Summary Information
Title: Indian Nationality Room Committee Collection
Collection Number: UA.40.11.2
Creator: University of Pittsburgh. Nationality Rooms Program. Indian Nationality Room Committee.

Collection Dates: 1991-2011
Extent: 5.2 linear feet (14 boxes)

Language: English

Abstract:
The Indian Nationality Room Committee Collection is a compilation of correspondence, meeting minutes, financial reports, various print and non-print media, draft texts, and reference materials used by committee members of and pertaining to the Indian Nationality Room at the University of Pittsburgh’s Cathedral of Learning. The bulk of the materials are from 1991-2001.
Publisher:

ULS Archives Service Center
University of Pittsburgh Library System
7500 Thomas Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA, 15260
412-648-3232
archives-ref@mail.pitt.edu
Date Published:

July 2012
Author:

Finding aid prepared by Ryan McGinnis and Julia Rossi.
History

The Indian Nationality Room Committee was formed in 1992 under the guidance of E. Maxine Bruhns, the director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Nationality Rooms Program. The founding committee members, Dr. Chandrika Rajagopal, Deepak Wadhwani, and Anu Reddy, held their first public meeting in June of that year to garner support from the Pittsburgh Indian community and present their concept for the future Indian Nationality Room.

The committee was inspired by the ancient Nālandā University, an eminent institution in India from the 5th through 12th centuries CE, which they chose to represent Indian culture and heritage in their nationality room. Nālandā was an international center of learning in Asia, providing free education to those students fortunate enough to pass the rigorous entrance examinations. Mr. Wadhwani, an architect with Renaissance 3 Architects in Pittsburgh, volunteered his time and labor in designing the Indian Nationality Room. The proposed classroom was modeled from a monastery courtyard at Nālandā, featuring ornate stone columns, soft rose bricks, and replica sculptures.

After determining their objectives for fundraising and planning, the Indian Nationality Room Committee presented $5,000 and a signed statement of intent to the University of Pittsburgh. During this “Declaration of Gift” Ceremony in July 1993, the committee formally announced its plans for the Indian Nationality Room; they were then permitted to select a space in the Cathedral of Learning.

Fundraising events planned by the Indian Nationality Room Committee included several traditional Indian dance performances and Indian classical music concerts. Additionally, the committee held multiple dinner-dances around the Pittsburgh area. Notably, the “We Love India Ball” in February 1994 alone raised $160,000 toward the project’s goal of $400,000. The committee also established special recognition levels for donors, designated after five “Famous Diamonds of India.”

The original notion of having construction completed by the 50th anniversary of Indian independence in August 1997 could not be met. However, by 1998 they were able to select contractors and begin construction on the classroom. The Indian community was the first to raise the entirety of funds for design and construction in 7½ years – the fastest of all Nationality Room Committees to reach their objective.

Trips to India by Deepak Wadhwani, Maxine Bruhns, and Anu Reddy resulted in the selection of artifacts for replication. Ms. Reddy also had several pieces of artwork commissioned by Indian artists for the classroom. By the fall of 1999, construction was almost completed and the Dedication Day confirmed for January 9, 2000.

The Indian Nationality Room Committee remains active on the University of Pittsburgh campus today, holding cultural learning events and an annual Indian Independence Celebration every August.


Collection Scope and Content Notes

The Indian Nationality Room Collection comprises materials acquired by the Nationality Rooms Program from c. 1960 through 2011, though the bulk of the items are dated 1991-2002. Most of the materials in this collection pertain to the fundraising for and construction of the Indian Nationality Room at the Cathedral of Learning. This collection includes correspondence, newsletters, meeting minutes, financial reports, fundraising media, flyers, text drafts, photographs, print and non-print media, reference materials, and blueprints.


Subject Terms

Topics
  • Classrooms -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • East Indian Americans -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Universities and colleges -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh

Corporate Names
  • Indian Classroom (Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • Nationality Rooms (Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, Pa.).
  • Nālandā Mahāvihāra.
  • University of Pittsburgh. Nationality Rooms Program. Indian Nationality Room Committee.
  • University of Pittsburgh. Nationality Rooms Program.

Genres/Forms
  • Audiocassettes
  • Blueprints (Reprographic copies)
  • Correspondence
  • Financial records
  • Minutes
  • Photographs

Category
  • University of Pittsburgh

Access and Use
Access Restrictions:

No restrictions.

Acquisition Information:

The materials in the Indian Nationality Room Committee Collection were acquired by the Nationality Rooms Program at the University of Pittsburgh from 1991-2011.

Preferred Citation:

Indian Nationality Room Committee Collection, 1991-2001, UA.40.11.2, University Archives, Archives Service Center, University of Pittsburgh

Processing Information:

This collection was processed by Julia N. Rossi from December 2011-January 2012. Revisions relating to the encoding of the finding aid were done by Ryan McGinnis and Marianne Kasica from June-July 2012.

Copyright:

The University of Pittsburgh holds the property rights to the material in this collection, but the copyright may still be held by the original creator/author. Researchers are therefore advised to follow the regulations set forth in the U.S. Copyright Code when publishing, quoting, or reproducing material from this collection without the consent of the creator/author or that go beyond what is allowed by fair use.


Collection Inventory

Series I. Indian Nationality Room Committee Correspondence

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains INRC general correspondence, INRC vendor correspondence, INRC newsletters, INRC brochures and donor requests, and miscellaneous materials.


Box 1
Folder 1 INRC General Correspondence, 1991-2011

Contains correspondence between members of the Indian Nationality Room Committee and significant contacts, such as the American Ambassador to India and ministers within the Indian government. Dr. Chandrika Rajagopal features prominently in these messages.

Folder 2 INRC Vendor Correspondence, 1994-2001

Contains communications between the Indian Nationality Room Committee and its associated vendors. Additional information about vendors Renaissance 3 Architects and Tedco Construction Corp. can also be found in Series IV (Meeting Minutes).

Folder 3 INRC Newsletters, 1993-1998

Contains quarterly newsletters produced by the Indian Nationality Room Committee for their supporters. Information in these newsletters included updates on the design concept, fundraising announcements, acknowledgments of donations, and event advertisements.

Folder 4 INRC Brochures and Donor Requests

Contains brochures, flyers, and information packets regarding the upcoming Indian Nationality Room, along with requests for donations. Of note is the “corporate” brochure, which was sent specifically to Pittsburgh-area companies requesting commercial donations for the room.

Folder 5 Miscellaneous

Contains donation request templates, master letterhead, and other stationery are retained in this folder.

Series II. Nationality Room Program Correspondence

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains pre-committee Indian files, nationality room general correspondence, and miscellaneous materials. Contains file materials, university communications, internal messages, and notes regarding the Indian Nationality Room and its committee. Many of the handwritten notes are by Maxine Bruhns, who was greatly involved with the Indian Nationality Room Committee. Materials related to the Declaration of Gift ceremony can be located in Series VIII (Declaration of Gift), while the Nationality Room Program’s planning and operational materials for the Indian Room dedication can be found in Series IX (Dedication Day).

Folder 6 Pre-Committee Indian Files, 1960s

Community interest in an Indian Nationality Room at the University of Pittsburgh predated the committee’s official founding by nearly 30 years. The Nationality Rooms Program’s files held event information by local Indian social groups as well as letters requesting details about nationality room requirements.

Folder 7 NRP general correspondence, 1991-1994
Folder 8 NRP general correspondence, 1995

Box 2
Folder 1 NRP general correspondence, 1996
Folder 2 NRP general correspondence, 1997
Folder 3 NRP general correspondence, 1997-1998
Folder 4 NRP general correspondence, 1998
Folder 5-6 NRP general correspondence, 1999

Box 3
Folder 1 NRP general correspondence, 2000-2001
Folder 2 NRP general correspondence, 2002-2005
Folder 3 NRP general correspondence, 2006-2009
Folder 4 NRP general correspondence, 2010-2011
Folder 5 NRP general correspondence, undated
Folder 6 Miscellaneous

Contains reference materials utilized by the Nationality Rooms Programs, including business cards, printed news articles, and information on the Asian Studies programs at the University of Pittsburgh.

Series III. Personal Correspondence

Scope and Content Notes:

Contains personal messages pertaining to the Indian Nationality Room and its committee. The majority are notes or cards to Maxine Bruhns.

Folder 7 Correspondence, 1995-2000

Series IV. Meeting Minutes

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains Indian nationality room committee meeting minutes and vendor/construction meeting minutes.


Box 4
Folder 1 Indian Nationality Room Committee Meetings

Contains the minutes of the Indian Nationality Room Committee as well as the By-Laws of the INRC. More detailed meeting minutes can be found in the next folder.

Folder 2 Vendor/Construction Meetings, 1997-1999

Contains minutes of the construction team for the Indian Nationality Room project. Vendors included Renaissance 3 Architects, Tedco Construction Corp., Franco Masonry, and Keystone Metal. Progress schedules accompany several of the official meeting minutes in this folder.

Series V. Financial Reports

Scope and Content Notes:

Monthly summary reports from the University of Pittsburgh accounting system are the core of this series. These balance sheets with donation sums, revenues, and expenses also include line-level description of contributors and the dates on which the gift was credited to the INRC account. For specific donor information, please see Series VII (Contributors).

Folder 3 University of Pittsburgh summary reports, 1994-1997
Folder 4 University of Pittsburgh summary reports, 1998-2000
Folder 5 University of Pittsburgh summary reports, 2001-2003
Folder 6 Other financial reports, 1993-2000

Series VI. Fundraising Media

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains assorted printed media used by the Indian Nationality Room Committee for various fundraising events. Among the most popular events were traditional Indian dance shows by such performers as Alarmel Valli and Kamala Reddy; benefit concerts by numerous Indian musicians also occurred in the 1990s. Invitations, tickets, flyers, programs, and posters are included here.


Box 5
Folder 1 Fundraising media, 1990-1998
Folder 2 Fundraising media, 1999-2007
Folder 3 Fundraising media, 2008-2011

Series VII. Contributors

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains donor lists, receipts, and memos regarding contributors are housed in this series. For additional fiscal information, please see Series V (Financial Reports).

Folder 4 INR contributors, 1993-1997
Folder 5 INR contributors, 1997-2000

Series VIII. Declaration of Gift

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains invitations, flyers, guest lists, programs, and remarks given at the Indian Nationality Room Committee’s Declaration of Gift ceremony on July 21, 1993. Unsigned copies of the declaration document are included as well. For an audio cassette recording of the Declaration of Gift ceremony, please see Series XIV (Non-Print Media).


Box 6
Folder 1 INRC Declaration of Gift, 1993

Series IX. Dedication Day

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains invitations and a guest list, a dedication program, dedication day materials, an Indian Nationality Room Booklet, and Nationality Rooms Program materials.

Folder 2 Dedication Day invitations

Contains the drafts and printed invitations for the Indian Nationality Room Dedication Day festivities.

Folder 3 Dedication Day guest list

Contrains the multiple guest lists and address worksheets for the invitees to the Dedication Day.

Folder 4 Dedication Day Program

Contains several early drafts followed by the subsequent final, printed version of the Dedication Program.

Folder 5 Dedication Day materials for volunteers/participants

Comprises information utilized by volunteers and participants at the Indian Nationality Room Dedication Day. Outlines of the day’s events, time lines, draft remarks, map templates, and “Directions for making Indian tea” are housed here.

Folder 6 Indian Nationality Room booklet

The final version of the Indian Nationality Room booklet is retained here. For earlier or edited versions, please see the Text drafts series.

Folder 7 NRP planning/operational materials

Contains the planning and operational materials created and used by the Nationality Rooms Program for the Indian Nationality Room’s Dedication Day. Handwritten and typed messages, assignments, tasks, schedules, event planning materials, and multiple lists are included.

Folder 8 NRP miscellaneous

Includes information pertaining to general dedication tasks for any future nationality room.

Series X. Text Drafts

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains section drafts and marked-up copies of the Indian Nationality Room booklet. Drafts for the narration scripts and hand-outs to be placed in the Indian Nationality Room round out this series.


Box 7
Folder 1 INR booklet text drafts, 1999
Folder 2 INR booklet and other text drafts, 1999-2000

Series XI. Reference

Scope and Content Notes:

A variety of reference materials on Indian Heritage are housed within this series. The “General reference” folder contains information about Nālandā and basic facts about India. “Art and Architecture reference” includes extensive photocopies about these topics. The Gandhi decorative book contained in this series is filled with quotations and maxims attributed to Mohandas Gandhi. A photocopied book appears in the folder, “The Art of Nālandā,” by Debjani Paul. The two folders titled “Nālandā Mahāvihāra” are another copy of a book by Mary L. Stewart. (These photocopies have been annotated by the researchers for the concept of the Indian Nationality Room, as well as by the writers of the room’s booklet.) Finally, the “Other India reference” folder provides publications from India on Nālandā, museums in India, a fold-out map, and photocopies of guidebooks to India.

Folder 3 General reference materials
Folder 4 Art and Architecture reference materials
Folder 5 Gandhi decorative book
Folder 6 “The Art of Nālandā”

Box 8
Folder 1 “Nālandā Mahāvihāra” Part I
Folder 2 “Nālandā Mahāvihāra” Part II
Folder 3 Other India reference materials

Series XII. Print Media

Scope and Content Notes:

This series contains newspaper articles and media releases. The newspaper articles range in topic from the Sri Venkateswara Temple in Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, to events held by the Indian Nationality Room Committee, to the room’s Dedication Day, and other articles of Indian interest. Most of these were kept in the Nationality Room Program’s file of Indian materials. Also contained here are media releases by the University of Pittsburgh Public Relations Department for various Indian Nationality Room Committee-related events and announcements.

Folder 4 Newspaper articles, 1990-1999
Folder 5 Newspaper articles, 2000-2011
Folder 6 Newspaper articles, undated
Folder 7 Media releases, 1992-2005

Series XIII. Photographs and Sketches

Scope and Content Notes:

This series houses photographs of the Indian Nationality Room Committee and several of their events, along with black and white photocopies of many photos. The Sketches/renderings folder comprises the computer-generated depictions of the Indian Nationality Room in both color and black and white.


Box 9
Folder 1 Photographs and photocopies
Folder 2 Sketches/renderings of INR

Series XIV. Non-print Media

Scope and Content Notes:

This series holds a variety of non-print media relating to the Indian Nationality Room Committee. Worth mentioning is the envelope containing a piece of earth from the Nālandā site in India, brought back by Maxine Bruhns and Deepak Wadhwani from a research visit. Additional media here includes several audio cassettes of recordings made during various Indian events.

Folder 3 Earth from Nālandā, India
Folder 4 India Independence Proofs (CD-ROM)
Folder 5 “Declaration of Gift” audio (cassette)
Folder 6 “50th Anniversary of Indian Independence” audio (cassette)
Folder 7 “Chants of India” audio (cassettes)
Folder 8 “Indian Room, audio (cassette) March 29, 2006

Series XV. Blueprints

Scope and Content Notes:

This series houses comprehensive drafts of blueprints designed by Deepak Wadhwani of Renaissance 3 Architects for the Indian Nationality Room. Each roll of blueprints has a variety of contents, which may include cover sheets, demolition plans, floor plans, section/elevations drawings, wall sections and details, electrical plans, ceiling plans, and additional details.


Box 10
Folder 1 Rolled blueprints of Indian Nationality Room, July 14, 1997

Box 11
Folder 1 Rolled blueprints of Indian Nationality Room, January 28, 1998

Box 12
Folder 1 Rolled blueprints of Indian Nationality Room, February 2, 1998

Box 13
Folder 1 Rolled blueprints of Indian Nationality Room, July 15, 1998

Box 14
Folder 1 Rolled blueprints of Indian Nationality Room, July 15, 1998