In his “Great Shadow”: Robert Burns’ Legacy

Robert Burns’ ability to spontaneously produce musical and poignant verse earned him the title of “Scotland’s Bard,” and ensured that his legacy would remain especially close to that nation’s people and their descendants. Special Collections & Archives’ forthcoming exhibit, “In his ‘Great Shadow’: Robert Burns’ Legacy,” opening January 22nd, explores not only the lyrical finesse that led to our remembrance of him, but especially how he is remembered.

Portrait_of_Robert_Burns_Ayr_Scotland
Portrait of Robert Burns by Detroit Publishing Company [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Items created by Burns Clubs for memorial celebrations evince the long history of social responses to Burns’ greatness; drawing on the Scottish and John McKay Shaw Collections at FSU’s Special Collections & Archives, the exhibit especially highlights the tradition of Burns Suppers, which are still celebrated around the world. Like memorial celebrations, poetic homages to Burns began almost at the moment of his death. This exhibit explores these poetic echoes, from Sir Walter Scott to current Scottish poet laureate Jackie Kay. Experience firsthand the social and poetic legacies of Burns — what Keats called “his Great Shadow” — through beautiful historical items in our collections.

The exhibit is holding a soft opening starting January 22, 2018, and then will be open through the Spring semester in the Exhibit Room in Strozier Library, Monday-Thursday, 10am to 6pm and Friday 10am to 5:30pm.

Join us for Citizen Archivist Week of Service!

In the spirit of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Day of Service, join us this week, January 15—19, 2018, for the Citizen Archivist Week of Service. Our goal is to tag or transcribe 2,018 pages in the National Archives Catalog during this week-long challenge. Can you help us meet this goal?

Citizen Archivist Week of Service: January 15-19, 2018. Volunteer to help us Unlock History!

Get started by visiting the Citizen Archivist Dashboard today through January 19. During this week, we’ll have a special expanded missions section and many featured records waiting to be tagged and transcribed. You can transcribe records related to Mediterranean Passports, which were certificates issued by the Secretary of State in an attempt to ensure safe passage of American vessels in areas threatened by Barbary pirates; slave manifests from the Port of New York; marriage licenses from the Office of Indian Affairs White Earth Agency; records from a wide range of civil rights issue in United States history, and much more! What will you learn and discover as you begin to transcribe?

For our new volunteers, you’ll also find instructions on how to create an account and get started.

Help us unlock history by tagging and transcribing primary source documents in the National Archives Catalog. As you add tags or transcriptions to these records, those words are added to our Catalog—improving search results, and making our records more discoverable online. The added benefit is that we’re unlocking the sometimes difficult to read text for all to understand. We like to say that as we tag and transcribe, we are unlocking history.

Visit our Resources page to learn How to Tag and Transcribe Records, learn What Makes A Good Tag, and review Transcription Tips.

 Encourage Service Week in your classroom!

Are you an educator? A great way to get students involved is by playing the tagging game. It’ a head-to-head or team-versus-team challenge to list as many keywords (Tags) that describe or identify items in an image. After one minute of writing keywords, teams compare their lists and scores are awarded. Before moving on to the next image, the game host adds all the keywords as tags into the Catalog description. You can find more information and resources for both tagging and transcription on our dashboard.

Stay in touch!

Send us a tweet @USNatArchives using the hashtag #CitizenArchivistServiceWeek to let us know what you’re working on and what you find in the records.

Follow us throughout the week to keep up with our progress. We’ll post updates on the Citizen Archivist Dashboard, and on social media.

We look forward to your contributions during our Week of Service—and always! Together with our virtual volunteers, we can help unlock history and make the records of the National Archives more discoverable online.

New to Citizen Archivist? Register and Get Started

 

New in the public domain 2018

On January 1st, the copyright expired for some of our holdings: these are now in the public domain in Canada. These digital materials may now be legally re-used for any purpose. Here’s a quick look at some of the images, maps, and moving images that have become easier to re-use.

Trading Post, a 1967 production from CHAN-CHEK TV, came to us when we acquired the Playhouse Theatre records. It was thought to be related to the Playhouse Theatre, but when the 2” videotape was digitized, it was discovered to be a program that allowed people to phone the host with items for barter or sale. Reference code AM1487-: LEG188.7.

Mildred Valley Thornton was a professional artist who died in 1967. It Thornton was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the art critic for the Vancouver Sun for 16 years. A biography of her was published in 2011 by Sheryl Salloum. She painted The Pilotage in 1940, approximately, and it shows a pilot house in Skunk Cove, West Vancouver. If you view the image below in high resolution, you can see the impasto texture of the paint.

The Pilotage by Mildred Valley Thornton. Reference code AM1562-: 72-556

This is one section of a multi-sheet sectional plan of the City of Vancouver. It was created by the City in 1912 and revised in 1942.

South Vancouver section 8. Reference code COV-S508-: LEG1153.418

Here’s a 1960 photograph of a house at 3399 Kingway. According to Major Matthews, it was originally a roadhouse named “The Pig and Whistle”. Matthews says that it was one of several roadhouses along Westminster Road (later Kingsway). By 1960, it had been turned into a private house.

Exterior of house at 3399 Kingsway (formerly the Pig and Whistle on Westminster Road) Reference code AM54-S4-: Hot P77

A Place to Be is a short documentary from 1967 about Grouse Mountain. It shows the gondola, skiers on the slopes, the restaurant, and people singing along to German songs. Reference code AM1466-: MI-22.

This is just a small selection of the items which have recently come into the public domain.

Recipes from the Girl in White

Those of you with a great memory for detail may recall that PPL’s 2016 exhibition, On the Table, included a book published by the Providence Gas Company entitled Favorite Old Rhode Island Recipes From the Girl in White. Said book includes baking temperatures and times for common foods– valuable information to have on hand at the time of its publication, as ovens with temperature increments only became commonplace in American homes around 1945.

Girl in White - PPL

We mention this today because, sadly, the “Girl in White”, also known as Sylvia Denhoff, passed away last week at the age of 99.8 years. The Providence Journal ran a fascinating obituary for Denhoff that includes her recipe for almond cookies. (We’re grateful to Matthew Lawrence over at Law and Order Party for drawing our attention to this journalistic tribute.)

If you’d like to take a peek at more of Denhoff’s favorite Rhode Island recipes, her book is available at PPL for on-site use.

Skating By…

A crowd sits on a grassy hill, and watches two figure skaters perform a dance on the ice rink. The pair wear matching sweaters, and are holding hands with their left arms extended.

Phyllis (Schroeder) Forney and her husband Martin Forney perform an ice dancing routine.

Grab your skates!

The Walter S. Orr Rink opened 63 years ago this month—dedicated on January 15, 1955. The dedication ceremony, led by Dean Eugene S. Wilson (Class of 1929), included speeches by Trustee Francis T. P. Plimpton (Class of 1921), President Charles W. Cole (Class of 1927), and Walter S. Orr (Class of 1912), the rink’s namesake and major donor. The formal ceremony was followed by two figure skating performances and an Amherst College vs. UMass Amherst hockey game (which Amherst lost, 5-4).

National champions performed the two inaugural figure skating routines. Dick Button won Olympic gold in both 1948 and 1952 with two historic “firsts” in competition. In 1948, he landed the first double Axel, and four years later, he landed the first triple jump (a loop).[1]  Ice dancing pair (and spouses) Phyllis and Martin Forney would compete in the 1955 World Figure Skating Championships.

A male ice skater, dressed in black, lifts his foot and extends his arms as he twists his body to the right. Spectators in winter coats stand behind the wooden fence at the rink edge, and on the hill rising behind the rink.

Dick Button, Olympic gold medalist, begins a turn during his performance on the ice.

Despite the cold (the Amherst Student noted that it was below freezing), a substantial crowd gathered for the dedication. The speeches tended to humor, with Dean Wilson introducing President Cole as “one who is long-experienced in skating on thin ice,” and Trustee Plimpton hoping that the co-educational weekends would benefit from the new recreational opportunity.[2]

Two ice hockey teams skate on the ice. A crowd watches, with people sitting in bleachers or standing around the rink on snow-covered ground.

Amherst College ice hockey game, sometime between 1955 and 1965.

Perhaps people were tired of braving the cold, because Orr Rink was enclosed just ten years later in 1965. It was completely renovated in 1997, and is now home to both men’s and women’s ice hockey teams. Recreational skating is available to the Amherst College community (see the Athletics site for hours) from November through February; lace up and have some fun!

Notes

1. “Richard BUTTON – Olympic Figure Skating.” International Olympic Committee, February 1, 2017. https://www.olympic.org/richard-button.
2. “Plimpton, Button Help Dedicate New Orr Rink.” Amherst Student, January 17, 1955. Amherst College Archives & Special Collections.

First Baptist Church of Tallahassee

One of our goals in the digital collections area is to extend our expertise in digitization to community partners to help those organizations that don’t know how or don’t have the time and resources, to digitize and get their materials online. This year we did pilot community projects with two local organizations and they were a great success. We hope to take what we’ve learned from these projects and continue to partner with local partners to bring Tallahassee’s rich history online.

The latest community project to come online is the first of many sets of materials from the First Baptist Church of Tallahassee. The First Baptist Church has been a cornerstone in Tallahassee for many years. Founded in 1849, its collection not only reflects the history of the church but also of Tallahassee. Due to the church’s close proximity to FSU, it also holds the stories of many of our students over the years who participated in the Church while calling Tallahassee home.

Page from First Baptist Worship, Weekly Events & Pastoral Paragraphs, March 17, 1935
Page from First Baptist Worship, Weekly Events & Pastoral Paragraphs, March 17, 1935 [See original object]

We’ve started our project with the church bulletins. The collection begins in the 1930s and we are working our way up to the present day. These materials will be uploaded into DigiNole: FSU’s digital repository in batches as digitization is completed.

For more information about First Baptist Church, please visit their website. You can also explore the digital collection in DigiNole. Be aware we are loading this first batch still so new items will be added up to 1959 over the next few weeks.

Archival Gift-Giving

Tis the season to give holiday gifts. Here in the Office of the Archivist, we are in the business of giving gifts all year round. One of the little-known things that we do is provide facsimile gifts for the President of the United States. My staff receive requests from the State Department Protocol Office for gifts for Heads of State. The Protocol Office will explain who the gift is for and what they are looking for. Then we will reach out across the agency to find documents or photographs appropriate for the recipient.  My staff will gather the ideas from across NARA and present them to the Protocol team. When the White House decides what they would like to give, we create lovely archival facsimiles that will be presented to the head of state.

Here are just a few example of gifts we have prepared:

For a recent visit with the Prime Minister of Libya, the White House requested architectural plans for the White House. The Prime Minister studied architecture.

Interior Cross Sections of the West Wing on an East to West Axis and North to South Axis, White House

Interior Cross Sections of the West Wing on an East to West Axis and North to South Axis, White House January 1, 1905. Records of the National Park Service, National Archives and Records Administration

In 2011, President Obama visited Queen Elizabeth II for his first state visit at Buckingham Palace. We created a series of photographs and documents for Obama to present Queen Elizabeth II from the June 1939 visit to the United States of her parents, King George VI and his consort Elizabeth, known more recently as the Queen Mother. In 2016, President Barack Obama gave Queen Elizabeth II a compilation of photos of the Queen with all the Presidents she had worked with.

Photograph of Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth and President Truman

Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth and President Truman depart from Washington National Airport. October 31, 1951. (A facsimile page that was given to the Queen.)

In 2014, for Angela Merkel’s birthday and after the World cup win for Germany, we suggested a football patent for her gift:

Football patent, June 16, 1903.

Football patent, June 16, 1903. Patent # 731,165. Record Group 241,
Records of the Patent and Trademark Office, National Archives and Records Administration

In addition to doing facsimiles gifts for the President, we often give facsimiles out to special visitors to the National Archives.

In 2015, Prince Charles visited the National Archives and the Archivist gave him two facsimile gifts.

Photograph of David Ferriero and Prince Charles

Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero presents gifts to Prince Charles during a visit to the U.S. National Archives in 2015.

One was a patent application for a polo stick by Lord Louis Mountbatten:





And the other was a telegram from U.S. Embassy in London to United States Secretary of State, October 3, 1957. The telegram says:

“Palace has requested embassy assistance obtain operating and maintenance instruction for engine and midget car reftels…Engine is quarter midget model No. AU7R, Specification No. A178182 Manufactured by Continental Motors Corp, 620 Ford Buildings, Detroit.  Royal Mews mechanics had engine running this morning but as they have no data about engine they uncertain, for example, whether 100 octane or other gasoline required.  Palace “Anxious get car ready before Prince Charles returns from school…”

Telegram from U.S. Embassy in London to the Secretary of State, October 3, 1957

Telegram from U.S. Embassy in London to the Secretary of State, October 3, 1957.
File 741.11/10-357; Central Decimal Files, 1955-59. General Records of the Department of State
Record Group 59, National Archives and Records Administration

 

The Minutes of the Faculty Senate

DigiNole: FSU’s digital repository recently ingested the minutes of Florida State University’s Faculty Senate. These documents, including not only minutes but reports of committees, senate rosters and other materials about the business of the Senate, start in 1952 and go up through 2017.

Page from April 20, 1966 Faculty Senate Minutes
Page from the April 20, 1, 66 Faculty Senate Minutes. See original item.

The Faculty Senate is the basic legislative body of the University. It is charged to formulate measures for the maintenance of a comprehensive educational policy and for the maximum utilization of the intellectual resources of the University. It also to charged to:

  1. Determine and define University-wide policies on academic matters, including Liberal Studies policy, admission, grading standards, and the requirements within which the several degrees may be granted.
  2. As the elected body of the General Faculty, the Senate may also formulate its opinion upon any subject of interest to the University and adopt resolutions thereon. Resolutions treating those areas of authority legally reserved to the President of the University and the Board of Regents will be advisory.
  3. Upon the resignation, retirement, or death of the President and upon a request by the Board of Regents, the Faculty Senate will designate individuals to be available for membership on any committee requested by the Board of Regents for the purpose of consultation in the selection of a nominee for President.

For more information about the Faculty Senate, visit its website and explore the new collection of minutes in DigiNole.

2017: End-of-year review

As 2017 draws to a close its time to review our user statistics recording visits to our archives reading room and enquiries received about our collections. In the year that the University of Stirling celebrated its 50th anniversary its fitting that our own institutional records were our most popular, well-used collection. The University Archives was delighted to be able to support the fantastic range of events and exhibitions  which took place during the institution’s golden anniversary (including our Timeline exhibition and the Art Collection’s 1967 show). Throughout the year we celebrated the contribution our heritage collections have made to the academic and cultural life of the campus in our Realising the Vision blog. We also contributed to Fifty, a beautiful new publication produced by the university which tells the story of the university through 50 objects selected by staff, writers, poets, alumni and students.

Material featured in our Timeline exhibition, celebrating 50 years of the University of Stirling.

The NHS Forth Valley Archive continued to be a popular resource for family historians, academics and students, coming second in this year’s list. During the year the University Archives was designated the permanent place of deposit for the records of NHS Forth Valley selected for permanent preservation under the Public Records (Scotland) Act. We look forward to further expanding and developing our holdings relating to the medical history of the Forth Valley area under this new arrangement.

50th anniversary event in the archives reading room on the University of Stirling Open Day, Saturday 18 March 2017.

In January 2017 we completed a successful crowdfunding campaign to support the cataloguing and digitisation of the Peter Mackay Archive, a new collection relating to modern Southern African history. The interest generated in this collection kick-started by our fundraising campaign resulted in it taking third place in our annual list. In July we were delighted to receive recognition for this innovative project at the Herald Higher Education Awards where we were awarded a special commendation in the Campaign of the Year category.

Our Peter Mackay Archive crowdfunding project received a special commendation for Campaign of the Year at the Herald Higher Education Awards in July.

A fruitful year for the Peter Mackay Archive ended with a group of our History & Politics students creating a beautiful exhibition featuring material from the collection which is on display in the university library until April 2018.

Freedom Road, an exhibition of material from the Peter Mackay Archive created by History & Politics students. On display in the university library until 6 April 2018.

Reflecting on another busy year for Archives & Special Collections we recorded a continued year-on-year increase in the interest in, and use of, our collections. These statistics highlight the value of our collections for research, teaching and public engagement and we look forward to further developing our resources in 2018.

Those results in full:

2017:

  1. University of Stirling
  2. NHS Forth Valley
  3. Peter Mackay

Previous years:

2016:

  1. NHS Forth Valley
  2. University of Stirling
  3. Lindsay Anderson

2015:

  1. NHS Forth Valley
  2. Musicians’ Union
  3. University of Stirling

2014:

  1. Norman McLaren
  2. NHS Forth Valley
  3. Commonwealth Games Scotland

Find our more at: http://libguides.stir.ac.uk/archives

Follow us on Twitter: @unistirarchives

Magician of the Week #49: Max Terhune

It’s been far too long since we’ve introduced a Magician of the Week, so today we bring you both a featured magician AND a featured ventriloquist’s dummy.

IMG_1110

Here we see Max Terhune (whose stage character Hammo the Great was actually a previous Magician of the Week), alongside his high-kneed and tiny-footed dummy, Skully, in a photo from the April 1937 issue of Genii.  (According to IMDb, this is actually the same dummy that shared a saddle with Terhune in his role as Lullaby Joslin in The Three Mesquiteers; during their Orpheum Circuit days, the dummy was named Skully Null, but once they became movie stars, the dummy was renamed Elmer Sneezeweed.)

Can’t get enough of Max Terhune? Let me suggest the 1936 public domain film The Big Show, a musical western in which Terhune appears as a ventriloquist. You can download it for free from the Internet Archive!

Can’t get enough of Elmer Sneezeweed? An original backup copy is on view at the Vent Haven Museum at 33 West Maple Avenue in Fort Haven, Kentucky. (If any of you visit said museum, we would LOVE a report-back.)

Happy Holidays from FSU Special Collections

All of us here in Special Collections & Archives wish you and your family a safe and wonderful holiday season!


The cover from Dear Santa Claus: charming holiday stories for boys and girls, 1901 (original item).

We have a series of children’s books in the Shaw collection that was published especially for children at the holidays in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This cover comes from one of our favorites which includes one of the most famous Christmas poems, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”

Our hours are a bit different over the next few weeks so here are our altered hours through January 8, 2018:

  • We’ll be open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, December 18 and 19, 2017.
  • We’ll be available by appointment on Wednesday and Thursday, December 20 and 21, 2017. To schedule an appointment, email lib-specialcollections@fsu.edu or call (850) 644-3271.
  • We’ll be closed starting Friday, December 22, 2017 until Tuesday, January 2, 2018
  • We’ll be open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. starting Tuesday, January 2, 2018 through Friday, January 5, 2018.
  • we’ll resume our normal operating hours on Monday, January 8, 2018

Completion of the JFK Records Rolling Release

Last Friday marked the completion of the rolling review and release of the final records still publicly withheld from the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection.  The Public Interest Declassification Board (PIDB) acknowledges the importance of the completion of the rolling release of these records, but we must note with disappointment failure of the responsible agencies to meet the legal requirements set by the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992. The PIDB recognizes and respects that it is likely some of the JFK records were properly subject to being withheld or redacted to protect legitimate national security information which should remain classified. However, with the 25 years of advance notice afforded by the 1992 Act, it is difficult now to understand why the October 26 deadline passed largely unmet. Certainly, there will be no excuse for a failure by any agency to meet the extended deadline of April 26, 2018, set by the President. The American public deserves no less.  We look forward to the completion of the re-review process that the President has directed and will continue monitoring the release of these records of high historical significance.

 

 

 

The ‘Dean’ of Radio Commentators Celebrates WNYC’s 20th Anniversary

Celebrity endorsements of WNYC these days are not unusual. Someone notable on book tour, in the news, or appearing in a major motion picture comes to our studios for an interview. They’ve had a thoughtful conversation, and maybe they’re a listener too. Would they like to do a brief ‘pitch’ on our behalf? Sure, why not?

In 1944, however, when H.V. Kaltenborn, the ‘Dean of Radio Commentators,’ recorded the tribute above, endorsements of this kind were pretty unusual. What’s more: Kaltenborn was not being interviewed by us; he wasn’t even in our studio. Instead, Kaltenborn was broadcasting over the NBC network and reaching hundreds of stations across the nation at a time when radio was the dominant electronic media. It says much for WNYC that Kaltenborn paid such a paean to the station at that time. 

Card signed by H. V. Kaltenborn in 1930.
(A. Lanset Collection)

Hans von Kaltenborn (1878—1965), known to his listeners as H. V. Kaltenborn, was a widely respected news commentator heard regularly for more than three decades over CBS and NBC. He was perhaps best known for his highly precise (some would say clipped) diction, his ability to ad lib, and his broad knowledge of international affairs. Like many early radio people, his journalistic roots were in newspapers —in his case The Brooklyn Daily Eagle; first as a correspondent in Washington D.C. and Paris and then as a columnist and editor. In 1922 Kaltenborn made what is described as radio’s first editorial analysis of news events over WVP, Bedloe’s Island, New York.  A year later he was providing WEAF with regular commentaries. Still with the Eagle, in 1926 he appeared on WNYC to launch what is considered the medium’s first quiz show.  

That show, The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Current Events Bee, aired in April 1926. Kaltenborn, the paper’s associate editor, was the program’s quiz master —an annual role he kept through 1930.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 24, 1926
(WNYC Archive Collections)

Kaltenborn moved to CBS in 1927, but he still delivered occasional commentaries on world affairs over WNYC into the 1930s (see photo below); eventually he moved to NBC in 1940. The National Radio Hall of Fame says, “Kaltenborn’s ability to speak thoughtfully at a moment’s notice put him at the center of some of the biggest news stories of the 1930s and ’40s.” This coverage included the Spanish Civil War and other major events leading to the outbreak of World War II.

H. V. Kaltenborn at WNYC on January 22, 1934.
(Eugene de Salignac photo/NYC Municipal Archives)

The recording above was broadcast on August 10, 1944 over the NBC Network. Kaltenborn congratulated WNYC for 20 years of public service: 

I salute the world’s outstanding municipal radio station. For twenty years station WNYC has served our people in peace and in war. Throughout that time it has devoted itself exclusively to that public interest, convenience and necessity prescribed by radio law. Twenty years WNYC has competed successfully for listener interest against the world’s best radio programs. In no other listening area is the ether charged with more compelling broadcast material. Yet in the face of this high-powered commercial competition, our municipal station has held its own and maintained its prideful place. This is no mean achievement. For this alone, the personnel of station WNYC deserves congratulations. I myself have heard and enjoyed WNYC programs throughout the two decades of the station’s life.

Some 18 years ago it was my privilege to put radio’s first quiz program on the air over our municipal station. This was The Brooklyn Daily Eagle’s Current Events Bee, in which selected quiz kids from our municipal high schools spelled one another down in answering questions on current events. In this, as in many other aspects of broadcasting, station WNYC has been a valiant pioneer.

Here is one statement I dare make about station WNYC on its twentieth anniversary: it gives more of our people more civil and cultural education, more worthwhile information, and more high-class entertainment, than any other municipal institution. That is one reason why station WNYC has been an example and an inspiration for the creation of non-commercial broadcasting stations all over the land. As the man upon whom the mere passage of time has conferred the title, “Dean of Radio Commentators,” I salute WNYC, “Dean of Municipal Radio Stations.” I bespeak for it your continued support in the great service it is giving to our people.

____________________________________

Transcription courtesy of Samuel Brylawski and Patrick Timothy of the Library of Congress.

Special thanks to NBC Universal Studios for permission to use the Kaltenborn audio tribute from the Library of Congress NBC Radio Collection.

 

 

 

Coming of Age in World War II: Homes Away from Home

Here’s another post promoting a new collection of materials from the Insistute on World War II and the Human Experience at Florida State University by a student leader for the project, Gabriela Maduro.

Only thirteen years old when World War II began, Giulia Koritschoner came of age in a time of uncertainty and chaos. Despite the context in which Giulia grew up, however, the letters of the Hasterlik-Hine collection demonstrate the fact that, for those on the home front, daily life often continued on as normal. Indeed, Giulia’s correspondence throughout 1942 regularly includes cheerful greeting cards for holidays that are decorated with personalized drawings and beautiful calligraphy. These letters were sent from not only family members but also a vast array of friends and acquaintances that Giulia made throughout the war years.


A card from Heidi Wettstein to Giulia Koritschoner (original item)

Giulia’s letters to and from schoolmates portray scenes of growing up that remained largely unchanged even in times of war. This is particularly evident in Giulia’s letters to and from Margaret Wolf, a friend from Schaffhausen who evolved from sending letters complaining about disliked teachers and unbearably boring school lessons to letters that explained her fears about graduating from school and having to enter the workforce. Giulia’s own letters mirror this development, as she wrote to her family contemplating a variety of jobs, from a lab technician to a stenographer to a masseuse. Even in the midst of the war, the possibilities for the future seemed endless.

Yet, elements of the war do seep into many of the letters. Discussions of rationing figure prominently in much of Giulia’s correspondence, as Ällägg Bechtold, a school friend from Schaffhausen, described how school was let out early in the spring because of a shortage of coal to keep students warm. Margaret Wolf complained that bakeries purposely sold old bread because it was thought that individuals would consume it more slowly than fresh bread. Even the letter that Giulia’s school principal sent to her was written not on regular paper but rather on postcards that students were encouraged to fill with holiday greetings and send to soldiers in order to boost their morale.

Many of Giulia’s letters to and from her family during this time contain anxiety about Giulia’s grandfather, Paul Hasterlik, who remained behind in Vienna while the rest of the family escaped. Although attempts were made to organize his passage to the United States, these efforts ultimately proved unsuccessful, and the letters reflect concerns about everything from whether Paul was able to find food to whether he was, in fact, actively being “tormented.” Although letters from Paul contained joy about Giulia’s recovery from polio and excitement about her prospects for the future, he remained vague in descriptions of his own life, only briefly mentioning that he was forced to move to another apartment in Vienna.

Other members of Giulia’s family struggled during this time as well. Mia Hasterlik’s letters outline her difficulties finding suitable employment in New York while living in unpleasant conditions. Perhaps most dramatically, Susi Weiss, Giulia’s older sister who moved to Nairobi at the beginning of the war, describes the emotional and physical abuse to which her husband subjected her to and her overwhelming happiness at finally being free of him.
This vast array of voices and subject matter reflected in the Hasterlik-Hine collection depict a strange intersection between war and daily life that occurred for those living on the home front during World War II. Ultimately, the collection offers an invaluable glimpse of what it means to come of age in a time of war, highlighting the fears, delights, and amusements that punctuated daily life.

A discussion of these letters and letters like it from other troubled times in history will be presented at the Letters in Troubled Times: Study of Epistolary Sources conference on Friday, February 16, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida. Please contact Dr. Suzanne Sinke at ssinke@fsu.edu about questions regarding the conference.

Holiday Humor in World War II

Personnel of USS Lexington celebrate Christmas with decorations and a helmeted Santa Claus

Personnel of USS LEXINGTON celebrate Christmas with make-shift decorations and a firefighting, helmeted Santa Claus., National Archives Identifier 520912

Someone in the Office of War Information (OWI) News Bureau was certainly having a jolly old time on Christmas Eve 1942, when they wrote this memorandum concerning rumors flying around (by way of a reindeer-led sled) about a “man in whiskers who … will come down many chimneys bringing gifts to hundreds of American homes.”


Memorandum, December 24, 1942, file Santa Claus, Correspondence of the Chief, News Bureau, Entry NC-148-175, National Archives Identifier 895707, RG 208: Records of the Office of War Information, National Archives. 

This tongue-in-cheek report from the OWI News Bureau, which administered information programs to promote the U.S. Government’s war policies and activities, was composed by staff to poke fun at their own bureaucracy. However, even the report’s light-hearted analysis of the “facts” about Santa Claus reveals serious concerns the U.S. dealt with during World War II, including morale, wartime shortages, and the preservation of the Allied alliance.

This featured document is currently on display at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC.

Featured Document at the National Archives

Happy Holidays

The Archives will be closed from noon December 22 to 9am Wednesday, January 2, 2018.

Front of card

This greeting card “wishing health, joy and wealth be unto you” is from the Lorne Brown fonds. Just who the “broadcaster” was is uncertain, but the delightful colours and message ring true this time of year.

Card envelope

The matching textured envelope with block printing inside the flap is a wonderful added touch to this charming circa 1930 card.

With contributions by Bronwyn Smyth.

Reichelt Oral History Collection

Enjoy this guest post by Special Collections Oral History Graduate Assistant Adam Hunt:


Wallace Reichelt, circa 1940
Wallace Reichelt, circa 1940

The Reichelt Oral History Collection in FSU Special Collections and Archives is a rich and unique collection of over 2,100 oral history interviews and transcripts created throughout 1969-2014. The Reichelt Oral History Program was created under Dr. Edward F. Keuchel and University President D’Alamberte in 1969 with the help of a generous endowment by Wallace Ward Reichelt. In 1996, Dr. Robin J. Sellers undertook the directorship of the program. In 1998, the Program expanded to include oral histories of veterans in various military conflicts. These interviews offer rich historical insight into various subjects including but not limited to FSU/FSCW history, Tallahassee and Florida history, the Florida Highway Patrol, World War II, the Vietnam War, and the Korean War. After the departure of Dr. Robin J. Sellers, the Director and Archivist of the Reichelt Oral History Program from FSU in 2014, FSU Libraries undertook the preservation of their oral history collection.

One exciting project involving the Reichelt Collection at Special Collections and Archives aims to facilitate the use of these oral histories. During the Fall semester of 2017, the collection has been inventoried for restrictions and access information. With this information, portions of the collection have entered the process of electronic distribution and digitization for research purposes including the creation of administrative metadata for 450 interview transcripts, around 21% of the collection, and the identification of existing digitized material related to these 450 interviews.

Other projects involving the Reichelt Collection this semester oversaw the identification of several new interviews to be added into the collection. Additionally, physical objects relating to interviewees have been identified and incorporated into the collection’s physical administrative files, which are available to be requested in the Special Collections reading room. Finally, several interviews lacking corresponding transcripts have entered the transcription process, of which several have already been completed. Special Collections and Archives is excited to share this news and the Reichelt Oral History Collection with you.

Further Reading:

Reichelt Oral History Collection, Special Collections & Archives, Florida State University Libraries, Tallahassee, Florida. http://purl.fcla.edu/fsu/HPUA-2015-00R

WNYC at the 1939-1940 New York World’s Fair

Mayor La Guardia buys the first ticket to the World’s Fair from fair chief Grover A. Whalen on February 28, 1939.
(Worldwide Photos/WNYC Archive Collections)

“The Voice of the Fair” —that’s what Station Director Morris Novik called WNYC at the outset of the exposition’s second season in 1940. By that time, the station had already broadcast more than 800 programs from various spots throughout the Fair’s Flushing Meadows/Corona Park grounds —especially from its studios in the City of New York Building.[1]

Overseen by WNYC’s Chief Engineer, Isaac Brimberg, the ‘ultra-modern’ studios had little competition: although WLW Cincinatti’s had a studio in the Crosley Corporation Building (feeding the Mutual Broadcasting Company), CBS and NBC had no facilities at the Fair, using only remote lines for their coverage. WNYC, however, was in the heart of the action. Its studios were on the balcony of the City of New York Building, just across the way from the Trylon and Perisphere, and included the building’s auditorium, seating 285, along with two 18′ x 25′ studios for interviews and small gatherings and one smaller studio for the announcing and recording of programs.[2] The announcer’s booth was specifically designed to provide a bird’s-eye view of the New York City building’s large auditorium, where exhibits were always on display.

Leo Garel’s 1939 drawing of a WNYC reporter and all the direct lines used to cover events at the World’s Fair wrapped around the Trylon and Perisphere.
(WNYC Masterwork Bulletin)

A large Master Control room, using RCA consoles and other equipment, functioned as the broadcast operations nerve center. It allowed for as many as three separate programs to be sent simultaneously, and it provided connections to the in-house studios and thirteen remote locations. These included WNYC’s main Municipal Building operations, The Court of Peace, The Temple of Religion, the WPA music bandshell and other venues. The WNYC Masterwork Bulletin characterized it this way: “The only pictorial statistics we could think of was that if all the phone wires used in our World of Tomorrow broadcasts were wound around the Perisphere, they would cover that familiar trademark.”[3]

A WNYC remote reporter for World’s Fair with battery-powered backpack transmitter, circa 1939
(New York City Municipal Archives)

Additionally, a portable sound truck made it possible to record special effects and programs throughout the site as well as relaying reports from staffers equipped with battery-powered backpack shortwave transmitters at event locations without direct lines. These units broadcast at 2058 kc and 2190 kc to receivers in Master Control.[4] A 50-watt relay broadcast transmitter operating at 1622 kc could also be found in the facility.

WNYC engineer Henry Wei’s New York World’s Fair badge from 1939/(WNYC Archive Collections)

Along with live and recorded coverage of events, WNYC also featured music and wrap-ups for the daily World’s Fair Reporter hosted by announcer Russ Johns (heard above). Homesick out-of-towners visiting the fair could listen-in to Today’s Home Town News, broadcasts presenting the latest bulletins from twenty major cities around the country. In addition, WNYC aired an interview series, Pleased to Meet You, and weekly concerts on Songs of the 7,000,000. These shows were supplemented with dramatizations of city history on In Old New York, and daily highlights of events and inexpensive sight-seeing activities on Father Knickerbocker Suggests. The Masterwork Bulletin summed-up our coverage this way:

Through the medium of radio we, and you, met Presidents, senators and kings —and the plain people from forty-eight states, from the farms and cities that make American democracy more than just a phrase. There were broadcasts rich in fun, rich in human touch. Others, as those from the great foreign pavilions brought home with great striking clarity the tremendous upheaval taking place overseas.[5]

And then, there was Cornelius.

WNYC Masterwork Bulletin, May 1940.
(WNYC Archive Collections)

          Listen to the surviving 1939-1940 WNYC World’s Fair broadcasts at:  WORLD’S FAIR.

________________________________

[1] Novik, Morris S., “Voice of the Fair,” Masterwork Bulletin, May-June 1940, pg. 1.

[2] Sperling, J. G., “Radio at the Fair,” Communications, May 1939 pg. 10.

[3] “Statistical Stuff,” Masterwork Bulletin, September-October 1939, pg.26

[4] “Equipment,” Broadcasting, May 1, 1939, pg. 58. These units were designed by WNYC Engineer James Berry under the direction of Chief Engineer Isaac Brimberg and were made by Link Radio Laboratories.

[5] “Fair Farewell,” Masterwork Bulletin, November-December 1941, pg. 21.

 

 

Pursuing Civic Literacy

As the nation’s record keeper, the National Archives is responsible for making the records of the U.S. Government available to the public. These records—some famous but others quite ordinary—tell the nation’s story, document the actions of government officials over the years, and confirm the rights guaranteed to individuals. They are records that deserve preservation not simply for reference purposes but for use by all interested Americans to participate in the civic process. In short, they form a vital documentary bedrock of our democracy.

National Youth Administration (NYA) Photographs. National Archives Identifier 7350937

An informed citizenry is at the heart of what we do—rooted in the belief that citizens have the right to see, examine, and learn from the records that ensure their rights, hold their government accountable, and tell the story of the nation. However, without a fundamental level of civic literacy, the records that we preserve and make accessible will not be understood or used effectively by the citizens we serve.

I recently read some disheartening statistics about the state of civic literacy in the United States, strengthening my resolve to improve understanding of how the government works and citizen responsibility. According to the data from the Annenberg Public Policy Center, and Pew Research Center:

  • Nearly 2/3 of Americans cannot name all three branches of government. (Yet three in four people can name all Three Stooges.)
  • Only 29% of eligible Americans participated in the 2016 primary elections.
  • Less than half of the public can name a single Supreme Court Justice. And only 15% can correctly name John Roberts as Chief Justice. (Yet 2/3 of Americans know at least one of the American Idol judges.)
  • Nearly a quarter of young Americans think that a democratic form of government is very bad
  • Intentionally fabricated news stories involving the 2016 presidential candidates were shared 38 million times on social media.
  • Americans distrust the government at record levels and they also distrust their fellow citizens to participate in governance.
  • College bound young people (about half the youth population) are much more civically involved than their non-college bound peers. Rates of voting and volunteering are at least twice as high for those who attend college.
  • Students who are white get more high quality civic-learning opportunities
  • Nationwide, more than 1/3 of today’s high school seniors lack even basic civics knowledge and skills.
  • More than 1/4 of Americans do not know who America fought in the Revolutionary War
  • 39% incorrectly stated that the Constitution gives the president the power to declare war.

Civics education is an important element of the work we do each day at the National Archives. In our efforts to increase levels of civic literacy, the National Archives continues to expand our education, communications, and public programs. Here are just a few examples of the work we are doing across the country:

Public Programming
The National Archives host the Nation’s most prominent speakers, scholars, educators, government officials, members and former members of Congress, Presidents, First Ladies, and Supreme Court Justices for informative and educational events and programs at locations across the country.

Professional Development for Educators
Educators can participate in both on-site and online based activities; from two-week long summer institutes to all-day workshops on using primary sources in the classroom. Our Primarily Teaching Summer Institute introduces educators to researching and using historical documents in the classroom. DocsTeach is the online tool for teaching with documents, featuring almost 10,000 facsimiles of primary sources and nearly 700 lesson plans and activities for use in classrooms.

Student and Family Programs
Events across the country include: Family festivals on Presidents Day; Teen Thursdays in New York in collaboration with the NYC Department of Education; Mighty Writers: Early Civil War Rights literacy teen summer program in Philadelphia; Sleepover activities twice a year at the National Archives building in Washington, DC; local and regional National History Day competitions; extensive partnerships with local scouting organizations, especially in the heartland of Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas; partnerships with community centers supporting underserved populations in Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, Philadelphia, New York City, and Los Angeles—all participate in civic initiatives like the National Student Mock Election, nation-wide essay contests on topics of political courage, integrity, and presidential leadership.

Center for Legislative Archives
The Center for Legislative Archives preserves and makes available to researchers the historical records of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Through its public outreach programs, the Center uses these historical records to promote a better understanding of Congress and the history of American representative government. The Center hosts professional development workshops for K-12 civics and history educators on how to make the Constitution, Bill of Rights, the legislative process, and topics in Congressional history accessible to students. Congress Creates the Bill of Rights eBook, mobile app, and online resources tells the remarkable story of the relationship between the Bill of Rights and the Constitution

Presidential Libraries

  • George H.W. Bush Library: Award winning distance learning programs, many of which have featured First Lady Barbara Bush and her efforts to promote literacy. Initially broadcast throughout the state of Texas, it is now national and international in scope.
  • Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum: Boy Scouts of America partnership program include the Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge and the Eisenhower Leadership Patch. Additional programs include Story Time for Pre-Schoolers and their accompanying adults; Constitution-In-Action Learning Lab, a two-hour simulation of the role of researchers and archivists.
  • John F. Kennedy Library: The Kennedy Library serves as the state coordinator for the National Student/Parent Mock Election for Massachusetts
  • White House Decision Centers. Students spend days preparing for and participating in a dramatic role playing exercise related to real historical events using facsimiles of the records used by the original decision makers. The Harry S. Truman Library includes decision making about ending the war against Japan, desegregating the Armed Forces, or the decision to defend South Korea. Every Presidential Library now has a similar opportunity specific to that presidency which demonstrates how decisions are made using real life example and real life documentation. The Reagan Library’s Situation Room Experience is the newest and most elaborate to date focused on the assassination attempt on the President in a situation room reassembled from the Bush 43 White House.

We will continue to expand and support civic literacy by engaging in national conversations, and pursuing collaborative opportunities with civics education projects and institutions such as iCivics, America Achieves, American Enterprise Institute, Carnegie Corporation, and the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts. By increasing understanding of how government works and the rights and responsibilities of being a citizen, we can ensure the continued and increased relevance of truly democratic access to our holdings.

New Artists’ Books

Today I am highlighting some of our newest artists’ book additions to our collection.

Earth Clock by Ginger R. Burrell

First up, we have two new acquisitions from book artist Ginger R. Burrell.

Earth Clock by Ginger R. Burrell in handmade box

Earth Clock by Ginger R. Burrell

Earth Clock, Burrell’s limited edition 2017 creation, is an investigation into the history of climate change.  “Earth Clock is meant as both an educational tool and a call to action. To create both a sense of urgency and the beginning of understanding. To present both facts and a sense of the long history of our avoidance and denial.” (Lux Mentis Booksellers catalog)

Nineteen magnetized flaps corresponding to years from 1800 to 2015 lift to display facts about national and international events relating to climate and the environment, such as the first Earth Day in 1970 and the creation of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or 1995 when the Antarctic ice shelves begin to break apart.

Earth Clock by Ginger R. Burrell display

Earth Clock by Ginger R. Burrell

Earth Clock by Ginger R. Burrell display

Earth Clock by Ginger R. Burrell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Earth Clock features custom electronics designed to create a visceral response and to compel the viewer to act. LEDs animate based on what happened each year in Climate Change history. The number display registers the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in a given year.” (Lux Mentis Booksellers catalog)


Giftschrank by Ginger R. Burrell

Giftschrank by Ginger R. Burrell

Giftschrank by Ginger R. Burrell

Also from Ginger Burrell, Giftschrank is another 2017 piece created in a limited edition of 12, housed in an original wooden box and bound in a molded cover of razor blades suspended in thick enamel.

Giftschrank by Ginger R. Burrell box

Giftschrank by Ginger R. Burrell

The title page defines Giftschrank:

Giftschrank by Ginger R. Burrell

Giftschrank by Ginger R. Burrell

 

GIFTSCHRANK

noun

Gift (Poison) + Shrank (Cabinet)

  1. Spaces reserved for undesirable, uncomfortable or forbidden objects, ideas or subjects.
  2. Something society avoids at all costs.

 

 

 

 

The colophon cites the inspiration for this work as the podcast 99% Invisible, episode 203 ”The Giftschrank”.


The/rapist by Maureen Cummins

The prospectus for artist Maureen Cummins’s new 2017 work The/rapist describes the historic and political inspiration for this work:

The/rapist by Maureen Cummins in box

The/rapist by Maureen Cummins

“The/rapist is an investigation into the gendered history of psychosurgery, as illustrated by the career of Doctor Walter Freeman (1895-1972). A Professor of Neurology with no formal training in either surgery or psychology, Freeman popularized the pre-frontal lobotomy, an operation in which nerve connections to and from the frontal lobes—the seat of human emotion, creativity, willpower, and imagination—are severed.”

The/rapist by Maureen Cummins

The/rapist by Maureen Cummins

“It is a history that raises numerous and disturbing questions about patients’ rights, the abuse of institutional power, and the disproportionate targeting of women.”

The physical object of this work reflects the inspiration:

The/rapist by Maureen Cummins

The/rapist by Maureen Cummins

“Constructed entirely out of aluminum, The/rapist is inspired by the cold, hard surfaces of medical clipboards and equipment, as well as by Freeman’s actual tools, viewed by the artist in the Freeman/Watts collection at GWU, where she conducted her initial research. Pages of the book are laser-cut, burnished on one side, printed with multiple layers of text and imagery, “dimpled” to prevent scratching and wear, then mounted within rings to a sturdy baseboard. The text is printed in Frutiger, a classic mid-century sans-serif typeface. Images reproduced in the book are 19th century engravings, handwritten notes and text, as well as graphs and headshots from Freeman’s 1950 textbook Psychosurgery: In the Treatment of Mental Disorders and Intractable Pain. The book is housed in a burnished aluminum box with a screwed-down aluminum title plate.” (Aside of Books, retrieved 12/8/17)


The Book of Penumbra by Gabrielle Cooksey

We have also acquired a 2016 work by book artist Gabrielle Cooksey: The Book of Penumbra: Deadly Myths Retold – A book of small stories of death gods from around the world.  This piece is hand bound in an accordion case binding and a hinged painted black box with gold foil tooling.

The Book of Penumbra by Gabrielle Cooksey

The Book of Penumbra by Gabrielle Cooksey

Cooksey describes this work: “Death has always fascinated me because it happens to all of us yet no one talks about it. I wanted to see what other cultures personified death as through myths and legends. The gods in this book are very hushed and for some, even if you speak the name, you’ll be cursed. I wanted this book to be shadows, to be played in the light. I chose a delicate paper so one could see through to the page behind it. The text is in all sorts of shapes because I wanted each story to represent the god being told about. For instance, Sedna is in the shape of drowning, Anubis is his eye, Mac is a pit with someone at the bottom. The borders are all plants, roots, and things found on the earth. Some represent death like the poppy, and the yew tree.” (Author’s website, retrieved 12/8/17)

The Book of Penumbra by Gabrielle Cooksey

The Book of Penumbra by Gabrielle Cooksey

“I design books in a peculiar and unexpected way that makes it enticing to hold/open. I think of my books as art that you can use.” –Gabrielle Cooksey (Author’s website, retrieved 12/8/17)
Thanks to Rebecca, our cataloging librarian, these books have all been cataloged and are available to researchers in our Reading Room.

“Remembering Vietnam” Exhibit Entered into Congressional Record

As a veteran of the Vietnam War, I was determined to mark the 50th anniversary of the height of the Vietnam War with an exhibit here at the National Archives. Our records, some recently declassified, continue to yield discoveries and provide insight and evidence for people seeking to understand the war.

Remembering Vietnam exhibit. Photo by National Archives photographer, Jeff Reed.

In Remembering Vietnam, we are sharing the memories of veterans, as well as others involved in or affected by the war. The exhibit examines the human consequences of war, and provides a variety of lenses through which to view history. It attempts to answer questions that have remained unanswered for five decades.

Remembering Vietnam exhibit. Photo by National Archives photographer, Jeff Reed.

For me, the Vietnam War was an important period of my life that contributes to who I am today, and I am pleased to see our exhibit receiving recognition and acclaim from veterans, museum visitors, as well as the media. Washington Post writer Michael E. Ruane covered the exhibit and interviewed me in the article titled “A Veteran’s View of Vietnam.”

I am especially honored to know that this story of the Vietnam War will now live in the Congressional Record. On November 15, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) recognized this important exhibit on the Senate floor and asked Congress’s consent to print Ruane’s article in the Record.

In his statement, Mr. Leahy said:

 Mr. President, long before his confirmation as the 10th
Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero proudly served our
Nation in a different capacity, as a Navy corpsman in Vietnam. Today,
with the help of Mr. Ferriero’s unique personal perspective and
professionally informed guidance, the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery at
the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, is currently exhibiting
a new collection of remarkable documents that illustrate some of the
Vietnam war’s biggest controversies.

 Mr. Ferriero and his team are to be thanked for painstakingly
determining which of the countless relevant texts housed in the
National Archives best told this often misunderstood story. We can be
sure, however, that few if any archivists are better suited with
experience and vision for this task than Mr. Ferriero.

 With this exhibit, Mr. Ferriero and his team honor the memory of
those who served in Vietnam, while also fulfilling a sacred obligation
to accurately preserve even our most contentious history so that we may
strive to avoid repeating past mistakes. Today I would like to pay
tribute to the Archivist of the United States, David Ferriero, and his
team and ask unanimous consent that a Washington Post article titled,
“A Veteran’s View of Vietnam,” be printed in the Record.

 There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in
the Record, as follows:
From the Washington Post, Nov. 8, 2017: A Veteran’s View of Vietnam

Read Senator Leahy’s statement in full here.

The National Archives is grateful to the government leaders, distinguished military and Vietnam veterans, and renowned historians who have endorsed our efforts through the Remembering Vietnam Honorary committee. Learn more about this defining era in American history when you visit our latest exhibit, “Remembering Vietnam.”

Dealing with Daily Life during World War II

This post is by Emily Woessner, one of two students leading the project digitizing selections from the Hasterlik-Hine Collection at the Institute of World War II and the Human Experience. More materials have been added to the digital collection and may be viewed here. The first post about this project is here.

Giulia Hasterlik was only 13 years old when her mother arranged for her to leave Vienna, Austria and travel to Switzerland to live safely without fear of Nazi persecution. Giulia was taken in by a minister’s wife named Alice Sigerist who already had a daughter of her own, Gretli Sigerist, close to Giulia’s age. Giulia lived in the small town of Schaffhausen, Switzerland for 7 years (1938 to 1946). While living in Schaffhausen, she attended an all-girls Catholic school and had many friends. However, she kept in contact with a number of her schoolmates back in Vienna. Letters from Evi Leib and Elizabeth “Lisl” Urbantischitsch, in particular, detail the lives of young girls who are dealing with such situations as crushes, boredom, school work, and prospects of the future. The girls draw pictures in their letters and used secret languages— they worry, joke, and dream just like young girls of today. Their letters to and from one another allowed them to maintain their friendships and a sense of normalcy during the war years.

Giulia was not the best student, a bit mischievous at times, but generally, she enjoyed her life in the small town of Schaffhausen. Although she noted that it was quite different from her middle-class upbringing in Vienna. Unfortunately, in August 1941 at 16 years old Giulia contracted poliomyelitis and was taken to Kanton Hospital in the center of Schaffhausen. She had to pause her studies at school. During this time the letters to and from her classmates served as a window to the outside world where she could escape the boredom of the hospital and maintain her friendships. At times the letters to Giulia simply wished her well and asked how she was progressing with her treatment. Other times her classmates detailed holiday trips, plans for future jobs and schooling, or fun puzzles and poems for Giulia to enjoy. These letters provided relief and laughter for Giulia during her most intense treatment.


Get Well Card sent to Giulia while she was receiving treatment for polio (original object)

It was not only school friends who wrote to Giulia at this time, though. Alice Sigerist had informed both Paul Hasterlik, Giulia’s grandfather, and Auguste Hasterlik, Giulia’s aunt, about the polio diagnosis. Paul and Auguste wrote heartfelt and uplifting letters to Giulia, but they also warned her against saying anything to her mother, Mia Hasterlik, about her condition. They feared the news would be far too upsetting for Mia and worry her unnecessarily because she was already living in New York City and would be helpless to take care of Giulia. For her part, Alice worked diligently to ensure Giulia was properly cared for and enlisted the help of her in-laws and countless doctors. In December 1941 Giulia was transferred to Insel Hospital in Bern, Switzerland where she underwent many months of treatment while continuing to receive letters from her friends and family.

When studying World War II one often forgets that people still had to contend with daily life and its unexpected occurrences. When Giulia Hasterlik fell ill with polio the war was in full swing, her family was strewn across the globe, and she was doing her best to live a normal life in Switzerland. Oftentimes all she had to keep in touch with her friends and family were these letters. They kept her relations, faith, and sanity strong despite all the hardship and uncertainty she endured as a young woman.

A discussion of these letters and letters like them from other tumultuous times in history will be presented at the Letters in Troubled Times: Study of Epistolary Sources conference happening Friday, February 16, 2018, in Tallahassee, Florida. Please contact Dr. Suzanne Sinke for questions regarding the conference.

WNYC’s Vintage Microphones

“This microphone is not an ordinary instrument,For it looks out on vistas wide indeed:My voice commingles now with northern lights and   asteroids and Alexander’s skeleton,With dead volcanoes and with donkey’s earsIt swims with minnows and it’s in the Sphinx’s jaw.It drifts among whatever spirits pass across the night.Here is a thought to fasten to your throat:Who knows who may be listening? And where?”

                                                                   Norman Corwin

                    The conclusion to Seems Radio Is Here to Stay

Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC), Phase II (November 2017-October 2019)

The University of Virginia Library is pleased to announce Phase II of the Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC) Cooperative program. The University of Virginia Library is collaborating with the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, and 27 other Cooperative members. This second and final phase of establishing the Cooperative (2017-2019) is generously funded by a $750,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the University of Virginia.

Phase II expands the number of cooperative partners from 17 to 29 members, and now includes two international archives, a U.S. state archive, two documentary editing projects, an individual scholar, and several new academic research libraries. During this new phase, SNAC will welcome additional members as the cooperative builds the capacity to ingest new sets of data and train editors.

Phase II has both social and technological objectives. The social objectives include developing a business model that will ensure long term sustainability, further developing editorial policies and standards, and being able to offer three forms of training for editors: on-site and remote as well as online self-guided. There will be many technological objectives, but chief among them will be the following: developing cooperative ingest tools that will enable data contributing institution to collaborate in refining and ingesting data into SNAC, and in return to receive persistent identifiers to enhance their descriptive data; refining and enhancing the History Research Tool for researchers; completing development of the key components of the technical infrastructure; and performing computational refinement and enrichment of existing SNAC data. A major focus will be on expanding capacity in training editors and ingesting new batches of data. Progress in these two areas will enable the Cooperative to vastly expand membership and the global social-document network represented in SNAC.

The SNAC Cooperative aspires to improve the economy and quality of archival processing and description, and at the same time, to address the longstanding research challenge of discovering, locating, and using distributed historical records. SNAC began as a research and development project in 2010 with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The project demonstrated the feasibility of separating the description of persons, families, and organizations – including their socio-historical contexts – from the description of the historical resources that are the primary evidence of their lives and work. SNAC also demonstrated that the biographical-historical data extracted and assembled can be used to provide researchers with convenient, integrated access to historical collections held by archives and libraries, large and small, around the world.

Initial work made it clear that the potential power of the assembled data to transform research and improve the economy and effectiveness of archival descriptive practices required more than digital tools.

SNAC governance and administration is now moving to the University of Virginia Library, which will provide it a long-term organizational home that ensures close collaborations and partnerships within the cultural heritage and research communities.

As its primary cooperative role, NARA has taken the lead in development and execution of SNAC’s formal training program called SNACSchool. NARA’s SNAC Liaisons are active members of the SNACSchool Working Group along with SNAC partners from other SNAC partner institutions including Smithsonian’s Archive of American Art; George Washington University Library; New York Public Library; and University of Miami Library. The working group formed in late 2016 with the primary mission of developing a formal training program for SNAC. The current curriculum includes modules for basic archival name authority control, searching the SNAC database, and creating and editing data in SNAC. SNACSchool is also designed to take place anywhere and anytime: most sessions are conducted remotely. And in Phase II, the working group is aiming for online tutorials for Cooperative members.

Jerry Simmons, National Archives Liaison to SNAC, welcomes attendees at the SNAC Partners Meeting in the Innovation Hub in Washington, DC

NARA staff is also responsible for SNAC’s social media presence. Currently found on twitter be sure to follow @SNACcooperative for all the latest information about SNAC and to learn helpful tips on using it.

More information is available at Snaccooperative.org

The Emmett Till Archives expands online

Tobiasblogimage
Page from the Joseph Tobias Papers; regarding an unauthorized film about Emmett Till, 1960.

Recently, we’ve added a new collection to the Emmett Till Archives in DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository. The Joseph Tobias Papers consist of the professional papers, case files, and collected publications of Tobias, an attorney based in Chicago, Illinois. The collection is regarding his representation of Mamie Till-Mobley from 1955 to 1960. Documents include case files for Mamie Bradley v. Cowles Magazines, Inc., Vernon C. Meyers, Gardner Cowles, and William Bradford Huie; correspondence on Till-Mobley’s behalf with the NAACP and motion picture studios; and subject files kept by Tobias on Till-Mobley during and after his employment by her. These primary source materials provide a compelling view into the life of Mamie Till-Mobley shortly after the murder of her son Emmett Till. For more information, see the collection’s finding aid.

The Emmett Till Archives consists of primary and secondary source material related to the life, murder, and memory of Emmett Louis Till.  Florida State University Libraries partners with the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, the Emmett Till Memory Project, and other institutions and private donors to collect, preserve, and provide access to the ongoing story of Emmett Till.  The Till Archives includes newspapers, magazines, oral histories, photographs, government records, scholarly literature, creative works, and other materials documenting the Till case and its commemoration, memorialization, and discussion in scholarship and popular culture.

If you know of materials that might be appropriate for donation to the Emmett Till Archives, please contact Associate Dean Katie McCormick at kmccormick@fsu.edu or (850) 644-6167.

Joining the Digital Public Library of America

We here at FSU are happy to have been part of the team to make the launch of the Sunshine State Digital Network (SSDN) possible. The SSDN will coordinate the work of harvesting Florida digital collections into the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). The first harvest of materials from Florida State University, Florida International University and the University of Miami is now available at dp.la.

The following is from the original press release by FSU Libraries:

Florida State University Libraries and their partners are pleased to announce the launch of the Sunshine State Digital Network (SSDN). The SSDN is part of the Digital Public Library of America and FSU is proud to be the service hub for the state of Florida. The service hub represents a community of institutions in the state which will provide their partner institutions aggregated metadata for the DPLA and offer tiered services to connect institutions of all sizes to DPLA.

The DPLA is an ever-growing national network of libraries, archives, museums, cultural heritage institutions, and volunteers that set out to provide a local impact in its communities, strengthened by a global reach. It is a free service, offering access to over 17 million items from around the globe. DPLA Network Manager Kelcy Shepherd says, “We’re so excited to welcome Sunshine State Digital Network to DPLA and to share Florida’s rich digital content alongside content of our other Hubs. We appreciate SSDN’s commitment to broadly sharing cultural heritage content with the public and to participating in the DPLA network.”

The SSDN operates on a multi-tiered hub system consisting of the main hub and regional sub-hubs. The main service hub is located at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL. The sub-hub is located in Miami, FL with responsibilities shared among the University of Miami (UM) and Florida International University (FIU).

While partnering with UM and FIU, the network will provide digital access to over 72,000 cultural heritage materials from across the state of Florida. FSU will manage all administrative aspects of the network, serve as the financial center, and submit the state’s aggregated metadata to DPLA. By submitting metadata to DPLA, it will increase the discoverability and use of our culturally rich and diverse digital collections while allowing individuals to use materials creatively, enhance their research and learning, develop new resources for teaching and discovery, and foster interdisciplinary inquiry.

You can also read the press release from DPLA here.

Legacy Open Data Sets Now Available

We’re very pleased to announce that legacy versions of the City’s open data sets are now available through our online database.

The City of Vancouver’s Open Data Catalogue has its roots in the “Open3” motion (Open Data, Open Standards and Open Source) passed by Vancouver City Council in 2009, which declared the City’s endorsement of the principles of open and accessible data, including the free sharing of data with citizens, businesses and other jurisdictions without compromising privacy and security. Part of the City’s response to the motion was the launch of the Open Data website in September 2009. In 2011, the City of Vancouver was recognized by BC Business as the Most Innovative Organization in BC for the open data initiative.

The City’s Open Data Catalogue at vancouver.ca/opendata, accessed 2017-11-24

British Columbia’s strong and growing open data community uses raw City data, alone or in combination with data from other sources, to identify, analyze, and present solutions to challenges facing citizens of Vancouver and BC. The data sets on the Open Data Catalogue are updated on an ongoing basis (the refresh rate varies across sets). Recognizing that retaining historical data would enable the community to identify trends and changes across time, resulting in richer analysis of civic issues, the Archives began to grab snapshots of the datasets – first semiannually, then quarterly – in order to preserve the overwritten data sets and make them available to the public.

How to access legacy data sets

Data sets are organized by subject, and each file title also contains the date the data sets were grabbed. You can find the file descriptions by searching “open data catalogue” (in quotation marks) in our online database’s main search bar.

Results of searching for “open data catalogue”

Click on an individual result to go to the full file description for the data set of your choice. As an example, here is the description for the electric vehicle charging stations data as at April 2016.

Description of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations data package grabbed in April 2016

City open data comes in a variety of formats, including csv (tabular data in plain text) and xls (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet), and geospatial formats like kml and Shapefiles. We have zipped all available formats for a given subject and presented them as a single downloadable package.

The formats available for a given subject on a given date appear in the Physical description field.

The Physical description field shows how many files and formats are in the downloadable .zip, and the unzipped size of the data package.

To download the data package, click on the document icon at the top of the description.

Click the document to download the data.

Currently, data sets grabbed between October 2014 and April 2016 are available, and there are more to come. We would love to see what the community produces with the data, so don’t hesitate to share your projects with us. Happy data wrangling!

The Age of Experience: We Tell Better Stories

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Work from the new exhibition

An exhibition of new work by Amy Fleming, The Age of Experience: We Tell Better Stories, is coming to the Claude Pepper Museum at the Claude Pepper Center, 636 West Call Street, Tallahassee, on the campus of Florida State University. The exhibition runs from December 1, 2017, to January 19, 2018, with an opening reception December 1, 6 – 9 p.m.

The exhibition is funded by a grant from Puffin Foundation Ltd. The Puffin Foundation provides grants to artists whose work addresses social issues, or who may be excluded from mainstream opportunities due to race, gender, or social philosophy.

This exhibition works to change the narrative around the way we discuss aging by focusing attention on the many vibrant members of our elder community. Ageism is a byproduct of a hyperconsumerist mindset: the disposability of mass-produced goods, the replacement of “old” with “new” without regard to quality or continued usefulness feeds into this attitude. In The Age of Experience: We Tell Better Stories, images of mass-produced discards find new life as impossible robes and royal collars made from pump valves and vacuum tubes, pull tab rings reappear as chain mail, soda bottles form crowns and halos.

Amy has been working with members of the City of Tallahassee Senior Center to create a series of screen and relief printed portraits. Participants in the project range in age from 60 to their mid 90’s. She became interested in problems facing older adults when two family members were dismissed from their jobs when they entered their 60’s despite having excellent work records. One is still having difficulty finding full-time employment.

Amy Fleming is an Adjunct Professor of Printmaking and Print Lab Manager at Florida State University. She is the recipient of a grant from Puffin Foundation Ltd., a Robert Rauschenberg/Barrier Island Group for the Arts award, has been an Associate Artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts artists residency, Artist in Residence at 621 Gallery and a Summer River Fellows Program resident artist at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia. Her work is included in public and private collections including the Jean and Alexander Heard Library at Vanderbilt University, and the Southern Graphics Council International permanent collection at Kennesaw State University.

Senator Claude Pepper, D-FL, served as chair of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Aging from 1977 through 1983. Pepper led the fight against elder abuse, established legislation to fund Alzheimer’s research and care centers, and pushed energetically against age stereotyping. One of his famous quotes is “Ageism is as odious as racism and sexism.”

For more information on the exhibition, please contact Amy Fleming at ajfleming@fsu.edu and visit her website at www.amyflemingstudio.com.

The Claude Pepper Center Museum is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. To 5 p.m.
For holiday closing information, please check http://claudepeppercenter.fsu.edu/contact/.

Rebecca B. Rankin: Early Advocate for Public Access to Government Information

Rebecca B. Rankin was the Director of the Municipal Reference Library for the City of New York. Her work included the promotion of resources and services of the library to its clients. When budget cuts forced her to curtail the traditional publications used for publicity and outreach, Rankin took the pioneering step of employing radio to communicate with prospective customers in the local government and their constituents. Rankin and her staff prepared and presented over three hundred radio talks between 1928 and 1938. The success of this publicity strategy was demonstrated by an increase in patrons and requests. The weekly broadcasts over WNYC also succeeded as an outreach service by communicating vital civic information.

Librarian Barry W. Seaver is the author of A True Politician: Rebecca Browning Rankin, Municipal Reference Library of the City of New York, 1920-1952, published in 2003. He wrote about Rankin’s use of radio in this book and in an earlier article for the journal Libraries and Culture in 2001. In the article, Seaver describes Rankin’s first broadcast on March 7, 1928, which marked the fifteenth anniversary of the Municipal Reference Library:

Rankin stood stiffly before the WNYC microphone and spoke to the people of New York about their government and the library. Her slightly high-pitched but clear, strong voice encouraged them to visit the municipal building, where the MRL [Municipal Reference Library] and most of the administrative departments were located. Rankin told them that after a visit ‘you will have an increased feeling of pride in your City…[because] the running of your City is a huge undertaking, admirably done. You can afford to give the government machinery more attention and study.’ [1]

According to Seaver, this broadcast generated enough interest on the part of Rankin’s superiors that they asked her to produce a regular program emphasizing the resources of the library. Rankin was assisted by her small staff —particularly Margaret Kehl, who described the programs as ‘popular chats’ designed to encourage people to visit the library. Judging from listener letters, Kehl’s May 1929 broadcast “Where New Yorkers Eat, which traced the invention of chop suey to the Waldorf Hotel in 1896, was a favorite with the public. [2]

Rebecca Rankin from an undated photograph, probably late 1930s.
(Photo courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives)

Rankin’s explanation of proportional representation, broadcast on December 1936, also generated interest: it was recorded (listen above) and repeated more than once in early 1937. The recording was also loaned out to groups seeking to educate their members about the new method of voting.[3]

Nowadays it may be hard to imagine a pre-internet world where information wasn’t sloshing about like some overloaded sauce pan. And while it is true that there were more local newspapers at the time, WNYC afforded Rankin and her staff the ability to go directly to the public with the civic information they believed it needed in order to make informed decisions at the voting booth.

In 1950, Rankin was interviewed on the WNYC program For the Ladies.

City Librarian Rebecca Rankin examines a newspaper with a Latin American Scholarship student in the Municipal Reference Library, New York City, 1942.
(New York State Archives)

[1] Seaver. Barry W., “Rebecca Browning Rankin Uses Radio to Promote the Municipal Reference Library of the City of New York and the Civic Education of Its Citizens,” Libraries and Culture, Vol. 36, No.2, Spring 2001, pg. 294.

[2] Ibid., pg. 295.

[3] Ibid., pg. 311.

WNYC broadcast audio courtesy of the New York City Municipal Archives.

Follow our Creative Fellow’s Research!

PPL’s 2018 Creative Fellow, artist Becky Davis, has been poring over books, pamphlets, letters, and ephemera from our Fiske-Harris Civil War Collection, and looking through historic magazines and newspapers.

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If you’re interested in seeing some highlights from Becky’s research and learning more about her process, you can read her blog! She also started an Instagram account featuring photographs of materials she finds here at the library, alongside related materials from other repositories.