#WaybackWednesday – “The Correct Method of Preserving Fruit”

A few weeks ago, I decided to take another look at one of my favorite collections, MS-0381 Food and Household Product Advertising Guides and Publications collection. circa 1880s-1978, undated. I wrote about this collection in a previous blog post and promised to post more about the collection soon.

Fulfilling that promise, let’s take a look at a booklet titled “The Correct Method of Preserving Fruit”, published by Ball Brothers Glass MFG. CO. in Muncie, Indiana. As expected, the booklet contains details on how to preserve many different kinds of fruit (all using mason jars, of course). However, this guide also contains information on how to can vegetables, make pickles, and even sauces.

Throughout the MS-0381 collection, there are several of these types of practical household guides produced by companies to showcase the many uses of their main product. For another example, check out our previous post about Arm & Hammer Baking Soda advertisements. In this case, Ball Brothers Glass may have created this guide to persuade consumers of the necessity of “Ball” Mason Jars.

Understanding the source and having an idea of the purpose of the information, is always important. In my opinion, it makes these tips seem much more interesting. Here are a few instructions that caught my attention while flipping through the guide. Of course, these may be fascinating to me because I can barely boil water.

Which one of these would you most want to try? Comment below!

All materials from Box 1 of MS-0381 Food and Household Product Advertising Guides and Publications collection. circa 1880s-1978, undated.

Trivia Tuesday

Test your Iowa State University knowledge every Tuesday! Feel free to post your guesses in the comments, and we will post the correct answers in the comments Thursday morning. Good luck and Go State!

  1. Who was the first president of Iowa State?
  2. In what decade was the Cy mascot first introduced?
  3. What was the name of the Iowa State yearbook?
  4. How many cherry pies were made in 1922, the first year of the pie sale fundraiser?
    1. 700
    2. 3,000
    3. 2,000
    4. 200
Iowa State students selling cherry pies.
University Photos

Good luck! Feel free to poke around our blog to see if it helps you answer any of the questions!

Learning with Primary Sources

Since many students are engaged in virtual learning, I am starting a new blog series that shares digitized primary sources that can be incorporated into class lessons.  I am including digitized material from our collections, but am using collections and lessons from Library of Congress and Digital Public Library of America also.

What are primary sources

Primary sources are first hand accounts of events. They come in a variety of formats including, but not limited to, photographs, meeting minutes, correspondence, newspaper articles, diaries, social media posts, autobiographies, oral histories, and news clips. They do not have to be historic events —documenting one’s every day life provides evidence of how we live now to future generations. Think of how much life has changed from when you were a kid to now, much less the lives of older generations.

Why should primary sources be included in the curriculum?

Using primary source materials

  • improves critical thinking and research skills,
  • engages students by making historical events more personal which helps them view history as a sequence of human events instead of distant historical events, and
  • encourages students to use evidence for their research.

Bomb (Iowa State University’s Yearbook)

The Bomb was Iowa State’s yearbook from 1893–1994 and the digital collection includes the full run of yearbooks.

  • Take 10 minutes flipping through a yearbook, any year (though you can also assign a year if that fits in with other lessons). Pick out another yearbook, at least 2 decades apart from first yearbook and spend 10 minutes browsing.
    • What did the yearbooks have in common? What was different? Give 3 possibilities that explain the differences.
    • What do the yearbooks tell you about student life at Iowa State? What information about student life is missing that you would be interested in knowing about?

Rosa Parks: A Primary Source Gallery

This is from the Library of Congress and is appropriate for students of all ages.This gallery highlights pieces from the Rosa Parks Papers and includes teaching ideas, a primary source analysis tool, and access to additional teaching guides for analyzing primary source materials.

Lyrical Legacy: 400 Years of American Song and Poetry

This is from the Library Congress and includes songs and poems represented by digitized primary source documents from the Library of Congress’ collection, along with historical context for the songs and poems. This site includes analysis tools and activity ideas.

The United Farm Workers and the Delano Grape Strike

This set of primary sources comes from the Digital Public Library of America. It contains digitized material from various institutions and includes additional online resources and a teaching guide.

My selections for today’s primary source sets and collections is random because I want to give you all an idea of the various subjects and types of materials that are available. Stay tuned for my next installment in April!


Iowa State University Library Digital Collections

Library of Congress: Teachers

Digital Public Library: Primary Source Sets


Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women in Politics

March is Women’s History Month, and this year marks the hundredth anniversary of the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment, which enfranchised (some) women in the United States. Special Collections and University Archives houses many collections focused on women’s history, work, and lives both at Iowa State and around the world: women’s history is Iowa State history, and vice versa.

The administrative records and photographs of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women in Politics (RS 13/21/06) document the establishment and operations of the Center, from its inception in the department of Political Science in 1992 through former director Dianne Bystrom’s resignation in 2018.

In some ways, the history of the Center itself reflects the ways in which the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment was an incomplete victory for women’s liberation: the renovation of the former Botany Hall and its re-dedication as Catt Hall, envisioned as a home for the Center and a celebration of women’s political power, sparked action by students who, already living in the incomplete victory of white woman suffrage and the white feminist movements of the 20th century, raised serious questions about naming the building for Carrie Chapman Catt, given her mixed legacy on race in America. The Catt Center’s website addresses some of those questions more fully; evidence of the student protests and the administrative response to them appear in these records largely as newspaper clippings*.

Materials related to the Center’s programs start the early 1990s, keeping pace with changes in the political and material realities of women’s lives in the United States as they moves forward into the current century. The photographs in this collection document the variety of speakers and visitors the Center has hosted, recipients of the Strong Minded Women Award, Mary Louise Smith Chair honorees, and many others (spot Anita Hill, Elizabeth Dole, and Amy Klobuchar); they also offer more candid looks at the workshops, student trips, and daily work of the Center’s staff.

Recently processed, these records will be open to researchers just as soon as SCUA is.

*Those protests (the September 29th movement), are documented in the University Archives in RS 22/03/03, the September 29th Movement records and RS 22/01/08, the records of the Catt Hall Review Committee. For more about Catt herself, check out this previous post.

Aeon Introduction

Hello everyone!

We’ve got an exciting change coming! This summer we will launch Aeon, a special collections and archives circulation system.

What does this mean for you? After you create an Aeon account, you will be able to make reading room and reproduction requests directly from our finding aids and the library’s catalog. You will also be able to access your request history–no more keeping track of your pink call slips! You can also save searches for the future while getting ready to do your research.

Aeon is a great tool for us to be able to collect anonymous data to know which collections might be good candidates for digitization, exhibits, even for use in classrooms.

Keep checking Cardinal Tales in the coming months for more updates, instructions, and neat features.

SCUA 2.0, or Archives in the Age of Self-Isolation

Hello, ISU!

While we are all in self-isolation these next few weeks, don’t forget about some of the great online resources we have to help you access collections materials from SCUA.

Digital Collections

Nowhere near all of our collections are digitized, but we do have a fair number of high-use collections, and particularly photographs, available for online viewing here.

The Bomb Yearbook

This is part of our digital collections, but I mention it separately because it’s a fantastic resource that lends itself well to a great number of research projects, as well as to some genealogical questions. The entire run of the college yearbooks, from 1893-1994, is included, and much of it is (at least partially) keyword searchable.

Flickr Photos

In addition to the more official digital collections, we also have some photograph collections available on Flickr!

YouTube: AV Collections

Lots of people don’t realize this, but many of our digitized AV materials are available for streaming on our YouTube channel. You can listen to some old University Lectures recordings, watch wrestling demonstrations, browse WOI films, re-live memorable moments from past Cyclone games and VEISHEA, and so much more.

Online Exhibits

For nearly every physical exhibit we host in Special Collections, there is a corresponding online exhibit, which often features additional materials and information. These exhibits can be a great springboard if you are interested in a particular topic but either don’t know much about it or aren’t sure which related collections to explore first.

Digital Repository

A number of historical publications produced by members of the Iowa State community can also be found in our digital repository alongside more recent publications, theses, conference proceedings, and so forth. Examples of this include The Aurora, a very early student newspaper, and rainfall statistics recorded at the college experimental station in the 1890s.

Web Archives

Did you know that we capture old and outdated versions of university-affiliated web pages and social media accounts? Some of these crawls go back as far as 10 years. You can search the public site here.


Finally, you can plan your next in-person visit to the archives by browsing our finding aid database and figuring out which collections you will want to look at when you get here.

You can also reach us at archives@iastate.edu, if you have questions.

Stay safe, everyone. And stay home!

And don’t forget: SCUA made you wash your hands before it was “a thing.”






#WOW – 1970s Women’s Rights Buttons

The year 2020 marks 100 years since the 19th amendment was ratified by the Supreme Court, granting (some) women the right to vote. Though the success of the women’s suffrage movement is notable, the struggle for gender equality continues today.

In 1987, Congress declared March to be National Women’s History Month. In celebration of this month, and the anniversary of the first women’s movement, let’s take a look at one of the ways Iowa State students have made their voices heard – buttons! Shown below are some women’s rights buttons from the 1970s.

#MediaMonday – Baking Soda Advertisements

I have always been fascinated by advertising. Specially, older advertisements have always caught my attention. With advertising being something the average person encounters quite frequently, it makes life more interesting to compare the methods of persuasion used in old advertisements to methods used today.

With this in mind, I was browsing through the catalog for a collection that would indulge this interest. When I came across collection MS-0381: “Food and Household Product Advertising Guides and Publications collection. circa 1880s-1978”, I felt like I won the lottery.

On that note, let’s take a look back at some old advertisements for a product still commonly used today, Arm & Hammer’s Baking Soda.

The earliest Arm & Hammer advertisement in this collection is an almanac from 1909, shown to the left. Titled “the Arm & Hammer Almanac”, the small booklet contains several messages intended to persuade the reader of the need for this product.

Several of the pieces featured in this post are actually guidebooks with several pages of information on the many uses of this product. Below is a guidebook from 1924, highlighting the medicinal uses of baking soda.

It’s interesting to look at these examples of advertising from over several decades. It seems to me that the message has remained the same across the years, which is that “you need Arm & Hammer baking soda in your home”. The following guidebook from 1949, clearly echos this message as well.

All of the pictured advertisements, and a few not included in this post, were published by Church & Dwight Co Inc.

After doing a quick look through the first box of this collection, and gathering material for today’s post, I feel pretty confident in saying that this is my new favorite collection, and I will be posting about it again.

All materials pictured this post can be found in MS-0381 Box 1.

Manuscripts Miscellany: Buxton, Iowa

Black and white photograph showing a broad, open area with many houses set in plots of land.

Looking S.E. from Water Tower, Buxton, Ia. From the Dorothy Schwieder Papers, RS 13/12/54, box 20, folder 21.

The coal-mining town of Buxton, Iowa has captured the imagination of many people throughout the state and beyond. Buxton was a company town owned by the Consolidated Coal Company to house the miners and other employees working the nearby coal mines or supporting the miners. Built in 1900, its heydey lasted for about 15 years, until the nearby mines were exhausted. By 1905, 55% of the population was Black. Company-owned housing was given to employees on a first-come, first-served basis, so that the town was largely integrated. As Buxton grew, it developed suburbs, and some of these were segregated, such as the primarily white East Swede Town and West Swede Town. Churches were also segregated, but schools and many social activities were integrated.

Black and white photograph of schoolchildren lined up in five rows in front of a school building. At the back is a teacher. The children are both male and female. A large portion are black, while the rest are white. The teacher is female and may be black.

Buxton schoolchildren, undated. From the Dorothy Schwieder papers, RS 13/12/54, box 20, folder 21.

Buxton was also unique among coal company towns in that many individuals, and not just the coal company, owned businesses; many of these were owned by Black individuals. Interviews with many of its former Black residents reveal that they considered the town a Black utopia. Rachelle Chase, in her book Lost Buxton, writes,

“But to understand this label of utopia is to view it in the context of the African American residents’ experience.

“Buxton was started a mere 35 years after the end of slavery. Numerous African Americans interviewed stated that their parents or grandparents had been slaves, repeatedly sharing stores of their life of slavery. And those who had not been slaves still experienced extreme racism.

“They came from that to Buxton–a place where they could go anywhere they wanted, live any way they wanted, eat or shop where they wanted, and have the freedom they wanted.”

Black and white portrait of a Black man wearing a suit jacket, vest, shirt and bow tie. Photogaph is in an oval frame.

Portrait of George Woodson, a prominent lawyer in Buxton and later the founder of the Iowa Negro Bar and National Bar Association. From the Dorothy Schwieder papers, RS 13/12/54, box 20, folder 21.

Dorothy Schweider was a white ISU professor in the department of History, who, along with her husband Elmer Schweider, ISU professor of Family Environment, and ISU professor of Sociology Joseph Hruba, conducted a large-scale research project on Buxton in 1980, interviewing many former residents about their experiences living in Buxton. They asked them a variety of questions about the mining and businesses in the town, schools, social life, family life, and race relations.

Below are some passages from interview transcripts that are part of the Dorothy Schwieder papers (RS 13/12/54): [Note: some passages use dated language to describe people of color.]

From an interview with Jeanette Adams, a Black resident, about Swede Town (Q are the questions by interviewers Joe Hraba and Elmer Schweider; A are answers from Adams):

From the Dorothy Schwieder Papers, RS 13/12/54, box 12, folder 8.

Q. We discovered something yesterday, that we talked about, or Gus talked about East Swede Town and West Swede Town.

A. Oh, yes, I used to ….

Q. [Why] did they call it Swede Town, were there an awful lot of Swedes?

A. Oh, yes, there were a lot of Swedes. Yes, they had their own church and everything. Yes, it was quite their own town. Course they had to go down to the company store; I guess to deal. But they had their own little churches, their own little settlement. […]

Q. Well, let me talk a little more about that. Here’s Buxton with the company store, now is there a place called East and West Swede Town where most of the Swedes lived, and then another place where many of the Blacks lived? Or Italians, or was there a kind of segregation?

A. No, no, no, no segregation. The Swedes just had their own way up there cause they wanted to. But Buxton had no, ah, no colored and white. There were more colored [than] there were white. I think the population was higher for colored there than it was for white.

Later, Adams described black and white neighbors socializing together:

Dorothy Schwieder Papers, RS 13/12/54, box 12, folder 8.

Q. (S) Were you ever, did you ever have white people come visit you in your home?


A. Oh, my yes. We had neighbors that we just loved like little sisters and brothers.

Q. And then you went in some of the white homes, back and forth, you mixed socially with that, no problem.

A. Oh yes, indeed, we mixed socially. …

Another former Buxton resident, Lester Beamon, describes the experience of Black people in towns other than Buxton, including the Ku Klux Klan and sunset laws. Heydock was the town that the Consolidated Coal Company moved on to after the Buxton mines were depleted.

Dorothy Schwieder Papers, RS 13/12/54, box 12, folder 9.

Dorothy Schwieder Papers, RS 13/12/54, box 12, folder 9.

Q. Did you ever hear any stories about the Ku Klux Klan being active in…?

A. They were supposed to have been active right there in Heydock.

Q. Really?

A. Yeah.

Q. Did you ever have any direct experiences with that…?

A. Well, no, I wouldn’t just say so, but they said they were active right there in Heydock.

Q. Who told you this?

A. Oh, just hear the older people talk, you know.

Q. Anything else about the treatment… Ah, obviously Black people could go into Albia and these other towns and shop.

A. Yeah.

Q. But did they have like what were know as sunset laws in those days that Black people couldn’t be there after dark? Remember anything like that?

A. I’ve heard, my mother and them said someplace, now I don’t remember where its at, but someplace they had a sign that said …let me get it straight now. “Read and run,” or maybe “don’t let the sun go down on you” or something lie that. I don’t know where that was at. I really don’t know.

Oliver Burkett lived in Buxton before his family moved to Waterloo. He seemed to experience culture shock on leaving Buxton:

Dorothy Schwieder Papers, RS 13/12/54, box 12, folder 13.

Q. In your classes there was about a third of the kids were white kids, Oliver something like that?

A. A third was white, huh huh.

Q. I know we talked about this but let me ask you again this. How did black and white kids get along together at school?

A. Real well. There wasn’t a lot of friction at all. When I come here [to Waterloo] it was just like going to a foreign country.

Q. Really, tell me about it.

A. Like I say, the black was dominant there, I mean in population and we come here. I went to Grant School, it’s right up here on Mobile Street and many times I was the only black one in my room. Yeah, see that’s been 51 years ago and there wasn’t very many black people here.

The Dorothy Schwieder papers contain many more interviews of former Buxton residents, along with other research notes from her Buxton project.  More information on Buxton can be found in a number of publications, websites, as well as collections held at the State Historical Society of Iowa.

Selected Bibliography

In Iowa State University Library:

Chase, Rachelle. Creating the Black Utopia of Buxton, Iowa. HISTORY Press, 2019.

–. Lost Buxton. Arcadia Publishing, 2017.

Dickey, LeeAnn. Before Buxton: the Muchakinock Years, 1874-1900. PBL Ltd., 2014.

Dorothy Schwieder Papers, RS 13/12/54, Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives.

Gradwohl, David M., and Osborn, Nancy M. Exploring Buried Buxton: Archaeology of an Abandoned Iowa Coal Mining Town with a Large Black Population. Iowa State University Press, 1984.

Schwieder, Dorothy, et al. Buxton: Work and Racial Equality in a Coal Mining Community. Iowa State University Press, 1987.

–. Buxton: A Black Utopia in the Heartland. University of Iowa Press, 2003.


“Buxton: A Lost Utopia.” Primary Source Sets, State Historical Society of Iowa. https://iowaculture.gov/history/education/educator-resources/primary-source-sets/buxton-lost-utopia

“The Great Buxton.” Iowa Pathways, Iowa PBS. http://www.iowapbs.org/iowapathways/mypath/great-buxton

Smith, Eric A. “Buxton, Iowa (1895-1927).” Black Past, January 29, 2007. https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/buxton-iowa-1895-1927/