Browse Exhibits (5 total)

Page Turner: The Evolution of the John Stewart Memorial Library


A brief history of the John Stewart Memorial Library on the Wilson College campus.

The Library opened in 1925. An addition was made to the building in the early 1960s.

In 2015, the Library opened with its historic frontage restored and a new learning commons addition to replace the previous iteration. In honor of the new building, the Library and Archives created a display on the library's history, which has been reproduced digitally here.

Antiquities Collection


The Wilson College Antiquities Collection dates to the 1920s, when efforts were begun by Wilson's Classics professor at that time, A. Mildred Franklin, to create a collection of artifacts representative of various periods and styles. The Collection contains objects of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Mycenaean, and Etruscan origin, dating from the third millennium B.C.E. to 500 C.E. Objects have been contributed by faculty and administration, the Wilson College Classics Club, alumnae, students, and other institutions.

This online exhibit features a small number of pieces from the collection currently on view at the Hankey Center at Wilson College. 

Double click on the thumbnails to view the full photograph and description. 

"Something Bigger Than Myself": Pat Vail and Freedom Summer


The day after three civil rights activists disappeared in Mississippi, Patricia Vail '63 wrote her parents from Oxford, Ohio, expressing her fears as she prepared to join other activists in the deeply racist state.

"We are not safe," Vail, then 22, wrote June 22, 1964, in a letter to her parents, "Like everyone else involved, I realize that I could be killed this summer. I've known this all along[...]In the end I decided that this is a cause that I'm willing to die for."

The Mississippi Summer Project, known as Freedom Summer, was organized by a coalition of civil rights organizations that brought young, idealistic college-age students to Mississippi to register black voters and set up Freedom Schools to teach young children about black history and good citizenship. Organizers hoped that Northern white students working for civil
rights would draw national attention to the extreme brutality and oppression suffered by the black community in Mississippi.

This exhibit highlights Vail's activism and experience during Freedom Summer. Double click on the thumbnails to view the full document and description. 

"Friendship and Sisterhood": The History and Impact of Wilson's Black Student Union


The first African-American student to graduate from Wilson College was matriculated the same year as the 1954 Brown vs. the Board of Education decision. (Two students attended before Doris Oswell Brunot graduated in 1958.) Since then, African-American students have danced, sung, played sports, and served in student organizations. In short, they have enriched the life of the College. This exhibit contains numerous primary source materials from the Hankey Center regarding Wilson College's Black Student Union (BSU). These photographs, articles, and more demonstrate the presence and importance of the organization, highlighting how the BSU has, for nearly fifty years, been and continues to be a propelling force for positivity and community on Wilson’s campus. Through the years, the goals of the BSU were changed by the political movements of the time. Though its tactics and name have changed over its near fifty year tenure at Wilson, the Black Student Union has been a constant beacon, seeking to educate, engage, and rally the Wilson College community. 

In 1968, the Wilson College Afro-American Society (WAAS) was recognized as a student organization. In the spring of 1969, the WAAS called the attention of the administration and faculty to issues its members thought needed to be addressed in a timely fashion. Some of these issues were: improving polices on admission and recruitment of minority students; the need to recruit and hire more African-American faculty and staff at all levels; and the addition of courses relevant to the history and experience of African-Americans. To bring even greater attention to its ten proposals, the organization staged a boycott of classes on April 28, 1969. The 1969-1970 Bluebook noted that its members “encouraged greater discussion and thought of the problems and goals of Black culture and recommended solutions benefitting the college community.” WAAS also sponsored college-wide cultural events such as Black Weekend (1972) and Afram 1980. Its successor student organization is the current Black Student Union (BSU). The current BSU's purpose is to "encourage African-American awareness, enhance the quality of life for members of the Black Student Union, conduct activities involving community outreach, and foster greater understanding of African-American culture and related issues."

This exhibit contains numerous primary source materials from the Hankey Center regarding Wilson College's Black Student Union. Double click on thumbnails to view full documents and descriptions. 

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Orchesis attempts to introduce students to the broadest opportunities possible for active participation in the various forms of dance. Students work with visiting artists; attend performances in other venues; study in New York City; engage in choreographic projects; work in the community to educate and develop an audience for dance; gain experience in lighting, sound and costume design – all technical aspects of performance.

This exhibit highlights the variety of performances Orchesis shared with the Wilson College community, primarily from the 1940s to the 1980s.