Working the Corner of Yesterday and Tomorrow

When I was a kid schoolteachers used slide projectors quite a bit. Slides and transparencies are very easy to use. Film projectors and reels are a little trickier, but those were commonly used as well. Some instructors were still using these media when I was earning my degrees (roughly 1995 to 2007). Doing so could make sense: not all topics are subject to change, and if the teaching aids and apparatus are durable, why not use that slide show on Renaissance art for 20 years?

Working in archives often means working with outmoded technology and information-bearing media. It’s interesting that while archivists are not stuck in the past — we use cutting-edge tools, we collect and preserve modern stuff — archivists can never forget about the old media, machinery, methods, and materials. All that is donated to (and actively collected by) institutions like archives, museums, and special libraries.

Today I will blog about glass slides and the projectors that love them. ISU Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) has more than one set of glass slides, but our largest set of them is part of the Warren H. Manning Papers (manuscript collection MS 218). Manning (1860-1938) was a giant in the realm of landscape architecture. Photography was one of his favorite tools. Among other things, SCUA’s Manning collection includes over 2000 glass “lantern slides” and over 1000 photographic prints made from the slides. Take a look — 1554 images are online here. Quite a few are of scant interest to laypeople, but there are interesting and beautiful ones too:

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Taken at Ishpeming, Michigan. William G. Mather house before planting. No date. Manning lantern slide #489. Image ID 218.LS.489.

The word “lantern” in “lantern slides” sounds a bit archaic, doesn’t it? When I think of lanterns, I think of wicks and flames, not light bulbs. Similarly, some people — Brits, possibly others — refer to flashlights as “electric torches” or just “torches,” a usage I find appealing. Lantern slide projectors use bulbs, but they are descended from magic lanterns. The basic idea is very old and requires nothing more than a source of light (the brighter the better) and something to shine it through (not necessarily a photograph: stained glass invites comparison). In this way it reminds me of the camera obscura. What could be simpler, and yet so pregnant with possibilities?

dilineascope-side-2

A Spencer “Delineascope” glass slide projector, one of several that SCUA owns. Made in the 1920s. Was used for instructional purposes at ISU.

Of course, making glass slides with photographic images on them is a 19th century development. While archives and collectors should take good care of the slides, and maintain some projectors of the same vintage, we have an interest in reformatting the images. Glass slides are heavy and fragile. The projector pictured above is very heavy (take my word for it). Most people do not need to use the originals; photographic prints and digitized versions are usually better options. We pursue the same strategy when we offer facsimiles of rare books and manuscripts. Certain researchers need to see the real artifacts, and within reason we love to show them off.

The work of reformatting information resources takes as many forms as there are types of media. Consider that some things can be viewed with the naked eye, while others require an intermediary device (such as a projector). Computer programs and data storage are an extreme case; since the “goalposts” have moved so quickly, meeting requirements for preserving and accessing legacy digital resources is a daunting challenge.

Being a musician I am tempted to digress into digital audio reformatting and related topics, but I’ll save those thoughts for another time.

 


Basketball: Iowa State versus Kansas 60 Years Ago #TBT

Wilt Chamberlain (Kansas #13)

From University Photograph Collection, 24/5/G, box 1817

This Saturday, January 14th, marks the 60th anniversary of a well-remembered game in Iowa State’s basketball history: Iowa State versus Kansas. Both teams had players which would go on to have major professional basketball careers:  Gary Thompson (Iowa State, #20) and Wilt Chamberlain (Kansas, #13). In the photograph above, Chamberlain is attempting to make a basket while Thompson guards on the floor.

It was an exciting game, with Iowa State beating Kansas, 39-37. At the very end, Don Medsker made the winning basket. The game was Chamberlain’s first loss in college basketball. In celebration of the win, Iowa State fans invaded the Armory’s floor after the game.

A number of images documenting the game are now available in Digital Collections. Although we don’t have a program from the game (please contact us if you’d be willing to donate one!), we do have news clippings from that year in RS 24/5/0/0, box 1, folder 1, a folder of materials on Gary Thompson (RS 21/7/1), and the book “Gary Thompson, All-American” by Gary Offenburger.  Additional men’s basketball records are also available in the University Archives.


Looking Back on the 1960s

This is the first in a series of posts about Iowa State University during the 1960s.

Exploring The Chart: Rules and Regulations for Women

This past semester I had the pleasure of assisting a history class interested in studying student life during the 1960s here at Iowa State. For this type of research there are many great places to start in the archives. The Bomb, Iowa State’s yearbook, and other student publications like the Iowa State Daily and the Iowa Homemaker offer lots of opportunities to explore college life throughout the years. For some reason, maybe due to the relative lack of formal rules imposed upon my youth, I find myself fascinated by the regulations that governed student conduct on campus. The best place to find these rules for Iowa State students of the 1960s is in the student handbook, which at this time was called The Chart.

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This is an undated image of Linden Hall, originally built as a women’s dormitory. Photograph from box 487, Linden Hall, RS 7/4/I, University Photograph Collection.

The 1959/1961 issue of The Chart provides a clear picture of what was expected from students at Iowa State, especially women, during the start of the 1960s. At this time men and women were housed in separate dormitories on opposite sides of campus. There were also far more restrictions on women than men. In 1960, all undergraduate women had to live in residence halls or sorority houses except under special circumstances approved by administration. The Chart details very specifically the times when women must be in their residence halls. Freshman women had to be home by 9:00 pm most weeknights whereas sophomores and up were able to stay out until the wee hour of 10:00 pm. Friday and Saturday nights the women were granted leave until midnight and 12:30 am respectively. For special events women were allowed extended hours, but this was only for a handful of events such as Homecoming, VEISHEA, and annual dances.

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No car rides without a letter from your parents! This undated photograph shows several cars parked outside Linden Hall. Photograph from box 487, Linden Hall, RS 7/4/I, University Photograph Collection.

Another example of some of the strict rules for women involved visitations and travels. Any woman student intending to be away from the residence hall later than 6:00 pm had to “sign out” and any time a woman planned to leave town for any reason, she had to secure permission from the residence director. A letter of approval for out-of-town travel and for all car trips required a written letter of approval from the student’s parents! The handbook quite emphatically denied any women from entering the residence of a male student unless she was an immediate family member such as a mother or sister–and even then this was allowed only during certain times.

 

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This image shows members of Lowe House in Westgate Hall during the 1969 winter quarter. These women would be among the first at Iowa State to reside in a dormitory previously housing only men. Image taken from a Lowe House scrapbook located in Box 8 of the Union Drive Houses records, RS 7/4/4.

By the end of the decade, some of these strict rules started to soften just a bit. For one thing, in 1968 women and men started living in the same buildings, though still on separate houses/floors. Also, women were allowed as guests into men’s rooms, though hours restricted these visits to Saturdays and Sundays only. In a surprising twist they were allowed to meet with the door closed! An interesting rule that appears in the Guide to Resident Hall Living for 1969 that didn’t appear in the earlier Chart were regulations regarding the proper location for sun bathing.

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The student handbook, The Chart, for 1969-1971. Archives books call number LD2535.8 I58x

It’s important to note that these types of rules were not unique to Iowa State. In many ways these regulations were not much changed from those established at the school a century earlier. It wasn’t until the students themselves started agitating for greater equality and freedom that things started to change. The archives has many official and published records documenting student life in the 1960s at Iowa State, but relatively little from the individual students themselves. We are always interested in speaking with former students and alumni willing to donate materials documenting their personal adventure at Iowa State, so feel free to give us a call!


#TBT George Washington Carver

On this day in 1943, George Washington Carver, arguably Iowa State’s most famous alumnus, died. The iconic scientist’s research resulted in the creation of hundreds of products derived from plants. His products and his farming methods transformed the rural ecomony, helping farmers and their land flourish. Today, we honor him for his achievements and the impact they have made on the world.

George W. Carver I.A.C. Class '94. Taken in 1893. This was Carver's graduation picture, which appeared in the 1894 Bomb, Iowa State's yearbook. The same picture appears in the faculty section of the 1896 Bomb, when he was Assistant Botanist in the Agricultural Experiment Station from 1894-96.

Photograph of George W. Carver I.A.C. Class ’94. Taken in 1893. This was Carver’s graduation picture, which appeared in the 1894 Bomb, Iowa State’s yearbook. The same picture appears in the faculty section of the 1896 Bomb, when he was Assistant Botanist in the Agricultural Experiment Station from 1894-96.

To learn more about George Washington Carver, view the guide to his collection and come to Special Collections and University Archives in-person and see his papers in our reading room. To see a great selection of his papers, browse his digital collection. Learn more about Iowa State University Library’s digital collections. You will have guaranteed hours of enjoyment.

 

“There is no short cut to achievement. Life requires thorough preparation – veneer isn’t worth anything.” George Washington Carver


Artifacts in the Archives – Thankful for What We’ve Got!

Today’s blog post is another collaborative post about different artifacts and collections we are happy to have here at Special Collections & University Archives at Iowa State University. Usually we reserve these posts for artifacts, but there are some collections from University Archives we are very grateful for, so they are also included. If you’re interested in reviewing any of the materials below, drop by, we’re open Monday-Friday from 9-5. This week we’re closed, though, on Thursday & Friday. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Artifacts

29-inch Hard drive

Accession no. is 2009-R0001 hard drive removed from the university’s Hitachi Data System main frame computer before it was discarded. This hard disc contains the library’s NOTIS database [online public access catalog] from 1990-1998.

Accession no. is 2009-R0001 29″ wide hard drive removed from the University’s Hitachi Data System main frame computer before it was discarded. This hard disc contains the library’s NOTIS database [online public access catalog] from 1990-1998.

From Chris Anderson, Descriptive Records Project Archivist

According to the note it’s stored with, this thing is a “hard drive removed from the university’s Hitachi Data System main frame computer before it was discarded. This hard disc contains the library’s NOTIS database [online public access catalog] from 1990-1998.”

This hard drive represents important aspects of the work of the information professionals who came before us. As a cataloger for ISU Special Collections and University Archives, I am grateful for their efforts. I am reminded that it’s important to do a good job, whether or not anyone notices in the short term. In my line of work, the insights and diligence of people who have retired or passed away are inescapable. It’s almost like those people are still here, shaping what I can accomplish before I “pass the baton.”

When libraries first started using computers, the staff transcribed bibliographic information from card catalogs. Many millions of cards were reborn as electronic records. Some of those electronic records ended up on the hard drive pictured above, before being transferred to another system. In other words, the bibliographic information you see today may be new, or it may have had a long history. What if a now-discarded paper card contained information adapted from an old bibliography, or a bookseller’s catalog? That’s not terribly likely or consequential, you might say. But in bringing it up, I’ve opened a jumbo can of worms, because while we have fancy technology, our conceptual tools for arranging and describing resources remain rooted in the past. I see form and content, evolving in tandem, before we can understand the implications. I see old wine in new bottles, and vice versa … and then I begin to think I should get back to my more mundane work.

Political Buttons

Political button "Full Suffrage For Women" (Artifact 2002-R001.006)

Political button “Full suffrage for women” (Artifact 2002-R001.006)

From Whitney Olthoff, Project Archivist

The artifact I’m most thankful for is a women’s suffrage pin which says “Full Suffrage for Women” (2002-R001.006). It’s not so much the pin itself I’m thankful for, but what it represents. Thanks to the women who marched and wore pins like this one, I am able to vote today. Thanks to them, millions of people who before were not allowed to, are able to make their voices heard. This and several other suffragette artifacts came from Carrie Chapman Catt, women’s rights activist, suffragette, and Iowa State alumna.

 

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From Rachel Seale, Outreach Archivist

I am most thankful for the buttons in support of equal rights for women from the 1970s.  I discovered them while familiarizing myself with our PastPerfect database. There are a variety of slogans included on the buttons. My favorite is “Women are not chicks.” Though women were nationally granted the right to vote in 1920 the Equal Rights Amendment never passed. I am very grateful for all of the work done for women’s rights in the U.S.

 

From Amy Bishop, Rare Books and Manuscripts Archivist

I’m thankful for the Women’s Rights Buttons from the 1970s in Artifact 2001-R002 (pictured earlier as Rachel’s picks) and Artifact 2001-R003 (pictured directly above). These are associated with our University Archives record series for political demonstrations, RS 0/12. I’m thankful for all the women (and men) that have demonstrated and fought for women’s rights over the last one hundred and fifty years or so. Although there are still issues to fight for until we reach equality, I’m grateful for all that the generations before me have done to make the gains that we have.

 

The manhole cover that (almost) got away

Top view of manhole cover, text on cover "Mechanical Engineering Department, Ames, Iowa"

Top view of manhole cover, text on cover “Mechanical Engineering Department, Ames, Iowa” (Artifact Collection unaccessioned)

From Brad Kuennen, University Archivist

The artifact I am most thankful for is one that I didn’t know we had until just recently. Several years ago the archives was offered a manhole cover. Now, this wasn’t just any manhole cover—it was one with a large “ISC” logo on it, the “ISC” standing for Iowa State College. I wasn’t able to find historical information on them, but it seems the manhole covers were created on campus by the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Walking around campus one can find several of them still in use. We were very intrigued by the manhole cover, but we ultimately turned it down because it was large and heavy (by our standards) and would be difficult to display. Honestly, it was a decision that I regretted afterwards. This past summer a colleague of mine was looking through a shelf of artifacts that we had yet to catalog. (I would like to point out that we have only a few of these left.) Covered in the back, behind several other items, was an “ISC” manhole cover! I was rather surprised when she told me about it. At some point in the future this manhole cover will be requested by curious researchers or placed on temporary display—likely presenting several interesting challenges for us. That is a concern for another time, though. Today, I am just thankful to the archivist who took it in so that I can now say that yes, we do indeed have an “ISC” manhole cover in our collection!

 

Diploma Cover, ca. 1960-1969 (Artifact 2015-R034)

Iowa State University Diploma cover (Artifact 2015-R034)

Iowa State University Diploma cover (Artifact 2015-R034)

Petrina Jackson, MA ’94 English, Department Head

I choose the Iowa State University diploma cover because of what it represents: a good, solid education.

Growing up, my parents constantly preached the value of a good education and the importance of earning a college degree. My parents were raised in the American South during the Jim Crow era, and they believed deeply in education as the “great equalizer.” Since they did not get an opportunity to earn college degree themselves, they planted that goal in my brother and me. It was never a choice of if we would go to college; it was always a matter of when we went to college.

Going to college and encountering many new and different ideas and people expanded my world and challenged my assumptions in ways I didn’t anticipate. Most importantly, getting a degree has afforded me career opportunities that I would not have had without it. For this, I am forever grateful.

 

University Archives

Louis H. Pammel Papers

Louis Pammel in the field, 1903 (University Photographs)

Louis Pammel in the field, 1903 (University Photographs)

From Becky Jordan, Reference Specialist

The collection I am most thankful for is the Louis H. Pammel Papers (RS 13/5/13).  Pammel was involved in so many things, and his papers are a reflection of his broad interests.  His correspondence files are a “who’s who” of prominent botanists and educators.  As a member of the College History Committee, he interviewed early staff members, and was able to document the earliest days of the college from those with first-hand knowledge.  He was active in the creation of Iowa’s state park law and was the first President of the Iowa State Board of Conservation, serving from 1918 to 1927.  He worked tirelessly for the field of botany, for Iowa State, and the community.  His students were of primary concern to him, particularly foreign students.  He helped form the local chapter of the Cosmopolitan Club, and also began a Science Club and established Botanical Seminars for senior students in Botany.  A devoted family man—he and Augusta Emmel Pammel had six children—he was also a mainstay at the Episcopal Church, St. John’s by the Campus.  No matter what I am looking for when I work with his papers, I always learn something new.

 

Alumni Files, RS 21/7/1

Arthur Carhart's file, he graduated from Iowa State in 1916. File folder open and sitting in front of document box.

Arthur Carhart’s file, he graduated from Iowa State in 1916.

From Laura Sullivan, Collections Archivist

I am reminded again and again how thankful I am for our collection of alumni files, RS 21/7/1.  These are files on a variety of Iowa State’s alumni for which we do not hold individual collections (for these, see the listing under RS 21/7 http://archives.lib.iastate.edu/collections/university-archives/by-department/rs-21-alumni-affairs).  The alumni files were originally maintained by the Alumni Association before they were transferred to the university archives in the early 1970s.  Throughout the years since then, when we find information about Iowa State’s graduates, we will add this material to their file – or create a new file if one does not already exist.  The files contain a whole variety of documents including news clippings, articles, letters, and photographs.  One of my favorite records in these files are from the original files of the Alumni Association – questionnaires which were sent to alumni to update the association on our alum’s activities and pursuits.  Pictured above is the file we have on Arthur Carhart, who graduated from Iowa State in 1916.

 

 


Behind the Scenes – Homecoming 2016

Have you ever wondered what it takes to put together a pop-up exhibit? Last Friday, Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA) exhibited about two dozen items for three hours for Iowa State’s Homecoming. The temporary exhibit was open to the public, but our focus was alumni visiting for Homecoming. Today’s post is about our process.

Dry Run

Back in mid-August, we invited the Alumni Center to drop by and see what items we thought we’d include in the October Homecoming exhibit. This dry run entailed staff from the department brainstorming on what items would be best to put on exhibit and what order they should be displayed. Labels were made and the classroom was rearranged into an exhibit space. Heather Botine, Associate Director for Constituent Engagement, dropped by and gave us feedback on how we set the room up and what kinds of materials may engage alumni more. We also discussed what reproductions SCUA could provide for digital display over at the Alumni Center.

Heather Botine, Associate Director for Constituent Engagement, looks at our oldest book with Amy Bishop, Rare Book and Manuscripts Archivist. University Archivist, Brad Kuennen, and Collections Archivist, Laura Sullivan, in background.

Heather Botine, Associate Director for Constituent Engagement, looks at our oldest book with Amy Bishop, Rare Book and Manuscripts Archivist. University Archivist, Brad Kuennen, and Collections Archivist, Laura Sullivan, in background (Photo by Rachel Seale)

Two weeks out

We made sure to promote our Homecoming event in the library and in our social media. We enlisted the help of Monica Gillen, the Communication Specialist for the library, and Jody Kalvik, Instruction, Program Coordinator. Monica helped get the word out and Jody designed flyers, posters, a banner, and our signage.

The week before before Homecoming

We did one last practice run. We tweaked our list of items on display and took into account Heather’s set-up advice. We also invited Sonya Barron, Conservator, to drop by. Sonya ensured our items were sturdy enough to display, offered to provide mounts, and advised us how to safely display materials. We also made final decisions on what would be in the temporary exhibit and what order we wanted to display items, there was some rearrangement.  Pictures were taken of materials so we’d know how to set up the following week.

Two of our rare books propped up in book cradles (Photo b Rachel Seale)

Two of our rare books propped up in book cradles (Photo by Rachel Seale)

The week of Homecoming

Now that we had our exhibit finalists, we had to finish drafting and mounting the labels.

Friday of Homecoming!

We spent the morning setting up and our doors opened at 1 pm. We were so pleased at the opportunity to show off our treasures.

Thank you to everyone who visited us last Friday at 405 Parks Library. To those that missed seeing our treasures on display, drop by and see us sometime. We’re open from 9-5, Monday-Friday.


Celebrate World Food Day! @WorldFoodDayUSA #WFD2016

Today is World Food Day, established in 1979 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). World Food Day  celebrates the creation of the FAO. On October 16, 1945, FAO was created in Quebec, Canada, in order to end hunger and manage the global food system.

Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA) would like to highlight the Norman E. Borlaug Papers in honor of World Food Day.

In 1959, Borlaug joined the FAO. Four years later, in 1963, with inspiration from Mexican President Lopez Mateos and funding from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, Borlaug was involved in the development of the Mexico-based International Center for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT) and served as the director of its wheat program.

During the 1960s, Borlaug began to look beyond Mexico to Southern Asia, where food shortages were reaching crisis proportions. He trained scientists in the production of high-yield dwarf wheat and warned them of the potential for disaster in wheat rust. For this work, in recognition of his contribution to saving the lives of millions, Borlaug was honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970.

roof file with photo of Normal Borlaug sitting at desk, his signature on photo, 1977. Filed as "Off-Campus Personalities" Negative Number 77-261 with notes "now copy negs in Spec Coll file"

Proof file with photograph of Norman Borlaug in 1977 (Norman H. Borlaug Papers, box 23, folder 5).

Borlaug joined the FAO in 1959 and founded the World Food Prize in 1986. The 547 is a $250,000 international award given annually to recognize those that agricultural scientists who have worked to end hunger and improve the world’s food supply. This collection consists primarily of Borlaug’s correspondence files, which include paper records as well as some photographs. These papers include materials from six continents relating to the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ford Foundation, Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trago (CIMMYT), Instituto Nacional de Investagaciones Agricolas (INIA), Central Institute for Agrochemical Support of Agriculture (CINAO), several U. S. universities, the Crop Quality Council, DeKalb Agriculture Association, FAO, and the International Rice Research Institutes (IRRI). One highlight is a photocopy of Borlaug’s September 7, 1970 (six weeks before winning the Nobel Prize) letter to William Paddock where he reacts to the highly critical We Don’t Know How and defends the Green Revolution.

 


Meet Petrina Jackson, New Head of Special Collections and University Archives.

If you would have told me that when I graduated from Iowa State University in 1994 with my MA in English that I would return twenty-two years later, I would have never believed you. However this past April, that is exactly what I did. Much has happened during those years to prepare me for my homecoming to ISU.

After I graduated from ISU, I began my career as an English professor at Elgin Community College in Elgin, Illinois. During my time there, I learned a great deal about teaching, student success, and what makes good writing good. It was a positive experience overall, but with a five minimum course load per semester and endless papers to grade, I knew that I would not retire from that field. Seven years in, I decided to change careers and become an archivist. Becoming an archivist required going back to school, so sixteen years after I graduated from ISU, I earned my Master of Library and Information Science with a specialization in Archives and Records Management from the University of Pittsburgh.

The road to being an archivist has taken me to several incredible academic universities, including Cornell University’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections in the Carl A. Kroch Library, where I served as a senior assistant archivist and made connections with students, alumni, and community members, teaching the importance of preserving their historical records and planning events to spotlight those records. From Cornell, I moved on to the University of Virginia (U.Va.) and served as head of instruction and outreach for the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. At U.Va., I created an instruction program that increased the number of class sessions using special collections materials by 170%. After eight years at U.Va., I wanted the challenge of overseeing and growing an entire Special Collections’ program. When the opportunity arose to apply for ISU’s Head of Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA), I went for it.

My goal at ISU is to make SCUA central to Iowa State’s curriculum. ISU is a student-centered research university, and part of the goal of the Library is to help prepare students to become strong researchers, which includes learning to do the deep detective work of navigating through primary sources to find the answers to their research questions. This type of work goes far beyond performing Google searches. It requires critical thinking, patience, and stamina to look for information in its rawest, unadulterated form. Acquainting and immersing undergraduate and graduate students to primary sources research through coming to SCUA with their classes, using primary sources in their course assignments, and researching for their own scholarly project in our reading room are ways to build and flex these skills. Our main goal is to make SCUA a vibrant place for the ISU community, Iowans, and all who seek further knowledge in our research areas, be it for a middle schooler’s history day project, a retiree’s family genealogy, an undergraduate’s class assignment, a graduate student’s thesis or dissertation, or a faculty member’s publication. So come over to Special Collections and University Archives and dig into our rich resources, or just stop by and say hi! We would love to meet you.

Photograph of Petrina Jackson by Rachel Seale, Outreach Archivist, 6 September 2016.

Photograph of Petrina Jackson by Rachel Seale, Outreach Archivist, 6 September 2016.

 


Getting ready for WelcomeFest! @ISU_Library @ISU_SAC

In 1916 the tradition of freshman beanies began. Freshman had to wear the official freshman beanie from the first day of the school year through spring, from 8 am to 6 pm daily except Sunday. The beanies were then burned in a spring bonfire when freshmen became sophomores. This tradition ended in 1934.

Since the beanies were usually burned, you can imagine that many have not survived for posterity. In Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA), we do have a freshman beanie (pictured below) in our Artifact Collection .

Freshman Beanie from the SCUA Artifact Collection

Freshman Beanie from the SCUA Artifact Collection

Next week at the University Library table at WelcomeFest, SCUA staff will be wearing beanies while greeting new ISU Freshman. The talented Science & Technology Librarians Kris Stacy-Bates & Heather Lewin, and Head of Stacks, Kathy Parsons,  constructed the beanies for us and they did wonderful work! Our beanie makers constructed the beanies without any pattern. They couldn’t deconstruct the original beanie and use that as a model, because it is an artifact. They had to develop their own pattern and technique for creating the new beanies. They did a fantastic job!

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Below are the library staff responsible for creating the facsimile beanies.

(L-R): Kris Stacy-Bates, Heather Lewin, and Kathy Parsons wearing facsimiles of freshman beanies they made

(L-R): Kris Stacy-Bates, Heather Lewin, and Kathy Parsons (Photo by Megan O’Donnell)

A round of applause to Kris, Heather & Kathy! We’ll see you next week at the library’s WelcomeFest table. Drop by and get your picture taken! We will be there with our beanies on.


In 1913, students had designs on the Campanile’s chimes @isucarillon

Today let’s look at an old (1913) bachelor’s thesis housed in the University Archives. Cataloging them is one of my duties, and some of them are quite interesting. I doubt many ISU undergraduates write theses these days, but they used to write quite a few. The theses are unpublished hardbound typescripts. Most are little more than essays: our subject today consists of 13 leaves, of which seven leaves are photos and blueprints. Others are substantial volumes with multiple authors (students were allowed to collaborate, and often did). Blueprints of technical drawings, etc. are typically bound in after the text. The blueprints are often much larger than the theses, so they’re folded as many times as necessary to fit between the covers.

Ample abbreviations were fashionable.

Ample abbreviations were fashionable.

You can read about the “Margaret Chimes” and their namesake, Margaret MacDonald Stanton, here and read about Iowa State’s Campanile here. (If you’re interested in learning more, contact us at Special Collections.) For our purposes today, it’s enough to know that the Margaret Chimes are a set of ten bells and that the 110′ tower was constructed to house them. The Campanile’s carillon and other renovations came later.

Flash back to 1913. Electrical engineering students Don H. Kilby and Joseph J. Shoemaker have become aware that ringing the ten chimes by means of ropes is problematic. They write that the operator must pull with a force of between 20 and 50 pounds (depending on the size of the bell). “This makes it practically impossible to maintain musical cadence. At present the system is in very bad order and on average one bell rope is broken each day.” Kilby and Shoemaker conclude that an electric remote control system would be relatively simple. It would cost an estimated $657.40 including labor ($15,952.64 adjusted for inflation). Their system’s “keyboard” and bell-clapper system would require far less maintenance. Perhaps more importantly, it would make better music: the operator could choose a “light, medium, or hard stroke” with predictable delay-times between striking keys and the sounding of chimes. I’m not an electrical engineer, but I am a musician, and their system looks good to me!

ApparatusKilby and Shoemaker did not get to install their system in the Campanile, but they did test it. At left see the counter-balanced clapper, acted upon by a magnet, to which is sent either no current (key off) or one of three voltages (light, medium, or hard stroke). Adjustable spring tension allows for fine calibration.

I applaud these students’ ingenuity. If you want to see their 1913 thesis in person, please visit us here in Special Collections at your earliest convenience.

Magnets: how do they work?

Magnets: how do they work?

 

Unlike the earlier images, this blueprint involves all ten chimes.

Unlike the earlier images, this blueprint involves all ten chimes.

All quotes herein are excerpted from, and images scanned from:

Electric Remote Control System for the Margaret Chimes by D. H. Kilby and J. J. Shoemaker (1913).