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.


Early Student Government at Iowa State: What the Cardinal Guild Records Reveal

The blog post below was written by one of our student employees, Barry Snell.  The Cardinal Guild Records (the Cardinal Guild was the organization which preceded the Government of the Student Body) needed some additional work, and since Snell was a Government of the Student Body (GSB) Senator we decided that this would be a great collection to have him work on, and to then write a blog post about! The online finding aid can be found here.

Concerned about Iowa State College’s tremendous growth, both as a school and in the student population, the faculty and staff gathered together in the spring of 1904 to discuss the formation of a student government to help connect the ballooning student population to the administration, and to help student organizations work with one another.  Using the student government models of Yale, Harvard, Princeton, Brown and California, the Iowa State administration chose eleven students from the senior class who were meritorious due to their academic achievements, leadership abilities, and sterling character.

And so it was on May 9, 1904 that those eleven seniors met in Engineering Hall (now Marston Hall) and established what they would eventually name the Cardinal Guild, which would in turn be known as the Government of the Student Body (beginning around 1962).

1906 Bomb_cardinal-guild-1

Members of the first Cardinal Guild (1904, top) and the second (1905, bottom) from the 1906 Bomb (student yearbook).

1906 Bomb_cardinal-guild-2

Second page of the Cardinal Guild’s entry in the 1906 Bomb, which describes the background and purpose of the new organization.

The original members decided that the Cardinal Guild was to be operated to “promote the welfare of Iowa State College,” and, according to an address given by the Guild’s first president, A.R. Buckley, to “bring into close touch and harmony with the various branches of college activity, and serve as a medium of communication between the students, the alumni, and the governing bodies of the college.”  The Cardinal Guild’s original constitution set forth these goals in addition to preserving and promoting desirable Iowa state traditions and customs, fostering and promoting a healthy and democratic spirit, and welcoming and extending courtesies to college visitors.

Calling themselves the “charter members,” the initial group of eleven seniors was tasked with choosing their successors on their own, without the college staff involvement that had chosen them.  This precedent setting appointment system lasted several years, with each preceding Cardinal Guild choosing the members of the subsequent Cardinal Guild.  Eventually, however, the appointment system gave way to popular election by the student body, originally including a rigorous primary system used to select the Guild presidential and vice presidential candidates and their platforms.

Cardinal Guild 1962 nominating convention

Cardinal Guild 1962 nominating convention

A single body at first, the Guild’s organization eventually evolved into a three-branched system of student government to include a senate, an executive cabinet, and a court, and the membership grew accordingly.  To this day, the Government of the Student Body has the same essential organizational structure and mission as its predecessor, the Cardinal Guild.

The Cardinal Guild Records (RS 22/1/1) contains a variety of documents ranging from the original 1904 meeting minutes and notes, constitutions and bylaws through the years, research and publications regarding student involvement, student organization budgets, presidential addresses, committee reports, legislation, and scrapbooks put together in the final decade of the Guild.  Because the Cardinal Guild and today’s GSB are the original student organizations in the sense that they are typically the origin of funding and assistance for student groups, this collection reveals a great deal about student life at Iowa State through the years.

First Guild President Buckley said, “we have various organizations, but there is no single undergraduate body thru [sic] which the students may work, and be brought into contact.  Harmony is an essential in all our endeavors and this must be fostered and encouraged.  The students cannot at present feel that they are in direct communication with the faculty, but this the Guild will right.”

First page of the minutes for the first Cardinal Guild meeting on May 9, 1904 (RS 22/1/1, box 1, folder 1).

First page of the minutes for the first Cardinal Guild meeting on May 9, 1904 (RS 22/1/1, box 1, folder 1).

The original meeting minutes book (the first part is available online here), which spans the years 1904 through 1909, shows the Cardinal Guild’s immediate interest in working with Iowa State College staff to make student life better.  The members of the Guild formed committees right away at the beginning of the 1904 fall semester, on September 13th.  They created the committees to work with the Athletics Department to staff refreshment stands during games, to establish a celebration on the anniversary of the founding of Iowa State College, and to investigate transportation options for visitors to the college during Excursion Day (Note: Excursion Day was formerly one of the largest events at Iowa State in that it brought thousands of alumni and community visitors to Iowa State to view the farms, research and school in general.  Excursion Day may be considered, in part, a precursor to VEISHEA).

As the fall 1904 minutes report, the staffing of the Athletics Department refreshment stands was the Cardinal Guild’s first successful external official act to come to fruition that directly connected them to their student constituents and assist a school department.  One may examine all the surviving Cardinal Guild minutes we have in the collection up through the late 1950s, as well as witness GSB activity in the modern day, and see that as far as student involvement goes, the role of student government at Iowa State has hardly changed since its very beginning.  Iowa State students, it seems, though not surprisingly, have always had an interest in helping one another out.

Several Cardinal Guild records which document its very early years are now available online.  The first part of the minute book can be found here (the entire minute notebook can be found in the Cardinal Guild Records, RS 22/1/1, box 1, folder 1).  Another set of documents available online are two commencement addresses by the first two Cardinal Guild presidents, A. R. Buckley (1904) (original in RS 22/1/1, box 1, folder 2) and R. R. Jorgenson (1905) (original in RS 22/1/1/, box 1, folder 1).

Scrapbooks from the Cardinal Guild Records.

Scrapbooks from the Cardinal Guild Records (RS 22/1/1, boxes 7 and 8).

Another fascinating set of items in the collection are the scrapbooks.  Ranging from 1950 to 1962, marking the final twelve years of the Cardinal Guild prior to becoming the Government of the Student Body, the scrapbooks are collections of various newspaper clippings, mostly from the Iowa State Daily, of various things regarding student life and directly relating to Cardinal Guild activities.  This amazing array of articles paints a vibrant picture of what life was like at Iowa State in the mid-20th century.  Interestingly, the public relations committee of the GSB continues the scrapbooking practice to this day.

One notable event captured in the scrapbook is the riot that took place one night in 1956.  A secret society calling themselves the Pi Xis (Greek letters: Π Ξ), aka the “Pixies,” were a rascally bunch of students who existed to pull pranks and generally be disruptive.  The Pixies were possibly a throwback to the days of the underground Greek system, accidentally created by the college’s ban on fraternities and sororities in the late 1800s due to their untoward behavior at the time.  Rather than obey the ban, the Greeks of the day simply made their activities secret until some years later the ban was lifted by the college.  Early Iowa State legend has it that some of the first fraternities here never stopped being secret, giving credence to the claim that the Pi Xis were one such group.

Regardless of their origins, the Pixies did exist and were alive and well on the evening of Thursday, May 24, 1956.  They were planning a demonstration for unknown purposes, though probably simply to create some temporary disorder.  Their plan was to meet at the Campanile at 10:00 PM and go from there.  However, members of the Cardinal Guild found out and deployed themselves to the Campanile ahead of time.  Turning the Pixies back as they arrived, the Guild was confident they had prevented the shenanigans.

Not ones to be easily thwarted though, the Pi Xis regrouped.  At approximately 11:00 PM, someone blew a bugle at the Memorial Union, sounding a rallying call.  The Pixies and other nefarious students rallied indeed, and the bunch moved to Friley Hall, where they shouted and raised a ruckus, attempting to call more students into their growing numbers.  As fortune would have it, the residents of Friley weren’t interested.  Frustrated by their rioting impotence, the Pixies moved on to Sorority Circle, where they attempted to break into the Delta Delta Delta house and disturb the girls in residence there.

Cardinal Guild members, with the help of like-minded students, took positions before the Tri-Delts’ doorways and windows, pushing back all who tried to enter.  With amazing fortitude, the Guild held back the invaders, defending the honor of the women within.  But still refusing to give up, the Pi Xis regrouped yet again and headed for the women’s dormitories on campus.

Page from the scrapbook describing the Pixies' raid.

Page from the scrapbook describing the Pixies’ raid (RS 22/1/1, box 7).

Once more into the breach, dear friends, did the intrepid members of the Cardinal Guild rush.  Finding the Pixie rioters at Roberts and Barton Halls, the Guild redeployed themselves, employing their tried and true tactic of manning the doorways and blocking all who attempted entry.  In Gandalf-esque fashion, the Guild’s message to the Pi Xis was clear: You shall not pass.

The battle of wills persisted, with the Pixies taking a page from history.  In a scene that Caesar would have recognized and would have made his enemies in Gaul proud, the Pi Xis discovered ladders nearby and attempted to raise them and scale walls of the women’s dorms.  Guild members fought the ladders from the hands of the would-be invaders, and pushed them back away from what would prove to be an impenetrable blockade.

rioters

Another page from the scrapbook with a new article describing the Pixies’ schemes the evening of May 24, 1956 (RS 22/1/1, box 7).

In what was less like the Thrilla in Manila and more like the Lames in Ames, this battle of wills ended with a righteous victor: The Cardinal Guild.  Citing their bravery and good character in the midst of difficult circumstances, Iowa State President James Hilton and the police chief congratulated and thanked the members of the Cardinal Guild for their gallant actions that night.

Want to know more?  Such as how the Pixies also tried to blow up the College Creek dam across from the Memorial Union with a bundle of dynamite and a homemade timer, or how the Cardinal Guild actually had a pact with the college to mobilize in the event of such insurrections and disturbances?  What other cool stories of campus legend lurk in the archive of the Cardinal Guild?  You’ll have to stop by Special Collections and request to see the Cardinal Guild Records (RS 22/1/1) to find out!


New collection: Team PrISUm Records

1997-1999 Team PrISUM and solar car:  Phoenix

2011 is the third year of President Geoffroy’s Live Green! initiative, and last week was the third annual Symposium on Sustainability here on the ISU campus. Iowa State also has a wide variety of sustainability related research projects, departments and organizations and the University Archives holds the records of a variety of these.

Recently, the Iowa State University solar car team, Team PrISUm, donated their records to the University Archives. You may have seen examples of the solar cars the team has constructed throughout the years displayed at various university events. Now you can visit Special Collections to do research and find out more about the development of these cars and past activities and projects carried out by Team PrISUm!

Team PrISUm constructing a solar car.

Team PrISUm is a student-run organization that started in 1989. The team designs, builds, and races solar powered electric vehicles in the American Solar Challenge (previously known as Sunrayce). Teams have two years between races to design, construct, and test their cars. The team is composed of students from a variety of backgrounds including engineering, design, and business. Team PrISUm also focuses on outreach projects and education to raise awareness about solar energy and efficient transportation and displays the cars at events on campus and throughout the state.

Team PrISUm at the 1997 Sunrayce event with the solar car ExCYtor

The records contain information documenting the activities of Team PrISUm, including news clippings, proposals, design notes, statistics, fundraising information, brochures, solar car and race information, and videotapes. There also hundreds of photographs in the collection documenting the various incarnations of the ISU solar car, solar car construction and racing, outreach projects, and team members. The team’s newsletter, “The Sundial”, consists of valuable information regarding the development of each car. The collection also includes documents relating to Sunrayce and the American Solar Challenge such as correspondence, proposals, race regulations, and route books.

The finding aid for the Team PrISUm Records is available at: http://www.lib.iastate.edu/arch/rgrp/22-5-0-30.html


The Cosmopolitan Club!

International Week, organized by the International Student Council and various other international campus student organizations, began last week and will be coming to a close this Friday with International Cultural Night.  Although perhaps only a coincidence, International Cultural Night is very similar to the International Nights (see below for one of their programs) held by an early international student organization here at Iowa State.  While the ISU campus now hosts dozens of international groups, in its early days as a small college campus there was a single international student group – the Cosmopolitan Club.  And the University Archives holds its records!

Please note:  cosmopolitan here does not refer to the cocktail!  According to the wonderful Oxford English Dictionary, cosmopolitan means “belonging to all parts of the world; not restricted to any one country or its inhabitants.”  And, according to one of the documents in the Cosmopolitan Club’s records, the definition of the Cosmopolitan Club is:

One of the fun promotional materials found in Box 1, Folder 3 of the Cosmopolitan Club (Iowa State University) Records, RS 22/3/2.

The National Association of Cosmopolitan Clubs began as a national organization in 1903.  Soon after, Iowa State College (now University) began organizing its own chapter in 1907, and was officially admitted to the National Association of Cosmopolitan Clubs, as its tenth chapter, in 1908.  The purpose of the club was to encourage friendship, respect and understanding among men and women of all nationalities, and its corresponding motto (the national motto for all cosmopolitan clubs) was “Above all nations, humanity.”  Membership was open to all students, faculty, and staff of Iowa State University, and members were both from the United States and from around the world.

The above image comes from one of the scrapbooks in the collection, and shows the cast for a Cosmopolitan Night Play from November 28, 1928.

The club hosted a variety of events each year, including international food fairs, talent shows, hayrides, barn parties, international films, and the MYCE BAAR (co-sponsored with the YMCA, the MYCE BAAR featured coffeehouse gatherings which often included presentations, shows, music and food of a specific country).  These events were fun ways to acquaint club members and the community to the diverse cultures of the Cosmopolitan Club’s members.  The club also served as a supportive group for international students, and often had orientations for new international students at the beginning of the school year.  The Cosmopolitan Club ceased to exist on campus during the mid-1990s; the last year it is listed in the campus directory is in the 1995/1996 school year.

Although a rather small collection of records, the contents almost span its entire years of existence, 1908-1992 (there are no records from its final years).   The collection documents the club’s activities on campus, in the Ames community, and nationally and include historical narratives, scrapbooks, financial accounts, constitutions, membership lists, brochures, posters, programs, newsletters, and yearly records produced by the club.

Pictured above is the program of an International Night held on March 28, 1931, showing the wonderful variety of international students and programs put on by the organization in 1931.   According to an undated history of the club found in the collection, “International Night,  a prominent activity of the club for many years, served as a means of acquainting other students with the dances, music, clothing, etc. of people in other lands.”  Not very different from the description of this Friday’s International Cultural Night:  “International Night is one of the biggest events organized by International Student Council to celebrate different cultures and traditions through a variety of performances! A night filled with laughter, culture, tradition, dance, music and FUN!!” (the entire schedule can be found on the International Week 2010 events page).

To find out more about the Cosmopolitan Club’s records housed in the University Archives, please take a look at the collection’s finding aid.


St. Patrick’s Day at ISU 100 Years Ago

One hundred years ago today, the engineering students celebrated their first organized St. Patrick’s Day here at Iowa State College (now University).  Why were the engineers celebrating St. Patrick’s Day?  Not because ISU engineering students were all Irish, but because St. Patrick is the patron saint of engineers.  In addition, as the Iowa Engineer (call number TA1 Io9) of April 1910 explains, the Civil Engineering Society had been concerned about the safety of the money in their coffers, so they decided to spend it on a St. Patrick’s Day celebration. The 1910 festivities included a parade which stopped at Central Hall on campus and in the “village” of Ames, a ball game, roller skating, and finally a banquet late in the evening.  The engineers continued to celebrate their patron saint’s holiday on March 17 through 1921, when the separate spring festivals of Iowa State College’s Divisions were combined into VEISHEA in 1922.

“All for the Sake of St. Patrick” from the 1911 yearbook the Bomb

The information the University Archives has on the St. Patrick’s Day celebration mainly comes from written descriptions in publications such as the Iowa Engineer, the Alumnus, and Iowa State’s yearbook the Bomb.  Photocopies of these articles have been pulled together into a subject file under RS 22/7/0/1.  We also have photographs of the March 17 celebrations, as well as the traditions of the Division of Engineering’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations which continued into VEISHEA, in our University Photograph Collection.  In addition, the Special Collections Department has an online exhibit on VEISHEA, including a brief history, with images, of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh (Happy St. Patrick’s Day – to all)!


Women in the Media

March 8 is International Women’s Day, and this Sunday (March 7) Ames Public Library will be hosting a panel discussion related to this year’s theme of women in the media.  The panel will be exploring the historical, current and future role for women in the media (for a more detailed description of this event, visit here).  I thought that this would be a good opportunity to highlight a collection the department holds which fits very well into this theme, the Women in Communications, Inc. Ames Professional Chapter (Iowa) Records.   Women in Communications is a professional organization for women journalists, and includes university and college chapters across the country.  Both Ames and ISU had chapters.  The collection here at ISU is a small window into a professional women’s organization in the early part of the twentieth century, and how such an organization developed and eventually disappeared for various reasons.

Women in Communications, originally called Theta Sigma Phi, is a national organization for women in journalism and communications, now called The Association for Women in Communications. The Iowa State Omicron Chapter of Theta Sigma Phi was founded January 11, 1918. It was the first chapter in Iowa and the fifteenth in the nation. Members of the Omicron Chapter were writers for many of ISU’s publications.  Later the Ames Professional Club was formed by alumni of the ISU organization.  The Ames and ISU groups often collaborated together.  Included in the collection are annual reports and news clippings which give summaries of the activities and issues the groups experienced.  There is also a folder with correspondence and a brief survey from the 1940s with graduates of the Omicron Chapter.  These reveal some of  the writing and journalism activities of former members since graduation.

And now to get to a link, although a small one, between this collection and the international part of International Women’s Day.  Although a quick perusal of the collection failed to reveal a direct link between women in the media on an international scale, there is a folder on a publicity clinic the Omicron Chapter put on in 1957 about public relations.  Their luncheon theme was Let’s Get Oriented!, and the menu consisted of Asian cuisine.  One kind of find I enjoy in looking through archival collections is finding items pictured in a photograph in the collection itself, and this collection has at least one example of this.  Pictured above are attendees at the clinic, one of whom is holding the luncheon flier.  Two of the fliers from this luncheon are also in the folder, including recipes for the lunch (some of which are pictured in the photograph above)!

To find out more about the contents of the collection or the history of the organizations, please see the online finding aid:  MS-35.