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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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By Justin Meek

Icaria: A Brief History

The Icarians are a communal group that can trace their existence back to 19th century Frenchmen Etienne Cabet. Cabet was an accomplished lawyer, teacher, public official, and novelist who heavily believed in utopias during his time. In his novel “Voyage En Icarie”, Cabet described a social organization which he believed would bring peace, justice, equality, and brotherhood to the World. Cabet also spoke of a society of complete equality where property and money were abolished. His revolutionary and socialist ideas eventually caught the eyes of the French government and in 1849, Cabet fled the country with about 496 others. However, the French government was not the only reason for his departure. Cabet saw that on a societal level, France was falling to inflation, crime, riots, and general civil disorder. After departing France, Cabet and his followers ended up in Texas where they began to set up shop. By 1850, conditions in Texas were becoming less than satisfactory and a change was required.

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In 1850, Cabet heard that Mormons in Nauvoo Illinois were planning to vacate the area and move westwards. In response to these developments, Cabet entered into negotiations with the Mormons. In the deal that followed, Cabet purchased the whole of Mormon owned Nauvoo Illinois in the form of Temple Square and multiple housing units. After purchasing the basic layout, Cabet and his followers began an ambitious construction project. Under this construction project, a dining hall, apartments, library, infirmary, and school were constructed. With the establishment of the community at Nauvoo, Cabet began a program of socialization and education. The program was designed to pass down the teachings of Icaria to future generations.

At the core of this system was the idea that each member of society must progress in the direction of his or her major talent in order to achieve true enlightenment. Education was broken up into several elements which included physical, intellectual, moral, industrial, and civic. All of these elements were vital if the colony was to pass its knowledge down to future generations of Icarians. The education system itself was inclusive of both boys and girls. Average classrooms contained about 15 boys and 15 girls with a male and female teacher present to guide both sets of children. Under careful instruction, children were taught history, literature, poetry, and prose.

In addition to the socialization and education program, family life was another crucial part in Icarian society. Cabet believed that the family was the key to order and peace in society. Western Europe had abandoned this ideal in favor of loyalty to the state, but Cabet knew that family came first. Unlike the normal familial traditions of old, Cabet believed that women were equal to men within the family. The mother according to Cabet was vital for the education and instruction of the family. In 1855 an Icarian constitution was created that emphasized the importance of family. Under the constitution, marriage was openly encouraged to guarantee order and peace. In fact all those who could marry had to marry. In addition to this rule, marriage was seen as a binding contract in Icaria that no man or woman could break. Families in Icaria were seen as economic units that promoted a division of labor that helped organize society. They were also seen as the first resource in the protection of children, the aged, and the ill. The family was also seen as a primary socializing force in Icarian society. French Icarian Community

By 1860, relations between the old and new generations of Icaria at Nauvoo were deteriorating. In response to this divisiveness, the community broke into different sects that were scattered across Missouri, Iowa, and California. The last Icarian settlement located in Iowa collapsed in 1898. After 50 years of survival, the Icarian community evaporated into the atmosphere of history. In 1969, Icarian survivor Lillian Snyder held a gathering for Icarian descendants at the newly formed Nauvoo State Park.    From this single meeting, a communal tradition of teaching and learning Icarian history was instituted. In 1977, the group formally organized itself through a constitution and several by-laws. From that point on, it became the central focus of the group to perpetuate the memory and spirit of the men, women, and children who established the society of Icaria. By 1984 the group widened and became known as the National Icarian Heritage Society and by 1990 the Icarian Living History Museum was officially opened to the public. To this very day, the museum is dedicated to preserving the French heritage in America. For more information on Icaria, check out the University Archives and Special Collections Communal Collection. There are many papers, pamphlets, and other materials that the curious researcher can find in this unique collection.

Plaque at the Icarian Cemetery