The September 29th Movement digital collection brings together records of the September 29th Movement, and the university’s response. Also included are records documenting the renaming of Old Botany Hall to Carrie Chapman Catt Hall.
A student lead effort, the September 29th Movement (1995-1998), began as a reaction against the renaming of Old Botany Hall in honor of Carrie Chapman Catt. Catt was a graduate of Iowa State (1880) and a national leader in the women’s suffrage movement. The decision to rename Old Botany Hall in honor of Catt became a divisive issue due to controversial remarks she had made while campaigning for women's suffrage. The approval to rename the building in honor of Catt was given by the Board of Regents on June 27, 1990, and the building was officially named in her honor in 1995 after major renovations to the building were completed.
The Movement’s efforts centered around advocating for the renaming of Catt Hall. Stated goals from the Movement’s website were that it was “dedicated to the elimination of racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, and classism at Iowa State University, recognizing that changing the name of Catt Hall, a symbol of exclusion, must be the first step in that struggle.” One of the group’s first major actions was to publish an article in the September 29, 1995 (October 1995 issue) Uhuru!, a student publication by the Black Student Alliance. Titled “The Catt’s Out of the Bag: Was She Racist? Racism in the Suffrage Movement,” the article included a request to rename Catt Hall. After over three years of the Movement’s efforts, the Government of the Student Body’s Catt Hall Review Committee: Final Report, released in November 1998, gave recommendations on how the campus might find a sense of closure to the controversy.
The administration’s response was not universally received with favor, and related dialogue exists today on campus. Efforts will be made to continue to document those past voices, with plans to add them to this digital collection. Although most members involved in these first efforts are no longer on campus, the issues they raised continues on in campus conversations about Carrie Chapman Catt and related topics on diversity and inclusion.
This is not a comprehensive list. Consult the Iowa State University Library’s Special Collections and University Archives for additional archival resources.
Iowa State University Library Resources
Carrie Chapman Catt papers, RS 21/7/3,Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives.
“Catt Hall,” Iowa State University, Facilities Planning and Management Buildings and Grounds records, RS 4/8/4, Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives.
Iowa State University Library Digital Collections. “Carrie Chapman Catt digital collection.” http://cdm16001.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/search/collection/p16001coll7
Iowa. Board of Regents. Minutes. Call number L148 B5. (Note: The approval for naming Catt Hall came at the June 27, 1990 meeting, pages 749-750 in the 1989-1990 minutes.)
Iowa State University Steering Committee on Diversity records, RS 8/6/112, Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives.
M. C. (Martin C.) Jischke papers, RS 2/13, Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives.
Patricia Swan papers, RS 6/1/15, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives.
September 29th Movement records, RS 22/3/3, Iowa State University Library Special Collections and University Archives.
The ISU Digital Repository will also have resources, including:
Iowa State University Archives of Women’s Political Communication. “Carrie Chapman Catt.” https://awpc.cattcenter.iastate.edu/directory/carrie-chapman-catt/"
Library of Congress. “National American Woman Suffrage Association Collection. Articles and Essays. Carrie Chapman Catt.” https://www.loc.gov/collections/national-american-woman-suffrage-association/articles-and-essays/carrie-chapman-catt/
Harris, L. Wesley and Alade McKen. “September 29th Movement.” https://september29thmovement.wordpress.com/. 2016. Accessed February 12, 2019.
Carrie Chapman Catt’s papers can be found in several institutions, in addition those held at the ISU Library:Carrie Chapman Catt papers, M15, 1840-1947, Bryn Mawr College. http://hdl.library.upenn.edu/1017/d/pacscl/BMC_USPBmBMCM15
Carrie Chapman Catt papers, 1848-1950. Library of Congress.
Carrie Chapman Catt papers, 1904-1947, New York Public Library.
Carrie Chapman Catt papers, 1850-1958, Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College Library.
Papers of Carrie Chapman Catt in the Mary Earhart Dillon collection, 1904-1946, Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. https://hollisarchives.lib.harvard.edu/repositories/8/resources/5200
Papers of Carrie Chapman Catt in the Woman’s Rights collection, 1904-1947, Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. https://hollisarchives.lib.harvard.edu/repositories/8/resources/8317