ISU Special Collections and University Archives has a wealth of information about student organizations over the years. Here is a rare late-70s photo of SAE fraternity members dressed as bunnies and staying out of trouble. The ISU chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (“Iowa Gamma”) was established in 1905. For more images and documents, see RS 22/11/2/33.
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.
Drop in some time to do some research. Our reading room is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
To celebrate Spring Break, I present the most fashion-forward swimwear of 1917. 100 years ago, this is what the young ladies of Iowa State may have worn on their beach vacations. Of course, spring break as we know it now did not exist in 1917, though there was a 3 day Easter vacation. This picture is a magazine cover found in the collection of covers and fashion prints collected by Mary Barton. You can browse the digitized images of fashion plates from this collection.
I know everyone will be clamoring to get their hands on this swimsuit! Have fun and be safe as you finish up Spring Break!
This is a first in a series of posts about the history of the library at Iowa State.
To kick off this series of posts about the history of the library at Iowa State, we’re going to take a look way back to nearly the founding of Iowa State University. Starting in 1868, the library was housed in Old Main. As Old Main held the entire college, it had a lot of functions including classrooms, museums, a chapel, dining halls, and housing for both faculty and students (to learn more about Old Main, visit our online exhibit). In 1880, the library had 6,000 volumes and was open from 2 pm to 9 pm. The library was run by students in the earliest days until 1876 when some professors were tasked with the double duty of scholarship and running the library. “From this time  the position was added to that of women teachers in mathematics, modern language, or elocution” (pg 80, The History of Iowa State College by Earle Dudley Ross).
In 1891, the library was moved to Morrill Hall, which was designed to house the library and a museum. It was in that same year that library instruction at ISU began. Freshmen took a 1 credit course during the second term titled “Library Work.” In 1893, the library had 10,200 volumes and was open from 8-9:30, closing over the noon and dinner hours.
Morrill Hall was the home of the library for just 23 years, and in 1914, the library was moved to Beardshear Hall, which was deemed to be more fireproof than Morrill. The library quickly outgrew all of the buildings it occupied, so plans were laid for the library to have a permanent home of its own that could hold all of the volumes in one place.
In the next post (coming in May), we’ll look at the beginning of the library in its current location (though much smaller than the library of today!)
There are many places in the archives to learn about the history of the library and other buildings on campus. A good place to start is the online exhibit From Prairie Sod to Campus Cornerstones: Building Our Campus History or the reference books found in the reading room. You can also check out some quick facts from the library’s website. To dive a little deeper, look through our finding aids and records in RS 4/8/4.
Did you know that March is both Women’s History Month and National Nutrition Month? It seems only appropriate that this week’s #TBT photo is from the College of Family and Consumer Sciences, Department of Human Nutrition. A woman is pictured with a table full of jars and test tubes, looking through a microscope. The photo was taken in 1928.
To learn more about the Impact of Women Nutritionists, please visit our online exhibit or stop by the Special Collections and University Archives reading room between 9 and 5, Monday-Friday.
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.
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.
Following the tumultuous summer of 1968 (see the previous blog post on the formation of the Black Student Organization), a number of black students left Iowa State, including several leaders of the Black Student Organization (BSO). Due to this fact, the BSO essentially ceased to exist as a student organization during the fall of 1968. This hiatus was short-lived. In December 1968 members of the black student population reformed the Black Student Organization under the leadership of Larry Salter, an Aerospace Engineering student from Freeport, Illinois.
One of the goals of the reconstituted BSO was to advocate for a facility where black students could gather together and socialize. The plan for the center was soon expanded to also provide resources and organize events that promoted a better understanding of black culture. During the spring of 1969, BSO members and Assistant Dean of Students Tom Goodale identified several off-campus properties as possible homes for such a center, but there was still one major obstacle to overcome.
The group had to raise money. In August 1968, the non-profit organization Black Cultural Center, Inc. (BCC), was formed under the leadership of board members William Bell and Neil Harl of the ISU faculty and Judge Luther Glanton, Jr., of Des Moines. This organization was established as a vehicle to raise funds for and manage the operations of a black cultural center in Ames. In September 1969, members of BCC, Inc., and the BSO were likely disappointed, but probably not surprised, when President Parks declined to offer University funding for the purchase of a center. However, Parks strongly encouraged members of the community to help the students acquire the necessary resources to acquire a facility. Community members stepped up as did the student body: the VEISHEA Central Committee provided a $2,000 grant and the Government of the Student Body followed with a $2,400 appropriation.
Just a few weeks later, on October 8, 1969, the board of directors of BCC, Inc., announced that a property in Ames had been obtained for $30,000. The house, located at 517 Welch Avenue, was purchased with the support of donations from University organizations, private subscriptions, and a loan from the Alumni Achievement Fund (now part of the ISU Foundation). The organization took ownership of the property on January 1, 1970. For the next nine months, students, faculty, and members of the Ames community worked together to prepare the Black Cultural Center for its grand opening.
The Black Cultural Center was officially dedicated on Sunday, September 27, 1970, in conjunction with the dedication of Carver Hall. Since then, the BCC has offered space for all students to socialize and learn about black culture though the publication of newsletters and sponsored events and programming. In January 2017, the BCC was named after George Jackson, a longtime ISU administrator and champion for students of color. Today, the center is operated under the umbrella of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs and is a recognized organization affiliated with the University.
There are a number of resources available to researchers interested in learning more about the history of the BCC. News clippings related to the Black Student Organization’s efforts to establish the center can be found in RS 22/3/0/1, Multicultural Student Organizations. Files related to the Black Cultural Center can be found in RS 7/5/4, Black Cultural Center records. And of course, there are always yearbooks and other student publications to peruse. If you are interested in learning more, please stop by Special Collections and University Archives. We would love to see you!
With the popularity of Hidden Figures, it is a great time to honor and remember Iowa State’s Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE). This photo was taken in 1962 of a female graduate student working in the chemistry laboratory. The photograph is labeled with a date, but the cat eye glasses would have been a clue for a time period as well! To learn more about the WISE archive we have here, view our digital collection, search our archives collection, or stop by the reading room!
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)
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)
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
VEISHEA button (Artifact 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).
Did you know it’s National Canned Food Month? Canned food may not be the most glamorous of edibles, but the canning process can be deceptively tricky (exploding fruit, anyone?). There are countless guides on how to can various foods on the internet, including these from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. Educating the public on canning procedures is nothing new for Extension – they were giving demonstrations on that 90 years ago! Below are some photos from such demonstrations:
Want to learn more about canning? The Gertrude L. Sunderlin Papers contain studies on canning dating back to the 1920s. We also have a wealth of Extension publications, some of which may contain tips on canning and recipes. Stop by sometime!