Posted by: bishopae | November 11, 2014

CyPix: Ames Ambulance Unit

In honor of Veteran’s Day, and in the ongoing commemoration of the centennial of World War I, today’s post features the Ames Ambulance Unit. This unit consisted of 36 Iowa State College (University) students who volunteered and served on the Italian-Austrian front from 1917-1919.

Photo shows two men carrying a stretcher on which another man is laid. Several other men are engaged in various tasks.

Wounded being removed from bottom of aerial cable way in the Valley of Santa Felicita, Italy, circa 1918, RS 13/16, photo collection box 1103.

On April 6, 1917, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson declared war against Germany, officially entering World War I. In May, U.S. Secretary of War Newton D. Baker authorized the formation of the U.S. Army Ambulance Corps and looked to universities across the country to organize volunteer units. Iowa State University was asked to raise a unit of 36 ambulance workers. Nearly 100 men applied and underwent physical examinations as well as tests of their mechanical knowledge, specifically relating to Model T operation and repair. After the 36 men were selected, they began training in first aid, military tactics, automobile operation, and elementary French.

Photo show sthe back of an ambulance open with a stretcher being lowered onto the ground from the air against a background of mountains.

Wounded coming down the aerial cable way in the Valley of Santa Felicita, circa 1918. RS 13/16, photo collection box 1103.

The men enlisted on June 4, 1917, and left for training in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on June 10. Training continued in Allentown for a year before being deployed in Italy. The unit served in Italy until early April 1919, transporting sick and injured soldiers from the front. Harold Benson and Eugene McKibben, drivers in the unit, wrote a chronology of the events of the unit, in which they describe a period of intense action, beginning October 24, 1918: “Offensive opens along entire Italian Front from Lake Garda to Adriatic – Fourth Army spearheads attack up Brenta River – Every ambulance kept busy for next two weeks, Pierce and Dodge trucks pressed into action hauling sitting wounded. As fast as Italians advanced, our posts left Col del Gallo San Felicite and Pove, and moved up Brenta to Feltre, Cismon Primolano, Grigno and Strigno over shell-pocked, camouflaged roads packed with italian infantry and artillery, and miles of Austrian prisoners being marched out of the mountains” (RS 13/16/1, Department of Military Science Subject Files, Box 1, Folder 19).

Photo shows a lare tent with a man standing in front with two ambulance trucks parked to the side.

Ames Ambulance Unit post in Valley of Santa Felicita, Italy, Near Mount Grappa, circa 1918. RS 13/16, photo collection box 1103.

Armistice was declared November 4 on the entire Italian Front, but the ambulance unit continued its work evacuating soldiers until early April 1919, when they left Italy for France to ultimately return to the United States, to be discharged May 7. In recognition of their service, the Italian government bestowed on the unit the Italian Cross of War.

Photo shows ten men in suits, members of the ambulance corps, posing outside. In the background is the campanile on the ISU campus.

Reunion of the Ames Ambulence Unit in 1963. Printed in the December 1963 Alumnus.

For more information on the Ames Ambulance Unit, see the Department of Military Science Subject Files (RS 13/16/1).

In 1990, U.S. President George H.W. Bush designated November as National American Indian Heritage Month, a tradition that has continued although the name has evolved to Native American Heritage Month. In Washington, DC, the month is commemorated by events and exhibits at institutions such as The Library of Congress, the National Archives and Records Administration, the National Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian Institutions, among others.

Members of White Roots of Peace, a traveling American Indian interest group, participated in the 1973 Symposium on the American Indian

Members of White Roots of Peace, a traveling American Indian interest group, participated in the 1973 Symposium on the American Indian (RS 22/3/0/1)

In December 1970, the Iowa State Daily announced the formation of the United Native American Student Association (UNASA). Its first president, Don Wanatee, stated that the group was established “to foster… understanding” of American Indians,” and to “bring different ideas and information about the American Indian to the University and the general public.” At UNASA’s January 1971 meeting, Wanatee spoke about environmental problems at the Meskwaki Indian Settlement, an early step towards that goal. The group held an annual Symposium on the American Indian as well as an annual campus Native American Week that began in April 1972 and lasted through at least 2005, according to Iowa State Daily articles. In addition to academic lectures, the symposiums often included film screenings, traditional dance performances, and events for children. More information about UNASA is available in RS 22/3/0/1, Student Organizations Records.

I would be remiss in discussing the role of Iowa State’s Native American students if I did not mention notable Native American rights leader and academic Vine Deloria, Jr. A 1958 graduate of Iowa State, Deloria also held a master’s degree in theology and a law degree; his writings also reflected these interdisciplinary interests, covering topics including religion, mythology, law, history, philosophy, and government. Oxford University Press’s American National Biography provides a biography of Deloria that provides information about many facets of his life’s work, from a three-year stint as executive director of the National Congress of American Indians to the nearly 30 years that he spent teaching courses on American Indian studies, political science, and the history of law at the University of California, Los Angeles, the University of Arizona, and the University of Colorado. In honor of Deloria’s contributions, Iowa State’s American Indian Studies Program awards the Vine Deloria Jr. Teaching, Research, and Service Award on an annual basis. Iowa State University Library carries a number of Deloria’s books, of course, including several e-books that ISU students, faculty, and staff can check out and read from the comfort of home.

Posted by: Stephanie | November 4, 2014

CyPix: Election Edition

Portrait of Mary Newbury Adams

Portrait of Mary Newbury Adams, MS 10.

Since today is Election Day around the nation, let’s talk about our women’s suffrage collections. We have several, which we’ve talked about on the blog a few times: see related posts here. Read up on Mary Newbury Adams, a founding member of the Northern Iowa Woman Suffrage Association (pictured above), or Carrie Chapman Catt, a president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association. A full range of Iowa State’s women’s collections can be seen here.

Another way to celebrate Election Day is by making one of Carrie Chapman Catt’s favorite desserts – try a cranberry souffle, strawberry shortcake-biscuit style, or something else from the Suffrage Cookbook available online through our digital collections.

People of Earth! We have taken over this blog post to give you a very important message. There is something lurking in Iowa State University’s Special Collections Department, something strange and sometimes sinister. If you are not careful, you may be pulled into another world, one perhaps more wonderful or more terrible than the one in which you now live! It goes by the name Science Fiction…

A sample of the science fiction novels on our bookshelves.

A sample of the science fiction novels on our bookshelves.

Okay, so aliens aren’t actually taking over the blog, but the message is true! As today is Halloween, I thought it would be appropriate to highlight one of our most unexpected collections and one that fits in quite well with this holiday. The Margaret Young Science Fiction Collection comprises 397 books and 35 serial titles in editions from the early and mid-20th century, all with their original cover art. The collection includes anthologies and several Ace Double Novels, as well as Galaxy Science Fiction Novels. Notable authors in the collection include Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clark, H.P. Lovecraft, Jules Vern, Kurt Vonnegut, and H.G. Wells.

We have quite a few novels by Robert A. Heinlein as well!

We have quite a few novels by Robert A. Heinlein as well!

You might be wondering just how and why we came to own these volumes. Science fiction, after all, isn’t one of our primary collecting areas. We first received the collection in the 1970s from Margaret Young, an avid science fiction reader and mother of an ISU employee. Young wanted to place the collection in a repository where it would be kept all together, and Dr. Yates (head archivist at the time) wanted to keep the cover art on the books intact. As these editions have become rarer and rarer, it was a good thing they were taken in by Special Collections and not circulated in the General Collection. While it’s a fun collection to have, it should be noted that we do not actively collect science fiction anymore.

A little teaser of some the cover art in the collection.

A teaser of some the cover art in the collection.

Want to see more? Stop in to Special Collections sometime! Just beware of the monsters that lurk within the book covers. Happy Halloween!

 

 

 

Posted by: Whitney | October 28, 2014

CyPix: Gravesend Manor

Here’s a Halloween treat for those of you who stayed up late watching TV in the 1960s: a photo of the cast of WOI’s Saturday night horror movie show Gravesend Manor.

A signed photo of The Duke of Desmodas (Jim "Red" Varnum), Malcom the Butler (Ed Weiss), and Esmerelda (actor unknown) of Gravesend Manor, undated. (RS #?)

A signed photo of The Duke of Desmodas (Jim “Red” Varnum), Malcom the Butler (Ed Weiss), and Esmerelda (John Voigt) of Gravesend Manor, undated. (RS 5/6/D,E,M Box 432)

Gravesend Manor, or Grave’s End Manor as it was sometimes printed in programming schedules and notes, aired on Saturday nights at 11:00 in the 1960s and possibly the late 1950s. Our information on the program is limited, but programming notes and programming schedules indicate the show ran for certain in 1960, and then from 1964 through 1968. The program was one of those classic horror movie showcase shows in which a spooky host – such as Malcom the Butler, above – presented old, often B-movie quality, horror movies and would add in their own bit of humor. A current example is Svengoolie, whose show is broadcast on MeTV (channel 8.2 in the Des Moines broadcasting area) on Saturday nights. A couple of older examples include Vampira in the 1950s and Elvira in the 1980s. Some information on Gravesend Manor can be found online at DesMoinesBroadcasting.com and on a few websites dedicated to these types of shows, which can be found by conducting a Google search of Gravesend Manor. The only known remaining footage of the show consists of outtakes, which is featured on this YouTube video.

Curious researchers are more than welcome to stop in and research the WOI Radio and Television Records, RS 5/6/3, to see what else we might have on this program! Additional photos can be found in WOI Radio and Television Photographs, RS 5/6/6 in Box 1.

Posted by: Stephanie | October 27, 2014

#AskAnArchivist at Iowa State

As American Archives Month comes to a close at the end of October, the Special Collections Department here at Iowa State University, aka @ISU_Archives will be participating in a Twitter chat on Thursday, October 30, using the hashtag #AskAnArchivist.

If you have a Twitter handle, you can join in discussions about archives and special collections. Just send a tweet using the hashtag #AskAnArchivist to @ISU_Archives with your question and we will respond – even if it takes some time to go digging through the collections! If you prefer to use another medium, send your question via email to archives (at) iastate.edu.

No question is too silly, strange, or spooky (it is almost Halloween, after all) – the most eccentric or oldest or smallest bits of our collections, a specific question about the University that you have always wondered, or even what to do with your own historical objects, papers, or digital files. As folks who come into the reading room with reference questions can attest, we are always up to brainstorm ways to find a thorough answer.

Throughout the day, a number of Special Collections staff will be answering your questions – we’ll introduce ourselves as we pop onto Twitter.

  • Laura Sullivan, Assistant Head and Collections Archivist
  • Brad Kuennen, Assistant Archivist and resident audiovisual wrangler
  • Kim Anderson, Digital Archivist and electronic records wrangler
  • Stephanie Bennett, Project Archivist who has worked with ISU’s politics-related collections
  • Amy Bishop, Project Archivist with training in rare books
  • Whitney Olthoff, Project Archivist and Iowa State alum

So let us know what questions you have about the work that we do here or the collections that we preserve and provide access to here at Iowa State. Looking forward to hearing from some Cyclones (or anyone, really!) via @ISU_Archives and #AskAnArchivist on Thursday!

Posted by: andrewfackler | October 24, 2014

Philip McConnell Scrapbook: A Retrospective on WWI

“We’ve been given a glimpse of the ensuing years,
And these are a few of our hopes and our fears.”

It’s hard to imagine how Philip McConnell, an Iowa State College (University) student in Agricultural Engineering 1914-1917, felt when writing these lines – part of a poem he composed in 1915 – and whether he could have predicted just how large of a ‘glimpse’ it really was. With the recent centenary of the Great War, it’s interesting to look at just how much the young people of the early 20th century – Iowa State alums included – would end up going through over the course of their lives.

My name is Andrew Fackler and I am a freshman at Iowa State University who recently began working as a Student Assistant here in the Special Collections Department. One of the first pieces I was tasked with processing is a scrapbook (circa 1914-1922) created by a former student named Philip Cecil McConnell. McConnell arrived at Iowa State in the autumn of 1914 – right after the onset of World War I (WWI) in Europe. The collection, RS 21/7/260, documents his life from arrival at Iowa State through his eventual draft into the Armed Forces and into his post-war acceptance to the University of California. The ability to view what an Iowa State student’s life was like 100 years ago is truly inspirational, and the scrapbook that McConnell produced captures this time in history beautifully.

Cover of Philip McConnell's scrapbook containing his college seal. Circling text reads "Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts." Center text reads "Science with Practice." RS 21/7/260, box 1.

Cover of Philip McConnell’s scrapbook featuring the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts seal. (RS 21/7/260, box 1)

McConnell was a student in the former College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts and a member of the Dramatic Club and the Glee Club. His scrapbook documents many of the fun times he had with friends during his Iowa State years, not unlike the students of today. Though he would only attend Iowa State for a couple years before America entered WWI, when McConnell was drafted into the military and sent for training at Fort Snelling, Minnesota.

An entry in Philip McConnell's scrapbook highlighting his new journey from Ames to Fort Snelling. RS 21/7/260, box 1.

An entry in Philip McConnell’s scrapbook highlighting his sudden journey from Ames to Fort Snelling. Text reads “The rookie goes from [ISC] to [Fort Snelling].” (RS 21/7/260, box 1)

McConnell’s adventure at Iowa State ended there, but his journey was far from over. Soon after basic training at Fort Snelling, Philip was sent to Nice, France, and spent about a year of training and working there as the war wore to an eventual end. McConnell survived the conflict, but surely the effect of being part of something so large and foreign at such a young age stuck with him.

Training for the Reserve Corps at a school in Nice, France. Philip is pointed out by the blue arrow. Note the bikes that student soldiers used. RS 21/7/260, box 1.

Training for the Reserve Corps at a school in Nice, France. Philip is pointed out by the blue arrow. Note the bikes that students used to get around. (RS 21/7/260, box 1)

The war eventually came to an end when an armistice was signed in November, 1918, and McConnell was honorably discharged from the Reserve Corps in France in February, 1919. Philip returned to Iowa but would not return to Iowa State. In 1920, McConnell was admitted to the University of California, where he finished his education in 1922. He stayed in California until his passing at the age of 99 in 1995.

McConnell’s life is one of hundreds of millions directly affected by the destructive events of the early 1900s, though not all were documented so well. Philip would go on to see the world ravaged by many more foreign conflicts over the years, as well as other dramatic changes in American culture. Although Philip’s story may not be unfamiliar, it comes to us in the form of a tactile document that concretely connects Iowa State to one of the greatest events in world history, and one that should be remembered.

In his scrapbook, McConnell included his letters of both draft and honorable discharge. Much of the collection includes notes about the images and McConnell’s feelings about them, but he wrote very little of the war itself. The only comment he included about the war is the haunting message:

“Censorship makes the war look pleasant.”

I believe this quote to be disquieting, but it also shows a complex side of humanity. There’s much to be learned from the people of the past, and part of what makes the archives wonderful is its commitment to ensuring those voices will still be heard another hundred years from now.

Posted by: Stephanie | October 21, 2014

World Audiovisual Heritage Day is October 27

Although we are a bit early, we’re celebrating World Audiovisual Heritage Day on the blog. One of the most notable features of the Special Collections and University Archives department is the number of films to which we provide access. Many were created by Iowa State or WOI and provide visual and sometimes sound-filled evidence of the days of yore.

Here are two selections from our nearly 10,000-item films:

First, a video of landscape architecture professor Philip H. Elwood’s trip, with three students, from California to Ames in 1927. Below is the second of the two-part silent film. Even without sound, there is so much to take in. Not just the landscapes – which appear quite different than they do today – but the people, the clothes, the automobiles, other cues as to the time and place.

Another film available through our YouTube channel comes from WOI’s “Expedition” series. This episode on Christian Peterson discusses his work and includes many of the sculptures that are still on display around ISU’s campus today. All three parts are available online; below is the first part.

To browse more of our film collection – which covers agriculture, campus, social events, historical moments, and small towns around Iowa – check out our YouTube channel or our online film listings. Happy World Audiovisual Heritage Day from our corner of the University Library!

Special Collections would like to announce the recent acquisition and cataloging of an additional resource related to the Robert Harvey Rare Book Collection of rare landscape architecture publications. Robert R. Harvey, Professor Emeritus of the Landscape Architecture Department at Iowa State University, donated nearly 100 volumes from his library to Special Collections in 2010.

Title page of Harvey's book.

Title page of Harvey’s book.

Earlier this year, Special Collections received Robert Harvey’s self-published essay Collection Development: How the Library of Robert R. Harvey Was Assembled, giving background on Harvey’s work in landscape architecture and the experiences that influenced his book collecting. Many of the books were purchased while living and working in England and cannot be easily found in the United States. Harvey developed his book collection for personal research and teaching needs, and as his career developed, so did the subject matter in his library. Throughout the essay he describes the influences and experiences that led to his purchase of specific titles.

Scattered through Harvey’s essay are personal anecdotes, which make it an amusing, as well as informative, read. For example, he describes a time when he was teaching at Thames Polytechnic School of Architecture, Hammersmith, London, during the 1970s. His daughter Suzanne was two years old, and he would often carry her on his back in a baby carrier while he was shopping in London book stores. One day, the family was “headed for the entrance to the Tube at Tottenham Court [when] I felt a sharp bump on the back of my head. Suzanne had thumped me with a book. When [wife] Ann and [daughter] Beth examined the baby carrier on my back she had about three books in the pack…. It turned out that when I leaned over to examine books on a lower shelf she probably had helped herself to books on the shelf above me. They were books on architecture and art. At least she had the right subjects in mind” (22). They returned the books to the bookseller and had a good laugh about it.

Some books of note from the Harvey Collection include…

One of the engravings from Venturini.

One of the engravings from Venturini.

Le Fontane ne’Palazzi e ne’Giardini di Roma, con li loro prospetti et ornamenti (1675) by Giovanni Venturini.

Harvey was offered the Venturini book by the descendants of a friend, Professor Phillip Elwood, which “contained engraved pages that an unscrupulous dealer could break up and sell as individual prints for framing,” in order to make more money (36).

 

Plate XXXII from McCormick's Landscape Architecture, Past and Present, show the pergola feature of the Walden estate.

Plate XXXII from McCormick’s Landscape Architecture, Past and Present, show the pergola feature of the Walden estate.

Landscape Art, Past and Present by Harriet Hammond McCormick.

Harriet Hammond McCormick was married to Cyrus McCormick, Jr., a wealthy businessman and president of the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, who owned a large estate called Walden in Lake Forest, Illinois. Walden was designed by the renowned landscape architect Warren Manning, whose papers reside here in Special Collections. The copy of McCormick’s Landscape Art, Past and Present donated by Harvey appears to be Cyrus McCormick’s own copy, with his calling card inserted into the front endpaper of the book.

Calling card inserted into front endpaper of McCormick's book. Reads, "Mr. Cyrus H. McCormick, 50 East Huron Street"

Calling card inserted into front endpaper of McCormick’s book. Reads, “Mr. Cyrus H. McCormick, 50 East Huron Street”

For a complete listing of books in the collections, see the Robert Harvey Rare Book Collection webpage.

For more information on the collection and the conservation work done on many of its volumes, see the Parks Library Preservation blog post on the Robert R. Harvey Rare Book Open House.

For more information on landscape architecture, check out the following collections: Warren H. Manning Papers (MS 218), Landscape Architecture Photographs (MS 392), the American Society of Landscape Architects, Source File, Women in Landscape Architecture Printed Materials (MS 598), the Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation Records (MS 618), and the Department of Landscape Architecture record series (RS 26/5) in the College of Design.

Posted by: Kim | October 16, 2014

Cy’s Birthday!

October 16th, 2014 marks the 60th anniversary of Cy’s debut.

Cy in front of Hilton Coliseum

Here’s Cy at age 21 (1975)(via Flickr)

Cy, a large cardinal, is the mascot for Iowa State University. If you’ve been in Ames recently you may have seen some of the 30 unique Cy statues placed throughout the city. CyclONE City, running through December 5th, is a community art project celebrating the town-gown relationship between Iowa State University and the city of Ames. Read more at the Iowa State Daily and the Ames Tribune.

We’ve got a brand new Cy exhibit on display in the Special Collections reading room. We hope you’ll stop by! In the meantime you can read about him through the virtual exhibit we made ten years ago in honor of his 50th birthday: Fifty Years of Cy: Our Mascot

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