Want to make historic recipes? Or how about reading handwriting, converting measurements, recreating historic cooking implements, food photography, or writing and blogging?
300+ years of handwritten cookbooks with thousands of recipes from Chef Louis Szathmary’s culinary collection from Special Collections & University Archives are now online in DIY History, the newest transcription project from the University of Iowa Libraries. Helpful people around the world are trying to puzzle out what the handwriting says. But is that where it ends? Unlike letters, diaries, or even menus, recipes are not done even what you can read what it says. They are instructions just calling out to be tested to bring a slice of history back to life one piece of hardtack at a time.
Sound interesting? Come to the first meeting and have a voice in determining what the group should be.
If you can’t make the meeting but want to be in the loop, e-mail colleen-theisen @ uiowa dot edu to be added to the e-mail list.
Tuesday, November 13th, 2012
PS-Z, 120 N. Dubuque St.
(3 blocks north of PS1, on the lower level of the Wesley Center)
Last weekend at the Iowa City Book Festival, Special Collections & University Archives hosted a Book Tasting event in the Old Capitol. As a closed stack library usually researchers and readers already have an item in mind when they come to see us. “Search” will turn up very different results from “browse” as a strategy and so to make it possible to find an unknown favorite, we created a Book Tasting event. Inspired by wine tasting parties, a “Book Tasting” features a selection of books that the “tasters” have not seen before to browse, add ratings, and perhaps find an unexpected favorite. Then when the ratings are tallied, a crowd favorite will emerge.
The collection of books we put together for the event was inspired by the exhibition across the hall in the Old Capitol Museum, “Insects: A Collection in Multiple Dimensions.” We selected 20 scientific books from the 18th and 19th centuries that have illustrations of collections of things. These collections include everything from an entire four volumes dedicated to every species of antelope to books on butterflies, mollusks, quadrupeds, or flowers. Due to the nature of scientific study at the time these are books that are illustrated in great detail and in the 100+ years represented in the sample, book illustration itself changes dramatically. The books also make it clear how these types of books were used in the 19th century as the University of Iowa got its start. Many bear traces such as singed edges and library bindings that tell the story of their survivial from the 1897 North Hall fire while many others bear the stamps of their former owners, eventual donors to the collections such as Dr. Mark Ranney and D.H. Talbot.
Though our end goal was to find a crowd favorite what emerged from the data collected was a picture of how diverse people’s interests are. 15 of the 20 books were listed as someone’s favorite. Three books tied to be the crowd favorite, #9 Popular Greenhouse Botany, #17 The Birds of Great Britain, and #20 History of Quadrupeds.
If you could not make it to the event please enjoy the gallery of images on Flickr that will give you a “taste” of what was there, including a cover, title page, and image from the book for each item that was featured. The crowd favorites will be featured this week in our “pop-up” exhibit case right inside the door. Find your favorite, and as always, feel free to stop by anytime to enjoy these books in Special Collections.
Sample a selection of vintage illustrated books exploring the natural world pulled from the stacks of Special Collections & University Archives at our Book Tasting event at the Iowa City Book Festival. Browse 19th century botany, gardening, children’s textbooks, animals, herbals and more! “Sample” a book, add some tags to help future browsers identify its “flavor” and finish it off with a rating. The highest rated item will be featured in our “popup” case inside Special Collections and through social media. Stop by, browse, sample, and enjoy!
3:00PM-4:00PM July 14th the Old Capitol Museum Supreme Court.
Two events with deep ties to history take place over the next week, and you can stop in to the Special Collections & University Archives reading room now to see a piece related to each.
On Sunday, June 3, a celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee features a procession of over 1,000 boats on the Thames river in London. While infrequent in recent history, processions on the Thames were once a popular way of commemorating public events in London. On view is the first issue of the Illustrated London News. The newspaper’s famous header image features a view of a water procession on the Thames as a part of the Lord Mayor’s Day.
On Tuesday, June 5, observers around the world will witness this century’s last transit of Venus, when the planet Venus is visible crossing the face of the sun. The transit is a rare event—the next will occur in 2117. In centuries past, the transit was an important scientific tool, as observations were gathered from different parts of the globe to determine the distance between the earth and the sun. Governments sponsored elaborate expeditions to gather observations. James Cook was sent by the Royal Academy to Tahiti to record his observations. On display is an engraving from Sydney Parkinson’s A Journal of a Voyage to the South Seas, in His Majesty’s Ship, the Endeavour from 1773, which depicts the fort from which Cook and his scientists observed the 1769 transit.
Are you looking for a cultural activity for this coming weekend? How about attending the Meskwaki Powwow in Tama, Iowa? Here is a little historical preview from our exhibition titled “American Indian Dancing: Ethnic Stereotypes, Community Resources, Living Traditions”:
The Powwow Then and Now
By the 1960s, American Indians were using the so-called “powwow circuit” – a network of dance competitions held near Native population centers across the U.S. – to socialize and revitalize their cultures. Eastern Iowa also hosted Indian dancing events. In dated language, Laurence Lafore mentioned it in the October 1971 issue of Harper’s Magazine.
“The surviving red men of the Mesquakie tribe are said to be degraded and oppressed, although the Tama Pow-Wow is a celebrated and good-natured show, and at the approach to Sac City there is a large billboard announcing “Welcome to the home of friendly Indians. You’ll like them without reservations”.”
The Meskwaki are proud that they got some of their territory back not through the grace of the U.S. government, but through their own peaceful efforts: they bought their old lands back from white settlers in Tama, Iowa. Thus they made Tama a settlement, and not a reservation. The billboard’s phrasing not only advertised the powwow, but it also expressed Native resistance to oppressive U.S. Indian policy with subtle humor.
This year’s Meskwaki powwow will be held in Tama between August 9 and 12, 2012. For details, please see the powwow website at http://www.meskwakipowwow.com/
Original blog entry on April 5, 2012:
Are you going to attend the University of Iowa Powwow this weekend (April 7-8)? Have you ever wondered about the origins of the event? This June, Special Collections and University Archives will be presenting an exhibit on the popular history of American Indian dancing from our collections. Here is a preview that can help you understand what goes on at the powwow.
The Powwow as Cultural Revival
Even as white Americans appropriated some of their culture to define Americanness, Indians never stopped using music and dancing for their own purposes. Having moved to the big cities on the U.S. government’s post-World War Two relocation programs, many Native Americans reached back to their tribal cultures for spiritual sustenance and dignity in the face of prejudice and poverty. By the 1960s, American Indians were using the so-called “powwow circuit” – a network of dance competitions held near Native population centers across the U.S. – to socialize and revitalize their cultures.
Student lobbying for more ethnic inclusion and cultural diversity on The University of Iowa campus led to the 1971 creation of the Chicano and Indian American Cultural Center, the predecessor of today’s Latino and Native American Cultural Center. The UI’s American Indian Student Association (AISA) became a separate entity in 1990. In addition to organizing conferences, service learning projects and outreach, the Center and AISA have been greatly enriching our communities with the annual University of Iowa Powwow ever since.
The powwow is an opportunity for all to respectfully share and support Native American cultures. The event has a well-defined structure and a program. It is usually held in a large hall with the dance arena in the center, with places for the drum groups, and surrounded by sections designated for resting dancers and their relatives, and the audience. Along the inner walls of the hall are the booths of arts and crafts vendors, as well as stands that sell Native American foods such as fry bread.
There is a protocol all must follow to make the event enjoyable and respectful. The program usually opens with an invocation or prayer ceremony. The opening event is almost always the marching in of veterans of U.S. wars with the country’s colors, stepping to a song that honors their military service. The subsequent dances have a strict order, and they are announced by the master of ceremony, a position of honor in Native America. Various dances for each sex include traditional style, jingle, and fancy dancing, and they differ in footwork, regalia, posture, and meaning. Often dancers perform their own story. Their regalia are the result of years of hard work, monetary investment, and meaningful gifts. Judges evaluate the dancers in each category, but also the drum groups and singers, who come from many corners of Native America. Besides the cash prize, winning a powwow category honors the dancer or musician, and furthers their own and their family’s reputation across Native communities.
The American Indian powwow is a combination of a variety of cultural forms. Some of its most prominent dance forms like the Omaha or the Grass Dance are derived from the old warrior society dances that Karl Bodmer and George Catlin recorded in their paintings back in the 1830s. Another origin of the modern powwow are the Old Glory Blowout gatherings held by Buffalo Bill in the 1880s near Indian reservations as auditions for the rodeos, dancing and re-enactment performances of his Wild West Show. These events encouraged inter-tribal interaction and cultural exchange, and led to more frequent gatherings with participants from a variety of Native nations. Community dancing also expressed resistance to white domination when the government’s officials were suspicious of or tried to suppress dancing on reservations. Since the mid-20th century, powwows have also featured honoring dances for Native American veterans of the U.S. military – which makes them events of veterans homecoming. When you experience a powwow, you can ‘read’ the event for traces of this rich history of Native-white relations.
BECAUSE us girls crave records and books and fanzines that speak to US that WE feel included in and can understand in our own ways…
BECAUSE we must take over the means of production in order to create our own meanings.
from “Riot Grrrl Manifesto,” Bikini Kill #2
In conjunction with the Mission Creek Festival of music and literature, Special Collections hosts “The Zine Dream and the Riot Grrrl Scene” on Friday, March 30 from 4-6 pm. A cooperative project of librarians, scholars, and zine-makers, this event will highlight the 1990s Riot Grrrl movement and its independent publishing zine culture by exploring the intersection of music, writing, and social issues.
The zine open house and interactive exhibition will give visitors the opportunity to interact with and learn about zines in a variety of ways. Monica Basile, a zine-maker, artist, and PhD candidate in Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies, will curate a browseable selection of zines in the reading room. We hope to open a conversation on the importance of zines and zine culture by inviting participants to share their experiences and thoughts for up to five minutes each, using the egg timer discussion format. Attendees will also have the chance to work on a collaborative zine which we will copy, collate, and share with all of the contributors. Zine newbies, Riot Grrrls, librarians, zine-makers, students, scholars, punk rockers, writers, community members – all are welcome; please join us!