Student DirectoriesStudent directories, sometimes known as handbooks or manuals, contained information on the students as well as the faculty and various campus organizations, including fraternities and sororities.
This example from Indiana University's student directory, which they called "the red book," for the 1929-1930 school year, included the student's name, year, hometown, and the name of their residence hall or fraternity/sorority, as well as a phone number.
|Indiana University Student Directory, 1929-1930|
Student NewspapersStudent-produced newspapers can offer a glimpse into the daily life on campus. They contain information not just on the school's sports teams, but various clubs and associations, sprinkled in with news from alumni.
This example from Indiana Central College (now University of Indianapolis)'s student newspaper for January 1941 includes news of several alumni who have gotten married, as well as a trip to an indoor pool — a treat during an Indiana winter.
|(Indiana Central College) Reflector, January 1941.|
Commencement ProgramsCommencement programs can contain detailed information about those who are graduating, as well as the schedule of events and commencement speakers.
Ball State University's June 1969 commencement program contains a list of the graduates for the Master of Science degree, including their name, hometown, where they earned their undergraduate degree, and the subject of their degree. We can also see that they're not actually graduating until August.
|Ball State University commencement program, June 1969.|
Alumni DirectoriesAlumni directories are valuable because students were likely to keep in touch long after their graduation. The directories of alumni that the schools would periodically publish are valuable not just for finding out a woman's married name, but for the level of detail they could include.
Earlham College's 1957 alumni directory, for example, show the alumnus's name, degree they earned, year of graduation, spouse's name, children's name, children's years of birth, occupation, and current residence.
|Earlham College Alumni Directory, 1957.|
Finding These RecordsMany of these resources can only be found at the college or university, or at public libraries in the areas surrounding these institutions. However, be sure and check Google Books and Internet Archive to see what they have for these institutions. Some institutions are beginning to digitize their own resources, including:
- Ball State University, Muncie
- Butler University, Indianapolis
- Central Normal College & Canterbury College, Danville
- Indiana Central College, Indianapolis (later became University of Indianapolis)
- Bulletins, 1908-1944
- Catalogs, 1902-1908
- Commencement Programs, 1902-1989
- Student Newspapers, 1922-1999 and 2001-2013
- Indiana State University, Evansville (later became University of Southern Indiana)
- University of Notre Dame, South Bend
If you want to find out more about using college catalogs, be sure to check out this blog post.
[This article originally appeared in Indiana News, IGS's FREE monthly email newsletter. Click here to subscribe and have articles like this delivered straight to your inbox!]