Golden Book

Honoring those who serve

Sequestered deep within the Indiana Memorial Union, the Golden Book is a testament to thousands of IU men and women who have served the United States military. Each page of the book lists the names of veterans as well as donors to IU’s Memorial Fund, which sponsored the construction of three buildings on campus in honor of those men and women: Memorial Hall, Indiana Memorial Union, and Memorial Stadium.

Inside the book, carefully written by hand, are the names of IU alumni who served in the War of 1812, the Black Hawk War, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, the Mexican Border Expedition, World War I, and World War II.

While the pages are fragile and can no longer be handled, you can still read the names and stories of IU’s heroes, including those who served since WWII, in a digitized version of the book at the opposite end of the room.


A small room of memory

The Golden Book is housed in the Memorial Room, in a secluded part of the IMU just outside of Alumni Hall. The book rests on an antique, hand-carved mantel from a Roman palace, and on the floor is a bronze plaque with the inscription “In memory of the sons and daughters of Indiana University who have served in the wars of the Republic.” A pair of 500-year-old stained glass windows once owned by Hoosier author Booth Tarkington overlooks the mantel, along with a portrait of William Lowe Bryan, IU president from 1902 to 1937, who led the initiative to build the IMU. It is a fitting home, providing protection and an atmosphere of tradition and respect.

Description of the video:

names listed in this book are alumni of
Indiana University who have been in
everything from the war of 1812 and
silverware through World War one in
World War two before it was a book it
was just a list a typewritten list and
it was in the I know as as much as the
mid 30s it was just a list that was
maintained in the president's office and
the Alumni Association would update it
and send it off to the president's
office the book does end and it doesn't
end in the present it ends with World
War two it has not been updated since
World War two we are here today in the
memorial room of the Indiana Memorial
Union this room is home to the Golden
Book which is a book of names of the
sons and daughters of Indiana University
who have served in the Wars of the
Republic that particular phrase is on
the plaque next to the book and
inscribed on the floor of the room money
was donated in their honor to the
Memorial Fund that built this building
that built Memorial Stadium and built
Memorial Hall here on campus and this
book has inscribed in it the names of
all of those veterans the names of the
people who done it donated money in
their honor and the stories of those
particular service members who lost
their lives in service to their country
I think their variety of reasons that
people both here on campus or in the
community will be interested in this
certainly for a current generation of
student veterans it's really a way of
the the campus community acknowledging
that part of their experience for the
local community it's also an expression
that this institution does recognize and
appreciate and it appreciates its own
historical role in a variety of
conflicts military training service of
its veterans all those things and and so
I think I think there will be a number
of people who will be pleased and
surprised to see the university so
interested in acknowledging this part of
its key
now can you talk a little bit about how
the book is organized because I know
there's there are three different sets
of names that are in here excellent I
only did World War two I did not do the
first sections and they're meant people
who attend deny you before World War Two
as I understand it and then went into
the military and they had to be proven
that they were in the military
and that they were students at IU before
world war two began and so someone had
already put those names in the book when
you started this project the previous
war center yes yes yes
I had it figured out that I could do so
many a day and have it finished in the
six month period of time I got it in
October of 1956 and I worked through
Christmas into April of 1957 how did you
get this information such as where they
served or what was that all just
typewritten all this - yeah I was given
this book and many many shoeboxes filled
with index cards with all of these names
written on it at least 15 or so
shoeboxes and this was a section in
there the people who were killed in
action who are missing and so that was
how that was the only record we had with
these shoeboxes but the index cards
typed with the old typewriters and but
that's what woody that's what was given
to see a world war two gold star
he always stands out I remember how many
pairs of hustle church graduated 1939
New Jersey shot down in action over a
Japanese airbase in Philippines December
16th 1941
so now it's very early mod he as far as
I can tell as far as I found in the
archives and they kind of made note of
it at the time he was the first Bayou
alone killed in World War two the book
isn't accessible to the general public
in the sense that you can come and
browse through it it's quite old and
it's as you can see under this glass
display case when we know that people
are coming to campus and have a
particular interest the IMU staff can
find a particular name and open the book
to that page the part of our reason for
this project is to make the book more
accessible so that people who want to
come and browse through this history of
Indiana University don't have the
ability to do that on their own time and
at their own leisure it's really kind of
amazing that a book in a case could get
as dirty as it did and because it had
been set up at an angle for so long the
spine and the binding do want to lay
flat so we had a lot of a challenge
working around the curvature of the
paper in the way that has stretched so
for the digital images for them to look
straight and readable in a digital
format without the context of the book
so we've really had to work around that
I feel I feel like we could have gotten
better photographic results if the book
had not been old as we said in in
somewhat poor condition as far as the
binding goes the binding having fallen
apart and deteriorated some over time
makes it more of a challenge to get nice
crisp images that are straight and that
look nice because the pages won't lay
flat they turn sideways they make large
bubbles which are a challenge for the
what we're very excited about is the
Indiana Memorial Union is dedicated to
the veterans who from from who attend
Hoosiers and so what we're excited about
the opportunity to make this goal and
book more accessible right now if you
want to see a particular page you have
to call ahead and they have to find the
page and someone has to manually turn it
now that's been digitized it'll be just
much more accessible so folks could come
into the room and can access the book
and browse can look for particularly
name making the images available would
mean that if there were someone who was
interested in coding the names and
putting them into a database to do this
kind of research I think it's much more
likely now with images I could see
genealogists being very interested in
being able to come in and see the names
of their relations in the book and even
tracing the generations going back I
don't know of course because I haven't
read every name in the book but I would
guess that there are generations from
the different wars represented going
back and families and I think that would
be that would be really nice for for
families with a history of Indiana
University bayit to be able to see I
with the Indiana University my
grandfather went there and he served in
World War two and here's his name I
think that would be really neat the
value of being able to interact with the
book is that someone could go and view
the electronic copy and view any page
that had informations they were
interested in or just browse the book
and get a much better sense of how many
names are listed some of these wars have
blocks and lots of names of alumni
University listed in it it's kind of
sounding it's really to read
overwhelming source to look through and
I feel like allowing someone to interact
you can see the pages and pages and
pages of names from a given war and
that's lost by having it only visible
webpage at the time as it is currently
the book really contains names that run
up through about world war two and again
it was designed for those who were
honored by donations to the Memorial
Fund and our interest in the future is
to be able to have a way to record those
veterans since that time they've been
affiliated with the University so the
university can acknowledge their service
to the country and so we hope to really
open a new chapter a new volume to this
book once this initial digitization
project is finished that will allow
individuals who've been affiliated with
the university and who have served to
submit their information and be recorded
in a new Honor Roll or a volume 2 of the
Golden Book we're very excited about
that and we think that will help really
connect our current young veterans who
were here as students now and who've
been serving in Iraq and Afghanistan as
well as alums who may have served in
Vietnam or Korea or other periods of
time connect them back to the University
and have the university really
acknowledge that aspect of their own
personal history for me as a veteran and
as a student you know someday yeah I
think it'd be great to have my name in
there oh and and have that that legacy
but I also think that there's a piece of
IU's legacy that's missing since we
stopped updating the book and you have
an entire generation of Korea and Moore
and Vietnam War veterans that aren't
included in there but we're also hoping
that folks they've lost their connection
with I do as this project continues
that's built on when they put their
relatives name
her know what's Quebec and look at the
books and we think Oak Creek agrees
there's a presentation
it was an exciting thing to do and I had
no idea that it would be as important in
the ideas history for our students but
I'm so glad that we like
that wonderful team and we're very
pleased to try to make the information
richer here as part of IU's mystery room
accessible to people who want to come
and be able to browse through the
information that's in here I don't think
that the digital copy is a replacement
for the original book in most most
instances I would say that digital
copies don't replace original anything's
because there is something special and
human about a physical book and also
because a lot of the book is actually
empty the pages are empty we didn't scan
every single page we only scan the pages
that had writing on them so if looking
in the digital copy you won't get a
sense of the size of the book either the
size the physical length and width or
the number of pages in the book and I
think that's a really important thing in
understanding it and knowing about the
book and knowing that there are a lot of
pages yet to be filled out I think
that's a very important part of the book
that we don't but that is missing
there's the protects that's there and
the names that are there but there are
still names that aren't there

Historic photographs

Online Golden Book records now include historic images, like this portrait of WWI veteran K. P. Williams.

Digital access

Since 2011, visitors to the Memorial Room have had access to the Golden Book through a 48-inch digital touch screen.

IU during wartime

Campus effectively became a military training base during both the First and Second World Wars.

What man in his inner self does not have a small room of memory, where, if he stops to look, are stored reminders of the things in his life which have made it full of wonder in the having of them, and of sorrow at their loss?

Herman B Wells, Dedication of the Memorial Room, 1961

A photographic legacy

Malcolm “Mac” Fleming, WWII combat photographer, 1953. “Sherman tank crew watching for submarines and mines,” Remagen, Germany, 1945. Malcolm Fleming Collection, IU Archives

As a member of the U.S. Signal Corps, Mac Fleming documented the final days of World War II in Germany. After the war, he joined the faculty of IU’s School of Education, and in 2016 donated his extensive collection of historic photos to University Archives. Several of the photographs are included in his book, From War to Peace in 1945 Germany (IU Press, 2016). Fleming taught photography at IU for many years and is emeritus professor of education. Listen to Fleming’s recollections in an interview from WFIU’s Profiles series.

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Historical images courtesy of Indiana University Archives