Database of the Week: Proquest Historical Annual Reports

Each week we will highlight one of the many databases we have here at the Pomerantz Business Library.

The database: Proquest Historical Annual Reports Historical_Annual_Reports

Where to find it: You can find it here, and under P in the databases A-Z list.

Annual reports (1844-current) available for over 800 companies, 43,000 reports, 1.3M pages. Searchable puff images with indexed data such as: financial, Fortune 500 ranking, industry classification, key people, geographic location, auditor and related companies. It can also be browsed by company name, related names, industry or date..

Use it to find:

  • Annual reports, dating back to 1844
  • Company histories
  • Historical financials

Tips for searching:

  • Do a Basic Search using the search box
  • Or do an Advanced search – and look up companies or codes from a list
  • Or Browse by Company, Industry or Date



Want help using the Proquest Historical Annual Reports? Contact Willow or Kim and set up an appointment.

Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures & Medical Prescriptions |new exhibit @Hardin Library

Victorian marketing card image

Image from U.S. National Library of Medicine

Hardin Library is currently hosting the National Library of Medicine (NLM) exhibit, “Pick Your Poison: Intoxicating Pleasures & Medical Prescriptions.” The traveling exhibition, consisting of six large banners, was produced by NLM in cooperation with the National Museum of American History and will be on display on Hardin’s third floor through December 23rd.

Pick Your Poison” explores the social and medicinal history of mind-altering drugs in America and explores the shifts in opinion over the years.  Substances explored include tobacco, alcohol, opium, cocaine, and marijuana.  Stop by Hardin any time the library is open to see the exhibit.

For additional information, including online versions of related medical books, see The National Library of Medicine’s online exhibit.

How do I get there?  Take Pentacrest Cambus to the VA Loop Stop.  The library is just up the hill.

Remembering Bob McCown

My mentor and friend Bob McCown, retired Head of the Special Collections Department in the University of Iowa Libraries, died on March 31st of this year.  To remember Bob on what would have been his 76th birthday–November 21st–I share the eulogy I gave at his memorial service last spring.

Robert McCown-Dinner photo

Robert A. McCown (1939-2015)

Bob McCown was the first person I met in Iowa when I came for my job interview in 1992. On that April day twenty-three years ago, he was waiting at the bottom of the escalator in the Cedar Rapids Airport holding a sign that read: “Iowa Women’s Archives.” I was full of wonder about this new place that might become my home—amused at the scale of the airport, and charmed by the fact that we were driving past cornfields as soon as we left the parking lot. All during that drive to Iowa City, Bob told me about the history of Iowa—how it was settled, the Mormons who passed through with their handcarts, and other stories I have long since forgotten. What stayed with me was the sense of this kind, soft-spoken man who had such deep knowledge of and affection for his home state.

Bob was Head of the Department of Special Collections at that time. He had earned a master’s degree in history from the University of Iowa in 1963, taught high school history for a few years, and earned his library degree from Illinois before returning to Iowa in 1970 for a position in the University Libraries.

Bob was hired as Manuscripts Librarian at a time when the new fields of social history, ethnic history, and women’s history were emerging. He began traveling across Iowa in the early 1970s, intent on acquiring sources that would make this new scholarship possible. But the recent student demonstrations in Iowa City had roused suspicion about the University of Iowa. So Bob shined his shoes, cut his hair, and put on a coat and tie to allay the fears of outstate residents. In his quiet and considerate way, he tried to persuade potential donors of the significance of their papers to history. He modeled his collecting on progressive institutions such as the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. In addition to the usual political papers, he sought the records of environmental groups, social action organizations, and women. Sometimes he was successful, other times not. But the seeds he planted in those early years continued to bear fruit five years later, ten years later, or even two or three decades later.

Over the decades, Bob built a solid foundation for the study of Iowa history. He acquired farmers’ diaries, Civil War letters, merchants’ account books and railroad records. He solicited manuscripts by Iowa authors, and built on the already strong literary holdings of the department. Special Collections has continued to build on the groundwork Bob laid over three decades.

Of course, collection development was not Bob’s only work. He organized symposia, published articles, and edited the journal Books at Iowa and the newsletter of the Ruth Suckow Association. (He had a particular affinity for Suckow, not least because she hailed from his hometown of Hawarden.) Bob contributed to the archival profession through his service on the Iowa Historical Records Advisory Board and his longtime involvement with the Midwest Archives Conference. And he brought history home by presenting talks on a various topics to local organizations and clubs.

But I keep coming back to Bob’s efforts to preserve Iowa history, because I believe that was his greatest achievement. Bob’s vision of what Iowa history could be led him to seek out those aspects that that had been neglected by archivists and historians alike. When women’s historians began asking for sources in the ‘70s, Bob combed the Special Collections stacks searching for documents by and about women.

And then he went a step further. He began consciously seeking out women’s history. He acquired the papers of Minnette Doderer, the League of Women Voters of Iowa, and the Iowa Nurses Association. He had the foresight to contact Mary Louise Smith before she rose through the ranks to become the first female chair of the Republican National Committee; when Smith finished her term she made good on her promise to send her extensive papers to the University of Iowa, about which Bob was especially proud.

When Louise Noun suggested in the early ‘70s that the University Libraries beef up its holdings of women’s historical writings, Bob arranged to meet with her in Des Moines, initiating a relationship that would eventually lead to the creation of the Louise Noun – Mary Louise Smith Iowa Women’s Archives at the University Libraries.

Bob’s careful plans for the archives, together with the papers of women politicians, artists, nurses, and lawyers he had gathered over two decades formed the core of the Archives when it opened in 1992. Equally important was the support and guidance he gave me.

When I began work as the first curator of the Archives, I was pretty green, especially when it came to donor relations and collection development. But Bob was a great supervisor! He taught me everything, from how to write a letter and make a cold call to a potential donor, to the more mundane details—like how to get a car from the motor pool and fill out the countless travel forms. And then there were the finer points he’d learned from his own experience. For example, when you’re out in the field and driving a University vehicle, do not have dinner at a supper club—even if it’s the only restaurant in town—because someone is sure to notice the car with the University seal parked out front and report this “inappropriate” activity by a state employee.

Bob guided me with gentle nudges and taught me by example, as when we visited donors together. Our weekly meetings always included some family talk, a shared laugh or two, and some musings about the topic of the day. I was grateful to have such an empathetic boss who treated me with respect and was interested not only in what I did on the job but in my family and my life outside work. Through the years I worked with Bob, I learned a great deal from him, not only about history, but about how to treat one’s colleagues and staff.

Bob contributed immeasurably to Iowa history but also to the lives of those of us fortunate enough to be around him.  Bob’s knowledge of Iowa history was broader than the Missouri, deeper than the Mississippi, and a lot more solid than the Loess Hills.  Iowa history is richer for his contributions.  And all of us who knew him are richer for his friendship and his affection.

–Kären M. Mason, April 4, 2015


Henry A Wallace Collection

Former Vice President Henry Wallace addresses Senate Commerce Committee, Washington, D.C., 1945

Wallace digital collectionThe University of Iowa Libraries has thousands of the personal papers of Iowa native Henry A. Wallace (1888-1965). Wallace, the 33rd vice president of the United States, died 50 years ago today (18 November 1965). Wallace also served as the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Commerce and was the nominee for the Progressive Party in the 1948 presidential election. His papers include information on the economic and agricultural consequences of the Great Depression, the role of the vice president during World War II, and the subsequent development of alternative political party structures as the nation and the world recovered from the conflict and new power dynamics were formed.

Henry Wallace at Magadan, Siberia, 1944Along with papers in the Library of Congress and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, our Wallace papers were microfilmed many years ago. Our collection was later digitized and it is freely available online to any researcher. Our digital collection has approximately 67,000 page images in it, making it a rich source of material for a historian or a history class. The collection also includes four reels of correspondence from Wallace’s father, Henry Wallace (1836-1916), the founder of Wallaces’ Farmer.

The collection also includes more than 350 photographs. Many of the images are from Siberia and China in 1944.

The UI Libraries prepared a joint index to the three microfilm collections. This index is now a searchable database, with entries for items in Iowa’s collection linking directly to the digitized version. When users start typing in the correspondent search box, names will appear, showing the number of results for each name, based on sender or recipient. Select the name you want and press search.

Henry Wallace with Chrysler workers, Detroit, Mich., 1950sThe resulting list includes everything to or from the individual selected. The film numbers for the Iowa microfilm link directly to the digitized version. The results display in date order. Columns can re-sort by sender, recipient or film number. You can also search by year or by multiple years.
If interested in a specific date, try the general search box, formatting the date with the year first, e.g. 1945-04-12. This top search box also allows you to search by first name or by a last name to get correspondence for everyone with that last name.

For more information, see the Guide to the Henry A. Wallace Papers and the Guide to the Henry Wallace Papers. The Henry C. Wallace Papers are not included in this digital collection, but the Guide provides details on this print collection.

Workshop Wrap-Up: An Introduction to TEI/XML

On Saturday, November 7, 2015, I taught an introductory TEI/XML workshop for fourteen attendees, including graduate students from several disciplines and staff members at the University of Iowa Libraries. The workshop was primarily dedicated to providing an overview of text encoding or adding code to a text in order to create a machine-readable version. Text encoding involves the use of XML (Extensible Markup Language) and TEI (Text Encoding Initiative) guidelines, which constitute a standard for describing the structure of a text in machine-readable form. In short, XML is the code one uses, and TEI is a set of guidelines for representing texts digitally. Text encoding is used for a range of projects; although, it is especially useful for the creation of digital editions. The Walt Whitman Archive, for example, uses text encoding to make online editions of Whitman’s poetry and fiction available, accessible, and searchable.

My workshop was designed for teams of students and staff to work together toward encoding a particular text. Workshop participants sat at author-themed tables and practiced encoding texts by Metta Fuller Victor, Langston Hughes, and John Steinbeck, among other authors. Each team was given a scenario in which the completion of a sample text encoding was the overall goal. This collaborative environment was designed to give participants the feel of working on a digital project as part of an interdisciplinary team. Each team was responsible for making editorial decisions with respect to their texts. They were encouraged to discuss what structural elements of the text to encode, how that encoding might be best accomplished for the purposes of their assigned project, and how their decisions might impact future uses of the digital texts they aimed to create.

Through these collaborative activities, workshop participants learned how to use TEI/XML to encode the major structural and presentational features of prose, poetry, and letters. At the end of the workshop, they completed a series of challenge activities that required them to use their newly acquired TEI/XML skills to answer questions, encode excerpts of texts, and validate their work to ensure that they were following basic encoding guidelines.

As a result of attending the workshop, I hope participants began to see that text encoding is based on a series of editorial decisions. For each individual project, these editorial decisions are often shaped by the skills and expertise of team members, the funding for a particular project, and the intended audience or use of an online text. Even though text encoding involves the use of XML, it remains a largely interpretive act. Each editorial decision made by a project team results in the creation of a particular kind of text or edition and shapes how these digital resources may be used by instructors, scholars, and readers.


Healthcare for native Americans : Triumphs and Tragedies |UI History of Medicine Society Talk| Thurs. Nov. 19, 5:30pm

Dr. Tony Franken, Jr.  Professor Emeritus UI Dept. of Radiology

Dr. Tony Franken, Jr.
Professor Emeritus
UI Dept. of Radiology

Thursday, November 19
2117 MERF (Medical Education Research Facility)

The health status of Native Americans has, for 200 years, been substantially poorer than other U.S. Citizens.  Responsibility for their healthcare has (theoretically) been with the federal government.  Franken will cover ups and downs of this unique arrangement, as well as the special status of these Natives in our society today.

The National Library of Medicine has a related online exhibit: Native Voices : Native Peoples Concept of Health and Illness.

For more information on the History of Medicine Society, or to donate please see Fore more information on the History of Medicine Society, or to donate, please see

indians signing up

Become more efficient! |Hardin Open Workshops |

The semester ends soon.  Come to the Hardin Library and learn something to help you save time.

November Workshops @Hardin Library

EndNote Desktop, Tuesday, November 17, 11am-12pm
Searching for Nutrition Subjects in PubMed and Embase, Wednesday, November 11, 2-3pm
PubMed, Wednesday, November 11, 10-11am
Scopus & Web of Science, Monday, November 9, 1-2pm
Systematic Reviews: Literature Searching, Tuesday, November 17, 10-11am
Systematic Reviews: Developing a Framework (Nuts & Bolts), Tuesday, November 10, 10-11am

Sign up for these free workshops online or by calling 319-335-9151.

No time for a workshop?  Request a personal session.

How do I get there?  Take Pentacrest Cambus to the VA Loop Stop.  The library is just up the hill.