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Eagle Lore: Windows into American University History

Students on the Quad in front of the Mary Graydon Center, circa 1970

The American University Archives’ new Eagle Lore: Windows into American University History online exhibit chronicles the history of American University from its founding to the present day. Through a series of historic images, viewers can see the development of the campus and experience the evolution of student life at AU. The collection also provides a glimpse of AU during significant historical moments, from presidential inaugurations to national protests.

The exhibit will appeal to current students, faculty, staff, alumni, community members, and others who would like to develop a better understanding and knowledge of AU’s history. Because of American University’s presidential connections and location, AU history offers a unique window into national and global politics, making the exhibit a valuable resource for scholars. Current members of the campus community as well as alumni will be interested to explore the modernization of campus, generational shifts, and a host of AU traditions. Visitors to the site can use the comment feature to provide more information and context for the images. We are especially excited to give alumni an opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise about AU.

Students from History and New Media taught by Assistant Professor Dan Kerr (History/CAS) provided substantial assistance in all aspects of developing the exhibit, including compiling metadata, designing the layout, and writing the exhibit text. Second year history master’s student Leah Shore was captivated by the rich history of American University: “The older images of the original site with the farmhouse and the first campus buildings are fascinating. They show how drastically the University has changed over its lifetime. The wartime images from AU are particularly compelling. I had no idea of AU’s history during World War I and II before this project, but it was remarkable to see those photographs.” 

We would like to thank University Archivist Susan McElrath, Professor Dan Kerr, and students Hallie Borstel, Jordan Johnston, Brianna Rossettie, and Leah Shore for their work on this project. Future sections of History and New Media will work with the University Archivist to expand the exhibit.