives currently include minutes, subject files, chapter files, convocation file, and publications. Future additions are anticipated.

More information about the archives is available here. If you have any questions or are interested in viewing any of these materials, please contact us.

2010 National Archives Conference for Fraternities and Sororities

In July 2010 the Student Life and Culture Archives sponsored the first national fraternity conference in Urbana, Illinois. The conference was a great success and you can view the schedule of events here.

NEH Grant Preservation of Stewart Howe Fraternity Collection

Stewart Howe, the Illinois alumnus whose work provided the impetus for creating the SLC Archival Program

In December 2007, the Student Life and Culture Archives received $5,000 from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to re-house and conserve specific components of the Stewart Howe Fraternity Collection, a world renowned collection of national fraternity and sororities materials.  Soon after his 1928 graduation from the University of Illinois, Stewart Howe (1905-1973) established the Stewart S. Howe Alumni Service to provide alumni relations, communications, management, and fund-raising assistance to fraternities and sororities through 16 regional offices across the country.  The collection contains publications and records created by Howe operations as well as Howe’s personal collections of fraternity material.  The Stewart Howe Fraternity Collection serves as the centerpiece of the Student Life and Culture Archives’ national fraternity holdings and offers researchers from across the country an invaluable resource for understanding collegiate life. The grant will be completed July 1 2009.

For more information about the history of this collection click here.

Alpha Tau Omega Archives completes Film Preservation Project

John Wayne and General Holland "Howlin' Mad" Smith (ATO Auburn '01) on the set of The Sands of Iwo Jima, circa 1949

Over the summer of 2007, a film preservation project was completed in the National Alpha Tau Omega (ATO) Archives in the Student Life and Culture Archives.  In order to prolong the life of the audiovisual materials in the ATO Archives, all of the films were assessed and necessary preservation practices undertaken.  Films had been previously stored in cardboard boxes and envelopes and on projection reels in the archives.  Due to the acidic nature of the boxes and the lack of structure of the envelopes, all of the films were removed and re-housed in new archival quality plastic film cans.  Since projection reels can pinch and cut into the film, each film was wound onto a new 3” plastic archival core.  In addition to re-housing, each reel of film was cleaned and inspected for needed repairs.  During this handling process, both the cans and films were given clearer and more descriptive labels.  Some films were also projected in order to identify unknown films and provide greater descriptions.  With new cores, new cans, and more descriptive labels, the films in the ATO Archives are more accessible and now better protected to endure life in the archives. 

Contact the ATO graduate assistant for more information at:

NEH Grant Enables Scrapbook Preservation 

A photograph of Arthur G Froehly's scrabook, circa 1915-1924

In 2007, the UI Library Conservation Department and the Student Life and Culture (SLC) Archives received a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Challenge Grant that provides for the basic conservation treatment of over 400 student-related scrapbooks in the SLC Archives. The project also calls for the creation of handling and processing guidelines for scrapbooks that will ensure proper care of these important resources. Scrapbooks included in the project include those created by: students in the early part of the 20th century, student organizations involved in religious, political, social and activities, and administrators such as Dean of Men Fred Turner. The project was completed in 2008

Oral Histories of University of Illinois during World War II

U of I students enlisted in the military pose in front of the Alma Mater statue, circa 1943

Starting in Fall 2007, the Student Life and Culture Archives initiated an oral history project on student life at the University of Illinois during World War II. Research Assistant John Franch writes:

World War II brought massive change to the University of Illinois. As thousands of male students were drafted, enrollment declined precipitously, and the men-women ratio on campus changed almost overnight from 3-1 to 1-4. Women filled the vacated slots, populating the staffs of the Daily Illini and Illio, taking control of student activities, and working in jobs usually assigned to men. Sororities flourished while the fraternities, with an ever-dwindling membership, declined. Hundreds of faculty and staff members enlisted in the armed forces or secured positions doing military work, including several physicists who were assigned to the Manhattan Project. University officials struggled to cope with the changes wrought by the war. They put the school on an accelerated schedule and introduced a series of courses having wartime themes. In what was perhaps their biggest challenge, the administrators had to make room for a host of new visitors–thousands of Army and Navy men dispatched to the University for specialized training. When the veterans flocked back to the campus after the war, they found a University that had survived the crisis and that had begun to gear up for a new world offering higher education to more and more people.

Please contact Ellen Swain for more information at 333-7841 or

Hillel Foundation Papers come to the SLC Archives

The Hillel Foundation Papers at the Student Life and Culture Archives provide an unrivaled view of Jewish student life at the University of Illinois. Founded in 1923 by Benjamin Frankel, the Hillel Foundation at the University of Illinois serves as a center for Jewish students and faculty on campus. Consisting of correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, and scrapbooks, the Hillel Foundation Papers document almost seventy years of the history of Jewish students at the University of Illinois.

The correspondence and photographs form the heart of the collection. Spanning the period from the late 1950s to the 1970s, the correspondence of four Foundation directors shows the role that Hillel played at the forefront of social change in those tumultuous times. For example, in a letter dated May 5, 1960, Rabbi H. Hirsch Cohen discusses the support that Hillel gave to the Fair Play Council. “This is an organization composed of representatives from may college groups,” Rabbi Cohen explains, “formed for the purpose of exerting pressure upon the local merchants around the campus area to serve colored students courteously and not to practice any discrimination against them in the way of job opportunities. They supply stickers for the merchants to put on their doors, indicating that the store is cooperating with the Fair Play Council, and to date I believe they have about one-third of the stores displaying stickers.”

The collection’s photographs offer a unique window into the changing world of Jewish student life from 1950-2003. Students are depicted at work and play, studying or having fun at various Hillel events. Some photographs capture significant historical figures who spoke at Hillel, including Eleanor Roosevelt. In short, the Hillel Foundation Papers at the Student Life and Culture Archives are a priceless treasure trove.