National Nurses Week Featured Collection: MS-472, Lovetta R. Blanke Collection

In honor of nurses during this National Nurses Week, we’d like to highlight one of our more recently acquired nurse collections, MS-472, The Lovetta R. Blanke Collection.  The collection was donated in Spring 2013 and processed in Summer 2013.

Here is the biographical note and summary of the collection from the finding aid:

Lt. Lovetta Dixon, undated, from MS-472, Box 7, File 4 (click to enlarge)

Lt. Lovetta Dixon, undated, from MS-472, Box 7, File 4 (click to enlarge)

Lovetta R. (Dixon) Blanke (1919-2012) was a member of the Navy Nurse Corps, school nurse, public health nurse, nurse educator Dayton philanthropist, patron of the arts, and advocate for the profession of nursing. She advocated for children’s health, health education, and other issues relevant to school nurses, such as school nurse certification. In 2008, she was named Outstanding Philanthropist by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Dayton Region Chapter. Born in Harrisburg, IL on Nov. 29, 1919, she graduated from the Presbyterian Hospital School of Nursing as an R.N. in 1941 and served as a Navy nurse during World War II. She earned a Bachelor of Science (1950) in Public Health Nursing from the Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville, TN and her M.A. in the same discipline from University of Chicago in 1959. She joined the Academy of American Educators in 1973 and held positions as a School Nurse and Supervisor of Nursing Services in Dayton Public Schools. She was instrumental in founding the Southwest Ohio School Nurses Association. She was also a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Ohio Nurses Association, the American Nurses Association, the Dayton Schools Management Association, the Ohio School Nurses Association, the Ohio Education Association, and the School Nurses Branch of the National Education Association. In addition to her two and a half years active naval service during World War II, she served in the U.S. Navy Reserve, retiring at the rank of commander in 1979.

She was a staunch supporter of nursing education and research. She served as Acting Director of Continuing Education for Wright State’s College of Nursing and Health from 1976-1978. In the mid-2000s, she served on the external advisory board for the College of Nursing & Health. Mrs. Blanke and her husband, Bertram (whom she married in 1960), had made financial contributions to Wright State University over the years, including the Blanke Research Fund (endowment) for the College of Nursing & Health. This endowment has supported activities such as a faculty research incentive grant, graduate student scholarly project recognition, and student research recognition.

Mrs. Blanke participated in and/or contributed to several local civic organizations, including the Dayton Council on World Affairs and the Dayton Opera.

She passed away on December 10, 2012 at the age of 93.

This collection documents Mrs. Blanke’s career as a student, naval officer, school nurse, public health official, and philanthropist. In addition to her personal and professional papers, a selection of her awards and honors is included in this collection. Also included are a few documents from her husband’s experiences as an army officer/ reservist, chemist, and pilot.

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Wright Brothers Collection featured in CBS Sunday Morning

Wright State University’s Special Collections and Archives and its Wright Brothers Collection were featured in an interview with author David McCullough that aired on CBS Sunday Morning May 3. The piece called the Wright Brothers’ lives “a symbol of the power of imagination.”

Watch the report from CBS News >>

Special Collections and Archives hosted McCullough and a crew from CBS Sunday Morning on March 31 to film an interview on the author’s new book, The Wright Brothers.

McCullough discusses a photo with correspondent Rita Braver. Also pictured: producer Jon Carras and cameraman Henry Bautista.

McCullough discusses a photo with correspondent Rita Braver. Also pictured: producer Jon Carras and cameraman Henry Bautista.

McCullough discussed items from the Wright Brothers Collection and the significance of the events they depict. He emphasized the importance of photographs as valuable yet often overlooked sources of information for historical research.  He also read short passages from The Wright Brothers, which will be released May 5.

CBS Sunday Morning also filmed McCullough at a number of other Wright brothers sites in Dayton and elsewhere for the segment, including Huffman Prairie Flying Field, Greenfield Village, and the Smithsonian’s National Air & Space Museum.

McCullough will make a special appearance at a June 8th event sponsored by Books&Co and hosted at Kettering Middle School (3000 Glengarry Drive). Tickets for that event go on sale May 5 at Books&Co.

It was also recently announced that Tom Hanks and HBO are planning a mini-series based on McCullough’s book.

A two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, McCullough visited the Special Collections and Archives last fall to conduct research for his book using Wright State’s world-renowned Wright Brothers Collection, one of the most complete collections of Wright material in the world.  It includes the Wrights’ own technical and personal library, family papers and other documents detailing the lives and work of Wilbur and Orville Wright and the Wright family. It also includes awards, certificates, medals, albums, recordings and technical drawings. Perhaps the most valuable part of the collection are the thousands of photographs documenting the invention of the airplane and the lives of the family.

McCullough received the Pulitzer Prize for his books Truman and John Adams, and received National Book Awards for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback. He is also the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.

This press release was modified slightly from one originally published by the Wright State News Room on May 4, 2015.

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Star Wars in the Archives

May the 4th is widely recognized — by Star Wars fans, at least — as “Star Wars Day.” This is due to a glorious pun: the phrase “May the 4th be with you” sounds very similar to the greeting “May the Force be with you.”

We did a search of our collections to see if we had anything related to “Star Wars,” and we found this interesting item:

(Anti-) Star Wars brochure, from MS-300, Dayton Peace Action Committee Records, Box 2, File 1

(Anti-) Star Wars brochure, from MS-300, Dayton Peace Action Committee Records, Box 2, File 1

The above brochure was published circa 1985 by SANE, Inc., the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy. It is included in our holdings in the Dayton Peace Action Committee Records: The Hal Barrett Collection (MS-300), Box 2, File 1.

The brochure opposes the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) proposed by President Reagan in March 1983. The goal of the SDI was to develop a space-based anti-ballistic missile system as a means of defense during the Cold War.

Combining the recent release and popularity of the original Star Wars movie trilogy with some of the SDI’s proposed ideas, several of which apparently struck people as being in the realm of science fiction themselves and some of which involved lasers, it’s not difficult to see why the SDI soon gained the nickname “Star Wars.”

The Strategic Defense Initiative was ultimately cancelled before coming to fruition.

Additional items in our collections related to the SDI, or “Star Wars,” include materials pertaining to Dr. Richard E. Thomas, who worked on space-based lasers as part of the SDI. His papers can be found in the Dr. Richard E. Thomas Collection (MS-362), and we also conducted an oral history with Dr. Thomas (view on CORE Scholar) in 2007 as part of our Cold War Aerospace Technology Oral History Project (MS-431).

There are also a few patches (#105-109) related to the SDI in our Major Blanton NASA Patch Collection (MS-377).

Learn more:

May the 4th be with you.

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