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Spring musings

Today is the vernal equinox – the first day of spring.  72 years ago, Nile Kinnick reflected on its meaning from the U.S. Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Florida.  His words about the trajectory of the ongoing war are startlingly prescient, before turning his thoughts to springtime at home.  Thanks to DRP’s Wendy Robertson for finding this letter today, and to the DIYHistory participant/s who transcribed it.

Nile Kinnick letter to his brother, Ben, March 21, 1942

Nile Kinnick letter to his brother, Ben, March 21, 1942

“…today is supposed to be the date of the vernal equinox, when the sun’s center crosses the equator and day and night are everywhere equal. As surely as the world is round the sun will begin to rise earlier and set later, we shall have more light than darkness. Time and season wait on no man. And so it will go with this war. As the stars in their courses indicate the shifting seasons so do they proclaim that goodness shall triumph over evil, hope over despair. There has been so very little sunlight to cheer either America or Britain since the war started, and even now the prospect is dark and foreboding. However, the “spring equinox” is approaching. It will be born of blood and thunder in the year 1942. Fierce will be the fighting against superior odds, and disadvantageous will be the circumstances, but when the smoke and blood have been cleared away, the Allied Nations shall be more nearly on an equal footing than at any time since the adversary set upon them. And then in 1943 the drive will begin. Slowly but surely, gaining momentum with every assault, the foe will be beaten back until once again sunshine & light have gained dominion. The year 1944 will see the termination of this fearful struggle, and once again we shall make an attempt to prevent the recurrence of such an holocaust.”

“But enough of figurative speculation, and on to lighter things. Spring in the midwest, oh, that is a glorious season! Soon the countryside will be green and fresh, the heavy hand of winter will be shaken off – and, yes, the grass will be a grab and a half high, and picnics will displace the afternoon schedule.”

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This year, spring looks about as colorful as this photo, A spring day at Bellevue IA, 1910s, from the Mary Noble Photograph collection.  Click the photo and zoom in, and you’ll still see some smiling faces.  Both the Noble and Kinnick collections are part of the Iowa Digital Library.

"A spring day at Bellevue IA," 1910s

“A spring day at Bellevue IA,” 1910s

 

 

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New milestone for DIY History: 40,000 pages transcribed!

Iowa Byington Reed diaries

We’re thrilled to announce the latest milestone for DIY History, the Libraries’ transcription crowdsourcing project: 40,000 pages transcribed!

To mark the occasion, we’re featuring our most prolific diarist — Iowa Byington Reed, an Iowa City native who wrote in her diary nearly every day from 1872 to 1936 — along with one of our most industrious volunteers, David Davenport of Fresno, California. In most crowdsourcing initiatives, a small minority of “power users” does a large majority of the work, and DIY History is no exception. David, a retired history professor, explains how he first started working with the Byington diaries:

I “joined” your project with the expectation that I would do only Civil War related materials, but those had been done, and since my family has lived in Iowa since territorial days (my g-g-grandfather James Blake Gray is responsible for naming Burlington — it was called Flint Hills when he and his brother in law Thomas Stephens operated a trading post there in the very early 1830s) I decided to try the Reed material because my mother grew up on a farm near Centerville. I figured I would learn a bit about what life was like for her mother and her mother’s mother. I have not been disappointed. Iowa Reed engaged in the same rather “mundane” activities for well over 50 years, and faithfully recorded her life for almost every day during the span of her diaries…

I really don’t think we appreciate in 2014 how very different “the work” was 125 years ago — washing that took 4-5 hours every Monday morning, followed by ironing, sometimes drying the clothes in the garret (which my mother tells me was the term for the unfinished portions of the attic) accessible with a folding ladder in the ceiling of the upstairs hallway, etc. But in some ways their lives were so similar to ours — Iowa’s record of her brother Robbie’s death, or the death in 1886 of the two day old son of Ott and Fanny (or was it Charlie and Ida? — I can’t recall right now), or the sudden and completely unexpected death of Charlie in mid-October 1895 that I just saw a few minutes ago. I was transcribing her entry for November 14 1895 and she wrote “it was three weeks ago today that Charlie died” so I had to look back to find out what happened. I’m not a medical doctor but it seemed that he had a mild heart attack that was undiagnosed a couple of days earlier and then a massive heart attack while changing clothes – he was gone in an instant.

I really wish I was still teaching history because I can see assigning student the “task” of reading her diaries, cover to cover. Most students today could learn far more from what Iowa wrote about herself and those around her than I could ever hope to “teach” in a more conventional lecture. She has given voice to hundreds of thousands of women who lived as she did, from day to day, doing “the work” and often “so tired” she “went to bed early.”

A heartfelt thank you goes out to David and everyone else who has contributed their time and efforts in support of our mission to make historic documents more accessible. There’s still plenty more work to be done — please visit the Iowa Women’s Lives collection to transcribe Iowa Byington Reed’s diaries, or stop by the DIY History home page to select other materials, including historic cookbooks and pioneer-era documents.

Iowa Byington Reed diary, 1875

…In the evening I wrote a little and looked over my old diary and indulged in a retrospective view of the past year. I most sincerely hope that I will not know some of the sorrow this year I did last… | Iowa Byington Reed diary, January 1, 1875

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Remembering Shirley Temple Black

Child star Shirley Temple died yesterday (Feb 10, 2014). After retiring from theater, she became active in the Republican Party at which time she attended various fund raising events.

Mary Louise Smith, Pat Pardun, Mary Brooks, Lois Reed, and Shirley Temple Black at the Republican Women's Conference, Washington, D.C., 1968

Mary Louise Smith, Pat Pardun, Mary Brooks, Lois Reed, and Shirley Temple Black at the Republican Women’s Conference, Washington, D.C., 1968.

Mary Louise Smith, Shirley Temple Black, Jerry Mursener, and Paula Travis at party fund-raiser, Iowa, November, 1977

Mary Louise Smith, Shirley Temple Black, Jerry Mursener, and Paula Travis at party fund-raiser ($100 per person reception, speech & buffet), Iowa, November, 1977.

She also served as U.S. Ambassador to Ghana from 1974–1976, was Chief of Protocol of the United States from 1976–1977, and was U.S. Ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1989–1992.

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A Monument Man at SUI

Two collections in the Iowa Digital Library, University of Iowa Alumni Publications and University of Iowa Yearbooks include over 40,000 pages of campus history.  Locating a specific name or event would be a challenge, but Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology allows the collections to be full text searchable.

The name George Stout has been in the news a lot lately as the basis for the lead character in the movie Monuments Men.  A 1921 graduate of what was then the State University of Iowa (SUI), he also makes several other appearances in the both the yearbooks and alumni publications.

George Stout, Hawkeye Yearbook, 1921

George Stout, Hawkeye Yearbook, 1921

Stout is listed among the artists of the humor publication Frivol, which while unfortunately not digitized, is available in the University Archives’ Student-produced Publications and Newsletters Collection.

Frivol 1920

Frivol, 1920

Stout - Frivol

Frivol Staff, 1921

Stout is also mentioned in the March 1921 issue of the Iowa Alumnus for delivering a short address for Foundation Day, the UI’s 74th birthday.  While there’s no accompanying picture for this event, the IDL collection Iowa City Town and Campus Scenes includes several photographs from earlier Foundation Days.

Foundation Day speech, The University of Iowa, 1910s?

Foundation Day speech, The University of Iowa, 1910s?

Finding information in Iowa Digital Library text collections is made simple through OCR and word highlighting.

Iowa Digital Library Image & Text Viewer

Iowa Digital Library Image & Text Viewer

Enjoy more than a million digital objects created from the holdings of the University of Iowa Libraries and its campus partners. Included are illuminated manuscripts, historic maps, fine art, historic newspapers, scholarly works, and more. Digital collections are coordinated by Digital Research & Publishing.

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Women on the Chautauqua Circuit: Winsome Lasses and Ardent Advocates

The Marigold Quartette brochure | Traveling Culture - Circuit Chautauqua in the 20th Century

The Marigold Quartette brochure | Traveling Culture – Circuit Chautauqua in the 20th Century

This essay by Kären Mason, Curator of the Iowa Women’s Archives, was originally written for Akashic Books.

Chautauqua was an eagerly anticipated event in towns across the United States in the early 20th century. Huge tents were erected and a variety of speakers, performances, and children’s activities took place over the week the Chautauqua was in town. Red Oak, Iowa even constructed a permanent Chautauqua Pavilion in 1907, which is still standing and reputed to be the largest covered pavilion west of the Mississippi.

Many women lectured or performed on the Chautauqua circuit. Some, like Marian Elliot Adams, the main character of Unmentionables, lectured on women’s reform issues. Women’s suffrage was a popular topic in the years leading up to 1920, when the 19th Amendment at long last gave women the vote. Chautauqua provided an important venue for reformers to reach audiences all across the country.

Read the full essay at the Iowa Women’s Archives blog

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Upstairs and downstairs in historic cookbooks

Anne Bayne cookbook, circa 1700 | Szathmary Culinary Manuscripts and Cookbooks

Anne Bayne cookbook, circa 1700 | Szathmary Culinary Manuscripts and Cookbooks

While “Downton Abbey” fans tune in to season 4 in record numbers and our Special Collections department celebrates with an exhibition of period cookbooks, volunteers at the Libraries’ DIY History crowdsourcing site continue to transcribe historic recipes handwritten by real-life Mrs. Patmores.

Notes on how to “send up” a dish – a final step in some of the recipes from our Szathmary collection of manuscript cookbooks – might seem a little mysterious to the uninitiated. But “Downton Abbey” viewers have become familiar with the geography of meal preparation in historic upper-class households, with servants cooking elaborate dishes in kitchens located below stairs, then presenting them with fanfare in the dining room above.

For food historians, tracking down specific information like this in the Szathmary collection used to involve countless hours skimming thousands of hard-to-read manuscript pages. Now, thanks to the painstaking efforts of our volunteer transcribers who provide data for full text searches, it can be found in seconds.

Below we present a few of our favorite “send it up” examples, in case anyone wants to get fancy and “stik a light flower in the centre” of dinner tonight.

To frigasy rabbits (Anne Bayne cookbook, circa 1700)
…when you send it up put in 2 or 3 spoonfulls of white wine so serve it up. if you would have it a browne frigasy. You must take it out of your pan after it is boiled & fry it browne & strain in some broth. After you have powdered it put in your butter you fryed it in & grate in a little nutmeg & work up a little butter in a little flower & shake all well together. So dish it up with what pickles you please.

Gravi sase for torkie chickins pollits Ducks wild & tame & all sorts of wild fowle & hare & venson (Penelope Pemberton cookbook, 1716)
send it up in poringers: ye venson & hare must have gravis sase in ye dish: ye tong & uder nothing I had forgot to tel yu: yu must sweeten ye venson sase with powder suger to yr tast: not to sweet.

Savoury Sauce for a Rosted Goose (English cookbook, 1799)
… pour this into the body of the goose by a slit in the apron just before you send it up.

Raspberry Cream (Susan Gilbert cookbook, 1848-1887)
…put the remainder of your cream into a deep china dish and your frothed cream upon it as high as it will lie on. Stik a light flower in the centre & send it up. It is proper for a middle at supper, or corner at dinner.

View more results

Transcribe handwritten cookbooks at DIY History

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Wishing you an animated holiday

Featuring images from Helen Grundman 4-H scrapbook, 1928-1932

Animated gif featuring Helen Grundman 4-H scrapbook, 1928-1932 | Iowa Women’s Archives

LULAC Christmas party, Davenport, Iowa, early 1960s

Animated gif featuring LULAC Christmas party photo, Davenport, Iowa, early 1960s | Iowa Women’s Archives

LULAC Christmas party, Davenport, Iowa, early 1960s

Animated gif featuring LULAC Christmas party photo, Davenport, Iowa, early 1960s | Iowa Women’s Archives

The big story at the Libraries this year has been our Special Collections department’s ascendancy to social media superstardom. Here in Digital Research & Publishing, we’re happy to hook our wagon to that stardom for promoting the Libraries’ digital initiatives to the 18,000 (and counting!) followers at the UISpecColl Tumblr, and to loan our multimedia expertise to film and edit their YouTube video series. Here’s to even more public engagement success in 2014!

Digital projects featured on Tumblr:

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Exploring pioneer lives: UI Libraries and Rhetoric students partner on new digital collection and crowdsourcing project

DIY History: Pioneer Lives

This November, as Thanksgiving brings thoughts of pilgrims, the University of Iowa Libraries is exploring a later period of American history with a new digital collection, crowdsourcing initiative, and curriculum project based on pioneer-era documents.

Featuring more than 2,500 pages of letters, diaries, and photographs dating from the mid-to-late 19th century, the Pioneer Lives collection is available for browsing at the Iowa Digital Library: digital.lib.uiowa.edu/pioneers

The documents have also been added to DIY History — diyhistory.lib.uiowa.edu– the Libraries’ crowdsourcing site, where the public can help with historical research by providing transcriptions for handwritten texts. Earlier this fall, the collection got a test run from rhetoric students participating in a curriculum pilot project developed by IDEAL (Iowa Digital Engagement & Learning) to incorporate digital humanities in the undergraduate classroom.

Documenting Iowa’s early settlers, the Pioneer Lives collection lends immediacy to this historic period through the first-hand accounts of ordinary citizens. This is particularly true of the correspondence, with its descriptions of new lives written for loved ones left behind:

“Dear Father, I am in a place which at my coming here was very strange, but I have got acquainted and very contented, much more than I expected. I will give you a short sketch of what life I live here…” – Henry Eno letter, 1813

“My Dear Cousin, I thought I would write to you as it is my birthday. I am 11 years old… I go to school now… We have three boarders. I am going to learn to scate [sic] this winter…” – Emma Ward letter, 1866

“Dear Brother McCormick, Yours received, some time since, asking a sketch of my career as an M.D. during the past year, which… I must admit has far exceeded my hopes…” – Dr. Mila Sharp letter, 1885

Students in honors Rhetoric taught by Tom Keegan, faculty member and co-director of IDEAL, explored the collection during a four-week assignment that involved transcribing historic correspondence, conducting background research with primary source materials, performing rhetorical analyses of the documents, and presenting findings via screencast videos uploaded to YouTube.

In addition to learning new skills and information, many of the students enjoyed themselves along the way.

“I had a fun time analyzing my document which is rare because homework is almost never fun for me,” wrote one student in a class blog post. “I thought this was one of the first projects that I actually felt like I was making a legitimate discovery and that was a really unique experience.”

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Remembering the Gettysburg Address

Today is the 150th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. The Iowa Digital Library includes over 1000 items digitized from the archives of Lincolniana collector James Wills Bollinger.

View additional items from the Bollinger-Lincoln digital collection.

This is Abraham Lincoln, Page 14

This is Abraham Lincoln, 1941, Page 14 | The James W. Bollinger Digital Collection

This is Abraham Lincoln, Page 15

This is Abraham Lincoln, 1941, Page 15 | The James W. Bollinger Digital Collection

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Lincoln, a story in poster stamps, 1939 | The James W. Bollinger Digital Collection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

wall-gettysburg

The Gettysburg Speech, Bernard Wall etching, 1924 | The James W. Bollinger Digital Collection.

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Historic photos: JFK at the UI, 1959

As the nation marks the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s death, we’re celebrating the 54th anniversary of his 1959 visit to the University of Iowa campus. Not yet an official presidential candidate (coverage of his trip only made page 6 of The Daily Iowan, which instead led with some student workers’ two-day strike for a food allowance raise), Kennedy still drew a healthy audience of 1,500 to a reception at the Iowa Memorial Union. He rounded out the visit watching a home football game the following day, where he “cheered for Iowa, but prayed for Notre Dame.”

View additional Kennedy photographs from the Michael W. Lemberger Collection

View the Nov. 24th 1959 edition of The Daily Iowan

Senator John F. Kennedy visits the Iowa Memorial Union, University of Iowa, Nov. 21, 1959. Photo (c) Michael W. Lemberger | Michael W. Lemberger Photographs

Senator John F. Kennedy visits the Iowa Memorial Union, University of Iowa, Nov. 21, 1959. Photo (c) Michael W. Lemberger | Michael W. Lemberger Photographs

Senator John F. Kennedy talks to supporters, University of Iowa, Nov. 21, 1959. Photo (c) Michael W. Lemberger  |  Michael W. Lemberger Photographs

Senator John F. Kennedy talks to supporters, University of Iowa, Nov. 21, 1959. Photo (c) Michael W. Lemberger | Michael W. Lemberger Photographs 

Pressbox quarterbacks, The Daily Iowan, Nov. 24, 1959  |  The Daily Iowan Digital Collection

Pressbox quarterbacks, The Daily Iowan, Nov. 24, 1959 | The Daily Iowan Digital Collection

Next president?, The Daily Iowan, Nov. 24, 1959  |  The Daily Iowan Digital Collection

Next president?, The Daily Iowan, Nov. 24, 1959 | The Daily Iowan Digital Collection