Imagine that it’s your last year in college. Before you can graduate you have to move in with 8 or so roommates (plus a resident advisor) to a single family house on campus. You will have to keep the house spotless, host a dinner or birthday party, decorate, manage accounts, schedule leisure time, continue with your other classes, and take care of an actual baby for six weeks. You and your new roommates will take turn being cook, accountant, hostess, manager, and “child director,” and you have to do it all for a grade! For over thirty years (1924-1958) female Iowa State students and “borrowed” children formed temporary families in the Home Management houses. By the time the program was over, Iowa State students had participated in raising 257 children.
We’re back! Classes don’t start for another week, but we are here and ready to go. Let’s start the new year off with an image from the Descartes Pascal Papers, MS 91:
This glass plate negative shows a group of gentlemen posing for the camera while out ice skating somewhere in rural Iowa. The cold didn’t stop these guys from having fun! This photo and several other from Pascal can be found on our Flickr site, and more information on photographer, farmer, and seed corn breeder Pascal can be found in this online exhibit. And, of course, this image and many others are available in our department, so stop in, warm up, and have a look!
Today’s photo post shows women from Alpha Delta Phi sorority decorating their Christmas tree in 1953.
We would like to remind everyone that the Special Collections will be closed for the winter break beginning tomorrow, December 24, at 3pm. We will be open to the public again on January 5 at 10 am. In the meantime, feel free to visit us virtually at our website, our Flickr page, and the Digital Collections.
Whatever occasions you celebrate this time of year, have a safe and happy break!
It’s that time again! Time to get together with family and friends and celebrate the holiday season. For many, that season means Christmas, and with Christmas comes lots and lots of food. In case any of you are still trying to figure out your menus, here are some ideas courtesy of WOI-TV’s Homemaker’s Half-Hour. While these menus were originally created for Christmas, I see no reason why they couldn’t be used or adapted for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, or anything else anybody might celebrate.
This three-way Christmas dinner menu (broadcast the week of December 17-22, 1945) gives you plenty of options to choose from in each category. Comments were made on the various dishes in this menu throughout the week:
- Fruit Appetizer: mixed fruit cup or fruit salad or fruit juice
- Bird in the Hand: Roast goose, roast duck, or “mock duck” from lamb or pork tenderloins
- Stuffings: celery stuffing, rice and dried apricot stuffing, savory dressing with walnut meats
- Potatoes: honeyed sweet potatoes or fluffy mashed potatoes with rich brown gravy
- A Homey Vegetable: cheese creamed onions, mashed turnip or squash or green beans
- Festive Relish Tray: celery, pickles, carrot sticks, etc.
- Sweets: spiced currants, gooseberries or cranberries
- Rolls: assorted hot rolls (refrigerator roll dough) as parker-house, clover leaf, crescent
- Dessert: steamed pudding or mince pie (choice or carrot pudding with lemon sauce; raisin pudding with foamy sauce, plum pudding, cranberry pudding vanilla sauce, etc.)
Below are a couple of recipes featured in the notes for this menu’s episodes.
Some items in other Christmas menus include the following:
- Christmas dinner, 1946: Oyster baked potatoes (presumably using leftover oysters from Christmas Eve’s oyster stew – a tradition in many families)
- Christmas dinner, 1946: Molded cranberry nut salad
- Christmas dinner, 1946: Plum pudding with hard sauce (a combination of butter, sugar, and brandy or rum) for those who fancy an English Christmas tradition
- Christmas Luncheon or Supper, 1947: Oyster or salsify soup (salsify is a root vegetable that tastes like oysters when cooked; salsify soup is sometimes called “poor man’s oyster stew”)
- Christmas Luncheon or Supper, 1947: Fruit cake
- Christmas Dinner, 1950: Chilled grapefruit sections with red hots
- Christmas Dinner, 1950: Bride’s salad (mixture of fruit including white grapes and nuts folded into whipped cream; lemon juice and sugar may be added to the whipped cream if desired)
Unfortunately we don’t have recipes for all of these items, but I’m sure similar recipes can be found online. Well, maybe not for everything, but then again the internet is full of surprises!
Many more menus – holiday or not – are available in the WOI Radio and Television Records, as well as scripts of Homemaker’s Half-Hour and other productions. Our cookbook collection is also full of some great and interesting recipes, some of which you can view online.
Whatever you celebrate, however you celebrate, we wish you a very happy holiday!
Here is a special post to announce some exciting news.
A little over a year ago, Stephanie introduced herself and the two other project archivists to our readers. Now, Stephanie will be the first of us to leave ISU as she moves on to a new Collections Archivist position at Wake Forest University Special Collection and Archives. Congratulations, Stephanie!!!
Stephanie’s many contributions to the Special Collections department can be quantified in numerable ways—from processing almost 400 linear feet of archival collections, to greeting and assisting patrons over hundreds of hours at our public services desk, to composing more than 30 interesting and informative blog posts. But there are many other ways that Stephanie has contributed to the department over the last year-and-a-half that will be greatly missed: her quick wit, her enthusiasm, and her insights on all things archival.
Thanks for the laughs and for all the hard work, Stephanie! ISU will miss you *sniff*, but we know you will rock your next job!
Stephanie’s last day is tomorrow, so please join us in wishing Stephanie all the very best in her new endeavors in a warmer climate.
Last week, Kim had some fun arts and crafts project ideas from the archives to keep our hands busy while it snows. If I’m telling the truth, my favorite thing to do when it’s snowing is… watch the snow. Since it’s not currently snowing, I’ll content myself with some photographs, like the one above of Morrill Hall dated around 1905.
If I do have to go outside, though, good company is important. These women outside Lyon Hall in 1979 are making the most of their winter wonderland adventures – which most likely include class!
Does it (or will it) look like this where you are this winter? Not a time to venture outside without bundling up! I like to spend winter curled up on the couch, watching a mini-series, and getting some knitting/crocheting/beadweaving/tatting/weaving time in. Being a multi-crafty person I am always interested in finding “vintage” craft patterns, instructions, and ideas.
I gave myself the challenge of finding craft ideas from within our collections. This might seem quite difficult – our collections are strong in agriculture, science, and technology. However, we also document the University and so we have collections that match the major research and teaching areas on campus, one of which is the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. We also have the papers of alumni, rare books, and Iowa-related materials in other areas. So, after scouring our collections I’ve found several fun things you can do indoors this winter!
When the bombs dropped on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States was catapulted into World War II. Although the United States had remained neutral while countries in Europe and Asia had gone to war, Americans all over the country were keenly following events overseas and trying to understand them. The people of Iowa were no different.
Seven days after Pearl Harbor, on December 12, during a regularly-scheduled radio program, Iowa State College Extension Sociologist Bill Stacy outlined efforts already underway by community groups to understand the world around them:
“The 4-H girls’ clubs, for three years, have been studying a ‘World Conscious Program.’ …Out of school Rural Young People have organized programs in 61 counties. This year these groups have as the theme for their major study, ‘Our Job in Strengthening Democracy.’…Farm women’s groups for a third year, are studying ‘The Farm Family and the World Today’….Then, as you know, the Extension Service has published eight circulars in a series called ‘The Challenge to Democracy'” (Script for Radio Dialogue in Box 10, Folder 1, William H. Stacy Papers, RS 16/3/57).
Understanding and supporting democracy as a means of combating the totalitarianism of the Axis Powers was of prime importance. Stacy also emphasized the need to bring communities together to support war efforts and also to support the well-being of citizens during a time of national stress and hardship.
During World War II, every effort and activity was directed toward the war, and Iowa State College Extension Service put its shoulder to the wheel throughout all its departments. Extension agronomists supported programs for higher crop production throughout the state. Home Economics Extension nutritionists developed programs to keep Iowans strong and healthy. Home management specialists helped homemakers to make do with less and save on resources needed for the war. Rural Sociology Extension, headed by Bill Stacy, supported community councils and assisted community leaders with discussion programs. Even recreation programs were designed to ease wartime tensions!
Stacy created the Program Service for Rural Leaders, guides to be used by community organizations for leading discussions on timely topics with suggestions for different types of recreational activities. One Program Service from February 1943 included in a pamphlet on “American Square Dances for Wartime Relaxation” that included a Victory Reel!
To learn more about wartime Extension Service programs in Iowa, see the William Homer Stacy Papers (RS 16/3/57) and the Ralph Kenneth Bliss Papers (RS 16/3/13). For other World War II-related collections, check out our Subject Guide for World War II manuscript collections.
In the mid to late 1950s Iowa State University was faced with the dilemma of increasing computational needs across multiple departments but no access to a high-speed computer. In 1956 the Working Committee on Improvement of Computational Facilities at Iowa State College inspected both the Datatron 205 (Purdue University) and the ILLIAC (University of Illinois) before deciding to build a vacuum tube computer based on the ILLIAC. The University of Illinois shared both the ILLIAC’s construction plans and its codes, routines, and subroutines enabling ISU to construct the computer more cheaply and quickly.
IBM subsidized the rental of an IBM 650 which ISU began using while the new computer was being constructed. No funds had been provided by the Iowa General Assembly for the computer but the project was able to proceed based on donations from the Alumni Achievement Fund, the Iowa State College Research Foundation, and a National Science Foundation grant. A computer of this caliber was rare – it was one of only nine non-commercial machines in its class built during this period. As was typical with installations of similar computers, students and faculty were charged for each hour of use. The rate in the first year of operation (1959) was $40 per hour. That’s equivalent to over $320 in 2014!
This computer, dubbed “Cyclone,” was able to perform 600,000 additions per minute and had a 40,960 bit (.005 MB) memory. It was 10 feet high, 3 feet wide, and 12 feet long and it took several years to build. Cyclone had 2700 vacuum tubes and needed constant cooling by 6 tons of circulating air. In contrast, the Atanasoff-Berry Computer had approximately 270 vacuum tubes and was roughly the size of a desk. Unfortunately, soon after completing Cyclone, vacuum tubes had been outmoded by the new technology of transistors. The computer was retired in 1966.
We have a lot of information on Cyclone available in Special Collections. Correspondence and early progress reports can be found in RS 13/25/5 – Cyclone Computer Records . Additional materials are available in RS 13/24/55 – Jauvanta M. Walker Papers, and by searching for “cyclone computer” in our finding aids: http://www.add.lib.iastate.edu/spcl/arch/rgrp.html.