Historical Photograph Formats: Daguerreotypes

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to learn a little bit more about some historical photography processes while preparing to teach a class. This is not in any way my area of expertise, but I wanted to share both what I learned and also examples I uncovered in our ISU collections (which, while far from comprehensive, do contain more formats than I thought they would!).

If this is a topic you find interesting, know that there are a ton of other fantastic resources out there, both online and within our library and the ISU community. I’ll include a few of these throughout the post and then note more at the end.

So, the earliest format for which we have an example is the daguerreotype. (Pronounced duh-gair-oh-type.)

20190719_102008

Artifact #2001-R001. Daguerreotype of Benjamin Gue.

Daguerreotypy was not the first photographic process to capture scenes with a camera, nor even the first to succeed in permanently fixing the image to a chemically-prepared surface. The latter honor belongs to another French process called “heliography” (aka “sun-writing”), and you can see an example in the Harry Ransom Center collections at the University of Texas in Austin. However, the daguerreotype process was the first to become available to the public.

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With the case closed. Artifact #2001-R001.

The daguerreotype was invented in Paris in 1837 by Louis Daguerre, when he discovered that a silver-coated copper plate could be made light sensitive when exposed to chloride of iodine (now known as iodine monochloride) and chloride of bromine (now known as bromine monochloride). After exposure, the plate would be developed in a dark room via heated mercury fumes, and then fixed in a bath of hyposulphite of soda (now known as sodium thiosulfate).

There were two main draw-backs to this process, however. The first, since the exposed plate itself became the finished product, was that the process created no negatives, which meant that each image was entirely unique and could not be reproduced. The second was that these plates were incredibly fragile. The cases in which they were mounted were primarily protective, not decorative, and thus, unlike photo frames of today, vital to the photograph’s survival.

Photography History Examples-page-005.2

Diagram of a daguerreotype case. Photographs: Archival Care and Management by Mary Lynn Ritzenhaler and Diane Vogt-O’Connor

In addition, exposure time for this process lasted an excruciatingly long time by today’s standards. Resources differ in their estimations, and it seems that the process shortened over its lifespan, but exposure could reportedly last anywhere between 90 seconds and 20 minutes, during which the subject of the picture had to keep absolutely still. Behind-the-scenes sketches of the studio set-up often feature torturous-looking headrest devices, shaped like display stands for collectible dolls, to hold the subject’s head and neck in place.

Nevertheless, the daguerreotype was wildly popular during its short life from 1837 to about 1860, after which it was replaced by less expensive and less cumbersome formats.

This 2012 YouTube video from the Getty Museum offers a fantastic overview of that period and allows you to see the process in action. The video is titled “Early Photography: Making Daguerreotypes”, and can be accessed through the link here if the embedded version isn’t work for you.

Our ISU example of a daguerreotype, located in the artifacts collection (#2001-R001), aptly demonstrates some key identifying features of the format.

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A behind-the-scenes look in into our artifact collection.

As discussed previously, with only a few rare and very early exceptions, all daguerreotypes will be contained in a protective case, often with an attached cover that swings closed on a hinge.

It is worth noting, however, that while nearly all daguerreotypes will have these protective cases, not all photographs contained in such cases are daguerreotypes. Ambrotypes, a slightly later format, were also typically sealed in cases. The visual distinction between the two, then, lies in the tonal range and the reflective quality of the surface.

An ambrotype is a glass plate negative developed via the wet collodion process and then displayed against a black velvet background, which creates the illusion of a positive image. Consequently, its tonal range will be much more muted than that of a daguerreotype, with the whites appearing less white and more of a creamy gray.

Unfortunately, we don’t have examples of this format in our archives, but here is a visual from the book I have referenced previously:

Photography History Examples-page-008

Ambrotype. Photographs: Archival Care and Management by Mary Lynn Ritzenhaler and Diane Vogt-O’Connor, page 35.

Because ambrotypes are negative images developed on a glass plate and daguerreotypes are positive images developed on a silver-coated copper plate (i.e. shiny metal on shiny metal), the surface of a daguerreotype is also much more reflective than that of an ambrotype — almost giving the impression of a ghost-image emerging through a mirror, depending on the angle from which it is viewed.

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Me photobombing Benjamin Gue . . . about 200 years after the fact. Artifact #2001-R001.

The presence of this mirror-like quality also means that daguerreotypes are better viewed from a side-angle, and/or with an object or piece of paper held up to block reflective glare (e.g. my phone in the picture immediately above), than they are straight on. So, if you find yourself tilting the photo this way and that to see an image of something other than your own face, this is probably the format you are dealing with.

Contrary to common knowledge, daguerreotypes also come in a variety of sizes, from a “whole plate,’ which is about 8.5 inches by 6.5 inches, to a “sixteenth plate,” which is about 1 inch by 1 inch. Also, while the original images will all be in black and white, you’ll find that some were hand-colored after development. You’ll see this most often in portraits, where a tiny bit of pink has been dabbed onto the subjects’ cheeks to make them look more lifelike.

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Close-up of Artifact #2001-R001.

And that about wraps things up, so I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about daguerreotypes as much as I did.

If you’d like to examine our portrait of Benjamin Gue in person, feel free to stop by the archives any time that we are open, and we can assist you with the process of handling such an artifact (hint: you’ll be using gloves!). Or if you’d like to learn more, check out some of the resources below.


 

Benjamin Gue’s personal papers can be found in the archives at RS 1/3/52. You can also view the finding aid, including biographical information, here.

The book with which I supplemented images to this post is Photographs: Archival Care and Management by Mary Lynn Ritzenhaller and Diane Vogt-O’Connor with Helena Zinkham, Brett Carnell, and Kit Peterson. We do not have a copy in our general collections, but you can access reviews here, or buy a copy here.

In addition to an extensive collection of the daguerreotype format (contrasted with our one artifact!), the Library of Congress links to more online resources here, describing the process in more detail, showing digitized examples, and inviting you to join The Daguerreian Society (because, yes, apparently that is a thing).

If you have additional questions about identifying, storing, handling, or repairing historical photograph formats, the staff in our Preservation department at Parks Library are very knowledgeable. Both Sonya Barron and Cynthia Kapteyn helped me out with preparation and activities for the class which inspired this post. You can visit the Preservation department page here for contact information. And, as a side note, they also run a blog, full of fascinating updates on current projects, which you can find here.

 

 


ISU Summer Aesthetics

Long before Instagram and Pinterest (or the “Postcard from Campus” videos), there were filler pages in the student yearbook, featuring seasonally aesthetic scenes of campus along side nostalgic quotes, presumably meant to evoke the lazy heat of an Iowa summer and the change of pace that life undergoes each year on a comparatively quiet campus.

1916

1916.summer

1916 Bomb Yearbook, pg 23

1945

1945.summer.2

1945 Bomb Yearbook, pg. 7

1955

1955.summer.4

1955 Bomb Yearbook, pgs. 432-433

1968

1968.summer.2

1968 Bomb Yearbook, pg. 42

1969

1969.summer.1

1969 Bomb Yearbook, pgs 64-65

1970

1970.3

1970 Bomb Yearbook, pgs. 34-35

1972

1972.summer.1

1972 Bomb Yearbook, pg. 78

 


Of course, summer at ISU isn’t all about lovely scenery and relaxation. Both on and off campus, the ISU community remains active throughout the hottest season of the year.

Many students continue taking classes.

1947

1947.summer1

1947 Bomb Yearbook, pgs. 84-85

1955

1955.summer.2

1955 Bomb Yearbook, pgs. 440-441

 


Others study abroad.

1955

1955.summer.6

1955 Bomb Yearbook, pgs. 436-437

 


Still others attend or work at summer camps.

1936 – Civil Engineering Summer Camp

1936.summer.1

1955 – R.O.T.C Summer Camp

1955.summer.1

1957 – Forestry Summer Camp

1957.summer.1

1957 Bomb Yearbook, pg 361

 


Incoming freshmen attend orientation events and get to know their peers.

1972

1972.summer.2

1972 Bomb Yearbook, pg 79

 


And, of course, everyone complains about the construction projects (though we know we’ll be glad for the renovations come fall).

1968

1968.summer.3

1968 Bomb Yearbook, pg 43

1973

1973.summer.1

1973 Bomb Yearbook, pgs. 80-81


What’s your aesthetic this summer?


ISU Hillel: A Jewish Student Club

Happy Jewish American Heritage Month!

Currently, Iowa State University boasts two recognized Jewish student organizations on campus: Hillel and Chabad. Because we, unfortunately, do not have an abundance of archival documentation on either, my knowledge of their histories is a bit murky. However, I have located some traces of ISU Hillel (a branch of a national organization by the same name) back to 1940, which appears to have been its date of arrival on campus. If this is indeed the correct date, and the club has been active continuously since that point, which seems to be the case, then next year, 2020, will be their 80th anniversary.

The earliest mention I found was a page from the 1942 Bomb yearbook, which featured a full page on the group after they chose to forgo an annual banquet so they could dedicate their entire event budget to the purchase of a patriotic war bond instead. The page details the group’s origins, touches on their weekly activities, and names club officers.

A page from the 1942 Bomb Yearbook, page 173, which reads as follows. Title: Hillel Club Purchase National Defense Bond. Text: Hillel Foundations are sponsered by B'nai B'rith, America's oldest and largest service organization, for the purpose of bringing more adequate knowledge of their heritage to the Jewish students of the university campus. Units are supervised by trained professional directors who cooperate with representative student leaders in the task of making Jewish religious and cultural values vital and relevant for the college generation. The first Hillel Foundation was established in 1923 at the University of Illinois. There are now 60 units, strategically centered in every part of the country. In 1940 a counselorship was awarded the group at Iowa State College, Rabbi Morris N. Kentzer, director at the University of Iowa, was made this group's director also. Dispensing with the tradition of the annual banquet, the Hillel group purchased a Defense Bond with the money that would have been used for food. The group meets weekly in the Pine Room at the memorial Union. After a short business session, a speaker is featured who may discuss religion, international affairs or student problems. Officers: Ben Bookless, president: Ann Harris, secretary: louis Plotkin, program chairman: Robert Ettinger, representative to Interchurch Council: Sylvia Kalnitsky, Corresponding secretary.

1942 Bomb Yearbook, page 173

Owing in part to the existence of a campus-wide “Religious Emphasis Week” in the 1940s, many of the ISC ’40s yearbooks feature sections on religious and service organizations, and these include images of the Hillel club sporadically through about 1949.

1946 Bomb Yearbook, page 120. There are group pictures and the following title: "Bit and Spurs rode show horses in Veishea; Hillel group took part in campus WSSF aid."

1946 Bomb Yearbook, page 120

1947 Bomb Yearbook, including group pictures of the Hillel club. The text reads: "B'Nai Brith Hillel. As part of a B'Nai Brith, national Jewish religious organization, Hillel held Friday evening religious services. Social hours, an informal winter dance, and a spring banquet featured the social program. President for the year was Harley Babbitz."

1947 Bomb Yearbook, page 159

Images of group shots of the Hillel Club. The title reads, "Hillel maintained its ties with the Jewish students association."

1948 Bomb Yearbook, page 162

Two images feature group pictures of the Hillel Club. Text reads: "Hillel. The members of B'nai B'rith Hillel used their weekly programs to combine social and cultural interests. The Hillel Players became an active group spring quarter. At the annual Memorial Day picnic awards were given to students for outstanding service to the group. Beatrice Shapiro was president; Richard Caplan, vice-president; Esther Medalie, treasurer; and Sol Hoffman, secretary.

1949 Bomb Yearbook, page 264

Researchers will be glad to see that most of these captions identify the individuals pictured, which means it may be possible to reconstruct membership rosters for the club’s early years, if these do not exist elsewhere, and/or look up additional information about graduating seniors’ majors or other campus involvement.

Several yearbook indexes post 1949, in fact, list B’nai B’rith Hillel under entries for senior activities, so we can surmise that the club was still in existence after this point, even if campus publications did not cover its activities as thoroughly.

Within the University Archives collections, however, we have some club ephemera that picks up documentation again in the 1970s.

Draft of a purpose statement on a fragment of paper. Text reads: "B'Nai B'rith Hillel. The purposes of B'Nai B'Rith Hillel are to provide for the social and religious needs of the group here at Iowa State College. Any person interested in the organization may join by paying the dues of $1.00 per year. During the year religious services, and discussion groups are held in room 222 of the Memorial Union every Friday night. Yearly reports of the organization may be obtained from the councilor of the local chapter."

Draft of a purpose statement on a fragment of paper. No date, but circa 1970. RS 22/8/0/2 Box 1, folder titled “B’nai B’rith Hillel (Jewish)”

Handwritten calendar and financial statement for club activities for the 1972-1973 school year. For details on text, please contact the ISU archives.

Handwritten calendar and financial statement for club activities. RS 22/8/0/2 Box 1, folder titled “B’nai B’rith Hillel (Jewish)”

A number of these documents are internal club records — handwritten accounts detailing yearly activities and budgets. Correspondence included in this folder suggests that ISU student groups were being required for the first time to submit annual paperwork in order to maintain an official affiliation with the university, and/or receive funding. So these single-page accounts may have been drawn up for an early version of what is now the club recognition process.

Handwritten calendar and financial statement for club activities for the 1972-1973 school year. For details on text, please contact the ISU archives.

RS 22/8/0/2 Box 1, folder titled “B’nai B’rith Hillel (Jewish)”

There are also a few 1970s programs, like the 1974 handout below, which advertises a series of Holocaust memorial events.

Front of the handout. For details on text, please contact the ISU archives.

Front of the handout, RS 22/8/0/2 Box 1, folder titled “B’nai B’rith Hillel (Jewish)”

Back of the handout. For details on text, please contact the ISU University Archives.

Back of the handout, RS 22/8/0/2 Box 1, folder titled “B’nai B’rith Hillel (Jewish)”

There are also a few newspaper clippings that date from the late 1970s through the early 1990s, again evidencing that the group was active on campus throughout that time, if not particularly well-documented in archival records.

RS22-08-00-02_1978

Article from the Iowa State Daily, February 2, 1978

Article from the Iowa State Daily, August 6, 1991

Article from the Iowa State Daily, August 6, 1991

If you have more information or documentation regarding the history of ISU’s B’Nai B’rith Hillel club, or of other Jewish organizations or events on campus, please feel free to contact the University Archives at archives@iastate.edu. We would love to hear from you.


Yes! You Were Here, Too: Yearbook Portraits of AAPI Students from the 1940s.

Because our classes let out at the beginning of May, ISU tends to celebrate AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) History Month a month early.

Something I’ve noticed about our heritage months posts, which center the histories of specific racial or ethnic communities, is that they tend to front-end very recent history. This makes sense from an archival stand-point, because the records we have preserved for these communities don’t always go back very far. But, sadly, the archival gaps  perpetuate an illusion that non-white students were not always present on the ISU campus.

But this was not true! We have photographic evidence to the contrary — at least, we have some senior portraits in the old Bomb YearbooksThe real issue is that we don’t usually have much documentation beyond these photos, or even about the people in them, and that, if we do, it’s not always clear where this documentation might live. This is why these pictures tend not to be brought forward all that much. We don’t know the story behind them. As archival records, they just exist.

But they do exist.

Here, then, is a sampling of 1940s (decade chosen somewhat at random) yearbook portraits of students whom I believe — based, unfortunately, solely on appearance and name — to be AAPI, along with at least one potentially South Asian/Middle Eastern student. My hope is that someday all of our students will be able to see themselves in Iowa State history very readily, without first needing to pour through tomes of records in order to find a face that looks like theirs. But we are still working on that goal.

1942_Tsuneo Tanabe_portrait

Tsuneo Tanabe, Class of 1942. 1942 Bomb Yearbook page 113

As can be seen on his yearbook page below, Tanabe was from Poctello, Idaho and completed a B.S. in Dairy Husbandry.

1942_Tanabe with Classmates

Tanabe with his classmates. 1942 Bomb, page 113.

1943_Woo C._Portrait

Chi-tang Woo, Class of 1943. 1943 Bomb Yearbook page 129.

Not all yearbooks give detailed information on graduating seniors, but, because of the war, classes of the early 1940s were relatively small, so this year’s yearbook made an exception. Woo’s hometown, area of study, undergraduate college, and some of his I.S.C. activities are listed below.

1943_Woo Info

1943 Bomb, page 128

 

1944_John Barakat

John Barakat, Class of 1944. 1944 Bomb Yearbook, page 20.

For those students whose yearbook pages were less helpful, I was not, unfortunately, able to do any external research at this time. But, if you are interested in learning more about their stories, feel free to use my post as a jumping-off point!

1944_Barakat with Classmates

Barakat pictured with his classmates. 1944 Bomb, page 20.

1946_Mildred A. Saha

Mildred A. Saha, Class of 1946. 1946 Bomb Yearbook, page 37.

1946_Mildred with Classmates

Mildred with her classmates. 1946 Bomb Yearbook, page 37.

1946_Yutaka Kobayashi_portrait

Yutaka Kobayashi, Class of 1946. 1946 Bomb Yearbook, page 32.

1946_Kobayashi with Classmates

Kobayashi with his classmates. 1946 Bomb Yearbook, page 32.

1947_Shigeru Fujimoto_portrait

Shigeru Fujimoto, Class of 1947. 1947 Bomb Yearbook, page 23.

1947_Fujimoto with Classmates

Fujimoto with classmates. 1947 Bomb Yearbook, page 23.

1948_Chujen Julien Liu

Chujen Julien Liu, Class of 1948

1948_Chung Yu Lo

Chung Yu Lo, Class of 1948

1948_Liu and Lo with Classmates

Liu and Lo with their classmates. 1948 Bomb yearbook, page 34.

1948_Tze Sheng Chiang_portrait

Tze Sheng Chiang, Class of 1948. 1948 Bomb Yearbook, page 24.

1948_Chiang with classmates

Chiang with classmates. 1948 Bomb Yearbook, page 24.

Another important thing to note is that, because these portraits feature only graduating seniors, and only those who chose to have their pictures taken, it is likely that there were more AAPI students on campus at this time. It is also very possible that I missed people, misidentified people’s ethnicit(y/ies), or both. I did not do extensive research on any of these students, and, because yearbook portraits from this era are black and white and very low resolution, I omitted several ethnically-ambiguous individuals who had German or Anglo-Saxon last names (which might have meant they were multi-racial, bore anglicized family names, were white-passing, were in fact white, or any other number of things). As such, I encourage you to come look at the yearbooks yourself. They are available both in the SCUA reading room and via our digital collections online.

If you happen across additional information (or additions or corrections!) about any of the individuals featured above, feel free to send me an email at achesonr@iastate.edu, and I will update the post. Also, if you decide to do further research on former students who have peaked your interest, please let us know what you find out about them! We are always interested in learning more about Iowa State alumni.


#WomensHistoryMonth: Female STEM Heroes of World War II

World War II proved an age of female empowerment on the homefront, as women kept the world running by stepping up to fill both jobs and societal roles traditionally held by men while the men were off at war. The same principle held true for education, and ISU (Iowa State College at the time) was not the only co-ed college in the country where female students temporarily outnumbered their male counterparts. The majority of these women still veered towards liberal arts and home economics majors, but a large number also waded into the hard sciences. Many of them discovered that they possessed an untapped talent for STEM research. Below are a handful of examples.


 

Senior Portrait.1941.pg48

Senior Portrait of Beatrice Bruner. Bomb Yearbook 1941, pg. 48

Beatrice Bruner Dowd (1924-1998), a native of Rolfe, Iowa, graduated from Iowa State College with her B.S. in Mathematics in 1941. She was very active in clubs and societies, and she also saved a great deal of correspondence from her time in school, where it appears she was well-loved and had many friends.

Box 5 Folder 7.a

Letter from a college friend. RS 21/7/117 Box 5, Folder 7

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Letter from a college friend. RS 21/7/117 Box 5, Folder 7.

Such letters are always interesting to peruse, because they reveal glimpses of life on campus at the time, above and beyond the education and career of the individual. Price changes in particular catch my attention. For example, did you know that Beatrice paid only a $5.00 deposit on her dorm room in 1940? With inflation taken into account, that’s about $90 in today’s currency. And one of her friends wrote that she was worried about having already spent $0.20 (equivalent to about $3.60 today) at the Union for her meals that morning – that it was so difficult to keep one’s daily expenses under $0.60 (about $10.80 today).

Box 5 Folder 7. deposit slip

Room Deposit Slip. RS 21/7/117 Box 5, Folder 7.

It is unclear who, if anyone, might have encouraged Beatrice to pursue mathematics, but her college friends’ letters reference her aptitude in STEM subjects, particularly physics, several times.

In 1943, after graduation, Beatrice joined the Navy, whereupon she was assigned to study meteorology at the University of California at Los Angeles so she could work as a Naval Weather Forecaster. Her papers contain her notes (and some doodles) from various courses she took at UCLA.

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Beatrice’s notes from a course on tropical meteorology. RS 21/7/117 Box 3, Folder 15.

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It is unclear why Dowd saved this amusing doodle on her weather maps from school, or whether she or a friend drew it. But it is certainly unique. RS 21/7/117 Box 3, Folder 15.

Her papers also include procedural documents and training materials from the Navy. Some of these employ humor as a memory aid, as is the case with the cartoons below. Researchers who would like to peruse the full collection of training cartoons, however, should be aware that some of these contain racist depictions of Japanese military personnel. 

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United States Naval Training Division’s Humorous Training Cards and Famous Last Lines. RS 21/7/117 Box 3, Folder 16.

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United States Naval Training Division’s Humorous Training Cards and Famous Last Lines. RS 21/7/117 Box 3, Folder 16.

After the war, Beatrice worked for a company called Sylvania Electronic Products (later known as GTE Government Systems), where she eventually became the Engineering Department Manager before retiring in 1986. Curiously, she also belonged to a group known as the Association of Old Crows (AOC), begun in the 1960s by veterans who had worked as Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) officers in World War II, disrupting enemy communications and radars. The group exists to this day, creating symposiums and journals to educate the public about electronic warfare.

AOC Certificate

Association of Old Crows Certificate. RS 21/7/117 Box 8.


 

Hilda S. White (1953-1997) received her Ph.D. from Iowa State after earning her bachelors in Chemistry from Bethany College, West Virginia, in 1942.

KIC Image 0005

Excerpt from an autobiographical note by Hilda S. White. RS 21/7/109 Box 1, Folder 2.

While a grad student at Iowa State, she met her future husband, Phil White, who went on to earn his D.Sc. at Harvard, where both he and Hilda were employed as biochemists in the Department of Food and Nutrition for about two years.

Immediately following this, Phil’s program at Harvard sent him to Lima, Peru to perform analysis on food consumption in that country, and Hilda accompanied him. It is unclear precisely what her role in the expedition was, as even her own subsequent write-up of the trip centers around her husband’s job and paints her own experience primarily as that of a housewife, referencing the birth of her first child (which would undoubtedly have consumed much of her time!).

KIC Image 0004

Excerpt from a report on her time in Peru. RS 21/7/109 Box 1, Folder 1.

But she was also, it seems, performing research connected to the project simultaneously, publishing papers in professional journals, and receiving her own salary from Harvard.

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Research published during Phil and Hilda’s time in Peru. RS 21/7/109 Box 1, Folder 1.

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Research published during Phil and Hilda’s time in Peru. RS 21/7/109 Box 1, Folder 1.

When they returned home in 1953, Phil joined the staff of the American Medical Association in Chicago. The chair of the organization was in the process of looking for a qualified candidate to teach Nutrition at the Home Economics department for Northwestern University at the time, and Phil recommended Hilda, who got the job. She taught there until 1973, when the department dissolved.

While at Northwestern, Hilda continued to perform and publish research, this time on “Inorganic Elements in Weighed Diets of Girls and Young Women” and “Utilization of Inorganic Elements by Young Women Eating Iron-Fortified Foods.” She eventually went on to work at the Chicago Nutrition Association and the journal board of the American Dietetic Association.

KIC Image 0003

Excerpt from Hilda S. White’s published research. RS 21/7/109 Box 1, Folder 1.

Although her the status of her work was so frequently downplayed in favor of her husband’s, it is clear that she made major contributions to her field in her own right.


 

KIC Document 0001_Page_1_Image_0001

Undergraduate Senior Portrait of Darleane Christian. Bomb Yearbook 1948, pg. 24.

Darleane C. Hoffman (1947-2011), nuclear chemist, might be the most well-known of the alumni featured in this post.

She received both of her degrees from ISU: a B.S. in Chemistry in 1948 and a Ph.D. in Physical (Nuclear) Chemistry in 1951. Her biographical web page for the Women in Technology Hall of Fame (WITI), into which she was inducted in 2000, notes that she had not originally intended to study science at all. She had arrived at Iowa State intending to pursue a career as a commercial artist. However, according to the write-up, the influence of an unnamed female professor in one of her freshman courses peaked her interest in STEM fields, and she decided to switch her focus to chemistry.

20190328_162824

Darleane’s notes from Chemistry 512 – Advanced Quantitiative Analysis, a class she took in the Spring of 1949. RS 21/7/100 Box 13, Folder 3.

After graduating with a specialization in nuclear and radiochemistry (interests which would later make her famous), she applied for a job with the radiochemistry group at the Los Alamos National Laboratory only to be told, “We don’t hire women in that division.” Perhaps simply to prove she could, she continued applying to this institute until she landed a position in their Isotope and Nuclear Chemistry division, where she quickly took on leadership roles and worked for 30 years.

During this period of her life, in the 1960s, she also raised two children and would reportedly return to work each night after putting the children to bed.

In the 1970s, while serving as the Division Leader for the Isotope and Nuclear Chemistry division, Darleane discovered a naturally-occurring form of an element called plutonium-244, which scientists had previously believed to be a manufactured substance that existed only in laboratories.

Her group also performed the world’s first aqueous chemistry on hathnium, element 105, around this time.

And these discoveries led to even more innovation once she had accepted a professorship at University of California Berkeley’s Department of Chemistry. In collaboration with European scientists, the groups she led at UCLA discovered the first super-heavy elements, 118, 116, and 114. These became the focal point of her studies in later years.

Among other honors, Darleane received the University of California Berkeley Citation of Merit in 1996, the President’s National Medal of Science in 1997, and the Priestley Medal (the highest honor conferred by the American Chemical Society) in 2000.

National Medal

Ephemera surrounding Hoffman’s reception of the National Medal of Science in 1997. RS 21/7/100 Box 17, Folder 8.


 

We are immensely proud of these alumni here at ISU, and we hope their stories will inspire current students. If you would like to learn more about any of these scientists, feel free to visit the archives and browse through their papers.

Inspiration

Poster. RS 21/7/100 Box 1, Folder 1.


#BlackHistoryMonth: 1984 Olympic Medalists in Men’s Track

The ISU men’s track team made history in the 1984 Olympics and showcased some of the best talent Iowa State has ever boasted in this sport.

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Photograph collection, RS 24/11/D box 1953

Three team members made it to the Olympics: Danny Harris from the USA, Sunday Uti from Nigeria, and Moses Kiyai from Kenya.

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Danny Harris. 1985 Bomb page 260

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Sunday Uti. Photograph Collection, RS 24/11/D box 1950.

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Moses Kiyai. 1985 media guide page 10. RS 24/11/0/6 box 1, folder 2.

Both Danny Harris and Sunday Uti took home medals (Harris silver and Uti bronze), and Harris broke his fifth world record in the 400 hurdles during the semi-finals for Olympic trials.

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Olympic medalists Uti (left) and Harris (right) with their coach Steve Lynn (center). Photograph collection, RS 24/11/D box 1953.

The 1985 media guide for men’s track notes that Harris’s record-breaking times were all the more impressive considering that he was barely 18-years-old during the trials (a sophomore at ISU) and had only run the 400 hurdles 19 times prior to the event.

Here are some pictures of Harris performing at the NCAA competition earlier that summer:

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Photograph collection, RS 24/11/D box 1950.

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Photograph collection, RS 24/11/D box 1950.

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Photograph collection, RS 24/11/D box 1950.

And here is a shot of Uti in motion, likely during a training session at ISU.

KIC Image 0005

Sunday Uti (far left). Photograph collection, RS 24/11/D box 1950.

Given their incredible expertise, it seems likely that all of these athletes spent much of their time on the indoor track of the men’s gym, pictured below as it would have looked when they were in school.

KIC Image 0002 - Copy

Photograph collection, RS 24/11/D box 1953.

Sunday Uti graduated in 1987 with his B.S. in Community and Regional Planning.

Unfortunately, it is unclear what happened next to Danny Harris or Moses Kiyai — whether they transferred schools, or simply moved on to other pursuits. I could not find mentions of either in our alumni records.

We do know, however, that Danny Harris set up his own private coaching and personal training service 12 years later in Los Angeles, California near his hometown, Perris.

It is also worth noting that the ISU women’s track team excelled in the 1984 Olympics. In some ways, their accomplishments surpassed those of the men. But because of this, I believe that Nawal El Moutawakel in particular deserves her own blog post, and we can look at her story another day. Regardless, feel free to visit the archives to see any of this material, or any of the items shown above, in person.

 


English Reading Lab Machines

Who says English majors, even in the past, haven’t engaged with technology?

Here is a curiosity I stumbled across the other day.

I’m not entirely sure what the function of these so-labeled “reading lab” machines might have been, because I have never seen anything like them before. My best guess is that they were designed to improve speed-reading skills — that the bar of light from above swept down the page at a words-per-minute pace set by the user.

Image of Girl in English Reading Lab circa 1962. RS 13/10/D,F,G, University Photos, box 1073.

Girl in English Reading Lab circa 1962. RS 13/10/D,F,G, University Photos, box 1073.

Furthermore, they seem to have been used in a classroom setting, rather than private study carrels, which suggests to me that they may have served as remedial aids for students — perhaps for freshmen who had been struggling to keep up with course reading loads and wished to improve their study skills.

Image of Reading Lab "Help" Class, circa 1962. RS 13/10/D,F,G, University Photos, box 1073.

Reading Lab “Help” Class, circa 1962. RS 13/10/D,F,G, University Photos, box 1073.

These are just guesses, however.

If anyone reading this post attended ISU in the 1960s, is there a chance that you used something like this? Could you shed some light on these machines’ purpose?


LGBT+ History Month: “Early LGBT+ Student Activism / Activismo Estudiantil Temprano LGBT+” by Research Assistant Luis Gonzalez-Diaz

The following post was written by Luis Gonzalez-Diaz, who is working at SCUA this year as an Undergraduate Research Assistant (URA). His project centers around historical LGBT+ communities on the ISU campus. The post today builds upon his previous post, which can be accessed via a link in the text below.

-Rachael Acheson
Assistant University Archivist


Early LGBT+ Student Activism / Activismo Estudiantil Temprano LGBT+

[TRIGGER WARNING: This blog post, or pages it links to, contains information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors.]

[Advertencia: Este artículo, puede contener material sobre asalto sexual o violencia que podría ser desencadenante para algunos sobrevivientes.]

Continuing the narrative of LGBT+ History Month, an aspect of LGBT+ history that greatly influenced campus life for the community was the activism from the various groups on campus in the 1970s. The first presence of LGBT+ activism on campus started in 1971 with backlash to the controversial play “Boys in the Band” being presented at Iowa State. For more information on that particular event, check out my last article.

Continuando en la narrativa del mes de historia LGBT+, un aspecto de historia que gran mente influenció la vida estudiantil en la universidad, fue el activismo de varios grupos en los 1970’s. La primera presencia de activismo LGBT+ en la universidad, empezó en 1971 con la repercusión causada por la obra teatral controversial “Boys in the Band” siendo presentada. Para más información, verifica mi último artículo.

Boys in the Band Photos, RS 13/23/3, Box 17. / Fotos de “Boys in the Band”, RS 13/23/3, Caja 17

Boys in the Band Photos, RS 13/23/3, Box 17. / Fotos de “Boys in the Band”, RS 13/23/3, Caja 17

Nonetheless, on October 8th, 1974, students from the Gay People’s Alliance and the Lesbian Alliance might have demonstrated one of the biggest acts of activism and resistance in the decade, when they appeared in a local tv station in Ames called WOI-TV. The invitation to participate in the program arose from a controversial episode of Marcus Welby M.D. titled “The Outrage” aired by ABC TV. In the fictional drama, a mother discovers that her teenage boy was sexually assaulted by one of his school teachers when they were out at a camping trip. The teenager nonetheless was too ashamed to admit it to her mother but eventually confessed that it was his male science teacher that had done it.

No obstante, el 8 de octubre de 1974, estudiantes del “Gay People’s Alliance” y el “Lesbian Alliance” demostraron uno de los actos más grandes de activismo y resistencia en la década, cuando aparecieron en una estación de televisión local en Ames llamada WOI-TV. La invitación ocurrió a causa de un episodio controversial de un programa llamado Marcus Welby M.D titulado “The Outrage”, televisado por ABC TV. En el drama ficticio, una madre descubre que su hijo adolescente fue asaltado sexualmente por uno de sus maestros en un viaje estudiantil auspiciado por la escuela. Sin embargo, el niño adolescente estaba demasiado avergonzado para admitirlo ante su madre, pero finalmente confesó que era su maestro de ciencias lo que lo había hecho.

Luis_TheOutrage_IMDBscreenshot

Screenshot of IMDB page for this episode, accessible at the following URL: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0641970/?ref_=ttep_ep16

The airing of this episode caused much outrage for LGBT+ communities nationwide because of the perpetuation of negative light over the community, in a time where LGBT+ activism was just starting. The airing of the episode was a direct attack on the activism that was present at that time. The episode was pulled from communities in Boston and Philadelphia.

La emisión de este episodio causó mucha indignación para las comunidades LGBT + en todo el país debido a la perpetuación de la luz negativa sobre la comunidad, en un momento en el que el activismo LGBT + apenas estaba comenzando. La emisión del episodio fue un ataque directo al activismo que estaba presente en ese momento. El episodio fue retirado de comunidades en Boston y Filadelfia.

Blurry screenshot of an article from the New York Times, October 6, 1974, page 19. To read a clearer digitized copy of this article, visit the following URL: https://www.nytimes.com/1974/10/06/archives/pressure-groups-are-increasingly-putting-the-heat-on-tv-television.html

Blurry screenshot of a New York Times article dated October 6, 1974, page 19. To read a clearer, digitized copy of this article, visit the following URL: https://www.nytimes.com/1974/10/06/archives/pressure-groups-are-increasingly-putting-the-heat-on-tv-television.html

In Ames, the Gay People’s Alliance and the Lesbian Alliance wanted it to be pulled, but WOI-TV was not doing it. The TV station nonetheless, invited both groups to participate in Betty Lou Varnum’s “Dimension Five” program that aired in central Iowa at 10PM. 

En Ames, el “Gay People’s Alliance” y el “Lesbian Alliance” querían que se retirara, pero WOI-TV no lo estaba haciendo. No obstante, la estación de televisión invitó a ambos grupos a participar en el programa “Dimensión Cinco” de Betty Lou Varnum que se emitió en el centro de Iowa a las 10 P. M.

Headshot of Betty Lou Varnum. Screenshot from the video entitled Dimension 5: Gay People Alliance, time 0:30. Varnum is introducing the segment. Follow URL in the caption to see this moment in the video.

Dimension 5: Gay People Alliance, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heUZADGz66w&t=1882s, 0:30. Betty Lou Varnum is introducing the segment.

The panelists were Carolyn Czerna, Karen Moore, Kay Scott, Connie Tanzo, Steve Court, Jim Osler, David Windom, and Dennis Brumm.

Los panelistas fueron Carolyn Czerna, Karen Moore, Kay Scott, Connie Tanzo, Steve Court, Jim Osler, David Windom y Dennis Brumm.

Screenshot from the video entitled Dimension 5: Gay People Alliance, time 1:39. Carolyn Czerna, Karen Moore, Kay Scott, Connie Tanzo, Steve Court, Jim Osler, David Windom, and Dennis Brumm being introduced. Follow the URL in the caption to see this moment in the video.

Dimension 5: Gay People Alliance, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heUZADGz66w&t=1882s, 1:39. The panelists are being introduced.

The program talked mostly about the Marcus Welby M.D. episode, as well as many questions that the host had. Further along the night, the phone line was opened for callers, and many people called quoting Bible verses at them, which represented how the LGBT+ community was being perceived in Ames. The segment was viewed so frequently that it had brought back to life the ratings for the show. This broadcast, furthermore, represented how student activism here at Iowa State University has influenced and shaped the views on the LGBT+ community in Iowa, and how they refused to stay silent in the midst of an injustice. The interview is conveniently available to you at the Special Collections and University Archive’s YouTube channel, under “Dimension 5: Gay People Alliance Tape 1”.

El programa hablaba principalmente del episodio de Marcus Welby M.D. así como de las muchas preguntas que tenía el anfitrión. Más a lo largo de la noche, se abrió la línea telefónica para las personas que llamaban, y muchas personas llamaron a citar versículos bíblicos, lo que representaba cómo se percibía a la comunidad LGBT + en Ames. El segmento se veía con tanta frecuencia que había devuelto a la vida las calificaciones para el programa. Además, esta transmisión representó cómo el activismo estudiantil aquí en “Iowa State University” ha influido y configurado las opiniones sobre la comunidad LGBT + en Iowa, y cómo se negaron a permanecer en silencio en medio de una injusticia. La entrevista está disponible para usted en el canal de YouTube de Colecciones Especiales y el Archivo de la Universidad, bajo “Dimensión 5: Gay People Alliance Tape 1“.

Additionally, we have the original Dimension 5 notes for that specific broadcast in the Betty Lou Varnum papers at SCUA [RS 5/6/53].

Además, tenemos las notas originales de Dimensión 5 para esa emisión específica en los documentos de Betty Lou Varnum en SCUA [RS 5/6/53].

Broadcast notes from collection RS 5/6/53

RS 5/6/53

If you have any other materials regarding LGBT+ student life here on campus, please feel free to reach out to the Special Collections and University Archives at ISU to talk about how you can possibly preserve and help us develop the history of the community in the university.

Si tiene cualquier otro material relacionado con la vida estudiantil LGBT + aquí en el campus, no dude en comunicarse con las Colecciones Especiales y los Archivos Universitarios en ISU para hablar sobre cómo posiblemente puede preservar y ayudarnos a desarrollar la historia de la comunidad en la universidad.


“Alice Doesn’t Day” by Research Assistant Amanda Larsen

The following post was written by Amanda Larsen, who is working at SCUA this year as an Undergraduate Research Assistant (URA). Her project revolves around historical feminist activism on the ISU campus. Regarding today’s article, note that the Monday after next, exactly two weeks from today, will mark 43 years since the “Alice Doesn’t Day” strike.

-Rachael Acheson
Assistant University Archivist


Alice Doesn’t Day

October 29th, 1975 was one of the first days to show the nation how much women contribute to society. The National Organization for Women (NOW) created a national strike day for women in order to emphasize how important women are for society. They called it “Alice Doesn’t Day,” a reference to the 1974 film Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.  NOW called for every woman to refrain from work or spending any money. The alternative for women who could not skip work was to wear an armband and discuss its purpose.

On campus, the Government of the Student Body (GSB) was asked to support the strike by on campus women’s organization. The bill to support Alice Doesn’t Day was sponsored by Roxanne Ryan, a student in sciences and humanities.

Image of Roxanne Ryan with members of her residence hall, Miller. Image from the Bomb 1975, page 308.

Roxanne Ryan with members of her residence hall. Image from the Bomb 1975, pg. 308.

Various groups scheduled programs supporting Alice Doesn’t Day on the Iowa State campus according to news articles. For those who wished to participate in the event, the YWCA had seminars on women’s health, practical consumerism, pampering ourselves, and women and the law. If the participants had young children, there were male-run daycare and babysitting services provided. GSB passed the bill supporting Alice Doesn’t Day, to the dismay of some. In the community, Ames Mayor William Pelz showed support for Alice Doesn’t Day by signing an official proclamation naming October 29th as “Alice Doesn’t Day.”

Not everyone supported Alice Doesn’t Day. The Iowa State Daily’s “Point of View” section notes that some believed calling for women not to go to work was not the best tactic for showing women’s roles in society. While it might have shown how much women contribute, it could also have shown unprofessionalism and little regard for their work. Others felt that women should double their efforts on the 29th with the same goal of showing how much they can contribute to society. A group opposed to Alice Doesn’t Day vowed to wear pink dresses and call for the firing of any woman protesting. In terms of students, most told the Daily that the reason they could not participate in the strike was that they had classes and “school is more important than my ethical views.” Since they could not miss classes, many of the women interviewed said they would refrain from spending money that day.

Cartoon on student activism (or lack thereof). The Bomb 1975, pg. 504.

Cartoon on ISU student activism (or lack thereof). The Bomb 1975, pg. 504.

Rosl Gowdey, one of the publicity workers for the project, stated that the goal of the day was to “focus on what happens to the women who participate, than on the number of participants. If only one or two women get something out of it, then that’s great, and we’ve accomplished our purpose.” While most think that the day was a failure, others viewed the event as successful because of the awareness: “In terms of awareness and talking about women’s contributions, it was successful,” said by Susan Newcomer, the president of the Ames chapter of the National Organization for Women.

If you or anyone you know has any information about women activist from 1960-1979 here at Iowa State, please feel free to contact Special Collections to discuss preserving the material.

Image from page 19 of the Ames Daily Tribune, October 25th, 1975.

Image from page 19 of the Ames Daily Tribune, October 25th, 1975.

 


LGBT+ History Month: “Activist Archivists / Archivistas Activistas” by Research Assistant Luis Gonzalez-Diaz

As I mentioned in a previous post, this year, two talented upperclassmen have joined SCUA through the Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) program to help us uncover some of the “hidden histories” of ISU through research into underrepresented communities in the university’s past. They are working on digital exhibits that will serve as a resource for future scholars, and both URA students will be writing blog posts throughout the school year to update you on their discoveries. Today, it is my pleasure to introduce the work of Luis Gonzalez-Diaz, who has chosen to research the history of LGBTQIA+ communities at ISU.

-Rachael Acheson
Assistant University Archivist


 

Activist Archivists / Archivistas Activistas

The LGBT+ community since its beginning, has certainly faced its struggles in terms of finding visibility in society. A lot of the history from the community has been erased due to the historical oppression of its members. Nonetheless, some of the history is preserved in archives around the world. The word archivist according to the Oxford English Dictionary means “a person who maintains and is in charge of archives” (“Archivist”), but it is so much more complex than that. An archivist is in a unique position to correct the wrongdoings that society has done in the past. An activist according to the Oxford English Dictionary is defined as “a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change” (“Activist”), and exactly this, is what an archivist can be.

La comunidad LGBT+ desde sus comienzos, ha sin duda enfrentado sus luchas en el sentido de encontrar visibilidad en la sociedad. Mucha de la historia de la comunidad ha sido borrada, debido a la opresión histórica de sus miembros. No obstante, alguna de la historia es preservada en archivos alrededor del mundo. La palabra archivista se define como “una persona que mantiene y preserva los archivos” (“Archivist”); pero es mucho más compleja de lo que aparenta. Un archivista está en una posición única en donde existe la posibilidad de corregir las malas acciones del pasado. Un activista es “una persona que promueve el cambio político y social” (“Activist”); y exactamente esto, es lo que un archivista puede ser.

Archivist as Activists” is a term quoted from “Archivist as Activist: Lessons from Three Queer Community Archives in California”, written by Diana Wakimoto, Christine Bruce, and Helen Patridge. In the article, they talk about how by being an activist, archivists are able to preserve the history of marginalized communities, and be able to ensure representation in their collections.

Archivista como Activista es un término citado de “Archivista como Activista: Lecciones de Tres Archivos Queer de la Comunidad en California”; escrito por Diana Wakimoto, Christine Bruce, and Helen Patridge. En el artículo, hablan de cómo ser un activista, puede ayudar a los archivistas en el proceso de la preservación de materiales de comunidades marginalizadas. Esto puede ayudar a garantizar la representación equitativa en los archivos.

https://www.onearchives.org/exhibitions/. Picture of the One Archives, one of the three California Community Archives stated in the article, from their website. / Foto del Archivo “One”, uno de los tres archivos mencionados. Extraida de su sitio web

https://www.onearchives.org/exhibitions/ Picture of the One Archives, one of the three California Community Archives stated in the article, from their website. / Foto del Archivo “One”, uno de los tres archivos mencionados. Extraida de su sitio web

Furthermore, people constantly ask why collecting LGBT+ material is so important. Well, it is very important to collect these materials because there is a need for them. LGBT+ people have and always been a part of history, and leaving them out from the discourse would simply be wrong. By being an activist for the community, archivists can ensure that everybody is present when preserving and maintaining history.

Además, muchas personas se cuestionan por qué la preservación de materiales LGBT+ importa. Pues, es muy importante porque hay una necesidad de recolectar estos materiales. La comunidad LGBT+ siempre ha sido parte de la historia y dejarlos fuera del discurso, sería un acto atroz. Siendo un activista para la comunidad, los archivistas pueden asegurar que todo el mundo está presente en la preservación de la historia.

Here at SCUA, we are collecting and preserving Iowa State University LGBT+ history by being activists and making sure that the community is being represented within our archives. One of our earliest accounts of LGBT+ student life dates back to 1971, regarding a student organization called the Gay Liberation Front [RS 22/4/0/1, Box 1]. The Gay Liberation Front wrote a letter to the ISU Daily, where they expressed their feelings toward the discrimination of gay people in the 70’s. They specifically said “We, members of Iowa State University’s gay community, feel that we can no longer tolerate the overt and covert discrimination against homosexuals on this campus”.

Aquí en “SCUA”, estamos colectando y preservando la historia de la comunidad LGBT+ en Iowa State University. Lo estamos logrando siendo activistas y asegurándonos que haya representación en nuestros archivos. Uno de nuestros archivos más tempranos, es de 1971 y es relevante a un grupo llamado el “Gay Liberation Front” [RS 22/4/0/1, Caja 1]. El “Gay Liberation Front” escribió una carta al periódico local, el “ISU Daily”, donde expresaron sus sentimientos sobre la discriminación de personas de la comunidad LGBT+ en los años 70. Específicamente dijeron “Nosotros, los miembros de la comunidad gay de la Universidad, sentimos que no podemos tolerar el discrimen rampante contra los homosexuales en esta Universidad”.

ISU Daily Article, RS 22/4/0/1, Box 1. / Articulo del ISU Daily, Rs 22/4/0/1. Caja 1.

ISU Daily Article, RS 22/4/0/1, Box 1. / Articulo del ISU Daily, Rs 22/4/0/1. Caja 1.

The outrage nonetheless, was caused by a theater play that Iowa State brought to campus titled “Boys in the Band”; a famously known LGBT+ related play. The Gay Liberation Front then said that “By allowing the presentation of the play The Boys in the Band, Iowa State University has, in effect, said that its students are prepared to tackle the question of homosexuality”.

La furia, no obstante, fue causada por una obra teatral que Iowa State University trajo a la universidad, titulada “Boys in the Band”. Esta obra es notablemente LGBT+ y por esto el “Gay Liberation Front” expresó que “Si dejan presentar la obra, están diciendo que la Universidad y por ende su estudiantado están preparados para hablar sobre temas LGBT+”.

Luis_BoysinBand_2_IMG_2169

Boys in the Band Photos, RS 13/23/3, Box 17. / Fotos de “Boys in the Band”, RS 13/23/3, Caja 17

Boys in the Band Photos, RS 13/23/3, Box 17. / Fotos de “Boys in the Band”, RS 13/23/3, Caja 17.

Boys in the Band Photos, RS 13/23/3, Box 17. / Fotos de “Boys in the Band”, RS 13/23/3, Caja 17.

This article is one of the earliest accounts of LGBT+ life on the Iowa State Campus. While we do have some materials regarding the LGBT+ community and, there is a need for more materials. If you were an Iowa State University student and have any materials that pertain to the community, we would invite you to contact us, to discuss the benefits of preserving your history here on campus.

Este artículo es uno de los recuentos más tempranos de la vida estudiantil LGBT+ en Iowa State University. A pesar de que tenemos algunos materiales sobre la comunidad LGBT+ en la Universidad, hay una necesidad de conseguir y preservar materiales. Si usted fue un estudiante de Iowa State University, le invitamos a que nos contacten, para discutir los beneficios de preservar su historia en la Universidad en nuestros archivos.


Meet the Author!

Luis is a Political Science and Sociology undergraduate student at Iowa State University. His goal is to one day obtain a PhD in Sociology, do research, and teach at a university. At the university, Luis is a NCORE-ISCORE Scholar, McNair Scholar, and Student Success Leader for the BOLD Learning Community in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Luis is one of the two undergraduate research assistants for the University Archives, researching the LGBT+ community at Iowa State, and SCUA has been very impressed with his work to date.

 

Luis Gonzalez-Diaz, SCUA Undergraduate Research Assistant 2018-2019

Luis Gonzalez-Diaz, SCUA Undergraduate Research Assistant 2018-2019