Student can Delve into Purdue’s Archives to Explore its Giant Leaps Across the Last 150 Years

Over the past 150 years, Purdue has left footprints across many disciplines. These achievements bolster its land grant legacy and span industries such as agriculture, engineering and the sciences (including management and liberal arts). The histories of these achievements are preserved in the Purdue archives and special collections.

Filled with many historical treasures such as documents, photographs, and artifacts, the Purdue archives offer an unrivaled view into Purdue’s past and the giant leaps made by its alumni, students and faculty.

Two new hands-on courses offered in Spring 2019, “Boilermakers: The Many Histories of Purdue University” and “Purdue at 150: A History of Diversity in Student Life,” will take a closer look and explore Purdue’s rich history.

“Boilermakers: The Many Histories of Purdue University” will focus on the many influential contributions by alumni and the university to the higher education and global communities across the 19th and 20th centuries. This will be a hands-on research experience that will not only delve into Purdue’s archive and libraries, but also provide opportunities for journalistic style interviews that will help uncover unheard perspectives and personal stories. Each student will write a short research paper on a focused topic of choice and interest. Possible topics include:

  • Biographies of leading Purdue personalities
  • Famous and successful alumni
  • Aeronautics at the airport
  • Aerospace achievements
  • Purdue at war and military service
  • Famous university events, like the “Bug Bowl”
  • Sororities and fraternities
  • Student protests
  • The history of an academic department
  • The studies programs (for example, Jewish, Women’s, and African-American);
  • Religion on campus
  • University rivalries
  • Campus traditions and buildings
  • University relations in Indiana
  • Purdue football or basketball traditions

In addition to contributions to many industries, Purdue’s student body has also made significant contributions to campus life in the areas of diversity and social justice. “Purdue at 150: A History of Diversity in Student Life,” is an experiential course that delves into this history through exploring historical documents, photographs, and artifacts from the archive and special collections.

While exploring these rich contributions, students will learn archival research skills, how archives are collected and organized, how to create digital archives, how to preserve historical documents, and how to use digital humanities tools to shine a light on diverse people in history.

This course will be especially beneficial to those graduate students looking to pursue a career in archives, museums, libraries, historical societies, or similar cultural institutions.

Course Information

Course Name: Boilermakers: The Many Histories of Purdue University, History 395
When: Spring of 2019. Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 10:30 to 11:20 am
Where: University Hall 319
For More information: Professor Michael G. Smith, mgsmith@purdue.edu

Course Name: Purdue at 150: A History of Diversity in Student Life, ILS 695
When: Spring 2019. Wednesdays 9:30am-12:20pm
Pre-requisites: Open to graduate students of all disciplines
For More Information: Professor Sammie Morris Director, Karnes Archives & Special Collections & University Archivist, morris18@purdue.edu

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