Special Collections and University Archives

The Special Collections Department at Iowa State University was established in 1969. Stanley Yates was hired and appointed Head of Special Collections. Dorothy Kehlenbeck was appointed the University Archivist and Isabel Matterson the Manuscript Curator. That’s not to say that there were no relevant collections before the department was created and staffed. The new department consolidated the already existing College History and Rare Books collections. The College History Collection was a cooperative effort, led by the University Library and the College History Committee, to preserve Iowa State University’s history.

In July 1919, the Alumni Association charged Dean Edgar W. Stanton with writing a history of Iowa State College in preparation for the College’s upcoming semi-centennial celebration. Tragically, Stanton died in 1920 from influenza. In 1922, Louis H. Pammel, professor of Botany, was appointed as committee chair, and the committee renewed its work. In 1942, A History of the Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts was published by then Chairman of the Committee on History of the College, Earle D. Ross.

In 1953, President Hilton requested $2,500 from the Alumni Association’s Achievement Fund to process the materials from the College History Collection. Dorothy Kehlenbeck was hired as the College History Collection Curator, and the documentation compiled by Stanton, Pammel, and Ross were moved to the Parks Library from the temporary building where they had been stored.

I selected these particular posts from 2018 because they represent SCUA’S mission:

The Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives collects, preserves, and shares documentation of the experiences, achievements, and memories of people and organizations reflecting the university’s major research areas, with a special commitment to documenting the history of the university. Supporting the land-grant ideals of putting science, technology and human creativity to work, we strive to enrich learning and encourage investigation by a diverse community of users.

These posts also demonstrate our commitment to preserve and share stories from our collections that are not as well known as the other narratives that are more commonly told about Iowa State’s history or from our other collection areas.


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Cardinal Tales: Highlights from 2018 Copyright © 2019 by Iowa State University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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