May the Force Be With You: Revenge of the Jedi

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

Inside insert of the movie poster to Star Wars Episode VI: Revenge of the Jedi, 1983. Source: Jeanne Suhrenreich (MSS 118-6)

Inside Insert of Star Wars Episode VI: Revenge of the Jedi, 1983. Source: Jeanne Suhrenreich collection (MSS 118-6).

In the summer of 1983, the silver screen was extremely popular such as Octopussy, Never Say Never Again, and National Lampoon’s Vacation; however, some films were flops like Superman III and Smokey and the Bandit Part III (“Big bucks”, 1983). Out of all of the movies to hit the silver screen, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi has the honor of being the top grossing film in the United States in 1983 (IMDb.com, 2017b). As the film production began, the movie was originally entitled, “Revenge of the Jedi”. The title was changed because due to the “… thought the Jedi wouldn’t seek revenge, due to their ethical code” (IMDb.com, 2017a).

Outer inserts with movie posters from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, 1982-1983. Source: Jeanne Suhrenreich collection (MSS 118-6)

Outer inserts for Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, 1982-1983. Source: Jeanne Suhrenreich collection (MSS 118-6)

This cinema poster is located in the Jeanne Suhrenreich collection (MSS 118). Inside of her collection, she collected playbills from Evansville theatre and philharmonic production, cinema posters, and correspondences from W.C. Handy, Marilyn Miller, Henry Hall, and from other actors.

References

Big bucks being bet for summer of ’83. (1983, January 10). Evansville Courier and Press. Retrieved from http://infoweb.newsbank.com/resources/doc/nb/image/v2:1425EEA2CB57B634@EANX-NB-15490DEA2AAD8AD0@2445345-1542B2B0EBB0F526@5-1542B2B0EBB0F526@?p=WORLDNEWS

IMDb.com, Inc. (2017). Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086190/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv

IMDb.com, Inc. (2017). Top US grossing titles released 1983-01-01 to 1983-12-31. Retrieved from http://www.imdb.com/search/title?year=1983,1983&sort=boxoffice_gross_us,desc

Posted in Americana, films, movies | Leave a comment

#OnThisDay: Remembering the University of Evansville Plane Crash

*Post written by Jennifer Greene, university archivist at the University Archives and Special Collections.

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In honor of all those that were lost in the plane crash on December 13, 1977. Our city still mourns this terrible loss of the University of Evansville’s basketball team. WNIN is airing the Joe Atkinson’s documentary, “From the Ashes”, tonight at 8:00 PM CST.

For more photographs of this tragic event, check out the Gregory Smith and Sonny Brown collections in the University Archives and Special Collections’ online digital gallery.

Posted in #OnThisDay, Evansville, Indiana, Indiana history | Leave a comment

Let Freedom Ring: The American Freedom Train

*Post written by Mikayla Hanks, student assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

American Freedom Train, steaming around a bend after crossing a bridge. A man watches from the side. "The triumph of the steam-powered American Freedom Train was, indeed, the only nationwide celebration of the Bicentennial. It was pulled by steam locomotives in the age of the diesel, and would improve on the three display cars of its predecessor, the 1947 Freedom Train. The American Freedom Train would feature twelve display cars, ten that visitors would go aboard and pass through and two to hold large objects that would be viewed from the ground through huge "showcase" windows. The display cars were filled with over 500 precious treasures of Americana. Included in these diverse artifacts were George Washington's copy of the Constitution, the original Louisiana Purchase, Judy Garland's dress from The Wizard of OZ, Joe Frazier's boxing trunks, Martin Luther King's pulpit and robes, and even a rock from the moon. The American Freedom Train (AFT) was a 26-car train led by one of three enormous steam engines restored just for the occasion. Over a 21 month period from April 1, 1975 to December 31, 1976 more than 7 million Americans visited the train during its tour of all 48 contiguous states. Tens of millions more stood trackside to see it go by." (http://www.freedomtrain.org/american-freedom-train-home.htm) The Freedom Train's only visit to Evansville was June 15-17, when it was parked behind the Civic Center/Vanderburgh Auditorium at 715 Locust St., 1976. Source: Gregory Smith Collection (MSS 034-0594)

American Freedom Train, steaming around a bend after crossing a bridge in Evansville, Indiana in June 1976. Source: Gregory Smith Collection, MSS 034-0594.

In 1975, an air-conditioned, twenty-six car train made its way on a journey of a lifetime. More than 7 million Americans visited the train during its tour throughout 48 states and 138 cities. Tens of Millions would stand trackside just to catch a glimpse of the extravagant American Freedom Train. The locomotive had twelve display cars filled with over 500 artifacts from around the world. You may ask who would be the one to come up with such an idea. Ross Rowland Jr did, Rowland who was a New York commodities broker and a team of corporate sponsors brought the American’s Bicentennial Celebration to the people. By the time the corporate sponsors signed on to help Rowland with the restoration there was barely enough time to build the train, but they finally pulled it together just in time. The train cars were restored in 30 days, which was led by Doyle McCarmack, at a site called Cameron Station, Virginia and were essentially converted into environmentally controlled, fireproof, rolling museums.

Looking down the side of the American Freedom Train, showing one of the display cars, which has the dates 1776 1976 on it. "The triumph of the steam-powered American Freedom Train was, indeed, the only nationwide celebration of the Bicentennial. It was pulled by steam locomotives in the age of the diesel, and would improve on the three display cars of its predecessor, the 1947 Freedom Train. The American Freedom Train would feature twelve display cars, ten that visitors would go aboard and pass through and two to hold large objects that would be viewed from the ground through huge "showcase" windows. The display cars were filled with over 500 precious treasures of Americana. Included in these diverse artifacts were George Washington's copy of the Constitution, the original Louisiana Purchase, Judy Garland's dress from The Wizard of OZ, Joe Frazier's boxing trunks, Martin Luther King's pulpit and robes, and even a rock from the moon. The American Freedom Train (AFT) was a 26-car train led by one of three enormous steam engines restored just for the occasion. Over a 21 month period from April 1, 1975 to December 31, 1976 more than 7 million Americans visited the train during its tour of all 48 contiguous states. Tens of millions more stood trackside to see it go by." (http://www.freedomtrain.org/american-freedom-train-home.htm) The Freedom Train's only visit to Evansville was June 15-17, when it was parked behind the Civic Center/Vanderburgh Auditorium at 715 Locust St., 1976. Source: Gregory Smith Collection, MSS 034-0598.

Looking down the side of the American Freedom Train, showing one of the display cars, which has the dates 1776-1976 in Evansville, Indiana, 1976. Source: Gregory Smith Collection, MSS 034-0598.

The military reservation in Virginia was the ideal place for the restoration to take place; it was safe, secure, and close to the artifacts and institutions that the artifacts were coming from. The steam engine locomotive opened to a sellout crowd of 40,000 people at Delaware Park. The journey started at 8 AM, Tuesday April 1, 1975 in Wilmington, Delaware. The American Freedom Train would travel the country until December 31, 1976. The museum on wheels was made of 12 display cars. Visitors would go through by a moving sidewalk that would make the process go faster because no individuals could stop or go backwards. An estimated 1,800 visitors could tour the train each hour. Two cars held large objects that were viewed from the ground through showcase windows. Some of the artifacts that the American Freedom Train held were George Washington’s copy of the constitution, the original Louisiana Purchase, Judy Garland’s dress from the Wizard of Oz, Joe Frazier’s boxing trunks. Martin Luther King’s pulpit and robes, a rock from the moon, Civil War artifacts, astronaut Alan Shepard’s Apollo space suit, and Benjamin Franklin’s handwritten draft of the Articles of Confederation.

Looking down on the American Freedom Train, steaming down the tracks. "The triumph of the steam-powered American Freedom Train was, indeed, the only nationwide celebration of the Bicentennial. It was pulled by steam locomotives in the age of the diesel, and would improve on the three display cars of its predecessor, the 1947 Freedom Train. The American Freedom Train would feature twelve display cars, ten that visitors would go aboard and pass through and two to hold large objects that would be viewed from the ground through huge "showcase" windows. The display cars were filled with over 500 precious treasures of Americana. Included in these diverse artifacts were George Washington's copy of the Constitution, the original Louisiana Purchase, Judy Garland's dress from The Wizard of OZ, Joe Frazier's boxing trunks, Martin Luther King's pulpit and robes, and even a rock from the moon. The American Freedom Train (AFT) was a 26-car train led by one of three enormous steam engines restored just for the occasion. Over a 21 month period from April 1, 1975 to December 31, 1976 more than 7 million Americans visited the train during its tour of all 48 contiguous states. Tens of millions more stood trackside to see it go by." (http://www.freedomtrain.org/american-freedom-train-home.htm) The Freedom Train's only visit to Evansville was June 15-17, when it was parked behind the Civic Center/Vanderburgh Auditorium at 715 Locust St. in Evansville, Indiana, 1976. Source: Gregory Smith Collection, MSS 034-0604.

Looking down on the American Freedom Train, steaming down the tracks, 1976. Source: Gregory Smith Collection, MSS 034-0604.

By the end of the two-year journey, the American Freedom Train had traveled 25,833 miles across the United States. On June 15, 1976, the American Freedom Train rolled into our very own Evansville, Indiana. Evansville was the 89th display city on the 25,833-mile journey of the American Freedom Train. The train stayed in Evansville, from June 15th through the 17th.  In Miami, Florida on December 31, 1976 Rowland announces the American Freedom Train officially closed.

References

The 1947 – 1949 Freedom Train | The 1974 Preamble Express | The 1975 – 1976 American Freedom Train. (n.d.). Retrieved October 04, 2017, from http://freedomtrain.org/

American Freedom Train. (n.d.). Retrieved October 04, 2017, from http://www.westernspringshistory.org/

Posted in American history, American Revolution, Americana, Evansville, Indiana | Leave a comment

Down At Dancing Rabbit

*Post written by Josh Knecht, student assistant at the University Archives and Special Collections.

Sign at entrance to Dancing Rabbit in Scotland County, Mo., 2009. Source: University Archives and Special Collection (Donald E. Janzen collection, CS 662, 192dc-0002)

Sign at entrance to Dancing Rabbit in Scotland County, Mo., 2009. Source: University Archives and Special Collection (Donald E. Janzen collection, CS 662, 192dc-0002).

This month, we will be looking at one of the communities featured in our Communal Studies collection, the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage.

Founded in 1993, the Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is an ecovillage that focuses on self-sustainability and ecological processes. Their mission statement is synonymous with their current goals:

To create a society, the size of a small town or village, made up of individuals and communities of various sizes and social structures, which allows and encourages its members to live sustainably. To encourage this sustainable society to grow to have the size and recognition necessary to have an influence on the global community by example, education, and research.

Each member must follow ecological covenants and sustainability guidelines as a method of allowing not only these goals to continue, but for the continuing growth of the community as well.

Community house and garden at Dancing Rabbit, 2009. Source: University Archives and Special Collections (Donald E. Janzen collection, CS 662, 192dc-0017).

Community house and garden at Dancing Rabbit, 2009. Source: University Archives and Special Collections (Donald E. Janzen collection, CS 662, 192dc-0017).

Though from 1993-1995, they existed mainly as an email forum, with monthly meetings, they decided to try to settle in Berkeley, CA, in 1995. However, they soon moved to Rutledge, MO, where they have resided ever since. In 1997, Dancing Rabbit was officially able to set roots in their own land.

Land costs and construction laws in California made it difficult for the group to build on the west coast. They visited other locations like The Farm in Summertown, TN and Twin Oaks in Virginia. After seeing other communal groups they stayed at Sandhill Farm in Rutledge, MO and decided to buy land and create the Dancing Rabbit eco-village.

Issues such as feminism, empowerment, justice, and diversity are important to the Dancing Rabbit community. They pride themselves in existing as a group consisting of people from many different walks of life; whether this be culture, ethnicity, sexuality, race, or religion. As long as each member of the ecovillage commits himself or herself to the shared ecological covenants and sustainability guidelines, Dancing Rabbit will accept all-comers.

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage is just one of the many communal studies collections offered by the Rice Library Archives. For more information on this ecovillage, and others, check out the Communal Studies Gallery in the Rice Library Digital Collections.

References

“History.” Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, 28 Mar. 2017, http://www.dancingrabbit.org/about-dancing-rabbit-ecovillage/history/.

“Mission Statement.” Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage, 28 Mar. 2017, http://www.dancingrabbit.org/about-dancing-rabbit-ecovillage/history/.

Posted in Communal Studies, Student Assistants | Leave a comment

#OnThisDay: Remembering Freddie Mercury

*Post written by Jake Knecht, student assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

Today we are going to discuss one of the most influential rock stars of all time, Freddie Mercury. Frederick Bulsara was born on September 5, 1946 on the east African island of Zanzibar. The young Frederick spent the majority of his youth in India, where he began cultivating his musical talent at the age of seven by taking piano lessons.

When Frederick’s family moved to Middlesex, England in 1964, he began singing with local bands as he attended Ealing College of Art to study graphic design. Two members of a local group called Smile named Roger Taylor and Brian May, as well as a local bassist by the name of John Deacon would come together to form a band with Frederick, who now adopted the name Freddie Mercury. This band was called Queen, and it would go on to become one of the most famous rock bands ever.

Queen poster, n.d. Source: University Archives and Special Collections, Larry Aiken Collection (MSS 217).

Queen poster, n.d. Source: University Archives and Special Collections, Larry Aiken Collection (MSS 217).

Over the course of twenty years, Queen would go on to release hits such as “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love”. The group would also become innovators in various phenomena that would come to define rock, such as the idea of “stadium rock”, where a band performs music in front of thousands of fans in enormous stadiums. They would also popularize pop videos, which were the precursor to modern music videos.

Tragedy would strike the group when Freddie Mercury passed away on November 24, 1991. He died due to AIDS, the most severe phase of HIV infection. In this phase, an individual’s immune system is so thoroughly damaged that they become extremely susceptible to many different illnesses. What is interesting about his death is that it came just over 24 hours after he announced that he had AIDS to the media.

Freddie Mercury’s legacy lives on in the music that he made and the lives that he affected. Queen’s songs continue to be enjoyed by many people throughout the world today. Freddie’s death gave birth to the Mercury Phoenix Trust, a charity for AIDS awareness dedicated to his memory.

If you are interested in material on Freddie Mercury and Queen, the University Archives and Special Collections has collections that include Queen and many other performers.

References

Freddie Mercury – Biography. Mercury Songs Limited, http://www.freddiemercury.com/en/biography. Accessed 19 Oct. 2017.

What Are HIV and AIDS?. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/about-hiv-and-aids/what-are-hiv-and-aids. Accessed 19 Oct. 2017.

Posted in Evansville, Indiana, music, Student Assistants | Leave a comment