logo

Lessons from an Olson

The University of Iowa Libraries Special Collections is looking for the next Olson Graduate Research Assistant. If you are a graduate student, or an incoming graduate student, find out more here.

However, you might be asking what does being the Olson Graduate Research Assistant actually mean? Well, who better to explain that then those with the experience. Hannah Hacker was Special Collections’ Olson GA from 2016-2018 and will be graduating with her Masters in Library and Information Science this winter. Micaela Terronez has been our Olson GA since 2017, and she will be graduating May 2019 with a Masters in Library and Information Science. Below they explain what it means to be an Olson GA and the experiences and opportunities that come with the job.

 

From Hannah Hacker:

Being an Olson is like being at a buffet, but with rare books and archives. You get a little taste of everything in special collections librarianship. If an aspect of the department gets you really excited, you can dive right in and have a big helping. 

 For me, the areas that I dove into were instruction and reference. My passion for librarianship stems from the enthusiasm of a student or patron who discovers something for the first time or is eager about researching a particular topic, and that happens the most when I’m in a classroom or at the front desk. Talking with people one-on-one and listening to what gets them excited is one of the main reasons why I’ve enjoyed my time as an Olson as much as I have. It’s those small moments with people that get me fired up about being a full-fledged librarian some day.

 

 

From Micaela Terronez:

This past year as the Olson Graduate Research Assistant has been a wonderful opportunity for me to gain practical knowledge and experience in the work of special collections and archives. For example, I have learned about the day-to-day operations and responsibilities of a large university special collections — an experience that nicely complements my MLS coursework and previous professional work. Additionally, I cannot express how thankful I am for working alongside such incredible and supportive coworkers. Through this fellowship, I’ve been lucky to gain several mentors that have taken the time to listen, discuss, and collaborate with me as a new staff member.

Thus far, my favorite experiences in this position have been in the Special Collections classroom where I’ve had the opportunity to instruct courses utilizing library materials — a responsibility that I was completely terrified to do originally! But because of the support and training I received as the Olson, I’m more comfortable than ever to conduct classes and experience some great moments with students. One of these moments was with a group of 20 Latinx high school students from Upward Bound, a program that brings first-generation students from the state to experience life as a college student for six weeks. The students gravitated toward stories of migration and underrepresented individuals that could be seen in several collections from the University Archives and the Iowa Women Archives. By far, this was one of my favorite classes because I saw firsthand how archival materials can resonate with students and the effect it can potentially have on their self-identity.  

 

For more information about the Olson Graduate Research Assistant position or application, please contact Lindsay Moen. The deadline is October 29th, 2018 at 5:00pm.

Dean Sieperda (Delta Tau Delta) dressed as Herky

Reflections of UI’s Furry and Feathery Mascots

As we get ready to celebrate Herky’s 70th birthday, curator of the “Hatching Herky” exhibit, Chloe Waryan, looks back on her experiences and Iowa mascots of old. 

In the summer of 2018, I was fortunate enough to be awarded an internship at the University of Iowa Special Collections and University Archives in which I was tasked to design an exhibit celebrating the 70th birthday of Herky the Hawk. I am so touched by the kindness that I received from University Archivist David McCartney, Director of Development Mary Rettig of the Center for Advancement, and donor Jane Roth. I am happy to report that I had a lot of fun learning about the history of the University of Iowa during this internship too!

Press Citizen's picture of Burch the Bear on a chair
Burch the Bear

Though the pre-Herky mascots didn’t make it into the exhibit, their history is fascinating. With the popularity of St. Burch’s Tavern, a new downtown restaurant, many Iowa Citizans may already know that our first mascot was a real live black bear cub named Burch. The significance of a bear as an emblem of UI is unknown, though we do know that the Chicago Cubs also had a black bear sent to them to serve as a mascot around this same time. When Burch became a full-grown bear, he broke out of his cage in the City Park Zoo (yes, City Park once had a zoo), and fled to the riverbank where he was later found dead. On March 10, 1910, the Press Citizen released an article titled “Burch is Found with Taxidermist,” detailing the plans of taxidermist Homer Dill who did work for the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History. However, after talking to Cindy Opitz, current Collections Manager of the UI Museum of Natural History, we learn that if he did indeed drown, Burch’s head was probably bloated and therefore not suitable for taxidermy. According to a Press Citizen article on April 8, 2018, Trina Roberts, Director of UI’s Pentacrest Museums, does not know where Burch’s head or bones may be.

Homecoming button with Rex the Dog on it
Rex (the first) in button form

Almost 20 years later, the University adopted a 200-pound Great Dane named Rex as their next mascot. Lieutenant Colonel Converse K. Lewis, head of the UI Military Department, originally gifted the dog to Alpha Sigma Phi. Rex wore a tailored band uniform at football games and acted as the UI mascot until his death in 1933. Following Rex’s death, the University received another dog (either a Great Dane or St. Bernard) which they cleverly named Rex II. The University also used a real hawk as a mascot before Delta Tau Delta’s own Larry Herb donned the first Herky costume in the late 1950’s. From then on, Herky was always cast as a Delta Tau Delta until the fraternity lost their UI charter in 1998 due to drug and alcohol use. Tryouts for Herky the Hawk opened up to the entire student body of UI. In 1999, Angie Anderson and Carrie MacDonald were the first female students chosen to be the mascot. Anderson was injured while playing Herky when an Ohio State band member wielded a 3-foot foam banana at her head. She filed a lawsuit against Ohio State and in 2002, Anderson was awarded $25,000. Shortly after, Herky’s “human identity” was kept a stricter secret and security members were also hired each year, in order to keep the mascot safe.

Dean Sieperda (Delta Tau Delta) dressed as Herky
Dean Sieperda (Delta Tau Delta) dressed as Herky

As a graduate of the UI School of Library and Information Science program, I learned through this internship many things about collaboration in libraries. I was welcomed onto the Herky Birthday Committee with open arms. I formed a great partnership with the Spirit Coordinator of UI. I learned about the awesome physical education collection at the Iowa Women’s Archives. All in all, I will truly treasure my time at the Special Collections. Even the rainy days were fun!

Join us September 14th, 2018 for a special Open House to celebrate the history of Herky. Event starts at 11AM and runs till 2PM, 3rd Floor of Main Library. Herky will even be joining us for the party starting at 12PM! All are welcomed to join! 

 

Photo Credits: Burch from Press Citizen, Rex from Regalia and Artifacts Collections (RG 31.01.01), and Dean Sieperda as Herky from F.W. Kent Photograph Collection (RG30.0001.001)

logo

On to the Next Chapter

Image of Colleen TheisenIt is with a mix of sadness and joy that Special Collections bids goodbye to Colleen Theisen as she leaves to start her next big adventure. Colleen has accepted a job at Syracruse University as their Chief Curator of Exhibitions, Programs, and Education. Although we are sad to see her go, we cannot help but feel excited for this new chapter in her life. While at Iowa, Colleen helped create the group Historic Foodies, curated the exhibit “The Land Provides: Iowa’s Culinary Heritage” at Old Capitol, grew Special Collections instruction program, and brought national attention through NBC Nightly News and Atlas Obscura to our collections. Colleen’s last day will be June 1st, and we wish her the best of luck!


Taking over as our new Outreach and Engagement Librarian is Elizabeth Riordan. A recent graduate from the University of Iowa’s School of Library and Information Science, Riordan has been involved with Special Collections for the past two years, working as the Brokaw Graduate Research Assistant this past year. A Des Moines native, Elizabeth received BAs in Anthropology and in Theatre Arts from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL. A self-diagnosed silent film nut, Elizabeth is excited to work more with the Brinton Entertaining Company Collection and other film-related material here at Special Collections. She looks forward to getting involved with the community and finding ways to bring the collections out of the stacks for all to see. 

Logo

Upcoming Events and Exhibitions

Events

 

World Canvass

The World Canvass program ” “Against Amnesia: Archives, Evidence, and Social Justice,” will feature Iowa Women’s Archives curator Kären M. Mason.

TONIGHT: Thursday, Feb. 22, 5:30-7:00PM

Event Calendar Listing

 

 

 

LogoArchives Crawl

Spec Collections, the University Archives, the Iowa Women’s Archives, and the Rita Benton Music Library are part of Archives Crawl.

When: Sat. Feb. 24, 11AM-3PM

Event Calendar Listing.

 

 

Against Amnesia Symposium

The following weekend there will be an “Against Amnesia” Symposium.

Event Calendar Listing.

When: March 1-3, 2018. 

 

History on Tap at Cedar Ridge Winery,

When: March 14, 5:30pm-7pm

Hear Kären Mason, curator of the Iowa Women’s Archives (at the University of Iowa Libraries) reflect on the significance of 6-on-6 high-school girls’ basketball, drawing on rich personal narratives from Iowa Women’s Archives collections. For most of the 20th century, the state of Iowa was nationally known for its devotion to a unique form of women’s sport known as 6-on-6 girls’ basketball. As other states abandoned 6-on-6, Iowa remained steadfast in its commitment until the state’s final 6-player championship in 1993, where Hubbard-Radcliffe prevailed over Atlantic, 85-66. The year 2018 marks the 25th anniversary of the end of 6-on-6 girls’ basketball in Iowa.

Free to attend. Registration required.

 

 

Exhibits

 

Invisible Hawkeyes – African American pathfinders & tastemakers, 1930-1970

By looking at the University of Iowa and a smaller Midwestern college town like Iowa City, this book reveals how fraught moments of interracial collaboration, meritocratic advancement, and institutional insensitivity deepen our understanding of America’s painful conversation into a diverse republic committed to racial equality.

Daily Iowan Article.

Event Calendar Listing.

 

 

Student Selections Exhibition

An exhibition co-curated by all the student employees in Special Collections. Their work processing collections, shelving books, providing references services, and teaching in our classroom brings the most beautiful, bizarre, profound, and silly historic items to their attention and each person provided a favorite item that you’re bound to love.

Where: Special Collections on the 3rd floor of the Main Library.
When: 8:30AM-5:00P M, W-F and 8:30AM-7PM on Tuesdays.

Daily Iowan Article.

Event Calendar Listing.

Logo

Iowa City Archives Crawl Saturday February 24th

LogoIowa City Archives Crawl

 Saturday, February 24 at 11:00am to 3:00pm

 

What gems are preserved inside of Iowa City’s libraries, museums, and archives?

At the area’s first-ever archives crawl, visitors can snoop in between the pages of historic diaries, read other people’s mail, hold feathers and fossils, and peer into mysteries revealed by historic artifacts like swords and locks of hair kept in remembrance.

All events are free and open to the public!

Between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm, the following sites will be open to the public. Each will offer tours, demonstrations, and short talks by experts (see specific times at archivesagainstamnesia.com/archives-crawl). Start your crawl at any of these sites, where you can pick up an archives crawl “passport” and map. Bring your fully stamped passport to any site for a prize!

  • University of Iowa Main Library, 125 W. Washington St.
  • University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, Macbride Hall, 17 N. Clinton St.
  • Iowa City Public Library, 123 S. Linn St.
  • State Historical Society of Iowa Research Center, 402 Iowa Ave.

All four sites will be open to visitors between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.

The Iowa City Archives Crawl will occur prior to the 2018 Provost’s Global Forum and Obermann Humanities Symposium, Against Amnesia: Archives, Evidence, and Social Justice.

Free and open to the public.

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 Colleen Theisen in advance at 319-335-5923.