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Primary Source Sets

This guide contains primary sources from UNI Museum and Special Collections & University Archives at Rod Library. This guide is intended to provide information about using primary sources in the PK-12 classroom for teachers and students alike.

Immigration / Migration

The history of European settlement in Iowa dates back to the 1830s spurred by the availability of affordable farmland, government incentives, and an expanding railroad system. Immigration and migration has continued since and involves populations from across the globe. Objects in this collection are representative of both modern and historic immigrant groups. 

Many items below come from various collections within Special Collections & University Archives. Finding aids to specific collections are linked below.

A curated sample of the UNI Museum materials related to elections can be found at the tag set linked below. More materials may be found by searching the online database available on our website. 

Primary Sources

Metal lantern with holes and slits punched out.

Tallow Lantern

Lantern made of pierced metal. A portion of a tallow candle is still inside. UNIM 00.31.7.6.

Letter discussing shingles

Letter

This letter discusses the benefits of cedar shingles. It includes mention of recently acquired territory in the Pacific Northwest, where red cedar is abundant. UNIM 00.31.38.

Hand forged curling iron

Iron

Hand forged metal curling iron. These irons would be heated directly on a stove or over a fire. UNIM 00.32.2.3.

 

Township map of Iowa, 1851

Map

Reproduction of a township map of Iowa from 1851. UNIM 1975.26.1.

Dept. of Int. flyer

Booklet

Booklet from the Department of Interior advertising farmland in Iowa. UNIM 1984.6.104.

8th grade exam

Examination

Rural school 8th grade examination, dating from 1915. These sorts of exams would be a part of the education provided in one room schools. UNIM 1986.4.305.

eyeglasses made to fold

Eyeglasses

Adjustable eyeglasses made of metal and glass. Dated to 1863. UNIM 00.32.2.1A.

beaded pouch

Pouch

Beaded watch pouch with leather interior. Hand stitched, Victorian style beadwork. Part of the Rownd family collection. UNIM 00.38.2.6.4. 

Herb Hake drawing of Father Marquette

Drawing

This drawing of Father Marquette was completed by Herb Hake during one of his chalk talks. Father Marquette was one of the first Europeans to settle in Iowa in 1673. UNIM 1974.24.3.

Herb Hake drawing of Lewis and Clark

Drawing

This drawing was completed by Herb Hake during one of his chalk talks. As he spoke of the Lewis and Clark expedition he would add more to the drawing, which initially started with a raccoon. UNIM 1974.24.4.

Herb Hake drawing of Ansel Briggs

Drawing

This drawing was completed by Herb Hake during one of his chalk talks. The theme of this talk was Ansel Briggs, who was the first governor of Iowa in 1846, after his career as a stagecoach driver. UNIM 1974.24.7.

Glass and metal railroad lantern

Railroad Lantern

Glass and metal lantern, circa 1913. The top of the lantern is embossed with "The Admas & Westlake Co. New York, Chicago, Phila.", "ADLAKE", "RELIABLE". The glass is embossed with "I.C.R.R." UNIM 1980.47.2.

Alaska map, including mines and gold fields

Map

Official map of Alaska, dated to 1897. This map includes routes to mines and the gold fields of the Klondike region. UNIM 1989.60.18.

embroidered textile square

Textile

Embroidered textile created by Hmong immigrants in Iowa. UNIM ED 2019-200.

Letter written by a German immigrant

Letter

A letter written by German immigrant Anne Westphal Nickel to her brother. The letter, written in German, describes the town of De Soto, IA in 1880. A translation of the letter is attached. From the Christian F. M. Westphal Immigrant and Family Correspondence, 1856-1918 collection, MsC-87 Box 1 and 2.

Letter written by a German immigrant.

Letter

A letter, written in German, describing life in America. A translation of the letter is attached. From the Christian F. M. Westphal Immigrant and Family Correspondence, 1856-1918 collection, MsC-87 Box 1 and 2.

Card with flowers on the front

Card

A card with a handwritten poem at the bottom, dated February 28, 1890. This card is in a collection of  materials from a German immigrant family. From the Freisian Family Collection, ca. 1874-1940, MsC-55, box 1.

Card with bible verse

Card

A small card from Sunday school with some lyrics from a Christian hymn in German. This card is in a collection of  materials from a German immigrant family. From the Freisian Family Collection, ca. 1874-1940, MsC-55, box 1.

Handwritten recipe for dandelion wine

Recipe

A handwritten recipe for dandelion wine. This recipe is in a collection of  materials from a German immigrant family. From the Freisian Family Collection, ca. 1874-1940, MsC-55, box 1.

Card presented to Trina Wickers

Card

A card and poem presented to Trina Wickers from her teachers on March 16, 1887. This card is in a collection of  materials from a German immigrant family. From the Freisian Family Collection, ca. 1874-1940, MsC-55, box 1.

A letter written in German

Letter

A letter written in German from an immigrant to another family regarding finding a house in Crete, Nebraska so that he could bring his family to America. A translation of the letter is attached. From the Christian F. M. Westphal Immigrant and Family Correspondence, 1856-1918 collection, MsC-87 Box 1 and 2.

Baptism certificate for Berend Wickers Nanninga.

Baptism certificate

A baptism certificate for Berend Wickers Nanninga. The certificate is written in German. From the Freisian Family Collection, ca. 1874-1940, MsC-55, box 1.