In 1974, a group of women at the University of Illinois had an ambitious plan. Led by graduate student Kristin Lems, they aimed to host a week-long music festival highlighting female artists that would draw musicians and attendees from all over the country. “Nothing like this has ever been done before,” said Lems in a Daily Illini article. “Women have been taught that they must compete with other women and go it alone.” Lems and other organizers sought to create an environment that was supportive of female artists and encouraged conversation about how to operate within or outside of a music industry they felt imposed restrictions and stereotypes on women. Bolstered by the success of the local women’s music scene, students and community members worked hard to attract women with national name recognition and to draw crowds to Champaign-Urbana. Continue reading “The National Women’s Music Festival”→
Thomas Hendrickson is an undergraduate in history at the University of Illinois and an Undergraduate Assistant at the Archives Research Center.
A total of ten residence halls are named after women who have had a profound impact on the University of Illinois.
Allen Hall is named after Louisa C. Allen (1848-1920). She was only 22 years old when she was hired at the University and given the major tasks of overseeing female education and developing instruction in domestic science for women. Despite little institutional support and with no precedent upon which to model such a program, Allen offered a full new course of study during the 1875-1876 academic year. Her early work helped make higher education more obtainable for women. Continue reading “Behind the Names: Residence Halls Named After Women”→
This paper is part of the Student Researcher Series which showcases research students have conducted using resources in the Student Life and Culture Archives.
Cassidy Burke is a junior in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences studying history and communication with a minor in Spanish and a Digitization Assistant at the University of Illinois Archives. She summarized her project by saying, “I chose to research the discussion of sexual assault at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign during the 1970s and 1980s. My research demonstrates that a handful of brave UIUC women during this time were at the forefront of bringing the discussion of rape and sexual assault into the public space. Dissonance & Disinterest shows the way women shaped rape prevention on campus, and how their efforts, while ignored at first, left a tremendous impact.” Cassidy presented her research at the Ethnography of the University Initiative Conference in December 2015.
On July 2, 1974 the rape hotline at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign received a call from a woman. The woman asked the hotline receptionist if she was being raped. The receptionist said, “No, are you?” The woman replied, “Yes-you should be. You don’t know what you’re missing.” A day earlier, a woman called and asked if this was “the rape hotline where you call when you been raped or sexually assaulted, right?” The receptionist said yes, and the woman on the other end hung up. Three minutes later, the same number called back, but hung up immediately. Two minutes later, the same number called and instead a male voice said, “How big’s your pussy?” A month earlier, a woman called the rape hotline after she experienced stomach pains following being raped. After the rape hotline tried multiple times to get back in touch with the woman, the woman revealed in a second phone conversation that five men gang raped her the night before; she was unsure whether or not to report the crime. She knew the man who forced her into this disturbing and unthinkable violence. In the 1970s and 1980s, rape at the University of Illinois existed and created deafening silence surrounding sexual violence all over campus. Many woman and men who did call the rape hotline to report a rape often got cold feet and as demonstrated above, many students made a joke of the rape hotline, with crude or phony stories. Continue reading “Dissonance & Disinterest: Sexual Assault and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign”→
This paper is part of the Student Researcher Series which showcases research students have conducted using resources in the Student Life and Culture Archives. If you’re a student who is interested in sharing your research on our blog, please contact us.
Rebecca Purcell is an undergraduate history student at the University of Illinois. This paper was written for History 498:Research and Writing Seminar taught by Professor Leslie Reagan. Rebecca presented her research at the Ethnography of the University Initiative Conference in December 2015.
We often think of women during wartime as someone who the men fighting send letters to. We see them as loved ones, care givers, and providers of those fighting overseas. During World War II women’s roles began to transform into something that did not follow the norms of society set for them in prior wars. Women now had their own divisions of service to sign up for. They had the choice like most men of working under the Airforce, Army, Navy, and the National Guard. Women during World War II played an important role in showing not only how women took on more active roles than they had in previous wars, but also how universities such as U of I became centers where women were able to discover who they wanted to become when it came to war time efforts. These women pushed past restrictions placed on them by men, and proved that they were willing and able to fight for their country just like any man. These women represent not only change, but hope in a future where they could become more than just housewives, but equals to men. Looking at different accounts from the time and prior we can see through their stories and struggles the changes that began to occur after WWII in relation to women. This paper is meant to prove just how significant these women truly were for both the University of Illinois, as well as across the nation making an impact on the U.S., and its military.
During WWI other countries were taking action to ensure that their nations would not crumble when it came to their military strength. They wanted to be prepared for the possibility that their men would all fall in battle. Countries such as Russia, Japan, Germany, England, and many others were preparing for a total war. This preparation began prior to WWI, and grew strong as the war progressed. “For over a decade the women of Germany, Italy, and Japan have been training for war. Their duties range from front line combat to manual labor.” Russia seemed to be the country that allowed women to be involved in more ways than other countries. Russia allowed women to serve as sharpshooters, dig trenches, and carry ammunition on their backs to troops in the line of fire. Countries around the world besides the U.S. at this point allowed women to be involved in military activities. “The British, whose war effort was more nearly total, had already established women’s auxiliaries in several of their services, and there was considerable evidence that had the war lasted a few months longer the United States might have done like wise.” Women’s involvement in the military may have been different in WWII if this would have happened. However, there was one way that women were allowed to be involved in military efforts in WWI. Continue reading “The Stateside Soldiers Abroad and at the University of Illinois”→