Caring for Mental Health at Deborah’s Place

Helping the homeless isn’t just about providing a roof and a bed. The Chicago organization Deborah’s Place has understood this since they began providing services to women who were currently or had previously experienced homelessness. Deborah’s Place recognized homelessness as a trauma and the formation of relationships as the road to healing. Beginning as an overnight shelter in 1985, the organization grew to include Irene’s Daytime Program, Marah’s Place transitional housing, and other programs that provided women with basic needs, education, job training, and the support needed to help them gain self-sufficiency and confidence.

The women coming to Deborah’s Place had not only suffered from not having housing, but had also often struggled with domestic violence, sexual assault, addiction, and mental illness. Along with a health services coordinator and case managers who helped each woman on her own individual journey, Irene’s Daytime Program employed a full-time art therapist. Just as showers, laundry facilities, and food provided for the physical health of participants, art therapy and classes became an essential part of caring for the mental health of these homeless women. Deborah’s Place believed these opportunities for socialization, creativity, and self-expression were just as vital to the participants’ well-being.

Several photos of art classes and projects were found in the Deborah’s Place records.

Deborah’s Place programs allowed participants to work with a variety of media.

Deborah’s Place programs allowed participants to work with a variety of media.

The participants at Marah’s, a transitional housing program, created this quilt together and submitted it in a Deborah’s Place art show.

The participants at Marah’s, a transitional housing program, created this quilt together and submitted it in a Deborah’s Place art show.

Deborah's Place004

Quilt squares made by participants at Marah’s.

Along with the health of participants, Deborah’s Place cared for the mental and emotional health of program staff. Employees were provided with opportunities to process the challenges of working with participants on a daily basis. A 1996 annual report from the Clinical Director also acknowledged that several staff members were former participants in the program who would benefit from further support in dealing with the transition in roles.

The records of Deborah’s Place reveal the building of a community based on relationships in which burdens were shared and the physical, emotional, and mental needs of all were met.

This is just one facet of this organization’s inspiring story.  To learn more about Deborah’s Place, take a look at the collection’s finding aid here.

 


 

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. 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.


Blizzard Blitz, 1979

Chicagoland is currently experiencing frigid temperatures made worse by a biting wind. The reason this is noteworthy is because the fall of 2015 turned out to be unseasonably warm, resulting in many of us mentally unprepared for usual winter cold weather.

With forecasts for the next several days in the low teens and several inches of snow Monday night, I went in search of Mundelein College winter photos.* What I found falls under the category of “be happy it’s not worse!” In 1979, Chicago experienced a blizzard of record breaking proportions that also affected the mayoral race.

On Saturday, January 13 and Sunday, January 14th, Northern Illinois and Northwest Indiana received 21 inches of show, at the time, the second largest Chicago snowstorm in history. Five people died and 15 received serious injuries from the snowfall. Flights to and from O’Hare airport were grounded for 96 hours from January 13 to 15.

After the blizzard, cold weather and additional snowfall continued affecting Chicagoland public transportation and trash collection for months. Mayor Michael Bilandic was blamed for the city’s inadequate response to the weather. Bilandic’s main opponent in the February 27th mayoral primary, Jane Byrne, capitalized on these problems and defeated him, going on to become the first female mayor of Chicago.

Here’s what Mundelein College looked like after the 1979 snow.

1979_Student_Activities_Blizzard_Blitz Piper

1979 Blizzard Blitz: A car and bulldozer are pictured next to Piper Hall after the blizzard.

1979_Student_Activities_Blizzard_Blitz shovel

1979 Blizzard Blitz: Shoveling the sidewalks at Mundelein College.

1979_Student_Activities_Blizzard_Blitz woman

1979 Blizzard Blitz: Mundelein campus after snow plows cleared some of the snow.

1979 Blizzard Blitz: Enjoying the snow at Mundelein.

1979 Blizzard Blitz: A member of the Mundelein community enjoys the snow on cross-country skis.

 

* Mundelein College, founded and operated by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM), provided education to women from 1930 until 1991, when it affiliated with Loyola University Chicago. The Women and Leadership Archives (WLA) at Loyola holds the records of Mundelein College.

 


IMG_0021-149x110Nancy Freeman became Director of the WLA in spring, 2013. Prior to that, Nancy was an archivist and records manager at a wildlife research facility for the USDA in Colorado. Nancy has worked in the archival field since 1999. When not at the WLA, Nancy enjoys spending time with her family and knitting.


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.


‘Tis the Season

My favorite season, next to Christmas (of course) is awards season. As an avid movie-goer, I look forward to analyzing nominations and predicting winners. The Screen Actors Guild Awards released nominations on Wednesday, December 9 and the Golden Globe nominations were announced on Thursday, December 10, 2015. The culminating event of the awards season and my personal favorite is the Academy Awards. Those nominations will be televised on January 14, 2015.

For the rest of the year I pay minimal attention to Hollywood gossip, but come awards season I avidly seek out predictions and the latest news on all things film related. After Oscar nominations are announced, I spend the weeks before the ceremony watching as many of the nominated films as possible. The Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards are necessary viewing to predict winners for the Academy Awards. I have hosted several Oscar viewing parties that included games such as predicting the Oscar winners and Oscar bingo. As a public historian I admire the history surrounding the Academy Awards and film in general. Every year the Oscars broadcasts a segment, In Memoriam, to remember people associated with filmmaking that have passed away during the previous year. One of the musical acts during the awards ceremony often highlights a classic film or honors an acting legend. The entire ceremony allows me to reminisce about movies and to compare my predictions to the actual award winners.

The Women and Leadership Archives houses several fascinating collections related to film and television. The Mercedes McCambridge collection is often a favorite of visitors to the archives. Her early career involved voicing parts for radio dramas. After graduating from Mundelein College, she moved to New York and began an acting career in plays and films. Her film debut performance in All the King’s Men (1949) earned her a supporting actress Oscar and a Golden Globe. Mercedes went on to have a long career in film and television.

Mercedes McCambridge

Mercedes McCambridge

The Madonna Kolbenschlag, H.M. (Sisters of the Humility of Mary) collection highlights Madonna’s time as an educator, writer, activist, and clinical psychologist. She taught at various institutions and organizations. She taught courses on American Film at a time when the field was still emerging. The collection contains articles on film Madonna wrote as well as lecture notes and slides from courses she taught in the 1970s.

Slides from a History of Film course taught by Kolbenschlag

Slides from a History of Film course taught by Kolbenschlag

Mary Patricia Haley earned a Ph.D. in Radio-TV-Film at Northwestern University in 1973. She went on to introduce mass media and film into the Mundelein College* curriculum. Eventually this led to the creation of a separate Department of Communications. Mary’s collection contains little information about film but her dedication to communications studies represents the growing field of film studies and the role women played in the growth.
These collections add valuable knowledge to the study of film and the history of the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. Kolbenschlag’s collection highlights not only the beginning of film study, but how film was studied. McCambridge’s collection educated me on the rules and regulations of winning an Oscar and how those rules have changed. The collections provide a deeper understanding of what happens behind the camera. On February 28, 2016 you can find me eagerly sitting in front of the TV, predictions in hand, as I watch the Academy Awards.

Articles on film history from the Kolbenschlag collection

Articles on film history from the Kolbenschlag collection

*Mundelein College, founded and operated by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM), provided education to women from 1930 until 1991, when it affiliated with Loyola University Chicago.

 


 

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.


Looking beyond the Obvious: Societal Changes through Photos and Event Programs

For many of us, at this time of year our brains are filled with dreams of upcoming vacations and holiday celebrations. As I pondered this month’s blog post, the sugar plums danced in my head, distracting me from finding an archives-related topic.

My brain then latched on to Christmas traditions and hit pay dirt. I immediately thought of the Candle Lighting ceremony at Mundelein College and quickly realized how records of that event provide insight into societal changes. This post is not about Christmas. Instead, it’s about looking at photos and programs of a long-running event and analyzing the records to see societal trends and changes over the years.

The Women and Leadership Archives (WLA) largest collection is the records of Mundelein College. Founded in 1929 by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVMs), Mundelein provided education to women until 1991 when it affiliated with nearby Loyola University Chicago. The Candle Lighting ceremony occurred at Christmastime from 1930-1991, making it a long running Mundelein tradition.

I find traditions fascinating. While perhaps a tired literary technique, I looked up the definition of the word. Tradition is “an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as in religious practice or a social custom.)” Well said, Merriam-Webster.

A tradition may change or shift over time in conjunction with societal changes. The fundamental meaning and purpose of the tradition remains; how it is carried out often changes, depending on what is happening in the world at large. Nothing occurs in a vacuum.

Mundelein’s Candle Lighting ceremony spanned 60 years and began the first year of classes and ended when the College affiliated with Loyola.  Photos and programs from the Candle Lighting provide historical snapshots of moments in time and give insight into societal changes. First, information about the ceremony and tradition itself and then, with pictures and programs, a historical journey through the 60 years.

The ceremony involved lighting candles in the windows of Mundelein College to form a nine-story cross, symbolizing the Light of the World. Mundelein College’s main building is on Sheridan Road and lighted windows were sure to be noticed on a major thoroughfare.

Another part of the ceremony included Christmas caroling in a procession led by seniors. Students sang as they moved down through the building by floors. Once on the first floor, participants put wreaths at the main entrance, recited the nativity story, and lit a large school candle at the end of the ceremony.

Programs, photos, and newspaper articles from the Skyscraper (Mundelein’s student newspaper) show changes in the ceremony. The first year did not include the large cross in the windows and only the choir sang in the ceremony. Several years later the candle procession included all students.

Now to the historical journey, noticing dates and subsequent shifts in the ceremony that highlight societal changes and trends. The first Candle Lighting occurred in 1931. There are no photos in the records, only a torn program. Note the College clubs involved.

1931 Program

1931 Program

 

The earliest photo of the ceremony is from 1936. Look at those dresses!

1936 Candlelighting ceremony

Candlelighting ceremony, 1936

Due to WWII, the 1943 ceremony included recognition of the war.  Four angel sentinels held scrolls of the names of active and deceased servicemen who were relatives of friends of faculty and students.

1943 program

1943 program

1943 program2

1943 program

1943 program

1943 program

1957 is a year the WLA has both a photo and a program. Look again at the number and type of student organizations involved.

Candlelighting, 1957

Candlelighting, 1957

1957 program cover

1957 program cover

program 1957 2

1957 program, page 1

1957 program, page 6

1957 program, page 6

 

The 1960s were a time of huge change in the world and one of the milestones is Vatican II. The Second Vatican Council (informally known as Vatican II), occurred from 1962 through 1965 and affected many aspects of the Catholic faith, in addition to reverberating through other faith traditions. See here for more info on Vatican II. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Vatican_Council

One major change from Vatican II involved the form and content of masses, the term for Catholic worship services. Masses now used English rather than Latin and could include different types of music and artwork.

As I previously said, nothing occurs in a vacuum. The 1966 program artwork is quite different from the one in 1957. In addition, the Candle Lighting ceremony of 1966 included an interpretive dance piece. Both the artwork change and inclusion of interpretive dance in the mass are a direct result of Vatican II changes.

1966 program cover

1966 program cover

 

1966 program, page 1

1966 program, page 1

1955 program, page 5

1955 program, page 5

By 1972, it appears the Candle Lighting Ceremony moved to McCormick Lounge in Coffey Hall, Mundelein’s main dormitory building. McCormick Lounge’s floor to ceiling window faces east to Lake Michigan and in the photo, the ceremony takes place in front of the window.

The ceremony is clearly more casual in contrast to the beautiful dresses and robed choir formality of earlier years. Notice the student in her pajamas, robe, and fuzzy slippers.

Candlelighting, 1972

Candlelighting, 1972

 

One of the last photos of the ceremony is from 1989. This photo shows the ceremony layout in McCormick Lounge. The program again lists student organizations and provides an interesting comparison to previous documents.

Candlelighting, 1989

Candlelighting, 1989

1989 program cover

1989 program cover

1989 program, pages 1 and 2

1989 program, pages 1 and 2

1989 program, pages 3 and 4

1989 program, pages 3 and 4

By 1991, Mundelein experienced financial problems and declining enrollment that led to affiliation with nearby Loyola. One final Candle Lighting Ceremony occurred in December of that year with the theme “A Common Past, A Common Future.”

 

1991 program cover

1991 program cover

1991 program, pages a and 2

1991 program, pages 1 and 2

0003 (2)

1991 program, pages 3 and 4

1991 program, pages 5 and 6

1991 program, pages 5 and 6

Documentation of a ceremony or tradition provides fascinating information on everything from fashion to world events. Photos and program from the long-running Mundelein College Candle Lighting ceremony are historical snapshots; windows in time that provide opportunities to view societal changes.

 

Written by Nancy Freeman

With research assistance from Ellen Bushong, Megan Bordewyk, and Caroline Lynd


IMG_0021-149x110Nancy Freeman became Director of the WLA in spring, 2013. Prior to that, Nancy was an archivist and records manager at a wildlife research facility for the USDA in Colorado. Nancy has worked in the archival field since 1999. When not at the WLA, Nancy enjoys spending time with her family and knitting.


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.


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.


Decades of Travel: A Personal Look at the Mollie West Collection

The Polish born immigrant, Mollie Lieber West, came to the United States in 1929 at the age of 13. After graduating from high school, Mollie went on to work for the Farm Equipment Workers of American, an early CIO union. She was a member of the Communist Party from 1935 to 1962. Mollie initially joined the Young Communist League working as a labor organizer. After several years of being forced into underground hiding in the 1950s, she broke ties with the Communist Party in 1962.

Mollie surpassed gender barriers as a member of the Typographical Union. She was the first woman elected to a union office in the Chicago typographical Union, Local 16. In her sixties, Mollie earned a Bachelor’s degree in labor education from Mundelein’s Weekend College. After her retirement from the printing trade in 1987, Mollie worked at the Illinois Labor History Society as the administrative secretary and volunteer. Her time there allowed her to continue to promote education and recognition for labor leaders.

Most of what I knew about Mollie West related to her work for the union. I had read through her biographical information on her finding aid and had also been told a little bit about her. Mollie’s life was rather fascinating but what truly caught my attention were all of the items in her collection at the Women and Leadership Archives that pertained more to her personal life. I came across some of Mollie’s personal items when I was looking for photos to scan for her memorial. What a delightful feeling it was to discover that her collection contains a plethora of information unrelated to the union. Pictures, letters, school papers, and greeting cards are just a few of the materials highlighting Mollie’s personal life. In particular, I relished my time spent sifting through her travel photos. Mollie spent most of her life in Chicago but her photos indicate that she traveled far beyond the borders of the windy city.

As someone who has been fortunate enough to travel abroad, I was instantly interested in Mollie’s travels. She traveled to places decades before I ever set foot on a plane and I only wish I could swap stories with her. I am sure there would have been many things to compare and contrast about our trips. Her photos gave me a glimpse into travel in the Soviet Union in 1940s, Israel in the 1950s, Mexico in the 1960s, England 1970s, China in the 1980s, and Switzerland in the 1990s. From the hairstyles to the clothes to the breathtaking scenery, Mollie’s photos are a visual treat to look through.

Mollie West on the Great Wall of China

Mollie West on the Great Wall of China

Her photo collection raises some broader questions about the history of travel. How easy or difficult was it to travel abroad in the latter half of the twentieth century? How is travel similar and how has it changed over the years? How has tourism changed over the years? These are all questions that at first glance at Mollie’s collection may not seem as though they could be answered. In fact, a researcher may not even look at Mollie’s collection if the researcher is not focused on labor unions. Archives are full of hidden gems of information and resources. Researchers may study the same collection but may use their research in very different ways. Mollie’s collection is full of material relating to her work with the labor movement, however she was a very active individual and her collection reflects that. Pictures, letters, papers, and cards show just how many people Mollie knew and all the activities she was involved with.

Me in Egypt in 2011.

Me in Egypt in 2011

 

 

 

Mollie West in Egypt in 1983

Mollie West in Egypt in 1983

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking through Mollie’s collection, I thought about how I had tried to capture my time traveling abroad. Mollie’s photos seem to indicate that she often traveled with friends and family. There are numerous pictures of her by herself as well as her with the people she presumably traveled with. I on the other hand, took several solo trips so a majority of those photos consist of the landscape, buildings, and other people. I am envious of the plethora of candid photos of Mollie and her traveling companions. These photos are very natural and they give me a better look at how Mollie interacted with the environment and other people when she was not posing for a planned picture.

When Mollie traveled, film was still used, as the numerous negatives in her collection prove. In this day and age there are digital cameras and cameras on phones. Any archival collection of my life in the future would consist of CDs, memory cards, and external hard drives because I rarely print out my photos. I have well intentioned plans to print them out and put them in scrapbooks or albums but the need to do that is not there because I can easily view my photos on my computer. There is something very exciting about holding the actual photograph rather than viewing a scanned image. These were photos Mollie or those she traveled with printed off, looked through, put in albums, or hung up. While the photos I took while traveling are reminiscent of those by Mollie, how we displayed and used them afterwards does differ. Mollie’s collection is the inspiration I need to dedicate some time to printing out physical copies of my travel photographs.

Mollie West handling coins during the Monte Carlo leg of her European trip in 1970.

Mollie West handling coins during the Monte Carlo leg of her European trip in 1970

I admire Mollie’s work in the labor movement but what I find most interesting are the parts of her collection that are strongly connected to her personal life. Mollie was such an influential public figure for the labor movement, that it is nice to see what she was involved in outside of that work. Her pictures show time spent with family and friends and traveling. One of the most fascinating things about Mollie is that she traveled the world well into her older age. I only hope that I have the great fortune to travel far and wide, just like Mollie.

 

Mollie West in Israel in 1959.

Mollie West in Israel in 1959

 


 

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.


Collections Highlight: Mary Therese Langerbeck, BVM., Ph.D.

I took physics my junior year of high school. For me, physics was torture. Before taking the class, I thought that physics was mostly common sense, what goes up must come down and all of those old adages. Gravity was my seventeen year old nemesis; I stumbled around the hallways of my high school sometimes tripping over thin air. The only thing I can actually remember from that class is the fact that we made catapults and trebuchets and launched random objects out of them. We tried to hit unsuspecting victims in the head with ping pong balls and tangerines.  It was a swirl of equations and variables that I could never keep straight. When I wonder what on earth possessed me to take that class, the only thing I remember with clarity are the words my mother told me when I asked her which of the sciences I should take to fulfill my last science credit, “Take physics,” she said, “not enough women take physics.”

What I did not know at the time was how right my mother was. The American Physics Society reports on their website that less that 20 percent of women earn bachelor’s degrees in physics. Furthermore, the amount of women who go on to do post doctorate work in the field, completing scholarly training or mentored research so that they can pursue a career path, is closer to 15 percent. The absence of women in physics, and the STEM disciplines in general, is a problem that the Obama administration has made a point to address; however, there is still a long way to go before there are an equal number of women and men earning higher education degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The WLA is lucky to have a solid representation of women who have made contributions to the fields of science and mathematics, but there is one in my opinion that particularly stands out.

Born July 20th 1902, Sister Mary Therese Langerbeck spent her long life teaching and working in various disciplines within the sciences. Sister Langerbeck began her academic career at Northwestern, where she received her Bachelor’s degree in botany. She received her Master’s in 1945 in astronomy from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and would later go on to receive her Ph. D. in astronomy from Georgetown in 1948. It is mentioned by her colleagues that Sister Langerbeck was the first woman to receive a doctorate from Georgetown University. It is also noted that when she graduated she was the only sister in the entire world to hold a Ph.D. in astrophysics.

Sister Mary Therese Langerbeck teaching Physics to two Mundelein students

Sister Mary Therese Langerbeck teaching Physics to two Mundelein students

Sister Langerbeck spent much of her academic career as the chair of the Physics Department of Mundelein College. She orchestrated the building and implementation of two major scientific instruments on Mundelein’s campus. The first was a Foucault pendulum, a device used to measure the earth’s rotation, built in one of the Mundelein’s elevator shafts in 1938. The Foucault pendulum is a clear visual representation of the Earth moving beneath the pendulum, rather than the pendulum moving on its own. According to a Loyola World article published in 1993, the Mundelein pendulum was the longest of its kind in existence when it was built. The Mundelein pendulum’s accuracy was well known–scientists from all over the city of Chicago and the country used it’s readings for their research. Eventually, the Mundelein pendulum was retired in 1958 when a longer and more modern one was installed at the Chicago Museum of Science and Technology. Sister was also instrumental in building an observatory and telescope for the use of Mundelein’s students.

A student takes notes from the Mundelein pendulum that hung in an empty elevator shaft Mundelein College. 1938.

A student takes notes from the Mundelein pendulum that hung in an empty elevator shaft Mundelein College. 1938.

In the later years of her career, from 1971 until her retirement in 1977, Sister taught as a visiting professor of physics and mathematics at Livingstone College in North Carolina. She died at the age of ninety-one in 1993 of a heart problem, and was buried in the BVM Cemetery in Dubuque, Iowa. Sister Langerbeck is memorable not only for her own scientific accomplishments, but because she fought for the place of women in the sciences. In 1945, she published an article entitled, Some Reasons why Physics is Elected by So Few Freshman Students; Suggested Remedial Measures., one of Sister Langerbeck’s findings concluded that 52 percent of the women she questioned felt they would not be welcome in those fields if they expressed an interest in pursuing a career. Unfortunately, 70 years after her article was published, the same feelings of exclusion for women in the sciences persist. However, rather than feeling depressed by this statistic, I choose to feel hopeful that there are more teachers and mentors out there like Sister Langerbeck to inspire young girls to pursue their talents and skills in male-dominated fields, and kick butt doing it.

Feature on Sister Langerbeck, published in BVM Vista December 1959. The picture used for the article shows Sister in the physics laboratory on Mundelein’s campus.

Feature on Sister Langerbeck, published in BVM Vista December 1959. The picture used for the article shows Sister in the physics laboratory on Mundelein’s campus.


 

EllenProfilePic

Ellen 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.