We Can and Will Prevail

From the desk of Dr. Nora Pat Small:

In going through some files last night in search of something else, I came across some reminiscences that my father wrote in February 1997 at the age of 87. I offer them here, in these very trying times, by way of thanks to all those who have worked, and continue to work so hard on behalf of EIU; I offer them to honor those who have fought for reform; and I offer them to remind us all, especially our students, that we can and will prevail.

“In September 1929 I quit my job and enrolled at Creighton University, having saved enough money for tuition for two years and possibly three. I had put some money in a bank savings account, and about $50 in a stock that my sister, Doris, seemed to think was a winner. She was working for a stock broker at that time. Late in October, she came home with the news that the market had crashed and the stock I had invested in had crashed also. While that represented a substantial loss, I didn’t worry too much about it because I still had the bank savings account. But, as dozens of banks were doing in those days, my bank closed its doors in November, leaving me with no money for tuition. At Christmas time, I got a job in the shipping department of the Omaha Crockery, a retail company that sold chinaware. Normally, my job kept me in the shipping department in the back of the store, but on this particular day I had something to do in the retail section of the store, and ran into the man I had worked for at the Omaha News Co. He asked if I could arrange my schedule at Creighton so I could work in the afternoons at the Omaha News Co. The pay would be $10 a week for a half-day. I assured him I could, and when the new semester started in January, 1930, I would leave Creighton at noon, walk to the Omaha News Co., about a mile and a half away, eat the lunch my mother made for me, and go to work.


Kermit Dallas Small, High School Graduation 1928

“I continued to carry a full schedule at Creighton, and in September, 1932, left my job and hitch-hiked to Columbia, Mo., and enrolled in the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. This was my senior year, and I wanted a degree in journalism from the University of Missouri.”

He graduated in 1933 with that journalism degree and went on to work for papers in Omaha and Chicago.

Dr. Carleton E. Curran (1923-2015)

From the desk of Dr. David Maurer:

Dr. Carleton E. Curran passed away on November 15, 2015 at his residence. Declining health had finally required hospice care. He was born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1923. In the Fall of 1941 he matriculated at the University of Wisconsin. However, he was soon to enlist in the U.S. Army and served in the 104th Infantry Division in World War II. After the war he returned to the University and acquired his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D.  During that time he married Nancy Elisabeth Riedel; she survives as do their two sons, David and Thomas. He taught for 10 years at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville, Arkansas. He then was hired by Eastern Illinois University’s Department of History in 1966 and taught for 28 years, retiring in 1994.

Robert Sterling notes, “Through the many years of relationship with Carl, one thing remained constant: my appreciation of his never ending friendship. The loss is immeasurable.”

Jimmie Franklin remembers that “Carl believed that “analysis” began with an uncluttered understanding of the “facts.” And that is why I think that he produced strong students with an ability to think creatively.”

Wolfgang Schlauch remembers that “Carl was a dedicated teacher who care about his students and encouraged them to excel. While travelling in Europe with him he described the horrors of the war and the devastation. In the 1980’s and 1990’s he was able to applaud the rebuilt Europe.”

Charles Titus joined the Department in 1990 and immediately was impressed by Carl’s friendliness and helpfulness. He was always optimistic and upbeat. After retirement Charles continued to enjoy Carl’s good humor and wit.

Newton Key remembers Carl’s innovative teaching techniques and his advice that faculty should “grade what they did write.” Key notes, “A couple of decades letter, this is still good advice, as I continue to try to respond to what the student’s argument and evidence is, rather than what is the ideal in my mind.”

David Maurer has never forgotten that Carl met and counseled students with no thought of the clock. Whatever he could do to encourage his students, he would do. Maurer also knew of the exceptional volunteer work he gave to this church and the local Soup Stop charity. He was outstanding in the University and the community.


Dr. Carleton E. Curran (via The Keep)

History Professor Presents at Symposium

Bailey Young, Distinguished Professor of History, was one of five international scholars invited to present a paper on October 10, 2015 a Memorial Symposium for Fredric L. Cheyette: “Land, Law and Lordship in Medieval France” held at Amherst College (Amherst, MA), co-sponsored by the Trustees of Amherst College, the History Department, and the Harvard Interdisciplinary Committee on Medieval Studies.

symposium amherst

Professor Young’s presentation, entitled “Fred and Archaeology” was focused on Fred’s last scholarly project, an investigation of the possible role of climate change into the fall of the Roman Empire and the development of a distinctive landscape and economy in Medieval Europe that foreshadowed the emergence of the modern world.  One of America’s most distinguished medieval scholars, a Fellow of the Medieval Academy and Professor of History at Amherst 1963-2005, Cheyette had invited Young’s collaboration in assessing recent archaeological evidence in France over the past decade and, when too weakened by cancer to continue, turned over to him his notes with an invitation to carry it on.

The Medieval Academy of America has accepted Dr. Young’s proposal to include a session featuring three prominent French medieval archaeologists presenting recent developments in environmental archaeology at the its upcoming Annual Meeting to be held in Boston in February, 2016.

Historical Administration Students Volunteer at Harvest Frolic

From the desk of Chani Jones:

On September 26th and 27th, the Historical Administration class volunteered at the annual Harvest Frolic weekend at Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site. Students dressed in period attire and participated in activities such as wool processing, clothespin-doll making, historic games, food preservation, and apple cider production. Class members also helped run contests in rail splitting, pie eating, skillet tossing, and dipper-cup races.

Preserving food at Lincoln Log

H.A. students Kate Dickerson and Rachel Tavaras preserve pumpkin, beans, and okra.

Erika Allison, one of the H.A. students, spoke about her experience:

“I had a lot of fun volunteering at Lincoln Log Cabin this past weekend. The kids and even some adults seemed to really enjoy making cloth pin dolls and it was a fun item they could take home to remember the day. I also played period games with the kids and had a blast playing graces and chasing the hoop around the farm with the kids and my fellow volunteers. At the end of the day on Sunday some of the volunteers danced a reel while the band played for us. The weekend went really well, it was great to see so many people come out to support the farm and enjoy history. Several people told me how much they look forward to this festival every year and it was such a great thing to hear how what the farm means to the town.”

H.A. students, Colleen Filipeck, Kyle Dickson, Maria Mears, Amy Ramsland, and Erika Allison dancing a reel.

H.A. students, Colleen Filipek, Kyle Dickson, Maria Mears, Amy Ramsland, and Erika Allison dancing a reel.

2014-2015 Historical Administration Class Awarded at Illinois Association of Museums Conference

From the desk of M.J. Rymsza-Pawlowska

On Friday, September 25th, at the annual conference of the Illinois Association of Museums (IAM) held this year in Springfield, Illinois, the 2014-2015 Historical Administration class received an Award of Merit for their permanent exhibit: Mission, Method, Memory: The Lab School at EIU, which was created during my two-semester course, History Exhibits I and II. Students worked with Dean Diane Jackman and Assistant to the Dean Mary Bower from the College of Education and Professional Studies to create an exhibit about the history of the Laboratory School at Eastern.

This exhibition is the inaugural exhibit of the Lab School Museum and is located in Buzzard Hall, home to the Buzzard Lab School. Mission, Method, Memory explores the long and vibrant history of teacher training at Eastern. Between 1899 and 1957, Eastern student-teachers participated in an on-campus “Model School,” where local students attended first grade through high school. In 1958, Eastern President Robert Guy Buzzard inaugurated the Buzzard Laboratory School, which remained open until 1974.

Historical Administration students researched the history of the Lab School, collected artifacts and memories from Lab School alumni living in the Charleston area and beyond, and designed, built, and programmed the exhibit, which opened in April of 2015.

H.A. students on opening night.

H.A. students on opening night.

Dean Jackman and Ms. Bower traveled to the awards dinner, and were on hand as H.A. student Brian Failing accepted the award on behalf of the whole class.

Dean Diane Jackman, H.A. student Brian Failing, and Assistant to the Dean Mary Bower at the Illinois Association of Museums ceremony.

Dean Diane Jackman, H.A. student Brian Failing, and Assistant to the Dean Mary Bower at the Illinois Association of Museums ceremony.

The exhibit is located at Buzzard Hall and is open daily. You can also check out the website here.

History Faculty Present at EurHo Rural History Conference in Girona, Spain

From the desk of Bailey Young:
Among the roughly 450 participants in the bi-annual EurHo Rural History conference held in Girona, Spain last week (September 7-10, 2015) were not one but two dauntless members of the EIU History Department, Drs. Deb Reid and B.K. Young, taking the scholarly partnership they launched with a successful Presidential Fund for Research and Creative Activity (PFRCA) in 2014 to a new level.  Though the Eur (for Europe) in EurHo accurately reflects its origins and continuing leadership, the scope of this prestigious meeting of  scholars of rural studies is truly global, with scholars attending from all over, and case studies from every continent featured.  

Dr. Deb Reid and Dr. B.K. Young at the EurHo Rural History conference held in Girona, Spain.

Dr. Deb Reid and Dr. B.K. Young at the EurHo Rural History conference held in Girona, Spain.

Dr. Reid was particularly active at this, her third EurHo conference:  presenting a paper on Race in a terrific panel devoted to the American South and West in the 19th and 20th centuries, and serving as one of three museum experts (the other two were from Spain and England) invited to offer, as the very last event of the conference, a keynote on the problems and potential of museums in preserving the rural heritage in the 21st century.  It was also at her initiative that an entire panel devoted the Walhain project was organized, with Dr. Young sketching the preliminary conclusions to be drawn from the first 15 years of excavation, while she drew attention to their implications for the long-term study of rural landscape, economy and social history in the heart of northwest Europe’s fertile farmlands.  

Finally Adam and Annie Tock Morrissette, both recent EIU MA  here making their international scholarly debut, presented a paper discussing the exciting new perspectives GIS can bring to this study.  An unexpected bonus: our visit to this very picturesque medieval Catalan town (narrow winding cobblestone streets, soaring Gothic cathedral, the old town huddled within lofty ramparts) coincided with the filming of Game of Thrones, the
absolute favorite of our student excavators at Walhain!

Historical Administration Attends Conference in Louisville

From the desk of Dr. M.J. Rymsza-Pawlowska:

From September 16th to 19th, the Historical Administration M.A. students, accompanied by Debra Reid, Pat Miller, and myself, traveled to the annual meeting of the American Association for State and Local History in Louisville, Kentucky. This conference was an excellent opportunity for students to learn about new developments within the museum and public history fields, meet practitioners, and reconnect with H.A. alumni who were attending and presenting.

Historical Administration on the move

Historical Administration on the move

Highlights of the conference included a keynote by Sam Wineburg, author of Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts: Charting the Future of Teaching The Past (2001), as well as panel presentations from staff at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the Ohio History Connection (where Dr. Terry Barnhart worked as curator before coming to Eastern), and the September 11th Memorial and Museum in New York City. We also caught up with Tim Grove, Chief of Education at the National Air and Space Museum, who was the keynote at last year’s Historical Administration Program Association Symposium and whose book, A Grizzly in the Mail and Other Adventures in American History we read and discussed during Orientation.

But it wasn’t all work and no play: H.A. students, faculty and alumni relax at dinner

But it wasn’t all work and no play: H.A. students, faculty and alumni relax at dinner

The H.A.’s were given the opportunity to volunteer at the conference: they monitored sessions, helped with registration, and oversaw a 5K run, among other tasks. Throughout the conference, everyone I met kept telling me how much they enjoyed meeting and talking with the students!

Some volunteers in action

Some volunteers in action

But the H.A.’s distinguished themselves in another way as well: a highlight of the conference was the annual Battledecks improv challenge, in which participants must provide interpretation for a slideshow of random images. Both Brian Failing (HA ’15) and current student Mary Challman threw their hats in the ring. Cheered on by her classmates, Mary won the competition (and several business cards from admirers who offered her internships on the spot!).

Mary Challman with her Battledecks trophy

Mary Challman with her Battledecks trophy