Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Good Luck with the Exams and Happy Holidays!

Toward the end of the semester, everyone must be extremely busy. SLIS library and computer lab provide you with a space to study and relax. However, please remember to check our hours before you come. The SLIS library will have special hours for the exam week and winter interim, and the SLIS Computer Lab will still open 15 minutes later and close 15 minutes earlier than the library. The library hours will be:

Exam Week, December 14 (Sunday) - December 19 (Friday):

  • Sunday: 12:00pm - 6:00pm
  • Monday - Thursday: 8:00am - 8:30pm
  • Friday: 8:00am - 5:00pm

Winter Interim, December 20 (Saturday) - January 19 (Monday):

  • Saturday and Sunday: Library Closed
  • Monday - Friday: 9:00am - 12:00pm

You can also refer to our websites:

SLIS Library (
SLIS Computer Lab (

Monday, December 8, 2008

Who is Helen C. White?

Everyone knows that the big concrete monolith on the corner of Observatory Drive and Park
Street, the home of SLIS, College Library, and a variety of other departments and
programs, is named after Helen C. White. But who, you ask, is Helen C. White? Why does
she have a building named after her? Read on and find out!

Born in 1896, Ms. White displayed an early interest in reading and writing, which served her well in her early academic career. She attended Radcliffe College, where she received a Bachelor's Degree in English in 1916 and a Master's Degree, also in English, in 1917.

Not long after, Ms. White began her illustrious career at UW-Madison. From 1919-1925 she
was an instructor in the English department and a PhD candidate. During this time, Helen
gained a reputation as a tireless educator, reaching out to help students, which at times
conflicted with her PhD research. After she earned her PhD in Letters and Science in 1924,
Ms. White continued to work her way up at UW-Madison.

First Helen worked as an associate professor, then 1936 she became the first woman to
earn the rank of full professor in the UW's College of Letters and Science. She attained
another "first" in 1955 when she became the first woman to chair the UW-Madison English
Department. She stayed at the UW for her entire career, only briefly leaving to take on
visiting professor duties at Barnard, Columbia, and Harvard. At the time of her death in
1967, Ms. White was serving (again) as chairperson for the English department at UWMadison.

Aside from her education career, Helen C. White was successful on many other fronts. Her
list of achievements runs pages and pages long, but suffice it to say, she kept busy in a
wide range of pursuits. She chaired professional, educational, and cultural organizations.
She served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Defense, speaking about women in the
armed service. She even became an expert on global education, traveling abroad and
speaking on behalf of UNESCO.

If that's not impressive enough, consider the fact that while Ms. White was a busy educator
and all-around professional, she's also an accomplished author. She wrote a number of
highly-regarded books, ranging from critiques of renaissance literature to award-winning
novels. For a link to view her writings in the UW-Madison catalog, click here.
And one more thing. Her middle name was Constance.

Thanks to the College Library web site for information regarding Helen C. White.
Image courtesy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives.