Latest Headlines
0

Use of Older Theses

By far the most heavily used collection in Iowa Research Online are our theses and dissertations. Most of the items in the collection are from the last decade, either from graduates who voluntarily submitted their thesis electronically or dating from after December 1999 graduation when electronic submission required by the Graduate College for all non-M.F.A graduates. All of them are freely available worldwide (after an embargo period, if requested).

We have also digitized a small number of older theses. We digitize items when requested by an interested reader, with the copyright holder’s permission. We are also posting digitized out of copyright theses as time allows. As one would expect, these items do not receive nearly as much use as the newer theses. However, we are pleased to see that they are receiving steady use, far more than the print theses circulated.

In all, these 217 theses have been downloaded 20,966 times, used on average once every 5 days. In fact, six items have averaged more than 1.2 uses/day, including two that have been downloaded more than 1000 times!  In early May 2010 we ran a report to count circulation of theses, with data covering the previous five years. The highest use of any thesis was 60 circulations. The 2nd highest number was 16. Only 5,695 showed any circulations (average circulations 2.6 for those that circulated and 0.7 overall). 

Graduation Year Title Author Degree Use/Day Total Downloads
1914 Morphology of cannabis sativa L Reed, Joyce Master of Science 2.023 534
1921 The development of Milton’s prosody Hunter, Grace Eva Master of Arts 1.204 236
1931 The catenary Kacmarynski, J. P. Master of Science 1.521 1,217
1949 A formal analysis of Hawthorne’s The Blithedale romance Levang, Lewis Dwight Master of Arts 2.024 498
1961 The Production book of “The Diary of Anne Frank” Longacre, Allan Kurtz II Master of Arts 1.219 1,403
2008 Teacher-initiated talk and student oral discourse in a second language literature classroom : a sociocultural analysis Thoms, Joshua J Doctor of Philosophy 1.320 545

If you are interested in having your thesis digitized and added to our open access collection, please let us know by submitting this permission form (PDF).

0

The Treasure in the Old Will: Iowa Women’s Archives Inherits Valuable Nancy Drew Collection

mwb4

There were no missing documents, phony relatives, or suspicious fires — just a straightforward bequest from Peggy Wirt, whose mother, the late Mildred Wirt Benson, was the original ghostwriter of the Nancy Drew series. But the collection that was recently left to the Iowa Women’s Archives calls to mind another mystery trope – the hidden treasure: the gift of 150 books, written and signed by Benson, was appraised at $115,000. According to IWA Curator Kären Mason, however, the true value of the donation lies in further documenting an important figure in American popular culture.

The first student to earn a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Iowa, Mildred Wirt Benson wrote the original Nancy Drew novel, The Secret of the Old Clock, in 1930 under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. She completed nearly two dozen more titles in what has become one of the most successful children’s book series ever. Benson published numerous other children’s novels, both as a ghostwriter and under her own name, before turning to a career in journalism. The Peggy Wirt bequest will be added to the IWA’s Mildred Wirt Benson collection, used frequently by scholars and fans alike, that was donated by the author in 1992 and subsequent years until her death in 2002.

Two additional sets of new acquisitions complement the book donation. Purchased at auction from the estate of Peggy Wirt are a vintage typewriter of Benson’s, along with several photo albums. The latter include the original snapshot of an image that has become iconic to fans of the author: a college-age Benson, circa 1925, making a daring swan dive into the Iowa River near the current site of the UI’s student union.

The other recent donation comes from UI Journalism Professor Emerita Carolyn Stewart Dyer, who gave the IWA her collection of foreign-language Nancy Drew novels. The covers of these French, Japanese, and Swedish translations depict a Nancy both familiar and strange – renamed Kitty or Alice, holding a gun, her trademark titian hair changed to brown or blonde.

In any language, the character continues to serve as a feminist icon who inspires women “to persevere, to achieve, to ask questions and find answers,” according to Dyer. While coordinating the UI’s 1993 symposium on Nancy Drew, she heard from many women who grew up on the series:

Most compelling of the many elements of the stories women told us about reading Nancy Drew were the accounts of how, as girls, they saw in Nancy an alternative to conventional notions of what a woman could be. Women in many occupations told of learning from Nancy to see adventure in solving problems and the joy of self-reliance. These qualities, they said, led them to the futures they chose as lawyers, researchers, librarians, and detectives, among other roles. (1)

The Mildred Wirt Benson materials may be viewed at the Iowa Women’s Archives. Selections from the collection have been digitized and made available at the Iowa Digital Library: digital.lib.uiowa.edu/mwb

  1. “The Nancy Drew Phenomenon: Rediscovering Nancy Drew in Iowa” by Carolyn Stewart Dyer, in Rediscovering Nancy Drew, edited by Carolyn Stewart Dyer and Nancy Tillman Romalov (University of Iowa Press, 1995)

mwb1

mwb2

mwb3

From top: the bequest of novels from Peggy Wirt, waiting to be processed; a vintage typewriter used by Benson; Benson’s photo albums; foreign-language versions of Nancy Drew novels, donated by Carolyn Stewart Dyer. Photographs by Hannah Scates Kettler

0

Life photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt’s 1961 visit to campus

A few months ago, I saw a photograph (not in our collection) taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine of students drawing a live nude model. The photo is undated other than 1961. Looking through the Daily Iowan archive, it was easy to determine that he visited campus in May 1961. DI reporter Anne Stearns, wrote in the May 12, 1961 issue:

A pleasant surprise for a journalist during the Wednesday morning presentation was photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt of Life Magazine, who commandeered ladders, tree branches and people (notable or students) and arranged them for his pictures. Named Photographer of the Year in 1950, Eisenstaedt noted his 25th anniversary as a photographer in 1954, and is known for his superb portraits and for his sensitive news pictures. The voice of authority was speaking when he ordered Paul Engle and Donald Justice to move their class to another spot on the riverbank for a shot.

The May 16 issue has a much longer piece by Dianne Grossett and Jerry Parker.

Eisenstaedt, 63, left the SUI campus Saturday after a two-week stay on assignment with Life reporter Elizabeth Baker. The team was here “to re-create in pictures the life of graduate students in the creative arts at SUI,” Miss Baker explained.

Their interest is in more than the conventional classroom situation, she added — in how students relax, where they live, their work, pasttimes, parties. They have visited several students’ homes, browsed about the Art, Theatre and Music Buildings, and have even been to Kenney’s.

Eisenstaedt pointed out that they do not know the publication date of the story — or even that it will be published. SUI was chosen for the possible feature, Miss Baker said, “because of its varied and active creative arts program which has national reputation.” She mentioned outstanding persons such as Mauricio Lasansky and Paul Engle.

The full text of both articles can be read in the links above and has been excepted here. Kenney’s was a bar on the west side of Clinton St. which was popular with the Writer’s Workshop participants. The Iowa City Public Library Digital History Project has a picture of Kenney’s which is posted in the Iowa City Past Tumblr. As far as I know, the article was never published. I also have not seen any other pictures from Eisenstaedt’s time on campus.

1961 Art Festival p.9

During the time Eisenstaedt was on campus, the Gibson A Danes, Dean of the School of Art and Architecture, Yale University, spoke at the opening of the annual Festival of the Arts and the dedication of the expanded art gallery (May 9, 1961) . The text of his speech as well as pictures from the festival are also available in our collection.

0

Iowa Women’s Archives, Rhetoric faculty and students to present on digital humanities teaching project May 7

University of Iowa faculty, students, and staff will be discussing a curriculum project that combines historic documents with digital tools and methods as part of the Irving B. Weber Days local history celebration. The one-hour presentation “Archives Alive!: Teaching with WWII Correspondence” will take place at 12:30 on Wednesday, May 7, in Meeting Room A of the Iowa City Public Library.

Iowa Digital Library: Evelyn Birkby World War II scrapbook, 1942-1944. Iowa Women's Archives

Iowa Digital Library: Evelyn Birkby World War II scrapbook, 1942-1944. Iowa Women’s Archives

Iowa Women’s Archives Curator Kären Mason will provide background on the IWA and its mission to chronicle the history of Iowa women, their families, and their communities by collecting personal papers, organizational records, and oral histories. IWA artifacts on display at the event will include a World War II correspondence scrapbook, donated by author and radio personality Evelyn Birkby, upon which the Archives Alive! project was based.

Matt Gilchrist and Tom Keegan, Rhetoric faculty and co-directors of the Iowa Digital Engagement and Learning (IDEAL) initiative, will speak about using digital humanities methods to engage undergraduates through hands-on learning and technologically innovative assignments. For Archives Alive!, they developed a four-week curriculum module that required their Rhetoric students to participate in DIY History, the UI Libraries’ transcription crowdsourcing project. After transcribing, researching, and analyzing digitized correspondence from the Birkby scrapbook, students conveyed their findings in a variety of ways; this includes three-minute video screencasts uploaded to YouTube that form a collection of open-access works of original digital scholarship based on primary sources.

Wednesday’s event will also feature presentations by Rhetoric students James Burke, Jessica Graff, and Zach Stark.

For those who can’t make it in person, “Archives Alive!: Teaching with WWII Correspondence” will be broadcast live on The Library Channel, Iowa City cable channel 10, and archived at the Iowa City Public Library web site.

0

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.”

*******************

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

 

 

0

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

0

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.

0

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.

0

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

0

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