Khrushchev waving to onlookers on campus. [University Photograph Collection, RS 00, Dignitaries and Other Notable Visitors, Boxes 11-15]
The New Year has begun, and the NHPRC grant project to ingest all of the Special Collections and University Archives finding aids continues to move forward. At the end of last year, we hit the milestone of getting every Manuscript Collection with a finding aid entered into our CuadraStar SKCA archival catalog database – nearly 600 finding aids in all. We have now moved on to the University Archives finding aids, and have raised the total to 800. It is exciting to see this number climb every day.
As a result, I have gotten the chance to read many of the finding aids as they go into the database. This has taught me quite a bit about SCUA’s collections, both in terms of how they relate to my own interests and about things that I previously knew nothing about.
I was a Russian major as an undergraduate, and so was interested to come across materials that document Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev’s Iowa visit in 1959. As part of his visit, Khrushchev toured the Coon Rapids, Iowa farm of Roswell Garst, as well as the Swine Nutrition Research Center on the Iowa State campus.
Garst had previously hosted a Soviet delegation on his farm as part of an agricultural exchange in 1955. The visitors had come to the United States to learn about agricultural technology that would be applied in the Soviet Virgin Lands Campaign to increase agricultural output in the Soviet Union. Garst later traveled to the USSR himself as part of a return delegation, and it was on this trip that he met Khrushchev and personally invited him to visit Iowa.
Typescript of a speech given by Khrushchev at a dinner in his honor, held at Hotel Fort Des Moines, Des Moines, Iowa, September 22, 1959. [Garst Family papers, MS 579, box 43, folder 52]
Materials related to Khrushchev’s visit to Iowa can be found in the papers of Roswell Garst
(RS 21/7/12), John Chrystal
(MS 422), President James H. Hilton
(RS 2/10), Damon Von Catron
(RS 9/11/55) and the Garst Family
(MS 579). The fiftieth anniversary of Chairman Khrushchev’s visit was marked by a 2009 celebration in Des Moines and Coon Rapids, information about which can be found in the Khrushchev Committee 50th Anniversary Event records
(MS 615). Further materials related to agricultural relations between Iowa and the Soviet Union can be found in the Garst Company records
(MS 642), the Garst and Thomas Hybrid Corn Company records
(MS 173), and the Charles J. Hearst papers
As someone new to the University, and to Iowa in general, this I have enjoyed learning more about local history. I am looking forward to learning more about the SCUA collections as this project continues, as well as to what researchers find once we launch the new archival catalog at the end of this year.
This project has been generously funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).