July – October 2006

Shirley Briggs

Birds have long captured the imagination of humans; those inhabiting the land we now call Iowa are no exception. Eagles, owls and pigeons figured prominently in Ioway clan culture; white explorers and settlers of the 1800s began almost immediately to chronicle bird observations, collect eggs and eventually compile detailed lists of birds seen in Iowa. Once the American public became aware of the large number of birds being slaughtered for the plumage trade in the late 1800s, the bird protection campaign began, making it the first organized conservation movement in the United States. A number of Iowans have played key roles in the early and ongoing efforts to preserve both bird species and habitat; many more have contributed in quieter but no less important ways through the keen observation and thoughtful, methodical recording of bird sightings year after year, producing not only a valuable record for researchers but also a reminder of the enduring fascination we have with these winged creatures.  Words, Like Feathers Fly offers snapshots of this moving story by way of the rich collections at the UI Libraries and other affiliated collections.

Birds and Birding in Iowa Resources

Iowa Women’s Archives

Pearl Knoop

Shirley Briggs

Special Collections

Arthur Francis Allen

Jay Norwood Darling

John Towner Frederick

Frederick Lange Grundtvig

Bernt Olaf Wolden

Iowa Author’s

D.H. Talbot

John W. Tobin

Online Resources

Birds of North America

Iowa Ornithologist’s Union

Iowa Birding

Raptor Project

Rachel Carson

Environmental History Timeline

Iowa City Bird Club

Library of Congress, Conservation Collection

Other UI Collections

Calvin Photographic Collection, UI Paleontology Repository

UI Natural History Museum


Exhibit Planning
Lisa McDaniels, Kristin Baum, Mary Noble, Selina Lin, Mary Francis, Noelle Sinclair and Denise Roberts

Collection Assistance
Janet Weaver and Karen Mason, Iowa Women’s Archives; David McCartney, Jacque Roethler and Denise Anderson, Special Collections and University Archives; Cindy Opitz, UI Natural History Museum

Production and Installation
Kristin Baum, Jessica White, Mary Francis, Susan Hansen and Caitlin Moore. Additional assistance provided by Pat Hogan, Alison Kilman, Joel Maxey and Jodi Scholl

Graphic Design
Joe Kranjnovich and Jessie Alaniz