On Veterans Day, IU's Golden Book to be updated with names of women who served during World War I

Nov. 4, 2013


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Lorena Ivy Denger joined the Women's Land Army, a program meant to free up men to serve in World War I, and later served in the Naval Reserve and the Army Medical Corps as a nurse.

Edna Henry was recruited personally by the surgeon general of the U.S. Army to establish a rehabilitation program for that branch of the armed forces.

Flora Ruth joined the Army Nurse Corps after receiving her degree from Indiana University in 1918, only to die a few months later from appendicitis at a military camp.

The names of these women -- along with more than two dozen of their fellow female service members affiliated with Indiana University whose service during World War I was only recently determined -- will be added to the university's Golden Book during a ceremony on Veterans Day. The Golden Book records the names of military veterans connected to IU as far back as the War of 1812.

The ceremony begins at 11:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 11, just outside the Memorial Room, near Alumni Hall in the Indiana Memorial Union. The event is coordinated by IU Bloomington's Veterans Support Services, Union Board and the IU chapter of Student Veterans of America.

The 30 women whose names will be added to the Golden Book were identified by IU employee John Summerlot, a military veteran studying for a doctoral degree whose research uncovered that, while the service of many women during that era was not officially recognized by their respective branches, others appear not to have been included in IU's Golden Book due to administrative oversight.

"Both the university's then-registrar and then-president appear to have believed these women were included, and no woman ever appears to have been told she would not be included," Summerlot said. "Eligible women were sporadically included on versions of a list but seem to have all been excluded by the time of writing their names in the book. The multitude of lists that appears to have existed and the multiple ways of reporting information may have led to some of the exclusions of eligible women. Regardless, these women are clearly eligible under the university's guidelines, and we're very pleased to honor these lost daughters."

The Golden Book lists the names of veterans connected to IU who served in the War of 1812, Black Hawk War, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, Philippine Insurrection, Mexican Border Expedition and two world wars. It also records the names of donors whose funds were used to construct three of IU's buildings: Memorial Stadium, the Indiana Memorial Union and Memorial Hall in the Agnes E. Wells Quadrangle, all of which bear the word "memorial" in their names to ensure the sacrifices of veterans are remembered.

A digitization project completed in 2011 allows visitors to browse the hundreds of names in the book through an electronic display on a 46-inch screen in the Memorial Room, where the book is housed.

Starting on Veterans Day, the university's Veterans Support Services office will begin accepting names from any period of service for inclusion in the electronic volume of the Golden Book. Individuals will be able to enter their military information and affiliation with any IU campus for inclusion in the electronic volume via a data-entry portal on the office's website. A planned public search feature will allow users to search all entries in the electronic Golden Book.

Also on Veterans Day, the IU chapter of Student Veterans of America will sell coffee, cider and snacks in the lobby of Ballantine Hall starting at 8 a.m. and encourage locals to visit Kilroy's Dunnkirk in the evening for pizza and live music. Both events are a fundraiser for the Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation. A luncheon at noon in the IMU's Coronation Room hosted by Union Board is free for IU student, faculty and staff veterans.