NHPRC Update: Wrapping Up

With just over a month left, we’ve begun to plan for the end of our project. Most of our time is spent wrapping up the loose ends and testing the new interface, but we’ve also completed some tasks we’re excited to share:

Two hundred draft finding aids have been completed and entered into CARDinal. These include some really interesting materials that are now fully available to users, such as the World Food Institute records and the papers of Shirley Held, a professor of art and design at ISU.

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A selection of materials from the Shirley Held papers, RS 26/2/53.

We also had the opportunity to present some updates about the project at the Midwest Archives Conference Annual Meeting in Detroit, Michigan. Former Project Archivist Caitlin Moriarty and Lead Processing Archivist Rosalie Gartner participated in a panel about project management and working with student workers, and Digital Initiatives Archivist Laura Sullivan spoke about collaborating with other departments in the library and on campus to help us achieve our tasks.

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GM Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit, Michigan, where the Midwest Archives Conference Annual Meeting was held. Photo provided by Kahlee Leingang.

As the end of our project gets nearer, we encourage you to visit CARDinal and see what we’ve done. In the coming weeks, the site will be getting some appearance upgrades. If you have any problems, questions, or suggestions, contact 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).


A Brief History of Graduation at Iowa State University

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.

Can you believe that it is already April? The year has gone by so fast! The month of April brings warmer weather, spring rainstorms, and the end of the semester. For seniors, we are suddenly hit with the realization that we only have a few more weeks of being a Cyclone. Finals are just around the corner, and then it’s time for graduation! While getting ready for graduation myself, I wondered what it was like for seniors graduating from Iowa State over the last 147 years.

The first graduating class from Iowa State College graduated Wednesday, November 13th, 1872. That very first class of Iowa State students had 26 members, including 2 women! The ceremony was held at the West House in Ames, the first hotel in the area. To learn more about the first graduation and to see photos of the class of 1872, check out this earlier blog post by Outreach Archivist Rachel Seale!

Special Collections and University Archives is full of photos from various graduating classes over the years, so if you are interested in finding photos from a specific year, I would definitely recommend checking out boxes 1532-1572 of the university photos collection. While sorting through the boxes, I found these traditional gap and gown photos of Ward M. Jones from Allison, Iowa and Mary E. Barger from Ontario, Iowa. Ward and Mary were both members of the 1897 graduating class.

After finding the photos of Ward and Mary, I thought it might be interesting to see what degrees they earned. I pulled boxes 1-5 of the Graduation Programs collection, RS 07/09/04/01 and started looking for the 1897 commencement program. About halfway through box 1 of the collection, I found the folder I was looking for, titled “1897 Program”. The graduating class of 1897 was larger than that very first graduating class, but with only 58 people, that is still much smaller than my graduating class is going to be! Ward M. Jones graduated with a Bachelors of Civil Engineering, focused in “Comparative Tests in Building Stones” and Mary E. Barger graduated with a Bachelors of Science focused in “French Physiocrats”.

Title page of Commencement program, reads "Commencement of the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. Ames, Iowa. Wed. Evening, Nov. 10th, 1897, at 7:30 o'clock.

Title page for 1897 Commencement program (RS 7/9/4/01, box 1).

After learning about Mary and Ward, I can’t stop wondering about what other cool pieces of graduation history we might have lying around the archives. If you are interested in finding photos from graduations of the past, I would recommend looking in the Bomb, the University Archives, and the University photograph collection! I found so many cool photos while writing this blog post, I wish that I could include them all. Check out this photo of members of the class of 1914!

Group portrait of class of 1914, all students wearing tuxedos.

Class of 1914 (University Photographs, box 1569).

As the seniors finish their classes and take in their final moments here at Iowa State University I want to remind everyone to make their final days last. While finishing our classes strong is important, it is also important to take the time to hang out with our friends, and make a few more memories at Iowa State that we can cherish for the rest of our lives. Congratulations Class of 2019, we made it!

page from 1985 Bomb, ISU's yearbook, black-and-white image of commencement and white text in cursive reads "Congratulations Class of '85!!" over image.

From page of 571 the 1985 Bomb (Call Number LD 2548 lo9b).


#TBT Celebrating Iowa’s Farms

The banner reads “Iowa’s Crops to the Rescue” University Photographs, Box 162

Today’s Throwback Thursday photo was taken at the Ag Day Parade in 1920. The parade was in conjunction with the Agricultural Carnival which was held at Iowa State from 1912-1915, then again in 1919-1921. In 1922, the Carnival was absorbed, along with other events, into the VEISHEA celebration.

Perhaps the sentiment behind “Iowa’s Crops to the Rescue” had to do with helping to feed the people of Europe after the detrimental affects of WWI. Often the artifacts in the archives tell part of a story, and it is up to the researchers to help piece together the evidence to tell a whole story.

Come visit the archives from 9-5, Monday-Friday to see what stories you might be able to tell!


A Night in Malaysia #ThrowbackThursday

Today’s Throwback Thursday post is in honor of Iowa State University’s celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month. ISU celebrates in April, but AAPI month is usually celebrated in May when school is out. Here are a few pages from the 1987 program “A Night in Malaysia” put on by the Association of Malaysian Students.

 

Today Iowa State University has the Ames Student Association for Malaysians. You can check out their Facebook page. I wonder if the Association of Malaysian Students predates the current Malaysian student group on campus? Drop by the reading room and see if you can do a little research and find out!


Introducing A.L. Carson, processing archivist

Carson, in their natural habitat (surrounded by boxes).

A.L. Carson goes by “Carson” and has since approximately the age of 12. Carson earned their Masters of Science in Information Studies, focusing on archives and digital materials, from the University of Texas at Austin in 2016, and spent two years as a Library Fellow at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. In February of 2019, Carson left UNLV to come to ISU; joining SCUA as a processing archivist, Carson enjoys both the complex intellectual work of unraveling collections and the more mundane physical tasks of taking records from storage to access. They have a dog, love bicycles and baseball, and listen to a lot of music.



#WomensHistoryMonth: Female STEM Heroes of World War II

World War II proved an age of female empowerment on the homefront, as women kept the world running by stepping up to fill both jobs and societal roles traditionally held by men while the men were off at war. The same principle held true for education, and ISU (Iowa State College at the time) was not the only co-ed college in the country where female students temporarily outnumbered their male counterparts. The majority of these women still veered towards liberal arts and home economics majors, but a large number also waded into the hard sciences. Many of them discovered that they possessed an untapped talent for STEM research. Below are a handful of examples.


 

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Senior Portrait of Beatrice Bruner. Bomb Yearbook 1941, pg. 48

Beatrice Bruner Dowd (1924-1998), a native of Rolfe, Iowa, graduated from Iowa State College with her B.S. in Mathematics in 1941. She was very active in clubs and societies, and she also saved a great deal of correspondence from her time in school, where it appears she was well-loved and had many friends.

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Letter from a college friend. RS 21/7/117 Box 5, Folder 7

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Letter from a college friend. RS 21/7/117 Box 5, Folder 7.

Such letters are always interesting to peruse, because they reveal glimpses of life on campus at the time, above and beyond the education and career of the individual. Price changes in particular catch my attention. For example, did you know that Beatrice paid only a $5.00 deposit on her dorm room in 1940? With inflation taken into account, that’s about $90 in today’s currency. And one of her friends wrote that she was worried about having already spent $0.20 (equivalent to about $3.60 today) at the Union for her meals that morning – that it was so difficult to keep one’s daily expenses under $0.60 (about $10.80 today).

Box 5 Folder 7. deposit slip

Room Deposit Slip. RS 21/7/117 Box 5, Folder 7.

It is unclear who, if anyone, might have encouraged Beatrice to pursue mathematics, but her college friends’ letters reference her aptitude in STEM subjects, particularly physics, several times.

In 1943, after graduation, Beatrice joined the Navy, whereupon she was assigned to study meteorology at the University of California at Los Angeles so she could work as a Naval Weather Forecaster. Her papers contain her notes (and some doodles) from various courses she took at UCLA.

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Beatrice’s notes from a course on tropical meteorology. RS 21/7/117 Box 3, Folder 15.

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It is unclear why Dowd saved this amusing doodle on her weather maps from school, or whether she or a friend drew it. But it is certainly unique. RS 21/7/117 Box 3, Folder 15.

Her papers also include procedural documents and training materials from the Navy. Some of these employ humor as a memory aid, as is the case with the cartoons below. Researchers who would like to peruse the full collection of training cartoons, however, should be aware that some of these contain racist depictions of Japanese military personnel. 

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United States Naval Training Division’s Humorous Training Cards and Famous Last Lines. RS 21/7/117 Box 3, Folder 16.

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United States Naval Training Division’s Humorous Training Cards and Famous Last Lines. RS 21/7/117 Box 3, Folder 16.

After the war, Beatrice worked for a company called Sylvania Electronic Products (later known as GTE Government Systems), where she eventually became the Engineering Department Manager before retiring in 1986. Curiously, she also belonged to a group known as the Association of Old Crows (AOC), begun in the 1960s by veterans who had worked as Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) officers in World War II, disrupting enemy communications and radars. The group exists to this day, creating symposiums and journals to educate the public about electronic warfare.

AOC Certificate

Association of Old Crows Certificate. RS 21/7/117 Box 8.


 

Hilda S. White (1953-1997) received her Ph.D. from Iowa State after earning her bachelors in Chemistry from Bethany College, West Virginia, in 1942.

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Excerpt from an autobiographical note by Hilda S. White. RS 21/7/109 Box 1, Folder 2.

While a grad student at Iowa State, she met her future husband, Phil White, who went on to earn his D.Sc. at Harvard, where both he and Hilda were employed as biochemists in the Department of Food and Nutrition for about two years.

Immediately following this, Phil’s program at Harvard sent him to Lima, Peru to perform analysis on food consumption in that country, and Hilda accompanied him. It is unclear precisely what her role in the expedition was, as even her own subsequent write-up of the trip centers around her husband’s job and paints her own experience primarily as that of a housewife, referencing the birth of her first child (which would undoubtedly have consumed much of her time!).

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Excerpt from a report on her time in Peru. RS 21/7/109 Box 1, Folder 1.

But she was also, it seems, performing research connected to the project simultaneously, publishing papers in professional journals, and receiving her own salary from Harvard.

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Research published during Phil and Hilda’s time in Peru. RS 21/7/109 Box 1, Folder 1.

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Research published during Phil and Hilda’s time in Peru. RS 21/7/109 Box 1, Folder 1.

When they returned home in 1953, Phil joined the staff of the American Medical Association in Chicago. The chair of the organization was in the process of looking for a qualified candidate to teach Nutrition at the Home Economics department for Northwestern University at the time, and Phil recommended Hilda, who got the job. She taught there until 1973, when the department dissolved.

While at Northwestern, Hilda continued to perform and publish research, this time on “Inorganic Elements in Weighed Diets of Girls and Young Women” and “Utilization of Inorganic Elements by Young Women Eating Iron-Fortified Foods.” She eventually went on to work at the Chicago Nutrition Association and the journal board of the American Dietetic Association.

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Excerpt from Hilda S. White’s published research. RS 21/7/109 Box 1, Folder 1.

Although her the status of her work was so frequently downplayed in favor of her husband’s, it is clear that she made major contributions to her field in her own right.


 

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Undergraduate Senior Portrait of Darleane Christian. Bomb Yearbook 1948, pg. 24.

Darleane C. Hoffman (1947-2011), nuclear chemist, might be the most well-known of the alumni featured in this post.

She received both of her degrees from ISU: a B.S. in Chemistry in 1948 and a Ph.D. in Physical (Nuclear) Chemistry in 1951. Her biographical web page for the Women in Technology Hall of Fame (WITI), into which she was inducted in 2000, notes that she had not originally intended to study science at all. She had arrived at Iowa State intending to pursue a career as a commercial artist. However, according to the write-up, the influence of an unnamed female professor in one of her freshman courses peaked her interest in STEM fields, and she decided to switch her focus to chemistry.

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Darleane’s notes from Chemistry 512 – Advanced Quantitiative Analysis, a class she took in the Spring of 1949. RS 21/7/100 Box 13, Folder 3.

After graduating with a specialization in nuclear and radiochemistry (interests which would later make her famous), she applied for a job with the radiochemistry group at the Los Alamos National Laboratory only to be told, “We don’t hire women in that division.” Perhaps simply to prove she could, she continued applying to this institute until she landed a position in their Isotope and Nuclear Chemistry division, where she quickly took on leadership roles and worked for 30 years.

During this period of her life, in the 1960s, she also raised two children and would reportedly return to work each night after putting the children to bed.

In the 1970s, while serving as the Division Leader for the Isotope and Nuclear Chemistry division, Darleane discovered a naturally-occurring form of an element called plutonium-244, which scientists had previously believed to be a manufactured substance that existed only in laboratories.

Her group also performed the world’s first aqueous chemistry on hathnium, element 105, around this time.

And these discoveries led to even more innovation once she had accepted a professorship at University of California Berkeley’s Department of Chemistry. In collaboration with European scientists, the groups she led at UCLA discovered the first super-heavy elements, 118, 116, and 114. These became the focal point of her studies in later years.

Among other honors, Darleane received the University of California Berkeley Citation of Merit in 1996, the President’s National Medal of Science in 1997, and the Priestley Medal (the highest honor conferred by the American Chemical Society) in 2000.

National Medal

Ephemera surrounding Hoffman’s reception of the National Medal of Science in 1997. RS 21/7/100 Box 17, Folder 8.


 

We are immensely proud of these alumni here at ISU, and we hope their stories will inspire current students. If you would like to learn more about any of these scientists, feel free to visit the archives and browse through their papers.

Inspiration

Poster. RS 21/7/100 Box 1, Folder 1.


Ada Hayden Herbarium Tour

Special Collections and Preservation staff on a tour of the herbarium led by Deb Lewis

Recently, staff from the Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) and Preservation departments toured the Ada Hayden Herbarium in Bessey Hall.

A herbarium is a collection of dried horticultural specimens arranged for reference and study; the Ada Hayden Herbarium holds over 650,000 vascular plant, bryophyte, fungus, and lichen specimens, including many holotypes. These specimens are studied by researchers coming to work in the herbarium and packed and shipped to researchers across the United States and around the world.

The plants are flattened, dried, and frozen before they are filed in storage. The freezing process insures that any critters that may arrive on the plants are not able to start an infestation in the collection. Information about each plant is carefully collected including the scientific names, name of the locator, and where the plant was found. Deb explained that if properly preserved, the plant specimens can be kept for study indefinitely; including those collected as far back as 1894 by George Washington Carver!

Plant specimen collected by Ada Hayden in 1901.

You’ll notice on the above picture there is a lighter rectangle above the handwritten information about the plant. This is a little envelope for pieces of the plant that may have been removed for study (with specific permission from the herbarium). Every effort is made to ensure that as much of the original plant is kept for research into the future.

In addition to the plant specimens, the herbarium also has a library of horticulture books for easy access for researchers. It was fascinating to see the herbarium and learn about how they preserve the delicate plant specimens. To learn more please see their site!


Rare Book Highlights: An Essay in Defence of the Female Sex

Title page of second edition of Drakes Essay in Defence of the Female Sex.

In 1696, An Essay in Defense of the Female Sex was published in London, “written by a Lady.” For a long time, this work was attributed to Mary Astell, an English pro-woman writer, known for her work A Serious Proposal to the Ladies published two years earlier. In recent years, however, the authorship has been attributed to Judith Drake, and English intellectual from the same circle as Astell. She was married to the physician and political pamphleteer James Drake, who wrote a poem dedicated to the author, which appeared in the second edition of the book. Another piece of evidence of Drake’s authorship is in the description of the book that appears in a catalog of books sold after 1741 by the publisher Edmund Curll, in which it was noted that it was written by “‘Mrs. Drake, probably a sister of Dr. James Drake, who attended to the publication of the pamphlet'” (quoted in Hill 877).

The book is written in the form of a letter to a female friend, as an outgrowth of “a private Conversation, between some Gentlemen and Ladies, and written at the request, and for the Diversion of one Lady more particularly,” as she writes in the Preface. The essay begins, in its characteristic complex style:

The Conversation we had ‘tother day, makes me, Dear Madam, but more sensible of the unreasonableness of your desire; which obliges me to inform you further upon a Subject, wherein I have more need of your instruction.

Sentence is repeated in text below.

Opening sentence of the “Essay.”

This “essay” takes up 148 pages, in which she uses a rationalist arguments to defend women against accusations that suggest women are inferior to men. Point-by-point, she makes the case that women are not naturally less intelligent or talented than men, but that “due care has not been taken, to cultivate those Gifts to a competent measure in us” (Drake 9). She also lampoons men through a series of satirical sketches that show the follies and weaknesses of male stereotypes, as outlined in the work’s full title, “…in which are inserted the Characters of A Pedant; A Squire; A Beau; A Vertuoso; A Poetaster; A City-Critick; &c.”

Black and white engraving of a man dressed in 17th century fashion with a large wig, a long coat hitting at the knee, stockings, and healed shoes, standing in front of a mirror, while a second man arranges his hair from behind.

Illustration of a “beau” used as the book’s frontispiece.

Take, as an example, her description of a Beau (or dandy):

When his Eyes are set to a languishing Air, his Motions all prepar’d according to Art, his Wig and his Coat abundantly Powder’d, his Gloves Essenc’d, and his Handkercher perfum’d, and all the rest of his Bravery rightly adjusted, the greatest part of the day, as well the business of it at home, is over; ’tis time to launch, and down he comes, scented like a Perfumers Shop, and looks like a Vessel with all her rigging under sail without Ballast.

 

…From hence he adjourns to the Play-house, where he is to be met again in the side Box, from whence he makes his Court to all the Ladies in general with his Eyes, and is particular only with the Orange-Wench. After a while he engages some neighboring Vizor, and together they run over all the Boxes, take to pieces every Face, examine every feature, pass their Censure upon every one, and so on to their Dress; here he very Judiciously gives his opinion upon every particular, and determines whose Colours are well chosen, whose Fancy is neatest, and whose Cloths fit with most Air; but in conclusion sees no Body compleat, but himself in the whole House. (ibid 69-71)

Drake concludes by arguing that women are in the position to teach men certain virtues of character. She writes, “There remains nothing more, but to shew that there are some necessary Qualifications to be acquir’d, some good Improvements to be made by Ingenious Gentlemen in the Company of our Sex. Of this number are Complacence, Gallantry, Good Humour, Invention, and an Art, which (tho’ frequently abus’d) is of admirable use to those that are Masters of it, the Art of Insinuation, and many others” (ibid 135).

Drake also pokes gentle fun at herself, apologizing for the long-windedness of her essay, writing, “One Experience I have gain’d by this Essay, that I find, when our Hands are in, ’tis as hard to stop ’em, as our Tongues, and as difficult not to writ, as not to talk too much” (ibid 147-148).

There is just one more things that I wanted to note before I conclude my own essay, which is also in danger of growing long-winded. That is the provenance of this particular copy of Drake’s Essay from our collection. Did you notice the author signature on the title page above? Let’s look at it again.

Description in text below.

Ownership signature on title page.

“Matthew Steel” is written in full on either side of the words “In which are inserted the,” and below is a location and date, “Quantico 1753.” One of the back fly-leaves has more:

Description in text below

Year and location of owner noted on back fly leaf.

Ann. Domini 1755

the Year of our Lord 1755

Quantico

Quantico

Dumfries

Quantico and Dumfries are towns in Virginia that were settled in the 17th century by Scottish colonists. This copy of a book published in London was at some point brought to the American colonies and owned by a Matthew Steel in the colony of Virginia. Though by no means our oldest book, there is something thrilling in looking at this book and knowing it traveled so early on across the Atlantic.

Works Cited

Drake, Judith. An Essay in Defence of the Female Sex: in which are inserted the characters of a pedant, a squire, a beau, a vertuoso, a poetaster, a city-critick, &c. in a letter to a lady. Second edition. London: Printed for A. Roper and E. Wilkinson at the Black Boy, and R. Clavel at the Peacock, 1696.

Hill, Bridget. “Drake, Judith.” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, 2004.


SCUA Visits Vet Med

This semester, members of the SCUA staff have been visiting different parts of campus in order to see other types of repositories and libraries at Iowa State. As a new SCUA staff member, this has also been a good opportunity for me to learn my way around campus and about Iowa State.

A few weeks ago, Rosalie and I toured the College of Veterinary Medicine. Our tour guide, a second year student, showed us around the school and the animal hospital. Part of the tour included visiting their library and seeing the R. Allen Packer Heritage Room. A former faculty member helped create the exhibit, which displays the history of veterinary medicine. It was interesting to see the different advancements and to try to guess how some of the instruments were used. The library has two separate study spaces, one side of the library is reserved for quiet studying and the other side is for group study. This summer the Vet Med Library will undergo renovations as the school expands the women’s locker rooms, which will take over a portion of the library space. The locker rooms are being expanded because the school has outgrown the space as women’s enrollment has increased.

Inside one of the classrooms at the College of Veterinary Medicine. Photograph courtesy of Kahlee Leingang.

One thing that struck me throughout the tour was the support provided to the vet students and the different classroom spaces they had. When showing us the student lockers and mailboxes, our tour guide mentioned that on big test days the administration puts candy in their mailboxes. There is also an on-site administration and financial aid office. All of the classes are filmed so that students can go back and watch lectures as needed. Another highlight was walking through the anatomy lab while a class was in session and getting to see specimens like an inflated section of a cow’s stomach. For privacy reasons, we could not take photographs in the labs or in the animal hospital. Additionally, the Clinical Skills Laboratory allowed students to practice their sutures using different material that resembled animal skin and organs. Also in the lab is a life-size Holstein dystocia simulator, named Frosty, to help students learn how to deliver calves. There was also a life-size calf replica, named Snowflake. Snowflake was laying on a table and we were able to lift her head in order to judge how heavy a new calf is. It surprised me how heavy her head was!

Touring the College of Veterinary Medicine was a nice opportunity to see a part of campus that we normally do not get to see. If you get the opportunity, I would highly recommend taking a tour.

For information about Vet Med, visit their about page or read their news releases. The archives also has information from Vet Med in the RS 14/1 and in the RS 22 collections.  


Highlighting the hidden women in history

Several months ago, a researcher visited the department to look at the materials of G. Perle Schmidt, a poet, composer, and author born in Waterloo, Iowa in 1881. As I normally do when someone is using a collection I haven’t looked at before, I went to our website and did a quick search for Perle – no results found. After talking with the researcher a little more, it turns out the papers of Perle Schmidt are actually  found in the collection of her husband’s papers, Louis B Schmidt. I’ll never know how this researcher found the collection, but her research skills are amazing.

You can see the Louis B. Schmidt collection listed on our website, but no finding aid is available, making it impossible to key-word search for Perle’s name in the finding aid:

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A snapshot of the finding aid for RS 13/12/22, the Louis B. Schmidt papers listed on the SCUA website.

Despite the fact that Perle was well known in her own right, she has been hidden in her husband’s collection since it was donated over 40 years ago. She was active in several societies such as the Society of Mayflower Descendants, had her first poem published at age 12, composed music, published many short stories and articles, and was even selected at the 1936 Iowa delegate to the National Democratic Convention in Philadelphia.

Although I normally focus my energy on making new collections available to the public, this is a clear case in which revisiting an old collection and re-working the description will make a significant change in accessibility to the collection, specifically to Perle’s materials.

Bringing “hidden women” to light can sometimes be very challenging, particularly those living in the early 1900’s. Women would frequently be referred to by their husband’s first and last name, which can make it very difficult to find or verify information about a woman. Although this practice is less common today, it does still happen. As you can see in the article below, Perle is referred to as “Mrs. Louis Schmidt.” Even in her own obituary, she is known by her husband’s name rather than her own unique identity.

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Obituary for Perle Schmidt, referred to as Mrs. Louis B. Schmidt. RS 13/12/22

Sometimes women also weren’t given credit for the work they completed. I’ve often heard the tale of the wife who did the research for a husband’s newest paper, or the female secretary who wrote departmental reports that were credited to a male boss. While this didn’t happen everywhere and all the time, it does add to the challenges of verifying accomplishments. In the case of Perle Schmidt, it is her work with the ISU Music Department that we have been unable to verify. Both her husband and her son mentioned that Perle was working in the Music Department in 1907-1908, however she isn’t listed anywhere that we have been able to find.

So….what can I do about it? A few things. One small change that would bring Perle Schmidt out of the shadows is just to change the title of the collection. Rather than the Louis B. Schmidt papers, I plan to rename the collection the Louis B. and G. Perle Schmidt papers. This will allow her name to at least be key word searchable on the internet.

The description we currently have for the collection doesn’t include any biographical information on Perle Schmidt, but instead is a 2 page biography of Louis Schmidt along with an 8 page list of his publications. This biography for the collection will be updated to include more even amounts of information about both Louis and Perle. By doing this, anyone looking at the finding aid online will know Perle is a prominent part of this collection.

This collection also needs to be re-processed, and some materials will need intervention from the Preservation department to ensure the collection survives another 40 years. Some of the materials used for photographs, paper, and other formats are just not meant to last – they deteriorate even in the best of conditions and need to be checked on periodically. For example, the photographs below may have been perfectly usable in 1975, but are now so brittle they can’t be handled:

Until the collection is re-processed, it is still open for research, with a few restrictions for the more brittle items. If you’d like to come learn more about Perle, please come visit! In the coming months, an updated version of our guide to this collection can be found in our new catalog, CARDinal.