Month: February 2012

Collection Feature: Department of Occupational Therapy at Milwaukee-Downer College

Carolyn Westgaard (MDC '60) helps Arthur Stewart sew leather with burnt arms, 1960

News report: A part of history saved for the ages! Although much of Milwaukee-Downer’s history is scattered, we have a great collection here at the Archives. It documents the organization at M-D C. of one of the first Occupational Therapy programs in the country. Much of the collection is comprised of photos, which advertise the achievements and daily tasks of M-D occupational therapy graduates around the world. Some of the more interesting photos reveal the work of therapists in Ireland during the war; there might have been a shortage of everything else besides occupational therapists and their crafts! Crafts, such as weaving, metal work, puppetry, etc., were the main activities which a therapist would have learned and taught. These crafts were meant to help a patient in recovery by entertaining him and exercising his muscles. The scope of patients for a therapist varied from sick children to wounded soldiers. Occupational therapy, which was a field dominated by women, became so popular at M-D C. that even Roosevelt commented on the school’s success at training therapists. And by 1944, the O.T. program had earned a contract with the War Department of the U.S. government! Although few know of the extensive work of occupational therapists, this collection shows just how prominent a role M-D C. played in national and international events from 1919 to 1963.

Note: This post was written by Archives intern, Laura Scholten ’13, who processed the MDC Department of Occupational Therapy Records this term. View the finding aid for more information or check out Laura’s display on the first floor of the library!

New collection guides available

In our ongoing efforts to describe a higher percentage of the Archives’ holdings, we’ve recently added some new finding aids to our collections database:

Classes Records, 1857-2011: records documenting Lawrence University classes, including Commencement materials, alumni correspondence, photographs, class directories and retrospective directories developed for reunions.

Commencement Records, 1850-2011: records  include programs and announcements from Commencement ceremonies and other academic exhibitions, correspondence, citations of awards and honorary degrees, planning documents, and photographs.

Conservatory of Music Artist Series and Jazz Series Collection, 1908-2011: includes season announcements and programs for the  Artist Series and Jazz Series, from 1908 to the present. Some photographs are also included.

Convocations Collection, 1880-2012: includes convocation programs, articles, photographs, and the text of matriculation convocation speeches.

Great Midwest Trivia Collection, 1966-2011: includes photographs, newspaper articles, and other publicity concerning the contests from 1966 to the present, as well as the original copies of all questions asked from 1991 to the present. Team lists, posters, tee-shirts, scripts, and audio recordings of selected broadcasts are also included.

Reunion Records, 1876-2011:  includes programs, correspondence, and photographs from reunions dating back to 1876.

All of these collections are open for research – stop by the Archives any weekday afternoon from 1-5 to check them out!