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Jerry’s Pub

Jerry HawthorneBeginning in the mid-1970s when Art Rupprecht and Jerry Hawthorne joined a group of their very interesting and interested Greek students late on Friday afternoons in the Stupe. The week’s classes were over and it was time to relax with a free cup of coffee — they arrived just at closing time when the staff were about to throw the remaining coffee down the drain. It was theirs for the taking. Faculty and students spent time thinking through some theological issues, talking about baseball or fishing, or discussing some difficult Greek passage, telling a few jokes, and generally enjoying each others company and insights. Soon others wanted to join. So it became a weekly feature, but it was too large and often too raucous to continue meeting in a corner booth of the Stupe.

Just as concerns over a meeting place arose a new chapel schedule was implemented with chapel to be held weekly on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays — leaving Wednesday at 10:30 free when faculty and students had no officially scheduled meetings. So Wednesday became the new day. Now all that was needed was a place. John Ortberg, speaking for his housemates, offered Windsor House as the newly designated place of meeting. It was agreed that faculty would provide the donuts and the Windsor men would provide the coffee. Occasionally one of the faculty would fudge a little on the donut buying, for one of them was caught slipping across to Windsor house early, to heat up an Aldi’s day-old coffee cake for the coffee hour.

Eventually these Windsor men graduated, but the new men assigned to that house wanted us to continue, which the faculty were only too happy to do. Windsor House, which was adjacent to Buswell Library, continued to be a place of meeting for students from all parts of the world, faculty from all disciplines — a great amalgam of students and faculty. Discussions were lively and sometimes even heated, but always argued with passion, if not always with reason. Everyone present could not help learning something he (all men in those days) had not known before–those were great times together.

When Windsor House was torn down the group was invited to join the men in Kay House, so that this tradition could continue. By the time that particular Kay House group of men were ready to move on via graduation to their higher calling, the new “pharaoh knew not Joseph.” So no successive invitation was extended from that house. When that moment of desperation came, however, many of our student friends were awarded Hidden House as their next year’s domicile, and with one voice they beckoned us to come and join them at their home each Wednesday morning as usual. The tradition kept going and growing. This pleasurable and profitable welcome break from the routine bustle of academic life continued unabated for more than a decade.

Joe McClatcheyAs change is always inevitable, the chapel schedule changed again. The new schedule had it fall on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Not wishing to flaunt chapel, nor to encourage undesirable behavior on the students part, the majority of the faculty regulars decided that all who wished could come to Jerry Hawthorne’s office (on the second floor of Wyngarden Health Center) at the traditionally designated time. As many as 15-18 professors from the departments of literature, language, philosophy, psychology, sociology, history, communication and the sciences crammed into that small office for the weekly repast of coffee and donuts. Here the late and beloved Dr. Joe McClatchey delighted to come as long as he was alive; it was he who dubbed this place and this congregation, “Jerry’s Pub,” a name it still holds, although the infamous “Jerry” is now retired, and the Pub presently meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Art Rupprecht’s office.

The fact that we met on Wednesdays during chapel was information that could not be kept secret. Eventually it reached the ears of the Board of Trustees. They asked the President to see if this were true or simply rumor. If true he was charged to ask this group to cease and desist. When the President learned of the long history of this group and reported this to the Trustees and that it was not a subversive group intending to undermine chapel, the Board graciously gave the group permission to continue on Wednesdays at Chapel time, but only until Hawthorne retired. Hence, the new schedule.

Although this group never attained the recognition and reputation of C. S. Lewis’ “Inklings,” it nevertheless served the same purpose. From among those students who regularly attended “the Pub,” not a few of them have gone on to help, under God, to make this world a better place in which to live. Many of them have distinguished themselves as doctors, missionaries, pastors, artists, university professors, college presidents, public school teachers, leaders in development programs, clinical psychologists, and the list goes on and on.

A Proper Home

On November 25th noted investment banker, and well-known rare book collector Helmut Friedlaender died at the age of 95. Widely known as a bibliophile Friedlaender drew attention when he disposed of his quietly-gathered collection at Christie’s Auction House. Smaller volumes were fetching six-figures without hesitation.

Akin CollectionWheaton College was the beneficiary of the generosity of another, less-known, bibliophile. Friedlaender saw his books as “orphans” that needed a proper home, a sentiment that William S. Akin shared as he he saw his own books as his children. Friedlaender sold his “children” but Akin found a better home for his legacy.

Eventually, Bill Akin’s collection was placed on loan at Wheaton College. Akin had developed a friendship with Wheaton’s president, V. Raymond Edman through Edman’s brother who was a member of Chicago’s Union League. Akin donated the bulk of his collection in Edman’s memory after his sudden death in 1967.

Irene by Samuel JohnsonOne of Akin’s area of collecting interest was Samuel Johnson and James Boswell. Akin’s Johnsonian collection became quite significant, eventually containing the first thirteen editions of the dictionary. The oldest Johnson item in our collection is shown here. In 1737 Johnson determined to take his chances as a writer in London. He had been composing this tragic drama and with a draft of this work complete, he set out with one of his former pupils David Garrick. Finally, in 1749 with Garrick’s assistance, who was now manager of a theatre in Drury Lane, Irene was performed with some modest success.

It was Johnson’s work on his dictionary and not Irene that he became known as the “grand old man of English letter’s.” For decades when someone said “The Dictionary” it referred to Johnson’s and none other.

James Bond at Wheaton College

Ian Fleming wrote 14 James Bond titles before his death in 1964. The series was continued with varying degrees of success by Kingsley Amis, John Gardner, Raymond Benson (who resides in suburban Buffalo Grove, Illinois), Sebastian Faulks with Devil May Care (2008) and Carte Blanche (2011) by Jeffery Deaver, who hails from Glen Ellyn, Illinois. Reviewing Dr. No for Christianity Today, professor Clyde Kilby remarked: “I discovered no St. George but only a salad of mystery entertainment, with a tart dressing of sex. On the whole…a very contrived performance.”

Amid all that globe-hopping, did Bond visit Wheaton, mistaking it, perhaps, for Monte Carlo? He came closest in Benson’s brief tale, “Live at Five,” which places the Brit in Chicago on a mission. Fleming himself once visited the Windy City, touring mob-related hotspots; and the Ian Fleming Foundation is currently located not in London, Rome or Paris, but in Kankakee, Illinois. However, Bond’s other literary and cinematic guardians are aware of us. For instance, in his Memoirs, Amis — who penned the 007 pastiche Colonel Sun and allegedly finished The Man With the Golden Gun, incomplete at Fleming’s death — laments the absurdity that Malcolm MuggeridgeMalcolm Muggeridge’s typewriter is displayed “…in a glass case as part of a collection…including T.S. Eliot and C.S. Lewis.” (Actually, the typewriter is in Special Collections SC-04.) Another contributor to the 007 mythos is Bono, who visited Wheaton College with his entourage in 2002, drawing attention to the AIDS crisis in Africa; he is co-lyricist (with The Edge) of the title song for Pierce Brosnan’s GoldenEye, sung by Tina Turner. There is Marvin Hamlisch, who conducted the campus orchestra for the Artist Series in 2004; he achieved fame composing music for several hit films, notably the soundtrack for Roger Moore’s The Spy Who Loved Me. And then there is Dr. Michael Ward, C.S. Lewis scholar and author of Planet Narnia, who has spoken at Wheaton College. Portraying Q’s assistant in The World is Not Enough, Ward hands Pierce Brosnan a pair of x-ray sunglasses.

A Very Blanchard Thanksgiving

Nov. 25, 1872 LetterThe Jonathan Blanchard Papers are a diverse gathering of items covering the family history of Wheaton College’s first president. Ranging from the scribbling of grandchildren to a petition for the abolition of slavery, they illuminate Blanchard in his many roles. The heart of the Collection is the more than 4600 letters preserved by his wife, Mary Bent Blanchard. Dating from 1808 to 1892, the items cover a wide range of topics with writers including family members, friends, students, Civil War soldiers, church associates, colleagues, reform workers, and others. These letters are a valuable resource for scholars, students, and other history enthusiasts alike.

During this Thanksgiving holiday one such letter was written by Jonathan and Mary’s daughter, Maria Blanchard Cook from Chicago on November 25, 1872.

Dear Father, the turkey which I heard you prepared for our Thanksgiving, in order perhaps that we might more keenly realize the blessing of having kind parents, came safely to the city. Mr. Cook was hauling lumber to his new place of business that day and at noon placed the turkey on the open wagon he was using and supposing it was fully secured by things he placed over it came home and on reaching here found the paper it was wrapped in empty. We were sorry to lose it the more because it was the turkey from home. But Mr. Cook says he will replace it and mother Cook has invited us all over to her house on Thanksgiving day so we will be thankful for our turkey, hope some one more needy and deserving than we found it and “rejoicing evermore.”

Trumpet Call to Wheaton

It has been wisely suggested that each incoming Wheaton College student mandatorily read The Silver Trumpet (1930) by J. Wesley Ingles. The Silver Trumpet received the John C. Green Award from the American Sunday-School Union as its unanimous choice for a manuscript whose subject was “the heroic appeal of Christianity to young people.” It went through nearly two dozen printings through the 1950s, later republished under the title The Amazing D. Randall MacRae (Moody Press) and has made its way online as an “on-demand” book through Amazon.

Silver TrumpetDedicated to “President Charles A. Blanchard who, of all my teachers, has left the deepest and most abiding impress upon my life,” the novel follows the fortunes of D. Randall MacRae, wealthy worldling and hotshot football hero who, pursuing a pretty young lady, reluctantly transfers from magnificent, ivy-walled Princeton to backside-of-nowhere “Wharton College,” a repressive “fundamentalist” institution situated somewhere west of Chicago. MacRae painfully adjusts to campus life, fumbling about with less certitude than his athletic reputation might suggest. His anxieties are gradually lightened as the semester progresses and he at last secures sweet romance–along with a genuine, humbling faith in Christ. An airy, wholesome romp, Ingles’s tale conjures the gentler, courtlier moods of the pre-War Midwest, the imminent thrill of the Big Game against North Central, autumn’s chill and the coloring leaves against gray skies, blossoming friendships in depressed times and the promise of bright young lives wholly devoted to Christ. In a day when there was no other “safe” place to attend college, alum of a certain age point to an early reading of The Silver Trumpet as the deciding factor for choosing Wheaton College, a fact bolstered by Rudolph Nelson in his biography of Edward Carnell. He notes that “Dr. V. Raymond Edman…administered a questionnaire to freshmen one year during the forties. In response to a question concerning their reasons for having decided to attend Wheaton, more than half of the entering class included in their list a reading of The Silver Trumpet” (p. 28).

Christian Contextualized

To paraphrase the joys of William Sanford Akin’s life would be say that he collected books. Akin’s interest in books began as a teenager. He recalled with a note of humor that it all started when “someone hit him over the head with a first edition.” But elsewhere he stated that he became interested in Samuel Johnson when he was 14 when he was told to read Beauties of Johnson as “penance for his sins.” During this time he served as an acolyte while Dr. George Craig Stewart was rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Evanston. Pilgrim\'s Progress (Japanese ed.)When he was 16 he obtained a job in an old bookstore. Ultimately, Akin knew “of nothing more gratifying, physically, mentally, or spiritually, than to sit down to a cup of tea and browse among [his] books until [he found] something to satisfy [his] need at the moment.” The connection between Akin and Wheaton began when Akin developed a friendship with Wheaton’s president, V. Raymond Edman’s brother who was a member of Chicago’s Union League. Akin donated the bulk of his collection in Dr. Edman’s memory after his sudden death in 1967.

Along with his interest in Johnson and Boswell, Akin grew fond of illustrated editions of John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress. In many homes of the 18th and 19th century, particularly in America, Pilgrim’s Progress, ranked second only to the Bible in importance. The third edition of The Pilgrim’s Progress, published in 1679, appears to have been the first printing with any illustration, which have always played a key role in the story of Christian as he journeys from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City. This particular edition was the first to bring the two previously separately published parts into a single volume.Fighting Apollyon

Pilgrim’s Progress became a part of the evangelical canon and as missionaries went around the world they took Bunyan’s Christian along with them. This Japanese edition is decidedly Asian in its illustrations. Not only has the book been translated into Japanese but care has been taken to translate the imagery as well. Here is Christian’s encounter with Apollyon in a decidedly different perspective. It is much more suited to the Japanese audience, especially with Fuji-esque mountain in the background and Christian wearing the armor and accoutrement of a samurai soldier.

Rockwell at Wheaton

Mary Barstow RockwellA copy of Norman Rockwell’s autobiography, My Adventures as an Illustrator (1960), archived in our Rare Book Collection (SC-10), boasts an intriguing inscription: “My best wishes to the art department at Wheaton College, sincerely, Norman Rockwell. My late and beloved wife, Mary Barstow Rockwell, was a native of Wheaton.” At the bottom of the page is another handwritten note, declaring that the book is dedicated to Mary, and directs the reader’s attention to her portrait on page 9, seen here.

Mary was the daughter of Alfred E. Barstow of California, and (Dora) Bernice Gary of Wheaton, IL; Dora, who took science courses at Wheaton College, was the niece of the famed U.S. Steel founder and Gary, Indiana namesake, Elbert Gary. Mary, born November 26, 1907, studied education at Stanford University Graduate School.

The circumstance under which the book was signed is not known. Rockwell divorced his first wife, Irene, in 1930. He was married to Mary from 1930 until her death in 1959, after which he married Molly Punderson in 1961. The famed Saturday Evening Post illustrator died in 1978 at his home in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

A ministry in Art

Oswald Chambers’ strong faith was accompanied by an abundant imagination that developed into a vibrant creativity. After attending Sharp’s Institute as a child, Oswald received further education from several institutions including the National Art Training School in London (later renamed the Royal College of Art) where he received the Art Master’s Certificate, despite his father’s objections to his art studies. His father, a Baptist minister, did not believe that art could be a platform for ministry.

Chambers furthered his art studies at Edinburgh University and saw the arts as a gift of God to make life on earth bearable–they were a necessity, not a luxury.

In God’s Workmanship Chambers wrote that:

“The Personality of Truth is the great revelation of Christianity–“I am … the Truth.” Our Lord did not say He was “all truth” so that we could go to His statements as to a text-book and verify things; there are domains, such as science and art and history, which are distinctly man’s domains and the boundaries of our knowledge must continually alter and be enlarged; God never encourages laziness. The question to be asked is not, “Does the Bible agree with the findings of modern science?” but, “Do the findings of modern science help us to a better understanding of the things revealed in the Bible?”

Charcoal drawing of Beethoven by ChambersArt is one of those domains wherein humanity can both imitate God’s creativity and find expression for our own. Here are some examples of Oswald’s work, the originals, of which, are located in our collection.

It was at Edinburgh that Oswald prayed that he would serve God through art. As he continued his studies Chambers sensed that he was being called into fuller service and ministry. While in Edinburgh, he came under many positive influences, but particularly that of venerated Scottish Presbyterian pastor and Keswick leader Alexander Whyte. Especially influential was his Young Men’s class. Chambers struggled immensely regarding the ministry. George Oxer, a longtime friend, sought to correct “any who may think that Oswald Chambers had an easy passage to the heights God took him. The measure of the valley is the height of the mountain. My friend’s soul was a lone rough rider passing through the wilderness to his Canaan.”

Shown here is a charcoal drawing of Beethoven that is housed in the Chambers collection.

The Race for the White House

Wheaton College has seen its share of political campaigns and candidates. Many have seen Wheaton College and the surrounding area as a bastion of Republican politics and the number of visits of Republicans, in and out of the campaign season, has reinforced this. The local Fourth of July Parade has often been on the itinerary of the presidential candidate. The connection between Wheaton College and presidential politics may hearken back to Jonathan Blanchard’s own involvement in the political process. Blanchard was heavily involved in the emergence of the Liberty Party while in Ohio and remained involved after his move to Illinois. He recognized the value of political structures to influence change. He was later nominated for the U.S. presidency by the anti-Masonic American Party (not to be confused with the “Know-Nothing” American Party of the same era). Blanchard had asked Frederick Douglass to serve as his vice-presidential running-mate. Douglass declined.

Richard Nixon at Wheaton, 1960The earliest visit of an actual primary or general election candidate was from Vice-President Richard Nixon. Appearing in a rally on McCully field (text of speech), Nixon was then a candidate for the Republican nomination, which he eventually won. However, as history has shown, Nixon didn’t fair well in the first-ever televised debates. Interestingly, those that listened to the debates via radio developed a different sense of who won. Exhibiting the strength of the visual medium, these debates set a precedence that influenced national politics around the globe with Germany, Japan, Italy and others establishing televised debates for national elections. Back in Wheaton, Nixon played to his crowd calling them to “strengthen the faith of America. See that young people grow up with faith in God.”

In the following presidential election in 1964 Republican Margaret Chase Smith, a senator from Maine and a strong opponent of Joseph McCarthy, visited Wheaton College in March. Smith saw herself as a moderate and this caused her problems on both sides of the aisle. She alienated liberals with her support of the Vietnam War, yet troubled conservatives with her signing on with Democratic legislation. Though unsuccessful in her bid to receive the Republican nomination–losing to Barry Goldwater–Smith has the record as the longest-serving female senator in United States history.

Goldwater, having secured the Republican nomination, visited Wheaton in early October 1964. During his speech Goldwater called for a “restoration of law” in the United States, but a clash of demonstrations occurred between Johnson and Goldwater supporters portended a shift in political ideologies held among students. Local Christian residents attending the Goldwater rally encountered the Johnson supporters and tempers flared with locals calling some students “communists” and questioning their religious commitment, expecting any “good” Christian to vote for Goldwater and the Republican ticket. Some faculty applauded the courage of students to follow their convictions, despite them going against convention. They lamented the fact that charity and tolerance were lacking in the conflict.

George McGovernAs the Vietnam War dragged on, the gap between parties grew and presidential campaigns needed to be different. That difference came in the efforts of George McGovern. McGovern, the son of a Wesleyan Methodist (Wheaton College’s early denominational benefactor) minister, came to Wheaton College in October 1972 as the Democratic Presidential nominee. McGovern’s speech was less of a political speech than an attempt to help evangelicals understand his theologically-informed political philosophy. This “Gospel According to McGovern” had a mixed reception. Many younger evangelicals supported McGovern, including Wheaton graduate Tom Skinner. These younger evangelicals liked how McGovern expressed real concern for hunger, war, poverty and ecology. However, older mainstream evangelicals looked to Billy Graham, who lent his support to Nixon. The Wesley Pippert Collection contains a great deal of research material on McGovern’s campaign as Pippert was assigned by United Press International to cover McGovern’s campaign.

The most significant season of political stops at Wheaton came during the 1980 Presidential campaign. Illinois has, for a long time, been a key battleground state with its large numbers of electoral votes. The 1980 primary season brought many March visitors to the campus. The first visitor was John B. Anderson.

John Anderson at WheatonAnderson, from Rockford, was the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Wheaton (LL.D. — Doctor of Laws) in 1970. Though honored in 1970 by his visit on March 12, 1980 feelings on campus were not as hospitable. A ten-term member of Congress, Anderson ran as an independent in the 1980 Presidential primaries. As a member of Congress he, on three occasions, sought to amend the U.S. Constitution to recognize the law and authority of Jesus Christ over the United States. This put him in good stead with conservative Christian voters, but during his race for the presidential nomination he supported certain abortion rights. His endorsement of a person’s right to choose, which he believed was God-given, put him at odds with the same conservatives that once heralded his work in Washington. It is amazing to see what difference a decade can make.

Bolstering the importance of Illinois in the primaries George H. W. Bush made a stop at Wheaton just days after the visit from John Anderson. Bush was battling uphill to beat Ronald Reagan and was being beat by the religious Anderson. After a poor showing in the New Hampshire primary, the former director of the CIA didn’t draw a large crowd–failing to half-fill the cavernous 2,500-seat Edman Chapel. Bush’s future as a candidate didn’t look good. Bush would later return to Wheaton in 1985, as Vice-President, to deliver that year’s commencement address.Ronald Reagan at Wheaton

Though Reagan didn’t make a visit to Wheaton College during the primary, he did make a stop in Wheaton to campaign at the flea market the day before Bush’s speech. Reagan made his visit to the college after receiving his party’s nomination during the fall campaign season. The Governor’s whistle-stop visit came October 8th and was accompanied by numerous religious references within the first few sentences of his speech. He spoke of deliverance, rebirth and C.S. Lewis–words that were well-chosen and that resonated with the audience. Reagan would handily beat Southern Baptist Jimmy Carter with Carter only carrying six states with a total of 49 electoral votes, one-tenth the number for Reagan. Carter had been invited to speak at Wheaton in 1981 but declined fearing a hostile crowd (likely considering Anderson’s treatment).

The most recent campaign visit to Wheaton College came in 1988 when DuPage County DemocratsJesse Jackson at Wheaton brought Jesse Jackson to Wheaton’s campus holding a rally in Pierce Chapel. Part of a sweep through Chicago’s suburbs Jackson spoke to a large crowd and as one faculty member noted, addressed “biblical concerns for justice, fairness and non-violent social change.”

Nearly as brief as his candidacy was Mitt Romney’s potential visit to Wheaton. Early in the 2008 Republican primary Romney had wanted to hold a rally on the campus the Sunday before Super Tuesday, but was unable to secure permission to campus facilities.

Twenty years has passed since the last presidential candidate has visited Wheaton. Despite the regular note of commentators of the influence of evangelical voters in contemporary American politics and a broad-brush portrayal that indicates evangelical vote lockstep Republican, the history of political engagement at Wheaton College reveals that a finer brush stroke may be needed to accurately portray history. Wheaton has been willing to engage a wide range of political perspectives but also seeks to wrestle with the intersection of those perspectives and the perspectives of Scripture.

Utopians on the Prairie

Two years after Joseph Smith, the Mormon seer and revelator, was murdered by a mob in Nauvoo, Illinois, another failed utopia took root 100 miles north in Henry County–this one founded by Erik Jansson, the Swedish pietistic prophet with hypnotic eyes who, claiming “sinless perfection,” publicly burned the works of Martin Luther. Fleeing Europe three hundred years after Luther’s death in 1846 with 1200 followers, he embarked on a perilous migration to the United States. From New York the Janssonists sailed via the Great Lakes to Chicago, then rode wagons 180 miles west across rolling grasslands before halting on a fertile patch not far from the Mississippi. Communal Residence at Bishop Hill, Illinois Here they settled the village of Bishop Hill, farming and constructing brick buildings in the same style as those of their homeland. In fact, the church, harness shop, hotel and other structures yet stand. A quick terminus arrived in 1850 when Jansson was shot and killed by John Root, who had married the prophet’s cousin with intent to move away with her, but had been prevented by the commune. Janssonist activities generated such disturbance that Jonathan Blanchard, then-president of Knox College in nearby Galesburg, asked Milton Badger, secretary for the American Home Missionary Society, in an 1848 letter if any ministry could be extended to “these Swedes,” in addition to recommending that a Swedish Lutheran pastor work with “refugees” from the Janssonists. The village struggled after the death of its founder, and was dissolved in 1861.