We are pleased to welcome Sarah Keen as our new university archivist in Special Collections & Archives.
Sarah joined the Libraries at the start of the fall semester. She comes to Iowa from upstate New York, where she served as Colgate University Libraries’ university archivist and head of Special Collections and University Archives. Previously, she was technical services archivist and American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences project archivist at Cornell University Library, and archivist for the Jane Harman Congressional Papers Project at Smith College. She earned her MSI from the University of Michigan and her BA from Alma College.
As an archivist, Sarah says that she enjoys “learning about people’s lives and their experiences as individuals and with the organizations they create.” She looks forward to learning about the University, its complex history, and its wide range of activities while collaborating with colleagues across campus.
When not digging through the archives, Sarah enjoys rowing, crocheting, and listening to music. She is also a Red Sox fan, and she enjoys reading mystery books and watching mystery/detective shows. Have we already told her about the culinary murder mystery books in Szathmary’s collection? You bet we have.
Welcome Sarah! We’re excited to have you on the team.
The following is written by Community and Student Life Archivist Aiden Bettine
The University Archives is embarking on a new, hands-on project to collect the history of student organizations on our campus, Student Organizations Archiving their Records or SOAR. The Purpose of SOAR is to ensure that the legacy of each student organization on the University of Iowa campus is being actively preserved. This project provides student organizations with archiving kits for their materials so they can engage in the archival process. Involving students in the organization, description, and care for their organization’s archival collection is an integral part of making the history of student organizations visible on our campus. Organization leaders will work closely with our Community & Student Life Archivist, Aiden Bettine, to ensure their collections move into the University Archives.
Students are an integral part of our campus history. One of the primary ways that students make an impact on our campus is through student organizations whether as founders, members, or leaders. Yet a challenge with collecting this history is the reality that leadership and organizational records change hands every couple of years. Through SOAR, our goal is that when a student organization has a leadership change, the awareness of being able to work closely with the University Archives is passed down.
Although the organizational records will vary from group to group, there are some consistent types of materials we collect to capture the history of an organization:
Annual financial budgets
T-shirts, buttons, stickers, etc.
Whether physical or digital versions of materials, the University Archives is ready to help preserve your organization’s history on our campus.
For student organizations that are affiliated with a center, office, or department on campus, SOAR offers the opportunity for archival storage outside of the University Archives in another campus space. This affords students the opportunity to keep their records close to where they gather regularly for ease of access and use. Storing materials on campus but outside of the Main Library also invites library patrons to learn more about an organization in context, to understand how institutional spaces for student organizations function on campus.
The University Archives is here to support the preservation and accessibility of each student organization’s history, regardless of where the materials are stored on our campus. We will work directly with each group to ensure the best decisions are made for the preservation and use of their collection. We want all our Hawkeyes to SOAR! To learn more about SOAR visit here.
Are you part of a student org and want to get involved in preserving your org’s history? Fill out the SOAR participation survey to tell us more about the materials you have.
He’s served as the University of Iowa’s institutional memory for the last 21 years, which includes writing the beloved Old Gold series. Now, University Archivist David McCartney is starting a new chapter.
McCartney, who is retiring on March 1, has been dedicated to ensuring access to Iowa’s history and also highlighting voices that are underrepresented in the University Archives. Throughout his career, McCartney also developed relationships across campus, working with classes or faculty in every department, as well as with many different people throughout the state, region, and beyond.
“David has tied together research questions and historical threads across campus, from the College of Medicine to the School of Art and Art History. He has such a passion for constantly learning more about the people and events represented in our collections and for uniting materials with those who need them,” said Margaret Gamm, director of Special Collections & Archives in the University of Iowa Libraries.
After publishing an award-winning article on the life of UI student Stephen Smith, a young man from Marion, Iowa, who found his voice through civil rights activism in the 1960s, McCartney organized the Historical Iowa Civil Rights Network to bring together related repositories and collections from across the state. He also established the Stephen Lynn Smith Memorial Scholarship for Social Justice. David has served as a consultant for many smaller archives and libraries throughout the Midwest, and volunteers much of his time with smaller nonprofit organizations. In addition, McCartney received the 2020 Staff Excellence Award from the Board of Regents, State of Iowa. He’s also held many positions in the Midwest Archives Conference, including president, and made invaluable contributions to the Big Ten Academic Alliance University Archivist Group and the Consortium of Iowa Archivists.
Throughout his time at the University of Iowa, McCartney has proven to be not only a leader in his field, but an advocate for growing the archives to include the many voices that make up Hawkeye history, as demonstrated in the current Main Library Gallery Exhibit “We Are Hawkeyes: Celebrating 175 Years of Student Life at the University of Iowa.” Curated by McCartney, along with Denise Anderson and Aiden Bettine, the exhibit is a fitting final showcase of McCartney’s work of collecting and lifting all voices to be heard.
“David’s contributions and dedication during his time serving as university archivist are unmatched,” said John Culshaw, Jack B. King University Librarian. “We wish him well and know that current and future generations will continue to benefit from his preservation of university history.”
The following is written by Asian Alumni and Student Oral History Project Intern Jin Chang
Since the start of the pandemic, prominent leaders have stood in front of crowds of American people calling COVID-19 the “China Virus” and “Kung Flu.” As a result, Chinatown businesses closed as tourists continued to avoid Chinatowns across America and racially charged attacks increased against Asian elders, including a mass shooting in Atlanta specifically targeting Asian Women in the massage industry. Unfortunately, all these moments had precedents in the past. The Chinese Exclusion Acts of 1882, which barred the Chinese from immigrating to America, was one of many policies motivated by Yellow Peril, a racist characterization for the fear of Asian people. This racist belief that East Asia and their people pose an existential threat to America influences the belief that Chinatowns are a uniquely dangerous spot of disease. Before COVID-19, Chinatown and Chinese people were blamed by many Americans for smallpox and cholera in the late 1800’s, the bubonic plague in the early 1900’s, and the SARS epidemic as recently as 2003. For the direct violence against Asians in America many of the wars in Twentieth Century American history have been against Asian countries, teaching Americans to view Asians as the enemy.
This longstanding history of Sinophobia, anti-Chinese sentiment, and the belief in Yellow Peril reveals the racism following COVID-19 is not some bizarre aberration. It is America’s history. While many of these notable early instances of racism against Asian people came from areas with heavy Asian populations such as California, Asian and Asian Americans have long lived in Iowa, and the population continues to grow in the present. As a Korean-American myself, I believe our experiences with navigating race and racism here in Iowa follows national trends, but I also believe there are many unique elements that come from reconciling race and racism as an Asian or Asian American in Iowa that is missing from the national discourses of today.
For the University of Iowa specifically, we are lucky to have the Asian Pacific American Cultural Center (APACC) as a space of community, healing, and empowerment for Asian Americans in the University. However, APACC began in 2003, and Asian and Asian Americans have long been forming communities in the University of Iowa. One group established in 1999, the Asian-American Coalition, served as a consolidated voice for many Asian Americans, and as one of the leading voices in the founding of APACC. Another group, the Asian American Women’s Group sought to address the specific needs of Asian American Women and predates the Asian American Coalition as it was established in 1993. Prior to the 1990s, many Asian international student groups existed on campus such as the Korean Student Association, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, and PERMIAS an Indonesian Student Association.
Many of these student groups are underrepresented in the University Archives. The lifecycle of student organizations also means that new iterations exist on our campus to serve Asian and Asian American students today, making it a challenge to capture organizations that have come and gone. While collecting materials from Asian and Asian American groups’ is a priority for the University Archives, the Special Collections & Archives team has also recognized the importance of collecting the stories of communities through oral history. Thus, over the course of the next year, the University Archives will be collecting oral histories of Asian and Asian American students and alumni from the University of Iowa. By capturing our stories and narratives through oral history, we have an opportunity to have our histories recognized and to create a genealogy for future Asian and Asian American students here at the University of Iowa.
If you wish to have your story included in the oral history archive, please contact Jin Chang at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following comes from Archives Assistant Denise Anderson
With the presidential election and Inauguration over, there has been a lot of talk about voting rights in the news. With Raphael Warnock’s win, Georgia’s first Black senator, we are reminded that the struggles and work of the Civil Rights Movement was not distant history.
This coincides with a recent discovery in the Darwin Turner Papers. While exploring the collection, we learned that the late U. S. Representative John Robert Lewis spoke at the University of Iowa in Shambaugh Auditorium on Friday night, June 16, 1978, about “Black Liberation and Political Action.” This was at the invitation of Darwin T. Turner, head of the Afro-American Studies Program here at University of Iowa. Turner organized 19 speakers for a two-week 1978 summer institute, the tenth at the University of Iowa, for teachers of Black history and culture from around the country. The 1978 theme was “Black Culture in the Second Renaissance: A Study of Afro-American Thought and Experience, 1954-1970.”
John Lewis had typed a brief acceptance letter in reply to Turner’s invitation, and then he turned the paper over and wrote a personal note on the back about the speech he had presented in 1963 at the March on Washington. He included with the letter a recent photograph of himself. Lewis was introduced in Iowa City as the former director of the Voter Education Project in Georgia and the associate director for domestic operations at ACTION, a volunteer service in Washington, D. C., within the Office of Public Affairs. In 1963, Lewis was also chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), an organization you can learn more about through the papers of Eric Morton. Darwin Turner said of Lewis– along with James Farmer, Larry Neal, Ed Bullins, and James Turner who were also there to speak–helped shape the culture of the era.
Another of the 19 speakers at the 1978 institute was Jibreel Khazan, born Ezell Blair, Jr. In his lecturer application, Khazan submitted a Bowsprit newspaper article that relates his experience as one of the Greensboro Four. On February 1, 1960, Blair (as he was known then), along with fellow Black college students Joseph McNeil, David Richmond and Franklin McCain, seated themselves at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and asked to be served. They told the waitress they preferred to sit after she directed them to the standing counter Woolworth’s had designated for Black patrons. She called a nearby police officer, who did not act, so the store closed early after the students had been sitting for about 15 or 20 minutes. These four students stated they felt different when they walked out of Woolworth’s. The following day, 24 Black students joined them at the lunch counter and the waitress just let them sit there. On the third day, the New York Times reported that the students would continue the sit-in until they were served, prompting sympathetic white students to join the hundreds of Black students. On the fourth day, the Ku Klux Klan arrived. As things became threatening, Black football players protected the students. Another store with a lunch counter, S. H. Kress, was also experiencing sit-ins. On the sixth day, the 3,500-student body voted to continue the sit-ins, followed by the arrival of thousands of demonstrators from area schools. Woolworth’s closed after receiving bomb threats. The next week, Greensboro students halted the sit-in during negotiations. However, sit-ins spread to other towns that week and the next. By the end of that February, Montgomery, Birmingham and Tuskegee were experiencing sit-ins. North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, South Carolina and Tennessee, as well. In May, Blair was arrested, charged with trespassing and fined. Finally, on July 25, Woolworth’s and Kress provided access to everyone at their lunch counters.
Following the death of Representative Lewis on July 17, 2020, a push to update the Voting Rights Act of 1965 has been renewed. In December, Senator Patrick Leahy’s website explained “the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act establishes a targeted process for reviewing voting changes in jurisdictions nationwide, focused on measures that have historically been used to discriminate against voters.” His legacy also lives in the work of the new senators coming to Washington D.C. After winning the election, Raphael Warnock tweeted “John Lewis was a mentor, friend and parishioner. I’m honored to fight alongside my brother [John Ossoff] to carry on his legacy.”
*Jibreel Khazan’s presentation, “The Advent of Divine Justice: Attitudes for Freedom,” was filmed, and will be placed in the Iowa Digital Library.
The University of Iowa Libraries is pleased to announce that Aiden M. Bettine will join the Department of Special Collections and University Archives as Community and Student Life Archivist effective January 4, 2021, a newly-created position in the Libraries’ Residency Librarian Program*. Bettine established the Transgender Oral History Project of Iowa in 2018 and is a Ph.D. candidate in the UI Department of History. He completed his M.A. in Library and Information Science at the University of Iowa in May 2020. He is also establishing a new lending library and community archives in Iowa City, the LGBTQ Iowa Archives & Library, which will open in January.
“I am excited for the opportunity to preserve underrepresented histories on our campus and in our community,” says Bettine. “As the Community and Student Life Archivist, I plan to prioritize archiving the materials of students of color and queer students on our campus including personal collections, oral histories, and working closely with student organizations. One of my primary goals is to actively collect materials from each cultural house on campus, knowing how critical these spaces are for supporting students and creating a community space at the university for both LGBTQ students and students of color.”
In his spare time, Bettine is an avid supporter of the United States Postal Service, making sure to send out mail at least once a week. He enjoys riding his bicycle and camping as well. Currently, Bettine is on a mission to visit all 83 of Iowa’s state parks and recreation areas.
*The UI Libraries offers early-career librarians or librarians new to research libraries, the opportunity for their first professional-level experience in academic librarianship via its Residency Librarian Program. The three-year appointment is designed to provide an immersion into academic librarianship, an opportunity to focus on areas of interest, and funding to support professional engagement at the national level.
It’s been over fifty-three years since Muhammad Ali spoke to a full house in the Iowa Memorial Union on the University of Iowa campus, but thanks to the Darwin Turner Audio Collection (and a grant to digitize this collection), anyone today can take a moment to listen to Ali’s words and advice to Hawkeye students back in 1967 on the digital exhibit Uptight and Laidback: Iowa City in the 1960s.
On November 20, 1967, Ali, who changed his name from Cassius Clay in 1964 after joining the Nation of Islam, came to the University as part of a series on Afro-American culture. The series, hosted by the Department of English and the Afro-American Studies Program, was to help provide a background for the course on Afro-American literature being offered at the University.
This recording is part of the Darwin Turner Audio Collection, a collection recently acquired by the University Archives. Darwin Turner became the chair of the newly formed Afro-American Studies Department in 1972, and held that position for nearly two decades. You can read more about his substantial contribution to the department and the study of African American culture in an Old Gold article written by University Archivist David McCartney. With the help of a recent grant from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, the University of Iowa Libraries has been working to digitize the over 400 recordings of speakers talking about African American culture.
This talk from Muhammad Ali demonstrates the mental strategy of this champion boxer. As the Daily Iowan article above states, “Muhammad Ali was a surprise, a refreshing experience. True, he jabbered, he chattered, he joked. But there was method to his madness. He had a point to make. And if you listened and laughed with him long enough you received an answer for your patience.”
His talk, which relied heavily on questions from the audience, involved a wide range of topics, including interactions with white TV personalities, his religion and the controversy around his stance on Vietnam, and the reason for using the term “Black” to describe a group of people.
This audio clip provides a rare glimpse into a time on Iowa’s campus. Since Muhammad Ali went to the audience almost straight away for questions, not only do you hear his stories and experiences, but you get a sense of what is on the mind of the students and community members who found themselves standing on the precipice of great change.
In honor of Homecoming week here at the University of Iowa, we asked our University Archivist David McCartney to pick the top ten favorite historical things here at the University. The items are in no particular order.
10. The Birthplace of Prime-time TV.
Sure, Westinghouse, General Electric, AT&T and other labs were testing television in the 1930s, but from 1933 to 1938, the State University of Iowa was broadcasting regularly-scheduled TV programs, the first in the nation to do so. Experimental station W9XK featured lectures, instruction, and musical and dramatic performances two or three evenings each week. Viewers from as far as Oklahoma and Indiana reported receiving the signal.
9. Nile Kinnick.
By all accounts, an outstanding athlete, gentleman, and scholar. The 1939 Heisman Trophy recipient. A consensus All-American. Phi Beta Kappa. Humanitarian. Kinnick died during a flight training mission while serving as an aviator in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
8. Master of Fine Arts Degrees Were Conferred Here First.
The UI was the first university in the nation to accept creative works in lieu of theses as requirements for advanced degrees in the arts, beginning in the 1920s. In 1940, it was the first in the nation to confer the MFA. Recipients of the newly-minted degree that year were Elizabeth Catlett, Jewel Peterson, and
Harry Edward Stinson. Catlett, a sculptor, was also the first African-American woman to receive the MFA.
7. A Space Exploration Hub.
James Van Allen advanced U.S. space research using satellites beginning in 1958, but did you know that Donald Gurnett of the Department of Physics and Astronomy is likely the only person on the planet to oversee space missions exploring the extremes of our solar system? Helios 1 and 2, which launched in 1976, explored the sun’s characteristics up close, while Voyager 1, which launched in1977, reached interstellar spaced in 2012- the first human-made object to do so.
6. Gay Liberation Front.
In 1970, the university recognized Gay Liberation Front (today, Spectrum) as an official student organization, the first in the nation. A generation later, in 1993, the UI extended spousal benefits to same-sex partners. It was another first among U.S. public universities.
5. The UI Stanley Museum of Art.
To paraphrase UI President Willard “Sandy” Boyd sometime in the 1970s, “Our football team is struggling but we have the best art museum in the Big Ten.” It’s still true today: Over 14,000 objects reflect broad and deep collections from diverse cultures and time periods. Jackson Pollock’s Mural will return to its permanent home for display after the new museum opens on campus adjacent to the Main Library.
4. The Afro-American Cultural Center, Leading the Way for Other Centers.
This year the Afro House celebrates 50 years as a space for African-American students to socialize, mutually support, and grow. Other centers on campus have followed, including those serving Latinx, Native American, Asian, LGBTQ, and other communities.
3. Those Rolaids Guys.
They invented not only Rolaids, but also Bufferin. William D. “Shorty” Paul, M.D., and Joseph Routh, Ph.D., were UI faculty members whose collaboration resulted in the two remedies found in many homes and workplaces today. Dr. Paul was the Hawkeyes’ team physician for over 30 years, beginning in 1939, and tried finding ways to provide safe, immediate relief to injured players. Working with Routh, they devised a formula to “buffer” the effect of aspirin without taking away its strength. Voila!
2. The Iowa Writers’ Workshop and UNESCO City of Literature.
Wilber Schramm established Iowa’s creative writing program in 1936, with Paul Engle to follow as its director from 1941 to 1965. Under their tenure, the Workshop became internationally recognized as a locus of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. To date, Workshop faculty and graduates have won 29 Pulitzer Prizes.*
1. The Wave.
It’s been in practice for only a year, but ESPN and other sports sources already call it the best tradition in college football today: The Wave. At Iowa home football games, the crowd- visitors as well as Hawkeye fans- turn east to the UIHC Stead Family Children’s Hospital across the street and wave en masse at the young patients looking on. Need we say more?
Runners up include: Dance Marathon, Soapbox Soundoff in the IMU during the 1960s, Grant Wood, and the power plant whistle.
**Images all from F.W. Kent Collection (RG 30.0001.001), University Archives
What do the UI Libraries and UI Athletics have in common? Hawkeye History! In this blog post, Chloe Waryan, Exhibit Design Intern at the University of Iowa Special Collections, interviews Gregg Niemiec, Spirit Coach of the Iowa Spirit Squad. For Herky’s 70th birthday, Gregg and Chloe team up in the Special Collections to discuss the items from the collections pertaining to Herky history. Read the interview below, and be sure to check out the exhibit “Hatching Herky” at the University of Iowa Special Collections and University Archives opening August 20!
Most days, I am at Carver Hawkeye Arena in my office by 9:00am. I start the day [by] checking emails and voicemails, responding back to questions fans have, organizing upcoming events, traveling for away games, and coordinating any other items for our 50+ members. Usually […] I am either moving bags of things in or out of Carver, to or from my car to keep Herky on the move. In the afternoons, […] I lead the Cheerleaders at practice. On weekends we have games and events. It is kind of a 24/7/365 job.
Do you conduct tryouts for Herky? What is that process like?
We have tryouts each spring. These start in late January with informational meetings [to] give everyone a heads up on what to expect. [F]rom there we do skills days, and get [the Herky candidates] ready for what they are getting themselves into: the walk, ball skills, improvisation, creativity, and movement. We will do a few rounds of these items as [candidates] get used to what is expected of them. Then there is normally a Final Tryout.
How many Herky’s are chosen per year?
There is one Herky the Hawk, who represents the University of Iowa. But Herky has some helpers called Herky Security. These members can usually be found with Herky, protecting the symbol of the University of Iowa. There are usually six Herky Security members each year.
What do you look for in a Herky candidate?
Athleticism, creativity, ability to think quickly on your feet, love of the Hawkeyes, and ability to communicate. During the tryout process all of these items are tested, along with doing an interview with all of them, and lots of time to talk between things at tryouts.
What does Herky do and where can Herky be seen?
Herky can be found just about anywhere – all Hawkeye Athletic events, and most of the larger campus events (ONIOWA!, Homecoming, Dance Marathon, Orientations, Admissions Days, etc)… Craziest [places where] Herky has been seen: rappelling down a building, a few funerals, swimming (with proper lifeguard notification), and pretty much just about anywhere.
You said that you helped with the art installation project Herky on Parade. What was that process like?
The installation of Herky on Parade took place in the middle of the night. [In 2014], they had special shirts made for those helping, with a logo describing the night as a secret installation of Herky on Parade. There were 3-4 teams of people that met at the storage area and helped pull the statues out onto UHaul trucks. We loaded those up with 6-8 people and went to our designated areas around town. The concrete bases were already in place, so we would take the statue out of the truck and place it on the base and fasten it with large bolts to the base. We would place a name plate on each and then cover them up, as the big reveal happened the next morning. It took about three hours. It was neat to see them pop up around campus as we drove to the next one. The next morning, volunteers helped at each of the sites and pulled the covers off. It was great to see the creativity of the artist in what they did. From Hayden Fry Herky, Star Trek Herky, Farmer Herky, to some artistic Herkys that made you think. It was neat to see and be a part of the installation staff of Herky on Parade.
What is one thing about Herky that we might not know?
He has a cousin named Perky. She hangs out at the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Perky makes kids young and old happy as they go through some rough times at the hospital.
How do you think libraries and athletics can work together?
There is a lot of history in Athletics around the University, and those events […] can be brought to life at the library, with books and media that reflect what Athletics around the University has done. Libraries are a cornerstone of knowledge, without them we would be lost.