Posted by: Kim | September 1, 2015

CyPix: Sketch of a Pest

Possibly the pupa of a Southern Corn Rootworm (aka Spotted Cucumber Beetle), D. undecimpunctata howardi. (MS 119, box 17)

Click to see the pencil sketch used to make this image. (Dwight Isely Papers, MS 119, box 17)

Over the course of his career Dwight Isely was a USDA Bureau of Entomology researcher, an Associate Professor of Entomology at the University of Arkansas, and Associate Director of the University of Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station. His historical marker at the University of Arkansas refers to him as the “father of insect pest management in the United States.”

At left is a drawing attributed to Isely which portrays the pupa of one of the beetles he studied, perhaps the Southern Corn Rootworm (aka Spotted Cucumber Beetle), D. undecimpunctata howardi.

Isely’s papers document his research activities through lecture notes, chart recorder papers, lab notebooks, correspondence, and publications.

Special Collections and University Archives also holds the papers of Duane Isely (Dwight Isely’s son, RS 13/5/56), in addition to Iowa State University entomologists Robert E. Lewis (RS 9/12/51) and J. L. Laffoon (RS 13/25/57) .

Posted by: bishopae | August 25, 2015

CyPix: Back to classes

Students waiting outside the bookstore during Freshman Days at Iowa State, 1954.

Students waiting outside the bookstore during Freshman Days at Iowa State, 1954. University Archives Photograph Collection, RS 7/2, Box 454.

Long lines at the college bookstore have been a hallmark of the start of term for many years. The fall semester just began yesterday here at ISU, so for the past week students have been moving onto campus, buying textbooks, obtaining ID cards, and many other tasks that frequently involve standing in line.

Here at Special Collections and University Archives, we wish you a good semester! Remember to check out our resources for your research papers and projects. Stop by and see us on the fourth floor of Parks library–we’ll be happy to help you find interesting things for your projects!

Posted by: bishopae | August 21, 2015

A computer picked my date: IBM computer dances of the 1960s

With the plethora of dating websites out there–OKCupid, Match, eHarmony, and even some more niche sites like FarmersOnly or Geek2Geek–you may think that the idea of having a computer match you up with a date developed in tandem with the internet age. Not so. At least since the 1960s, computer programmers have been working on algorithms to match people up. Take, for example, the IBM computer dances held at ISU in the 1960s.

The first dance was held October 12, 1963, in the ballrooms of the Memorial Union. It was sponsored by the Ward System, the residence organizations for off-campus students. As with online dating sites, students who wished to participate in the dance filled out long (120 questions) questionnaires in advance. Staff at the Iowa State Computation Center transferred the answers to punch cards that were fed into a computer for processing.

Students holding punch cards for the IBM Computer Dance in 1963.

Students holding punch cards for the IBM Computer Dance in 1963. From University Photographs Collection, box 1647.

According to one Des Moines Register article from October 4, 1963, “After basic sorting, according to male and female, short and tall, plump and thin, younger and older, the computer will consider such ingredients of compatibility as: What subjects each student likes to talk about; preferences in books, television programs and movies; their religion, politics, and family background; academic ability, dating preferences and personality traits” (from the Clair George Maple Papers, RS 6/2/12, box 5, folder 10).

The system gave each student three matches, the first match being the student’s “ideal partner” from the group of participants, and the dance was divided into three sessions, to allow all of the matches to meet.

And what did the participants think of the event? All-in-all, it got good reviews. According to an Iowa State Daily article from October 15, 1963, “Several WRA [Women’s Residence Association] and sorority social chairmen reported general pleasure expressed by girls attending the dance. Some girls have accepted dates with their matches; others said they enjoyed the evening but did not particularly care to continue the relationship” (from the Clair George Maple Papers, RS 6/2/12, box 5, folder 10). There were even reported to be four couples that got engaged as a result of the dance. (See image below.)

Newspaper clipping, likely from the Iowa State Daily from 1964, describing four engagements that came out of the IBM Computer Dance in 1963. From the Clair George Maple Papers, RS 6/2/12, box 5, folder 10.

Newspaper clipping, likely from the Iowa State Daily from 1964, describing four engagements that came out of the IBM Computer Dance in 1963. From the Clair George Maple Papers, RS 6/2/12, box 5, folder 10. [click for larger image]

And just like those who have sat through terrible online dates, there were some who complained about their IBM dance experience. Complaints ranged from incompatibility, to being paired with wallflowers, to personal jabs. Most notably, one male described his date as “‘not only built like an elephant but danced like an elephant.'”

As you might expect, such a novelty as computer-picked dance partners drew national attention, and the event was covered by The New York Times, Associated Press, United Press International, the Wall Street Journal, and Life magazine, as well as WOI-TV, Omaha TV, and ABC-TV.

After that much press, other colleges and universities across the country were eager to get in on the novelty, too, so the Iowa State Computation Center agreed to process the punched questionnaire cards sent in by other universities who wanted to hold their own computer dances.

A card sorter like the one shown here in the Iowa State Computation Center would have been used to sort the punch cards for the dance. From the University Photographs Collection, box 439.

A card sorter like the one shown here in the Iowa State Computation Center would have been used to sort the punch cards for the dance. From the University Photographs Collection, box 439.

For more on the history of the IBM computer dances, check out this Iowa State Daily article. Documentation of the dances can also be found in the Clair George Maple Papers (RS 6/2/12) (see box 5, folder 10 and map case items), newly processed at Special Collections and University Archives. Stop in and see us!

Posted by: Kim | August 18, 2015

CyPix: Masonry School

 

Students at the Masonry School short course, 1961. (University Photographs, RS 16/5, box 1436)

Students at the Masonry School short course, 1961. (University Photographs, RS 16/5, box 1436)

The 1959-1961 Iowa State University General Catalog describes short courses as being conducted for two purposes: “To enable men and women in the same field to meet for a discussion of mutual problems, and to give them an opportunity to discuss and study their problems with college specialists in the light of most research findings.” The courses were open to anyone and were of limited duration and practical in nature.

In addition to masonry, the University has offered courses on school lunches, English grammar, custodial work, wind energy, seed analysis, sausages, tropical biology, soil fertility, and many other topics.

For more on short courses, see:

  • Department of Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management Short Course Records (RS 12/9/6)
  • Duane Isley Papers (RS 13/5/56)
  • Extension Service Records (RS 16/1/1)
  • University Photographs collection 16/5
  • The Iowa State University web archive
  • Related materials in the library catalog

Thirty years ago, rural America was in the midst of a farm crisis, one so significant that it’s often simply referred to as “The Farm Crisis.” During this time, things were so bad that many farmers left their profession and sold their farms. For some, the whole situation was more than they could handle. Those that stuck it out endured a long, hard struggle, one that is far from forgotten in the rural Midwest. The Center for Rural Affairs Records, MS 413, now available for research, contains subject files on the farm crisis and illustrates the work that the Center did to help those affected by the crisis.

How did it all start? It seems there were many causes, not the least of which was a “boom and bust” economic cycle. In the early 1970s, an economic boom in agriculture occurred, and by late in the decade signs of a bust became evident. Loan interest rates skyrocketed, less demand from foreign markets helped drive crop prices down, and as a result many farmers couldn’t pay back the loans they were able to take out so cheaply in the ’70s. The impact on the agricultural community was huge, with farms being sold or abandoned and many people moving to urban areas to make a living. The stress on farmers and their families was horrific. It was the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, but only the agricultural community bore the brunt this time.

MS 413, Box 73, Folder 22

Farm Crisis Manual, published by Rural America. CFRA contributed a great deal of research and material related to Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) to this manual, undated. MS 413, Box 73, Folder 22

The Center for Rural Affairs (CFRA) was established in 1973 as a non-profit organization to advocate for rural interests in politics and to improve the welfare of rural Americans. Naturally, the farm crisis fit right in to their work (and provided new challenges). CFRA conducted research on how to help farmers get through these tough times and worked hard to change policies that had led to the bust, such as those regarding tax subsidies and cheap credit. Not everyone followed the organization’s recommendations on how to get through the crisis, but CFRA labored to guide farmers and policy makers through it nonetheless. While all of this was occurring, CFRA was working on various other projects, which you can read about in the previous link as well as here. CFRA has kept quite busy over the years with various agricultural issues, and their passion is evident throughout their manuscript collection.

MS 413, Box 100, Folder 29

A letter to FmHA from CFRA commenting on proposed changes to the FmHA property management regulations, 1984. MS 413, Box 100, Folder 29

More information on the work that CFRA has done can be found in the collection, along with more information on the farm crisis and many other matters pertaining to agriculture and rural America. Special Collections and University Archives has many other resources on the farm crisis, which can be found in this collections guide. In addition, we have a copy of Iowa Public Television’s 2013 documentary “The Farm Crisis,” also available for viewing here. Stop in and have a look at our resources!

Posted by: bishopae | August 11, 2015

CyPix: in a canoe

Where would you like to be on a warm summer day in August? Slipping quietly along the edge of a lake with birds singing overhead and fish moving in and out of the shadow of your canoe?

Paul Errinton, research professor of zoology at Iowa State University from 1932 to 1962, in a canoe. University Photographs 13/25/A, box 1235.

Paul Errington, professor of zoology at Iowa State University from 1932 to 1962, in a canoe. University Photographs 13/25/A, box 1235.

As the author of Muskrat Populations, which was awarded the Iowa State University Press award for faculty publications, Paul Errington may well have spent many an afternoon in a canoe, doing field research on this semi-aquatic rodent. Errington, Professor of Zoology at Iowa State University, came to the university to establish and lead the first Cooperative Wildlife Research Unit in the United States. See what more the University Archives holds on Errington (RS 13/25/51) and the Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit (RS 9/10/4).

Posted by: Kim | August 7, 2015

“Life in Iowa”

In 2002, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension and ISU Philosophy Professor Nancy Bevin founded “Life in Iowa,” an undergraduate community-based internship and academic program that combined classroom study of Midwestern culture and identity along with experiential learning through internship, service, and community research in an Iowa community. The course focused on issues and concerns specifically related to the cultural and natural landscape of Iowa.

The program had several desired outcomes: 1) cultivating the personal, social, and ethical growth of students; 2) renewing Iowa’s leadership via encouraging students to stay in Iowa after graduation and preparing students for professional and civic life; and 3) fostering sustainable quality of life and ongoing partnerships between Iowa State University and communities in Iowa (Brochures, RS 16/5/5, box 1, folder 9. See also Leopold Center Competitive Grant Report M02-2003).

Diagram of 2002 Life in Iowa partner sites

“Life in Iowa Communities – Summer 2002” (RS 16/5/5, box 1, folder 4)

The Life in Iowa program supported ISU students via paid internships and work in a variety of areas. Each student had to complete 300 intern hours and 100 hours of community service during the 10 weeks of their summer placement. Some of the projects for 2003 involved:

CSA Life in Iowa participants with onions

Life in Iowa participants, L-R: Betty Wells (faculty mentor), Tim Landrgaf (One Step at a Time CSA co-owner), and Ann Holste (student participant), 2003 (RS 16/5/5 box 3, folder 2)

  • Organizing and running a fishing club for local youth (Adams County)
  • Revitalizing kestrel nest boxes (Green County)
  • Interviewing ESL students about their immigration/refugee experiences (Henry County)
  • Developing a website for a visitor center (Allamakee County)
  • Researching and describing historical artifacts (Montgomery County)
  • Coordinating a community garden (Dallas County)

“As you know, an important goal of this program is to encourage ISU graduates to stay in Iowa and build a future here. At the same time, we know that life presents each of us with a series of choices, many – if not most – of them unexpected, and so we have asked not for promises, but rather for newly explored possibilities of vocation and community, of leadership and service in Iowa. What I can say with certainty is that wherever these young persons someday will live will be made better for their presence…and that without exception, the communities where they lived and worked this summer will always welcome them home.” – from Nancy Blevin’s remarks at the “Life in Iowa Celebration,” September 8, 2002. (RS 16/5/5 box 1, folder 3)

A display of brochures.

An array of publications about the Life in Iowa program and its interns. (RS 16/5/5 box 1, folder 8)

By 2004, over 78 students had participated in the program in over 33 counties (“Life in Iowa” website). The program closed in 2007.

To learn more about the Life in Iowa program, see the Life In Iowa Internship Program Records (RS 16/5/5). Information about service learning and related initiatives can be found in the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching Administrative Records (RS 06/10/03).

Posted by: Whitney | August 4, 2015

CyPix: Three Farmers and a Dog

Three farmers sitting on a trailer bed - possibly taking a break - with a dog, 1949. RS 16/3/D

Three farmers sitting on a trailer bed taking a break with a dog, 1949. RS 16/3/D

It’s August already! Soon, students will be returning (and arriving for the first time) in droves for a new academic year. But for now, there’s still plenty of summer left to enjoy! We are officially in the “dog days of summer,” trying to find ways to beat the heat and humidity here in Ames. Truth be told, I’m not certain in which season the photo above was taken, but I like to imagine these farmers are taking a break from the heat of their summer work and their trusty farm dog decided to join them (the long sleeves don’t necessarily indicate cool weather – they also serve as protection from the sun and other elements). Sometimes we don’t know much about a photo, and it is therefore open to interpretation. What we do know about this one is that it’s a great image of a small piece of farm life in the 1940s, a life integral to Iowa then and still integral today.

The photo above comes from the Cooperative Extension Service in Agriculture and Home Economics collections, a list of which can be found here. More Extension photos can be found on our Flickr site for those of you wanting to see more. And, if you need to get out of the heat, the Special Collections and University Archives reading room is a great place to cool down and explore Iowa’s agricultural past. See you soon!

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

Older Posts »

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 890 other followers

%d bloggers like this: