“Alice Doesn’t Day” by Research Assistant Amanda Larsen

The following post was written by Amanda Larsen, who is working at SCUA this year as an Undergraduate Research Assistant (URA). Her project revolves around historical feminist activism on the ISU campus. Regarding today’s article, note that the Monday after next, exactly two weeks from today, will mark 43 years since the “Alice Doesn’t Day” strike.

-Rachael Acheson
Assistant University Archivist


Alice Doesn’t Day

October 29th, 1975 was one of the first days to show the nation how much women contribute to society. The National Organization for Women (NOW) created a national strike day for women in order to emphasize how important women are for society. They called it “Alice Doesn’t Day,” a reference to the 1974 film Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.  NOW called for every woman to refrain from work or spending any money. The alternative for women who could not skip work was to wear an armband and discuss its purpose.

On campus, the Government of the Student Body (GSB) was asked to support the strike by on campus women’s organization. The bill to support Alice Doesn’t Day was sponsored by Roxanne Ryan, a student in sciences and humanities.

Image of Roxanne Ryan with members of her residence hall, Miller. Image from the Bomb 1975, page 308.

Roxanne Ryan with members of her residence hall. Image from the Bomb 1975, pg. 308.

Various groups scheduled programs supporting Alice Doesn’t Day on the Iowa State campus according to news articles. For those who wished to participate in the event, the YWCA had seminars on women’s health, practical consumerism, pampering ourselves, and women and the law. If the participants had young children, there were male-run daycare and babysitting services provided. GSB passed the bill supporting Alice Doesn’t Day, to the dismay of some. In the community, Ames Mayor William Pelz showed support for Alice Doesn’t Day by signing an official proclamation naming October 29th as “Alice Doesn’t Day.”

Not everyone supported Alice Doesn’t Day. The Iowa State Daily’s “Point of View” section notes that some believed calling for women not to go to work was not the best tactic for showing women’s roles in society. While it might have shown how much women contribute, it could also have shown unprofessionalism and little regard for their work. Others felt that women should double their efforts on the 29th with the same goal of showing how much they can contribute to society. A group opposed to Alice Doesn’t Day vowed to wear pink dresses and call for the firing of any woman protesting. In terms of students, most told the Daily that the reason they could not participate in the strike was that they had classes and “school is more important than my ethical views.” Since they could not miss classes, many of the women interviewed said they would refrain from spending money that day.

Cartoon on student activism (or lack thereof). The Bomb 1975, pg. 504.

Cartoon on ISU student activism (or lack thereof). The Bomb 1975, pg. 504.

Rosl Gowdey, one of the publicity workers for the project, stated that the goal of the day was to “focus on what happens to the women who participate, than on the number of participants. If only one or two women get something out of it, then that’s great, and we’ve accomplished our purpose.” While most think that the day was a failure, others viewed the event as successful because of the awareness: “In terms of awareness and talking about women’s contributions, it was successful,” said by Susan Newcomer, the president of the Ames chapter of the National Organization for Women.

If you or anyone you know has any information about women activist from 1960-1979 here at Iowa State, please feel free to contact Special Collections to discuss preserving the material.

Image from page 19 of the Ames Daily Tribune, October 25th, 1975.

Image from page 19 of the Ames Daily Tribune, October 25th, 1975.

 


Tornado Country

Tornadoes have always played a major role in Iowan life, as those still reeling from the images of last week’s destruction realize all too well. In fact, as one might guess from the nickname “Cyclones,” this aspect of life is something the area is known for. SCUA has not, at least in the past, actively collected documentation of any major storms, but evidence of their ongoing existence has crept in here and there nonetheless.

Below is a rare original page of Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper housed in Special Collections. Also known as Leslie’s Weekly, the paper — based in New York — was famous for depicting scenes from breaking news via wood block engravings in an era before photographs were commonplace.

Page from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, features a wood block engraving of a young couple with children running into a dugout during a tornado. Caption under the illustration reads, "Iowa -- the approach of a tornado -- family seeks refuge in a 'cyclone shelter'."

Page from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, MS 390, folder 9

For folks who like more tangible evidence of the past, you should check out the “tornado souvenir,” a hand-carved piece of birch bark from a storm on campus in 1924, which is held in our artifact collection. See more pictures here.

Piece of birch bark with lettering (by hand): "Tornado Souvenir June 28, 1924[.] From Tree near Margaret Hall I.S.C. Ames, Iowa" (Artifact #2001-024)

Piece of birch bark with lettering (by hand): “Tornado Souvenir June 28, 1924[.] From Tree near Margaret Hall I.S.C. Ames, Iowa” (Artifact #2001-024). Photograph by Rachel Seale.

It’s a bit further away from home geographically, but you can also glimpse damage wrought by an earlier storm (circa 1890-1910, though the image itself is undated) in Grand Mound, Iowa if you visit SCUA’s Flickr page, where we have a lot of other cool pictures, as well. You will need to click through to the link to see it, but this particular image was scanned from a glass plate negative, which can be found in the Descartes Pascal Papers, MS 91, Box 6, Folder 8.

Because tornado damage is an ongoing reality in this part of the country, Iowans have cultivated a lifestyle of helping neighbors re-build and recover from these periodic disasters. And ISU students have been no exception, as all current members of the Cyclone football team demonstrated by donating their time last Saturday to help with clean up in Marshalltown. Nor have our athletes been the only students historically inclined towards lending a hand. The 1967 Bomb article below evidences that multiple Greek organizations provided monetary donations and were well-represented on site after a tornado struck Belmond, IA in October 1966, even if the author of the article presents a rather biased interpretation of their motives.

Iowa State Greeks Aid Others Less Fortunate. A perennial criticism of fraternities and sororities is that they have no purpose, and that they no longer accomplish anything worthwhile. Although there may be some truth to this, most houses at Iowa State actively participate in surprisingly worthwhile service projects. While many suspect that most of these projects are mainly for publicity, the fact remains that Iowa State's Greeks do a lot of things for other people that they wouldn't have to do. Pi Beta Phi and Delta Sigma Phi collected over $3,000 to help pay for the rebuilding of Belmond. Alpha Chi Omega pledges offered their services for a day to the Beloit Children's Home. Whatever the motive, ISU's fraternities and sororities devote time and energy, and sometimes even money, doing things for those who appreciate their efforts.

The Bomb 1967, page 403

Best wishes, then, from SCUA for a speedy recovery to everyone who got caught in one of the most recent storms. And for those of you who are newer to campus, or to the state, don’t forget to check out the University severe weather protocols and/or some safety tips from ISU Environmental Health and Safety.



A Brief History of International Students at ISU

The mission of Iowa State University is to “Create, share, and apply knowledge to make Iowa and the world a better place.” In support of this mission, the University offers numerous opportunities for students and faculty to explore and share with the world, but it is hardly a one-way street. People come to Iowa State from all parts of the world to share their experiences and to gain a quality education. It really is remarkable how a small agricultural college established in the 1850s in the middle of Iowa has, over the course of over 150 years, built such a strong international reputation. This reputation has been drawing international students to Iowa State for well over 100 years. Unfortunately, documenting international students and their campus experiences is not an easy task.

Page from the 1906 Bomb with the title, "Our Friends from Foreign Lands"

The 1906 Bomb was one of the first to recognize international students at Iowa State. (The Bomb, LD2548 Io9b)

There are very few sources available to a researcher looking for information on early students at Iowa State, regardless of their country of origin. The first students arrived on campus in 1868, but it would be another 25 years before a yearbook (The Bomb) was published. Student directories were not available either, the earliest available being from 1901. For years prior to that, the college biennial reports and the course catalogs are the best sources for information on individual students. The biennial reports include lists of students for the very earliest years and then, by the 1880s, this information was shifted to the course catalogs. It is helpful that the listings often include the names of the students’ hometowns.

Based on these sources, the earliest evidence of an international student enrolling at Iowa State was in 1882 when F. Nouman of Piramaribo, South America, (this is how the hometown was listed) was enrolled for one year as a “special student,” likely meaning that he was not enrolled in the standard curriculum. In 1898 and 1899 there were several Canadian students who received degrees, though it is curious why a handful of them all appeared on campus at the same time with several of them receiving veterinary degrees. In 1902, two young men from Leon, Mexico, enrolled in the agriculture program, but neither appears to have finished their degrees.

Two interior pages from the 1901 student directory

This page from the 1901 student directory, the earliest one available, gives an idea of the type of information that can be gathered from these resources–provided the abbreviations can be deciphered! (Students’ Directory, LD2538 I58x)

The first international students outside of North America to receive degrees from Iowa State both earned them in 1907. Delfin Sanchez de Bustamante from Argentina received an advanced degree in agronomy and Alfred E. Parr of England graduated with an advanced degree in animal husbandry. We know nothing of what happened to Bustamante following his graduation, but from correspondence in an alumni file we know that after graduating from Iowa State, Parr went on to become the Director of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry in British India.

That same year, Iowa State students began organizing a campus chapter of the Cosmopolitan Club. Officially established on campus in 1908, the purpose of the club, as stated in its constitution, was to encourage friendship, respect, and understanding among men and women of all nationalities. The Cosmopolitan Club attracted students from all backgrounds, but became a home for international students especially.

Please stop by Special Collections and University Archives to view these materials for yourself. Who knows, maybe you will find references to early international students that I missed! If you have materials you would like to donate to the Special Collections and University Archives to help us continue to tell the story of student life on the Iowa State University campus, please contact us. We would be happy to hear from you!


#TBT Engineer’s Campfire

Tomorrow is the first day of fall, so let’s look back at an Iowa State fall tradition of days gone by.

1927Yearbook

Page from the 1927 Bomb

The text on the page reads “One of the most picturesque occasions of the Fall Quarter is the Engineer’s Campfire held in a natural theatre in North Woods.  During the afternoon a regular “Side-show” provides entertainment, while at night two big fires light up a stage for student vaudeville stunts.  The Engineers are knighted by St. Patrick by the light of the two big “torches.”  Norman Brown was St. Patrick this fall, and Margaret Erickson was “Engineer’s Lady.”

The Engineer’s Campfire was suspended in 1929 due to falling revenue and the unpredictability of the fall weather in Iowa.

As the weather gets colder (or at least, will eventually!), take time to learn about other ISU traditions that have been left in the past. After you do that, the entire run of the Bomb has been digitized, and all are encouraged to contribute to helping transcribe the pages in order to make the text search more accurate.