About Author: Wendy Robertson

Posts by Wendy Robertson

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IRO Highlights for Black History Month

Here are some highlights from our digital collections for black history month.

These three books are available as free PDFs online. They were published in the University of Iowa Press Singular Lives series.

Fly in the Buttermilk - coverFly in the Buttermilk: The Life Story of Cecil Reed
Cecil Reed
Priscilla Donovan

Born in 1913 in Collinsville, Illinois, Cecil Reed has lived all his life in the Midwest as a black man among whites. This self-styled fly in the buttermilk worked among whites with such skill and grace that they were barely aware of his existence—unless he wanted to get a bank loan or move into their neighborhood. Now, in his lively and optimistic autobiography, he speaks of his resilience throughout a life spent working peacefully but passionately for equality.

The Making of a Black Scholar: From Georgia to the Ivy League - cover
The Making of a Black Scholar: From Georgia to the Ivy League
Horace A. Porter

This captivating and illuminating book is a memoir of a young black man moving from rural Georgia to life as a student and teacher in the Ivy League as well as a history of the changes in American education that developed in response to the civil rights movement, the war in Vietnam, and affirmative action. Born in 1950, Horace Porter starts out in rural Georgia in a house that has neither electricity nor running water. In 1968, he leaves his home in Columbus, Georgia—thanks to an academic scholarship to Amherst College—and lands in an upper-class, mainly white world. Focusing on such experiences in his American education, Porter’s story is both unique and representative of his time.

The Making of a Black Scholar is structured around schools. Porter attends Georgia’s segregated black schools until he enters the privileged world of Amherst College. He graduates (spending one semester at Morehouse College) and moves on to graduate study at Yale. He starts his teaching career at Detroit’s Wayne State University and spends the 1980s at Dartmouth College and the 1990s at Stanford University.

Porter writes about working to establish the first black studies program at Amherst, the challenges of graduate study at Yale, the infamous Dartmouth Review, and his meetings with such writers and scholars as Ralph Ellison, Tillie Olsen, James Baldwin, and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. He ends by reflecting on an unforeseen move to the University of Iowa, which he ties into a return to the values of his childhood on a Georgia farm. In his success and the fulfillment of his academic aspirations, Porter represents an era, a generation, of possibility and achievement.

My Iowa Journey - coverMy Iowa Journey: The Life Story of the University of Iowa’s First African American Professor
Philip G. Hubbard

Philip Hubbard’s life story begins in 1921 in Macon, a county seat in the Bible Belt of north central Missouri, whose history as a former slave state permeated the culture of his childhood. When he was four his mother moved her family 140 miles north to Des Moines in search of the greater educational opportunity that Iowa offered African American students. In this recounting of the effects of that journey on the rest of his life, Phil Hubbard merges his private and public life and career into an affectionate, powerful, and important story. Hubbard graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in electrical engineering in 1946; by 1954 he had received his Ph.D. in hydraulics. The College of Engineering extended a warm academic welcome, but nonacademic matters were totally different: Hubbard was ineligible for the housing and other amenities offered to white students. Intelligent, patient, keenly aware of discrimination yet willing to work from within the university system, he advanced from student to teacher to administrator, retiring in 1991 after decades of leadership in the classroom and the conference room. Hubbard’s major accomplishments included policies that focused on human rights; these policies transformed the makeup of students, faculty, and staff by seeking to eliminate discrimination based on race, religion, or other nonacademic factors and by substituting affirmative action for the traditional old-boy methods of selecting faculty and administrators. At the same time that he was advancing the cause of human rights and cultural diversity in education, his family was growing and thriving, and his descriptions of home life reveal one source of his strength and inspiration. The decades that Hubbard covers were vital in the evolution of the nation and its educational institutions. His dedication to the agenda of public higher education has always been matched by his sensitivity to the negative effects of discrimination and his gentle perseverance toward his goals of inclusion, acceptance, and fairness. His vivid personal and institutional story will prove valuable at this critical juncture in America’s racial history.

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IRO January 2015 usage

Content in Iowa Research Online was downloaded 131,084 times in January, a 19% increase over January 2015. The items receiving the most use were all theses:

The items with the greatest percentage increase in use compared with the previous month were

These include theses as well as an article in Medieval Feminist Forum and a book review podcast.

If you are interested in all of our usage data for all series, we have links to the data on our website.

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1.5 Million downloads from IRO in 2014!

Iowa Research Online had an impressive 1,506,333 items downloaded in 2014. When all supplemental content is included, this number increases to 1,558,358! IRO currently has 16,209 full text items, 1,521 supplements and 118 streaming items (not included in download numbers).

While most use came from the United States, 15% of the use came from other places, including the United Kingdom, India, Canada, Germany and Australia, and 187 other countries.

Our theses and dissertations are downloaded more than anything else in IRO. All together, they total close to 60% of the total downloads!

Almost one third of the total downloads come from our books, journals and magazines. Walt Whitman Quarterly Review and Medieval Feminist Forum receive the most use.

Our highest use items are

Congratulations to all the authors and journal editors!

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IRO December 2014 Usage

While their total downloads was not the highest in IRO, these items had the greatest percentage increase of use in December compared with November.

These five items include a dissertation, a book from UI Press, an issue of 19th century magazine and a two journal articles. One of the journal articles come from our locally published journal, Poroi.

Our most downloaded items in December were very similar to the top items for November:

The twitter data stream had the most use by far.

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IRO November 2014 Usage

We regularly look at usage information for Iowa Research Online. The software shows us the 10 items receiving the most downloads overall (total use is averaged out across how long the item has been publicly (freely) available), which allows new items to enter the top ten. However, this list tends to remain similar from month to month (and day to day). Looking at the number of downloads for a specific month sometimes highlights different items, but typically the most used items remain similar across months.

The most used items for November were:

Other than the first item, they all appear on the most popular papers list.

In order to find other items that are seeing an increase in their usage, we have begun comparing the use of an item with the previous month. These items may not have had the largest use overall, but the number of downloads was quite a bit higher in November than in October.

Congratulations to the authors of the works!

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Four Million Downloads!

Items in Iowa Research Online have been downloaded more than four million times! This means that scholarship created by University of Iowa faculty, researchers and students is being read around the world. We crossed the three million mark in late January 2014; it is so very exciting to have had such an increase in just over nine months that we are dancing in our cubicles.

ancers at a party at Esther Walls' apartment, New York, N.Y., 1960s

Our theses and dissertation make up over half the use, which is great evidence of the fantastic scholarship done by our graduates. The journals Walt Whitman Quarterly Review and Medieval Feminist Forum each have had two-three hundred thousand downloads. Congratulations to the editors of these journals for producing such quality publications.

Walt Whitman Quarterly Review

If you would like your scholarship in Iowa Research Online, please contact your subject specialist for more information.

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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).

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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.

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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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Dada/Surrealism re-launched

dadasur-logo

We are very excited that after a hiatus of over twenty years, the journal Dada/Surrealism has been relaunched. It is a peer-reviewed, open-access electronic journal sponsored by the Association for the Study of Dada and Surrealism and published by the International Dada Archive, University of Iowa Libraries, with managing editor Tim Shipe.

The newest issue focuses on Surrealism and Egypt.  Issues in process will focus on Dada, Surrealism, and Romania and on Dada and Surrealist Exhibitions.

The University of Iowa Libraries hosts the journal in our institutional repository, Iowa Research Online. The software provides peer review software for the editors as well as a good display for each issue. Each article is available as a PDF and also in html.