Two Archives Exhibits Installed at Milligan Libraries

Two new exhibits are now on display at the Milligan Libraries. The Holloway Archives at Milligan University has installed a new exhibit for Fall 2022, titled “Founder’s Daughter: History of a Milligan Award, 1951-2000.” This exhibit traces the history of the annual honor given to a female student who was “the embodiment of the ideals upon which the college was founded,” according to Clint Holloway and Lee (Fierbaugh) Harrison’s book Scholarship, Community, Faith: Milligan Celebrates 150 Years. Tied to the annual Founder’s Day/Alumni Weekend/homecoming activities, the award originally had a pageant-like atmosphere. By its final years, it was more an award that was presented to the winning student.

In a black and white photo, nineteen women are posing for a photo in three rows, with the back row standing and the front two rows sitting. They are dressed in 1980s era business or church attire.

1985 Founder’s Daughter Candidates

“For an exhibit this fall, I decided that I wanted to focus on the history of Homecoming,” says Katie Banks, archivist at Milligan University. “But as I was digging in to the materials, I realized that I could do an exhibit on the Founder’s Daughter award alone. Even still, I wasn’t able to include everything I originally wanted to.” The exhibit contains several photos, yearbooks, and programs from the various years the award was being given. “I think it’s interesting to look at the materials presented in the exhibit and see the shifting nature of what it meant to be a Founder’s Daughter, especially if you compare them to the wider social norms of the time.”

A black and white photo shows an older Eastern Asian man standing at a podium in front of a chalkboard and smiling

Toyozo Nakarai teaching

The exhibit can be viewed in person on the first floor of the Welshimer Library or online at Milligan DigitalRepository.

In addition to the exhibit at the Welshimer Library on the history of the Founder’s Daughter award is an exhibit at the Seminary Library on Dr. Toyozo Nakarai. “Toyozo Nakarai: Old Testament Scholar, 1898-1984” is a small exhibit highlighting items from the Helsabeck Archives of the Stone-Campbell Movement related to Emmanuel professor Toyozo Nakarai. Including photos of Nakarai teaching and studying as well as original manuscripts of a couple of his prayers, the exhibit highlights one of the founding members of the Emmanuel Christian Seminary faculty.

“Nakarai has such a fascinating story,” says Banks on this exhibit. “He originally grew up in Japan and was trained to be a Samurai. Due to an encounter with American missionaries, he converted from Buddhism to Christianity and became a respected scholar in Hebrew and Old Testament studies.”

The exhibit on Dr. Nakarai can be found just inside the entrance to the Seminary Library. Nakarai’s papers have also been processed and are available for viewing through the Helsabeck Archives.

Two New Exhibits Open in Welshimer Library

Two new exhibits have opened at Welshimer Library this fall, both curated by library student workers. 2021 marks the 60th anniversary of Welshimer, and “To Build a Library…,” curated by Grayce Wise (class of 2024), celebrates this occurrence. Isaac Wood (class of 2023) has curated an exhibit on Helen Welshimer entitled “Helen Welshimer, 1901-1954: Poet, Fictionist, and Non-Fiction Writer.”

“I’m very proud of the hard work researching and selecting items that Grayce and Isaac did for their respective exhibits,” says Katherine Banks, University Archivist. “They both showed a lot of enthusiasm for the work and have curated interesting exhibits.”

Announced in 1957 and completed in 1961, Milligan’s library was made possible through the generous donation of P. H. Welshimer’s seven thousand book collection, which was given by two of his children and part of which is still stored in the Welshimer Room on the library’s main floor. Ever since, the library has served as a place of safety, learning, and knowledge for anyone who enters its doors. Wise, however, was not satisfied with simply an overview, but wanted to dive deep into what it took to plan and build and effective library.

“It’s truly fascinating what goes into the process of constructing a building in the 1960s,” Wise says. “Furniture had to be bought, construction companies chosen, air conditioning installed, and so much more! The research I’ve gotten to do and share in the process of creating this exhibit has made me see and appreciate the library in an entirely new light, knowing the history of both how and why it was installed.”

Grayce Wise with her exhibit

Wood’s exhibit focuses on the daughter of the library’s namesake. After being raised by her parents P. H. and Perlea Welshimer, Helen Welshimer attended college in her home state of Ohio. She then went on to study playwriting and journalism at Columbia University. From there she began her writing career as a feature writer for newspapers before going off on her own as a freelance writer. This led to her becoming a well-known writer who frequently wrote in publications such as Christian Herald Magazines and Good Housekeeping. She interviewed famous figures such as Mrs. Einstein and Mrs. Roosevelt. Her poetry was so popular that she published four collections (Souvenirs and other selected poems, Candlelight and other poems, Singing Drums, and Shining Rain), with Souvenirs selling over 75,000 copies. Unfortunately, her life was cut short by a long-lasting illness when she was in her early fifties.

Wood says, “Writers and poets have always sparked an interest for me, so spending time exploring the life of this writer-poet with connections to Milligan was well worth it. It was fascinating to find out that she was the last person to interview Amelia Earhart before her last flight. I am sad to say that I was not able to find this interview to display; however, finding the interviews with Mrs. Einstein and Mrs. Roosevelt more than made up for that disappointment.”

Isaac Wood with his exhibit

Wood also says, “One thing that garnered particular interest for me was her relationship with her father. Her father seemed to be highly supportive of her daughter’s writing endeavors, from childhood until adulthood. The last stanza of a poem she wrote for her father’s sixty-first birthday reads,

I recall high laurels that you won,

And sermons preached, and kindnesses you’ve shown

To those in need, and how you stretched your hand

To erring ones who could not walk alone.

But I remember best brief pauses in

The long days work, in far-gone, happy times,

When you were patient as you gladly helped

A small girl, who sought aid in making rhymes.

This poem was such a nice window into her relationship with her dad, and I love how she shows her appreciation for him. I think it is interesting to see how artists have been supported and formed by other people in their lives. Throughout this project, I enjoyed reading Helen’s work and seeing how it grew out of certain aspects of her life.”

Banks invites everyone to come by the library and view the exhibits in their entirety on the main floor of the Welshimer Library or to view selected portions online on Milligan DigitalRepository.

Holloway Archives Launches New Exhibit on Coeducation

“No distinction as to sex in studies, examinations, or the giving of Diplomas.” Thus states the Annual of Milligan College for the 1880-1881 Session, when the Buffalo Male and Female Institute became Milligan College. Being a coeducational college was unusual for the time, but it was not surprising due to the college’s original status as a primary/secondary school as well as the influence and ideals of Josephus Hopwood, the first president of Milligan. A new exhibit in the Welshimer Library and online (in Milligan DigitalRepository) examines Milligan as a coeducational institution during the Hopwood era, from 1881-1917, from the beginning of Josephus Hopwood’s first term as college president to the end of his second term.

Willie Godby Tabor’s Shorthand Class (1897)

“I think we often forget that Milligan was unusual in educating men and women together during its early days,” says Katherine Banks, University Archivist. “I hope that this exhibit shines some light on why that was and what that meant for students at Milligan during those early years.”

Thanks to Milligan’s roots as a school run by the local church, Buffalo Creek Church (now Hopwood Memorial Christian Church), that then developed into the Buffalo Male and Female Institute, the ground was already set for the college to be coeducational – educating men and women side by side instead of separately (or sometimes not at all, in the case of women). Josephus Hopwood also brought a passion for coeducation when he became the college’s first president, in part because of his religious background and his own college experience.

This ad from a 1915 edition of the Milligan paper The Light proudly lists being coeducational as one of the college’s merits.

“We have to remember, however, that educating men and women together didn’t mean they were always together all the time and had a completely equal experience,” Banks says. “The exhibit discusses some of the ways that they practiced equality by today’s standards, but also the ways in which they did not.” Women were subjected to more restrictive rules than the men, and some classes were specifically for women. But there were many classes that had both men and women in them, and even the faculty at Milligan was mixed to some degree. Overall, Milligan was making strides as a coeducational institution.

The exhibit “‘No Distinction’: Coeducation in Milligan’s Early Years, 1881-1917” is available to view in person on the first floor of the Welshimer Library for those currently allowed to visit campus under the Milligan Returns Home plan. The exhibit can also be viewed online with a more extensive discussion of coeducation at Milligan.

“Faces of the First Ladies”: New Archives Exhibit at Welshimer Library

The Holloway Archives at Milligan University has recently installed a new exhibit for Fall 2020 in the Welshimer Library. “Faces of the First Ladies: A Photo Exhibit of Milligan’s First Ladies, 1882-1968” displays over two dozen photos of Milligan’s presidential wives, from Sarah LaRue Hopwood to Dorothy Keister Walker. Included in the exhibit are short descriptions of these women, including how long they served as first ladies and who their husbands — the presidents — were.

Perlea Derthick

“The presidents get a lot of the spotlight in Milligan history, but the ladies have an interesting history too,” says Katherine Banks, University Archivist. “Sarah LaRue Hopwood was just as much a part of Milligan’s founding and early years as Josephus was. Perlea Derthick ran the school while Henry was away, which was often. Dorothy Keister Walker was an ordained minister and evangelist in the 1950s and 1960s.”

Dorothy Keister Walker and Dean Walker

May Day Play, Olive Garrett on far right, circa 1896

While many of the photos in the exhibit are portraits of the women, Banks points out that several of them speak to the women’s involvement in the school as well. “Some of the only photos I could find for the early first ladies were of them with a group of faculty or with students,” Banks says.

Additionally, there are some photos of the women that show their personal side. “One of my favorite photos in this exhibit is of Sarah LaRue Hopwood with a parrot on her shoulder! Typically, you think of photos from the late 1800s and early 1900s as being stiff and unsmiling. But this photo breaks that stereotype and speaks to Sarah’s love of animals.”

Sarah LaRue Hopwood, circa 1898

“We’re in a unique position this fall, with the pandemic, which may limit who will be able to see any archival exhibits,” Banks says. “I thought doing an exhibit that was heavily visual would be helpful for having an online version of the exhibit, so that people viewing the exhibit online wouldn’t feel like they were missing anything.” The exhibit is available for online viewing on Milligan DigitalRepository, Milligan’s online archival repository. Although slightly different in format than the physical exhibit, viewers can still see all the same information and photos that they would see in person. For those able to see the exhibit in person, it is available for viewing on the main floor (first floor) of Welshimer Library in the archival exhibit cases.


First Ladies of Milligan, 1882-1968:

  • Sarah Eleanor (LaRue) Hopwood, First Lady 1875-1903, 1915-1917
  • Olive Leola (Hanen) Garrett, First Lady 1903-1908
  • Pearl Katherine (Archer) Kershner, First Lady 1909-1911
  • Aileen (Moore) Utterback, First Lady 1911-1913
  • Allie (McCorkel) McDiarmid, First Lady 1913-1914
  • Elizabeth (Murphy) McKissick, First Lady 1914-1915
  • Perlea Derthick, First Lady 1917-1940
  • Florence Elizabeth (Anthony) Burns, First Lady 1940-1944
  • Geneva Dora (Tarr) Elliott, First Lady 1944-1948
  • Mary Lewis, First Lady 1948-1950
  • Florence (Ley) Walker, First Lady 1950-1960
  • Dorothy (Keister) Walker, First Lady 1962-1968

Own a piece of Milligan Library history!

How do you go about finding a book in the Welshimer or Emmanuel Seminary Library? If you are like most Milligan College or Seminary students or faculty today, the answer is obvious: you fire up your computer, launch your web browser and point it to the Milligan Libraries website, pull down the “Resources” menu, select “Books/Media Catalog” and then select “Milligan & Libraries Worldwide” to launch the online catalog. Search for the title. If we have the book in print or electronic (ebook) format, the record will pop up in your search results. The record will show you where the book can be found (library and call number location), and it even tells you if the book is currently available.

The card catalog

This wasn’t always the case, however. If you can believe it, once upon a time book records were typed on physical 3 x 5 inch cardboard cards (Title, Author/Editor, and Subject cards were created for each book) which were then arranged in wooden cabinets, collectively called the card catalog.

Here is a card that instructed students and faculty on the use of the card catalog.

The Holloway Archives at Milligan College, located in the basement of the Welshimer Library, still has one of the library’s old card catalog cabinets.

The Milligan College Library used a physical card catalog until the first online catalog went into service in the Fall of 1995. As it happens, the library was at the forefront of implementing computer technology on campus. The library implemented its first computerized library management system in 1988. Of course this was before the internet was (commonly) a thing, and the system was not networked. In a Stampede editorial from March 1988, then library director Steven Preston noted that the library system was used to print catalog cards.

In 1992, a collaboration between Milligan College, Emory & Henry College, King College (now King University), and (since closed) Virginia Intermont College resulted in the receipt of a 5-year United States Department of Education Title III grant that would be used to computerize the library catalog and create a barcode checkout system. Also during this time the Milligan College IT Department was installing fiber optic cable to create a campus-wide computer network that would be connected to the internet. Of interest, in an article from the September 30, 1992 issue of the Stampede, Steven Preston mused that “in the future, students and faculty will be able to link into the [library] system from their rooms and offices.” A Stampede article from May 3, 1996 covering Spring Board of Trustees meetings made specific reference to the newly implemented online catalog when it reported “[library] information is now easier to find due to the computerization of the card catalogs.”

What to do with all those card catalog record cards?

The transition from a physical card catalog to a computerized online catalog was a labor intensive process, as all the library’s catalog records needed to be translated into computer readable format. This process was outsourced to a company called Western Library Network (WLN) utilizing our card catalog record cards. The long and the short of this process was that after the records were computerized, boxes and boxes of catalog cards were returned to us to dispose of, or use as we saw fit. Since the old record cards were only printed on a single side, what ended up happening was that they were used around the library as scrap note cards. Ironically, a common use was that students or faculty would search the online catalog for a book and write the book’s call number on an old card catalog record card before heading to the stacks.

The library had so many boxes of these cards that it seemed as though they would last forever. But as it turns out, we recently reduced our backlog to a single box. We started to put the cards out next to the catalog computer as usual. But it then occurred to us that these cards were a part of Milligan Library history — a history we wanted to share with our users. So we’ve put this box at the Circulation Desk of Welshimer Library. Come by and take a card or two as a memento — a piece of Milligan Library history for you to own. But don’t wait too long. When they’re gone, they’re gone.