NHPRC Update: Getting Started

As you may have read in Laura’s previous post, Special Collections and University Archives was lucky to receive a grant from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration’s National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC). The grant funds a two year project to move our finding aids into a new archives management system – a specialized database for descriptive information about our archival collections. In our case, we are using the CuadraSTAR Knowledge Center for Archives (SKCA).

This system will allow for better access to the collections for researchers, through improved searching capabilities through our website, as well as through converting our finding aids into EAD (Encoded Archival Description) format, an XML standard which will let us share our collections more widely. We will also be able to collect all of the information about each archival collection in one place, connecting accession reports to the finding aid to conservation assessments. Later on in the project we will also be improving the subject headings attached to each finding aid, and linking items in our digital collections directly to the archival collections that they came from. The new system will go live November 1, 2018, and we look forward to sharing more as the project continues.

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Old School: The bookshelves with binders of printed finding aids in our reading room.

I recently moved to Ames from Ann Arbor, Michigan, and I have found that moving to a new state has served as a useful analogy for this project. However, rather than moving boxes, we are moving descriptive metadata, which is much more exciting! In my own move, I had about a month in which I needed to create a plan, execute the logistics of how this was going to happen (by which I mean make dozens of phone calls), and then finally, pack.

Although I will fully admit that my own move was in reality less organized than I am portraying here and my packing was motivated by more than one trip to get ice cream, the steps have been relatively the same with the finding aid migration. First, working off of the grant requirements and timeline, I made a schedule with start dates and deadlines. This also included prioritizing which finding aids would be completed first.

Second, the logistics of how the information is going to go from its current state – a word document with structured tables – into the database entry form needed to be determined. Rather than phone calls to the utility company, I created a manual for the student assistant that would be working on the project, as well as a system for assigning and tracking where collections are in the process. I worked with the other archivists to determine possible problems that some of the finding aids might pose, due to content or formatting, and started resolving those issues.

Third, is the figurative packing and just getting the work done. Since the beginning of July, a student assistant and I have been doing the manual labor of entering the finding aids into the database. There are a lot of different approaches to this process depending on the particular system that is being used and the existing format of the finding aids, but the combination of SKCA and our Word document tables means that there is no way around copying and pasting a lot of the information. A major upside of this is that I get to read almost all of the finding aids. I have learned a lot more about rural life and agriculture than I ever expected, which I have really enjoyed (check out the Iowa Cow War of 1931).

At this point we are almost four months in, and have been entering finding aids for about three of them. Two key points have stuck with me:

-Deadlines are helpful, but so are start dates. Pick a go date, and stick with it.
The logistics can be easy to get carried away with, and one thing that I am really glad about looking back is that the student assistant starting on July 5th provided a hard date that the preliminary planning and preparation needed to be done. While certainly some of the more complicated things were not finished by that date, the things he needed to know to get started were. While functionally this was a deadline for me, thinking of it as a start date for one phase of the project was more motivating.

-Plan for getting behind, but also getting ahead.
The timeline for the project was based on educated guesses about how long it would take to move an individual finding aid, and in hindsight the amount that was planned for was overly generous (by several months, oops!). While it is always good to not be behind, getting ahead comes with its own need for contingencies. Luckily with the workflow tracking that was in place, I was able to communicate the progress that had been made to others involved so that there were no surprises, and adjust the schedule to fit the new realistic timeframe. There were also smaller tasks that could be moved from elsewhere in the schedule to allow for more flexibility between the larger tasks.

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


History of the Library, Pt. 4

This is the fourth and final post in our series on the history of the library at Iowa State University.  Need to catch up? Read our first, second, and third posts.

We left off last time after the second library addition in 1969.  Thus far the story of the library has been about expansion, and this post is no different.  Continuing with the trend, the library was acquiring materials rapidly to help meet the expanding student population and growth in programs at ISU.  In 1967, the library had 680,027 bound volumes.  About a decade later, that number had nearly doubled to 1,180,951 volumes.  This does not include the other collection items such as serial titles, microfilm, and maps.

Between the 2nd and 3rd addition, the library also established the Special Collections Department and the Media/Microforms Center.  The library collections were growing, straining the space in the existing library.  Additionally, with a continuously growing student population, reading and study space in the library was also quite limited.  Thus, the library needed to expand again.

The third expansion of the library was completed and opened on August 15, 1983, and largely transformed the library into what it looks like today.  The addition took place in two stages: first was the addition and second was renovating the existing building.  For example, the Periodical Room was restored while retaining its 1920s design.  Overall, the third addition added a little over 70,000 square feet of usable space.*

One major change that came about with the third addition that anyone who has seen Parks Library will recognize is the glass front of the library.

Library3rdAddition

Library 3rd Addition, University photos, box 259

You may be wondering why the library is known as the Parks library.  The University President at the time of the second and third expansions was W. Robert Parks.  He and his wife (Ellen Sorge Parks) were big supporters of the library and believed a strong library was essential to a strong university.  President Parks was instrumental in securing funding for the expansion and renovation of the library.  In order to honor his and his wife’s efforts, the library was dedicated as the Parks Library in a ceremony on June 8, 1984.  A portrait of Mr. and Mrs. Parks hangs in the library; you can see it on the first floor on your way to Bookends Cafe.

ParksPortrait

Library staff putting up the Parks’ portrait in 2000, University photos, box 2043

Of course, these history of the library posts have focused on changes to the building, but a whole other set of posts could be devoted to changes in staffing, automation, and countless other changes and improvements the library has had over the years.  If you are interested in exploring more, please visit the reading room!

*Post written with the help of “A Short History of the Iowa State University Library 1858-2007” by Kevin D. Hill.

 

 


#Flashback Friday – Iowa State vs. Iowa

Tomorrow is the Iowa State vs. Iowa football game. Wednesday’s post detailed the history behind the rivalry. Today’s Flashback Friday photograph is of an Iowa versus Iowa State football game in Ames at Clyde Williams Field.

Photograph of an Iowa versus Iowa State football game in Ames at Clyde Williams Field.

Drop by our reading room to look at more football photographs in our University Photograph collection. We’re open Monday-Friday from 9-5.


The Great ISU-Iowa Football Rivalry

This Saturday, the Iowa State Cyclone football team will meet up with their in-state rivals from Iowa City in the 65th meeting between the two teams. In a rivalry that dates back to 1894, the Cyclones have had some memorable wins in the series, such as the triple-overtime victory in 2011, as well as some pretty forgettable losses, such as last year’s 3-42 drubbing. Through all the wins and losses the two teams continue to play annually, taking turns hosting the big game. But it wasn’t always this way.

Between 1894 and 1934 the Cyclones played the Hawkeyes 24 times, racking up eight wins during that stretch. Then came the great hiatus. After the 1934 game, the two teams would not meet again on the gridiron for over 40 years. Why did the series stop? And why, starting in 1977, did the two teams resume playing each other every year since?

Photograph of members of the 1894 team at their 40th year reunion in 1934.

This photographs shows members of the 1894 Iowa State football team, winners of the first meeting between Iowa State and Iowa in 1894, at their 40th reunion in 1934. They were present to see Iowa State defeat Iowa in the 1934 game–the last game the two teams would play for 43 years. [University Photograph Collection, RS 24/6/D, Football, Box 1865]

Newspaper reports leading up to the 1977 game offer many hypotheses, but nobody apparently knew exactly why the two schools stopped playing each other in football–and in most other sports for that matter. Up until 1934, it is true that there were accusations of cheating or having unqualified players on each other’s teams–some of these claims proved to be true. Some claimed that Iowa State’s surprising and resounding win in the 1934 contest, and the resulting gloating by Iowa State fans, played a role in Iowa canceling and then not scheduling any further games with Iowa State. Some felt that Iowa’s membership in the prestigious Big 10 meant that scheduling its “little brother” over in Ames only lent legitimacy to that program and didn’t offer the University of Iowa any advantages. Others stated that the University of Iowa did not want to be responsible for anguish amongst family members who rooted for opposing teams. Whatever the reason, the University of Iowa refused to include Iowa State on its football schedule for over 40 years despite numerous requests from Iowa State to renew the series.

When the Hawks and Cyclones finally did agree to play again, it didn’t exactly go smoothly. According to an article in the Ames Daily Tribune from January 29, 1977, the 1977 and 1978 games were agreed to in the early 1970s before the new Cyclone Stadium (now known far and wide as Jack Trice Stadium) was even under construction. Because Iowa’s stadium at the time was twice the size of Iowa State’s Clyde Williams Field, it was agreed that the games would be held in Iowa City. Both athletic directors agreed to extending the series to a total of six games. When the contracts were signed, only one of those six games, the game in 1981, was originally scheduled to be played in Ames–and that was only if the Cyclones built a new stadium by that time.

Photograph of Lou McCullough, 1971

Photograph of Lou McCullough, Iowa State Athletic Director for much of the 1970s. [University Photograph Collections, 24/6/A, Athletics, Box 1758]

As the 1976 football season came to a close and attention turned to the revival of the Iowa-Iowa State game in the fall, many bitter feelings would be expressed. Iowa announced that they were giving Iowa State 5,000 tickets to disperse to its fans, a number that Iowa State officials felt was far too few and that Iowa officials felt was more than generous. The athletic directors on both sides were new since the original agreements were signed and Iowa’s Bump Elliott tried to cancel the final three games in the series. The state legislature had to step in and prevent that from happening. The Iowa State athletic director, Lou McCullough, wanted to revisit the contract and make it a home-and-home series due to Iowa State’s new stadium. Pretty soon everyone was getting involved. A state senator from Ames, John Murray, introduced a resolution in the state legislature that would require the renewal of the games to be played on a home-and-home basis; the Board of Regents discussed the games at their meetings that spring; and even Governor Ray told the two schools to settle things or he would get the legislature involved.

Photogrpah of Iowa State football player carrying the ball during the 1977 ISU-Iowa football game.

Photograph from the first game in the renewal of the rivalry between Iowa and Iowa State at Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, on September 17, 1977. [University Photograph Collection, RS 24/6/D, Football, Box 1880]

In the end, Iowa would send more tickets, around 7,800 total, for the Iowa State ticket office to disperse. The schedule, however was not changed. Five of the first six games in the renewed series were played in Iowa City. Iowa State did end up winning four of those six games, but despite coming into the season ranked 19th in the country, the Cyclones fell to the Hawkeyes by a score of 10-12 in that first game held on September 17, 1977. In a way, Iowa State did get what it had wanted–since 1981, Iowa and Iowa State have played every year on a home-and-home basis. Though some Hawkeye fans may still grumble about having to play the Cyclones each year, I imagine most people in Iowa are glad the game is played. So as you watch the game this weekend, remember all the hard work that went into renewing this rivalry and don’t forget, no matter the outcome, it’s only a game!

The Special Collections and University Archives has a large collection of records related to Iowa State football, including media guides, programs, posters, photographs, film, and other archival materials. Anyone is welcome to stop by and do some research–we would be happy to see you!


“Faithful friend of my girlhood”: the diary of Celestia Lee Barker

“I believe I will write a journal, said sister A. a few days ago,” Celestia Lee wrote in the first entry of her diary on July 5th, 1863. “It will be so novel like, and good to refer to, when I get old. That’s just it; I want to begin now; I will too said I; it will be so nice.”

Barker describes her decision to begin a diary.

First entry in Celestia Lee Barker’s diary, dated Thursday, July 5th 1863

The diary is part of the Celestia Lee Barker Papers (MS-246). Celestia Lee was born April 23, 1846, in Springwater, Livingston County, New York. In April 1855, when she was nine years old, her family moved to Macksburg, Madison County, Iowa. She began writing her diary when she was 17, and so perhaps it is not surprising that within the first few pages, we hear a description of a “beau” of hers:

Wm [William] accompanied me home from church yesterday. He did not come in but said if it was agreeable he would call in the evening. I consented and he went off. …Towards dark I was fixing up a little of course, and E. began about his coming. She had her own fun about it, and said she intended to sit up as long as I did. I told her I did not care, and perhaps C. would come too. She did not think he would; but time proved quite to the contrary, for soon there appeared to [sic] young men who took a beeline for our house….E. and C. were quite bashfull [sic] and did not have  much to say, but Wm. and I had a real time.

E. and C. were quite bashful and did not have much to say, but William and I had a real time. I wonder what A. will say about E's beau.

Barker describes she and her sister “E” meeting with their beaux in the evening.

By September, she writes about an unexpected change in her life. She has left home to attend a school (“seminary,” as she calls it) in Indianola. “A., H & [?] had been talking of coming here but I did not think as I could come till ma said I could if I wanted to. At first I thought it was impossible for there was so much to do at home but she argued it all away & the consequence was that I am here ready to begin studies,” she writes in her entry for Sept. 15, 1863.

She continues to keep in touch with William. On Sept. 18 she writes, “Rec’d a letter from Wm. this morning. He is most well & will start for the Reg’t before long.” As you might have noticed, she began keeping her diary during the Civil War.

She writes about school… “I like the Teacher very well & the scholars too, & had several new ones this week. One young man named Shepherd. Mattie calls him brother. He is real good looking.” (Sept. 22, 1863)

Have just returned from the Seminary and had very good sessions. I like the Teacher very well and the scholars too, and have several new ones this week. One young man named Shepherd Mattie calls him brother. He is real good looking.

Barker describes her school experiences.

…and social life… “Mat & I called on the other ‘old maids’ the other eve. O we had a splendid time pulling candy.” (Oct. 10, 1863)

…and loneliness… “O why do I feel so lonely & forsaken today as if I was alone from home & among strangers who cared nothing for me nor I for them. My thoughts turn to the past like a troubled dream & then to the future with appears so dark.

“I was out to the [?] last night & that accounts for it. It is the way with me generally after I have been so gay & they had music & dancing there. Farewell to fashionable society. I think I have witnessed you for the last time as a participator. I am sick of it. It is nothing but deceit adorned with gaudy trappings.” (Oct. 21, 1863)

Celestia kept her diary for about four years. In 1866, she got married to her beau William Barker. Her entry of May 10, 1866, begins, “Dear Journal how you are neglected of late & you have been such a faithful friend of my girlhood & these days will soon be over then this volume will be done & another begun then what will be the record.” Further on she continues, “We are to be married the 6th of Sept. & so much to do before that I intend to get the house plastered & things comfortable for ma before I leave her. That is my only grief & fear nothing in the future for myself. Wm. is as devoted as I could wish when we are alone but in public he hardly notices me & I hardly like such a marked difference but it is his way I supposed. He says he can’t understand me yet I am so different from others & I surely don’t understand him but I do not doubt his love.”

Journal entry states that she has neglected her journal lately, that she is looking forward to marriage, but that her fiance neglects her in public but is affectionate in private.

Entry for May 10, 1866 in which she describes her hopes for marriage.

There follows several blank pages before there are some poems.

She took up her diary again with an entry from April 23, 1881, that begins, “Well well here I am 35 ys. old today. What an old lady I am to be sure but don’t know as I feel any older than I did at 20 & people do say I have not changed much in looks. I do believe a great deal depends on keeping the heart young to keep our looks young & my life seems such a happy one with such a good man & 4 good smart children.”

Well well here I am 35 years old today. What an old lady I am to be sure, but don't know as I feel any older than I did at 20 and people do say I have not changed much in looks.

Entry dated April 23, 1881 on her 35th birthday.

Further pages include pasted clippings of poems and periodic diary entries. Her final entry is dated Apr 23d 1904, and begins, “Dear old journal it has been long long since I have written & now this is my 58 birthday & how busy I have been.” She writes that they now live in Denver, Colorado, “& have a beautiful home far nicer than I ever dreamed of having.” She reflects back on her life, noting,

How much I have to be thankful for & how often I have proved the old song I have always loved, ‘Ever down to old age all my people shall prove my sovereign eternal unchangeable love And when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn Like lambs they shall still in my bosom be borne.’ Blessed promise blessed hope but it seems as if I am getting only as I look in the glass for I am most always so old.”

Celestia Lee Barker diary 0006

Barker’s final entry dated April 23, 1904, in which she looks back on her marriage and thinks about aging.

A bittersweet reflection for one who was only (at least from a modern perspective) 41 years old. But all-in-all this diary presents a remarkable look at the life and reflections of a 19th century Iowa woman from youth through adulthood.

This diary can be viewed online in Digital Collections.

 

 


#TBT New School Wardrobe

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University Photos, box 454, n.d.

For today’s Throwback Thursday post, we see some students showing off their new school wardrobes.  Styles may change, but the tradition of getting new clothes for a new school year remains.

I hope everyone has had a great first week of classes! Need a break during your busy week? Stop by Special Collections and University Archives and browse other pictures of student life from days gone by; we are open 9-5, Monday-Friday.


Artifacts in the Archives: School Days Memories

This collaborative post is about artifacts that remind Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA) staff of their school days. Welcome back to school Cyclones!

Marching Band Uniform Jacket

Heavy white jacket for marching band uniform. It has a white overlay on front with a red strip that has "Cyclones" embroidered in white. On the red cuffs are embroidered "Iowa State" in white thread. The collar and shoulders are red. Underneath the overlay are 6 gold embroidered bars with 2 gold buttons on each bar. On back of jacket is embroidered "ISU" in red and gold.

Artifact # 2012-010.002

Olivia Garrison, Reference Coordinator

This marching band uniform jacket reminds me of school (and particularly of the start of a fresh school year), because I remember hearing my high school’s marching band practice in the early hours before school started.  Now I get to hear the band after work!

 

Marching Band Uniform Jacket

 is maroon wool jacket with gold collar, trim, and stripe on sleeve. Embroidery on collar spells "I.S.C." in maroon thread.

Artifact # 2008-094.006

Laura Sullivan, Collections Archivist

The marching band uniforms always remind me of school, and one of my favorite aspects of high school, in fact, when I was in the marching band.  However…the heavy, wool uniforms (as this one is), were not my favorite.  I learned later that wool was considered far better than acrylic because of its breathability, and ability to theoretically keep you cool in the hot summers and warm when fall came around.  Despite the crowds and long lines for coffee, I love when fall semester comes around and I’m reminded of the beginning of school – the excitement and expectation of new classes, seeing fellow classmates again, and band practices preparing for upcoming football games.

 

Pencil

Artifact # 2005-095

Amy Bishop, Rare Books & Manuscript Archivist

“Don’t you love New York in the fall?” Joe Fox writes to Kathleen Kelly in the movie You’ve Got Mail. “It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”

I’ve always agreed that fall weather and fresh, new school supplies go together, and there is something about the crisp, cool days of early fall that makes me feel a nerdy anticipation of a new year of learning. So, although we are still enjoying the warmth of summer, I reveled this morning to feel a cool hint of autumn in the air this morning, fitting for our first week of fall classes.

 

3-ring binder

Rachel Seale, Outreach Archivist

3-ring binders remind me of school when I was a kid. I had a backpack filled with a binder or two, usually I could fit up to 3 subjects in a binder. I had lockers in Jr. High and High School so could swap text books in between classes but always had my binders in my backpack. When I processed collections, I had a love-hate relationship with binders. I usually appreciated the organization within the binders, but they took up much needed space within a box.

Board game

Wooden board with 18 wooden pegs, three circles and 3 triangles each with three holes for pegs

Artifact # 2001-220.002

Chris Anderson, Descriptive Records Project Archivist

Our files describe this artifact as a board game, but I’m not so sure. What would the rules be? In any case, it reminds me of preschool or kindergarten. I majored in Shapes with a minor in Colors. That’s a joke, but there’s an element of truth to it. When I went to school, I resisted learning to read. My mother read books to me in the early years, and I guess that reading in school seemed less appealing than quality time with mom. She said that I didn’t see the point, at first. Once I tried reading for myself, it became clear that I already knew how to do it at the first or second grade level.

 

Bag

red Iowa State Cyclones drawstring bag that has Cy at center & Iowa State Cyclones printed around Cy.

Brad Kuennen, University Archivist

I chose a red Iowa State Cyclones drawstring bag that is handed out to students during summer orientation. The bags are easily recognizable and seeing a student wearing one, which some do during the beginning of fall semester, almost instantly identifies the student as a freshman. Seeing them reminds me of a tradition from a century ago when freshman students wore beanies. Fortunately, freshman today are not required to wear the drawstring bags nor is there a special bonfire at the end of the year to burn the bags as happened with beanies all those years ago. When I see those bags start to appear, I know a new schoolyear is just right around the corner!

 


Rare Book Highlights: Eclipse!

Do you have plans to watch the eclipse today? I do! As you read this, imagine me already stationed within the path of totality.

If you are experiencing eclipse fever, you may be interested, like I was, to know what books we have in Special Collections related to eclipses. A quick search of the library’s catalog brought back the following book with the subject heading, “Solar eclipses — Mathematics”:

Petrus Elvius. Exercitium mathematicum eclipsiographiam solis leviter adumbrans… Upsaliæ : Literis Wernerianis, 1710. Call number: QB541 E48x 1710.

Checking the shelves I found a small pamphlet bound in blue paper wrappers that have become entirely detached. It is kept in this protective four-flap binder:

The Elvius pamphlet in its four-flap binder. Written on the front cover is “Elvius et Milberg 1710”.

The title page begins with the line, “Auspice DEO!” (Under the auspices of God!). Although this was published early during the Age of Enlightenment, we can surmise that it took some time for the influence of religion on science to recede.

Auspice Deo! Exercitium Mathematicum Eclipsiographiam solis leviter adumbrans, quod consentiente ampliss. Facult. Philos. in Regia Academia Upsaliensi, Praeside viro celberrimo, Mag. Petro Elfvio, Math. Super. Profesi. Reg. & h. t. Fac. Phil. Decano Spectabili, Aequitori Bonorum Censurae modeste submittit

Elvius pamphlet title page.

Written in Latin, the Eclipsographia solis, as it is also known, contains an explanation of the mathematical calculations of eclipses, including their duration. At the beginning, after the dedication, there is this delightful fold-out set of diagrams:

Four black ink diagrams showing various angles across portions of a spear labelled with numbers and letters. One diagram includes a sun with a nose and mouth.

Diagrams in Elvius pamphlet.

What did people know about eclipses, or even the solar system in general, when this pamphlet was published in 1710? People have been awed by–and therefore have studied–the phenomenon of eclipses for millennia. The astronomer Gerald Hawkins contended in the 1960s that Stonehenge was used to predict eclipses. Eclipses were studied by the ancient Babylonian, Chinese, Arabic, and Greek astronomers. Anthony Aveni writes in his book In the Shadow of the Moon, “Beginning about the sixteenth century, eclipse observations of a scientific nature begin to enter historical records on the European continent” (p. 137). In 1543, with the publication of his book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres), Nicholas Copernicus revolutionized European astronomy by demonstrating mathematically that the Sun, rather than the Earth, was at the center of the universe. Galileo later defended the Copernican system in his 1632 publication Dialogo sopra i due massimi sistemi del mondo (Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems), which got him in trouble with Pope Urban VIII and led to his house arrest. Johannes Kepler improved on the work of Copernicus with his work on the laws of planetary motion, elucidated in his Astronomia nova (New Astronomy) published in 1609. Isaac Newton in 1687 published his Principia, in which he stated his laws of motion and universal gravitation. He also showed how Kepler’s laws followed the same principles as his law of gravity, proving that the same laws of motion govern objects both on the earth and in space.

It would seem by 1710, when our pamphlet was written, that European astronomers knew quite a bit about the solar system and the movement of the planets. In reality, it took some time for the new ideas about the solar system to be fully accepted. (Remember the “Auspice DEO!” of the title page?) Petrus Elvius, the author of our pamphlet, was a Swedish professor of astronomy at Uppsala University and lived from 1660 to 1718. According to his entry in the Swedish Biographical Dictionary (Svenskt biografiskt lexikon), his position on the Copernican system was not clear, and he expressed doubt over the validity of Newton’s law of universal gravitation in a letter 1711 letter to Emanuel Swedenborg, calling it “abstraction” and not physics.

Interestingly, this book was published 5 years before the May 3, 1715 total solar eclipse that crossed central England and Northern Europe. Edmond Halley, famous for calculating the orbit of the eponymously named Halley’s Comet, predicted the path of the eclipse with a very high degree of accuracy (within 4 minutes) and drew a map of its path across England. This map helped to promote popular interest in eclipse-watching (much like today), and it also set off a period of increasingly accurate eclipse mapping.

Happy eclipse day, everyone!

Work Cited

Aveni, Anthony. In the Shadow of the Moon: The Science, Magic, and Mystery of Solar Eclipses. Yale University Press, 2017.


Domestic Economy Class #TBT

The first day of school is Monday, August 21. We are so excited! The students pictured below seem a little less enthused about being in class. Perhaps the absence of smiles was merely a convention of their time and not a reflection on how they felt about class. This article in Time provides possible reasons why people didn’t smile in earlier photographs.

Domestic Economy Sewing Class. Short Course. 1910 Iowa State College (University Photographs, box 981).

Want to see more photographs that document the history of Iowa State University? Drop by our reading room. We’re open 9-5, Monday through Friday.


Archival Research: Managua, Nicaragua versus Ames, Iowa

Today’s blog post was written by Sydney Marshall, one of our student workers and a graduate student here at Iowa State University (ISU).

Young woman in purple dress with straw hat, view behind her is coast:; "cristo de la misericordia" (Christ of the Merdy) on the coast of San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua.

Sydney Marshall at the “cristo de la misericordia” (Christ of the Mercy) on the coast of San Juan del Sur in Nicaragua. Photograph by Jaqueline Mendoza.

My name is Sydney Marshall and I am one of the student workers for the Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) at ISU. During this summer, I traveled abroad to Managua, Nicaragua for archival research at the Instituto de Historia de Nicaragua y Centroamerica (Institute of Nicaraguan and Central American History, IHNCA) at the Universidad de Centroamericana (University of Central America, UCA). My research project concerns women during the Nicaraguan revolutionary era. I found that IHNCA had a vast array of information regarding this time period.

UCA campus view. Photograph by Sydney Marshall.

Conducting historical research in both the United States and in Central America, I found that there are some surprising similarities to the research process. For one thing, entering a new archive and introducing yourself to the archivist is somewhat terrifying, no matter the country or language! For any archival research, I found that it is best practice to contact the archivist at the desired location to plan one’s research trip (i.e. Dates, times, materials, questions). The primary difference in this initial phase was that I needed permission from my department of study (ISU) in order to gain access to the archives in Nicaragua. Additionally, at IHNCA I had to pay a one-time fee for entrance into the archives, whereas at SCUA, admission is free.

At both SCUA and IHNCA, I was met with friendly staff that helped me with my research project. Both places required me to sign in and read (SCUA) or listen (IHNCA) to the reading room rules. Personal items were kept at the front desk, either in a locker (SCUA) or cubby (IHNCA). Food and drink were not allowed near the documents, however, water was permitted in the reading room at IHNCA. I used the reading room computer to go online and find the materials I wanted an archivist to retrieve (both links can be found below). Each archive had me complete an “out slip” with my name, date, title, and call number for each individual item (the only difference being that I had to state my research topic each time for IHNCA, which I only had to do once for SCUA).

Front desk for IHNCA reading room. Photograph by Sydney Marshall.

Once the items were brought out to the reading room, I could look at one document at a time. Whereas SCUA brought out the document box containing the desired folder, IHNCA brought out the single folder for me to examine. At IHNCA, I was allowed to bring my own notebook and/or computer to take notes using pencil. At SCUA, I could only take notes using the archives paper and writing utensil. Laptops or other mobile devices are allowed. If I wanted to take a picture of a document, I needed to obtain permission from the archive. SCUA required me to read and fill out the camera use policy form. There is also a KIC scanner in the SCUA reading room that I can use to make copies. For a fee, IHNCA allowed pictures of books and journals to be taken on a specific day at a certain time.

My conclusion after researching in the two archives is that the process for examining historical documents was very similar: ask for the desired item, read the documents, and take notes on what is deemed important. Each archive had a rich collection of materials, from government documents to published books, photos to individual’s recollections.

IHNCA catalogue (in English): https://translate.googleusercontent.com/translate_c?depth=1&hl=en&prev=search&rurl=translate.google.com&sl=es&sp=nmt4&u=http://catalogo.ihnca.edu.ni/&usg=ALkJrhj1wpG4xeh-6qnZBrAXVxRsqhZcyw

SCUA home page: http://archives.lib.iastate.edu