A Welcome to Caitlin Moriarty, Our NHPRC Project Archivist

We’re happy to announce that Caitlin Moriarty started with us June 1st.  As announced in a previous blog post, Caitlin will be working on our National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC) grant project to migrate our finding aids from Microsoft Word documents and HTML into our new archives management system (AMS), CuadraSTAR’s Star Knowledge Center for Archives (SKCA).

Caitlin

Caitlin comes to us from Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she gained a wide variety of experiences in archival work. Caitlin has had a variety of experiences processing, describing, and providing reference assistance in different archival settings at the University of Michigan and the Dickinson College Archives and Special Collections. Most recently, she was worked as a reference assistant for the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library, and as an archives assistant at the University of Michigan’s Special Collections Library. In addition, she worked for Garrett Scott, Bookseller in Ann Arbor to process, inventory, and catalog manuscripts and rare books.  She majored in Russian and political science at Dickinson College and graduated from the University of Michigan School of Information in 2016 with a Master of Science in Information, specializing in Archives and Records Management.

Please join us in welcoming Caitlin!


Celebrating 100 Years: Iowa’s State Parks

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Thanks to the efforts of Iowa leaders over 100 years ago, including people here at Iowa State, state parks were established within the state of Iowa just a few years after legislation for national state parks was passed.  This year marks the 100th anniversary of Iowa’s General Assembly passing state park legislation. The Special Collections and University Archives is excited to announce a new reading room exhibition to celebrate this achievement:  “This movement for a more beautiful Iowa”: The Early Years of Iowa’s State Park System.” Iowa’s landscape of native prairie, forests, and wetlands was rapidly disappearing by the early part of the 20th century due to an expanding population and growing agricultural operations. Individuals from across Iowa advocated for the legislature to set aside land to conserve Iowa’s dwindling natural landscapes, resulting in the passage of Iowa’s state parks bill on April 12, 1917. Iowa State played a central role in establishing the state park system and the state of Iowa soon became a national leader in the state park movement.

Louis Pammel (far left), Iowa State botany professor and leader in Iowa’s state park movement, with students at Ledges State Park.

The exhibit highlights Iowa State’s role in the state park movement, and includes individuals such as botanists Louis Pammel and Ada Hayden, forester G. B. MacDonald, and landscape architect John Fitzsimmons. A brief history of the work to establish state parks in Iowa opens the exhibit, followed by background on Iowa’s first state parks. The exhibit concludes with examples on how Iowa State has used state parks throughout the years, up until the present day – including a current student’s field notebook.

Why was this exhibit theme chosen?  In addition to celebrating an anniversary, it was a great way to highlight the work of Iowa State individuals in ways they are not often mentioned.  In fact, I was surprised to learn that a number of Iowa State administrators were involved – in addition to faculty and staff in botany, forestry, and landscape architecture. The quote from the exhibit’s title is from May H. McNider’s article “Women Want Iowa Scenery Preserved,” published in the 1919 Report of the State Board of Conservation. MacNider, who would later become president of the Board of Conservation, was a civic leader in the town of Mason City, Iowa.

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The development of exhibitions involve a variety of components, including staff from throughout the library.  This one was no exception.  The primary areas of responsibility for the exhibition’s curators (Becky Jordan, Brad Kuennen, and myself – Laura Sullivan) were: developing the exhibition’s themes, researching their assigned areas, selecting exhibition items, writing the exhibition’s text, designing the case layouts, and installing the exhibition.  In addition to the three curators who developed the exhibition, the preservation department helped on a variety of levels including conducting a preservation assessment, digitizing, and building the labels and display supports. We also received support for communications and the window display panels.  Digital initiatives is currently designing an online exhibit, which will be ready in a few weeks.

General Plan for the Landscape Development of Backbone State Park (Iowa’s first state park), 1925 (RS 13/5/13, tube 73)

In conjunction with the exhibit Heidi H. Hohmann, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, will be giving a presentation on Tuesday, June 6th at 7 p.m. in the Farwell T. Brown Auditorium at the Ames Public Library. Hohmann’s lecture, “Designing State and National Parks,” will focus on Iowa State and the Department of Landscape Architecture’s influence and role in the development of national parks and Iowa’s state parks.

Whether you’re looking for summer excursion ideas, would like to immerse yourself in the history of state parks here in Iowa, or would like to take a look at the exhibit for any other reason – please visit us on the 4th floor of Parks Library. Most of the exhibit is located within the reading room, but if you’re only able to stop by after hours, the window displays and a few exhibit cases are available for viewing after the department is closed.  The exhibit will run through the end of 2017.

 

 

 

 


#TBT Iowa’s State Parks: Marking 100 Years

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Carl Fritz Hemmings (left) with Louis Pammel (right) (from University Photograph Collection, box 1026)

Today’s Throw Back Thursday photograph is of Iowa State botany professor Louis Pammel with Ledges State Park custodian Carl Fritz Hemmings. This year marks the centennial of the passage of the first state parks act in Iowa, which was approved April 12, 1917. The Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives  plans a summer exhibition, “This movement for a more beautiful Iowa”: The Early Years of Iowa’s State Park System” which will open to the public on May 17.

Iowa’s landscape of native prairie, forests, and wetlands was rapidly disappearing by the early part of the 20th century due to an expanding population and growing agricultural operations. Individuals from across Iowa advocated for the legislature to set aside land to conserve Iowa’s dwindling natural landscapes resulting in the passage of Iowa’s state parks bill in 1917. Iowa State played a central role in establishing the state park system and the state of Iowa soon became a national leader in the state park movement. The exhibit highlights Iowa State’s role in the state park movement.


NHPRC Awards Grant for Finding Aid Migration Project

The Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) is pleased to announce that the National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC) has awarded the University Library with a $118,825 grant supporting a two-year project to migrate nearly 1,700 finding aids into a new archives management system that complies with EAD (Encoded Archival Description).

The project, entitled “Modern Tools for Modern Research: Migrating Old Finding Aids to a New Archives Management System,” will transform the way researchers explore and interact with SCUA’s unique collections. In addition to brief catalog records, SCUA uses detailed finding aids to describe its archival collections. (An example of one of our finding aids for an archival collection can be found here).  Archival collections can range in size from a small folder to hundreds of boxes. The finding aid facilitates the discovery of information within an archival collection, and researchers and archivists alike would spend many, many extra hours searching for information without such a tool!

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Snapshot of a current online finding aid.

Currently, the department’s finding aids are discoverable online through a Google search bar, in addition to various subject guides. With the migration of our finding aids to our new archives management system software (CuadraSTAR’s SKCA), researchers will have an enhanced mechanism for discovering and searching applicable finding aids during their research.

Migrating finding aids to a new system is no small task, and the grant will ensure the project’s timely completion. The grant funds will support a two-year term staff member and a student assistant to execute this project, which will begin in June 2017 and runs through May 2019.

The upcoming project is an exciting milestone for the department, and SCUA would like to thank the National Historical Publications & Records Commission and other supporters for their help with the grant proposal. A complete list of 2016 NHPRC awarded grants is available online.

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About NHPRC: The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC), a statutory body affiliated with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), supports a wide range of activities to preserve, publish, and encourage the use of documentary sources, created in every medium ranging from quill pen to computer, relating to the history of the United States.


Basketball: Iowa State versus Kansas 60 Years Ago #TBT

Wilt Chamberlain (Kansas #13)

From University Photograph Collection, 24/5/G, box 1817

This Saturday, January 14th, marks the 60th anniversary of a well-remembered game in Iowa State’s basketball history: Iowa State versus Kansas. Both teams had players which would go on to have major professional basketball careers:  Gary Thompson (Iowa State, #20) and Wilt Chamberlain (Kansas, #13). In the photograph above, Chamberlain is attempting to make a basket while Thompson guards on the floor.

It was an exciting game, with Iowa State beating Kansas, 39-37. At the very end, Don Medsker made the winning basket. The game was Chamberlain’s first loss in college basketball. In celebration of the win, Iowa State fans invaded the Armory’s floor after the game.

A number of images documenting the game are now available in Digital Collections. Although we don’t have a program from the game (please contact us if you’d be willing to donate one!), we do have news clippings from that year in RS 24/5/0/0, box 1, folder 1, a folder of materials on Gary Thompson (RS 21/7/1), and the book “Gary Thompson, All-American” by Gary Offenburger.  Additional men’s basketball records are also available in the University Archives.


Iowa State Alum, Landscape Architect, Wilderness Idea Pioneer: Arthur Carhart

As the holiday season is here, and the cold weather has descended upon us in Iowa and the rest of the Midwest, many are spending more time indoors with family and friends. The end of the year and the beginning of the next is when we frequently receive an upturn in questions regarding alumni, many likely arising during conversations during a winter get-together or as people think about family at this time of year. What resources do we have in the university archives to look into Iowa State alumni?

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Arthur  Carhart’s folder in our alumni files, RS 21/7/1.

I’ll use a 1916 graduate, Arthur Carhart, as an example to walk readers through the possibilities. Why did I choose Arthur Carhart?  This past year, I visited the Gila Wilderness Area in New Mexico, which was established in large part due to the efforts of Aldo Leopold, a native Iowan (and, as a side note, we hold the papers of his brother, Frederick Leopold) – and Leopold’s ideas were probably influenced by Carhart, since they conversed on the wilderness idea at least once.  I am repeatedly reminded that even as a state which has significantly changed its landscape, Iowa has had many people who are passionate about conservation and preserving the land…as a perusal of this subject guide for our collections will reveal.

One such person I recently learned about was, as you all know by now, Arthur Hawthorne Carhart. One hundred years ago this year (1916), Carhart graduated with Iowa State’s first degree in landscape gardening (later landscape architecture), and became the first landscape architect for the National Forest Service. Carhart’s vision for wilderness preservation had a lasting impact here in this country. One of his first projects was to survey Trappers Lake in Colorado’s White Pine National Forest for development. After his visit, he recommended instead that the area be designated as a wilderness. Trappers Lake became the National Forest’s first wilderness preservation area. Before leaving the Forest Service to work in private practice, Carhart recommended that an area of northern Minnesota be designated as a wilderness area, and this is now the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. Carhart later became a successful writer, drawing upon his earlier experiences. The Special Collections Department at the University of Iowa holds the Papers of Arthur Carhart, which contain his literary manuscripts.

What was Carhart’s life like here at Iowa State while a student, and what do we have which documents his accomplishments after graduation?  As our genealogy subject guide reveals, we have a variety of resources with which to begin.

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In addition to supplying information about students at the time, the Bomb also provides a window into what life was like at that time. Above is a passage about a December Christmas Carnival which took place on campus (from 1916 Bomb).

The Bomb, the student yearbook, can often be a rich source of information and a great place to begin – especially if the alum was involved in a variety of student organizations, as Carhart was.  During his senior year alone, the 1916 Bomb reveals that he was a member of Acacia, band, glee club, horticulture department club, and the Iowa State College Chapter of the Cosmopolitan Club (an international student group; more on the Iowa State chapter can be found in this earlier blog post).

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Carhart’s page from the section on seniors from the 1916 Bomb.

In addition to physical copies here in the department and the general collection, the Bomb is now available online through Digital Collections.

We also have his bachelors thesis (call number: Cob 1916 Carhart) entitled “Landscape Materials for Iowa.”  As Carhart states in his forward, he has compiled a listing of plants hardy enough to use in the middle west state of Iowa.  No single book, or even group of books, existed at that time which did so for midwest states.  This groundbreaking work of an Iowa State senior is a great view into Carhart’s work as a budding landscape architect, in addition to preserving an annotated list of plants available for such work in the early part of the 20th century. (Please note: we are in the process of cataloging our bachelors theses. His thesis will soon be discoverable through the library’s search system…just not yet!)

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Title page from Carhart’s bachelors thesis (call #: Cob 1916 Carhart)

There are multiple other resources one could go to to find other windows into Carhart’s life here at Iowa State – but I will leave those up to you to find, if you’re so inclined. The student directories would reveal where he lived while here, as well as his hometown and major.  This would also be a good place to start if you had a basic idea for when someone attended, but not the exact date.  The records for the student groups he was involved with here on campus may have photographs, scrapbooks, programs, and other materials documenting what he may have done within those organizations.

His file in our alumni files (RS 21/7/1) reveals what he accomplished after graduating from Iowa State – and this included quite a lot, far more than I knew about him before examining the file! In addition to his accomplishments mentioned above, a 1969 letter to President Parks (from a nomination packet for Iowa State’s “Distinguished Achievement Citation”) says that he “conceived and carried through to establishment” the Conservation Library Center (now the Conservation Collection, Denver Public Library), and saved Dinosaur National Monument from a proposed dam. Carhart’s alumni file is full of additional information, including news clippings, resumes, articles, correspondence, updates to the alumni association, among others.

Incidentally, Dinosaur National Monument has at least two Iowa State connections.  In addition to Carhart’s work, the large array of fossils which eventually became Dinosaur National Monument was discovered by another Iowa State alum, Earl Douglass. I’ll leave it to the curious among you to find out what we may have on Douglass! I hope this post has given everyone a better idea about the resources we have in the University Archives related to former students.

 


Iowa State Ties for Valentine’s Day: Love stories beginning at Iowa State

Valentine’s Day was this past weekend, and some of you may have thought about where you met your significant other.  Was it here at Iowa State?  If it was, you are definitely not alone, and some of those stories are documented here in the University Archives!

You may recognize at least one person, since his name is on a building:  Samuel Beyer.

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Samuel Beyer in his office, 1925 (University Photograph Collection, 13-2-A, box 1020)

Instructor and professor of Geology and Zoology here at Iowa State (1891-1930), Beyer met his wife, Jennie Morrison, during his senior year and they were married in 1893 after her graduation.  In addition to his faculty and administrative duties, Beyer was dedicated to Iowa State athletics and is credited with bringing Homecoming celebrations to Iowa State. He was also instrumental in organizing the construction of State Gymnasium and Clyde Williams Field. (To find out more about Samuel Beyer and what is in his archival collection, see the online finding aid to the Samuel W. Beyer Papers).

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Library staff, 1931-1932. Elva is in the second row, second from the left. (University Photograph Collection, 25-1-D, box 2040)

Other stories of people meeting here at Iowa State are scattered in various collections.  Some of these we know about, others are yet to be found in diaries, scrapbooks, correspondence, news clippings, and the like.  For instance, the first extension agent in Utah, Arvil Stark, met his wife here at Iowa State.  This love story began not far from where it is documented here in the University Archives (in their son’s alumni file, RS 21/7/1, Craig Stark).  Arvil Stark attended Iowa State, and received his Ph.D. in horticulture in 1934.  Elva Acklam Stark received her library degree from the University of Wisconsin, and her first job was here at Iowa State’s library.  Elva and Arvil met at the library when Arvil was checking out books.  According to their son Craig Stark, “My Dad took my Mom apple blossoms from the Horticulture Farm and they fell in love at ISU!!”

Interested in hearing about others who fell in love here at Iowa State?  Although not all of these love stories are documented here in the University Archives (and some may be), you can read more stories collected by the Iowa State University Foundation here.


CyPix: Farm Protests

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Scene from a farmers protest (National Farmers Organization Records, MS 481, box 15, folder 5), the milk holding action organized by the National Farmers Organization in 1967.

Last week’s European farmers protests brought to mind a number of the collections in our department documenting protests organized by farmers, and in particular the image above from our National Farmers Organization Records (MS 481). The National Farmers Organization (NFO) was founded in 1955 to combat low prices farmers received from food processors.  The more intensive aspects of the organization’s activities, demonstrated by the image above, receded by 1979, when its focus turned to collective bargaining for better prices. The NFO, which now has its headquarters in Ames, Iowa, is organized on county, Congressional district, state, and national levels.

A selection of additional collections documenting protests and other political actions can be found in our Political Action Subject Guide.  In particular, the National Farmers Organization Records and Charles Walters Papers both document the National Farmers Organization, in addition to a variety of other collections found in the subject guide.


March 4 Event: “Early Natural History Texts: The Roots of American Environmentalism”

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Snowy Owls from John James Audubon’s Birds of America, 1840 (call number QL674, Volume 1, plate 28)

We are pleased to announce that next week we will be holding a special event showcasing a number of our natural history texts.  This is one of several Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities events being held this year.  Matthew Sivils, associate professor of English and the 2015 CEAH Fellow in the Arts and Humanities, will provide a brief overview of the texts which will be displayed, which includes works by influential eighteenth- and nineteenth-century naturalists such as Mark Catesby and John James Audubon.

You can find details on this event and others on the Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities website:

The seeds of America’s environmental identity were first planted by a handful of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century naturalist-explorers. These naturalists—who were as much artists and poets as scientists—made it their mission to discover, record, and share North America’s natural diversity. These volumes, published by figures such as Mark Catesby, Alexander Wilson, and John James Audubon, contain powerful descriptions and stunning illustrations of the plants and animals that would come to define the land. Professor Sivils will provide a brief overview of some of the most influential of these texts, followed by a viewing of rare natural history volumes housed in the ISU Library’s Department of Special Collections.

Professor Sivils will give his talk in the 405 classroom adjacent to the Special Collections Department.  Following his presentation, there will be an opportunity to view a selection of our natural history texts in the Special Collections Reading Room.

“Early Natural History Texts: The Roots of American Environmentalism”
March 4, 7:00–8:00 p.m., Special Collections Department, Parks Library

Below is a sampling of what you will see if you’re able to attend the event next Wednesday:

The Aurelian. A natural history of English moths and butterflies, together with the plants on which they feed. Also a faithful account of their respective changes, their usual haunts when in the winged state, and their standard names as established by the Society of Aurelians. / Drawn engraved and coloured from the natural subjects. By Moses Harris. 1766. (QL542.4 H242a)

The Aurelian, 1766 (call number QL542.4 H242a)

The full title of the book pictured above is:  The Aurelian: A natural history of English moths and butterflies, together with the plants on which they feed. Also a faithful account of their respective changes, their usual haunts when in the winged state, and their standard names as established by the Society of Aurelians. / Drawn engraved and coloured from the natural subjects. By Moses Harris, 1766.  (Wondering what “aurelian” means?  It’s an older world for lepidopterist.  A lepidopterist studies or collects butterflies and moths.)

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De historia stirpium commentarii insignes… by Leonard Fuchs, 1542 (call number QK41 .F951d)

The “De Historia Stirpium, or Notable commentaries on the history of plants, contains 497 descriptions in Latin of plants, with woodcuts based on first-hand observation.  Early herbals often contained depictions of plants which were not based on actual specimens, but on depictions from other books.  As a result, these illustrations were often inaccurate.  The De Historia Stirpium was the first herbal to illustrate native plants from the Americas.  More on Leonhart Fuchs’ herbals can be found in our online exhibit.

We are looking forward to next week’s event (March 4, 7-8pm), and hope we will see you there!


A Mysterious, Intriguing Book in the Stacks: “The Conchologist’s First Book,” by Edgar Allan Poe

The Conchologist's First Book... (QL405 P752c)

The Conchologist’s First Book… (QL405 P752c)

In preparing for an event taking place next month which will showcase our natural history texts, I had the opportunity to find out about a book I had no idea we held:  The Conchologist’s First Book:  or a system of testaceous malacology, arranged expressly for the use of schools…, by Edgar Allan Poe.  I was a little surprised to learn that Poe had published far outside of the genres of detective stories and science fiction for which he is well-known!  The Conchologist’s First Book has an intriguing story all its own, and sold more copies during Poe’s lifetime than any of his other publications.

The author of a book on shells had asked Poe to put together a less expensive version of his own book.  As editor, translator, and arranger of the requested version, Poe made a number of contributions.  He did not follow more traditional ways of arranging the illustrations of the shells, but rather decided to organize the shells from the simplest to the most complex.  This was done before Charles Darwin had published his theories on evolution.  The publisher of the original book would not allow the author’s name to be on the book in fear that it would reduce the sales of the original, and therefore Poe’s name was used for the first three editions.  Curious to learn more?  The Museum of Edgar Allan Poe has an interesting description here.  This was not the only book which provides us with Poe’s scientific thinking. For his final book, Eureka, Poe writes a prose poem containing his ideas on the nature and origin of the universe.

The Special Collections Department holds a few other books related to Edgar Allan Poe, including the one pictured above (PS2631 M6 1885).

The Special Collections Department holds a few other books related to Edgar Allan Poe, including the one pictured above (PS2631 M6 1885).

Interested in seeing our first edition copy of The Conchologist’s First Book (QL405.P752c)? Please feel free to visit us on the fourth floor of Parks Library (M-F, 10-4).  We also have a few other books related to Poe (including an 1885 copy of A Defense of Edgar Allan Poe. Life, Character and Dying Declarations of the Poet. An Official Account of His Death), and a variety of books on conchology and shells.  This includes Thomas Brown’s The Conchologist’s Text Book (QL403 .B81c), which the original author of Poe’s textbook had based his book.

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A Conchological Manual, by G. B. Sowerby, junior (QL406 So93c)