About Author: Colleen Theisen

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http://www.twitter.com/libralthinking
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Outreach and Instruction Librarian. Lover of coffee, as well as 19th century photography, painting, tourism and print.

Posts by Colleen Theisen

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News from Special Collections 8/28/2015

Staff Changes:

1. Saying Farewell to Olson Graduate Assistant Jillian Sparks

JillianJillian Sparks will complete her two years as Olson Graduate Assistant here in Special Collections this week. The Olson GA’s participate in the department as junior staff for twenty hours a week; working at the reference desk and answering email reference questions, teaching classes, planning events, writing about collection items for social media, and assisting with a myriad of other duties that come up in day to day life here in Special Collections. Above and beyond those duties Jillian worked on a project adding copy specific notes about types of bindings, marginalia, and provenance information to our catalog records for the earliest English language books in the collection and prepared an exhibition about her work that can still be seen in the cases outside Special Collection on the 3rd floor of the Main Library, or online here. Jillian recently completed her Masters of Library Science here at the University of Iowa along with a certificate in book studies from The Center for the Book, and is seeking employment in the field. Her contributions to this department over the past two years cannot be measured. It was an honor and a privilege to work with such a talented librarian.

Upcoming Events:

1. Special Guest Lecture, Alison Altstatt, University of Northern Iowa

Vellum leaf of a medieval music manuscript

“Re-membering the Wilton Processional: a Manuscript Lost and Found”

Friday, September 4, 2015

12:00PM-1:00PM

Special Collections Reading Room, 3rd Floor Main Library, 125 W. Washington, Iowa City, IA

This talk concerns a notated leaf of an English medieval manuscript held in the Special Collections of the University of Iowa Libraries. Musical, textual and codicological evidence supports the identification of the leaf as a fragment of a processional from Wilton Abbey, an important center for women’s Latin learning from its tenth-century foundation to its sixteenth-century dissolution. The recovery of the University of Iowa leaf, along with more than thirty others, provides a window into the abbey’s musico-poetic tradition, its processional liturgies, and its dramatic rituals.

2. Iowa Bibliophiles First Meeting for 2015-2016, Wednesday September 9th

calligraphyThe first Iowa Bibliophiles meeting of the 2015-2016 season will feature University of Iowa Center for the Book calligraphy instructor Cheryl Jacobsen speaking about calligraphic hands featured in Medieval manuscripts held in Special Collections.

6:00PM – Stop by to view a repeat showing of the livestream video of Alison Altstatt’s September 4th talk

6:30PM – Refreshments served

7PM – Cheryl Jacobsen’s talk

Special Collections Reading Room, 3rd Floor Main Library, 125 W. Washington, Iowa City, IA

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the sponsoring department or contact person listed in advance of the event.

Recently on the Web and Social Media:

1. Olson Graduate Assistant Kelly Grogg’s IFLA Conference Report

Image of Kelly GroggAs we reported earlier this month, Kelly Grogg recently received a scholarship and attended the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) in Capetown, South Africa. She wrote a blog post, “IFLA: Putting Action into the Philosophy of Libraries.”

 

 

2. Jillian Sparks’ Last Social Media Post

Close of of the gold decoration on the spine of a bookJillian wrote a farewell Tumblr post about the History of Hydraulics collection that you can see here.  You can also view all of the posts she made for our Tumblr in her time in Special Collections here.

 

 

 

3. U. Iowa Curriculum Featuring Special Collections Materials Featured in “In the Library with the Lead Pipe” Article

Image of Tom KeeganArchives Alive!: librarian-faculty collaboration and an alternative to the five-page paper

Tom Keegan, Head of the Digital Scholarship and Publishing Studio in the UI Libraries, and former Undergraduate Services Librarian Kelly McElroy published an article about Archives Alive!, the primary source based curriculum for the Rhetoric Department that has students transcribing, analyzing, and interpreting historic documents from Special Collections in DIY History, the University of Iowa Libraries volunteer-based document transcription site. The curriculum was originally developed in partnership with a campus curriculum development project, Iowa Digital Engagement and Learning (IDEAL).

4. “Weekly Squint” On Tumblr

Several  libraries on Tumblr this week featured a “Weekly Squint” which includes a close up view of a collection item. The Huntington Library Tumblr began the “Weekly Squint” feature on Tumblr and invited other libraries and institutions to participate. Our post was a close up view of the Columbian Press in the 3rd Floor hallway.

New Acquisitions:

1. Early 20th Century Astronomy Slides

With the July 14 New Horizons flyby of Pluto, there has been a surge of interest in astronomy. A recent acquisition by the Special Collections department shows that interest in the heavens has been with us for a long time.

These slides were used by Bishop Simeon Arthur Huston (1876-1963), Bishop of the Episcopal Dioceses of Olympia, WA from 1925 to 1947. He had a life-long love of astronomy and after his retirement, he wrote a regular astronomy column in his local newspaper on Bainbridge Island, Washington. He gave frequent talks on astronomy, using these slides to illustrate his talks. There are approximately 50 slides in the collection.

These slides were generously donated by Simeon Huston’s grandchildren Matt Huston, John Huston, Jr., and Elisabeth LeLion.

2. The Gazetteer

The Map Collection’s merge with Special Collections in 2013 has resulted in a heavier focus on the history of cartography. Although Labbé didn’t advertise this work as a gazetteer, it is one of the earliest works on place names in France. Nicolas Sanson, a famous cartographer, heavily criticized the book for plagiarism; perhaps that explains why this was the only edition!

Phillipe Labbé. Pharus Galliæ antiquæ. Moulins, 1644.

News and Announcements:

1. Iowa State Fair Recipe Contest

Special Collections and the Old Capitol Museum co-sponsored a cooking contest at the Iowa State Fair.

The following is a quote from the results page from the Iowa State Fair Website:

Contestants in the Szathmary Collection of Historic Recipes competition, judged Tuesday at the 2015 Iowa State Fair, were part cook, part historian and part detective. Entrants were challenged to interpret a recipe from 1874, maintaining the original recipe’s integrity, while filling in the gaps and adapting to modern measurements, equipment and ingredients

Celeste F. Bremer of Urbandale won first place. Natalie Ridgway of Johnston earned second place and Lindsey Pepper of Boone claimed third place.

The recipe for Sponge Pudding from from Emily Netuzed’s handwritten cookbook from 1874 reads as follows:

Handwritten Recipe image

See this item, MsC 533, EN32,  in the Iowa Digital Library: http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/cdm/ref/collection/cookbooks/id/12876

“Put two eggs into the scale, then take their weight in flour, butter and lump sugar; first beat the butter in to a cream, powder the sugar and mix with it, beat in the eggs and lastly the flour, butter some little moulds and take ½ an hour in rather a quick oven.”

The Iowa State Fair Food Department is the largest of any state fair in the country. There are 228 divisions, 850 classes and over 10,600 entries at this year’s Fair. Food Department judging is held in the Elwell Family Food Center sponsored by Wells Blue Bunny.

The judges for the contest were members of the “Historic Foodies” group in Iowa City.

Congratulations to all the winners!

2. A Final Reminder to Sign Up for Fall Semester Class Sessions or Group Visits

Students looking at materials in a Special Collections classSpecial Collections and University Archives already has 40 professors scheduling classes with us this fall. You should bring your students too! We have a staff of librarians with expertise in areas ranging from medieval manuscripts to science fiction, all available to help design curricula to complement your learning objectives. Submit your request here to learn more: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/forms/speccoll_class/

 

Coming Soon: Mark Your Calendars

1. Cedar Rapids Museum of Art ExhibitionBrave New World: Selections from the Hevelin Collection

October 2, 2015 – January 17, 2016

1930's Science Fiction FanzinesThe James L. “Rusty” Hevelin Collection encompasses more than 10,000 science fiction “fanzines” – amateur publications produced by enthusiastic supporters of the science fiction genre for others who shared their interests – housed in Special Collections & University Archives at The University of Iowa Libraries.  Initially written for a limited audience and distributed via subscription and personal connections, fanzines include stories from some of America’s most famous authors: Ray Bradbury, H.P. Lovecraft, and, more recently, George R. R. Martin.  Hevelin collected fanzines from his childhood in the 1930s until his death in 2011, and this exhibition focuses on those collected from the 1930s to 1950s, showcasing the development and golden age of America’s fascination with science fiction.  The dynamic cover illustrations, many depicting varieties of space crafts, astronauts, and life on other planets are especially remarkable when one remembers that the artists were depicting technologies and worlds that man was only beginning to imagine.  Other illustrations portray scenes that would become tropes of the science fiction genre, such as a woman in distress or a hero battling a monster.  These selections from the Hevelin collection, created and distributed by non-professional fans of the nascent sci-fi genre, demonstrate the importance of fan involvement to drive the genre forward.

 

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News from Special Collections 8/21/2015

News and Announcements:

 

1. Plat Books

Photo of a stack of plat booksThe Map Collection sent out a call to the Auditors of Iowa Counties for current plat books to update our collection. So far, over 40 counties (of 99) have donated current and back issues of plat books for our collection!  Thanks Iowa!

Plat books are atlases, drawn to scale, that show property ownership and land divisions.

 

2. Special Guest Lecture, Alison Altstatt, University of Northern Iowa

“Re-membering the Wilton Processional: a Manuscript Lost and Found”

Vellum leaf of a medieval music manuscript

September 4, 2015

12:00PM

Special Collections Reading Room, 3rd Floor Main Library, 125 W. Washington, Iowa City, IA

This talk concerns a notated leaf of an English medieval manuscript held in the Special Collections of the University of Iowa Libraries. Musical, textual and codicological evidence supports the identification of the leaf as a fragment of a processional from Wilton Abbey, an important center for women’s Latin learning from its tenth-century foundation to its sixteenth-century dissolution. The recovery of the University of Iowa leaf, along with more than thirty others, provides a window into the abbey’s musico-poetic tradition, its processional liturgies, and its dramatic rituals.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact the sponsoring department or contact person listed in advance of the event.

3. World Con

U.I. Libraries Table display in the dealer's room at the World Con Science Fiction ConventionThe World Science Fiction Convention is going on this week in Spokane, Washington and Special Collections has a table in the dealer’s room to talk to the fans about our Hevelin Collection fanzine digitization project.

Want to stay up to date on our project digitizing 1930s-1950s fanzines?  Follow the Hevelin Collection Tumblr or read our FAQ page.

 

4. State Fair Continues

Image of the mobile museum and the world war 2 exhibitOver 5,000 people have already checked out the Over Here From Over There: Iowans in World War II exhibit in the Mobile Museum at the State Fair as of Wednesday. The fair continues through Sunday, August 23rd so check out the exhibition if you head out to the fair this weekend.


 

Recently on the Web and Social Media:

 

1. Man From U.N.C.L.E. Posts Recap

Memorabilia from the Man From U.N.C.L.E. tv showLast week to coincide with the release of the Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie, we featured a post here on our blog with an overview of our related collections and some information about the history of the show and also a related post on our Tumblr about memorabilia in the collections.

 

 

2. An Exquisitely Illustrated Lutheran Theological Text Was Featured on Tumblr

Image of Magnum Mysterium a fold out image from a 17th century text

This theological text was written by Jacob Boehme (Jakob Böhme), a Lutheran theologian. The majority of his writings concern the nature of sin, evil, and redemption. These themes can be seen in some of the detailed images.

xBV5080 B5 1682

View the post with many more illustrations here, or stop by the reading room on the 3rd floor to take a look!

 

Final Reminders Before Fall Semester:

 

Students looking at materials in a Special Collections class

Reminder to Sign Up Early for Class Sessions

So far this fall, we have 25 faculty members working with us to bring their classes into special collections.

You can too! Sign up using our form: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/forms/speccoll_class/

 

Image of a clockReminder That Evening Hours Change Next Week

Our new hours are:

Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays: 8:30 AM – 5 PM

Tuesdays: 8:30 AM – 7 PM

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News from Special Collections 8/14/2015

News:

1. New Hours:

Responding to library use patterns, we will be shifting our evening hours when the fall semester begins. On August 25th, we will be open until 7 PM on Tuesdays and we will no longer open on Thursday nights.

Image of a clockOur new hours are:

Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays: 8:30 AM – 5 PM

Tuesdays: 8:30 AM – 7 PM

 

 

2. Request Fall Class Sessions Now

Image of a class using Special Collections materials

Classes are beginning to schedule their sessions at Special Collections for the fall.

To get your desired date and time, sign up soon using our request form.

 

 

 

3.  Save the Date:  First Iowa Bibliophiles Talk of the 2015-2016 Season  
6 pm on September 9, 2015, with refreshments at 5:30PM, just before the speaker.  More details will follow soon.

 

4. New Collection Guide Search Engine


ArchivesSpace Logo5Our collection guides may suddenly look a bit different that they did before. We officially have transitioned behind-the-scenes from an Archon-based interface to using ArchivesSpace to host our finding aids. ArchivesSpace is a new open source archives information management application for managing and providing web access to archives, manuscripts, and digital objects. The University of Iowa is one institution among a team of beta testers for this product.

Feel free to contact members of our staff if you need help navigating the program or if you have any other related questions.

 

5. Mobile Museum Visits the Iowa State Fair August 13-23

The University of Iowa’s Mobile Museum will be at the State Fair all week.

Over Here From Over There: Iowans in World War II tells the story of Iowans during World War II. Nurses, Red Cross workers, and soldiers, as well as those who contributed to the war effort on the home front, are represented through letters, diaries, photographs, and artifacts from collections housed in the Iowa Women’s Archives and Special Collections. One portion of the exhibition focuses on the wartime correspondence of Lloyd and Laura Davis, a Cedar Rapids couple who married in 1942. The Davises spent the first years of their marriage apart when Lloyd was drafted into the Army. He eventually served in both North Africa and Europe while Laura Davis, a social worker, spent the war years in Cedar Rapids helping to set up daycare centers for the children of working mothers.

The Mobile Museum can visit your community. Follow this link to submit your request.

6. Big Ten Network Commercial

Greg Prickman filming a commercialThe Big Ten Network stopped by yesterday for a shoot for a commercial for the University of Iowa Center for the Book that will feature Special Collections materials and Greg Prickman, Head of Special Collections.  Watch for the commercial this fall during football games on the Big Ten Network!

 

 

Recently on the Web and Social Media:

1. Digitization

Image of librarian Laura Hampton digitizing a fanzineThe Hevelin Collection Tumblr featured a post showing librarian Laura Hampton conduct the behind-the-scenes work to digitize the 1930s-1950s science fiction fanzines from the James L. “Rusty” Hevelin Science Fiction Collection.

See the post here.

 

 

2. Star Charts

Image of a star chart from 1548The UI Map Collection Tumblr recently featured our stunning 1548 copy of Alessandro Piccolomini’s astronomical text, which is a continual favorite in classes and in the reading room for its impressive star charts.  See the post here.

De la sfera del mondo; libri qvattro in lingva toscana … De le stelle fisse; libro vno con le sve figvre e con le sve tauole … Venetia [N. de Bascarini] 1548.

 

New Acquisitions:

1.  University of Iowa Nursing Scrapbook c. 1913-1917

From the opening page with a handwritten poem “What Makes a Good Nurse,” to the day-to-day ephemeral documentation of life at the hospital, such as baby onesies and memos, dance cards and graduation programs, this scrapbook documents life as a nursing student from 1913 to 1917 here at the University of Iowa. It is an incredible addition to the Iowa Women’s Archives.

2. Sculptural Book Arts Piece from Daniel Essig

Image of the artiwork titled "sentinella" with a wooden boat filled with metal type, a wooden bird, and a small book with a coptic bindingResponding to requests from multiple University of Iowa professors for a teaching example of sculptural books arts as well as for a contemporary example of work from the book artist Daniel Essig, we put the two together and acquired Sentinella by Daniel Essig, a sculpture made of Italian Olive, mahogany, milk paint, printers type, mica, thorns, as well as Ethiopian and Coptic bindings.

You can see a video of its arrival and box opening below.

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News From Special Collections 8/7/2015

Summer 2015 New Staff and Staff Changes:

OBnINunsAmy Hildreth Chen is the new Special Collections Librarian in charge of the Instruction Program. Previously, she was a 2013-2015 Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Postdoctoral Fellow in the Division of Special Collections at the University of Alabama, where she oversaw instruction, exhibitions, and social media. In 2013, she received her Ph.D. in English from Emory University with a dissertation on the acquisition of literary collections. She also is an alumna of Iowa, as she graduated from UI in 2006 with a BA in Political Science and honors in English.

 

11222226_627153448065_8824884415556771774_nLaura Hampton recently joined the department as a Digital Project Librarian working on digitizing 1930s-1950s fanzines from the James L. “Rusty” Hevelin Science Fiction Collection. In May 2015, she received her MLIS from the UI School of Library and Information Science and Center for the Book. During her time at Iowa, she worked as a graduate assistant in Special Collections, and as a Reference Assistant at the Hardin Library of Health Sciences. Previously, she earned her undergraduate degree from New College of Florida in Sarasota, Florida where she graduated with a BA in literature.

 

John-FifieldJohn Fifield is the new 2015-2017 Robert A. and Ruth Bywater Olson Graduate Assistant.  He is a student in the School of Library and Information Science and the Center for the Book and he holds a Bachelor of Music in Horn Performance from Oklahoma State University. John is currently conducting bibliographic research at a convent’s library at the Convento de la Recoleta in Arequipa, Peru and will officially join the department in mid-August.  His research interests include the Spanish colonial book trade as well as food culture.

 

 

Recently on the Web and Social Media:

1. If Books Could Talk

The third video in the series If Books Could Talk is now live.  If Books Could Talk is a partnership between UI Libraries’ Special Collections and Music Library with History Corps, a public digital history project from the UI Department of History.  The series investigates what can be learned by looking closely at medieval manuscripts.  Subscribe to the UI Special Collections’ Staxpeditions channel on YouTube with any GMail or Google ID to get notifications whenever a new video is posted.  Historian Heather Wacha posts a complementary essay for each episode which can be found on the History Corps website.

 

2. Library Journal Article, “University of Iowa Libraries Begin to Digitize Decades of Fanzines.”

Library Journal recently had a feature article about the University of Iowa Libraries’ initiative to digitize 1930s-1950s science fiction fanzines in the James L. “Rusty” Hevelin Science Fiction Collection.  After the digitization, the scans will be open to a small group of fans to log in and help crowdsource metadata in an unprecedented effort to harvest the knowledge of the fan community and make available information about these fan-made publications. Read it here.

3.  Daily Iowan Coverage

Last week The Daily Iowan covered two events that Special Collections partnered to create, an event introducing teens to 1960s-1980s comic books as a partnership with the Iowa City Public Library, and ongoing efforts to recreate historic recipes from the Historic Foodies, a community group that is a partnership with the Old Capitol Museum. Read about the comic book event.  Read about Historic Foodies.

4. Vine Channel

This summer the Special Collections team has been testing the social media site Vine which is a site dedicated to very short videos that are less than six seconds long. You can see in the section below a short looping video of our librarian Margaret Gamm opening a new acquisition.  The videos may be seen on our Vine channel,  or shared to our Twitter  or Tumblr.

 

New Acquisitions:

1. Fluxus maps

“Hi Red Center,” 1965, was edited by Shigeko Kubota, designed and produced by George Maciunas, and maps the activities of the “Hi Red Center” avant-garde art collective conceptually onto the Tokyo landscape where the activities took place.  The back of the map has documentary photographs of events and happenings mapped on the other side that took place between 1963-1964.

The second map, “Fluxus Island in Decollage Ocean” is from Nam June Paik from 1963.

The two items join our extensive Fluxus holdings much of which can be found in the Fluxus West Collection, MsC 763.

 

Nam Jun Paik's Map, Fluxus Island, 1963.

Nam June Paik’s Map, Fluxus Island, 1963.

Shigeko Kubota's Map, "Hi Red Center" 1965.

Shigeko Kubota’s Map, “Hi Red Center,” 1965.



 

 

 

 

 

2. 1499 Codex with a Unique Binding

This book from 1499 is a manual for confessors that still has its first binding, a “wallet” style binding.  Meant to be used and carried around, these everyday bindings do not survive in great numbers.

The transition from the manuscript tradition to the earliest printed books is one of our most frequent topics that we teach in the classroom, across the disciplines on campus, for visiting classes from other colleges and universities, and for community groups.

Citation: Baptista de (Trovamala). Summa casuum conscientiae quae Baptistiniana nuncupaor (second version, known as Rosella casuum). Add. Sixtus IV: Bulla “Etsi dominici gregis” 30 December 1479. Rubricae iuris civili et canonici. Venice: Paganinus de Paganinis, 21 December 1499.

 

Congratulations:

me_2Kelly Grogg, Special Collections’ Olson Graduate Assistant was awarded the Rovelstad Scholarship in International Librarianship, which will fully fund her travel, housing, and registration to attend the World Library and Information Congress hosted by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) taking place in Cape Town, South Africa.  This scholarship is intended to encourage students who have an interest in international library work and enable them to participate in IFLA early in their careers.

 

speccollSelfie1-thumb-500x333-9148Margaret Gamm, Special Collections Acquisitions and Collections Management Librarian was honored as a “Bright Young Librarian” by Fine Books and Collections Magazine.  See the article here. 

 

 

 

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Science Fiction Fans Raise $1,955 To Support Hevelin Collection Digitization

Every year at the ICON Science Fiction convention in Cedar Rapids the organizers collect fan created artwork, crafts, and donated memorabilia which are auctioned off to support charities and projects.  Last fall, the chosen project was The University of Iowa Libraries’ initiative to digitize the James L. “Rusty” Hevelin Science Fiction collection, an especially meaningful choice to the community, resulting in an outpouring of donations and fast-paced bidding wars.

Rusty Hevelin was a science fiction fan, pulp collector, fanzine creator, huckster (a dealer at conventions), and voracious reader for most of his 89 years. He was also involved with the Iowa Science Fiction conventions ICON and Demicon from the time of their founding.  After his death in 2011, his collections came to the University of Iowa Special Collections where a recent unprecedented initiative to digitize around 10,000 of the earliest fanzines from roughly 1930s-1950s has begun.

The University of Iowa Libraries’ Community is deeply grateful for the generosity of the science fiction community and for their support.

The next ICON science fiction and fantasy convention will be at the Cedar Rapids Doubletree on October 16-18, 2015.  Details here.

Special Collections staff with an oversized check

 

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Margaret Gamm Featured as “Bright Young Librarian” by Fine Books & Collections Magazine

speccollSelfie1-thumb-500x333-9148Margaret Gamm, Special Collections Acquisitions and Collections Management Librarian, was featured as a “Bright Young Librarian” by Fine Books and Collections Magazine.  Please join us in congratulating her on this recognition from the wider community.  You can read the feature here.

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Remembering Earl Rogers, the University of Iowa’s Archivist from 1970 to 1998

EarlRogersJamesVanAllen1998 from Accession 2006-44001

Photo: Earl Rogers (right) with James Van Allen, whose papers were processed under Earl’s supervision, at Earl’s retirement reception in the Dept. of Special Collections in May 1998. From UI Archives Accession 2006-44; gift of David Schoonover.

We are sorry to note that Earl Rogers, the University of Iowa’s archivist from 1970 to 1998, passed away early Wednesday morning at his home in Iowa City following a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 77.

Earl was born May 2, 1938, in Moline, Illinois. He received the bachelor of science degree in history in 1961 at Iowa State University, attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison as a history graduate student in 1962-1966, and completed his master of library science degree at the University of California, Berkeley, in 1967. After a three-year stint as a cataloguer in the University of Utah Library, he returned to Iowa, joining the UI Libraries’ Department of Special Collections in July 1970 to arrange and index the Henry A. Wallace Papers. Over time, he assumed the role of university archivist. He published numerous indexes and bibliographies pertaining to agricultural and UI history. Among his many noted acquisitions are the Papers of James A. Van Allen, which were processed under his supervision.

Although Earl retired in 1998, he continued to maintain two features on the UI Archives’ web site: our online bibliography of UI history-related materials, and a unique page titled ‘Fiction With an Iowa City Setting: An Updated Checklist.’ Earl would, from time to time, submit new entries or annotations for me to add to these sites.

I always looked forward to hearing from Earl, regardless of the nature of his dispatch, whether it was a new list of entries to upload, a report on his and Susan’s latest trips (Galapagos Islands, Turkey, and New Zealand, for starters), or a review of a new local restaurant. Earl often stopped by our department to drop off an obituary, a clipping, or an article for our vertical file. We appreciated his vigilance, not to mention his subscription to The New York Times.

Earl never second-guessed my decisions as his successor, though certainly on many occasions he had good reason to tap me on the shoulder. I would like to believe it was because he trusted me. More likely, however, it was because he and Susan were having a blast in Peru.

I feel a bit stranded right now. Because of Earl’s remarkable longevity as UI’s archivist – 28 years – and the fact that his position was vacant for over two years until I arrived in 2001, I now have no direct forebear from the archives to call on, no predecessor, whether retired or working elsewhere. Archivists value institutional memory, particularly when shared memory and experience pass from one generation to the next within their shop. Those links inevitably break as time passes.

One last round of web page updates from Earl awaits on my desk. I’ll get to them soon.

Thank you, Earl, and our condolences to Susan and family.

 

David McCartney, C.A.

University Archivist

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Video Series Visiting Bauman Rare Books

Over the summer members of the University of Iowa Special Collections team visited Las Vegas for the American Library Association and stopped by Bauman Rare Books to chat with Rebecca Romney, who you also might recognize as the rare book appraiser on the History Channel series “Pawn Stars.”  While there they let the cameras roll as they chatted with Rebecca Romney about the rare book field, collecting rare books, and the types of research that rare book dealers do that ends up being incorporated into catalog records and supporting academic research, all while taking a look at some particularly delightful rare books that they had in the shop.

Here is the result of the trip:  A five video series.  Enjoy!

The first video:  Down the Rabbit Hole.  This one includes an edition of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” illustrated by Salvador Dalí.

The second video: The Game is Afoot.  The team analyzes the lasting power of favorite characters such as Sherlock Holmes and Lizzie Bennet who continue to thrive through fan works and new interpretations.

The third video: It’s a First Edition Pride and Prejudice!

The fourth video: Et Tu Brute?   Taking a close look at a Shakespeare quarto (a single play).

The fifth video: We Go West.  A very rare surviving pamphlet, 1848 Latter-Day Saints’ Emigrants’ Guide.

 

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Spring Break Class Solving Research Mysteries

Today a team of librarians, archivists, and museum professionals from around campus including University Archivist David McCartney again begin teaching a week long Spring Break class, “The Continuing Role of Real Collections.” The students have been researching mystery items as part of the class and often come up with very surprising revelations!  What follows is a post from a student from last year’s class, Lindsay Schroeder, and the surprising story she unearthed:

The Mystery Portait

The Mystery Portrait

During spring break of 2013 I took Topics in Museum Studies:The Continuing Role of Real Collections, taught by David McCartney with many prominent guest speakers within the museum and library fields. We were given a project to research artifacts within the University of Iowa that had little to no information connected to them so little is known about what they are. I chose a large painted portrait of a man with a wood, ornate frame and held only one clue, the artist’s signature. This mysterious artifact was found in the University of Iowa’s Museum of Natural History’s attic storage cabinet, hidden between large animal hides this spring.

The artist’s name was Marie Koupal, dated 1882. I researched her name and found an article within the Daily Iowan, dating November 19, 1920. It was about a man named Dr. Mark W. Ranney and his cherished book collection that stood in the Ranney Memorial Library at the University. The article concluded with a major clue, “Besides the books there are about twenty pictures on the walls that belong in the collection. Most of these are portraits…A portrait of Dr. Ranney stands on an easel in one corner of the room. This was done in 1882 by Marie Koupal and is framed in a fine hand made frame of several kinds of wood” (Daily Iowan). This was the same portrait, of Dr. Mark W. Ranney. This object’s original purpose had to be a memorial piece done by Koupal, because on January 13, 1882, Dr. Ranney died of acute pneumonia.

Special Collections has information in their collection guide pertaining to the Dr. Mark Ranney papers, with an additional link to a biographical report written by Margaret Schindler Bryant, in Books at Iowa, Issue 30, April 1979, about Dr. Ranney. This report gave me a lot of information regarding Dr. Ranney and his passion for collecting rare books along with other artifacts. Bryant’s report gave great insight to who this man was and why his portrait was originally located in the library during the 1920s, commemorated on an easel. Dr. Ranney’s wife bequeathed his entire collection to the University of Iowa after her death on July 18, 1907. She left a trust that created the “Mark Ranney Memorial Fund”. This established the Mark Ranney Memorial Library that was located in room 305, Schaeffer Hall.

The day before my report and presentation was due, I was searching the Iowa Digital Library within the time frame of 1920-1940. After endless searching for more concrete information, I came across the ultimate completion of this project, a photograph from the digital database of the Mark Ranney Memorial Library with the portrait of Dr. Ranney on the easel in the 1930s. It was truly amazing and reminded me of why I am in this field of work.

Photograph of Ranney Memorial Library with the portrait visible in the room

Ranney Memorial Library, Schaeffer Hall, University of Iowa, between 1902 and 1907.

 

The Mystery Portait

Portrait identified as Mr. Ranney

Visit this photograph here

Many thanks to Lindsay Schroeder for identifying this important portrait so it could be reunited with the Ranney Collections in Special Collections!

 

 

1

The Boy Scouts: A Cultural History through Handbooks

What follows is a guest post from one of our student workers, Shawn Conley, an Eagle Scout and Boy Scout memorabilia collector.

The classic image of the Boy Scout from Lord Baden-Powell's 1910 "Scouting for Boys".

The classic image of the Boy Scout from Lord Baden-Powell’s handbook “Scouting for Boys” (1910).

Since its founding more than a century ago, the Boy Scouts of America has striven to turn young men into well-rounded individuals and citizens of our society. Lord Baden-Powell, the founder of the original Boy Scouts in England, expressed the need for proper handbooks for the young scouts to use as a way of learning and becoming familiar with skills they would find useful. From how to escort a lady down the sidewalk to how to splint a broken leg, the Boy Scout handbook purveyed basic information and skills in handicrafts, first aid, castrametation, and moral values.

"Respect to Womanhood" (1945 Handbook).

“Respect to Womanhood” (“Boy Scout Handbook”, 1945).

First Aid is a major topic covered in every handbook. ("Boy Scout Handbook", 1965).

First Aid is a major topic covered in every handbook. (“Boy Scout Handbook”, 1965).

If one wanted to research the changing American culture from the early 20th century to the modern day, the handbooks of the Boy Scouts are a wonderful resource in deducing what the founders of the Scouting movement thought worthwhile for Scouts to know in turning them into productive citizens. Culture of the time-period is engrained into these handbooks. For example, during the Second World War when material rationing restricted what average Americans could purchase, the Boy Scouts produced uniforms of a less expensive, tan cotton canvas. These canvas uniforms are shown in the handbooks and how to properly sew on badges and insignia.

Upon examining Boy Scout handbooks of an earlier time, one might notice that very few are in excellent condition. These books were meant to be used, and used they were. From the author’s own perspective, his handbook was in tatters by the end of his Scouting career.

Why is the Boy Scout handbook so important? The handbook was, and still remains to be, the Scout’s greatest point of informational reference. Forgot how to tie a Clove Hitch? Consult your handbook. Can’t recall how many leaves a sprig of Poison Ivy has? The handbook knows! From how to properly swing an axe to properly cooking for your Patrol or Troop, the handbook strives to give Scouts the information they need to carry out skills necessary for being a good Scout. This aspect is as true now as it was 103 years ago.

"Scouting for Boys" by Lieut.-Gen. Sir R. Baden-Powell, K.C.B. (1910)

“Scouting for Boys” by Lieut.-Gen. Sir R. Baden-Powell, K.C.B. (1910)

"Handbook for Boys" (1945).

“Boy Scout Handbook” (1945).

Perhaps more importantly, the handbook was a moral compass. Some sections of the handbook are geared specifically towards showing Scouts how they can be a positive influence on their communities. Some early examples of how Scouts influenced their communities was promoting and selling war bonds during the Great War and the Second World War, and conducting metal drives by going door to door and asking people for any scrap metal that could be melted down for the war effort. In the 21st century, helping the community can be something as simple as a food drive, which many Boy Scout troops across Iowa conduct every year. Therefore, the handbook was not only a reference for physical skill building, but also mental and moral skill building.

"What is a Boy Scout?" ("Boy Scout Handbook", 1945).

“What is a Boy Scout?” (“Boy Scout Handbook”, 1945).

The Special Collections department has a very nice Scouting collection, much of it about Scouting in Iowa. The collection also has a few early handbooks from both the Boy Scouts

"An Easily-Made Hut" ("Scouting for Boys", 1910).

“An Easily-Made Hut” (“Scouting for Boys”, 1910).

and Cub Scouts (All photos in this post were derived from the handbooks in Special Collections). Stop on by and have a look. The author guarantees that in reading just a few pages, you’ll learn something totally new. Perhaps you can read up on how to properly escort a lady down the sidewalk (the man/Scout always walks on the woman’s side facing the street), or perhaps you can familiarize yourself with how to splint a broken leg or cook pies in a Dutch oven.

The handbooks of the Boy Scouts of America are truly a wonderful reference to anyone wanting to learn how to “Be Prepared” and to “Do a Good Turn Daily”.

 

– Shawn R. Conley