Last week I featured an excerpt from the 1920 Concordia yearbook, "The Scout," on our Facebook page. It was from the Miscellaneous section and something I found especially humorous was the "Things that Never Happen" list. Here it is:
"Prexy advocates the Movies. Silence in the freshmen row.
Girls' Basketball team. Pie on Mondays.
Dances in the 'Gym.' Freshmen wearing green caps.
Tomorrow we will have a holiday. A short history lesson.
Agnar without a girl. Juniors pleasing everybody.
Olsen 'stepping out.' The rising bell forgetting to ring.
Everybody getting up for Sunday breakfast. Observing 'study hours.'
Unstad wearing an American collar. Alice forgetting to attend choir.
Dinner served at 12:35. Miss Hagen advocating open doors.
Full attendance at Chapel. Skipping biology Lab.
Smoking allowed on the Campus. Nobody getting 'winded' in
Seniors relishing a good joke. Homer Class."
Some of the listings sound silly since they're common now, but some of them still never happen today! And then there are some inside jokes where I guess you just had to be there.
What advice would you give to yourself as a brand new student archivist?
If I could go back in time and give myself advice, I would ask how to relabel boxes once more time before messing up ten of them!
Do you remember the happiest you've ever been in the archives?
Whenever I can help someone get the information they need and they leave happy, that makes me happy! It sounds cliche, but it's very true.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the archives?
Continuing to learn all the programs and standard routines of running the archives.
What's your favorite part about working in the archives?
Probably seeing projects get finished. Also getting to help people with requests.
What's your favorite thing in the archives?
I really like the chest with the rosemaling! It was a gift during one of the Concordia Choir's tours of Norway.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
I would like to work in a museum or a historical society.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
It's a tie between three: to never have to sleep again, but always feel good; the power of resurgence; and the ability to not run into my desk every time I wheel my chair across the office!
What's your favorite part about working in the Archives?
Finding pictures for the Facebook/Twitter posts every day. It's fun digging through the Archives' photos and thinking of a pertinent caption. Also the fact that I get to work with two of my favorite things: Concordia and history!
What's your favorite thing in the Archives?
Ralph Hoppe's whale collection! They're so cute!
What do you want to be when you grow up?
A happy mother, wife, and cat owner most certainly. In terms of a career, I'm studying Heritage & Museum Studies, Communication, and History; so hopefully a job that blends all of those together. I'm thinking anything from a Public Relations Manager at a history museum to having my own show on the History Channel! :)
If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
The power to instill world peace!
There is a unique tie between Concordia College and the tragic assassination of President Kennedy. Clint Hill, Concordia College alumnus, served as a Secret Service agent for Jackie Kennedy throughout President John F. Kennedy's term. Hill is the man who famously launched himself upon the presidential vehicle to shield the Kennedys from more gunshots. Mrs. Kennedy had crawled her way out of the backseat and Hill forced her back in the car. Many credit him for saving Mrs. Kennedy's life. Hill was honored by Treasury Secretary, Douglas Dillon, for "exceptional bravery" and "his extraordinary courage and heroic effort in the face of maximum danger." Hill, however, did not feel like a hero. He was burdened with guilt and felt that if only he had responded faster, he could have sacrificed his life for the president. These heavy feelings of remorse and responsibility propelled Hill into a period of depression and alcoholism. He did not outwardly speak or interview about the details of the assassination for decades. Hill protected Mrs. Kennedy for one more year and was a part of the Secret Service for Presidents Johnson, Nixon, and Ford. He retired in 1975 after 17 years of service. In 1990, Hill went back to the scene of the assassination and went up to the Book Depository where Lee Harvey Oswald had been. Hill found some peace and concluded that he had done all that he could have done. Hill healed more after sharing his story with Lisa McCubbin, who co-authored "The Kennedy Detail" in 2010 and collaborated with Hill on the book "Mrs. Kennedy and Me" in 2012.
Before the Kennedy assassination, Clint Hill attended Concordia College. He lettered in football and baseball, and even sang in a quartet. He majored in history and physical education. When Hill graduated in 1954, he planned on becoming a teacher and a coach. However, he had one more hurdle to jump -- his draft deferment. He headed to basic training for the Army and after a series of fortunate events, was selected to protect President Eisenhower in 1959. Hill said "I was elated. But at the same time, I was scared to death because I didn't know if I would measure up, and this was an awesome responsibility." After President Kennedy took office, Hill was assigned to protect Jackie Kennedy. He said "she only called me Mr. Hill, and I only called her Mrs. Kennedy, but I knew a lot of her secrets, and she knew a lot of mine." Hill returned to Concordia's campus during the 2011 Homecoming season and was honored with an Alumni Achievement Award.
A most well deserved title.
Have you ever wondered why Concordia College's mascot is a corncob? The origin actually has roots in some antagonistic name-calling! Hope Academy, also located in Moorhead, provided early competition for Concordia financially and academically. The glaring difference between the two institutes is that Hope Academy was a Swedish Lutheran school and Concordia is a Norwegian Lutheran school. This ethnic dissimilarity proved to be a point of tension and derision between the two establishments. One day in 1893, Concordia students were enjoying some "literary entertainments" (most likely a lecture or a debate) when some Swedish Hope Academy students interrupted with this chant:
Hva'ska' De ha?
Lutefisk and Lefse -
Yah! Yah! Yah!"
However, the Cobbers did not let the Hope Academy students triumph -- the Norwegians charged the Swedes and left them knee-deep in the muddy ravine near present-day Prexy's Pond. When pondering why Hope students chose corncobs, Bogstad rationalized that it could have come from the paralleling of C.C. (Concordia College - CornCob) or perhaps from the cornfield located behind the boys' dormitory. Either way, Concordia students liked the way it sounded and kept it as a brand of their own.
Did you know that Moorhead, Minnesota used to be referred to as the "wickedest city in the world"? This is quite contrary to today since Moorhead was recently named the Best Small City in the nation for its economic health, affordability, and quality of life according to NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Shortly following its founding in 1871, Moorhead was filled with saloons, dance halls, and brothels to satiate the crews of the Northern Pacific Railway coming through town. The wickedness escalated in 1889 when North Dakota entered the Union as a dry state. Saloon keepers in Fargo hastily crossed the river and set up shop in Moorhead. In an interview with a Moorhead resident by the St. Paul Dispatch, it was reported that "Almost every night there was a shooting. Revolvers would bark and women scream, and we would wonder what news the morning would bring of numbers killed." Why then did the founders of Concordia College choose Moorhead? Well, the real estate was so cheap that they could not afford to turn down the opportunity. Luckily, they reaped many benefits from the location. As the railway clans moved West, some of the wickedness diminished. The Hudson bay Company brought a thresher into Moorhead to help raise wheat. A flour mill and grain elevator was established and in 1875 bonanza farms were popping up in the Red River Valley that attracted international attention. Steamboats transported livestock, grain, and passengers into Moorhead. By the 1920s, the population was booming and an electric street-car network had been established. The growing economy and urban expansion aided in the survival of Concordia College. So in 144 years Moorhead made a big leap from "wickedest city in the world" to the Best Small City in the nation!
As the Public Relations trainee up here on the quiet fourth floor of the library, I get to manage an aspect of the archives that many don't think about -- social media. Early in my freshman year (this past year), I "liked" the Concordia Archives Facebook page and really enjoyed the posts of pictures from Concordia's past. I even participated in the Photo Recreation Contest with a friend and we won! I "liked" the Archives' Facebook posts consistently and the former Public Relations Intern, Luke Fitterer, noticed and offered me his position before he graduated. As someone majoring in Heritage & Museum Studies and Communication, I could not have been more thrilled. This job is a bit of a foretaste of what I'd like to do for a living in the future. History has always fascinated me and I love that I am receiving such a tangible experience working with a history so close to home -- Concordia's. It has been loads of fun perusing the vertical photograph files searching for a picture to post both on Facebook and Twitter. The photos we have here are terrific -- whether it be a century old class photo, or a candid shot of some hippie Cobbers from the '70s -- I love looking at all of them. Visit the archives and check them out sometime, my words can't do them justice. After all, a picture is indeed worth a thousand words! -Corinne Burrell
This past week Aliza Rux, full-time summer student archivist, has been compiling data of Cobbers who served during WWII. While investigating, she discovered the interesting story of Norman Erickson. Erickson, alumnus of Concordia College, went through a terrifying ordeal - he spent twelve days missing in action. Due to a snow storm he was forced to land his plane in the Pacific Ocean, damaging the float and thus being unable to take off again. He drifted on the plane wreck for one day and one night before being beached. It wasn't until until the fifth day, when the waters were less choppy, that he was able to get away on the life raft. He rowed down the coast until rough water forced him ashore. Norman then walked towards a native village where the "swollen streams and rocky country made the going awfully hard." The natives found Norman on the twelfth day and signaled a passing plane. The pilot delivered the message to the base and Norman was rescued on a speed boat. He arrived home safely, and after losing thirty pounds on his MIA adventure, he added "I guess I won't need to go on a diet for awhile," and after a quick recovery he was sent back to his post.
Lt. Norman Erickson was lucky to return back to his family. While going through the records, letters, and certificates the brave men and women who served this country become more than just data placed in a spreadsheet. This was but one of their stories of the hundreds of Cobbers who served in WWII.