Part One: On the role of the arts and humanities in Purdue’s early days

University Hall from 1890s

A Purdue English professor since 1994 with a specialty in poetry analysis and literary criticism, I sometimes find myself wondering about the history of my disciplines at a leading STEM-oriented university. As Purdue celebrated the anniversary of its founding more than 150 years ago, I became increasingly curious to know if Indiana’s Land Grant has […]

Part Two: On the role of the arts and humanities in Purdue’s early days

Purdue faculty meeting 1899

Alongside the myth that liberal studies were inessential at early Purdue, I have often heard it said that Purdue did not offer graduate training or graduate degrees in English and history until the 1960s. The truth is that Purdue was offering graduate work and conferring graduate degrees in the humanities in the early years. The […]

Laura Anne Fry: An artistic legacy

Laura Anne Fry's paint box

From 1890 until she retired in 1922, Laura Anne Fry developed an arts curriculum that, as Judith Vale Newton and Carol Ann Weiss assert in “Skirting the Issue: Stories of Indiana’s Historical Women Artists,” attracted “so many students to the art department and the university as a whole that [Purdue’s] enrollment outnumbered their primary in-state […]