April 29, 2019

Before there were selfies: Hundreds of photos of Purdue student life shared in ‘Purdue at 150’ book

book cover

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University’s highlights of the last 150 years have been immortalized in the form of a book, complete with more than 650 photos, many of which had never been published.

Purdue at 150: A Visual History of Student Life contains hundreds of rare photographs and documents. The book also features a foreword by Purdue alumni Drew and Brittany Brees. Drew Brees is an NFL quarterback for the New Orleans Saints.

The book tells Purdue’s story through decades of student papers, scrapbooks, yearbooks, letters, newspapers, historical photographs and memorabilia preserved in the Purdue University Libraries’ Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center.

Brees page

“Purdue at 150” is a 280-page hardback coffee table book that will be released May 6 – Purdue’s Founders Day – and can be purchased from Purdue University Press here. The book is one of many highlights celebrating Purdue’s sesquicentennial, 150 Years of Giant Leaps. This yearlong celebration is highlighting Purdue’s remarkable history of giant leaps, while focusing on what giant leaps Purdue can take to address the world’s problems. 

Each chapter within the book focuses on a decade from the university’s history, and highlights artifacts alongside contextual information to show Purdue’s evolution and responses to major events such as world wars and the Great Depression. Spotlight sections highlight the first graduates of programs, the growth and development of the international student population at Purdue, the creation of prominent student organizations and the foundations of both old and new campus traditions.

“‘Purdue at 150’ is the definitive visual history of student life at our beloved alma mater, recalling stories through rare images and artifacts as well as words,” Drew and Brittany Brees wrote in the foreword. “Whether you are a long-time alum or a recent graduate, we know you will enjoy the trip down memory lane.”

Heavilon page

“Purdue at 150” connects the identity and character of the university of 1869 to the university of 2019 and beyond, as told through the stories of its students. Running throughout this journey is the enduring vision of the land-grant institution and its impact on society, as seen through the material culture of Boilermakers from around the world.

The book was compiled by David M. Hovde, retired associate professor of library science; Adriana Harmeyer, archivist for university history; Neal Harmeyer, digital archivist; and Sammie L. Morris, professor and head of Archives and Special Collections.

Writer: Kelsey Schnieders Lefever, kschnied@purdue.edu 

Purdue News contact: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723, apatterson@purdue.edu 

Source: Sammie Morris, morris18@purdue.edu 

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