Commencement Tidbits

By Sonya Rooney, University Archivist on May 14, 2013 in University Archives & Local History

The first commencement for Washington University occurred in 1862, with five graduates.  In the 2012 Commencement 2,760 candidates received 2,878 degrees (1,450 undergraduate and 1,428 graduate and professional). A variety of people have spoken at Commencement over the years including James Bryce (1907), John Duncan Ernst Spaeth (1930), Sister Francetta Barberis (1965), Bob Hope (1984), […]

Religion and the Civil War: From the Desk of William Greenleaf Eliot

By Bianca Lopez, PhD candidate in History on April 10, 2013 in University Archives & Local History

In the days and months leading up to the Civil War, Missouri was torn by the decision of whether or not to secede from the Union. As a slave-holding border state with a population divided over slavery, it had no easily discernible political alliances. Many of St. Louis’s inhabitants owned slaves or were otherwise sympathetic […]

The Fieldhouse

By Bill Gullion, WU Class 1957, and guest blogger on March 20, 2013 in University Archives & Local History

When construction was started on the Fieldhouse in the summer of 1926, Washington University was playing its home games in the Francis Gymnasium and the St. Louis Coliseum. Built for the 1904 St. Louis Olympic Games, my best estimate of the seating capacity of the Francis Gym was around 1,000 persons with seating located in […]

Eulogy for Freeman George: From the Desk of William Greenleaf Eliot

By By Bianca Lopez, PhD candidate in History on March 6, 2013 in University Archives & Local History

As a prominent Unitarian minister in nineteenth-century St. Louis, one of William Greenleaf Eliot’s religious responsibilities was to prepare and deliver funerary sermons for deceased members of his congregation. In 1860, during a brief reprieve before the advent of the Civil War, Eliot drafted such a eulogy in his notebook for one Freeman George, a […]

Immigrants and Nativists in St. Louis: From the Desk of William Greenleaf Eliot

By Bianca Lopez, PhD candidate in History on February 20, 2013 in University Archives & Local History

Before the outbreak of the Civil War, St. Louis’s population ebbed and flowed as various groups of immigrants and travelers arrived from east and south. Some were pioneers, who stopped in the city only temporarily before continuing their journey west towards the Pacific Ocean. Others, mostly German and Irish immigrants, settled in St. Louis, seeking […]

The Second Century – A Great University

By Bianca Lopez, PhD candidate in History on January 25, 2013 in University Archives & Local History

Sometimes at the University Archives, materials appear without any clear indication of what it is or why it was made. Such was the case with a lone film reel entitled The Second Century. After combing through the Archives’ stacks, we can now surmise that the film was produced around 1954 as part of Washington University’s […]

The Independent Western Sanitary Commission: From the Desk of William Greenleaf Eliot

By Bianca Lopez, PhD candidate in History on January 9, 2013 in University Archives & Local History

In June of 1861, the United States Congress created the U.S. Sanitary Commission, a government organization that would funnel funds and resources to army camps throughout the country, including Missouri. However, the Commission could not efficiently help camps near St. Louis, which remained in crisis. To counteract this dilemma, William Greenleaf Eliot and his friend […]

Letters to Family: From the Desk of William Greenleaf Eliot

By Bianca Lopez, PhD candidate in History on December 19, 2012 in University Archives & Local History

The William Greenleaf Eliot Personal Papers also include correspondence from Eliot to family members, friends, and prominent individuals written throughout his lifetime. Some of these letters date to the Civil War period and provide an intimate portrayal of everyday life in a war-time border state. They also reveal Eliot sharing his thoughts and opinions on […]

Travel Grant Recipient’s Research on Scholarships

By Thomas Adam, WU Department of Special Collections Travel Grant Recipient on December 5, 2012 in Special Collections, University Archives & Local History

Dr. Thomas Adam is a professor of history at the University of Texas at Arlington whose research and publications focus on the place of philanthropy in modern American and European societies since 1800.  Currently, he is working on a study of funding for undergraduate education at American universities and colleges from 1800 to 1945. For […]

New and Notable: Evening Whirl Newspaper Collection

By Sonya Rooney on November 7, 2012 in University Archives & Local History

University Archives’ new acquisition Evening Whirl Newspaper Collection adds to our St. Louis history and African American collections. Benjamin Thomas began publishing Night Whirl in 1938, a weekly newspaper covering music and entertainment for the black population of St. Louis.  However, within a year Thomas changed the name to Evening Whirl and began covering crime […]