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A Guide to the collection at the Indiana University Archives
Finding aid prepared by Carrie Schwier
Indiana University Office of University Archives and Records Management
1320 East Tenth Street
Herman B Wells Library E460
Bloomington, IN 47405-7000
Michaelmas, William Henry Tecumseh.
.6 cubic feet (2 boxes)
Materials are in English.
Graduating from Indiana University in 1921, Lawrence Wheeler went on to become a noted journalist, fund-raiser and the first Executive Director of the Indiana University Foundation. This collection consists entirely of the published articles and manuscripts from Wheeler’s column “Indiana, Our Indiana” which was published in the Bloomington Star-Courier.
Collection is open for research. Advance notice is required.
Born in Princeton, Indiana on November 25, 1898 Lawrence Wheeler was described as probably the “quintessential Hoosier.” Entering Indiana University in 1916, he quickly became one of the leaders of the student body as a member of Alpha Tau Omega, Scabbard and Blade, Sigma Delta Chi and as the writer of a widely popular column in the Indiana Daily Student under the pseudonym Ecne R. Wall. With the outbreak of the First World War, he joined the United States Army and served in the American Expeditionary Forces with Base Hospital 131. Following the end of the war, he returned to Indiana University to complete his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics in 1921, and in 1922 he married fellow IU alum Ruth White. Together they had two children: Lawrence Wheeler, Jr. and Jane Wheeler.
Following his graduation from the University, Wheeler joined the editorial staff of The Indianapolis Star, and shortly thereafter he moved to a career in fund-raising for a variety of colleges, churches, hospitals and other public institutions. At the request of IU President Herman B Wells in 1944, Wheeler returned to his alma mater to become the first Executive Director of the Indiana University Foundation. As the Foundation Director, Wheeler established the Ernie Pyle Memorial Fund, the Wendell Willkie Scholarship Fund, and the Lieber Memorial Fund among others, and was instrumental in securing several valuable collections for the University Library.
Following a series of health problems, in 1949 he resigned his position at the Foundation to become Director of Communications and Professor of Journalism, which included teaching courses in public relations. During this period he continued his journalistic career, authoring the regular column “Indiana, Our Indiana” for the Bloomington Star-Courier under the name William Henry Tecumseh Michaelmas and composing comedic letters of congratulation to a wide variety of individuals both public and private under the name Oscar B Burlap, an imaginary IU alumnus and owner of the Burlap Turnbuckle Manufacturing Company. Wheeler passed away at the age of 53 on November 9, 1952.
The collection is organized into one series: the Bloomington Star-Courier, “Indiana, our Indiana” column records.
The collection is comprised entirely of one series: the Bloomington Star-Courier, “Indiana, Our Indiana” column files (1944-1952). Included are both the published and manuscript versions of Lawrence Wheeler’s regular column under the pseudonym William Henry Tecumseh Michaelmas, which ran in the weekly Bloomington newspaper from the early 1940s to the early 1950s. Wheeler’s often tongue-and-check prose covers the entire spectrum of Indiana University current events and history, often capturing the unique “flavor” of the campus in that era.
Articles highlight athletic rivalries; the accomplishments of distinguished faculty such as folklorist Stith Thompson, Nobel prize winner Dr. Hermann Muller, and Rolla Harger, inventor of the “Drunkometer”, the predecessor to breathalyzer; campus events such as notable art exhibitions, performances by the Jordan River Revue and the proposed change of Jordan Field – the first athletic field on campus – into a parking lot and motor pool facility. Other columns highlight the activities of student groups such as the Board of Aeons and Sigma Chi fraternity; campus issues such as the massive increases in student enrollment following WWII, student employment and housing, and the use of the university library. Other articles simply highlight the often amusing little stories associated with university campus life, such as the best winter sledding locations in Bloomington and anecdotes such as the one in which President Wells - while serving as the special dinner guest at Sigma Alpha Epsilon house – took a phone message in the house phone booth from the girlfriend of one of his hosts who reacted with a “bright crimson blush.”
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in IUCAT, the IU Libraries' online catalog. Materials about related topics, persons or places can be found by searching the catalog using these terms.
Related photographs may be available in the University Archives Photographs Database
Completed in 2011.