English Reading Lab Machines

Who says English majors, even in the past, haven’t engaged with technology?

Here is a curiosity I stumbled across the other day.

I’m not entirely sure what the function of these so-labeled “reading lab” machines might have been, because I have never seen anything like them before. My best guess is that they were designed to improve speed-reading skills — that the bar of light from above swept down the page at a words-per-minute pace set by the user.

Image of Girl in English Reading Lab circa 1962. RS 13/10/D,F,G, University Photos, box 1073.

Girl in English Reading Lab circa 1962. RS 13/10/D,F,G, University Photos, box 1073.

Furthermore, they seem to have been used in a classroom setting, rather than private study carrels, which suggests to me that they may have served as remedial aids for students — perhaps for freshmen who had been struggling to keep up with course reading loads and wished to improve their study skills.

Image of Reading Lab "Help" Class, circa 1962. RS 13/10/D,F,G, University Photos, box 1073.

Reading Lab “Help” Class, circa 1962. RS 13/10/D,F,G, University Photos, box 1073.

These are just guesses, however.

If anyone reading this post attended ISU in the 1960s, is there a chance that you used something like this? Could you shed some light on these machines’ purpose?


LGBT+ History Month: “Early LGBT+ Student Activism / Activismo Estudiantil Temprano LGBT+” by Research Assistant Luis Gonzalez-Diaz

The following post was written by Luis Gonzalez-Diaz, who is working at SCUA this year as an Undergraduate Research Assistant (URA). His project centers around historical LGBT+ communities on the ISU campus. The post today builds upon his previous post, which can be accessed via a link in the text below.

-Rachael Acheson
Assistant University Archivist


Early LGBT+ Student Activism / Activismo Estudiantil Temprano LGBT+

[TRIGGER WARNING: This blog post, or pages it links to, contains information about sexual assault and/or violence which may be triggering to survivors.]

[Advertencia: Este artículo, puede contener material sobre asalto sexual o violencia que podría ser desencadenante para algunos sobrevivientes.]

Continuing the narrative of LGBT+ History Month, an aspect of LGBT+ history that greatly influenced campus life for the community was the activism from the various groups on campus in the 1970s. The first presence of LGBT+ activism on campus started in 1971 with backlash to the controversial play “Boys in the Band” being presented at Iowa State. For more information on that particular event, check out my last article.

Continuando en la narrativa del mes de historia LGBT+, un aspecto de historia que gran mente influenció la vida estudiantil en la universidad, fue el activismo de varios grupos en los 1970’s. La primera presencia de activismo LGBT+ en la universidad, empezó en 1971 con la repercusión causada por la obra teatral controversial “Boys in the Band” siendo presentada. Para más información, verifica mi último artículo.

Boys in the Band Photos, RS 13/23/3, Box 17. / Fotos de “Boys in the Band”, RS 13/23/3, Caja 17

Boys in the Band Photos, RS 13/23/3, Box 17. / Fotos de “Boys in the Band”, RS 13/23/3, Caja 17

Nonetheless, on October 8th, 1974, students from the Gay People’s Alliance and the Lesbian Alliance might have demonstrated one of the biggest acts of activism and resistance in the decade, when they appeared in a local tv station in Ames called WOI-TV. The invitation to participate in the program arose from a controversial episode of Marcus Welby M.D. titled “The Outrage” aired by ABC TV. In the fictional drama, a mother discovers that her teenage boy was sexually assaulted by one of his school teachers when they were out at a camping trip. The teenager nonetheless was too ashamed to admit it to her mother but eventually confessed that it was his male science teacher that had done it.

No obstante, el 8 de octubre de 1974, estudiantes del “Gay People’s Alliance” y el “Lesbian Alliance” demostraron uno de los actos más grandes de activismo y resistencia en la década, cuando aparecieron en una estación de televisión local en Ames llamada WOI-TV. La invitación ocurrió a causa de un episodio controversial de un programa llamado Marcus Welby M.D titulado “The Outrage”, televisado por ABC TV. En el drama ficticio, una madre descubre que su hijo adolescente fue asaltado sexualmente por uno de sus maestros en un viaje estudiantil auspiciado por la escuela. Sin embargo, el niño adolescente estaba demasiado avergonzado para admitirlo ante su madre, pero finalmente confesó que era su maestro de ciencias lo que lo había hecho.

Luis_TheOutrage_IMDBscreenshot

Screenshot of IMDB page for this episode, accessible at the following URL: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0641970/?ref_=ttep_ep16

The airing of this episode caused much outrage for LGBT+ communities nationwide because of the perpetuation of negative light over the community, in a time where LGBT+ activism was just starting. The airing of the episode was a direct attack on the activism that was present at that time. The episode was pulled from communities in Boston and Philadelphia.

La emisión de este episodio causó mucha indignación para las comunidades LGBT + en todo el país debido a la perpetuación de la luz negativa sobre la comunidad, en un momento en el que el activismo LGBT + apenas estaba comenzando. La emisión del episodio fue un ataque directo al activismo que estaba presente en ese momento. El episodio fue retirado de comunidades en Boston y Filadelfia.

Blurry screenshot of an article from the New York Times, October 6, 1974, page 19. To read a clearer digitized copy of this article, visit the following URL: https://www.nytimes.com/1974/10/06/archives/pressure-groups-are-increasingly-putting-the-heat-on-tv-television.html

Blurry screenshot of a New York Times article dated October 6, 1974, page 19. To read a clearer, digitized copy of this article, visit the following URL: https://www.nytimes.com/1974/10/06/archives/pressure-groups-are-increasingly-putting-the-heat-on-tv-television.html

In Ames, the Gay People’s Alliance and the Lesbian Alliance wanted it to be pulled, but WOI-TV was not doing it. The TV station nonetheless, invited both groups to participate in Betty Lou Varnum’s “Dimension Five” program that aired in central Iowa at 10PM. 

En Ames, el “Gay People’s Alliance” y el “Lesbian Alliance” querían que se retirara, pero WOI-TV no lo estaba haciendo. No obstante, la estación de televisión invitó a ambos grupos a participar en el programa “Dimensión Cinco” de Betty Lou Varnum que se emitió en el centro de Iowa a las 10 P. M.

Headshot of Betty Lou Varnum. Screenshot from the video entitled Dimension 5: Gay People Alliance, time 0:30. Varnum is introducing the segment. Follow URL in the caption to see this moment in the video.

Dimension 5: Gay People Alliance, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heUZADGz66w&t=1882s, 0:30. Betty Lou Varnum is introducing the segment.

The panelists were Carolyn Czerna, Karen Moore, Kay Scott, Connie Tanzo, Steve Court, Jim Osler, David Windom, and Dennis Brumm.

Los panelistas fueron Carolyn Czerna, Karen Moore, Kay Scott, Connie Tanzo, Steve Court, Jim Osler, David Windom y Dennis Brumm.

Screenshot from the video entitled Dimension 5: Gay People Alliance, time 1:39. Carolyn Czerna, Karen Moore, Kay Scott, Connie Tanzo, Steve Court, Jim Osler, David Windom, and Dennis Brumm being introduced. Follow the URL in the caption to see this moment in the video.

Dimension 5: Gay People Alliance, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heUZADGz66w&t=1882s, 1:39. The panelists are being introduced.

The program talked mostly about the Marcus Welby M.D. episode, as well as many questions that the host had. Further along the night, the phone line was opened for callers, and many people called quoting Bible verses at them, which represented how the LGBT+ community was being perceived in Ames. The segment was viewed so frequently that it had brought back to life the ratings for the show. This broadcast, furthermore, represented how student activism here at Iowa State University has influenced and shaped the views on the LGBT+ community in Iowa, and how they refused to stay silent in the midst of an injustice. The interview is conveniently available to you at the Special Collections and University Archive’s YouTube channel, under “Dimension 5: Gay People Alliance Tape 1”.

El programa hablaba principalmente del episodio de Marcus Welby M.D. así como de las muchas preguntas que tenía el anfitrión. Más a lo largo de la noche, se abrió la línea telefónica para las personas que llamaban, y muchas personas llamaron a citar versículos bíblicos, lo que representaba cómo se percibía a la comunidad LGBT + en Ames. El segmento se veía con tanta frecuencia que había devuelto a la vida las calificaciones para el programa. Además, esta transmisión representó cómo el activismo estudiantil aquí en “Iowa State University” ha influido y configurado las opiniones sobre la comunidad LGBT + en Iowa, y cómo se negaron a permanecer en silencio en medio de una injusticia. La entrevista está disponible para usted en el canal de YouTube de Colecciones Especiales y el Archivo de la Universidad, bajo “Dimensión 5: Gay People Alliance Tape 1“.

Additionally, we have the original Dimension 5 notes for that specific broadcast in the Betty Lou Varnum papers at SCUA [RS 5/6/53].

Además, tenemos las notas originales de Dimensión 5 para esa emisión específica en los documentos de Betty Lou Varnum en SCUA [RS 5/6/53].

Broadcast notes from collection RS 5/6/53

RS 5/6/53

If you have any other materials regarding LGBT+ student life here on campus, please feel free to reach out to the Special Collections and University Archives at ISU to talk about how you can possibly preserve and help us develop the history of the community in the university.

Si tiene cualquier otro material relacionado con la vida estudiantil LGBT + aquí en el campus, no dude en comunicarse con las Colecciones Especiales y los Archivos Universitarios en ISU para hablar sobre cómo posiblemente puede preservar y ayudarnos a desarrollar la historia de la comunidad en la universidad.


LGBT+ History Month: “Activist Archivists / Archivistas Activistas” by Research Assistant Luis Gonzalez-Diaz

As I mentioned in a previous post, this year, two talented upperclassmen have joined SCUA through the Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) program to help us uncover some of the “hidden histories” of ISU through research into underrepresented communities in the university’s past. They are working on digital exhibits that will serve as a resource for future scholars, and both URA students will be writing blog posts throughout the school year to update you on their discoveries. Today, it is my pleasure to introduce the work of Luis Gonzalez-Diaz, who has chosen to research the history of LGBTQIA+ communities at ISU.

-Rachael Acheson
Assistant University Archivist


 

Activist Archivists / Archivistas Activistas

The LGBT+ community since its beginning, has certainly faced its struggles in terms of finding visibility in society. A lot of the history from the community has been erased due to the historical oppression of its members. Nonetheless, some of the history is preserved in archives around the world. The word archivist according to the Oxford English Dictionary means “a person who maintains and is in charge of archives” (“Archivist”), but it is so much more complex than that. An archivist is in a unique position to correct the wrongdoings that society has done in the past. An activist according to the Oxford English Dictionary is defined as “a person who campaigns to bring about political or social change” (“Activist”), and exactly this, is what an archivist can be.

La comunidad LGBT+ desde sus comienzos, ha sin duda enfrentado sus luchas en el sentido de encontrar visibilidad en la sociedad. Mucha de la historia de la comunidad ha sido borrada, debido a la opresión histórica de sus miembros. No obstante, alguna de la historia es preservada en archivos alrededor del mundo. La palabra archivista se define como “una persona que mantiene y preserva los archivos” (“Archivist”); pero es mucho más compleja de lo que aparenta. Un archivista está en una posición única en donde existe la posibilidad de corregir las malas acciones del pasado. Un activista es “una persona que promueve el cambio político y social” (“Activist”); y exactamente esto, es lo que un archivista puede ser.

Archivist as Activists” is a term quoted from “Archivist as Activist: Lessons from Three Queer Community Archives in California”, written by Diana Wakimoto, Christine Bruce, and Helen Patridge. In the article, they talk about how by being an activist, archivists are able to preserve the history of marginalized communities, and be able to ensure representation in their collections.

Archivista como Activista es un término citado de “Archivista como Activista: Lecciones de Tres Archivos Queer de la Comunidad en California”; escrito por Diana Wakimoto, Christine Bruce, and Helen Patridge. En el artículo, hablan de cómo ser un activista, puede ayudar a los archivistas en el proceso de la preservación de materiales de comunidades marginalizadas. Esto puede ayudar a garantizar la representación equitativa en los archivos.

https://www.onearchives.org/exhibitions/. Picture of the One Archives, one of the three California Community Archives stated in the article, from their website. / Foto del Archivo “One”, uno de los tres archivos mencionados. Extraida de su sitio web

https://www.onearchives.org/exhibitions/ Picture of the One Archives, one of the three California Community Archives stated in the article, from their website. / Foto del Archivo “One”, uno de los tres archivos mencionados. Extraida de su sitio web

Furthermore, people constantly ask why collecting LGBT+ material is so important. Well, it is very important to collect these materials because there is a need for them. LGBT+ people have and always been a part of history, and leaving them out from the discourse would simply be wrong. By being an activist for the community, archivists can ensure that everybody is present when preserving and maintaining history.

Además, muchas personas se cuestionan por qué la preservación de materiales LGBT+ importa. Pues, es muy importante porque hay una necesidad de recolectar estos materiales. La comunidad LGBT+ siempre ha sido parte de la historia y dejarlos fuera del discurso, sería un acto atroz. Siendo un activista para la comunidad, los archivistas pueden asegurar que todo el mundo está presente en la preservación de la historia.

Here at SCUA, we are collecting and preserving Iowa State University LGBT+ history by being activists and making sure that the community is being represented within our archives. One of our earliest accounts of LGBT+ student life dates back to 1971, regarding a student organization called the Gay Liberation Front [RS 22/4/0/1, Box 1]. The Gay Liberation Front wrote a letter to the ISU Daily, where they expressed their feelings toward the discrimination of gay people in the 70’s. They specifically said “We, members of Iowa State University’s gay community, feel that we can no longer tolerate the overt and covert discrimination against homosexuals on this campus”.

Aquí en “SCUA”, estamos colectando y preservando la historia de la comunidad LGBT+ en Iowa State University. Lo estamos logrando siendo activistas y asegurándonos que haya representación en nuestros archivos. Uno de nuestros archivos más tempranos, es de 1971 y es relevante a un grupo llamado el “Gay Liberation Front” [RS 22/4/0/1, Caja 1]. El “Gay Liberation Front” escribió una carta al periódico local, el “ISU Daily”, donde expresaron sus sentimientos sobre la discriminación de personas de la comunidad LGBT+ en los años 70. Específicamente dijeron “Nosotros, los miembros de la comunidad gay de la Universidad, sentimos que no podemos tolerar el discrimen rampante contra los homosexuales en esta Universidad”.

ISU Daily Article, RS 22/4/0/1, Box 1. / Articulo del ISU Daily, Rs 22/4/0/1. Caja 1.

ISU Daily Article, RS 22/4/0/1, Box 1. / Articulo del ISU Daily, Rs 22/4/0/1. Caja 1.

The outrage nonetheless, was caused by a theater play that Iowa State brought to campus titled “Boys in the Band”; a famously known LGBT+ related play. The Gay Liberation Front then said that “By allowing the presentation of the play The Boys in the Band, Iowa State University has, in effect, said that its students are prepared to tackle the question of homosexuality”.

La furia, no obstante, fue causada por una obra teatral que Iowa State University trajo a la universidad, titulada “Boys in the Band”. Esta obra es notablemente LGBT+ y por esto el “Gay Liberation Front” expresó que “Si dejan presentar la obra, están diciendo que la Universidad y por ende su estudiantado están preparados para hablar sobre temas LGBT+”.

Luis_BoysinBand_2_IMG_2169

Boys in the Band Photos, RS 13/23/3, Box 17. / Fotos de “Boys in the Band”, RS 13/23/3, Caja 17

Boys in the Band Photos, RS 13/23/3, Box 17. / Fotos de “Boys in the Band”, RS 13/23/3, Caja 17.

Boys in the Band Photos, RS 13/23/3, Box 17. / Fotos de “Boys in the Band”, RS 13/23/3, Caja 17.

This article is one of the earliest accounts of LGBT+ life on the Iowa State Campus. While we do have some materials regarding the LGBT+ community and, there is a need for more materials. If you were an Iowa State University student and have any materials that pertain to the community, we would invite you to contact us, to discuss the benefits of preserving your history here on campus.

Este artículo es uno de los recuentos más tempranos de la vida estudiantil LGBT+ en Iowa State University. A pesar de que tenemos algunos materiales sobre la comunidad LGBT+ en la Universidad, hay una necesidad de conseguir y preservar materiales. Si usted fue un estudiante de Iowa State University, le invitamos a que nos contacten, para discutir los beneficios de preservar su historia en la Universidad en nuestros archivos.


Meet the Author!

Luis is a Political Science and Sociology undergraduate student at Iowa State University. His goal is to one day obtain a PhD in Sociology, do research, and teach at a university. At the university, Luis is a NCORE-ISCORE Scholar, McNair Scholar, and Student Success Leader for the BOLD Learning Community in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Luis is one of the two undergraduate research assistants for the University Archives, researching the LGBT+ community at Iowa State, and SCUA has been very impressed with his work to date.

 

Luis Gonzalez-Diaz, SCUA Undergraduate Research Assistant 2018-2019

Luis Gonzalez-Diaz, SCUA Undergraduate Research Assistant 2018-2019



#TBT Studying in the Library

RS-4-8-O_Library_389-11-03

University Photos, box 389

The photo wasn’t dated, but I would guess this was taken in the 1950s.  Dead Week is the perfect time to share a photo of students studying in the Library Rotunda in front of our Grant Wood murals.

During Dead Week in 2018, the Rotunda is more suited for a relaxing break than studying since we will have some four-legged friends visiting for Barks @ Parks.

Study hard and good luck with finals next week!


Visiting SCUA 103

Hello again! This is the third entry in the blog series about visiting special collections and archives from the perspective of someone who is pretty new.

Today I will be talking about how to find student records at the archives. Often we have visitors who are interested in finding out information about their relatives who went to school at Iowa State sometime in the past. Or, perhaps you’re interested in information about one of Iowa State’s more famous alumni. We have quite a few resources with information about students (naturally). I will highlight just a few of the most fruitful areas of information.

A great source of information on students is the yearbook, The Bomb. All of the yearbooks have been digitized, and they are also available in the reading room. The Bomb covers every year from 1894-1994. Often, in the back of the yearbook every senior will be listed along with the activities they participated in while at Iowa State. Looking up information on the clubs a particular person participated in may also offer some clues and interesting information.

1957BombStudentActivities

Page 451, 1957 Bomb

A second helpful resource is the school directories. In the reading room, we have directories from 1901 to 2010. The directories list the majors, year in school, on campus address, and hometown. If you know the general time period that someone may have gone to school here, you can use the directories to pin down more exact dates.

A third resource are our alumni files. The alumni files can be rich sources of information, depending on the graduate. It’s also important to note that not every graduate will have an alumni file and there are some student files for individuals who attended but never graduated. The only way to find out if a student has a file is to have a member of SCUA staff take a look at the boxes in the closed stacks and check, which we are more than happy to do for you. If you want to know in advance whether you might find information on someone, you can always send us an email to archives@iastate.edu. Some of the alumni files have just an article or two while others are much larger.

Classof1895

Members of the class of 1895, University photo box

There are a few alumni who have collections of their own. For example, we have collections for George Washington Carver and Carrie Chapman Catt. However, there are also collections for some lesser known graduates. You can browse the alumni and former student finding aids to see if we have a collection for the person you are interested in learning about.

These are all places to start your research on former students. You can always stop by the reading room or email us to see if we have any more suggestions for you!


#TBT New School Wardrobe

7-2Box454

University Photos, box 454, n.d.

For today’s Throwback Thursday post, we see some students showing off their new school wardrobes.  Styles may change, but the tradition of getting new clothes for a new school year remains.

I hope everyone has had a great first week of classes! Need a break during your busy week? Stop by Special Collections and University Archives and browse other pictures of student life from days gone by; we are open 9-5, Monday-Friday.


#TBT Registration

7-2-E_Registration 1946_box449

Registration 1946, University Photos box 449

Check out how Iowa State students registered in 1946.  Looks a lot different than signing up on your laptop from the comfort of your apartment or dorm room!

To see more about student life throughout Iowa State’s history, stop by the archives from 9-5, Monday-Friday or check out our digitized collection of the Bomb, the ISU yearbook.

Save

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CyPix: Wintertime Fun

Ski001

Students skiing during Winter Carnival, 1949. University Photographs, RS 22/7, Box 1670

‘Tis the season for cold and snow. We may not have any snow at the moment, but it will come. And when it does, some people will hole up inside as much as possible, and others will run outside to play in it. The people in the above photo chose the latter. Skiing was one of the many activities offered during Iowa State’s Winter Carnival, held in the school’s earlier days. This particular photo was taken during the 1949 carnival, held in late January. Other activities included toboggan races, ice skating, and tug-of-war… on ice.

Rather be inside? Stop by and explore any of our available collections while enjoying a great view of wintry campus in our reading room!


A computer picked my date: IBM computer dances of the 1960s

With the plethora of dating websites out there–OKCupid, Match, eHarmony, and even some more niche sites like FarmersOnly or Geek2Geek–you may think that the idea of having a computer match you up with a date developed in tandem with the internet age. Not so. At least since the 1960s, computer programmers have been working on algorithms to match people up. Take, for example, the IBM computer dances held at ISU in the 1960s.

The first dance was held October 12, 1963, in the ballrooms of the Memorial Union. It was sponsored by the Ward System, the residence organizations for off-campus students. As with online dating sites, students who wished to participate in the dance filled out long (120 questions) questionnaires in advance. Staff at the Iowa State Computation Center transferred the answers to punch cards that were fed into a computer for processing.

Students holding punch cards for the IBM Computer Dance in 1963.

Students holding punch cards for the IBM Computer Dance in 1963. From University Photographs Collection, box 1647.

According to one Des Moines Register article from October 4, 1963, “After basic sorting, according to male and female, short and tall, plump and thin, younger and older, the computer will consider such ingredients of compatibility as: What subjects each student likes to talk about; preferences in books, television programs and movies; their religion, politics, and family background; academic ability, dating preferences and personality traits” (from the Clair George Maple Papers, RS 6/2/12, box 5, folder 10).

The system gave each student three matches, the first match being the student’s “ideal partner” from the group of participants, and the dance was divided into three sessions, to allow all of the matches to meet.

And what did the participants think of the event? All-in-all, it got good reviews. According to an Iowa State Daily article from October 15, 1963, “Several WRA [Women’s Residence Association] and sorority social chairmen reported general pleasure expressed by girls attending the dance. Some girls have accepted dates with their matches; others said they enjoyed the evening but did not particularly care to continue the relationship” (from the Clair George Maple Papers, RS 6/2/12, box 5, folder 10). There were even reported to be four couples that got engaged as a result of the dance. (See image below.)

Newspaper clipping, likely from the Iowa State Daily from 1964, describing four engagements that came out of the IBM Computer Dance in 1963. From the Clair George Maple Papers, RS 6/2/12, box 5, folder 10.

Newspaper clipping, likely from the Iowa State Daily from 1964, describing four engagements that came out of the IBM Computer Dance in 1963. From the Clair George Maple Papers, RS 6/2/12, box 5, folder 10. [click for larger image]

And just like those who have sat through terrible online dates, there were some who complained about their IBM dance experience. Complaints ranged from incompatibility, to being paired with wallflowers, to personal jabs. Most notably, one male described his date as “‘not only built like an elephant but danced like an elephant.'”

As you might expect, such a novelty as computer-picked dance partners drew national attention, and the event was covered by The New York Times, Associated Press, United Press International, the Wall Street Journal, and Life magazine, as well as WOI-TV, Omaha TV, and ABC-TV.

After that much press, other colleges and universities across the country were eager to get in on the novelty, too, so the Iowa State Computation Center agreed to process the punched questionnaire cards sent in by other universities who wanted to hold their own computer dances.

A card sorter like the one shown here in the Iowa State Computation Center would have been used to sort the punch cards for the dance. From the University Photographs Collection, box 439.

A card sorter like the one shown here in the Iowa State Computation Center would have been used to sort the punch cards for the dance. From the University Photographs Collection, box 439.

For more on the history of the IBM computer dances, check out this Iowa State Daily article. Documentation of the dances can also be found in the Clair George Maple Papers (RS 6/2/12) (see box 5, folder 10 and map case items), newly processed at Special Collections and University Archives. Stop in and see us!