Special Collections Category


LGBT Life in Iowa City, Iowa: 1967-2010 Online Exhibit Earns Honorable Mention

OutHistory.org, the award-winning website on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer U.S. history, announced the winners of its “Since Stonewall Local Histories Contest,” 41 years after the start of the rebellion that marks the beginning of the modern movement for LGBTQ rights and liberation.

“LGBT Life in Iowa City, Iowa: 1967-2010″ online exhibit curated by University Archivist David McCartney and Iowa Women’s Archives Curator Karen Mason earned an honorable mention in the competition. The exhibit is a timeline featuring over 70 images chronicling the history of the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender communities in Iowa City. Content was drawn from collections in the Iowa Women’s Archives, the University Archives, and from the personal collections of several members of the community, who contributed their time to the UI Libraries’ effort.

The contest—the first of its kind—invited people from across the country to create exhibits on OutHistory.org about the history of LGBTQ life in their village, town, city, county, or state since the Stonewall riots, 40 years ago. The contest also offered five cash prizes, from $5,000 to $1,000, to the creators of the top five exhibits. The awards were provided by the Arcus Foundation, which funded OutHistory.org for four years.

OutHistory.org received over thirty exciting exhibits about LGBTQ history. One of the contest’s major goals was to draw attention to LGBTQ history in places that scholars have overlooked. Exhibits include entries about states such as Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, and Virginia, among others.

The “Since Stonewall” exhibits are all geographically-based, but range dramatically in subject, from one New Yorker’s memoirs, to a history of the Gay Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., an account of a long-lived gay bar in Michigan called The Flame, and a timeline of The Lesbian Mothers National Defense Fund in Seattle. All the entries are listed on the site.

Professors and historians of homosexuality John D’Emilio and Leisa Meyer served as judges of the contest.


University Archivist McCartney Profiled

In the lastest edition of fyi, the online newsletter for UI faculty and staff, University Archivist David McCartney is profiled. Learn more about McCartney and the archives he manages.


University of Iowa Extends Its Collaboration with Accessible Archives, Inc.

Content Expansion Will Bring New Material to Civil War Collection

The University of Iowa Libraries has signed an agreement with Accessible Archives, an electronic publisher of primary source full-text historical databases, to preserve in digital format a number of primary source publications from the Civil War era. The Libraries’ holdings include various Civil War memoirs, pamphlets, and regimental histories, which up to now have been available only for those with access to its Special Collections Department.  Once the materials have been digitized and made fully searchable, they will become a new portion – an additional part – of The Civil War, a collection from Accessible Archives that has been well received by university and public libraries.

The Libraries has already contributed missing issues of Godey’s Lady’s Book to the digital collection. Among the Civil War books soon to be preserved and made searchable are: One Year’s Soldiering, Embracing the Battles of Fort Donelson and Shiloh, written by the chaplain of the Fourteenth Iowa Infantry and published in 1863; Sketches of the War, 2nd Edition, by Charles Henry Nott, published in 1865; and The Twenty-First Regiment of the Iowa Infantry, by George Crooke, published in 1891. Full-page images will be included, giving researchers access to the text, photographs, portraits, maps, and illustrations found in the original print format.

“We are delighted to extend the collaboration begun with Godey’s Lady’s Book and provide material from the University of Iowa Special Collections to enhance Accessible Archives’ The Civil War. Iowa provided more troops per capita than any other state in the Union, and Iowa men fought in nearly all the campaigns and major battles, were captured and imprisoned in the South, and after the war wrote about their experiences and came together frequently in reunions.  All of this is documented in the University of Iowa contribution,” said Edward Shreeves, Director of Collections and Scholarly Communication and Associate University Librarian.

“I think the publications from Iowa will be a great addition and enhancement to the material that we already have.  Many times, the Midwest is overlooked as far as Civil War coverage and I think this collection will help to improve that,” added Tom Nagy, Accessible Archives COO.

The Iowa publications will complement the Civil War newspapers and memoirs that are already online, which were obtained from the Godfrey Memorial Library and Vincennes University.


The University’s “Diary” now online in Iowa Digital Library

It may be called the University of Iowa’s diary: magazines catering to its alumni. Starting with The Iowa Alumnus in 1903 and continuing today as Iowa Alumni Magazine, these publications chronicle the life and events of the University and its people on many fronts: research breakthroughs, innovations in teaching, graduates’ milestones, political and social movements, and memorable football games.

This indispensable source of University of Iowa history, spanning over a century, is now available online as part of the Iowa Digital Library, managed by the University of Iowa Libraries. The University of Iowa Alumni Publications Collection, based on holdings in the University Archives, includes every issue of The Iowa Alumnus (1903-1925), Iowa Alumni Review (1947-1993), Iowa Alumni Quarterly (1993-1999), and Iowa Alumni Magazine (2000-2004). Except for a 22-year interruption from 1925 to 1947 when there was no alumni publication, these magazines tell the stories of faculty, staff, students, alumni and others associated with the University.

When it premiered on December 15, 1903, The Iowa Alumnus made a modest promise to its readers in the foreword: “[The Alumnus] will not be a mere news-gatherer, a gossip-monger, or a hobby-horse. It will, however, aim to be of interest to alumni and other friends of the University, and to the University itself; but by what precise process these two things are to be worked out, will be disclosed in successive numbers.” Since its first issue, the alumni magazine has been published by the University of Iowa Alumni Association.

The more than 80 volumes of alumni publications are full-text searchable or can be browsed by year. More recent issues – those published within the last five years – will be available exclusively to members of the University of Iowa Alumni Association as a benefit of membership.

To access the University of Iowa Alumni Publications Collection, go to http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/uap.


Morrow Emmy on display at Main Library

The Emmy Award that Barry Morrow received for writing the 1981 TV movie “Bill” is now on display in the University of Iowa Main Library in the Special Collections on the third floor. Morrow, an award-winning screenwriter who worked at the UI from 1974 to 1981, gave the Emmy to the university earlier this year.

Included as part of the Emmy display is a video loop that contains selected clips from the acclaimed documentary “A Friend Indeed: The Bill Sackter Story,” produced and directed by 1990 UI graduate Lane J. Wyrick. The display is available during the Library’s regular business hours. The film will be shown in its entirety at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 13, in Room 1505 of the Seamans Center as part of the second annual Bill Sackter Day. Other Sackter Day festivities will begin at 4:30 p.m. that day at Wild Bill’s Coffee Shop in North Hall on the UI campus.

The special “Bill” Emmy display and video loop in the UI Main Library were made possible in part by gifts to the UI Foundation from Richard S. and Jeanne M. Levitt of Des Moines, Iowa, and Eileen S. Schmidt, of Greenwich, Conn.


Reading the Fine Print in Special Collections

In the latest issue of fyi: Faculty & Staff News at the University of Iowa, the Charlotte M. Smith Miniature Book Collection is featured in a photo spread.

A tiny collection of books held in Special Collections is dwarfed by the library’s other five million volumes. These 4,500 itsy-bitsy books are “miniatures.” From pocket-size to micro-miniature, most books in the collection were donated by one person, Charlotte M. Smith. The gift inspired others to add to the collection. Visitors may get an up-close look at the miniatures in Special Collections on the third floor of UI Main Library.

You can find more information about this unique book collection or Charlotte M. Smith, the woman who collected these miniatures in the UI Libraries’ Special Collections.


A “Notorious Affair” Highlighted Special Collections Exhibition

Between October 1943 and March 1944 the German Embassy in Ankara had access to documents from the British Embassy. These included documents relating to the Teheran, Cairo and Casablanca conferences, at which Allied strategies were discussed, including Operation Overlord and the disposition of Europe after the war in the event of an Allied victory.

The German Embassy received this information from a very unlikely source: not a trained spy but an unscrupulous Albanian servant with a chip on his shoulder. This exhibit, “The Singing Spy,” examines some of resources at the University of Iowa relating to this incident, drawing from almost every department in the Library (Special Collections, Media Services, Maps, Government Documents, and online collections) and provides a glimpse into this “notorious affair.”


Leigh Hunt Online Gets a Nod

This week the “Internet Scout Report” noted the UI Libraries Leigh Hunt Online: The Letters.

Not familiar with British Romantic writer Leigh Hunt? After going through the University of Iowa Library’s collection of his letters online, visitors will know Hunt intimately. For those visitors who don’t have the stamina to pore over the more than 1600 letters that have been digitized thus far, an excellent history of him can be found by clicking “Who is Leigh Hunt?” in the “About the Project” link. The link “About the Brewer-Hunt Collection” reveals that Brewer, an Iowa native of modest means, began collecting Hunt’s work in the last 13 years of his life and amassed such a collection, that it was purchased by the University of Iowa Libraries in 1934. The link also mentions the correspondence in the collection that Hunt had with many other noted authors. Visitors should click on “Digitized Letters” to view the thumbnail gallery of Highlights of the Collection and see a host of Sample Searches. “Search Hints” are given in a link on the left hand side of the page, right above “NINES Collaboration”.

The Scout Report is the flagship publication of the Internet Scout Project. Published every Friday both on the web and by email, it provides a fast, convenient way to stay informed of valuable resources on the Internet. Our team of professional librarians and subject matter experts select, research, and annotate each resource.

Published continuously since 1994, the Scout Report is one of the Internet’s oldest and most respected publications. Organizations are encouraged to link to this page from their own Web pages, or to receive the HTML version of the Report each week via email for local posting at their site.


UI Libraries’ Artists’ Books Exhibited at Drake University

A group of more than 30 artists’ books from The University of Iowa Libraries’ collection will be exhibited from September 11th through October 9th in the Anderson Gallery at Drake University, Des Moines.  The exhibition, “The Book in Time & Place,” was curated by alumnus Sarah McCoy and Julie Leonard from the staff of The University of Iowa Center for the Book will offer a guest lecture in the Fine Art Center at Drake on September 9th.

Most of the loaned books were displayed in Old Cap during this past January, but several additional books were included in the loan, notably several items from the Charlotte M. Smith Collection of Miniature Books.  Included in the exhibit are books printed on hand-set type and printed by hand on fine papers.  Some are illustrated with images created in various techniques, including etchings, engravings, woodblocks, and lithographs. Apart from their artistic quality, many of the books look like conventional books, albeit more carefully made, but others play with the idea of “bookness” and have been created to express an artist’s statement.  One small “book,” for example, collects images of belly buttons from well-known classical paintings; it is, course, bound in a pair of buttons.  Another, a meditation on make-up and self-image, is printed on accordion-folded paper and bound into a cheap plastic compact which in turn resides in a glittering purse.

“Artists’ books are typically produced in only a few copies – even 50 copies is a large edition,” said Sid Huttner, head of Special Collections & University Archives at The University of Iowa, “and consequently few people have experienced them.  It also takes considerable effort to select and mount an exhibition, so we were delighted to have Drake propose a display of books in Des Moines that could build on one earlier seen in Iowa City.”

The University of Iowa has a long tradition of teaching and supporting fine printing and book arts, and the Libraries has assembled over many years a collection that documents books design and construction from the 15th century to the present in great depth.  Artists’ books are a fairly new genre, developing largely in the 1970s, and the Libraries collects examples of current work that support academic programs in Art & Art History, Art Education, and The Center for the Book.

“As Google digitizes its way through libraries here and abroad, and the Kindle is said to be about to replace paper and ink entirely, it is perhaps surprising how many artists are finding they can best communicate their artistic vision via book formats,“ said Huttner. “But this is a vigorous, lively, enchanting corner of the contemporary art community.”


UI Libraries acquires sci-fi fanzine collection; includes ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars’ pieces

The University of Iowa Libraries has announced the acquisition of the Mariellen (Ming) Wathne Fanzine Archive Collection. This large collection of some 3,000 science fiction fanzines is an important accumulation of fan-created work and a significant addition to the fanzine holdings of the University Libraries.

The Fanzine Archive Collection contains thousands of fanzines focused on popular media properties such as “Star Trek” and “Star Wars.” Those related to “Star Wars” were originally collected by Lucasfilm Ltd., producer of the Star Wars series. This collection was offered back to fans in the 1990s, and a California fan named Mariellen Wathne accepted it and began a lending library to distribute ‘zines among fans. In addition to “Star Wars” fanzines, there are also many fanzines related to “Star Trek,” including some of the most important early pieces.

Since the 1960s, when television series such as “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” and “Star Trek” cultivated large followings, fans have produced their own publications developing stories involving their favorite characters. These fanzines provide a unique perspective on participatory culture—rather than passively consuming media, fans actively interacted with it and developed complex spin-off works that were distributed at conventions and through the mail, says Greg Prickman, assistant head of Special Collections at the UI Libraries.

“In many ways, fan culture pre-dates and anticipates our modern remix mash-up internet culture,” said Prickman. “And there is a great deal of scholarly interest in this type of activity today. “

The collection was acquired with the help of the Organization for Transformative Works (OTW), a non-profit advocacy group dedicated to preserving and protecting works created by media science fiction fans. As part of a concerted effort to collect fanzines and other artifacts of fandom, the University Libraries has established a joint effort with the OTW called the Fan Culture Preservation Project. The Libraries and the OTW will work together to identify important collections and bring them to the UI.

These fanzine collections help make the UI Libraries one of the country’s leading research centers for the study of 20th-century popular culture, adding to important collections documenting filmmaking, vaudeville and theatre, underground art, independent music, and science fiction fandom.