#Flashback Friday – Cycles vs. Spartans @CycloneATH @isualum

Tomorrow the Cyclones play the Spartans for the 4th time.

The first game between the two teams was in 1958 and the last game was in 1980. Check out the series information from our 2008 ISU Football Media Guide.

Series record for San Jose State from 2008 ISU Football Media Guide: 3 games, Series record 3-0-0, at Jack Trice Stadium ISU leads 1-0-0; at San Jose State ISU leads 1-0-0, 1958 away game ISU won 9-6, 1959 home game ISU won 55-0, and 1980 home game, ISU won 27-6.

Series record for San Jose State from 2008 ISU Football Media Guide (RS 24/6/0/6 box 5, folder 6)


Here’s an article about the 1959 game from the 1959 Bomb:

Cropped page from the 1959 Bomb, ISU Yearbook, describes ISU & San Jose State game. ISU won 9 to 6. "Coach Clay Stapletons players wrote the final chapter to their season by taking control in the second half, coming from behind and defeating the San Jose Spartans, 9-6. Bob Harden, playing the last game of his collegiate career, led the attack by totaling 70 yards in an early third quarter drive. Cliff Ricks conversion gave the Cyclones a one-point lead. The Iowa State fury exploded before the California crowd of 11,000; and a Spartan fumble in Iowa States end zone, recovered by the Cyclone score. Moe Nichols and Bob Harden accounted for 145 and 118 yards respectively, which the Cyclones gained on the ground while reducing the passing average per game for the Spartans from 183 to yr yards. Photogrpah caption: "And Going in for the Cycylones ... But wait! A new rule, enforcing a two-substitutions-per-quarter-per-man rule, required players to sign in with officials before entering the game."

Cropped page 382 from the 1959 Bomb, ISU Yearbook, summarizing the Iowa State San Jose State game.


Drop by the SCUA Reading Room to dig up more football facts & trivia. We’re open Monday-Friday, from 9-5.

Go Cyclones!

Artifacts in the Archives – Our Favorite Artifacts

Today’s post introduces a new blog series here in Special Collections and University Archives— Artifacts in the Archives. These will be a series of posts that include staff picks for different artifacts. This week’s post lists some of our favorites.

The Death Mask

Death Mask of Margaret Stanton

Death Mask of Margaret Stanton (Artifact 2001-R130)

From Whitney Olthoff, Project Archivist

I might get judged for this, but… I have to go with Margaret Stanton’s death mask. It’s creepy, it’s a bit macabre, and it’s a fascinating artifact. It’s a piece of Victorian history –  this was just one of many kinds of memento mori (items created to remember the dead) that were a popular custom in that era. From my understanding, death masks were never typical in the Midwest, so it’s especially interesting that this one was made here and that we have one at all.

From Becky Jordan, Reference Specialist

My favorite artifact is Margaret MacDonald Stanton’s death mask.  It gives us an opportunity to talk about two people who were here in the early days of the college, and who contributed to keeping the fledgling institution on the right track.  Edgar was the first student to receive a diploma at Iowa State.  He devoted his life to Iowa State, and was a member of the faculty until the day he died.  His memorial to Margaret has become a major symbol of the university.

Because Margaret Hall, the first dormitory specifically for women, was named for Margaret Stanton, we can also talk about early student life, and the changes on Central Campus over the years.  And there is the general creepiness factor, which can work into a discussion of past rituals surrounding death and mourning.


Thacher’s Calculating Instrument

Cylindrical slide rule or Thacher's Calculating Instrument

Cylindrical slide rule or Thacher’s Calculating Instrument (Artifact 2009-R004)

From Chris Anderson, Project Archivist

It’s fascinating how the math we now do digitally can be done mechanically. These are such ingenious devices. So much mileage out of a couple of interacting cylinders in a wooden frame. And of course, it’s cool looking!

From Brad Kuennen, University Archivist

My favorite artifact is the cylindrical slide rule (2009-R004). When most people think of slide rules, which I know doesn’t happen often anymore, it conjures up images of flat ruler-sized devices carried around in the pockets of 1950s college students. This cylindrical slide rule is definitely not pocket-sized! At 24 inches long and nearly 5 inches in diameter, I can’t imagine students toting one of these around campus all day. In this day of computers and smartphones we take for granted how much time and sweat was involved in solving complex equations 100 years ago. This device reduced the amount of hand calculations required to solve some of these difficult mathematical problems. The cylindrical slide rule is now a relic of the past, however I still find it fascinating to look at and wonder about its workings. Maybe someday I’ll actually take the time to learn how to use it. And by that I mean typing “cylindrical slide rule” into YouTube to see if there is a video that someone else has posted.


Land-features Globe of Mars

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

From Matt Schuler, Library Assistant II

I like it because it’s a map and it’s not something you would typically expect to see represented on a globe.  It would be something I’d love to have on display in my house if it wasn’t here.


Oliphant P. Stuckslager’s Hammer


artifact Oliphant P. Stuckslager’s Hammer, a Stuckslager hammer

Oliphant P. Stuckslager’s Hammer (Artifact 2001-R142.004)

From Laura Sullivan, Collections Archivist

For this post, I’m going to say that my favorite artifact is the Stuckslager hammer.  The hammer was used to construct one of the first buildings here on campus, Old Main.  We have just enough information on the hammer to give a person enough to start imagining all the activities, people, and sites the hammer saw during its lifetime – helping to bring me that much closer to the hustle and bustle which must have been part of the construction of the main building for the State Agricultural College and Model Farm (now Iowa State).

It’s seemingly a regular, common, everyday hammer of today, in look, feel, size and weight – which makes viewing the hammer both familiar and disconcerting.  This particular hammer came to Ames in 1868, brought by Oliphant P. Stuckslager with the specific purpose to help build Old Main.  We even know where Stuckslager and his family lived in Ames – further helping me to go back in time and imagine the life and times of the hammer during its quite active career, which is said to have continued until the death of its owner in 1908.  We know as much information as we do about the hammer in part thanks to a senior research project done on the hammer.  A summary of the student’s findings can be found on an earlier blog post.

The Laundry  Mailer

From Rachel Seale, Outreach Archivist

I like the laundry mailer because it reminds me of when I was an undergraduate. Every weekend I returned home and my dad would do my laundry. Once I got my laundry done before I came home and he was disappointed! It’s also my favorite artifact because it reminds me that life was so different not too long ago. For one, students could fit an entire week’s worth of laundry into the mailer. It’s not very large. It is smaller than most carry-on luggage pieces today. I can’t imagine fitting a week’s worth of clothes in the mailer in the winter. I may be able to swing it for the summer, though, it would be a tight fit and it’s likely I’d have to wear some shorts or skirts more than once during the week. Students back then probably didn’t have a change of clothes for every day of the week. Also, I would guess that mostly mothers did the laundry. More research on the details of ISU students’ use of the laundry mailers needs to be done. Did both men and women use the laundry mailers, or did the women have laundry facilities in their dormitories? What years were the mailers in use here on campus?

Below are some links to additional information about the laundry mailer, shared with me by Becky Jordan:

Dance Card from Alpha Kappa Delta Dance

Dance card, a volvelle

Dance card (Artifact #1999-103.29)

From Amy Bishop, Rare Books and Manuscripts Archivist

I love dance cards because they are one of those elements from the past that have completely fallen by the wayside. I am a dancer, and I would love to go to a dance and fill up a dance card with my partners’ names. This particular one is my favorite, because it is so inventive and fun. Most dance cards are little booklets, but this one is a wheel with a little paper inside where you write your partners’ names that you can view through a little window. You turn the inside paper to reveal the different names. It works like a star chart. To use a fancy term, it is a volvelle. It is from an Alpha Kappa Delta dance, but there is no indication of the year. It is part of a collection of dance cards from Clarice Johnson Van Zante given to the department as a donation in 1999. Clarice was an ISU alum who attended in the 1920s, majoring in home economics. Later she worked as a school teacher in Ottumwa. The dance card is currently part of a mini-exhibit in the Special Collections reading room called “‘I’ll Pencil You In’: Dances and Dance Cards at Iowa State.”

The Rice Krispies Treat

From Petrina Jackson, Head of SCUA

You are probably wondering why Special Collections and University Archives keeps a Rice Krispies Treat for posterity. It is a good question since it is unusual for repositories to keep food products as collection material. However, this is not just any Rice Krispies Treat. It is a piece of the world record-holding, largest Rice Krispies Treat, weighing in at 2,480 pounds. Members of the Iowa State community created the sweet, sticky snack during VEISHEA 2001 to celebrate the university theme “Strengthening Families to Become the Best,” co-sponsored by the College of Family and Consumer Science (now the College of Human Sciences). The record-holding treat was also made in honor of Mildred Day, a 1928 ISU graduate of home economics, who “was a member of the Kellogg Company team that developed the Rice Krispies Treat recipe in the 1940s.”


Stephens Auditorium and the Ames International Orchestra Festival @StephensAud

Construction of ISU’s C. Y. Stephens Auditorium was completed in September of 1969. Visit “History of campus buildings” for more information. The auditorium is noted for its award-winning design, but today I’ll concentrate on some of what’s happened inside.

Stephens Auditorium at night in 1979

A photo taken in 1979 on the 10th anniversary of the Ames International Orchestra Festival Association. It’s not the best photo, but I like how the lights look. Source: Ames International Orchestra Festival Association Records, MS 137, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library.


The Ames International Orchestra Festival Association formed circa 1969-1971. It brought the world’s greatest orchestras, conductors, and soloists to the annual festival. Not having attended, I can only imagine the festivals as simply super, as classical music at its classiest and most musical. Here are a few glamour shots to give you some idea of the level of artistry I’m talking about. Google them if you must, folks, or take my humble word for it: this is top-shelf talent!


Conductor Zubin Mehta (1936-)


Violinist and conductor Yehudi Menuhin (1916-1999)


Violinist Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg (1961-)












Composer, conductor, author, and pianist Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990)


Pianist, conductor, and composer André Previn (1929-)


Cellist Jian Wang (1968-)











Source of photos: Ames International Orchestra Festival Association Records, MS 137, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library. (Some photos are uncredited; copyright for the publicity photos presumably belongs to the artists or their agencies.) For more information about the collection, see our finding aid.

I’ll admit that while I’d be pleased if a blog reader visited Special Collections to look at the AIOFA scrapbooks, photos, programs, etc., what I really want you to do is treat yourself to an evening at Stephens Auditorium. I myself have seen two shows there: the incomparable Tedeschi Trucks Band, and the Moscow Festival Ballet performing “Sleeping Beauty” as imagined by Tchaikovsky. Great shows, great venue. Look what’s coming up. There’s something for all tastes!


Go Cyclones! #TBT @CycloneATH

Since this Saturday is the ISU football game against University of Iowa,  this week’s #TBT picture is a photograph of the ISU varsity football team 100 years ago.  Go Cyclones!

Iowa State varsity football team. In the background are State Gym, Marston Water Tower, and engineering buildings, 1916, taken by D.A. Davis.

Iowa State varsity football team. In the background are State Gym, Marston Water Tower, and engineering buildings, 1916, taken by D.A. Davis (University Photographs RS 24-6)


For more football pictures from Special Collections & University Archives, check out our Football album on Flickr and our YouTube playlist of ISU Athletics films.

You can also drop by our reading room. We’re on the 4th floor of the Parks Library and open from 9-5, Monday-Friday.

ISU Archivists visit the State Historical Society of Iowa @IowaMuseum #iowahistory

Yesterday we visited the State Historical Society of Iowa in Des Moines. We were able to visit with a number of librarians, archivists, and curators. We learned about the Iowa Newspaper Project and work being done collecting county records, among many other things. This blog post does not do justice to all of the wonderful things we saw and learned about, so you will just have to drop by and visit the collections yourself!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“The world’s first and longest-running scientific periodical”

Phil Trans tp

The title page of the copy held by ISU Library Special Collections and archives.

A patron has been examining our 350-year-old copies of the first issues of Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London, which gives me something interesting to blog about. The patron is Marcia Prior-Miller, an Associate Professor Emeritus from the ISU Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication. I met Marcia when she visited Special Collections a year or so ago, and I enjoyed talking to her about her research and writing. Now she’s back, and working on a book chapter. Its topic is the historical emergence of magazine and journal publishing. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London is one of the four earliest examples of magazines or journals; the other three publications are in German, Italian, and French, and we won’t address them here.

The first issue of Philosophical transactions […] contains ten entries on various scientific and technical topics. Some are essay-length; others are just paragraphs. None have illustrations, charts, or graphs. Nor are there bibliographical references or citations as we know them, although in some cases titles and names are provided. Henry Oldenburg seems to have edited the whole, drawing on an array of publications and correspondence. I find it to be interesting reading; the prose style is more colorful and lively than the scientific writing of our time.

Monstrous calf

Again, the first issue. Note that someone underlined dozens of words in ink that has turned brown with age. Perhaps it is iron gall ink.

Issue number two has pages numbered 17-32, i.e. it takes up where issue number one left off. To this day, journals (as opposed to magazines) commonly have “continuous paging throughout a volume.” Notably, volume two of Philosophical transactions […] does not begin with a fresh page one; rather, after some unnumbered pages, it carries on from p. 409. (Pardon me for noting these details. I am a librarian and a cataloger, so I can’t help but notice them!)

Issue two also feature the title’s first illustrations. They are beautifully done on a leaf that folds out. These figures are associated with the article (?) on pages 21-26 concerning “a way of producing Wind by the fall of Water.”

Phil Trans ill

Visit us here in special collections if you’d like to see our extensive collection of the Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of LondonYou can also view and download scans of individual issues (here, and I imagine elsewhere).

(My blog post’s title is borrowed from an exhibition catalog called Philosophical transactions: 350 years of publishing at the Royal Society (1665-2015). The catalog is an excellent resource in itself. You can view or download a PDF of it here.)

Instruction in the Archives!

On Monday, a class from the Iowa State University Office of Precollegiate Programs for Talented and Gifted (OPPTAG) visited Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA). The course was titled “Cook Your Way Through U.S. History.” In the SCUA classroom, I demonstrated how to find SCUA materials on their topic (cookbooks) and reviewed procedures and handling guidelines in our reading room. Amy Bishop, Rare Books and Manuscripts Archivist, reviewed different cookbooks from Rare Books and recipes from our Manuscript Collections & University Archives and provided students with context on the collections and books.

OPPTAG students viewing cookbook from Rare Book Collection

OPPTAG students viewing cookbook from Rare Book Collection

The students then came into our reading room and looked for historic recipes they plan to cook this week. You should come into our reading room too and check out our cool cookbooks! We’re open Monday-Friday from 10-4! You can also check out some selected cookbooks online in the Library’s Digital Collections.

Staff Pick!

Today’s post puts the spotlight on a staff member and she puts the spotlight on a collection. Meet Whitney Olthoff. She is a Project Archivist here in Special Collections and  University Archives.

Project Archivist Whitney Olthoff (standing far right) during a SCUA workshop for the 4-H Youth Conference this July

Project Archivist Whitney Olthoff (standing far right) during a SCUA workshop for the 4-H Youth Conference earlier this month

How did you get started in Special Collections & University Archives at Iowa State University?

I graduated with my MLS (Master of Library Science) degree from Indiana University – Bloomington in May 2012. After moving back to my parents’ house (about 30 miles from Ames), I continued my full-time job search while working part-time at a public library. This job (project archivist position) popped up, and I was lucky enough to get it! It took just over a year of job searching, but I got hired at my undergrad alma mater – I was pretty excited. I’ve been here for almost three years now, and I’ve gained experience in several aspects of the archival profession during that time. So far, so good!

What do you do?

Primarily what I do is process archival collections. This means that I go through a given collection and organize it – sometimes I physically rearrange the files and sometimes files are rearranged intellectually, that is, in the finding aid, while maintaining original order physically. Depending on the collection, I will re-folder materials, give new and improved titles to folders, number boxes and folders, sleeve photographs and negatives, and enter descriptive information into finding aids. This way, the materials are accessible to researchers. There’s a lot to archival processing, so for more information, take a look at a post one of our former project archivists, Stephanie, wrote a couple years ago: https://isuspecialcollections.wordpress.com/2014/01/10/3379/

I also contribute to our blog, handle the occasional reference request, and archive the university’s websites. Not to mention various other things that are asked of me as needed. I keep pretty busy around here.

What collection would you like to highlight?

This is tricky… it’s difficult to choose just one! I guess I’d like to highlight something lesser-known.  In the Elizabeth “Betsy” Hoffman Papers, there is a series devoted to, oddly enough, Russian WWI photographs and materials  – the   Andrew Kalpaschnikoff Memoirs and Photo Albums. Kalpaschnikoff was Hoffman’s grandfather. Hoffman was Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences here at Iowa State, as well as Professor of Economics. Eventually, she served as Executive Vice President and Provost of Iowa State University and is currently a Professor of Economics here.

Kalpaschnikoff led quite an exciting life. He was raised in Imperial Russia’s upper class, served as Ambassador to the United States, was a member of the Russian Army during WWI, and spent time in a Communist prison after the Bolshevik Revolution. Eventually he escaped and returned to the U.S. He also encountered notable figures including Czar Nicholas II and Leon Trotsky. Kalpaschnikoff’s materials include two photo albums depicting the Russian army in WWI (available to view online here and here), loose photographs, and memoirs.

Why’d you pick this collection/item to highlight?

This was the first collection (well, part of a collection) I ever wrote about for our blog. It was my first-ever post for our blog, as a matter of fact. The materials were newly processed back in 2013. Kalpaschnikoff’s story is fascinating and the photos give you a rare glimpse into life in the Russian army in WWI (fair warning: a few of the photos depict wounded and dead soldiers, some of which are graphic). For whatever reason, I like to highlight collections that most would not expect to find in the ISU archives – I also wrote blog posts on our science fiction and Underground Comix collections. Russian WWI materials and photographs certainly fall under that “unexpected” category in my opinion. Of course, this is just one of many collections worthy of highlighting. Anyone who wants to know what else we hold should check out our website and/or ask us!

Any other comments you’d like me to include?

I’ll end with one of my favorite quotes about libraries and archives:
“To me every trip to a library or archive is like a small detective story.” – Erik Larson

Tulip Gardening #TBT

It’s officially summer, and gardens are in full bloom. With the heat that we’ve had lately, aren’t you glad that dresses like the one below are no longer in fashion? Tulips typically bloom around May in Iowa – in fact, there are festivals devoted to the flower in Pella and Orange City during that month every year. Hopefully it was an unusually cool late spring/early summer day in this photo, otherwise that dress had to be stifling.

Woman in a tulip garden, undated. [collection/box #]

Woman in a tulip garden, undated. University Photographs, RS 16/3

While it’s far too late to plant tulips for this year and too early for next year, the sight of tulips in bloom over the last month or so might have you considering them as an addition to your own garden. If that’s the case, ISU Extension has some tulip planting tips. Happy gardening!

Summer Fashions @ISUExtension @tcmuseum_isu

Happy summer solstice! Today’s post will highlight different collections available online that show off some historical summer fashions.

Here are some summery fashion plates from the Fashion Plates Digital Collection. This collection contains plates of general fashion dating back to the 18th century. This digital collection stems from the Mary Barton Fashion Illustration Collection located in Special Collections and University Archives. Mary Barton (1917-2003), an alumna (Class of 1942) from Ames, was a quilt historian who had gained a national reputation for being able to judge a quilt’s age and origin by careful examination.


Summer Walking Dress, showing influences from the eastern Mediterranean; underskirt covered by a lace lined overjacket and lace-lined turban with parasol (published by John Bell) from the Mary Barton Fashion Illustration Collection.

Summer Walking Dress, 1809

Morning Promenade Dress and Summer Walking Costume, illustrating elaborate ruffled collars and leg-of-mutton sleeves with widening shoulders overall, a highly decorated bodice with lace cutouts, the waist emphasized by ribbons tied in bows or belt, geometric decoration towards the hem (also tightly fitted), wrists, gloves, parasol, and hats decorated with plaid ribbons, feathers, and lace

Morning Promenade Dress and Summer Walking Costume, 1828

The New Spring and Summer Cloaks and Mantles, demonstrating 5 varieties of loose capes and tent-shaped mantles or paletots that all provided modest warmth and coverage for the large hoop skirts. They have various trims including lace, tassels, braid, and rickrack. Four of the five have sleeves that are fairly loose, and the headwear is a bit more elaborate. The dresses illustrate the changing shape of the skirts shifting more toward the back

New Spring and Summer Cloaks and Mantles, 1864

The videos are from the Special Collections and University Archives YouTube channel. They don’t solely deal with summer fashions but do include dresses I think are pretty summery.  These videos were part of the series “Couture Close-Ups with Charles Kleibacker” produced by the Iowa State University Extension Service. In the series, New York fashion designer Charles Kleibacker demonstrates how he designs women’s clothing using various fabrics and construction techniques.




Check out other fun online collections from the University Library Digital Collections and the Special Collections and University Archives YouTube channel.

Or drop by the reading room to look at our collections in person. We’re open Monday-Friday from 10-4.

If you are interested in researching clothing and textiles, you should check out the ISU Textiles and Clothing Museum.