Archives Investigations: Examining Race and Ethnicity

This fall we are launching an exciting new iteration of our Archives Investigations seminar, HON 323A: Archives Investigations: Examining Race and Ethnicity. SCUA is partnering with the Thomas L. Hill ISCORE: Iowa State Conference on Race and Ethnicity and supporting research on race and ethnicity in archives and digital collections. In groups, students will polish their presentation skills and present their research from this fall course at a poster session or presentation at ISCORE 2023.

Images below are ISCORE programs from various years and photographs of the first Archives Investigations Honors seminar SCUA taught in fall of 2019.

ISCORE occurs in the spring, usually early March, and the first conference was held over 20 years ago on March 3, 2000. ISCORE is modeled after the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) and was founded by Dr. Thomas L. Hill (from ISCORE Project History).

To take this course you must be enrolled in the Honors Program. Visit this page for more information on eligibility and the many benefits of being part of the Iowa State University Honors Program, such as 24/7 access to the Jischke Honors Building and the ability to check out library books for the whole academic year!

If you have questions about this course, please contact us at

Dimensions of Dialogue opening April 7

Graphic with text: Dimensions of Dialogue Exhibition. Opening April 7 Through Spring Semester First Floor Parks Library. A Special Collections and University Archives and Integrated Studio Arts 482: Letterpress Book Arts collaboration. Graphic is red background and collage of two images: top image student project of women's faces and text in background "We Should All Be Feminists" and second image according book "Ocean Dunes" displayed open and pages of ocean dunes unfolded.

Rare Books and Manuscripts Archivist, Amy Bishop, held an instruction session with ArtIS 482: Special Topics: Letterpress Book Arts course earlier this semester, in February. In this class, Amy gave a whirlwind overview of the history of the book and allowed time for the students to explore artist’s books and rare books from SCUA’s collections on their own. After ArtTIS 482 students visited us in early February, they spent the next month coming back to our Reading Room for further review of selected volumes to use them as inspiration for their accordion books.

The class was a lot of fun to work with because they were really engaged with exploring the books from our collections. I was impressed by the quality of their work on their book projects, and I am excited to partner with them to create this exhibit!

Amy Bishop, Rare Books and Manuscripts Archivist

Come to 198 Parks on April 7, at 4:45 p.m., for the exhibition opening, with a welcome from SCUA Department Head, Daniel Hartwig, followed by group presentations by ArtTIS 482 students.

Exhibition statement by Professor Raluca Iancu

The accordion is a book form that requires no sewing. The text block is compressed through folds. The accordion can be deceiving as it is conveniently small and compact in its closed state, yet extends when opened. While it can be a long and continuous form, it can also be segmented and fractured and can be opened as a folded book.  

Considering these characteristics, students were asked to create a dialogue between two accordion books in response to books from Special Collections. How can two books/sculptural objects be immersed in conversation? How does each book remain unique and serve as one side of the conversation? The conversation could take place in the binding, through the physical relationship of the accordion form, scale, and materials, or through the use of imagery. 

Letterpress Book Arts is a special topics course offered in the newly opened Letterpress Lab at the Student Innovation Center. The course will be offered again in Fall of 2022. Questions about this course? Contact Raluca Iancu: 

George A. Jackson Black Cultural Center Exhibit Talk

This upcoming weekend is the National Pan-Hellenic Council (NHPC) alumni reunion weekend.

Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) staff invites you to participate in two exciting opportunities during and after the NPHC Reunion on Saturday, April 2:

An exhibit that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the George A. Jackson Black Cultural Center is available to view on the 4th floor of Parks Library. Greg Bailey, University Archivist, will be on hand from 10 a.m. – 1.p.m. Saturday to give attendees a tour guided tour of the exhibit and answer questions about the exhibit and University Archives operations, including how alumni can help preserve ISU history. Original materials related to the Center and Black student organizations will also be on display.

Graphic that used logo of the Black Cultural Center when it was dedicated in 1970 and a photograph from the Open House when it was open (Pictured left to right: Roy Snell (President BSO), Mrs. Ellen Parks, Norman Thomas (1st Manager of BCC), W. Robert Parks (ISU President), Amelia Parker (Graduate Student), Dean William Bell (Associate Dean of Students), Mrs. Harriett Bell). Images on the background using 1970s inspired colors of green, orange, raspberry, purple. Text says: Black Cultural Center Celebrating 50 Years.
One of the exhibition windows for the George A. Jackon Black Cultural Center Exhibition on the 4th floor of the Parks Library.

An oral history project is underway in an effort to document ISU student life. Alumni may sign up to schedule an interview and share their ISU experiences, whether in attendance at the reunion or not. In addition, alumni are encouraged to explore other recent projects, that document student life, including HBCU Connections, COVID Stories, Voices in Color, and Tracing Race at ISU.

More from University Archivist, Greg Bailey, about Saturday’s exhibit talk.

headshot of smiling white red haired man with beard, purple and white checkered collared shirt.
University Archivist, Greg Bailey

Why is SCUA hosting an exhibit talk for the NPHC Alumni Reunion and Plaza Ribbon Cutting Celebration?

Community Engagement Specialist, Susan Gent, had brought this together as she had heard there was interest in the history of the Black Cultural Center, and knew SCUA had an exhibit on display, from some of the folks that were attending the NPHC Memorial Dedication weekend. We figured this would be a great way to share the exhibit and network with alumni from the Black fraternities and sororities at ISU. These alumni are folks we are hoping to make a connection with as we work to be more inclusive in our holdings. 

What kinds of materials will be on display in 403 Parks? 

We will have original materials also on display from the Black Cultural Center records, Black Student Organization and Black Student Alliance records, and material from the NPHC fraternities and sororities.

Celebrating over 40 years

The Margaret Sloss Women’s Center was established in 1981 to provide a centralized home for women’s organizations and to promote and sustain women through advocacy, programs, and information and referral services. Committees on campus had been formed as early as the late 1960s to address women’s issues. A group of Iowa State University women educators, created in the 1970s, started to meet regularly. This group called itself “Options Unlimited.” In 1980, they submitted a proposal to create a women’s center.

The Sloss Women’s Center soon evolved into a program and space for those that did not have space or sense of belonging elsewhere on campus.

Newsletter page with black-and-white photographs first and second rows. SPECIAL EVENTS: margaret sloss women's CENTER. 1st row photos from left to right: Black woman with eyeglasses and teeny weeny afro wearing an embroidered blouse reading a book, caption: deborah gibson; 3 white people, one with long brunette hair and bangs, another with short combed back brunette haircut, and a third with short styled possibly blonde hair and glasses, all laughing and smiling caption: FROM COFFEE HOUSE...; last photo woman with medium layered brunette hair with parted fringe, holding a guitar and singing, caption: rosi gowdey. 2nd row, 1st paragraph: As part of one of its regular meetings, the Women's Center Advisory Board has a "coffee house." SCAB was trying out the basement space of Sloss House as an informal program space, to see if the weekly coffee houses WCAB has planned for the summer could be held in the basement space. The coffee house was a success. the poetry reading and the musical performances were followed by songs sun and shared by everyone. Weekly coffeehouses at the Margaret Sloss Women's Center will begin with the summer session in June and end in July. Friday nights: 8 - 10 p.m.  3rd row, photos - photograph of woman with short brunette hair and glasses to left and man on right with balding man, hair on sides, wearing glasses and suit and tie, in front of a portrait of an older white woman with white hair, glasses, caption: alumna; and photograph of white woman standing in front of same portrait of white woman as last photo and another photograph of a white woman running track, caption: amy and text above this photo: TO OPEN HOUSE..., below that photo a woman with short brunette hair standing in front of another portrait of an older white woman, caption: rachel, last photograph in row a white women with white shirt and necklace standing in front of two portraits of older white women, caption: jill, text "spring 1982" in reference to newsletter issue. Text now broken into two columns, except for last paragraph encompasses entire row. Top left column under "alumna" photo: Grace Maurer shared her memories of Dr. Sloss as an advisor to Mortar Board when Grace was an undergraduate member of Mortar Board. Other Alumni of ISU shared memories of Margaret Sloss when they stopped by the Women's Week Open House during the VEISHEA activities April 30 and May 1. Top right column under "amy" and "jill" photos: Two practicum students who worked with OSL 
Women's Programs through the Women's Center this semester deserve thanks and applause. The research they did to create the display and the audio-visual project, "Torchlighters of ISU: Women of Excellence" will be recognized for some time to come. The display will stay up in Sloss House for the month of May for any who missed it during Veishea. 2nd paragraph under left column: JILL INGRAM, 22, a senior in Family Environment, is pictured above, on the right, with her favorite photo: the photo of the May Day celebration, one of the forerunners of Veishea. Jill felt that the best part of her practicum experience "was meeting the people who come to Sloss House." The 2nd paragraph in the right column: AMY NESS, 23, is a first-year graduate student in HIgher Education and Student Personnel Services. Amy is pictured above with her favorite photo in the display: Peg Neppel Darrah. She certainly did live up to her own quote the last few days before the Open House: I felt that the busier I am, the more organized I will be." Bottom paragraph: RACHEL CHRISTENSEN will be leaving Women's Programs at ISU in order to finish her doctorate and explore work related to it. Jill and Amy want to thank Rachel for her enthusiasm and encouragement and help with their research and the Veishea display. Those of us at ISU, who have worked with Rachel want to thank her for her contributions to Women's Programs at ISU. Good luck, Rachel, in whatever you do next!
Page 2 of the May 1982 Womenews newsletter. Margaret Sloss Women’s Center. Administrative Records, RS 3/6/3, Box 17, Folder 1.

Effective in January 2019, the center changed their name to the Margaret Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity, in order to better represent the work and mission of the center.

This week we have installed the exhibition “Celebrating over 40 years” in our Reading Room, 403 Parks Library, to honor the positive impact the Margaret Sloss Center for Women and Gender Equity has made on campus. We are open Monday through Thursday from 9 am to 5 pm. Please drop by to see our new exhibit.

Check out the Sloss Center’s current upcoming programs and events by following their Instagram page @iastateslosscenter or subscribing to their newsletter.

Forever True Day! 24 Hours to Show your True Colors!

Today is the inaugural Forever True Day, where Cyclones around the globe are encouraged to come together for the next 24 hours and show some support for Iowa State University. From noon today, March 1, through noon tomorrow, March 2, show your true colors and support Iowa State University and its colleges and programs. We encourage you to fill your social media with cardinal and gold for the next 24 hours — comment, like, and share on your favorite platform different #ForeverTrueDay #CyclonesEverywhere posts from Iowa State University.

Graphic with red background and gold accent boxes around text in upper left and bottom right. Image of Iowa State University mascot Cy (cardinal) posing between two members of the pep squad, white college age women wearing white sweaters with an "I", presumably in red, centered between text that says 'NOON-NOON MARCH 1&2 Forever TRUE DAY " Show your true colors. SPECIAL COLLECTIONS AND UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES' .
Cy centered between two pep squad members. From University Photographs, box 1648To

The Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) collects, preserves, and shares documentation of the experiences, achievements, and memories of people and organizations reflecting the university’s major research areas, with a special commitment to documenting the history of the university. Supporting the land-grant ideals of putting science, technology and human creativity to work, we strive to enrich learning and encourage investigation by a diverse community of users.

If you wish to support SCUA, please visit our fundraising page and share this post.

For more information on this new tradition, visit

Your Community, Your Archives Workshop

In collaboration with the Ames Public Library and the Ames History Museum, we are hosting a series of community archives workshops for underrepresented communities, focusing on how to manage and preserve personal archives, family papers, and organizational records. The workshops, operating from a non-custodial model where creators maintain archives with support from archivists, start next month. The first workshop will be an introduction to community archiving.

Your Community, Your Archives, Saturday, March 5, 9–10:30 am

Graphic with text (transcribed in caption) on yellow background. Text on left and on right side collage showing Black girl holding framed picture of older Black woman, two other family photographs adjacent to this image, protest with first row of white people wearing covering that says "Granny Peace Brigade) with crowd  of people behind them,
Your Community, Your Archives, Saturday, March 5, 9–10:30AM, Farwell T. Brown Auditorium, Ames Public Library.
Participants will be introduced to community archiving and encouraged to see the value of recording their history for themselves and those who weren’t there to witness it firsthand. This workshop is for underrepresented groups and individuals with collective stories to tell and share.

This introductory workshop offers a space for community organizations and individuals who haven’t had access to archival institutions.  

Iowa State University Special Collections and University Archives staff will address the principles and purpose of archives and why you should think long-term about archiving the documents and media that tell your story or the story of your social movement.  Emphasis will be placed on maintaining materials long-term.  We’ll share examples of how to manage and preserve personal archives, family papers, and organizational records. Techniques include inventorying documents and media types and exploring storage and access options as strategies for sustainability. 

There will be time during the workshop to start your archival plan and identify next steps toward preserving your archives. 

Registration is preferred, though walk-ins are most welcome.

Register here: 

Collaboration is Our Name and Projects are Our Game

Often the first thing people think of when they think of SCUA is our collections and researching in our reading room. This is not a bad thing. We work very hard to make our collections accessible, but we are not just a repository for research. We teach primary source instruction, provide reference service to not only the campus community but the general public, and we love a good project!

What kinds of projects? All kinds of projects!

  • Screenshot of HBCU connections homepage.
  • Graphic with red background with image of someone typing on laptop in corner. COVID-19 Stories Project You tell the story, we'll do the rest. Share and preserve your COVID-19 experience today. To get started, visit:
  • Screenshot of the Oral History Toolkit guide

For more information on these and other projects visit our Projects page.

Do you have an idea for a project? Are you interested in collaborating with us but not sure what’s possible? Let us know! We are happy to brainstorm and think of ways we can work together.

Contact us at

Welcome Back Cyclones

Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA) welcomes students, faculty, and staff back to campus. Our current hours are Monday thru Friday, 9 am–5 pm, appointments are not required but you are always welcome to let us know when you’ll be here.

Face masks in gold and red graphic design, text: Face Masks Encouraged (But Not Required). Iowa State Vaccinates
Face masks encouraged (but not required). Iowa State vaccinates

Here are some helpful online guides to help you navigate using our resources.

You can learn more about who does what in SCUA in the bios in our staff directory.

Follow us to see what we’re up to and learn more about our collections.

Reading Room Updates for July

For the month of July, SCUA will be open between 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 1-5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Below are other policies in place starting in July.


  • Starting July 12th we are no longer requiring appointments.
  • Registration through Aeon is required for all users (including people coming up to scan textbooks that are kept in our collection).
  • Reading Room will be closed to the public July 5 – 9.

Physical space

  • Our space is limited to Reading Room/SCUA materials only.
  • We are allowing outside materials and patrons not using our collections to use the scanner in the Reading Room, though SCUA researchers get priority.
  • Masks/face coverings are encouraged if you have not been fully vaccinated, but not required.


Allow three business days for SCUA to bring materials from off-site storage to the Reading Room.


Email us at for instruction requests.

CARDinal’s Makeover

You may have noticed the new look of CARDinal, the keyword searchable database for our archival materials. You are not imagining things, CARDinal got a makeover! SCUA has transitioned into a new open source (not to be confused with open access, which our library also supports) collection management system (ArchivesSpace).

Our use of ArchivesSpace demonstrates our commitment to innovation and collaboration. Please see this blog post by Dr. Starr Hoffman for more information on open source software, open access, and how the two often work in conjunction with one another.

CARDinal: Cyclone Archival Research Database home page, start your search here!

Built for archivists by archivists


What does this mean for you?

  • Our new database looks more user-friendly.
  • Requesting materials in Aeon will look a little different.
  • More streamlined access to materials that have been digitized.

We do ask for your patience as we improve access to our collections. This software and its integration with other library and archival systems is constantly being improved upon and there will be temporary hiccups. We are updating our current tutorials regarding searching and requesting in our collections and will share that information out as soon as it’s ready.

Below is quick video overview showing CARDinal’s new look.

Please email us at for questions and feedback regarding our new database.

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