A Brief History of Graduation at Iowa State University

Photograph of white female student, long hair with glasses, close-up in a library office setting (cubicle & book shelves filled with books visible in the background).

Photograph courtesy of Cassandra.

This blog post was authored by Curation Services Student Writer Cassandra Anderson.

Can you believe that it is already April? The year has gone by so fast! The month of April brings warmer weather, spring rainstorms, and the end of the semester. For seniors, we are suddenly hit with the realization that we only have a few more weeks of being a Cyclone. Finals are just around the corner, and then it’s time for graduation! While getting ready for graduation myself, I wondered what it was like for seniors graduating from Iowa State over the last 147 years.

The first graduating class from Iowa State College graduated Wednesday, November 13th, 1872. That very first class of Iowa State students had 26 members, including 2 women! The ceremony was held at the West House in Ames, the first hotel in the area. To learn more about the first graduation and to see photos of the class of 1872, check out this earlier blog post by Outreach Archivist Rachel Seale!

Special Collections and University Archives is full of photos from various graduating classes over the years, so if you are interested in finding photos from a specific year, I would definitely recommend checking out boxes 1532-1572 of the university photos collection. While sorting through the boxes, I found these traditional gap and gown photos of Ward M. Jones from Allison, Iowa and Mary E. Barger from Ontario, Iowa. Ward and Mary were both members of the 1897 graduating class.

After finding the photos of Ward and Mary, I thought it might be interesting to see what degrees they earned. I pulled boxes 1-5 of the Graduation Programs collection, RS 07/09/04/01 and started looking for the 1897 commencement program. About halfway through box 1 of the collection, I found the folder I was looking for, titled “1897 Program”. The graduating class of 1897 was larger than that very first graduating class, but with only 58 people, that is still much smaller than my graduating class is going to be! Ward M. Jones graduated with a Bachelors of Civil Engineering, focused in “Comparative Tests in Building Stones” and Mary E. Barger graduated with a Bachelors of Science focused in “French Physiocrats”.

Title page of Commencement program, reads "Commencement of the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. Ames, Iowa. Wed. Evening, Nov. 10th, 1897, at 7:30 o'clock.

Title page for 1897 Commencement program (RS 7/9/4/01, box 1).

After learning about Mary and Ward, I can’t stop wondering about what other cool pieces of graduation history we might have lying around the archives. If you are interested in finding photos from graduations of the past, I would recommend looking in the Bomb, the University Archives, and the University photograph collection! I found so many cool photos while writing this blog post, I wish that I could include them all. Check out this photo of members of the class of 1914!

Group portrait of class of 1914, all students wearing tuxedos.

Class of 1914 (University Photographs, box 1569).

As the seniors finish their classes and take in their final moments here at Iowa State University I want to remind everyone to make their final days last. While finishing our classes strong is important, it is also important to take the time to hang out with our friends, and make a few more memories at Iowa State that we can cherish for the rest of our lives. Congratulations Class of 2019, we made it!

page from 1985 Bomb, ISU's yearbook, black-and-white image of commencement and white text in cursive reads "Congratulations Class of '85!!" over image.

From page of 571 the 1985 Bomb (Call Number LD 2548 lo9b).


A Night in Malaysia #ThrowbackThursday

Today’s Throwback Thursday post is in honor of Iowa State University’s celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Month. ISU celebrates in April, but AAPI month is usually celebrated in May when school is out. Here are a few pages from the 1987 program “A Night in Malaysia” put on by the Association of Malaysian Students.

 

Today Iowa State University has the Ames Student Association for Malaysians. You can check out their Facebook page. I wonder if the Association of Malaysian Students predates the current Malaysian student group on campus? Drop by the reading room and see if you can do a little research and find out!


Happy 50th! The Origins of Special Collections & University Archives

2019 marks the Special Collections & University Archives’ (SCUA) 50th year in existence. This blog post is the first in a series of blog posts celebrating SCUA’s 50 years at Iowa State University. The Department of Special Collections at Iowa State University consolidated the already existing College History and Rare Books collections. The College History Collection was a cooperative effort, led by the University Library and the College History Committee, to preserve Iowa State University’s history.

Photograph of person wearing suit reading files standing in front of a filing cabinet. Caption to photo reads: "Robert Orr, director of the Iowa State College Library, looks over part of the college history collection now stored in Building N. The materials will be moved to the library and organized, with aid from the Alumni Achievement Fund. Title of article: "College History Collection." The project of organizing Iowa State's voluminous history files will soon be started. A $2,500 grant from the Alumni Association's Achievement Fund, requested by President James H. Hilton and approved by the alumni board of trustees, will be used to employ a part-time assistant and to buy materials for processing part of the collection. Now stored in Building N, the materials will be moved to the library for safekeeping. Photographic prints and negatives are earmarked for early attention. They will be cleaned, repaired, mounted if necessary, and classified and filed for easy reference. Other parts of the collection in Building N will be processed later. These include correspondence, selected printed works, notebooks, and other memoranda. Some bulky items, of no sentimental value, may be microfilmed to conserve space. A major part of the college history collection is already housed in the library's book stacks. It includes the life works of noted alumni and former faculty members. Lack of space prevents the library from assembling the collection into a single unit at the present time. The plan for organizing the history materials was recommended by Robert W. Orr, '29, library director, and approved by R. E. Buchanan, '04, chairman of the Alumni Association's memorials and traditions committee, and E.D. Ross, chairman of the college history committee. Plans are being made to gather a complete record of the centennial anniversary of the founding of Iowa State College. The event will be observed in 1958. Complete records of other similar obsevances are included in the history collection. "The projects will insure preservation of materials relating tot he development and growth of Iowa State College since its founding on March 22, 1858," Orr explained. "As the years pass the faculty, alumni, and students can be expected to have an increasingly keen appreciation of the history and traditions of Iowa State College."

On page 7 of the January 1954 Alumnus of Iowa State College. Call Number LH1 lo9a.

Back in July 1919, the Alumni Association tasked Dean Edgar W. Stanton to prepare a history of Iowa State College in preparation for the College’s upcoming semi-centennial celebration. Edgar Stanton was the natural choice to pursue this undertaking.  He had served the College in various capacities—Economics Department Chair, Head of the Department of Mathematics, Secretary of the Board of Trustees, Dean of the Junior College, Vice President, and Acting President—since he graduated with the first graduating class in 1872. Tragically, Stanton died in 1920 from influenza, before he could complete his charge. In 1922, Louis H. Pammel, professor of Botany, was appointed as committee chair, and the committee renewed its work. In 1942, A History of the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts was published by then Chairman of the Committee on History of the College, Earle D. Ross.

All of the documentation compiled by Stanton, Pammel, and Ross were put in storage in a temporary building, presumably “Building N” referenced in the  “College History Article” above. In 1953, President Hilton requested $2,500 from the Alumni Association’s Achievement Fund to process the materials from the College History Collection. Dorothy Kehlenbeck was hired as the College History Collection Curator, and the materials were moved to the Parks Library.

Please click on pictures to see full caption information.

In 1969, the Special Collections Department was established. Stanley Yates was appointed Head of Special Collections, Dorothy Kehlenbeck was appointed the University Archivist, and Isabel Matterson was the Manuscript Curator. The new department was located in 162 Parks Library and its hours of operation were 8 AM – 12 PM, 1 – 5 PM, Monday through Friday. Not too different from our hours today.

If you’d like to drop in and learn more about the history of SCUA or the university, come visit us in 403 Parks Library. We’re open Monday – Friday from 9 – 5.


Spring Break!

Photograph of white female student, long hair with glasses, close-up in a library office setting (cubicle & book shelves filled with books visible in the background).

Photograph courtesy of Cassandra.

This blog post was authored by Curation Services Student Writer Cassandra Anderson.

Spring break has officially begun, and ISU students can be found relaxing by the beach, hiking in the mountains, and getting caught up on their homework here on campus. With Spring Break finally being here, we hope that soon the spring weather will follow as well!  Until it does, we can at least enjoy these pictures of former ISU students relaxing in the sunshine. Each of these photos were found various editions of the Bomb. Have a great Spring Break everyone!

 

Click on photos to see full caption information.


Reflecting on 150 years of Student Life at Iowa State University

Photograph of white female student, long hair with glasses, close-up in a library office setting (cubicle & book shelves filled with books visible in the background).

Photograph courtesy of Cassandra.

This blog post was authored by Curation Services Student Writer Cassandra Anderson.

The newest exhibit to be featured at Special Collections and University Archives is arriving in just a few short days! Titled “We are ISU: Snapshots of Student Life” the exhibit will feature photos, clothing, scrapbooks, yearbooks, and other mementos from ISU students over the last 150 years. With the help of both the Preservation Lab and members of Special Collections and University Archives, I have photographed some cool parts of the collection, and even learned some interesting facts along the way. The exhibit is set to open March 13th, so when you have a chance, come visit the reading room to learn more about student life here at Iowa State!

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I had the chance to sit down with University Archivist Brad Kuennen and Assistant University Archivist Rachael Acheson, to learn a little more about the exhibit and what people might get to see. Brad and Rachael worked together as curators to create the exhibit. They planned the layout, selected the items, and wrote descriptions for both the physical and the online exhibits.

Are there any specific types of pieces included in the exhibit? What were the requirements for selecting pieces?

Brad: We wanted to select items from the University Archives that focused on the student experience. Since this is a look at 150 years of student life (Iowa State officially welcomed the first freshman class on March 17, 1869) this is intended to be a reflection on just some of the milestones that happened throughout the past 150 years. The window timeline will highlight 30-40 events over this entire span while the cases will reflect on six individual students highlighting some activities that they participated or events that were taking place on campus while they were here.

Rachael: We decided fairly early on that we wanted to sort of focus in on re-imagining the ISU experience of individual students from various eras, rather than pour all of our effort into constructing some broad, sweeping survey of the entire history of student life. And there were a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, “student life” isn’t really a singular thing, when you stop to think about it. Each student’s experience is going to be very different and influenced by different institutional milestones, depending on their interests, their identities, their level of involvement, the context of the era they grew up in, and so many other factors. And, secondly, focusing exclusively on some kind of broader narrative would necessarily attract attention away from the day-to-day, experiential aspects of living on campus at a given point in time. And that’s what we really wanted to highlight: student experience, not without context, but within it.

The hope, then, is that these “spotlight” students, encountered immediately after the timeline, will serve as a focal point for viewers. We hope that students of today can see something of themselves in the lives of these individuals, get a fuller sense of what it might have been like to go to school with them, and come away better able to reflect on their own contributions to the portion of ISU history that’s still being written.

When did SCUA officially open? Could you give me a brief history?

Brad: SCUA was officially established as the Special Collections Department in 1969. Prior to this, there was a much smaller Iowa State History collection in the Library that was the precursor to today’s University Archives. This Iowa State History collection was initiated by staff sometime around 1918 or 1919 in recognition of the 50th anniversary of the school’s opening. The project was spearheaded by Edgar Stanton until his death and then taken up by Louis Pammel. The collection was enlarged in the 1950s under Dorothy Kehlenbeck in the run-up to the Centennial anniversary of the school’s founding.

Rachael: Brad is more qualified to answer this question! I only started working here last year, so I’m still learning both the institutional and departmental histories. However, for this exhibit, Rachel Seale has put together a case on SCUA’s 50-year history. The idea behind including it in this exhibit is a nod to how we’ve been able to preserve the materials you see throughout the rest of the exhibit. In other words, how are we able to tell these kinds of stories?

Do any of the pieces included have interesting backgrounds?

Brad: One item on display is a laundry mailer. This large aluminum box was used by students to mail laundry home to parents for washing. In many cases this was cheaper than using the few laundry services in and around campus. We have a photo album from Fan-Chi Kung (RS 21/7/49), an international student from China. His story has a tragic ending as he died in an automobile accident while he was at Iowa State studying for his master’s degree. He is actually buried in the College Cemetery.

Rachael: I am also a fan of the laundry mailer. I sort of wish I’d had one of those when I was in college. I also really enjoy the photographs of classrooms and classroom technology that we picked out. I love how serious all the 1920s students look as they stare down their apples, learning how to judge them for a state fair. And I love the weirdness of the 1960s “reading machines.” I included this for no reason other than because one of the 1960s/’70s student spotlights was an English major and because I found them delightfully bizarre.

What is your favorite piece in this exhibit? Why?

Brad: My favorite pieces in the exhibit are the early photographs of campus and trying to imagine what it must have been like to arrive on campus as a student for the first time. One of the cases has an image from the 1890s of Old Main that gives some clue as to how remote campus was. I often explain to students that in its early years, Iowa State was in many ways like Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series, except on the plains of Iowa and with a little less magic.

 Rachael: That’s a hard one. I’m torn between Loris Foster’s World War II-era scrapbook, because she documented her residential and social life in such painstaking detail, and our photos of the Vietnam War protests. I’m interested in student activism, and these capture both a lot of high tension and also many diverse parts of campus coming together on a single issue.

Brad and Rachael worked with many different departments here at the library to make this exhibit happen. As curators, they worked together to pick out the material that you will see in the exhibit, figure out where it will go in each case, write the accompanying labels, and essentially function as the storytellers. Thank you to Rachael and Brad for helping me with this blog post, and thank you to everyone involved in creating such an interesting exhibit!

The reading room hours are M-F from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, so once the exhibit is up and running, come see us on the fourth floor of Parks Library. If you are interested in learning more about student life at Iowa State University, Douglas Biggs will be giving a lecture at the MU on March 13th, the same day the exhibit opens!  Don’t forget, if you can’t make it to us in person, there will be an online version of the exhibit as well, which you will be able to find the link to on our website, https://archives.lib.iastate.edu/.


Celebrate Black History All Year-Round!

Today marks the end of Black History Month. I would like to highlight some selected posts we’ve done that celebrate the history of Black students, faculty, and staff here at Iowa State.

Over the years our knowledge about the accomplishments of Black students, faculty, and staff at Iowa State has grown and, as a result, we are able to share that information. We will continue to work to document and share the history of Black people, and other underrepresented communities, here at ISU, but also strive to post year-round to celebrate the impact that Black students, faculty, and staff have had on our campus, and not just limit our recognition to one month.

I hope you enjoy reading or rereading these posts. If you would like to learn more about this topic, please visit us. We’re located on the 4th floor of the Parks Library, open M–F 9 to 5.


Black History Month at Iowa State University

Photograph of white female student, long hair with glasses, close-up in a library office setting (cubicle & book shelves filled with books visible in the background).

Photograph courtesy of Cassandra.

This blog post was authored by Curation Services Student Writer Cassandra Anderson.

Black History Month is celebrated from February 1 through February 28 starting in 1976 when the celebration was extended from a week to an entire month. Here on campus, we have a number of student organizations that celebrate Black History Month and work year round to educate campus on issues black students face today. The Black Student Government was a name that I found occurring repeatedly in the “Black History Month” folder of RS 22/03/001, so I decided to see if I could learn more about them.

On campus, the Black Student Government organized educational events, speakers, and more for the students at ISU. Their mission was to help black students on campus feel safe and at home on campus while also fighting for a better life. In 1992 the “Black Student Government” changed their name to the “Black Student Alliance” and continue to use this name on campus today.

Newspaper clipping of an article from the ISU Daily, Oct. 6, 1988, titled “Program for new Black Students discusses surviving ISU” Photograph included with article shows two female black students talking.

ISU Daily article on program sponsored by the Black Student Government. 10/6/88

During Black History Month, student organizations often work together to bring speakers, workshops, and other activities to campus. In 2000, seventeen campus groups, including the Black Student Alliance, worked together to create a range of activities celebrating Black History Month.

Flyer from February of 2000 titled “Celebrate Black History Month at Iowa State University” advertising the events for Black History Month.

Lastly, like any student organization, the Black Student Alliance is also about having fun and building a community. They often host events for students to hang out, like this “Show Me What You Got” game night! The organization is still active today with 97 student members. Each year the organization has an opportunity to attend the Big XII Conference on Black Student Government, hosted by a different Big XII school each year.

Handout advertising “Show me what you got game night” hosted by the Black Student Alliance depicting a black male holding a video game controller.

For more information on Black History Month, the Black Student Alliance/Black Student Government, or other student organizations, check out RS 22/03/001!  All of the documents from this blog piece came from Box 1 of the collection, folders “Black History Month”, “Black Student Alliance”, and “Black Student Government”.


Walking through the winters of our past #FlashbackFriday

Photograph of white female student, long hair with glasses, close-up in a library office setting (cubicle & book shelves filled with books visible in the background).

Photograph courtesy of Cassandra.

This blog post was authored by Curation Services Student Writer Cassandra Anderson.

For this #FlashbackFriday I thought we might dive into some pretty cool snow images from the past. I have had these images saved for a while now because I really wanted to wait until we had some snowy weather to compare them to, and boy did mother nature deliver! Students are walking through about five inches of snow to get to their classes today after the snow filled few days we have had! Snow on campus is something that every group of students will experience while studying here at Iowa State University, and while some students love the snow, others are less than excited by it.

A large group of students walking along the sidewalk on central campus that runs from Curtiss Hall to Beardshear Hall in a heavy snow fall, 1979.

From University Photographs box 328.

Here are students walking from Curtiss Hall to Beardshear Hall on central campus in 1979. While there is no other date information for this photo, it looks like they were getting some pretty serious snowfall. This scene could have been recreated yesterday with the amount of snow students were walking through at the end of the day. This photo and more snow scenes can be found in box 328 of RS 4/8/J. Currently it is not snowing, but I can see my fellow students trying to navigate the frozen world outside. Here is a look at what the view from my window on the second floor of the library is right now! While most of the students are at their early morning classes, a few are walking the sidewalks, trying to get places with the two inches of snow we gained last night.

View from the second floor windows of Parks library looking out over the snow covered free speech area, Beardshear Hall is in the background.

Photograph courtesy of Cassandra.

Another cool photo that I found while looking through box 328 of collection RS 4/8/J – Snow Scenes, was an almost identical photo from the first group of students walking in the snow, only this one is from 1994! These students look a little more excited about the snow, and it looks like there was less snow compared to the photo from 1979. How cool is it though that we have two almost identical photos from two separate years? I love finding these connections in the archives, you truly never know what might turn up!

A large group of students walking along the sidewalk on central campus that runs from Curtiss Hall to Beardshear Hall in the snow, 1994.

From University Photographs, box 328.

 

 

 


Welcome to 2019!

Photograph of white female student, long hair with glasses, close-up in a library office setting (cubicle & book shelves filled with books visible in the background).

Photograph courtesy of Cassandra.

This blog post was authored by Curation Services Student Writer Cassandra Anderson.

Welcome back students! Students are back on campus, The Hub is officially reopened, and the spring semester is in full swing! With the new semester starting, we are officially moving towards warmer weather again. I know that we had a pretty cold weekend, but soon the sun will return and we can all break out our favorite pair of flip flops! Just in case you need a little warm weather inspiration to get you through the next few months, I have pulled some great photos from The Bomb, the University’s official yearbook. The Bomb was published in hard copy from 1893-1994 and physical copies can be found in our reading room! If you do not have time to visit us in person, you can find digitized copies of the Bomb here: https://digitalcollections.lib.iastate.edu/bombs

Three people standing on a limestone cliff over a river in Ledges State Park while a fourth member watches from below.

With the spring season fast approaching, there are so many fun things that you can look forward to doing on campus. When the snow melts, you and your friends will be able to hit the trails at Ledges State Park. With the new campground renovations and the warm weather, study breaks can become weekend adventures with your friends! Check out this Ledges photo from the 1973 Bomb!

Two people trying to cross a river in Ledges State Park.

One of my favorite spring activities on campus is meeting new dogs that are out on a walk with their owners. When the weather is nice, campus is full of furry friends getting a chance to stretch their legs, taking a quick nap in the sunshine, or assisting their owners. Be sure to take your pup to campus this spring and do some people watching like this adorable duo from page 15 of the 1973 Bomb!

A student sitting with their arm around a Saint Bernard dog, both are facing away from the camera.

We all know the Iowa springs can be a little on the rainy side, but you know what they say, “April showers bring May flowers” and without those April showers, how will you get to show off your super cool umbrella? I know that I have seen some pretty cool umbrellas on campus, but check out these umbrellas on page 78 of the 1964 Bomb.

Thirteen people sitting under a large tree on campus during a rainstorm with multi patterned umbrellas.

Now, there is one part of spring that we all can agree on is great, and that is graduation! That’s right seniors, your last semester at Iowa State is here, and it is up to you to make the most of your semester. Hopefully those April showers bring us lots of May flowers for our graduation photos! Need some inspiration? Check out these photos from the 1964 Bomb and the 1973 Bomb!

So, whether it is your first semester or your last, be sure to go out and make the most of it! From classes to hanging out with friends, always try to make time for the little things, and remember, go Cyclones!

A small blonde haired child crawls on the ground behind a row of ducklings following their mother.

1989 Bomb, page 14.


Reflecting on a Semester’s Worth of Writing about Special Collections & University Archives

Photograph of white female student, long hair with glasses, close-up in a library office setting (cubicle & book shelves filled with books visible in the background).

Photograph courtesy of Cassandra.

This blog post was authored by Curation Services Student Writer Cassandra Anderson.

Writing for Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) has been an eye opening experience. I have found photographs and manuscripts that I would have never even known about had I not started this job. Sorting through photos of campus throughout the years is so interesting, because there are thousands of them and you truly never know what you were going to find. When I came across the photo from last week’s Facebook post of the students carrying the computers through the snow, I was just casually looking for cool snow pictures and I knew that I had to share that one. Within that box, there are some other awesome photos of winters throughout history of ISU including these! The history of our campus is so rich and interesting, you just have to start looking.

When you are researching a topic, it is easy to get frustrated and lose your determination to learn about the subject. One of the hardest parts of my job so far has been researching student organizations. I have found that a lot of times, not every student organization makes it into the ISU yearbook, The Bomb. Sometimes organizations will have manuscript folders in the archives, but they won’t have anything about them within The Bomb which is incredibly frustrating when you want to find photographs of an organization. You just have to remember to keep your head up, and keep digging, because you truly never know when something unexpected is going to appear within your research that may make the struggle worth it.

Cover of book The End of Eternity by Isaaac Asimov, has mn standing in front of what looks like old radio equipment. Text on cover is in white, black, and orange, rest of cover is black-and-white.

Here is another cool cover from a book within the Margaret Young Science Fiction Collection. This is The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov. Call Number PS 3551.S5E5x.

Something I tend to forget about when researching in the SCUA is that we have rare books. In fact, we even have a Rare Books and Manuscripts Archivist, Amy Bishop! I know that it seems pretty obvious that a place titled “Special Collections and University Archives” would have rare books, but sometimes it just totally slips my mind! However, I have been doing quite a bit of work researching the rare books recently, from the miniature book collection to the Margaret Young Science Fiction collection, and it is so much fun! There is something so cool about old books, there is always something unique about them. If I had to pick a favorite item to research, it would be rare books. I could easily spend hours going through the pages of a single book. From the cover art to the binding, something sets each book apart from the rest of them. Some books even have crazy backstories, which make them even more interesting! This job has opened me up to a world of new possibilities when it comes to working in an archival field, and specializing in Rare Books and Manuscripts is now on the top of my list.