Women and Leadership Archives Graduate Assistant in the Field

Pallas Athene Statue outside of the United States Army Women’s Museum, Fort Lee, VA. Athena, Greek goddess of knowledge and war, was adopted as a symbol for Army servicewomen during WWII. She appeared on recruiting literature and Army insignia worn on the uniforms.

Pallas Athene Statue outside of the United States Army Women’s Museum, Fort Lee, VA. Athena, Greek goddess of knowledge and war, was adopted as a symbol for Army servicewomen during WWII. She appeared on recruiting literature and Army insignia worn on the uniforms.

As part of my graduate coursework, our program requires students take a research seminar with the goal of completing a draft of a scholarly article for future publication. This semester’s seminar asks students to write a paper using a women or gender history framework of analysis. A third of the semester is spent reviewing articles that use those modes of analysis to better inform our efforts in writing our own papers while the rest of the semester is spent in the archives researching primary source material, delving into the secondary literature, and writing the final product. My paper, tentatively titled “’Fashioned for You’: Outfitting the WAC and Construction of the Female Solider, 1948-1955,” investigates the history of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) uniform worn from 1951-1955 and how it was employed by the Army to assuage public anxieties of women entering the military at a transitional time in the history of women entering the workplace in the United States. I found early on in my study that not a lot of records pertaining to WAC servicewomen existed in the Chicago area, and even fewer dealt with the WAC during the postwar era. As a result, I had to pack my bags and hit the road to Virginia to the United States Army Women’s Museum in Fort Lee, Virginia and the United States Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation in Arlington, Virginia.  I spent a week in October in the archives researching the uniform worn by Army servicewomen in the 1950s, got a behind the scenes look at museum collections, and got to meet some of the most gracious professional archivists and public historians a graduate student could hope for. My experiences in the archives can hopefully show others more tentative about the research process that archivists are indeed your friend, and actually taking the trip to archives can reveal some unknown treasure a researcher didn’t even know they were looking for!

The first stop on my research trip was the United States Army Women’s Museum located in Fort Lee, Virginia. The museum originally opened in 1955 in Fort McClellan, AL as a one-room exhibit space dedicated to the WAC, but has since reopened at Fort Lee after Congress closed Fort McClellan in 1997. When the museum once again opened its doors to the public it changed its name and mission to include women’s stories in the United States Army throughout its history. The museum now boasts a robust collection of artifacts and archives of official Army records concerning women in the Armed forces as well as a comprehensive collection of Army uniforms. Before I began researching, however, the task of getting to the museum hit an exciting and unexpected roadblock; since the museum was on base, I had to go through a clearance check-point before I was allowed entry. It all felt very official!

Once inside the museum I took a small researcher’s orientation that consisted of a two minute video documenting a brief history of women in the Army before getting at the collections the archivist pulled for my visit. They placed me at a station in the archives with my own personal laptop and scanner that I could use to save photographs and documents for future reference.  That was very handy. Alexandra, the archivist, watermarked all of my scans before I left for home for copyright purposes, but the documents are still perfectly legible with the mark. I stayed overnight in rural VA so I could get back to work right away the next day!

Lobby for the United States Army Women’s Museum, Fort Lee, VA. Get your AWM swag!

Lobby for the United States Army Women’s Museum, Fort Lee, VA. Get your AWM swag!

My second day of research started out with a little bit of excitement. The museum staff were staging photographs for a new brochure and they asked if I might pose in one of their pictures! Needless to say, I wasn’t ready for my close-up, but I turned it out for a couple of shots before getting down to business. Follow the museum’s Facebook page here in case you’re interested in eventually seeing my modelling debut! (They also posted a summary of my project on their newsfeed.) I worked through the morning on my paper but at lunchtime the collections manager took me into storage to see some of the uniforms I’d been studying in person. Seeing the actual uniforms donated by the servicewomen that wore them was a special perk —the color was totally different than I imagined and it felt super exclusive getting a behind-the-scenes look at artifacts that the general public doesn’t get the chance to see. I left the archives around 3:00p.m. in the event of (inevitable) beltway traffic and made it back to basecamp in Maryland around 6:00p.m. When I got home, I began preparing for part two of my research trip: the United States Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation in Arlington, VA.

Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, Arlington, VA.

Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation, Arlington, VA.

Day three and four of my research trip took me to the Women in Military Service for America Memorial Foundation in Arlington, VA. The offices of the foundation holds the records and memorabilia of women from all service branches from the Revolutionary War to the present, but they are perhaps best known for their support of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery dedicated in 1997, the only major national memorial dedicated to women in all of the service branches. I identified the foundation early on in my research because of an in-house history they published in 2005 called “A Defense Weapon Known to Be of Value”: Servicewomen of the Korean War Era. Their repository holds a number of papers donated by women who served in the WAC during the 1950s. I was certainly not disappointed—the curator of collections Britta Granrud was extremely helpful and pulled collections of potential interest especially for my visit. She also took the time to write out an e-mail with directions (for both metro and car) and parking instructions! Museum professionals and archivists are your friends, people!

Model of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery Arlington, VA.

Model of the Women in Military Service for America Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery Arlington, VA.

Britta also took the time to bring one of the uniforms out for me to see with suggestions for resources I might look to for further research. She printed out potential contact information for me to use if I ever wanted to conduct oral histories of women regarding their opinions on the uniform.  The resource was super helpful and something I hadn’t considered, given the time frame of the project. If this paper ever sees publication, it may be worth it to consider partnering with the foundation to conduct the interviews. We shall see!

My experiences show that archivists and museum professionals often go out of their way to help researchers with their projects. If your project is a success, it’s a great boost for their reputation, but it’s also just the nature of archives and museum work to make information accessible to the public. If you have a school project or paper you need to complete, do not hesitate to reach out to archivists! They know what’s in their collections better than anyone, so they are the absolute best resource to help you find hidden treasures you may not ever knew existed.

If you’re interested in women’s military history of fashion history (like me) definitely check out the social media of these two stellar organizations! You won’t be disappointed!

United States Army Women’s Museum

Website

Facebook

Women in Military Service for American Memorial Foundation

Website

Facebook

Twitter


EllenProfilePicEllen is a Graduate Assistant at the WLA and is in the second 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.


Election Collections at the WLA

It’s Presidential Election time! No matter the outcome, it is historic given Hillary Clinton is the first woman candidate from a major political party. The WLA holds five collections of women who held elected office. Several of those women were also “firsts.”

Carol Moseley Braun served as the first, and so far the only, African American woman in the US Senate. Sr. Carolyn Farrell, a Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM), was elected to the Dubuque City Council and because she received the majority of votes in the council election, became mayor. She is believed to be the first woman religious in the US to serve as mayor.

Check out all five the WLA collections of women serving elected office!

Carolyn Farrell, BVM
Mayor of Dubuque 1980-1981, City Councilwoman 1977-1981carolyn-farrell


Carol Ronen
Illinois State Representative 17th District 1993-2000, Illinois State Senator District 7 2000-2008, 48th Ward Democratic Party Committeewoman.carol-ronen


Mary Ann Smith
48th Ward Alderman 1989-2007mary-ann-smith


Marion Kennedy Volini
48th Ward Alderman 1978-1987marion-kennedy-volini


Carol Moseley Braun
Illinois State Senator 1993-1999, Chicago Mayoral Candidate 2011
(Papers currently unprocessed.)carol-moseley-braun-n-d


 

A joint blog effort between Nancy Freeman, Ellen Bushong, and Kate Johnson

Student Mobilization March

As part of an elective for my graduate work in public history, I am taking a class on the Vietnam War. The class focuses mainly on what is happening overseas, but it got me thinking about what Mundelein College* was up to during the time of the Vietnam War. From articles in the Skyscraper as well as letters, invitations, and itineraries in the Mundelein College Collection at the WLA, students took an active interest in the Vietnam War.

Students organized and participated in the Mundelein Student Mobilization. In 1968 the mobilization lasted for ten days from April 20th to April 30th.  Several Mundelein College students participated in a conference in Washington D.C. on the Vietnam War sponsored by the Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam. As written in an invitation for the mobilization after the conference, “Students and faculty alike returned to Mundelein and felt that they could not leave their moral and political concerns behind in Washington now that they had soothed their consciences by expressing their dissent over the War in Vietnam.”[i] The mobilization came out of a national call from both the Students for a Democratic Society and Student Mobilization to focus on the Vietnam War for ten days on college campuses. The ten days included films, speakers, and literature about the war. In addition, a group of students and faculty fasted on bread and tea during the ten days.

Invitation for the Mundelein Student Mobilization, April 1968

Invitation for the Mundelein Student Mobilization, April 1968

On April 27th, as part of the mobilization, Mundelein students participated in a citywide Student Mobilization March held in Grant Park. The march went through the Loop to the Civic Center. Participants demanded the immediate end of the war and the return of US troops. April Parade Committee of the Chicago Peach Council sponsored the march. The march is estimated to have included 7,000 students, clergy, sisters, adults, and children. Police informed participants they had to use the sidewalks and stop at all stoplights. In a Skyscraper (Mundelein’s student run newspaper) article, the march was described as going very slow because of police instructions that included only allowing one person to carry a sign. This prevented some banners form being utilized during the parade because they stretched the full width of the street and required multiple people to carry it.

Two pages from the Student Mobilization invitation, April 1968

Two pages from the Student Mobilization invitation, April 1968

The Skyscraper reported that many participants felt that police action “appeared designed to create tension.”[ii]  The Civic Center plaza was roped off and protesters were once again forced to stay on the sidewalks. Some marchers were arrested for “caulking,” that is, leaving their posters, banners, or signs on the plaza. By this time in the march there was a lot of confusion among participants. Police were making threats and yelling for marchers to hurry up and leave. The Skyscraper reported that anyone who charged to the center of the plaza was “clubbed by police and arrested.”[iii] Mundelein students described their attempt to leave the march but they were unable to get out of the crowd and were surrounded by police. At one point, a policeman pushed a Mundelein student to and she fell. When she attempted to get up, she was kicked in the back. Eventually, the marchers dispersed and most were left confused and fearful about what just happened.

Prayer Vigil, April 1968

Prayer Vigil, April 1968

The Skyscraper cited delays in the start of the march and confusion about required permits as errors on the part of the planning committee. There was also no information given to marchers about what would happen once they reached the Civic Center. No matter the problems with the march, one student felt there was no reason for the violence, “No matter who provoked who, the sight of the police hitting kids on the head with their night sticks as the kids ran down the street is the most horrible thing I’ve ever seen.”[iv]

May 3, 1968 clipping from the Mundelein Skyscraper about the prayer vigil

May 3, 1968 clipping from the Mundelein Skyscraper about the prayer vigil

The mobilization march was only one of several events Mundelein College students and faculty participated in during the Vietnam War. From the few records in the Mundelein College Collection about the Vietnam War, it seems that most, if not all, of the events centered on an anti-war and peace agenda. The violence experienced at the citywide mobilization march was unlike the peaceful events held at Mundelein College about the Vietnam War. However, the march demonstrates the mixed feelings about the war that led to one of the most tumultuous times in US history.

*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.

[i] Student Mobilization Invitation, Mundelein College, April 1968

[ii] Skyscraper, “Brutality mars Loop peace march,” May 3, 1968

[iii] Skyscraper, Brutality mars Loop peace march,” May 3, 1968

[iv] Skyscraper, Brutality mars Loop peace march,” May 3, 1968


Megan Bordewyk

Megan is a Graduate Assistant at the WLA and is in the second 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.


Gals of the Gridiron

Break out your chips and dip; it’s time to talk about one of fall’s favorite pastimes: FOOTBALL!  In this blog post we’ll tackle what may be a more surprising aspect of Mundelein College – the Mundelein Marauders, their very own football team.

1967 Mundelein Marauders Team Photo

1967 Mundelein Marauders Team Photo

The students of Mundelein* displayed a love for the gridiron from the earliest days of the all-women’s college, and throughout the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s the Skyscraper newspaper reported on groups of students who would get together to travel two hours to watch Notre Dame play.  However in 1966 when the traditional homecoming weekend was revitalized into the first “All-College Weekend,” the gals of Mundelein decided to grab the pigskin for themselves.  A Powder-Puff, or touch-football, game was organized against the coeds of Loyola University.  The proud Marauders had on their sideline coaches, cheerleaders, and even a “band” playing homemade instruments.  Though they did not walk away with the trophy after that first game, the team was still a triumph and the evening ended with a concert from a young folk duo just finding success, Simon and Garfunkel (concert tickets cost only $3!).

Cheerleaders spurring the 1967 team to victory

Cheerleaders spurring the 1967 team to victory

Despite the loss, the tradition of Powder-Puff football was a success and continued to be a highlight of the All-College Weekend for several years.  In fact it spawned a Powder-Puff league with other nearby universities, including Northwestern, Notre Dame, Barat, Loyola, Xavier, and others, with participation varying from year to year.  By fall of 1970 the Marauders were the team to beat, going 4-1 in their season, their only loss coming from Notre Dame.

As time passed however, the popularity of the sport waned, and the league eventually dissolved.  Mundelein students’ enthusiasm for football did not retire however, and they retained an intramural touch-football league in the 1980s.

I love how when the gals of Mundelein decided to resurrect what was essentially their homecoming weekend, they didn’t let the gender inequality of the day stop them from enjoying a cherished collegiate tradition.  May we all be so bold in seeking the things we’re passionate about!

skyscraper*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.


kate-johnson

Kate is a Graduate Assistant at the WLA and in the first year of her M.A. in Public History at Loyola University Chicago.  A Colorado gal, she enjoys classic films, bike riding, and all things museums.

 


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 Skyscraper

One of our most popular resources for researchers at the Women and Leadership Archives is the database containing digitized copies of the Mundelein College* Skyscraper, the school’s student-run newspaper. The Skyscraper, begun in 1931 by women enrolled in Mundelein’s first journalism classes, reported on noteworthy college happenings such as club activities, social functions, and student involvement in the Chicago metro area. In addition to college news, the students of the Skyscraper also wrote about important local and national news items.

We normally use this publication as a source for other blog posts (like Horses for Classmates from last spring or Start of a New School Year) but I think it deserves its own time in the spotlight! See below for photographs of Skyscraper staff from the Mundelein Photo Collection.

Some of the first Skyscraper students pose for a group photo, 1931.

Some of the first Skyscraper students pose for a group photo, 1931.

The Editorial Board of the Skyscraper hard at work getting an issue to print, 1940

The Editorial Board of the Skyscraper hard at work getting an issue to print, 1940

 

Student reporters review print blocks, 1942

Student reporters review print blocks, 1942

The clock is ticking! Skyscraper staff hard at work to meet their deadline, 1959

The clock is ticking! Skyscraper staff hard at work to meet their deadline, 1959

The first issue of The Skyscraper printed on January 30, 1931. Its mission statement read that the newspaper would strive

to strengthen and foster school spirit; to promote and encourage interest in college activities; to create mutual interests which will result in closer contact among students and to promote cooperation between faculty and students; to make our college better known by presenting news and events in concrete form. It will also be a means of fostering journalistic endeavor and of giving the students opportunity for self-expression.[1]

Click on the issues below to find out what was going on at Mundelein College in September of 1958, 1962, and 1966! Or explore all of our scanned copies from the Skyscraper in our online database here.

The Skyscraper Vol. XXIX, Sept. 30, 1958

The Skyscraper Vol. XXIX, Sept. 30, 1958

The Skyscraper Vol. XXXIII, Sept. 26, 1962

The Skyscraper Vol. XXXIII, Sept. 26, 1962

The Skyscraper Vol. XXXVII, Sept. 30, 1966

The Skyscraper Vol. XXXVII, Sept. 30, 1966

 

*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.

[1] The Skyscraper Vol. 1, January 30, 1931.


EllenProfilePic

Ellen is a Graduate Assistant at the WLA and is in the second 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.


Start of a New School Year

Universities around the country are now in full swing. Returning students fall into a familiar routine while incoming freshman spend their first days figuring out class schedules and getting the lay of the land. Articles and photographs in the Skyscraper give some idea as to how Mundelein College* students rang in the new school year. Freshman and upperclassmen alike participated in socials, dances, and a Big Sister program.

Students advertising Freshman Day, 1936

Students advertising Freshman Day, 1936

Much information about the new students can be found in the Skyscraper. Yearly, the front page of the newspaper featured a photo of the “First Ladies.” The women featured in the photos were students from the incoming freshman class that were the top students in their high school class. The newspaper recognizes all incoming students with articles containing demographics and statistics of the incoming freshman class. These include what schools, states, and countries the students came from as well as if there was an increase in enrollment. Staff and faculty are also recognized, including one article highlighting that the new faculty studies in seven countries.

Skyscraper newspaper clipping from 1936 highlighting the freshman class

Skyscraper newspaper clipping from 1936 highlighting the freshman class

Top-ranked freshman with their Mundelein Beanies, 1966

Top-ranked freshman with their Mundelein Beanies, 1966

One start-of-the-year tradition stands out when perusing through the Skyscraper: the Beanie Bounce. The dance was in conjunction with the freshman from Loyola. All the freshman attendees don their green beanies that signify they are first years. The Beanie Bounce began in 1949 and was one of the many events the Mundelein sophomores sponsored. Mundelein and Loyola student councils jointly sponsored the event as well.

Starting days before the dance, Mundelein and Loyola students “Beanie Hide’ N Seek. Mundelein students take one of the Loyola men’s beanies but she does not know what the owner looks like. Before and during the Beanie Bounce, the Mundelein student searches for the person that matches the name associated with the beanie. Customarily, the man saves a dance for the lady that has his hat. By the look of the yearly articles reporting on the event, the Beanie Bounce was always a tremendous success.

Skyscraper newspaper clipping from 1958

Skyscraper newspaper clipping from 1958

Skyscraper newspaper clipping from 1959

Skyscraper newspaper clipping from 1959

From my research, the last mention of the Beanie Bounce in the Skyscraper appears in 1960. In 1966, Loyola University Chicago became fully coeducational. The transition to a coed university may have had an impact on the dance as LUC was no longer solely for men. In any case, the beginning of the school year can be an exciting time with both old and new traditions. The Beanie Bounce is just one of several beginning of the year activities. Check out the online digital Skyscraper collection and photograph collection to learn more about Mundelein and their many traditions!

* 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 second 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.


Women and Leadership Archives Summer Reading List

Buildings_Piper_Hall_Library-2

A Mundelein College student picking out books from the library in Piper Hall.

We at the Women and Leadership Archives love summer reading.  If you’re like us, see below for a summer reading list inspired by the WLA’s collections!

For the movie-goersAll the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren. This Pulitzer Prize winning novel tells the story of southern lawyer Willie Stark and his transformation from an idealistic man of the people to a corrupt politician who pays a high price in his pursuit of power. This loosely fictionalized account of Governor Huey Long of Louisiana boasts two movie adaptations. The first, released in 1949, features actress Mercedes McCambridge—whose personal papers are held in the Women and Leadership Archives! In her collection there is an original script of the film, movie stills, and newspaper clippings describing her Oscar-award winning performance as Sadie Burke.

Collections: Mercedes McCambridge Papers

For the time-travelersMundelein Voices: The Women’s College Experience edited by Anne M. Harrington and Prudence Moylan.

Founded in 1929 by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mundelein College offered its all-female student body a comprehensive and rigorous Catholic liberal arts education. But Mundelein College, despite being run by nuns, had its share of hijinks! Readers can fully immerse themselves into the goings-on of the student body, and see what it was really like to be a Mundelein student, by reading this anthology of essays. I highly recommend the chapter by Joan Frances Crowley, B.V.M on her eight-year tenure as the director (then dean) of residence life. Anyone that has lived in a dorm will appreciate Crowley’s retelling of what it was like to live on-campus during the 1960s.

Collections: Mundelein College Collection

Joan Frances Crowley, B.V.M Papers

For the thrill-seekersRed Spy Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth Bentley by Kathryn S. Olmstead

Fans of John Le Carré (of Tinker Tailor Solder Spy fame) will love the fascinating life story of Communist Party and Soviet Union defector Elizabeth Bentley—called the “Red Spy Queen” by tabloids and newspapers in the late 1940s. Interestingly enough, Elizabeth Bentley actually worked as a professor of Political Science at Mundelin College from 1949-1950. Imagine having a spy for a teacher!

Collections: Mundelein College Collection

Marjorie Rowbottom Frisbee Papers

For my fellow feministsTidal Wave: How Women Changed America at Century’s End by Sara M. Evans

Historian Sara Evans is an authority on the subject of women’s history and their continued journey to equality. Her first book Born for Liberty (1989) is a comprehensive look at the history of women from the sixteenth century to modern times. In Tidal Wave, Evans establishes the essential foundation necessary to introduce readers to the histories of second and third wave feminism and their lasting importance to the present day. The Women and Leadership Archives holds numerous records of artists, academics, women’s groups, and writers that can add additional context to this groundbreaking time in women’s history.

Collections:  Feminism in Chicago: Connie Kiosse

Feminist Forum Records

SisterSerpents Records

For the scientistsHeadstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World by Rachel Swaby

This quick colorful book is for anyone who is curious about women’s contributions to the sciences. Divided into disciplines, this encyclopedic book provides brief entries about notable female doctors, biologists, environmentalists, mathematicians, astronomers, inventors; the list goes on and on! When you’re done, feel free to check out some of the WLA’s collections about women scientists

Collections: Mundelein College Collection—Sister Therese Langerbeck Files

Miram P Cooney, CSC., Papers

Alice Bourke Hayes, PhD., Papers

Katherine DeLage Taft

For the mischief-makersThe Trouble with Angels by Jane Trahey

Originally entitled Life with Mother Superior, this fictionalized memoir by Mundelein Alumnae Jane Trahey describes the shenanigans of two rebellious young women attending a Catholic all girls boarding school. The book was made into a feature film in 1966 starring Hayley Mills as the main troublemaker Mary Clancy and Rosalind Russell as the domineering Mother Superior. If you can get your hands on this book (it’s out of print), you’re in for a light-hearted, nostalgic comedy perfect for laying out pool-side.

Collections: Mundelein College Collection – Jane Trahey Files

For the hopeless romanticsLetters from Home – Kristina McMorris

Sometimes all you want from a good summer read is a juicy historical romance novel. Based in Chicago during World War II, this love story highlights a couple whose only way to communicate with one another is through letters. To add a Shakespearean twist, the main character, Liz Stephens, falls in love with her pen pal while pretending to be someone else! If love letters are your thing, come in and look at the Mollie Leiber West Collection. The WLA holds scores of letters from Mollie to her husband Carl Leiber when they were separated by WWII. Their own tragic love story is not unlike one you would read in an especially romantic novel!

Collections: Mollie Leiber West Papers

 


 

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.


Found in the Archives: A Message From Your Man in Service

This summer, I am working on the Women and Labor project, a new collaborative project in which I’m using the Mollie Lieber West Papers to create an online exhibit about the life of Mollie and the contributions of women in the labor movement. While I research the history of labor unions, women in the workforce, and Chicago in the 20th century, I am also learning more and more about Mollie West and finding so many cool things in her collection.

Along with Mollie’s many amazing accomplishments in the labor movement and endless stories of her bravery and dedication to social justice, her life included a beautiful love story that is told through letters, objects, and other materials in the collection.

Mollie and Carl Lieber met while working for a newspaper and were married in 1940. Carl volunteered for the Army in 1943.

Mollie and Carl Lieber met while working for a newspaper and were married in 1940. Carl volunteered to join the Army in 1943.

Among Mollie’s papers, there is a small vinyl record. The label has an old Pepsi-Cola logo on it and says, “This is a recorded message from your man in service.” This 78 RPM record holds a sweet audio message from Carl Lieber, Mollie’s first husband, sent to her while he was serving in the Army.

During World War II, Americans joined together to help each other and the servicemen fighting overseas, including companies like Pepsi. From my internet research I learned that Pepsi ran canteens in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. that provided meals, showers, and other services to military men and women. They also set up recording booths in these canteens and sent a traveling recording booth to other military camps where millions of soldiers were able to create these wonderful audio letters to send to their loved ones. Online, I’ve found people talking about records they’ve found that were recorded in Louisiana, California, and Mississippi.

(Note: This blog post is not an endorsement for Pepsi. While this service they provided likely brought joy to many, companies also benefited from creating a patriotic image and connecting their products to the idea of victory in the war.)

The envelope in which the vinyl record was mailed.

The envelope in which the vinyl record was mailed.

These records were sent from bases and training camps in the United States while soldiers waited to be sent to the war.

These records were sent from bases and training camps in the United States while soldiers waited to be sent to the war.

 

Thanks to a grant from Loyola University Chicago’s Center for Textual Studies and Digital Humanities, we were able to have this record and the other audiovisual materials in Mollie’s collection digitized. This gave us the opportunity to hear Carl’s voice and his message for the first time!

We also made another discovery with this digitization. A second record, with a label in Italian, turned out to not contain Italian music as we had expected. This record also held a recorded message from Carl that he had made while on leave for a day in Rome! The touching audio messages on both records reveal a lot about the couple’s relationship and the complex experiences of the war.

This mysterious Italian record turned out to hold another audio letter from Carl. It was able to be digitally preserved despite being very warped from age.

This mysterious Italian record turned out to hold another audio letter from Carl. It was able to be digitally preserved despite being very warped from age.

Carl’s messages and the others I listened to online contain words of encouragement to loved ones not to worry and descriptions of the good things about life in the training camps.

Here is the audio from the first record that Carl sent while in Washington, D.C. I did my best to transcribe Carl’s message, and you can find the transcript below!

“Hello, honey. I thought this would be a very nice way to bring us closer together on my birthday. Although we’re many miles apart, I want you to know that I feel that you are as near and dear to me as you have always been. I’ve never been much at making speeches of this kind, but I’ll try as hard as I can to convey my love to you. I’m making this record in Washington, D.C. I got here on a 12 hour pass. I wrote you a letter about it all. We’ve been married a little over 4 years now and I know you must be going through a pretty trying experience, with your condition and things as they are. But I want you to know that you’ve gotta keep up your morale, and it’s up to us in the armed forces to keep up the civilian morale. That’s why I felt I should make this record and give you a chance to hear my voice so you can celebrate my birthday, even though I’m not there with you to celebrate it together. I love you very much and feel that you should be with me, but I’m sure that as soon as we’re victorious in the war, we can be together and have a fine time together and do all the things we planned to do. Well, I’m getting …my own monotone, so don’t worry about it. I’m not going to sing a song for you, but I want to say now as I close that I love you very much and want you to keep healthy and keep well and do everything possible in order to see that you have a nice life in the future, and that means take care of that baby that’s comin’ along. So long, honey. I love you.”

The Women and Labor digital exhibit will feature the audio from both of these records, as well as more documents, photographs, videos, and artifacts that tell Mollie’s incredible story and the story of women in the labor movement. Follow the Women and Leadership Archives on Facebook to learn more and don’t miss the launch of the exhibit this August!


 

Caroline blog photo
Caroline Lynd Giannakopoulos is a Graduate Assistant at the WLA and has just completed 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.


Equal Time at the WLA

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In 1995, I became hooked on Equal Time, a political talk show on CNBC. The premise revolved around a then novel approach to feature two female co-hosts, one Republican and one Democrat.  When the show began, Mary Matalin served as the conservative voice and Jane Wallace was her liberal counterpart. The show featured phone call ins with viewers, guests (interviewed in a relatively “soft-ball” fashion), and talk between the hosts. I almost achieved personal TV fame as a call-in when I had a pre-interview with the producer. Alas, the call-in didn’t occur as the Producer later told me “something came up.”

Equal Time is the only political talk show I’ve ever watched faithfully, although I stopped watching after several years due to host changes. Most talk shows just annoy me as they tend to be, as my husband calls them, “yelling heads” as opposed to talking heads. The things I loved about Equal Time were two women hosts with often different views, who conducted the show with respect (always) and humor (usually). A life-long Democrat, I listened to and learned from the show, particularly regarding Republican views.

At the WLA, our archival collections inherently qualify for equal time because all, except one, are from or about women. What we do not have is a representation of all sides of the political spectrum. The WLA has at least 7 collections of women who either served in political office and/or were politically active: all self-identify as Democrats.

When I first came to the WLA I wondered the reason for only Democratic women. Other staff and I surmised that maybe it is because Loyola is known as a liberal Catholic university so mainly Democratic women think to donate here. Or perhaps it’s just coincidence that the majority of politically active women who donated to the WLA just happen to be Democrats.

No matter the reasons, there isn’t much equal time going on at the WLA in the area of political affiliation. WLA records should reflect many voices, ideas, thoughts, and actions. The more diverse the collections, the more rich an archive.

I would like to change the status quo at the WLA regarding stated party affiliations. Do not get me wrong, Democratic activist women and/or politicians are totally welcome at the WLA. I’d also like to welcome women Republicans, Tea Party, Libertarians, Independents, and whoever else I may be forgetting to consider donating their records. The more diverse the WLA becomes regarding political collections, the more equal time for differing viewpoints.


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.


Horses for Classmates: Horsemanship and Horse Shows at Mundelein College

Imagine a beautiful spring day in one of Chicago’s numerous parks. Perhaps you are jogging, enjoying your lunch break from work on a park bench, or simply strolling down various paths—taking in the landscape and enjoying the stretch of your legs. You view your surroundings and find the usual suspects: birds, flowers, trees, and a gaggle of collegiate women on horseback taking in the sites of the gorgeous day. Nothing out of the ordinary.

Photo of dozens of riders (some from Mundelein College Riding Club) on the Annual Breakfast Ride through Lincoln Park on November 1, 1940. Mundelein Photograph Collection.

Photo of dozens of riders (some from Mundelein College Riding Club) on the Annual Breakfast Ride through Lincoln Park on November 1, 1940. Mundelein Photograph Collection.

In fact, up until the 1960s, this would not have been so unusual. Horseback riding was considered a popular form of exercise for many—including many students of Mundelein College. Mundelein College, a women’s Catholic liberal arts college, was founded by the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVMS) in 1929. When Mundelein opened its doors to students in the fall of 1930, horseback riding classes became a central part of its athletic program.

How did an urban college, housed in a skyscraper no less, provide the horses for these classes?  A Chicago Tribune article states that during the early to mid-twentieth century, there were approximately 20 stables located near various Chicago Park District riding trails, housing as many as 100 horses. These horses could either be boarded, given a stall paid for by their owner for a monthly sum, or rented from the stable by the hour for riding. Most likely, the students of Mundelein chose to participate using one of those two options.

The first horseback riding classes offered to students began only a year after Mundelein’s opening and continued into the 1960s. The Skyscraper, Mundelein’s student newspaper, reported that 56 students of various skill levels enrolled in the two-hour weekly class. Students with more experience rode park trails while beginning riders held their first lessons in an indoor arena of a nearby riding academy. The journalist wrote that the course, “promises to be a popular one. By personal interview with the young women it becomes evident that there is fascination in the rhythmic hoof-beats of a horse.” The class could be taken for gymnasium credit and in some instances supplemented “regular” gymnastic course requirements.[1]

Students on Horseback, 1938. Mundelein Photograph Collection

Students on Horseback, 1938. Mundelein Photograph Collection

Some Mundelein students elevated the horse-related activities at the college. A student organization called the “Equestriennes,” more formally the Mundelein College Riding Club, planned an annual horse show that challenged members to compete in various events that not only highlighted their technical skill but also promoted showmanship. Events such as “musical chairs on horseback” and a costume race added unique flavor to the more traditional atmosphere of a schooling show.[2] In later years, the Equestriennes opened up entrants to high-school students for a special invitational class and charged admission to the proceedings.[3]

Horsemanship awards photo of 2 riders with horse posing with their trophies, undated. Mundelein Photograph Collection.

Horsemanship awards photo of 2 riders with horse posing with their trophies, undated. Mundelein Photograph Collection.

Looking through pictures of Mundelein students competing alongside their friends and horsey partners takes me back to my own equestrian past. I rode and competed for 14 years before putting up the spurs to pursue my M.A in Public History. I think it’s time to dust off the old breeches and get back on the saddle!

Group photo of Mundelein College Horseback Riding Club taken at Parkway Stables for the Annual Horse Show, 1940. Mundelein Photograph Collection.

Group photo of Mundelein College Horseback Riding Club taken at Parkway Stables for the Annual Horse Show, 1940. Mundelein Photograph Collection.

[1] “Riding Classes Meet Each Week,” The Skyscraper, October, 15, 1931.

[2] “College Horse Show Includes Riding, Jumping Exhibition,” The Skyscraper, May 31, 1945.

[3] “Riders Vie for Trophies, Ribbons at Seventeenth Annual Horse Show,” The Skyscraper, May 6, 1957.


 

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.