Collection Highlight: the Architecture Wives Club (RS 22/5/0/37)

The Architecture Wives Club is a newly processed collection now available to researchers. This club is exactly what it sounds like – the wives of ISU students in the Architecture program. They would hold get togethers, host speakers, and had “club projects” each year, which were philanthropic in nature. As you can see below, the club was not just social but also academic as well.

The official charge from 1966.

The collection is small, only spanning 1952-1971, and I am not sure if it continued on after 1971. However the illustrations are beautiful and the records shine a light on family structures during the 1950’s – 1970’s. More information about the Architecture Wives club can be found by viewing the collection description here.

To view the collection in person, please visit the Special Collections and University Archives department, which is open Monday – Thursday, between 9am – 5pm.

Reflecting on a Year’s Worth of Writing for Curation Services by Cassandra Anderson

Photograph of white female student, long hair with glasses, close-up in a library office setting (cubicle & book shelves filled with books visible in the background).
Photograph courtesy of Cassandra.

This post was authored by Cassandra Anderson, Curation Services student writer.

Looking at my calendar, I can’t believe that almost an entire year has passed since I started my position as Curation Services Student Writer. I was just looking through my blog post, “Reflecting on a Semester’s Worth of Writing About Special Collections & University Archives,” and it feels like I wrote it just yesterday! Throughout the year I have discovered more about the history of Iowa State University than I ever thought possible, and I have developed a deep love for Special Collections and University Archives.

The other day, my friends and I went to the University Bookstore to pick up our cap and gowns for the graduation ceremony that is now just a few short weeks away. Soon the class of 2019 will fill the seats at Hilton, like many of the classes before us. Getting ready for graduation has inspired me to do some reflecting on the past graduations at ISU. Check out these photos of the class of 1985 and the class of 1994 graduation ceremonies.

Students at Iowa State University are working towards a goal, and part of their individual goals are to obtain degrees in their majors. Each major is within a certain department, and each department has a unique history here at ISU. The University Archives are full of boxes related to various departments on campus. I am graduating with a degree in English, so sometimes I like to look through the English Department boxes when I have a chance. Check out this photo of members of the English Department in 1923, 50 years before Ross Hall was built in 1973!

Black and white photo of the Iowa State University English department professors meeting with their students in a shared office space in 1923.
English professors and their students from University Photographs, box 1073.

As the Curation Services Student Writer, I have been writing blog posts, news updates, and social media posts for Special Collections and University Archives, Preservation, Digital Initiatives, and the Digital Repository. When I am not writing for Special Collections and University Archives, usually I am writing for the Preservation Department. Working with the members of the preservation lab has been so incredibly interesting, and writing about the different treatments they do is so cool! If you haven’t checked out their blog, here is the link:

Overhead photo of collections conservator Sonya Barron working on a drawing from a comic from the Underground Comix Collection.
Here is a photo of the Collections Conservator Sonya Barron working on a sketch from the Underground Comix Collection, MS 0636.

Working as the Curation Services Student Writer has been an incredible experience. Each department has helped me grow in ways I never could have imagined, and I am so grateful to everyone here at the library who helped to give me this chance. As I finish up my last few weeks as an ISU student, I am going to try and take in as much as possible, because I want the memories and friends that I have made here during my time at ISU to last a lifetime. After graduation I will be moving to Boston to continue my education at Simmons University, where I will study history and library science, so that I can work towards my dream career of becoming an archivist. Thank you Iowa State University, and thank you Special Collections and University Archives, for helping me work towards my goals. The University Library will always be a second home to me, and I hope to be back to visit often. Check out this photo of the library shortly after being built!

Black and white photo of the Iowa State University library in 1925.
University Photographs, box 258.

Walking through the winters of our past #FlashbackFriday

Photograph of white female student, long hair with glasses, close-up in a library office setting (cubicle & book shelves filled with books visible in the background).
Photograph courtesy of Cassandra.

This blog post was authored by Curation Services Student Writer Cassandra Anderson.

For this #FlashbackFriday I thought we might dive into some pretty cool snow images from the past. I have had these images saved for a while now because I really wanted to wait until we had some snowy weather to compare them to, and boy did mother nature deliver! Students are walking through about five inches of snow to get to their classes today after the snow filled few days we have had! Snow on campus is something that every group of students will experience while studying here at Iowa State University, and while some students love the snow, others are less than excited by it.

A large group of students walking along the sidewalk on central campus that runs from Curtiss Hall to Beardshear Hall in a heavy snow fall, 1979.
From University Photographs box 328.

Here are students walking from Curtiss Hall to Beardshear Hall on central campus in 1979. While there is no other date information for this photo, it looks like they were getting some pretty serious snowfall. This scene could have been recreated yesterday with the amount of snow students were walking through at the end of the day. This photo and more snow scenes can be found in box 328 of RS 4/8/J. Currently it is not snowing, but I can see my fellow students trying to navigate the frozen world outside. Here is a look at what the view from my window on the second floor of the library is right now! While most of the students are at their early morning classes, a few are walking the sidewalks, trying to get places with the two inches of snow we gained last night.

View from the second floor windows of Parks library looking out over the snow covered free speech area, Beardshear Hall is in the background.
Photograph courtesy of Cassandra.

Another cool photo that I found while looking through box 328 of collection RS 4/8/J – Snow Scenes, was an almost identical photo from the first group of students walking in the snow, only this one is from 1994! These students look a little more excited about the snow, and it looks like there was less snow compared to the photo from 1979. How cool is it though that we have two almost identical photos from two separate years? I love finding these connections in the archives, you truly never know what might turn up!

A large group of students walking along the sidewalk on central campus that runs from Curtiss Hall to Beardshear Hall in the snow, 1994.
From University Photographs, box 328.




Welcome Cassandra!

Hello everyone! We are very excited to introduce our new Curation Services Student Writer, Cassandra Anderson!

Photograph of white female student, long hair with glasses, close-up in a library office setting (cubicle & book shelves filled with books visible in the background).
Photograph courtesy of Cassandra Anderson.

Cassandra grew up in Creston, Iowa where she spent a lot of her time in her mother’s elementary/middle school library. When she wasn’t there, she could be found hanging out in her grandmother’s libraries in Urbandale, Iowa. Cassandra is hoping to be the third generation of library workers in her family. She is currently a senior here at Iowa State where she is studying English. After she graduates she hopes to attend a graduate program to study library science or archives management. Growing up she occasionally was able to attend the annual American Library Association conferences with her mother and grandmother, and was even able to attend the most recent one in New Orleans this summer. While there, she sat in on a discussion lead by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden and Archivist of the United States David Ferriero, and was incredibly excited to learn about her future career! Cassandra will be writing blog posts and sharing interesting finds on our social media accounts. When she is not writing for us, she is working as the student assistant on the AvIAn project here in the library. Welcome Cassandra, we are excited to have you!

#TBT A Painting Party @ISUDesign

This weeks #TBT photo comes from the College of Design. Pictured here is a group of students working on their projects for an art class. While the photo is undated, it looks like it was taken in the 1950s (note the hair and clothing styles, not to mention the saddle shoes!). For more information on the College of Design (which wasn’t a formal college until 1979), take a look at some of our collections! We also have many more photos of students in art classes, as well as photos of students’ art pieces.

Students working on their art projects, undated. University Photographs, RS 26/2/F, Box 2076.
Students working on their art projects, undated. University Photographs, RS 26/2/F, Box 2076.


“For Married Students”: Building a Community in Pammel Court, 1946-1978

This slideshow documents a little bit of the massive amount of work that went into the exhibition opening tomorrow, “For Married Students”: Building a Community in Pammel Court, 1946-1978.” This project is the culmination of a collaboration between the Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) and Preservation departments in the University Library and the Department of History. Students in Asst. Prof. Mark Barron’s Public History class (HIS 481X) spent the 2016 fall semester in the SCUA Reading Room and the library general collection conducting research.

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The opening reception is tomorrow, January 18, 6-8 p.m. in 198 Parks Library. Refreshments will be provided by the Department of History. The exhibition will be available for viewing tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. on the 4th floor of Parks Library. If you are unable to attend the opening, the exhibit will be available through the 2017 spring semester.

This blog post authored by Rachel Seale and Monica Gillen.

# TBT Toboggan Race

Currently there is very little snow on the ground and it’s a windy but sunny 37 degrees Fahrenheit. However, today’s Throwback Thursday picture shows an entirely different scene. Below shows a snowy day, likely in late January, with students having a toboggan race during the 1949 Winter Carnival. Check out our previous post about the Winter Carnival.

students pulling other students on toboggans, snowy landscape
From University Photographs RS 22/7/G (box 1670)

The reading room is closed tomorrow and Monday January 2. We are back to our regular hours Monday-Friday beginning Tuesday, January 3. Drop by and see us!

#TBT – Traditions from Times Past

Iowa State University has a ton of traditions. New traditions get developed and old ones fade away. Today’s post is about White Breakfasts, a now defunct tradition. Please note, the caption for the image below states that the White Breakfast was first observed in Lyon Hall in 1915. Our Reference Specialist, Becky notes below that this ceremony was first observed in 1918. The 1918 observance is documented in Julian C. Schilletter‘s The First 100 Years of Residential Housing at Iowa State University Dr. Schilletter held many positions at Iowa State and was the Director of Residence Halls from 1946-1967.

From the Reference Files of Becky Jordan, Reference Specialist


Almost a dozen young women wearing white dresses, holding candles, standing on stairs of their dorm, singing. The caption below this image reads: "On the last Sunday before examination in December the White Breakfast ceremony is observed in women's residence halls. Each advisor lights the candles of her advisees, and beginning on the top floor, the residents of the hall come caroling and carrying candles to breakfast. Devotions are observed afterwards. Traditionally the women wear white dresses or white blouses. First observed in Lyon Hall in 1915, the custom is now universal in the women's residence group."
From “News of Iowa” December 1955 issue (LH1. N39 Archives).

White Breakfasts were observed in the women’s residence halls from 1918 through the early 1960s.  Originated by a Lyon Hall housemother, they were held the last Sunday before the holiday break in December.  The residents dressed in white and carried lighted candles.  A caroling procession started on the top floor of each dormitory and proceeded to the dining rooms, where a special breakfast menu was served.

Sneak Peek! Exhibit Preparation

On Monday and Wednesday afternoon this week, HIS 481X was busy in 405 Parks working on the layouts for their exhibit cases. Staff from the Conservation Lab created mounts and reproduced original materials, selected for the exhibit, so that students could play around with the layout design for the exhibit cases.

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The exhibit opens on January 18. Stay tuned for more updates!


Drop by and see our current exhibits! We’re open Monday-Friday from 9-5.

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