Cards from Christmases Past

By Christine Vivian, SLIS student and IWA student assistant

 
One of the lovely surprises of The Iowa Women’s Archives is the number of collections which contain holiday cards, such as the Shirley Briggs Papers. Briggs, an artist and naturalist, created a new hand-drawn card every year for over 50 years. Receiving one of these works of art year after year must have been a wonderful tradition for her friends and family. To carry on this tradition, we share some of those cards with you here, with our hopes for a happy holiday season.

 

Shirley Brigg at U.S. Capitol
Card showing Briggs hanging a Chrismas banner near the U.S. Capitol, 1948.

 

Christmas Tree reflected in the ocean.
Evergreen tree reflected in the ocean by sea creatures. Note Shirley Briggs’ tiny self-portrait.

 

Tiny Shirley Briggs atop the Washington Monument, undated.

 

Mockingbird in holly, 1955.

 

To see an exhibit about Shirley Briggs’ work and her friendship with Rachel Carson, please stop by the University of Iowa Sciences Library before January 7th.

Shirley Briggs and the Iowa Connection to “Silent Spring”

 
Fifty years ago, Rachel Carson published “Silent Spring,” a lyrical and compelling book about how DDT and other pesticides were damaging the environment and human health. The book called for a change in the way humankind viewed the natural world and became an inspiration for the environmental movement. One of Carson’s staunchest advocates and closest friends was Iowan Shirley Briggs, who met Carson when they worked together at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the 1940s.  To recognize this Iowa connection to “Silent Spring,” the University of Iowa Libraries and Office of Sustainability are presenting a symposium and exhibition opening on November 15, inspired by the extensive collection of Briggs’ diaries, letters, photos and artwork in the Iowa Women’s Archives.
 

The symposium begins at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15, in Phillips Hall Auditorium (100 PH), followed by an opening reception in the UI Sciences Library, where an exhibit of Briggs’ photos, writings, art work and memorabilia will be on display through Jan. 7.

Shirley Briggs

“A Sense of Wonder,” a short film about the last days of Rachel Carson as she struggled with cancer, will be shown from noon to 1 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 14 at the Iowa City Public Library.

Speaking at the symposium will be Liz Christiansen, director of the UI Office of Sustainability, who will read from “Silent Spring” and tell about Carson’s legacy to the environmental movement. Kären Mason, curator of the Iowa Women’s Archives, will talk about Briggs and her connection to Carson’s work. Brief clips from “A Sense of Wonder” will also be shown.