Congratulations Petrina Jackson!

SCUA Department Head, Petrina Jackson, has been elected to Society of American Archivists Council! She will serve a 3-year term, 2018-2021. Join us in congratulating her!


In Honor of Women’s History Month: Winifred R. Tilden

Ames, Iowa native Winifred R. Tilden was a long-time and influential faculty member at Iowa State College (University). In honor of Women’s History Month and in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the United States’ involvement in World War I, we highlight her and her contribution to the war effort.

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Photograph of Winifred Tilden in her YWCA uniform, ca. 1918. Original located in the Farwell T. Brown Photographic Archive, Ames Public Library. Winifred R. Tilden papers, RS 10/7/11

Faculty members answered the call to duty not only by serving as officers, but also in noncombat capacities. Winifred R. Tilden was one of them. Tilden spent her career at Iowa State College as a leader of physical education for women. She initially served as Director of Physical Culture for Women and was later named Professor of Physical Education. During World War I, Tilden took leave so that she could direct a National Y.W.C.A-sponsored recreational program in a French nurses camp. Formally, she served as Hostess and Recreation Director at Toul and then as Manager of the Palais Royal in Paris.

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Receipt of Identity Card Application, Paris, France November 5, 1918. Winifred R. Tilden papers, RS 10/7/11
This was the form that Winifred Tilden used to apply for a foreign identity card during her service in France.

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How the Blue Triangle helps in France. Y.W.C.A.: Homes–For American War Workers: Recreation–For American Nurses: Rest Rooms–For French Munition Workers. American War Posters from the First World War, UC Berkeley. 1917-1918. Courtesy of Bancroft Library, University of California. From the American War Posters from the First World War, BANC PIC 2005.001:128–AX. 

To learn more about Winifred R. Tilden, come to Special Collections and University Archives, located on the 4th floor of Parks Library and see her collection in person. Find the guide to her collection here.

For more about Iowa’s involvement in World War I, visit our exhibition “Do[ing] Their Bit:” Iowa’s Role in the Great War on display on the 4th floor of Parks Library.


NHPRC Update: New Discoveries

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Khrushchev waving to onlookers on campus. [University Photograph Collection, RS 00, Dignitaries and Other Notable Visitors, Boxes 11-15]

The New Year has begun, and the NHPRC grant project to ingest all of the Special Collections and University Archives finding aids continues to move forward. At the end of last year, we hit the milestone of getting every Manuscript Collection with a finding aid entered into our CuadraStar SKCA archival catalog database – nearly 600 finding aids in all. We have now moved on to the University Archives finding aids, and have raised the total to 800. It is exciting to see this number climb every day.

As a result, I have gotten the chance to read many of the finding aids as they go into the database. This has taught me quite a bit about SCUA’s collections, both in terms of how they relate to my own interests and about things that I previously knew nothing about.

I was a Russian major as an undergraduate, and so was interested to come across materials that document Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s Iowa visit in 1959. As part of his visit, Khrushchev toured the Coon Rapids, Iowa farm of Roswell Garst, as well as the Swine Nutrition Research Center on the Iowa State campus.

Garst had previously hosted a Soviet delegation on his farm as part of an agricultural exchange in 1955. The visitors had come to the United States to learn about agricultural technology that would be applied in the Soviet Virgin Lands Campaign to increase agricultural output in the Soviet Union. Garst later traveled to the USSR himself as part of a return delegation, and it was on this trip that he met Khrushchev and personally invited him to visit Iowa.

Typescript of Khrushchev's speech in Des Moines, Sept. 22, 1959

Typescript of a speech given by Khrushchev at a dinner in his honor, held at Hotel Fort Des Moines, Des Moines, Iowa, September 22, 1959. [Garst Family papers, MS 579, box 43, folder 52]

Materials related to Khrushchev’s visit to Iowa can be found in the papers of Roswell Garst (RS 21/7/12), John Chrystal (MS 422), President James H. Hilton (RS 2/10), Damon Von Catron (RS 9/11/55) and the Garst Family (MS 579). The fiftieth anniversary of Chairman Khrushchev’s visit was marked by a 2009 celebration in Des Moines and Coon Rapids, information about which can be found in the Khrushchev Committee 50th Anniversary Event records (MS 615).  Further materials related to agricultural relations between Iowa and the Soviet Union can be found in the Garst Company records (MS 642), the Garst and Thomas Hybrid Corn Company records (MS 173), and the Charles J. Hearst papers (MS 3).

As someone new to the University, and to Iowa in general, this I have enjoyed learning more about local history. I am looking forward to learning more about the SCUA collections as this project continues, as well as to what researchers find once we launch the new archival catalog at the end of this year.

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This project has been generously funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).


A Welcome to Rachael Acheson, Our Assistant University Archivist

Rachael Acheson began work as the Assistant University Archivist in SCUA on January 8, 2018. Her work will center around documentation of student life at ISU, including the collection of current and historical records from student organizations and  archiving University and student-run websites and social media pages with Archive-It. She will also assist with more general processing, outreach, and instruction.

In August 2016, Rachael earned her dual master’s degree in English (MA) and Library and Information Science (MLIS) from the University of South Carolina, where she concentrated on Archives and Special Collections, which allowed her to indulge both her fascination with rare books and textual studies along with discursive interests in transatlantic literature. While in her graduate program, Rachael taught freshman English courses and interned with the oral history and rare books departments. Rachael also had the opportunity to complete a number of amazing internships with the university libraries and local archives, including one that involved preparations to host a travelling exhibit from the Folger Shakespeare Library, which featured a First Folio.

Immediately before coming to ISU, Rachael worked in Cedar Falls, IA, where she completed a 10-month temporary assignment as the Special Collections and University Archives Librarian at University of Northern Iowa.

Here are a few fun facts about Rachael:

    1. She is currently very much out-of-practice, but she plays the harp and began college as a Harp Performance major. Mary Foss, the principal harpist of the Des Moines Symphony Orchestra and also Adjunct Professor at ISU, Drake University, and Central College, was the first of her many excellent harp teachers. As a result, Rachael had the opportunity to attend an ISU masterclass with Catrin Finch, formerly the Royal Harpist to H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, when Rachael had been playing for only five months. After serving as the principle harpist for her college orchestra for four years, Rachael also performed briefly with the Central Iowa Symphony.
    2. She has a pewter-gray cat named Sterling, who enjoys standing on her head in the early hours of the morning and watching tv.
    3. She is a huge nerd about children’s and Young Adult (YA) literature, collects illustrated editions of Frances Hodgson Burnett novels, and has met Maggie Stiefvater twice.
    4. She spent a large portion of her childhood in Iowa Falls, Iowa, and so has some history of her own with Ames and likes to think she is in the process of getting better acquainted with the state as a whole.

Rachael’s literary cat, Sterling, posing for the camera.

She is excited to be back in the area. We’re excited too!


“Do[ing] Their Bit”: Iowa’s Role in the Great War opening Wednesday, January 17!

This week and next we’re installing our next exhibition, “Do[ing] Their Bit”: Iowa’s Role in the Great War, which opens Wednesday, January 17. This exhibition commemorates the 100th Anniversary of the United States involvement in World War I. The exhibition will remain open through the spring semester.

Lorraine and the rest of the Printing Services team installing our window display (Photograph by Rachel Seale).

The opening reception is Wednesday, January 17, from 6:30 to 8 p.m in 198 Parks Library. Guest speakers, Jack Lufkin and Mark Heggen will show and discuss, Deeds Not Words, their historic video about the World War I Black Officers Training Camp at Fort Des Moines. Jack Lufkin is the curator at the Fort Des Moines Museum and Education Center.  Mark Heggen is an independent filmmaker and ISU alumnus.

"Do[ing] Their Bit": Iowa's Role in the Great War. Opening reception, January 17, 2018, 6:30 p.m.in 198 Parks Library. Refreshments courtesy of Iowa State University Diversity and Inclusion

Contact Rachel Seale for questions about the exhibition or the reception.


A Welcome to Rosalie Gartner, Our Lead Processing Archivist

Rosalie Gartner on vacation last summer in Scotland (courtesy of Rosalie Gartner).

Rosalie Gartner joined the SCUA team on November 15, 2017 as the Lead Processing Archivist. She moved here from Boston, Massachusetts, where she has lived for the past 6 years. Originally from Colorado, she moved to Boston to attend Simmons College, where she earned her MS in Library Science with a concentration in Archives Management. After graduation, she worked at Emerson College for several years, doing everything from course instruction to processing to records management.  In her free time, she enjoys reading (of course), sewing, and traveling. Despite the extreme cold, Rosalie is happy to be here! And we are super ecstatic to have her here!!


Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act #PubMedia50 @amarchivepub: Audiovisual Preservation

Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) have joined the American Archive of Public Broadcasting’s month-long celebration of the Public Broadcasting Act’s 50th Anniversary by posting content throughout the month of November to celebrate the history and preservation of public broadcasting! This is our fifth and last post commemorating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 and this week I’m highlighting some recent actions we’ve taken to preserving our audiovisual collections, which includes our collections related to public broadcasting.

For our current initiatives, we’ve been focused on audiovisual preservation. Last spring, we hired Rosie Rowe, our Audiovisual Preservation Specialist. This is a new position, charged with providing guidance on our audiovisual preservation and access workflow.

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Video Preservation Rack (Courtesy of Brad Kuennen).

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Audio Preservation Rack (in process) (Courtesy of Brad Kuennen).

Through the acquisition of equipment from other campus units and purchasing other needed tools, Rosie has constructed a Video Preservation Rack. She has developed a digitization workflow and is currently training students to assist with some of that work. She is in the process of constructing an audio preservation workstation. Through her initiative and in collaboration with other department staff, she has developed an audiovisual access policy based on principles of best practices for preservation, identified priority collections for digitization, and improved intellectual control over collections. This work will greatly benefit our audiovisual collections so that they can be better preserved, managed, and shared.

This post was co-written by Rachel Seale, outreach archivist, & Brad Kuennen, university archivist.

 


Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act #PubMedia50 @amarchivepub: Iowa’s First Educational Television Station

Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) have joined the American Archive of Public Broadcasting’s month-long celebration of the Public Broadcasting Act’s 50th Anniversary by posting content throughout the month to celebrate the history and preservation of public broadcasting! This is our fourth post commemorating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 and this week we’re focusing on Iowa’s first educational television station, WOI-TV, to showcase the variety of public broadcasting programs we are preserving.

This photograph shows Exhibit Hall at Iowa State University in 1953. The signal tower is in the background. A sign on the door says: WOI-TV Studios. A women is walking to the door. Snow is on the ground.

Exhibit Hall. The signal tower is in the background. A sign on the door says: WOI-TV Studios. (University Photographs, RS 4/8/I).

WOI-TV first aired in central Iowa in February 1950. The station was owned and operated by Iowa State University (at the time known as Iowa State College) until it was sold to a private company in 1994. WOI-TV has the distinction of being the first commercial television station owned by a public institution of higher learning and it is thought to be the first television station in the nation dedicated to educational programming.

During the 1950s, WOI-TV developed a diverse schedule of local programming. It was one of the first television stations to broadcast college-level courses. It also developed children’s programming, including The Magic Window, which would become one of the longest-running programs in the history of television. WOI-TV provided viewers an opportunity to explore the state’s history through a series called Landmarks in Iowa History starring Herb Hake, a professor from the University of Northern Iowa. It brought the citizens of Iowa into some of Iowa’s state institutions, such as the prison system and the mental health facilities, in the award-winning series In Our Care. Viewers could learn from Iowa State faculty as they presented programs on entry-level German in Eins Zwei Drei or beginning chemistry in Chemistry 101. The station also broadcast programs on current affairs and, this being Iowa, on agriculture.

Black-and-white photograph of woman with ahir in updo, wearing dark dress, holding a puppet on her left hand (Betty Lou [McVay] Varnum) on the set of The Magic Window on WOI-TV in 1957. Betty Lou is standing next to a desk and there is another puppet on the desk.

Betty Lou (McVay) Varnum on the set of The Magic Window on WOI-TV, 1957 (University Photographs, RS 5/6).

One of the more successful early programs resulted from a $260,000 grant from the Ford Foundation’s Fund for Adult Education. The resulting project was a series of public affairs programs called The Whole Town’s Talking. The programs, directed by Charles Guggenheim, aired in 1952 and illustrated some of the challenges rural Iowa communities were facing, including school consolidation, juvenile delinquency, and paying for community infrastructure projects. The programs centered around town hall meetings featuring members of the community discussing possible solutions to their community’s needs.

WOI-TV also produced a number of programs sponsored by National Educational Television (NET), the predecessor to PBS. These programs included some mentioned previously aimed at children and college-level instruction (The Magic Window, Eins Zwei Drei), but also other programs focused on international affairs, history, and literature. The Long Voyage brought classical literature to the small screen, Heritage of the Land discussed U.S. land usage and the environment, and Of Men and Ideas dealt with topics of a more abstract nature such as imagination, ethics, and governance.

By 1960, WOI-TV became the ABC affiliate of central Iowa and educational programming became less of a priority. Fortunately, many of these earlier programs survived on 16mm film and were eventually transferred to the ISU Library Special Collections and University Archives. Some of these programs have been digitized and made available online through the department’s YouTube channel. It’s interesting to look back and see how television has changed since those early shows were produced.

 


Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Public Broadcasting Act #PubMedia50 @amarchivepub: Educational Television

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National Educational Television presents The Magic Window program, 1956 [ISU Special Collections and University Archives, WOI-TV]

Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) have joined the American Archive of Public Broadcasting’s month-long celebration of the Public Broadcasting Act’s 50th Anniversary! We’re posting content throughout the month to celebrate the history and preservation of public broadcasting. This is our third post commemorating the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967, and this week we are highlighting the longest-running, locally produced children’s educational television program ever made in America: The Magic Window.

 

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Intro title of The Magic Window, 1954 [ISU Special Collections and University Archives, WOI-TV]

“The Magic Window, which for forty years was hosted by a woman named Betty Lou Varnum. In every episode, Betty Lou would introduce a craft-making segment by announcing the materials needed. These were always kid-safe items that could be found around the house. But the kids had to find everything fast, really fast or Betty Lou would go on without them.” –The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship by Jeffrey Zaslow (Gotham, 2010)

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Frame still from The Magic Window, 1956 [ISU Special Collections and University Archives, WOI-TV]

Betty Lou Varnum was a TV personality at WOI-TV in central Iowa. She began her career in 1954 as host of a program for children, “The Magic Window.” She also hosted other WOI-TV programs “Dimension 5,” “Status 6,” and “Stringer’s Newscast.” Varnum was an announcer for a number of televised VEISHEA parades at Iowa State University and Iowa State Fair parades in Des Moines, Iowa. She retired from WOI-TV in 1994.

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Betty Lou Varnum, host of The Magic Window, 1955 [ISU Special Collections and University Archives, WOI-TV]


Digital Exhibit on Iowa’s State Parks System Now Available!

As the cold days of winter have settled in for many of us, state parks are probably not on many plans for the coming months.  However, there is now an additional option to learn about the history of Iowa’s state parks from the comfort of the indoors. As mentioned in a previous post, the Special Collections and University Archives has an exhibition on display through the end of the year which tells the story of the early state parks movement here in Iowa: “This movement for a more beautiful Iowa”:  The Early Years of Iowa’s State Park System. Unable to visit the exhibition in person?  There’s now an alternative! Digital Initiatives and SCUA are excited to announce that the online version of the state parks exhibit is now available, along with the accompanying Iowa State Parks Digital Collection (which contains digitized materials used in the physical exhibit along with additional materials from SCUA’s collections).

Swimming scene (1903) from what would eventually become Ledges State Park. (from University Photograph Collection, box 377, folder 13)

The online exhibit extends the focus of the physical exhibit to include additional information on the parks system as a whole, the people behind the park names, the role of the Civilian Conservation Corps, and a broader history of the parks’ design, construction, and the natural areas they preserve. There is only so much space for the physical exhibits, so it was satisfying to see some of what we were not able to include in the physical exhibit incorporated into the online version. As one of the curators of the physical exhibit, I was able to work on both the physical exhibit and then the online exhibit. It was a great experience to see how the online exhibit became a companion to – and expanded on – our physical exhibit.

In addition to the images and textual content, the online exhibit also includes some fun interactive aspects including a StoryMap (created using Knight Lab’s StoryMap) which gives a tour of all 55 Iowa State Parks in 2017, in the order of their founding:

…and “quizzes” (but the fun kind – no grading involved!).  The fill-in-the-blank and true/false examples pictured below are from the page on Backbone State Park.

We were also able to add footnotes to the Drupal-based exhibit – which was exciting for us to learn about and to be able to incorporate into the text. For details on how this was done, visit Lori Bousson’s blog post over on the Digital Initiatives and Scholarship blog, DSI Update.

A lot of work goes into the creation of exhibits – both the reading room and online versions, and we hope that at least a few of you have been able to visit it here on the 4th floor of Parks Library.  Thanks to the help of people from across the library, we have been able to make the research, design and work of the physical exhibit available online for people to view across the world – with no closing date!