“Come and play with us”: Children in the Bowles-Hoar Family Papers

Come and play with us…forever…and ever…and ever…

First, the obvious: archives tend to contain papers about adults.  Because that fact is a given, we may not stop to wonder about it very often.  It really couldn’t be otherwise, since children don’t tend to create and accumulate “papers,” except maybe the kind that get taped to the front of refrigerators, then maybe stashed in a drawer and eventually, regretfully, thrown out.  There are certainly collections here or there whose main subjects are children, but those are few by comparison to those in which the focus is on adults.

But children appear in collections anyway, most particularly in family papers.  As I’ve been processing the Bowles-Hoar Family Papers, I’ve noticed a lot of material related to children, most of it from members of families in the collection, a little of it from close friends or just acquaintances.  In this post, we’ll look at some of these children, including children who appear without names or other clear ways to identify them.  Apart from public records (birth, death, census, etc., where you’d need at least a name), some of these children may have no documentation other than what’s here, and our small, unique patch of record is all there is for “proof of life.”

The first child to catch my attention (and haunt me during evenings and weekends) was little Mary Bowles Foote. Ironically (from the archival point of view), Mary herself has no documentation in the collection, no doubt because her death as a toddler meant that she didn’t leave anything behind. I only know about Mary because I started to chart the families represented in the collection and stumbled across her existence while focused on her mother, Julia.

As I pieced Mary’s story together, the significance of her short life and early death became clear. I learned that Mary was the granddaughter of Samuel Bowles II, the founder of the “Springfield Republican” newspaper, and the daughter of his eldest child, Julia. Julia appears once in George Merriam’s biography of her brother (the most famous Sam Bowles) in Merriam’s description of her parents’ trip with their infant daughter “up the river in a flat-boat…bringing a hand-printing press and some scanty furnishings” from Hartford to Springfield, where her father started his paper in September 1824. Little more is known about Julia other than that she attended Springfield’s “Old High School” and subsequently married a fellow student named Adonijah Foote (sometimes Foot), whose family was related to Julia’s sister-in-law Mary Bowles. Foote studied to be an engineer, and his first jobs included work on the Connecticut River railroad and the Holyoke canals.  Adonijah and Julia then moved to New Jersey, where he probably worked on the Central Railroad of New Jersey, which was still under construction at that time. Their baby daughter Mary went with them, something we only know because of an announcement in the “Republican” of her death from dysentery in New Jersey on August 17, 1851.  New Jersey newspapers show that the incidence of deaths from dysentery in the region had doubled in the month of Mary’s death, and the toddler probably died within two weeks of the first signs of illness. Julia then returned to Springfield with the body so that it might be buried in the relatively new Springfield Cemetery.  During this time Julia also fell ill from dysentery. On August 29, she died too. By this time, her father had caught it, and less than two weeks later, on September 8, he died too. The family must’ve been stunned at this triple loss.  If they understood anything about contagious illnesses, they must’ve feared more consequences, since at this point the extended family — three generations — all lived together on Union Street in Springfield.  In this way, little Mary’s illness and death had rippling consequences for the family and their newspaper — not only were three family members dead within a month, but Samuel Bowles III was now the head of the newspaper much earlier than he would have anticipated.  The stresses on him were enormous.

I visited the Springfield Cemetery recently but found no marker for Mary. An old cemetery plan indicates that she was known in the family as Minnie and that she was buried next to her mother, whose small, flat marker was barely visible when I visited.

At left, a section of the Bowles plot plan. At right, Julia’s stone. It reads: “Julia Bowles Foot/ [Wife?] Adonijah Foot/ Aug. 29, 1851/ Aged 27 Yrs.” There may be additional text at the top that is too worn to read.

Another Mary– Mary Dwight Bowles, called Mamie — provides a lighter note. This Mary was the daughter of Samuel Bowles III and his wife Mary Schermerhorn.  Little Mary is the Bowles child Emily Dickinson referred to as “Minor ‘Mary’,” to whom she promised “a Butterfly with a vest like a Turk…”  Mary was born in 1854 and was the third of seven surviving Bowles children.   As you might expect, the older children helped out with the younger ones.  On the right side of this note from early 1862, Mary anticipates a few chores in connection with her newborn brother Charles Allen Bowles:

Three unidentified children — two girls who seem to be twins and a younger boy, presumably their brother — appear in a daguerreotype and a pair of ambrotypes. Over the course of my work on the Bowles-Hoar papers, I have yet to come across twins in either family. The only twins I know of that have some connection to the collection are twins Fanny and Annie Stebbins, born in 1855 and friends and next-door neighbors to the Bowles family on Crescent Hill, but I’m not sure their dates work, and the brother isn’t “right” either.  I keep all these names and images in mind in case something pops into place someday and I suddenly know for certain who they are. But whoever these children are, I love their little faces, especially the slightly furrowed brow on the girl at right. Is she concentrating on staying still or is she irritated at the photographer? She looks ferocious — I like to imagine she grew up to be a terror.

These same children appear in ambrotypes taken a year or two later.  In both images, you can see that the boy has a distinctive nose that could help identify him if he appears in other photographs.  Here, though, the girls remind me a bit of the Grady girls in “The Shining,” just because I’m programmed to associate “twin girls” with those famous characters.  Maybe the boy’s name will turn out to be Danny.

“Hello, Danny.”

“Come and play with us, Danny.” The spectral Grady girls from “The Shining.” In the novel by Stephen King the girls were not twins.

Beth Hoar Bowles appears as a child in several images. Beth is the main collector of the Bowles-Hoar papers, the first person who inherited, gathered, and preserved the materials from both the Bowles and Hoar families. She’s very well documented in the collection from her birth in 1854 to her death in 1924.  Here she is as a young child in striped socks.  As the person who would inherit the responsibility for all the family papers, she looks appropriately sober.

Beth’s sons also figure prominently in the papers. Her older son, Samuel Bowles V, was a rather tragic figure who struggled from an early age against his inherited obligation to run the “Springfield Republican,” and her younger son, Sherman, distanced himself from the paper for a while but ultimately became a major figure in the company and — even better, in my view — the temporary publisher of “Cat-Man Comics.”  Here are the boys at about the age of their mother, above.  Poor little Sam already feels the pressure of living up to expectations:

“Samuel in Mama’s bonnet and boa” (circa 1888) and Sherman (1892).

 

Beth Bowles was an active figure in her community and, judging by what survived, she must’ve conducted an enormous correspondence. Among the correspondence she saved — most of it from family and close friends — there is a single sheet from a boy named Fayette Corey. At the bottom of the sheet, Beth has added an explanatory note.

“My dear Mrs. Bowles, I like my pencils and I am using them. Thank you for bringing them. Sincerely yours, Fayette Corey, 1180 Riverdale St.” Beth has added, “Small boy, run over by hay cart, I met at the hospital, July 1911.”

Beth’s added note is confirmed by newspaper evidence. That Beth kept Fayette’s note and handed it down among her papers shows us how much his situation moved her. Fayette probably didn’t leave much of a paper trail since he didn’t live long enough to create one — an obituary from the summer of 1919 shows that he died of enteritis at 13. So his single note above might be all there is.

To conclude on a happier note, we have Beth’s nephew Roger Sherman Hoar, the son of her brother Sherman and his wife Mary Butterick Hoar.  Roger looks like he was an eager child, straining to get out of his carriage and take on the world.

Roger Sherman Hoar in 1888.

In addition to letters to Beth from an adult Roger (who became Attorney General of Massachusetts and a science fiction writer), the papers contain two entertaining notes from young Roger. The first note entreats–and threatens–Roger’s Aunt Carrie (Beth’s sister, nicknamed Pussy) for his chocolates.

“I WILL B A GOOD BOY IF YOU GIVE ME MY CHOCOLATES. I WILL ONLY B GOOD IF YOU GIVE THEM TO ME. PUSSY. ROGER.”

The second note is to his cousin Samuel (Beth’s boy, above), reporting the birth of calves in the neighboring Prichard’s barn in Concord. I love this boy. Can’t you just feel his excitement? He has no need of mere exclamation points to show his enthusiasm, he has BLOCK LETTERS.

There are many more children, identified and unidentified, in the Bowles-Hoar Family Papers, each one with a story of their own. The papers should be fully processed sometime next year. Come and play with us. Meet the children.

Filling in the gaps…

Thanks to a generous grant from the #StirlingFund we are currently preparing our collection of the first twenty five years of Brig, the university’s student newspaper, for digitisation. This phase of the project includes the checking, numbering and listing of over 150 issues of the paper prior to being sent out to TownsWeb Archiving, a company who specialise in archive digitisation.

While checking through our run of Brig we’ve noticed a few gaps in the collection which we hope our alumni can help us to fill. We are looking for copies of the following issues:

  • April 1978 (Vol. 9, No. 4)
  • September / October 1978 (Vol. 10, No. 1)
  • October 1984

If you can help us to fill these gaps please send your copies to: Karl Magee, University Archivist, University Library, University Of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA.

The cover of our copy of the March 1987 issue of Brig is also slightly the worse for wear, if you have a copy in better condition we’d love to include it!


Have you got a better copy of this issue of Brig we can use in our #StirlingFund digitisation project?

Renovation Update and a Giant Bat

“Hey, Special Collections Librarians,” we can hear you thinking, “where have you been?”

Renovation has been kicking into high gear over here at the Providence Public Library.

Renovation stairwell

Workers create an open stairwell through the building’s many floors.

We’ve been cleaning and packing materials in preparation for our move into newly-renovated, climate-controlled stacks. We’ve vacuumed many of our books with a special HEPA vacuum to clean them before they’re loaded onto carts, and we’ve been setting shelves to hold our materials in their new space. Delicate items are getting wrapped, and Jordan has been making a Herculean effort to track every book’s current and future location through color-coded spreadsheets and maps. Everything is topsy-turvy (but in a collections-preserving manner, don’t worry).

Renovation

Part of this space will eventually be our new exhibition gallery.

We’re not taking research requests or appointments at the moment, as most of our collections are inaccessible. We’re hoping to have completed the move by late July or August; we’ll post an update on this blog and on our social media once we’re taking new reference questions and research appointments. In the meantime, you can always check the PPL website for updates about the building transformation, or visit our colleagues at the Rhode Island State Archives, Providence City Archives, Rhode Island Historical Society, and other awesome local institutions for all of your research needs.

To tide you over for the next month or two, here’s an exciting illustration of a giant bat soaring above a cathedral (taken from a children’s book about animals called On Four Feet):

IMG_1529

 

A summer of Pride with the City of Vancouver Archives

The Archives is very excited to be a community partner for Pride this year, and would like to thank the Vancouver Pride Society who has invited us to several events throughout the summer! First up, we will be at East Side Pride at Grandview Park from 11am to 6pm on Saturday June 22. There, we will be sharing some records and other materials from the LGBTQ2+ community’s past. We look forward to meeting the community outside the Archives’ walls and talking more about our holdings.

Dyke pride march, Feb. 22, 1992. Reference Code: AM1675-S4-F23-: 2018-020.4593

Our booth will have a selection of photos from past events, protests, and demonstrations, many of which took place in East Vancouver in the 1980s and 1990s. These demonstrations of solidarity, visibility, and strength were critical for the LGBTQ2+ community, and laid the foundations for present and future celebrations and resistance. We acquire LGBTQ2+ materials to preserve these stories for future generations, and ensure that BC and Vancouver queer histories are remembered and understood. Our presence at East Side Pride is part of our goal to make these records accessible to the public.

B.C. gay and lesbian conference committee, Apr. 1988. Reference Code: AM1675-S4-F23-: 2018-020.4766

Please visit our booth to find out more about our holdings related to LGBTQ2+ history, including the Richard Dopson fonds and the Malcolm F. Crane Pride Archives. Thanks to the 2018 donation by collector and community member Ron Dutton, the City of Vancouver Archives also holds the BC Gay and Lesbian Archives (BCGLA). This is a large and diverse collection of materials, including a range of textual, visual, and audio records from the LGBTQ2+ community tracing back as early as the 1940s. As well, funding from the National Heritage Digitization Strategy has meant that we have been scanning thousands of items so they can be accessible through our online database. So far, we have scanned 1900 posters, which can be viewed and downloaded from our website, and photographs will be available online soon. Audiovisual materials are currently being digitized and will be available online by the end of August.

Dykes on the Drive: dyke march, Feb. 24, 1991. Reference Code: AM1675-S4-F22-: 2018-020.4480-: 2018-020.4480.17

Alongside the digitization project, we are seeking community help to identify people and events that have remained unidentified in our holdings. This will help us to recognize community members’ involvement in and contributions to LGBTQ2+ history, as well as ensure that we are accurately and fully representing the records. If you are interested in helping us to identify people and events, we will have some photographs at East Side Pride and we’d love to hear from you. We will also be expanding the photo identification project throughout the summer and fall, so stay tuned.

Stonewall Fest 95, 1995. Reference Code: AM1675-S4-F18-: 2018-020.4006

For now, come visit us at East Side Pride on 22 June, look at photos from the community’s history, share what you know with us, and get more information on our project! If you aren’t able to join us, we will also be at the Sunset Beach Festival following the Pride Parade on August 4th. Check our blog and Twitter for updates for what else we have planned this summer.

Pride Day parade, Aug. 1990. Reference Code: AM1675-S4-F27-: 2018-020.5688

 

Ikebana Insights with the Katherine Wallick Collection

Are you intrigued with the delicate art of Japanese flower arrangement? So was Katherine Wallick, the treasurer of Virginia Peninsula Chapter of Ikebana International from 1972-1973. Wallick took a variety of workshops for her craft, including workshops with Ellie O’Brien in 1970 as well as Jackie Kramer of Holland. Researchers can track Wallick’s progress as an ikebana student through the diagrams and notes in her workshop notebooks, as well as a vast collection of her photographs, magazines, and books on the topic. The images below detail a few items from the collection’s holdings.


Katherine Wallick’s Ikebana Workshop Notebook, 1970
Katherine Wallick Ikebana Collection
01 MSS 2008-020

Katherine Wallick writes notes to herself on Japanese phonetics in this personal ikebana study notebook, dated from 1970-1972.

I-ke-ba-na (Ee-kay-bah-nah)

A- ah

E- A as in ape (or eh)

i – ee as in “eek”

o- o as in Bow

u- u as in super

Below this phonetic breakdown is a note about the Sogetsu school of ikebana. There are many schools of ikebana, each following its own philosophy of design and style.


Ikebana International Magazine bound into one book, 1974-1977
Katherine Wallick Ikebana Collection
01 MSS 2008-020

This bound compendium of Ikebana International Magazine contains issues from 1974-1977. The pages displayed here are from Issue 47 contain images and descriptions of the materials and containers used in each arrangement, as well as a critical description of the arrangements pictured.


Katherine Wallick’s Ikebana Workshop Notebook, undated
Katherine Wallick Ikebana Collection
01 MSS 2008-020

This second notebook page contains a preliminary sketch of the “basic upright style” ikebana arrangement that Wallick was learning about. The angle at which certain plant elements (such as flowers, leaves, or stems) lean at is of utmost importance in ikebana arrangements. One can note the system by which Wallick identified the different elements in her arrangements (perhaps as instructed so by her teacher) by comparing this page with the other notebook on display.

You can explore the contents of the collection online here: https://archives.lib.fsu.edu/repositories/4/resources/510. If you would like to see these exciting objects in person, please visit the Special Collections Reading Room, Monday to Friday 10 am to 6 pm.

Paralympic Torch Relay photographs now available

We are pleased to announce that we have added another large set of VANOC photographs to our online database, this time from the Paralympic Torch Relay (PTR). VANOC photographers captured over 12,000 images of the PTR, and this series is the “selected photographs” – i.e., the few images chosen by VANOC, from the thousands taken, for its own promotional uses or distribution to its partners and sponsors.

Executive Director and CEO of the Four Host First Nations Tewanee Joseph lights the Paralympic cauldron for the first time in Vancouver, BC. Reference code: AM1550-S10-F60-:

The PTR visited twelve communities over ten days between March 3-12, 2010:

  • Day 1 – Wed. Mar. 3, 2010 – Ottawa, Ont.
  • Day 2 – Thu. Mar. 4, 2010 – Quebec City, Que.
  • Day 3 – Fri. Mar. 5, 2010 – Toronto, Ont.
  • Day 4 – Sat. Mar. 6, 2010 – Esquimalt and Victoria, BC
  • Day 5 – Sun. Mar. 7, 2010 – Squamish, BC
  • Day 6 – Mon. Mar. 8, 2010 – Whistler, BC
  • Day 7 – Tue. Mar. 9, 2010 – Lytton and Hope, BC
  • Day 8 – Wed. Mar 10, 2010 – Maple Ridge and Vancouver (Riley Park), BC
  • Day 9 – Thu. Mar. 11, 2010 – Vancouver and the University of British Columbia, BC
  • Day 10 – Fr. Mar 12, 2010 – Vancouver, BC

Flame Creation in Squamish, BC. Reference code: AM1550-S10-F21-:

Each day had a similar structure, beginning with a flame creation ceremony conducted by members from the First Nation territory that the relay was being conducted on that day. The relay was held in conjunction with a community celebration event featuring local entertainers and speakers. Most relays had between fifteen and fifty torchbearers. The final relay was a 24 hour event held in Vancouver that involved 292 torchbearers.

Torchbearer Rick Hansen high fives the crowd he passes with the flame in Victoria, BC. Reference code: AM1550-S10-F14-:

The presentation of this series is somewhat different from the two other torch relay series we made available in the past year. The directory structure for the source files provided by VANOC was not organized as consistently as those for the Olympic Torch Relay (OTR). Fortunately, image files were only present in the bottommost folders in the directory tree, so we were able to flatten the overall structure and name the files (in the archival, not IT, sense) based on the folder titles present in the directory structure. As was the case with the OTR images, many images were accompanied by descriptive metadata embedded in the digital file that we were able to extract and use as the titles. Unlike the two OTR series, there is some duplication of images across the series. The duplicate images were kept; some may have different titles, depending on the descriptive metadata present in the source file.

Torchbearer Kirsten Sharp carries the flame across the Peak2Peak Gondola onto Whistler Mountain. Reference code: AM1550-S10-F28-:

Processing the OTR and PTR photographs has been a useful exercise for us, helping us to better refine our workflows for processing born-digital material. Among the reasons that these records were identified for processing was that the files were relatively homogeneous in terms of size and file format, and that the organization of them was relatively straightforward. Moving forward, we will apply the lessons learned from this project to making more diverse and problematic sets of records from VANOC and other born-digital holdings available in the coming months.

In the meantime, please enjoy this latest release; here are some of our favourites:

Fire on Victoria Island, Ottawa, with Parliament Hill in the background. Reference code: AM1550-S10-F01-:

Torchbearer Shelley Gautier. Reference code: AM1550-S10-F07-:

Torchbearer Rick Hansen (R) passes the flame to Torchbearer Shannon Langevin (L) in Victoria. Reference code: AM1550-S10-F16-:

Torchbearer Hayley Mooney (L) passes the flame to Torchbearer Peter Lawless (R) in Victoria. Reference code: AM1550-S10-F14-:

Torchbearer Beverley Toy. Reference code: AM1550-S10-F23-:

Skwxwú7mesh man carries the lantern in a canoe in Squamish. Reference code: AM1550-S10-F24-:

Torchbearer 48 Roberto Luongo lights the cauldron at Vancouver’s 24 hour event. Reference code: AM1550-S10-F59-:

Torchbearer 291 passing the flame from HMCS Orca to torchbearer 292 aboard a boat. Reference code: AM1550-S10-F65-:

For more information regarding our work to make VANOC’s born-digital records available, please read our posts regarding the Olympic Torchbearer photographs and the Olympic Torch Relay highlight photographs.

Remembering President Emeritus Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte

FSU_HUA2016_003_B61_F06_I01
Sandy D’Alemberte

With the passing of President Emeritus Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte we would like to take a moment to reflect on his life and his contributions. He has had considerable impact on Florida State, serving the university since 1984 and teaching through this past spring, as well as the political and legal fields.

D’Alemberte was a Tallahassee native, his childhood home was located just across the street from the capitol building. His grandfather attended the Seminary West of the Suwannee River and his mother attended Florida State College for Women, both predecessor institutions to Florida State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of the South and his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida.

D’Alemberte was well known in the law community for his work helping underserved populations and for his commitment to human rights. He served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1966 to 1972 and as President for the American Bar Association from 1991 until 1992. His work in the legal field won him numerous awards from the Florida Bar Foundation Medal of Honor in 1987 to the Florida Academy of Criminal Defense Lawyers Annual Criminal Justice award in 1993 to an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his work allowing in allowing electronic journalists access to court proceedings.

FSU_MSS2006_012_B01_F05_I01
D’Alemberte greets Seminole Ambassador President Glenn Hill, November 18, 1993

He served as the fourth dean of the Law School from 1984 to 1989 and President of the University from 1994 until 2003. He established a public pro bono requirement for FSU Law School students, a rarity at the time. He was instrumental in developing Florida State University’s College of Medicine which graduated its first class in 2001, and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory was established during his tenure. He led a campus wide beautification project which resulted in the renovation of the College of Law’s Village Green and the Heritage Museum’s renovation. He was honored with his own commemorative window in the museum in 2017.

d'alemberte window
D’Alemberte dedicated window. Located within the FSU Heritage Museum.

Visitation for family and friends will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. this evening in the D’Alemberte Rotunda at the FSU College of Law.

A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, June 5th at 2pm in Ruby Diamond Concert Hall. Both are open to the public. The Heritage Museum will remain open until 5pm on Wednesday to allow visitors to view D’Alemberte’s window.

Several unprocessed collections of D’Alemberte’s papers are housed in Heritage & University Archives and the Claude Pepper Library. Included are administrative files from his time as President of the University and his files from his time as Dean of the College of Law. For more information on our collections, please contact Heritage & University Archivist, Sandra Varry at svarry@fsu.edu.

Life on a Plantation: A Diary

Dyer diary

On July 8th, 1862, Ebenezer Porter Dyer Jr. (Amherst College Class of 1861) received an urgent letter from the Boston Educational Committee asking him to sail the next day from New York City “to go to Port Royal, S.C. as Superintendent of Plantations”. It turns out the letter Dyer received was wrong (once he arrived in New York, he found the ship wasn’t scheduled to set sail for several days) but Dyer still left his home in Massachusetts that night to embark on a year of living in South Carolina during the Civil War.

The year that Dyer spent in South Carolina is detailed in his diary, which I recently rediscovered along with some of Dyer’s short stories and journals while working with 19th century alumni materials.  His diary gives a glimpse into his life from 1862-1863, while he worked as a Northern relief worker in the South during the Civil War. In the first entry, Dyer tells us about his frantic departure for New York, sailing to South Carolina through a Union blockade, arriving at the plantation and quartering Union soldiers there, and his observations of religious life on the plantation. But after his hectic arrival, things seem to calm down for Dyer, and his diary turns more towards social calls with other New Englanders living in the South, being constantly tormented by mosquitoes, and the boredom of being stuck inside because of heavy rain with no books to read.

As Superintendent of Plantations, Dyer mostly taught and preached, with some administrative duties, like payroll for freedmen who remained on the plantation. This was all part of the Boston Educational Commission’s mission as a relief organization to aid “persons released from slavery in the course of the war for the union”. The Boston Educational Commission would eventually expand its efforts and become the New England Freedman’s Aid Society, but at the time Dyer left for Port Royal the Boston Educational Committee primarily sent teachers and clothing to South Carolina.

It’s not clear from Dyer’s diary how or why he ended up teaching for the Boston Educational Committee. From the “First annual report of the educational commission for freedmen”, it seems like he probably applied and that there was a lot competition, but it’s also unclear why he was asked to leave in July (not February like the other teachers) and on such short notice. It would be interesting to know what made Dryer so passionate that he was happy to leave at a moment’s notice, or if the emphasis on service during his time at Amherst College influenced that at all. But either way, Dyer’s diary gives us an Amherst alum’s perspective on the South during the Civil war, and new information about what Amherst alumni were doing during that era.

The First annual report of the educational commission for freedmen used above is Collection Reference Number GLC06232.15 at The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. All copyright belongs to The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

For more information on the Boston Educational Commission’s activities, check out the New England Freedman’s Aid Society Records (digitized) from the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Castro Archaeological Site Collection

The Digital Library Center (DLC) recently uploaded a new set of material to the Castro Archaeological Site Collection in DigiNole! The most recent additions to this collection contain comprehensive notes, drawings, and analysis of the Castro archeological site in Leon County. More information on this collaboration between the DLC and FSU’s Department of Anthropology can be found on our previous post from August 2018.

Feature Inventory Form - Castro Site
Feature Inventory Form – Castro Site [original object]

In addition to preserving important details about the excavation of the Castro site, digitizing and uploading this collection to DigiNole gives visitors a glimpse into the day-to-day operations of both professional and student archeologists.

Though this marks the end of digitization of the Castro material, our collaborative efforts with the Department of Anthropology will continue. Keep an eye out for more updates as we continue to add more archaeological content to DigiNole!

New Intern in Special Collections

Greetings and salutations. Please allow me this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Gavin Nelson. I am an intern doing a summer internship here at UNCW as part of a course I am taking in my university’s master’s program. Before I began my adventure into the world of libraries, I went to Western Carolina University for four years. It was there that I got a Bachelors  of Science in History, as well as two minors in Japanese and Business Law. I chose history as my field  of specialty because I have always been fascinated with the past, which I believe can play a tremendous role in helping us forge a great future. It is also like reading through one big storybook that is filled with tales of adventure, excitement, and more.  Specifically, my favorite subjects of history include Asian history, European history, and Military history.

After I graduated from WCU, I decided that I want to use that degree to become a “gatekeeper of information,” as my dad put it. I felt a desire to work with a vast variety of data and information for the purpose of sharing wonderful and amazing stories with my community. Towards that end, I officially made the decision to open the door and step through into the world of library and information studies. I began my journey towards my destiny by entering a master’s program that is offered by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Not only have I been in the program since 2018, but I also just finished my third semester of the program. I officially have only one more semester left before I graduate with a master’s degree in Library and Information Studies. It won’t be long before I can say the iconic line that Howard Wolowitz from Big Bang Theory said, which was “I have a master’s degree!” With that degree, I plan to go into the field of archiving, which is the dream career that I am diligently working towards.  This internship is going to help me get that coveted professional experience that will help achieve that dream.

Outside of my studies, I do have some favorite pastime activities that help me  relax and reenergize. My most favorite activities to partake in are playing video-games, watching crime documentaries and crime shows, and watching video-game let’s plays and streams on YouTube.  I think of them as a temporary escape from reality whenever I need to get rid of stress and unwind. 

For this internship, there are some goals, both personal and professional, that I would like to accomplish. The goals that I am aiming to accomplish are the following:

Professional Goals:

  1. Digitization. I would like to really learn about the process of digitizing archival materials and sharing them in the cyber realm. I strongly believe that technology is going to have a major impact on how archives are going to be run. I would like to get ahead of it and learn these technological skills now so that I won’t be playing catch-up later.
  2. Acquire professional experience working with archival materials.  I would like to get experience acquiring, processing, arranging, preserving, and sharing archival materials. It is actually one of the big reasons why I am doing this internship. Up until this point, I have yet to gain any library experience. This internship will be a tremendous help in accomplishing this goal.
  3. Explore the relationship that the archives department has with the rest of the academic community. I am thinking about working in an academic library, and I am interested in seeing for myself how the Special Collections department interacts with the academic community.

Personal Goals:

  1. Finally acquire some real library experience. As I previously mentioned, I have yet to accumulate any ounce of library experience. I recently tried to apply for a library job, but that didn’t go through. It was mainly because I wasn’t exposed to customer service, which involves working with my community. I was determined to do something about it. I decided to get a part-time job at my local grocery store, which involves interacting with the public on a daily basis.  That is the job that I currently have now, but it is not the dream job that I want to have. This internship will give me that much-needed experience that will help me land that dream job.
  2. Have fun! I personally believe that if you want to be successful at any job that you do, you have to have fun. You need to be happy! Joyful!  Enthusiastic! Have a “Boot-Scooting Boogie” attitude that makes others laugh and want to join in on the fun and excitement! At my current job, I always try to have fun and party like a wild, party animal! It is what makes my guest love me! It was how I earned the title of Employee of the Month. Overall, I am making it my mission to not only do my absolute best in this internship, but also to have big, bang, boogey woogey fun at the same time! Also, I am going to try to look good while doing it in my blue suede shoes!

All of the goals that I have listed are representatives of what I am hoping to gain from this awesome experience. I want to be exposed to the amusement park that is archives. I want to go on all of the gentle and thrill rides that make up the archival department. Afterwards, I want to share the awesome time that I have at this amusement park with everyone else. Personally, that is what I believe archives are all about.  Archivists acquire a wide variety of stories and experience them for themselves. Afterwards, they share this experience with their community and invite them to come experience these stories, as well.  That is what I would like to do when I eventually begin my future library career. That is what I am hoping to learn and experience through this internship. Each of the goals that I have listed will give me the tools that I need to get the most fun and experience out of the rollercoaster that will not just be this internship, but also my future library career as well.

Blog Category: 

I EDICIÓN DE ARCHIVOZ, “ARCHIVOS CON ARTE”

I Edición de Archivoz, “Archivos con arte”
http://asociacionabdm.org/noticias/edicion-de-archivoz-archivos-con-arte/

LA I EDICIÓN DE ARCHIVOZ, “ARCHIVOS CON ARTE”, ORGANIZADA EL 21 DE MAYO EN LA FACULTAD DE DOCUMENTACIÓN DE LA UCM, HA MOSTRADO COMO ARCHIVOS Y ARTE SE PUEDEN FUSIONAR.



El evento comenzó diferenciando, de la mano de María Teresa Fernández, Directora del Departamento de Biblioteconomía y Documentación de la UCM, las revistas científicas de las revistas de divulgación.
Entre otras diferencias, destacó que las revistas científicas van dirigidas a estudiosos, a investigadores. Cuentan con un aparato crítico y tienen árbitros. En cambio, las revistas divulgativas alimentan a un público más general, no tienen aparato crítico, el comité que tienen detrás no suele se académico, y poseen publicidad.
  • 1ª sesión de debate: El arte en los archivos. La memoria del artista.
La jornada continuó con la primera mesa redonda que puso de relieve que existen muchos fondos documentales derivados de la creación artística
Juan Antonio Yeves, responsable de la Biblioteca de la Fundación Lázaro Galdiano, manifestó que han digitalizado unas 120.000 páginas. Lo que facilita  a los investigadores el trabajo, les ahorra desplazamientos y largas instancias en los lugares a los que tienen que acudir para su estudio. Sin embargo, insiste en que al menos se acuda una vez al documento original.
Beatriz Belinda Yúfera, Jefa de sección de materiales especiales de la Biblioteca Regional Joaquín Leguina, destacó que cada vez adquieren más importancia las donaciones que permiten conocer a los artistas ,y subrayó que es muy importante tener en cuenta al creador.
Todos estos documentos: material cartográfico, sonoro, gráfico…, convierten a la Biblioteca Regional en un lugar de memoria que se debe de expandir..
Sebastián Maharg, escritor, fotógrafo y creador del proyecto «Pasado en paralelo», nos mostró en que consiste esta iniciativa.

«Archivos con arte». Foto tomada por Beatriz Nistal
La idea reside en buscar fotografías de la Guerra Civil Española en Madrid, y encajarlas en esos mismos lugares pero en la actualidad. Lo que se pretende es retratar el factor humano y sacar del olvido a esas personas retratadas.
Marta Sesé, comisaria de arte contemporáneo y representante del proyecto «Archivo rastro»  Contó que con esta propuesta han tratado de crear un archivo fotográfico a partir de la compra, digitalización y catalogación de negativos y diapositivas en el Rastro de Madrid. La intención es generar herramientas originales y cederlas a artistas registrando diferentes estímulos.
  • 2ª sesión de debate. Redes y colaboración en entornos digitales.
La segunda mesa de debate de la jornada consistió en la exposición de proyectos de difusión colaborativos cuyo objetivo es acercar a los lectores y lectoras a temas de interés sobre los profesionales de la información. .
Saúl Equihua, Director de Infotecarios. Un espacio Web colaborativo cuyo empeño es crear y ofrecer contenidos a través de la difusión de noticias y opiniones sobre la Información y la Documentación. Todo ello centrado en el ámbito latinoamericano. Se basa en la filosofía del “crowdsourcing” que emplea la inteligencia y colaboración colectiva.

«Archivos con arte». Foto tomada por Beatriz Nistal.
Belén Benito, Co-directora de Biblogtecarios Esta plataforma colaborativa ha pasado por varias fases desde su creación en 2010 por Julián Marquina. En la actualidad se encuentran en una tercera etapa en la que desean incorporar nuevos perfiles, retomar las firmas y tener una mayor colaboración con editoriales. Sin perder de ista la finalidad principal, compartir y difundir. información.
Víctor Villapalos, Director y fundador de Archivoz. Una revista en formato blog de temática archivística y documental y de carácter divulgativo. Un sitio que sirve de encuentro con los lectores y lectoras. Buscan tejer una red de profesionales internacionales, publicar su revista también en formato papel y programar talleres.
Sin duda, una cita ineludible para el próximo año.
Fotos tomadas por Beatriz Nistal

Tetris in the Vault: Using storage space efficiently

As we noted in a previous post, after more than four decades of service, the James Skitt Matthews building in Vanier Park has reached its full capacity and we are preparing to move to a larger space where we can continue to serve the public for many years to come. Part of this preparation involves inventorying the holdings and housing or rehousing them as needed to ensure they can safely travel. One challenging side effect of this work is that when records are housed in sturdy, supportive containers, they take up more room. That’s a problem when the vault is already full. The solution is kind of like playing Tetris. This post gives you an idea of how we play the game, every day.

Retro Tetris. Retrieved from https://www.freepik.com/premium-vector/brick-retro-tetris-game_3786227.htm

Our oversize bound volumes that do not fit into a standard archival quality storage box are stored unboxed, side by side on open shelves. When these volumes are housed in sturdy new storage boxes, the space they occupy almost doubles! To maximize the use of our space we try to consolidate volumes depending on their type and size. Once we decide which types of boxes are best suited for the specific volumes, and how many will be used, we often find ourselves reorganizing the volumes and shelving itself in order to optimize the box distribution, often at a new location.

A good example of this game of archival Tetris is the housing of City Engineer’s reports that date from 1906 to 1959. We were faced with five shelves of bound volumes of a similar depth and height but ranging in width from 1.5” to 7.5”.

Unboxed City Engineer’s reports on their original shelving bay. Photo by Paola Merkins

To house them properly, we decided to use a clamshell-style box that comes in 3” and 5” depths and a two-piece 8″ depth flat box. The deeper two-piece box has a bottom and lid which makes its outer dimensions a little bigger than the two shallower clamshell boxes. While the shallower boxes can sit on a shelf side by side, the deeper boxes have to be combined with the shallow ones in order to fit side by side.

Only one deep box fits on a shelf, but it can be combined with two shallower boxes. Photos by Heather Gordon

This bay had 20 volumes that needed 8” deep boxes, and because these deep boxes are not usually stacked on top of one another (to make retrieval for researchers more efficient), we could only return eight of the 20 large volumes, when boxed, to this bay. Not the best use of available space.

Fortunately, the Board of Works minute books, a series consisting mostly of a large number of narrower bound volumes and located on a bay across the aisle from the City Engineer’s reports, were ready to be housed as well. By using these two bays we calculated that we would be able to accommodate most of the volumes in roughly the same location, only needing additional space for a few large volumes.

Unboxed Board of Works minute books on their original shelving bay. Photo by Paola Merkins

We began the relocation with the City Engineer’s reports. Because we knew we needed additional space to store all the volumes, we identified a few shelves that would accommodate the overflow boxes and relocated them first.

The empty spaces on these two bays allowed us to relocate some of the larger the volumes first (right). Photo by Paola Merkins

With the large volumes off the first bay, we were able to redistribute and add enough shelves to accommodate the large 8” boxes. Once the shelving was set up, the rehoused volumes were assigned new locations there.

Shelving on first bay now arranged to fit one large volume per shelf. Photo by Paola Merkins

By working on both bays at the same time we were able to create enough “swing” space to start filling in the empty shelves with the newly boxed volumes. We did this by alternating the pulls between bays and meticulously tracked the location of each volume throughout the process to ensure that it could be found at any time if requested by a researcher.

These two images depict how both bays were being worked at simultaneously. Photo by Paola Merkins

Eventually all the volumes from both bays were rehoused and our database updated to reflect their new locations.

City Engineer’s reports and Board of Works minute books in their new locations. Photo by Paola Merkins

Another kind of Tetris challenge is created as the holdings are inventoried and box contents more appropriately re-housed. This results in gaps on the shelves that quickly become the new home for newly-boxed bound volumes.

Rehoused volumes are seen here in shelving space that was created during the inventory process. Photo by Paola Merkins

And a key part of the game is staking out territory. Shelves in the vault are truly coveted real estate!

Reserved sign

We are now 64% finished boxing oversized bound volumes, and are starting work on housing rolled drawings. We will keep you updated as the conservation team tackles other challenges in the Pre-move project.

State of Cinema: The Richard Alan Nelson Collection

Florida has long played host to the production of films and television series, from seminal horror film Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954, parts of which were filmed in our very own Wakulla Springs!) to the current production of Bad Boys for Life (currently filming in Miami and slated for a 2020 release). The Richard Alan Nelson Collection contains documents detailing film production in various Florida cities, movie posters, motion picture companies, publicity stills of actors and actresses, and film law.

The collection even features a folder (7, in Box 922) of what the cinema scene looked like in Tallahassee at the time of Nelson’s dissertation work, the late 1970s. In a preserved volume of New Look, a local entertainment magazine, journalist Rick Oppenheim described local cinemas struggling to keep their doors open, paying “90% of their box office receipts (with house operations skimmed off the top) to a tight-fisted [film] distributor for the rental of a first-run film”, leading to cinemas holding on to blockbuster films like Star Wars (which were highly expensive to rent) for months on end, and less likely to gamble on new films which may hurt their bottom line.

For more information on this collection, please visit its finding aid. If you’d like to visit Special Collections and explore the documents in person, we welcome visitors Monday to Friday, 10 am to 6 pm.

Wild Nights

Every new film that tells a story about Emily Dickinson seems to stir up a new round of questions about her life and writing. In 2016 it was A Quiet Passion, directed by Terence Davies and starring Cynthia Nixon as the adult Dickinson; in 2019 it’s Wild Nights with Emily (2018) directed by Madeleine Olnek with Molly Shannon playing Dickinson. While we normally steer clear of debates about the accuracy and merits of fictional portrayals of Dickinson, a recent interview with Molly Shannon calls for some clarification of the facts.Shannon on Today

In this televised interview that aired in early April 2019, Molly Shannon makes the following claim around the 1:05 mark:

It’s really cool … there were these erasures found in her work through spectrographic technology where they can find all this stuff about great historical figures…

While a single interview on a morning talk show may not seem like much, we want to correct the record to state that none of the Emily Dickinson manuscripts held at Amherst College have undergone any sort of analysis via “spectrographic technology” or any kind of imaging beyond a visible-spectrum flatbed scanner.

Amherst College launched Amherst College Digital Collections in the fall of 2012 and made full-color scans of all of our Dickinson manuscripts freely available online in early January 2013.

ED in ACDC

At that time, our goal was to make these manuscript images as widely accessible as possible. People interested in Dickinson’s life and poetry no longer had to trust the word of scholars with the resources and expertise to visit the special collections at Amherst and Harvard; they could see the manuscripts for themselves.

The first facsimile of a Dickinson manuscript we have been able to locate is the “Fac-simile of ‘Renunciation,’ by Emily Dickinson” that appeared at the front of Poems: Second Series edited by Mabel Loomis Todd and Thomas Wentworth Higginson and published by Roberts Brothers of Boston in 1891.

ED 1891

Prior to the widespread adoption of digital photography in the early 21st century, producing photographic facsimiles of important manuscripts was far more difficult. Ralph Franklin’s 1981 two-volume set The Manuscript Books of Emily Dickinson was a major achievement of editorial scholarship and facsimile publication.

ED Franklin

The reproductive technologies of the time made it cost-prohibitive to publish the facsimile images in full color, but these black and white images were a great leap forward.

Today anyone with an internet connection can see a better quality image of this same manuscript via ACDC: https://acdc.amherst.edu/explore/asc:15595/asc:15597

Gentian

Within ACDC, users can download their own copy of the image or use the built-in tools to zoom in and rotate the image. As much of an improvement as these color scans are, there is more work to be done. First, it’s important to recognize that these scans were created before Amherst College had established a formal Digital Programs department with dedicated imaging professionals. The Archives & Special Collections staff used a standard flatbed scanner that captures only visible-spectrum light to create 600dpi master files back in 2008-2009. These same master files are what is in ACDC today.

In the meantime, advances in imaging manuscripts have been going on all around us. Perhaps the most famous example of using new technology to recover a lost text is the Archimedes Palimpsest. As described on their website:

The Multispectral Imaging of the Archimedes palimpsest was undertaken by Keith Knox, of the Boeing Corporation based in Maui, William A. Christens-Barry of Equipoise Imaging LLC, and Roger Easton, Professor of Imaging Science at RIT. … To explain multispectral imaging, we must make a short digression into electromagnetic radiation…

Those interested in the science of multispectral imaging can find out much more on the Archimedes Palimpsest site, but the point is that such imaging is complex and requires carefully calibrated equipment to produce reliable results.

Perhaps no facility better captures the excitement of using new technologies to study the material culture of the past than the Institute for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage at Yale University. This Yale news story about their work on their “Vinland Map” describes some of the imaging techniques and technologies that were not available just 10 or 15 years ago: Yale putting high-tech tests to its controversial Vinland Map.

We don’t mean to fault a Hollywood actress for not knowing the full details of the history of the digitization of Dickinson manuscripts; she is not a professional scholar of Dickinson or material culture. We do feel the need to state, for the public record, that none of Amherst’s Dickinson manuscripts have undergone multispectral imaging of the sort now available at Yale.

While Amherst does not have the capacity to do the sort of imaging done at the Yale IPCH, technical details of their processes are readily available online: https://digitalcollections.wordpress.amherst.edu/about/ As interest in the deeper physical features of Dickinson’s manuscripts gains public attention, we have begun exploring ways we might use the newest technologies to improve our scans to better serve the public.

Rightfully Hers exhibit now open

The National Archives launched our newest exhibit, Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote, last week at the Lawrence O’Brien Gallery of the museum in Washington, DC.

Most Americans consider the ability to vote fundamental to the enjoyment of full citizenship. American women, however, were long denied that right. In 1920, American democracy dramatically expanded when the newly ratified 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibited the states from denying the vote on the basis of sex. This landmark voting rights victory was made possible by decades of suffragists’ persistent political engagement, and yet it is just one critical milestone in women’s battle for the vote.

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote looks beyond suffrage parades and protests to the often overlooked story behind this landmark moment in American history. This fuller retelling of the struggle for women’s voting rights illustrates the dynamic involvement of American women across the spectrum of race, ethnicity and class to reveal what it really takes to win the vote for one half of the people.   


A view of the Rightfully Hers exhibit gallery. Photo by National Archives photographer Jeff Reed.

This exhibit highlights hard-won victories that stemmed from the woman suffrage movement. But it also reminds modern-day citizens of their responsibilities and encourages all to be ‘election ready’ and exercise the right to vote. As home to some of the most important records from the woman suffrage story, including the 19th amendment, the National Archives is uniquely positioned to create a powerful educational experience that relates the fuller story of the struggle to make the vote a reality for all women.

Several years in the planning stages, Rightfully Hers includes more than 90 original records including documents, photographs, artifacts, and audio and video recordings that connect to important historic milestones in the women’s struggle to gain the vote. Exhibit curator Corrine Porter dedicated the past two years creating an exhibit that includes the artifacts and documents we believed would best tell this story.


Curator Corinne Porter gives a tour of the Rightfully Hers exhibit. Photo by National Archives photographer Jeff Reed.

The National Archives will also host a range of public and education programs, including lectures, panel discussions, and other special events centered on the 19th Amendment and powerful women and their roles in our nation and its history. For a full list of future scheduled events, see the National Archives Calendar of Events.

The exhibit is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery at the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, through January 3, 2021. Admission is free.

For more information, visit https://museum.archives.gov/rightfully-hers-american-women-and-vote

Temporary Closure of Archives Reading Room

Please note that the archives reading room will be closed from Monday 17 to Friday 28 June 2019. This closure is to facilitate the move of our services to a temporary location in the S corridor of the University Library for the duration of the Campus Central project building works.

The archives reading room will re-open in its new location in room S10 on Monday 1 July 2019.

If you require access to material from our collections during this closure period please contact us at archives@stir.ac.uk

The Campus Central project will create a newly refurbished Atrium space, a new three-storey building at the heart of the campus , and a landscaped, pedestrian-friendly Queen’s Court offering students, staff and visitors a host of new study and social spaces.

Building work on the Campus Central project is due to be completed in the 2020/21 academic year.

Exhibition Curator’s Talk May 22nd at Bell Street Chapel

Have you taken a look at our current digital exhibition about Providence’s vacant spaces, or visited any of the locations on the tour to see the signs?

IMG_2279

Exhibition curator Angela DiVeglia will be giving a talk on Wednesday, May 22nd in the lower level of the Bell Street Chapel from 6:00 – 7:30 pm. (Did you know that the park next to Bell Street Chapel used to be a convent?)

The evening will begin with a short presentation where Angela will show highlights from the exhibition, discuss her research and curatorial process, and answer questions from the audience. The second half of the event will consist of an optional interactive workshop with drawing and writing prompts to encourage audience members to engage with vacant and open spaces from their day-to-day lives or from their memories.

Learn more and register for the event here!

IMG_2281

New records from St. John’s in DigiNole

We are pleased to announce that additional records of the St. John’s Episcopal Church are now available online through DigiNole: FSU’d Digital Repository. These include records of baptisms, marriages, and burials at St. John’s throughout the 20th century, as well as early vestry minutes, detailing early church events such as establishing the site of the building and cemetery, selecting rectors, and historical practices such as renting seats in the pews. These supplement previously digitized records of church rites and the journals of Reverend W.H. Carter. Genealogists, St. John’s parishioners, and researchers of Tallahassee history will all find value in greater access to these materials.

A page from the St. John's Vestry Records, 1836-1873, discussing pew rates
A page from the St. John’s Vestry Records, 1836-1873, discussing pew rates [original object]

St. John’s is the mother church of the Diocese of Florida. It was founded as a mission parish in 1829, and the church’s first building was erected in 1837. The Diocese was organized at St. John’s in 1838 and Francis Huger Rutledge, who became rector of St. John’s in 1845, was consecrated the first Bishop of Florida in 1851. The original church burned in 1879; a new church was built on the same site and consecrated in 1888, and it is still the parish’s principal place of worship.

The physical collection includes administrative records; member registries; meeting minutes of the Vestry and church circles; Bibles, Books of Common Prayer, hymnals, and other liturgical works; documentation of the history of St. John’s Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Florida; service bulletins and other periodicals; sermon transcripts; photographs; and motion pictures.

For more information about the collection, visit its finding aid. You can also explore the digitized materials from St. John’s in DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository.

Musicians’ Union Archive Trainee Post

The University of Stirling Archives is delighted to offer a six week trainee post funded by the Musicians’ Union to work on their extensive archive, improving access to this unique research resource.

Since its transfer to the University of Stirling Archives in 2009 the Musicians’ Union Archive has been one of our most used collections with researchers from around the UK (and further afield) using the collection for a wide variety of research projects. The archive also receives a large amount of enquiries from members of the public engaged in family history research whose relatives were professional musicians. In 2016 a new history of the Union was published which has generated further interest in the collection (Cloonan, M. & Williamson, J., Players’ Work Time – A Social History of the Musicians’ Union, Manchester University Press).

The Archive Trainee will work on a project to digitise The Musician, the magazine of the Musicians’ Union, which began publication in 1950. They will prepare the items for digitisation, carry out the digitisation of the material and assist in the publication and promotion of this new resource.

Application information:

  • Please send a CV and supporting statement detailing why you are interested in the post and how it would benefit your future career to karl.magee@stir.ac.uk marking your email MU Trainee 2019
  • Closing date for applications is 5 June 2019
  • Interviews will be held during the week beginning 17 June 2019
  • The timing of this project is flexible but we expect it to be completed during the summer of 2019
  • The salary for this 6 week fixed term post is fixed to the University pay scale at Grade 4 SP 14 (£20,836)

Further information, including a full job description, is available here.

To discuss the post please contact Karl Magee, University Archivist, at 01786 466619 / karl.magee@stir.ac.uk

Summer Quiet

Summer is indeed a quieter time on campus. Today starts the summer term here at FSU and we wish all students the best of luck in their summer classes.


Title page from the Summer Holiday issue of The Girl’s Own Paper (1883). See the entire issue here.

We recently posted in DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository more volumes of The Girl’s Own Paper, or The Girl’s Own Annual as it was eventually titled. You can browse issues from this publication geared at young British girls and teenagers from the years 1880-1893 in DigiNole. This is an ongoing digitization project so be sure to look out for “new” issues in the future. This publication is a part of the larger John MacKay Shaw Childhood in Poetry Collection. Titles from that collection which have been digitized may be browsed and searched in DigiNole as well.

Happy Summer!

Mayor Charles Evers, Mississippi 1969

May 13th marks the 50th anniversary of the election of Charles Evers as mayor of Fayette, Mississippi, a victory which made Mr. Evers the state’s first African-American mayor of a racially diverse municipality.¹ The watershed 1969 campaign in Fayette came less than four years after President Lyndon Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the landmark federal legislation which prohibits states from establishing local laws or practices which may “deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or color”.

Soon after the Civil War, the Mississippi State Legislature instituted a set of laws designed to deprive African-American citizens of their right to participate in the electoral system.  This state-sponsored framework of disenfranchisement became known as the “Mississippi Plan.”  Mississippi’s laws, coupled with the free rein the state and local authorities gave to terror groups like the Klu Klux Klan, served as a model for the larger system of American apartheid called Jim Crow.  

Charles Evers, NAACP field secretary with Dr. Martin Luther King in Jackson, Miss., March 20, 1968.
((AP Photo/Jack Thornell))

Charles Evers and his younger brother Medgar grew up in the Jim Crow South and, since the early 1950s, had been activists there, advocating for the civil rights of African-American citizens, including the right to vote. Both men had held leadership roles in the Regional Council of Negro Leadership (RCNL), and in the Mississippi office of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).  

Medgar Evers was assassinated by a Klansman in the driveway of his Mississippi home on June 12, 1963 at the age of thirty-seven.

Prior to the Voting Rights Act of 1965, Fayette, Mississippi, a town with a population of 1600 citizens —of which only 400 were white— had no registered black voters.  But Charles Evers’ 1969 campaign and registration drives, backed by the protection of the new federal voting rights laws, increased the number of registered African-American voters in Fayette from 0 to 450.²   Evers told the syndicated newspaper columnist Drew Pearson that this sea-change in the town’s voting rolls would have been impossible to achieve before the passing of the Voting Rights Act.³  He explained:

I know. I’ve tried to register in Philadelphia [Mississippi] before the bill was passed and I personally know the runaround they give you.  First they send you to the chancery clerk, who sends you to the sheriff.  The sheriff tells you that the registration books are out, to come back in thirty days.  So you come back in thirty days and then they make you recite the constitution from memory.  Then, if by extreme persistence you manage to register, and if you do finally get to the polls, deputy sheriffs sit around, armed to the teeth, glowering at you as if daring you to walk past them and vote. 

A local Mississippi newspaper headline in the final days of Evers’ 1969 campaign. 
(The Delta-Democrat-Times; 11 May 1969)

By the second week of May, 1969, it seemed likely that Evers’ mayoral campaign would succeed.  And on May 13th, capturing 60% of the votes, he was declared the winner.  In his inaugural speech, Mayor Charles Evers spoke directly to the white citizens of Fayette, to his detractors, and to those who anticipated retribution from the new African-American mayor:

Have no fear… because we aren’t going to allow, because we are now in charge, our power to abuse you, and to mistreat you like you’ve mistreated us. We’re going to show you what love can do in a community.

Charles Evers was reelected Mayor of Fayette in 1973. 

 

The audio excerpt from Mayor Evers’ inaugural speech, found in the media player at the top of this page, comes from the Cinema Sound Collection. The Cinema Sound Collection contains hundreds of hours of stock audio footage documenting the politics and culture of the twentieth century. The Cinema Sound Collection is a part of the New York Public Radio Archive’s permanent collection, and is a gift of Joan and Robert Franklin.

 

Footnotes

¹Mound Bayou, Mississippi is an independent community that was founded in 1887 as an all-black town by formerly enslaved African-Americans.  Its first mayor was Isaiah T. Montgomery, an African-American man born into slavery.

²Editorial, “What Will Happen in Fayette’s Future” McComb Enterprise-Journal, 26 May 1969

³Drew Pearson, “Inauguration At Fayette Monday Direct Result Of Voting Rights Bill” Clarion-Ledger, 07 July 1969

 

Over 1,000 City Planning Library reports now available!

The Archives is very pleased to announce that the Planning Department’s former reference library material is now available to researchers in the Archives’ Reading Room.

An artistic presentation of a proposed redevelopment of the central downtown waterfront: Page 35 of Vancouver central waterfront (National Harbours Board, 1977)

The series consists of almost 1,200 items, including a set of Information Binders created by the department containing clippings, reports, pamphlets, etc. organised by topic or neighbourhood.

All areas related to planning are included in the series. The best documented subjects (as you would expect) relate to City-specific responsibilities: transportation planning, zoning and land use planning, building and urban design guidelines, urban renewal/redevelopment, and housing.

A sketch of Burrard Street view corridors from: A view analysis of downtown Vancouver (1975)

Other related subjects include: economic development, recreational resource planning (in conjunction with the Park Board), unsolicited studies on a number of matters related to planning, proposals for individual buildings and larger developments, and Vancouver’s participation in regional transportation development.

Specifications for use zoning in Hastings Park: page 35 of Hastings Park and New Brighton Park : Functional programming and design objectives study (Vancouver (B.C.). Office of the City Manager, 1991)

While the dates of the material in the series range from the 1920s to the early 2000s, the bulk of the items are from the 1960s to the early 1990s, with items from the 1970s alone making up 49% of the series.

Ocean parkway: Aerial view of proposed Ocean Parkway route, from First Narrows: crossing approaches : Proposed new ocean parkway (Swan Wooster Engineering Co., 1960)

Front cover of Housing conversion : the potential for additional suites in single family houses (Vancouver (B.C.). Planning Department, 1975)

The reports and other documents in the series are rich in historical data on the Vancouver economy, the physical environment of the City and many of its neighbourhoods:

Table depicting building conditions by land use in all industrial districts: page 4 of Vancouver urban renewal study:Technical report no. 4 Industrial districts (Vancouver (B.C.). Planning Department, 1965)

Taking a lateral view, you can see the evolution of concerns from city-wide land use planning in the 1920s through planning as a support function of economic development (transportation planning and urban renewal, especially) in the 1960s…

Infographic of daily motor vehicle flows in & out of downtown: Plate VII from Report on the downtown parking problem (J.F. Muir & A. Peebles, 1948)

…to redevelopment of the city’s former industrial lands and more neighborhood-focused planning in the 1970s…

One of a number of proposed conceptual schematics for the redevelopment of Granville Island: Page 19 of Granville Island: a process for redevelopment (Thompson, Berwick, Pratt & Partners, 1975)

…to planning for Skytrain and Expo in the 1980s, through to managing the explosion of growth that took off in the 1990s.

One-third of the material in the series was not created by City departments; much of this material is not readily available elsewhere. These items include external consultant’s reports; academic studies; unsolicited proposals from engineering companies, developers or architects; reports from other governments and public bodies; and studies sponsored by community groups on a wide variety of issues affecting the city and the lives of people living here.

Overall, the impression gained is that many issues currently concerning the city, planners and citizens have been around for a long time: from the mundanities of street design to housing to regional environmental protection, and everything in between.

A proposal to drop Granville Street below its existing grade as part of a redevelopment plan for downtown: Page 11 of Redevelopment in downtown Vancouver (Vancouver (B.C.). Planning Department, 1964)

Cover of Fraser River estuary study : Water quality (Canada. Ministry of Fisheries and Environment, and British Columbia. Ministry of the Environment, 1978)

The series also contains material that is not Vancouver or Greater Vancouver-specific, including studies and regulations published by other jurisdictions. These would have been used as reference material by staff when developing local responses.

Cover of Land use planning for noise control in residential communities (Ontario. Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, 1981)

This valuable resource had formerly been made available to members of the broader planning community while still in the custody of the Planning Department, so there has been considerable community interest in getting the series processed since its transfer to the Archives. Processing the series was expedited by the arrival of a Langara Library Tech program student who had been looking for an internship project with us. Kelsey Reimer listed and rehoused about 80% of the series during her internship; the rest was completed by Archives staff.

We hope this material continues to be of use to the general public and the broader planning community, providing historical context to many of the challenges we still continue to face across the city.

Cover of Metropolitan Airport Plan (Vancouver (B.C.) Town Planning Commission, 1946)

The Lord Mayor’s Show

In loading some new titles to the John MacKay Shaw Childhood in Poetry Collection, I noticed an event popping up in several of the texts. The Lord Mayor’s Show, an event still held today, was a popular topic in British children’s books in the 1800s.


Pages from Lord Mayor’s Show, or, The 9th of November (1810) [see original item here]

Children’s books in this era were often used to educate and explain people, place, nature and events to children. As the first example, Lord Mayor’s show, or, The 9th of November (1810) shows. This hand-colored picture book explains all the pageantry surrounding the event as well as takes the reader through each individual event that makes up the Show.


First page of the poem, “Lord Mayor’s Show” [See original item here]

Another example shows how prominent events in children’s lives could always be used to teach a lesson. In The rose-bud: a flower in the juvenile garland, a poem entitled “Lord Mayor’s Show” shows a young boy exclaiming over all the pomp and circumstance around the traditional parade at the Lord Mayor’s Show. His parents are quick to point out it is the hard work the Lord Mayor puts in that is valued and not the gold of his carriage.

The Lord Mayor’s Show is one of the longest running events of its kind, dating back to the 16th century and still celebrated today on the same date as the young children in the 1800s would have celebrated it. Both of these examples show how children’s literature can give us a glimpse into how events have changed, or remained the same.

You can explore more books and poetry of the John MacKay Shaw Childhood in Poetry Collection through DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository. We’re adding new titles to the collection often so be sure to check back!

NARA’s Past, Present, and Future Leadership in SNAC (Social Networks and Archival Context): Always Collaborating, Always Cooperating

As SNAC (Social Networks and Archival Context) looks toward the end of its Phase II development, NARA’s External Agency Liaisons to SNAC, Jerry Simmons and Dina Herbert, continue to lead and collaborate in the full spectrum of cooperative activities including outreach and communication, collaborative projects outside NARA, cooperative management with the SNAC Operations Team, technical developments for the ever-evolving SNAC editing interface, and administration of the SNACSchool training program, which is the Team’s predominant task.

SNAC’s landing page mosaic, where users discover archival holdings world-wide via searches for the organizations, persons and families who created them.

One of SNAC’s most popular authority records is that of Julia Child. From Child’s record, researchers have single-click access to archival collections in repositories around the world. Her record also contains links to other persons and organizations related to Child also described in SNAC.

SNAC Outreach and Communication

As we continue outreach in the archives, library and museum community, we are excited by stories from professional researchers who are using SNAC in their day-to-day work. In December 2018, we learned that a team of research specialists working specifically in repatriation at the National Museum of the American Indian were using SNAC as part of their “reference tool kit”, especially exploiting SNAC’s linking features for better overall understanding of artifact provenance. One such search discovered former custodians of the solid gold Echenique Disc. Evidence discovered in SNAC revealed a connection to dealers and collectors of Native American artifacts who were active in Germany during World War II.

One large aspect of our project continues to be external outreach, both near and far. During the past year and a half, the NARA SNAC Liaisons presented information sessions and system demonstrations as close as the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art where the Smithsonian’s Technical Group had a presentation by Liaison Dina Herbert. And another as far away as Oslo, Norway, where Liaison Jerry Simmons gave a presentation to Scandinavian librarians and archivists at the Libraries in the Sky Conference in April 2018. The Oslo presentation focused on tracking the archival record of famed Norwegian aviator and polar explorer Bernt Balchen, who has small collections at the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress and the National Archives, in addition to materials housed in European repositories.

Other conference presentations included SNAC/NARA representation at WikiCon America in October 2018, Bridging the Spectrum Symposium at Catholic University of America in February 2019, and a customized demonstration at the Folger Shakespeare Library as recent at mid-March.

NARA Leadership via SNAC Cooperation and Collaboration

As is the mission of NARA’s SNAC Liaisons, there are a number of special projects, both internal and external, on the Team’s calendar throughout the year.

One very visible aspects of NARA’s leadership in SNAC is our ongoing support of SNAC partner gatherings. The National Archives Office of Innovation has hosted a number of gatherings for SNAC cooperative partners at the Innovation Hub at Archives I, even in the earliest phases of investigation and development, as far back as 2010. The most recent gathering was in August 2018, during the Society of American Archivists conference week in Washington, D.C. Our next all-partners’ gathering is scheduled for September 2019.

Within NARA, SNAC Liaison Dina has collaborated with Innovation staff member Dominic Byrd-McDevitt to integrate SNAC records of women featured in the May 2019 exhibit at the National Archives Rightfully Hers on a new interactive website project. Not only will we feature NARA records for the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, we’ll also feature the connections made possible by SNAC for such women as Susan B. Anthony, Mary Church Terrell, Carrie Chapman Catt, and Sally Ride.

Mary Church Terrell’s SNAC record points to/links to the description of her portrait in the holdings of the National Archives and Records Administration.

Similarly, Dina is supporting the WikiEdu Scholar Program in its efforts to enhance wiki articles about the 19th Amendment. A collaboration between WikiEdu and the National Archives, focused on Rightfully Hers, these online Wiki courses are using SNAC resources to help develop pages in Wikipedia about the unsung women of the fight for equality and the vote. Also under Dina’s watch is our NARA/SNAC Twitter feed @SNACcooperative. Make sure to follow for all the latest information about SNAC and to learn helpful tips on using it.

If you attended the Society of American Archivists’ conference last year in Washington, D.C., you probably saw NARA’s SNAC Team at the SNAC information table and learned about the search engine and other projects. If you attend the SAA meeting in Austin, Texas, this coming August,  make sure to look for the SNAC information station in the SAA registration area. You can talk with SNAC partners about our many projects, and see a quick demonstration of the SNAC search engine.

NARA Leadership in SNACSchool

NARA SNAC Liaisons Team continues its mission to train new SNAC editors via the SNACSchool, a program that’s now in its third year. The team has logged training events as far away as Portland, Oregon, and close to home in Washington, D.C. Each training event hosts a new class of partner/editors from institutions like Yale and Harvard Universities, East Carolina University, and UNC-Chapel Hill. Those editors who cannot attend events held during the annual Society of American Archivists meetings can take advantage of one of the purely remote, web-based training events.

But the NARA Team doesn’t work alone! In a show of strong professional collaborative spirit, SNAC partners from the George Washington University, New York Public Library, University of Miami Libraries, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Wilson Library, and the Getty Research Institute, (a group known as the SNACSchool Team), work side-by-side (virtually) to develop training materials and present SNACSchool events. This group was particularly supportive in the development of SNACSchool’s new “micro modules” curriculum. As the name suggests, micro modules are brief, focused training events intended to deliver quick updates SNAC editors on new interface features, and to inform the cooperative of new editing policies.

Examples of SNACSchool training materials:

As of December 2018, there are 106 graduates of the SNACSchool. We have at least three training events planned before the end of the current grant cycle (October 2019), one of which is slated for the Society of American Archivists week this August in Austin, Texas.

New developments in cooperative membership

As the current phase moves into the final months, SNAC leaders work to expand the membership base. Nearly fifty institutions have expressed interest in being members, among them the National Archives in Luxembourg and the National Archives in Spain. There are also discussions underway with Archives Portal Europe (APE) about SNAC/APE collaboration.

SNAC technical developments and projects

With leadership from SNAC’s Technical Team and Working Group, refinements to the user editing interface are ongoing, with new version releases coming every few months. There is also work on a new SNAC API for use in automated extraction of data by outside parties, and work progresses on a new data ingest tool to facilitate batch uploads of new authority records, in EAC-CPF and other standard authority formats, into the database.

A new form technical collaboration comes in the form of monitoring the new SNAC Help Ticket program. Using the osTicket platform, NARA SNAC Liaisons respond to technical help tickets submitted by SNAC’s public users. These help tickets cover a variety of subjects, but mostly involve requests for assistance in locating archival collections described in SNAC records. The NARA Team does this work in close contact with SNAC’s Technical Team headquartered at the University of Virginia’s Alderman Library.

Last but certainly not least, SNAC recently launched a new API which allows for users to programmatically extract data from the database. This makes it useful for researchers who want to look at a large amount of data, and users who want to connect different systems or websites, or make similar edits over and over. You can learn more at SNAC API Documentation.

The NARA SNAC Team stays busy, but always looking for the next big chance to be leaders and collaborators in SNAC’s global mission to connect researchers, scholars and the like to archival holdings wherever they are stored. You can learn more at snaccooperative.org.

Freedom road and its intersections

The University of Stirling Archives and the Division of History and Politics are pleased to announce details of a one day workshop looking at the struggles for the liberation of Southern and Central Africa and their interconnections, to be held at the University of Stirling on Saturday 15 June 2019.

The event will showcase recent work carried out on the Peter Mackay Archive, a unique and comprehensive collection of the papers of a key figure in the independence, anti-settler and postcolonial democracy movements of several Southern African countries. It will also promote wider academic research into the many interconnections between political activists, such as Mackay, and wider movements in Southern and Central Africa in the latter half of the Twentieth Century.

The workshop will conclude with an evening screening of a documentary produced by the Malawi Lost History Foundation on the 1967 Mwanza War, a forgotten episode in Malawian history. Material from the Peter Mackay Archive features in this new film and we are delighted to provide the documentary with its UK premiere.

Proposals for presentations that explore the interconnections between the various liberation struggles (including both anti-colonial and anti-settler movements, and post-colonial struggles for democracy) in Southern and Central Africa are welcome. The deadline for submissions is 27 May 2019. The full call for papers and further details of the event can be found here.

The event has been made possible through the generous support of the Stirling Fund.


(Photo: Peter Mackay on the Freedom Road, a route which smuggled political dissidents out of South Africa)

Intersession Intermission

As FSU heads towards the summer class semesters, generally a much quieter time on campus, Special Collections & Archives will be available by appointment only during the intersession week, May 6-10, 2019. Appointments are available between 10am to 12pm and 1pm and 4pm during this week.

The Special Collections Research Center in Strozier Library, the Pepper Library Reading Room, and the Heritage Museum will all be closed during that week. SCA has started to use this time to complete projects and prepare new projects for the summer as well as clean up and re-shelve our stacks after the busy semester.

Librarian with Book Carts, ca. 1940s
Librarian with Book Carts, ca. 1940s [original image]

If you need to make an appointment for any of those spaces during the intersession week, please contact Special Collections at lib-specialcollections@fsu.edu or call us at (850) 644-3271. We will resume our normal operating hours on Monday, May 13, 2019.

Nazis Rallied at Madison Square Garden

Marshall Curry’s recent documentary A Night at the Garden (produced by Field of Vision) about the German-American Bund rally in Madison Square Garden in February 1939 and The Radio Diaries piece When Nazis Took Manhattan remind us that the notion of a fascist America may not just be the stuff of fiction by Sinclair Lewis and Philip Roth, but a real possibility. Given the right social, political and economic conditions, a significant number of the voting public can indeed be persuaded by demagogues. When Radio Diaries asked the WNYC Archives if we could help with their piece, we were able to come up with two hours’ worth of the raw audio from the rally. 

A poster used to promote the German-American Bund Rally at Madison Square Garden on February 20, 1939.
(Poster courtesy of Lorne Bair Books, Inc.)

Why then have we decided to make this hate-filled event available?  Well, it wasn’t because it’s enjoyable listening or that we endorse any of the ideology, perceptions or language used by the speakers. To the contrary, the rally is a raw, unedited 1 hearing of an infamous event that takes place during a critical period in American history; just months away from the outbreak of World War II, when isolationist and ‘America First’ sentiment was gaining traction daily. The public rhetoric used by the German-American Bund played to the underlying assumptions of these movements by raising the fear-mongering specter of an internationalist ‘Jewish cabal’ 2 out to deprive America of its sovereignty and bring Soviet-style communism to our shores. Bund leader Fritz Kuhn put it this way: 

We, the German-American Bund, organized as American citizens with American ideals and determined to protect ourselves, our homes, our wives and children against the slimy conspirators who would change this glorious republic into the inferno of a Bolshevik paradise.

Back then the ‘cabal’ was composed of FDR’s treasury secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr., the financier Bernard Baruch and the Rothschild banking family. Today, for those on the alt-right, the Jewish billionaire bogeyman is the progressive George Soros and his supporters.  

Original program cover for the German-American Bund rally Madison Square Garden on February 20, 1939. Notice, the snake’s head has a hammer and sickle on it. 
(U.S. Holocaust Museum via Wikimedia.)

The speakers relied on a white supremacist tautology with a bizarre American twist that employed George Washington, the nation’s founding father, as the patriotic foundation upon which to build their racist non-interventionist platform. The event, orchestrated to coincide with Washington’s birthday, (February 22nd), featured a thirty-foot image of the first President flanked by red, white and blue bunting and swastikas as the visual backdrop to a succession of uniformed Bund speakers who drew on Washington’s inaugural admonition about avoiding ‘foreign entanglements.’ One speaker even argued that if Washington was alive today, he would be a ‘staunch friend’ of Adolph Hitler. To this they added time-worn tropes, stereotypes and falsehoods about criminal Jewish refugees taking American jobs, Jews creating degenerate art and music, and Jewish teachers corrupting Aryan children. 

America’s home-grown legacy of slavery, the Klan, Jim Crow laws, and, nativism fed into this anti-Semitic Nazi ideology of racial purity, making it easy for speakers to talk about Jewish carpetbaggers during Reconstruction along with miscegenation or ‘race mixing’ and ‘lustful Negroes’ who only wanted to rape white women. After all, one speaker noted, intermarriage is already illegal in more than half the nation, implying that lawmakers should just finish the job.

Father Charles E. Coughlin broadcasts in Royal Oak, Michigan, Oct. 26, 1936.
(AP Photo)

But perhaps no better domestic factor was utilized by the Bund than that of America as a Christian nation with Christian values. Here, the notoriously anti-Semitic Father Charles Coughlin, the outspoken radio evangelist, was held high as a martyr and victim of the ‘Jewish-controlled’ media. No doubt rally goers were disappointed the controversial preacher was a no-show since Kuhn had repeatedly promised a “prominent Catholic” would attend to discuss “the Jewish question” in the days leading up to the event.

This certainly didn’t dampen the address by Bund publicity director Gerhard Wilhelm Kunze, who harped on the Jewish domination of American culture and called for news and culture without “a Jewish accent.” Kunze, who fancied himself an American Joseph Goebbels, complained there is “no free speech for white men” in the United States and condemned ‘parasites’ like Walter Winchell, George Burns, Leonard Bernstein, and Eddie Cantor, for polluting the ether and taking the rightful places of Aryan Americans in the cultural milieu. In brief, he called for an ethnic cleansing of the airwaves. It’s not too much of a stretch to go from the Christian Nationalist rhetoric of 80 years ago to current alt-right allusions to Jewish control of Hollywood studios and other media outlets. 

The Protests

Towards the end of Kuhn’s speech (beginning 1:57:00) you will note there’s a disruption of some kind. While we can’t see it, Kuhn asks people to remain seated and says, “one fanatic doesn’t make any difference, ladies and gentlemen…see, that’s the way we never do it.” This is the moment when protester Isadore Greenbaum mounts the stage and attempts to reach the podium but is grabbed, beaten, and, stripped by uniformed Bund members. It is Greenbaum’s story that is the focus of the Radio Diaries production. The savage assault on him is clearly shown in Marshall Curry’s documentary film produced by the short documentary unit Field of Vision.

Isadore Greenbaum being beaten and subdued by Nazi storm troopers at Madison Square Garden, February 20, 1939.
(Photo courtesy of The New York Times)

The number of protesters on the streets of New York that cold evening depended in large part on your source, with police estimates ranging anywhere from 10,000 to 100,000.3 Nevertheless, the anti-fascists were hemmed in by at least 1,700 policemen, many mounted on horses, outside of the Garden and at various points on 8th Avenue. (In 1939 the Garden was located at 8th Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets in Manhattan). The New York Times described the police cordon the following day as “a fortress almost impregnable to anti-Nazis.”

New York City’s mounted police forming a line outside Madison Square Garden to hold in check a crowd that packed the streets where the German American Bund was holding a rally.
(AP Photo/Murray Becker)

A mounted police officer attempts to take flag away from anti-Nazi demonstrator outside of Madison Square Garden, February 20, 1939.
(AP Photo courtesy of The New York Times)

The event received broad national coverage that reflected these divergent takes on what happened. The Brooklyn Eagle reported thirteen people were arrested and eight received medical attention, including four police officers in street skirmishes between Nazis, anti-Nazis and police. Yet overall, “Despite the scattered fighting in the streets, no serious trouble resulted, and the rally failed to produce the bombing and rioting predicted.”4    

Socialist Workers Party protest poster against German-American Bund Rally
(Poster courtesy of Field of Vision/Marshall Curry Productions.)

People from a wide range of political and Jewish organizations protested, although only the Socialist Workers Party (whose poster is pictured here) was actually noted by the city’s paper of record.5 The communist Daily Worker, of course, avoided mentioning the Trotskyist SWP, and pulled no punches in its lead: 

“The fetid stench of Hitler Fascism billowed and eddied through Madison Square’s vastness last night. Nazidom’s outpost in America, the German-American Bund, carried its war on democracy into the Garden with shouts, heils, a band of uniformed storm troopers — all the made-in-Berlin trappings, including a thin ‘Americanism’ veneer craftily plotted by German propaganda headquarters.”6

My guess is the paper would not have been as damning six months later (August 23, 1939) in the wake of the signing of the Hitler-Stalin non-aggression pact. Still, the Daily Worker that February remained the only newspaper to mention a simultaneous counter-rally “for true Americanism through brotherhood, through democracy,” that was held at Julia Richmond High School in Queens. Speakers there included, Acting Mayor Newbold Morris (La Guardia was out of town), Judge Anna M. Kross, Professor David Efron of Sarah Lawrence College, and WHN News Commentator George Hamilton Combs.

With a pair of Bund “storm troopers” beside her, columnist Dorothy Thompson is pictured still seated, just before being escorted out after laughing and heckling a Nazi speaker. Police later allowed her to return. 
(AP Photo.)

It Can Happen Here 8

Columnist Dorothy Thompson of The New York Herald Tribune (and wife of novelist Sinclair Lewis, the author of It Can’t Happen Here), was escorted out of the rally by two New York City police officers and a Bund storm trooper after she laughed mockingly when Kunze said the Aryan race follows the Golden Rule while Jews only follow the ‘rule of gold’ (approx 1:16:50). Thompson was allowed to return after it became clear she was there as a member of the press. Nevertheless, Thompson called Americans ‘saps’ for allowing such rallies and wrote:

I saw an exact duplicate of it in the Berlin Sports Palast in 1931. That meeting was also ‘protected’ by the police of the German Republic. Three years later the people who had been in charge of that meeting were in charge of the Government of Germany, and the German citizens against whom, in 1931, exactly the same statements had been made as were made by Mr. Kunze, were being beaten, expropriated and murdered… Whenever he made one of his blanket indictments against all Americans not purely Aryan, the audience applauded and howled with joy. Between Mr. Kunze’s speech and a wholesale pogrom is a very short step…I laughed because I wanted to demonstrate how perfectly absurd all this defense of ‘free speech’ is, in connection with movements and organizations like this one.9

Religious and other groups had, in fact, petitioned New York Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia, an outspoken anti-fascist, to ban the rally. A few days before the scheduled event the Mayor suggested featuring Hitler in a chamber of horrors at the World’s Fair but said that he wouldn’t stop the gathering. He told reporters, “I would then be doing exactly what Hitler is doing in carrying on his abhorrent form of government.”10

German-American Bund leader Fritz Kuhn at the Madison Square Garden rally in 1939.
(National Archives/Wikimedia Commons)

The Banality of Evil 11

With the U.S. entry into World War II the German-American Bund was disbanded and the leaders who spoke at the rally did not fare well. The German-born Fritz Kuhn (the last speaker) was found guilty of tax evasion and embezzling more than $14,000 from the Bund. He was sent to Sing Sing prison for two-and-a-half years. While there his citizenship was revoked on the grounds it had been obtained falsely. He was then rearrested for being an enemy agent and interned at a camp in Texas until the end of World War II when he was deported to Germany. He died in obscurity in 1951. 

Gerhard Wilhelm Kunze at the Madison Square Garden Rally in 1939.
(National Archives/Wikimedia Commons)

Bund publicity director Gerhard Wilhelm Kunze succeeded Fritz Kuhn as head of the organization. He reportedly provided the New York District Attorney with the financial documents needed to prosecute Kuhn.  After the U.S. entry into World War II, Kunze fled to Mexico with the intention of making his way to Germany but was arrested and extradited to the United States, where he was prosecuted and sent to prison for espionage and violating the Selective Service Act.

James Wheeler-Hill, National Secretary for the Bund.
(Daily News clipping)

Bund national secretary James Wheeler-Hill was described by the Daily News as “the boy orator of the Bund.” He opened the rally and acted as emcee. Wheeler-Hill resigned his post in January 1940 following his arrest for falsely claiming he was an American citizen. A  Russian-born (Latvian) national, Wheeler-Hill was convicted and went to prison for a year on Welfare Island. In March 1942 he was interned as an enemy alien by the FBI and may have been deported after the war. This is unconfirmed. His brother Axel was sentenced to 16 years in prison for being a Nazi spy.

Isolationist Pastor Sigmund G. Von Bosse was the rally’s second speaker. Described by the Daily Worker as “a frequent headliner at Philadelphia Nazi rallies,” Von Bosse was, in fact, a clergyman, heading up the Bethanien Lutheran Church of Roxborough, Pennsylvania from 1934-1941. According to an obituary in The Morning News of Wilmington, Delaware, Von Bosse then went into seclusion. It reported his death in Miami Beach, Florida on November 29, 1958. 

Russell J. Dunn was the third speaker. Dunn was a founder of the Catholic Common Cause League and was involved with the founding of the Flatbush Anti-Communist League. He spoke often for the Bund and the Christian Front and had ties to the American Nationalist Party. No other information is available at this time. 

The German-born Rudolph Markmann was the fourth speaker. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1933. He led the Atlantic Coast District of the Bund. He was one of eight Bund leaders whose citizenship was revoked in June 1944 on the grounds he violated his citizenship oath by joining the Bund. The Brooklyn Eagle reported (March 21, 1944) that Markmann testified in Brooklyn Federal Court that he eventually quit the Bund’s many activities because it interfered with his family life and made him “tired and sleepy.” It’s not clear if Markmann was ever deported.  

A Bund color guard as it marched in Madison Square Garden are saluted by followers on February 20, 1939.
(AP Photo courtesy of The New York Times)

Closing Thoughts

After listening to two hours of raw audio and then watching Marshall Curry’s six minutes of archive footage, it’s almost as if there were two different rallies. Missing from the audio is all of the pageantry and choreography that went into making it a spectacle. Add to that, the earnest looks, the storm trooper uniforms, and the Nazi salutes. Sure, we hear the crowd roar its approval at what is said, but seeing it, even for a moment, is so much more powerful. Perhaps, this is because it now seems so bizarre, I can’t begin to imagine it in my mind’s eye.

From a strictly audio perspective, as rallies go, this one had some pretty boring stretches. Kunze was the most dynamic if not rabid of the speakers while Kuhn’s revisionist history, though ponderous and tedious, made him, perhaps, the most dangerous. Still, what is remarkable is that their organization was able to muster 20,000 like-minded true believers to fill Madison Square Garden in the name of George Washington and white Christian nationalism. Add to that those around the country who agreed with them but couldn’t make the trip and we’re talking about a significant number. As filmmaker Curry says:

It’s scary and embarrassing. It tells a story about our country that we’d prefer to forget. We’d like to think that when Nazism rose up, all Americans were instantly appalled. But while the vast majority of Americans were appalled by the Nazis, there was also a significant group of Americans who were sympathetic to their white supremacist, anti-Semitic message.

Eighty years have passed. For some, however, the language and attitudes of that time and place have not faded. Indeed, the ideas and beliefs never really left.  It’s as if they were a person that went into hiding, kept below the radar and out of sight, waiting patiently for an opportunity to come out into the open. It seems that opportunity has arrived. Some of the persons and groups attacked have changed along with the circumstances, but contemporary discourse and events, sadly, have some eerie echoes from that night at the Garden.   

____________________________________

[1] There are a few gaps in the original recording, not necessarily due to an effort to censor or omit material, but simply because that material was missing from the original recordings done on a series of instantaneous lacquer coated aluminum discs. Based on the original event program, what appears to be missing here is the music and singing.

[2] The notion of a global conspiracy by rich and powerful Jews is hardly new. Members of the German-American Bund were no doubt inspired, at least in part, by The Elders of the Protocols of Zion a late 19th century anti-Semitic tract published in Russia that purports to be the minutes of meetings held by Jews plotting to take control the world. Although a proven forgery, it was published and widely distributed in the United States in the 1920s by auto magnate Henry Ford through his weekly newspaper, The Dearborn Independent. 

[3] 22,000 Nazis Hold Rally in Garden; Police Check Foes, The New York Times, February, 21, 1939, pg.1. This contrasts with The Albany Times Union front page headline the next day proclaiming: “RIOTS AT N.Y. BUND MEETING 100,000 Jam Area as Army of Police Quells Outbreaks.” 

[4] “Army of Police Cuts Bund Rally Casulties to Only a Few Injured,” The Brooklyn Eagle, February 21, 1939, pg.3. But did any of the injured include the 13 Nazis who attacked Joseph L. Greenstein, a.k.a. The Mighty Atom, who ripped down a Nazi banner outside the Garden? It may never be known, but you can listen to Greenstein’s story by Nate DiMeo following the Radio Diaries piece at: When Nazis Took Manhattan or go directly to: The Year Hank Greenberg Hit 58 Home Runs. 

[5] Ibid., The New York Times.

[6] “Nazi Rally Hails Hoover’s Foreign Policy,” Daily Worker, February 21, 1939, pg. 1

[7] Ibid, pg. 4.

[8] This refers to the Sinclair Lewis’ novel It Can’t Happen Here, a political satire describing the election of ‘patriotic’ demagogue to presidency and his Nazi-like take over of the country. This is also the same pitch line filmmaker Marshall Curry used to advertise his documentary on Fox News. The network, however, refused to air the ad as written, calling it “inappropriate.” See: Hollywood Reporter.

[9] Thompson, Dorothy, “Miss Thompson Issues Statement on Bund Rally,” The New York Herald Tribune, February 21, 1939, pg. 3.

[10] “La Guardia Lets Bund Hold Rally,” The Daily News, February 18, 1939, pg. 3.

[11] This phrase refers to Hannah Arendt’s description of Adolph Eichmann at his 1962 trial in Israel. Eichmann was the Nazis’ chief architect of the genocidal ‘final solution’ for the Jews of Europe. In Arendt’s 1963 book, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, she writes about the ‘normalization of wickedness’. In this regard, I highly recommend reading a piece by writer Maria Popova.

Special thanks to Andrew Golis, Jim Schachter, Joe Richman, Sarah Kramer, Marshall Curry, Ben Goldberg and Lorne Bair.   

Wearing the shirt which storm troopers ripped when he interrupted a speech given by Bund leader Fritz Kuhn, anti-Nazi protester Isadore Greenbaum is reunited with his wife and son after his ordeal, February 20, 1939.
(AP Photo courtesy of The New York Times)

 

Herbaria side by side

Herbaria are collections of different plant specimens which have been dried and preserved. They can be used for many different reasons including personal collecting and as data necessary for scientific studies. FSU even has a museum-quality collection of plants and micro-algae specimens held at the Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium.

Special Collections also has a good sized collections of herbals, including a 1791 portable herbarium of plants in the vicinity of Liege. This item is without a cover and has varying degrees of water and age damage throughout the pages. The specimens which were originally in the item were removed in order to better preserve the book, however the impressions and stains they left on the pages are still easily visible. The original specimens from this item can be viewed from a CD which is included with the book within Special Collection.


Residual evidence of the Polypodium Vulgare that was once held on this page.

I particularly like how indents and water marks from leaves can be seen within the gutter of some of the pages. It gives the item character, and speaks of an unnamed person who sometimes may have slipped leaves in the pages of the book for safe keeping or as bookmarks. This book is designed to have been bought with the text only, and each page which would hold a plant would be inserted as that herb was found. It’s a design not often seen in books but nifty for the use of this particular book.


Cover of the Ruby Diamond herbaria.

In comparison, Ruby Diamond’s collection of pressed flowers from her trip to Jerusalem is in phenomenal condition. This particular item should sit on the table as seen in the image (left) with the spine facing to the right as is customary when reading Hebrew text. This particular herbaria has a cover made of wood from Jerusalem and is something Diamond probably bought while in Israel to fill with the plants. This method of collection, buying a pre-made book and filling it with one’s own items, is a common theme when it comes to herbaria. When opened, the beautifully arranged herbs show the care that was put into this travel sized item.

Each page of herbs is covered with a thin absorbent paper that will keep the pages, for the most part, from suffering water and mold damage. It shows to be very effective when compared to the 1791 portable herbaria. The spine of this item is very stiff and it should not be opened all the way as one would assume. Instead, it is best to open an item like this only slightly to avoid any long term damage. Likewise, the specimens on the pages of this herbaria should only be exposed for a short amount of time to protect them from chemicals or pollutants that may damage them if exposed for too long.

The 1791 portable herbarium of plants in the vicinity of Liege and Ruby Diamond’s own collection of pressed flowers from the Holy Land can can be viewed in Special Collections at Strozier Library.


A personal favorite, flowers and herbs collected from the tomb of the biblical Rachel, wife of Jacob. Care has been put in to organically recreate an image of the tomb.

All photo credits go toward the author.

Historic Children’s Books at the Library of Congress

Today’s New York Times has a lovely article about the rare children’s books housed at the Library of Congress, 100 of which are now digitized and available online. (Intriguingly, the children’s book called The Cats’ Party that the article features is entirely different from the identically-titled book that we hold at PPL. We’re pleased to know that two different 19th century authors decided to pen books about feline festivities.)

Check out the Library of Congress’s digitized children’s books here.