Welcome to 2019!

Photograph of white female student, long hair with glasses, close-up in a library office setting (cubicle & book shelves filled with books visible in the background).

Photograph courtesy of Cassandra.

This blog post was authored by Curation Services Student Writer Cassandra Anderson.

Welcome back students! Students are back on campus, The Hub is officially reopened, and the spring semester is in full swing! With the new semester starting, we are officially moving towards warmer weather again. I know that we had a pretty cold weekend, but soon the sun will return and we can all break out our favorite pair of flip flops! Just in case you need a little warm weather inspiration to get you through the next few months, I have pulled some great photos from The Bomb, the University’s official yearbook. The Bomb was published in hard copy from 1893-1994 and physical copies can be found in our reading room! If you do not have time to visit us in person, you can find digitized copies of the Bomb here: https://digitalcollections.lib.iastate.edu/bombs

Three people standing on a limestone cliff over a river in Ledges State Park while a fourth member watches from below.

With the spring season fast approaching, there are so many fun things that you can look forward to doing on campus. When the snow melts, you and your friends will be able to hit the trails at Ledges State Park. With the new campground renovations and the warm weather, study breaks can become weekend adventures with your friends! Check out this Ledges photo from the 1973 Bomb!

Two people trying to cross a river in Ledges State Park.

One of my favorite spring activities on campus is meeting new dogs that are out on a walk with their owners. When the weather is nice, campus is full of furry friends getting a chance to stretch their legs, taking a quick nap in the sunshine, or assisting their owners. Be sure to take your pup to campus this spring and do some people watching like this adorable duo from page 15 of the 1973 Bomb!

A student sitting with their arm around a Saint Bernard dog, both are facing away from the camera.

We all know the Iowa springs can be a little on the rainy side, but you know what they say, “April showers bring May flowers” and without those April showers, how will you get to show off your super cool umbrella? I know that I have seen some pretty cool umbrellas on campus, but check out these umbrellas on page 78 of the 1964 Bomb.

Thirteen people sitting under a large tree on campus during a rainstorm with multi patterned umbrellas.

Now, there is one part of spring that we all can agree on is great, and that is graduation! That’s right seniors, your last semester at Iowa State is here, and it is up to you to make the most of your semester. Hopefully those April showers bring us lots of May flowers for our graduation photos! Need some inspiration? Check out these photos from the 1964 Bomb and the 1973 Bomb!

So, whether it is your first semester or your last, be sure to go out and make the most of it! From classes to hanging out with friends, always try to make time for the little things, and remember, go Cyclones!

A small blonde haired child crawls on the ground behind a row of ducklings following their mother.

1989 Bomb, page 14.


Weird, Wacky, Wonderful

One of the great benefits of answering reference questions is all the stuff I discover in the special collections and archives along the way.  Anyone who has done research in an archive can tell you how easy it is to get off track when you spot that new interesting document or photo that leads you down a new research rabbit hole.

Since I have the great opportunity to dig through the archives, I am excited to start this occasional blog series to share the interesting, funny, shocking, weird, or just plain fun things I stumble upon in the special collections and archives.

To kick things off, while searching for some student group photos, I came across a couple of images from a Milk Maid contest.  I was drawn in by the cow sporting a lovely lei crown and was inspired to learn more.

milkmaid 0001

One of the things required of contestants was to show affection for the cows. University Photo Box 1657

milkmaid 0002

University Photo Box, 1657

The Milk Maid contest was hosted by the Dairy Science Club.  There would be dozens of contestants and thousands of spectators to these contests.  The participants were judged on “the amount of milk they collect, their costume, their display of affection for the cow and the amount of audience support” (Iowa State Daily, 10/4/1979).

There was a parallel contest for men that included milk chugging, milk can rolling, and goat dressing.

goat dressing

Photo from Iowa State Daily article, 4/10/1975. RS 22/5/0/1, box 5, “Dairy Science Club”

To learn more about the Milk Maid contest or to find a research rabbit hole of your own, visit the SCUA Monday-Friday, 9-5.


NHPRC Update: Searching with Subjects in CARDinal

With the new year comes exciting updates to our public archives catalog, CARDinal—you can now search for collections by subject!

There are two ways to utilize this new feature. Click “Browse Subjects” on the left side of the screen to bring up a list of subjects you can browse or search:

Screenshot of the "Browse Subjects" page in CARDinal.

Screenshot of the “Browse Subjects” page in CARDinal.

You can also use the subject field in Advanced Search:

Screenshot of the "Advanced Search" in CARDinal.

Screenshot of the “Advanced Search” in CARDinal.

Let’s take a look at an example. If you’re looking for collections about agriculture, you could search “Agriculture” in the subject field of Advanced Search. This will bring up about 150 results.

Screenshot of subject search results in CARDinal.

Screenshot of subject search results in CARDinal.

If you’d like to see more specific options, click “Browse Subjects” and search “Agriculture”. This will update the list to show all the subjects that include agriculture. Perhaps you’re particularly interested in Agriculture and politics. Click the check box next to any of the subjects, then click “Display Collections”.

Screenshot of subject search results in CARDinal.

Screenshot of subject search results in CARDinal.

This will limit the results to only collections with those specific subjects.

Attaching subjects was one of our major objectives for the NHPRC project, so we’re happy to share this development. Some of the larger collections are still a work in progress, but we invite you to try the new functions. Check out the subject searching tools in CARDinal and let us know what you think! If you have any questions or comments, please contact NHPRC Project Archivist Emily DuGranrut at emilyd1@iastate.edu.

NHPRC logo

This project has been generously funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).


Reflecting on a Semester’s Worth of Writing about Special Collections & University Archives

Photograph of white female student, long hair with glasses, close-up in a library office setting (cubicle & book shelves filled with books visible in the background).

Photograph courtesy of Cassandra.

This blog post was authored by Curation Services Student Writer Cassandra Anderson.

Writing for Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) has been an eye opening experience. I have found photographs and manuscripts that I would have never even known about had I not started this job. Sorting through photos of campus throughout the years is so interesting, because there are thousands of them and you truly never know what you were going to find. When I came across the photo from last week’s Facebook post of the students carrying the computers through the snow, I was just casually looking for cool snow pictures and I knew that I had to share that one. Within that box, there are some other awesome photos of winters throughout history of ISU including these! The history of our campus is so rich and interesting, you just have to start looking.

When you are researching a topic, it is easy to get frustrated and lose your determination to learn about the subject. One of the hardest parts of my job so far has been researching student organizations. I have found that a lot of times, not every student organization makes it into the ISU yearbook, The Bomb. Sometimes organizations will have manuscript folders in the archives, but they won’t have anything about them within The Bomb which is incredibly frustrating when you want to find photographs of an organization. You just have to remember to keep your head up, and keep digging, because you truly never know when something unexpected is going to appear within your research that may make the struggle worth it.

Cover of book The End of Eternity by Isaaac Asimov, has mn standing in front of what looks like old radio equipment. Text on cover is in white, black, and orange, rest of cover is black-and-white.

Here is another cool cover from a book within the Margaret Young Science Fiction Collection. This is The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov. Call Number PS 3551.S5E5x.

Something I tend to forget about when researching in the SCUA is that we have rare books. In fact, we even have a Rare Books and Manuscripts Archivist, Amy Bishop! I know that it seems pretty obvious that a place titled “Special Collections and University Archives” would have rare books, but sometimes it just totally slips my mind! However, I have been doing quite a bit of work researching the rare books recently, from the miniature book collection to the Margaret Young Science Fiction collection, and it is so much fun! There is something so cool about old books, there is always something unique about them. If I had to pick a favorite item to research, it would be rare books. I could easily spend hours going through the pages of a single book. From the cover art to the binding, something sets each book apart from the rest of them. Some books even have crazy backstories, which make them even more interesting! This job has opened me up to a world of new possibilities when it comes to working in an archival field, and specializing in Rare Books and Manuscripts is now on the top of my list.

 


Rare Books Highlights: ISU’s oldest book on agriculture

Cover of book shows leather covering one half of the book going around the spine. The other half is an exposed wood board with clasps holding it closed. The wood board has a number of small holes about a milimeter in diamter..

Cover of ISU’s copy of De Agricultura Vulgare.

In this month’s Rare Books Highlights post, we’ll be taking a look at the oldest agricultural book we currently own in Special Collections. It is Pietro de’Crescenzi’s De agricultura vulgare, published in 1511. With that publication date, it just misses the incunabula period, or the first 50 years of printing, but it still has many features of an early printed book. This book is an Italian translation of a much earlier work, Ruralia Commoda, a standard agricultural manual first written circa 1305.

Let’s start by taking a look at the book’s interesting binding. It is quarter-bound leather over wood boards, which means that leather is used to cover the spine only, and the wooden boards are exposed. It also has some clasps with lovely seashell-shaped catches. The boards have seen some wear–look at those chewed up corners! It also is peppered with wormholes. (That’s right–bookworms are a real thing and include a number of beetles that, in their larval state, will tunnel through wood and paper.) Based on the style, I’m guessing this is the original binding.

One of the things I love about this book are the wonderful woodcut illustrations throughout the pages. They show images of herding families, animals in some sort of corral structure with a man praying to God, a group of men threshing grain, and even what looks like a herdsman playing an old instrument resembling bagpipes! I love these illustrations for their simple depictions of medieval life and clothing.

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This book has a colophon, which is a statement at the end of the book with information about the book’s printing. This one gives the place of publication (“Venetiis”–Venice) and publication date (“die sexto mesis Septebris anno dn̄i M.D.XI.”–September 6, 1511). No publisher is listed here, even though that information was often included. A colophon was a feature that carried over into early printed books from manuscripts, where scribes would often write a message to the reader. Early in the 16th century, colophons gave way to the title page. This book is clearly from the transition period. It also has a title page, but it is very basic, listing only the author and title.

This book is Pietro de’ Crescenzi. De agricultura vulgare. Venice, 1511. Call number: S492 C863d.


Margaret Young Science Fiction Collection

Photograph of white female student, long hair with glasses, close-up in a library office setting (cubicle & book shelves filled with books visible in the background).

Photograph courtesy of Cassandra.

This blog post was authored by Curation Services Student Writer Cassandra Anderson.

When I was looking for something to write about for this blog post, I found myself scrolling through the Subject Guidelines when I saw the “Rare Books” heading. Recently, I have been working on my applications to graduate school and have found myself to be very interested in the programs that have a “Rare Books and Manuscript” focus, so I thought I would see what we had under the header. That’s when I found the Margaret Young Science Fiction Collection. Now, I have always been a little bit of a nerd, but when I saw that heading I knew what I would be writing about.

Margaret Young was the mother of an Iowa State University Faculty member who decided that she wanted to donate her collection to an repository who would keep her collection together. In total, there are 397 books and 35 serial titles within the collection. The head archivist at the time, Dr. Stanley M. Yates, wanted to protect the cover art of the books, so thankfully the books were brought into special collections. There are wide range of authors within the collection, including famous writers like Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Arthur C. Clark, H.P. Lovecraft, Jules Vern, Kurt Vonnegut, and H.G. Wells.

The collection has some familiar names to those who may not read science fiction, like Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G. Wells. Other pieces within the collection include Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clark, End of Eternity by Isacc Asimov, The Circus of Dr. Lao by Charles Finney, and Out of the Silent Planet by C. Lewis. These are just a few of the examples, you can see a larger list of some of the titles here.

The covers of these books are so cool, I wish I could take pictures of all of them to show the world. However, since I can’t show you all of them, I will show you a few of the cool ones that I pulled today! A lot of these books are paperbacks, so they have to be handled with care when you open them. Book weights and cradles are available at the front desk if you wish to view some of these books!

One of my favorite books that I have found from the collection so far has to be The Island of Dr. Moreau. The famous book has had many covers over the years, but the cover art on this one is just so cool!

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If you are interested in looking at the rest of the collection, come see us! There are so many other cool books that I wish I could have listed for you all to see!

Here are the call numbers for the books that I mention above.

The Island of Dr. Moreau PR5774 .I8 1960z

Childhood’s End PR6005 .L36 C54X

The End of Eternity PS3551.S5 E5X

Fahrenheit 451 PS3503.R167 F3X


NHPRC Update: Searching with CARDinal

If you’ve been keeping up with our blog recently, you’ll know that we made our new archives catalog, CARDinal, available to the public November 1st. As we continue to add new information, I wanted to give you a preview of just how much easier it is to search our materials with CARDinal.

Let’s say you are interested in learning more about Adonijah Welch, first president of what would become Iowa State University. You can use quick search to bring up any records that contain his name within the finding aid:

A screenshot of the quick search function in CARDinal.

A screenshot of the Quick Search function in CARDinal.

Doing that will bring up these results:

Screenshot of quick search results in CARDinal.

A screenshot of Quick Search results in CARDinal.

You can also use the Advanced Search to get more specific. Let’s say you only want to find materials created by Adonijah Welch. Enter his name in the Creator field:

Screenshot of Advanced Search in CARDinal.

A screenshot of Advanced Search in CARDinal.

And you’ll get these results:

A screenshot of Advanced Search results in CARDinal.

A screenshot of Advanced Search results in CARDinal.

Advanced Search can even get more specific. Use the check boxes or “More Search Options” at the bottom of the page to further limit your results:

A screenshot of the further options for Advanced Search in CARDinal.

A screenshot of the further options for Advanced Search in CARDinal.

That’s just a small preview. You can also browse creators, search records from a specific time period, or only bring up records that include links to electronic resources. As we continue adding subjects and other access points, the search results will become more accurate and navigable. The possibilities are virtually endless!

For more tips on how to use CARDinal, check out our Quick Reference Guide.

Give CARDinal a try and let us know what you think. Contact NHPRC Project Archivist Emily DuGranrut at emilyd1@iastate.edu with any questions or comments.

NHPRC logo

This project has been generously funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).


The United Native American Student Association at Iowa State University #NativeAmericanHeritageMonth #ThrowbackThursday

Photograph of white female student, long hair with glasses, close-up in a library office setting (cubicle & book shelves filled with books visible in the background).

Photograph courtesy of Cassandra.

This blog post was authored by Curation Services Student Writer Cassandra Anderson.

Did you know that November is Native American Heritage Month? Here on campus we have student organizations dedicated to various topics, but the one I am featuring today is the United Native American Student Association (UNASA). UNASA is still active on our campus today, and the organization sponsors events on campus to celebrate their heritage and to educate those around them. In the past the organization has sponsored the Symposium of on the American Indian in the University. In my research, I have found two brochures from these events. The first event that I have found in our University Archives and Special Collections was from 1973. Below is a photograph of the schedule of events! During the 1973 Symposium, there were several speakers and demonstrations given over the day.

The next event I was able to locate information on was in 1979, when UNASA sponsored the “Our Children, Our Future” event. Held on April 6 and 7 of 1979, the even was much larger than the 1973 event. While there were still speakers and demonstrations, there were also events for children, films, and other activities.

I also found an interesting article from the Iowa State Daily from October 17 (pictured below), about another event that UNASA brought to campus in 1979. For the first fall cultural event of the year, Gerald Sitting Eagle came to the university to perform a series of traditional hoop dances. You can see the article below!

“Sitting Eagle–dancing for cultural recognition,” Iowa State Daily, October 17, 1979.

While I was unable to find photos of the organization in our copies of the Bomb, there are several Iowa State Daily articles written about the organization and the events that they hosted. For more information on the United Native American Student Association, check out box 2 of collection RS 22/03/00/01!


Rare Book Highlights: Mythical creatures in zoological works

You know that feeling when you are flipping through an early book of natural history and you see illustrations of insects, armadillos, and…mermaids? No? Just me?

Black and white engraving of a creature that is half human with a long fish's tail. The human part is nude to the waste and appears to be female. Script on the illustration reads, "Pece Muger, sive piscis," followed by letters in Greek.

Illustration of a creator that looks like a mermaid, found in Francesco Redi’s work, “Opuscula…” (QH41 R248o).

Truly, you never know what you are going to find when you look through early works of zoology. Mythical creatures aren’t limited to medieval bestiaries. Check out these other interesting creatures from books in our collections.

This two-headed snake-like creature is found in an Italian book on parasites from 1684.

Illustration shows three figures in the shave of a Y, one of which is a two-headed snake.

From “Osservazioni di Francesco Redi” (QL757 .R248o).

And for the Potterheads out there, Charles Owen’s An Essay Towards a Natural History of Serpents (1742) has many delights.

Winged dragons…

Black and white engraving of four types of serpents, the common asp, the winged dragon, the Ethiopian dragon, and the scytale. The two dragons are shown with wings. The Ethiopian dragon is illustrated with wings and two legs.

Illustration of winged dragons from Charles Owen’s “An essay towards a natural history of serpents” (QL666.O6 Ow2e).

a basilisk…

Black and white engraving of four different serpents: two of "the Basilisk or Cockatrice living in the Desarts of Africa," an American serpent, and the elaphis. The top image of the basilisk or cockatrice shows a snake like creature wearing a crown on its head. The second of the two show a creature with a long tail, four pairs of legs, and a bird-like head wearing a crown.

Illustration of the basilisk or cockatrice, from Owen’s work on serpents (QL666.O6 Ow2e).

and various sea serpents.

Black and white engraving of four creatures: the sea serpent, the sea scolopendra, the mistress of serprents, and the natrix torquata. The sea serpents is looped multiple times around intself with a large head, large eye and rows of teeth. The sea scolopendra is shown with a feathery-looking coat down its entire body.

Illustrations of sea serpents in Owen’s work on serpents (QL666.O6 Ow2e).

Owen has interesting things to say about all these serpents. Speaking of dragons, he cites ancient Greek and Roman historians who were said to have seen such beasts. The are supposed to be found in Europe, “between the Caspian and Euxine Sea,” as well as “the Atlantic Caves, and Mountains of Africa.” Surprisingly, “These also have been seen in Florida in America, where their Wings are more flaccid, and so weak, that they cannot soar on high” (192). “The Basilisk or Cockatrice,” he tells us, “is a Serpent of the Draconick Line, the Property of Africa, says Aelian, and denied by others: In shape, resembles a Cock, the Tail excepted” (78). He notes many traditional characteristics of the basilisk–again familiar to Potter fans: “his Eyes and Breath are killing,” “it goes half upright, the middle and posterior parts of the Body only touching the Ground,” and its venom “is said to be so exalted, that if it bites a Staff, ’twill kill the Person that makes use of it; but this is Tradition without a Voucher” (78-79).

Charles Owen (d. 1746), a Presbyterian minister, was following in the footsteps of the authors of early medieval bestiaries, who believed that animals as creatures created by God, were endowed with moral meaning for mankind. Thus, not being a scientist himself, he gathers together what others, particularly the ancient Greek and Roman authors, have written about the creatures and hopes that it “produces in the Reader a more exquisite Perception of God in all his Works” (vii). It comes as no surprise, then, that Owen frequently quotes from the Bible and refers to stories in which serpents play a role, or philosophizes on the symbolism of the serpent as with this passage from his section on dragons:

What is moral Evil but the Venom of the old Serpent? A Venom as pleasant to the Taste, as the forbidden Fruit to the Eye, but the End is Bitterness. And what are Incentives to Sin, but delusive Insinuations of the subtle Serpent? And what is Enjoyment, but a pleasing Illusion, which is no sooner grasp’d, but glides away as a Shadow, leaving behind it a wounded Conscience, direful Apprehensions and Prospects. (193)

Bibliography

Owen, Charles. An essay towards a natural history of serpents. London: Printed for the author, 1742. Call number: QL666.O6 Ow2e

Redi, Francesco. Opuscula… Amsterdam: Apud Henricum Wetstenium, 1685-86. Call number: QH41 R248o

Redi, Francesco. Osservazioni di Francesco Redi … intorno agli animali viventi che si trovano negli animali viventi. Florence: P. Matini, 1684. Call number: QL757 .R248o

 


English Reading Lab Machines

Who says English majors, even in the past, haven’t engaged with technology?

Here is a curiosity I stumbled across the other day.

I’m not entirely sure what the function of these so-labeled “reading lab” machines might have been, because I have never seen anything like them before. My best guess is that they were designed to improve speed-reading skills — that the bar of light from above swept down the page at a words-per-minute pace set by the user.

Image of Girl in English Reading Lab circa 1962. RS 13/10/D,F,G, University Photos, box 1073.

Girl in English Reading Lab circa 1962. RS 13/10/D,F,G, University Photos, box 1073.

Furthermore, they seem to have been used in a classroom setting, rather than private study carrels, which suggests to me that they may have served as remedial aids for students — perhaps for freshmen who had been struggling to keep up with course reading loads and wished to improve their study skills.

Image of Reading Lab "Help" Class, circa 1962. RS 13/10/D,F,G, University Photos, box 1073.

Reading Lab “Help” Class, circa 1962. RS 13/10/D,F,G, University Photos, box 1073.

These are just guesses, however.

If anyone reading this post attended ISU in the 1960s, is there a chance that you used something like this? Could you shed some light on these machines’ purpose?