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Sammie MorrisAs we celebrate Black History Month, it is an appropriate time to think about the African-American students, faculty, and staff who broke new ground at Purdue and in society at large. In the Archives and Special Collections, we have been going through records from the past century and beyond to try and bring to light the individuals who were “firsts” at Purdue—the first person to graduate from a particular program, for example.

As we review records that the University created from the 1860s to the present, we look for clues about the people who were Purdue pioneers: e.g. the first woman to complete an engineering program; first African-American student to graduate with a Ph.D.; the first Native-American faculty member; and so on.

One thing that is both exciting and frustrating about Purdue’s archival record is it has not been organized and cared for over a span of time that is comparable with our peers. While many of our peer Big Ten institutions created their university archives in the 1960s or 1970s (or earlier), Purdue hired its first archivist in 2003. President Córdova assigned the Archives and Special Collections with responsibility for preserving the cultural and historical record of Purdue in 2009. We have had 15 years to catch up on saving almost 150 years of history! This has been an exciting time, as we go through old documents and photos to answer riddles about Purdue’s past.

Items from the Purdue University African-American Students, Alumni, and Faculty CollectionIn time for Black History Month, we present the blog post, "Celebrating Black History Month: Firsts by Purdue African-American Students and Alumni," which highlights a number of African-American pioneers at Purdue. Mary Sego, Archives Assistant, researched and wrote the post, and it contains a startling discovery—the books on Purdue history that claim our first African-American alumnus to be David Robert Lewis (1894) are incorrect. There was at least one earlier African-American graduate, George Lacey. Mary is not the first person to discover this (Fred Whitford, for example, points this out in his biography of William Carroll Latta, The Grand Old Man of Purdue University and Indiana Agriculture); however, Mary’s post offers more depth on African-American history at Purdue than has been easily available in the past. Much of her work stems from groundbreaking work by a graduate student, Alexandra Cornelius, who collected evidence on early African Americans at Purdue as part of her research. Ms. Cornelius painstakingly went through student yearbooks and other sources of early student life to try and track down early African-American students, faculty, and staff.

What makes the Archives important in this story is that, until the 2000s, there was no push to bring source material about Purdue history into one place, where it could be properly cared for and shared broadly with the Purdue community and with the public. So now that we have a University Archives, we have brought together in one place the work done by grad students, like Alexandra Cornelius. In addition, we have work conducted by Purdue scholars and staff like Fred Whitford, who has written many books on aspects of Purdue history; we have the Debris yearbooks; “The Exponent” student newspaper; the Board of Trustees’ meeting minutes; the papers of hundreds of Purdue alumni, faculty, and staff; and the oral history interviews of hundreds of individuals all finally coming together in one place to fill in the missing puzzle pieces of Purdue history. It is an exciting time, as we approach the University’s 150th anniversary in 2019, to finally see the various components of that history coming together and revealing new answers.

Purdue University's first African-American Homecoming Queen Kassandra Agee Chandler and Purdue University Archivist Sammie MorrisI encourage you to read Mary’s blog post to find out more about African-American pioneers at Purdue. Join us in celebrating the individuals who had the courage and persistence to be “firsts,” whether it was the first person like them in the classroom, or in making a national impact, such as the role of Purdue students in founding the National Society of Black Engineers. Purdue has been affiliated with a countless number of noteworthy individuals, and Mary’s blog post is a great starting point in getting to know some of our pioneering African-American Boilermakers. And track our progress, on the Archives and Special Collections Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts to hear about current developments, such as the recent donation by Kassandra Agee Chandler of her papers documenting Purdue’s first (and only) African-American Homecoming Queen.


Two Purdue University faculty members have been named recipients of the 2017-18 Library Scholars Grant, which supports each grant recipient’s access to unique collections of information around the country and the world.

Charlene ElsbyIndiana (University) Purdue (University) Fort Wayne (IPFW) Assistant Professor of Philosophy Charlene Elsby was awarded $5,000 to travel to the Husserl Archives at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Catholic University, Leuven, Belgium) to continue her research about the roots of phenomenology. Purdue University Libraries Assistant Professor Kendall Roark was awarded $5,000 to conduct archival research within organizational and community collections housed in the Arizona Queer Archives (University of Arizona).

Established in 1985 by the 50th anniversary gift of members of the Class of 1935, the Library Scholars Grant Program is available for non-tenured and recently tenured Purdue faculty in all disciplines from the West Lafayette, Fort Wayne, IUPUI, and Northwest campuses, as well as those in the Statewide Technology Program.

Kendall RoarkThe archival research that both Elsby and Roark will undertake will be used for an individual book, a monograph, and/or a project based on their research.

According to Elsby, whose research project is titled, “Time-Consciousness and Transcendental Idealism,” the 2017-18 grant award will enable her to access the Husserl Archives, where she has previously conducted research supported by the Library Scholars Grant Program.

“When I left the archives in 2016, I was halfway through translating Husserl’s essay on Berkeleyan idealism, ‘Esse und Percipi,’ a work which I hope to continue, with the ultimate goal of producing an examination of the relevant differences between Husserlian and Berkeleyan idealism,” noted Elsby, who is also the interim director of the philosophy program in the IPFW Department of English and Linguistics.

Roark noted that materials from the Arizona Queer Archives, “which engages the local community in the development of its collections and prioritizes the everyday lives of LGBTQ Arizonans,” will be used to complete a final chapter of a book manuscript, tentatively titled “Oasis: Imaginative Geographies and the Marginal Locations of Queer,” as well as an online exhibit related to the history of LGBTQ activism and civic engagements along the U.S. and Mexico border.

“‘Oasis’ draws on my past ethnographic multi-modal fieldwork and archival research on hate crime memorials and anti-gay ballot initiative campaigns in Southern Arizona,” Roark explained. “The book will complement recent ethnographic work and intersectional and transnational borderlands research such as, ‘Queer Migration Politics’ by Karma Chavez (2013) and contributions to the history of sexuality such as ‘Safe Space: Gay Neighborhood History and the Politics of Violence’ by Christina Hanhardt (2013). Through this work, I seek to contribute to discussions around participatory/collaborative research, as well as material and political implications of movement, ethnographic, and archival memory practices.”

The grant program, which the Class of 1935 has supported continuously over the last 33 years, covers the recipients’ expenses associated with the cost of transportation, lodging, meals, and fees charged by the library or other collection owner.

For more information about the program, and to see the past recipients of the Library Scholars Grant Program, visit www.lib.purdue.edu/scholars/past_recipients.


Mobile Making Workshop: Zines

Faculty and staff of the Library of Engineering and Science in the Wilmeth Active Learning Center and the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections held a Mobile Making Workshop and helped students create their own "zines" in the WALC Feb. 8. View more photos at www.facebook.com/PurdueLibraries/posts/10156183938401079.


The Purdue Black Graduate Student Assn. put together this poster to celebrate Black History Month, and it is displayed in the case outside the entrance to the Mathematical Sciences Library.







You will notice the use of these icons before the article that are symbolic of our Libraries strategic goals.

SCHOLARLY COMMUNICATION: We enhance the spectrum of scholarly communication from discovery to delivery through the provision of information resources, services, research, partnerships, and national and international leadership. We advocate the change in scholarly communication to promote economic sustainability, effective use of copyright, and open access to knowledge for all.

ENGAGEMENT AND EMERGING OPPORTUNITIES:We commit our resources and expertise in Library, Information, and Archival Sciences to advance the profession and contribute to the welfare and economic development of the citizens and state of Indiana, the nation, and the world.

LEARNING:We contribute to student success and lifelong learning through innovative educational practices. Our research-based information literacy programming empowers Purdue's diverse communities of learners to use information critically to learn and to create new knowledge. Our learning spaces, both virtual and physical, align with evolving curricula and student learning needs.

INFRASTRUCTURE: Libraries staff working together to enhance the users experience, raise awareness of Purdue Libraries and recognize the continued learning and successes of our staff.






Graduating Student Assistant Recognition
Deadline: Friday, March 9
Questions to Elaine Bahler



National Library Lover's Month Exhibit
Hicks Undergraduate Library in February

Mobile Making Workshop: Zine Makerspace Party
1-4 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22
WALC, first floor

Annual Staff Awards Luncheon
11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Tuesday, March 27
South Ballroom, PMU

One Book Higher Poster Session
10-11:30 a.m., Tuesday, March 27
South Ballroom, PMU



Ilana Stonebraker presented, "Making Greater Lafayette Greater!" Invited Community Program at Tippecanoe County Public Library-Downtown, Feb. 3, 2018

Bert Chapman published “2018 U.S. Nuclear Posture Review," China Institute Policy Analysis, Feb. 13, 2018




Purdue Today
Book focusing on IMPACT available for preorder March 1 (Jan. 31)
Clarence Maybee

Hicks Undergraduate Library receives additions, improvements (Feb. 6)



Submit your LINK Letter here



Submit your SMILE nomination here



Creamy Garlic Brussel Sprouts and Bacon



Copy for the next issue is due by noon, Wednesday, Feb. 28. Send to Teresa Koltzenburg at tkoltzen@purdue.edu