Women’s History Wednesday!

When Dora Martin Berry was crowned the first black Miss University of Iowa in 1955, it made news around the world. “It’s not the color of the skin that should matter, it’s just the person,” she told reporters.

Unfortunately things were not as progressive as they seemed. As she explained in a 1997 oral history interview with the Iowa Women’s Archives, University administration immediately changed pageant rules to prevent such an occurrence in the future, and cancelled or had Berry replaced in events traditionally attended by the campus queen. Despite facing such discrimination, she still has positive memories of the experience. “I never wasted much time being upset about what they did or didn’t do, because they couldn’t diminish what had happened to me,” Berry told IWA. ”That was a gift that is mine to keep.”

Learn more at Iowa Digital Library:

Dora Martin Berry oral history, photos, clippings

African American Women Students at the UI digital collection


While we’re still crossing our fingers that the weather and flood levels don’t get any worse, here’s a small celebration of the University of Iowa. There are plenty more maps where this one came from, so go check ‘em out!

Anyone know what the “I am waiting for a streetcar” thing is about? I suspect there’s a 1930 inside joke I’m not getting.

MapCraig, Donald. The campus of the State University of Iowa. [Iowa City, Iowa]: Iowa City Branch of the American Association of University Women, [ca. 1930].


Time again for our weekly series - Miniature Mondays!

Robert Huet , The Miniature Collection of Shakespeare’s World.

This gorgeous wooden box houses twelve glittering books, all about William Shakespeare!  Each book is leather bound with gold tooling, and 1 x ¾ inch tall.  The books are written by various authors on subjects concerning Shakespeare and his era.   Some included titles are:  “Collected Insults of Shakespeare,” “Actors in 16th Century England,” “The Life of William Shakespeare,” and “Who Wrote Shakespeare’s Plays?”   For a complete list of titles, follow this link.

The Miniature Collection of Shakespeare’s World. Montreal, Canada: Roger Huet, 2000. Number 63 of 199.

 Post by Laura H.


I made a big move 2 days ago from California to the Midwest. It’s only been a good 48 hours, yet I’m homesick already. I miss the Bay, dearly. 

The Dungeness crab (Cancer magister, literally “master crab” in Latin) has a range from Santa Barbara to Alaska and is the largest edible crab in this area. It likes sandy bottomed areas or eel grass beds where it can bury itself in daylight hours. Watercolor and ink by Laura Streicher. You can see this specimen in the arthropod case in our Diversity of Life Exhibits on the ground floor.

Thanks to librarian Lindsay Morecraft for supplying perfectly themed thumbs for this shot.

Facsimile edition of the 15th century (ca. 1460-1477), heart-shaped Chansonnier de Jean de Montchenu (Ms. Occ. Rothschild 2973) housed in the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
Polyphonic chansons for 2-4 voices.
Choir book is in the shape of a heart. Issued in leather case (23 cm.).
Contains Middle French and Italian secular pieces by or attributed to Barbingant, Fedé, Bedingham, Dufay, Dunstable, Binchois, Frye, Busnois, Caron, Cornago, Ghizeghem, Morton, Ockeghem, Vincenet and others.
One of 1380 numbered copies signed by a notary.

Rita Benton Music Rare Book Room FOLIO M2 .C428 2010
University of Iowa.