About Author: George Toth

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The More Things Change… Political Cartoons Exhibit Highlights Un/Civil Discourse over the Past Century

"Enough of this!" By J. N. "Ding" Darling, Des Moines Register, January 25, 1908

"Enough of this!" By J. N. "Ding" Darling, Des Moines Register, January 25, 1908

 

How many of the issues of the 2012 presidential elections are new to our society?  What did politicians and the media say about unemployment and social security in the 1930s, the 1970s, or the 1990s? Were the elections of the last century less divisive in their language than those of today? What guidance can the past give for the future?

As part of the University of Iowa Public Policy Center’s “Conflict and Civility in Political Discourse: Where Is the Line?” symposium, Special Collections & Iowa Women’s Archives are teaming up with the Herbert Hoover Presidential Museum & Library to bring you an exhibit of “A Century of Un/Civil Discourse in Political Cartoons.” Assembled from thousands of political cartoons published in the Des Moines Register and other national newspapers over the course of the 20th and early 21st century, the exhibit will show how themes like unemployment, social security, government waste, electoral acrimony, immigration and the position of women were treated by perceptive and provocative cartoonists like J. N. “Ding” Darling, Harold Carlisle, Frank Miller and Brian Duffy. For good measure, the physical exhibit will be accompanied by a screen slideshow with additional cartoons.

 

The symposium will be held November 9-10 at the Sheraton Hotel of Iowa City. For more information, go to the symposium homepage at http://ppc.uiowa.edu/pages.php?id=278

 

Would you like to browse more of our political cartoons from home? Please go to our online digital Des Moines Register political cartoons collection at http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/dmrc/

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Beyond Superheroes: Exhibit on “The Comics Continuum”

How long have comics been around? Do comics reflect or shape our society? What was the Comics Code Authority? How do comics build community?

 Poster of comics exhibition

 

As a spinoff of the upcoming symposium on graphic language, Special Collections and University Archives presents The Comics Continuum, an exhibit from our collections available for perusal, research and teaching to the university community and beyond. Our exhibit places comics in a continuum of graphic narrative which encompasses the amateur, commercial, and the artistic, and illustrates their appropriation by countercultures, artists, fans, educators, social movements, and even the U.S. government. Besides placing in their historical context some of the mainstream icons like Wonder Woman and Captain America, the exhibit shows how comics make communities through their production, circulation, consumption and collection.

The exhibit will be open on the 3rd floor of the Main Library from the end of September through November 2011. While viewing the exhibit, please see the labels for any collection numbers (MsCs) that you may be interested in browsing. Once you are done with the exhibit, we encourage you to move beyond the glass cases, come in Special Collections, and request to look at some of our comics collections in the Reading Room.

For more on our specific collections of comics and graphic narrative art, see

http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/resources/guides/ComicBookCollections.html

For our Reading Room policies, see

http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/sc/services/readingroom

 

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Leaving No Stone Unturned: Professor’s Papers Provide Look Into 20th Century Broadcast Journalism

We are pleased to announce that the papers of Vernon Stone are now available and accessible through a finding aid. Stone served for 22 years as the research director for the Radio and Television News Directors Association, in which capacity he took innumerable surveys dealing with many facets of the news business, including women and minorities in the newsroom, electronic newsgathering, stress on the job, and careers in the news business, among many other topics.

Vernon Stone testifying on behalf of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication before the Senate Commerce Committee on the Freedom of Expression Act, January 30, 1984.

He also served on the faculties of four different universities and prepared copious notes for his lectures, which are a part of the collection. He wrote many articles on the news business based on his surveys and these form part of the collection, along with the wide-ranging research he did on his topics.

Vernon Stone with scholarship winners, Southern Illinois University, September 13, 1978

 

Stone was an avid researcher who collected extensively in the area of media, and this collection represents a rich source of research brought together on many topics. The clippings especially represent a collocation of materials useful to the researcher interested in broadcast media in the last half of the twentieth century.

For more information, please read our online finding aid here:

http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/msc/ToMsC850/MsC826/vernonstone.html

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From Iowa to Soviet Siberia: The Zimmerman Steel Journey III

How did a man from Iowa help launch the Soviet steel industry? What was it like for American engineers to work side by side with Russian workers in the 1930s? Who did Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev greet as an old friend when he visited Iowa in 1959? Read on to find out the answers.

In 1931, Henry Zimmerman of Lone Tree, Iowa traveled to Kuznetsk, Siberia, to oversee the building of steel mills in the Soviet Union. The University of Iowa Special Collections has been collaborating with Russian History doctoral student Irina Rezhapova (Kuzbass Institute of the Federal Penal Service) on a special digital project which tells the story of Zimmerman’s journey. Special Collection will be making available online Henry Zimmerman’s personal letters and scrapbooks of photographs, news clippings and ephemera about his time in Soviet Siberia – all part of our Records of the Zimmerman Steel Company (http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/MSC/ToMsC900/MsC850/zimmermansteelworks.html).

 This is Entry 3 of 3 of the Zimmerman Steel Journey.

 

What did the Americans and Russians do for fun?

 

Pictures from Henry Zimmerman’s Siberian photo album

Pictures from Henry Zimmerman’s Siberian photo album

Pictures from Henry Zimmerman’s Siberian photo album

 

It seems that the Western advisers were quite active in their leisure time. “Foreigners were fond of sports, music and dances. Walks in the country were practiced in summer. ‘Their favorite place was the River Tom and parks,’ recalled Raisa Khazanova. Excursions on Kuznetskstroj were arranged for foreigners and they were also carried to the nearest industrial cities, such as Prokopevsk.” (O.A. Belousova, “Foreign Experts and the Soviet Reality: Life of the First Kuznetsk Builders.” 2003, translation by Irina Rezhapova)

 

What kinds of relationships did the Americans and the Russians have with each other?
 

 

Top: The Freyn Engineering Company in Leningrad. Bottom: The Freyn Engineering Company in Kuznetsk. Photos via Irina Rezhapova from the magazine The USSR under Construction, 1932. State Archive of the Kemerovo Region.

Pictures suggest that like Henry Zimmerman, some of the Western steel specialists took their families with them to Siberia. Some were likely single men. While there is no direct evidence of intimate relationships between Western engineers and Soviet workers, they were likely collegial, and may have even become friends.

Sketch titled “Our Trip to Gourievsk. To Mr. Zimmerman from his interpreter with respect and compliments.”

As his Russian translator’s sketch suggests, Henry Zimmerman and his companion “Helen” took a trip to Gourievsk, presumably for him to visit another steel mill in the making. But this trip was not all work and no play. Look closely to see some of the things Zimmerman and his fellow travelers found funny and relaxing.

 

The Watchful Eye of Big Brother?

 

Clearly, for the Soviet Communist leadership, some of the relationships between the Western specialists and their Russian counterparts were too close for comfort.

“On August 16, 1931 a special “Foreign Bureau” was established. Similar bureaus worked in all large industrial centers of the USSR, including Kuznetskstroi. The Foreign Bureau wasn’t just a mediator between foreign and Soviet experts. The bureau also played the role of adaptation point. The foreign experts who arrived on building within first three-four days came to foreign bureau where they were given some explanatory talk: “where they arrived, why they were there, and how they should feel”; there was also a pep talk about household and political life.

In the beginning of 1931 the Party Committee of Kuznetsk Metallurgical Plant requested that the Foreign Bureau organize for foreigners a political circle in their native language and clubs for studying Russian. Special attention was to be given to the propaganda of the Soviet system, and socialist forms of work (socialist competition).

As such high political goals were put on the Foreign Bureau, it is no wonder that its activities were watched by the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs (NKVD). Any compromising evidence or spiteful remarks were documented; any errors in work or private life were carefully fixed.

Anfisa Kuzminichna Nikulina was the manager of the Foreign Bureau in Kuznetsk in 1932. She was born in 1901, and had a higher education degree. Since April, 1920 she had been a member of All-Union Communist Party, with no other party affiliations. Nikulina had also served in the Red Army. During her work in the Foreign Bureau at Kuznetsk, she was accused of infringement of interests of Germans in favor of Americans. Later she was expelled from the party for working for personal interests.

Previously an economist in Kuznetsk, Raisa Semenovna Khazanova became the next manager of the Foreign Bureau. According to Evtushenko, a member of the City Committee of Education, “In 1931-32 Raisa Hazanova  was expelled from the Communist Party for the relations with foreigners, drinking alcohol with them, giving them prostitutes…” (O.A. Belousova, “Foreign Experts and the Soviet Reality: Life of the First Kuznetsk Builders.” 2003, translation by Irina Rezhapova)

 

What is the legacy of Zimmerman’s journey?

 

Overcoming obstacles such as the harsh Siberian weather, isolation, technological challenges, distrust and professional jealousy, Zimmerman and other Western specialists worked with their Russian partners to get the Soviet steel industry off the ground. Zimmerman came to be so highly regarded that a film was made of him working with the Soviet steel foundries (Henry Zimmerman, letter of October 11, 1966). While the emergence of the Cold War with the Soviet Union retarded technological cooperation for decades, the Russians remembered Zimmerman’s work in more than one way. In his letters from the 1960s, Zimmerman recalled that when Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev visited Iowa in 1959, he took time to meet with Henry Zimmerman, telling him that a foundry that he built in the early 1930s was still operating perfectly. His April 17, 1971 obituary in the Davenport-Bettendorf Times-Democrat claims that “There is a monument in Red Square, Moscow, Russia, that pays tribute to Mr. Zimmerman and 50 other American engineers who showed the Russians how to develop the steel industry.”

If you liked Zimmerman’s story, you can read our finding aid here: http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/MSC/ToMsC900/MsC850/zimmermansteelworks.html

 
Please check our blog for the first two entries on the Zimmerman Steel Journey.
 

By Gyorgy “George” Toth, PhD Candidate in American Studies, Olson Fellow, The University of Iowa Special Collections & University Archives,
With
Irina Rezhapova, PhD Candidate, Russian History, Kuzbass Institute of the Federal Penal Service

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From Iowa to Soviet Siberia: The Zimmerman Steel Journey I

How did a man from Iowa help launch the Soviet steel industry? What was it like for American engineers to work side by side with Russian workers in the 1930s? Who did Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev greet as an old friend when he visited Iowa in 1959? Read on to find out the answers.

 

In 1931, Henry Zimmerman of Lone Tree, Iowa traveled to Kuznetsk, Siberia, to oversee the building of steel mills in the Soviet Union. The University of Iowa Special Collections has been collaborating with Russian History doctoral student Irina Rezhapova (Kuzbass Institute of the Federal Penal Service) on a special digital project which tells the story of Zimmerman’s journey. Special Collections will be making available online Henry Zimmerman’s personal letters and scrapbooks of photographs, news clippings and ephemera about his time in Soviet Siberia – all part of our Records of the Zimmerman Steel Company (http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/MSC/ToMsC900/MsC850/zimmermansteelworks.html).

This is ENTRY 1 of 3 of the Zimmerman Steel Journey.

 

Who was Henry L. Zimmerman, the Steel Maker of Iowa?

 

Photograph of the men of the Zimmerman family, 1910s. Henry Zimmerman is bottom right.

 

Born in Davenport in 1879, Henry L. Zimmerman took an early interest in the family foundry business run by his father, and by the mid-1910s he helped expand the Lone Tree and Bettendorf-based Zimmerman Steel Company into electrification, waterworks, and steel works, exporting steel products as far as Russia, Japan and Australia.

“A Personal Word from the Father of the Zimmerman Family.” Advertising brochure of the Zimmerman Steel Company, 1910s.

 

In 1929 The Santa Fe Railway hired Henry Zimmerman as foundry engineer, in which capacity he traveled from the Mississippi to the Eastern Seaboard, inspecting the company’s plants, taking care of problems and working to make the plants more efficient and productive. This experience may have been the reason why the Freyn Engineering Company soon selected Henry Zimmerman as their chief foundry engineer, one of fifty-seven specialists chosen to establish modern steel mills in Soviet Russia. For people like Henry Zimmerman, a trip to the Soviet Union probably also held the promise of international professional experience, as well as an exotic adventure.

 

What were the living and working conditions in Siberia like?

 

Pictures from Henry Zimmerman’s Siberian photo album

 

When Henry L. Zimmerman arrived at Kuznetsk, Siberia on January 7, 1931, the local temperature was so cold that the heating plants and water mains buried under ground froze and burst. Zimmerman spent the first few weeks in a hotel where “we’d go to bed wearing our caps and mittens, everything but our boots.” (“Personality Profile: Ageless Wizard is still Going Strong,” by Jim Arpy, Sunday Times-Democrat July 26, 1964)

Once the Americans were scheduled to go to Kuznetsk to build the Kuznetsk Steel Mill, with Zimmerman among them, the Soviets began to build wooden houses for them, which may have been rather spacious. The “foreigners” had a special service – stores with a better variety of goods and somebody playing the role of servants who cleaned their rooms. Some of the apartments not occupied by the foreign specialists were used to accommodate some of the front-rank Soviet workers. According to Russian workers’ memoirs, each apartment served as a home for three people: one in the living room, another in the kitchen, and the third one sleeping in the bathroom. They were satisfied, because other workers lived in worse conditions.  (From Irina Rezhapova)

The harsh winter weather of Siberia posed special challenges to those building the steel mills. In a letter of March 15, 1931, Zimmerman asked his son Jimmy to

“Try to picture, what a job it has been to dig all these […] deep pits for the foundation, thru two to three meters of frost when the thermometer was from -40° C to -60° C and the River frozen six feet deep. Frequently it would freeze 6″ to 10″ in a single night, even at the bottom of the pits if they were not covered. We had to plank each pit over and cover it with earth, put in a stove and keep a fire in each pit while the concrete was poured and set.”

 

How did Kuznetskostroy become a Soviet steel boom town?

“Twelve months ago this was a cold, barren, frozen waste, covered with snow and only the howl of the wolf was heard as he chased the Siberian rabbit. Now in dugouts, tents, loghouses and modern homes thirty thousand people live and all have all the work they can do and about 500 more come each week.” (Henry Zimmerman, letter of March 15, 1931)

 

Russian magazine article from the early 1930s about the building of the Kuznetsk steel mill

 

“To describe the work here would take too long except that we are building a group of factories and a city like Gary, Ind[iana] and including everything that is needed in such an industry. In the foundry, which will make iron, steel, brass, and aluminum […] This brick yard will be the most modern and most complete in the whole world, and will make common brick, pressed brick, fire brick, silica brick and fire clay suitable for each [.]” (Henry Zimmerman, letter of January 16, 1931)

 

Please check our blog for the second and third entry of the Zimmerman Steel Journey.

 
 

By Gyorgy “George” Toth, PhD Candidate in American Studies, Olson Fellow, The University of Iowa Special Collections & University Archives,
With
Irina Rezhapova, PhD Candidate, Russian History, Kuzbass Institute of the Federal Penal Service

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George Viereck: Diplomat or Propagandist?

 

This year’s National History Day theme is “Diplomacy and Debate: Successes, Failures, and Consequences.” One collection in our holdings that dramatizes this theme is the George Sylvester Viereck Papers (http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/MSC/ToMsc100/MsC99/MsC99_viereckgeorge.htm). As a German American poet, cultural critic and journalist, Viereck played the role of a cultural diplomat and propagandist in the debate and conflict between the United States and Germany before and during World War One and Two – even when he had to pay a high price for it.

George Sylvester Viereck was born in Munich on December 31, 1884, and was brought to the United States at the age of eleven. Viereck’s first book of poetry, Ninevah and Other Poems, was published in 1907. He also wrote Strangest Friendship: Woodrow Wilson and Colonel House, and, with Paul Eldridge, My First Two Thousand Years: The Autobiography of the Wandering Jew, Salome, the Wandering Jewess, and Glimpses of the Great, among other books.

By the time World War I broke out, Viereck had been already fairly well known for his verse, which appeared in both liberal and conservative periodicals in the United States. Viereck first came under attack for pro-German leanings as editor of the magazine Fatherland in 1914. When the United States entered the war, he changed its name to The American Monthly and turned its teachings against war in general. He urged that the objections of German-born Americans against shedding their relatives’ blood be respected by having them serve in some other capacity than as soldiers in the trenches. The Author’s League, the Poetry Society, and other organizations expelled him, but after war sentiment dissipated he began to appear again on lecture platforms.

Before World War II Viereck  worked as a correspondent for a Munich newspaper and a free-lance writer for American magazines. He once described himself as doing what he could to better relations between the United States and Germany.

On the walls of his Riverside Drive study in New York he had photographs of Hitler, Dr. Joseph Goebbels, and Kaiser Wilhelm. All three, he said in an interview, had been his friends. “But I am no longer on speaking terms with some of them,” he added. In 1929 he had written of Hitler, “This man, if he lives, will make history.”

George Viereck was arrested in New York in October 1941 on charges of withholding from the US State Department information about his pro-German propaganda activities. He was charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Viereck and his lawyer appealed his case all the way to the United States Supreme Court.

 

Pages from Brief for Petitioner in Viereck v. the United States, US Supreme Court, October 1942

 

After his first appeal to the Supreme Court failed, George Viereck began serving his term of one to five years on July 31 1943 in the Federal Penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. His lawyer kept working on another appeal.

 

Viereck's statement before sentencing, July 31, 1943

 

Eventually, the US Supreme Court reversed Viereck’s conviction on the grounds that he was not compelled to report his activities “except as an agent of a foreign government.” After serving three years and ten months in prison, George Viereck was released on May 17, 1947.

George Sylvester Viereck died at Mount Holyoke Hospital on March 18, 1962, at the age of 77.

 

Please check out the online finding aid of the George Sylvester Viereck Papers here: 

http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/spec-coll/MSC/ToMsc100/MsC99/MsC99_viereckgeorge.htm