Happy 160th Birthday Nikola Tesla!!

Happy 160th Birthday!!!
Nikola Tesla
July 10, 1856 – January 7, 1943

Photo Credit: http://www.teslabg.edu.rs/

Nikola Tesla  had a fascinating childhood. The son of a Serbian Orthodox Priest and a mother, who came from a long line of inventors, he was able to spend much of his childhood inventing and trying new things. During a long, cold and dry spell, he ‘discovered’ static electricity. He thought of this often and it profoundly influenced his adult life and his inventions. As a child he invented a cornstalk popgun, which contained the principles he adapted when he devised particle-beam weapons. And, after seeing a picture of Niagara Falls, young Nikola (he was somewhere between 10- and 14-years-of-age) told his Uncle Josip that one day he would place a gigantic wheel under the waterfall and harness it. In 1895, he and George Westinghouse built the first hydro-electric power plant in Niagara Falls.

His older brother died after a fall from a horse and thereafter Nikola began having “out-of body” experiences. In fact, those experiences were so real he sometimes needed his sisters to help him tell which were real and which were hallucinations. Those experiences continued throughout his life and actually were an asset to his creativity. He could visualize his finished inventions and modify them in his mind before committing them to paper.  To learn more about the life of this fascinating and influential man, check out Wizard : the Life and Times of Nikoa Tesla : Biography of a Genius

Nikola began his career as an electrical engineer in 1881 while working with a a telephone company located in Budapest. It was there that the solution to the rotating magnetic field flashed through his mind, which led to the creation of the induction motor. In 1884, Tesla moved to the United States to work with Thomas Edison. He and Edison disagreed on direct current versus alternating current. Edison promoted the direct current, while Tesla believed the alternating current was more efficient. Tesla won that disagreement…

He was a pioneer in many fields – in 1896 the Electrical Review published X-rays of a man which had been taken by Tesla. Others were also experimenting with X-rays at the same time but Tesla didn’t claim priority. It is reported that he said, “I don’t care that they stole my idea…I care that they don’t have any of their own.”

Interestingly, in 1901 Tesla imagined a means of instant communication – he imagined receiving telegrams, stock quotes, etc., assigning them each a different frequency, which would then be broadcast to a device held in your hand. He essentially envisioned the internet and smart phones…

220px-TeslacoilHe is perhaps most well-known for the Tesla Coil, which he developed in 1891. The Tesla Coil transforms energy into extremely high-voltage charges, which create powerful electrical fields capable of producing electrical arcs. A Tesla Coil is made of two parts – a primary coil and a secondary coil. Each has its own capacitor (which stores electrical energy like a battery does).  The whole system is powered by a transformer. The two circuits are connected by a spark gap. The Tesla Coil revolutionized the way electricity was understood. Variations of the Tesla Coil are still used in radios and televisions.

Interesting Facts About Nikola Tesla:

  • He was born during a lightning storm, which the midwife claimed was a bad omen. She said he would be a child of darkness. The family legend is that his mother replied, “No. He will be a child of light.”
  • By around the age of 12, he developed strange “habits.” He developed an aversion to women’s earrings, and the sight of a pearl would give him “fits.” He would never touch another person’s hair and could develop a fever looking at a peach.
  • Not all his ideas were practical. One such idea was a ring around the equator which would transport people from one end of the globe to the other…

(Wizard : the life and times of Nikola Tesla : Biography of a Genius).



Seifer, Marc. 1996. Wizard : the life and times of Nikola Tesla : biography of a genius. Seacaucus, N.J. : Carol Pub. Engineering Library TK140.T4 S65 1996

Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse built the first hydro-electric power plant…. Tesla Memorial Society of New York. Date accessed July 7, 2016.

The 10 Inventions of Nikola Tesla That Changed the World. January 10,2012. Activist Post.

Martin, Thomas Commerford. 1995. The inventions, researches, and writings of Nikola Tesla. 2nd Edition. New York : Barnes & Noble. Engineering Library TK140.T4 M37 199

Wireless Electricity? How the Tesla Coil Works, by Kelly Dickerson. July 10, 2014. livescience.com

Tesla Coil.  Wikipedia. Page last modified July 5, 2016, accessed July 7, 2016.

**Other Resources:

Nikola Tesla : the Genius Who Lit the World. July 10, 1998. Tesla Memorial Society of New York.


Bernardino Genga |July 2016 Notes from The John Martin Rare Book Room @Hardin Library



BERNARDINO GENGA (1620-1690). Anatomia per uso et intelligenza del disegno; ricercata non solo su gl’ossi, e muscoli del corpo humano… Rome: Domenico de Rossi, 1691.

An authoritative anatomist and surgeon in Rome, Genga stressed the importance of solid anatomical knowledge for the surgeon. Genga wrote the first book devoted entirely to surgical anatomy which remained a widely used manual for fifty years.

Genga was one of the first Italians to accept Harvey’s theory on the circulation of the blood, but Genga also maintained that the discovery was made by Colombo and Cesalpino before Harvey. The parts played by those two Italian investigators and anatomists in the unfolding of the facts of circulatory physiology have been a point of study and argument among medical historians.

This large atlas contains 40 magnificent full-page engraved plates depicting the human figure in various poses, with and without dissection. Some of the full-figure plates are engraved renditions of celebrated antique statues in Rome. The plates, probably engraved by François Andriot, were intended primarily for the use of painters and sculptors, and they are still considered to be one of the best collections for the use of student artists. The text is by Giovanni Maria Lancisi.

You may view this book in the John Martin Rare Book Room, Hardin Library for the Health Sciences.  Make a gift to the Hardin Library for the Health Sciences by donating online or setting up a recurring gift with The University of Iowa Foundation.


Documenting and Treating Scrolls: Part 1

Thursday July 7, 2016
Submitted by Katarzyna Bator and Bailey Kinsky

We are both graduate students at Buffalo State College Art Conservation Department. We are spending the summer at the University of Iowa Library Conservation Laboratory partaking in a practicum of treatment and care of library and archives material. Using theory and techniques learned during the school year, we will work to gain hand skills and real world experience in conservation treatments working side-by-side with conservators at the University.

Our first project includes photo documentation and treatment of several scrolls from the Ficke Collection. Each one is over 20 feet long and all have suffered extensive insect damage making their handling unsafe.

Picture 1 : Bailey Kinsky photographing a scroll from the Ficke Collection. The Photographic set up includes a neutral grey background, color checker, and a ruler to aid in accurate representation of the actual object.
Picture 2: Katarzyna Bator (left) and Bailey Kinsky (right) unrolling a scroll from the Ficke Collection for photo documentation.
Picture 3: Bailey Kinsky assessing the condition of the scrolls and testing ink solubility.

Photographing a scroll
Unrolling a scroll
Assessing condition

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Our 2016 Kerber Fund Recipient: Lauren Feldmen

Kerber Grant RecipientKerber Grant Recipient

Last week, the Iowa Women’s Archives welcomes Lauren Feldman, a doctoral candidate in history from Johns Hopkins University. Lauren is the latest recipient of the Linda and Richard Kerber Fund for Research in the Iowa Women’s Archives, a $1000 travel grant to bring researchers to the IWA.

Kerber Grant Recipient

Lauren hard at work.

In her research, Lauren looks at the changing conceptions of marital engagement in the 19th century. She argues Americans worried about the future of marriage as divorce rates rose. She believes that in response to this fear engagement increased in importance and became a trial period for the marriages that would follow. Lauren wants to expand the scope of her research to include minorities, rural women, and sources outside of the Eastern United States. After finding the Kerber Grant on H-Net, she felt the IWA’s Kerber Fund would be a good fit for her research.

While here for the week, she consulted the papers of Lucy Van Voorhis White, Jennifer Riggs Cosson, and Mae Atkinson Robinson, among others. She also hopes to research in Giving Voice to their Memories: Oral Histories of African American Women in Iowa.

When asked at the beginning of her week here what her favorite documents were so far she admitted that she hadn’t had much time to read them yet. However, she couldn’t wait to sink her teeth into Van Voorhis White’s and Riggs Cosson’s courtship correspondences with the men who they would marry. It isn’t common to have both sides of a correspondence and, as Lauren says, “that’s exactly what I’m looking for.”

We were so happy to have Lauren visit us for the week as a Kerber Fund recipient, and cannot wait to hear about the scholarship she produces.

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InfoHawk+ Is Coming!

InfoHawk+ Is Coming Soon!!

The University of Iowa Libraries is introducing a new way to access library resources and materials. This month, July 2016, we will switch to a new library management system. Changes have already begun and will continue throughout the month.

InfoHawk, which has been our online catalog system for the past 16 years, has been taken out of service. Links to InfoHawk will now take you to Smart Search. Smart Search has already been available as an alternative to the InfoHawk search tool.

InfoHawk+ will replace Smart Search and should be available on July 15th. InfoHawk+, which resembles Smart Search, will allow clear access to the UI Libraries holdings and resources. Users will be able to search for print journals and books, available electronic resources, and other resources which are unique to the UI Libraries collections.

Since the staff side – “behind the scenes” – will also be changing, some services will be either temporarily unavailable or delayed.  We apologize for any inconvenience this causes and are working to minimize the disruption in services.

If you’d like more information about the transition, please check the Library Guide.




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Special Collections News and Updates 7/1/2016

Image of teachingNewsfeed: 50 years of Star Trek on Display: http://www.thegazette.com/subject/life/people-places/50-years-of-star-trek-on-display-20160617 Old Capitol Museum celebrates 40 years on National Historic Registry: http://now.uiowa.edu/2016/06/old-cap-landmark Bringing Special Collections into Today: Recent library renovations focus on openness: […]

IMALERT Disaster Hotline for Cultural Collections Live July 1, 2016

Friday, July 1, 2016

During a disaster, time is critical but help is a phone call away. IMALERT Hotline: 319-384-3673.

IMALERT Training Exercise

IMALERT Training Exercise

As of today the Iowa Museums, Archives, and Libraries Emergency Response Team (IMALERT) is providing a hotline service to cultural institutions experiencing an emergency or disaster. The IMALERT Hotline at 319-384-3673 can connect staff with the information and expertise needed to respond to, and recover from, any level of incident from a leaking pipe to a major flood. Through the team’s vast experience in conservation, preservation and emergency response and recovery, help is available to assess damage to collection materials, make recommendations for recovery, assist with decision making on drying out buildings, and demonstrate salvage techniques and/or help organize the initial salvage operation.

In 2008, rapid response by an informal emergency response team saved 90% of the flood-damaged material at the African American Museum of Iowa. I saw the huge difference having a team on the ground the minute access was allowed into the building. With a formal team in place, we are in position to help others in time of an emergency.

Support to form the team was provided through an Institute of Museum and Library Services planning grant, the State Historical Society of Iowa Historical Resource Development Program training grant, and the Iowa Conservation and Preservation Consortium.

IMALERT is an initiative of the Iowa Conservation and Preservation Consortium: http://www.iowaconserveandpreserve.org/
Contact: iowa.conserveandpreserve@gmail.com

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4th of July Holiday hours


The library will be closed on Monday, July 4 for the national holiday.

The library will be open reduced hours on Sunday, July 3:

The 24-hour study is available with an access card.


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UN Comtrade — Trial ends 31 July 2016

UN Comtrade is a repository of annual international trade statistics and relevant analytical tables provided by over 200 countries, detailed by commodity and partner country to the United Nations. All values are converted in US dollars and metric units; the statistics coverage dates as far back as 1962.

NB: This trial allows users to retrieve up to 2 million records in a single query.

Please send additional comments to Brett Cloyd.

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