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University of Iowa News Release

March 22, 2005

Library Exhibits Focus On New Acquisitions, Van Allen

Two new exhibits, one devoted to University of Iowa physics professor James A. Van Allen and the other to new acquisitions, have recently opened in the UI Libraries' Special Collections department.

"James A. Van Allen: Reaching Beyond the Stars" curated by Sarah Frese, a junior at Marshalltown High School, recounts some of Van Allen's most notable discoveries. Van Allen is among the 20th century's leaders in space research and the exhibit is part of Frese's award-winning 2004 National History Day project. After receiving first-place awards at the district and state level, her exhibit was selected as a finalist at the national level. Her exhibit is based on research conducted at the UI Archives, Department of Special Collections, where the James A. Van Allen Papers are located.

Frese is the daughter of the Rev. Jeffrey and Millie Frese of Marshalltown. Her brother, Stephen, is also a National History Day award winner.

"Recent Acquisitions," curated by Amy Cary, assistant head of special collections, includes medieval manuscripts, miniature books, artists' books and archives of UI student-run movie theater, The Bijou.

Among the acquisitions is "The Travels of Marco Polo," a Latin facsimile that contains margin notes by Christopher Columbus. A 15th century leaf from Pope Gregory I, "Homilies," comes to the UI Libraries from Northern Italy and can be dated to 1450.

"A Train Comes to Wichita" and "Jack!" are two new miniature books, which push the edge of what is commonly defined as miniature. "Train" is a narrow scroll text with watercolor illustrations that is wound into a miniature train. "Jack!" is a story about jacks or sailors that is mounted accordion style like a jack-in-the-box.

Both exhibits are open during regular library hours and will run through the end of May. Special Collections is located on the third floor of the Main Library and open Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. To learn more about the materials in Special Collections, visit

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,