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Mortar Board records

Overview

Abstract

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Petition Book

Papers

Photographs, Negatives, and Slides

Other Media

Framed Items and Plaques



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Mortar Board records, 1924-2010 | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

By Virginia Pleasant

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Collection Overview

Title: Mortar Board records, 1924-2010Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1965-2005

Primary Creator: Mortar Board Society (1924-)

Extent: 3.45 Cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement:

1.  Petition Book, 1924-1926 (0.45 cubic feet).  This series consists of the petition book that was compiled in scrapbook format by SLS when they were petitioning for acceptance to the Mortar Board Society.  The book includes historical information on and photos of SLS and Purdue, as well as information about its members and alumni.  The second half of the book contains letters of support from regional chapters of Mortar Board and prominent faculty members.  Of particular note in this section of the book are letters from Carolyn Shoemaker, Virginia Meredith, Mary Matthews, Stanley Coulter, President Elliott, and David Ross.  There is also information about opportunities available to women students and prominent women alumnae and faculty.

2.  Papers, 1926-2009 (1.6 cubic feet).  This series consists of various manuscript material documenting the history and activities of the Barbara Cook Chapter of the Mortar Board Society.  The records also give some indication of the chapter’s interactions with the National Mortar Board Society.  Much of the series is comprised of correspondence with various university officials, scholarship winners, and others.  Also included are some minutes and internal memos.

3.  Photos, Negatives, and Slides, 1927-2003 (0.75 cubic feet).  The photos and slides in this series document the initiation and activities of Barbara Cook Chapter of the Mortar Board Society over the years.  Also depicted is the involvement of the various Deans of Women with group.

4.  Other Media, ca.1987-2009 (0.2 cubic feet).  This series consists of optical drives, removeable discs, video and audio cassettes.  They document various activities and events participated in by the Barbara Cook Chapter of the Mortar Board.

5.  Framed Items and Plaques, 1929, 1999-2000 (0.6 cubic feet).  This series consists of a framed copy of a Little Orphan Annie cartoon drawn for the chapter by Harold Gray, a framed medallion, and a plaque honoring Helen Schlemen.

Date Acquired: 06/14/2013

Subjects: Cook, Barbara I., 1929-2013, Mortar Board (Society). Barbara Cook Chapter (Purdue University), Purdue University--History, Purdue University--Students--Social life and customs--20th century, Purdue University. Dean of Women, Women's Archives at Purdue University, Women--Education (Higher)--United States--History

Forms of Material: Color photographs, Correspondence, Ephemera, Scrapbooks

Languages: English

Abstract

The collection contains correspondence, photographs, certificates, pamphlets, and a scrapbook, that document the history and activities of the Mortar Board honor society at Purdue University.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Mortar Board records (1924-2009; 3.45 cubic feet) document the establishment and myriad activities of the Barbara Cook Chapter of the Mortar Board National Society at Purdue University.  The collection reflects the changing scope of Mortar Board over the years, from their early supportive roles in the university, to their position as a major donor of scholarships and fellowships for women (and later men) students, and their devotion to fostering leadership skills in their members.  The majority of the records is from the second half of the twentieth century, and is less comprehensive for the earliest and most recent years of Mortar Board’s existence.  This collection might be useful for researchers interested in women’s history and organizations, women’s liberation and the latent effects of Title IX legislation, student life and activities during the twentieth century, scholarship funds, and the impact of the Deans of Women at Purdue.  Types of materials include: correspondence, printed material, society records, a scrapbook, photos, slides and negatives, video and audio cassettes, cds, and computer discs.

Collection Historical Note

The Mortar Board chapter at Purdue University began with the creation of the SLS honor society in the fall of 1924.  The ideals and goals of SLS were embodied in its name, the letters standing for Service, Leadership, and Scholarship.  The seven senior women inducted into the organization in 1924 initially operated secretly and individually within the community to achieve these standards; the ultimate goal was to eventually secure affiliation with the National Mortar Board society.  Beginning with the first class of inductees in the spring of 1925, SLS moved into the public sphere and began to operate as a cohesive unit.  SLS restricted membership to senior women with a minimum grade average of 85, and they were initiated during May Day festivities of their junior year.

The focus within SLS was on providing opportunities for and recognition of leadership by women students and the support of their character development.  From its inception, the group aligned itself with other women’s organizations and leaders on campus including the Women’s Athletic Association, the Young Women’s Christian Association, and the Dean of Women.  During the spring of 1926, SLS members began to more actively pursue their proposal for acceptance into the National Mortar Board society.  Members compiled a petition in scrapbook form to be presented by an SLS delegate at the National Mortar Board Conference in November of 1926.  The book contains historical information about and photos of Purdue, SLS, and SLS members and alumnae.  Also included in the book are several letters of support from regional Mortar Board chapters and prominent members of Purdue faculty.

After their petition was approved in the fall of 1926, SLS changed their name to the Mortar Board honor society.  Membership was still restricted to senior women of high scholastic aptitude.  Dean Carolyn Shoemaker was a faculty member of the society and supported their various endeavors in the early years, including the sponsorship of a women’s glee club at Purdue, Alpha Lambda Delta, and the Gold Peppers.  In addition to providing support for other women’s groups on campus, Mortar Board hosted annual dances, teas, and breakfasts and engaged in volunteer work in the community.  By the 1930s, they also began to donate scholarship funds to the Dean of Women to be distributed to deserving women students; these early awards served as a precursor for the better-known Mortar Board scholarships and fellowships.     

Beginning in 1945, Mortar Board also contributed financially to the scholarship funds offered jointly by the Gold Peppers and Women’s Panhellenic Association.  Mortar Board’s contributions to the various scholarship funds were collected through their annual calendar sales.  By 1955, calendar sales were successful enough to enable Mortar Board to establish a separate scholarship fund in addition to the money contributed to the jointly awarded scholarships.  A report compiled by the Mortar Board Scholarship Committee indicates that by 1971, the group had contributed over $100k to women pursuing their education.  After the advent of Title IX legislation and the inclusion of male students in the club, the scholarships became available to men as well—but it does seem as though women students and Mortar Board members and alumni were given precedence.

In addition to their significant contributions to scholarship funds at Purdue University, the Barbara Cook Chapter of the Mortar Board Society sponsored a number of other efforts at the university: lecture series, health clinics, and informational books.  In addition, the group sponsored long-lasting testaments to their presence such as various memorials to the Deans of Women and Amelia Earhart and a pond/sitting area at the Ag Hort Park in honor of their 50th anniversary.

The club operates today with a continued focus on the tenets of scholarship, leadership, and service.  Annual calendar sales still fund numerous scholarship and fellowship opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Source(s):

MSP 148, Mortar Board records, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

Debris yearbooks, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University

Biographical Note

The Mortar Board chapter at Purdue University began with the creation of the SLS honor society in the fall of 1924.  The ideals and goals of SLS were embodied in its name, the letters standing for Service, Leadership, and Scholarship.  The seven senior women inducted into the organization in 1924 initially operated secretly and individually within the community to achieve these standards; the ultimate goal was to eventually secure affiliation with the National Mortar Board society.  Beginning with the first class of inductees in the spring of 1925, SLS moved into the public sphere and began to operate as a cohesive unit.  SLS restricted membership to senior women with a minimum grade average of 85, and they were initiated during May Day festivities of their junior year.

The focus within SLS was on providing opportunities for and recognition of leadership by women students and the support of their character development.  From its inception, the group aligned itself with other women’s organizations and leaders on campus including the Women’s Athletic Association, the Young Women’s Christian Association, and the Dean of Women.  During the spring of 1926, SLS members began to more actively pursue their proposal for acceptance into the National Mortar Board society.  Members compiled a petition in scrapbook form to be presented by an SLS delegate at the National Mortar Board Conference in November of 1926.  The book contains historical information about and photos of Purdue, SLS, and SLS members and alumnae.  Also included in the book are several letters of support from regional Mortar Board chapters and prominent members of Purdue faculty.

After their petition was approved in the fall of 1926, SLS changed their name to the Mortar Board honor society.  Membership was still restricted to senior women of high scholastic aptitude.  Dean Carolyn Shoemaker was a faculty member of the society and supported their various endeavors in the early years, including the sponsorship of a women’s glee club at Purdue, Alpha Lambda Delta, and the Gold Peppers.  In addition to providing support for other women’s groups on campus, Mortar Board hosted annual dances, teas, and breakfasts and engaged in volunteer work in the community.  By the 1930s, they also began to donate scholarship funds to the Dean of Women to be distributed to deserving women students; these early awards served as a precursor for the better-known Mortar Board scholarships and fellowships.     

Beginning in 1945, Mortar Board also contributed financially to the scholarship funds offered jointly by the Gold Peppers and Women’s Panhellenic Association.  Mortar Board’s contributions to the various scholarship funds were collected through their annual calendar sales.  By 1955, calendar sales were successful enough to enable Mortar Board to establish a separate scholarship fund in addition to the money contributed to the jointly awarded scholarships.  A report compiled by the Mortar Board Scholarship Committee indicates that by 1971, the group had contributed over $100k to women pursuing their education.  After the advent of Title IX legislation and the inclusion of male students in the club, the scholarships became available to men as well—but it does seem as though women students and Mortar Board members and alumni were given precedence.

In addition to their significant contributions to scholarship funds at Purdue University, the Barbara Cook Chapter of the Mortar Board Society sponsored a number of other efforts at the university: lecture series, health clinics, and informational books.  In addition, the group sponsored long-lasting testaments to their presence such as various memorials to the Deans of Women and Amelia Earhart and a pond/sitting area at the Ag Hort Park in honor of their 50th anniversary.

The club operates today with a continued focus on the tenets of scholarship, leadership, and service.  Annual calendar sales still fund numerous scholarship and fellowship opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Subject/Index Terms

Cook, Barbara I., 1929-2013
Mortar Board (Society). Barbara Cook Chapter (Purdue University)
Purdue University--History
Purdue University--Students--Social life and customs--20th century
Purdue University. Dean of Women
Women's Archives at Purdue University
Women--Education (Higher)--United States--History

Administrative Information

Repository: Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

Alternate Extent Statement: 10 boxes (3.45 cubic feet)

Access Restrictions: Collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: All copyrights belong to Purdue University.

Acquisition Method: Transferred from Dean of Students Office via Joanna Sharp

Related Materials:

MSF 467, Barbara Cook papers

UA 12.05.02-6, Dean of Women records

Mortar Board records- Jane Hamblin’s Office

Elizabeth Venemann Lyle’s Mortar Board Coat

Purdue University. Dean of Students- Mortar Board- Records

Preferred Citation: MSP 148, Mortar Board records, Karnes Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University

Processing Information: All materials have been housed in archival containers.  All newsprint has been photocopied and in most cases original newspaper clippings have been discarded. Some clippings containing images of people or color graphics, or front pages of newspapers, have been preserved for display purposes, with photocopies made available for research. Oversized maps, blueprints, diagrams, certificates, and other printed material [OVS]; photographs; and artifacts have been separated and grouped into individual series for preservation purposes.  Papers that were originally housed in two binders have been removed from them for preservation purposes but the original groupings within the binders have been preserved.

Other URL: http://collections.lib.purdue.edu/fa/pdf/msp148_mortarboard.pdf


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Petition Book, 1924-1926],
[Series 2: Papers, 1926-2010],
[Series 3: Photographs, Negatives, and Slides, 1927-2003],
[Series 4: Other Media, 1987-2009],
[Series 5: Framed Items and Plaques, 1929, 1999-2000],
[All]