Honoring Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy at Columbia College Chicago

To honor the passing of Leonard Nimoy, the actor famous for his role as Mr. Spock on Star Trek, the Archives searched for the footage of his visit to Columbia College Chicago in 1980.  Some of the video skips in parts, but most of Nimoy’s presentation is still discernible through the blur and hiccups in the footage recorded 35 years ago. Nimoy filmed in Chicago for the first time in this particular Columbia College Q&A, which happened to be on his 48th birthday. “So… where’s the cake?” he asked the audience.

He sat on a wooden and leather chair on the small stage, with a voice mic around his neck. He tried taking it off after brief technical difficulties, but the camera man told him that he was filming, and put it back on.

A mural painting of Chicago hung behind Nimroy’s tall frame and gaunt features, donned with a distinguishable red sweater and mustache. Throughout his presentation, he gesticulated wildly, and even jumped off stage at one point to shake a kid in order to demonstrate the natural emotion behind improvisation that can be used to heighten film.

Nimoy took another stage that night in Aurora for his one-man show, “Vincent”, a play about the artist Vincent VanGogh. Student admission was two dollars and Nimoy asked the audience who had a car in an attempt to organize a car pool.

Most of his speech was conversational like this and the crowd intermittently erupted in laughter.

A student asked Nimoy what work of his he was the most proud of, and if any of his previous endeavors embarrassed him.

“I’ve done a lot of work that I’m really very pleased with for various reasons, not necessarily because any one of them I think is the best work I’ve done, but for example when I did “Equus” on Broadway for 16 weeks, I was the happiest actor in the country, I’m sure because I was right where I wanted to be,” Nimoy replied. “When I saw “Equus” a month after it opened in New York going back about four years ago, I was just thrilled, just really excited about the production and that play, and when two years later they called me and asked me to go into that production on Broadway I just went because I really wanted to do that and it was everything that I hoped for… but Vincent is more mine than anything I’ve done before.”

“As far as embarrassment is concerned? Oh I don’t know, I have a sense of humor about those things. I did a project in 1951, one of the very first jobs I ever had in film, that was a Saturday afternoon serial thing… Well I worked in one of those, I guess I was in about five or six episodes of that thing, it was a brilliant piece of work called “Zombies of the Stratosphere”… I think I made about 125 dollars and I needed the money… You have to laugh, it’s a story about another guy and myself from another planet who bring a ray gun and a pick up truck and we’re going to take over earth.”

Rest in peace, Mr. Nimoy…Live Long and Prosper.

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We’ve changed our name!

Columbia College Chicago Archives

Our department’s name has changed from Columbia College Chicago Archives to College Archives & Special Collections (CASPC)

Since we acquired new collections and a new name, we’ve decided to update our mission statement to better fit our work and philosophy.

College Archives & Special Collections (CASPC) serves as the designated repository for records of Columbia College Chicago and collections of select rare books, publications, and manuscripts in order to:

  • support College curricula in a student-centered environment
  • document and disseminate the narrative legacy of the College
  • weave Columbia College Chicago into the culture of the city and the world
  • Create innovative and open pathways to resources.
  • Provide educational opportunities to stimulate research and creativity.
  • Inspire collaboration on a global scale.
  • Encourage freedom of inquiry while honoring creators’ rights.
  • Comply with professional best practices and technical standards.
  • Preserve collection holdings in stable formats for future generations

For a list of our collections, visit: http://about.colum.edu/archives/collections/index.php

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Nena Ivon: 16-year-old gets first job at the Magnificent Mile Saks Fifth Avenue, becomes assistant fashion director one year later

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With the recent opening of the Chicago Styled exhibit at the Chicago History Museum, we are reminded of the impact that The Magnificent Mile and Nena Ivon had on the fashion industry.Nena Ivon, the head curator of the exhibit, is responsible for executing and showcasing the development of North Michigan Avenue as a mecca for high-end fashion. The Magnificent Mile has been known for its luxury retail and department stores since the 1920s and is frequented by over 20 million people every year. Nena Ivon had an invaluable part in shaping the Magnificent Mile and Saks Fifth Avenue into what it is today.

At 16, Nena was hired in Saks Fifth Avenue’s sports wear department. Having no prior work experience, Nena found herself in the middle of a nightmare.All of the clothes were tagged, but Nena didn’t know the color-coding system. Even if she knew how to help her customers pick out the right size, she couldn’t write a receipt. Nena wouldn’t describe herself as someone who cries easily, but she ended up bawling behind the counter that day. She decided then that she would never go back to Saks again. But, not being a quitter, she returned to her next shift and the shifts that followed.

Nena 1-1

A year later at the age of 17, Nena was promoted to assistant fashion director. Eight years later she became the director of fashion and special events, a position which she held until 2009. During her employment at Saks, Nena brushed elbows with the who’s who in fashion, establishing household names for many designers through in-house shows. Today, Nena is the president of the Chicago History Museum Costume Council and a professor at Columbia College Chicago where she assists in documenting the history of clothing while inspiring others to make it.

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To learn more about Nena Ivon and Chicago’s role in the fashion industry, visit Chicago Styled at the Chicago History Museum, Monday through Saturday 9:30 am – 4:30 pm and Sunday from noon – 5pm. Adults are $14; Seniors and Students are $12. Kids under 12 are free. For information about the exhibit, visit http://chicagostyledfashion.com/.

Columbia College Chicago Archives holds Nena Ivon’s Manuscript Collection which includes photographs of her with famous designers and newspaper clips featuring her shows. The archives also stores Nena’s personal collection of over 100 perfume bottles. Here is a link to our finding aid if you are interested in learning more about her first hand.

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Columbia College and The G.I. Bill

Veteran's Day GI Bill

Since Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the G.I. Bill in 1944, Columbia College Chicago has assisted thousands of US Veterans in attaining occupations in their fields of choice. Today, we would like to honor our veterans by highlighting our digital exhibit, Columbia The G.I. Bill.

What is the G.I. Bill?

The G.I. Bill is essentially the Veteran’s Bill of Rights. It was created in 1944 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Congress, and various veterans groups. Over 16.3 million men and women received education, home loans, and health services that were once difficult for the American middle class to obtain. Columbia was an institution that was involved in this change.

GI Bill

The Veterans Guidance Research Center

From 1945-1950, the Veterans Guidance Research Center operated at Columbia College as a center for assistance for returning WWII veterans. The center helped over 20,000 people with its educational, occupational, and psychological assistance. The center, though situated in Columbia’s 410 S Michigan building, was not a part of Columbia- it was an allied organization created by Norman Alexandroff, Columbia’s president at the time.

Columbia GI Bill Education

A Columbia College Education

Columbia trained veterans for specific jobs separate of the Veterans Guidance Research Center. Radio, television, journalism, advertising, business, film, and theatre majors were a few of the possible career paths for WWII veterans that Columbia provided.

Out of this movement, Columbia produced notable alumni including

  • Al Hernandez (Captain, US Army) – Class of 1951, Television Advertising
  • Jack Hickey (US Air Force) – Class of 1950, BA, Speech Drama
  • Howard Mendelsohn – Class of 1949, BA, Speech

For more information regarding Columbia The G.I. Bill, visit our digital exhibit here. Happy Veterans Day!

Al Hernandez

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Letter from the editor

Lately I’ve been eager to uncover and curate collections beyond college. I’ve recently considered applying for masters programs upon graduation in the spring, and I am beyond excited to look into furthering my education. My experience at Columbia College Chicago Archives has influenced me to seriously think of library sciences as a possible career path with the mindset of continuing to work in archival collections.

As of this month, I have worked at Columbia College Chicago Archives for a little over a year, and I can confidentially say that it has been an invaluable experience for my career and my personal growth. I was picked up by the department at a job fair, and when they asked about my experience, I gave them a few of my writing samples from my personal blog. My writing was well received, and they hired me to assist in generating content for the department’s website. I was able to add the management of their blog and social media to my writing resume, and suddenly new freelancing opportunities opened up for me. Now I’m at a place where I can say that I write professionally, which had been my goal all along.

That being said, there is something intrinsically satisfying about opening a worn suitcase to find it brimming with yellowing letters and leaflets. Working in an archives, you’re able to break into these time capsules of the past, restore them, digitize them and preserve them for others to discover. Being a student worker at my archives, I’m personally tied to many of the collections I work with. I learn about the people who were at the college before me, their accomplishments and missteps. Working with archives, you are constantly researching, constantly learning about the past and how it applies to current times.

Thank you for reading!

Calley Nelson
old brief case 2014-06-05 14.28.36

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Columbia College Chicago may inundate paper scheduling for winter semester

Scheduling classes is a less tedious process today than it was in the 70s, but it’s about to get harder. Imagine you are in your senior year at Columbia College, only it’s not 2014: it’s 1974. You’ve been through the headache that is class registration many times before. You have all your forms filled out and your course papers ready, but you have to move fast to get the classes that you want. This will be back in effect next semester.Columbia College Chicago

Winding lines of students circle around bookshelves, leading to fold out tables where professors flip through stacks of note-cards and papers organized in some archaic fashion unknown to you. You are sweating in your bell bottoms and would like to use the bathroom, but you’re stuck in a line of 30 students in front of the English table, hoping that there’s still a seat open for you in Women’s Studies. “Only two more lines,” you think to yourself, taking a swig of your Tab and clutching a stack of papers to your hip. If you can’t get in this class, you’ll have to find a different one. Maybe you’ll check out the cork board at the front of the library to see what classes were recently added if your schedule doesn’t work out.columbia college chicago

While you wait, you watch a professor at the Radio table switch his pipe from one corner of his mouth to the other for every student he registers. An older woman in front of you is reading an article about the Vietnam draft amnesty in the Chicago Tribune. You spot a couple of your friends in the Film line and wave hello, wondering how long they’ve been in line, and how much longer they’ll have to wait. It might be another hour yet.

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Sounds pretty simple, right? This process was a typical one for college students at that time, but you won’t have to worry about it making a comeback- it’s WAY more cumbersome than OASIS, even with its outages and shortcomings.

Columbia College Chicago

To see the rest of Registration Flashback exhibit, visit the third floor of the library. For other exhibits from the archives, visithttp://about.colum.edu/archives/exhibits/current-exhibits.php.

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Student Convocation: “HELL YEAH”

What’s better than starting college at the biggest art school in the country? Starting it with a HELL YEAH!

Convocation

FRIDAY, AUGUST 29, 12:30PM TO 3:00PM

GRANT PARK

New Student Convocation is how Columbia welcomes students to its unique and creative community. The annual event features an iconic assembly with Columbia’s president, a student services exposition and a catered party with live bands, performance art and more. Convocation showcases the talents of our current students and alumni. It is a required event for all new students, faculty and staff.

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Student Perspective: On Social Media

How do you convince the internet to read what you have to say? Do you need a witty, attention grabbing title? Do you intersperse your posts with gifs to keep the interest of your audience, but wonder if your audience will actually read what you’ve posted instead of just scrolling through the pictures? Do you have original and concise content? Even if you follow all of these dos and don’ts for a perfect post, that doesn’t mean you’ll have one. There is so much more to blogging than just formulating your research and thoughts into something that someone can understand, and much of that has to do with marketing yourself on social media sites.

I’ve been an ardent boy-cotter of social media since high school. I condemned facebook and twitter as time wasters, as little personal pockets of narcissism that were secretly fed on mobile phones like virtual mini-human tamagotchis by their creators. I constantly assured myself that I wasn’t missing out on anything and that none of those profiles had anything to do with me or my endeavors. Now I’m realizing they do.

Especially being a part of the art world, social media is a tool that I’d be dumb not to use. Not only are platforms like Facebook and Twitter useful for networking, but also for self marketing. The quickest and cheapest way to reach readers is to link my blog to Facebook. When I advertise my post on social media, I have 500 potential readers just because I have 500 friends on Facebook. Sure, not all 500 will read this post, but my 50 friends who write might. There’s a web of feedback, a flock of readers, just sitting at their computers WANTING to read something… why can’t it it be something you wrote?

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New Expression

New Expression

A study done in 1974 showed that urban minority students were underrepresented and lacked a place to express themselves. This led a woman named Sister Ann Heintz, a Chicago teacher, to found Youth Communication, a non-profit organization, in 1976.

The organization is now called Youth Communication Chicago (YCC) and has helped over 3,750 Chicago students.  The Chicago high school journalists research, contribute, write, and edit articles to produce the news publication, New Expression, which is circulated throughout Chicagoland. New Expression reports on current events, issues, college and career news, business, entertainment and sports.

What was happening 30 years ago in New Expression—November 1983? Let’s start with the cover—a group of kids hanging out in a stairwell, one of which is snorting cocaine. Coke became very readily available to teens living in the heart of Chicago, where before, it stayed mostly in the suburbs. The article states, “Perhaps because of its publicity as the ‘in’ drug of the rich and famous, teens see it as an image-builder.” At this time, 17% of all teens used cocaine.

There are also short stories in this issue and letters to Santa and Mrs. Claus. In the entertainment section, there is a review on Richard Pryor’s Here and Now videotape, which according to the reviewer, was his best concert films. “The quality that has always set Richard apart from other stand-up comedians is the fact that his material works both as humor and as commentary on how he lives.”

In the archives, we have issues from 1977-2008.

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Creative Writing Department: 1998

The archives has a collection of Oral Histories from 1998 featuring the Creative Writing Department and faculty. Here are some notable excerpts from the interviews. You can read more of each Oral History by clicking on the name of the interviewee. Check out the rest of our collection here.

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Tony Del Valle 1998, Alumnus (1978) & Writing/English Department faculty

“I think that in a way I was a typical Columbia student at the time in that I was involved in a lot of things. You know, the students are still doing that. They’re still holding down full-time jobs, they’re pursuing their majors, they’re pursuing many other things, areas of interest, which makes them very interesting, actually, as people.”

“At the turn of the century, colleges were really English departments. (They) were about teaching literature to an elite small group of students who were interested in it. And the bastard child was the Writing Department faculty.”

Randy Albers 1998, Chair, Fiction Writing Department

“You know, we have a whole series of wonderful awards… last week Hair Trigger won a silver crown award, the latest in a whole series of awards from Columbia University’s Scholastic Press Association. It is one of the top journals in the country, you know, Hair Trigger has won first place awards from three different organizations. There have been a lot of individual winners of awards, writers in the program, all of which we’re very proud of, and in some ways I feel like things are just kind of starting to break for a lot of our writers and that we’re really going to have a period where- where I hope, anyway, we are- breaking out of the national scene here more.”

Sheila Baldwin 1998, Alumna (1977) & Writing Department faculty

On the split of the Writing Department: “There’s too much division here and we, if it continues like professional and other, you know, it’s just not a good deal, not a good deal.”

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John Schultz 1998, Professor Emeritus, Fiction Writing Department

“(In the late 60s) I had just developed a wholly new way of teaching writing called story workshop approach, and started using this approach with classes.”

(The workshop method was introduced to Columbia in 1966)

Betty Shiflett 1998, Alumna (1976) & Faculty, Writing Department

“In fact, most of what (John Schultz) had put together for Story Workshop was in revolt against the way writing is taught in academia.”

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