Study Breaks from 1985

Almost no one wants to spend their whole day studying. As important as it is to stay on top of assignments and readings, there’s only so long the average student can study before some kind of study break is needed. The authors of the 1985 Bomb likely would have agreed with the need for occasional study breaks, as they gifted us with this two-page spread on the types of study breaks preferred by students at the time.

According to the Bomb, many students looked to watching T.V. shows such as All My Children and General Hospital, to relax after a long study session. Others preferred to take a quick nap to rest their minds and bodies.

However, by far the most popular types of study breaks at the time were ones centered around food. The most iconic of these food centered breaks being what the authors refer to as “the famous “Quick Trip Run.”

All of these certainly sound more fun than studying! Which, if any, would you choose to relax and refresh yourself? If none of these sound quite right, what works for you?

#FunFriday – 1974 Novelty Sports

Let’s start this #FunFriday with a look at the past! On March 18th, 1974, over 500 students participated in the novelty intramurals of Residence Hall Week. The RHW novelty intramurals were set up in the Linden-Oak-Elm courtyard on a Sunday. Of all the events held that day, I’d be willing to bet the messiest was the mud slide, shown below, which set a new record for longest mud slide.

Other activities included an egg toss, a molasses pour, frisbee toss, pogo stick race, and pyramid building. From these pictures it looks like the next day must have been a laundry day for many participants!

On Wednesday, the RHW Novelty Intramurals moved inside. These indoor events were considerably less messy, but no less fun. Students participated in activities such as a clothes race, bat race, sleeping bag race, and tug of war. Also included in this week was an all-university ping-pong championship between members of residence associations.

Overall, this week sounds like it was a lot of fun!

If you’d like to read about more Iowa State events from the past, check out our digital collection of yearbooks from 1894-1994.

SCUA Research Blog

Throughout my first semester managing social media with the Special Collections and University Archives Department, I’ve learned more about Iowa State than I ever thought I would. My favorite thing about working here has been the opportunity to be so close to so many physical representations of history. Every day I found something new and exciting to photograph and post about.

For this end-of-semester blog post, I was asked to write about one thing that surprised me from the collections I’ve viewed so far. It was difficult to choose just one thing to post about because every day I found something new that surprised me. After much deliberation, I’ve decided to post about my two favorite collections thus far.

RS 21/7/9 – Mary A. Barton Fashion Illustration Collection

This was one of the first collections I viewed that wasn’t necessarily University records; it’s a collection donated by an Iowa State Alumni, Mary A. Barton. More information about the collection can be found here, as well as in previous posts about this collection.

I was shocked at how many illustrations are in this collection, and even more shocked by how beautiful each one is. The majority of the illustrations that I looked at are from the early 1800s. Everything about this collection just blew me away. It is incredible to be able to pick up and look at something from over 200 years ago. I hope to post about this collection again soon!

RS 13/16/4 – Curtiss-Wright Engineering Cadette Program

Earlier this semester, I posted some images from this collection on our Facebook page for a #WomenOnWednesdays post. There have been multiple posts about the Curtiss-Wright Engineering Cadette Program that can be found on Cardinal Tales, I will also link the finding aid for more information on the collection. In the previously mentioned Facebook post, I decided not to post about my favorite items in the collection, due to the images not being very visually engaging. However, I think they’re absolutely fascinating and am excited to share them now!

Above are two letters from 1943, sent from other colleges to Iowa State inquiring about the possibility of their students earning college credits through participating in the program. I find these letters fascinating as they highlighted the involvement of transfer students, many from community colleges, who had been accepted to this program. Being a transfer student myself, I was pleased to see these faculty members fighting for these women to be able to finish their degrees on time even while participating in the war effort.

The tone, and content, of these letters both surprised and delighted me. The letter from Jefferson City Schools, shown on the left, contains the line: “Miss Hultmark is desirous of securing her degree from the Junior College this year…” I enjoy this line because it highlights the determination of this woman to complete her degree, as well as the advocacy of the dean sending the message. I have personal experience with transferring credits and working through the difficulties that come with it, so it was interesting to see a documentation of a step of that process all the way from 1943. In a way, while reading these letters, I felt connected to a part of history.

I’m looking forward to learning a lot more about women’s history at Iowa State in the coming semester.

Moral of the story: stop by the reading room this Spring and check out our collections! You never know what you’ll find!

An explanation for our upcoming department closure

By now, hopefully all researchers have seen the notice on our website that the Special Collections & University Archives will be closed from December 23 until January 10, reopening on Monday January 13, 2020. What you probably haven’t seen is an explanation.

The motorized compact shelving we have in our storage area was installed over 20 years ago and has surpassed its expected lifespan; some of the replacement parts aren’t even made any more! We’ve been experiencing some failure among these shelves for many years, and we’re now at the point that replacing some of the electronics is the most reasonable course of action.

To do this, staff will need to remove the boxes from some of the shelving to allow for the work to happen. Below you see one shelf in one range, which gives you an idea of how many boxes staff need to remove, then replace.


A view of how many boxes are on one range of our motorized shelving units.

While one shelf range is being fixed the shelves on either side are inaccessible, meaning that about 1/5 of our holdings would be unavailable to researchers at any given point during this process. In the photo below you can see how the shelves fit snugly together, limiting access.


A portion of our motorized shelves.

Since the winter break is usually a slow period for us here in Special Collections & University Archives, we decided to do the work now to limit the impact on researchers.

We look forward to starting the new decade with fully functioning shelves!

Rare Book Highlights: A Sophisticated Copy of “On the Origin of the Species”

During a class visit to Special Collections last week, the professor brought something to my attention that I had not noticed before. Our supposedly first edition of Charles Darwin’s famous On the Origin of the Species, which he had requested for his class, was a sophisticated copy.

Sophisticated. That’s good, right? It means that the book is refined, polished, cultured, right? Wrong. In this case, the definition of sophisticated relates to the origins of the word, pointing to the ancient Greek Sophists, or teachers that specialized in the subjects of philosophy and rhetoric. Plato criticized Sophists for teaching deceptive reasoning and rhetorical skills to those seeking political office. You might think of the term spin doctor today. Well, a sophisticated book is ‘spinning’ the truth of its own origins, in a way, since it refers to a doctored book, or one that is deceptively altered. In this case, the title page from a first edition has been bound at the front of the text of a second edition.

This wasn’t a new discovery–it was noted in the catalog entry for this copy, so it was likely known from the time the library purchased it. This was just new information for me; something I hadn’t noticed before. The catalog doesn’t actually use the word “sophisticated,” but what it describes fits the definition of “sophisticated” to a T. What it actually says is this: “Composite copy having t.-p. and half-title of 1st ed., 1859, and text of 2d ed., 1860.

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What does it really mean, though, to add the title page from one edition onto the text of a different edition? Let’s start by defining what an edition is. An edition refers to the entire set of copies printed from one setting of type. After printing up the first edition of a book, it may or may not sell well. If the book does sell well, a printer may want to print more copies to sell. During the handpress period, this would most likely mean that he would have to set all the pages of type again. Below are images showing what it looks like to set lines of type using a composing stick (left), and a fully set page of type (right):

Chances are, in setting them by hand, the new set of pages will not exactly match the original set: words may end up on different pages, typos from the original edition may have been corrected, while new typos may have been introduced. But the changes can be so small that, unless you know just what to look for, it can be very easy to be taken in by a misleading title page.

In the case of the Origin of the Species, I wondered what those differences were the gave away the fact that we had a sophisticated copy. Since we don’t have an actual first edition copy to compare it to, I went searching online. I found Darwin Online, which, among other things, provides scans of the major early editions of Darwin’s writings. It also gives publication history of his major works. In the essay for On the Origin of the Species, it lists a number of textual differences between the first and the second editions. I will focus on one of them to illustrate how we can see that the text of our copy is, in fact, a second edition.

Page 20, line 11 of the first edition has a typo in the word “species,” misspelling it as “speceies.”

Page of text from book, with a red circle around the misspelled word s-p-e-c-e-i-e-s.

Misspelled word “speceies” from the first edition.

Page 20 of our copy looks completely different. As you can see, the typesetting turned out differently. In this edition, that same word doesn’t appear until line 14. And here it is spelled correctly.

Page of text with the same word circled in red, but appears lower on the page.

The same instance of “species” is spelled correctly in the second edition.

Why would anyone sophisticate a book? There are a couple of main reasons. One reason is profit. First editions have a special allure, which tends to make them in high demand by collectors. High demand = high selling price. Perhaps an unscrupulous bookseller had a second edition that wasn’t moving off the shop shelves as quickly as they would have liked. Perhaps they also came across a poor condition first edition that wouldn’t make as much money as one in fine condition. Well, perhaps that bookseller removed the title page from the first edition and bound it into the second edition copy. Caveat emptor*, as the saying goes.

Another reason for sophisticating a book is in order to achieve a “perfect,” or complete volume. The “perfecting” of books was a fashion among 18th and 19th century book collectors. Books deteriorate with use, and with highly used books, it is not uncommon for pages to become worn, torn, or removed entirely. In order to achieve a perfect volume, some collectors would cannibalize pages from another copy and bind them into their own copy. To read more about this practice, see this blog post from the Folger Shakespeare Library about the practice of sophisticating the First Folio. In the case of the Darwin that we have been examining here, it seems clear to me that this instance of sophistication was likely for the purpose of profit.

*So I won’t be accused of defamation of my fellow book lovers working in the book trade, I want to clarify that modern booksellers associations have adopted codes of ethics meant to establish trust in the antiquarian marketplace by laying out standard expectations for ethical business behavior. The Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America in their Code of Ethics and Standards, for example, specifies in point 3 that “An Association member shall be responsible for the accurate description of all material offered for sale. All significant defects, restorations, and sophistications should be clearly noted and made known to those to whom the material is offered or sold. Unless both parties agree otherwise, a full cash refund shall be made available to the purchaser of any misrepresented material” (my emphasis added). So, a bookseller knowing her business should have identified and described any sophisticated copies as such. But even the experts can sometimes miss a clue! So, it never hurts to do your own research if you are purchasing book.

Works Cited

Charles Darwin. On the Origin of the Species By Means of Natural Selection. London: J. Murray, 1859 [ie, 1860]. Call number: QH365 .D259o

John van Wyhe, ed. 2002-. The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online (

1984 Engineering Week

In September of 1984, Iowa State University held a special Engineering Week. Nearly 48 companies set up displays in the Memorial Union throughout the week. These promotions gave ISU Engineering Students opportunities to deepen their understandings of the field in which they had chosen to embark, as well as giving them a chance to network. However, this year’s E-Week was about more than making connections.

Image from the 1985 Bomb pg. 114

Planned and organized by a committee of 20 engineering students, the theme of this year’s event was “touching technology”. Students from all majors were invited to participate in events throughout this week, the most memorable of which being the “Dunk a Professor” event, a design contest, and the E-Week Superstars Competition. In the E-Week Superstars Competition 14 representatives from different disciplines of engineering competed in volleyball and tug-of-war.

This year’s committee was determined to make this a fun week for all, and it sounds like they succeeded!

As always, if you’re interested in reading more about past Iowa State highlights, all copies of the Bomb are available digitally!

Images from the 1985 Bomb pg. 114 – 115.

#FlashbackFriday – London Symphony Orchestra (1974)

Here’s a #FlashbackFriday looking back on when the London Orchestra came to Ames, IA in 1974!

The London Symphony Orchestra came to Iowa State during the Ames International Orchestra Festival in 1974. This was the first year the festival featured an orchestra from outside the United States.

The orchestra performed several sold-out concerts in C.Y. Stephens Auditorium, each with a different soloist. Sounds like an incredible event!

If you’re interested in reading more about past Iowa State highlights, all copies of the Bomb are available digitally!

#WayBackWednesday – Women’s Tennis

Let’s go #wayback to February 22nd, 1917 with these Iowa State University, then Iowa State College, women’s tennis players. It’s incredible to think these photographs were taken over one hundred years ago! I definitely enjoy finding images like these – they make me think about what people will think looking back at us one hundred years from now.

Here’s another photograph of a pair of women’s tennis players. The following image is dated February 17th, 1919, and is captioned “Girls Group Tennis”.

Image from University Photo Box 2029

All images in this post were found in University Photographs Box 2029.

New Library Guide for Oral Histories Available

We are pleased to announce the availability of a new library guide for oral histories in Special Collections & University Archives. Organized by subject, the guide lists more than 50 collections, including oral histories pertaining to agriculture, the arts, community & culture, diversity, government, ISU history, and science & technology.

Coach Harold Nichols, Ben Peterson, Chris Taylor (far right) at WOI-TV, 1972

Manuscripts Miscellany: Native American Task Force of the Rural Coalition

One of our manuscripts collections is the Rural Coalition records (MS-0368), a national alliance of regionally and culturally diverse organizations concerned with rural issues, formed in 1978 to provide a national, unified voice for rural people and their communities. In its early years, the organization began a relationship with representatives from American Indian communities in the United States, leading to the founding of the Native American Task Force (also, variously called the American Indian Task Force by internal documents), one of the five task forces that guided the work of the Rural Coalition in the mid-1980s.

A number of documents in the collection record the steady development and growing momentum from the task force’s beginning as the spark of an idea, through its initial organization and development.

In a letter dated June 3, 1985, Kathryn Waller, Chair of the Board of Directors of the Rural Coalition, outlined the history and beginnings of the task force:

I am writing to you about an exciting development that emerged at our just completed 1985 Annual Meeting of the Rural Coalition. A number of Native American representatives attended the Meeting and met extensively and fruitfully with our leadership. The result is that we have unprecedented opportunity to develop a strong positive relationship between Native Americans and other constituencies in the Rural Coalition. This relationship stands in contrast to the many conflicts between Native Americans and other rural people in the past. [new paragraph] There are a number of steps that need to take place in order to firm up the potential of the budding development. The first steps have already been taken and affirmed by the Rural Coalition Board of Directors on May 22nd. These steps include: (1) the establishment of a Native American Task Force within the Rural Coalition; (2) a commitment from the Board and national staff to assist in furthering the development of the Task Force; and (3) initial provision of fundraising, logistical and staff support to the Task Force.

Selection from a letter from Kathryn Waller to J. Benton Rhoads, June 3, 1985, from Rural Coalition Records, MS-0368, Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives, Box 15, Folder 33.


After the initial meeting between Native individuals and the Rural Coalition leadership, the Native American Task Force held its inaugural meeting a year later, June 12-15, 1986, in Rapid City, South Dakota. The roster of participants includes twenty-four people from twelve states, including people from the Yakima Nation, the Oglala Sioux Tribe, the Oyate Tribe, the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, as well as representatives from non-profit organizations and individuals.

A few months after the task force’s first meeting, they issued a “Statement of Principles — Statement of Purpose” document, dated September 1986. This statement consisted of eight points:

  1. We will work to insure a safe environment for our children and future generations;
  2. We are dedicated to the survival of the Indian Nations;
  3. We will stand together to fight for the protection of our land and resources;
  4. It is our intention to uphold and enforce our treaty rights and the inherent rights of Indians;
  5. We will advocate tribal sovereignty;
  6. We will devise many ways and means to educate and inform Indians and non-Indians to the immediate and to the far-reaching concerns of Indian country;
  7. We will work to promote economic self-sufficiency without exploitation for Indian tribes, Indian groups and Indian persons;
  8. We will look to the confirmation of international recognition of Indian nations and Indian inherent rights.

The following year, in October 1987, an official one-page prospectus of the task force outlined specific areas of focus (“Indian Water Quality, Native Lands, Indian Agriculture”) and activities (“lobbying for specific legislation, research and policy analysis, advocating public policy positions, training and technical assistance to selected Native communities and educating non-Indian rural Americans and others on Indian issues”), with a call at the end for more members.

[On Rural Coalition letterhead] American Indian Task Force of the Rural Coalition. [New paragraph] Formed in 1986, the American Indian Task Force is one of five standing task forces of the Rural Coalition, a national alliance of some 140 memberorganizations banded together to advocate policies to benefit rural people. The Task Force currently has projects on Indian Water Quality, Native Lands Indian Agriculture and other program areas. Task Force members and professional staff design and carry out these projects which involve lobbying for specific legislation, research and policy analysis advocating public policy positions, training and technical assistance to selected Native communities and education non-Indian rural Americans and others on Indian issues. [new paragraph] The Task Force currently has 14 members drawn from all segments of Indian communities. Its membership includes elected Tribal officials, Tribal staff, representatives of non-profit organizations, professionals from several fields and people from both newly-recognized and non-federally-recognized Tribes. [new paragraph] Mr. Pat Bellanger (Chippewa) and Mr. Pat Moss (Cherokee) Chair the American Indian Task Force. Ms. Bellanger is also Vice Chair of the Rural Coalition's Board of Directors. Other Coalition Task Forces are Agriculture, Natural Resources, Jobs, Community Development and Military Issues. [new paragraph] The American Indian Task Force is expanding in 1987-88. Those interested in possible Task Force membership or more detailed information should contact George Coling, Rural Coalition, 2001 S Street, N.W., Suite 500, Washington, D.C. 20009, 202/483-1500. October 1987

One-page prospectus on the American Indian Task Force of the Rural Coalition, October 1987. Rural Coalition Records, MS 368, Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives, Box 24, Folder 30.

Indian Water Quality was one of the initial programs of the Task Force. In May 1988, the task force issued a program report, covering the period from July 1, 1987 – April 20, 1988. The program was funded with a $50,000 grant from the Public Welfare Foundation. The goal of the program is “to improve the environmental health of American Indians living on reservations,” and in order to meet this goal, it outlines specific, measurable objectives. The first of these objectives was “to deliver on-site technical assistance on water quality assessment and program options to tribes and other Native American organizations.” The report spends a considerable amount of space detailing the work on this objective, which revolved around “developing a multi-reservation and single reservation model for delivering technical assistance.” The initial work began with the South Dakota Sioux reservations, including the publication of a study Groundwater Quality for Nine Reservations in South Dakota, followed by the organization of a meeting of the Great Sioux Nation, called the Mni Wiconi Conference held in Rapid City in February 1988, to distribute the information and initiate follow up consultation with individual tribes.

Cover page of a report: Program Report to Public Welfare Foundation, Rural Coalition Indian Water Quality Program, July 1, 1987 - April 30, 1988, May 1988, Contact: George Coling, Co-Director 202/483-1500, Ted Means, Associate Director 605/867-5855"

Cover page of the Program Report on the Rural Coalition Indian Water Quality Program, May 1988. Rural Coalition Records, MS 368, Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives, Box 14, Folder 15.

The Rural Coalition records in our holdings include a large number of subject files in which is collected background information on a number of issues of interest to the task force, including groundwater issues as well as a number of other issues, including Indian airspace, gaming legislation, Native American Fisheries, treaty rights, and economic development, among others.

These Rural Coalition records in our holdings currently end at the year 1990, but these records give insight into a growing area of focus for the organization.