Posted by: Amy | November 10, 2015

CyPix: V-12 Navy training program

In honor of  Veteran’s Day, November 11, here is a picture of Navy recruits from World War II who were part of the U.S. Navy’s V-12 College Training Program at Iowa State College (ISC).

Members of the U.S. Navy's V-12 College Training Program during World War II performing a training exercise, 1945.

Members of the U.S. Navy’s V-12 College Training Program during World War II performing a training exercise, 1945. University Photograph Collection, box 1098.

The V-12 program was designed to train officer candidates for combat duty in the war. They were taught college courses and kept a military schedule. The first group of trainees, numbering 200, came to ISC in June 1942; by 1943, according to the campus yearbook the Bomb, there were 3,100 men in various Navy training programs on campus, including electrical and diesel training programs and the Bakers’ and Cooks’ School. Dorms in Hughes and Friley Halls were converted to resemble ships’ quarters. As the 1943 Bomb states, “There are no doors on the rooms, double and triple decker bunks are used and, according to navy regulation, clothing and gear are kept in ship shape and in the smallest space possible in the ship’s quarters” (149).

Iowa State University continues to have a strong Navy ROTC program, as well as Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC programs. You can learn more about the history of military training at ISU in the Department of Military Science Subject Files, RS 13/16/1.

…I would like to say that I have seen an uncounted number of glacial erratics, but I have never seen one that had so many interesting features as this one does. – Charles S. Gwynne (RS 13/8/12)

Charles S. Gwynne in front of the boulder. undated. (University photographs, RS 13/8, box 1057)

Charles S. Gwynne in front of the boulder, possibly during transport to its current location. undated. (University photographs, RS 13/8, box 1057)

If you’ve been in the vicinity of Science I, you may have seen an unusual boulder. It stands approximately 6 feet high and is criss-crossed with bands of a lighter rock. It’s what is known as a glacial erratic – “Glacially transported rock whose lithology shows that it could not have been eroded from the local country rock.”1

This is a diagram (not to scale) of the southwest face of the boulder at the southeast corner of the Science Building. The rock is mostly granite with some inclusions.

From “The Boulder.” Box 6, folder 6. Charles S. Gwynne Papers, RS 13/8/12.

Charles S. Gwynne was a geology professor at Iowa State from 1927-1970. He used the boulder in his teaching by taking students to the rock regularly as part of class field trips.

According to Gwynne, the boulder was originally located on what became the campus golf course. Various efforts to move the boulder were made over the years, but Gwynne always objected as he “remained strongly committed to the idea that the boulder should be left where the glacier put it.”2

Eventually it was decided that the boulder was at risk from potential vandalism and the inevitable widening of Stange Road. Gwynne gave his unofficial blessing and it was moved to its present location by the geology students.

A story on the boulder from Inside Iowa State. The original page is no longer available on the live web, but can be accessed via our web archives. Click on the picture to see the preserved website.

A story on the boulder from Inside Iowa State. Click on the picture to see the preserved website via our web archives.

Interested in seeing the erratic for yourself? You may want to participate in this earthcache about the boulder. See the rest of the Gwynne papers (RS 13/8/12) for more on geology in Iowa and the midwest.


1. “erratic” in Michael Allaby. A Dictionary of Geology and Earth Sciences, 4th Edition. Oxford Paperback Reference. Oxford University Press, 2013. QE5 D54 2013

2. “The Boulder.” Box 6, folder 6. Charles S. Gwynne Papers, RS 13/8/12. Iowa State University Special Collections and University Archives, Iowa State University.

Posted by: Whitney | November 3, 2015

CyPix: Horsing Around

A stallion and a colt, alternately titled "Dignity and Impertinence," "Dignity and Impudence," "Impudence and Dignity," and "Two Friends," 1910. University Photographs, RS 9/11/N, Box 662.

Photo of a stallion and a colt, alternately titled “Dignity and Impertinence,” “Dignity and Impudence,” “Impudence and Dignity,” and “Two Friends,” 1910. University Photographs, RS 9/11/N, Box 662.

The photo above has had a bit of a legacy here at Iowa State. Taken in 1910, a copy of the photo hung in the Farm House library for a time. There has been some debate over the years over whether the Stallion pictured is Jallop (otherwise spelled Jalop or Jalap) or Kuroki, but due to the fact that Jallop didn’t come to Iowa State until 1911, the general consensus seems to be that it is the Clydesdale stallion Kuroki. When the photo was taken, the stallion naturally tilted his head to look at the colt, but the colt’s head had to be turned manually – the reigns were edited out of the photo, although supposedly there are (or were) copies that showed the reigns to some extent. The identity of the colt is unknown, but was possibly owned by the Curtiss family.

You’ll notice in the caption that I’ve highlighted the different titles this photo was given. It tends to vary by publication. The photo in our archive is labeled “Impudence and Dignity,” but in early publications (The Iowa Agriculturist, Vol. 11, No. 8, April 1911) it is labeled “Dignity and Impertinence,” while in a 1973 edition of The Iowa State University Veterinarian, it is titled “Dignity and Impudence.” It’s possible there was a mix-up and whoever wrote the title confused the two “I” words – understandable, since they are synonyms. It is labeled “Two Friends” in another edition of The Iowa Agriculturist, but one of the “Dignity” titles seems to be the original or official. Which one? I’m honestly not certain. If any of you want to come in and try to figure it out, you are more than welcome! Information about the photo – including a short research paper on the subject from 1990 – can be found in the Department of Animal Science Subject Files, RS 9/11/1, Box 1. Stop by sometime!

Posted by: Amy | October 30, 2015

A spooky visit to Special Collections

Halloween is almost upon us, so I thought I would highlight a few spooky things that can be found at Iowa State Special Collections and University Archives.

Sometimes it is surprising what types of ephemera show up in archival collections. (“Ephemera” is the word archivists use to describe things that are made for a limited period of use, like flyers, advertisements, and brochures. You might save some ephemera items, yourself, like the movie ticket stub from your first date with your significant other.) Some Halloween ephemera shows up in the Rath Packing Company Records, MS 562, the records of a meat packing company that operated in Waterloo, Iowa, from 1891 to 1985. Apparently around 1971, the company used the holiday to promote its meat. Our collection includes a promotion sheet with instructions for how to display the free trick or treat bags they sent along with every case of hot dogs.

Treat or treat bags and flyer, circa 1971. Promotional material from the Rath Packing Company Records, MS 562, Series 8, box 29, folder 116.

Treat or treat bags and flyer, circa 1971. Promotional material from the Rath Packing Company Records, MS 562, Series 8, box 29, folder 116.

Are you throwing a party for Halloween? No party is complete without festive food, right? Well, never fear because the ISU Tea Room Records (RS 12/9/4) have you covered! The Tea Room is a non-profit, learning laboratory that has been serving meals to faculty, staff and students at Iowa State since the late 1800s. It is supported by the Hotel, Restaurant and Institution Management Program and is operated entirely by students in the Quantity Food Production Management class. The collection includes recipe cards that students used to prepare food to serve to Tea Room customers. One of these recipes is an “Owl Salad for Halloween,” which makes use of another recipe for fruit salad dressing. Here are the recipes below, if you wish to recreate these owl-shaped delights:

Recipe cards from the Tea Room Records, RS 12/9/4, box 4.

Recipe cards from the Tea Room Records, RS 12/9/4, box 4. [click for larger image]

Librarians, contrary to popular belief, like to party like its 1999…especially when it is 1999. The Library Staff Association Records (RS 25/7) document a Halloween-themed office decorating contest from–you guessed it–1999! Here’s one of the winners, showing a “librarian” assaulted by a pile of books! (Don’t worry, no librarians were harmed in the taking of this photograph.)

Winner of the Funniest category for the office decorating contest, 1999. Library Staff Association Records, RS 25/7, box 4, folder 2.

Winner of the “Funniest” category for the office decorating contest, 1999. Library Staff Association Records, RS 25/7, box 4, folder 2.

Librarians also sometimes dress up in clever, frequently book-themed costumes. Check out the Librarians in Costume tumblr (not affiliated with ISU) to see some of the other high jinks librarians get up to.

Still trying to decide what to dress up as, yourself? If you’d like some historical costume ideas, the Department of Textiles and Clothing History of Costume Collection (RS 12/10/5) has fashion plates representing many periods and cultures, including early Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cultures, as well as European and American fashions through many centuries. They are fun and fascinating to browse through! Get some ideas for next year!

Iowa State campus is not without its tales of haunted places. See the Hauntings folder in the Traditions, Songs, and Cheers Collection (RS 0/16/1) for stories of student and staff encounters with unexplained phenomena in ISU buildings. Allegedly haunted buildings on campus include the Farm House Museum, Fisher Theater, Linden Hall, and Freeman Hall, among others. If you are interested in exploring haunted places beyond campus, Special Collections has several books on ghosts in Iowa.

Of course, Special Collections has plenty of spooky reading material to offer for those who like a fright, such as this pocket-sized edition of Rudyard Kipling’s The Phantom Rickshaw, and My Own True Ghost Story (PR4854 P45 1920).

Title page of The Phantom Rickshaw, PR4854 P45 1920.

Title page of The Phantom Rickshaw, PR4854 P45 1920.

We also have several ghost and horror comic book series, including Halloween Comix from the Underground Comix Collection (MS 636) that Whitney shared last month. We also have classic titles from the 1950s and 60s such as Shock Suspenstories, Nightmare, Vampirella, Creepy, and Vault of Horror.

Creep on down to Special Collections and University Archives for a taste of Halloween spookery! Have a safe and fun holiday.

Posted by: Madison.V | October 23, 2015

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.

Posted by: Kim | October 20, 2015

CyPix: Late Night Get-together

[Eight home management students catch up on the events of the day.] (1953)(University Photographs box 946)

[Eight home management students catch up on the events of the day.] (1953)(University Photographs box 946)

The University Photographer added this to the back of the above photograph:

Every evening just about 10, you might see a gathering just like this in each of the four home management houses on the campus. For this is the time to get together to talk over the days happening and have an evening snack.  Left to right, seated, are Bonnie Rae Kundel, home economics education senior; Thelma Roos, home economics education, senior, Holland; Phyliis Sliron, textiles and clothing senior, Chicago; Marcia Wagner, home economics education senior, Muscatine; Lois Wilson, Child development senior, Beresford S.D.; and Ruth Littlefield, house advisor. Standing, Eleanor Peterson, household equipment senior, Eagle Grove, and Doris Follett, home economics senior, Nevada.

To learn more about home management houses at Iowa State, check out the collections we have in record group RS 12/5 (Department of Family Environment) and the Home Management House Program administrative files (RS 12/5/5). We’ve also posted previously on home management “house babies” and the establishment of Domestic Economy program.

Popped popcorn. By Paolo Neo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Popped popcorn. By Paolo Neo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month! Yes, popcorn popping has its own month. Every year around this time, popcorn is harvested, primarily in the Midwest. Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, and Ohio are the leading popcorn producing states. Popcorn is of course one of the most popular snack foods in America, with Americans consuming about 16 billion quarts (popped) per year – that’s about 52 quarts per person! With Iowa being a major producer of the stuff, it should be no surprise that we have records regarding the crop here at the ISU Special Collections and University Archives.

John C. Eldredge, undated. University Photographs, RS 9/9/E, Box 585.

John C. Eldredge, undated. University Photographs, RS 9/9/E, Box 585.

John Crosby Eldredge was an alumnus of Iowa State College (University) (Agronomy, 1915) and a faculty member here from 1921 until his retirement in 1960. He was an agronomist whose specialization was research and development of popcorn hybrids. He is best known for developing hybrids identified with the term “Iopop;” Iopop 6 was grown on about 25,000 acres across many states in 1955, and at the time almost all white popcorn produced was either Iopop 5 or Iopop 7, also developed by Eldredge. (Ames Daily Tribune clipping, RS 9/9/51, Box 2, Folder 11). His research included studying the effect storage conditions have on popping volume and moisture content of popcorn. In 1954, he received the Distinguished Service Award of the Popcorn Processors Association and was an honorary member of the Iowa Crop Improvement Association.

John C. Eldredge (left) being presented a weather instrument by Pete Oleson (right), President of the Popcorn Processors Association. Ames Daily Tribune, 1955. RS 9/9/51, Box 2, Folder 11.

John C. Eldredge (left) being presented a weather instrument by Pete Oleson (right), President of the Popcorn Processors Association. Ames Daily Tribune, 1955. RS 9/9/51, Box 2, Folder 11.

In the March 1949 issue of Iowa Farm Science, Eldredge wrote about the research being done to develop improved popcorn. He stated, “We’ve worked to combine several good qualities – flavor, high popping volume, strong stalks for better picking, high yields and disease resistance.” (Box 1, Folder 18). Iopop 5 was released in 1946, and in 1949 was “rapidly becoming the most widely grown hybrid of the Japanese hulless type in Iowa. It is a white popcorn with excellent plant and popping quality.” He judged white popcorn to be more tender and yellow popcorn to be more flavorful.

Want to know the best popcorn to grow in Iowa? Well, with further developments in hybridization in the last 65 years, it has quite possibly changed since Eldredge’s recommendation in the same article mentioned above from 1949. However, at that time he recommended Japanese Hulless (a white variety) and Yellow Pearl (as the name suggests, a yellow variety). For home growers who are okay with a low yield, Tom Thumb (“an unusual variety”) was recommended for its “extreme tenderness and good flavor.”

Unpopped popcorn. By Bill Ebbesen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Unpopped popcorn. By Bill Ebbesen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Once you grow your popcorn, how should it be stored? Here are some more 1949 recommendations: keep kernels at 14% moisture (best popping results occur at this level). This can be done by storing it outdoors in a corn crib or other shelter – according to Eldredge, a typical Iowa winter “will hold popcorn at about 14 percent moisture.” Artificial drying was also an option, but had to be done carefully. If dried too much, it won’t pop well, if dried too fast, the wet ears will come out too wet and the dry ears too dry. Once the popcorn is uniformly dry at 14%, storing it properly is also important. “For home storage the best method we know is to place the popcorn in airtight containers with cover on tight.” Just make sure to put the cover right back on – the corn can dry out too much within an hour or two if the lid is left off. Don’t worry too much, though! Too-dry popcorn can be moistened by setting it outside for awhile to “let the atmosphere correct the moisture content.” Another option is to put a tablespoon of water in a quart jar of popcorn and stir or shake well, then pour from one container to another to until the moisture is spread evenly – this will ensure more even popping.

Of course, today many of us just buy our popcorn in microwaveable bags, which is a pretty recent phenomenon – microwaveable popcorn bags weren’t invented until the early 1980s. Growing your own popcorn is still an option, though, and if you’re looking for more modern tips, here’s a starting point. For more information on John Crosby Eldredge and popcorn hybridization, come in and see the John Crosby Eldredge Papers, RS 9/9/51. As always, we’d love to see you!

Posted by: Amy | October 13, 2015

CyPix: Did you say archives?

October is American Archives Month, when archivists around the country spread the word about how exciting, informative, even life-changing archives can be. The two images today are from past events when the Special Collections Department invited people to get a deeper view of what archives are all about.

This first image shows the Special Collections Open House from 1971, only two years after the department opened. Visitors are viewing archival documents in display cases.

Special Collections Open House, October 31, 1971. University Archives Photograph Collection box 2053.

Special Collections Open House, October 31, 1971. University Archives Photograph Collection Box 2053.

The second photo is a little more recent, the History Day event from 2001, where students came from area schools to get the behind-the-scenes tour of what goes on in Special Collections and learn how to do archival research.

Students examining documents from archival collection during the Special Collections History Day, February 22, 2001. University Archives Photograph Collection, box 2047

Students examining documents from archival collections during the Special Collections History Day, February 22, 2001. University Archives Photograph Collection Box 2047.

Wondering how to do archival research yourself? Please check out the new Archives Overview LibGuide created by our department’s Digital Archivist, Kim Anderson! It answers questions like, What are archives? How do I find archival collections? and, How do I care for my own archives?

As always, we would love to see you in our department. Stop by and see us!

Posted by: Kim | October 10, 2015

#ERecsDay 2015

Electronic Records Day logo

October 10th is Electronic Records Day – time to take stock of what we are doing to handle our digital records and time to figure out what help we need to do so.

Electronic records can become unreadable very quickly. While records on paper have been read after thousands of years, digital files can be virtually inaccessible after just a few. – Council of State Archivists, “10 Reasons for E-Records” (2015).

This #ERecsDay you can take a step towards helping your own digital photographs survive into the future – make sure you describe them. Adding tags or other description is a simple step that will help people in the future identify what’s in each file.

For more on personal digital archiving, check out last year’s post on Electronic Records Day 2014.

Posted by: andrewfackler | October 9, 2015

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.

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