Women Inventors and Innovators

It’s easy to take the modernity of our lives for granted. Associating the inventors to the inventions we interact with certainly brings a new level of appreciation. In 1995, Autumn Stanley published the book Mothers and Daughters of Invention to highlight women who have contributed to society through their various inventions. SCUA houses an extensive collection of Autumn Stanley’s research papers, rough drafts, physical copies of the inventions, and more.

Cover of Mothers and Daughters of Invention, can be found here

Chapters from Autumn Stanley’s book varied by field. In MS 659, Box 121, you can find Stanley’s compilation of newspaper articles on women innovators- including some in the medical field. One woman highlighted in Stanley’s medical field research was Susan Perrine. In 1993, Perrine and her colleagues came up with a potential solution to those affected by sickle-cell anemia. In the article it mentioned that 1 in 400 African Americans are affected by sickle-cell anemia, with most dying from its complications. Perrine worked on helping these patients’ bodies create a new, healthy form of hemoglobin via intravenous infusions of arginine butyrate, which turns on a dormant gene for fetal hemoglobin. This fetal hemoglobin typically stops production six months after birth, but could be the solution to sickle-cell anemia. Even present day, this is a solution still researched for sickle-cell anemia.

Article on Susan Perrine that contains hand written notes by Autumn Stanley
Autumn Stanley’s notes on Susan Perrine’s article. Can be found in MS 659, Box 121, Folder 4

Additionally, SCUA holds physical artifacts from women inventors in Stanley’s collection. Picture below are some of those artifacts:

The first invention included in the artifact collection are velcro clasps for necklaces. These clasps help people with arthritis still clasp their necklaces easily and came in a few different colors for aesthetics. Second featured is a leather strap and metal fixture to hold pogs- a popular 90s toy. Third is a Barbie branded “spill proof” carrier for crayons that also includes a crayon sharpener. Fourth highlighted in the collection is a “Great Women” card game that includes succinct biographies on “founders & firsts” on each card. Last pictured is the Fantex paint brush. This paint brush’s bristles are created in such a way that you can make unique patterns with the brush, as shown on the packaging.

In Stanley’s draft of the agricultural chapter, Stanley even asserts that women were the inventors of agriculture. The chapter’s draft states “anthropologists now generally agree, as the Smithsonian’s Otis Mason argued so forcefully in 1900, that women invented agriculture. Moreover, in pre-agricultural days, they were the major providers of food by their gathering of plants and their hunting of insects and small animals.” Stanley even goes on to assert the idea of men as the hunter/provider was a myth. You can view a picture below from Folder 21 where this rough draft is found.

Photo of the a rough draft page typed out containing various pen written notes
Photo from MS 659, Box 121, Folder 21

Be sure to come stop by SCUA Monday- Thursday 9-5pm and check out more of Autumn Stanley’s research for this book in MS 659!

Daylight Saving Time

Last night most of you probably set your clock back an hour and enjoyed a little extra sleep as daylight saving time ended. Daylight saving time has been around for a little over a century, but wasn’t completely adopted by Iowa until 1971. SCUA houses letters that date back to World War I when the clock change was first adopted, as well records from the Iowa Farm Bureau publicly opposing the adoption of daylight saving time for Iowa. Read below for more details!

Photo of hands holding up a clock
Photo can be found here

Daylight saving time originated during World War I as a means to conserve fuel during the war. The time change was adopted by the United States in 1918, but it was soon abolished after the war. Check out this letter from March 30th, 1919, Madge Hawkins wrote to Ralph Van Zander:

Cursive, handwritten letter from 1919
Letter can be found in MS 0213, Box 6, Folder 68

Madge states in the 7th line, “Yesterday morning as two o’clock times changed again. It sure is hard to get up an hour earlier”. Surely this is a common sentiment even today when March hits and the clock has to go an hour forward.

Additionally, Ralph Van Zander sent a letter to their parents you can find below.

Letter can be found in MS 0213, Box 6, Folder 67

In the 5th line, Ralph refers to daylight saving time and states that “it makes too long a day to suit me 3 or 4 hours is as long as I can work”. Both of these letters can be found in MS 0213, Box 6, Folder 67.

Jumping forward to the 1960’s, Iowa began to adopt daylight saving time in certain parts of the state. On May 13th, 1960 the Des Moines City Council voted in favor of daylight saving time, marking “17 of the 20 largest cities in Iowa committed to daylight time,” regardless of the fact that 65% of Iowans were not in favor of adapting to the new “fast time,” as documented in a newspaper clipping from MS 105, Box 54, Folder 7.

The same folder contains various documents showing the Iowa Farm Bureau’s (IFB) opposition to Iowa adopting daylight saving time. Included in this folder is a letter to the Mayor and members of the Des Moines City Council, IFB writing that while daylight saving time was implemented in World War I, the “benefits of the plan were questionable.”

Additionally, IFB stated as a main reason of opposition “the very nature of a farmer’s business during the summer months requires that he work on the sun schedule at planting and harvesting periods and, thus, must work from early dawn until late in the evening as weather permits and crops demand” (MS 105, Box 54, Folder 7).

Eventually, Iowa did adopt daylight saving time state-wide in 1971. Do you enjoy daylight saving time or are you on the same side as the Iowa Farm Bureau was in the 1960s? We’ll leave you from this excerpt from Henry Van Dyke in a newspaper clipping making an argument against daylight saving time.

New clipping title: As we turn out clocks forward
Clipping reads: This little quote from Henry Van Dyke seems quite apropos: "To be foolish is an infirmity. To fool others is a trick. But to fool ourselves seems to be  natural propensity- you might almost say a necessity of man. Take an illustration from the modern device which is called 'daylight saving.' In the summer men would like to begin their work an hour earlier in order to finish it an hour sooner, and have the lovely eventide for rest or play. Good! A find idea! Perfectly simple! But it seems that men can not do this simple thing without fooling themselves. They must set their clocks an hour ahead. They must tell themselves that the time is what they know it is not. They must delude themselves into doing a wise thing. Meanwhile, the cows and the birds and the stars and the tides and the railways run on the real time. But men are all mixed up, and miss their engagements, because they are fooling themselves. 'Lord,' says Puck, 'what fools these mortals be!'"
Clipping can be found in MS 105, Box 54, Folder 7

National Teach Agriculture Day

It is no secret that Iowa State University takes a lot of pride in our agricultural programs. Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences ranks among the best in the world– ranking in the top 4% of worldwide programs of agriculture and forestry programs by the QS World University Rankings.

News clipping photo showing a man with a semi truck, titled "Agriculture Day"
News Clipping on National Agriculture day. Can be found at MS- 0066, Box: 1, Folder: 2. Special Collections and University Archives.

Seeing as today is National Teach Agriculture Day, there is no better way to celebrate than to learn more about Iowa Agriculture and to become more acquainted with the industry!

According to the National Association of Agricultural Educators, “National Teach Ag Day is designed to encourage others to teach school based agriculture and recognize the important role that agriculture teachers play in our schools and communities.” They also stated that in the United States, there are 11,000 middle and high school agriculture teachers, and agriculture curriculum is taught in all 50 states!

At Iowa State University, there are 28 majors in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, ranging from Dairy Science to Dietetics. You can view the full list here.

In the Manuscript Collection at the archives, we have multiple boxes stuffed with correspondences, newspaper clippings, and fact sheets to lobby for National Agriculture Day becoming a national holiday in the United States.

From the National Agriculture Day collection (MS-0066), it was said in 1973 that “Agriculture is this nation’s greatest asset” and that “Agriculture is American’s one industrial effort in which we will never be overtaken by a competitive nation. It is an area of technological, scientific, and productive superiority which will never be surpassed by another country. It is an American resource which continually increases in productivity and quality” (“Agriculture Day is Established.”, MS-0066, Box: 1, Folder: 8).

Additionally, I was able to find these infographics to be taught to elementary students in 1973 that are much different today:

Graphic reads: "Enough milk for 75 4th grade lunches = 1 day of milk production from 1 cow"
Infographic regarding milk production in a cow. Can be found at MS- 0066, Box: 2, Folder: 4. Special Collections and University Archives.

According to the Compassion in World Farming USA, today the average dairy cow produces 7.5 gallons of milk per day. This multiplied by 128 ounces in a gallon, divided by the 8 ounces per average school milk cartridge per day would be enough milk for 120 4th grade lunches- nearly doubling in production over the past 47 years!

Graphic reads "Corn consumed by 1 steer = weight of 60 4th graders"
Infographic regarding weight of a steer. Can be found at MS- 0066, Box: 2, Folder: 4. Special Collections and University Archives.

This graphic describes that in a year 1 steer will consume the equivalent of 60 4th graders (at 50 pounds each) in corn. Today, I found that the average steer eats 16.5 lbs of grain per day. This number multiplied by 365 days in a year, divided by 50 lbs per 4th grader would double the number to the equivalent of about 120 4th graders!

As agriculture continues to grow and change, we are happy to have days like today celebrating our agricultural educators.

Excerpt reads:
"The most sensible shortcut to a solid ag future is the educated child
Agriculture in the classroom?
Yes. NOW is the time to infiltrate the national School Systems with Agri-Eduction...
Urban areas
Suburban areas
Rural communities...
North
South
Middlewest
Northeast
Southeast
Northwest
Southwest...
Public
Private
Parochial.
Excerpt describing the importance of agriculture education. Can be found at MS- 0066, Box: 2, Folder: 4. Special Collections and University Archives.

As a member of the agricultural industry myself, I find the most fascinating aspect of agriculture to be the community and pride in their work of feeding the world. Certainly this is a subject worth teaching about for generations to come, happy National Teach Agriculture Day!

Archives Investigations Student Presentations

This semester I have been teaching an Honors Seminar “Archives Investigations”. The purpose of this course is to demystify primary source research and develop primary source research skills for undergraduate students. I wanted the students to understand the past and recognize historical narratives as constructed; to be able to inform and educate others about the value of archives and cultural heritage institutions as information resources not as vaults stored with hidden treasures. Ultimately, the goal was for students to understand the stories that primary sources reveal about people, society, and events.

This was a hybrid class where we alternated between Zoom meetings and in-person class sessions. My guest lecturers Zoomed in from home or sometimes they were in the classroom and we Zoomed in from home.

  • 4 tables filled with items from SCUA for class from University Archives includes Jack Trice's last letter, Board of Regents first minute book, 2 document boxes from Ames Lab Records, and a red blanket with Gold trim and lettering from the Artifacts Collection.
  • Two document boxes showing on Zoom screen sharing content.
  • Screen showing Zoom presentation with 2 illustrated book covers showing students socially distanced wearing masks in background.
  • Instructor at front of classroom, students spaced out 6 ft. from each other wearing masks working on their laptops and looking at collection materials.
Graphic on red with gold accent and mostly white text: You're Invited! Archives Investigations Honors Seminar Student Presentations. Wednesday, Nov. 11 3:30 pm, Iowa State University Library logo underneath.

This Wednesday, the students will be presenting their final projects via WebEx.

For more information: https://www.lib.iastate.edu/news/hon-321q-archives-investigations-student-presentations

Click here to join the online session this Wednesday at 3:30 pm. Open to the public.

#MediaMonday – Household Hints with Mrs. Anderson

Today’s #MediaMonday post takes another look at one of my favorite collections: MS-0381Food and Household Product Advertising Guides and Publications collection. circa 1880s-1978”.

“It’s All In Knowing How” is an instruction book on the recently discovered uses for Baking Soda, advertising Arm & Hammer and Cow Brand Baking Soda, as shown on the back cover. A short advertisement pamphlet that promises helpful hints for use “in the home, in the garden, and on the farm.” The content seems to be aimed at housewives, even including an advice column from “Mrs. Anderson”.

  • New uses for arm and hammer or cow brand baking soda

Mrs. Anderson is introduced on the second page of the pamphlet, and is described as a “housewife who did her own housework – and enjoyed it.” Mr. and Mrs. Anderson have just moved into a new house in the suburbs that needs a lot of cleaning, so Mrs. Anderson gets right to work.

“Introducing Mrs. Anderson” excerpt from “It’s all in knowing how” baking soda advertisement from Box One of MS-0381.

The “Mrs. Anderson” columns contain advice on topics ranging from entertaining guests on a Sunday night to cleaning a light-bulb. Here are a few of Mrs. Anderson’s Household Hints.

  • Mrs. Anderson Entertains on Sunday Night

Check out our previous #MediaMonday posts here!

All materials pictured this post can be found in MS-0381 Box 1.

Manuscripts Miscellany: Alcott Astronomy I notebook

This  Manuscripts Miscellany post highlights a recent acquisition. Special Collections and University Archives has been collecting in the area of Women in Science and Engineering for nearly two decades. Recently, I have been growing this area of the collections by acquiring relevant historical manuscripts. So far, these have been notebooks from women learning or teaching in the sciences, and together, they shed light on women’s education in STEM fields in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The manuscript I am highlighting today is a handwritten notebook showing the work of Margaret T. Alcott for an Astronomy I class in 1914-1915 (collection # MS-0721).

Image shows cover of brown paper composition book with a pasted label with the handwritten words "Margaret T. Alcott Astronomy I."
Cover of Margaret T. Alcott Astronomy I notebook, a brown paperboard bound composition notebook.

The level of work suggests late high school or college-level work. Her work ranges from recording the variable brightness of stars over a number of months, to the description and use of scientific instruments, to observations and calculations of the movements of celestial bodies. Date stamps and occasional pen markings indicate that her work was read over by an instructor.

I find this a fascinating look into women’s education in the sciences slightly more than one hundred ago.

Let’s take a peek into some of the pages of this notebook…

It begins with a four-page table of contents. Here is the first page:

Handwritten table of contents. Includes overall category of "the stars." Constellations are identified, including circumpolar, such as Ursa Major, Ursa minor, Cassiopeia, and others, and zodiacal, including Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, and others.
Alcott wrote a four-page Table of Contents for her notebook.

In an entry dated Saturday, September 26th, [19]14, 7:30-9:15pm, she provides a drawing and description of observations of Jupiter, apparently through a telescope:

Handwritten entry for Jupiter includes a simple pencil drawing of a circle with four shaded horizontal bars and a narrative description describing "four belts" observed on the planet.
Alcott’s description of Jupiter.

An entry for Monday, October 19, 1914 is on Altazimuth circles, including a description of the scientific instrument and how to take a measurement:

Page of notebook shows a hand-drawn scientific instrument referred to as an altazimuth and description of how to use it in measuring altazimuth circles.
Alcott’s description of altazimuth circles.

Dated Monday, October 19, 1914 are two pages of measurements of the moon’s path across the sky for the month of October, followed by positions of the sun for January 1 through May 15:

Two handwritten pages showing the moon's coordinates in the sky for each day, measured in right ascension and declination.
Alcott gives sky coordinates for the moon’s path each day in October.

For Thursday, October 28, [19]14, Alcott includes drawings of four constellations: Hercules, Sagittarius, Capricornus, and Lyra. Notice the stamped date “Oct 26 1914” in the lower right corner of the right page–a mark from an instructor.

Constellation drawings use dots labeled with various symbols. Three include dashed lines to draw out the visual constellation. Short handwritten descriptions accompany the drawings.
Alcott’s drawings of constellations.

For Thursday, January 13, 1915, Alcott’s notebook takes on another level of complexity. Accompanying a written description of the moon’s path across the sky is a folded diagram, which has been pasted into the pages of her notebook:

On left page of notebook is a written description of the moon's path on the sky. On the right page is folded large piece of paper that has been pasted to the page.
Folded diagram.

Here is the diagram, partially unfolded:

Image shows the diagrma partially unfolded, revealing grid paper on which are drawn x- and y- axes and two curves stretching down the left side and the page and gradually curving upward on the right side.
Partially unfolded diagram.

A later entry dated Friday, Jan. 15, 1915 appears to answer a set of questions about the solar spectrum:

Two notebook pages of handwritten notes responding to a series of questions related to the solar spectrum. One answer includes a diagram from a spectroscope with vertical bars on a horizontal range, labeled red, yellow, green, and blue.
Questions on the solar spectrum.

Related manuscript collections include: Mary Ann Wilder mathematics notebook, 1823-1824 (MS-0743) and Hannah Haines teacher’s notebooks, 1836-1837 (MS-0731), the latter of which is yet to be processed.

COVID-19 Stories: Hansen’s Dairy, Hudson, Iowa: Feeding Our Community during the 2020 Pandemic

This post is part of the COVID-19 Stories: Agriculture, Food, and Rural Stories project. This submission is from Jordan Hansen of Hansen’s Dairy.

We’d love to hear from you! Please visit the COVID-19 Stories webpage for more information about our projects and to participate.

Woman standing next to an open trailer with seats for people to sit in that is attached to a tractor. In the background is a farm with two silos and other farm buildings.
Jordan Hansen. Image provided by Jordan Hansen.

My name is Jordan Hansen, and I’m telling the story of how Hansen’s Dairy, a small dairy farm in Hudson, Iowa, adapted to business changes during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.

My family’s farm is designated a Heritage Farm, and the land has been in our family since 1864. Dairy cows have been milked here since the 1950s. In the early 2000s, Jay and Jeanne Hansen and their four sons decided to add value to the operation by beginning their own on-farm creamery. The first gallon of milk was produced and sold to the public in 2004. Our product line now includes milk, butter, heavy cream, cheese curds, ice cream, egg nog, and beef. We opened two retail stores, Hansen’s Dairy Waterloo (2006) and Hansen’s Dairy Cedar Falls (2007), where we sell our own products plus a variety of food and goods from other local farmers and entrepreneurs. We also offer farm tours, where we teach visitors how milk gets from the cow to their table. In 2019, we welcomed 9,100 visitors, a record high.

Farm with silos and farm buildings surrounded by empty fields form the background and middle-ground. In the foreground is a sign reading "Hansen's Dairy Tour Center" and a tractor pulling a trailer loaded with people in seats.
Hansen Dairy Tour. Image provided by Jordan Hansen.

In 2020, that will look very different.

Mid-March was very unsettling as COVID-19 became the main news story. The World Health Organization declared the virus a pandemic on Wednesday, March 11; I knew things were serious when the NBA and NCAA suspended their basketball seasons on March 12. States began to lock down and shelter in place. That weekend, people all over the country began hoarding groceries.

Gallon-sized milk cartons being filled and capped by factory machinery. Cartons have label indicating Hansen's Dairy skim milk.
Hansen Skim Milk. Image provided by Jordan Hansen.

While Hansen’s Dairy milk is available at Fareway and Hy-Vee grocery stores in the Cedar Valley, people were quickly finding that panic buying left dairy shelves empty in those stores. That led to customers either rediscovering or visiting our stores for the first time, looking for milk. We enjoyed a surge in demand for our milk as people stocked up on essentials. Being that our business is vertically integrated — and the cows don’t stop producing — we were able to keep processing milk and distributing it without issue. Things were chugging along.

A week later, things had ground to a halt. By March 17, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds had ordered bars and restaurants to close. Being that we supply dairy products to restaurants and coffee shops, that part of our business began to see reduced demand. Eateries had to decide if they would continue to stay open with carry-out and delivery only, or temporarily shut down. Schools in Iowa also closed.

As unemployment soared, so did the need for food assistance. Unfortunately, this was also about the time that word spread across the country that some dairy farmers had to dump their milk and fruit/vegetable growers had to plow under perfectly good produce because there was no way to get it to consumers. There were two primary reasons for this break in the distribution chain:

  • Production employees couldn’t — or wouldn’t — work due to a virus outbreak or fear of outbreak.
  • Processing plants who typically supply restaurants and schools suddenly had no buyers for their end product and couldn’t easily change their production capabilities to retail sales.

Most of the time people don’t think about the path food travels to get to their table. The ability to get food from the farmer to the American consumer has become so consolidated, streamlined and efficient that it’s usually taken for granted. But when there’s a crack in that process, things also go downhill quickly. Suddenly, Americans were seeing how interconnected the food system is, and how a broken link in the chain has a rippling effect. Plants that typically supply schools or the food service industry package foods differently than they would for retail sale. These specialized production lines are tweaked and calibrated for maximum efficiency. They can’t just flip a switch and change their packaging and distribution to go to retail buyers instead of commercial buyers. Who wants 5 pound bags of mozzarella cheese, 8 oz cardboard cartons of milk, or individual pats of butter in their homes?

Here at Hansen’s Dairy, we feel fortunate that we process our own dairy products and have an established history and loyalty with our customers. Our plant is diversified enough that while our restaurant demand diminished a bit, we were able to put more products on the retail shelves and accommodate a different demand. Sometimes a small producer has an advantage over large-scale facilities — the ability to adapt quickly.

Another way we quickly improved our services was to offer online purchasing through our stores. Since we sell groceries, we were able to stay open as essential businesses. But as people became hesitant to venture out of their homes, we wanted to provide online grocery delivery and curbside pickup options. We were able to get our 200-plus items online and offer these services at both stores by March 30.

Meanwhile, our tour season would have opened April 1, but people were not permitted to gather in groups, so we delayed the opening until June 1.

A person wearing a face mask stands in the back of a delivery truck and hands a gallon carton of milk and another product to another person standing on the ground who is also wearing a face mask. The truck appears to be in a parking lot within a town.
Truck sale. Image provided by Jordan Hansen.

As quarantine measures ramped up and people were being told to “just stay home,” we had another idea. Instead of customers coming to us, why not go to them? We decided to take our delivery truck to small towns in the area and sell groceries off the truck. We sold all of our dairy products and beef, plus eggs, ground chicken, potatoes, onions and yogurt from other local producers. We parked in a large parking lot in each town and used a drive-through format, allowing customers to stay in their cars and pay via credit card for a contactless experience. We wore masks and gloves, as did many of the customers who pulled up. The benefits of these events went both ways: The sales would provide additional income to make up for the tours we weren’t allowed to host, and customers would have a convenient, safe way to get some of those perishable essentials between larger grocery trips. The small towns and neighborhoods we visited — Grundy Center, New Hartford, Wellsburg, Jesup, Dike, Buckingham and Sunnyside Country Club in Waterloo — were very appreciative, and the community exposure rejuvenated interest in our brand.

I believe this pandemic was an eye opener to consumers, and hopefully people are now better able to connect the dots between the farmer and their table. ​When COVID-19 becomes a distant memory, I hope people will remember how we small producers rose to the occasion. When the large meatpacking plants shut down and meat became more scarce, people went to small hog and cattle farmers to inquire about buying directly from them. The pandemic illustrated that while the U.S. has one of the most efficient food systems in the world, problems can arise faster and hit harder when large, consolidated plants fail. They certainly have their place in feeding the world, but I hope people remember that during the pandemic, we small producers were out there feeding our neighbors.

Family portrait of 3 generations wearing color coordinated Hansen’s Dairy t-shirts showing nuclear families. In the center at the back are a man and woman (grandparents) with their adult children and spouses on either side. Seated in front are 16 children.
Hansen family 2018. Image provided by Jordan Hansen.

Manuscripts Miscellany: Illuminated Book of Hours Leaf

Illuminated manuscripts. What could be more exciting than a sheet of parchment with Latin text in a Gothic script and intricate illustrations?

Medieval manuscripts are not a major collecting area at ISU Special Collections and University Archives. However, we do collect a few leaves to aid our teaching of the history of the book. Featured here is a leaf from a medieval book of hours from Northern Italy, probably Ferrera, created around 1470.

Books of Hours are the most common type of Western medieval manuscript book surviving today. They are a Christian devotional book, containing the prayers and passages of scripture to use during the canonical hours, or the specific times throughout the day marked for prayer in the monastic practice of Christianity. Books of hours enabled lay people to imitate the monastic life. These books were commissioned by wealthy families for personal use, especially among women, and each one is unique, containing varying verses from the Psalms, along with hymns and prayers, and decorated to greater or lesser degrees of ornateness, depending on the wealth of the commissioner.

Page of Gothic script in 13 lines. Left margin and top of page decorated with a floral design in red, green, and blue inks with gold leaf. Capital letter D is contains a floral motif in three colors on a gold ground. Capital letter A in blue and red ink.
Recto (or front side) of the leaf from a Book of Hours in ISU’s collections.

On the page shown here, there is an illuminated three-line initial “D” that begins the Hours of the Virgin, Hour of Sext. These prayers would have been said at noon. The D begins the word, “Deus” (God). Below the D is a 2-line initial “A” in blue and red ink. This begins Psalm 122 in the Vulgate (Psalm 123 in the King James Version), “Ad te levavi oculos meos…” (I lift my eyes…).

Page of Gothic script in 13 lines. Four illuminated initials. Two are in burnished gold leaf with intricate violet penwork and two are deep blue with red penwork. These alternate down the page.
Verso (or back side) of the leaf from a Book of Hours in ISU’s collections.

On the other side of the page, a 2-line illuminated “N” burnished gold begins Psalm 123 (Psalm 124 KJV) with “Nisi quia diis erat in nobis dicat nunc Israel…” (If it had not been that the Lord was with us…).

The images here have nothing to show scale. The leaf is quite small—96 x 70 mm, or just under 4 inches x roughly 2.5 inches. These were small enough to carry in a pocket and fit comfortably in a hand.

You may be wondering, if this leaf came from a book of hours, where is the rest of the book? It is not common practice today, but in earlier decades, some booksellers took apart manuscript books and sold individual leaves to purchasers who might not be able to afford entire books. This practice also enabled the book seller to make a much larger profit in the end by selling the leaves piecemeal. This profit, however, comes at a great cost to scholarship when the entire book is dispersed, and the context of the entire work is lost. Some booksellers that broke up manuscript books in this way argued that it enabled a wider range of purchasers to have access to these magnificent cultural objects who otherwise would not be able to afford an entire manuscript book. While acknowledging that owning and purchasing such objects is ethically problematic, I still make use of these objects in our collections for the purpose of instruction and am happy to be able to share it with a broader audience here.

This Book of Hours leaf comes from MS-0030, Manuscript Leaves and Ephemera Collection, box 1, folder 4.

#MediaMonday – Borden’s Condensed Milk Book of Recipes

Welcome back to another #MediaMonday! This week we will be taking yet another look at my favorite collection, MS-0381: Food and Household Product Advertising Guides and Publications collection.

The subject of today’s post is a Borden’s Eagle Brand Book of Recipes, published by Borden’s Condensed Milk Company. This specific booklet is undated but the company was established in 1857, as noted on the pages shown below.

  • Borden's Eagle Brand Book of Recipes. Borden's Condensed Milk Company est 1857. "Leader of Quality" New York.
  • Borden's Eagle Brand Book of Recipes. Borden's Condensed Milk Company. Established 1857. "Leader of Quality" New York.

My last few posts from this collection have been about recipes and cooking guides because the idea of companies releasing these guidebooks with all the uses for their product, products that are so common now, is fascinating to me. Unsurprisingly, all of the following recipes require Borden’s condensed milk.

  • Fruit Salad Recipe. 1 cup green apples. 3 oranges. 1 cup pineapple. 1/2 cup nut meats. 1 bannana. 8 leaves lettuce. 3/4 cup salad dressing. Cut fruit in small slice, mix with salad dressing, and arrange on lettuce leaves. Number served, 8 persons. (For salad dressing see page 22).
  • Bread and Muffins. Rye and oatmeal bread. Rye Muffins.
  • Recipes for "Graham Muffins", "Cornmeal Muffins", "Cornmeal Parker House Rolls", and "Fruit Rolls" on page 5.

Would you try any of these recipes? If so, which one(s)? Let us know in the comments. Or, if you end up trying one out, take a picture and tag us on Facebook!

All materials in pictured this post can be found in MS-0381 Box 1.

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