Project Editor: Jennifer Moore, English 418/818, Fall 2005
Introduction to "University Days of Adelloyd Whiting 1894-1902"
"When she stood up for her dancing her steps were so complete,
The music nearly killed itself to listen to her feet."
In the 1899 Sombrero, the University of Nebraska, Lincoln's yearbook, Adelloyd Whiting's picture appeared in the "Junior Cicumsquintilations" along with the quote above. The lyrical rhythm of the lines reflect not only the upbeat pulse of Adelloyd's life at UNL, but also set into toe-tapping motion her study and enjoyment of physical instruction, and in particular, the art of dance. For six years, Adelloyd Whiting Williams studied Physical Education at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Born in Fairbury Nebraska in 1879, Adelloyd began her undergraduate program in 1894. After graduating in 1900, she entered a graduate program of study designed specifically for Physical Education and earned her certificate in 1902. A member of Kappa Kappa Gamma fraternity and Phi Beta Kappa during her college years, Adelloyd went on to be an instructor of Physical Education at the University, member of the Lincoln Women's Club and employee of both the Social Service Exchange and the University registrar's office (Journal Star, 1958). Throughout the course of her six years of study, however, Adelloyd performed a habit common to many Americans at the turn of the century; she collected personal photographs and memorabilia and saved it all in a scrapbook. Certificates, programs, yearbook pages, newspaper clippings and snapshots fill the pages of her scrapbook, along with many hand-written captions, labeling significant events and faces. Although the completion date of the scrapbook is unknown, Adelloyd's handiwork provides insight into University life during that time period. Specifically, her collection sheds light on life for female students of Physical Education at a time when the area of study was relatively new at the University. Above all, Adelloyd Whiting Williams' scrapbook gives an intriguing overview of her own life, from both academic and personal viewpoints.
In its first forms of conception, the "scrapbook" had a more literary and scholarly function than the mere preservation of personal artifacts. Known as "commonplace books" in the late 1590s, the practice of collecting famous quotations and passages of literature was considered an "intellectual pasttime" (Rothamel 8). Out of this format developed the "friendship book", a place in which young girls would collect locks of hair from their intimates and use them to produce artful designs that surrounded "quotes and remembrances" pertaining to their friends. The first known "scrapbook" was compiled by John Poole in 1826. Beyond providing advice on "how to collect and arrange scraps," Poole's Manuscript Gleanings and Literary Scrapbook "was a bound collection of printed poems and engravings" that instantly sparked the public's interest (White 12). Individuals began saving bits and pieces from everyday life, including "pressed flowers, paper cuts, silhouettes, feathers, puzzles, poems and other bits of ephemera." Much like today, publishing companies provided the public with albums and materials with which to enhance the scrapbooking experience. The so-called "peak decade" of scrapbooking, however, was 1880-1890, just before Adelloyd entered the University (Rothamel 10). The middle class in particular picked up the practice of scrapbooking at this time, due largely in part to George Eastman's marketing of the Kodak camera and roll film in 1888 (16). Although scrapbooking has come back into public favor since the 1990s, it took a hiatus at the onset of World War I, when resources became tight nationwide.
Today, "University Days of Adelloyd Whiting 1894-1902" exists as three folders in a collection of Physical Education for Women Scrapbooks in the Archives of the University of Nebraska, Lincoln Libraries. The pages displayed here, however, represent neither the entirety nor the original order of Adelloyd's scrapbook. "University Days" contains a vast number of pages and artifacts, including an entire notebook of dance formations and instructions. Ideally, all of this information will one day be available online, but for the time being, the creator of this document has chosen to display approximately one third of Adelloyd's scrapbook. The page and document images below serve to situate Adelloyd's academic practices and achievements, as well as her social activities. Preference was given to documents and images pertaining to UNL and the Lincoln community, although the scrapbook does include certificates and photographs from Physical Education programs at other institutions, including Doane College in Crete, Nebraska and the Chautauqua School of Physical Education in New York. As for the presentation of page order, the images featured within this document follow the page order as it stands now in the archival folders. While several pages bear penciled numbers in the upper left-hand corner, there is no indication of how the scrapbook first appeared, as it was unbound at an unknown date.
In 1947, Adelloyd and her husband, Fred C. Williams (a fellow graduate of 1900 whose picture and name appear frequently through the scrapbook), received the Distinguished Service Award from the University and Alumni Association and were noted as an "'outstanding alumni team of Nebraska'" (Nebraska Alumnus, 6). Thirty-eight years after graduation, Mr. and Mrs. Williams began writing a monthly installment in the Alumni magazine, Nebraska Almnus, called "By the Way" in which they detailed news of UNL graduates from around the country. Clearly, as demonstrated by her personal hobbies and life's work, Adelloyd Whiting Williams had a passion for preserving history; it is the hope that this document will display a representation of her accomplishments.
Anonymous. "Leading NU Alumna Dies at 79." Lincoln, Nebraska: Lincoln Journal-Star, December 1958.
Anonymous. "For Distinguished Service." Lincoln, Nebraska: Nebraska Alumnus, June 1947.
Rothamel, Susan Pickering. "The Encyclopedia of Scrapbooking Tools & Techniques." New York: Sterling Publishing Company, Incorporated, 2005.
White, Tracy. "The Encyclopedia of Scrapbooking." Little Rock, Arkansas: Leisure Arts, Incorporated, 2005.
Whiting, Adelloyd. "University Years of Adelloyd Whiting 1894-1902."
Woodland, Frank H. and R.C. Roper. "The Sombrero." Lincoln, Nebraska: Class of 1900, 1899.