A Nancy Drew birthday

Nancy Drew author Mildred Wirt Benson among her books, Toledo, 1949 | Mildred Wirt Benson Collection
Nancy Drew author Mildred Wirt Benson among her books, Toledo, 1949 | Mildred Wirt Benson Collection

University of Iowa alumna Mildred Wirt Benson — journalist, pilot, amateur archaeologist, ghost writer, and the original author of the Nancy Drew mystery series — was born on this day in 1905. To mark the anniversary, we’re featuring a gallery of her book covers, from the iconic to the unintentionally terrifying, on our Iowa Digital Library Pinterest account. View even more digitized artifacts at the Mildred Wirt Benson Digital Collection.

Pinterst - IDL: Mildred Wirt Benson cover gallery
Pinterst - IDL: Mildred Wirt Benson cover gallery

Grant Wood scrapbooks now online

Grant Wood portrait with brush and dental instrument used for painting, 1940s | Figge Art Museum Grant Wood Digital Collection
Grant Wood portrait with brush and dental instrument used for painting, 1940s | Figge Art Museum Grant Wood Digital Collection

The Figge Art Museum and the University of Iowa Libraries are pleased to announce the release of the Grant Wood Digital Collection, http://digital.lib.uiowa.edu/grantwood, in conjunction with the Grant Wood Biennial Symposium 2012, April 13-14, 2012.

This unique digital collection includes more than 12 scrapbooks and albums of news clippings, photographs, postcards, letters, and related ephemera assembled by Grant Wood’s sister, Nan Wood Graham, chronicling her brother’s professional life.

For the first time, scholars, students and the general public will have unprecedented virtual access to the scrapbook materials.  Due to their fragility, access to the actual scrapbooks is simply impossible.

“Nan Wood Graham is one of the most famous faces in the history of art, immortalized in Wood’s iconic painting American Gothic. The materials Graham compiled provide wonderful insight into Wood’s life in Iowa and his development as one of the most famous American artists of the 20th century,” says Figge Art Museum registrar Andrew Wallace.  “It is gratifying to know that, through this digital collection, people around world are able to learn about the life and times of Grant Wood through the words of close friends, family, and fellow artists.”

This digital collection project would not have been possible without the generous assistance of the Henry Luce Foundation American Art Renewal Fund and through additional funding for imaging equipment provided by an anonymous donor.

These materials, along with several hundred artifacts, including the artist’s wire-rimmed glasses, palettes, paint box, and easel, are part of the Figge Art Museum’s Grant Wood Archive. The Archive has provided primary source material for numerous articles, catalogs, and monographs for over 40 years, most recently by R. Tripp Evans for his award-winning 2010 biography Grant Wood: A Life.

Digital spring awakening

It’s the Spring equinox, and the flowers are bringing us back to life, perennially a cause for celebration as the Iowa Digital Library illustrates.

Bird on hand by Tilly Woodward, 2006 | The Daily Palette Digital Collection
Bird on hand by Tilly Woodward, 2006 | The Daily Palette Digital Collection
UI dancers, 1910s | Iowa City Town and Campus Scenes
UI dancers, 1910s | Iowa City Town and Campus Scenes
Flower baskets, Lost Nation, Iowa, 1915 | Noble Photographs
Flower baskets, Lost Nation, Iowa, 1915 | Noble Photographs
Floral postcard, 1910s | Noble Photographs
Floral postcard, 1910s | Noble Photographs
Scrapbook cover, 1997 | Evelyn Birkby Collection
Scrapbook cover, 1997 | Evelyn Birkby Collection
Equinox by David Whannel, 2008 | The Daily Palette Digital Collection
Equinox by David Whannel, 2008 | The Daily Palette Digital Collection

Reach for your rights

In celebration of International Women’s Day, we’re featuring a few of the thousands of artifacts in our Iowa Women’s Archives Digital Collections:

Holy City residents, Bettendorf, Iowa, 1920s | Mujeres Latinas
Holy City residents, Bettendorf, Iowa, 1920s | Mujeres Latinas
Basketball practice, 1938 | University of Iowa Physical Education for Women
Basketball practice, 1938 | University of Iowa Physical Education for Women
Betty Ford at the National Republican Convention, Kansas City, 1976 | Iowa Women's Archives Founders
Betty Ford at the National Republican Convention, Kansas City, 1976 | Iowa Women's Archives Founders
Girls' dance troupe, Roland, Iowa, 1910s | Noble Photographs
Girls' dance troupe, Roland, Iowa, 1910s | Noble Photographs
Fence climbing, The University of Iowa, 1920s | African American Women in Iowa
Fence climbing, The University of Iowa, 1920s | African American Women in Iowa