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Special Collections Weekly Update 3/25/2016


  • Blog post: Norwalk High School Artists Connect with History to Inspire New Creative Work by Heather Wacha. Read more.
  • Blog post: March 30: Felicia Rice “Doc/Undoc” performance followed by a public conversation with Guillermo Gómez-Peña. Read more.
  • Old Gold: The View From Above: UI archivist shares websites that feature aerial photos of campus, state by David McCartney. Read more.


  • Doc/UndocWednesday, 3/30: Felicia Rice, Doc/Undoc (lecture performance), followed by a public conversation with Guillermo Gόmez-Pẽna (5 PM, Special Collections Reading Room). Read more.
  • Wednesday, 3/30: Historic Foodies Meeting (6:00-8:00 PM, Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room B).
  • Wednesday, 4/13: Iowa Bibliophiles, Jane Murphy and Mark Brookfield, 36 year partners in Murphy-Brookfield Books, will talk about the enormous changes brought on by Internet bookselling in the last 20+ years. (Refreshments 6:30 PM, Talk 7:00 PM, Special Collections Reading Room).


Upcoming Deadlines:

  • DEADLINE EXTENDED TO APRIL 15, 2016: Apply for the Linda and Richard Kerber fund for financial support for those traveling to do research in the Iowa Women’s Archives. Read more.


Students from Norwalk High SchoolSpring Break week we had two class sessions: one from Grinnell and one from Coe College. Special collections staff co-taught a one credit museums studies spring break course with campus museum curators.

This week, we’re clearly back in business! We’ve supported 12 class sessions including: a graduate Spanish class, a graduate English class, a high school visit to see medieval manuscripts, English as a Second Language, Center for the Book, undergraduate English, and a class for the School of Library and Information Science. – Amy Chen

New Acquisitions:

These broadsides have been here for some time, but haven’t made it all the way through processing yet, so I’m still counting them as new! I’ve been walking by them every day admiring the color and fine lines of the illustrations. -Margaret Gamm xf PS3569 P48 R3 1986

Social Media:

  • In this episode of Staxpeditions a trip to the DQ call number range does lead to book exploration, but also to thoughts that drift to another DQ…

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News From Special Collections 10/16/2015

Librarians in the Wild:

ICON Science Fiction Convention October 16-18th, 2015

Image of the front cover of the first ICON convention program

ICON Program, 1975

The ICON Science Fiction convention began 40 years ago, born from a passionate group of fans that met in a science fiction class taught here at the University of Iowa by the Hugo and Nebula award winning author Joe Haldeman, and the same group who formed a U.I. student group called S.F.L.I.S. (Science Fiction League of Iowa Students). This weekend marks the convention’s 40th Anniversary. (See the program booklet for the first ICON convention from 1975: Here).

The 40th Anniversary convention is taking place this weekend at the Doubletree in downtown Cedar Rapids.  (There is still time to register). A partner exhibition is being held at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art including works created by each Artist Guest of Honor that has been a featured guest in the history of the convention.

Special Collections staff with an oversized checkAt the opening ceremonies Friday night, University of Iowa Librarians Peter Balestrieri and Colleen Theisen will be officially presented with a check for $1955.00 that was raised by the community in an auction last year to be used to support the digitization of the 1930s-1950s fanzines in the James L. “Rusty” Hevelin Science Fiction Collection. Rusty was a beloved member of the ICON community, and the community came together both donating items to be auctioned and bidding on those items in a heartwarming display of support for the University of Iowa’s role in carrying on the care and legacy of Rusty and his collection.

You will be able to catch the University of Iowa librarians throughout the weekend at the convention, both at a table in the dealer’s room where you can pick up our zine detailing the current status of the Hevelin Fanzine Digitization Project, and also at various panels throughout the weekend about Science Fiction and zine history, about using a University Library for research as a writer, and as co-conspirators for a project to make a mimeographed fanzine over the course of the weekend.

Read more about the Fanzine Digitization Project: Slate article or Official FAQ.

Read more about the donation: Here


Event Recap:

Iowa Bibliophiles October Meeting

Image of John Fifield Presenting about the library at the Recoleta

Wednesday, October 14th, John Fifield, one of our current Olson Graduate Assistants, presented about his work this summer at the Convent of the Recoleta in Arequipa, Peru, where he assisted with identifying and cataloging early printed books in the convent’s collection.  In the photo on the screen (click thumbnail to enlarge) you can see images of the exquisite handcrafted display cases in the convent library that were built by Bill Voss, of the University of Iowa conservation lab, on an unrelated trip in years past. Thanks to everyone who attended, especially the many new faces this month! The lively Q&A that followed the talk had to be cut short due to time constraints, so any unanswered follow up questions can be directed to john-fifield@uiowa.edu.

An example from UI Special Collections of a typical 17th-century Peruvian book will be in the case just inside the doors of Special Collections for the rest of October if you would like to stop by and learn about printing in Peru during the Spanish Colonial period.



From the Web and Social Media:

1. This month’s Old Gold column

1960 U I Football Team Photo

Remembering a time when postseason play was limited: 1960 Hawkeye football squad loses once, misses out on Rose Bowl

University Archivist David McCartney’s monthly Old Gold column tasks him with being a sports writer this month.

Photo: The 1960 Hawkeye football team. Image courtesy of University of Iowa Yearbooks collection, Department of Special Collections and University Archives, UI Libraries.


2. Weekly Dada related posts on Instagram – #dadagrams

Tim Shipe, curator of the International Dada Archives, has been posting about Dada on Instagram once a week on Thursdays. The #dadagram series will continue as a lead up to the 100th Anniversary celebration in 2017.  Fans of Dada should definitely keep tabs on this series on Instagram.


3. Milestone Reached – 20,000 likes & reblogs

Sometimes it is nice to step back and recognize milestones. This animated GIF of re-sewing a text block on single raised cords upstairs in the UI Conservation Lab is now one of the most popular social media post we’ve ever made. With comments like “OMG, I’ve wondered how to do that for the longest time!”, it’s clear that even a momentary snippet can bring to light some of the otherwise invisible work that happens behind the scenes in the library.



New Acquisitions:

1. Georg von Logau. Hoc volumine continentur…poëtæ tres egregii. Augsburg 1534

Latin classes return to Special Collections every semester to survey the material history of the transmission of Latin authors through time. We hope to see this little book used in many Latin classes over the years. Featuring work by Gattius , Nemesianus, and Calpurnius, it focuses on hunting, fishing, sporting dogs, and country life, and should be a very approachable text for even brief visits.

2. Peter and Donna Thomas The Renaissance Pleasure Faire Broadsides, 1974-2011.

A retrospective collection of ten typographic broadsides that Peter and Donna Thomas made when working at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire. The broadsides were all letterpress printed on Peter’s handmade paper. They were illustrated with linoleum cuts and watercolor rubrication by Donna. An introductory broadside and a book they published in 1988 with a photographic history of the Faire are included with the broadsides.

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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


2032 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/


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Unboxing the Hevelin Science Fiction Collection on Tumblr

The time has come! The James L. “Rusty” Hevelin Collection of Pulps, Fanzines, and Science Fiction Books is being unboxed and processed. 
Special Collections & University Archives is pleased to welcome long-time student worker and avid researcher Peter Balestrieri who is joining our staff as a Processing Librarian and taking on the task of making the collection ready for researchers. 
Rusty Hevelin was a science fiction fan, pulp collector, huckster (a dealer at conventions), and voracious reader.  In addition, he was one of the founders of Iowa’s two ongoing science fiction conventions, Icon in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area, and DemiCon in Des Moines.   
Friends and fans now have the opportunity to follow Peter as he explores and unboxes the collection, on our new Tumblr page where he will post photos and updates, box by box, as the mysteries within are revealed.
Please follow along and enjoy the snapshots into the history of science fiction and fantasy literature and fandom in the United States  http://hevelincollection.tumblr.com
For more on Rusty Hevelin and his collections please see our April 11th blog post.