Posted by: Amy | February 18, 2016

CyPix: Manning the press

Before the advent of computers, students working for the Iowa State Daily–and, indeed, anyone working for a newspaper or printing press–had to set type by hand. In the photograph below, we see two men checking columns of type that have been set for printing.

Leo Mores and student, undated. University Photograph Collection box 1660.

Leo Mores and student, undated. University Photograph Collection box 1660.

The back of the photograph informs us that the man on the left is Leo Mores. Mores was a graduate of then-Iowa State College (1938) who shortly after graduating purchased the Harlan (Iowa) Tribune, and in 1945 also purchased its competing paper, the News-Advertiser.

This photograph is from the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication (RS 13/13). The second man is likely a student, who may have been working with Mores at one of his Harlan newspapers.

Valentine’s Day was this past weekend, and some of you may have thought about where you met your significant other.  Was it here at Iowa State?  If it was, you are definitely not alone, and some of those stories are documented here in the University Archives!

You may recognize at least one person, since his name is on a building:  Samuel Beyer.


Samuel Beyer in his office, 1925 (University Photograph Collection, 13-2-A, box 1020)

Instructor and professor of Geology and Zoology here at Iowa State (1891-1930), Beyer met his wife, Jennie Morrison, during his senior year and they were married in 1893 after her graduation.  In addition to his faculty and administrative duties, Beyer was dedicated to Iowa State athletics and is credited with bringing Homecoming celebrations to Iowa State. He was also instrumental in organizing the construction of State Gymnasium and Clyde Williams Field. (To find out more about Samuel Beyer and what is in his archival collection, see the online finding aid to the Samuel W. Beyer Papers).

Library staff, 1931-1932

Library staff, 1931-1932. Elva is in the second row, second from the left. (University Photograph Collection, 25-1-D, box 2040)

Other stories of people meeting here at Iowa State are scattered in various collections.  Some of these we know about, others are yet to be found in diaries, scrapbooks, correspondence, news clippings, and the like.  For instance, the first extension agent in Utah, Arvil Stark, met his wife here at Iowa State.  This love story began not far from where it is documented here in the University Archives (in their son’s alumni file, RS 21/7/1, Craig Stark).  Arvil Stark attended Iowa State, and received his Ph.D. in horticulture in 1934.  Elva Acklam Stark received her library degree from the University of Wisconsin, and her first job was here at Iowa State’s library.  Elva and Arvil met at the library when Arvil was checking out books.  According to their son Craig Stark, “My Dad took my Mom apple blossoms from the Horticulture Farm and they fell in love at ISU!!”

Interested in hearing about others who fell in love here at Iowa State?  Although not all of these love stories are documented here in the University Archives (and some may be), you can read more stories collected by the Iowa State University Foundation here.

Posted by: Kim | February 15, 2016

100 Years of Cyclone Wrestling


Last week marked the 100th anniversary of wrestling at ISU.  In celebration, the library presents “100 years of Cyclone wrestling” – a digital collection of images from the wrestling program’s past.

More images and other historic wrestling materials can be found in the following collections located in the Special Collections and University Archives Department (room 403, Parks Library):

Posted by: Rachel | February 11, 2016

Cypix: Sweet tradition!

One way Iowa State University coeds celebrated meaningful relationship milestones was to throw a surprise party with a fancy candy box and decorate with candles, flowers, printed napkins and party favors. The size of the candy box grew with the importance of the occasion. If a young woman received a fraternity pin, it was a 2 pound party, engagement announcements entailed a 5 pound party, an upcoming wedding was a 10 pound party, and the announcement of a baby was a 15 pound party.


5 pound Engagement Announcement party, Feb. 14, 1954, Mary Glenn from Delta Zeta and Dwight Youngkin from Kappa Sigma. University Photographs RS 22/11/G box 1696.

Sources also indicate that the five and ten pound parties were at some point tied in with candle passing. At these gatherings a candle would be passed among a circle of coeds and whoever blew out the candle was the one throwing the party. If she handed out a five pound box of candy it meant she had been pinned and a ten pound box meant she was engaged to be married.

Come visit us and learn about other Iowa State University traditions! We’re open Monday-Friday from 10-4.

Posted by: Whitney | February 9, 2016

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!

Posted by: Amy | February 5, 2016

Thanks for coloring with us!

It’s been quite the week of coloring! We’ve enjoyed sharing our collections with you, and we hope you’ve enjoyed coloring them. Here is the final coloring page of the week. Another from Novo teatro di machine et edificii.

Vittorio Zonca’s Novo Teatro di Machine et Edificii… Call number: TJ144 .Z75n

Vittorio Zonca’s Novo Teatro di Machine et Edificii… Call number: TJ144 .Z75n

Click here to download and print this image.

Share what you have colored by tagging #ColorOurCollections #ISU_Archives

Posted by: Whitney | February 5, 2016

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

Posted by: Rachel | February 5, 2016

Friday Flower Power!

Happy Friday! Our first page of the day is from Histoire des insectes de l’Europe by Maria Sibylla Merian. Merian was a naturalist and nature artist known for her illustrations of insects and plants. This book contains many beautiful illustrations of insects, plants, and flowers.




Click here to download the page.

Share your work, tag #ColorOurCollections #ISU_Archives 

Posted by: Whitney | February 4, 2016

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

Posted by: Amy | February 4, 2016

Abstract coloring

To the botanist, it is an asparagus root, but to you it may be a maze of bubbles or the rings of Saturn. Let your imagination fly with this one! It is from Nehemiah Grew’s Anatomy of Plants from 1682.

Nehemiah Grew's The Anatomy of Plants. Call number: QK41 G869ap

Nehemiah Grew’s The Anatomy of Plants. Call number: QK41 G869ap

Click here to download and print the page.

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

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