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.

Compendex Xpress Class TOMORROW at 2:30 p.m.

We are offering 30 minute Xpress classes Thursdays at 2:30 p.m. They will take place in the Library Multipurpose Room (2001C SC).




Compendex is the most comprehensive bibliographic database of scientific and technical engineering research available, covering all engineering disciplines. It includes millions of bibliographic citations and abstracts from thousands of engineering journals and conference proceedings. When combined with the Engineering Index Backfile (1884-1969), Compendex covers 120 years of core engineering literature.

This class will be taught by Kari Kozak, Head, Lichtenberger, Engineering Library. Kari will be available after class to answer any further questions.

Stop in and learn about Compendex!



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New Exhibit: Rainbow Collection!

“Why are there so many
Songs about rainbows?
And what’s on the other side…”
(music by Paul Williams, lyrics by Kenny Ascher)

The Rainbow Collection!

When you browse our collection of 50,000 books, you’ll see that our shelves are filled with, well, every color of the rainbow! Our exhibit shows a rainbow of colored book covers – from all the differing engineering disciplines – and will be up through January, 2016.

So what is a rainbow and what’s on the other side?

In the 1660s, Sir Isaac Newton began experimenting with light and prisms. He deduced that all the colors are present in white light and white is really not a color unto itself. Up until that time, it was believed that white was a separate color. This discovery was quite revolutionary at that time and was not well accepted. And that, in a nutshell, is what makes up a rainbow… White light and something to act as a prism.

Have you ever thought about where the names of the colors came from? Newton named them! In The Secret Language of Color: Science, Nature, History, Culture, Beauty of Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue & Violet, author Joann Eckstut says, “…Taken with the idea that the rainbow should reflect the musical scale, Newton decided to name his colors in accordance with aesthetics. There are seven main tones in the musical scale, so Newton came up with seven corresponding colors. Hence the origin of ROYGBIV, the acronym by which we know Newton’s seven spectral colors – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet…” (Scientists later, perhaps not surprisingly, set aside the correlation to the musical scale).

The colors of a rainbow are lined up, top to bottom, from the longest to the shortest wave length. In a double rainbow, the colors in the second – less intense arc – are reversed because the light is reflected twice in each rain drop. Each band of color is not really a band, either – it is a continuous spectrum of color. The number of photoreceptors in our eyes causes our brain to see the bands of colors. If we had more photoreceptors, we would see more colors.

Because it is is a continuous spectrum, the colors fade seamlessly into each other and it is often difficult to distinguish the colors. ROYGBIV is still used to teach the colors of the rainbow, even though most people have trouble identifying indigo. Indeed, the names of colors evolve over time. The color Newton called indigo, is now mostly considered to be plain old blue… Another interesting color fact is why “violet” is named violet and not purple. Violet is a spectral color that is bluish purple. Purple is not a spectral color, but is a creation of a mixture of colors.

And what’s on the other side?

Did you know that no one sees a rainbow in the same way? Each rainbow is unique to you! Why? Because each drop of rain (or atmospheric moisture) acts as a prism. The white light enters the raindrop and is bent into all the colors of the rainbow. With the countless number of raindrops refracting the light, what you see depends on where you are standing. Thus, no one sees a rainbow in exactly the same way, even when standing next to each other! White light and raindrops (or prisms, or anything that will refract the light).

Tips for Rainbow Hunters:
1.) Stand with your back to the sun
2.) If possible, stand near a clear area of sky
3.) Hope a dark sky appears behind the rainbow.


The next time you see a rainbow, think of the millions of raindrops it takes to create the beautiful colors! And don”t forget to stop in and see our Rainbow Collection of books!!

“What’s so amazing
That keeps us star-gazing?
And what do you think we might see
Someday we’ll find it
The rainbow connection
The lovers, the dreamers and me….”


Rainbow Connection
Music and Lyrics by Paul Williams and Kenny Ascher
Performed by Jim Henson



Eckstut, Joann. 2013. The secret language of color: science, nature, history, culture, beauty of red, orange, yellow, green, blue & violet. New York : Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers: Distributed by Workman Pub. Engineering Library QC495.3 .E25 2013.

Newton and the Color Spectrum. Color Vision & Art. webexhibits. Accessed November 10, 2015

The Muppet Movie – Rainbow Connection. youtube.com Accessed Nov. 12, 2015.

The Muppet Movie. IMDb. Accessed Nov. 12, 2015

Other Resources:

Ohta, Noboru. 2005 Colorimetry: fundamentals and applications. Chichester, West Sussex, England : Hoboken, NJ, USA : J. Wiley. Engineering Library QC495.8 .O38 2005

Hoeppe, Gotz. 2007. Why the sky is blue: discovering the color of life. Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press. Engineering Library QC494.7 .H6413 2007

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Mendeley Xpress Class TOMORROW at 2:30 p.m.

We are offering 30 minute Xpress classes Thursdays at 2:30 p.m. They will take place in the Library Multipurpose Room (2001C SC).




This class is an introduction to an online citation management system that is free for everyone! It will help you manage all your references for a paper (or papers!), as well as create the incite citations and bibliographies in a wide variety of formatting styles.

This class will be taught by Kari Kozak, Head, Lichtenberger Engineering Library. Kari will be available after class to answer any further questions.

Stop in and learn about Mendeley!


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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.


CinemAbility Documentary on evolution of disability in entertainment |Free screening @Main Library, Thursday, Nov. 12, 6:30pm

cinemabilityThe University of Iowa Libraries is proud to present a screening of the documentary CinemAbility on Thursday, November 12 at 6:30pm in Shambaugh Auditorium, Main Library. 

From the early days of silent films to present day, from Chaplin to X-Men, disability portrayals are ever changing. This dynamic documentary takes a detailed look at the evolution of “disability” in entertainment by going behind the scenes to interview Filmmakers, Studio Executives, Film Historians, and Celebrities, and by utilizing vivid clips from Hollywood’s most beloved motion pictures and television programs to focus attention on the powerful impact that the media can have on society.

Do disability portrayals in the media impact society or does the media simply reflect our ever-changing attitudes? Has the media has had a hand in transforming the societal inclusion of people with disabilities? CinemAbility shows how an enlightened understanding of disability can have a positive impact on the world.

Featuring Academy Award Winners Ben Affleck, Jamie Foxx, Marlee Matin, Helen Hunt, Gina Davis, and narrated by Jane Seymour.

The movie is 1 hour and 40 minutes.

This screening will include open captioning and audio description. Please note that the audio description will be audible to the entire audience

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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 http://hosted.lib.uiowa.edu/histmed/index.html.

indians signing up