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New Library Displays

Library displaysTwo new displays by Archives student assistants are on view in the front entrance to the Library: “Rephotography” by Emma Lipkin ’19, and “‘Occupy Lawrence’ (1972): Black Students and White Allies Take a Stand Against Institutional Racism” by colby lewis ’17. Using different means and to different ends, both displays explore a theme of Lawrence “then and now” – how much has changed at Lawrence and how much has stayed the same over time?

“Rephotography” examines our physical space through photographs, both archival and newly captured. Emma re-photographed areas of campus with photographs from the Archives in the foreground. Buildings featured include Ormsby, Colman, and the Chapel.

“‘Occupy Lawrence’ (1972)” features Lawrentian articles and other records documenting a protest led by the Association of Afro-Americans in 1972. Students experiencing injustice and discrimination demanded change from Lawrence’s administration. The display raises the question: “How far have we come?”

Early African American Students

In the past year, the Archives provided research assistance for a pair of exciting projects focused on African American history at Lawrence and in the wider Fox Valley community: the History Museum’s “Stone of Hope” traveling exhibit, and Forgotten History, a film by Zach Ben-Amots ’16. If you missed either one, be sure to check them out.

Since this research began, we’ve learned a great deal of new information about early African American students at Lawrence. In the early-mid 20th century, a strong culture of racial exclusion and discrimination developed in the Appleton area. Virtually no African Americans lived in Appleton or attended Lawrence during this time. We now know, however, that before this time, there were a number of African American families living in Appleton and students attending Lawrence. In honor of Black History Month, we want to share the names and stories of some of those students:

Robert Pendleton – attended the preparatory school, 1857-1859. Family lived in Neenah. Robert ran into controversy when he cast a vote for African American suffrage in a state referendum in 1857.

Lucretia Newman – attended as a freshman, 1872-1873.

Mary Amelia Cleggett – attended preparatory school, 1871-1872; college, 1872-1876; and graduated in 1876.

Sarah Emma Cleggett – attended in the academic department, 1874-75, and preparatory school, 1875-1876.

Ada Kate Clegett – attended preparatory school, 1877-79.

Claude Monroe Paris – attended as a freshman and sophomore, 1902-1904. Father was J. M. Paris, a barber and alderman in Waupaca. Claude was voted Class President in his freshman year and played on the basketball, track and field, and football teams. If you look closely, you can see him in this image, which you might recognize from Strange Commons in Main Hall.


Sworth Newman – graduated in 1911.


Frederica Brown – graduated in 1917. After Lawrence, she became a teacher and dean at Wiley University for women in Marshall, TX, and then founded the Phyllis Wheatley branch of the Y.W.C.A. in Indianapolis in 1923.


Special thanks to Antoinette Powell for her extensive research on the Cleggett/Hollensworth/Newman families in Appleton. For more information on these students and others, check out the display on the first floor of the library or visit the Archives.

New digital collection: Milwaukee-Downer newspapers

The Snapshot front page, August, 1958
The Snapshot front page, August, 1958

A new set of materials documenting Milwaukee-Downer College is now available to search and browse in our institutional repository: student newspapers dating from 1944 to 1964. During this time, the newspaper was variously titled The Snapshot, Snapshot-Kodak, The Downer Dial, or The Dial. This time period covers the end of World War II, through the 1950s and early 1960s, and up to the consolidation with Lawrence.

This is an excellent resource for learning more about student life and campus happenings at Milwaukee-Downer. You can read about traditions such as Hat Hunt and holiday celebrations, students’ involvement with national movements such as the war effort and the Civil Rights movement, and reactions to campus news such as the retirement of Lucia Briggs and the consolidation with Lawrence.

Huge thanks to volunteer Kasie Janssen ’12 and student assistant Morgan Gray ’15 for their long hours of work on this project!

Lucretia Newman Coleman

With all of the recent events on campus commemorating the anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, several have asked when the first African-American students attended Lawrence. The answer is, most likely, in 1872, when a woman named Lucretia Newman entered the freshman class.

The Lawrence Collegian, April, 1869

But according to J. A. Owen, class of 1860, African-American students had tried attending Lawrence even earlier. Owen wrote a letter to the Lawrence Collegian in 1869 recalling an incident that occurred in 1858, when “a black man applied for admission to the University as a preparatory student.” Owen reported that the student was admitted and attended for a few days before “some anti-negro men in Appleton, outside of the University, got excited about it, and became alarmed lest their daughters and sisters should become contaminated, and called a public meeting to see what should be done to avoid the danger.” Though several Lawrence students at the meeting spoke in favor of justice for the student, many townspeople were unsatisfied, and the student left Lawrence shortly thereafter. In answer to Owen’s question of “how the University stands now,” the Collegianeditors replied: “our halls are open to every human being of good moral character and suitable age.”

An illustration from Noted Negro Women: Their Triumphs and Activities, by Monroe A. Majors

Lucretia Newman may have been the next African-American student to attend Lawrence, a few years later. She entered Lawrence as a freshman in September, 1872, enrolled in the Scientific Course. Our records show that Newman attended Lawrence for one to two years before moving on, although later accounts of her life state that she graduated with a degree. In 1883, she became assistant secretary and bookkeeper for the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She also published her first literary work, a poem, in 1883. Newman Coleman went on to write articles published in primarily African-American journals such as Our Women and Children and the A.M.E. Review. Little is known about her personal life, but contemporaries and later scholars praised her writings.

Overall, only a handful of African-American students attended Lawrence before the middle of the 20th century. By that time, the lack of African-American students at Lawrence and the question of what should be done about it had become much bigger issues on campus.

Update: Another African-American student on campus at about the same time as Newman was Mary Cleggett Vanderhoop, who graduated in 1876.

Photo caption contest winner

Announcing the winner of last week’s photo caption contest: Security Officer Michael Beaupre, with his elegantly simple caption: “Cooking 101: Have the girls make it!” Michael will be receiving a $10 gift certificate for Muncheez Pizza.

Honorable mentions:

Aubrey Lotz, for her caption: “Little did the rest of the group know, Bushy Mustache Man was a witch and he was going to turn them into newts.”

Antoinette Powell, for her caption: “The first multidisciplinary area of study at Lawrence: Chemistry (cooking I-don’t-know-what), Athletics (popcorn toss), and Building Maintenance.”

We had some tough choices to make among the submitted captions. Thanks for all of your entries!

This week’s contest on facebook for Best Facial Hair in 19th-century Lawrence history seems to have a clear front-runner, but we’ll hold off on making the official call until Friday, just in case there is a surge of support for another candidate.

Archives month!

October is American Archives Month! Archives all over the country will be celebrating, and the LU Archives is no exception. We have several activities lined up – one for each week of the month.

Note: this is not the contest photo - it's just cool.

Week of the 3rd: Photo caption contest – stop by the first floor of the library to see a photo from our collections and submit your idea for an accompanying caption. Library staff will judge the entries at the end of the week, and the first-place winner will receive a gift certificate. Depending on the number of entries, runners-up may also receive prizes.

Week of the 10th: Who in 19th-century Lawrence history had the best facial hair? Vote for your favorite from several contenders. (Modeled on Who Had the Best Civil War Facial Hair?, from the Smithsonian.)

Week of the 17th: Is there something related to Lawrence or Milwaukee-Downer history that you’ve always wondered about? It’s Ask a Question week!

Week of the 24th: The Haunted Lawrence tour, back by popular demand, will be held on Monday, October 24th at 8pm. Further details will be forthcoming, but if you’re intrigued, be sure to mark it on your calendar!

Summer Summary

Preservation intervention for newspaper clippings and floppy disks

Summer has flown by in the Archives, and now we’re gearing up to welcome students back to campus! While we’ve taken a brief blog hiatus, a number of other projects have demanded attention. Here’s a summary of where the time has gone:

  • 10 linear feet (and an as-yet-unknown number of bytes) of records acquired from campus offices, and several donations from alumni
  • 3 collections of past presidents’ papers processed (totalling 5 linear feet)
  • portions of the Archives stacks reorganized
  • reference questions (via phone, email, and in-person visits) from faculty and staff, alumni, researchers from other institutions, and the general public
  • lots of planning for the upcoming year

There are some changes on the way for the website as well as some fun things planned for the next couple of months, so stay tuned for updates!

Peace Parade, 1936

In addition to being Earth Day, today is the 75th anniversary of a significant event in Lawrence history. Following the end of classes on April 22nd, 1936, 400 of the 700 students enrolled at Lawrence set out to march down College Avenue for a Peace Parade. They were marching in solidarity with students from college campuses around the country, who had formed anti-war mock organizations such as the “Veterans of Future Wars” and the “Association of Gold Star Mothers of Veterans of Future Wars.”  Though the leader of the march had initially secured permission from the Appleton Police Department, the police chief later changed his mind and forbade them from leaving campus. The paraders marched around campus with banners and baby buggies, and when they reached the corner of College and Drew, a few marched on. An April 24th, 1936 Lawrentian article describes what happened next:

” Appleton police climaxed the Lawrence Veterans of Future Wars Peace demonstration when an officer seized Albert Haak, former Wauwatosa High football player, by the shoulder and clubbed him on the head. Students rushed to the aid of Haak, who collapsed as he was knocked out…The strong arm of the Appleton law left its mark on at least four students and the minds of the faculty and towns people as the police force bore down on the order prohibiting a downtown parade of the local Viking Post, No. 815, Veterans of Future Wars.”

The incident received national attention as one of many similar demonstrations around the country. The Lawrentian describes students “huddled around radios…to hear the account of the student strike against war at Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and ‘small Lawrence College’ in Appleton.” The faculty, President Wriston, and the Board of Trustees unanimously denounced the “grossly provocative” actions of the Appleton police. In an era not typically associated with student protest, this event stands out as a showing of Lawrence support for a larger student movement as well as an episode that united the Lawrence community.

Freshman Studies Collection processed

A collection of materials documenting the history and development of Freshman Studies at Lawrence has been processed and a finding aid is available (though not yet online, as the website is currently under some construction.)

President Nathan Pusey introduced Freshman Studies in 1945. It has undergone some changes since then, including a period of suspension during the 1970s.  Nevertheless, the course today is remarkably similar in structure and focus to the course as it was sixty years ago.

Stop by the Archives to view the collection. A selection of digitized documents from the collection is also available online.

A new look for the Archives!

We’ve shifted around the furniture in the Archives to maximize the size and enhance the aesthetics of the research space. The new look includes a mini reading room area with two large and well-lit research tables. Another exciting addition to the Archives storage space is a large flat file cabinet. Blueprints, posters, panoramic photographs, and other oversized ephemera now have a preservation-friendly home! A big thanks to Facilities Services and ITS staff for their help with this move.

Stop by the Archives (level B of the library, between floors 2 and 3) anytime Monday through Friday, 1-5pm to see the changes!