12th Annual Edible Books Festival returns in person to Welshimer Library!

After two years in virtual lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic (in 2020 and 2021), the 12th Annual Edible Books Festival returned this week in person to Welshimer Library.

“Edible Books is always a fun event. But it was especially great to have it back in person this year,” says Research and Instruction Librarian, Mary Jackson, who took the lead in this year’s festival planning. “Not only was it like old times, we were reminded that Edible Books is both fun and delicious!”

As the name suggests, the focus of our Edible Books Festival, built on a similarly named international event, invites Milligan University students, faculty, staff, and family members to create edible treats with a book theme. Our first festival was held in 2011 and it quickly became a Spring tradition, following on the heels of our February Library Pen Madness Tournaments. The Festival also often attracts entries from the Humanities Creativity Project and the Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society.

The Milligan community votes on favorite entries within the categories of Funniest/Punniest, Most Creative, Overall Favorite. Then library staff cast votes for the Tastiest before opening all the submissions to the community for sampling. Yum!

This year we had twelve entries in all categories. Voting was brisk with every entry receiving votes. This year’s winners, receiving Dunkin’ gift cards are:

Overall Favorite and Most Creative: Harry Potter and the Hor D’oeuvres of the Phoenix by Kristy Lundholm (wife of math professor Ian Lundholm)

Funniest/Punniest: How to Analyze Peeps by Psi Chi (Milligan’s Psychology Honor Society) members

Tastiest: Dante’s Inferno by Daniela Martinez Lopez, Humanities Creativity Project

Therapy Dogs back in force during Finals Week!

Although it may be premature to say things are back to normal, it was certainly wonderful to see at least one in-person or “in-canine” tradition return to the Welshimer Library this week. After a two year hiatus, Therapy Dogs were back to visit with students and provide some much needed stress relief during Monday through Wednesday of Finals Week!

Themselves having missed the opportunity to visit with folks in hospitals, personal care homes, and schools during the worst of the pandemic, the therapy dogs and their owners were back in force. During morning and afternoon slots over the course of our three days, I counted seven dogs among five owner/trainers here to visit.

Most of the owners are members of a local therapy dog group called Healing Paws, and their dogs are trained and certified by the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. The training of the dogs was clearly evident, as they were all very well behaved.

Students, dogs, and owners all had a great time. Before heading for home, all the owners expressed an interest in returning with their dogs to visit in the Spring. I can’t wait!

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.

11th Annual (2nd Virtual) Edible Books Festival

In many ways it feels like it’s been a very long year since we had to go virtual with the 2020 Milligan Libraries’ Edible Books Festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Then again, now that we’ve just concluded our 2021 Edible Books Festival, it sort-of feels odd that a whole year has passed us by already. Maybe that’s a good thing.

The festival rules are very simple. Submissions are received from the larger Milligan University community (students, alumni, faculty, staff, and family members) that are book-themed and edible. That’s it. Otherwise, we encourage creativity and we very much enjoy humor. Submissions receive votes from the community on the Most Creative, Funniest/Punniest, Overall Favorite, and (during normal years) Tastiest.

This year’s festival — our eleventh — ran from Monday-Thursday, April 12-15. Due to the lingering pandemic, we again celebrated the event virtually. Photographs of entries were submitted by the end of day on Monday and posted to the library’s Facebook page. Voting commenced on Tuesday-Wednesday (votes were cast using the appropriate emoji), and the winners were announced on Thursday.

This year, we received 14 submissions. Congratulations to former student Grace Jackson, winner of the Funniest/Punniest award for Cold Mountain Dew, and to Filo Lopez, who won both Most Creative and Overall Favorite awards for his rendition of Dante’s Inferno. (Filo is a Humanities 102 student who also submitted Dante’s Inferno as his Humanities Creativity Project.) Both winners received Dunkin’ gift cards.

You can view all the 2021 Milligan Libraries Edible Books Festival submissions on our Facebook page here. Thank you to everyone who participated.

Here’s hoping that next year we can hold the festival in person so that we can actually sample all the submissions, and cast our votes for the Tastiest!

“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