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Pride at UIUC


Written by Chloe Attrell

RS 41/2/46

The Stonewall Rebellion on June 28th, 1969 in New York City inspired queer people of various backgrounds to organize coalitions to combat discrimination, and advocate for civil rights in a time of intolerance and police brutality. This is the instance that many recall when Pride month comes around, as a singular, pivotal moment in history that defined much of the struggle to come. Nonetheless, it is just as important to consider the history of achievements made by local queer activists as well.

In the years following the rebellion, students and Champaign-Urbana residents sought to form queer rights advocacy groups. Jeffrey Graubart founded a Gay Liberation organization through the University in 1970, stressing the importance of heterosexual education on gay struggles as key in the advancement of gay rights [1]. Although this chapter disintegrated by 1973, those in the organization advocated against homophobic policy within the city and paved the way for other gay organizations to come.

Poster For Gay Switchboard (41/2/46 Box 1, Folder “Gay Illini Archives 1975-1976”)

The Gay Illini (initially called the Gay Students’ Alliance), founded in early 1975, became the central group for gay student concerns. Through collaborations with both the University and greater Champaign-Urbana area, they made significant achievements in their first two semesters of operation. The Gay Switchboard, established in fall of 1976, was among the GI’s most esteemed contributions. This Switchboard was a volunteer-run mental health hotline specifically for the gay community [2]. At this time, there had been no such resource for queer people in the area, making it a matter of urgency to have this hotline available. The number for the Switchboard came to be added to Urbana’s News-Gazette after representatives of the organization stressed its importance to local newspapers [3]. Additionally, they opened a Gay Resource Center in the University’s YWCA lounge by the end of 1975, where educational materials on sexuality were available to be checked out [4].

In addition to providing resources for queer students, the newly renamed Gay and Lesbian Illini advocated for an amendment to the University’s non-discrimination policy that would provide civil rights protections to queer students on campus, beginning in 1983. After two rejections from Chancellor Thomas Everhart, GLI responded with protests, including a sit-in in the Chancellor’s office. This response prompted Everhart to appoint a task force in 1986 to investigate the climate of queer student life and discrimination on campus [5]. By 1987, University policy began to change in favor of GLI’s goals.

The story of GLI’s fight for non-discrimination, visibility, and education, although important to the University’s history of civil rights, is only one aspect of LGBT life on campus and in Champaign-Urbana. Before and since their founding, queer students have existed and come together, and continue to do so today. To learn more about LGBT life on campus, The Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Concerns Papers (RS 41/2/46) contains documentation of the history of queer student presence and activism. Joyce D. Meyer’s Papers (RS 41/20/271) additionally provides insight into Lesbian activism through the 1970s-1980s. Moreover, local newsletters like People Like Us and OUTpostings (RS 41/66/815; RS 41/66/816) are resources that provide insight into local queer culture and organization since the 1980s.


[1]-[4] 41/2/46 Box 2, Folder “Newspaper Clippings, 1970-1989 (1 of 4)”

[5] 41/66/815 Box 1, “People Like Us”


Second-Wave Feminism in the Student Life and Culture Archives

Written by Patty Templeton

The first-wave of feminism in the United States focused on overturning legal obstacles to gender equality. It concentrated on issues like voting rights and property rights. The second-wave of feminism is agreed to have lasted from the 1960s until the 1980s. During these two decades of activism, people fought for a variety of issues that revolved around sexuality, reproductive rights, work life, family life, and gender-based inequalities. It should be noted that the second-wave of feminism has been criticized as not inclusive to the issues of women of color/working class and poor women.

Activism concerning second-wave feminism can be found throughout the Student Life and Culture (SLC) Archives. The following materials are a starting point for second-wave feminism research in the archives. These resources connect to topics and people pertinent to feminism on campus and how female students were treated during this time.

Women Supporting Equal Rights Amendment, ca. 1976

The Women’s Resources and Services Subject File, 1964-1991 (RS 41/3/10) contains pamphlets, posters, flyers, correspondence, newsletters, and more regarding programs like the Feminist Scholarship Conference (1978), the Illinois Symposium for Women (1969-1981), and the Verdell Frazier-Young Awards (1970-1991).

The Women’s Resources and Services References File, 1959-88, 1993-2005 (RS 41/3/9) builds broader context for second-wave feminism. It contains clippings, articles, brochures, and booklets about women in higher education focusing on topics such as Title IX, women’s liberation, Women’s Studies, and the Equal Rights Amendment.

For minutes, newsletters, and program materials about the Equal Rights Amendment, sexual harassment, rape, the National Women’s Music Festival (1976-80), the Women’s Film Festival (1981 & 1984), and other issues concerning women, look through the Women’s Student Union Records, 1974-84 (RS 41/66/100).

Women’s Folk Festival, 1974

The Joyce D. Meyers Papers, 1961-2018 (RS 41/20/271) reflect the life and activism of Meyers, who attended UIUC in the 1970s, protested for the Equal Rights Amendment, and became the first openly LGBTQ candidate to run for Champaign City Council.

The Paula Treichler Papers, 1970-1998 (RS 52/5/21) reflect Professor Treichler’s work, correspondence, papers, and clippings regarding issues such the Campus Affairs Committee on Women’s Concerns, child care, women’s studies, and the Committee on the Status of Women.

A search through the Student Organizations Publications, 1871- (RS 41/6/840) may be fruitful, as it contains copies of student org docs and announcements. For example, Box 1 contains info on the Abortion Rights Coalition and the Allies for a Women’s Center.

To position the expectations of women on campus leading into and during second-wave feminism, peruse Illini Wise 1944, 1946, 1949-60 (RS 41/3/810). To further situate how women and their interests were viewed, check out Editorial Office News for Women, 1948- (RS 8/3/861). These weekly news releases focused on “news of general interest to women” and homemaking.

Several more publications of interest include Continuing Conversations, 1967- (RS 41/3/814), a bimonthly publication focused on concerns of women at UIUC, and People Publications, 1970-71 (RS 41/66/969). People reflected radical activism on campus, including women’s liberation.

As always, the Daily Illini is an excellent resource to keyword search for topics such as feminism, abortion, Title IX, the Equal Rights Amendment, and women’s liberation. (Make sure to limit the years of your search!)

The SLC has a plethora of material regarding women’s history throughout the second-wave of feminism, as does the University Archives at the Main Library. Start here but contact an archivist if you have any questions!

Pauline Chiang: The First Female Chinese Student at UIUC

Written by Patty Templeton

Pauline Chiang was the first female Chinese student to attend UIUC. She joined the College of Commerce (now the Gies College of Business) in 1922. This is 16 years after the first male Chinese students began studying at the university. In a Daily Illini feature, Chiang said, “I am perfectly satisfied at the University of Illinois,” and further stated, “In my home in Pekin, I heard of Illinois, and my friends in this country directed me here. It is a wonderful place.”

Pauline Chiang

Upon her arrival Chiang, lived at McKinley Hall and became active in the Freshman Commission, the Woman’s Cosmopolitan Club, and at the Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church. Chiang also associated with the Chinese Students’ Club and took the part of a princess in “The Philosopher’s Stone,” a play that the club wrote and produced in 1923. (Details about the Chinese Students’ Club building can be found here.)

            McKinley Hall group from page 430 of the 1924 Illio

Chiang spoke up about issues of world education and race while at UIUC. A Daily Illini article from 1923 features Chiang’s thoughts on the 1922 silent drama East Meets West, a movie that starred a white woman in yellowface and heavily featured stereotypes about Chinese people. Chiang said, “I never saw Chinese girls with false teeth, as so described. I never saw Chinese dressed the way the picture describes.” She goes on to say, “It is the pride of the nation that I am fighting for.”

Freshman Commission from page 170 of  the 1924 Illio

Cosmopolitan Club from page 473 of  the 1924 Illio

Pauline Chiang is listed in the 1922 Local Faculty and Student Directory. In September of 1923, Pauline Chiang married a fellow student, Herbert C. Euyang. She then appears in the 1923 Local Faculty and Staff Directory as “Mrs. H.C. Euyang.” She is not found by either name in any subsequent directories. Herbert Euyang graduated in 1924 and took a job in Chicago at an importing firm, and this may account for Pauline leaving UIUC’s campus.

For additional information on Pauline Chiang/Pauline Euyang, peruse the 14 mentions of her in the Daily Illini, the 6 mentions of her husband Herbert in the Daily Illini, or contact an archivist.

For more information on the early years of Chinese students studying at UIUC, check out our Illini Everywhere blog series which discusses Chinese students from 1917-1927 and from 1928-1948.

First-Wave Feminism in the Student Life and Culture Archives

Written by Patty Templeton

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign held its first classes in March of 1868. Two years later, women were allowed to attend classes. The early days of the university coincided with the battle for women’s suffrage. Women in Illinois wouldn’t secure the right to vote for another 45 years (1913). It would take another seven years before the Nineteenth Amendment was fully ratified ensuring, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

Women’s suffrage is a part of the the first-wave of feminism in the United States. Concerns of first-wave feminism included women’s right to vote in all elections, women’s bodies not being considered as their husband’s property, and women attaining equal contract and property rights. This first-wave of feminism began on 1848 with the first women’s rights convention, the Seneca Falls Gathering, and ended with the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920.

Gathered here is a good starting point in examining first-wave feminism as experienced by UIUC students. These materials connect to themes of feminism, suffrage, and the view of women on campus.

The Alethenai Society (RS 41/75/2) was a literary society for women founded in 1871. The above Alethenai Stunt photo (ID 0002367) depicts the society dressed for women’s rights as part of the May Fete Stunt Show.

“Hurray for Petticoats, Down with Trousers” (ID 0002360) is an undated photograph, circa 1909-1914, of men in dresses taking part in the Interscholastic Circus, holding a sign that says, “Hurray for Petticoats, Down with Trousers!”

Board of Trustees Meetings Biennial Reports, 1867-2011, are available as digital surrogates (ID 8a02d470-9299-0131-1105-0050569601ca-8). The August 26, 1870 meeting discusses allowing females to apply in the upcoming school year stating, “…be it Resolved, That the Regent and faculty be authorized to admit to the classes of this institution for instruction, such female students of proper qualifications, as may apply; provided they be first satisfied that the parents and guardians have provided for them proper homes.” The names of Ayes (5) and Noes (4) are recorded for the resolution.

The early years of the Score Club (RS 48/3/7) reflect a focus on women’s suffrage in addition to an interest in music.

Thomas Arkle Clark was a professor of English (1893-99), the dean of undergraduates (1901-09), and dean of men (1909-1931) at UIUC. Keyword searching the Thomas A Clark papers (RS 41/2/20) for terms such as “lady,” “ladies,” “woman,” “women,” and “girl” will bring up articles and manuscripts that reflect the opinions of women and women on campus written by a university administrator.

Researchers can keyword search digitized versions of the Daily Illini to ascertain the student reaction to and events about to women’s suffrage. The earliest Daily Illini appearance of the term “suffrage” appears in the May 1, 1879 edition in an article titled, “Woman’s Rights; Their Opposition, Development and Effects.” There are 448 mentions of the term “suffrage” between 1870 – 1921. Searching in that date range for terms such as “female,” “women,” “ladies,” “lady,” and other related terms also may prove helpful. Researchers can also expand this search past the Daily Illini to Champaign-Urbana or Illinois newspapers.

Make sure to check out resources on women’s suffrage located at the University Archives in the Main Library, as well!  For example, in the Illinois Library Association Correspondence (RS 35/1/16), in the Louise B. Dunbar Papers (RS 15/13/36), the Maurice T. Price Papers (RS 15/21/20), in the Louisa A. Gregory Notebooks (RS 2/1/4), and in the General Correspondence 1919 – 1930 (RS 2/6/1).

Note: This is a starting points for women’s suffrage resources held within the Student Life and Culture Archives. The SLC has a large amount of materials on women’s personal history at UIUC – from scrapbooks to photos to papers. Contact an archivist if you have questions about record series on early women who were students, teachers, and administrators at UIUC.