June is a perennially popular month for weddings, so today we are taking a glance at the wedding attire of days gone by. Today’s Throwback Thursday image is from our fashion plate collection and is from an issue of Peterson’s Magazine in 1883. The two dresses on the far left are a bridesmaid’s dress and a wedding dress. As you can see, the tradition of wearing a white dress must date back from at least the late-19th century. It looks like it was also popular to have the bridesmaids wear a brightly colored dress for the occasion.
I stumbled upon this document when looking at the papers of Frank Paine, an alumnus who graduated with a degree in electrical engineering in 1909.
This document is a “warning” to the “Prep” class (freshman) from the Sophomore class of 1909. I would venture a guess that this was made all in good fun to “rib” the new kids on the block. The text is small and a little difficult to read. Here is a highlight:
“Be it therefore known that we hold these truths self-evident that all “preps” are created brainless, that they are endowed by their creator with certain depraved hallucinations, among which are the following: That their milk brained babble can impress their natural superiors, the sophomores; and that their cheap, long delayed, crack-brained squash tops are a real terror to the world.”
I was struck by the imagery on this poster as I was flipping through the documents. While tensions between classes may be a thing of the past, this poster is a reminder that things were not always so copacetic. For more, see this post about freshman beanies.
Today’s Throwback Thursday photo was taken at the Ag Day Parade in 1920. The parade was in conjunction with the Agricultural Carnival which was held at Iowa State from 1912-1915, then again in 1919-1921. In 1922, the Carnival was absorbed, along with other events, into the VEISHEA celebration.
Perhaps the sentiment behind “Iowa’s Crops to the Rescue” had to do with helping to feed the people of Europe after the detrimental affects of WWI. Often the artifacts in the archives tell part of a story, and it is up to the researchers to help piece together the evidence to tell a whole story.
Come visit the archives from 9-5, Monday-Friday to see what stories you might be able to tell!
Recently, staff from the Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) and Preservation departments toured the Ada Hayden Herbarium in Bessey Hall.
A herbarium is a collection of dried horticultural specimens arranged for reference and study; the Ada Hayden Herbarium holds over 650,000 vascular plant, bryophyte, fungus, and lichen specimens, including many holotypes. These specimens are studied by researchers coming to work in the herbarium and packed and shipped to researchers across the United States and around the world.
The plants are flattened, dried, and frozen before they are filed in storage. The freezing process insures that any critters that may arrive on the plants are not able to start an infestation in the collection. Information about each plant is carefully collected including the scientific names, name of the locator, and where the plant was found. Deb explained that if properly preserved, the plant specimens can be kept for study indefinitely; including those collected as far back as 1894 by George Washington Carver!
You’ll notice on the above picture there is a lighter rectangle above the handwritten information about the plant. This is a little envelope for pieces of the plant that may have been removed for study (with specific permission from the herbarium). Every effort is made to ensure that as much of the original plant is kept for research into the future.
In addition to the plant specimens, the herbarium also has a library of horticulture books for easy access for researchers. It was fascinating to see the herbarium and learn about how they preserve the delicate plant specimens. To learn more please see their site!
It’s time for my second installment of Weird, Wacky, Wonderful. You can see my first post about the Milk Maid Contest here!
While looking through our records from the Works Progress Administration (MS 409) from the 1930s, I stumbled upon an interestingly named project that took place in Cerro Gordo County, Iowa. While glancing through the paperwork, Project # 1286 caught my eye:
The work to remove the offending fish took over 2 months in the spring of 1936. While logically, this was likely the removal of an invasive fish species, it is still fun to think of ways a fish could be obnoxious. Perhaps they were keeping the lakeside inhabitants up all night with loud parties?
Come to the archives to see what weird, wacky, wonderful things you may stumble upon 9-5, Monday-Friday.
One of the great benefits of answering reference questions is all the stuff I discover in the special collections and archives along the way. Anyone who has done research in an archive can tell you how easy it is to get off track when you spot that new interesting document or photo that leads you down a new research rabbit hole.
Since I have the great opportunity to dig through the archives, I am excited to start this occasional blog series to share the interesting, funny, shocking, weird, or just plain fun things I stumble upon in the special collections and archives.
To kick things off, while searching for some student group photos, I came across a couple of images from a Milk Maid contest. I was drawn in by the cow sporting a lovely lei crown and was inspired to learn more.
The Milk Maid contest was hosted by the Dairy Science Club. There would be dozens of contestants and thousands of spectators to these contests. The participants were judged on “the amount of milk they collect, their costume, their display of affection for the cow and the amount of audience support” (Iowa State Daily, 10/4/1979).
There was a parallel contest for men that included milk chugging, milk can rolling, and goat dressing.
To learn more about the Milk Maid contest or to find a research rabbit hole of your own, visit the SCUA Monday-Friday, 9-5.
In honor of RAGBRAI coming to Ames on Tuesday the 24th, here’s a picture of the women of the Bicycle Club in 1898. The scan is taken from a glass slide with some deterioration which is why there is some fading (but hey, the photo is 120 years old!)
Good luck to all the RAGBRAI riders next week, and feel free to make the archives one of your stops while you’re in Ames!
Thanks for coming back to the blog! This is the 4th post in a series about using the Special Collections and University Archives at ISU.
Today I’m going to talk about your options if you need reproductions of our materials. While we highly encourage researchers to visit us to see our collection, we understand that sometimes that is just not possible due to distance or other factors. Don’t fear—there are still some options for those who can’t come to the archives in person.
We can make photocopies through our document delivery program. These are low-resolution photocopies we make on our overhead scanner. Depending on the size of the order, we can have these copies sent to you via email or through the “snail” mail in about 2-4 weeks, though it can take longer for large or complicated orders.
We are also able to make publication quality high-resolution scans of our images. Depending on your use, you may also need to fill out a request to publish form when you order your images. There are fees for both document delivery and image reproduction; please consult our website or send us an email to learn more!
Of course, we must comply with copyright law when making scans and reproductions. Unfortunately, this sometimes blocks us from being able to make reproductions of things that we do not have rights to, are not in the public domain, or whole volumes. While copyright law is extremely complicated, a good place to start learning about what is and is not allowed is the library’s page on copyright issues.
Have any questions about any of these services? Feel free to email us at email@example.com. Want to know more about SCUA? See our previous posts in this series about our reading room rules, what happens when you visit the reading room, or finding student records in the archives.
The photo wasn’t dated, but I would guess this was taken in the 1950s. Dead Week is the perfect time to share a photo of students studying in the Library Rotunda in front of our Grant Wood murals.
During Dead Week in 2018, the Rotunda is more suited for a relaxing break than studying since we will have some four-legged friends visiting for Barks @ Parks.
Study hard and good luck with finals next week!