The Student Life and Culture Archival Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of my favorite places to visit. I just returned from a conference for fraternity and sorority archivists. Being among kindred spirits is always a treat, and being with them at a conference hosted by the SLCAP is double the fun! Squeezing in a few hours of research made it even more special.
At the conference, we shared ideas and learned about best practices. We heard from Diana Turk whose Bound by a Mighty Vow is a wonderfully written and researched book. We talked, we listened, and we alternately felt overwhelmed and exhilarated.
Founded in 1989, the Student Life and Culture Archival Program has several collections within it. The first major collection provided the seeds for the collections that followed it. Stewart Howe, a Kappa Sigma and 1928 Illinois alumnus, created the Stewart S. Howe Alumni Service. He provided management, public relations and fundraising assistance to Greek-letter organizations and higher educational institutions in a day and age when the ease of internet research could not have been imagined in any way, shape or form. His collection of books, newsletters, fraternity magazines, clippings, photos and correspondence dated from 1810. When he died in 1973, his collection of materials pertaining to student life was given to his Alma Mater. A Stewart S. Howe Archival Program Endowment was established and the National Endowment for the Humanities provided matching funds.
There is a wide array of materials that have been given by many organizations and individuals. The SLCAP’s Collections include those of Stewart S. Howe, William Levere, Clyde S. Johnson, Leland Publishers, and Wilson B. Heller among others. In addition, Ellen Swain, Archivist for Student Life and Culture, has conducted oral histories with Illinois alumni from the 1930s. Individual chapter histories for some of the chapters at Illinois have been written with support from the Society for the Preservation of Greek Housing. Visit the web-site at http://www.library.uiuc.edu/archives/slc/collections/collectionsguide/ for more information about the SLCAP.
If you enjoy reading this post, subscribe to updates, or like it on facebook https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/378663535503786/ or follow us on twitter @GLOhistory