Remembering USI Leader, Byron Wright

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

Headshot of Byron Wright, n.d. Source: University Photographs (UP 10227).

Headshot of Byron Wright, n.d. Source: University Photographs (UP 10227).

Throughout USI history, many men and women helped to shape, lead this prodigious university into the future, and created what we see today. This past week, we lost one of those leaders:  Bryon Wright.

Born in Matthews, Indiana, on September 25, 1929, Wright began his educational career at Ball State University. He graduated with his bachelors in education and master’s in business administration. Wright worked a school educator in his hometown and Muncie, Indiana until he started his academic career at Ball State (Browning genealogy database, 2018). Eventually, Wright would hear about a new university forming in Evansville, peaking his curiosity.

Wright recalls the moments leading up to interviewing and receiving his position at ISUE:

“The first time I heard about a new university in Evansville was Palm Sunday, April 11, 1965, while attending an Indiana Business Officers meeting at Notre Dame. […] At a reception that evening, the business officer of Evansville College (University of Evansville) told a group of us that Indiana State University was going to start a campus in Evansville. He also that this would possibly have a negative effect for Evansville College. I didn’t give this much though since I was worried about getting back to Muncie the next day. Then in the latter part of July 1967, a colleague at Ball State told me that he has placed my name in the hat for the position of business manager of the Evansville Campus of ISU. I still didn’t know much about the Evansville campus. Later, David Rice called asking if I would be interested. I then interviewed with Dave and later with Ken Moulton, vice president and treasurer of ISU in Terre Haute. […] I was employed to start at Evansville on September 1, 1967” (Wright, 2018).

Byron Wright giving Mary Lue Ruessler, secretary of Business Affairs, her certificate of appreciation, n.d. Source: University Photographs 02663.

Byron Wright giving Mary Lue Ruessler, secretary of Business Affairs, her certificate of appreciation, n.d. Source: University Photographs 02663.

During his tenure, Wright worked for the creation of USI’s independence from ISUE and served as Vice-President of Business Affairs until his retirement in 1995 (Evansville Courier and Press, 2018). In recognition of Wright’s work at USI, he is forever immortalized with the renaming of the administration building: Byron C. Wright Administration Building.

Reference

Browning genealogy database. (2018). Wright, Byron Courtney. Retrieved from http://browning.evpl.org/

Evansville Courier and Press (2018, April 30). Wright, Byron Courtney. Retrieved from http://obits.courierpress.com/obituaries/courierpress/obituary.aspx?n=byron-wright&pid=188870633&fhid=10665

Wright, B. (2018). More than one building. Retrieved from https://www.usi.edu/1965/memories/early-yrs.asp

Posted in history, USI | Leave a comment

Taking Care of Business: Keller-Crescent

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

U.S. Coast Guard cutters on Dress Plaza, approaching the city. Steamboat and barges beyond them. Identifiable buildings are Keller Crescent Printing & Engraving Co. at 24-28 SE Riverside Dr., Hotel McCurdy at 101-11 SE 1st St., and in front of the hotel, the Graham Motor Cars distributorship owned by Robert W. Baskett at 118 SE Riverside Drive, 1937. Source: Flood of 1937 collection (MSS 272-0765)

U.S. Coast Guard cutters on Dress Plaza near Keller Crescent Printing & Engraving Company on Riverside Drive during the 1937 flood. Source: Flood of 1937 collection (MSS 272-0765).

As we wrap up our blog series, “Taking Care of Business”, we examine the Keller Crescent Company. For a hundred and thirty years, Keller-Crescent served as an important employer to Evansville and the Tri-State region.

Keller-Crescent started in 1885 as Keller Printing in Evansville, Indiana: its’ founder, William H. Keller served during the American Civil War, with the Eighth Regiment, Indiana Infantry, Company G. He started as a sergeant and by the end of the war, Keller ranked as a first lieutenant (Smith, 2017; National Park Service, 2018). By 1906, Keller merged with Crescent Engraving and Printing Company, becoming Keller-Crescent (Smith, 2017).

Receipt for Judge P. Maier (1908) from the Keller-Crescent Printing and Engraving Company, 1908. Source: John Payne collection (MSS 299-7-31)

Receipt for Judge P. Maier (1908) from the Keller-Crescent Printing and Engraving Company, 1908. Source: John Payne collection (MSS 299-7-31).

As the company grew, their headquarters moved to downtown Evansville, at “… the corner of Riverside Drive and Locust Street” (Smith, 2017). They stayed at that location near thirty years until they moved to East Louisiana Street (Evans, 2015). During their tenure, Keller-Crescent was a top advertising and printing corporation in Indiana and in the United States. Keller-Crescent were bought out twice: by American Standard, in 1968, and by Clondalkin, in 2007; furthermore, they closed their doors in October 2015 (Evans, 2015).

On the Rice Library digital collection, inside of the Flood of 1937 collection, there are over thirty photographs of the old downtown Keller-Crescent headquarters during the 1937 flood.

References

Evans, Z. (2015). Former Keller Crescent facility to close, eliminating 150 jobs. Retrieved from http://archive.courierpress.com/business/local/former-keller-crescent-facility-to-close-eliminating-150-jobs-ep-1081236136-324568061.html/

National Park Service. (2018) Keller, William H.: Soldiers and sailors database. Retrieved from https://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-soldiers-detail.htm?soldierId=FB329AAE-DC7A-DF11-BF36-B8AC6F5D926A

Smith, D. (2017). History lesson: Keller-Crescent Company. Retrieved from https://www.courierpress.com/story/life/columnists/2017/02/27/history-lesson-keller-crescent-company/98445762/

Posted in Evansville, Indiana, Indiana history, Natural Disasters, Photography | Leave a comment

My Adventures in the University Archives

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

Student assistant, Mikayla Hanks, creating the "Cool Old Stuff" sign for the archives department, 2018.

Student assistant, Mikayla Hanks, creating the “Cool Old Stuff” sign for the archives department, 2018.

Have you ever seen a real life copy of the Titanic Newspaper? Did you know that Archie has not always looked the way he does today? My name is Mikayla Hanks and I am a student worker in the University Archives and Special Collection (UASC). I have been a student worker in the Archives department for two years. During my time in the archives, my mind has been opened to numerous different parts of history that I was not aware of before. The Titanic Newspaper and Archie are just a glimpse into what I have experienced and learned in my time here. Being able to see a copy of the Titanic Newspaper after it sunk, in real life, is one astonishing thing to experience. I highly recommend if you want to see an unbelievable piece of history, stop into the archives and witness it for yourself.

Did you know that Archie has not always looked the way he does today? There have been many different Archie’s in the past. Each one being much different from the one before. His beak, his uniform, and even his muscles have changed. The UASC has some of the past Archie’s outfits and often puts them on display. So many different Archies at USI, who knew?

 

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One of my favorite experiences with the Archives department was being able to help with the displays and decorations for Arch Madness (Arch Madness is like March Madness, but with archive materials). During the promotion, I was able to use my art background and make displays that had images of each archive material that was on the bracket racing to the number one spot. Coming in to work, I was excited to see what archives won that day and what new pieces I was going to be able to recreate. One of my favorite pieces to recreate was the 1963 “Ultimate Frontier” painting from the Stelle Community Collection, which is located in the Communal room of the Archives. My experience working in the Archives changes each time I go in those doors, I learn something different, or I add knowledge to something I already knew. The USI Archives Department is full of countless wonders and treasures you never know what you will find or what is waiting to be explored.

Posted in Communal Studies, history, Student Assistants | Leave a comment

2018 Arch Madness Champion Revealed!

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

Incantation bowl, c. 6th to 8th Century. This item is located in the College of Liberal Arts in Lawrence Library.

Incantation bowl, c. 6th to 8th Century.

Ladies and gentleman, after a month of competition, a winner has been crowned! This year’s winner of Arch Madness is … the Incantation bowl from the Lawrence Library. The bowl defeated last year’s Arch Madness champion, 1603 Book of Alchemy, 372-350. For the next couple of days, the Incantation bowl will be on display in RL 3021 on display. It will also have an automatic bid to the 2019 Arch Madness competition.

Thank you to everyone who voted over the past month and we hope you enjoyed this year’s competition. We look forward to having you all vote again in next year’s competition. Until next time!

The winner of the 2018 Arch Madness competition is the Incantation Bowl from the Lawrence Library.

The final bracket for the 2018 Arch Madness competition!

Posted in Arch Madness, Lawrence Library | 1 Comment

Arch Madness 2018: “Meet Ya” Guide to the Championship

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

*Item descriptions written by Jennifer Greene, university archivist of University Archives and Special Collections, and Susan Sauls, art collection registrar.

On March 12, we started with sixteen artifacts competing for the title of “coolest artifact of 2018”. Now, we are down to our final two entries! Voting begins on April 2 and will end on April 8, at 11:59 PM CST. The final results will be announced on Monday, April 9, at 9:00 AM CST. Stay tuned for more and go vote.

We are down to our final two artifacts: the 1603 Book of Alchemy, from Special Collections, defeated the Game of Community, from Communal Studies, 114-52. On the other side of the bracket, the Incantation Bowl, from the Lawrence Library, defeated the "Beethoven" print, from the USI Art Collection, 114-52.

Final two bracket for Arch Madness 2018!

Special Collections

Works of Paracelsus, 1603. Credit: James Wethington

Works of Paracelsus, 1603. Credit: James Wethington.

Final score against The Game of Community, 114-52.

*Defending 2017 Arch Madness Champion.

The Collected Works of Paracelsus is a rare book in our Special Collections.  Printed in 1603, this two-volume set contains the books and writings on alchemy, magic, and occult philosophies of Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, better known as Paracelsus.

Lawrence Library

Incantation bowl, c. 6th to 8th Century. This item is located in the College of Liberal Arts in Lawrence Library.

Incantation bowl, c. 6th to 8th Century.

Final score against the “Beethoven” print, 114-52.

The incantation bowl, which goes by many names such as a demon bowl or a magic bowl, was usually buried face down in a home’s courtyard or near cemeteries in order to capture demons or evil spirits. Once retrieved, a hole would be made in the bowl to release the spirits.

 

Posted in Arch Madness, Lawrence Library, Special Collections | Leave a comment