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Food for body and spirit

James Doak's The Art of Cookery

James Doak’s The Art of Cookery

On the last page of James Doak’s 1760s Art of cookery, following recipes for ketchup and pickled mushrooms, we find what appears to be a catalog of his library, an impressive collection for the time. He lists the classics: Shakespeare, Pope, Cato, Milton, the Bible, as well as some intriguing titles: Whytt on Lyme water, and A Conversation on the Plurality of Worlds, a French Enlightenment discourse on the Copernican world view. Doak’s book is one of the manuscript cookbooks waiting to be transcribed on our DIY History website:  http://diyhistory.lib.uiowa.edu/transcribe

Please delve in and discover what other gems lie between the interestingly stained pages!

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A soldier’s last Thanksgiving

Nile Kinnick, 1942

Nile Kinnick, 1942

An avid letter writer who was very close to his family, Nile Kinnick left a detailed record of the eventful period in his life when he left home to attend the University of Iowa, became a football star and Heisman trophy winner, and enlisted in the Navy to fight in World War II. In a 1942 letter to his parents,  featured in the Nile Kinnick digital collection and transcribed by our volunteers at DIY History, he runs through the specifics of his day, beginning with a new method of shaving “explained in a recent issue of Newsweek,” breakfast, pilot training, athletics (“Whether we play touch football or struggle through the obstacle race depends upon who is in charge. The former is a lot of fun for most of us, and the latter is a pain in the neck to all”), and so on.

He wraps up the letter with a mention of his lackluster Thanksgiving at the Navy base and a wish to celebrate the holiday with his family again. Sadly that wish went unfulfilled; Kinnick died on a training mission the following spring.

“…Thanksgiving was just like any other day around here except for a little better meal in the evening. A year ago we were all at grandma’s eating turkey with all the trimmings. Speed the day when we can all gather there again. Everything considered, this year’s Thanksgiving had a real significance. The U.S. had its most bountiful crop in history, and we and our allies were on the offensive on all fronts. The victory lies at the end of a road still rocky and rough, but things look better, much better!” 
– Nile Kinnick correspondence to his parents, Nov. 28, 1942

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Of brain bags and turtle toenails

Terrapins, American cookbook, 1930s | Szathmary Culinary Manuscripts and Cookbooks

Terrapins, American cookbook, 1930s | Szathmary Culinary Manuscripts and Cookbooks

Our voracious DIY History volunteers continue to transcribe their way through the Szathmary culinary manuscripts collection, turning up recipes like the ones for calves’ head soup and terrapins featured here. Local readers interested in recreating such historic dishes are invited to a kick-off meeting for our cooking club tomorrow; remote users, stay tuned for a blog where you can submit evidence of your Szathmary-inspired experiments online.

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Happy birthday Bram Stoker

Here are some items from our collection that would make appropriate reading for Bram Stoker’s 165th birthday:

Perry, Dennis R.. “Whitman’s Influence on Stoker’s Dracula.” Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 3 (12 1986), 29-35. http://ir.uiowa.edu/wwqr/vol3/iss3/5

Explores the hitherto neglected topic of Whitman’s potential influence on his admirer, Bram Stoker, emphasizing the writers’ mutual fascination with death, with the boundaries of body and self, and with the connectedness between things; explicates Stoker’s “nightmarish inversion” of Whitman’s themes.

Havlik, Robert J. “Walt Whitman and Bram Stoker: The Lincoln Connection.” Walt Whitman Quarterly Review 4 (Spring 1987), 9-16. http://ir.uiowa.edu/wwqr/vol4/iss4/3

Describes the importance of the recent discovery of the University of Notre Dame Stoker/Lincoln manuscript and relates its importance to Stoker’s encounters with Whitman and the evolution of their relationship; suggests that Whitman may have influenced Stoker’s views on Lincoln.

Howe, Kathryn. “Vampire Boot Camp: Students Sunk Their Teeth into a Summer of Dark Literature” Iowa Alumni Magazine 59 (February 2006), 16-17. http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cdm/ref/collection/uap/id/23694

Butler, Erik. “Writing and Vampiric Contagion in Dracula.” Iowa Journal of Cultural Studies 2 (2002): 13-32. http://ir.uiowa.edu/ijcs/vol2/iss1/4/

Chambers, Samuel A. and Williford, Daniel (2004) “Anti-Imperialism in the Buffy-verse: Challenging the Mythos of Bush as Vampire Slayer,” Poroi: Vol. 3: Iss. 2: p. 109-129. http://ir.uiowa.edu/poroi/vol3/iss2/6
Nelson, John S. (2003) “Cowboys or Vampire Killers? The Bush Gang Rides Again, or American Figures in Foreign Affairs,” Poroi: Vol. 2: Iss. 2: p. 104-117. http://ir.uiowa.edu/poroi/vol2/iss2/7
Buscemi, Nicole Desiree. “Diagnosing narratives: illness, the case history, and Victorian fiction.” dissertation, University of Iowa, 2009. http://ir.uiowa.edu/etd/282.
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Welcome, MetaFiltarians!

Visits to our web pages typically drop over the weekend, so we were very pleasantly surprised this morning to see traffic for our crowdsourcing site, DIY History, up almost 2000% thanks to an entry on the link-sharing site MetaFilter. Even better than the statistics are the hundreds of newly transcribed pages, including the one below featuring a grisly recipe for stewed calf’s head (“let the calfshead be split open and cleaned…”), now available for full-text searching.

We’re on the waiting list for a MetaFilter account so we can provide belated responses to some of the comments, but in the meantime let us state here that: (1) we are definitely interested in adding more manuscript cookbooks to the project, please get in touch with our Special Collections department if you have one you’d like to donate; and (2) the cookbook collection does indeed date back to 1600, we’re still in the process of digitizing everything, but we just bumped this item with its “records of pasley, and preserbes, wax work and Limning & fruits Artificial” to the head of the queue — all of you Elizabethan handwriting fans, check back soon!

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UI Libraries launches new crowdsourcing site with manuscript cookbooks and more

Calves head hash, dandelion wine, election cake, and West Indies-dressed turtle are just a few of the recipes from the University of Iowa Libraries’ new Szathmary Culinary Manuscripts and Cookbooks digital collection: http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cookbooks. Containing thousands of pages and spanning the 1600s through the 1960s, the handwritten cookbooks document culinary history in America and Europe, and how tastes have changed over the years. The do-it-yourself spirit of the housewives, cooks, winemakers, and Girl Scouts who wrote out and compiled the recipes makes the Szathmary collection an appropriate choice to help launch DIY History – http://diyhistory.lib.uiowa.edu – the Libraries’ new initiative that lets users contribute to the historical record by transcribing and tagging primary source documents online.

DIY History is an expansion of the Libraries’ earlier experiment with crowdsourcing, or outsourcing large tasks to the public via the Web: the Civil War Diaries and Letters Transcription Project. Operating for just over a year, the site was a resounding success, with thousands of volunteers all over the world transcribing more than 16,000 handwritten pages. With the original Civil War materials nearly completed, the Libraries created a new crowdsourcing site with additional handwritten content needing transcription: cookbooks, correspondence and diaries belonging to legendary Iowa football star Nile Kinnick, a 40 year-run of diaries from the Iowa Women’s Archives, and newly acquired Civil War documents from donors drawn by the crowdsourcing initiative. DIY History also features tagging and commenting functionality through Flickr for thousands of historic photographs and yearbook pages. The goal of the site is both to enhance digitized artifacts with added text to make them easier to find and use, and to engage the public to interact with historic materials in new ways.

“We’re opening up these collections to anyone who is interested in them,” says Greg Prickman, Head of Special Collections. “We are asking people to take an active part in improving the usefulness of the material we offer, and to participate in the process of describing what we hold.”

The Szathmary digital collection is part of the Iowa Digital Library – http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu – which features more than a million digital objects created from the holdings of the UI Libraries and its campus partners; included are illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, fine art, political cartoons, scholarly works, audio and video recordings, and more. DIY History is the latest public engagement initiative from the UI Libraries, a staunch supporter of new forms of scholarly publishing, digital humanities, data curation, and open/linked data.

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Crowdsourcing sneak preview

DIY History

Shhh… we’re quietly rolling out a soft launch for DIY History, our expanded crowdsourcing site that’s replacing the Civil War Diaries & Letters Transcription Project. Please have a look around and try out the new functionality and content as we do some last-minute tweaking, then check back next week for what we hope will be a much louder official launch.

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Little Village archive

We recently added the back content of Little Village magazine in our repository, which will ensure this important local title will remain widely accessible (http://ir.uiowa.edu/littlevillage/). Many of the contributors are current or past University of Iowa faculty, students and employees.

Several months ago, Little Village staff contacted the University Archives to scan back issues of the magazine. Our Digital Preservation Librarian advised the LV volunteer regarding the digitization. DRP staff then advised another LV volunteer on the data needed to upload the items. This was a very successful collaboration with LV, especially from my perspective since they did so much of the work!

Our site includes all the issues, from July 2001 to the current issue (Sept./Oct. 2012). Each issue can be downloaded as a PDF or can be viewed on screen. Each of the covers displays, making the issues easily browsed.  You can search the back issues on our site, or you can use Iowa City Public Library’s Local News Index to find articles of interest.

We hope you enjoy looking at the last decade of Iowa City news and arts.

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Nile Kinnick Collection now online

Nile Kinnick Collection

Each fall tens of thousands of people cheer their beloved Iowa Hawkeyes in the football stadium that bears the name of Iowa’s only Heisman trophy winner: Nile Kinnick Jr. Standing only 5’8” tall, Kinnick was a giant among men, a champion athlete and scholar who gave his life for his country serving in World War II.

A new digital collection from the University of Iowa Libraries bringing together letters, newspaper clippings, and photos of Nile Kinnick is now online: digital.lib.uiowa.edu/kinnick. These materials tell the story of one of the UI’s greatest football legends.

Included in the collection is the text of Kinnick’s Heisman trophy acceptance speech. Whitney Martin, a reporter covering the Heisman ceremony for the Associated Press, described the scene as “several hundred men and women rose and cheered and whistled…You realized the ovation wasn’t alone for Nile Kinnick, the outstanding college football player of the year. It was also for Nile Kinnick, typifying everything admirable in American youth.”

The Nile Kinnick Collection is the latest addition to the Iowa Digital Library, which features more than half a million digital objects created from the holdings of the UI Libraries and its campus partners. Included are illuminated manuscripts, historical maps, fine art, political cartoons, scholarly works, audio and video recordings, and more.

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Fostering news ways to publish, promote and preserve the historic and academic record

The University of Iowa Libraries launched an experiment this morning by publishing online the first in a series of letters written by Civil War solder Joseph F. Culver to his wife Mary. The idea, hatched in Special Collections where the original letters are housed, is to web publish this series of Civil War-era correspondence exactly 150 years to the exact day each letter was written.

http://blog.lib.uiowa.edu/culver/

We hope that Civil War buffs and anyone else interested in a compelling story will set an RSS feed to follow the Culvers’ story as it unfolds, and track his location throughout the United States. These letters are also available in our  Civil War Diaries & Letters Transcription Project or compiled in the book, Your Affectionate Husband, J.F. Culver: Letters Written During the Civil War.

The U.S. Civil War Sesquicentennial has provided a national context to expose our Civil War holdings to a broad public. This effort to re-issue the Culver letters on a blog has given Digital Research & Publishing a chance to experiment with a few web publishing tools, including Google Maps, the WordPress SIMILE timeline, first developed at MIT, as well as a WordPress plug-in to manage footnotes. At the Libraries, we are always on the lookout for new ways to publish, promote and preserve the academic and historic record. We hope you enjoy our latest experiment.

 —Nicole Saylor
Head, Digital Research & Publishing