CyPix: A House of Books

"This is the House That Books Built." Library Display at the May 1928 VEISHEA. (University Photographs 22/12/G, box 1724)

“This is the House That Books Built.” Library display at the May 1928 VEISHEA. (University Photographs 22/12/G, box 1724)

The library’s contribution to the 1928 VEISHEA was the house made of books that you see above. The sign over the door reads “This is the House That Books Built.” June is Freshman Orientation month at Iowa State and here in the library we are preparing to welcome students and their families by showing them a bit of what we do to support their time at the University. This VEISHEA construction was the 1920s librarian’s way of showing the wealth of knowledge available at the campus library.

We don’t advocate the use of books as building blocks in displays, but we do appreciate the sentiment. As an archivist, I would say “These are the books that archives built” – underscoring that books and publications rely on archives as their foundation –  drawing from the observations, evidences, and human experiences found in records, manuscripts, photographs, and other archival materials.

As we welcome visitors over the next month, we encourage you to avail yourself of the wealth of books, databases, manuscripts, records, media, photographs, spaces, technology, and people eager to assist you in both Special Collections and elsewhere in the library.


CyPix: moving up

It’s that time of year again! The time for donning caps and gowns if you are a senior, or if not, at least setting aside those textbooks and pencils for a nice …bonfire. A beanie bonfire, to be exact.

Photograph of a large freshman beanie replica burning in the bonfire during the Moving Up Ceremony, 1926. University Photograph Collection box 1702.

A large freshman beanie replica burns in the bonfire during the Moving Up Ceremony, 1926. University Photograph Collection box 1702.

From 1916 to 1934, freshmen at Iowa State College were required to wear “freshmen beanies” or “prep caps”  on campus. After suffering through a year of harassment that the caps brought upon them, freshman were quite happy to ditch them at the end of the year. Beginning in 1923, students held a mock-graduation, the Moving Up Ceremony, during VEISHEA celebrations, at which time seniors became alumni and everyone else moved up a grade. The freshmen burned their beanies in a roaring bonfire. By 1934, the caps were no longer worn and the moving up ceremony faded due to lack of interest.

We’re lucky to have a surviving beanie in the University Archives at ISU. It belonged to Robert W. Breckenridge. Robert saved his freshman beanie from 1918 instead of burning it, and it now resides in the archives.

Freshman beanie belonging to Robert W. Breckenridge, circa 1918. From University Archives Artifact Collection, 2002-189. It even has it's own fancy box and hat stand!

Freshman beanie belonging to Robert W. Breckenridge, from 1918. From University Archives Artifact Collection, 2002-189. It even has it’s own fancy box and hat stand!

More images of the Moving Up Ceremony can be found in the Student Life album on our Flickr page.

(Note: A correction was made to an earlier version of this post. The earlier version had misidentified a felt hat belonging to Iris Macumber (RS 21/7/228) as a freshman beanie. Oops! Freshmen beanies were required for men only. This hat shown above is a true example of the freshman beanie, and the photograph and information has been updated and corrected.)

CyPix: VEISHEA Cherry Pies!

It’s finally here: VEISHEA! And soon those treats most synonymous with the celebration will be available – cherry pies. In fact, the cherry pies are a tradition that came about even before VEISHEA in the early 1920s.Started by the Division of Home Economics, the cherry pie sale is now run by the Department of Apparel, Events, and Hospitality Management (formerly Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management). Originally, they were sold in February to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. Today, they are a staple of our annual college celebration. More information on these delectable desserts can be found here.

Making pies for VEISHEA, 1954

Making pies for VEISHEA, 1954

The acronym, VEISHEA, stands for Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, Industrial Science, Home Economics, and Agriculture, all of which were the divisions that were in existence in 1922 when VEISHEA began. Iowa State College (University) didn’t become a university until 1959, so until that time it consisted of “divisions” rather than “colleges.” Today, VEISHEA continues to be a celebration of each of the colleges and the university as a whole.

For more information on VEISHEA and cherry pies, see this online exhibit, our digital collection, or come and look through through any one of our VEISHEA collections! Be sure to check out more photos of VEISHEA (including more involving cherry pies) here. Also, we’ve had several blog posts on the subject over the last couple of years, so read on!

Have a fun (and safe) VEISHEA, everyone!

CyPix: Spring at ISU

It’s official – spring is here! The weather may not be cooperating, but the season has to win out eventually, right? In the meantime, enjoy this photo taken during Iowa State’s favorite spring tradition – VEISHEA. Here, the swans are taking advantage of an ice-free Lake LaVerne.

The swans at VEISHEA, 1936

The swans during VEISHEA, 1936, RS 22/12/G

Two of these swans are (presumably) the original Lancelot and Elaine, who were first introduced at VEISHEA in 1935. VEISHEA, for those not in the know, is a long standing tradition at Iowa State which this year will be held the second week of April. We’ll have more on this annual celebration in a few weeks. For more information on traditions at Iowa State, see our collection on traditions and legends, 00/16, which can be found in our subject guide. We also have collections devoted entirely to VEISHEA, including our digital collection, along with an online exhibit. And of course, tons of photos, including several featuring our swans, can be found on our Flickr page! This should all help pass the time while you’re waiting for the weather to catch up with the calendar.

VEISHEA: A Timeless Tradition Since 1922

Education float from the 1922 Parade (addditional VEISHEA parade images can be found online, along with other VEISHEA images).

Next week marks the beginning of VEISHEA, Iowa State’s spring celebration and the largest student-run celebration in the country.  In addition to all of the 2012 events going on throughout the week, VEISHEA will also be celebrating its 90th anniversary!  VEISHEA was first celebrated in May 1922, a combination of Iowa State’s various spring celebrations which had previously occurred separately each spring:  St. Patrick’s Day (Engineers), Ag Carnival (Agriculture), HEC Day (Home Economics Club), and May Day (started by Women’s Athletic Association).

What was that first 1922 VEISHEA like?  The 1922 program for VEISHEA is available online, and gives a brief glimpse into the humor and activities which were a part of the first celebration, which took place May 11-13.  As the program states, the reasons for an all-college celebration were:

“Primary Purpose of Exposition:  To eliminate the break in college work caused by five divisional celebrations, on five week-ends of two terms.

Resulting Purpose of Exposition:  To develop the spirit of unity, unity between Iowa State College and Iowa people, unity between AMES and high school students, unity between alumni and students, unity between the students of the five divisions.”

One could easily say that these purposes from that first VEISHEA ninety years ago are clearly not outdated ninety years later, but are still an almost unchanged, central part of our VEISHEA celebrations as this year’s 2012 theme illustrates:  “VEISHEA, A Timeless Tradition”.  In fact, the name of VEISHEA itself reflects the emphasis on unity Iowa State expressed, and continues to express, through its VEISHEA celebrations.  VEISHEA is an acronym for the five divisions which in 1922 made up Iowa State: Veterinary, Engineering, Industrial Science, Home Economics, and Agriculture.

1922 Physics float, complete with telescope, Benjamin Franklin, and Galileo.

A central event of the 1922 VEISHEA, as is still the case, was the parade.  The 1922 VEISHEA parade began bright and early at 9 o’clock that Friday, May 12th morning.  As the program states, “The VEISHEA parade…is the first big parade signifying the unity of the five divisions in one all-college exposition. The first part of the parade is a pageant developing the history of Iowa from the prehistoric glacial epoch to the present time; the rest of the parade shows Iowa State as we see it today and demonstrates in a small way what Ames is doing for Iowa.”

As these parade images show, some floats were pulled by automobiles and others by horses. This horse-pulled float shows that “Hort products feed the world.”

In addition to the photographs and program, we have also recently made the programs for the 1922 May Fete and the 1922 Nite Show (which later became Stars Over VEISHEA) available online through Scribd.

Wondering how you can learn more about VEISHEA celebrations and its timeless traditions? Swing by the University Archives to look through our VEISHEA Records (the records are organized by decade, and the finding aids describing the contents can be found listed here under RS 22/12). In addition, we have many of our VEISHEA photographs available online. A selection of VEISHEA film footage can be found on our YouTube channel under Iowa State University Films. You can also page through The Bomb, Iowa State’s yearbook, to see a glimpse of each year’s VEISHEA.  The Bomb available in the General Collection, call number LD2548 Io9b, or in the Special Collections’ Reading Room.

We also have an online exhibit about the history of VEISHEA. The exhibit contains a bibliography listing other resources related to VEISHEA available in our department.  We also have several other blog posts related to VEISHEA: pre-VEISHEA celebrations, St. Patrick’s Day (engineers),  and Stars Over VEISHEA.

These records and histories speak to us about the history of VEISHEA, but also about how those previous VEISHEAs helped set the stage for this year’s.  As the 1922 program states:

“Next year, and in all the years to come, there will be greater and better Veisheas.  Each succeeding year, it is hoped, will see greater and greater numbers of Iowans availing themselves of the opportunity to get acquainted with their college.”

Check out all of this year’s VEISHEA events and activities here!

New Collection: Papers of Iowa State alum involved in Stars Over VEISHEA

VEISHEA is fast approaching – in fact, the fun and excitement of the largest student-run celebration in the country will begin next week on April 11.  The Special Collections Department has VEISHEA records documenting former celebrations, in addition to a variety of other resources.  For more information on VEISHEA records you can find here in our department on VEISHEA’s history, visit last year’s VEISHEA blog post.

However, if you are looking for the personal perspective of Iowa State students during VEISHEA, a good place to look are the papers donated by our alumni, and a listing of these collections (however – please note – not all of these necessarily mention VEISHEA!) can be found here under RS 21/7: Alumni and Former Students.  The Special Collections Department recently took in a new collection documenting student life here at Iowa State in the middle of the twentieth century, and the letters in this collection mention VEISHEA. The Donald Elwood Larew Papers (RS 21/7/232) contain letters, theater programs, and Iowa State University memorabilia.  A graduate of Iowa State University, Larew received his B.S. (1963) in applied art with an emphasis in interior design.  For more on Larew’s career in theater design, see the biographical note in the collection’s finding aid.

Pictured above is the 1963 Stars Over VEISHEA production, The Music Man, performed during Larew’s senior year at Iowa State.  Larew helped design the set for this, along with other Iowa State theater productions.

The majority of the collection contains letters Larew wrote home to his parents, which includes descriptions of his involvement with the fraternity Delta Upsilon and as a cast member and set designer for a number of campus theatrical productions.

Page 324 from the 1959 Bomb (ISU yearbook).

Before joining the fraternity Delta Upsilon, Larew was a member of the Bennett House in Friley Hall his freshman year.  The description found here in the Bomb helps one figure out certain references Larew makes in his letters to the activities described above. Click on the image above to read the description.

Larew frequently mentions the theater in his letters home. He mentions plays he appeared in and the ones he helped design sets for.  While at Iowa State, Larew was involved with both the Iowa State Players and Stars Over VEISHEA.  In fact, the first Stars Over VEISHEA production with which Larew was involved was Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew (this year’s Kiss Me Kate is in part based on this Shakespeare play).

From pages 168-169 of the 1959 Bomb (ISU yearbook).

In his letters, Larew mentions being a cast member of the Iowa State Player’s  “Stalag 17” production.  Click on the image to read about the Iowa State Players.

To find out more about Donald Elwood Larew and the papers he donated to Iowa State, please take a look at the collection’s finding aid.

VEISHEA 2010: Today’s Vision, Tomorrow’s Tradition

Parades, carnivals, cherry pies, performances, and open houses are examples of many VEISHEA traditions which at one point in time had their first appearance on the Iowa State campus, eventually becoming traditions of today’s celebrations. In honor of this year’s VEISHEA theme, “Today’s Vision, Tomorrow’s Tradition,” below are just a few “visions” which eventually became VEISHEA traditions and have continued to the present day.  This post is just going to name a few of the VEISHEA traditions which began before the first VEISHEA in 1922 – and which continue today.  Before 1922, many Iowa State divisions celebrated separate spring festivals.  Since these numerous festivities caused much disruption to the students’ studies in the spring, it was decided to combine the separate celebrations into one.  Much of the information we have here in the University Archives on these early spring celebrations come from various publications, such as the yearbook (Bomb), division newsletters, and the Alumnus.  Many of the articles and references from these early publications have been photocopied and put together in what could be called a subject file in the University Archives.

For those of you not familiar with Iowa State and who are wondering what this VEISHEA is, VEISHEA is Iowa State’s week-long, student-run spring celebration.  To find out more, the VEISHEA website can be found here.

Carnival:  The Division of Agriculture’s celebration was the Ag Carnival, first celebrated in May 1912.  The agriculture students put on a carnival in the tradition of the country fair.  Festivities often included a parade, exhibits, concessions, and a dance.

Concession stand for the 1914 Ag Carnival.  Student food stands can still be found on campus during VEISHEA.

Cherry pies: Now a much-loved VEISHEA tradition, cherry pies were originally sold during Home Economics Day (celebrated in February) beginning in 1920.

Cherry pies of the 1922 Home Economics Day.

Parade: Several of the early divisional celebrations included a parade, including the engineer’s St. Patrick’s Day parade and the agricultural students’ Ag Carnival parade.  For more on the engineer’s first St. Patrick’s day celebration, see an earlier post.

Although not labeled as such, this 1910 image of the engineer’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration is probably their first parade one hundred years ago, on their way either to or from the “village” of Ames.  Luckily the parade these days takes place in a much safer location!

To find out more about VEISHEA and the early divisional celebrations…come visit us!  We also have a web exhibit on VEISHEA, which includes a bibliography of resources here in Special Collections.  In addition, a selection of photographs from our university photograph collection can be found in the library’s Digital Collections.  There are also other images on our Flickr site, and films on YouTube.

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)!