Posted by: Whitney | February 7, 2014

They Went for the Gold (and Got It): Cyclone Olympians

The Olympics are here! Which makes this the perfect time to highlight our very own Cyclone Olympians, information on and photos of whom can be found right here in the Special Collections Department. Originally I wanted to write about all of our Olympians, but there are just too many – we had four in the 2012 London Olympics alone! So, for sanity’s sake, I’m going to feature only our gold medalists. We have had seven gold medalists over the years, six of whom wrestled for the gold, and one who overcame many hurdles for it (literally). Banners dedicated to them currently hang in Hilton Coliseum. Read on to learn about our Iowa State Cyclone Olympic Gold Medalists.

Glen Brand, 1950

Glen Brand, 1950

Glen Brand (Wrestling, 174 lbs, 1948): Originally from Clarion, Iowa, Brand (1950, Civil Engineering) wrestled for the Cyclones from 1946-1950. During that time, he lettered in 1946, 1947, 1948, and 1950. He placed 3rd in the NCAA Wrestling Championship in 1946, followed that up with 2nd place in 1947, and won the title in 1948. Also in 1948, he earned a spot at the London Olympics and later won gold in the 174 lb. class, returning home as a legend.

Dan Gable, 1969

Dan Gable, 1969

Dan Gable (Wrestling, 149.5 lbs, 1972): Perhaps our most famous Olympian and wrestler, Gable (1971, Physical Education) was one of two Cyclones who won the gold  in wrestling in the 1972 Munich Olympics. He never gave up a single point at the games that year. His college career was stellar as well: he was defeated only once, and that was in the NCAA finals his senior year. Gable came to ISU from Waterloo, Iowa, and wrestled for the Cyclones from 1966 to 1970, becoming a three-time Big 8 Champion (1968, 1969, 1970) and two-time NCAA Champion (1968, 1969). After graduating from ISU, he became head wrestling coach at the University of Iowa, where his star continued to rise as he became the U of I’s all-time winningest coach from 1976-1997.

Ben Peterson, 1970

Ben Peterson, 1970

Ben Peterson (Wrestling, 198 lbs, 1972): Peterson (1972, Architecture) was also a Cyclone gold medalist at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. He later went on to win the silver in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. From Comstock, Wisconsin, Peterson joined the ISU wrestling team in 1968 and wrestled through 1972. During his time here, he became a two-time NCAA Champion (1971 and 1972), a three-time Big 8 Champion (1970, 1972, 1973), and an Olympic gold medalist (1972). He is currently (2014) the only Cyclone wrestler to win 2 medals in the Olympic games.

Nawal El Moutawakel, 1984

Nawal El Moutawakel, 1984

Nawal El Moutawakel (Track and Field, 400 Meter Hurdles, 1984):
Our only non-wrestling Olympic gold medalist was El Moutawakel (1988, Physical Education), who won the top prize in the 400 meter hurdles at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. She came from Casablanca, Morocco to Iowa State University in 1984. She ran track at ISU beginning that year until 1987. During that time, she won the 1984 NCAA 400 meter hurdle championship and became the second woman to win the Relays Triple (Texas, Kansas, and Drake relays). She overcame real-life hurdles as well while at ISU, losing her father, losing her coaches in a 1985 plane crash, and suffering a knee injury. On a happier note, however, she was not only the first Cyclone woman to win gold, she was the first African woman, Muslim woman, and Moroccan woman to win it as well.

Kevin Jackson, 1985

Kevin Jackson, 1985

Kevin Jackson (Wrestling, 180.5 lbs, 1992):
ISU’s current wrestling coach, Jackson (1991, Human Sciences), won gold in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. Originally from Lansing, Michigan, Jackson started his college career at LSU but when the school dropped their wrestling program, he transferred to ISU as a senior. He red-shirted at ISU during the 1985-1986 season and wrestled in the 1986-1987 season. That season he helped the Cyclone wrestling team win their most recent NCAA championship. Not only is he an Olympic gold medalist, but he is also a two-time World Champion in wrestling. He is one of just five wrestlers in United States history to have three career world-level titles. Jackson took over the head wrestling coach position from fellow Olympic champion Cael Sanderson in 2009.

Cael Sanderson, from the 1999-2000 media guide

Cael Sanderson, from the 1999-2000 media guide, RS 24/12/0/6, Box 1

Cael Sanderson (Wrestling, 185 lbs, 2004):
From Heber City, Utah, Sanderson (2002, Art and Design) joined the Iowa State wrestling team in 1997, red-shirting for that first season. He never lost a single match while wrestling for the Cyclones, breaking Dan Gable’s record. He also became a four-time NCAA Champion (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002) and four-time Big 12 Champion (1999, 2000, 2001, 2002). Sanderson won his gold medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. After graduating in 2002, Sanderson stayed on with the Cyclones and became head wrestling coach in 2004, leaving in 2009 for Penn State where he currently coaches.

Jake Varner, from the 2008-2009 media guide

Jake Varner, from the 2008-2009 media guide, RS 24/12/0/6, Box 2

Jake Varner (Wrestling, 211.5 lbs, 2012): Varner (2010, Criminal Justice) came to us from Bakersfield, California, in 2005. He red-shirted in the 2005-2006 season, and then wrestled for the Cyclones from 2006-2010. While at Iowa State he became a two-time NCAA Champion (2009, 2010), and a two-time Big 12 Champion (2008, 2010). Varner won his gold medal at the 2012 Olympics in London, becoming our latest Olympic champion.

With these seven and Iowa State’s many other Olympic athletes – including silver and bronze medalists – the Cyclones have a proud Olympic tradition going. More information on our Olympians can be found in an earlier blog post. We also have an entire blog post devoted to Dan Gable. Want to learn more about Iowa State’s wrestling program in general? We have programs, media guides, news clippings, and various subject files in RS 24/12 for your viewing pleasure. If women’s track and field is more appealing, we have news clippings, media guides, and subject files in RS 24/23. The finding aids for these and other Department of Athletics collections can be found here. Contact us or stop by, and we’ll happy to help you out! In the mean time, go enjoy the Olympics. USA! USA!

Posted by: bishopae | February 4, 2014

CyPix: Bundle Up!

A group of women sets out from a brick building at Iowa State University in the winter of 1915. All are wearing coats and hats, and carying hatboxes. Several of the coats appear to be made of fur (racoon?); others appear to be a heavy wool.

Female students leaving a campus building wearing wool and fur coats and hats, 1915. RS 7/2.

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone around here that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow on Sunday, predicting 6 more weeks of winter. After weathering two “polar vortices,” and with more snow today, Iowa State students have been having to bundle up this winter. Stay warm and dream warm thoughts of spring!

In this photo, Iowa State students from 1915 are wearing heavy fur and wool coats and hats as they leave a building on campus.

For more historical photos of student life, check out the Student Life photo set on our Flickr page.

Collection of four miniature books in a slipcase, with a quarter for scale.

Collection of miniature books in a slipcase containing printers’ ornament specimens. Published by Alembic Press, Oxford, 1990-1992. Call number: Z250.3 C64x 1990.

Of all the types of rare and collectible books, perhaps miniature books are the most delightful. In the United States, books are generally considered to be miniature when they measure 3 inches or fewer in length or width. Miniature books have been produced since before the invention of printing. In fact, Louis Bondy, in his respected reference book on the subject, Miniature Books: their history from the beginnings to the present day, cites the oldest known miniature “book” as a Sumerian cuneiform clay tablet that dates to somewhere between 2060 and 2058 B.C.E. It measures 1 5/16 by 1 5/8 inches.

Books have been produced in small sizes for years for obvious reasons: portability and hideability. They are also produced as a test of craftsmanship and skill. The smallest of the miniature books are known as ultra-microminiatures, measuring less than ¼ inch in height, such as the ultra-microminiature Bible discovered last year at the University of Iowa Special Collections.

While Iowa State University Special Collections does not have any microscopic miniature books, nor any that are quite as old as a Sumerian clay tablet, we do have a number of fine and interesting specimens in a range of genres.

A popular type of miniature book in the 19th century was the etiquette book, such as ISU’s Routledge’s Etiquette for Ladies, published around 1864. Measuring 10 cm, this is a readable book that a lady might easily have put in her reticule for ready reference on the current rules for paying visits, walking with gentlemen, staying at a friend’s house, and when and under what circumstances to accept an invitation to dance at a ball. You can see below how well-used this particular volume was by the worn cover and detached binding.

Title page and cover photos of Routledge's etiquette for ladies.

Title page and cover of “Routledge’s etiquette for ladies,” ca. 1864. Call number: BJ1872 .R68x.

As with etiquette books, miniature religious books were popular in the 19th century. These included “thumb Bibles,” or Bible summaries in miniature size, books of the Psalms, and even miniatures of the complete Bible, as well as prayer books and devotionals. ISU owns Dew Drops, published by the American Tract Society around 1834, a devotional book of daily Bible quotations. It measures 6 by 4 cm. Here are pages from late January:

Pages from "Dew Drops" showing daily entries for the end of January.

Pages from “Dew Drops” showing daily entries for the end of January. Call number: BS390 D4x.

Three American political miniature books were created in the early 20th century by students at the Kingsport Press in Tennessee, and they are among the smallest books at ISU. These are Addresses of Abraham Lincoln, 1929; Extracts from the Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge, 1930; and Washington: His Farewell Address, 1932. According to Ann C. Bromer and Julian I. Edison in their book Miniature Books: 4,000 Years of Tiny Treasures, these three books were typeset by hand and then photographically reduced to fit the page size. The final products measure from 21 to 22 mm. They are indeed small works of art! ISU Special Collections owns all three:

Three miniature books: Addresses of Abraham Lincoln; Washington: His Farewell Address, and Excerpts from the Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge.

Addresses of Abraham Lincoln, 1929 (E457.95 .L638a); Washington: His Farewell Address, 1932 (E312.95 1932); and Excerpts from the Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge, 1930 (E792 C615 1930x). Published by Kingsport Press.

What is the smallest book that ISU Special Collections owns? For many years, it was thought to be the Extracts from the Autobiography of Calvin Coolidge from the trio mentioned above, but as I was searching through the collections in preparation for this post, I discovered an even smaller volume. It is possible that there is one still smaller as yet undiscovered, but my candidate for Smallest Book at ISU Special Collections is: American Birds, original illustrations by Amanda Epstein, published around 1979-1982.

Three views of the book American Birds by Amanda Epstein: page of bobolink illustration, cover next to a nickel, title page.

Top left: pages for the bobolink; lower left: cover; right: title page. American Birds, original illustrations by Amanda Epstein, published ca. 1979-1982. Call number: QL682 E67x 1979.

At 20 mm it is definitely the smallest I’ve found!

Miniature books can be found in ISU’s catalog by doing a subject search for “Miniature books — Specimens”.

If you are interested in collecting miniature books yourself, check out the Miniature Book Society.

Posted by: Whitney | January 28, 2014

CyPix: An Old Campus View

View of the southwest corner of campus in 1888, as seen from the roof of Old Main

For those of you who have spent much time on campus in the last century, you probably wouldn’t recognize the subject of this photo without the caption, above. This is the Iowa State Campus looking from Old Main to the southwest corner of campus. Before it burned down, Old Main was situated where Beardshear Hall now sits. On today’s campus, this view would be like standing on top of Beardshear looking toward Campustown. Instead of a few buildings and lots of farmland, the view today consists of, well, lots of buildings. To see more photos of campus in the early days, check out our Flickr page or the Digital Collections website under “University Photographs”. Want to learn more about Old Main? We have a post all about it. For information about the history of our campus, we have a post about that too. Of course, if you want to see even more photos and learn all about central campus, stop by and see us!

On August 6, 1945, Ames residents woke up to a surprise on the front page of their newspapers.

Front page of Ames Daily Tribune for August 7, 1945. Headline reads: Atomic Bomb Opens New Era in Scientific History

Front page of Ames Daily Tribune for August 7, 1945. Ames Laboratory Administrative Records, RS 17/1/3, Box 2, Folder 8, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library.

Since early 1942, scientists at what was then Iowa State College (ISC) had played a vital role in the project that developed the nuclear bomb that had just been dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. We now know that project as the Manhattan Project, yet even today the contribution of the Ames scientists is still not as widely know as other portions of the program. Just what top secret work was going in the lab in Ames?

Building known as "Little Ankeny," after the ordnance plant in Ankeny, Iowa, where work on the Manhattan Project was conducted.

Building known as “Little Ankeny,” after the ordnance plant in Ankeny, Iowa, where work on the Manhattan Project was conducted.

Frank H. Spedding, Professor of Chemistry at ISC, was appointed head of the Chemistry Division of the Manhattan Project’s Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago in early 1942. He appointed his Chemistry Department-colleague, Harley Wilhelm, as Associate Director of the project, hired a staff, and got to work, forming what was to become Ames Laboratory after the war.

The work of the Ames Project supported the goal of the scientists at the University of Chicago to initiate a self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. Such a reaction needed large quantities of pure uranium, which were not available at the time. Therefore, the Ames Project was tasked with two main challenges: (1) to develop a method for the production of pure uranium metal in large quantities, and (2) to develop a procedure for large-scale casting of the metal.

Director, Associate Director and Section Chiefs of the chemical research and development program at Iowa State College (University), which assisted in the World War II Manhattan Project. Left to Right: Harley Wilhelm, Adrian Daane, Amos Newton, Adolf Voigt, Wayne Keller, C. F. Gray, Frank Spedding, Robert Rundle, James Warf.

Director, Associate Director and Section Chiefs of the chemical research and development program at Iowa State College (University), which assisted in the World War II Manhattan Project. Left to Right: Harley Wilhelm, Adrian Daane, Amos Newton, Adolf Voigt, Wayne Keller, C. F. Gray, Frank Spedding, Robert Rundle, James Warf.

By early August 1942, the Ames Project scientists had found a way to successfully produce pure uranium in large amounts. In September, Dr. Wilhelm personally delivered an 11 pound ingot of pure uranium to the Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory. Later that week, the Ames Project had a $30,000 contract to produce 100 pounds of uranium per week for Chicago. Between 1942 and 1946, the Ames Project produced more than 2 million pounds of uranium!

Here at Special Collections, we have recently processed the Ames Laboratory Administrative Records and the Ames Laboratory Research Notebooks and Reports, both of which document the exciting work of the Ames scientists for the Manhattan Project.

The Administrative Records contain correspondence, weekly staff reports, research reports, personnel files, memorandums, programs, and newspaper clippings.  The Research Notebooks and Reports include the laboratory notebooks of the scientists working on the project (such as the one shown below), as well as their research reports and patents directly related to the Ames Project.

Pages from lab notebook of Joseph Feibig.

Pages from lab notebook of Joseph Feibig. Ames Laboratory Research Notebooks and Reports, RS 17/1/4, Box 3, Folder 6, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library.

Interested in learning more? We have several Ames Laboratory collections here in Special Collections. Also, check out this excellent video on the history of the project produced by Ames Laboratory.

Posted by: Whitney | January 21, 2014

CyPix: George Washington Carver

George Washington Carver, 1893

George Washington Carver, 1893

 In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, it seems fitting to highlight Iowa State’s first African-American student and first African-American faculty member. Beloved by peanut aficionados everywhere, George Washington Carver was born a slave and died a respected scientist and teacher. A building on campus is even named after him. He is best known for his work with peanuts, which resulted in 325 different products made from the legume.

Carver became the first African-American student to enroll at Iowa State College (University) in 1891. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in 1894 and earned his master’s in 1896, after which he joined the faculty at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute at the invitation of Booker T. Washington.

One additional note: Carver is thought to have been born around 1864 (the exact year and date is unknown), meaning this year likely marks his 150th birthday. Happy birthday, Mr. Carver!

For a selection of our materials related to Carver, please see our digital collection and make a visit to the University Archives to view the rest of his materials. We hope to see you soon!

Posted by: Whitney | January 17, 2014

Iowa State’s First Student: Charles N. Dietz

Dietz, C.N. 2

Charles N. Dietz, Iowa State graduate and lumber businessman

Have you ever wondered what classes were like in Iowa State University’s early days? The Charles N. Dietz Papers, RS 21/7/58, can enlighten you. As the first student to enroll at what was then known as Iowa Agricultural College, Dietz took many notes during classes, several notebooks of which he left behind and are now stored in the University Archives.

Born July 18, 1853 in Oneonta, New York, Charles Dietz and his family relocated to Anamosa, Iowa, when he was just a small child. In the fall of 1869, Dietz drove his lumber cart to campus, arriving several days before it officially opened, and enrolled in the first classes at ISU. In his obituary in the July 1933 issue of The Alumnus, Dietz is mentioned as having described his first impression of the school as “a big, unfenced farm.” During his time at Iowa State, he was captain of one of the military-like student units that planted and harvested crops and performed all sorts of other labor in the early days. His group helped to build some of the early buildings, fence the college farm, dig ditches, and unpack textbooks. Later, he worked in the treasurer’s office where he helped correct entrance exams and was paid eight cents an hour. In addition to all of this, he did, of course, take classes. Among the classes he took were Comparative Anatomy and Physiology, Psychology (referred to as “Intel Philosophy” in one of the notebooks), Landscape Gardening (taught by President Adonijah Welch), Organic Chemistry, and Pathology. The notes Dietz took during these classes are all in the collection. In an entry dated May 22, 1871 in the Landscape Gardening notebook, Dietz took the following notes on a lecture on the distinction between science and art given by President Welch:

“Science is knowledge systematically arranged. Art is science applied in practice to some specific purpose. Landscape Gardening is an art. There are two great divisions of art viz Fine Arts and Useful Arts. Useful Arts apply science to the attainment of convenience, comfort and profit. Fine Arts have a single purpose in view, that is the realization of beauty.”

In 1872, Dietz became part of Iowa State’s first graduating class and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree at the age of 19.

After college, Dietz moved to Chicago to work for a lumber business. Due to the panic of 1873 and the subsequent layoffs of some high salaried personnel, Dietz quickly became one of the lumber company’s chief executives. After eight years in Chicago, he moved with his wife Nettie Woodford Dietz to Omaha to go into the lumber business for himself, starting the C. N. Dietz Lumber Company. Soon a wealthy man, he went on to establish the Sheridan Coal Company in Sheridan, Wyoming, which he owned until 1903. The coal mining town of Dietz, Wyoming was named after him. In 1890, the Dietzes built a home in Omaha, where they entertained such notables as Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and Helen Keller. Aside from entertaining, in their spare time the couple traveled the world, meeting other notables including future Egyptian president Mahmud Fuad, Herbert Hoover, and J. P. Morgan. Dietz was also quite involved with the Omaha Public Library and served on the library board for many years, later becoming president of the board. After a decline in health, Dietz passed away on June 18, 1933.

Dietz during his college years [check this]

Charles Dietz’s graduation photo, circa 1872

The Charles N. Dietz collection contains a folder of biographical materials and five notebooks from the classes previously mentioned. For more information, take a look at our finding aid and stop in to view the collection! As it’s only one document box, it will take a relatively short amount of time to look through. If you’d like to find out more about Iowa State student life through the years, we have many collections of alumni papers that you are more than welcome to explore. Come on in and see us!

Posted by: bishopae | January 14, 2014

CyPix: Welcome Back!

Students are back on campus this week to start the new spring term. And we know what that means!

Back to hanging out in dorms…

Photograph of five female students sitting by the fireplace in the American Room of Welch Hall at Iowa State University.

American Room in Welch Hall girl’s dormitory, 1949.

eating in cafeterias…

Photograph of men waiting in line in Friley Hall's cafeteria at Iowa State University.

Friley Hall Cafeteria, 1952

catching up with friends at the Hub…

This photograph shows several students standing outside the entrance to the hub talking.

Students standing outside the Hub, 1966.

And, oh yeah, going to class.

This photograph shows students sitting at a table and the teacher at the chalkboard.

Students in class, circa 1960s.

Wishing everyone a fun and productive spring semester!

For more historical photos of student life at Iowa State, check out the Student Life and Department of Residence photo sets on our Flickr page.

Posted by: Stephanie | January 10, 2014

So what would you say you do here?

As I mentioned last week, we project archivists are doing a whole lot of “processing” – a word that refers generally to a method of organizing and handling records. Archivists are familiar with its collections-centric meaning, but it doesn’t mean much to people who don’t interact frequently with archival materials. So, to answer that age-old question posed in Office Space, what would we say we do here?

In general, archives’ use of the term processing covers the following steps:

1. Arrangement: Tidy and organize collections. Fact of life: in order to find something, we have to know where it is. To this end, we organize papers – just like students might have a notebook for each class, or a Google calendar for class assignments and one for sports and social events, we try to divine an order in someone’s desk folders or calendars or letters over the years. We have to write good titles too, that convey a folder’s contents – even when they seem a bit random. When possible, archivists respect des fonds as the French say, meaning ensures that a collection reflects the creator’s use and organization of the items. If that creator purposefully put a bunch of things together, our job is to describe the things with a title (“Military science memorandums”) and leave it for the researchers to debate the contents.

Processed materials

Materials are providing to researchers like this: folders with titles in a discernible order.

Accessioned materials

… but they generally arrive with less sense of organization and in containers that will cause harm to the materials over time.

2. Preservation: Ensure materials are clean and protected. Unlike library books, which can generally be replaced if they are lost or otherwise harmed, our collections are unique or very rare. Letters typically only have one copy; Terry Anderson annotated a draft of his book, and other drafts will contain different marginalia, for example. So archivists must care for paper physically to enable a long life – just like we take vitamins every day or try to eat more fruits and vegetables. Paper’s version of “vitamins” includes being stored in acid-free paper, folders, boxes, and cartons. Photographs are more fragile and popular items, so photos are put into enclosures that are made of clear materials without harmful chemicals. You would be surprised at the destruction caused by a paper clip, a few staples, or a rubber band, especially as they rust and melt over time. We remove these to prevent future issues, but if the item(s) have been exposed to mold or need a lot of help, our Preservation department comes to the rescue.

Our materials arrive in much better shape than this, thankfully. Photo of destroyed library from the Beth Israel Congregation in New Orleans, circa 2005. From Jewish Women’s Archive via Wikimedia Commons.

3. Access and Use: Catalog and promote the collections. Archivists don’t have an easy job (I may be biased) but one of the hardest things we do, in my view, is make sure that people can search for and find materials in our holdings. Just like people need to be able to find books on shelves, articles in databases and the digital repository, images on our Flickr site, we need to make sure people can find items and collections. But every book has just one title and an array of headings. On the other hand, by nature, the materials that individuals gather over their lifetime are much less focused than a book. It would take an incomprehensible amount of time to detail every single item in our collections, so instead we create finding aids that inventory the folders, write biographical and historical notes that detail a person or office’s interests and record holdings,

In order to make sure that users can “see” (via the catalog or other virtual tools, since our shelves are not open to cruising around sections) what’s available, we do a few things:

  • Create finding aids and put them online. This inventories all those folders that we put titles on during arrangement. Finding aids provide context for the collection through a biography of the person or history of an organization, an overview of what is present (or not present) in the records, and a listing of the folder titles. This way, visitors can skim a finding aid and see present – or not present – sort of like a book’s table of contents or index.
  • Create searchable catalog records. Just like you can search for circulating books through the Library website, you can search for special collections as well. These link to the finding aid, as well
  • Write blogs. Finding aids stick to the facts, and frequently collections cannot be digitized – again, the time and file space required is not practical. So these posts allow us to showcase images, provide more context, and wax whimsically about our favorite parts of a collection. Since they’re online also, people can use Google to come across the collections at ISU – library catalogs, not so much.
  • Display exhibits. On the fourth floor of Parks, inside and outside of our reading room, we have exhibit cases that allow us to highlight collections. Currently, the cases are dedicated to the papers of Congressman Edward Mezvinsky and contain photos and sports memorabilia from his youth in Ames and artifacts from his political career. Exhibits may also be virtual – Collections Archivist Laura Sullivan’s online exhibit in honor of Homecoming’s 100th anniversary in 2012 gives a comprehensive view of Cyclone pride that is accessible to alumni near and far.
MS-274 exhibit on Congressman Edward Mezvinsky

Exhibits in Parks Library are just one way we provide access to our collections

Whew! So that is what archivists do when they process, in brief. Every researcher who uses materials from Special Collections, at Iowa State or in any repository, has seen processing’s results up close. Archivists do plenty other tasks: materials have to come from somewhere, groups pay us visits, classes come learn how we can improve their work, we have a web presence to maintain, policies are always changing and developing, etc. Melissa Mannon maintains a long list of the variety of tasks that archivists accomplish using a Pinterest board, What does an archivist do? amongst other archives-centric boards. Maybe I should start one for processing archivists…

Posted by: Laura | January 6, 2014

Coach Johnny Orr


Johnny Orr, who passed away on New Year’s Eve, is a Cyclone legend in every sense of the word.  It can be said that many would argue that he is the best loved and most respected figure in Iowa State University history.  Orr came to Iowa State from the University of Michigan in 1980 and resurrected a basketball program that had not been invited to play in the postseason since the 1940s.  His Cyclone teams slowly improved until, in his fourth season, Iowa State finished with a 16-13 record and an invitation to play in the NIT, reaching the quarterfinals.  By 1986, Iowa State had competed in its second consecutive NCAA tournament, reaching the Sweet 16 for the first time in modern history.  Orr led Iowa State to six NCAA tournament appearances and five 20+ win seasons during his tenure.

“Hilton Magic” is a phrase that was coined during Johnny Orr’s coaching days.  The game atmosphere in Hilton Coliseum became known far and wide as one of the most intimidating in the country.  The Hilton crowds became an effective “sixth man” on the court.  Opponents that were highly ranked often left Hilton with a loss after dealing with noise from fans cheering so loudly that the hoop rims and floor would vibrate.  Hilton Magic simply would not exist today without Johnny Orr.  Every shred of success and every high expectation was set because of how he built his program and fan base.

The Special Collections Department has materials that will allow you to revisit the career of Johnny Orr as Iowa State’s head men’s basketball coach.  The University Archives has a collection of news clippings about Johnny Orr ( RS 24/3/13), and there are also media guides, game-day programs, photographs, and newspaper articles in the men’s basketball records series (RS 24/5).   All of these are available for viewing in the Special Collections Department’s Reading Room.  We also have a selection of images of Johnny Orr available on Flickr under the set “Athletics – Coaches.”

Post written by:  Matt Schuler, Library Assistant

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