VEISHEA is fast approaching – in fact, the fun and excitement of the largest student-run celebration in the country will begin next week on April 11. The Special Collections Department has VEISHEA records documenting former celebrations, in addition to a variety of other resources. For more information on VEISHEA records you can find here in our department on VEISHEA’s history, visit last year’s VEISHEA blog post.
However, if you are looking for the personal perspective of Iowa State students during VEISHEA, a good place to look are the papers donated by our alumni, and a listing of these collections (however – please note – not all of these necessarily mention VEISHEA!) can be found here under RS 21/7: Alumni and Former Students. The Special Collections Department recently took in a new collection documenting student life here at Iowa State in the middle of the twentieth century, and the letters in this collection mention VEISHEA. The Donald Elwood Larew Papers (RS 21/7/232) contain letters, theater programs, and Iowa State University memorabilia. A graduate of Iowa State University, Larew received his B.S. (1963) in applied art with an emphasis in interior design. For more on Larew’s career in theater design, see the biographical note in the collection’s finding aid.
Pictured above is the 1963 Stars Over VEISHEA production, The Music Man, performed during Larew’s senior year at Iowa State. Larew helped design the set for this, along with other Iowa State theater productions.
The majority of the collection contains letters Larew wrote home to his parents, which includes descriptions of his involvement with the fraternity Delta Upsilon and as a cast member and set designer for a number of campus theatrical productions.
Before joining the fraternity Delta Upsilon, Larew was a member of the Bennett House in Friley Hall his freshman year. The description found here in the Bomb helps one figure out certain references Larew makes in his letters to the activities described above. Click on the image above to read the description.
Larew frequently mentions the theater in his letters home. He mentions plays he appeared in and the ones he helped design sets for. While at Iowa State, Larew was involved with both the Iowa State Players and Stars Over VEISHEA. In fact, the first Stars Over VEISHEA production with which Larew was involved was Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew (this year’s Kiss Me Kate is in part based on this Shakespeare play).
In his letters, Larew mentions being a cast member of the Iowa State Player’s “Stalag 17” production. Click on the image to read about the Iowa State Players.
To find out more about Donald Elwood Larew and the papers he donated to Iowa State, please take a look at the collection’s finding aid.