The Traveling Archives

Have you always wanted to learn more about Rice Library’s Archival Collections? Maybe you were too afraid to come to IMG_5260the archives, maybe you weren’t sure what you wanted to see. The good news is that our Archives and Reference Librarian, Jennifer Greene, is giving two presentations next week about collections! Stop by and see these amazing collections and learn more about USI and Evansville History!

Fifty Years of Knowledge for Life

Jennifer Greene, Archives & Reference Librarian University of Southern Indiana will talk about the history and impact of USI on the community

When: May 19, 6:30pm-8:00pm
Where: David L. Rice Library, Lab A
Sponsored by: Southwestern Indiana Historical Society

100 Years of Vintage Clothing

11147142_816213638432147_564883470351259791_o

Bizarre Books

The rolling snowball of knowledge has gradually accumulated weight during society’s educational, industrial, and technological rise. The dark corners of the unexplored have been blasted with light; every nook, cranny, crevice, and dust mite dismembered, analyzed, and put back together with the haste of perpetual possibility. The ideas behind literature are no different: Every genre has been explored and exploited to its limit. The most ludicrous of topics have been best-sellers; movies have been written and produced detailing the most insignificant events in human history. Make no mistake, the absurd is not being equated to the dull; rather the opposite. Our entertainment surpasses the boundaries of reality once society begins scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas. Flirting with the edges to enter a zone of chaotic ingenuity, infinity is put on trial.

My constant pursuit of new information mixes an enticing cocktail. Liquid curiosity blends with the compelling notion that society’s best ideas spawn from desperation. With my first sip, I dive into the bizarre books of the world, greatly anticipating the envelopment of the unusual and the self-affirmation that comes from contrasting crazy.

Titles are the easy part. The Internet embraces weird, celebrating the absurd with vigor. My difficulty rests in purpose. A publication exists, but why? Books like “Yoga for Equestrians: A new path for achieving union with the horse,” and “Extreme Ironing,” garnered more confusion than satisfaction.

bizarre bizarre2

It didn’t compute. I have taken various marketing courses here at USI and I know there’s an intense and thorough process that a product goes through before it is released to the public, a safety net of sorts to ensure no money will be wasted. The biggest aspect marketers look for is desire, is there a need for the product? Is there an audience that is willing to spend money on this product? The fact that these books exist means yes, there is a need and there is an audience, or at least there was.

This revelation frightened me. Is there a gang of yoga-fanatics out there contorting their body into shapes along the spine of a confused horse? Are there people who, instead of jumping off airplanes, climbing mountains, or running marathons, are instead getting their kicks from ironing atop bridges? Or, in the case of the David Rice Library’s very own “Knitting with Dog Hair,” are there those who gradually horde their pet’s hair, anticipating the moment when they have enough fibers to knit a sock?

bizarre3

The question remains, what are we to do with these books? Perhaps categorize the literature as nothing more than detailed crazy, an irrelevant anomaly that obtrusively pushed its way into society only to live a shelved life. Doing so would be a severe injustice, however. Their existence as a physical representation of a demographical fad that came and went, and now viewed as a comical artifact, is surely cause for a generational analysis. Compiling the literature of the unusual would represent a portrait of human interest: A history. The books are a portrayal of who we are today, a testament to the past crazy that has shaped the current crazy.

Above all, it is the imaginative and perseverant individual behind the literature that I am most appreciative of, the person who shows that the bottom of the barrel is not a limitation, but a starting point for a new story.

~ADVICE FOR SPRING FINALS 2K15

What was once an irritating suspicion is now a raging wind that propels the hand of death forward, latching onto the Screagle with a firm, relentless grip. I am talking about finals! Yes, the season we all dread, but simultaneously adore for its reward, approaches with a vengeance. The library is here to help you prepare (you know this), but we are also here to help soften the inevitable blow that comes around mid-finals week once the reality of the situation really sets in.

Below is advice from library staff and fellow Screagles, compiled for your benefit. Let the instruction seep into your soul, re-figure your brain, and command your spirit, so when the time comes for dread to knock on sanity’s door, you will not be perturbed.

You got this Finals Season, Screagles!!

Ashley Blinstrub

-“Take frequent ‘clear your head’ breaks.”

-“If you have to listen to music, choose classical music!”

Joanne Artz

– “Study hard, but in the hours leading up to the test, relax your brain with a movie or music!”

 Phil Orr

– “Remember this too shall pass.”

Alyssa Smith

-“Calm the crap down.”

Jack Wallace

-“Ask Professor McGonagall for a Time Turner.”

Katie Loehrlein

-“Allow yourself to take breaks.”

Kyla McRoberts

-‘Start studying early so finals aren’t the worst week of your life. For memory, I make up weird songs, rhymes, or acronyms to help me.”

Marna Hostetler

– “My advice – both for finals and for those times when life seems too much – is:  One day at a time.”

Peter Whiting

-“Make sure you get adequate sleep, eat well, get exercise and enjoy short breaks with friends!”

~Advice for after graduation~

-“Life is a banquet, so take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way!”

Emily Hansen

-“Just getting a FULL night’s sleep works wonders. I know everyone thinks that you need to stay up all night to study for finals to get a good grade, but I’ve realized in my three years here that if I studied wisely and got a decent night’s sleep, I always come out with a better grade than I did cramming last minute and staying up all night on coffee binges.”

Tanner Maurer

-“Study in groups, you know that you forgot something throughout the year.”

Jennifer Greene

– “Eat fruits and vegetable for instant energy and strength.”

The Realities of Social Media

With one semester as the Rice Library’s social media intern under my belt, I think it necessary to divulge what I have learned.

Books are cool, okay?

As a youth I enjoyed books but the obsession whittled away quickly upon entering High School. Working at the library the last few months reignited that flame. I have spent hours wandering through the aisles, an act that tempted my curiosity to no end. It became impossible to walk past books holding the mysteries of foreign lands, the conspiracies of political dynasties, the magic of poetic rhythm, and NOT pick them up. I am very thankful to the library for pulling me back into the world of information; where words from a computer screen plant themselves rather poorly inside my brain, the literature from a book is deeply rooted, ready for plucking at a moment’s notice.

I am also thankful for the humbling qualities of the library. I was embarrassingly unaware of the world until I was in a position to witness the multitude of its subjects: thousands of books detailing material that had remained foreign to me all my life. Although I do not confess to have gained a perceptive knowledge of every subject that inhabits our library, I can declare that I am at least aware.

SHHHH!

My preconceived notions about working in a library had not come from research, and had no factual support whatsoever. I had plucked scenes from movies and television programs, children’s books, and those awful motivational posters that teachers buy. These portray the librarian as a tight-bunned, bony-fingered prude that loses her cool at the slightest raise of voice. Taking that information, I molded my idea of what a 21st century librarian is. I couldn’t have been more wrong. As shocking as it may seem, a librarian’s primary job is not re-shelving books. It is a job that includes a multitude of duties, ranging from teaching instructional classes to literally everything else. They have a working knowledge on every resource the library has to offer, armed to aid any student that approaches with inquiry. Also librarians are an extremely cordial people, and most don’t even wear glasses… take THAT stereotypes.

Another element I found rather surprising is the amount of resources available to the student at the Rice Library. This wouldn’t have been as much as a shock had I not already been a student here for two years. Photoshop, movies, music, a literal wall of magazines, interlibrary loan, charging stations, iPad, and the list goes on and on. After working here for a couple of weeks I mourned the loss of my perceptive ability, for how could I possibly have attended this university for two years and been so blind to the resources so clearly available?

Coffee + Sanity

In third grade my class went on field-trip to the Indianapolis Zoo. The details of that trip elude me except for the following: I had dropped my peanut butter sandwich on the sidewalk of bird-dropping hell and proceeded to engulf the entire thing, and Flamingos are pink from the vast amount of shrimp they consume. The idea that a diet can affect one’s body color was evidently the shock of the century, for I implanted that fact deep into my consciousness. I still think about that today, whenever I am drinking coffee. Waking up at seven every day is a routine that had two years (freshman +sophomore) to disentangle itself from my being. Coffee smoothed the transition, and I continue to drink it because it is the only thing keeping me together at this point. I have yet to notice any change in my body’s color, but I will keep you updated if the vast amount of brown coffee beans I absorb daily initiates any effect to my complexion.

Observations

I have noticed a few patterns whilst dabbling in the social media world that I find a bit interesting. First off, the student body LOVES the 1960s/70s time period, specifically the hippie culture associated with the era. Any time I post a throwback to that period, the response is enormous. For example, a recent picture I posted depicted the Bull Island Music festival, which took place around the Evansville area in 1969 and in no time at all the picture, was retweeted nearly 20 times and favorited even more than that.

I have also been pleasantly surprised by the lack of “grammar Nazis,” as they have come to be called. Although I am an English major, I despise grammar; I respect its effort, but hate its binding qualities. Make no mistake; I think in the most grammatically correct sentences and phrases, but my brain works faster than my fingers do, leading to errors in my work. Luckily, I have yet to have a big slip up, only a few minor faults that librarians Joanne or Ashley, in their infinite wisdom, have quickly corrected, saving me from impending backlash.

Finally, I have found that USI students have a weird obsession with Dave Coulier. Early on in the Fall semester, I edited, rather poorly I might add, a photo to include Full House actor Dave Coulier strolling through the hallways of the library. My goal was to show people that the library has a sense of humor, but what I took as humor, others took as fact. They saw this picture of a 90s Dave Coulier roughly cropped into the Rice Library and lost their cool. People were demanding Dave, coming to the library full of excitement and childhood glee, only to have their spirit broken when informed the reality. I apologize to the multitude of students whose dreams were crushed that autumn afternoon, as well as to the faculty who had to witness the life drain from the hopefuls’ eye’s as they broke the news.

The System of Mystery

In light of the recent midterm elections, I found it plausible to compose a politically- themed blog post. Despite voter turnout diminishing in recent years, politics remain an enormous influence on the average American. Now before you begin tearing your hair out in a threatening rage, allow me to explain. I am neither promoting nor discouraging any political affiliation, but providing insight to a read that I found particularly engaging and thought-provoking.

I found myself in the Rice Library’s American History section (second floor) when I came across this peculiar publication: “Family of Secrets” by Russ Baker, a rather cryptic title for the generally straightforward genre. Interest piqued, I seized the book from its place on the shelf as my eyes slid down the length of the book’s spine, arriving at a short description of the book that read: “The Bush dynasty, the powerful forces that put it in the White House, and what their influence means for America.” I re-shelved the book, picturing this Russ Baker as a crazy loon, driven mad by theories of conspiracy. A transparent attempt at fear-mongering, the Bushes were as clean-cut as they come!

BP3

That night the book remained in the Rice Library but its description remained in my head. What were the “powerful forces” that lead to a man gaining the most powerful position in the world? Are they still around years after Bush’s presidency? Should I, as an American, be informed about these “forces”?  To the questions that were choking my slumber, I had no absolute answer, only the speculation that was becoming increasingly absurd as the night dragged on.

For those who watch the ABC show “Scandal” or the Netflix original series “House of Cards”, you are aware of the idea that what Americans see, and what really occurs in government, are two completely different entities. This can be a scary but fascinating thought: To suggest that the vast American public is unknowingly being governed by some private force. The next morning I quenched my thirst for answers by checking out the book.

Baker rather extensively traces the “Bush Dynasty” back quite a few years in order to answer his own question: How did the “under qualified” George W. Bush become the most powerful man in the world for two consecutive terms? His findings are so shocking and outlandish that even I had to do some fact checking. Baker proves that the people who are really in power in the United States do not have a government title.

I know there are those of you who are already questioning Russ Baker’s reliability. I must admit that I was highly skeptical at first, but Baker quickly squelched the fire of skepticism by establishing his credibility through citing his sources early on, a smart move for anyone who wants to be taken seriously after making such a bold claim. Republican or Democrat, I highly recommend this book to those who have a craving for a deeper understanding of the inner-most workings of the federal government.

Russ Baker’s “Family of Secrets” is currently available for checkout at the Rice Library! Prepare yourself for the onslaught of allegations and shocking “coincidences.” A great read! :)

BP1 BP2

Wilfred C. Bussing: Newspaper Tycoon and Superstar

In 1965, Wilfred C. Bussing stood at the top of Evansville’s newspaper entity commonly known as the Evansville Press. Within a few months, the newspaper mogul was retiring from his lofty position as president. After his retirement, Bussing received great praise for his monumental efforts with the Press. He was noted as an enthusiastic man who always loved to change the game and push the boundaries of newspaper publishing. Many of the farewell letters in the David L. Rice Library Archives Bussing Collection further illustrate the importance of this man’s efforts. He singlehandedly inspired a new generation of newspaper publishers that would emerge later in the 1960’s. Above all, Bussing built respect for newspaper publishing in Evansville. Bussing raised the Evansville Press to soaring heights and infused it with the current popularity it holds today as the renamed Evansville Courier and Press. In order to understand Bussing, one has to look at his rise to prominence in the 20th century.

MSS 108-3

As the early 20th century began to pick up, Wilfred C. Bussing emerged as an average high school kid that would soon accomplish the extraordinary. Bussing in his youth delivered and sold newspapers in the little Midwest hamlet known as Evansville. Riding his bicycle across town, he could not have known what his future would hold. It would be years after high school, that he would begin his quest to establish the Evansville Press as a main contender in the newspaper market. In high school, Bussing expanded his entrepreneurial enterprises by getting his feet wet in the vanilla extract business. Eventually, Bussing was supplying vanilla extract to over 60 grocery stores throughout the area. As Bussing expanded his operations out of high school, he caught the attention of the Evansville Press. The Press temporarily hired Bussing to expand their operation. Bussing started by expanding routes and hiring more paperboys in order to bring papers to more citizens in Evansville. Bussing continued to fulfill this role throughout high school until his graduation. After graduating from high school, the Press hired Bussing at about $6 an hour as an office boy. Bussing always looked for opportunities. He quickly became an advertising salesman at the Press and eventually worked his way to business manager by his thirties. Under Bussing, the Evansville Press grew exponentially, as Evansville expanded. Busing promoted the small town as a go to metropolitan shopping center. After establishing the Press as a powerful and influential institution, Bussing eventually worked his way to president of the Press. Bussing’s quick rise from simple high school boy to president of a prolific newspaper is astounding.

MSS 108-4

Throughout the years, Bussing became associated with popular figureheads and causes. The vast wealth of letters in the William Bussing Collection illustrates the man’s popularity and influence on history. One such letter he received was from none other than Helen Keller in April of 1943. At that time, World War II was raging across Europe and the Pacific. Droves upon droves of American fighting men joined the crusade against tyranny in Europe and the Pacific. However, some Americans felt left out of the war especially the blind and lame. Being blind herself, Keller appealed to Bussing for financial support in order to fund the American Foundation for the Blind. According to Keller, all men despite limitations were soldiers of humanity. Many soldiers in life according to Keller lay wounded on the battlefields of civilization.  This included the blind members of American society who felt disenfranchised during the war. The financial support of Bussing would allow the American Foundation for the Blind to provide its members and others with disabilities a role in American society. According to Keller, the blind could be salvaged from the dark recesses of life with financial support. MSS 108-1In addition to providing financial aid to the American Foundation for the Blind, Bussing supported the China Relief Legion.

In the 1930’s, China had been brutally invaded by the Imperial Japanese Army. Suffering, death, and starvation followed as the Japanese tightened their grip on the population. By 1942, the Chinese were actively fighting the Japanese in a struggle for national survival. The China Relief Legion was an organization designed to provide the Chinese population with necessities such as medical supplies and food. Bussing was heavily involved in the organization and often gave generous financial support to it. As a result he received an Award of Recognition along with the Press that praised Bussing and his Enterprise as saviors of Chinese civilization.

MSS 108-3-1  Another prolific entity that Bussing received a letter from was the first director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, John Edgar Hoover.

The letter was written in November of 1940 and in the letter, Hoover compliments Bussing for an article that was published in the Press. The article titled, “Dies, Jackson and the FBI” praises the FBI as an institution dedicated to justice and the protection of the American public. Hoover goes on to wish Bussing and the Press all the luck in the world and pleas for future support of the FBI through more articles.

MSS 108-2

It is amazing to think that an Evansville native such as Bussing was involved with such famous figureheads and noble organizations. The Bussing Collection in University Archives houses even more interesting stories for the curious researcher. Next time you stop by the Rice Library, head up to archives and explore the collection yourself. You might be surprised what you find.

Written by Matt Baker, USI student

Archibald: A Bird of Few Words

When greatest mascot’s names are called,

Among them will be Archibald.

A bird who doesn’t have to fly,

‘Cause basketball will get him high.

And he can do the victory shuffle,

Without a single feather’s ruffle.

And he worked hard to learn to speak,

English through his massive beak.

So he can cheer his team to play,

This suave and stylish bird of prey.

And old Ace Purple across the town,

Had better never come around.

 “Archy” by: George Simpson

UP21686

We all have heard of Archibald Eagle or Archie our school’s mascot. Love him or hate him he is a symbol of everything the University of Southern Indiana stands for. However not many people know his history. We must look far back before the University of Southern Indiana became its own independent higher education institution. It all started during the fall semester in 1970 on the campus of Indiana State University of Evansville (ISUE). ISUE just moved its campus to the west side of Evansville. ISUE officials believed that with the new campus there needed to be a new name or “mascot.” Previously the ISUE athletic teams were known as the Spartans, but soon after the move in 1970 the Screaming Eagles name was chosen.

With the Screaming Eagles name came the mascot. It’s interesting to know that Archie has been around since October 1970, but didn’t actually get his name until 1979. Before 1979 students and fans just called him the Eagle. It was then declared on November 7, 1979 that a contest would determine our mascot’s name. The “Name the Mascot” Contest was announced on the front page of The Shield proclaiming that they were looking for support from students and faculty in selecting an individual name for the Eagle seen at games, practices, and rallies. Along with The Shield the contest was also sponsored by Student Activities and the Student Union Board with the expectation that a proud, dignified would be chosen. The winner of the contest received a cash prize and recognition at the season opener basketball game that was played on December 7th.

On 4:00pm November 20, 1979 the “Name the Mascot” Contest came to a close. With well over 100 entries The Shield along with a panel of judges began looking through and judging the names. Those on the panel included: Student Union Board president David Stumpf; Student Government representative Steve Hart; Sherianne Standley from the University President’s office; Shield staffers Kyle Roth, Kelley Coures, and Steve Costello; Mark Duckworth from the baseball team; and Dan Labhart from the basketball team. After an hour of deliberating the number of entries was cut to five. Finalists included: Thor, J. Edgar Swoop, Archibald, Everest, and Champion.

UP14182

After two votes the group couldn’t decide a winner. The judges had weighed each name on the bias that it (a) was easy to shout, (b) could not be ridiculed, and (c) did not copy that of another school. Originality was also included as a criterion. The final judging was made giving each judge an opportunity to rank the choices in order. The entry with the least points would be most popular and win. Conversely Steve Costello, organizer of the contest, suggested that his entry, which made the final five, be stricken. He believed that it was inappropriate for an organizer to be eligible for the winning name. However, Sherianne Standley pointed out that a good name should not be ruled out ineligible because of who submitted it; other judges agreed. The point totals stood as follows: Archibald – 17, Everest – 19, Champion – 20, J. Edgar Swoop – 21, and Thor – 21.

The name Archibald won by a narrow margin and the winner Steve Costello donated his prize money to the day care center on campus to be used for toys for Christmas. Costello was quoted as saying, “I really feel uncomfortable about winning the contest. However, if the judges feel that entry would best contribute to the personality of the mascot, I’m happy to contribute.” The Eagle was introduced with his new name Archibald on December 1, 1979 when the ISUE Screaming Eagles hosted the Hilldale Chargers at Central Arena. Obviously Archie doesn’t look the same as he did back in the 1970s. He went from something intimidating to his goofy cartoon self that we know today. Why did he change? There’s no simple answer to that. Maybe it’s because everyone changes. Or maybe it’s because our school has changed from Indiana State University of Evansville to the University of Southern Indiana. I can tell you though Archie has been around for forty-three years and there are no signs right now that say he won’t be around for the next forty-three years.

UP07000

UP15882

By Justin Meek