Politics in Indiana: Toilet Paper Edition

November is creeping up among us, which means people will be going out to the polls to vote on everything from our next president to county coroner this year! Recently, UASC created their fall display case, dedicated to politics in Indiana. Inside of the display, there are buttons, election results from 1828 from Vanderburgh County, Indiana, T-shirts, socks, and toilet paper. Yes, you read it correctly … there is toilet paper; but, not just any ordinary toilet paper. It is presidential toilet paper!

Right to Left: Gerald Ford (R) and Jimmy Carter (D)

On loan from a private donor, the toilet paper is from the 1976 presidential election between Republican nominee and then-incumbent president , Gerald Ford of Michigan against Democratic nominee, Jimmy Carter, of Georgia. As you tell from the packaging, you can identify whose is who by the color: blue for Jimmy Carter and red for Gerald Ford. Those colors are the identifying marks of their respective parties. For the low price of $2.99, anyone could purchase one of the candidates and show their support or make them kiss their derriere.

The results of the 1976 election was Jimmy Carter defeating Gerald Ford with electoral vote count of 297-240.

Stay tuned for more political-related memorabilia!

Works Cited:

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. United States presidential election of 1976. Encyclopædia Britannica, 2016, https://www.britannica.com/event/United-States-presidential-election-of-1976. Accessed 23 Sep. 2016

Dr. Donald Pitzer: Soaring into “New Harmony”

Professor Emeritus, Dr. Donald Pitzer, received an honorary Doctor of Laws from the University of Southern Indiana on April 29th, 2016.  Some would ask, why is this important? He is another gentleman receiving an honorary degree; however, Dr. Pitzer is not just another gentleman. He has an extensive history with the University of Southern Indiana. He taught history at USI from 1967 to 2007.


April 29th, 2016: USI President, Dr. Linda Bennett (left) giving Dr. Donald Pitzer (left) his honorary degree. [Photo Credit: Tonya Pitzer]

Dr. Pitzer’s academic career began at Wittenberg University.  He graduated in 1958 with a bachelor’s degree in humanities.  He continued his education by receiving his master’s degree in 1962 and doctoral degree in 1966 in history from Ohio State University.  Dr. Pitzer joined USI, then known as Indiana State University Evansville (ISUE) at the Centennial School in 1967.  He became the History Department’s first chair in 1976 until 1998. While teaching, Dr. Pitzer was active in the bowling club, chess clubs, and supported the USI basketball teams.  During his tenure, he taught a variety of history courses from basic American History to Millennialism and Communal Studies from 1967 to 2007.


Dr. Donald Pitzer (center) at the groundbreaking ceremony of the future site of Indiana State University-Evansville, now as USI, in June 1967. [Photo Credits: University Archives and Special Collections]

Communal studies is the investigation of intentional communities around the world. Dr. Pitzer researched about the Harmonist and Owenite communities in New Harmony, Indiana for forty years. He became known as an expert in communal history and his theory of “developmental communalism”.  He’s traveled across the United States and overseas visiting countless religious and secular groups.  He was one of the original founders of the Communal Studies Association in 1975 and served as the first president until 1993.  Under his direction the Center for Communal Studies opened and he was director until his retirement in 2007.  Dr. Pitzer has left as everlasting legacy through his hard work and dedication on the University of Southern Indiana.

Today, the Communal Studies (CS) collection in the University Archives and Special Collection, in cooperation with the Center for Communal Studies, focuses on modern communes and cooperative living. Dr. Pitzer is still contributing to the collections as well as writing and presenting on communal topics. He helped the shape the future of education in Evansville and work in communal studies will stand the test of time.


“Unofficial” naming of the University Archives and Special Collection’s Communal Reading Room on April 29th, 2016. [Photo Credits: James Wethington]

Shelby Gillam: Student Assistant Highlight


Shelby Gillam during our 2016 March Madness Promo

It is far too often that people use the term “library” as a blanket term for any place where one rents their books for free. Libraries actually exist in varieties, and despite what people may think, they are quite different from each other. This is especially true in the distinction between public and academic libraries. They share many similarities such as the opportunity for individuals to rent books, movies, and access to the Internet. These two forms of library have qualities that separates them from each other.

I have had a unique opportunity with my four years of working experience. I have had the experience of working at both a public and an academic library. For a few months, I was actually working at both at the same time. During this time, I was shocked by how different the two libraries were from each other. There are obvious differences: Rice Library is far bigger than almost all of the local libraries and it has more floors. The public library where I previously worked did not have multiple floors and it did not have an archives section like USI. Because of its academic nature, Rice Library has more resources to give students the best experience as possible while conducting research. Contrastingly, public libraries are usually more entertainment-oriented. Although the public libraries do not contain as many resources, the amount of leisure materials such as DVD’s, fiction books, and CD’s far outnumbers those of the academic library.

The work environment in each library is unique. Work in a public library is aimed towards developing their employees’ customer service skills. Schedules are strictly adhered to with no alterations allowed. This gives students experience with the working world which they will soon encounter upon their graduation. The emphasis at the public library is on development of skills that will benefit the patrons. Employees are rigorously evaluated by qualities such as promptness, politeness, knowledge of databases, and work-ethic. The public library’s strong points lie in the upholding of quality customer service.

The academic library work environment places value in the components of positive interactions between information seekers and information providers; however, the emphasis is on learning. Issues such as promptness and work-ethic are important to the academic library, but education takes priority. Academic libraries value knowledge above all other things. As a student assistant at Rice Library, I have learned copious amounts on varying topics. This enhances my experience as an employee, but it enhances the experience of any person who comes to the academic library in search of information. Academic libraries genuinely enjoy providing knowledge, and attaining their own knowledge through the assistance of patrons. It is because of this that both the patron and the employee have equally enjoyable experiences at the academic library.

Student Assistant Highlight: Mary Cravens

What is an archive and what is it for? An archive is defined as a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people. The University of Southern Indiana has its’ very own archive on the third floor of the David L Rice Library, but many students do not know we have one or know what an archive is.

History is not an enjoyable topic for many people, because many find it boring or useless to learn about the past.  What many people do not know is that the past is our future and it often repeats itself. With an archive being set up, it helps preserve artifacts such as: clothing, newspapers, books, documents, etc. This artifacts can be used for research or just for interest. Being able to look at or touch something from the past, can make history all the more special and enjoyable, for those who may not enjoy it as much as a historian.

The University Archives and Special Collections began at USI in 1972 and is the latest repository to be established in the Evansville area. Its’ mission has been collecting material on local and regional history, with special emphasis on the African-American, German, and Jewish communities. Some specific collection groups include: local authors, African American history, local businesses, local organizations and government, Indiana labor history, communal studies groups, and oral history.

One thing that sets USI’s archives apart from other archives in Indiana is our section on our history as a university. When the university went from Indiana State University – Evansville (ISUE) to University of Southern Indiana (USI), we store documentation from both of the university names. As new as the university is, the documentation is stored within the university archives.

Working in the archives has been a great experience for me as a history major; however, not all the student assistants here are history majors. There have been student assistants who are undecided in a major but that enjoy working with artifacts and collections. The archives has many interesting artifacts, but the staff is what makes it special. Working in the archives does not feel like a job because the staff are fun and open-minded.

Being a part of this team has made me appreciate being a history major. With history being learned constantly, there is more than you might not have known, and this is what the archives has taught me. The archives is more than a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people: it is a home for those who are outcast to other majors. Many people feel as if history is not a big part of life. They are wrong and history is what you make it and that is why I am here.

Mary C.

Mary Cravens

Eye-On-Fashion with Ruth Kishline

Keep up with fashion is a large commitment for designers, fashion houses, and the consumers. Everyone wants to know what is “in-style” that season of the year and keep up with the trends.  There are fashion events throughout the year, predominantly in New York City, London, and Paris.  Fashion has come onto the big screen on television like soap opera, The Bold and the Beautiful, sitcom Just Shoot Me!, comedy-drama Jane by Design,  and so on; however, many movies like The Devil Wears Prada and Zoolander focuses on fashion too.  Though Evansville is not one of the fashion capitals of the world, Ruth Kishline had a clothing store in the Tri-State.



Kishline had two locations for her store here in the Tri-State area: Mt. Vernon and McCutchanville, Indiana.  Her store was “Ruth Kishline’s Country Shop”.  Her stores operated from 1931 to 1993; however, Kishline did not design the sketches for her clothing. Geraldine McFadin was the artist behind the sketches for Kishline.  They were introduced and worked together for over thirty-five years.  McFadin’s designs were sold to some renowned designers in fashion: Calvin Klein, Armani, and Ralph Lauren.  The University Archives and Special Collections at the University of Southern Indiana contains over 700 original sketches.



On top of the Ruth Kishline collection (MSS 038) dealing with fashion, there is two other collections that deal with fashion.  The Helen Wallace collection (MSS 056)  has advertisements from Chicago Herald from 1920’s and some fashion sketches.   Finally, the Beardsley Family collection (MSS 297) contains men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing and accessories from 1860 to 1975. All of these collections are available to be viewed to students and public.

Allow Me To Introduce Myself: My Name is Matthew Darnell

Matt Darnell - Scarface Poster

I am Matthew Darnell. I am a History and German major. I have worked for the University of Southern Indiana University Archives and Special Collection for three years. My job in archives is to scan photos, record documents, and to assist our patrons. Before I began my job at the archives, like many people, I was unsure what the archives really is. At first, I believed archives was only used for school documents. After working here, I have seen archives has a wide range of resources: documents, photos, correspondences, and artifacts from Civil War to the Vietnam War. One of my favorite artifacts here is a German World War I helmet.


It is interesting to see objects from fifty to hundreds years ago. I believe more professors and students should make use of archives, especially for 100 level classes in English, Communications, and History. There are many primary documents students could use for their papers. Professors should encourage their students to come to archives to see what we offer them.


Aaron Allen: History & Archives

Aaron Allen - WWII Jacket and Army Hat (Dr. Marlene Shaw's Father)

The following blog was written by student assistant, Aaron Allen

All too often, history is an overlooked field in secondary and post-secondary education.  A student cannot graduate from the University of Southern Indiana without completing at least introduction level courses in math and English; however, it is possible to complete a four year degree without taking a single history course.  This standard implies that history is not important enough to be required in the core curriculum. Through my own history courses and my time as a student worker in the archives, I have learned this is not the case.  Understanding history is important regardless of your field.  Scientists and mathematicians have to understand the history of their field of study so that they make advances in the present. Even historians need an understanding of the first individuals who started to record history.

Unlike the past, historians now understand the importance of preserving historical artifacts.  Archives, like the one here at USI, are just one way to ensure the preservation of history.  As a student worker, I get to work with these artifacts every day.  Whether it is our numerous pictures of Evansville and the surrounding area or something much older working with history is as rewarding as it is important.

History is applicable in your own life in numerous ways.  In many subjects, students want to know when they will use the material they are learning in their own life.  It is difficult to go through a single day without using some sort of math or reading; however, the question must be asked, “When do I use history in my own life?” Take for example the upcoming presidential election: government and politics is a huge aspect of history everywhere in the world.  Regardless of your political stance, understanding history can help us pick the candidate we think will help this country the most.  We can answer questions such as, “How did policies such as the one this candidate is proposing work in the past?”  It seems that politicians will bring up our nation’s history in some instances.  Comprehending United States history ourselves can help us make sure what the politicians say is accurate.

On a smaller scale, history can help us understand our local area and surroundings.  Evansville has a rich history, which I learn more every day.  My own home town has house that was once station for the famous Underground Railroad.  Knowing facts like these are more than interesting conversation topics. They are significant pieces of history.

It may not be required in your core curriculum but you should make an effort to take a history course. Just as we use reading and math skills every day, you can use a better understanding of history on a regular basis.  My time as a student worker in the archives at USI has helped me see the importance of preserving history and understanding it. My courses in history only serve to reinforce this understanding.  History continues to help me in my own life.  It can benefit and prepare anyone else in the same way.