Reliving Old Memories

ISU Marching Band at the Football Game, 1953

Homecoming festivities for 2010 have begun!  Despite the incredibly windy weather, the lawn displays are up, and the food and tents are starting to be set up.  Homecoming celebrations have existed here at ISU for many years.  Alumni first began celebrating homecoming at Iowa State in 1912, and ever since that first official homecoming event alumni have been coming back to Iowa State to celebrate and participate in its traditions ever since.  Our university photograph collection contains quite a number of homecoming images, and we recently scanned and added a number of these to Flickr.  One of our students, Hana, did a wonderful job of adding metadata (descriptions) to these images.  As another American Archives Month feature on this blog, below is her perspective of the project (to read about another student’s perspective of Special Collections, read this previous post).

Homecoming refreshments, 1956

My assignment: to caption old photographs of Iowa State’s Homecoming.  I was intrigued, mainly because it was a nice break from my usual work in Special Collections.  Opening up the box, it was quaint to see old black and white photographs of people in typical 1950s gear talking, laughing, eating, dancing-the conventional college homecoming festivities.  But it was a simple picture of parents eating coffee and doughnuts at a reception in the armory that really made me stop and think “Wow, what a completely different world we live in now.”  Back then, homecoming activities did not have the “cheesy” connotation that they do now.  Pep rallies, bonfires, giant posters-students sincerely enjoyed showing their school spirit.  The coffee and doughnuts picture, in some subtle way, allowed me to glimpse how people could enjoy life with such simplicity.  This is something I very much admire from that time, over 50 years ago, and even though I obviously never lived in the 1950s, I felt a sense of nostalgia; a longing to live in that era. Now, when I go to work tomorrow, I will again be able to immerse myself in “traditional” college student life and re-live those old memories.

Hana at work checking our rare book collection.

If you would like to relive some of those old memories yourself, as Hana describes above, please visit our Homecoming images on Flickr.  We also have a film with highlights (in two parts) from the football season of 50 years ago (1960) on our YouTube Channel (the videos are also available below).  One of our online exhibits also has a brief history of homecoming and Cy.  In addition, there is quite a significant collection of homecoming records in our University Archives.  The finding aid, which includes a brief history of Iowa State’s homecoming activities, is available online.  And, finally, come visit us up here on the 4th floor of Parks Library to view our current exhibit on Iowa State football, Ev’ry Yard for ISU.

Part 1 of 1960 football highlights:

Part 2 of 1960 football highlights:

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