What Are We Fighting For?

By Karisa Tavassoli, WU Class of 2016 on August 13, 2014 in University Archives & Local History

“I know that in the struggle for enlightenment against ignorance and prejudice Washington University will stand in the forefront of the battle.” — 1905 Commencement   With this bold mission Mr. William Donaldson (WU Class of 1863) ended his 1905 Commencement oration. Are we fighting against ignorance and prejudice? Are we perpetuating them? A hundred […]

WU and the Moon Landing: 45 Years Ago

By Lillian Blotkamp, Graduate Student worker on July 20, 2014 in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, University Archives & Local History

Apollo 11’s moon landing on July 20, 1969 provided WU scientists with an historic opportunity. Physicists at WU were among those chosen to receive samples of the first rocks brought back from the moon.  Professor Robert Walker, a member of the Lunar Sample Advisory Planning Team (LSAPT), which advised NASA on the distribution of moon […]

Thurtene Carnival: WUSTL’s Oldest Tradition

By Lillian Blotkamp, Graduate student worker on April 9, 2014 in Special Collections, University Archives & Local History

This month, WU’s oldest tradition, Thurtene Carnival, returns to campus. A carnival was first held in 1907, and has continued annually.  The only interruption came in 1943, when World War II called away many members of the Thurtene honorary.  Otherwise, the weekend-long festivities, overseen chiefly by 13 students and always benefiting a local charitable organization, […]

A Look Back: Engineering Week at WU

By Lillian Blotkamp, Graduate Student Assistant on February 16, 2014 in History of Science, Medicine, and Technology, University Archives & Local History

Engineering Week has a long history of presenting competitions, fundraisers, and acclaimed guest speakers on WU’s campus.  Since the first decades of the twentieth century, the School of Engineering has held an annual Engineer’s Day showcasing the ingenuity of its students.  Most commonly, students made and presented displays of their latest work.   Engineering Day has […]

Honoring Mary Wickes, WU alum and actress

By Sonya Rooney on October 22, 2013 in Special Collections, University Archives & Local History

Mary Wickes was born Mary Isabella Wickenhauser in St. Louis, Missouri on June 13, 1910.  She grew up in St. Louis and attended Washington University in St. Louis where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1930.  During her college years she performed in student theatre productions and with the St. Louis Little Theatre. […]

Washington University’s First Commencement Address: From the Desk of William Greenleaf Eliot

By Bianca Lopez, PhD candidate in History on July 17, 2013 in University Archives & Local History

In June of 1862, William Greenleaf Eliot delivered the commencement address for Washington University’s first graduating class, whose numbers included his son Thomas. The address, an early draft of which is included below, covered philosophical subjects such as the evolution of human reason, the advent of metaphysics as a branch of philosophy, and the achievement […]

Travel Grant Recipient’s Research in the St. Louis Mayors’ collections

By Sonya Rooney, University Archivist & Mo Speller, WU Department of Special Collections Travel Grant Recipient on July 10, 2013 in Special Collections, University Archives & Local History

Mo Speller is a PhD candidate in History at Johns Hopkins University whose research is focused on 19th and 20th century U.S. History.  Mo is a recipient of one of the Department of Special Collections Travel Grants.  In this post, University Archivist Sonya Rooney interviews Mo regarding his research at the University Archives. Q: How have you used the University […]

Public School Reform in Wartime: From the Desk of William Greenleaf Eliot

By Bianca Lopez, PhD candidate in History on June 12, 2013 in University Archives & Local History

In 1861, St. Louis’s public school system was threatened by the outbreak of the Civil War. As a member of the school district’s board of directors, William Greenleaf Eliot wrote to its president, Edward Wyman, and asked that he keep the schools open during wartime. As it turns out, the schools had been closed earlier […]

Women’s Education: From the Desk of William Greenleaf Eliot

By Lillian Blotkamp, Graduate student worker on May 24, 2013 in University Archives & Local History

In December of 1870, William Greenleaf Eliot penned the following thoughts in his journal, which he jotted down after writing a speech on women’s education at the Missouri State Teachers’ Conference. He wrote, “We cannot now turn back, and having now admitted all the destructive powers of ignorance and vice, shall we exclude the part […]