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Rekindling Lost Love, Illinois-Style

Many of us are good story-tellers; archivists are “story-catchers.”

Paul and Diane at the Kappa Alpha Theta House Christmas Formal, 1950
Paul and Diane at the Kappa Alpha Theta House Christmas Formal, 1950

This past week, the Student Life & Culture (SLC) Archives received seven photos from alumnus Paul Wieland ’52 of Paul and girlfriend Diane Rutter ’52 taken during their time at Illinois.  I asked Colonel Wieland to include a memory piece about his photos to provide context for future researchers.  Below is his  amazing story of love, re-connection, loss and thankfulness:

“Summary of a Love Story”  from Colonel Paul Wieland, September 14, 2015

“This is a summary of the love story that accompanies the seven photos of Diane Rutter and myself, Paul Wieland. The photos were taken in 1950 and 1951 during our fraternity and sorority formal dances at the University of Illinois. Diane and I became college sweethearts just before our 20th birthdays, soon after we met at the University in January 1950. We spent four years together, two on campus and two after we graduated.

Diane’s mother was a dress designer and seamstress, and she made sure that Diane was always the beautiful “belle of the ball,” with a new gown for every formal dance. Those events were always a highlight of campus life; they involved a lot of planning and work — decorating the venue, selecting the best band, finalizing plans for refreshments, working on the guest list, etc.  Continue reading “Rekindling Lost Love, Illinois-Style”

Found in the Archives: The Most Popular Girl in School

Written by Caitlin Stamm

Since its inception, the U of I has been home to many illustrious awards and award-winners. One of the more unique titles, though, was awarded to an Illinois student one hundred years ago.

In April 1914, the Chicago Sunday Tribune named ten girls “The Most Popular Girls in College.” The

Article from the Chicago Sunday Tribune, April 26, 1914
Article from the Chicago Sunday Tribune, April 26, 1914

girls selected represented schools from across the country, from Stanford University  in California to Wellesley  College in Massachusetts. According to the Tribune, the defining characteristic of all of the young women selected was “a gracious democracy.” They wrote, “[E]ach and all of the girls chosen possessed above everything else the genius for democracy. It was their certain loadstone of attraction.” The women were selected after correspondents from the paper sent photographs and a description of each girl, detailing “the traits which accounted for her being the universal choice of her school” [1].

Clara Cronk, From the 1915 Illio
Clara Cronk, From the 1915 Illio

One of the ten women selected was Clara Cronk, a senior at Illinois in 1914. The Tribune described Ms. Cronk as “the most popular girl at the University of Illinois,” who “is a senior, a member of the senior memorial committee, and has always taken a prominent part in class politics” [2]. Continue reading “Found in the Archives: The Most Popular Girl in School”

Campus Memories: Boneyard Creek

Through the shady Arboretum,/ By the Balm of Gilead tree,/ gently flows the Bone-yard/On its journey to the sea./ In the summer, little violets/ ‘Midst the greenest mosses bloom,/ And their sweetest fragrance mingles/ With the Bone-yard’s own perfume.[1]

Postcard from RS 41/20/73.<br /> The note on the reverse reads: "Where all freshman [<em>sic</em>] are in danger of being dumped."
Postcard from RS 41/20/73.
The note on the reverse reads: “Where all freshman [sic] are in danger of being dumped.”
From the 1908 Illio, p. 539. Caption reads: "Life on the ocean wave or crossing the Boneyard during the recent flood"
From the 1908 Illio, p. 539. Caption reads: “Life on the ocean wave or crossing the Boneyard during the recent flood”

While there are many aspects of life as a U of I student that have remained the same throughout the years, one of the things that has changed is the symbolism and importance of Boneyard Creek. Fraternity battles! Student antics! Accidental explosions! Boneyard Creek has been home to it all.

For students of the past, Boneyard Creek was one of the most recognizable aspects of life in Champaign-Urbana. In fact, almost every Illio yearbook through the early 1920s featured some mention of the Boneyard. A student on campus in 1907 described the creek as “the most famous place here.” [2] Continue reading “Campus Memories: Boneyard Creek”

Shozo Sato: Reinventing Kabuki Theater

Written by Nick Hopkins

Shozo Sato and theater students, 1969.
Shozo Sato and theater students, 1969.

Shozo Sato’s (1933- ) contributions to the performing arts have spanned a long, path-breaking career. A Professor of Art and Design at Illinois for 50 years, Sato gained international attention for his adaptation of classic western theater plays into Kabuki performances. In the process, Sato produced a new, hybrid genre of performance that blurs the boundaries between classical Western and Japanese theatres.

The Japanese director came to Illinois in 1964 as an artist-in-residence. With the opening of the Krannert Center for Performing Arts in 1969, he shifted his attention to theatre production. In 1978, he and a student cast performed “Kabuki Macbeth” at Krannert. The performance generated positive reviews in Champaign County, and went on to win three of Chicago’s J. Jefferson awards, for best production, director, and costuming. The success of “Kabuki Macbeth” put the director on the map. Continue reading “Shozo Sato: Reinventing Kabuki Theater”

Fight, Illini! The Stadium Song

Cover for the sheet music to "Fight, Illini!" 1921
Cover for the sheet music to “Fight, Illini!” 1921

Written by Denise Rayman

The University of Illinois’ Memorial Stadium turned 90 years old last year, as it was officially dedicated in 1924, but planning and fundraising to build the stadium began long before that. The Memorial Stadium was intended as both an athletic field and memorial to the fallen soldiers of WWI, whose names are inscribed on the columns around the stadium, and it was built through the donations of UIUC students, alumni, and others, including corporate donors from Illinois. While both the need for a new athletic facility and a desire for a campus WWI memorial had been recognized before, in December 1920 the students voted to combine plans for a war memorial and new athletic field into one project [1]. The fundraising campaign to build Memorial Stadium started shortly thereafter. Fundraising efforts took different forms, but one particularly unique fundraising push was a song contest, the winning song then used to raise money through sheet music sales, and this resulted a newly composed Illini fight song – “Fight, Illini! The Stadium Song.” Continue reading “Fight, Illini! The Stadium Song”