Old Gold: Clicking through treasure troves of UI history

Old Gold: Clicking through treasure troves of UI history

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Online yearbook, newspaper collections provide perspective, entertainment
1944 image of students walking down steps near Old Capitol
This image, taken from the 1944 University of Iowa yearbook, is part of the UI Libraries' online collections of Hawkeye yearbooks and Daily Iowan newspapers. These archives include a century of yearbooks and nearly 150 years’ worth of newspapers, and are searchable by date or by word or phrase.

(Editor’s note: The Old Gold series provides a look at University of Iowa history and tradition through materials housed in University Archives, Department of Special Collections.)

Old Gold really needs to get back into an exercise routine. Jogging isn’t necessarily high on his must-do list, but he recognizes that getting that cardiovascular thing in order is important.

Jogging the memory is certainly a good thing, too, since mental exercise complements the physical. Luckily for Old Gold and other like-minded Hawkeyes, there are at least two easy and fun ways to boost memory—at least in the context of campus life—and both are available online for free, courtesy of the University Archives of the University of Iowa Libraries: the Hawkeye yearbooks and The Daily Iowan student newspaper.

Since 2011, both resources—two of the archives’ most frequently consulted—have been accessible on the Web. Whether they are searched to help settle an argument, to research a historical or genealogical question, or to simply satisfy idle curiosity, the online collections are a treasure trove of university history, mostly from the perspective of students at the time of publication.

Black-and-gold cover of the 1969 Hawkeye yearbook, with a photo of a crowd and a guy flashing the peace sign
Cover of the university's 1969 yearbook. Image from the Hawkeye yearbook collection, University Archives, Department of Special Collections, UI Libraries.

From its inception in 1892 until 1946, the Hawkeye was a project of the junior class; from 1946 until the 1970s, it was produced primarily by students enrolled in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. In its final years, 1978 until 1992, any students who were interested in chronicling campus life could contribute.

The Daily Iowan premiered as The University Reporter in 1868, becoming a daily newspaper and adopting its present-day name in 1901, an independent publication that has been closely associated with the journalism program over the years.

During the 1930s and ’40s, the DI published six days a week (not on Mondays). Its first edition following the Dec. 7, 1941, Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was Tuesday, Dec. 9. (It is possible that an extra edition was published on Dec. 7, but the University Archives has no record of it.) Sometimes, too, we don’t appreciate the gravity of a breaking news story until history proves it so. The stock market crash of October 1929 was front-page news, but was overshadowed by a football-related story. And at the height of the anti-war protest era is this front page of the DI recounting the October 1969 Moratorium.

So, bookmark these pages and start using/researching/enjoying them: the Daily Iowan Historic Newspapers Collection and the University of Iowa Yearbooks Collection. Both are searchable by date or by word or phrase. Or you may simply browse through a selected or random issue.

The two online collections are part of the Iowa Digital Library, a project of the UI Libraries and its campus partners, featuring more than 1 million digital objects, including a century of yearbooks and nearly 150 years’ worth of newspapers.


David McCartney, special Collections, University of Iowa Libraries, 319-335-5921


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