Archives Photograph Collection

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Elizabeth Eagleson Bridgwaters

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Elizabeth was the daughter of Preston Emmanual Eagleson (AB 1896; MA 1906 Philosophy) and Sarah Ollie Wilson Eagleson.

An April 17, 2012 e-mail from Betty Bridwaters (daughter of Elizabeth seen here) to the IU Archives Photograph Curator reads, in part: "My mother’s name is Elizabeth Eagleson Bridgwaters. The name on her transcript is Buena Mae Elizabeth Eagleson. As she was the first female born in her family in 30 years, she received names from aunts and her grandmother. She started putting Buena Mae together to accommodate registration forms and after she married she gladly gave up the first two names and used her maiden name as her middle name, no hyphen. She always used Elizabeth and was never called by the first two names.

After my father had major surgery in 1964 and was hospitalized for an extended period of time, my mother decided to look for full time work at the university. With all her education (AB 1930 and 87 1/2 hours of post graduate work in education and psychology), the only job offered to her was in the residence halls in food services. She started as a salad cook and worked her way up to supervisor in the dining halls. The photo you have is of her at her desk in Briscoe Quadrangle, as supervisor...This was her first full time job since working with Dr. Kellogg in the School of Education." A copy of this e-mail is filed with the original photograph.

Elizabeth is the daughter of Preston Emmanuel Eagleson who was the first African-American at IU to play varsity sports (1893, 1894, and 1895 football). He was also the first (1906) African-American to receive a master's degree.

Her daughter also mentioned in an April 25, 2012 e-mail (also filed with the photo); "...include that she served on the IU Staff Council and was elected to serve two terms on the Monroe County Community Schools Board (8 years; one as president). After leaving the university, she was Director of the Neighborhood Development Office under the Federal Housing and Urban Development Office and that she was a candidate for Mayor of the City of Bloomington and Indiana State Representative for the 51st District. Also, she was appointed to three commissions under Governor Bowen and received the Sagamore of the Wabash Award from him. She was an active member of the National Council of Black Elected Officials. She compiled photo exhibits at the Mathers Museum and the Monroe County Historical Museum...the photos are used in various graduate student research projects, by the City of Bloomington, and in brochures and publications. After completing her studies she was ordained a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church at age 78 (the oldest to be ordained at that time) and was a local minister until fall of 1998, when she was diagnosed with cancer. She died in March of 1999."

date taken:

Circa 1970

personal name:

Bridgwaters, Elizabeth Eagleson

building name:

Briscoe Quadrangle, Herman Thompson (1965)








Office / At Work








Bridgwaters, Elizabeth Eagleson