Today’s TBT photo was taken in 1926 as part of the coursework for the Department of Textiles and Clothing (now part of the Department of Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management). Two students are in cabinets, modeling design work. In between them are three dolls, also wearing student designs. As you can see, they are wearing designs that greatly predate 1926, so perhaps the students were tasked with designing historical costumes. To learn more, check out our history of costume collection or our files from the Department of Textiles and Clothing (12/10).
Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) “collects, preserves, and shares documentation of the experiences, achievements, and memories of people and organizations reflecting the university’s major research areas, with a special commitment to documenting the history of the university” (SCUA’s mission statement). The bulk of our collections are from within the state of Iowa. However, sometimes we’re treated to collections that document other parts of the world. The J . Stuart Russell Papers (MS 12) is one of those collections.
J. Stuart Russell was a Grinnell College graduate (1913) and Iowa farmer until he joined the U.S. Army in 1918. While serving, he operated a weekly newspaper in Sac City from 1920-1925. In 1925, he became Farm Editor of the Des Moines Register and Tribune and held this position until his death in 1960. From 1925-1960, Russell was affiliated with numerous farm oriented organizations. He also traveled abroad several times to report on food and agricultural conditions in other country.
Drop by to learn more about this collection or any of our collections. We’re open Monday – Friday from 9-5.
Today’s #TBT picture is of some young women, presumably members of Alpha Gamma Delta, performing in a variety show.
Drop by and visit us and learn more about Iowa State’s history!
This is the second in a series of posts about the history of the library at Iowa State.
When we left off in 1914, the library was in Beardshear Hall, and the collection was bursting at the seams. As early as 1911, money was allocated by the legislature to build a library building. However, the process was slow-going, especially when it was discovered that in order to build a building of adequate size, much more funding would be needed.
Finally in 1923, construction on the new library building was started, and the first cornerstone was laid on October 11. Construction was complete in 1925, though not all books were moved until early 1926. One of the major benefits of the new library was that the materials were consolidated into one space instead of being spread out between Central (Beardshear), Agriculture Hall, Chemistry Building, Engineering Hall, and the Veterinary Building.
The building had space to store 200,000 books. At the time of opening, the library had “about 160,000 carefully selected volumes” (Catalogue, 1927-1928).
The library hours during regular sessions were:
Monday-Friday 7:50 am-6pm and 7-9:30pm
Saturday: 7:50am-2 and 1-6pm
Sunday: 2-5pm (no procrastinating until Sunday night!)
In 1925/6, the library offered 4 courses; classes in library usage specifically for agriculture, home economics, and industrial science students, and a course in bibliographic research. A 5th course in library methods had been added by the next year. The dean of the library was Charles Harvey Brown. Brown served as dean of the library from 1922-1946. In 1927, the library had 10 staff members and 12 assistants listed in the catalogue (compared to today’s 143 staff between librarians, support staff, and students).
The Alumnus had a rather interesting take on the new library building in their November 1924 issue:
“Officials say that the library will be ready for occupancy some time in January. Some time early in the year, six libraries will be consolidated into one, and the amorous youth will no longer wend his away to Central, but to the new white structure beyond it, there to seek out his fair bibliophile and divert her affections to something more substantial than books.” (RS 4/8/4, box 12)
Sounds like the library staff had their hands full!
From 1925 to the present the library has been in the same location but has grown. Join us for the next installments to see how the library has expanded in the last (nearly) century!
‘Tis the season for planting corn in Iowa! Today’s TBT image is of an Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station worker preparing to plant a field with corn. The Experiment Station has been a part of Iowa State since 1888 and provides research to help Iowans, though much of the research has global applications.
In deciding which topic to write about for this blog, I’ll admit, I struggled to find inspiration. I knew I wanted it to be a topic that related back to the 1960s and that it should have some connection with current events. I checked the usual sources that were readily available to me such as the Iowa State yearbook, the ISU history timeline on our website, and previous posts that appeared on this blog.
And then the thought occurred to me to skim the finding aid for the papers of President W. Robert Parks and explore some of the events that were taking place on campus 50 years ago. One folder title caught my attention, “Speech – commencement address: ‘The University and Tolerance'” from 1967.
Parks delivered this speech on tolerance on February 25, 1967, at the graduation ceremony denoting the end of the winter quarter (Iowa State would not move to the semester system until 1981). The speech touches on the challenges of living in a modern and changing world and explores how tolerance is a necessary part of our system of government and our civil society. Parks believed that it was the university’s responsibility to develop educated minds that understood the meaning of and the need for tolerance. It was also his expectation that these people, so educated, would become leaders in developing a climate of tolerance in all aspects of national society.
“The tolerant mind, then, is a tough mind, which does not require the psychological security of absolutes. It does not need to find single causes, or to have single answers. Rather, it can live with the free interplay of differing opinions, differing goals, differing ways of life. It is, in short, tough enough to accept the psychological frustrations which accompany the rich diversities of a pluralistic society.” — “The University and Tolerance” commencement address, February 25, 1967, by W. Robert Parks, President, Iowa State University
Though there may be more eloquent passages in Parks’ speech, the above definition of what Parks believed a tolerant mind to be struck a chord with me. As I read this speech I started to wonder why Parks felt that this message of tolerance was necessary at this point in time in the University’s history. I knew that generational changes were taking place on the Iowa State campus. Female students were starting to demand greater equality with regards to curfews and visitation rules in the residence halls. The civil rights movement was gaining strength nationally, but it would be another year before the black students at Iowa State would truly make their voices heard. These issues were all certainly present at the time, but I believe the impetus for this speech was the result of the student body election that took place just weeks earlier. The campus was unprepared for the ensuing uproar when a nonconformist by the name of Don Smith became president of the Government of the Student Body–but that is a story for a future blog post!
Although the election of Don Smith may have been at the forefront of Parks’ mind when he presented this speech, I also think that the president, in his own way, was preparing the Iowa State community for the challenging years he knew were coming. The next several years of Parks’ presidency saw him navigate the university through the civil rights movement, the sexual revolution, and the Vietnam War protests. He may not have moved the university at the speed some students preferred or responded to student agitation as firmly as some legislators would have wanted, but by most accounts Parks approached many of the significant issues of his time with care, thoughtfulness, and, of course, tolerance.
The W. Robert Parks papers, RS 2/11, are rich in correspondence, news clippings, and administrative files that document how university leaders approached some of these often contentious issues. To learn more about how President Parks responded to events and addressed the Iowa State community during these times of change, stop in and visit us!
Here’s a fun image of Cy arm wrestling what looks like another team’s mascot, back in 1986.
For more information about Cy, check out: http://historicexhibits.lib.iastate.edu/Cy/index.html.
Rosie Rowe is the Audiovisual Preservation Specialist for Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA) at Parks Library. Rosie has more than 20 years of experience in audiovisual fields and has worked extensively with the preservation of analogue and digital media formats. In her previous role as the Audiovisual and Film Specialist at Archives New Zealand, she was responsible for building and maintaining a new audiovisual lab, where they preserved more than 20TB of at-risk, historical media for the national archives.
She aims to provide similar guidance and preservation workflow to the film and audiovisual collections at SCUA. We are very pleased she is here. Please join us in welcoming Rosie!
Chris Anderson, Descriptive Records Project Archivist
ISU Special Collections has seven or eight commemorative ashtrays. To my way of thinking, if you like the message about the school’s centennial, you wouldn’t want to cover it with ashes and cigarette butts, would you? That’s like lining a spittoon with the state flag.
I find these artifacts inspirational because they remind me of how prevalent smoking used to be in the U.S. When I was a child — I was born in 1971 — people were allowed to smoke in more places than they are now. Not only was the smoke annoying (at best), but they littered the ground with countless cigarette butts. Even if you set aside the health effects, smokers made a major nuisance of themselves. My father smoked unfiltered “Camels” all day. I thought the packaging looked cool, but his habit was so unappealing that I never took it up. Thank goodness for that.
We’ve come along way since then. I suppose there’s not much left of the commemorative ashtray industry.
Amy Bishop, Rare Books and Manuscripts Archivist
This button from our Artifact Collection inspires me because the work of first-wave feminists in securing women’s right to vote was so important in propelling forward the advances in women’s rights, a movement that has been carried on by so many generations of women since the late 19th century and continues today. I cannot imagine not being able to participate fully in the political system, or not being able to own property, to work whether married or single, and so many other rights that we tend to take for granted today. My grandma was born in 1922, two years after the ratification of the 19th Amendment. That helps put in perspective for me just how recently women have gained these rights.
This button is from the Carrie Chapman Catt artifact collection, the well-known Iowa suffragist and Iowa State alum.
Daguerreotype of Benjamin Gue #2001-R001
Olivia Garrison, Reference Coordinator
Benjamin Gue was one of the authors of a bill to establish a state agricultural college and model farm (what would become Iowa State University). This artifact is inspiring because to me it represents the very purpose of the work we do in Special Collections and University Archives. Part of SCUA’s mission is to preserve the history of the University for future generations to access and learn from. Daguerreotypes were among the first modes of “printing” photographic images and are susceptible to damage with too much light, or too high or low humidity and/or temperature. Providing stable conditions is an important part of our jobs. Another part is providing access to our collections. I think this artifact is a great example of a piece of history that might be lost entirely, or at least lost to the majority of researchers, if it were not for the work we do here.
Banned Books Buttons #s2001.R026.001-03
Rachel Seale, Outreach Archivist
It blows my mind to see which books have been banned by governments around the world: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_books_banned_by_governments. Libraries and schools still ban books and many of them are classics and award-winning books. I am inspired by these “Read Banned Books” buttons because books inspire me. The stories within them and the way the authors have crafted their words to tell their stories make me feel connected to people, places, and ideas that are usually beyond my scope of experience.
Jazz legend Louis Armstrong visited Iowa State University twice. The 1950 Homecoming festivities included no less than four performances by Armstrong and his band: two dances, the “Pep Barbecue,” and a concert in the Memorial Union! This may seem remarkable because in 1950, Armstrong was an international star. But for decades, Armstrong played 300 or more live shows per year. Touring with a big band was no longer feasible for most bandleaders, but Armstrong — who first made a name for himself in the 1920s with small-group recordings — was not reliant on the big band format. In 1950, Louis Armstrong and His All Stars probably played ISU as a six-piece band featuring Arvell Shaw, bass; Barney Bigard, clarinet; Cozy Cole, drums; Earl “Fatha” Hines, piano; Jack Teagarden, trombone; and of course, Louis Armstrong on trumpet and vocals. Each of these musicians is numbered among the masters of traditional jazz (for lack of a better term).
As shown in the photograph above, Louis Armstrong returned to ISU in 1966, two years after his biggest-selling record (“Hello, Dolly!”) was released. In the late 1960s, Armstrong continued performing publicly in spite of health problems. He passed away in 1971 at his home in Queens, New York City.
International Jazz Day 2017 is April 30, and it’s a special one. This year, the host city is Havana, Cuba. As usual, the roster of artists is drawn from around the world, but this year the lineup includes quite a few Cubans; and, now that the travel ban is lifted, the audience will include Americans! So, this is a big deal on several levels. Cuban musicians are a big part of jazz history and of current practice. I’m looking forward to watching the webcast of the All-Star Global Concert on Sunday, April 30 at 8 PM Central.