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School's (almost) out for summer

The spring semester is winding down and for many UW students this will be our last week of classes before the dreaded week of finals. So let's take a moment to reminisce about the times we have had this semester in lectures, labs and discussions across our UW campuses statewide.

On the left, from our History of UW-La Crosse collection, are some students from the campus sitting in a lecture hall in 1962. Professor Jim Lafky is teaching his class in Main Hall. Does this scene look familiar to any UW La Crosse students this year?

From the History of UW-Oshkosh collection, here are some students working in a lab in the 1930s-1940s. I wonder what kind of experiments they are working on? How are the student scientists out there doing; are you almost finished with your work for the semester?

And lastly, what about all of you artists out there? Have you had enough time this semester to explore your artistic side? These students on the left are listening to their professor during an art education class during the 1960s. I hope you have had enough time to prepare and are ready to turn in your final pieces.

Well, this is it, the final days of the semester. I hope everyone learned a lot and will be ready when fall rolls around again.


Wedding Fashions

As I'm sure everyone in the world knows by now, this weekend is the royal wedding. On Friday, Prince William and Kate Middleton will be married at the famous Westminster Abbey. The flowers have been chosen the seating plan is confirmed, but one important piece is still being kept secret: the dress. There have been rumors about who will design the dress and what it will look like, but the people will not know until that day.

While the world is thinking about what dress Kate will wear, we thought we would look at some wedding dresses from our collections.

On the left, from our collection on the history of Kiel, WI, is Ernst and Adela Oemichen Witthuhn in their wedding attire from the late 1800s. She is wearing a high-necked dress, draped with fringe and rows of beads. We know Kate's dress will also be very modest and covered up, much like this dress.

Now this dress on the right is fit for a royal. This is a model of a wedding dress in the Middle Atlas. The image is from our Africa Focus collection and was taken by Douglas Boyan. I'm guessing that Kate's dress won't be this colorful, but it should be this grand much like the dress Princess Diana wore at her wedding.

Our collections are full of wedding dress fashions from around the world. Soon we will have a day of Twitter images dedicated to wedding dresses.

So what do you think Kate's dress will look like? Will you be watching the royal wedding?


Celebrating 100!

Today we are celebrating our 100th blog post! We hope that you have enjoyed reading our blogs and will continue to read them as we go. We want to keep providing you with interesting and useful information. To celebrate our 100th, we asked some of our coworkers what their favorite collections were, here is what they said.

One person said they could get lost in our Casselman archive. The Casselman Archive of Islamic and Mudejar Architecture in Spain is a beautiful image collection containing over four thousand color slides and black and white photographs of medieval Spain taken by the late Eugene Casselman during his thirty years of travel throughout the Iberian peninsula. It is easy to see how you could get lost in this collection, the images are so detailed and interesting.

Another collection, which many of you may recognize, got two votes for staff favorite, one of them being mine. The Kenosha County History collection is another well digitized image collection. The image collection is made up of the Dewey Lantern Slides and the Louis M. Theirs Glass Negatives. I highlight this collection quite a bit, but I can't help but love the great images of my hometown. This image is probably my favorite in the Kenosha History collection and arguably my favorite in our entire collection.

Lastly, the Artists' Book collection was also mentioned as a favorite. This collection is a descriptive index to the Artists’ Book Collection, located in the Kohler Art Library, University of Wisconsin-Madison. The images in the collection provide a detailed looks at the books within the physical collection. The database indexes approximately 760 of those titles, over 500 of which have one to four images to visually represent the structure and/or content of the book. These books are very intricate and detailed. If you haven't yet, take a look and then visit the actual books over in the art library.

I hope you enjoyed this post and will continue reading. Do you have a favorite collection? Let us know! We'd love to hear from you.


Happy Birthday to the Wisconsin Band!

This past weekend the University of Wisconsin Varsity Band performed three concerts celebrating their 125th anniversary. The birthday celebration featured pyrotechnics, multimedia, special guests and surprises, all led by conductor Michael Leckrone.

To commemorate this 125th birthday, we wanted to highlight some images of the Varsity band through the ages. On the left is the first known photograph of a University of Wisconsin-Madison band. The photo dates back to 1896. This band looks pretty small compared to the 300 person band we see at football games today. I wonder if they even had enough people to make a stable pyramid?

Here is a photo of Mike Leckrone directing the band in 1982. Leckrone has been the band director since 1968. I wonder if he knew how to 'Bucky' back then?

Our History of UW-Madison collection is full of images of the band. There are images from football games, hockey games, images of the band in formation and standing on their heads. It is a great collection and anyone interested in the band should take a look.

For those that went to the concert this weekend, how was it? Do any of our images do justice to your experience? Let us know!


Union South Grand Opening

Today is finally the day the new Union South opens. At 11am, a large terrace chair will be moved from Memorial Union to the new Union South to symbolize the connecting of the two buildings and mark Union South as officially open to students, union members and their guests. There are events happening all day, and all weekend at the new union. For more information on events visit the Grand Opening website.

To help celebrate the opening of Union South, we thought we would take a trip down memory lane and look at the old Union South with the help of our Badger Yearbooks collection. The first Union South was opened in 1971 at the same spot the new union is now. Union South has always offered students a different atmosphere then Memorial Union, and this new one has many of the same features.

In the 1975 Badger Yearbook, they had this article on the two unions. The article says Union South is especially for students "on the other side of campus" or for those who had classes past the railroad tracks. At this union students could play video games, pool, table tennis, go bowling and hang out at the Snack Bar.

One tradition that always took place at Union South was Fasching. Fasching was the beer drinking festival that students looked forward to just before Ash Wednesday. Students could travel between both unions on buses to celebrate. There was polka music and lots of beer. Fasching brought lots of great entertainers to the union and the students were treated with free sauerkraut, brats and cheese.

This all sounds wonderfully Wisconsin to me. Maybe in the next few years we will see some of these traditions come back to the unions. For now, everyone should try and make it to some of the Union South Grand Opening celebrations.

Welcome, Union South, we cannot wait to make more memories with you.


Wisconsin Goes to War

Yesterday was the 150th Anniversary of the start of the Civil War. We've been tweeting Civil War related images all day and though it would be nice to highlight one collection in particular, the Wisconsin Goes to War: Our Civil War Experience collection.

Wisconsin Goes to War is filled with first person stories and narratives from Wisconsin soldiers and citizens. The collection includes poems, letters, diaries and other written records that help us understand Wisconsin's part in the Civil War and how it effected us at home.

Many of these items are hand written and were chosen based on subject matter and legibility. Many of them also include a typed transcription to help with research.

In the collection is a poem written by Jules Francois in March 1862 while in Camp Utly at Racine, Wisconsin. Here is an excerpt from the poem:

We come from the valleys of the young Badger State, Where the prairies are so grand, so magnificent and great. We have rallied round the banner of the brave and the free, Around our own starry banner in Dillion's battery.

The rest of the poem can be read in the collections. When you have time, take a look at some of the letters, they can help you get a real sense of Wisconsin's part in the Civil War.


National Library Week

This week, the UWDC and libraries all over the country are celebrating National Library Week 2011. We are celebrating by highlighting some library gems in our collections.

This image on the left is from our History of UW-La Crosse collection. Students and faculty worked “all day and into the evening” Feb. 4, 1957 for operation book lift. They carried books from the library in Graff Main Hall to the university’s new library, the Florence Wing Library, named for the school’s first librarian.

This image on the right is from the Kenosha County History collection. The image takes place in Library Park and the large building in the back is Simmons Library. I remember visiting this library for the first time when I was little, it was beautiful. This image was taken on the day the monument was unveiled.

Do we have any images of libraries that you want to celebrate this week? Let us know and we will highlight them for you!

Also, we are tweeting libraries all day! If you aren't already, follow us @UwDigiCollec.


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