Student Life at Iowa State and After: Alumni Papers at the University Archives

Commencement 1936

Commencement 1936

With Commencement taking place a few weeks ago, and orientation beginning this week, Iowa State has been experiencing both the beginning and ending stages of a student’s life here on campus.  As an archivist, we might wonder how many of these Iowa Staters are carefully saving records documenting their experiences here at Iowa State?  How many of those pictured above in the 1936 Commencement carefully saved those dance cards, VEISHEA programs, photographs of fellow students, and other memorabilia from their life here at Iowa State?

The University Archives receives the papers of former Iowa State students on an annual basis, and each documents their experiences here at Iowa State, and sometimes their life after, in different ways.  Below are brief summaries of just a few alumni collections which we have either received recently, or which we have recently put the finding aids for their collections online. The collections cover a variety of topics including student life at Iowa State, 4-H, the temperance movement, and service during World War I.

Austin Robert (Bob) Koch (1915-2008) was born near Ida Grove, Iowa. A. Robert Koch received his B.S. (1940) in agronomy from Iowa State College (University). He later worked for the United States Department of Agriculture for 33 years in various supervisory positions within the Farm Security Administration, later known as the Farmers Home Administration. This collection contains biographical information, college coursework, photographs, and class reunion materials for the Iowa State class of 1940. Koch’s college coursework includes reports, notes, and exams in botany, geology, crop breeding, animal husbandry, soil science, and bacteriology.  The finding aid for his papers can be found online:  http://www.lib.iastate.edu/arch/rgrp/21-7-214.html

Koch

A Golden Diploma given to Austin Robert Koch in 1990 by the ISU Alumni Association “in recognition of many years as a loyal alumnus of Iowa State University”.

Susan Carberry Drtina was born in 1957 and raised in Newhall, Iowa. She joined 4-H as a member of the Eldorado-Ettes and, later, the Eldorado Early Birds in Benton County. This collection includes Drtina’s 4-H record book and other memorabilia documenting her time as a member of the Eldorado Early Birds 4-H Club. The finding aid for her papers can be found online:  http://www.lib.iastate.edu/arch/rgrp/21-7-243.html

21-7-243

Drtina’s Benton County 4-H Home Economics blue ribbon (first place) (RS 21/7/243).

Della Neal was born on November 22, 1862 in Hamilton, Pennsylvania. She earned her B.S. (1882) from Iowa Agricultural College (Iowa State University). Neal eventually completed training in nursing and became active in the state and national temperance movement. This collection includes some of Neal’s writings, including college course work and writings on the temperance movement.  The finding aid for her papers can be found online:  http://www.lib.iastate.edu/arch/rgrp/21-7-28.html

21-7-28 neal

A letter noting the influence of young girls on young men.

R. E. McCurdy was born in Cass County, Iowa on Octber 15, 1887. He received his undergraduate education from Iowa State College (University), graduating with a B.S. (1916) in civil engineering. These reminiscences were written by McCurdy and describe events as they unfolded in his life, including his service in World War I. McCurdy also writes about his many engineering jobs that took him around the world.  The finding aid for his papers can be found online:  http://www.lib.iastate.edu/arch/rgrp/21-7-27.html

21-7-27

The first page of McCurdy’s reminiscences in which he describes his first memory, the morning of his third birthday.

Virgil D. Kirby of Sioux City, Iowa, was born in 1895. He received his B.S. (1917) in mechanical engineering from Iowa State College (University). As a student, he was a member of the Colonials (Theta Delta Chi), the Delphian Literary Society, and the Mechanical Engineering Society. This college scrapbook (1913-1917) was compiled by Kirby while at Iowa State. The scrapbook contains 222 black and white photographs, campus postcards, dance cards, and other college memorabilia. There are a significant number of images of classmates, fraternity brothers, and the interior and exterior of the Colonials’ fraternity house at 217 Ash Avenue. Other materials include picture postcards of campus buildings and scenery, football team photographs, homecoming souvenirs, literary society programs, picture postcards of St. Patrick’s Day parades, and several photographs of the band on the field at the University of Nebraska football stadium.  The finding aid for her collection can be found online: http://www.lib.iastate.edu/arch/rgrp/21-7-248.html

21-7-248

Two 1926 postcards from Ames and London. Catt Hall (in 1926 known as Botany Hall) can be seen in the top postcard.

Mary E. (Graf) Speer was born and educated in Elkader, Iowa. She received her B.S. (1946) in food and nutrition from Iowa State College (University) and became a consulting dietitian with small hospitals and nursing facilities throughout Central Iowa. This collection consists of loose scrapbook pages of memorabilia compiled by Speer during her college years at Iowa State. These materials include newspaper clippings, dance cards, athletic programs, concert programs, VEISHEA programs, Frisbie Fellowship Club materials, travel brochures, and her membership certificate for joining Sigma Eta Chi. The newspaper clippings cover various topics including student life, women’s fashion trends, the integration of blacks into Big 6 athletic competitions, and World War II. The finding aid for her collection can be found online: http://www.lib.iastate.edu/arch/rgrp/21-7-250.html

21-7-249

Mary E. Speer’s 1946 senior prom dance card (RS 21/7/250)

Interested in seeing more of the alumni papers above, or perhaps other papers of Iowa State alumni we might hold?  Please feel free to visit our department on the fourth floor of Parks Library (M-F, 10-4).  Additional alumni papers held by the University Archives can be found listed here:  http://www.lib.iastate.edu/spcl/arch/inventories/21alumni.html


New Collection Documenting the Black Family and Henry M. Black, Veteran and Engineering Professor at Iowa State

The Special Collections Department is lucky to have some wonderful students working here, and they do a lot of work processing our collections. Rachel Kleinschmidt, a graduate student in History, recently processed the Henry Montgomery and Bernice Bernard Black Family Papers (RS 21/8/12) and has written the blog posting below.  Since the 68th anniversary of D-Day is coming up in a few weeks on June 6, and Memorial Day is today, we thought this would be a good time to highlight this collection.

On Memorial Day, we think about the sacrifices that men and women have made by serving in the military. The Special Collections Department is home to the collections of many important ISU alumni and veterans, including Henry M. Black.

Henry M. Black (above), member of VII Corps Headquarters, 9th U.S. Army, receives oak leaf cluster to his bronze star medal from Lt. Gen. J. Lawton Collins, commanding general, VII Corps, at a ceremony in Leipzig, Germany (photograph from Box 16, Folder 4).

Henry Montgomery Black was an Iowa native, born in Reinbeck, Iowa in 1907. He attended Iowa State University (then Iowa State College) from 1925-1929, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. He then furthered his education with a Master’s degree from Harvard University in 1934.

Following his time in college, Henry Black served in the United States Army. His experience as an engineer was put to use by the Army Corps of Engineers, and Henry served as the chief engineer of the Utah Beach landing during the Normandy invasion in 1944. His service was rewarded with a Bronze Star, a Legion of Merit, and a Croix de Guerre (pictured below).

Henry Black’s Bronze Star, Legion of Merit, and Croix de Guerre (Artifact number 2010-214.001-003)

Henry would eventually retire from the army at the rank of Colonel. In the meantime, he returned to his alma mater (Iowa State) to serve as the Head of the Mechanical Engineering Department from 1946-1972. Because of his impact on the Iowa State Engineering Department and campus (he was instrumental in helping build the university’s mechanical engineering program into one of national prominence), a building was named in his honor. Black Engineering Building was named in 1987.

Henry Black in front of Black Engineering Building (photograph from Box 18, Folder 1)

Henry Black was not the only member of his extended family to have a distinguished military career. His father-in-law, Ransom Drips Bernard, served in World War I in the Army medical corps, eventually attaining the rank of Captain. Ransom was not an Iowa State graduate, but his wife, Bernice Corlette Bernard graduated with the class of 1904.

Ransom Drips Bernard (photograph from Box 40, Folder 10)

Both Henry and Ransom documented their service through letters to family back home.  These letters, along with many photographs and artifacts like those mentioned above, can be found in the Henry Montgomery Black and Bernice Bernard Black Family Papers, RS 21/8/12, in the Special Collections Department. The collection documents several generations of the Black and Bernard families through artifacts, photographs, scrapbooks, and correspondence.

Bernice Black Durand (left) and Rachel Kleinschmidt (right) going through the Henry Montgomery Black and Bernice Bernard Black Family Papers (RS 21/8/12), which Bernice donated to the department and Rachel processed.

Rachel (right) showing Bernice (right) the processed Henry Montgomery Black and Bernice Bernard Black Family Papers in the storage area.

Interested in finding out more about the collection?  You can read the finding aid online, and then come visit the Special Collections Department (open M-F, 9-4) and let us know which boxes you would like to see!


2011 Collection Highlights

Welcome to the new year of 2012!  With the close of another year, we would like to take the opportunity to highlight just a few of the collections whose finding aids went online last year.  We receive hundreds of linear feet of new collections each year, and in addition to these new collections we also work on getting our older paper-based finding aids retyped and up online as well!  Throughout this month, we’ll highlight a few of these new collections and re-typed finding aids finished this past year, but for now take a look at the list below of some of the collections we will not be able to highlight.  Clicking on the collection’s title will bring you to its finding aid.  In addition to letting you know a little about the collections we worked on last year, the list will hopefully give you an idea of the wide variety of collections available here in the Special Collections Department!

Veteran Civilian Conservation Corps Camp #2725 Scrapbook, MS 674

The Veteran Civilian Conservation Corps (VCCC) Camp #2725 was constructed in 1935 in what is now Stone State Park near Sioux City, Iowa in the Loess Hills. Members of the camp were unemployed World War I veterans who helped with construction of the camp and projects designed by the camp technical staff.

PrairieFire Rural Action Records, MS 313

PrairieFire Rural Action was founded in 1985 and based in Des Moines, Iowa. Organized during the 1980s farm crisis, PrairieFire Rural Action assisted Midwestern farmers and their families, and provided advocacy on behalf of farmers.

Milton Sage Robertson Films, MS 325

Milton Sage “Robbie” Robertson pioneered work in crop dusting, inventing a rotary brush atomizer (later known as ICD Rotors) for crop spraying in 1930. The methods used for crop dusting at this time were problematic, and Robertson developed a liquid spraying technique with a rotary brush. Robertson eventually ran his own business, and between 1931 and 1934, Robertson put together film of every known phase of crop dusting and spraying for promotion and to teach pilots the techniques of the business. Robertson used this film as an advertising tool, showing it to farmers and growers during sales meetings. A selection of these films are available on our YouTube channel.

Louise A. Carson and Lucia St. John Cook Papers, MS 314

Louise A. Carson was a resident of Burlington, Iowa during the middle of the 19th through the middle of the 20th centuries. Lucia St. John Cook (born in 1830) was a friend of Louise Carson. This collection contains journals, letters, correspondence, clippings, financial records, and photographs.  Some interesting entries of Cook’s diaries were made in 1850-1851 when Cook describes her journey alone from Farmington, Iowa to Arkansas to teach. Cook discusses meeting African Americans on her trip, her teaching experiences, and educational differences between the North and the South.

Bob Kisken Photographs, MS 596

Robert (Bob) Kisken is a retired teacher from Michigan and now does ranch and farm photography as a hobby. This collection contains photographs taken by Kisken of barns in the Midwest but also includes some from other states and Canada. The barns cover a variety including kit barns from Sears, Roebuck, and Company; red barns; white barns; cantilever barns; German style barns; round barns; brick and wood barns. Also included are rural scenes including homesteads, grain elevators, prairie scenes, and silos.

Women’s Helpful Birthday Club Records, MS 201

The Women’s Helpful Birthday Club originated as a group of farm women in north Grant Township, Story County, Iowa. Begun in 1904, the club was formally organized June 12, 1907, at the home of one of the founders, Mrs. J. I. (Rena) Mather. Rena Mather thought the club should be established so that neighborhood women would have a time to meet and provide more social contacts and cultural activities. In addition to the meetings which often included educational programs, club members also often had a picnic each year and conducted philanthropic activities.

Lauren Soth Papers, RS 16/3/54

Agricultural economist and editor at the Des Moines Register and Tribune. Lauren Soth was in charge of economic information at Iowa State from 1934-1947 and was an editorial writer for the Des Moines Register and Tribune (1947-1954) and editor of the newspaper’s editorial pages (1954-1975) until his retirement. Soth received a Pulitzer Prize (1956) for editorial writing encouraging a U.S.-Soviet agricultural exchange. The collection contains material documenting the U.S.-Russian agricultural exchange of 1955 and Soth’s U.S.S.R. trip the same year, speeches and talks on the Wolf Ladejinsky affair, the oleomargarine controversy at Iowa State University during World War II and agricultural economics. There is correspondence about farm policy in the 1970s and 1980s, and material on agricultural issues such as animal rights, food and export policy, and land usage.

One of many photographs in the collection, above is pictured a few images from the United States farmers trip to Russia in 1955 (found in box 12, folder 5).

Sally J. Pederson Papers, RS 21/7/198

Consultant, editor, and former Lieutenant Governor of Iowa, Sally Pederson was born in 1951 in Muscatine, Iowa. She was senior food editor for Better Homes and Gardens and an executive with the Meredith Corporation. Pederson was elected to two terms as Lieutenant Governor (1999-2007) of Iowa under Governor Tom Vilsack. While in office, she was an advocate for people with disabilities.

Black Cultural Center (Ames, Iowa) Records, RS 7/5/4

In 1969, the Black Student Organization at Iowa State began planning for a Black Cultural Center to be located near campus and operated by a non-profit organization. The purpose of the Black Cultural Center is to provide a place for the Ames and Iowa State community to interact and gain a better understanding of black culture and to act as a home away from home for African American students attending Iowa State University. These purposes are carried out through a variety of social activities, cultural events, and lectures. The BCC is home to a library and the Iowa African-American Hall of Fame and it also publishes the student magazine Uhuru (Archives call no. LD2546 U38x).

Frank Robotka Papers, RS 13/9/55

An educator and specialist on agricultural cooperatives, Frank Robotka (1889-1975) worked for many years at the Agricultural Extension Service (1920-1961) of Iowa State University where he became involved with agricultural cooperatives. Robotka continued his study and research on cooperatives at Iowa State until his retirement in 1961. Throughout his career as a Professor of Agricultural Economics, he produced numerous journal articles and topical studies concerning the cooperative movement. (2012 is the United Nations International Year of Cooperatives; if you are interested in taking a look at our other collections related to cooperatives, please take a look at this subject guide)

LaVerne and Ida Noyes Collection, RS 21/7/235

LaVerne Noyes enrolled at Iowa Agricultural College (Iowa State University) in 1868 and graduated with a B.S. (1872) in general science as a member of Iowa State’s first graduating class. He was awarded an honorary Doctorate in Engineering from Iowa State for the success of his inventions and the promotion of higher education. Ida Noyes received her B.S. (1874) from Iowa Agricultural College (Iowa State University). Following her graduation Ida became a teacher. Ida and LaVerne married on May 24, 1877. LaVerne’s achievements include running a hay-tool business, starting a book holder manufacturing company (his Noyes Dictionary Holder sold modestly well), patenting farming machinery, and starting the Aermotor Company in Chicago, Illinois. The Aermotor Company  manufactured some of the first steel windmills and became the leading manufacturer of windmills in the country. During his successful career as an inventor and businessman, Noyes was able to acquire a modest fortune. Noyes enlisted the help of landscape gardener O.C. Simmonds to help beautify the campus of his alma mater, Iowa State. This project resulted in the creation of Lake LaVerne on our campus.

Charles A. Goetz Papers, RS 13/6/17

Charles Goetz attended the University of Wisconsin (1926-1931) where he studied agricultural bacteriology and chemistry and received his B.S. (1932), M.S. (1934), and Ph.D. (1938) in chemistry from the University of Illinois. Goetz pursued his interests in analytical chemistry, electrochemistry, and in fire extinguishing by carbon dioxide. Goetz worked at several corporations, where he invented and received patents for a number of important and useful ideas including the aeration process for whipped cream which allows it to be dispensed from pressurized containers. He also patented a number of fire extinguishing processes and devices for outdoor use on large fires. Goetz was a professor at Iowa State in the Department of Chemistry from 1948 until  his retirement in 1978.

E. Robert Baumann Papers, RS 11/5/55

E. Robert Baumann earned a B.S.E. degree (1944) in civil engineering from the University of Michigan, and a B.S. degree (1945) in sanitary engineering, an M.S. degree (1947) in sanitary engineering, and a Ph.D. (1954) in sanitary engineering all from the University of Illinois. Baumann served as a teacher and researcher during his time at the University of Illinois and then worked at Iowa State University(1953-1991) until his retirement. Baumann’s research centers on water filtration and waste water treatment. He published several books and hundreds of journal articles, research reports, trade magazine articles, and conference papers on diatomite filtration and municipal sewage treatment. His vast experience in sewage systems and filtration led to his work as a civil engineering consultant to cities and private companies throughout his career.

Fred W. (Frederick William) Lorch Papers, RS 13/10/54

Frederick William Lorch, born in Germany, received his B.A. (1918) from Knox College and his M.A. and Ph.D from the University of Iowa. He joined the Iowa State College (University) staff in 1921 as an instructor in English, was promoted through the faculty ranks, and served as Department Head (1942-1959). Lorch was the author of more than 30 scholarly articles and a national authority on some aspects of Mark Twain’s career. He edited several textbooks, including The Trouble Begins at Eight-Mark Twain’s Lecture Tours (call no. PS1338.L6). This work was published posthumously and won the Iowa State University Press Annual Award for the most outstanding manuscript by an Iowa author.


Ames Laboratory Oral History Project

Director, Associate Director and Section Chiefs in the chemical research and development program at Iowa State College (University) which assisted in the World War II Manhattan Project.  Left to Right: Harley Wilhelm, Adrian Daane, Amos Newton, Adolf Voigt, Wayne Keller, C. F. Gray, Frank Spedding, Robert Rundle, James Warf.

The Ames Laboratory began as a chemical research and development program at Iowa State College (University) to assist the World War II Manhattan Project. The program developed an entirely new technology for the conversion of uranium ore to high-purity uranium metal and then used that technology to produce more than 2 million pounds by the end of the war. In 1947, the United States Atomic Energy Commission officially established the Ames Laboratory as a National Laboratory. It is currently a United States Department of Energy research facility operated by Iowa State University. The Laboratory and University share facilities, functions, graduate students, and faculty/principle investigators. After World War II, the Ames Laboratory specialized in rare metals and methods of achieving chemical transformation without the production of toxic waste. The Laboratory has expanded its scope beyond materials research, including research in photosynthesis, hazardous waste analysis, computer programming, quasicrystals, and nontraditional materials.

Fifteen interviews have been completed by independent researcher Sue Futrell and are being transcribed. The finding aid for the Ames Lab Oral History Collection is available online.  Audio portions of the interviews are also available online.

“Little Ankeny” (pictured above) was named in contrast with the large-scale ordnance work located in Ankeny during World War II.  Little Ankeny was a temporary building left over from World War I and housed uranium production on the Iowa State campus from January 1943 until the end of the war. During that time, two million pounds (one thousand tons) of pure uranium metal was made there. Industry came here to learn how to produce the metal, and then the process was turned over to industry. The process was developed and patented by Dr. Frank Spedding and Dr. Harley Wilhelm.  Little Ankeny was located east of the Food Science Building, and a plaque now marks its location.

Dr. Harley Wilhelm developed an efficient way to produce uranium metal for the Manhattan project and was a co-founder of the Ames Lab. The Ames Lab Oral History Collection includes interviews of his family.


A Window into Building the Cyclone Spirit of Years Past: A Football Manual from the 1930s

The plain and simple cover of the 1930s era football manual recently donated to our University Archives – inside is some wonderful insight into the Cyclone football team of that time.

A football manual from the 1930s was recently donated to the University Archives, and may have even been written by George Veenker, the football coach at that time.  In paging through the manual, you only came across a few photographs.  Even so, the manual is itself a wonderful picture of the spirit and advice given to football players years ago!  It is fun to imagine the manual tucked away in the dorm rooms of every football player, being read diligently every night (really – we’re sure they did!).

The manual opened to the first page (Introduction).

The manual contains an introduction which describes the reason for the booklet:

“If after being told by a coach about a certain rule, a play or what to do under certain conditions, each player would know and remember his job, the coaching of football would be a bed of roses.  If, after having it repeated a certain number of times, all would get the instructions, it would still be alright…”  The manual goes on to say that that, however, does not happen on a regular basis and “Some boys will pick it up reading it in the quiet of their rooms quicker than in the hustle and rush on the field…IT IS FOR THIS PURPOSE THIS NOTE BOOK HAS BEEN ASSEMBLED.”  (And yes, this final sentence is in all caps!).

The bulk of the book contains advice and strategies for the game.  When one looks at the photograph below from a 1938 game, one can only wonder how many of those players were following the advice contained in the manual!

1938 football team

One of my favorite sections is the “Rules and regulations on the care and use of this book” in which the manual explains that “There is a lot of valuable dope in this book which, if gotten into the hands of our opponents, would ruin us…It is secret to the extent that it is the way we really are doing things.  It is valuable to them only to that extent and it is plenty.”  Players are not to share the manual with anyone, including their other football players!  The final part of the section explains that the book is to be eventually turned in and not kept by the player – one can only wonder how many Cyclone football players owned this particular manual while on the team…or if it was the coach’s own personal copy!

The manual contains wonderful pieces of general advice, often in found in all-caps.  An example found in the “Morale” section states:  “IT NEVER DOES ONE ANY HARM TO HAVE HIGH AMBITIONS AND IDEALS, IF TEMPERED WITH COMMON SENSE AND ABILITY TO STAND DISAPPOINTMENT” (many of these are great sayings anyone, whether or not a football player, would benefit to keep in mind!).  Another fun section to read through is the “More than Poetry” section.  One paragraph states “Be sure to dance during the season.  You have lots of energy to spare anyhow.”

Jack Trice and his teammates in 1923.

One final part of the book I would like to highlight is the page about Jack Trice, and the entire section could be thought of as equivalent to these sayings found throughout since it is quite clear the author meant for Jack Trice to be an example to current football players.  The manual states “He had the right attitude, the right spirit and a fine sense of loyalty.”  I won’t quote it at length here, but I highly encourage visitors requesting the manual to take a look at this page!  (More information on Jack Trice can be found in the finding aid for his papers and on our Flickr page).

The gym plaque mentioned in the section on Jack Trice.

The manual closes with a March 4, 1933 editorial, “There’s Something to Cyclone ‘Spirit'”, by Harold Ingle, sports editor of Iowa State Student.  One can think that this manual might be one of those “seeds” mentioned in a paragraph of the editorial:  “When we take note of the heroes who are now here and consider what they are doing to remain, we know that there has been planted here a virile seed that cannot die out.  Repeat to us the hardships that our pioneer classes endured to plant this seed, and we will tell you of the proud and courageous children who are carrying on in face of even greater difficulties.”

The football manual came to us in fragile condition, and the library’s Preservation Department did a wonderful job in making sure the manual will be  well-preserved for future generations!  Please take a look at the Preservation Department’s blog post about how the manual was preserved.  If you would like to find out about other records we have in the University Archives about football and other athletic teams, click here for a listing of the various collections’ finding aids.


New Collection: Arthur W. Rudnick Papers and the 1937 World Dairy Congress

It’s June Dairy Month!  We have a number of collections here in the Special Collections Department which relate to dairy, and to name a few those include the Iowa State Dairy Association Records (where you can see the activities and promotional events of past June Dairy Months here in Iowa), various Iowa State University Dairy Science Department Records (under RS 9/11), and the patent for the process of making blue cheese developed here at Iowa State –  and adopted by Maytag Blue Cheese (under RS 23/01/03).

Iowa State College’s (now University) Iowa Blue Cheese. Photograph taken in 1934.

However, this post will highlight a new collection we recently brought into the department, the Arthur Rudnick Papers.  Rudnick was a long time educator and leader in Iowa’s dairy industry.  He worked at Iowa State as a professor of dairying from 1913 through 1970. During much of his career he served as Iowa State’s extension specialist in dairy manufacturing and developed one of the first dairy manufacturing Extension programs in the country. He retired from the Department of Dairy and Food Industry after more than fifty years of service to the University. In addition to his role as an educator, Rudnick also worked to improve the dairy industry by involving himself in other professional opportunities. He served as a delegate to the 1937 World Dairy Congress held in Berlin, Germany. The World Dairy Congress was held August 22-28th and included over 3,700 delegates from 52 countries. In 1951 Rudnick returned to Europe as a member of a team of farm specialists sent to seek out qualified farm families for immigration to the United States under the Displaced Persons Act.

Arthur Rudnick in 1953 (from the University Photograph Collection, 16-3-A, box 1357)

The collection includes a travel diary documenting Rudnick’s 1937 trip to Europe as a delegate to the World Dairy Congress. Rudnick carefully details his trip, even recording the topics of speakers he listened to at the World Dairy Congress. Pasted into the diary are numerous publications he collected on the trip, mostly written in German, about the dairy industry in England, Germany, and other parts of Europe. Also included in the collection is an article (published in 1919 in the Journal of Dairy Science) in which he describes the process of making buttermilk cheese. At that time, Rudnick states, buttermilk was one of the largest creamery by-products and was often an unprofitable product.

Photograph from the 1937 World Dairy Congress in Berlin, Germany.  (RS 16/3/67, box 1, folder 3)

Rudnick’s diary from 1937 forms the heart of this small collection, and can be a fascinating read about the dairy industry in Europe (mainly Germany and England) in 1937. On page 211 of the diary, in which he describes plants he visited in London on September 14, Rudnick quickly skips from discussing infested milk bottles to pasteurization: “One of the peculiar things is that the housewife does not pretend to send the dairy a clean bottle. We were told that it is not at all uncommon for a plant to receive bottles that had maggots. London has about 90% of its milk pasteurized, the rest is for the most part certified…” In this same entry, Rudnick discusses pasteurizers, aluminum bottle caps, the plant’s production line, and London’s Milk Board.

To read more about Rudnick’s 1937 trip, please visit the Special Collections Department. The finding aid for the Arthur W. Rudnick Papers can be found here.


An Iowa State Student’s Letters from 1899

What was life like for students in 1960?  At the turn of the 20th century?  Answers to these questions can be found in a variety of sources, but one of these might be in our collections of former students and alumni, which are listed here.

We recently added a former student’s papers to our collections, and the finding aid has been made available online.  The Robert Jack Sharps Letters (RS 21/7/219) contains letters written by Robert Jack Sharps, and includes a few letters from his family.  All of the letter were written in the fall of 1899 when Sharps entered his freshman year at Iowa State College (now University). The letters range from August, when Sharps first arrived on campus, to November, when Sharps was preparing to finish up his coursework and return home.  Even though the last letters do not indicate whether or not he planned to return to Iowa State, they hint that the family was struggling to finance his education and it is unlikely that he returned.

A photograph from 1899 when Sharps attended Iowa State, showing the Mechanical Engineering Lab (located in the Lab of Mechanics).  Although we do not know if Sharps was ever in the lab, it might be fun to wonder to what extent, or whether, he knew the person in the photograph.

The Lab of Mechanics (in 1902), where the Mechanical Engineering Lab (pictured above) was located.

Although an incomplete set of letters, these letters provide a wonderful window into the life of a first year student here at Iowa State right before the beginning of the 20th century.  In his letters Sharps recounts experiences and concerns which are probably familiar to many current college students, such as anxiety about passing examinations and requests for money from home.  In fact, worries about money and finances run throughout his letters.  A number of the items Sharps describes are unique to the time including the military drills, the banquet he attended in which the freshman class was dubbed the “Erehas” by the sophomores, and Sunday chapel services that students were required to attend at the time.

A page from the 1900 Bomb (student yearbook) which lists the class officers, yell, motto, and colors.

Sharps writes his sister in an August 10, 1899 letter:

“Everyone seems to come here to learn so they all have their lessons. I like it very much here and I dont have such hard studying yet except in german, but things are getting harder every day.”  His concern about money and the costs of college are again revealed near the end of the letter “I believe as you say I can’t get something from nothing so I will stay a while any way and see how it goes here…Please hand Pa’s and Ma’s letter to them and it will save two cents.  Write soon, as I am in a hurry I dont expect you can read this.”

As an archivist who has struggled to decipher the written work of numerous handwritten letters, I was extremely surprised to read that last sentence!  His letters might are very clear and neat examples of penmanship – although as the term continues his handwriting becomes less and less clear!

The 1899 Freshman Class.  If this was taken in the fall of 1899, Sharps may be one of the students pictured here (from the 1900 Bomb, page 62).

From his letters, one sees firsthand how someone from 1899 viewed and described their current student experiences.  For instance, in an August 13 letter Sharps writes his parents about a Y.M.C.A reception for freshmen he attended in which Henry Wallace “of the ‘Des Moines Wallaces Farmer’ gave a short speech.”  This is all he says about Henry Wallace – the Henry Wallace to which he refers was the father of Henry A. Wallace, future Secretary of Agriculture and Vice-President under Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

And, finally, one last passage from an undated letter I found particularly fun to read (especially considering the similarities and differences from our current campus over 110 years later!):

“The campus is a fine place with the short grass and big shade trees the grass is kept about 2 inches high and it is just liking walking on a carpet the college is just like a town with out stores, with big buildings and barns and shops and other buildings then there is a water tower higher than any of the buildings and the main hall is six stories hall.”

The Iowa State campus (circa 1897) as it looked around the time former student Robert Jack Sharps was here.  Old Main can be seen to the left, and Morrill Hall to the right.  The Marston Water Tower, which Sharps mentions in at least one of his letters, can be seen in the background.

If you would like to read more of these letters, please visit the Special Collections Department.  In addition to this collection, other materials in our Department might provide additional information to his descriptions.  For instance, the 1898-1899 catalog includes brief descriptions of the military drills, entrance examinations, courses and other general information about the college.  For information related to the military drills Sharps participated in on campus see the Department of Military Science Records, RS 13/16/1.  The Bomb is also a great resource on student life and activities.


New Collection: Papers of Iowa State alum involved in Stars Over VEISHEA

VEISHEA is fast approaching – in fact, the fun and excitement of the largest student-run celebration in the country will begin next week on April 11.  The Special Collections Department has VEISHEA records documenting former celebrations, in addition to a variety of other resources.  For more information on VEISHEA records you can find here in our department on VEISHEA’s history, visit last year’s VEISHEA blog post.

However, if you are looking for the personal perspective of Iowa State students during VEISHEA, a good place to look are the papers donated by our alumni, and a listing of these collections (however – please note – not all of these necessarily mention VEISHEA!) can be found here under RS 21/7: Alumni and Former Students.  The Special Collections Department recently took in a new collection documenting student life here at Iowa State in the middle of the twentieth century, and the letters in this collection mention VEISHEA. The Donald Elwood Larew Papers (RS 21/7/232) contain letters, theater programs, and Iowa State University memorabilia.  A graduate of Iowa State University, Larew received his B.S. (1963) in applied art with an emphasis in interior design.  For more on Larew’s career in theater design, see the biographical note in the collection’s finding aid.

Pictured above is the 1963 Stars Over VEISHEA production, The Music Man, performed during Larew’s senior year at Iowa State.  Larew helped design the set for this, along with other Iowa State theater productions.

The majority of the collection contains letters Larew wrote home to his parents, which includes descriptions of his involvement with the fraternity Delta Upsilon and as a cast member and set designer for a number of campus theatrical productions.

Page 324 from the 1959 Bomb (ISU yearbook).

Before joining the fraternity Delta Upsilon, Larew was a member of the Bennett House in Friley Hall his freshman year.  The description found here in the Bomb helps one figure out certain references Larew makes in his letters to the activities described above. Click on the image above to read the description.

Larew frequently mentions the theater in his letters home. He mentions plays he appeared in and the ones he helped design sets for.  While at Iowa State, Larew was involved with both the Iowa State Players and Stars Over VEISHEA.  In fact, the first Stars Over VEISHEA production with which Larew was involved was Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew (this year’s Kiss Me Kate is in part based on this Shakespeare play).

From pages 168-169 of the 1959 Bomb (ISU yearbook).

In his letters, Larew mentions being a cast member of the Iowa State Player’s  “Stalag 17” production.  Click on the image to read about the Iowa State Players.

To find out more about Donald Elwood Larew and the papers he donated to Iowa State, please take a look at the collection’s finding aid.


New collection: Team PrISUm Records

1997-1999 Team PrISUM and solar car:  Phoenix

2011 is the third year of President Geoffroy’s Live Green! initiative, and last week was the third annual Symposium on Sustainability here on the ISU campus. Iowa State also has a wide variety of sustainability related research projects, departments and organizations and the University Archives holds the records of a variety of these.

Recently, the Iowa State University solar car team, Team PrISUm, donated their records to the University Archives. You may have seen examples of the solar cars the team has constructed throughout the years displayed at various university events. Now you can visit Special Collections to do research and find out more about the development of these cars and past activities and projects carried out by Team PrISUm!

Team PrISUm constructing a solar car.

Team PrISUm is a student-run organization that started in 1989. The team designs, builds, and races solar powered electric vehicles in the American Solar Challenge (previously known as Sunrayce). Teams have two years between races to design, construct, and test their cars. The team is composed of students from a variety of backgrounds including engineering, design, and business. Team PrISUm also focuses on outreach projects and education to raise awareness about solar energy and efficient transportation and displays the cars at events on campus and throughout the state.

Team PrISUm at the 1997 Sunrayce event with the solar car ExCYtor

The records contain information documenting the activities of Team PrISUm, including news clippings, proposals, design notes, statistics, fundraising information, brochures, solar car and race information, and videotapes. There also hundreds of photographs in the collection documenting the various incarnations of the ISU solar car, solar car construction and racing, outreach projects, and team members. The team’s newsletter, “The Sundial”, consists of valuable information regarding the development of each car. The collection also includes documents relating to Sunrayce and the American Solar Challenge such as correspondence, proposals, race regulations, and route books.

The finding aid for the Team PrISUm Records is available at: http://www.lib.iastate.edu/arch/rgrp/22-5-0-30.html


Thanks for following us during our first year!

A new year has begun!  Our departmental blog was started last year (the first post was February 17, to be exact).  Although not strictly a year in existence, I thought it would be fun to start off this new year off with some highlights from last year – including some not announced on this blog.

Posts with the most visits were:

1.  Images of Past ISU and Ames Floods

Hopefully this year we will see nothing even close to last year’s flood here in Ames!  However, I took advantage of being the only one to make it to the office that day by putting together a quick post on past floods.  As you can see, many visited this one!

1918 Flood: the Dinkey and floodwaters again

2. New Collection: Agricultural Machinery Product Literature

This is a wonderful collection of agricultural literature, and although I enjoyed writing most if not all blog posts – I think I had the most fun with this one!  We hope to have even more posts, although perhaps much shorter, on new incoming collections in the future.

 

Buckeye Mower and Reaper catalog, 1874

3.  Friley Hall images now on Flickr

One of our wonderful students helped describe and put these images up on Flickr, and her work has paid off!  We hope at some point to add more dorm images to Flickr.

 

A student in his Friley Hall dorm room working on homeworrk in 1964.

Other highlights from last year:

The Library’s new Digital Collections site (using CONTENTdm) was launched.  Many of the original collections on this site are housed here in our Special Collections Department.

During October’s Archives Month, I created a blog version of a tour of our department.  We are hoping to create a video version of the tour to put up on our website.

An image of our collections in storage seen on the "tour."

One of the many excellent donations this year was that given by Professor Emeritus Robert Harvey of ninety-two rare books to our Department.  Back in October we had an after hours open house which highlighted books from this donation and allowed visitors to speak with Professor Harvey and members of our staff, including Preservation.  Many of these books were related to his field of expertise, landscape architecture.  For more information on this donation, please see our Preservation Department’s post.

Several of the books on display at the Open House.

Although not announced yet on this blog, we received the exciting news later last year that the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust is funding $137,000 to support the design and construction of a Special Collections and Preservation classroom on the fourth floor of Parks Library.  Courses, seminars and workshops will be held in the classroom space.  The Trust is a philanthropic foundation in Iowa with assets of more than $250 million and annual grant distributions of over $11 million.  We have a number of classes which visit both our department and Preservation each semester, and we are looking forward to having a much larger and accessible space for presentations, tours, seminars, workshops and class projects with our collections.

Happy New Year to all!  We are looking forward to 2011, and hope you are as well.  Thanks for your readership and support!