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“Blood Done Sign My Name” is All Johnson County Reads Selection

“Blood Done Sign My Name” by Timothy B. Tyson, the true story of a black U.S. Army veteran killed by three white men in Oxford, N.C. in the early 1970s, is the 2007 selection for “One Community, One Book — All Johnson County Reads.”

The project promoting insights on human rights in the United States is coordinated by the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights (UICHR) in conjunction with other sponsoring organizations from Johnson County and the UI.

The goal of the project is to encourage people to read and discuss the selected book in order to develop a greater community awareness of human rights issues locally, nationally and internationally.

The book, published by Random House in 2004, is the true story of 23-year-old Henry Marrow, who was murdered in 1973. In the wake of the killing, young African-Americans took to the streets. The author’s father, the pastor of Oxford’s all-white Methodist church, urged the town to come to terms with its bloody racial history. In the end, however, the Tyson family was forced to move away.

Tyson returns to Oxford 30 years later to make sense of what happened and how the events changed his life. As he weaves together childhood memories with the realities of present-day Oxford, he sheds new light on America’s struggle for racial justice.

“Blood Done Sign My Name” won the Southern Book Award for Nonfiction. Tyson, a North Carolina native, teaches and writes about the history of African-American freedom movements in the 20th-century South. He holds appointments in the department of history at Duke and in the department of American studies at the University of North Carolina.

The “One Community, One Book” project will run from mid-September through mid-November. Teachers, students, librarians, book groups and others are encouraged to participate. By announcing the selection now, the project sponsors hope to allow time for groups to read the book and participate in fall community discussion forums, and for teachers to plan classroom discussions around the book.

The UI Libraries will host a community discussion of the book in the fall.

Hawkeyes Support Hokie Hope Day

In an email to University Librarian Nancy Baker, Dean of the Virginia Tech Libraries Eileen Hitchingham asked her colleagues across the country to wear maroon and orange in support of “Hokie Hope Day” and take a picture for the Virginia Tech Archives.

“I think of the parents and families today- all in shock– but later it will be very important to feel that the memory of their lost one lives on, and to re-live the unbelievable outpouring of good will that is coming from around the world,” says Hitchingham.


Thank you to all the Libraries staff who donned maroon and orange and came out to share their support for those at Virginia Tech. This photo will be forwarded to the University Archivist at Virginia Tech.

Learn more about remembrances around campus and the state.

History Resource Trial

In an effort to provide faculty and students access to the latest resources in their disciplines, the UI Libraries periodically enrolls in trial subscriptions to online resources. During and after the trial, library staff encourages feedback from faculty and students about particular resources. History Reference Online will be under consideration until June 18.

History Reference Online is an extensive, full-text online collection of reference titles available as a subscription to libraries and covers a broad range of subjects including:

  • American and World History
  • Pop culture, folklore, and mythology
  • Law and government
  • History of religion
  • Geography
  • Political, social, and military history
  • World and U.S. issues
  • History of science, technology, and the environment

This easy-to-use single search box leads students and researchers to credible, citable research materials. Library users can search across the entire collection or a single book, and History Reference Online offers thousands of focused bibliographic records and selective bibliographies.

Learn about other resources currently under consideration.

Vonnegut Drawings Gift to UI Libraries

by Sid Huttner, Head of Special Collections 

nolocontendere.jpgBy 1965, Kurt Vonnegut had published four novels in paperback, but Slaughterhouse Five was several years in the future. Hardly famous and far from rich, Vonnegut accepted an invitation to teach in the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Among his students was Loree Rackstraw. They became close and lasting friends. Although she aspired to writing herself, after taking her degree Rackstraw returned to Cedar Falls and became a member of the University of Northern Iowa English faculty.

In 1984, Vonnegut used brightly colored magic markers to make a suite of eight untitled drawings on 14×17 inch sheets of art paper. Shortly after he created them, Vonnegut sent the drawings to Rackstraw, and they hung, framed, in her living room until Vonnegut and artist Joe Petro asked to borrow and photograph them as the base of a set of silk screen prints titled Enchanted I.O.U.s. The prints restore a depth of color somewhat faded in the original drawings.

There is much to be learned by study of Petro’s work in juxtaposition to Vonnegut’s, and we are honored by Loree Rackstraw’s decision to place the original drawings in the Libraries where they will be permanently available to scholars and students.

This article originally appeared in the Fall 2004 issue of Bindings: News for Supporters of the University of Iowa Libraries.

For more about collections related to Kurt Vonnegut, check Special Collections.

Climate Change Report Available Online

The work of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has recently been in the news. The Executive Summary for Policymakers (pdf), part of its 4th Assessment Report, was recently released. The report documents the current scientific understanding and analysis on global climate change and recommends policy actions to address the global warming that is currently occurring on Earth. The IPCC will continue working on this issue and the more comprehensive Assessment Report is due out later in 2007.

The IPCC works within the framework of the United Nations. The University of Iowa Libraries is a United Nations (UN) depository library and collects a wide variety of materials published by the UN. For more information about the UN collection, please visit the UN Research Guide. For more information, contact Brett Cloyd (

McCartney Elected to MAC Board

mccartney-archive-box2-9-041.jpgUniversity Archivist David McCartney has been elected to a two-year term as secretary of the Midwest Archives Conference (MAC). He’ll join Dennis Meissner of the Minnesota Historical Society (president-elect), Tanya Zanish-Belcher of Iowa State University (vice president), and Craig Wright of the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum (treasurer) as MAC officers.

With over 1,100 individual members and about 180 institutional members, MAC is the nation’s largest regional archives organization, serving 13 states. Corporate, government, religious and university archives are members, as are historical societies, manuscripts repositories, and other special collections.

Historical Printing Exposition

uicbtools.jpgUI Libraries Conservator Gary Frost, Larry Raid of the Working Linotype Museum and graduate library science student Bethany Templeton are hosting a historical printing exposition at the Mossman Printing Services Building today, Thursday, April 5, from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm.

You can see some of the technology that shaped early 20th-century commercial printing practices. You can actually try your hand at running a Linotype, Washington-style press and a small jobber press and make your own personalized bookmark.

The Mossman Printing Services Building is located south of downtown Iowa City on Riverside Drive.  To get there by

  • By bus: The Iowa City Transit Westport bus leaves Old Capitol Mall at 45 minutes past each hour and stops on Riverside Drive on the hour just across the street from the Mossman Building.
  • By car: Drive south on Riverside Drive through the intersection of Highways 1 and 6. Stay on the main road, which turns into Old Highway 218 South (Riverside Drive splits off near the Army Reserve facility). The Mossman Building is on the left, across from Colonial Bowling Lanes and between the two Hubbard Feeds buildings. 

Japanese Film Collection

Eight Below, The Magnificent Seven and Shall We Dance?. What do these titles have in common?

They are all films were first developed by Japanese filmmakers and later remade for American audiences.

Eight BelowAntarcticaIn the 1983 movie, Nankyoku Monogatari or Antarctica, two Japanese scientists, Ushioda and Ochi, develop a bond with their sled dogs while on an expedition in Antarctica. Ushioda and Ochi eventually leave Antarctica, only to return to search for the dogs inadvertently marooned there. In 2006, Walt Disney Pictures released Eight Below. Both films were loosely based on a 1958 Japanese expedition to the South Pole.

The Magnificent Seven

7 SamuraiShichinin no samurai or Seven Samurai is a 1954 film about a village of farmers that hire seven samurai warriors to combat bandits who return after the harvest to steal their crops. The Magnificent Seven is a 1960 Western with many of the same scenes and even some of the same dialogue.

Shall We Dansu? was released in Japan in 1996. It is the story of an unhappy accountant who secretly begins taking ballroom dance lessons. The film was very popular and won the Japanese Academy Award for Best Picture. The American remake Shall We Dance? did not receive as much critical acclaim.

Interested in other films that were originally created in East Asia and remade into motion pictures in the United States, check out this selected bibliography. You can also learn more about the Japanese Collections in the UI Libraries and contact the Japanese Collections Librarian.

Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Week, the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center (APACC) is hosting a number of events including a screening of the film entitled “Better Luck Tomorrow” on Thursday night in the Adler Building at 7 p.m. For more information about the events contact APACC President, Ben Mai.

Quiet and Group Study Space in Main Library

As the semester winds down, the number of people in the Main Library increases and everyone is looking for a good place to study. In an effort to help students find appropriately quiet spaces to work, the UI Libraries has designated a couple of different types of study space.

  • Quiet Study – when you are working in these designated spaces in the Main Library, please do not talk and turn off all audible electronic devices. You can find Quiet Study spaces on the Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Floors.

Group Study – when you are working on a project with your classmates, these designated spaces provide large work areas to spread out your materials. Group Study areas are available on a first-come, first-served basis for UI students on the Second, Fourth and Fifth Floors.

These designated areas are marked with signs. You can also print a map (pdf) of the Main Library which highlights these areas. More information about undesignated space and Graduate Study Carrels is available.