Giants in their Time: Representative Americans from the Jazz Age to the Cold War

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Luttier, and J. Chase, lined up along an accessibility ramp. The Oral History Project. Illini Everywhere Series. Image: Location of all Foreign Students in By , 26 fraternities either disbanded or merged. Independent students now increased their roles in athletics, publications, student government, and politics. Fun involved dating, dancing, and five-cent Cokes—in other words, whatever was cheap. Local vice, however, remained a problem, particularly from brothels on Walnut Street. The influx in the late s of GI Bill students, many with families, reinforced the serious atmosphere, though some rules were relaxed for them.

The influence of the Greeks waned during the Depression. Organized into such leftist groups as the Campus Forum, the National Student League, and the American Student Union , these maverick undergraduates challenged compulsory R. Many students had little time for extracurricular activities; they were too busy struggling to make ends meet. As a bonus, many of the FERA and NYA jobs were interesting; students bound books and compiled bibliographies in the Library, preserved old collections of artifacts at the Natural History Survey, and even conducted scientific research.

Students still managed to have fun during the Depression. Dating, dancing and drinking remained popular activities. Portia Allyn Smith , who attended the U of I from to , recalled what dates were like in the s. Only one beer was sold on campus for every 60 Cokes. Following the repeal of Prohibition in , campus confectioneries began to sell beer. In the booths a number of cases of ardent love making. The general question of local vice became a major issue in when the Daily Illini launched a crusade against gambling and prostitution.

Besides swelling the enrollment totals and restoring the pre-war male to female ratio, the large numbers of veterans markedly changed the tone of the campus. The veterans were serious and in a hurry to graduate and begin a career.

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Many of them had families to provide for and did not have the time—or the inclination—to join campus groups like fraternities. Certain infractions, formerly overlooked, are no longer taken in so light a vein. The campus returned to familiar patterns in the s. The fraternity men and sorority women again came to dominate undergraduate affairs, the Greek system revived, and most students displayed an indifference to political matters.

Transcript [11] Illinois Alumni News , 1 May Smith to Arthur Willard, 4 January , ibid. Chase shrank the number of student rules from to 39, strengthened faculty independence in regulating their own colleges, and most importantly, gave faculty control over educational policy and student discipline. After Chase left in , Dean of Men Fred Turner lobbied new President Willard to create a more paternalistic office to regulate student affairs.

This he achieved in and was named Dean of Students. In , he created a Security Office. Staffed by a former Army intelligence officer, it was intended to police unauthorized drinking, etc. The departments were allowed to organize under either heads or chairs. Gone were the days when janitors acted as spies for the administration, reporting faculty infractions of the no-smoking rule to Thomas Arkle Clark. The U of I came in second among institutions surveyed. Perhaps most importantly, Chase scrapped the Council of Administration—the powerful body that had long supervised University affairs.

Chase left the University after only three years, but the reforms he promoted had an enduring effect on the school, whether for good or ill.

Norman K. Risjord

Dean of Women Maria Leonard, for one, did not believe that all of this change was for the better. In a letter to President Arthur Willard, Leonard wrote of a breaking down of discipline on campus.

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The amorousness of college students, for example, was growing worse, she claimed. However, in , he obtained an important role in discipline through the creation of the Security Office. This era saw several old traditions die. Freshman cap-burning was abolished in after students—some naked—vandalized local properties.

Basketball also flourished. Many traditions did die during the Depression years. The annual freshman cap-burning was abolished in after students—some naked—ran amok, smashing windows and streetlights and wrecking confectioneries. While one Homecoming tradition succumbed during the Depression, another was born. The decade of the s opened with the crowning of two noteworthy Homecoming queens. One rare bright note in a dark decade came on November 4, , when the Illini toppled a mighty Tom Harmon-led Michigan team, stunning the football world.

Illini basketball came into its own during this period. In the course of their war-shortened career, the Whiz Kids broke 10 Big Ten records, including records for total points in one season, total baskets in one season, total points in one game, total baskets in one game, and total conference games won in two years.

In , Harry Combes, a former Illini basketball star, succeeded Mills as coach, making the jump from Champaign High School where his teams had compiled an amazing record. In the latter year, Illinois advanced to the first officially recognized Final Four, finishing in third place. Eddleman played on the Illini basketball, football, and track and field teams, earning a combined 11 varsity letters. Transcript available online. Women controlled the newspaper, yearbook, and many campus organizations. Men, however, flooded the campus when the University provided specialized training for the Army and Navy.

Between and , over , soldiers and sailors attended programs in Navy signals, diesel engine repair, medical and dental training, even cooking. Secret work also took place among faculty. Nineteen physicists participated in the Manhattan Project. Professors created new types of synthetic rubber, an anti-malarial drug, water purity kits, and more. Unbeknownst to students, there was also a top-secret munitions lab on campus. In , for the first time in history, Illini women began to receive military training. The men-women ratio, however, was not as lopsided as the enrollment figures suggested.

There were in fact on campus large numbers of men not accounted for in the statistics tallying civilians—the thousands of Army and Navy men receiving specialized training at the University. The first members of the armed services to arrive at the University were trainees in a Navy signal school. On March 24, , the Navy had given definite word of its intention of establishing such a school on campus, and University officials scrambled to meet the May 1st deadline. Masts were erected on Illinois Field to give the Navy trainees realistic instruction in the various methods of signaling between ships.

Thanks to the employees in the Physical Plant Department, who in some cases worked three shifts to expedite the job, the Signal School opened on May 1st as scheduled, receiving a class of trainees. The school had a capacity of to 1, men and the training lasted for 16 weeks. In the late summer of , the Navy opened schools for diesel engine operators and for diesel engine officers.

The instruction in the operation and maintenance of diesel engines took place in the cavernous West Hall of Memorial Stadium, which had been converted into workshops, laboratories, and classrooms. Also, a school for Navy cooks and bakers was conducted at the University from November to June In the summer of , the Navy brought to campus its V program that trained men to be medical, dental, and engineering officers. Though under Navy discipline, the V trainees were instructed by members of the University faculty. They were housed and fed at Busey, Evans, and Illini Halls. In the end, some 13, Navy personnel would be taught on campus in these various schools and programs during the course of the conflict.

The Army too had a strong presence on campus during the war years.


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Unveiled late in , the Army Specialized Training Program ASTP was organized to provide soldier-students with instruction in engineering, psychology, foreign languages, medicine, dentistry, or veterinary science. In the spring of , the federal government sharply curtailed ASTP as increasing numbers of soldiers were needed for the ongoing Italian campaign and for the planned invasion of France.

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The ASTP men had a formidable course load during their twelve-week-long terms. They attended school 34 hours a week and their study was supervised between classes and from p. The masses of soldiers and sailors dramatically transformed the look and feel of the University. On Victory in Europe Day—May 8, —more than 3, students gathered in front of the Auditorium for a brief service. In the months and years following the war, the full extent of University involvement in wartime research was revealed. Physics Professor F.

Wheeler Loomis had been an associate director of the Cambridge, Massachusetts laboratory that had developed radar. Here too a team of researchers came up with a field kit that soldiers could use to test the purity of water. Chemists in this lab worked on a smoke screen to shield ships from enemy attack and devised methods of applying DDT.

A field in the South Farms served as a proving ground, and the enormous east room of Memorial Stadium was used for experiments in fog dispersal. University chemists also investigated the properties of penicillin and other antibiotics such as streptomycin. Harold H. Mitchell, professor of Animal Science, conducted one of the more controversial on-campus experiments during the war. In , Mitchell received federal funding for an experiment that was designed to investigate the impact of extreme temperatures on human vitamin and mineral requirements.

A climate-controlled chamber was constructed in the Old Agriculture Building now Davenport Hall and several conscientious objectors were recruited for the study. Willard Apr. Mitchell to General Lewis B.

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Hershey, 14 October , Harold H. Alma Mater at the original location behind the Auditorium featuring four men and two women, four of whom are dressed in military uniforms, An aerial view of Stadium Terrace, with Memorial Stadium visible in the background, An aerial view of the buildings on the main and south quad, circa Arthur C. Willard, U of I President, circa Main Entrance and Administration Building, circa Students Playing Catch at Galesburg, Galesburg Campus Library, circa Army Veterans Moving into Galesburg, What he heard was not encouraging.

Chase said that, in educational circles, Illinois was not considered to be on the same level as California, Minnesota, and Michigan. Research in the Stoddard Administration. The Rise and Fall of University Hall. Foreshadowing the Fall of University Hall In a feat of marvelous coincidence, Daily Illini columnist Jim Dix foreshadowed the ceiling collapse at University Hall just a day prior to the collapse. Stoddard Building Program. Between the years and , University enrollment experienced peaks and valleys. The number of students plummeted in the early Depression years, then rebounded beginning in , fell during World War II to levels not seen since the s, and, finally, in the post-war period, reached unprecedented heights thanks to the GI Bill and the influx of veterans it made possible.

The GI Bill democratized higher education, shattering the notion that college was the exclusive preserve of the middle and upper classes. Yet African American enrollment showed a marked fall-off during this period, dropping from students in to 55 in A Home of Their Own. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again.

Giants in their Time: Representative Americans from the Jazz Age to the Cold War Review

Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Each generation of Americans has a special flavor, a character of its own. Sometimes a memorable decade, such as the "Gay Nineties" or the "Roaring Twenties," imprinted the generation that lived and outlived it. Yet no simple rubric comes easily to mind when one thinks of the Revolutionary generation. Their accomplishments were too grand, their interests too varied, to be Each generation of Americans has a special flavor, a character of its own.

Their accomplishments were too grand, their interests too varied, to be encompassed in a single phrase. Risjord divides this book into three sections, each exploring one of the era's dominant themes. The first section, "Nation Builders" follows the careers of military men such as George Washington and Francis Marion and examines life on the homefront through the eyes of Abigail Adams. The section headed "Character Builders" examines the lives of people who sought to mold an American national character, men such as Charles Willson Peale, Benjamin Rush, and Noah Webster. The last section explores the paradox that the Revolutionary generation also gave birth to an empire in which self-governing people ruled--sometimes tyrannically--over others.

The founders of the American republic were preoccupied with the fundamentals of society and government. This book reflects this concern and also explores the lives of individuals who contributed to science and the arts. Get A Copy. More Details Other Editions 1.

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