A few weeks ago, the University Archives received a request from the Champaign News-Gazette regarding an oft-repeated claim about Memorial Stadium. The claim states: “During the construction a particularly rainy week caused a bulldozer to sink into the field, and it was determined that it would be cheaper to leave it in place rather than remove it.” Much like other campus myths, this trivia tidbit has never been linked to any documentary evidence, but it is a topic about which we have received regular inquiries. I decided to take up the question and look at every source that we have available. While understanding that it is far more difficult to prove that something did not happen than to prove that it did, I believe that there is sufficient evidence in the Archives to support the conclusion that this campus myth is highly unlikely to be true.
A thorough examination of the sources reveals that not only were bulldozers most likely not used in the Memorial Stadium construction project, but despite frequent setbacks due to poor weather conditions and the precarious financial situation of the project throughout its duration, there is no evidence to support the idea that large equipment would have been abandoned beneath the foundations of the building. Continue reading “Campus Mythbusting: Is there a bulldozer buried beneath Memorial Stadium?”→
He was beloved and respected by millions, unless you happened to be one of the unfortunate filmmakers who earned a “thumbs down” from Roger Ebert during his long and illustrious career as a Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic. Ebert’s passing on April 4, 2013 has been mourned by friends and followers across the globe. Attendees of Ebert’s 15th Annual Film Festival, which begins this week and runs April 17-21 at the Virginia Theatre in Champaign, will certainly long for Ebert’s presence. Continue reading “The University Archives Remembers Roger Ebert”→
By Lindy Smith, Research Service Archivist, The Ohio State University, and former Graduate Assistant, Student Life and Culture Archives.
Long before the OSU-Michigan game ended play for the regular season, it was a tradition for the Illini-Buckeye rivalry to bring things to a close. From 1921-1933, Ohio State and Illinois met to play their final games.
This FAQ was researched and written by the University Archives staff to bring together all available sources in the Archives that shed light on the question frequently received by the Archives: “What was the relationship between the student group appearing in early twentieth-century Illios under the name of ‘Ku Klux Klan’ and the national Second Ku Klux Klan?” This is a work in progress, and the University Archives welcomes the opportunity to discover any additional documentary evidence that sheds light on this difficult question.
By William J. Maher and Bryan Whitledge
Illinois Industrial University and the Change to the University of Illinois
The University of Illinois began in 1867 as the Illinois Industrial University, a name with roots in the philosophy of higher education that led to the creation of land-grant universities. In an October 4, 1866 statement Jonathan Baldwin Turner, a long-time advocate of providing landgrants to states, for the purpose of raising funds to establish public universities, referred to institutions established under the 1862 Morrill Act as ‘Industrial Universities’ (University of Illinois Archives, Record Series 1/1/802, First Report, 1868, p. vii). Continue reading “History of the University Name”→