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.”
The libraries and archives that feature historic mustache images — from NYPL to the Smithsonian to our own Special Collections — are kicking into high gear in honor of Movember, so we thought we’d join in.
Stealing from In tribute to the Library of Congress’ collection, we present some of the great mustaches of the Iowa Digital Library. Special thanks go to Wendy Robertson for her mustache-searching expertise.
“I have not been idle, nor has my beard been growing for nothing. Had it not vented its energies this way, it would assuredly have struck towards the table, with the intention of growing through it, like the dead Emperor’s that was found sitting in the mausoleum. Seriously, it is a curious & hopeful coincidence, at any rate, that my cough has continued to grow better & better, though my beard is but of a month’s existence. I cannot afford to confine myself to the moustache &c., as you do; for I have, or have had, a regular cough, which you have not. Moustaches may do well enough for occasional coughs; but the cough proper demands the whole hairy investment.”
Things might seem a little quiet at DIY History, the Libraries’ transcription crowdsourcing site, but behind the scenes we’ve been working on several new initiatives that should be launching over the next few months.
First up is a long-overdue redesign of the DIYH home pages that we hope will make for a less cluttered and easier to navigate user experience. That will be rolling out next month along with the debut of a new collection up for transcription: Pioneer Lives, featuring hundreds of letters and diaries from Midwest settlers during the mid- to late 1800s. While conservation and preservation staff continue the pioneers treatment and digitization work that’s taken up much of their summer, our curators have already begun compiling lists of handwritten materials for the next initiative, which will focus on the Libraries’ small but growing collection of World War II diaries and letters. In the meantime, there’s still plenty of transcribing left to be done on cookbooks, women’s lives, and railroads at DIY History, so please stop by and help improve access to these historic documents.
Along with a new look and new content, we’re also working on a new collaboration; this fall, the Libraries is teaming up with the IDEAL (Iowa Digital Engagement and Learning) initiative on a pilot project to teach DIY History in Rhetoric classes for incoming freshman. Currently wrapping up the four-week assignment module, students have transcribed a document, conducted research on its writer’s life and times, performed a rhetorical analysis of its contents, and created brief video screencasts to present their findings on YouTube. We hope to showcase some of these videos here, so check back soon.
Alas not all of our new developments are good ones. The past few weeks have been challenging as we figure our way around the project without the support of superstar library assistant Christine Tade, who recently retired after 27 years with the Libraries. From overseeing workflows, to training student assistants, to fielding user comments and questions, she was instrumental in keeping the project running smoothly. We’re very grateful to Christine for all her dedication and hard work that helped make DIY History a success.
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.
We in Digital Research & Publishing sadly bid fond farewell to Christine Tade. Christine’s involvement in DRP extends back almost to the beginning of the department, to a 2006 professional development internship, where Christine learned the ins-and-outs of applying descriptive metadata to Iowa Digital Library materials. Afterward, Christine was the point person for digital collection metadata in the Cataloging department, training and supervising staff there, finding ways to bend the software to her will and making more archival collections usable online.
Christine officially joined Digital Research & Publishing in 2012, six months after the launch of DIYHistory, the Libraries crowdsourcing transcriptions project. While continuing her digital collection work, Christine transitioned into the role of chief correspondent with transcribing participants, answering questions and also transcribing and reviewing many manuscripts herself. In July, DIYHistory reached a major milestone, 35,000 pages transcribed.
Christine has contributed greatly to the success of many projects and collection initiatives. We wish her the very best in her retirement!
The diligent and talented contributors to DIY History have now transcribed more than 35,000 pages of manuscript diaries, letters, recipes and telegrams! And this number does not reflect the thousands of pages of proofreading our crowdsourcers have also accomplished, bringing these documents to life and to the eyes of researchers. The transcribed pages tell the stories of Civil War soldiers and their families, of Iowa women making lives for themselves and their communities, of the glories of the kitchen from the 1600s to the twentieth century, of the machinations of railroad barons, and the high ideals of a football hero. Thanks to all of you for the gift of your time and talents.
This August, traditional Fair fare such as deep-fried Twinkies, Snickers, and sticks of butter will be making room for even more old-school treats featured in the UI-sponsored Szathmary Historic Recipes cooking contest. Up for recreating 18th- and 19th-century desserts like Almond Cheese Cakes, Summer Mince Pies, and Mrs. Matson’s Marlborough Pies? Unintimidated by units of measurements such as “about the bigness of an Egg” and ingredients like “Orange Flower water”? Then see contest details on page 53 of the Iowa State Fair food booklet.
And to get in a historic mood, please visit our Iowa Digital Library Pinterest site to view a selection of digitized State Fair cartoons and clippings, ca. 1894-2004.
Today is the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in the Brown v Board of Education, making separate public schools for black and white students unconstitutional. The Daily Iowan story is in the May 18, 1954 issue.
The ruling did not affect Iowa because segregation of schools had been illegal since 1868.
“Our first public schools were for “white” students only. But in 1868, eighty-six years before Brown versus State Board of Education, Topeka—which struck down separate schools for blacks and whites in 1954—Alexander Clark Sr. successfully sued the City of Muscatine so his daughter, Susan, could attend the white elementary school. This was the same year that Iowa became the first northern state to guarantee black men’s right to vote.”
—Letters to a young Iowan [excerpt], Hal S. Chase
Just one year after the landmark Supreme Court ruling, Iowa students elected an African American woman, Dora Lee Martin, as homecoming queen. This election was touted in state papers as demonstrating tolerance at the University, such as this excerpt from the Sioux City Tribune-Journal.
You can read more about Dora Lee Martin in a previous blog post, Queen of the campus.