This month’s collaborative post highlights items from our Artifact Collection that remind us of spring. I know it’s probably a little premature to start thinking of spring, but tell that to this week’s forecast!
Baseball bat (Artifact 2005-R010)
Amy Bishop, Rare Books and Manuscripts Archivist
Nothing says spring like baseball! That’s why I choose this metal baseball bat from our archives collection for this post. This bat is a special one. It has nine engravings that indicate which schools won this special trophy bat over the course of ten years. In chronological order: Grinnell 1892, IAC 1893, IAC 1894, SUI 1895, Grinnell 1896, Cornell 1898, Grinnell 1899, SUI 1900, SUI 1901, and Grinnell 1902. SUI stands for State University of Iowa, our rivals in Iowa City, and IAC stands for Iowa Agricultural College, the name for Iowa State University from its founding until 1959. The bat also includes an engraved baseball game scene surrounded by a leaf border. What a fun piece of history from early higher education in Iowa!
Brad Kuennen, University Archivist
Spring is all about getting back outdoors and enjoying the return of sunshine and warm weather. And for some people, that means going out to the ballpark and enjoying a friendly game of baseball. Iowa State no longer has a baseball team, but this silver bat traveling trophy, dating from the 1890s, is a reminder of the excellent Cyclone teams of years past.
Becky Jordan, Reference Specialist
With major league pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training on February 14, my thoughts are with the coming season for my (reigning World Series Champions) Chicago Cubs. As a result, the Silver Bat is the artifact that makes me think most of spring. The bat was a trophy awarded to members of the Iowa Inter-Collegiate Base Ball Association. The Association, formed in 1892, originally included Drake University, Iowa College at Grinnell (now Grinnell College), Iowa Agricultural College (now Iowa State University), and the State University of Iowa (now University of Iowa). Cornell College joined in 1893. The bat has an engraving of a baseball game in progress and the following inscriptions: Grinnell 1902, SUI 1901, SUI 1900, Grinnell 1899, Cornell 1898, Grinnell 1892, Grinnell 1896, SUI 1895 on the handle; and on the end of the bat, IAC 1893, IAC 1894.
Woven picture “Bluebirds Herald Spring” (Artifact 2009-069.037)
Chris Anderson, Descriptive Records Project Archivist
This woven picture by Shirley Held is entitled “Bluebirds Herald Spring.” To me, it strongly resembles an Impressionist painting. Monet could have put these colors together. This nearly-abstract scene truly sings of Spring.
Shirley Held (1923-2014) earned a B.S. and M.S. in Home Economics and Applied Art at ISU before joining the faculty of the Department of Art and Design in 1953. She was promoted to full professor in 1975 and retired in 1990.
ISU Special Collections and Archives has the Shirley E. Held Papers (RS 26/2/53) in addition to dozens of textile artworks like this one. I’m making a mental note to learn a bit more about Held, her career, and her artistry.
Lithographic plate (Artifact 2000-105.002 )
Laura Sullivan, Collections Archivist
One of our artifacts which definitely makes me think of spring is the lithographic plate (Artifact 2000-105.002) of a bird’s nest with eggs, and then right next to it the hatched baby birds. I also love that not only do we have the original plate, but also one of the prints which was made from the plate (2000-105.001). Lithographic plates have always intrigued me since I first learned about them – who would have ever thought to create a print from stone and a water-resistant drawing substance such as wax? This artifact comes from Iowa State University’s Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Records (RS 9/10/04).
Link for collection: http://www.add.lib.iastate.edu/spcl/arch/rgrp/9-10-4.html
VEISHEA button (Artifact 2012-120.001)
Olivia Garrison, Reference Coordinator
This button reminds me of spring for a couple of reasons. VEISHEA, of course, was celebrated in the spring. This button invokes memories of the parade, cherry pies, and dirt dessert from the Agronomy department. While there are many VEISHEA artifacts, photographs, and documents in the archives, I chose this button because of the depiction of one of ISU’s swans. Spring is a great time to walk around our beautiful campus; and specifically, take a break by Lake LaVerne to visit Lancelot and Elaine. To learn more about VEISHEA, see our online exhibit or by visiting the archives to look at RS 22/12: VEISHEA.
Hand Fan (Artifact 1993-002)
Rachel Seale, Outreach Archivist
This hand fan was presented to Martin Jischke, Iowa State University’s 13th president, in May 1993. The hand fan includes birds and butterflies. It makes me think of spring because of the artwork on the fan. Of course, a fan also comes in handy as the temperatures heat up in spring.” This fan is associated with the Martin C. Jischke Papers (RS 2/13).