Although we’re very busy basking in the success of our public event celebrating the end of this semester’s Archives Alive! digital humanities project, we’ll make time for a quick round of thanks to everyone involved: the panelists, the audience, Iowa City Public Library, all the Honors Rhetoric student participants, and our many colleagues who make DIY History possible — especially the Preservation staff who do the heavy lifting of turning thousands of pages of historic documents into billions of 1s and 0s.
Unfortunately Evelyn Birkby — radio personality, author, journalist, and all-around Iowa legend — was unable to join the session via Skype as originally planned, but she sent her regards:
Greetings to the 2014 University of Iowa Rhetoric Classes.
I might not be able to visit with you again before the end of your class sessions, and wanted to be sure to let you know how much I appreciate what you have done and how interesting it has been for me.
What a joy to be part of this remarkable group of young people and exceptional teachers exploring my World War Two scrapbook from the University of Iowa Women’s Archives. I thank you for bringing new life to these real people who were writing to me from military training centers, navy ships, and near battlefields.
You delved deeper into the meaning and background of the letters than anyone has ever done before, including me. I have been surprised by how much historical background you found for each one, and how many romantic mentions you read into the letters. The photographs and videos are especially appropriate to fill out the stories of people behind the letters. They were wonderful young men, and not all of them survived the war. You have honored all of them with your interest and care in writing about them.
I especially liked the paper mentioning my sending a photograph of myself to one of the soldiers who replied that he had showed it to everyone in his company. Your take on that was that for him to do so, I must have been beautiful. Now at the age of 94, that observation made my day.
Thanks again for taking me into your studies. It has been a delightful journey into the past and a pleasure to have you as new friends brightening my life.
Thank you all.
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