For archivist Kim Butler, preparing for the College’s Sesquicentennial has meant drawing on a collection of ever-expanding resources to uncover new voices and stories. “We’re always getting more materials for the College’s Archives and your knowledge of certain event or story can change when you find out more information,” she explains. “A new voice can give you a different perspective. We’ve recently been given the personal papers of President Rall by his family and resources like this add new insights.”
Butler has been actively researching projects related to the Sesquicentennial for more than three years. Most recently she has directed her efforts toward assisting Ann Durkin Keating, Dr. C. Frederick Toenniges Professor of History, and Pierre Lebeau, professor of history emeritus, with research for a new College history book that will focus on the College’s presidential administrations with particular emphasis on the past 50 years. “This project has been exciting and especially interesting for me,” says Butler, who also supervises student research.
Feeding this research and many other projects are the newly digitized versions of the The Chronicle and North Central Now. All issues of these campus publications are on line and searchable through the Oesterle Library website (link).
Butler has also been assembling histories of buildings that will become wall displays in various facilities on campus and searching for important dates and facts for a variety of communications materials. A series called “150 Moments” will be aired on WONC-FM 89.1 and on the College’s website. Another project is underway in collaboration with Naperville Community Television (NCTV 17), which is producing a historical documentary about the College. Butler and other staff members have also been collecting oral histories from former professors, alumni and trustees. And completed projects like a “History of Athletics” booklet and a guide to the A.A. Smith House reflect Butler’s contributions.
“We’ve been working on some of these efforts since 2007 and it’s really picking up steam as we head into our celebration,” she says. “It’s been exciting and interesting for me getting into our records and doing the research.”