If the wretched hole which they show in Carnarvon Castle as the birthplace of Edward II be indeed the room in which that unhappy prince first saw the light, I can only say that whatever advantages the men of a former age may have had over us, certainly domestic comfort could not be said to be one of them.

– W. F. Butler. Ventilation of Buildings. New York: D. Van Nostrand, 1873, page 9. (Parks Special Collections TH 7653 .B978v)

“Electric Heating and Cooking Apparatus.” The Electrician, December 31, 1897. (TK1 EL266.

Wherever you’re reading this, take a look around. Chances are that you are, or have recently, benefited from some kind of “domestic comfort” – whether that be an air conditioned house, electrical lighting, a metal cooking pot, or a ventilated

room, the products of science have made life a little pleasanter.

An

An “alarm thermometer” that provide alerts when designated areas became too cold or too hot. The Electrician, November 26, 1897. (TK1 EL266).

The home has benefited greatly from disciplines such as applied physics,1 electrical engineering, thermodynamics, materials science, mechanical engineering, acoustics, and so on. Iowa State scientists have contributed to several domestic comforts: Srinivas Garimella developed technology that can be used for environmentally friendly air conditioners and the Iowa State University Research Foundation, in conjunction with Maytag Corporation, developed an ice dispenser that will work in refrigerators with freezers on the bottom.

Design for a safety lamp. John Davy. The Collected Works of Sir Humphry Davy. London: Smith, Elder, and Co. 1839-1840. (QD3 D315c)
Design for a safety lamp. John Davy. The Collected Works of Sir Humphry Davy. London: Smith, Elder, and Co. 1839-1840. (QD3 D315c)

 You can read more about Iowa State University technology developments here. Iowa State University patents from 1959 to present are also viewable via the Iowa State University digital repository.

For more about Iowa State University inventors, see our technology collections subject guide. A few of those collections are listed below:

  • Iowa State University Inventors and Inventions (RS 00/21)
  • John Vincent Atanasoff Papers (RS 13/20/51)
  • Wesley Fischer Buchele Papers (RS 9/7/52)(pdf)
  • George Washington Carver Collection (RS 21/7/2)
  • Charles A. and Sidonia Goetz Papers (RS 13/6/17)

1“Applied Physics is rooted in the fundamental truths and basic concepts of the physical sciences but is concerned with the utilization of scientific principles in practical devices and systems, and in the application of physics in other areas of science.” – Stanford Department of Applied Physics, 2003.

Before the proliferation of larger cities, malls, and online shopping, how did Iowans buy goods? Here in Special Collections we have several collections that can help answer that provide insight on the history of retail in Iowa.

"This is the outside of our store... this letter is to invite you to come inside." Marketing letter from The Tilden Store Company  of Ames, Iowa. (click for full letter and map). (MS 75, box 2 , folder 7)

“This is the outside of our store… this letter is to invite you to come inside.” Marketing letter from The Tilden Store Company of Ames, Iowa. (click for full letter and map). (MS 73, box 2 , folder 7)

The Tilden Store in Ames was a staple shopping for 102 years (1869 – 1971). It provided dry goods, shoes, and groceries, eventually becoming a modern department store. Located on Main Street in downtown Ames, the store was the “largest locally-owned store of it’s kind.Downtown Ames is still a place to find many locally-based retailers.

"Color Scheme and Fabrics for the Tilden Store Co., Ames, Iowa" by Alvin L. Weidt Designers Associates, Minneapolis, Minnesota. (undated). (MS 73, box  4, folder 11)

“Color Scheme and Fabrics for the Tilden Store Co., Ames, Iowa” by Alvin L. Weidt Designers Associates, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Undated. (click for larger view) (MS 73, box 4, folder 11)

 

Many of the early retail stores stocked locally or regionally produced goods. One example is the Moingona Pottery Company (see image below), which provided stoneware and crockery to several dry goods and retail stores in Iowa.

Stop by Special Collections and University Archives to see these materials, ledgers, correspondence, receipts, photographs and more.

[A sampling of orders placed with Moinonga Pottery from several retail stores in Iowa. 1876.] (MS 95, box 2, folder 15)

[A sampling of orders placed with Moingona Pottery from several retail stores in Iowa. 1876.] (click to enlarge) (MS 95, box 2, folder 15)

A sampling of related materials:

  • Garst Family Papers (MS 579)
  • George W. Chandler Papers (MS 95)
  • Hanyan Family Papers (MS 4)
  • Peterson Clothing/General Store Records (MS 603)
  • Schroeder, Allen Leo. The Stoneware Industry at Moingona, Iowa: An Archaeological and Historical Study of Moingona Pottery Works (13BN120) and Flint Stone Pottery (13BN132). Iowa State University, Thesis, 1979. (ISU 1979 Sch76)
  • Tilden Store Company Records (MS 73)
  • Tilden Store Company” in the Farwell T. Brown Photographic Archives at the Ames Public Library
Posted by: bishopae | July 21, 2015

CyPix: Where did that bird go…?

Iowa State students on campus watching for birds, May 1925. University Photographs Collection, Box 608, Folder 2.

Iowa State students on campus watching for birds, May 1925. University Photographs Collection, Box 608, Folder 2.

These knickerbocker-clad Iowa State students from 1925 are scanning the trees for birds. The Iowa State College Catalogue for 1925-26 lists a course in “Bird Study” in the Zoology and Entomology Department. The class focused on “Identification, habits, and economic importance of Iowa birds. Birds of the vicinity will be observed under guidance.”

More photos of students engaged in wildlife study can be found in our Animal Ecology Flickr album.

Posted by: Whitney | July 17, 2015

Campus Humor: The Green Gander

On April Fool’s Day, 1915, a humor magazine was started on campus. The Green Gander was published by the men’s journalism honorary society, Sigma Delta Chi and included jokes and anecdotes that poked fun at prominent university and community figures. Perhaps needless to say, the magazine was a success. Because women weren’t allowed to work on The Green Gander, they started their own humor magazine, The Emerald Goose, which was also a hit. In 1922, the two magazines “married” and published under the Green Gander name.

Cover of the first issue of The Green Gander, April 1915.

Cover of the first issue of The Green Gander , April 1915.

Some examples of the humor in the earlier years of the magazine are as follows:

April 1915:

Waiter: “Sauerkraut, Hungarian goulash, Irish stew or French toast?”

Student: “Ham and eggs. I’m neutral.” (Reference to WWI)

Music Prof. (after recital): “Well, what do you think of my execution?”

Patron: “I’m for it.”

Homecoming issue, 1937:

“Higher Education: Learning to yawn with your mouth closed.”

The Green Gander was published quarterly until its last issue in April 1960. By the mid-1950s, the publication had become more risque, including “pin-up” style portraits of female students. It was still immensely popular with students, but the administration was less enthused. Complaints about its contents were submitted from off-campus individuals, and the Journalism Department was concerned about the lack of professionalism evident in the magazine by its students. Here are a couple of examples of the humor from these later editions:

December 1958 issue:

“I see you are not a gentleman,” scorned the woman on the street corner as the wind swept her skirts overhead. “No,” he replied, “and I see you aren’t either.”

“Love is blind so a fellow has to feel his way around.”

The November 1959 issue of the Green Gander. The cover format was new (and less comical) for this issue.

The November 1959 issue of The Green Gander. The cover format was new (and less comical) for this issue.

The editorial board made a change in 1959, and the November issue of that year had an entirely different – and more serious – tone. Topics in this issue included “Iowa State’s Cultural Opportunities,” “Marriage and College – How is it Done?” and “How to Make a Decision.” It still maintained a somewhat humorous slant, but nothing like before. Readers were not so fond of this new format and hung an effigy of the new editor on central campus. The April 1960 edition made another attempt at humor, but there was no recovery from that November issue. The publication was laid to rest in October 1960.

The final issue of The Green Gander, April 1960. One last attempt at humor.

The final issue of The Green Gander, April 1960.

Much of the information in this post was taken from here, where you can read more about it and Iowa State’s past traditions. Want to read The Green Gander for yourself? Stop in and ask to see some copies (dare I say, “have a gander” at them), call number LD2546 G74x. We look forward to seeing you!

Posted by: Kim | July 14, 2015

CyPix: Sun-dappled swans

Lancelot and Elaine, 1978. (University Photographs RS 4/8, box 383)

Lancelot and Elaine, 1978. (University Photographs RS 4/8, box 383)

Iowa State University is beautiful year-round, but the picture above shows the almost magical aspect of Lake Laverne and its two resident swans during the summer. Lancelot and Elaine are iconic figures of the Iowa State campus. The Lancelot and Elaine above may be one of the male/female pairs we’ve had through the years, although the current Lancelot and Elaine are both female. See some early footage of the swans via the Special Collections Department’s Flickr account. We have several other boxes of photographs of the swans in University Photographs for RS 4/8/4.

Despite what you may see in historical photographs of the swans, please do not feed them or leave trash in the area – it hurts our birds!

Posted by: bishopae | July 10, 2015

Cutting and pasting: alumni scrapbooks

A trip to your local craft store will tell you that scrapbooking is a popular American activity. But this is not just a recent phenomenon. In fact, scrapbooking has been popular for the last century or more, and this is made evident by the number of alumni scrapbooks we have here in the University Archives.

Scrapbooks provide a unique window into the history and culture of a time period. They save many of the things that would otherwise be lost to time, such as newspaper clippings, dance cards, theatre programs, and flyers. Early 20th century Iowa State College students, like many of their cohort around the country, kept scrapbooks to capture their experiences and memories of the fun times they spent outside of classes.

Pages from the Raymond T. Benson Scrapbook, RS 21/7/81, showing dance cards and sports score charts, circa 1913-1919.

Pages from the Raymond T. Benson Scrapbook, RS 21/7/81, showing dance cards and sports score charts, circa 1913-1919.

Scrapbooks also capture the larger historical and cultural environment in which the individuals lived out their lives, such as the scrapbook below from Mary (Graf) Speer, who attended Iowa State College in the 1940s. The first page of her scrapbook includes a newspaper front page headline proclaiming victory in Europe during World War II–obviously a huge concern to the students of the day, who had friends and family members fighting both in Europe and in the Pacific Theater.

From Mary E. (Graf) Speer Scrapbook, RS 21/7/250, 1945.

From Mary E. (Graf) Speer Scrapbook, RS 21/7/250, 1945.

Raymond T. Benson’s scrapbook from World War I documents the military activity on campus.

Page from Raymond T. Benson Scrapbook, RS 21/7/81.

Page from Raymond T. Benson Scrapbook, RS 21/7/81.

Scrapbooks also present unique challenges to archivists in terms of storage and preservation. Because scrapbooks often contain 3 dimensional objects, this can strain the binding, as with Raymond T. Benson’s Scrapbook below.

Cover of Raymond T. Benson Scrapbook, RS 21/7/81.

Cover of Raymond T. Benson Scrapbook, RS 21/7/81.

While the photograph above shows a scrapbook placed in a box to protect it, other scrapbooks required more extensive housing treatments. Mary Graf Speer’s scrapbook came to the archives missing a cover, so spacers were placed inside the box to keep the individual pages together, while some material was removed to a separate folder.

Mary E. (Graf) Speer Scrapbook, RS 21/7/250, in box with spacers and separated material in folder.

Mary E. (Graf) Speer Scrapbook, RS 21/7/250, in box with spacers and separated material in folder.

Sometimes a scrapbook needs special treatment, not because it is in bad condition, but in order to keep it pristine. Lottie M. Rogers, who attended Iowa State College in 1901-1902, created a beautiful scrapbook. Library conservators created a special box to maintain it in its originally beautiful condition.

Lottie M. Rogers Scrapbook, RS 21/7/149, circa 1901.

Lottie M. Rogers Scrapbook, RS 21/7/149, circa 1901.

Box created to house the Lottie M. Rogers Scrapbook.

Box created to house the Lottie M. Rogers Scrapbook.

More alumni scrapbooks and other papers can be found in RS 21/7, Alumni and Former Students.

Posted by: Kim | July 7, 2015

CyPix: S-t-r-e-t-c-h pants!

Students modeling their new stretch pants after creating them in Jane Saddler's class, 1964. Click to see the whole sheet of photographs. (University Photographs RS 12/10, box 1013)

Click to see more.

So “stretch pants” may not be an exciting phrase nowadays, but when the photos at left were taken, spandex had only recently come on to the market. Joe Shivers, a chemist at DuPont, invented “Fiber K” in 1958. Fiber K was the first spandex (an anagram of “expands”) and quickly became a replacement for nylon and rubber fabrics due to its capability to expand dramatically while retaining the ability to return to its original size.[1]

The women at left are demonstrating the stretching capabilities of clothing made in the new spandex fabrics after creating them in Jane Saddler’s class in the Iowa State University Department of Textiles and Clothing (now the Apparel, Merchandising, and Design programs). Make sure you click on the picture to see the students creating their pants.

Learn more about textiles and clothing courses, as well as textiles research, in the RS 12/10 collections.

At left: Students modeling their new stretch pants, 1964. (University Photographs RS 12/10, box 1013)

[1] David Grant Caplan. “History of Stretch Fabrics: Pulling at Stretch Fibers’ Roots.” WWD 181, no. 117 (Jun 12, 2001): 10. http://search.proquest.com/docview/1434218348?accountid=10906.

Posted by: Kim | July 3, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

A sticker on display at the Ames City Hall Headquarters during 1976. (MS 074, box 1, folder 11)

A sticker on display at the Ames City Hall Headquarters during 1976. (MS 074, box 1).
See more from the Ames American Revolution Bicentennial Commission in MS 074.

Special Collections and University Archives is closed today in recognition of Independence Day.

Have a happy 4th of July!

Posted by: bishopae | June 30, 2015

CyPix: Four Seasons Fountain, before and after

Before 1941, the fountain in front of Memorial Union looked like this:

Memorial Union and fountain on Iowa State University Campus, before 1941. Christian Petersen Papers, RS 26/2/52, box 6, folder 7.

Memorial Union and fountain on Iowa State University campus, before 1941. Christian Petersen Papers, RS 26/2/52, box 6, folder 7.

But 1941 saw the unveiling of sculptor Christian Petersen‘s Fountain of the Four Seasons, based on the Osage song collected by ISU Agronomist J. C. Cunningham: “Lo, I come to the tender planting. Lo, a tender shoot breaks forth. Lo, I collect the golden harvest. Lo, there is joy in my house.”

Unveiling of the Four Seasons fountain by Christian Petersen in 1941. Christian Petersen Papers, RS 26/2/52, box 6, folder 7.

Unveiling of the Fountain of the Four Seasons by Christian Petersen in 1941. Christian Petersen Papers, RS 26/2/52, box 6, folder 7.

The sculpture includes four Native American women facing in each of the four cardinal directions. One is planting seeds, another is nurturing a corn plant, a third harvests corn, and the fourth nurses a child.

Christian Petersen served as Artist-in-Residence from 1935-1961. He completed 11 major sculptures, several of which can be seen on campus, as well as numerous busts, reliefs, portraits, and small sculptures.

To find out more, check out the Christian Petersen Papers, RS 26/2/52 in Special Collections.

Posted by: Kim | June 26, 2015

From Cow to Glass: Dairy Marketing in Iowa

“You Lucky Iowans” A Dairy Month ad from the American Dairy Association of Iowa and the Iowa Diary Industry Commission, 1962. (MS 65, box 6, folder 8)

“The very foundation of June Dairy Month begins with the dairy farmer himself. Without the dairymen, neither milk nor dairy dollars would flow through the channels of trade.”

Dairymen Work Together to Build Dairy Markets, in “Radio Scripts,” MS 65, box 6 folder 8.

June is Dairy Month, which gave me an opportunity to see what material we’ve got in the stacks on dairy marketing in Iowa. The records of the Iowa State Dairy Association (MS 65) reveal how much work it takes to market dairy. Filled with sample event calendars, restaurant table displays, decoration ideas, recipes, and advertisement layouts, the annual promotional packets are excellent sources for understanding how the dairy industry sought to encourage dairy use each summer.

Here are some examples of suggested interviewees and interview prompts from the 1962 June Dairy Month promotional materials (MS 65, box 6, folder 8):

MS65B6F8-Banker MS65B6F8-nurse

Most Iowa dairy farms are still relatively small family operations. Despite this, Iowa farms produced 4,646,000,000 lbs of milk last year!

“Mrs. McCoy” enjoying the 1964 Dairy Month festivities in Marion (Linn County), Iowa. (MS 65, box 7, folder 1)

If you’re a milk drinker, you can enjoy the following refreshing beverage, courtesy of a recipe shared at a Dairy Month event (MS 65, box 13, folder 13):

ORANGE MUFFLER

1/4 c. instant vanilla pudding mix

3 tbsp orange juice concentrate

2 c. milk

Blend, chill, and enjoy! (I assumed that this was the next step – it wasn’t in the original recipe!)

For more on Dairy Month, see last year’s blog entry and be sure to check out the other dairy marketing materials in the Iowa State Dairy Association Records.

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