Black History in Iowa

February marks Black History Month, or African-American History Month, in the U.S. and Canada. It’s true that the population of Iowa is mostly white, and African-Americans only make up about 3.4% of the state population. One of the largest (if not the largest) populations of African-Americans in the state is centered in Iowa’s largest city, Des Moines, making up 10.2% of the population of the city. African-Americans first started migrating to Iowa and Des Moines in the 1800s. Since then, there has been a history of opportunity, but also prejudice and discrimination, like every other part of the United States.

In our film collection, we have a recording that discusses all of this, entitled Black Des Moines: Voices Seldom Heard. It was recorded in 1985, produced by WOI, and produced, narrated, and written by Verda Louise Williams. It’s available on our YouTube channel, and you can watch it here below (approx. 60 minutes). If you have the time, watch it. It reveals a lesser-known side of Iowa and examines the history of African-Americans in Des Moines, featuring interviews with people who lived it.

Admittedly, our collections largely document the white experience – likely due to the fact that most of our population is white. We do, however, try to document diverse experiences, and we have a subject guide devoted to that. Collections directly tied to the African-American experience include the George Washington Carver Collection (please also see the digital collection), the Jack Trice Papers (please also see the digital collection), and the Verda Louise Williams Papers (also linked earlier in this post). In addition, we have relevant records of student organizations and subject files, which can be found in the University Archives Subject Index.

We also have reference files regarding African-American alumni, faculty, and administrators of Iowa State. Contact us or stop by if you have any questions or want to see any of our collections!


Fashionable Friday

Here is another feature from the History of Costume collection! This time we have an example of costuming from the 16th century (presumably England). These fashion cards come from just one folder of the collection, and cover ancient Egyptian fashion through 17th century European.

An example of 16th-century fashion. RS 12/10/5, Box 1, Folder 4.

An example of 16th-century fashion. RS 12/10/5, Box 2, Folder 4.

 

Click here to download and print the page – happy coloring!

Please share what you’ve colored! Tag #ColorOurCollections #ISU_Archives


Color a Pine Cone!

For our next coloring page, we have an illustration of a twig from a Jack Pine, by Ada Hayden. She was an early 20th-century botanist and earned both her Bachelor’s and doctoral degrees here at Iowa State. She also specialized in photographing and illustrating plant life. You’ll need a sharp colored pencil for this one – have fun!

An illustration of a Jack Pine twig and pine cone, by Ada Hayden. RS 13/5/55, Box 5.

An illustration of a Jack Pine twig and pine cone, by Ada Hayden. RS 13/5/55, Box 5.

Click here to download and print the page.

Please share what you’ve colored! Tag #ColorOurCollections #ISU_Archives


Color the Bomb!

Here is our second coloring page of the day. It’s from the Bomb, The Iowa Agricultural College/Iowa State University yearbook. The Bomb was published annually for the graduating classes of 1894 through 1994, with the exception of 1902.

Stop by our reading room and browse all volumes, we’re open Monday-Friday from 10 -4. You can also click here to browse selected volumes online.

Title page from the 1895 The Bomb

Click here to download & print the coloring page.

Don’t forget to share your work! Tag #ColorOurCollections #ISU_Archives

 



Notable Women of ISU: Carrie Chapman Catt

This is the first in a series of blog posts featuring notable women of ISU. To kick off this series, I am beginning with an obvious choice – Carrie Chapman Catt. Catt is known for her work in the women’s suffrage movement and is so notable that a campus building was named after her (Catt Hall). [It’s worth noting that in 1998 there was a controversy about the naming of the building, known as the September 29th Movement (collection RS 22/3/3), and a review committee was formed in response (RS 22/1/8).]

Without further adieu, here is the lady of the hour.

Carrie Chapman Catt's graduation photo, 1880.

Carrie Chapman Catt’s graduation photo, 1880. University Photographs, RS 21/7/A.

Carrie Chapman Catt was born January 9, 1859, to Maria Clinton and Lucius Lane in Ripon, Wisconsin. Around 1865, the family moved to Charles City, Iowa. Catt then attended Iowa State College and graduated in 1880 at the top of her class.

During her time in Ames, she established military drills for women, became the first woman student to give an oration before a debating society, earned extra money as assistant to the librarian, and was a member of Pi Beta Phi.

Post-graduation, she became the high school principal in Mason City and then in 1883 the superintendent of Mason City Schools. While there, she met her first husband, Leo Chapman, editor of the Mason City Republican. They married in February 1885. After his death in 1886, she went to California and worked as a newspaper reporter before returning to Iowa to take on women’s suffrage.

Early on in her suffrage work, she ran into a classmate from Ames, George W. Catt. They were married in 1890. He supported his wife’s work both financially and personally until his death in October 1905.

Carrie Chapman Catt served as president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association from 1900-1904 and from 1915 until women’s right to vote was attained (1920). In addition, she formed the International Woman Suffrage Alliance and served as president of that organization for many years. When women won the right to vote, Catt encouraged the formation of the League of Women Voters.

Throughout her life, Catt received a great deal of recognition for her work, including many awards such as the Chi Omega (1941), the Pictorial Review Award (1931), and induction into the Iowa Women’s Hall of Fame. She died at her home in New Rochelle, New York in 1947.

Brochure from a celebration of Catt and the 75th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, 1995. RS 21/7/3, Box 3, Folder 8

Brochure from a celebration of Catt and the 75th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, 1995. RS 21/7/3, Box 3, Folder 8

More information and materials related to Carrie Chapman Catt can be found here in Special Collections and University Archives in the Carrie Chapman Catt Papers. We also have other women’s collections, including the Woman Suffrage Collection. In addition, see this webpage for resources available online. Have a look, and stop by sometime!


CyPix: Cyclones Men’s Basketball

Men's Basketball team, 1975-1976. University Photographs, RS 24/5/D

Men’s Basketball team, 1975-1976. University Photographs, RS 24/5/D

This month, the Big 12 Conference basketball season began. In celebration, here’s a look back at the 1975-1976 Cyclones posing outside of Hilton Coliseum. More photos as well as information about the history of Iowa State Men’s Basketball can be found here in the Special Collections and University Archives, in RS 24/5. Stop in sometime!


CyPix: Winter dresses of 1920

"Winter Dresses." A selection from the Mary A. Barton Collection of Fashion Illustrations (RS 21/07/009)

“Winter Dresses” from The Designer, January 1920. Part of the Mary A. Barton Collection of Fashion Illustrations (RS 21/07/009)

When I woke up this morning, the news stations were reporting that with the windchill, it was 9 °F outside. I don’t know about you, but the stylish winter fashions above don’t look nearly warm enough!

The image above, and others like it, are available online in the Fashion Plates digital collection.

Check out the following to see some of the other fashion-related collections held at the Iowa State University Special Collections and University Archives Department:


CyPix: New Year’s Eve 1944

A page from Lorris Foster's scrapbook commemorating New Year's Eve 1944. (RS 21/7/147)

A page from Lorris Foster’s scrapbook commemorating New Year’s Eve 1944. (RS 21/7/147)

2015 is rapidly winding to a close, so I thought it might be nice to see how students of years past celebrated. We have an extensive collection of alumni scrapbooks to choose from. At left is a page from Lorris Foster‘s scrapbook of her time as an undergraduate (Child Development ’48).

Lorris saved her train tickets, a note about a mistaken meeting spot, and a paper beanie in cardinal and gold from New Year’s Eve 1944. The annotation under the paper hat reads “New Years in Chicago with girls from college and Jerry.” 1945 would prove to momentous – Lorris met her future husband, Jim Foster, in fall of 1945 after he returned to his studies following V-Day.

Wherever your travels take you at this time of year, we wish you a safe and happy journey.


CyPix: Wintertime Fun

Ski001

Students skiing during Winter Carnival, 1949. University Photographs, RS 22/7, Box 1670

‘Tis the season for cold and snow. We may not have any snow at the moment, but it will come. And when it does, some people will hole up inside as much as possible, and others will run outside to play in it. The people in the above photo chose the latter. Skiing was one of the many activities offered during Iowa State’s Winter Carnival, held in the school’s earlier days. This particular photo was taken during the 1949 carnival, held in late January. Other activities included toboggan races, ice skating, and tug-of-war… on ice.

Rather be inside? Stop by and explore any of our available collections while enjoying a great view of wintry campus in our reading room!