This month's haul includes student letters from the 1910s and 1940s, Civil War artifacts, and newly digitized collections related to campus housing and social life.
Helen Dale Hopkins entered Indiana University from 1915-1918. She was an active member of the Classical Club, Browning Society, Pi Beta Phi, and was elected to the student honorary Phi Beta Kappa. This collection consists primarily of correspondence between Helen and her mother during her time at IU. Early letters report on joining to the Pi Beta Phi (the Pi Phi’s as she calls the sorority) and being in the library during freshman-sophomore scraps when the men were called outside and their hair forcibly cut. What we would describe as a modern-day foodie, in nearly every letter Helen reports on her meals (she seemed to have a particular fondness for potatoes and desserts), and vehemently thanks her mother for her weekly care packages of candies, cookies, bread, and wieners from home.
This collection consists of the family papers of Indiana University alumni John (B.S. 1941) and Hilda (Lease) Jay (B.S. 1945), who met as undergraduate students at IU. The collection largely consists of letters between John and Hilda in the first years of their relationship and marriage in the 1940s, including during John's World War II military service. The collection also includes the couple's correspondence with daughters Ellen and Sarah while they were attending IU in the 1960s.
The IU Archives recently received a gift of Alexander's Civil War sword and other artifacts from his military service. The addition also includes Alexander's postwar scrapbook, documenting his interest in the lives of fellow veterans, as well as war monuments and memorials.
The Halls of Residence Committee was established in September 1939 by President Herman B Wells, who appointed Ward Gray Biddle as its first chairman. The committee began meeting formally in 1940 to discuss dormitory matters such as budgets, living arrangements, fees, roommate preferences, and occupancy percentage reports. The minutes, statistics, and reports represented in this collection, now fully digitized, also provide a lens on shifting roles that race and gender played in campus policymaking.
The stated purpose of the IU AWS was "to bring about a greater spirit of unity and mutual helpfulness among women students, to give expression to the wishes and opinions of women students, and to encourage active cooperation in the work of women’s self-government.” Among the group's activities was the challenging of restrictive curfew and visitation policies that impacted the studies and social lives of women residents.