Posts Tagged 'Marquette University'

Marquette History Students Collaborate with Middle-Schoolers to Research the Latino History of Milwaukee

By William Denzer

As the refrain goes, people study history in order to understand the present and plan for the future. In our current political climate, little is more heavily debated than national policies of immigration. This spring semester, I have been serving as a graduate assistant to Dr. Alison Efford for History 4120, an upper-level undergraduate course on immigration. What makes this course unique is not only the final project, in which the students create websites, but who they are collaborating with.

3About twice a month middle school students from St. Rafael Catholic School on the South side of Milwaukee came to Marquette’s campus to work with a group of students in HIST 4120. Each group was expected to use primary sources found in the greater Milwaukee or Madison-area and create a Weebly-based website showcasing their findings.

This course provided undergraduates the opportunity to navigate the historical narrative of Milwaukee immigrants while collaborating with the St. Rafael students, most of whom identified with the Latino community. The visiting St. Rafael students were able to participate in an undergraduate course and learn firsthand not only what a collegiate experience would be like, but how they could have similar experiences again in their near future at Marquette.

On April 26, nearly sixty students met to present their websites to other students and faculty members in Eisenberg Room of Sensenbrenner Hall. Descriptions of two of the projects follow.

Anna DeMeuse, Tim Sanchez, and Angelica Martinez’s group chose to examine the Sanctuary Parish movement in the Milwaukee Archdiocese in the 1980s. Their website (www.sanctuaryMKE.weebly.com) incorporated personal letters, meeting notes, newspaper articles, and transcribed interviews between migrant workers and parish council members. What the group generally discovered in their sources were tensions between members of the parish councils as they debated which policies and how much assistance to provide to those in need. This project gave each group the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with primary documents and garner insights into the process of creating a historical narrative.

1Another group, comprised of Perla Hernandez, Cassy Cassa, Luisa Era, and Edgar Vazquez Ramirez, focused on migrant workers’ camps in Wisconsin from the late twentieth century to the early twenty-first century (www.usmigrantcampos.weebly.com). Many migratory camps in Wisconsin housed agricultural workers, who often enured limited amenities. McKay Camp in Waterloo was a camp established for individuals and families who were working in the cherry industry. McKay Camp was closed in 2004 and the students believe it may be due to nitrate levels in the water supply. Many of the camps’ residents transitioned into the extensive dairy industry in Wisconsin. To construct their examination, the group incorporated documents from the Department of Workforce Development and the Migrant Labor Camp files, all housed at the Wisconsin Historical Society. Visiting the Wisconsin Historical Society provided insight into how archives are constructed and how professional historians utilize documents to recreate historical experiences, such as those within Milwaukee’s Latino community.

Such a unique and collaborative effort would not have been possible without the assistance of many talented faculty and staff. Special thanks to the research assistance from Taylor McNeir and Leatha Miles-Edmonson in the library, as well as 2016-2017 Mitchem Fellow Sergio González for his inspiration and guidance throughout the semester. Many thanks to the teachers Erin Mulligan, Michael Derrick, and Andrea Alvarez at St. Rafael. Marquette’s Center for Urban Reaching, Teaching, and Outreach, under the interim direction of Dr. James Marten, provided funding for transportation and the culminating celebration.

William Denzler has just finished his first year as an MA student at Marquette University. His main interests are in twentieth century American history, Allied Powers transnational history, Holocaust studies.

A Fulbrighter in Azerbaijan

By Robert Borowik

During my senior year at Marquette University, I was awarded a Fulbright Grant, and I am currently working as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant and U.S. Cultural Ambassador in Azerbaijan. Through this program I have the unique opportunity to live in a part of the 1world that few Americans have visited while teaching English to Azerbaijani high-schoolers. With the grant came several unexpected opportunities, such as attending parties at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence or even shaking hands with Pope Francis during his first visit to Azerbaijan!

 

I teach at the Physics, Math and Informatics Lyceum, a high school in Baku where a large portion of the students are from the regions of Azerbaijan and live at the school. During my first weeks here, I worked with the teachers to set up a new English Center with 2support from British Council and the Azerbaijan Ministry of Education. Since its opening in late October (see picture to the right, which includes Robert, Dr. Carole Crofts, British Ambassador to Azerbaijan, and representatives of British Council and the Azerbaijan Ministry of Education ), I have been leading conversation classes with small groups of students where they practice their English speaking skills as we discuss various topics regarding the United States and the world.

In addition to teaching, I have been exploring the fascinating, yet little-known, history and culture of Azerbaijan. The country is home to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Qobustan where 6,000 petroglyphs dating back tens of thousands of years cover a 3mountainside (featured in the photograph to the left). Historic synagogues and mosques can be found in the city of Quba where Muslims and Jews have lived side by side for centuries. Memorials dedicated to more recent historical events, massacres of Azerbaijanis perpetrated by Armenian Bolsheviks in 1917, dot the entire country. But through their difficult past, Azerbaijanis have maintained a warm hospitality to visitors of the country.

As an American, Cultural Ambassador, and English teacher, my role is multifaceted. Not only do I teach my students English, but I am also exploring the fascinating culture and history of Azerbaijan that was so heavily impacted by decades of Soviet rule. Working with the Fulbright Program in Azerbaijan has changed my perspectives on the world, as I need to be amenable to the ever changing situations in which I find myself. I am very grateful for what I have already experienced and excited for what lies ahead.

Robert Borowik graduated from Marquette University in spring 2016 with majors in secondary education, history and economics. He was the president of the Polish Club and was a board member of Phi Alpha Theta, the history honor society.

The World’s Fastest Human: Ralph Metcalfe and Marquette University

By James Marten

Ralph_Metcalfe_edges_Jesse_Owens_in_100_meters_1934

Ralph Metcalfe edges Jesse Owens at the 1934 AAU Championship at Marquette Stadium. Raynor Library Special Collections.

It was June 30, 1934, and a sprinter named Ralph Metcalfe would make history at Marquette Stadium, where the national American Athletic Union championships were being run. Not only would the Marquette student athlete become the first person since the 1890s to win two AAU events three years in a row (in his case the 100 and 200 meter races), on this mid-summer day he would also nip the soon-to-be legend Jesse Owens in the 100. His time of 10.4 seconds nearly tied the world record, a feat he would manage three times during the next year, leading “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not” to label him “World’s Fastest Human.”

Metcalfe’s fame—he had already won a silver and a bronze at the 1932 Olympics—would be eclipsed by Owens, a track and field hero at Ohio State who would go on to international fame by winning four gold medals at the 1936 Olympic Games in Adolf Hitler’s Berlin. Metcalfe also ran in the games, winning a silver in the 100 (just behind Owens) and a gold as a member of the 400-meter relay (with Owens).

As Owens carved out immortality as one of the world’s greatest athletes, Metcalfe earned his degree, coached track at Xavier University, served in the military during World War II, and became director of Chicago’s Department of Civil Rights. He began more than two decades in politics when he won election to the Chicago City Council in 1955; in 1970 he successfully ran for Congress, where he helped organize the Congressional Black Caucus. He died suddenly in 1978, and is remembered in Chicago as the namesake of the Federal Building.

His memory also survives at Marquette, most notably in a lecture series that bears his name. Each year three or four “prominent faculty, scholars and professionals of diverse backgrounds” (according to Marquette’s website) visit campus as holders of the Ralph H. Metcalfe, Sr., Chair, delivering public lectures, speaking to classes, and meeting with graduate and undergraduate students. The history department has sponsored a number of Metcalfe Chairs over the years; most recently, in February 2014, Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library, gave a lecture titled, “Guilty Until Statistically Proven Innocent: How Data Destroyed the Promise of Civil Rights.”  Two years earlier, Richard Blackett, Andrew Jackson Professor of History at Vanderbilt University, presented “Taking Leave: Fugitive Slaves and the Politics of Freedom, 1850-1860,” as part of the department’s “Freedom Project,” commemorating the Sesquicentennial of the Civil War.

Owens’s feats on the track and in Berlin are featured in the movie “Race,” opening on Friday, February 19 (http://www.focusfeatures.com/race).  Despite their close association during their years as track stars and their life-long friendship, Metcalfe is not a major chMetcalfe1aracter; a relatively unknown actor named Dondre Octave will play Metcalfe in the movie.  The trailer features a couple of scenes that include Metcalfe: the climatic 100 meter race and the young men’s appearance on the medal stand.

But Ralph Metcalfe’s legacy transcends his reputation as one of Marquette’s most accomplished athletes. As a politician, a civil rights advocate, and a representative of and inspiration to his city, his community, and his university, Metcalfe’s work and name live on.

metcalfe2

James Marten is professor and chair of the department of history.

The February 16 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel featured a long story (http://www.jsonline.com/greensheet/ralph-metcalfe-beats-jesse-owens-at-marquette–in-1934-b99669717z1-369048961.html) about of Metcalfe and Owens as well as a photo gallery (http://www.jsonline.com/multimedia/photos/the-rivalry-of-ralph-metcalfe-and-jesse-owens-b99671742z1-369049991.html).

 

Alumni@Work: Catching Up With Our Former Students, Part IV

Today we feature two of our PhD alums, Enaya Othman and Paul Beck. Although both teach in the Milwaukee area, they have followed very different paths through academia.

Enaya Othman (PhD, 2009) has found a niche bridging her culture and the larger Marquette and Milwaukee communities.

IEnaya_edited-1 graduated in 2009 with PhD degree in American and Middle East history from Marquette University. My love and passion of history and my belief in its implications for our present and future guided my career path after graduation. Being a Muslim and a first generation immigrant gave me a mission to document my group’s history in the homeland and diaspora. In 1997, when I began writing my master thesis on Arab communities in Milwaukee, I discovered that this group’s history– especially Arab and Muslim women’s history—is underrepresented and mainly unknown. My history degree equipped me to begin the task of documenting the history and contribution of Arab and Muslim communities in the Greater Milwaukee area in different arenas. Soon after graduation, I founded a non-profit organization, the Arab and Muslim Women Research and Resource Institute (AMWRRI) and began to document the community’s history through  oral history. Currently I serve as the President of AMWRRI’s Board of Directors and direct the organization’s Oral History Project. The narratives gathered through the oral history project are disseminated in different ways to overcome stereotypes and misconceptions attached to this minority group. For example, one of the organization’smus1 effective and successful projects was “Beyond the Veil: Dress, Identity and Tradition Through the Eyes of the Muslim and Arab Women of Greater Milwaukee,” an exhibit held at the Milwaukee Public Museum from May to September of 2014. The exhibit caps a four-year AMWRRI project dedicated to showing how the attitudes toward cultural clothing among the Muslim and Arab women of the Greater Milwaukee area go beyond stereotypes. The project also gave women from these communities an opportunity to speak about their experiences. (For more on the AMWRRI and the cultural clothing exhibit, go to http://amwrri.org/.)

I also work a tenure-track assistant professor of Arabic literature, culture, and history in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Marquette. My teaching has informed my research on immigrant communities and culture, where I have been the principle instructor and curriculum developer for the Arabic language program. I am planning to continue my work of documenting Arab and Muslim women’s history in the United States and abroad and to take an active role in public events and exhibits in order to increase awareness and minimize misconception about this marginalized underrepresented group.

Paul Beck (PhD, 1996), reflects on the myriad changes that have occurred since he entered academia.

Many years have passed since I received my PhD from Marquette. I am now entering my twenty-seventh year as a professor at Wbeckisconsin Lutheran College. I believe that the academic training in history that I received from Marquette has served me well. During my professional career the main thing I have noticed is the changes that have occurred in the liberal arts and in the study of history. More colleges seem to be moving away from the liberal arts and finding less value in programs like history. It seems that every year our department must justify its reason to exist. Our department was once four full-time professors and now we are down to 2.75.

I have noticed a shift in the type of history courses offered. We seem to be losing an obeck bookverall view of history and instead focusing more on race, class and gender. Where once one could expect to find courses on the American Civil War or French Revolution now are offered courses like Jewish Women in 19th Century Syria or 20th Century class relations in New Mexico. We are tending to teach what we find interesting but not necessarily what students need to truly understand the past. I believe there is a place for numerous different types of course but we must also understand that American students know less and less about history and need a solid foundation of informational courses.

Enaya Othman is an assistant professor of Arabic in Marquette. Her most recent publication is “Building a community Among Early Arab Immigrants in Milwaukee, 1890s -1960s,” Wisconsin Magazine of History 96 (Summer 2013).   She is currently revising her book manuscript, called Dogma of Womanhood and Feminism among American Missionaries and Palestinian Between 1880s and 1940s.

Paul Beck earned his PhD in 1996. In addition to teaching at Wisconsin Lutheran, he has published four books: Soldiers, Settlers and Sioux: Fort Ridgely and the Settlement of the Minnesota River Valley; The First Sioux War: The Grattan Fight and Blue Water Creek, 1854-1856; Inkpaduta: Dakota Leader, and Columns of Vengeance: Soldiers, Sioux, and The Punitive Expeditions, 1863-1864.

Platypi, Hermophrodites, and Intellectual Women: The Humanities’ Relationship with Oddities.

Last month graduate students from the English and History departments at Marquette University organized a day-long conference called “Oddities? : Exploring the Dynamics of Human Constructions.” Jennifer Hockenbery Dragseth of Mount Mary University delivered the keynote address, which celebrated the critical ways in which the humanities have led human beings to wonder and to organize the world around them.

While many academics from Plato to Martha Nussbaum have penned arguments for the need and good of the humanities, there is still a resistance in some segments of society to these arguments. Perhaps the problem is that the humanities is considered (and often considers itself) to be a study of human cultures, thoughts, constructs—about language games and hegemonies and matrixes. And thus, some believe that the humanities are not about the real world.  There is a problem that many outside and inside of profile_hockenbery-jenniferthe humanities believe these disciplines cannot help those in the “real” world because the humanities deal only with the “idea.” Yet, in defense of itself, the humanities can argue for its relevance by proclaiming how it treats oddities.

Oddities are things, structures, ideas and people that defy our fundamental categories of thought in ways that distress us.  Oddities are those things that cause us so much trouble that we must cry out in order to name them as “freaks.” We cry out because the oddity is a problem that threatens our very structures of thought and all that we have built on the foundations of those structures. Oddities are terrifying and anxiety provoking because they show us that something is wrong in our thinking.

The platypus so bewildered English scientists that they proclaimed it a hoax for 100 years. Today the platypus continues to force zoologists to re-imagine the taxonomy of Carl Linnaeus. The platypus is an oddity. The body of the hermaphrodite has challenged the way culture categorizes the male and the female. Such a body troubles our deeply gendered worldview. It is an oddity. The existence of the mind of an intellectual woman has historically plunged individual women into despair and caused revolution in societies. It is still, too often, seen as an oddity.

The problem with oddities is that by being odd they crack our structures of thought. They cause despair because we recognize how little we know, how little we may ever know. In some ways, they undermine the possibility of progress and any argument about the merit of the academy.

Yet, here is my thesis. While oddities perplex society and cause despair about the relevance of trying to know anything with clarity, these very same oddities bear witness to the power of study, observing, thinking, analyzing, and discussing. The oddity that troubles our categories gives hope that there can be knowledge beyond cultural categories.

Yes, the humanities have worked hard to bring a humility to the academy and the public about the limits of human knowledge and the power of bias and hegemony. Yet, the humanities can still attest to the need for continued thinking by pointing to research on an oddity and to the cultural openness that results from such research. Research and writing on an oddity breaks the cultural contact lenses. It unstrings the web of belief. The reality of the oddity shines through the broken shards of the fallen hegemony. Importantly, the academy and the public must work together to find a new paradigm and social structure that acknowledges the oddity. Our communal knowledge grows and our society progresses.

Yes, growth in knowledge can change social and political reality as well. A little over one hundred years ago a group of School Sisters of Notre Dame decided to build a college for women in Wisconsin. While the United States did not grant women full citizenship or equal political and economic rights, the SSND believed that intellectual women were real. They asserted that women had the same rights and responsibilities to seek higher education as men. Moreover, they asserted the possibility of intellectual working class women as well. This view challenged dominant strains of thought about the potential of women and continues to challenge the dominant strains of thought about the potential of poor women. But the reality of the intellectual women that have graduated from Mount Mary University continues to tear at those strains of thought. And society slowly reforms.

This is my point. The oddity is unsettling. The first time we see an oddity, we often consider it a hoax. We try to stuff the oddity in a category, or we try to eliminate the oddity. But sometimes we do not succeed in snuffing out the oddness or the oddity. Rather sometimes we come to a new relationship with our old way of thinking, a new humility about our ways of seeing, and a new pride in our ability to see.

Thus, oddities suggest that the post-structuralists may be a little bit wrong. It may imply that any epistemology that considers the mind to be radically independent of matter may be wrong. Perhaps, we need an epistemology that considers the mind to be part of a relationship with matter itself and with Truth itself. But that is another topic for another paper.

For now, I only want to make the claim that we can see the platypus not just as fine pelt to put on the global market but as an oddity that simultaneously humbles zoo-ology and exalts the merit of study. Also, we see the intersex person, not just as sideshow object to exploit, but as a person whose needs require we re-think our medical practices, Olympic policies, and marriage laws. Finally, we recognize intellectual women, not just as workers in a global economy but as fellow members of the academy striving for progress in human knowledge. These changes, this progress, is due, at least in part, to the work of scholars in the humanities who have brought the platypus, the hermaphrodite and the intellectual woman into focus. In short, studying an oddity inspires us to keep looking to see what else we can see. Every oddity that perplexes also whispers: keep studying, keep writing, keep reading, keep thinking. There is so much more to know.

In conclusion, I recently attended a lecture by the Reverend Dr. Willie Jennings, a theologian at Duke Divinity School, on the role of the academic in public life.   Jennings, the author of the acclaimed The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race, said the role of the intellectual in public life is to “exhibit an openness to being changed and to invite others to this openness to being changed. To embody a posture, and to model this posture of openness.” (Willie James Jennings. “The Public Vocation of the Religious Scholar.” Upper Midwest Regional Meeting at Luther Seminary. Saint Paul, MN. April 17.) One way to model such openness is to look for and embrace the oddity that defies our previous structures.

Jennifer Hockenbery Dragseth is professor of Philosophy at Mount Mary University. She is editor of The Devil’s Whore: Reason and Philosophy in the Lutheran Tradition (2011) and author of the forthcoming Thinking Woman: A Philosophical Exploration into the Quandary of Gender. For more, go to http://www.mtmary.edu/majors-programs/schools/hsse/jennifer-hockenbery.html.

Building a Collection: Fr. Paul Prucha and the Bureau of Catholic Indian Mission Records

Or: How his Leadership—plus Serendipity and “Star Alignment”—led to Marquette becoming a national center for Catholic Collections about Native Americans

By Mark G. Thiel

MU archivist and guest blogger Mark G. Thiel tells the story of how the Marquette library archives obtained its largest and most-used collection with the help of a powerhouse researcher, an idiosyncratic philanthropist, and savvy librarians.

First-time visitors to the Marquette University Department of Special Collections and University Archives (MUA) discover that its third-floor reading room in the Rev. John P. Raynor, S.J., Library is named in honor of the Rev. Francis Paul Prucha, S.J., Professor Emeritus of the Department of History. His prolific research delved into many aspects of U.S. policy about Native Americans, and is best known for The Great Father, which was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize, and is regarded as a classic among professional historians. His reading room portrait oversees a bookshelf filled with his many publications, because more than anyone else, his archival research and advocacy affected the development of the department’s special collections.

In 1970, after several years of extensive research at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., Father Prucha addressed a conference there titled, “Research in the Administration of Public Policy.” He admitted that he found its vast holdings on federal administration of American Indian policy intimidating. But he reiterated the importance of thorough and extensive research and pointed out the need for more of it in many areas, including education, which was the realm of his own study. In conclusion he said, “It would take many researchers, each one digging in some special section of the files, before these riches are properly exploited. Yet books and articles of a purportedly scholarly nature keep appearing on Indian history matters, written by men who have seldom if ever set foot in the National Archives.”

At that time, his research focused on the political and legal battles between the Catholic Church, the Protestant churches, and the federal government over education, which would culminate in his illuminating book, The Churches and the Indian Schools, 1888-1912. Besides the National Archives, his commitment to thorough research required visits to the American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia, which held the records of the Indian Rights Association, a Protestant organization, and the records of the Bureau of Catholic Indian Missions (BCIM) in Washington, which since 1874 has represented the Catholic Church in its business with the federal government with respect to Native Americans.

In about 1970, the BCIM Executive Director, Rev. John Tennelly, S.S., granted Fr. Prucha access to its records. Fr. Tennelly led him to a side room with four four-drawer cabinets holding about 30 cubic feet of records, which were its central files with correspondence of church leaders and federal officials that was essential to his research. Fr. Prucha was impressed with the quality of the records, but also their poor condition. Unknown to him, there were not four, but over forty such cabinets with over 425 cubic feet of mission correspondence, photography, reports, and rare publications dispersed from the basement to the attic above the third floor.

Nonetheless, Fr. Prucha correctly recognized that these brittle records were valuable and needed archival custody. By 1972, he began to share his concerns about them with historians, archivists, and administrators at Marquette and The Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington. In so doing, he further noted that the BCIM director was aged and in poor health, the adjacent George Washington University coveted the property, and while he believed that Marquette would be a good place for the records, his main interest was to make sure that they would be preserved somewhere with access for scholars.

Desiring growth for the university’s special collections, Marquette archivists and administrators soon heeded Fr. Prucha’s concern, and they did so with his misconception that the BCIM holdings comprised just four file cabinets of church-state correspondence. During the next three years, they formulated a plan to justify and fund their acquisition. They believed that these records would fit well for three reasons: Fr. Prucha’s distinguished scholarship on the history federal Indian policy, Marquette’s Jesuit identity and namesake, and its previous acquisition of national collections on Catholic social action, a number of which focused on the concerns of ethnic minorities. Also, they had reason to hope that de Rancé, Inc., which funded several Catholic Indian missions, might provide the necessary funding.

Founded by its president, Harry G. John, Sr., Milwaukee-based de Rancé, Inc., was then the largest religiously-oriented foundation in the United States. John was an enigmatic past family president of Miller Brewing who financed de Rancé grants with first the dividends and later the proceeds of the sale of his 47 percent or 1,900 shares of Miller’s stock. Overall, his funding decisions were highly motivated by his religious concerns, which Marquette Jesuits had apparently influenced.

During the fall of 1975, Marquette archivists developed and submitted an ambitious proposal to de Rancé, which became the first of two that it funded with grants totaling $85,000. It called for a national Catholic Indian mission archives project with multiple goals, one of which was to enable Marquette to become the BCIM’s archival repository. That goal called for funds to acquire, preserve, and microfilm the BCIM records with Dr. Herman J. Viola named as project consultant. Dr. Viola was a Marquette History alumni and protégé of Fr. Prucha’s, who since 1972, had served as a curator at the Smithsonian in Washington.

From his Smithsonian post and on Marquette’s behalf, Dr. Viola wrote to the BCIM’s Board of Directors about the de Rancé grants during the first half of 1976. They included John Cardinal Krol of Philadelphia, the chair, and John Cardinal Cooke of New York and Archbishop William Borders of Baltimore, the members. In addition, Marquette’s President, the Rev. John P. Raynor, S.J., recruited Milwaukee Archbishop William E. Cousins, who in writing, formally presented Marquette’s offer to Cardinal Krol.

On July 1, Msgr. Paul A. Lenz succeeded Fr. Tennelly as executive director of BCIM, and over the next three weeks, he carefully reviewed all related correspondence to and from Cardinal Krol. On July 22, Msgr. Lenz wrote to Cardinal Krol with his assessment, prefacing it by acknowledging that, while the final decision rested with the board, he believed “the records should be given to Marquette University at the earliest date possible.” Viola warned Msgr. Lenz that the de Rancé grants were a rare and “golden opportunity” that would expire in a year. Then he suggested to Marquette Archivist Fr. Robert Callen, S.J., that Marquette invite Msgr. Lenz to visit. He came to Milwaukee within the month. Following tours of campus and the archives – then located in the basement of the Memorial Library– a group including Fr. Callen, Vice President Rev. Michael G. Morrison, S.J., and Dr. Viola, explained Marquette’s evolving vision. Through de Rancé, they had the necessary financing to preserve the records and they planned to coordinate with Marquette’s recruitment efforts to attract more Native American students and develop a study center focusing on Native – Catholic history. Furthermore, they noted that in a previous collaborative archives project, CUA had failed to perform as promised. In conclusion, Msgr. Lenz assured them that his recommendation would be that Marquette receive the records.

The board met to make its final determination in May. Despite some concerns about whether or not Marquette was “truly Catholic,” Msgr. Lenz’s views prevailed. Within six weeks an agreement had been negotiated and signed designating Marquette as the repository (although BCIM retained ownership), contingent upon ongoing de Rancé funding. The agreement also required Marquette to microfilm the records and supply a copy of them to Catholic University. Furthermore, if Marquette ever ceased to be a Catholic and Jesuit university, the BCIM retained the right to take back the records.

The records were relocated to Milwaukee in mid-July 1977. Under Dr. Viola’s supervision, professional movers moved ten tons of records in a sixty-five-foot semitrailer from the BCIM to Memorial Library. In his report, Dr. Viola noted, “Aside from being dusty and dirty… the BCIM collection does not pose major preservation problems… The major problem is the high acid content of the paper. Many of the letters have turned dark and are exceedingly brittle.”

MeanwhilFr Prucha & Msgr Lenz @ BCIMe, Fr. Prucha finished the research and hunt for illustrations for his manuscript on Native American education and submitted it to the University of Nebraska Press. It was published in November, 1979.

Fr. Prucha presented a copy of the The Churches and the Indian Schools to Msgr. Lenz while they stood in front of the BCIM building (the vegetation in the picture on the left suggests the meeting took place in the spring of 1980). By this time, the Marquette Archives had nearly finished preserving the original records and photography. It had refiled the materials with archival quality boxes and folders and had adjusted the overall arrangement scheme, and then in progress was its selective microfilming of textual records and associated rare periodicals along with the creation of additional written descriptions, most of which are now online.

The collections preserved at Marquette continues to grow. With BCIM support, the Marquette Archives has become a magnet for more Native American, primarily Native Catholic, collections. Now numbering over fifty unique collections, they comprise over 900 cubic feet of holdings with descriptive inventories on the Raynor Memorial Libraries’ website, http://www.marquette.edu/library/archives/. A large number of them have been digitized and can be examined at http://www.marquette.edu/library/archives/earchives_atoz.shtml.

Mark Thiel is archivist at Raynor Memorial Libraries, where he is responsible for Acquisition, administration and reference service of special collections and digital initiatives pertaining to Catholic Native America and Catholic Broadcasting. He drew this essay from documents found in the collections he describes. Fr. Francis Paul Prucha, SJ, was a long-time professor at Marquette and the author many books on government policy toward Native Americans; find out more on his Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_Paul_Prucha!

Thoughts on Moving, Change, and Asking “Why”

Carla Hay, our British historian and the senior member of Marquette’s department, found time during the move to Sensenbrenner Hall to reflect on the last time the history department changed buildings, from Grandmora Hall (located on the south side of Wisconsin at 13th street, where Cudahy Hall now sits) to Coughlin Hall, built in 1977. Although most members of the department came after the move, we have all been entertained with stories of the decrepit former home of history and the other humanities department.

We are now engaged in a great move, but not for the first time in the memory of at least some members of the History Department.  I don’t recall that the move from Grandmora to Coughlin was as personally challenging (traumatic) as the move from Coughlin to Sensenbrenner—but maybe that reflects the changes in my own acquisitiveness since the late 1970s, when the move to Coughlin occurred—I now have lots more to

Grandmora Hall.

Grandmora Hall.

move.   While some colleagues nostalgically remember Grandmora, my memory is of a dilapidated building with serious infrastructure issues (heating being foremost), [editor’s note: I have also heard stories of rats and the absence of telephones in individual offices.] so I welcomed the move to the new home of the Humanities where, unlike Grandmora, which had no interior halls connecting the four humanities (history, English, theology, and philosophy) there would be shared space and, supposedly an opportunity for community, although that proved less robust than hoped.

It was with great anticipation that the first weekend feasible I moved my decorative items to the brand new Coughlin Hall to personalize my new office.  I painted an old table and chair burnt orange to match the new color scheme of Coughlin and also bordered a print of Queen Elizabeth I in burnt orange.  I spent a Saturday afternoon hanging prints of British figures and scenes, inexpensively (cheaply) framed to decorate my new office and left that afternoon tired, but satisfied at the aesthetic effect of my labor.  When I returned the next Monday. I found most of my handiwork on the floor, many picture frames and glass shattered–just the first indication of a ventilation problem in Coughlin that caused vibrations so serious that offices had to be vacated over the years. I re-hung my pictures and once I got to relocate to an office overlooking the Quadrangle I came to really like History’s location in Coughlin Hall.

I wonder how our move from the Quad to the eastern fringes of the campus will affect the department’s engagement with students and colleagues in other departments, especially the humanities with whom we no longer share a building.  But as the transition from Grandmora to Coughlin represented a quantum improvement in the physical environment in which the History Department functioned, so also the move to Sensenbrenner provides exciting opportunities to engage our students and colleagues.   As a study space, Sensenbrenner provides an opportunity to engage students in a social way not possible, before. And the building also should prove a magnet for programming with other units of the University. So exciting times lie ahead.

On an even more personal note, as I packed my office, I came across a number of items—each of which required a decision whether to keep or toss. The most unexpected find was a promo pack of (four or six) cigarettes with an expiration date of 1989– these were frequently passed out on Wisconsin Avenue as “freebies” to hook students.  The hardest things to throw in the recycling bin were my journals and books—any books—because I truly love books.  A graduate student took my copies of the Journal of British Studies and Albion, but the American Historical  Review was dumpstered along with the Journal of Modern History.

Despite the trauma it inspires, de-accessioning (an interesting term) can be an opportunity to reflect on a life lived.  In my case, on the countless committees and professional associations—seemingly important and time consuming (big time) at the time but on so many different issues (gender equity issues in athletics, the MU women’s studies program, shared governance at MU) the process seemed to be two-steps forward and  one-step (or maybe three) back—and that can be depressing.  At the time I believed these efforts would have more consequence than in fact has proved to be the case.

So the move has been an opportunity, interspersed with trashing and packing, to reflect on my professional, and since they are intertwined, my personal life.  I do have a few regrets: I wish I could have pursued my interest in administration and regret I didn’t publish more, even though publications are also often ephemeral.  My greatest satisfaction:  having lived my entire life in an academic environment.  My mother and I lived with my grandmother during WWII while my father was in the service.  I apparently so frequently asked the question “Why?” that my grandmother contemplated throttling me if I asked “Why” one more time.  I still think “Why?” is the most important question. And I am so grateful that I have spent my life in an environment that encourages us to ask it.

*Courtesy Raynor Memorial Libraries digital collections.


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