Coffee & color!

Color this page while you have your morning cup of coffee! What better way to start your day in a nice relaxing way!

This is another image reproduced from the Warren H. Manning Papers. You can browse other digitized images from that collection here:


Map showing infestation of gypsy moth ca. 1891.

Click here to download the page. Don’t forget to tag your work! #ColorOurCollections #ISU_Archives


From February 1-5, Iowa State University Special Collections and University Archives is sharing reproductions of images from our collections and inviting followers to share their colored copies.

Title page for the 1895 Bomb, the yearbook for the Iowa State College (University).

Title page for the 1895 Bomb, the yearbook for the Iowa State College (University).

This week-long foray into the coloring craze was initiated by The New York Academy of Medicine Library. Over 50+ other repositories are participating in this week-long special collections coloring fest on social media, using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections. We thought this would be a fun, interactive way to promote our collections and engage followers. So, download and print out our coloring pages, then share and tag your work  #ColorOurCollections #ISU_Archives

Cypix: Wintertime fun

Here is another glass plate negative from the Descartes Pascal Papers demonstrating some wintertime fun.


Boys on horse-drawn sleds in winter. Lee Pascal and Jasper Babcock are on the front sled. Percy Pascal and Jim Townsen are on the rear sled. The horse’s name is Daisy. The photo is taken in front of the corn crib on the Pascal farm. MS 091 Box 9, folder 5.

Descartes Pascal (1870-1937) was a photographer, farmer, and pioneer seed corn breeder.  Pascal was born in De Witt, Clinton County, Iowa, where he raised corn, Shorthorn cattle, and Berkshire hogs. Pascal was also a practicing photographer.

You can find more information on the Descartes Pascal Papers in this finding aid that describes the collection and view more of his collection in our ISU Library Digital Collections, the online exhibit, and on our Flickr site.

You can also view the collection in person! We’re here from 10-4 Monday – Friday.

CyPix: World Soil Day


The video above documents the types of activities found in soils and farm crop courses at Iowa State University. Check out another of our YouTube videos on soils: “Grass Roots in the Soil” Part One and Part Two.

2015 is the International Year of Soils and World Soil Day will be celebrated on December 5th. The goal is to raise awareness about the “importance of soil as a critical component of the natural system and as a vital contributor to human wellbeing.” (International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS), 2002) In 2013, the UN General Assembly declared the 5th of December World Soil Day (A/RES/67/206). This year’s theme is “Soils a solid ground for life.”

Image of soil layering from a site in North Dakota

Arthur A. Klingebiel Papers (RS 21/7/80, box 9, folder 5)

Special Collections and University Archives holds the papers of several soil scientists and soil conservation societies. Here are some examples:

Albert A. Klingebiel Papers (RS 21/7/80)

Hugh Hammond Bennet Papers (MS 164)(pdf link)

Soil Science Society of America Records (MS 567)

Iowa Soils Conservation Districts Records (MS 264)

Wallis R. Tonsfeldt Papers (MS 558)

Find more collections by searching our holdings at the search box on our home page.

Learn more about World Soil Day at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations campaign site.

"Where Food Begins" - World Soil Day, 5 December


The World Wars at Home: Guides and Recipe Books

As mentioned in Tuesday’s post, November 11th was Veterans Day, a day in which we honor all those who have served our country. During WWI and WWII, guides and recipe books were published for the housewives left at home, which provided tips on feeding children, meal planning, home improvement and management, and practical recipes for wartime. Here at the ISU Special Collections and University Archives, we have a collection of these guides and recipe books in the Wartime Guides and Recipe Books Collection, MS 380.

Preface to Best War Time Recipes, by Royal Baking Powder Co., 1918. MS 380, Box 1, Folder 1.

Preface to Best War Time Recipes by Royal Baking Powder Co., 1918 (click to enlarge). MS 380, Box 1, Folder 1.

During the World Wars, food shortages were common. These would make certain foods such as butter and sugar much more expensive and impractical for heavy use in most households. These recipe books focused on maintaining a healthy diet – or at least, making delicious food – while using alternatives to scarce ingredients.

A dessert recipe booklet, (year).

A WWII-era dessert recipe booklet, undated. MS 380, Box 1, Folder 10.

Here is a WWI recipe for something called War Cake from the Liberty Cook Book (Box 1, Folder 1):

2 c. brown sugar; 2 c. hot water; 2 T. lard, 1 package or less of seeded raisins, 1 t. ground cinnamon, 1 t. ground cloves, 1 t. soda, 3 c. flour, 1 t. salt

Boil all ingredients but the flour, raisins and soda together for 5 minutes. Cool. When cold add soda sifted in 1/2 the flour. Bake in a loaf 45 minutes, in a slow oven, or in a sheet 30 minutes.

From WWII, here is a recipe for Corn Bisque from Wartime Recipes from Canned Foods (Box 1, Folder 7), which was created to help homemakers stretch canned foods farther:

1/2 no. 2 cream style corn; 3 c. milk; 1 small onion, sliced; 1 T. butter or margarine; 1 T. flour; 1/4 t. salt; dash of pepper

Cook corn and 2 cups of the milk in top of double boiler for 20 minutes. Add onion; continue cooking 10 minutes longer. Mash through coarse sieve if desired. Melt butter in saucepan; add flour and seasonings; blend. Add remaining 1 cup milk; cook until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Add milk-corn mixture; return to double boiler; heat thoroughly. Garnish each serving with sprig of parsley and a sprinkle of paprika. 4 servings.


A proposed cleaning schedule for housewives, (year). MS 380, Box 1, Folder (?).

A proposed weekly cleaning schedule for homemakers, 1944. MS 380, Box 1, Folder 6.

Housekeeping also was (and is) a large part of being a homemaker. The 1944 booklet above, House Cleaning and Home Management Manual by The Hoover Company, offers many suggestions on housekeeping, including possible schedules to follow and equipment to have on hand. Without actually reading the cleaning schedule above, you can see how extensive cleaning duties could be. Examples in the booklet of things to be done daily include preparing and serving meals, washing dishes, packing lunches, planning menus, going to the market and running errands, light cleaning and dusting, caring for children and other family members, and apparently care of fires. Weekly housekeeping work includes washing, ironing, cleaning every room, washing windows, mending and sewing, special baking and cooking, and cleaning the cleaning equipment.

From (title) by (someone), (year). MS 380, Box 1, Folder (?)

From Real Ideas of Real Housewives on Wartime Living, undated. MS 380, Box 1, Folder 3.

Of course, helping the boys from home was also a priority. The above image highlights suggestions on how to help soldiers overseas, provided by actual housewives for other housewives. Some advice includes tips on mailing packages, buying stamps, and sending cakes. This booklet also includes ways to save time around the house, keep clothes looking new, and tips on going to the market.

For more WWI and WWII collections, see our manuscripts subject guides. Looking for more wartime recipes? Recipes from these eras can also be found in the Iowa Cookbook Collection, some of which can be viewed online.

Thank you to all our veterans and their families who have sacrificed so much for the rest of us!

A spooky visit to Special Collections

Halloween is almost upon us, so I thought I would highlight a few spooky things that can be found at Iowa State Special Collections and University Archives.

Sometimes it is surprising what types of ephemera show up in archival collections. (“Ephemera” is the word archivists use to describe things that are made for a limited period of use, like flyers, advertisements, and brochures. You might save some ephemera items, yourself, like the movie ticket stub from your first date with your significant other.) Some Halloween ephemera shows up in the Rath Packing Company Records, MS 562, the records of a meat packing company that operated in Waterloo, Iowa, from 1891 to 1985. Apparently around 1971, the company used the holiday to promote its meat. Our collection includes a promotion sheet with instructions for how to display the free trick or treat bags they sent along with every case of hot dogs.

Treat or treat bags and flyer, circa 1971. Promotional material from the Rath Packing Company Records, MS 562, Series 8, box 29, folder 116.

Treat or treat bags and flyer, circa 1971. Promotional material from the Rath Packing Company Records, MS 562, Series 8, box 29, folder 116.

Are you throwing a party for Halloween? No party is complete without festive food, right? Well, never fear because the ISU Tea Room Records (RS 12/9/4) have you covered! The Tea Room is a non-profit, learning laboratory that has been serving meals to faculty, staff and students at Iowa State since the late 1800s. It is supported by the Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management Program and is operated entirely by students in the Quantity Food Production Management class. The collection includes recipe cards that students used to prepare food to serve to Tea Room customers. One of these recipes is an “Owl Salad for Halloween,” which makes use of another recipe for fruit salad dressing. Here are the recipes below, if you wish to recreate these owl-shaped delights:

Recipe cards from the Tea Room Records, RS 12/9/4, box 4.

Recipe cards from the Tea Room Records, RS 12/9/4, box 4. [click for larger image]

Librarians, contrary to popular belief, like to party like its 1999…especially when it is 1999. The Library Staff Association Records (RS 25/7) document a Halloween-themed office decorating contest from–you guessed it–1999! Here’s one of the winners, showing a “librarian” assaulted by a pile of books! (Don’t worry, no librarians were harmed in the taking of this photograph.)

Winner of the Funniest category for the office decorating contest, 1999. Library Staff Association Records, RS 25/7, box 4, folder 2.

Winner of the “Funniest” category for the office decorating contest, 1999. Library Staff Association Records, RS 25/7, box 4, folder 2.

Librarians also sometimes dress up in clever, frequently book-themed costumes. Check out the Librarians in Costume tumblr (not affiliated with ISU) to see some of the other high jinks librarians get up to.

Still trying to decide what to dress up as, yourself? If you’d like some historical costume ideas, the Department of Textiles and Clothing History of Costume Collection (RS 12/10/5) has fashion plates representing many periods and cultures, including early Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cultures, as well as European and American fashions through many centuries. They are fun and fascinating to browse through! Get some ideas for next year!

Iowa State campus is not without its tales of haunted places. See the Hauntings folder in the Traditions, Songs, and Cheers Collection (RS 0/16/1) for stories of student and staff encounters with unexplained phenomena in ISU buildings. Allegedly haunted buildings on campus include the Farm House Museum, Fisher Theater, Linden Hall, and Freeman Hall, among others. If you are interested in exploring haunted places beyond campus, Special Collections has several books on ghosts in Iowa.

Of course, Special Collections has plenty of spooky reading material to offer for those who like a fright, such as this pocket-sized edition of Rudyard Kipling’s The Phantom Rickshaw, and My Own True Ghost Story (PR4854 P45 1920).

Title page of The Phantom Rickshaw, PR4854 P45 1920.

Title page of The Phantom Rickshaw, PR4854 P45 1920.

We also have several ghost and horror comic book series, including Halloween Comix from the Underground Comix Collection (MS 636) that Whitney shared last month. We also have classic titles from the 1950s and 60s such as Shock Suspenstories, Nightmare, Vampirella, Creepy, and Vault of Horror.

Creep on down to Special Collections and University Archives for a taste of Halloween spookery! Have a safe and fun holiday.

Not Your Ordinary Comic Books: Underground Comix

Today is National Comic Book Day! It may surprise you to learn that we have an extensive collection of comic books here in Special Collections and University Archives. No, we don’t have DC or Marvel, no Batman or Spiderman, but what we do have is pretty amazing. We have a large collection of underground comix (or comics), which are a bit more, shall we say, unconventional. Fair warning: many of them are not for the faint of heart or the easily offended and are meant for a mature audience. These are found in the Underground Comix Collection, MS 636. Just a few examples of the comics we have that may sound familiar: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Jonny Quest, and Space Ghost.

Space Ghost, Jonny Quest, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. MS 636

Space Ghost, Jonny Quest, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, MS 636.

If you’re not a comics fan but any of these titles seem familiar, that’s because they were made into TV shows. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles became a craze of the late 80s/early 90s and are popular with kids again today. The comics however, are not as kid-friendly – they are darker and more graphically violent – so keep that in mind in case you want to bring a young fan to see them. Jonny Quest was a cartoon in the 1960s and played on Cartoon Network for a time, and Space Ghost also had a series in the 1960s, along with a parody talk show Space Ghost Coast to Coast on Cartoon Network from 1994-2004.

A peek into one of the boxes in the collection. MS 636

A peek into one of the boxes in the collection, MS 636.

In addition to the aforementioned comics (and so many more), we also have a piece of underground comix artwork by Reed Waller, creator of Omaha the Cat Dancer, a series of comics that are available in our collection. The artwork is from that series, and it is explicit, so keep that in mind if you plan to view it. This is found in the Reed Waller Underground Comix Artwork Collection, MS 400. Another collection we have regarding underground comix is the Clay Geerdes Photograph Collection, MS 630. The collection consists of photos that Geerdes took of underground comix artists in the 1970s.

Zap by R. Crumb, the inspiration for many other underground comix creators, MS 636.

Zap by Robert Crumb, the inspiration for many other underground comix creators, MS 636.

So, what exactly are underground comix, and how did they come into being? Their origin can be traced back to the 1950s with E.C. Comics – some examples of these are Tales from the Crypt, Tales of Terror, and Weird Science, which can also be found in our collections (see the appendix in the Underground Comix Collection finding aid). They really came into their own in the 1960s and 70s, however, and featured adult themes discussing controversial topics (e.g. abortion, feminism, marijuana legalization) and often mocked conventional society. The comic books were often sold in head shops (shops using book sales as a cover for their actual business of selling drug paraphernalia). Robert Crumb’s Zap is often considered the first real underground comix and inspired many other artists in the genre. The overall culture of underground comix shifted in the late 1980s to include more conventional content by authors who wanted to avoid the restrictions of comic book superpowers like Marvel and DC and create comics with new perspectives.

An assortment of smaller, pamphlet-like comics. MS 636

Not all of the comics are in traditional comic book format. Here’s an assortment of smaller comic booklets that are prevalent in the collection, MS 636.

If underground comix sound like your cup of tea, stop by sometime! There are 63 boxes in this collection, so if you have an idea of what comics you’d like to see, that would be incredibly helpful. You may also be interested in our science fiction collection, which I have written about previously. Come in to our lovely reading room and have a read!

Illustrating Apples: Prestele’s Lithographs

Pewaukee – Drawn from Nature and colored expressly for the Iowa State Agricultural College, by Wm. H. Prestele, Washington, D.C. Collected by J. L. Budd, Prof. of Hortl. I.S.A.C.” (ca. 1890)(MS 70, box 1, folder 37)

In the late 1800s, Professor Joseph L. Budd commissioned renowned botanical artist Wilhelm H. Prestele to illustrate from nature several apple varieties. Special Collections and University Archives holds 8 of these in its collection of 58 of Prestele’s lithographs (MS 70). These beautiful and finely detailed works were created during Prestele’s tenure as the first artist in the Pomological Division of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Red June – Drawn and colored from Nature expressly for the Iowa State Agricultural College, by Wm. H. Prestele, Washington, D.C. Collected by J. L. Budd, Prof. of Hortl. I.S.A.C. ” (ca. 1890)(MS 70, box 1, folder 40)

Should you wish to try your hand at botanical illustration, we also have a copy of Répertoire de couleurs pour aider à la détermination des couleurs des fleurs, des feuillages et des fruits which offers guidance on the colors found in flowers, foliage, and fruit such as apples.

Here are the “honey yellow” tones found in some pears and apples:

“Jaune Miel.” “Cette couleur s’observe frequemment sur l’epiderme des Poires et des Pommes mures. (QK669 .So13r)

Other materials on apples and pomology include:

Joseph L. Budd Papers (RS 9/16/13)

Charles Downing Pomological Variety Notes (MS 220)

CyPix: Concrete Canoes

Scene from the Third Annual Midwest Concrete Canoe Race (1973) (MS 275, box 3, folder 3)

Scene from the Third Annual Midwest Concrete Canoe Race (1973) (Mary Krumboltz Hurd Papers, MS 275, box 3, folder 3)

In 1971 The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University competed in the first intercollegiate concrete canoe race. “Clyde Kesler of the University of Illinois gets credit for starting the whole thing, by having his civil engineering students build a ferro cement canoe in 1970. Purdue students learned about it, built their own canoe, and challenged Illinois to a race. That’s how it all got started … but spontaneous enthusiasm has caused the idea to mushroom all across the country.” (1973 race report, MS 275, box 3, folder 3). These events continue today as the National Concrete Canoe Championship hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

The concrete canoe race is a way for engineering students to work with concrete, practice fluid analysis, use design software, and work in a team. Iowa State University was not present at the 1973 competition pictured here, but the ASCE Iowa State Student Chapter does have an active concrete canoe team.

If you’d like to learn more about the history of concrete canoe racing, stop by the Special Collections and University Archives Department to examine the other materials in the Mary Krumboltz Hurd Papers (MS 275). Hurd was an Iowa State University alumna (BS Engineering 1947), consultant, writer, and staff engineer for the American Concrete Institute. This collection, part of our Archives of Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), documents Hurd’s involvement in setting up the races and has many other photographs of concrete canoe racing in the early 1970s.