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.

Formal portrait of K. P. Williams in uniform

Historic photographs

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

A Navy veteran accesses Golden Book digital records in the Memorial Room

Digital access

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

A male and a female student in World War 2 uniform walk down the Indiana Memorial Union stairs

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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Gifts to the Veterans Support Services Fund will be used to support and promote the activities and programs of the Office of Veterans Support Services.

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