Spotlight on the J. Stuart Russell Papers #TravelTuesday

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” (SCUA’s mission statement). The bulk of our collections are from within the state of Iowa. However, sometimes we’re treated to collections that document other parts of the world. The J . Stuart Russell Papers (MS 12) is one of those collections.

J. Stuart Russell was a Grinnell College graduate (1913) and Iowa farmer until he joined the U.S. Army in 1918. While serving, he operated a weekly newspaper in Sac City from 1920-1925. In 1925, he became Farm Editor of the Des Moines Register and Tribune and held this position until his death in 1960. From 1925-1960, Russell was affiliated with numerous farm oriented organizations. He also traveled abroad several times to report on food and agricultural conditions in other country.

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Drop by to learn more about this collection or any of our collections. We’re open Monday – Friday from 9-5.

 

 

 

 




Say “Hello!” to our new Audiovisual Preservation Specialist!

Rosie Rowe is the Audiovisual Preservation Specialist for Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA)  at Parks Library. Rosie has more than 20 years of experience in audiovisual fields and has worked extensively with the preservation of analogue and digital media formats. In her previous role as the Audiovisual and Film Specialist at Archives New Zealand, she was responsible for building and maintaining a new audiovisual lab, where they preserved more than 20TB of at-risk, historical media for the national archives.

She aims to provide similar guidance and preservation workflow to the film and audiovisual collections at SCUA. We are very pleased she is here. Please join us in welcoming Rosie!


Artifacts in the Archives – Artifacts that inspire us

In light of  National Poetry Month, Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA) staff are highlighting artifacts that inspire us.

Ashtray #2001-R154.003

Photograph of a commemorative ashtray, yellow with rd text and gold border around rim, "With honor to the past, with vision for the future, 1858 centennial 1958, Iowa State College"

Commemorative Ashtray #2001-R154.003

Chris Anderson, Descriptive Records Project Archivist

ISU Special Collections has seven or eight commemorative ashtrays. To my way of thinking, if you like the message about the school’s centennial, you wouldn’t want to cover it with ashes and cigarette butts, would you? That’s like lining a spittoon with the state flag.

I find these artifacts inspirational because they remind me of how prevalent smoking used to be in the U.S. When I was a child — I was born in 1971 — people were allowed to smoke in more places than they are now. Not only was the smoke annoying (at best), but they littered the ground with countless cigarette butts. Even if you set aside the health effects, smokers made a major nuisance of themselves. My father smoked unfiltered “Camels” all day. I thought the packaging looked cool, but his habit was so unappealing that I never took it up. Thank goodness for that.

We’ve come  along way since then. I suppose there’s not much left of the commemorative ashtray industry.

Button #2002-R001.025

Yellow political button with dark text that says "June 7th, I march for full suffrage will you?"

Suffrage button #2002-R001.025

Amy Bishop, Rare Books and Manuscripts Archivist

This button from our Artifact Collection inspires me because the work of first-wave feminists in securing women’s right to vote was so important in propelling forward the advances in women’s rights, a movement that has been carried on by so many generations of women since the late 19th century and continues today. I cannot imagine not being able to participate fully in the political system, or not being able to own property, to work whether married or single, and so many other rights that we tend to take for granted today. My grandma was born in 1922, two years after the ratification of the 19th Amendment. That helps put in perspective for me just how recently women have gained these rights.

This button is from the Carrie Chapman Catt artifact collection, the well-known Iowa suffragist and Iowa State alum.

Daguerreotype of Benjamin Gue #2001-R001

Daguerreotype, left hand side black and white photograph of Benjamin Gue, as a young man, and the right hand side is a flower.

Daguerreotype of Benjamin Gue #2001-R001

Olivia Garrison, Reference Coordinator

Benjamin Gue was one of the authors of a bill to establish a state agricultural college and model farm (what would become Iowa State University). This artifact is inspiring because to me it represents the very purpose of the work we do in Special Collections and University Archives. Part of SCUA’s mission is to preserve the history of the University for future generations to access and learn from. Daguerreotypes were among the first modes of “printing” photographic images and are susceptible to damage with too much light, or too high or low humidity and/or temperature. Providing stable conditions is an important part of our jobs. Another part is providing access to our collections. I think this artifact is a great example of a piece of history that might be lost entirely, or at least lost to the majority of researchers, if it were not for the work we do here.

Banned Books Buttons #s2001.R026.001-03

Rachel Seale, Outreach Archivist

It blows my mind to see which books have been banned  by governments around the world: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_books_banned_by_governments.  Libraries and schools still ban books and many of them are classics and award-winning books. I am inspired by these “Read Banned Books” buttons because books inspire me.  The stories within them and the way the authors have crafted their words to tell their stories make me feel connected to people, places, and ideas that are usually beyond my scope of experience.


#HistoryOntheMove @IowaMuseum Traveling RV Exhibit

Last week, the “Iowa History 101” multimedia exhibit housed in a custom built Winnebago RV made its way to Iowa State University. The traveling exhibit comes from the State Historical Museum of Iowa. The RV was parked in front of the Parks Library all last week & library staff volunteered to serve as museum docents. I’ve included their comments and favorite things about the exhibit below.

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From Brad Kuennen, University Archivist

Spent two hours in the RV today. I spoke with one visitor who was surprised to learn that Iowa had a coal mining industry. Personally I enjoyed reading about the different aspects of Iowa history that are on display.

From Kris Stacy-Bates, Science and Technology, Associate Professor, Research and Instruction

I enjoyed learning that Iowa is the best thing since sliced bread—as the home of the patent holder for the first successful commercial bread slicer. My favorite artifact was the crayon-on-fabric prototype for the Iowa state flag. I did wish that exhibit had included a small graphic of the final flag, as a pair of visitors commented that they did not remember exactly how it looks now.

Bonus fact mentioned later in the week: I spotted a reference today to International Space Station news, noting the fact that Peggy Whitson, the Iowa astronaut mentioned in the Iowa History traveling exhibit, is currently on the space station and just completed a spacewalk yesterday:
https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition50/index.html
https://blogs.nasa.gov/spacestation/2017/03/30/spacewalkers-successfully-connect-adapter-for-commercial-crew-vehicles/

Dr. Whitson has spent more time in space, and more time on spacewalks, than any other American woman.

From Linda Snook, Resource Sharing and Acquisitions Management, Library Assistant, Collections and Technical Services

The information in the RV display is interesting. I hope a lot of people take the chance to browse the display. I didn’t realize that more Iowans trace their heritage back to German ancestors than any other foreign country. Also, I discovered that the developer of the Eskimo Pie was an Iowan.

From Olivia Garrison, Reference Coordinator, Special Collections & University Archives

I think having a mini-museum on a Winnebago is such a great way to bring history to people who would otherwise not be able to make it to the museum. People don’t have to go out of their way, it’s brought to them!

From Lori Kappmeyer, Metadata and Cataloging, Associate Professor, Collections and Technical Services

One of my observations is that I didn’t realize that some things I grew up with are now considered appropriate for museums. I never imagined that a Cabbage Patch doll, a Game Boy, a Gateway laptop computer and a 1965 telephone would someday be on exhibit as “historic.” Another observation is that I hadn’t realized as a volunteer that we were going to be given so much responsibility for managing the opening and closing of this expensive vehicle on its maiden trip outside of Des Moines. I now know how to arm a security system and check a propane tank, something I had never done before.

From Greg Davis, Assessment and Planning, Assistant Director, Library Administration Services

I liked the “Rose of Sharon” pattern quilt made by Elsie Smith. One of my grandmothers, here in Iowa, was a quilter. I can remember going to her home and seeing her in her rocking chair, working on her latest quilt project. She’s passed on now, but the rocking chair is in my home with one of her quilts draped over it.

I also thought the exhibit about the Consolidated Coal Company in Buxton, IA, was a really good example of how diverse cultures, in this case African Americans and Euro-Americans, have lived and worked together in Iowa.

 

For more information on the traveling exhibit, visit: https://iowaculture.gov/history/museum/exhibits/history-on-the-move.


National Ag Day 2017

black-and-white photograph, young woman on tractor in field.

Extension photograph from University Photographs

Today is National Ag Day 2017. National Ag Day is organized by the Agriculture Council of America (ACA), you can check them out on their Facebook page. ACA is a nonprofit organization composed of leaders in the agricultural, food and fiber community. The ACA was founded in 1973, and their mission is:

To educate all American’s about the importance of American Agriculture.

In celebration of National Ag Day, check out some of our agricultural collections.

4-H boys and girls posing with their sheep

Extension photograph from University Photographs

Drop in some time to do some research. Our reading room is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Focus: Student Art #TBT

I came across this photo a little while ago and thought it’d be fun to share. The image below is of a temporary art installation from 1977 that was located southeast of the Campanile.

Art installation on lawn, shows human figures in white running than at some point they leap into the air, curl up, and land as balls.

University Photographs box 1670.

It was a part of Focus, which is an organization that supports student artists here at ISU by providing grants to students. The funding for the Focus grants are provided by the Government of the Student Body. The artists’ work is then exhibited in the spring. In the past, Focus included a fine arts festival here at Iowa State. The first festival that was held in March 1959 (RS 22/7/0/7, box 1).

Drop by the reading room to learn more about the history of Iowa State University. We’re open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Spring is in the air

This month’s collaborative post highlights items from our Artifact Collection that remind us of spring. I know it’s probably a little premature to start thinking of spring, but tell that to this week’s forecast!

Baseball bat (Artifact 2005-R010)

1890s Silver Baseball Bat Trophy (Artifact 2005-R010)

Amy Bishop, Rare Books and Manuscripts Archivist

Nothing says spring like baseball! That’s why I choose this metal baseball bat from our archives collection for this post. This bat is a special one. It has nine engravings that indicate which schools won this special trophy bat over the course of ten years. In chronological order: Grinnell 1892, IAC 1893, IAC 1894, SUI 1895, Grinnell 1896, Cornell 1898, Grinnell 1899, SUI 1900, SUI 1901, and Grinnell 1902. SUI stands for State University of Iowa, our rivals in Iowa City, and IAC stands for Iowa Agricultural College, the name for Iowa State University from its founding until 1959. The bat also includes an engraved baseball game scene surrounded by a leaf border. What a fun piece of history from early higher education in Iowa!

Brad Kuennen, University Archivist

Spring is all about getting back outdoors and enjoying the return of sunshine and warm weather. And for some people, that means going out to the ballpark and enjoying a friendly game of baseball. Iowa State no longer has a baseball team, but this silver bat traveling trophy, dating from the 1890s, is a reminder of the excellent Cyclone teams of years past.

Becky Jordan, Reference Specialist

With major league pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training on February 14, my thoughts are with the coming season for my (reigning World Series Champions) Chicago Cubs.  As a result, the Silver Bat is the artifact that makes me think most of spring.  The bat was a trophy awarded to members of the Iowa Inter-Collegiate Base Ball Association.  The Association, formed in 1892, originally included Drake University, Iowa College at Grinnell (now Grinnell College), Iowa Agricultural College (now Iowa State University), and the State University of Iowa (now University of Iowa).  Cornell College joined in 1893.  The bat has an engraving of a baseball game in progress and the following inscriptions:  Grinnell 1902, SUI 1901, SUI 1900, Grinnell 1899, Cornell 1898, Grinnell 1892, Grinnell 1896, SUI 1895 on the handle; and on the end of the bat, IAC 1893, IAC 1894.

Woven picture “Bluebirds Herald Spring” (Artifact 2009-069.037)

Woven picture entitled "Bluebirds Herald Spring" by Shirley Held (Artifact 2009-069.037)

Woven picture entitled “Bluebirds Herald Spring” by Shirley Held (Artifact 2009-069.037)

Chris Anderson, Descriptive Records Project Archivist

This woven picture by Shirley Held is entitled “Bluebirds Herald Spring.” To me, it strongly resembles an Impressionist painting. Monet could have put these colors together. This nearly-abstract scene truly sings of Spring.

Shirley Held (1923-2014) earned a B.S. and M.S. in Home Economics and Applied Art at ISU before joining the faculty of the Department of Art and Design in 1953. She was promoted to full professor in 1975 and retired in 1990.

ISU Special Collections and Archives has the Shirley E. Held Papers (RS 26/2/53) in addition to dozens of textile artworks like this one. I’m making a mental note to learn a bit more about Held, her career, and her artistry.

Lithographic plate (Artifact 2000-105.002 )

 

Laura Sullivan, Collections Archivist

One of our artifacts which definitely makes me think of spring is the lithographic plate (Artifact 2000-105.002) of a bird’s nest with eggs, and then right next to it the hatched baby birds.  I also love that not only do we have the original plate, but also one of the prints which was made from the plate (2000-105.001).  Lithographic plates have always intrigued me since I first learned about them – who would have ever thought to create a print from stone and a water-resistant drawing substance such as wax?  This artifact comes from Iowa State University’s Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Records (RS 9/10/04).

Link for collection:  http://www.add.lib.iastate.edu/spcl/arch/rgrp/9-10-4.html

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VEISHEA button (Artifact 2012-120.001)

button gray background with orange swan and orange dots above swan's tail, splashes of dark gray and yellow in background, white text says "VEISHEA" then 2012 in black text.

VEISHEA button (2012-120.001)

Olivia Garrison, Reference Coordinator

This button reminds me of spring for a couple of reasons.  VEISHEA, of course, was celebrated in the spring.  This button invokes memories of the parade, cherry pies, and dirt dessert from the Agronomy department.  While there are many VEISHEA artifacts, photographs, and documents in the archives, I chose this button because of the depiction of one of ISU’s swans.  Spring is a great time to walk around our beautiful campus; and specifically, take a break by Lake LaVerne to visit Lancelot and Elaine.  To learn more about VEISHEA, see our online exhibit or by visiting the archives to look at RS 22/12: VEISHEA.

Hand Fan (Artifact 1993-002)

Rachel Seale, Outreach Archivist

This hand fan was presented to Martin Jischke, Iowa State University’s 13th president, in May 1993. The hand fan includes birds and butterflies.  It makes me think of spring because of the artwork on the fan. Of course, a fan also comes in handy as the temperatures heat up in spring.” This fan is associated with the Martin C. Jischke Papers (RS 2/13).


Chocolate-Covered Traditions

How do you plan on showing your sweetheart that you care about them this Valentine’s Day? Flowers are a popular choice, poetry is always nice, but why not embrace the little known Iowa State Tradition of giving a 5 pound box of chocolate!  Iowa State students during the 1940s and 1950s announced monumental events in their lives by exchanging different sizes of boxed
chocolate. Pinning, the act of a Greek man giving his fraternity pin to his steady girlfriend, was celebrated by exchanging a 2 pound box of chocolate while engagements called for a 5 pound box, wedding announcements came with a 10 pound box, and pregnancies were announced by a 15 pound box (RS 0/16/1, Traditions and Myths of Iowa State, box 1, folder 5).

So where would all of this chocolate go? It would be passed out during a ‘pound party’ where women would surprise their sorority sisters or floor-mates with their announcement. Women planned out this surprise party down to the very last details; some women planned lunches, ordered embroidered napkins and photo holders, and even used color schemes to represent the couple’s fraternity or sorority colors.

Local Ames businesses, such as Your Treat Shop formerly on Lincoln Way, would advertise their candy shops in Iowa State’s newspapers by announcing the engagements of couples who purchased pounds of candy at their shops.

Advertisement in the March 1950 Iowa State Scientist. Image of a smiling couple at a candy counter, ad reads "Your Treat Shop salutes Mary Alice Connolly and Neil Hansen who announced their engagement with five pounds of chocolate from Your Treat Shop for your five or ten pound party or for any occasion, buy the best of candies at Your Treat Shop, 2526 Lincoln Way.

Your Treat Shop advertisement in the March 1950 Iowa State Scientist (RS 0/16/1, Traditions and Myths of Iowa State Records, box 1, folder 5).

Although this tradition died out in the late 1960s, sorority women still celebrate engagements and pinning with candle passings, often still a surprise to the chapter.

If you find yourself alone this Valentine’s Day, you can also celebrate with what students called a “lemon party,” where women who spent the four years unattached would share a box of lemon drops instead of chocolate.

Today’s blog post was written by Madison Vandenberg, our student assistant. You can read her other blog posts here: https://isuspecialcollections.wordpress.com/author/madiepatie/. You can read an earlier post on sweet traditions at Iowa State here: https://isuspecialcollections.wordpress.com/2016/02/11/cypix-sweet-tradition/.