Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month: HASU of the 1980s

Did you know there used to be an Hispanic American Student Union (HASU) on campus? Did you know that the group (for, indeed, it was a student group, not a building) was around for at least a full decade? And that it hosted a high-profile, multi-day, annual symposium with funding from the Government of the Student Body (GSB) for at least seven years in a row? And that this symposium created a unique space for American students with Hispanic/Latinx heritage to celebrate and share their culture, create dialog around social issues, converse with prominent activists, and voice to their own experiences?

You didn’t? Don’t feel bad: neither did I.

Neither did any of the SCUA staff, in fact, until a few days ago. This is because scarcely a whisper of such a group exists in our archives. We have no collections of meeting minutes from HASU secretaries, no photographs, no write-ups in the yearbook (a staple in research on ISU student life). Virtually nothing.

So how did I find out about it?

Well, I stumbled by chance across an article, not in a campus publication, but in the public library’s digitized copies of the local Ames Tribune while trying to answer a reference question.

Text of an article from the Ames Tribune, entitled, "Symposium brings issues to campus" by Mark Smidt. Ames Tribune, March 14, 1985, page 20.

Article from the Ames Tribune, March 14, 1985, page 20

I think it was the detailed nature of the article that peaked my interest, the inclusion of the full schedule for the benefit of community members wishing to attend. How could something like this have slipped so completely under our radar? Especially when none of the archivists had even heard of HASU, and it did not appear in any of our indexes or subject guides.

With an exact date to go off of, the University Archivist managed to track down a recording of the lecture delivered by Arnaldo Torres. But this turned out to be less helpful than we’d hoped, as the lecture is recorded in an older tape format and has not yet been digitized. So my curiosity remained unsatisfied.

I am particularly interested in the past and present (aka “future history”!) of student organizations on campus, and I know that this kind of detective work — the business of hunting down ghosts — while frustrating, can also be really fun. So I decided I was going to learn something about this mystery organization. As a side note, I didn’t carry the investigation very far, as I was really only hunting for blog post stories. But I wanted to share some of my methodology in this post so that any of you readers who find yourselves interested in this, or similarly under-documented histories, can replicate the steps and make your own discoveries.

Since I found the group in a news article, I decided to move my search to newspapers. Fortunately, my first stop, the Iowa State Daily, produced results. One is not always so lucky.

Unfortunately, the Iowa State Daily back issues are not digitized or keyword searchable prior to the 1990s. This means, in order to find anything, you have to scroll through miles of microfilm. And the microfilm is not housed in SCUA (on the 4th floor of Parks), either. It’s housed in the Media Center which is located (yes, you guessed it) in the basement of Parks. Naturally.

For those of you who have never used a microfilm reader before, this should give you an idea.

Microfilm reader in the Parks Library Media Center.

Microfilm reader in the Parks Library Media Center.

Microfilm reader in the Parks Library Media Center.

Look at all the gears and gadgets!

Essentially, then, a microfilm reader is a cross between a giant sewing machine, a film projector, a microscope, and a really old, bulky desktop computer. If that sounds off-putting to you, don’t worry: the staff at the desk are all trained to help, and you get the hang of it pretty quickly.

The real draw-back to microfilm, though is that, while it’s easy to find articles by date, it’s less easy to search for them by subject matter. For a limited date-range, though, the archives does have a printed subject index for Iowa State Daily articles, and this helped me out a ton.

Iowa State Daily Index 1986-1987, Call #PARKS Spec Coll: Archives AI21 I8x.

Iowa State Daily Index 1986-1987, Call #PARKS Spec Coll: Archives AI21 I8x.

So, using the index, and then searching the dates it gave me on microfilm, I found a few articles pertaining either to HASU or to their annual Hispanic Symposium in Daily issues from 1985, 1987, and 1990. And because the first mention of the symposium billed it as the “fifth annual” event, I could tell right away that HASU had existed and been active from at least 1981-1990. As to whether it continued beyond that, who can say? However, if I had decided to continue my research beyond this point, the date range would have provided an important clue.

Anyway, here are some of the articles I found on HASU and their annual Hispanic Symposium. I hope you enjoy them, and I hope they inspire you to do your own archival research. You never know what you will find with a little persistence.

And please, if you are an alumnus, and you remember participating in HASU in the 1980s, do get in touch with me. We’ll do what we can to help you tell the story of your group more fully for the benefit of future researchers.

Advertisement for the "Fifth Annual Spring Hispanic Symposium," Iowa State Daily, March 21, 1985, page 14

Advertisement for the “Fifth Annual Spring Hispanic Symposium,” Iowa State Daily, March 21, 1985, page 14

ISDaily_19850322_p1_PastImmigrantsTodaysBigots

“Past immigrants are today’s bigots,” Iowa State Daily, March 22, 1985, page 1

ISDaily_19870220_p15_HispanicPlayTakesOnStereotypes

“Hispanic play takes on stereotypes” and “1987 Hispanic Symposium,” Iowa State Daily, February 20, 1987, page 15


Photograph of a political button reading, "I march for full suffrage June 7th. Will you?" From the SCUA Artifact Collection. Suffragists wore buttons like this for a variety of reasons. Many to get people to know that suffrage was on the ballot or to proudly show that they were a suffragist.

“Ghosts of the Suffrage Club” by Research Assistant Amanda Larsen

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 Amanda Larsen, who has chosen to research feminist activism at ISU.

-Rachael Acheson
Assistant University Archivist

 


Ghosts of the Suffrage Club

When thinking of the early days of campus life, it is easy to distance ourselves from those who were here at the turn of the century. Women on campus had to live in dorms with few exceptions, endure strict curfew rules, and were not allowed to leave the city without special permission. Despite the restrictions to their campus life, women on campus decided to take part in gaining the right to vote. So, they created the suffrage club.

On April 14th, 1916, the newly created suffrage club met for the first time. Around 150 women showed up to vote Ava Johnson as the president, Jeanette Knapp as the secretary, and Katherine McCarrell as treasurer. During the meeting, Dean Katharine McKay and those listed above spoke to the crowd. They goal of the club “was stated to be the support of the suffrage movement in Iowa with particular emphasis on the securing of pledges of votes favoring the suffrage measure to be submitted to the voters of the state in the June election.” One of the first speakers brought in by the “suffrage boosters” was Mrs. Carrie Chapman Catt, president of the American Woman Suffrage association and former student of Iowa State, for a highly anticipated lecture at the university.

Despite having 150 women at the first meeting, there is little mention of this suffrage club in the archives and no mentions of it in the Bomb (the yearbook).  Ava Johnson, who was the president of the club graduated in 1916, but the suffrage club was not listed within her group involvement.

 

Photograph of Ava Johnson from page 76 in the Bomb yearbook from the year 1916.

p. 76 in the 1916 Bomb

 

Nor is the club mentioned when Jeanette Knapp or Katharine McCarrell are listed the following year.

 

Senior portrait of Jeanette Margaret Knapp from the Bomb yearbook, 1917, page 108.

Knapp is on the far left. 1917 Bomb, page 108.

 

Senior portrait of Katherine McCarrell. McCarrell is on the far right. 1917 Bomb, p. 110. Katharine’s name has been spelled Katherine when mentioned elsewhere.

McCarrell is on the far right. 1917 Bomb, p. 110. Katharine’s name has been spelled “Katherine” when mentioned elsewhere.

 

This was not the only suffrage club in Ames, but it is only one created by students at Iowa State. All the clubs in Ames, including the suffrage club, were focused on securing the votes for suffrage during the June 1916 election. The results of the vote were 2671 votes in favor of suffrage in Story County, while only 1606 voted against.

 

Photograph of a political button reading, "I march for full suffrage June 7th. Will you?" From the SCUA Artifact Collection. Suffragists wore buttons like this for a variety of reasons.  Many to get people to know that suffrage was on the ballot or to proudly show that they were a suffragist.

From the SCUA Artifact Collection. Suffragists wore buttons like this for a variety of reasons. Many to get people to know that suffrage was on the ballot or to proudly show that they were a suffragist.

 

Newspaper clipping featuring the only known mention in the archives of the Suffrage Club. RS# 22/04/00/01.

Newspaper clipping featuring the only known mention in the archives of the ISU Suffrage Club. RS# 22/04/00/01.

 

If you are a part of an Iowa State club or organization and have documents (any inactive records, meeting minutes, photographs, etc.) pertaining to the club, then please bring them to Special Collections on the fourth floor of Parks Library. Those records can be stored for future generations to have a better understanding of your club.

 


Meet the Author!

Amanda Larsen is in her third year at ISU with a triple major in criminal justice, psychology, and history. She has already proven herself to be a hard worker and innovative researcher, and SCUA is looking forward to watching her project unfold. She hopes that you have enjoyed the post!

Photograph of Amanda Larsen, SCUA Undergraduate Research Assistant 2018-2019.

Amanda Larsen, SCUA Undergraduate Research Assistant 2018-2019


Collecting Student Life Amongst Diverse Communities

Because Special Collections is the home of the University Archives (UA), documenting the University’s history is central to what we do.  The University Archives is filled with official records from the institution itself, but the student experience is under-documented.  This is woefully true in the case of black students.  One of the goals of the Library is to change that, but that can’t happen without alumni themselves.

One such student organization is the Eta Tau Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. is the first African American intercollegiate sorority, and it was founded at Howard University in Washington DC 110 years ago. The Eta Tau Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. was chartered at Iowa State University/Drake University June 14, 1973. Anniversaries are reminders of how important it is to reflect upon one’s history and place at the university and the greater community. It is also an opportunity to solidify ones place in the official historical records, making it known and available for generations of students and researchers.

 

Help us document the Black student experience at Iowa State University. If you have letters, photographs, diaries, scrapbooks, research papers, meeting minutes, clippings, flyers, audio, film, or video recordings from your time at ISU, please consider donating them to the University Archives.

Eta Tau Chapter members at ISU game, ca. 1995. Courtesy of Keena Thicklin, AKA Inititate and ISU Class of


#TBT Bicycle Club

Bicycle Club, circa 1898. University Photographs, box (#).

Bicycle Club, circa 1898. University Photographs, box (1644).

This weekend, one of Iowa’s biggest events begins. No, not the Iowa State Fair (that’s in August). Rather, it’s that huge bicycle ride across the state, RAGBRAI. RAGBRAI is a statewide event run by the Des Moines Register that began in 1973. Bicycle enthusiasts have been at Iowa State University since, judging by this photograph, at least the turn of the 20th century. ISU has had a student cycling club for years, currently called the ISU Cycling Club (in the 1970s, it was the ISU Bicycle Club).

Some information on the ISU Bicycle Club in the 1970s is available in the Iowa State University, Student Organizations, Recreation and Special Interest Groups General File, RS 22/7/0/1. Stop by sometime!


Alpha Zeta Fraternity at Iowa State #TBT

Alpha Zeta fraternity in front of Agricultural Hall (now named Catt Hall) on steps. This photograph was taken on May 23, 1927.

(University Photographs box 1627)

(University Photographs box 1627)

Charles W. Burkett and John F. Cunningham, students in the College of Agriculture at the Ohio State University, founded the Fraternity of Alpha Zeta November 4, 1897. Alpha Zeta is a professional, service, and honorary agricultural fraternity for men and women in agriculture seeking to develop leadership skills to benefit agriculture, life sciences, and related fields. There are over 100,000 members worldwide.

Drop by the reading room and review the Alpha Zeta Wilson Chapter (Iowa State University) Records. We’re open from 10 -4, Monday-Friday.


LGBT Pride Month

June is LGBT Pride Month. What better time to highlight LGBT-related materials in our collections? Iowa State University strives to provide an inclusive environment on campus, but it hasn’t always been easy. Homophobia was once rampant, not just on our campus, but everywhere. That’s not to say that it’s been eradicated, but overall there appears to be more acceptance today. In the face of the challenges LGBT individuals have faced, several student groups sprung up on campus in the 1970s. These included the Gay Liberation Front (later called the Gay Men’s Rap Group), the Lesbian Alliance, and the Gay People’s Liberation Alliance.

ISU's Gay Liberation Front makes its public debut, 1971. RS 22/4/0/1, Box 1, Folder 35

ISU’s Gay Liberation Front makes its public debut, 1971. RS 22/4/0/1, Box 1, Folder 35

The first gay student group on campus was the Gay Liberation Front, established during the 1971-1972 academic year (it’s unclear if the ISU group was associated with the national GLF). The organization came together to start a gay liberation movement on campus and became publicly visible for the first time in December 1971, with a letter to the editor published in the Iowa State Daily in protest of the play “Boys in the Band,” which was being performed on campus. The letter complained of the production’s “outwardly homophobic attitudes toward the gay lifestyle.” (“30 Years Is Just the Beginning,” Iowa State Daily, April 1, 2002; RS 22/4/0/1, Box 1, Folder 34). Several response letters critical of the initial letter were sent and published. The following year, the group changed its name to the Gay Men’s Rap Group, a name with less of a political connotation. Membership increased drastically from the first year to the next, with around 25 people at the first meeting that second year. A founding member of the Gay Liberation Front, Dennis Brumm, wrote a history of the gay liberation movement at Iowa State on his website, a copy of which we have printed off from 2001 (note: the version in the link above is a bit different than the version in our archive).

A publication that served as an open forum for LGBT individuals in the community to express their thoughts, 1974. RS 22/4/0/1, Box 1, Folder 35

A publication that served as an open forum for LGBT individuals in the community to express their thoughts, 1974. RS 22/4/0/1, Box 1, Folder 35

LGBT student organizations existing today on campus can be found on the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Student Services (LGBTSS) website, along with resources for LGBT individuals and allies. For more information on the history of LGBT organizations on campus, stop by and see the Iowa State University, Student Organizations, Political and Social Action Organizations Records, RS 22/4/0/1. We’d love to see you!


Barjche, you say? The history of the modern dance production at ISU

Tonight Orchesis I, ISU’s modern dance company, presents Barjche, the company’s annual modern dance production. The performance has a long history at ISU. Let’s see what we can find in the archives about it, shall we?

Program for first Barjche production in 1944. RS 10/7/3, Box 2, Folder 11.

Program for first Barjche production in 1944. RS 10/7/3, Box 2, Folder 11.

The first production

First things first. What’s up with the name?!? Barjche (pronounced “bar-shay”), came from combining the initials of the officers of the Women’s Dance Club in 1944, the year of the inaugural performance. The dance was initially performed as part of the VEISHEA celebrations, though later on it became a separate event, performed at different times over the years during winter quarter.  The first production included two original dance-dramas, “The Shakers” and “This Life.”

Inside of the program from the 1944 Barjche. RS 10/7/3, box 2, folder 11.

Inside of the program from the 1944 Barjche. RS 10/7/3, box 2, folder 11.

In a letter to the editor of The Iowa Stater from May 1987, Trymby Calhoun Stickels, the president of the dance club in 1944, describes her contributions to the production:

Letter to the Editor of The Iowa Stater, May 1987. RS 10/7/51, Box 3, Folder3.

Letter to the Editor of The Iowa Stater, May 1987. RS 10/7/51, Box 3, Folder3.

“I was a better writer than a dancer, so Miss Moomaw [the club’s advisor] asked me to write a story line and she did the choreography for one of our big numbers. It was based on the Shaker religious group, and, of course, had all the drama that a strict religious theme could offer. Men and women were forbidden to have any contact with each other so we had a forbidden love story and a big tragic ending. It was great fun!” –Stickels, Trymby (Tim) Calhoun. “The ‘c’ in Barjche.” The Iowa Stater May 1987: 9.

Betty Toman

Betty Toman dancing, 1988. Betty Toman Papers, RS 10/7/51, box 4, folder 12.

Betty Toman, 1988. Betty Toman Papers, RS 10/7/51, box 4, folder 12.

One person who has had a significant impact on Barjche is Betty Toman. Toman came to ISU in 1948 as a dance instructor and later became a professor in the Department of Physical Eduction. She served as Barjche’s director for 22 years, eventually expanding the production to include students from three departments: theater, dance, and music. In 1965, she took over advising the dance club, which became known as Orchesis. Orchesis I continues to produce Barjche today.

Barjche production, 1967. University Photograph Collection, box 804.

Barjche production, 1967. University Photograph Collection, box 804.

Although most of the dance pieces in Barjche were choreographed by students, over the years Betty Toman also brought in well-known professional dancers as guest choreographers. One of these was Bill Evans, who was commissioned to choreograph a piece for Barjche 1975 called “Salt Lake City Rag.”

Photograph and program for "Salt Lake City Rag" by Bill Evans, 1975. From RS 10/7/3 and RS 10/7/51.

Photograph and program for “Salt Lake City Rag” by Bill Evans, 1975. From RS 10/7/3 and RS 10/7/51.

More information about Barjche and Orchesis I can be found in the Orchesis Records, RS 10/7/3, and in the Betty Toman Papers, RS 10/7/51. Stop by Special Collections to check them out!


Announcing the Leo C. Peters Papers

Peters-portrait

Portrait of Leo Charles Peters, undated. (RS 11/10/51, box 3 folder 10)

We are proud to announce that a large expansion of the Leo Charles Peters Papers (RS 11/10/51) is now available for research. Dr. Peters was a staple of the Iowa State University (ISU) Department of Mechanical Engineering from 1961 until his retirement in 1996.

Born in Kansas, he got his start in engineering at Kansas State University with a B.S. in Agricultural Engineering (1953). Peters worked as an engineer for much of the 1950s at the John Deere Tractorworks in Waterloo, Iowa with the exception of the two years he spent in the 839th engineering battalion of the Special Category Army with Air Force during the Korean War. Peters left John Deere to take up a position as Instructor with the Department of Mechanical Engineering and complete his graduate education, earning both his M.S. (1963) and his Ph.D. (1967) in mechanical engineering and engineering mechanics from ISU. Peters was quickly promoted to Associate Professor, earning full Professor in 1978. He remained with the University until his retirement in 1996. Materials in the collection document Peters’ transition from student to professional to faculty member and provide insight into engineering curriculum development and university-industry partnerships. A significant portion of this collection concerns teaching activities and curriculum for engineering courses.

Peters_ISUSAE-students

ISU SAE entry into the SAE mini baja competition, 1983. ( RS 11/10/51, box 1, folder 49)

Part of Peters’ lasting contribution to ISU was his initiation of an ISU student branch of the Society of Automotive Engineers (ISU SAE) in 1968. The branch’s first year was very successful – earning a personal visit from F. B. Esty, the National President of SAE and culminating in the presentation of a branch charter for formal induction into SAE. Other notable guests of ISU SAE were Phil Myers (former president of the Society of Automotive Engineers), Andy Granatelli (Chief Executive Officer of STP), and Jacques Passino (Director of Ford Motor Company’s Special Products Division). Peters’ love of advising and working with students was recognized multiple times via awards for outstanding teaching and advising.

A sketch of the layout for a Moot Court workshop. RS 11/10/51.

A sketch of the layout for a Moot Court workshop. (RS 11/10/51, box 2 folder 29)

Drawing on both his formal education and experience as an engineer, Peters was an expert in product safety and product liability issues. He published in these areas and taught “moot court” workshops at engineering conferences where participants explored product liability and the law. He also worked as an independent consultant and expert witness specializing in patent infringement, products liability, and failure analysis.

One of the special features of this collection is the series of diaries that Peters kept from 1959 to 1969. Scattered throughout notes on classes, tough mechanic jobs at John Deere, thesis due dates, and class exams are hints of his rich family life – “Mark’s First Communion (May 8, 1966)” and “Sue’s 7th and 8th graders bought and gave her a bassinett for a going away gift (January 17, 1958).” Peters was devoted to his family and, along with wife (and ISU alumna) Suzanne Gordon Peters, raised nine children. This collection gives us a glimpse into the many facets of a scholar’s life.

A portion of Peters' 1959 diary.

A portion of Peters’ 1959 diary. (RS 11/10/51, box 2, folder 55)

Suzanne Peters, a birth announcement, and a newspaper account of family in attendance at Peters' doctoral graduation. RS 11/10/51

Suzanne Peters, a birth announcement, and a newspaper account of family in attendance at Peters’ doctoral graduation. (RS 11/10/51, box 3 folder 10)

This collection adds to our steadily growing body of materials on ISU engineering faculty (see Henry M. Black and Anson Marston). Our other engineering collections include: Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), the records of the College of Engineering, and our materials on agricultural engineering and technology.

The Leo Charles Peters papers are now available for research (RS 11/10/51) at our reading room on the fourth floor of the Parks Library. Please come by and take a look – there’s a lot more than we can include in a single blog post!


CyPix: Latino Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15)

Four women performing folklorico in front of a Panama heritage tent.

Folklorico – Iowa State University students at the Iowa Latino Heritage Festival, 2007. (RS 7/5/1)

October 15th marks the end of a month-long celebration of the many contributions Latino Americans have made to American culture and society. Hispanic Heritage Month (the federally designated name) is celebrated at Iowa State as Latino Heritage Month and recognizes the many people who trace their heritage to the Spanish-speaking countries of Latin America. Founded in 1992, the ISU Latino Heritage Committee organizes campus Heritage Month events every fall. The festivities usually conclude with Noche De Cultura – an event that offers food, music, speakers, and sometimes dancing. This year’s festivities included Marcha de las Banderas, Latino Game Night, and Top Chef Latino. The full array of events for 2014 are available at Iowa State Daily.

This photograph, and others from the same event, can be seen in the records of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (RS 7/5/1).


CyPix: ISC Bicycle Club 1898

With RAGBRAI less than a week away, it seems like a perfect time to take a look at bicycle riding at ISU. Say hello to these dapper members of the 1898 Bicycle Club of Iowa State College, posing in front of Morrill Hall.

Two rows of men and women standing with their bicycles.

Iowa State College Bicycle Club, 1898.

The 1890s saw a bicycle craze in America, with Iowa State students–both men and women–joining in. Makes you want to grab your bike and take it for a spin, doesn’t it? To find out more about other student organizations, check out their collections page, or peddle on over to Special Collections.