Always Thankful: WWII Rationing and Mundelein

Thanksgiving is here and I’m sure we will all spend time this week reflecting on how thankful we are for our homes, families, and an abundance of food. During World War II, Americans definitely did not take any of these for granted, including the food on their tables. When the United States entered the war after the attack on Pearl Harbor, rationing on foodstuffs and other consumer goods began almost immediately as the economy shifted to military production.

Americans were given ration books like this monthly and used the stamps when purchasing rationed goods. Once a person ran out of stamps, they could not buy any more of that item that month. This war ration book is from the collection of Eleanor Risteen Gordon.

Americans were given ration books like this monthly and used the stamps when purchasing rationed goods. Once a person ran out of stamps, they could not buy any more of that item that month. This war ration book is from the collection of Eleanor Risteen Gordon.

Mundelein College students help campus gardener, William McViffie plant a wartime garden in 1942.

Mundelein College students help campus gardener, William McViffie, plant a wartime garden in 1942.

In 1942, Mundelein students took part in building a wartime garden on campus to grow fruits and vegetables for the college. These “victory gardens” were planted by Americans all over the country during World War II (as they were during WWI) to aid the war effort by reducing the pressure on food supplies. Food acquired new importance as Americans dealt with limitations and found pride in their ability to support the troops from their own backyards. Along with growing food for the school, the Mundelein Department of Home Economics wanted to find ways to help families in the community make nutritious and affordable meals with minimal need for the rationed ingredients. The department held a Conservation Lunch on March 5, 1942, where students shared ways to adjust popular recipes to use substitutions for rationed ingredients and make dishes healthier.

This handout from Mundelein's Conservation Luncheon includes the event's menu and tips for cooking.

This handout from Mundelein’s Conservation Luncheon includes the event’s menu and tips for cooking.

Home Economics students were also invited by the Nutrition Division of a local Office of Civilian Defense to present a Nutrition Hour program at which they gave cooking demonstrations and information on wartime nutrition to members of the community. Attendees were given recipes for dishes that used less of the rationed meat, sugar, and butter.

The Nutrition Hour event gave Mundelein Home Economics students the opportunity to share their research and knowledge about cooking nutritious, conservative meals.

The Nutrition Hour event gave Mundelein Home Economics students the opportunity to share their research and knowledge about cooking nutritious, conservative meals.

 

Want to add some vintage flair to your upcoming holiday celebration? Try out some of these wartime Mundelein recipes! They are sure to lead you to victory!

 

Recipes from the Nutrition Hour program, June 18, 1942

Victory Casserole

1 1/2 cup cooked lima beans                    1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. chopped celery                             1 1/2 c. canned tomatoes
1 1/2 c. raw ground beef                           1/8 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. sliced raw onion (or less)                6 slices green pepper rings1/4 c. green peppers, cut fine                    6 slices raw carrot

Place ingredients in order given in layers in greased casserole. Sprinkle salt and pepper over each layer. Garnish top with green pepper rings and carrot slices. Bake 1 1/2 hours in 375 degree oven.

 

Victory Cake

2 1/4 c. sifted cake flour                  2 tsp. grated orange rind
2 3/4 tsp. baking powder                1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt                                     1 c, white corn syrup
1/2 c. shortening                             2 eggs, unbeaten1/2 c. milk

Sift the dry ingredients together three times. Cream shortening, orange rind and vanilla together until fluffy. Add syrup gradually , beating well after each addition. Add 1/4 of the flour mixture and beat until blended well. Add unbeaten eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add remaining flour alternatively with the milk in halves, beating thoroughly after each addition. Turn into 2 greased and lightly floured 8″ cake pans. Bake in a moderately hot oven, 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until firm.

 

Victory Chocolate Icing

2 squares unsweetened chocolate
1 tbsp. water
1 and 1/3 c. canned sweetened condensed milk
1/4 tsp. almond extract

Melt chocolate in top of double broiler. Add milk and cook over boiling water for 5 minutes while stirring. Add water and almond extract. Cool and spread.

 


 

Caroline blog photo
Caroline Lynd Giannakopoulos is a Graduate Assistant at the WLA and is working on her Master’s in Public History at Loyola University Chicago. Caroline is thankful for her husband and family, easy access to sugar, and cheesy holiday movies.

 


Loyola University Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives Blog is designed to provide a positive environment for the Loyola community to discuss important issues and ideas. Differences of opinion are encouraged. We invite comments in response to posts and ask that you write in a civil and respectful manner. All comments will be screened for tone and content and must include the first and last name of the author and a valid email address. The appearance of comments on the blog does not imply the University’s endorsement or acceptance of views expressed.


Loyola University Chicago, MuCuba, and Mizzou Solidarity

Last Thursday, Loyola University Chicago students held a demonstration in solidarity with the protesters at the University of Missouri. The resignation of the former president of the University of Missouri, Tim Wolfe, and Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin, elicited a renewed national fervor for eliminating systems of intolerance from university administration. Loyola’s own protest mirrored similar demonstrations by sympathetic student bodies across the country and aimed to address problems with diversity prevalent on our campus. Protests that occurred at other institutions also voiced their discontent with less than desirable responses to racial insensitivities by university administrators.

Photo source: Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune. Photo url: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-loyola-students-solidarity-protest-met-20151112-story.html

Photo source: Chris Walker/Chicago Tribune. Photo url: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-loyola-students-solidarity-protest-met-20151112-story.html

Recent protests at the University of Missouri and Loyola University Chicago, as well as the larger national Black Lives Matter movement and Concerned Student 1950, led me to think about the similarities between the demands of the student body now, and those of black Mundelein College students in the years following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968. Mundelein College, an all-women’s catholic liberal arts college founded by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVMs) in 1929, proved a progressive stage for the discussion of race and diversity on college campuses in its time. Black Mundelein students effectively mobilized to promote administrative and academic diversity for the black community at the college, resulting in the creation of university programming, committees, and departments that addressed the concerns of black Mundelein students. Mundelein College affiliated with Loyola University Chicago in 1991.

The Mundelein College United Black Association, shortened to “MuCuba,” was a student organization founded by black Mundelein students that emerged in the later 1960’s, but gained significant visibility in the early 1970s. MuCuba strove to create a unified black presence on Mundelein’s campus and worked in many forms to achieve this goal. Throughout its history, MuCuba hosted panels, fashion shows, and an annual celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. that attracted numerous attendees within the Mundelein community as well as interested Chicagoans. MuCuba students advocated for safe spaces to voice their ideas and hold forums for productive discussions of race and diversity on Mundelein College’s campus. Significantly, the association also fought for the inclusion of a Black Studies program into Mundelein’s curriculum to address historically oppressive practices and policies toward black Americans in the United States.

Picture Source: MuCuba Members. 1970 Yearbook, page 18. Mundelein College Collection.

Picture Source: MuCuba Members. 1970 Yearbook, page 18. Mundelein College Collection.

In a forum held on May 15, 1970, MuCuba students presented the Mundelein community and administration a list of demands that addressed the institutionalized racism they saw and experienced as women of color on a largely white campus. MuCuba students gave the president of Mundelein, Sr. Ann Ida Gannon, BVM, and university administrators a ten day deadline to respond. The urgency exhibited by these students exemplified their belief that the administration must hold themselves both personally and professionally accountable for the livelihood of its black student body.

Gannon acted swiftly in response to the demands. According to a letter Gannon wrote a day after the presentation of the demands, the president expressed a hope that Mundelein would fulfill the demands in a manner that could satisfy the protesters and institute a response that had lasting influence for years to come. She wrote, “Your demands indicate that you trust us to respond and I expect us to respond to that trust.” On May 19th, Gannon scheduled a day long assembly of an ad hoc committee to discuss the demands of the black students. Within the deadline, Gannon presented a lengthy response to the demands and recommendations for their effective implementation on Mundelein’s campus. Many of those recommendations became official programs and departments implemented the next semester.

Picture Source: Anne Ida Gannon Letter, Folder F.8.13.a. Mundelein College Collection.Women and Leadership Archives

Picture Source: Anne Ida Gannon Letter, Folder F.8.13.a. Mundelein College Collection.Women and Leadership Archives

The demands and subsequent compromises resulted in the creation and eventual implementation of Mundelein College’s Black Studies program with a faculty interviewed and evaluated by black students. Beginning the fall semester of 1970, the new program aligned with MuCuba’s efforts to create a unified black on-campus culture. Creation of the Black Studies department at Mundelein also displayed an acknowledgement by the faculty that greater attention to problems of diversity on Mundelein’s campus was needed in order to eradicate racism and promote better understanding of the problems of black students on campus. A Human Relations Committee composed of faculty, administration, college staff, and students also emerged as a result of the ad hoc committee assembly held on May 19th. The Committee developed programming to aid the Mundelein community in recognizing personal prejudice and to help students, faculty, and administration better understand the experiences of black students. Furthermore, the demands resulted in a Black Scholarship Fund and a Black Scholarship Fund Committee that raised and dispensed funds for black students that wished to attend Mundelein.

MuCubaDemands01

Document Source: “Demands” Folder F.8.13.a. Mundelein College Collection. Women and Leadership Archives.

Document Source: “Demands” Folder F.8.13.a. Mundelein College Collection. Women and Leadership Archives.

Both of the student bodies, Loyola University Chicago’s now and Mundelein’s in the 1970s, articulated similar goals and used comparable strategies to affect change on their campuses. Like MuCuba, Loyola University Chicago student protesters presented the interim president John P. Pelissero with a list of “concerns” as they relate to the experience of students of color on-campus. Although the list does not appear to be publicly available, a statement by President Pelissero stated that “the Office of Student Development, the Office of the Provost, and Human Resources will collaborate to advance this campus conversation.” Further, he remarked that University leaders will discuss the concerns and continue the dialogue in the coming weeks so that the “momentum” from last week’s demonstration is not lost.

Similarities between Loyola’s current atmosphere of racial protest and the actions of past Mundelein students are unmistakable. Both groups of students, past and present, expressed frustration and unhappiness with the culture of racial intolerance they saw enacted at their institutions. Each set of protesters presented demands to university administration with the expectation of campus leadership listening to their concerns and responding with appropriate action. Mundelein’s successful protests resulted in the creation of programs that endeavored to ease racial tensions and promote thoughtful dialogue about issues of diversity on their campus. Loyola’s present outlook is more uncertain, but I am optimistic the result will be the same.

It is important to place conversations such as these in a historical context. It is also undeniably important to advocate for students to be able to exercise their right for self-expression, especially as it relates to problems of diversity and race on our campus. Knowing that MuCuba successfully advocated for greater attention to their plight on Mundelein’s campus should provide student protesters in the present proper inspiration to continue their fight against racial injustice. Success stories like MuCuba’s will hopefully encourage the Loyola University Chicago protesters to continue to hold the administration accountable for their on-campus experience, and push further for substantive change so that demonstrations will not be so necessary in the future.

 


EllenProfilePicEllen is a Graduate Assistant at the WLA and is in the first year of her M.A in Public History at Loyola University Chicago. Before moving to Chicago, Ellen was a Kindergarten teacher in Louisiana. She enjoys brunch, procedural dramas, and pugs.

 


Loyola University Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives Blog is designed to provide a positive environment for the Loyola community to discuss important issues and ideas. Differences of opinion are encouraged. We invite comments in response to posts and ask that you write in a civil and respectful manner. All comments will be screened for tone and content and must include the first and last name of the author and a valid email address. The appearance of comments on the blog does not imply the University’s endorsement or acceptance of views expressed.


The Girls Scouts and Patricia Caron Crowley

Patricia Caron Crowley was born in 1913 in Chicago, Illinois. She went to school in the city and was very involved in Girl Scouts. In 1932, the summer after Patricia graduated from high school, she was selected to take part in an International Girl Guide Camp. The camp took place in Enniskerry, Ireland. The trip also included sightseeing in England and France. She was one of only ten girls and three guides from America at the camp. Patricia was chosen on merit. Earlier that year she earned the golden eaglet award, which was the highest Girl Scout Honor.

250 girls attended the camp from Ireland, the British Isles, Canada, Australia, India, Finland, Belgium, France, and the U.S. In an essay found in one of the scrapbooks, Patricia wrote that the girls slept on paillasses stuffed with straw. The girls cooked their own food in large swinging iron pots and they ate sitting on ground sheets with flat boards for tables. Patricia observed that camping in Ireland was different than in America and she greatly enjoyed learning the differences in cultures. After the international camp, Patricia traveled to England and France. In total, Patricia spent six weeks abroad touring as a Girl Scout. Almost two full were spent traveling by boat from and to New York.

Two of the scrapbooks containing memories of Patricia Caron Crowley’s time as a Girl Scout. The brown scrapbook is from her Ireland trip.

Patricia created several scrapbooks detailing her time as a Girl Scout. She dedicated one full scrapbook to her time abroad for the International Girl Guide Camp. Letters, newspaper clippings, telegrams, photographs, ticket stubs, and postcards fill numerous pages. Patricia extensively wrote about the trip in the Ireland scrapbook. From the content of the scrapbook, Patricia kept most everything from her time abroad, including the menus from the ships she took from and to the United States. Her scrapbooks highlight her time abroad as a Girl Scout but the books also have much broader themes about international travel and culture.

Itinerary from Patricia’s international Girl Scout trip

Itinerary from Patricia’s international Girl Scout trip

Page from Ireland scrapbook showing Patricia’s extensive journaling about the trip.

Page from Ireland scrapbook showing Patricia’s extensive journaling about the trip.

Based on photographs and her journaling, Patricia’s Girl Scout experience was quite different from my own but that is what makes her collection so fascinating. I spent a significant amount of my childhood in the Girl Scouts organization. Patricia’s collection is interesting because she was in Girl Scouts during the early years of the organization. From her detailed scrapbooks I can see how Girl Scouts today has changed and adapted to modern times. Like Patricia, I remember camping, singing songs, and learning life skills. However, in my experience, uniforms were less important and were only worn for very special events. Patricia was expected to have several uniform changes for her trip abroad. In her scrapbooks, Patricia noted a religious aspect to the Girl Scout organization. Many guides had religious backgrounds and the participants of the international camp went to hear several religious speakers. As I remember it, religion played no part in my Girl Scouting experience.

Photos from a scrapbook page showing time spent at a Girl Scout camp in the U.S.

Photos from a scrapbook page showing time spent at a Girl Scout camp in the U.S.

The Girl Scouts organization turned 100 in 2012. Patricia experienced a rare trip that very few other American Girl Scouts ever had the chance to take part in. Her dedication and involvement in the organization when she was young highlights why Girl Scouts still exists today. As the organization moves into the future, Patricia’s collection will become more important to show the early years of Girl Scouts. Her scrapbooks highlight not only Girl Scouts but scouting organizations for girls all over the world. As a former Girl Scout, I hope the organization continues to grow and provide opportunities for girls. Of course, I hope those girls remember to keep as thorough a record of their Girl Scout adventures as Patricia Caron Crowley. Years from now, someone like me might be interested in what was on the menu!

 

Patricia, in uniform, on a boat during her international Girl Scout trip in 1932

Patricia, in uniform, on a boat during her international Girl Scout trip in 1932

Me in my brownie uniform

Me in my brownie uniform

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Megan Bordewyk
Megan is a Graduate Assistant at the WLA and is in the first year of her M.A in Public History at Loyola University Chicago. She is an avid movie-goer and enjoys arts and crafts, live sporting events, and small Midwestern towns.

 

 


 

Loyola University Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives Blog is designed to provide a positive environment for the Loyola community to discuss important issues and ideas. Differences of opinion are encouraged. We invite comments in response to posts and ask that you write in a civil and respectful manner. All comments will be screened for tone and content and must include the first and last name of the author and a valid email address. The appearance of comments on the blog does not imply the University’s endorsement or acceptance of views expressed.


What’s in a homemaker’s collection?

The Women and Leadership Archives has many strengths in its collections. We have many about women who were leaders in activism and environmental issues, and others from women who dedicated their lives to public service, social justice, education, and the arts. In browsing the archives, it is easy to recognize why the papers of these women were chosen to be preserved, but sometimes you come across collections that are not as obvious.

In scrolling through the collections listed on the WLA website, I found the papers of Agatha Rosetti Hessley. Under her name, it simply said “homemaker.” As a woman raised by a stay-at-home mom, I wholeheartedly believe in the value and importance of these women who devote their lives to their families. However, in this list of women and organizations recognized for their public leadership, I wondered what her collection held that the archivist felt would be useful to researchers.

Agatha Hessley was not a politician. Her collection gives no evidence of her participation in any social activism. She did nothing that made her notably influential to anyone other than her own family and friends. She was not an artist, an educator, or an academic.

Yet, her two boxes sit on a shelf in the archives between those of social justice organizations, alderwomen, and college presidents.

Why?

This question leads me back to the reason women’s archives like the WLA exist in the first place. Because early archives focused on government and military documents, women and other groups left out of the public sphere were not represented in the historical record. Specialized archives were created to preserve the papers that documented the contributions of women and other marginalized groups. Although Agatha Hessley, like many women of her time, did not have a career outside of her home, she still made a valuable contribution to history and the archives.

A letter from Agatha to Rita, found in the Agatha Rosetti Hessley Collection.

A letter from Agatha to Rita Hessley, found in the Agatha Rosetti Hessley Collection.

Agatha Hessley’s collection offers a unique look into a time of transformation in the United States and the world. Her two archival boxes hold the letters that Agatha wrote to her daughter, Rita, between 1970 and 1993. In them, Agatha describes the major life events of her family and her daily routines. She also gives her perspective on historical events such as Watergate, the 1970’s oil crisis, and the Gulf War. As a devout Catholic, Agatha often wrote about the Roman Catholic Church and her observations of the changes that took place after Vatican II. Throughout decades of great conflict and change, Agatha’s letters offer a glimpse into how these changes affected an average American woman.

Although she may be simply labeled as a “homemaker,” Agatha’s letters reveal her to be an engaging writer. Excerpts from her letters, especially those concerning changes in the Roman Catholic Church, were published in a book in 2005 by MaryEllen O’Brien entitled Living in Ordinary Times: The Letters of Agatha Rosetti Hessley.

As time goes on, the collection of Agatha Rosetti Hessley will continue to provide information and inspiration to researchers.

Agatha Hessley and her daughter Rita, 1994

Agatha Hessley and her daughter, Rita, 1994

 


 

Caroline blog photo
Caroline Lynd Giannakopoulos is a Graduate Assistant at the WLA and is working on her Master’s in Public History at Loyola University Chicago. When not scrapbooking, she spends her spare time exploring Chicago, interpreting dreams and watching cheesy movies with her husband.

 


Loyola University Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives Blog is designed to provide a positive environment for the Loyola community to discuss important issues and ideas. Differences of opinion are encouraged. We invite comments in response to posts and ask that you write in a civil and respectful manner. All comments will be screened for tone and content and must include the first and last name of the author and a valid email address. The appearance of comments on the blog does not imply the University’s endorsement or acceptance of views expressed.