For those unaware, I went out to Chicago for Vintage Computer Festival Mid-West 10 this past weekend.  I had alot of fun, but I figured it was time to break down my experiences and what made the whole thing different when compared to the 4 previous VCF East’s that I had attended.

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Bertha Maude Horack Shambaugh (1871-1953) was born in Cedar Rapids, IA and attended the University of Iowa from 1889 to 1896.  She taught natural science at Iowa City High School from 1892 until 1897—the year she married her husband Benjamin Shambaugh (1871-1940).  Benjamin Shambaugh was a professor at the University of Iowa from 1896 to 1940 and superintendent at the State Historical Society of Iowa for almost as long.  Bertha Shambaugh was a historian in her own right; she gave several speeches throughout her lifetime and wrote extensive histories of the Amana colonies titled: Amana: The Colony of True Inspiration (1908) and Amana That Was and Amana That Is (1933).  The Shambaughs often acted as hosts for visiting scholars and were very involved in the university community.  Bertha maintained a record of their daily meals and parties in her House Books which contain letters, notes, telegrams, and photographs.

I found the scrapbooks from Bertha Shambaugh’s teens incredibly charming.  Created sometime in the 1880s, the scrapbooks are a collection of valentines, cards, and dried flowers.  To me, the scrapbooks indicate a predisposition to keeping records anticipating her House Books. I love how vivid all of the colors are and that cards with parrots were apparently a fad!  And that someone 135 years earlier also collected images of gnomes and silly mustaches!

-Jillian P.

Shambaugh Family Papers RG 99.0152

Scrapbooks Box 40, House Books Boxes 19-31


Happy 125th Birthday to Surfing Pioneer,  Duke Kahanamoku!
(8/24/1890 - 1/22/1968)

Did you notice today’s Google Doodle in honor of surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku?

Credited with helping to popularize the sport of surfing, Duke Kahanamoku was born in 1890 to a prominent Hawaiian family. Honing his swimming skills while growing up in Hawaii, he went on to earn medals at the 1912, 1920, and 1924 Summer Olympic Games, followed by an acting career and several terms as the sheriff of Honolulu. The National Archives holds several items related to Duke Kahanamoku, including his World War I Draft Registration Card, in which he lists his occupation as a diver for the Honolulu Public Works Department.

(Thanks to colleagues at the National Archives at Seattle, Eisenhower Presidential Library, and fdrlibrary for the finds!)