“The Development of the Modern Steer” #TBT

My fellow former 4-Hers and FFAers who showed cattle may appreciate this one. Over the years, the preferred traits of show cattle have changed quite a bit, as this photo illustrates. This photo shows examples of preferences in show steers (castrated male cattle) from 1878, 1900, and 1930. Of course, these preferences have changed since then. I remember looking at my father’s photos from his cattle showing days in the 1960s and noticing how short and stocky the steers were compared to those that I showed in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Show steer preferences in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, 1930. University Photographs, RS 9/11/N, Box 656

Show steer preferences in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, 1930. University Photographs, RS 9/11/N, Box 656

If you look closely and read the signs in the background, you’ll notice that in 1878, the winning type was 5 years old (far older than today’s steers) and weighed 2600 lbs. In 1900, the winning type was 3 years old and weighed what I think is 2100 lbs (it’s difficult to read). 1930 was much closer to today’s standards with 1 year, 7 months old and 1170 lbs.

For additional photos of show animals and much, much more, stop in sometime!

 


#TBT WWI Military Band

Iowa State has had a military presence on campus since 1870. During World War I, soldiers were trained for the military here, often as auto mechanics, blacksmiths, or machinists. In addition, there was military band. The photo below shows the U.S. Army Training Detachment Military Band, 2nd set (Iowa) in July of 1918.

Military band, 1918. University Photographs, Box 1106

Military band, 1918. University Photographs, Box 1106

What do you notice about this photo? The instruments? The uniforms? The faces? My personal favorite part is this:

militaryband002_2

I’m not sure which I love more, the dog or the facial expression of the man holding the dog. I’m not sure if he’s smug or amused (or both), but it seems like an appropriate look for someone holding the only dog in the photo. Also, why is there a dog in a photo of a military band? Whatever the reason, it makes this one of my favorite photos in our archives.

If you’re interested in military history at ISU, stop in or contact us to have a look at the Department of Military Science Subject Files, or any of our other ISU military collections!


All About Puppies #TBT

You may have missed it, but yesterday was National Puppy Day. Yes, there is a national day for puppies. Why shouldn’t there be? Just look at these faces:

 

Dalmatian puppies, undated. University Photographs, RS 14/1/N, box 1246.3

Dalmatian puppies, undated. University Photographs, RS 14/1/N, box 1246.3

National Puppy Day was founded in 2006 to not only celebrate the wonderfulness of puppies, but to also encourage responsible adoption and raise awareness of puppy mills. Just remember, “with cute puppies, comes great responsibility.” (I might’ve paraphrased a little).

Want to see more puppy pictures, or pictures of other animals? Ask about University Photographs RS 14/1 (Veterinary Medicine). If you’re more interested in livestock, we have plenty of those photos in University Photographs RS 9/11 (Animal Science). For wildlife, give University Photographs RS 9/10 (Animal Ecology) a try. Hope to see you soon!


CyPix: Seal of Disapproval #TBT

 

A zoology student approaches a rather grumpy seal, 1969 or 1970. University Photographs, Box 608

A zoology student approaches a rather grumpy seal, 1969 or 1970. University Photographs, Box 605

It may be surprising that this land-locked university has a photograph of a marine mammal in the archives. Nevertheless, we do! The photo above comes from the Department of Animal Ecology photographs, RS 9/10. The Department of Animal Ecology separated from the Department of Zoology and Entomology in 1975, which explains why the student above is labeled as a zoology major. I’m not sure what exactly is happening in this photo, but this student is doing some sort of research involving this seal – and the seal doesn’t seem very happy about it (rest assured, the seal is not being harmed).

Interested in other animal-related photos? Stop by or contact us and we can help you out!

 


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!


CyPix: Three Farmers and a Dog

Three farmers sitting on a trailer bed - possibly taking a break - with a dog, 1949. RS 16/3/D

Three farmers sitting on a trailer bed taking a break with a dog, 1949. RS 16/3/D

It’s August already! Soon, students will be returning (and arriving for the first time) in droves for a new academic year. But for now, there’s still plenty of summer left to enjoy! We are officially in the “dog days of summer,” trying to find ways to beat the heat and humidity here in Ames. Truth be told, I’m not certain in which season the photo above was taken, but I like to imagine these farmers are taking a break from the heat of their summer work and their trusty farm dog decided to join them (the long sleeves don’t necessarily indicate cool weather – they also serve as protection from the sun and other elements). Sometimes we don’t know much about a photo, and it is therefore open to interpretation. What we do know about this one is that it’s a great image of a small piece of farm life in the 1940s, a life integral to Iowa then and still integral today.

The photo above comes from the Cooperative Extension Service in Agriculture and Home Economics collections, a list of which can be found here. More Extension photos can be found on our Flickr site for those of you wanting to see more. And, if you need to get out of the heat, the Special Collections and University Archives reading room is a great place to cool down and explore Iowa’s agricultural past. See you soon!