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CURRENT ISSUE - March 2017

What was it like to be a co-ed on the campus of Purdue University in the 1930s? Historian Donna Drucker unearthed from the university’s archives a manual written for incoming freshman women of 1939. In her article, “In a Sense, It Is a Game: Women’s Dormitory Life at Purdue University, 1939-1940,” she transcribes the original manual, which appears in print outside the archives for the first time, and offers an analysis of the messages that the university administration—in particular Dean of Women Dorothy Stratton and her colleagues—presented to young Purdue co-eds about gender and higher education.

IUPUI historian Anita Morgan spent countless hours in the records of county historical societies and courthouses, researching the aid that Indiana counties and townships offered to the families of Civil War soldiers while their loved ones were fighting for the Union. In “The Responsibilities of a Community at War: County and State Government Aid to Hoosier Soldiers’ Families during the Civil War,” Morgan writes that due to the localized nature of the aid, many women and children failed to receive the help they needed to keep their families housed, fed, and warm on a regular, reliable basis. Aid varied widely from township to township, depending on the generosity of each trustee and the funds available from county treasuries, which grew less as the war lengthened. Although many later histories of the Indiana home front claimed that local charity was abundant and sufficient, Morgan reveals a much more complicated reality.

Above: The 1939 Purdue yearbook included photographs depicting life in the women's residence halls. The scenes showed women students exhibiting proper grooming and deportment, good table manners, and a healthy mix of social life and academics. (Courtesy, Purdue University Libraries, Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections).

Below: During the Civil War, Indiana cities and counties sometimes competed to donate the most firewood to soldiers' families. This wagonload of wood appeared in downtown Richmond in January 1962. (32nd Annual Encampment Grand Army of the Republic, Indiana Department, Richmond Official Program and Souvenir, 1911)