Hatched in 1948 by University of Iowa journalism professor Dick Spencer III, Herky has evolved much over the last several decades. One thing remains the same, however: our mascot is beloved by the campus community and far beyond.
An original drawing of Herky by Spencer is on display in the Main Library Gallery’s current exhibit, We Are Hawkeyes: Celebrating 175 Years of Student Life at the University of Iowa. Community and Student Life Archivist Aiden Bettine shares the basics about Herky’s origin in this short video:
A bright lava lamp in the front display case of the Main Library Gallery serves as a beacon, inviting library patrons to examine the plenitude of nostalgic objects just on the other side of the glass window. Records lean against a speaker and fan out over a record player’s plastic dust cover: Tapestry by Carole King, Live & Well by B.B. King, The Graduate by Simon & Garfunkel, Magical Mystery Tour by The Beatles, Cheap Thrills by Big Brother and the Holding Company, The Age of Aquarius by The 5th Dimension, and others. Vintage board games, a bright pink frisbee, a portable transistor radio, and a 7-Up wastepaper basket are arrayed over a classic shag carpet. While flattened from years of use, the vibrant greens, yellows, and oranges are a familiar signal of the 1970s.
A crate is crammed full of both popular books and required reading, such as Catch-22, Watership Down, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and The Metamorphosis. An empty soda bottle, pop can, and tea mug add comfortable clutter, and a cinder block serves as an economical pedestal for a potted plant. We have stepped back in time to 1975, a year during which We Are Hawkeyes exhibit co-curator and University Archivist Emeritus David McCartney found himself working toward his undergraduate degree.
“I would say that the dorm room replication that we have at this exhibit pretty closely resembles the dorm room I occupied once upon a time, back around 1975,” said McCartney, who spent many hours sourcing era-appropriate objects for the display.
Inspired by his own experience moving away from home for the first time, the dorm room set in We Are Hawkeyes: Celebrating 175 Years of Student Life at the University of Iowa naturally includes a desk with a Smith Corona portable typewriter. “We did not have laptops, let alone tabletop computers, in 1975,” he said.
The desk, located beyond the display case inside the Main Library Gallery, includes a chair, and invites visitors to sit and try their hand at using the typewriter. A vintage couch, on loan from the University of Iowa Department of Theatre Arts, is a comfortable spot to flip through a Hawkeye Yearbook or duplicate 1970s issues of Light-Eater (“Serving the University of Iowa Residence Halls”), a student-published newsletter.
“As time-specific as this dorm room is, I think there’s a timelessness to it in terms of how we as students, and later alumni, could identify ourselves,” said McCartney. “And that’s what a dorm room is all about, isn’t it?”
Check out the latest Main Library Gallery video below, in which David McCartney provides a brief tour of the dorm room set from the We Are Hawkeyes exhibit.
For those distant to campus, or who would like to experience the latest Main Library Gallery exhibition from home, a virtual tour of We Are Hawkeyes: Celebrating 175 Years of Student Life at the University of Iowa is now available online.
The tour features 360° photos of the Main Library Gallery, which allow the viewer to move from area to area. The text panels and the cases containing the items on display are clickable, meaning close-up views of most objects are available along with insights from co-curators David McCartney, Aiden Bettine, and Denise Anderson.
The exhibition features student life-centered items from the University Archives and the Iowa Women’s Archives in celebration of the University of Iowa’s 175th anniversary. Student publications, protest flyers, Hawkeye sports memorabilia, and much more are included. The virtual exhibition includes videos and links to extra articles and historical context scattered throughout.
Local Libraries LIT (Listen, Initiate, Talk) will feature author R.O. Kwon on Thursday, March 3, 2022 at 7:00 PM. This is the sixth FREE virtual event in the series, which is offered by all public libraries in Johnson County as well as the University of Iowa Libraries and Kirkwood Community College Libraries (Iowa City Campus) with support from the Community Foundation of Johnson County and The Tuesday Agency. The North Liberty Library will host.
R.O. Kwon was born in South Korea and has lived most of her life in the United States. As an author and essayist, her writing explores identity, sexuality, and the comforts and complications of religion.
R.O. worked for ten years on her nationally bestselling debut novel, The Incendiaries, which The Atlantic describes as a “[portrayal of] America’s dark, radical strain, exploring the lure of fundamentalism, our ability to be manipulated, and what can happen when we’re willing to do anything for a cause.” The San Francisco Chronicle calls her novel “a debut of dark, startling beauty” while The Guardian lauds it as “a startlingly assured book by an important new writer.”
Named a best book of the year by over forty publications, The Incendiaries also received the Housatonic Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle John Leonard Award, the Los Angeles Times First Book Prize, and the Northern California Independent Booksellers Association Fiction Prize. R.O.’s writing has appeared—and often gone viral shortly thereafter—in the New York Times, The Guardian, The Paris Review, Buzzfeed, NPR, and elsewhere. She has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Yaddo, MacDowell, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference.
The goal of Local Libraries LIT is to grow a thriving community which shines with diversity, equity, and inclusion. This author event is open to the public.
The Local Libraries LIT speaker series is offered at no charge to participants. Donations are welcomed to help sustain and grow Local Libraries LIT.
Register here to receive the Zoom link for this event via the Iowa City Public Library:https://bit.ly/ROKwon
The oldest university in the state, the University of Iowa was founded on February 25, 1847. Instruction began in the autumn of 1855 with just 124 students. Every student thereafter has left their mark on the university, and campus life today has been shaped by nearly two centuries of student influence.
Over the past 175 years, students at the University of Iowa have amplified their causes through protest and advocacy, they have shared their individuality through student publications and the arts, and they have made countless brilliant contributions to the world in which we live. The Spring 2022 Main Library Gallery exhibition, We Are Hawkeyes: Celebrating 175 Years of Student Life at the University of Iowa, spotlights some of these experiences.
The exhibit was curated by Denise Anderson, Aiden Bettine, and David McCartney of the University Archives at the University of Iowa Libraries. The co-curators carefully selected a variety of items and images both old and new from the University Archives and Iowa Women’s Archives to create a representation of student life over the decades, working on the exhibition together throughout 2021 in preparation for the university’s anniversary year.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to highlight these engaging and diverse student experiences, plucked from the pages of rich University of Iowa history,” said Denise Anderson, archives assistant.
“Students are the very core of the University of Iowa. Although students arrive on campus to pursue their higher education, the classroom is only one facet of the student experience,” said Aiden Bettine, community and student life archivist. “Student life on our campus is immersive, enmeshing students in both the Hawkeye community and Iowa City. Some students find their niche when they first step foot on campus and participate in existing student organizations or extracurricular activities. Others have had to carve out space for their identity or their passions.”
“Students are the lifeblood of a university, and student life shapes and informs those who have had the university or college experience,” said David McCartney, university archivist. “We Are Hawkeyes sets out to illustrate that experience in all its flavors, from athletics to academics, from parties to protest. Coming of age in a university setting brings with it a wide range of accumulated knowledge and lessons for life.”
The exhibit explores student-led publications from as early as 1881 with Little Tin God on Wheels and as recently as a 2021 edition of The Daily Iowan. A brief history of Iowa Memorial Union and the university’s military traditions are included, as well as samplings of artifacts from Department of Music and Department of Dance records. Visitors will also find an array of photographs celebrating social life on campus, items from fraternity and sorority collections, ephemera from the university’s earliest years, Iowa sports history, a glimpse into scholarship, an abbreviated visual history of protest on campus between 1910 and 2021, and more. A film reel shows footage including clips from commencements, the Hawkeye Marching Band, a University of Iowa newsreel, the Theatre Department, and protests in the 1960s.
“While not every student’s experience is recounted in this exhibit, we hope visitors to the Main Library Gallery will find something that speaks to their own time on campus – whether during this past year, or generations ago,” said McCartney.
A 1970s-esque dorm room set spills into the gallery from the front display case. A desk, bright orange chair, and floral loveseat invite visitors to take a seat and flip through vintage student newsletters and yearbooks. A typewriter, record player, crate of books, and a lava lamp add to the nostalgia, while plentiful classic records from McCartney’s own personal collection are artfully arranged throughout. The co-curators hope this section of the exhibition will prompt guests to consider what their must-have items were when packing for their freshman year of college.
We Are Hawkeyes: Celebrating 175 Years of Student Life at the University of Iowa will be on display in the Main Library Gallery until July 3, 2022. Admission to the Gallery is always free. Visit lib.uiowa.edu/gallery for information about open hours and upcoming events.
Local Libraries LIT (Listen, Initiate, Talk) will feature author Jennine Capó Crucet on January 26, 2022 at 7:00 PM. This is the fifth FREE virtual event in the series, which is offered by public libraries in Johnson County as well as the University of Iowa Libraries and Kirkwood Community College Libraries (Iowa City Campus) with support from the Community Foundation of Johnson County and The Tuesday Agency.
As the daughter of Cuban immigrants, Jennine Capó Crucet was the first person in her family to be born in the United States. Her writing is full of biting humor as she ardently depicts her time as a first-generation college student, as well as the immigrant experience.
Jennine is the author of the critically acclaimed Make Your Home Among Strangers, which was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice book and the winner of the 2016 International Latino Book Award. She is a recipient of an O. Henry Prize, the Picador Fellowship, and the Hillsdale Award for the Short Story. Jennine’s story collection, How to Leave Hialeah, won the Iowa Short Fiction Prize, the John Gardner Book Award, and the Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award. Jennine’s latest work, My Time Among the Whites: Notes from an Unfinished Education, investigates concepts of race, gender, immigration, and the “American dream” since the 2016 election. The Los Angeles Times calls My Time Among the Whites “remarkable,” and Bustle calls it “a must read.”
Jennine is a Contributing Opinion Writer for The New York Times, as well as an associate professor of English and ethnic studies at the University of Nebraska. In the years prior to becoming a professor, she worked as a college access counselor at One Voice, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that serves first-generation college students from low-income families.
“Crucet is an essential truth-teller, the whisper in your ear you should listen to, wise and funny as she tries to save your life.” ―Alexander Chee
The goal of Local Libraries LIT is to grow a thriving community which shines with diversity, equity, and inclusion. Open to the public.
In the latest video from the Main Library Gallery, exhibit curator Dr. Anna Barker discusses Fyodor Dostoevsky’s novel The Double and how it has influenced other writers, including Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, and Sylvia Plath. Books featured in the video are from Special Collections & Archives at the University of Iowa Libraries.
About the exhibit: The Fall 2021 Main Library Gallery exhibition, From Revolutionary Outcast to a Man of God: Dostoevsky at 200, is dedicated to the life and work of the Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881). Curated by Dr. Anna Barker, University of Iowa professor of Russian literature, the exhibition covers the entirety of Dostoevsky’s prolific literary career. His youth, his years of exile in Siberia, a period of gambling addiction, and his philosophical and theological teachings are explored in the context of Russian historical events and many of his most famous novels, from Poor Folk to The Brothers Karamazov.
Can a book read in childhood be the inspiration for a lifetime of teaching and European travel? Helen Perry Curtis’s Jean & Company, Unlimited, the charming account of an American girl’s first encounter with Europe, was precisely that for author and historian Laura Gellott.
In 2015, Gellott located Curtis’s three granddaughters. That meeting resulted in the publication of Helen Perry Curtis and the European Trip of a Lifetime. Gellott’s book traces Curtis’s life from its Nebraska roots to New Jersey and New York and across the European continent in the 1930s. She tells the story of the real-life travels behind Jean & Company, Unlimited, a book designated as a Junior Literary Guild Selection in January, 1938.
Laura Gellott is professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (Kenosha), where she taught European history for 30 years. She is a frequent European traveler. She first read Jean & Company, Unlimited, nearly 60 years ago. She has found it to be an ever-reliable guide.
Local Libraries LIT (Listen, Initiate, Talk) will feature The New York Times bestselling essayist and author Sloane Crosley on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. This is the fourth virtual event in the series, which is offered by the Iowa City Public Library, Coralville Public Library, North Liberty Library, University of Iowa Libraries, and Kirkwood Community College Libraries (Iowa City Campus) with support from The Tuesday Agency. Johnson County libraries in Oxford, Solon, Swisher, and Tiffin will also partner with Local Libraries LIT for this event.
“Sloane Crosley is another mordant and mercurial wit from the realm of Sedaris and Vowell. What makes her so funny is that she seems to be telling the truth, helplessly,” said author Jonathan Lethem.
Sloane Crosley is a fiercely funny author and essayist whose humor is lively and genuine. She is a relentless comedic force who The New York Times called, “an incisive observer of human nature.”
She is the author of The New York Times bestselling essay collections I Was Told There’d Be Cake and How Did You Get This Number. The former was a finalist for The Thurber Prize for American Humor, and was described as “perfectly, relentlessly funny” by David Sedaris. Her debut novel, The Clasp, was a national bestseller, a New York Times editor’s choice, and it has been optioned for film by Universal Pictures. Sloane’s most recent book of essays, Look Alive Out There, was met with high praise. Steve Martin said of the collection, “Sloane Crosley does the impossible. She stays consistently funny and delivers a book that is alive and jumping.”
In 2011, Crosley co-created sadstuffonthestreet.com, a blog dedicated to sad/funny curbside detritus. In 2017, she co-wrote a book inspired by the blog called The Sad Stuff on The Street, and 100% of the proceeds from the book go to NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Crosley was the inaugural columnist for The New York Times op-ed “Townies” series and is featured in The Library of America’s 50 Funniest American Writers. She is a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and was a 2018 Yaddo fellow.
The goal of Local Libraries LIT is to grow a thriving community which shines with diversity, equity, and inclusion. Open to the public.
The University of Iowa’s Main Library will be a busy hub of four unique offerings on Saturday, October 23 during this year’s Iowa City Book Festival.
All are welcome to attend an open house in Special Collections & Archives, a talk by guest author Laura Gellott, a guided tour of the Main Library Gallery’s current exhibition about Dostoevsky, and a Riverside Theatre performance of Dostoevsky’s The Grand Inquisitor.
“As our community returns to more in-person gatherings, we thought hosting a small set of events over the course of the afternoon would make it easy for community members to come to the UI’s Main Library and enjoy different types of programming,” says John Culshaw, the UI’s Jack B. King University Librarian. “There’s something for everyone!”
About the events
Open House — Reading through the Roarin’ 20s, an open house event, will take place in Special Collections & Archives on the 3rd floor of the Main Library from 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM. Visitors are welcome to drop in any time during event hours to view selected rare books.
“This open house will be fun because we are celebrating the ’20s through books, but not just the 1920s or 2020s,” says Elizabeth Riordan, outreach and engagement librarian for Special Collections & Archives. “We’re looking at books from 1520, 1620, and so forth, to explore book history and literature through the ages. It’s a chance to get up close to history and hear the stories these items have to tell.”
Author Talk — At 2:30 PM,guest author Laura Gellott will give a talkin Shambaugh Auditorium inthe Main Library about her new book, Helen Perry Curtis and the European Trip of a Lifetime. As a child, Gellott read Helen Perry Curtis’s Jean & Company, Unlimited, a charming account of an American girl’s first encounter with Europe. The book inspired Gellott—professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin – Parkside (Kenosha)—to pursue a lifetime of teaching and European travel. Gellott’s book traces Helen Perry Curtis’s life from its Nebraska roots to New Jersey and New York and across the European continent in the 1930s. She tells the story of the real-life travels behind Jean & Company. A book signing and light reception will follow Gellot’s talk.
“Given the number of writers and travel aficionados in our community, we thought folks would be interested in Laura Gellott’s journey toward the publication of this book,” says Culshaw.
Live Performance — Riverside Theatre will be performing The Grand Inquisitor, a short play based upon the most famous chapter of Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov, at 7:30 PM in the Main Library Gallery. Tickets are free but must be reserved ahead of time at RiversideTheatre.org. Information about additional show dates can also be found on the Riverside Theatre website.
“The Book Festival is always a great way for us to share our resources and highlight authors to the community as a whole,” says Culshaw. “As a public institution, community engagement is an important part of the UI and the UI Libraries’ missions. We’re excited to share these unique events with the community.”