Newsroom Search Newsroom home Newsroom Archive
Purdue News

* Purdue Libraries Archives and Special Collections

February 28, 2008

Purdue women featured in Archives and Special Collections exhibit

Susan Bulkeley Butler
Download photo
Purdue Libraries will highlight the history of university women and events in which they were involved with an exhibit beginning in early March and coinciding with Women's History Month.

"Chronicling Women's History at Purdue: Selections from the Susan Bulkeley Butler Women's Archives," will feature artifacts, documents and photographs. It will run from March 3 to April 29 in Archives and Special Collections, Stewart Center, Room 279.

"March is Women's History Month, and what better way to pay tribute to women who have helped shape this university and, in some cases, made significant impacts on society?" said Sammie Morris, head of Archives and Special Collections and assistant professor of library science. "Purdue has many women who have produced noteworthy accomplishments that merit recognition."

Women in Purdue history to be featured include Helen Schleman, the dean of women from 1947-68 and a champion of women's rights on campus; Eulora Miller, the first woman to graduate from Purdue 130 years ago and who became the university's first professional librarian; and Virginia Claypool Meredith, Purdue's first female trustee.

Called the "Queen of American Agriculture," Meredith lectured on crop and livestock production. She ran a large livestock farm following her husband's death and organized the Department of Home Economics at the University of Minnesota. Her adopted daughter became the first dean of Purdue's School of Home Economics in 1926.

The Virginia Claypool Meredith Residence Hall on Purdue's campus is named in Meredith's honor, and she is the subject of an upcoming biography in the works by Purdue botany and plant pathology professor Fred Whitford. It will be published by Purdue University Press.

Aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, along with Lillian Gilbreth, who is called the "Mother of Modern Management," and other notable trailblazers in women's history at the university also will be featured. Gilbreth and her husband developed industrial management techniques that remain in use today. She came to Purdue in 1935 as a professor of management.

Gilbreth's children wrote the book "Cheaper by the Dozen," which was later turned into a movie, about their experiences growing up with such a large and famous family.

The items to be on display are all part of the Susan Bulkeley Butler Women's Archives, which was created in 2006 with a $1 million gift from Butler. She will speak at an invitation-only reception in mid-March.

Butler is a Purdue trustee, CEO of The Susan Bulkeley Butler Institute for the Development of Women Leaders and author of "Become the CEO of You, Inc.: A Pioneering Executive Shares Her Secrets for Career Success." She retired in 2002 as managing partner for Accenture's Office of the CEO and has endowed a faculty chair in Purdue's Krannert School of Management and in the Institute for Leadership Excellence, as well as a scholarship in the Krannert School.

"Women have played such an important role as the university developed into the world-class institution it is today," Butler said. "Many of the opportunities our women students, faculty and staff have today are because of the women who came before them. We have a proud tradition of women achievers who came from Purdue. This is a tribute to some of the pioneers and people who made Purdue, and the world, a better place for having been here."

More information on the exhibit is available online at

Writer: Jim Bush, (765) 494-2077,

Source: Sammie Morris, (765) 494-2905,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

To the News Service home page

If you have trouble accessing this page because of a disability, please contact Purdue News Service at