Johnny Orr’s “greatest victory ever as a coach”

Johnny Orr, Iowa State University men’s basketball coach from 1980-1994, joined the Cyclone Nation at a difficult time for the men’s basketball program; the team was struggling to maintain coaches and had not been to an NCAA tournament since 1944.  Within four short seasons, Johnny Orr led Iowa State to the second round of the 1984 NCAA tournament against his former team and staff at the University of Michigan. Orr was the head coach at University of Michigan for 12 years and chose to leave for the struggling ISU program with a pay raise of $11,335. Bill Fieder, the 1984 Michigan head coach, served as Orr’s assistant coach in 1976 when the Wolverines progressed to the NCAA Final Four. Orr was more than excited to go up against his old colleague and stated that he was “sure when we get on the court together, we’ll have something to say to each other.”

This is a photograph of Johnny Orr, 1990. University Photograph Collection, box 1764

This is a photograph of Johnny Orr, 1990.
University Photograph Collection, box 1764

On March 16, 1984, Iowa State defeated the University of Michigan, ranked 5th in the nation at that time, 72-69. Johnny Orr told the Des Moines Register that this was his “greatest victory ever as a coach,” even though he had 339 victories and sent a team to the Division 1 national championship. He later stated, “We took a program that couldn’t do anything. Everybody thought I was nutty. But now we’ve beat Michigan.”

Unfortunately, the Cyclones fell to North Carolina State in the next round, 70-66, and were knocked out of the tournament. After retiring from ISU men’s basketball after 14 years, Johnny Orr attended his very last Iowa State game November 17, 2013, once again beating Michigan 77-70.

For more information on ISU men’s basketball and Johnny Orr, come see the Men’s Basketball Media Guides, RS 24/5/0/6, and the Men’s Basketball Subject Files, RS 24/5/1, here at the Iowa State Special Collections and University Archives.


The 1953 Homecoming Riot

‘The great homecoming riot’ of 1953 is by far one of Iowa State’s most memorable student riots. Victory over Missouri University Saturday night, October 17, 1953, led students to storm President Hilton’s front yard and protest for classes to be canceled Monday. The Des Moines Tribune estimated 300-400 students were in attendance, and when they discovered that Hilton was not home, they took to the streets. Over 2,000 students, mostly males, flooded federal highway 30, now Lincoln Way, as well as Sixth Street and Thirteenth Street at 10 pm Sunday night. Some men took to the women’s dormitories to rally more students and had to fight off Birch Hall’s chef, Mrs. Ruth Kallem.

Phi Delta Theta House Homecoming Lawn Display

Phi Delta Theta House Homecoming Lawn Display, 1953. University Photographs, RS 22/7/G, Box 1651.

The riot began with students congregating together to chant and protest class on Monday, but they built into a sort of anarchy lasting 4 1/2 hours. Twenty Ames police officers were called to the scene, but with such an overwhelming amount of students, they called in forty more law enforcers from central Iowa. Students retaliated by throwing eggs and pumpkins at officials, leading officers to throw tear gas into the crowd to try to remove students from the area. They were unsuccessful. Students began to toss gas cans back at the officers along with eggs and pumpkins.

In the midst of the riots, students built a barricade on Lincoln Way constructed of piping, lumber, and homecoming displays to resist police and prevent cars from entering. A caterpillar tractor was used to transfer material and became part of the barricade, because no Iowa riot is complete without a tractor! Students shook cars and buses that made it through the barricades and also took over a semi truck and blew its horn throughout the night. Fire hydrants were also opened and flooded the street. The police distanced themselves from the riot, hoping it would calm down on its own. This happened around 2am. The only arrest from the event was Rolf Frankfurter, 22, found trying to break into a hall, first expressing he was simply going “to try the door” but later stating that he was trying to get information from the building.  Police chief Orville Erickson stated that this was the worst demonstration he’s seen since he joined the force, and called the students “just plain nuts” rather than being resentful.

Marching band performing at 1953 Homecoming game

Marching band performing at 1953 Homecoming game. University Slide Collection, RS 22/7/G, Box 57.

Come Monday morning, students returned to class as if it were any other day, but that night nearly 3,000 students flooded President Hilton’s yard and demanded Tuesday to be a holiday. Hilton then said he would not give them Tuesday off but if they beat Nebraska on November 7, he would dismiss classes. They lost. In reaction to the riots, President Hilton stated in the Des Moines Tribune that, “I don’t feel you can penalize kids for having enthusiasm after their team wins the homecoming game.” Life Magazine arrived at Iowa State to take photographs of the riot and published them in the November 2nd issue. This featured the barricade, police officers confronting students, and homecoming lawn displays. On October 5, 1954, the Iowa State administration board approved homecoming to be from Friday at noon to Monday at noon that year, if in fact they won the homecoming game.

For more information on the 1953 Homecoming riot, stop by the Special Collections and University Archives and look through newspaper articles in the James H. Hilton Papers, RS 02/10.


70 Years On: Significance of the Army-Navy “E” Award

In late 1945, Iowa State College (University) was bestowed an honor for service in World War II that some today may not expect: the Army-Navy “E” Flag for Excellence in Production, an award usually given to industry for excellence in production of war materials during times of great need. With the 70th anniversary of Iowa State’s reception of this award coming up, and Special Collections’ recent discovery of photo-negatives from the event, it’s interesting to look back on the significance of receiving this award, and try to understand the context in which Iowa State participated in the war effort.

The once-secret Manhattan District (Project), commanded by Major General Leslie Groves throughout much of the war, was a collaborative research and developmental project between the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom to produce the first atomic bombs in WWII. It began in 1939 with the discovery of atomic fission, and with that, research, manufacturing, and testing sites began to be utilized in secret locations and laboratories across the three countries, with one of those sites being Iowa State and what would become the Ames Laboratory.

A view of the ceremony held for receiving the award. The event was put on in the Iowa State College (University) State Gym. (Negative #118174, University Photographs)

A view of the ceremony held for receiving the award. The event was put on in the Iowa State College (University) State Gym. (Negative #118174, University Photographs)

The connection to Iowa State began in 1941, when Frank H. Spedding, a Canadian chemist and Iowa State professor who specialized in rare earth metals, was asked to work on research regarding the fledging Manhattan Project for the purpose of producing high-purity uranium from uranium ore. Spedding accepted and ended up directing the Ames Project for the rest of the war. The greatest achievement under Spedding’s direction was associate project director in the metallurgy division Harley A. Wilhelm’s perfection of what is now known as the Ames Process. The Ames Process used a uranium purification method patented in 1895 by German chemist Hans Goldschmidt that had previously been extremely costly and inefficient, but Wilhelm discovered a way of tweaking it to produce large ingots of pure uranium from uranium ore with hugely reduced production costs. This allowed for Iowa State’s “Little Ankeny” plant to produce more than 1,000 tons of metallic uranium for the Manhattan Project over the course of two and a half years before industrial companies took over at the conclusion of the war.

Flag received at the ceremony. Figure holding the flag on the left is Maj. Gen. Leslie R. Groves. Each star represents six months worth of meeting assigned production of war materials. (negative #118186, University Photographs)

Flag received at the ceremony. Figure holding the flag on the left is Maj. Gen. Leslie R. Groves. Each star represents six months’ worth of meeting assigned production of war materials. (Negative #118186, University Photographs)

Although one of the smaller sites important to the Manhattan Project, Iowa State’s research and production of rare metals was paramount to success in the undertaking into nuclear technology. The Ames Process ended up being a key manufacturing process used to obtain high-purity uranium in a number of other outlets and research sites, and made it possible, after it’s perfection, to produce more for significantly lower cost. This greatly sped up the war effort on the atomic front and may have led to the United States truly being ready to utilize nuclear weapons when it did.

When Iowa State was presented with this award, it was rare for a university or college to receive it, as it was usually given instead to industrial companies that showed a great aptitude for manufacturing of war materials. But even under the guise of secrecy with no presumption of ever being recognized for their efforts, Iowa State’s scientists showed outstanding performance in production of materials vital to Allied success in WWII, thus granting us the Army-Navy “E” Award that now firmly stands to cement Iowa State into the history of one of mankind’s most dangerous yet bold achievements.


ISU Theatre celebrates 100 years

The following post was written by former student employee Samantha Koontz before she finished up her work with us at the end of last semester. This post accompanies the exhibit she created. Stop by Special Collections to view the exhibit!

Fredrica Shattuck in 1900.

Fredrica Shattuck in 1900.

In 1914 Fredrica Shattuck, head of Public Speaking at Iowa State, founded the Iowa State Players so that students could participate in public performances. She also founded “The Little Country Theatre” which performed at the Iowa State Fair from 1921 to 1926. She was instrumental in obtaining a laboratory theater workspace for students to practice and perform in. The Theater Workshop, formerly a campus sheep barn, served as the home of the Iowa State Players for many years. It was renamed Shattuck Theater in 1960. Shattuck relinquished her position as department head in 1931 but remained on as a teacher at Iowa State College.

The Theater Workshop, renamed to the Shattuck Theater in 1960.

The Theater Workshop, renamed to the Shattuck Theater in 1960.

As the years progressed, many department heads came and went, each bringing something new to the department. ISU Theatre has performed works by Shakespeare, musicals, comedies and student produced works. In the department’s early years, the Iowa State Players performed in Curtiss Hall Auditorium and The Theater Workshop, later renamed the Shattuck Theater. Throughout the years, students and professors alike have put their blood, sweat and tears into productions here at Iowa State in an effort to tell the best story they could. Currently the department pursues this with great vigor and performs their works in Fisher Theater along with the Student Produced Show in Pearson Hall.

ISU Theater productions, clockwise from left: "The Boys in the Band," 1971 in Curtiss Hall Auditorium; "Summertree," 1971 in Shattuck Theater; "The Tempest," 1923.

ISU Theater productions, clockwise from left: “The Boys in the Band,” 1971 in Curtiss Hall Auditorium; “Summertree,” 1971 in Shattuck Theater; “The Tempest,” 1923.

The auditorium and exterior of Fisher Theater, completed in 1974.

The auditorium and exterior of Fisher Theater, completed in 1974.

Here at Special Collections there are many scrapbooks containing news clippings, photographs and playbills of productions for each season up in to the 1980s (see Kathryn Eames Papers, RS 13/23/52). These scrapbooks show how theater was done in the past and are great reminders of the history of the department. The archives also contain correspondence from Fredrica Shattuck, information on other faculty members of the department as well as playbills and information on the shows that were produced throughout the years (see Fredrica V. Shattuck Papers, RS 13/23/51 and the Theatre Production Records, RS 13/23/3). Two of the most performed shows here at Iowa State University are Our Town and Crimes of the Heart, each of which was performed 4 times. Crimes of the Heart just closed on the Fisher Theater stage in November 2014 after its 4th run.

Left to right: Playbill for "Candida," 1925; news clipping about production of "Love and Honor: Iowa in the Civil War," 2008; photo from performance of "Rent" in  Fisher Theater, 2012; rehearsal schedule for "Henry IV, Part I," undated.

Left to right: Playbill for “Candida,” 1925; news clipping about production of “Love and Honor: Iowa in the Civil War,” 2008; photo from performance of “Rent” in Fisher Theater, 2012; rehearsal schedule for “Henry IV, Part I,” undated.

This year, for the 100th anniversary of ISU Theatre, the season looks to highlight the past, present and future of ISU Theatre. They have selected shows they have performed in the past such as Crimes of the Heart, Love and Honor: Iowa in the Civil War and A Christmas CarolTo honor the present, shows that have never been performed here will hit Fisher Theater’s stage, including Les Miserables, On The Verge, and Spring Awakening. With the gala performance on November 15th, the department celebrated both its past and its future. Alumni and students came together to perform – showing people what theater has been with the alumni and what it will become with the current students.

Into the Woods was performed in 2014 as the Stars Over Veishea performance. It was canceled mid-run due to the cancellation of Veishea.

Into the Woods was performed in 2014 as the Stars Over Veishea performance. It was canceled mid-run due to the cancellation of Veishea.

To see more from the ISU Theatre Program Records, stop by Special Collections!


Philip McConnell Scrapbook: A Retrospective on WWI

“We’ve been given a glimpse of the ensuing years,
And these are a few of our hopes and our fears.”

It’s hard to imagine how Philip McConnell, an Iowa State College (University) student in Agricultural Engineering 1914-1917, felt when writing these lines – part of a poem he composed in 1915 – and whether he could have predicted just how large of a ‘glimpse’ it really was. With the recent centenary of the Great War, it’s interesting to look at just how much the young people of the early 20th century – Iowa State alums included – would end up going through over the course of their lives.

My name is Andrew Fackler and I am a freshman at Iowa State University who recently began working as a Student Assistant here in the Special Collections Department. One of the first pieces I was tasked with processing is a scrapbook (circa 1914-1922) created by a former student named Philip Cecil McConnell. McConnell arrived at Iowa State in the autumn of 1914 – right after the onset of World War I (WWI) in Europe. The collection, RS 21/7/260, documents his life from arrival at Iowa State through his eventual draft into the Armed Forces and into his post-war acceptance to the University of California. The ability to view what an Iowa State student’s life was like 100 years ago is truly inspirational, and the scrapbook that McConnell produced captures this time in history beautifully.

Cover of Philip McConnell's scrapbook containing his college seal. Circling text reads "Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts." Center text reads "Science with Practice." RS 21/7/260, box 1.

Cover of Philip McConnell’s scrapbook featuring the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts seal. (RS 21/7/260, box 1)

McConnell was a student in the former College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts and a member of the Dramatic Club and the Glee Club. His scrapbook documents many of the fun times he had with friends during his Iowa State years, not unlike the students of today. Though he would only attend Iowa State for a couple years before America entered WWI, when McConnell was drafted into the military and sent for training at Fort Snelling, Minnesota.

An entry in Philip McConnell's scrapbook highlighting his new journey from Ames to Fort Snelling. RS 21/7/260, box 1.

An entry in Philip McConnell’s scrapbook highlighting his sudden journey from Ames to Fort Snelling. Text reads “The rookie goes from [ISC] to [Fort Snelling].” (RS 21/7/260, box 1)

McConnell’s adventure at Iowa State ended there, but his journey was far from over. Soon after basic training at Fort Snelling, Philip was sent to Nice, France, and spent about a year of training and working there as the war wore to an eventual end. McConnell survived the conflict, but surely the effect of being part of something so large and foreign at such a young age stuck with him.

Training for the Reserve Corps at a school in Nice, France. Philip is pointed out by the blue arrow. Note the bikes that student soldiers used. RS 21/7/260, box 1.

Training for the Reserve Corps at a school in Nice, France. Philip is pointed out by the blue arrow. Note the bikes that students used to get around. (RS 21/7/260, box 1)

The war eventually came to an end when an armistice was signed in November, 1918, and McConnell was honorably discharged from the Reserve Corps in France in February, 1919. Philip returned to Iowa but would not return to Iowa State. In 1920, McConnell was admitted to the University of California, where he finished his education in 1922. He stayed in California until his passing at the age of 99 in 1995.

McConnell’s life is one of hundreds of millions directly affected by the destructive events of the early 1900s, though not all were documented so well. Philip would go on to see the world ravaged by many more foreign conflicts over the years, as well as other dramatic changes in American culture. Although Philip’s story may not be unfamiliar, it comes to us in the form of a tactile document that concretely connects Iowa State to one of the greatest events in world history, and one that should be remembered.

In his scrapbook, McConnell included his letters of both draft and honorable discharge. Much of the collection includes notes about the images and McConnell’s feelings about them, but he wrote very little of the war itself. The only comment he included about the war is the haunting message:

“Censorship makes the war look pleasant.”

I believe this quote to be disquieting, but it also shows a complex side of humanity. There’s much to be learned from the people of the past, and part of what makes the archives wonderful is its commitment to ensuring those voices will still be heard another hundred years from now.


Perry Holden in the Field

As the corn crops continue to grow here in Iowa, we decided it would be a good time to do a little “detasseling” of the new digital Extension collection and offer you a teaser! The photo below is one of the most popular and often requested images in the collection. It features Perry G. Holden and a companion perusing a young corn crop.

holden

Holden was a leading name in agricultural education during the early 1900s. He established the Corn Train, and played a major role in the first short courses as an educator and administrator. His work with corn ultimately improved Iowa’s corn crops dramatically, and have greatly influenced how the crops are tended today. For more information on the Extension Service and P. G. Holden, visit the collections page and the Reflections on ISU Extension collection.

 


Reflections on ISU Extension – New Collection!

It’s my last day as the Silos & Smokestacks intern in the ISU Special Collections! The collection has really come together. Everything is being finalized and all of the pieces I have been working and collaborating on in the past ten weeks are coming together to form a cohesive concept.

This new collection is currently comprised of 57 items. There are several reports, letters, addresses, and photographs, as well as a video. Everything is arranged by subject, but there is also a document guide that can assist in navigating the collection for those that would like a condensed experience. It features 18 highlights that outline the fundamental aspects of the early Extension Service and its impact on Iowa. One of my favorite parts is the timeline. It is in the shape of an ear of corn, and the important dates and events are presented as kernels on the ear. Hovering over each dated kernel will reveal a pop-up box of information about each date.

There are also a few items within the collection that stand out for me. The first is an advertisement from the Boys’ Working Reserve. It would have circulated during the First World War, and was aimed primarily at those who were too young to join the armed forces, but old enough to travel to work. The advertisement is still in very good condition given its age, and the historical context is really quite interesting as it pertains to both World War I and the Extension Service.

Another favorite of mine is the Diary of the Seed Corn Train. It serves as a practical record for the Corn Train – where it stopped and who lectured – but it also introduces an element of humor into the collection. Many of the entries include remarks on the crowds or notable events that stuck out to the instructors as they traveled. In reading through the entries, one gets a keen sense of the personalities of the instructors and how they interacted with each other. As these people and events are referred to in other documents, those remarks introduce that much more dimension to the overall experience.

I think this will be a great addition to the digital collections already available, and there is plenty of potential for it to be expanded in the future. Until then, have fun investigating the Digital Collections home page and the Reflections on ISU Extension collection!


Greetings from a recent addition!

Salutations blog-readers!

I’m Hillary H., the new Silos and Smokestacks intern working in the ISU Special Collections. I’m here for the summer from the School of Library and Information Science at UNC-Chapel Hill where I’m working on my MS in Library Science (concentration in  Archives and Records Management). I’ve worked with rare books previously, and have several years experience in the used book business.

In my work here, I’ll be putting together an online collection about the early Extension work in Iowa. It will have a special emphasis on the agricultural work done by the Extension Service and the impact it had on the lives of Iowa’s farmers.

Lots of progress has been made already. Thus far I’ve gone through nearly one hundred folders of material, and not only have I found dozens of pieces that have potential to make it into the digital collection, I have also found several references I never anticipated seeing anywhere outside of my hometown. For instance, Walter Hines Page was a name I’d only ever seen in relation to my high school (it’s named after him), but I recently found a few comments about Page and comments about one of the national committees he had served on. It is definitely not what I had expected to find in Iowa, but it’s interesting nonetheless.

In addition to the aforementioned findings, there has already been some preliminary designing of the website, and conservation work is set to begin in the next day or so.

Expect another update from me soon!

Hillary H.

DSCN2282


Call for Applications: Summer Digitization Project Internship – Silos & Smokestacks Agricultural Heritage Intern

Through a generous grant from the Silos & Smokestacks Agricultural Heritage Internship Grant Program, the Special Collections and Preservation Departments of the Iowa State University Library are offering a summer internship. The Silos & Smokestacks Agricultural Heritage Internship is a full-time, 10-week project position to develop a digital collection on Iowa State’s early Extension movement and create content for an interpretive website.  We will be accepting applications through Friday, April 18th.  For more information, please visit our website:

http://www.add.lib.iastate.edu/spcl/about/news_items/internship.html


Reliving Old Memories

ISU Marching Band at the Football Game, 1953

Homecoming festivities for 2010 have begun!  Despite the incredibly windy weather, the lawn displays are up, and the food and tents are starting to be set up.  Homecoming celebrations have existed here at ISU for many years.  Alumni first began celebrating homecoming at Iowa State in 1912, and ever since that first official homecoming event alumni have been coming back to Iowa State to celebrate and participate in its traditions ever since.  Our university photograph collection contains quite a number of homecoming images, and we recently scanned and added a number of these to Flickr.  One of our students, Hana, did a wonderful job of adding metadata (descriptions) to these images.  As another American Archives Month feature on this blog, below is her perspective of the project (to read about another student’s perspective of Special Collections, read this previous post).

Homecoming refreshments, 1956

My assignment: to caption old photographs of Iowa State’s Homecoming.  I was intrigued, mainly because it was a nice break from my usual work in Special Collections.  Opening up the box, it was quaint to see old black and white photographs of people in typical 1950s gear talking, laughing, eating, dancing-the conventional college homecoming festivities.  But it was a simple picture of parents eating coffee and doughnuts at a reception in the armory that really made me stop and think “Wow, what a completely different world we live in now.”  Back then, homecoming activities did not have the “cheesy” connotation that they do now.  Pep rallies, bonfires, giant posters-students sincerely enjoyed showing their school spirit.  The coffee and doughnuts picture, in some subtle way, allowed me to glimpse how people could enjoy life with such simplicity.  This is something I very much admire from that time, over 50 years ago, and even though I obviously never lived in the 1950s, I felt a sense of nostalgia; a longing to live in that era. Now, when I go to work tomorrow, I will again be able to immerse myself in “traditional” college student life and re-live those old memories.

Hana at work checking our rare book collection.

If you would like to relive some of those old memories yourself, as Hana describes above, please visit our Homecoming images on Flickr.  We also have a film with highlights (in two parts) from the football season of 50 years ago (1960) on our YouTube Channel (the videos are also available below).  One of our online exhibits also has a brief history of homecoming and Cy.  In addition, there is quite a significant collection of homecoming records in our University Archives.  The finding aid, which includes a brief history of Iowa State’s homecoming activities, is available online.  And, finally, come visit us up here on the 4th floor of Parks Library to view our current exhibit on Iowa State football, Ev’ry Yard for ISU.

Part 1 of 1960 football highlights:

Part 2 of 1960 football highlights: