Sneak Peek! Exhibit Preparation

On Monday and Wednesday afternoon this week, HIS 481X was busy in 405 Parks working on the layouts for their exhibit cases. Staff from the Conservation Lab created mounts and reproduced original materials, selected for the exhibit, so that students could play around with the layout design for the exhibit cases.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The exhibit opens on January 18. Stay tuned for more updates!


Drop by and see our current exhibits! We’re open Monday-Friday from 9-5.

Friday Fun!

Today Professor Lisa Ossian, from Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC),  brought her Western Civilization & U.S. History classes to learn about primary source research in  Special Collections & University Archives. Some of the students headed into our reading room or the library’s Media Center afterwards to start their research for their assignment.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Contact us for more information on our instruction program.

International Week 2016! @iaisc

This week continues International Week 2016 brought to you by International Student Council. International Week kicked off last Thursday with International Dance Night and ends this Thursday with International Night. See full schedule posted on their  Facebook page.

Our International Week file in the archives begins in 2002 (from RS 22/3/0/1). However, in the same record group (RS 22/3/0/1) we have a file for the International Student Council that has documents from International Week ’87.


Insert from Iowa State Daily on International Week ’95 (RS 22/3/0/1, box 2)

Drop by and learn about the history of International Student Council and International Week. We’re open Monday-Friday, 9-5.

You can also check out our previous blog during International Week 2010 featuring our records for the Cosmopolitan Club.

SCUA Treasures – Leave Your Legacy Homecoming 2016

Tomorrow, from 1-4 pm in room 405 Parks Library, Special Collections & University Archives (SCUA) will have selected treasures on display. We will have artifacts, rare books, films, student publications from the 1960s, and other wonderful items from our collections.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Please drop by. All are welcome!

For the preservation of our treasures, please leave food & drink outside.

Chemistry Lab: Where Everybody Knows Your Name #TBT

Bowler hats, handlebar mustaches, lovely updos, and glass bottles – aside from the fact that this photo is not in a bar, it could fit right in with the other photos in the introduction to 1980s TV show Cheers.

Students in a chemistry laboratory, circa 1892. University Photographs, RS 13/6/F, Box 1052.

Students in a chemistry laboratory, circa 1892. University Photographs, RS 13/6/F, Box 1052.

Like the theme song (and this post’s title) suggest, this chemistry lab was small enough that everybody in the class probably did know everybody else’s names. Chemistry has been a part of the Iowa State curriculum since the beginning. The department was established in 1871. Originally taught in Old Main, chemistry courses were taught in the Chemical and Physical Laboratory from 1871 until 1913, when it was destroyed by fire. So, the lab in the photo above no longer exists (and would most likely not be up to current standards anyway). It was located at what is now the south end of Pearson Hall, across from Beardshear Hall (formerly the location of Old Main).

More information on the old Chemical and Physical Laboratory can be found here. Stop by and see some more photos from the early days of chemistry at Iowa State, along with many other departments. We’re always glad you came!

National Poetry Month: Ada Hayden

Ada Hayden in College pasture, 1926. RS 13/3/33, Box 4, Folder 4.

Ada Hayden in College pasture, 1926. RS 13/3/33, Box 4, Folder 4.

If you are from Ames, chances are you’ve heard of Ada Hayden. You’ve probably taken a walk through Ada Hayden Heritage Park, or you may have visited the Ada Hayden Herbarium on ISU campus. “But Poetry Month?” you may be thinking. “Ada Hayden?”

Hayden was born in 1884 in Ames, IA, and attended Iowa State College (University), where she worked closely with Professor of Botany Louis Pammel. She graduated in 1908 with a B.S. in Botany and later became the first woman to receive a Ph.D. from Iowa State in 1918. She spent her career at ISC as an Assistant Professor of Botany and was named Curator of the Herbarium from 1947 until her death in 1950. As curator, she collected and preserved plant specimens, but she also had spent much time drawing many botanical illustrations and photographing plants in their native habitats. She spent much of her later career working for the preservation of the few remaining native prairie areas in the state, and Hayden Prairie in Howard County is named in her honor.

Rosa arkansana (Prairie Rose), Ada Hayden Digital Collection.

Rosa arkansana (Prairie Rose), Ada Hayden Digital Collection.

While she is best known for her work in prairie preservation, she also did quite a bit of writing. Most of her writings were articles on botany or prairie preservation, but in her Papers here in the University Archives is one rather lovely poem titled “The Iowa Rose.” It begins,

Beyond the Mississippi

Where the slow Missouri flows,

In the land of the Des Moines river

There blooms the Iowa Rose;

Not in the early springtime,

Not when the gold leaves fall,

But the summer’s radiant sunshine

The rose from the rosebud calls.

You can read the entire poem by clicking on the image below.

"The Iowa Rose" by Ada Hayden, undated. RS 13/5/55, box 1/folder 22.

“The Iowa Rose” by Ada Hayden, undated. RS 13/5/55, box 1/folder 22.

You can see slides of Hayden’s plant specimens in our Digital Collections. To see what else can be found in her papers, check out the collection’s finding aid.

CyPix: Wintertime Fun


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!

CyPix: Late Night Get-together

[Eight home management students catch up on the events of the day.] (1953)(University Photographs box 946)

[Eight home management students catch up on the events of the day.] (1953)(University Photographs box 946)

The University Photographer added this to the back of the above photograph:

Every evening just about 10, you might see a gathering just like this in each of the four home management houses on the campus. For this is the time to get together to talk over the days happening and have an evening snack.  Left to right, seated, are Bonnie Rae Kundel, home economics education senior; Thelma Roos, home economics education, senior, Holland; Phyliis Sliron, textiles and clothing senior, Chicago; Marcia Wagner, home economics education senior, Muscatine; Lois Wilson, Child development senior, Beresford S.D.; and Ruth Littlefield, house advisor. Standing, Eleanor Peterson, household equipment senior, Eagle Grove, and Doris Follett, home economics senior, Nevada.

To learn more about home management houses at Iowa State, check out the collections we have in record group RS 12/5 (Department of Family Environment) and the Home Management House Program administrative files (RS 12/5/5). We’ve also posted previously on home management “house babies” and the establishment of Domestic Economy program.

CyPix: Did you say archives?

October is American Archives Month, when archivists around the country spread the word about how exciting, informative, even life-changing archives can be. The two images today are from past events when the Special Collections Department invited people to get a deeper view of what archives are all about.

This first image shows the Special Collections Open House from 1971, only two years after the department opened. Visitors are viewing archival documents in display cases.

Special Collections Open House, October 31, 1971. University Archives Photograph Collection box 2053.

Special Collections Open House, October 31, 1971. University Archives Photograph Collection Box 2053.

The second photo is a little more recent, the History Day event from 2001, where students came from area schools to get the behind-the-scenes tour of what goes on in Special Collections and learn how to do archival research.

Students examining documents from archival collection during the Special Collections History Day, February 22, 2001. University Archives Photograph Collection, box 2047

Students examining documents from archival collections during the Special Collections History Day, February 22, 2001. University Archives Photograph Collection Box 2047.

Wondering how to do archival research yourself? Please check out the new Archives Overview LibGuide created by our department’s Digital Archivist, Kim Anderson! It answers questions like, What are archives? How do I find archival collections? and, How do I care for my own archives?

As always, we would love to see you in our department. Stop by and see us!

Alumni Spotlight: Fan-Chi Kung (1926)

Fan-Chi Kung studying in his room, undated. (RS 21/7/49)

Fan-Chi Kung studying in his room, undated. (RS 21/7/49)

Here in Special Collections we have a number of alumni scrapbooks and photograph albums. These materials provide insight to what it was like to be a student at Iowa State University across the decades. Fan-Chi Kung was a Horticulture student (B.S. 1926) originally from Beijing (then Peking). His scrapbook is full of pictures of himself and friends both on campus, around Ames, and travels around the United States.

“Days at Ames” – Fan-Chi Kung and friends posing in front of a house, possibly 410 Welch Avenue. (RS 21/7/49, undated)

Chinese students currently comprise about half of the international student population at ISU. Enrollment and admission statistics were not kept for international students during the time Kung attended, but we do know that ISU’s chapter of the Cosmopolitan Club started forming in 1907. The “Cosmo Club,” as it was known colloquially, was founded to “encourage friendship, respect and understanding among men and women of all nationalities.”

Cosmopolitan Club, 1924. (University Photographs RS 22/3, box 1617) [Bonus: there's some remnants of

Cosmopolitan Club, 1924. (University Photographs RS 22/3, box 1617)[Bonus: there’s some remnants of “Beat Drake” graffiti on the columns behind the group]

While at ISU, Kung was President of the Cosmopolitan Club and President of the Ames Chinese Students’ Club. He held international service roles as Secretary of the Chinese Association for Advancement of Science, American Branch, and the Agriculture Society of China, American Branch.

Kung was tragically killed in an automobile accident in 1929. He is buried in the Iowa State University Cemetery. His grave marker reads “Above all nations is humanity,” the motto of the Cosmopolitan Club.