Loyola University Chicago

Women and Leadership Archives

Hoellen Family Foundation

We are grateful to the Hoellen Family Foundation for their continued support of the University Libraries for the enhancement of our special collections. The Loyola University Archives and Special Collections and the Women and Leadership Archives have benefited from the Foundation’s generosity over the years. Below are WLA projects funded by the Foundation.

2024 Project

Generously provided funds were used for two projects. First, a graduate student was hired to work on an AV identification project. Our audiovisual materials continue to be some of the highest risk materials in the collection, in regard to both preservation and access. Our current finding aids (enhanced inventories of a collection) often contain little information on their specific formats, which then need to be verified.

It is vital for us to know what the formats are, so we can best determine feasibility of playback, set priorities for preservation reformatting, and to more broadly understand what we have in our collection. There are certainly more AV materials the WLA could digitize in the future, but first we must identify all the formats currently in our collections. To this end, we assigned a graduate student worker to this project. We developed a robust training procedure for identifying AV materials, relying heavily on the Texas Commission on the Arts Videotape Identification and Assessment Guide, which continues to be an industry standard.
Second, funds supported preservation reformatting (aka digitization) of audiovisual materials. Items were prioritized based on the most urgent research need, obscurity of format, condition, and rarity. Work was completed by Midwest Productions, the trusted vendor of the Women and Leadership Archives for audiovisual digitization, who has worked with University Libraries on numerous projects, including previous Hoellen Foundation grants.
Materials were chosen from the following collections:  Dana McDermott, Carol Moseley Braun, FutureChurch, and Maria Pappas.Items were selected based on current research and preservation needs, so these collections may still have some remaining AV materials to be digitized at a later time.
Dana McDermott is a Loyola University Chicago alumna and Certified Family Life Educator, who formed the Loyola Student Volunteers (now Voluntary Action Program). Her recorded lectures continue to be in demand with researchers, and the timing of the grant coincided with one of those requests.
Carol Moseley Braun is the first African-American woman U.S. Senator and first woman U.S. Senator from Illinois.  Her materials at the WLA primarily relate to Moseley Braun’s political campaigns for U.S. Senate, President, and Mayor of Chicago, and her time as U.S. Senator and Ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa. Materials also cover her time as Cook County Recorder of Deeds, founder and president of Good Food Organics, Inc., and other professional endeavors. Digitized materials as part of the grant include items from the span of her career, but primarily from the 2000s onwards, as that is the bulk of what is represented at the WLA.
FutureChurch is an Ohio-based organization which aims to reform the Catholic Church. In particular, they seek “changes that will provide all Roman Catholics the opportunity to participate fully in Church life and leadership”, including advocating to allow women and married men into the priesthood. Digitized materials as part of the grant include meetings, interviews, lectures, and other talks.
Maria Pappas received her Doctorate from Loyola University Chicago and currently serves as Cook County Treasurer. The papers relate to Pappas’s tenure as Cook County Commissioner and Treasurer, as well as to her various campaigns, including Cook County Board President and Illinois Senator. The collection is a reflection primarily of Pappas’s public works. Digitized items include Cook County Board of Commissioners Meeting recordings and news features.

2022 Project

Audiovisual materials from the Helen Ramirez-Odell Papers and A College of Their Own Records were digitized and a laptop was purchased using the funds. The laptop will aid the WLA in making information about the collections available to the public and with other daily work. Audiovisual materials for digitization were chosen based on their age, condition, and research value. The digitization was primarily completed for preservation reformatting reasons, and to ensure future access to these items. Upon further review, items may also be included in Preservica for public access, thus increasing their availability to the public. Preservica is the platform the WLA uses to store digital collections and make them available online. Work was completed by Midwest Productions, the trusted vendor of the Women and Leadership Archives for audiovisual digitization.

Mundelein documentary film

[Image: Screenshot from documentary film, A College of Their Own Records]

AV items were chosen from two unique collections. The first collection was the A College of Their Own Records. In 1991, Mundelein College, the last women’s college in Illinois, affiliated with Loyola University Chicago. The following year, faculty from the Communications Departments of both schools decided to make a documentary about the affiliation and the issues surrounding women’s education. The film analyzes the history of women’s education, examines the issues surrounding the closing of numerous women’s colleges in the late 20th century, and specifically tells the story of Mundelein College. A College of Their Own was completed in 1998. Hours of interview footage was created for this documentary but was never included in the final cut. These unedited interview tapes are of great research value. They were recorded on now-outdated media formats and had not been preservation reformatted. Preservation reformatting (digitization) of these items will ensure that these items will be available for years to come.

The Helen Ramirez-Odell collection contains audio interviews of Chicago area school nurses for the book Working Without Uniforms: School Nursing in Chicago 1951-2001. Although the Helen Ramirez-Odell collection contains other materials, the interviews are the heart of the collection, and are of the greatest value to researchers. These fragile tapes were previously unavailable to researchers due to their condition. Now, researchers can have access to these firsthand accounts.

2020 Project

Items from the Polish Women's Alliance of America Records, Mollie West Papers, and Imogene and Ruby Martin Papers received conservation treatment and digitization. Below are examples from each of the collections. Items were added to the WLA digital collections in Preservica in December 2020.

Hoellen Grant 2020 funded work by Conservation Center

[Image: Conusl General Tytus Zbyszewski Testimonial Dinner, 1934, Polish Women's Alliance of America Records]

Founded in 1898, the Polish Women’s Alliance of America (PWA) is a fraternal society that originally focused on the needs of women and their families, as well as the promotion of pride in Polish heritage. This bilingual collection contains correspondence, ledgers, ephemera, publications, and audiovisual materials that document the PWA’s national efforts and local impact. Eight oversized photographs depicting notable gatherings in PWA history were selected for digitization.

Hoellen Grant 2020 funded work by Conservation Center

[Image: Photo on scrapbook page (West seated 5th from right), 1945, Mollie Lieber West Papers]

The collection of Mollie Lieber West, a Mundelein College alumna, documents the struggles and achievements of women workers in the twentieth century labor union movement. Her collection encompasses her personal and professional life, including scrapbooks. This scrapbook documents West’s activities in 1945, when she served as an American Delegate to the Youth Congress held in London and the World Student Congress in Czechoslovakia. This period of time is largely undocumented in her papers and correspondence; the digitized scrapbook provides insight into a period of her life that has not yet been closely studied.

Hoellen Grant 2020 funded work by Conservation Center

[Image: 67th Evacuation Hospital, c. 1943, Imogene and Ruby Martin Papers]

Imogene and Ruby Martin were cousins who served overseas as nurses in the U.S. Army during WWII. This photograph was previously rolled and underwent conversation treatment; the newly treated photograph can now be stored and handled more safely. This treatment also allowed for the digitization above. Although this collection remains unprocessed, we hope the images provide a glimpse of what is yet to come.