Category Archives: new attention on old item

1918 Flu at Colorado College

Here we are in April of 2020, undergoing a global pandemic, with Colorado College students distance-learning, and CC faculty and staff mostly working from home. Naturally, I’ve been getting some questions (via email) about the closest thing we have to a parallel situation in CC’s history, the 1918 flu pandemic.

We learn from Robert Loevy’s 1999 book Colorado College: A Place of Learning (p. 111):

“In the fall of 1918 an influenza epidemic swept the United States, and Colorado College was not spared. Eight of the young men in the Army radio school died in one month, and a young instructor in Physics, William W. Crawford, also succumbed to the disease. The College was quarantined by the local Health Department, classes were suspended, and Ticknor Hall was converted into an infirmary for the large numbers of ailing military personnel. … The influenza quarantine was lifted on December 13, 1918, and classes quickly resumed.”

The Colorado College student newspaper of the time, the Tiger, is digitized and freely available here:  https://archive.org/details/tigerstudentnews21colo/page/n5/mode/2up. The front page of the October 4, 1918 issue has this headline: “No Necessity for Closing Classes Yet.” The December 6 issue of the Tiger, however, states that classes closed on October 4. Presumably, then, the paper came out just as the situation changed drastically.

The October 11 Tiger has “Epidemic of Influenza is Practically Arrested,” and in the weeks following, headlines include “Epidemic of Influenza Slowly Losing its Grip,” “Only 18 Patients Left in Hospital in Ticknor Hall,” and “Radio School to Re-Open Monday Morning.” These cheery headlines hide the fact, revealed in the issue of December 8, that by October 5, five men in the SATC (Students’ Army Training Corps) had died, with more to come. Additional influenza outbreaks occurred in the winter and spring, with somewhat less-severe quarantine restrictions and no further deaths at CC.

Reading through the 1918 paper, I found similar instructions to today’s. People aren’t to gather in large groups; if you are sick, you’re to stay home. The October 15 issue recommends the use of a mask with this rhyme: “Cover up each cough and sneeze, / If you don’t you’ll spread disease.”

There’s also evidence of dark humor: the October 18 issue contains this rueful aside under the headline “I Beg Your Pardon, Sir”: “We understand that we missed the chance of a life-time in the last Tiger by not having one of the prominent headlines read thusly: EPIDEMIC OF INFLUENZA LOSES ITS GRIPPE. Perhaps so, but we quit calling it the grippe after the second funeral.”

Not all the men who died are identified in the student newspaper, but I found these names: William W. Crawford, Private Carey, Private Leland James, Abe Chayuten, and Private A. F. Kerns.

I’ll end with the paper’s gratitude for the work of medical staff, from the October 18 issue:

“Too much praise cannot be bestowed upon Mrs. Weinshausen and Mr. Hartog, who, with their corps of nurses and assistants so defeated this menace threatening the health and life of every
soldier in the unit. Considering the fact that fully 200 patients were treated, the mortality rate was unusually light. As soon as the hospital was well organized, all men having the least symptom of the influenza were cared for until completely cured. It is due to this fact that the disease was so successfully and completely checked in a comparative short time.”

Useful Tips to Keep You Out of the Asylum

In blocks 7 and 8, two Colorado College classes (Tomi Ann Roberts’s Feminist Psychology of Embodiment and Tricia Waters’s Women and Madness) visited Special Collections to view our mini-exhibition, Books About Sex. (Subtitle: “These books may be about sex, but we can’t promise you will find them sexy”).  In addition to the materials in the display, students looked at 16th-century-and-forward health manuals such as the two described here, annual reports of the the Colorado State Hospital, 20th century books on how to please your husband, Rocky Mountain Planned Parenthood pamphlets, and more.

Students imagined what they would highlight if they were doing their own exhibitions. One student noticed that some women, but never any men, were admitted to the then-named Colorado Insane Asylum in the 19th century because of “domestic trouble.” Another student looked for what we would now call “consent” in Marabel Morgan’s 1973 advice book The Total Woman. Yet another student pointed out that the women in the exercise illustrations in Sex Revelations and the New Eugenics (1936) wore high heeled shoes and very little else. We all appreciated the “Remedy for Hysterics (or Mother-Fits)” in John Homan’s 1856 Long Lost Friend: A Compendium of Mysterious & Invaluable Arts & Remedies, which involves pressing one’s thumb against one’s chest and reciting “Matrix, patrix, lay thyself right and safe…”

A possible title for the classes’ imaginary exhibitions emerged: “Useful Tips to Keep You Out of the Asylum.”

 

Keep Calm and Amy On

Special Collections has moved from Tutt South to the newly renovated Tutt Main (soon to be just plain Tutt). We are currently open by appointment only, hoping to return to regular hours by August 1 or earlier.

It was quite an odyssey getting the books and other materials, including a huge heavy map case, from one building to the other.

     

Special Collections Coordinator Amy Brooks managed 90% of the move while Curator Jessy Randall was cleverly out of town on a long-planned vacation.

Huge thanks to Amy, Tutt South wranglers Lesley Mackie and Diane Westerfield, and book escorts Sarah Bogard, Chris Curcio, Julia Drescher, Nicole Gresham, Lisa Lister, Annette Magneys, Mike McEvers, Courtney Morgan, Jeremy Nelson, Daryll Stevens, Claire Trissel, and Pam Willock. We could not have done it without each and every one of you. Congratulations to these hard workers and the PSI book movers on a successful and safe move!

Images above show anonymous graffiti written during the move on walls in the soon-to-be-demolished Tutt South. Amy was too tired to even notice:

Pictures of our new digs to come when it’s a bit more photogenic than it is now. Our current view looks like this:

All photos by Tutt Library staff.

Chenoweth postcards at the Fine Arts Center


Colorado College Special Collections lent 27 postcard collages by Mary Chenoweth to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center this year.

The postcards were donated to CC by Peggy Marshall and Mike Duffy and dated 1980s-90s. They were on display at the FAC from February 18 – May 21, 2017.

The exhibition was fantastic! The postcards were hung from the ceiling and sandwiched inside plastic so that viewers could see both sides.

in celebration of International Women’s Day

In celebration of International Women’s Day, March 8, 2016, we uploaded our finding aids to the collections of the papers of three women:

Lillian de la Torre, 1960, courtesy CC Special Collections

Lillian de la Torre, 1960

 

Writer and Playwright
Lillian de la Torre (1902-1993)

 

 

 

 

 

Inez Johnson Lewis, undated, courtesy CC Special Collections

Inez Johnson Lewis, undated

 

Educator, Superintendent of Schools, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Inez Johnson Lewis (1875-1964)

 

 

 

 

 

Marianne Stoller 1977, courtesy CC Special Collections

Marianne Stoller, 1977

 

Colorado College Anthropology Professor Emerita
Marianne Stoller (1929-2015)

The History and Future of the Book

piso dodo piso squirrel

Special Collections student assistant Anna Wermuth blogged her experience in The History and Future of the Book half block class, January 2016:

That Special Something

Why Art (When It’s Tedious)?

Under Press-ure

(The dodo and flying squirrel illustrations are from our copy of Willem Piso’s De Indiae Utriusque re Naturali et Medica Libri Qvatvordecim, published 1658. Anna refers to them in her first post, “That Special Something.”)

a visit from the cast of For Colored Girls

idriscastIn December of 2015, Idris Goodwin directed a sold-out production of Ntozake Shange’s choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide … When the Rainbow is Enuf at Colorado College. He and the cast (Alexandra Farr, Lyric Jackson, Jazlyn Andrews, Jaiel Mitchell, Justice Miles, Brittany Comancho, Deaira Cooper, and Erica Willard) stopped by Special Collections last week to take a look at a first edition of the book, which was first published in 1975 by Shameless Hussy Press in 1975.
bookhands

tunnel books at CC Special Collections

Thames Tunnel coverThames Tunnel interiorTunnel books have been made and sold since the mid-18th century in Europe. The earliest one in CC Special Collections, History of the Thames Tunnel (1861), was sold to tourists in England, as was our next-earliest, The Picture-Post Coronation Peep-Show Book (1953).

Our copy of the Thames Tunnel book is quite worn, suggesting that many people looked through its eye-holes over the years before it came to the library.

Coronation 1Our Coronation book, on the other hand, was purchased in kit form and never put together. Luckily, the Journal of Wild Culture offers a photo essay showing what the book looks like from various angles.

tunnel book Arizona

 

 

Our other tunnel books are artists’ books made in the last two decades. Edward H. Hutchins’s  Arizona Wildlife (1999) is made from picture postcards.

timm

 

Jill Timm’s Falling Leaves (2006).

nocturne2_wp610x407

 

 

Laura Russell’s Nocturne (2004) shows a fanciful version of the neon signs on Colfax Avenue in Denver and is a favorite among CC students.

 

matsunaga-aoyama2-1000w

 

Kyoko Matsunaga’s Aoyama Airport (2013).

For a good overview of tunnel books, see Jean-Charles Trebbi’s The Art of Pop-Up: The Magical World of Three-Dimensional Books (Promo Press, 2012), available at many libraries.

The Book of Mormon at CC

Book of Mormon spineNo one had requested our copy of the first edition of The Book of Mormon in at least fifteen years, but that all changed last month. First one request, then another, and then eighty Mormon visitors in one day, broken up into four groups in order not to overcrowd the reading room.

The Book of Mormon, the foundational text of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was first published in Palmyra, NY in 1830. 5000 copies were printed, of which at least 144 are currently in libraries. book-of-mormon-deseret-alphabet-1Joseph Smith’s text has been reprinted hundreds of times and translated into many languages and alphabets, including Brigham Young’s Deseret alphabet (one of several alphabets developed to simplify spelling in the 19th century, including one invented by Melvil Dewey, yes, he of the card catalog system).

The first edition of the book contains a number of typographical errors, including page 487 printed as 48, and, in some copies (not ours), “rumderers” for “murderers” on page 521. (For a full list, see Janet Jenson’s “Variations between Copies.”) [Addendum, January 2016: volunteer JoAnn Hendershot has discovered that the CC copy of The Book of Mormon also has page 212 printed as 122. She went through Jenson’s list and found no other variations in our copy.]

Book values change with the times, and the monetary value of this book has increased exponentially. According to library records, Colorado College purchased our copy for $250 in 1962. It was one of the first purchases made using the Hulbert Fund, honoring Archer Butler Hulbert, CC professor and scholar of the American West. The book is now worth perhaps $100,000. Our copy, however, is not for sale.

Book of Mormon purchase