Visiting SCUA 101

This is the first in a new series of posts about visiting the Special Collections and University Archives written by someone who is fairly new to archives herself!  The first time (or the first few times) you research in a special collections or archives, it can be a bit intimidating.  There are special rules for handling and viewing materials.  There are methods for searching for materials that you might not have encountered before.  On top of that, handling the only copy in existence of a document that may be over 100 years old is enough to give anyone pause!

Fear not!  This blog series is designed to help you feel more comfortable in coming to visit our reading room and using our rare and archival materials.

The first topic to address is: why are there so many rules?

Rules Sheet

Folder marker with rules for using the reading room.

While every special collections will do things a little differently, there are suggested best practices that we adhere to.  The rules are not in place to scare researchers off.  Trust me, we really want you to use our materials, and we love seeing a full reading room!  The rules are in place to protect the materials and ensure they are available to researchers now and for generations to come!

As you can see, there are many rules, so I’ll only go into detail about a few.

  • We don’t allow food or beverages of any kind for a couple of reasons.  Most immediately, this eliminates the possibility of crumbs or spills on the materials.  Secondly, people might find a bag of chips too tempting to resist, but so do pests that may come for the chips, but stay to chew on important documents.
  • We ask you to use book supports for all bound volumes, which helps alleviate pressure on the spine.  This is important whether the book is new or old.  After all, someday that brand new book will be an old book.
BookCradle3

Demonstration of book cradle and weight use with class catalogue from 1904-05.

  • An important aspect of using the archives is preserving the original order of materials.  Because of this, there are several rules that are in place in order to preserve the order the files are in currently.  For example, bringing up the entire folder when you scan something helps ensure the item gets put back in the correct place (and helps prevent bending, creasing, or tearing of the item on the way to or from the scanner).

If you have questions about any of the other rules, we’re more than happy to answer them!  Stop by the reading room anytime between 9 and 5, Monday-Friday or email us at archives@iastate.edu.  Stay tuned to future posts for tips for finding materials using our website, help with materials handling quandaries, and other helpful information.

 


#TBT Engineer’s Campfire

Tomorrow is the first day of fall, so let’s look back at an Iowa State fall tradition of days gone by.

1927Yearbook

Page from the 1927 Bomb

The text on the page reads “One of the most picturesque occasions of the Fall Quarter is the Engineer’s Campfire held in a natural theatre in North Woods.  During the afternoon a regular “Side-show” provides entertainment, while at night two big fires light up a stage for student vaudeville stunts.  The Engineers are knighted by St. Patrick by the light of the two big “torches.”  Norman Brown was St. Patrick this fall, and Margaret Erickson was “Engineer’s Lady.”

The Engineer’s Campfire was suspended in 1929 due to falling revenue and the unpredictability of the fall weather in Iowa.

As the weather gets colder (or at least, will eventually!), take time to learn about other ISU traditions that have been left in the past. After you do that, the entire run of the Bomb has been digitized, and all are encouraged to contribute to helping transcribe the pages in order to make the text search more accurate.


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.

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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.

 

 


#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.


#TBT Registration

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Registration 1946, University Photos box 449

Check out how Iowa State students registered in 1946.  Looks a lot different than signing up on your laptop from the comfort of your apartment or dorm room!

To see more about student life throughout Iowa State’s history, stop by the archives from 9-5, Monday-Friday or check out our digitized collection of the Bomb, the ISU yearbook.

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History of the Library, Pt. 3

This is the third in a series of posts about the history of the library at Iowa State.  Want to catch up? Read the first and second posts!

The library has been through many expansions through the 20th century to meet the demands of a growing student population. Iowa State had a new library in 1925, but as quickly as 1930 the collection was too large for the bookshelf space. In 1940, an off-site storage facility was built to handle some of the overflow that had been stored in the Memorial Union and the Engineering Exhibit Hall.

Lois_Johnson_Smith_1948

Lois Johnson Smith checks a request for books, University photos, box 2046

While the collection already exceeded the size of the library, there were other pressures put on the library space starting in the mid-century. The university experienced a great period of growth after WWII due to the GI Bill and the Cold War, when the government was eager to fund the scientific research done at Iowa State.  This period of growth was exacerbated by the incoming Baby Boom students.  All of these factors put great pressure on the amount of study space in the library.

To address these issues, the first expansion opened in 1961. The new addition had 5 floors and added 52,000 square feet. One big innovation for this addition was open stacks, allowing students to browse the shelves and pick out books themselves. A glass rotunda was built for the new entrance on the south side of the building complete with staffed circulation desk to make sure materials did not make their way out of the library without being checked out.

1961LibraryEntrance

Students check out materials by the new South entrance, 1961, University photographs, box 147

Even brand new, the expanded library could only accommodate 75% of the 520,000 volume collection and did not contain the amount of study space recommended for the size of the student population. Tellingly, even as they were building the addition, it was referred to as the “First Addition”, which brings us, inevitably, to the Second Addition.

This addition was started in 1967 and completed in 1969. This expansion more than doubled the space for storing books and for users to work.*

In the 1969/70 school year, the library offered 7 courses. There were 4 undergraduate courses, each designed for students in different areas of study: home economics, sciences and humanities, engineering, and agriculture. Additionally, there were 3 courses, each aimed at different groups of graduate students.

Library_staff_1960

Library staff, 1960, University photos, box 2043

Be sure to follow the blog to see the library further expand and get a name!

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



#TBT Jalap, the Horse of Horses

Jalap_prizewinning_Percheron_stallion_1919

Meet Jalap, a Percheron stallion who was purchased for Iowa State College in 1915.  Jalap was nationally successful in livestock shows.  According to the Iowa State College Alumnus in 1930, just one year before his death at the age of 21, he was “given the rating of the second best living Percheron sire.” He was once described as “the proudest horse in horsedom” in The Iowa Agriculturalist (1927, Vol. 27, No. 10).

It was hotly debated whether Jalap was the horse in the picture Dignity and Impertinence; but most evidence leans toward that being a different draft horse.

To learn more about Jalap, including an “interview” with the famous horse, request RS 9/11/1 box 1 at the Special Collections and University Archives.


#TBT Living Mannequins

Ladies in cabinets-1926

University Photographs, 12/10/F, Box 1006, 1926

Today’s TBT photo was taken in 1926 as part of the coursework for the Department of Textiles and Clothing (now part of the Department of Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management). Two students are in cabinets, modeling design work. In between them are three dolls, also wearing student designs.  As you can see, they are wearing designs that greatly predate 1926, so perhaps the students were tasked with designing historical costumes.  To learn more, check out our history of costume collection or our files from the Department of Textiles and Clothing (12/10).