September Scoop on Special Collections & Archives

We’re starting a new feature here on Illuminations, a monthly “Scoop” as a quick way to share what our different areas have been up to over the last month and keep you up to date and informed about what our hard working staff are up to!

Special Collections & Archives

For several months, Burt Altman, Archivist, has been engaged in a project to reprocess the Paul A.M. Dirac Papers. The work has involved shifting and reboxing his vast collection of personal and professional correspondence, calculations, articles, photographs, and travel files, as well as his late wife Margit’s papers. These materials were housed in archival boxes, many of which were underfilled, so that the folders couldn’t stand upright, and there were preservation issues with storage of photographs and several photo albums. Also, most photographs were not properly described in the finding aid, which impeded access. These activities will insure better long-term preservation and more efficient access for this extremely significant collection. To continue providing access during this project, a note was placed in the catalog record and in the finding aid informing researchers that preservation and rehousing is being done, and if materials are needed, to contact Burt or the Special Collections Reading Room. Burt is happy to report that as of the last week of September, nearly 65% of this collection has been reprocessed, and the project will be completed sometime in October.

Hannah Davis, archival assistant in HPUA, disbinds a book for better storage and access.

Hannah Davis, archival assistant in HPUA, disbinds a book for better storage and access.

Heritage Protocol & University Archives

Outreach: HPUA attended the Emeritus Coffee Chat and celebrated the 100th birthday of 1936 FSCW alumna and emeritus chemistry professor, Kitty Hoffman. We had a great time hearing stories and sharing memorabilia with alumni!

Preservation and access: We disbound two books that contained West Florida Seminary catalogs from the late 19th century and they will be digitized and added to the Digital Library. The catalogs provide a unique look at our predecessor institution, and will be an invaluable resource for researchers interested in the West Florida Seminary.

Claude Pepper Library

This month, the Claude Pepper Library brought a new collection into its stacks. In 1990, Larry Durrence was named a Visiting Professor at FSU with a full-time assignment with the Florida Tax & Budget Reform Commission (TBRC). In January 1991 he was then promoted by the Commission members from Senior Analyst to Executive Director for his remaining term with the TBRC. This past Friday the 26th, Mr. Durrence donated three boxes of material related to the work of the Commission during his time there. The collection will be processed and made available to researchers by the early spring of 2015.

The Pepper Library also hosted Dr. G. Kurt Piehler’s ‘The American GI in War and Peace in World War II” class on the 18th of September. Coming in as part of a larger tour hosted by History Liaisons Sarah Buck-Kachaluba and Bill Modrow, the history seminar class was introduced to Claude Pepper and his work during the Second World War while a member of the US Senate. The class was also able to hear an excerpt of a Pepper speech given in late June of 1941 which warned of the dangers of the Nazi threat.

Cataloging & Description

Amy Weiss, Head of Cataloging & Description, taught a workshop entitled “RDA without tears” to help put RDA coding into a practical perspective. A lot of RDA training is very theoretical in orientation, but this class was intended as a “how to” class.  Three members of the medical school library joined up for the class, as did one of the serials catalogers. We went over the basics of the RDA record in the MARC format, and we discussed “hybrid records” where some features of RDA are used in an AACR2 record.

The Authorities/Catalog Management Unit and Linda Brown in Serials finished the ASERL Documents Project. To explain, Florida State University Libraries is a member of the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL). Last year, the ASERL libraries were asked to select three areas to catalog for the Centers of Excellence – an ASERL program envisioning the creation of comprehensive collections of U.S. government information from each Federal government agency. FSU’s 3 ASERL collections are Economic Development Administration (1965-) Call number is C46… approx. 400 items, Federal Security Agency (1939-1969) Call number is FS2… approx. 3,000 items and the Library of Congress Country Studies Call number is D101.22:550- approx. 316 items.

Digital Library Center

The DLC started several new projects this month. The Florida Handbook from 1947-2012 and Florida State College for Women scrapbooks were in the DLC for digitization. Image quality control continues on the Florida Flambeau images and we’ve started a pilot project for the loading and metadata creation of the issues in the FSU Digital Library. We completed the digitization of the latest batch of papers from the Paul A.M. Dirac collection which now goes into post digitization processing before loading into the FSU Digital Library. We also attended the History program mixer event hosted in the Special Collections Exhibit Room and enjoyed introducing the DLC to the faculty and students in that department.

Tag, you’re it: Books that have stayed with you

old book by Thalita Carvalho | Flickr | cc:by

old book by Thalita Carvalho | Flickr | cc:by

Recently, this has been going around on Facebook:

List ten books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t take more than a few minutes, and don’t think too hard. It is not about the ‘right’ books or great works of literature, just ones that have affected you in some way.

Once you’ve listed your books, you are supposed to “tag” 10 people. I am not usually a big fan of these chain letter things, but I really enjoyed reading the lists that were posted, particularly when they involved commentary. When my college friend Cathy tagged me, in turn, I asked OCLC Research colleagues to contribute.

Earlier this month, the Facebook Data Science team posted an analysis of the “top” books from the meme. It was interesting to see how many of the books listed showed up on our lists but perhaps even more interesting to see the interests of our group reflected in some of the more unusual choices.

If you’d like to check out our lists, please read on. If you’d like to play, consider yourself tagged — leave your list of books below. And enjoy!

Karen Smith-Yoshimura (WorldCat list here)

  • Rublowsky, John. Is Anybody Out There? Read this as a kid – my introduction to what was then called “exo-biology”. Have been fascinated by astro-biology ever since.
  • Ridley, Matt. Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters. This book is just fascinating, and I keep re-reading it…
  • Laozi, Bi Wang, and Zhe Su. Laozi dao de jing. Not sure which edition I read, but this was the first Chinese book I read cover-to-cover and served as a basis of a discussion with a philosophy professor at TaiDa. Really opened my mind to a completely different way of thinking, and influences me still..
  • Hersey, John. The Wall. Read this as a teenager. My introduction to Holocaust fiction and inspired me to read far more about it.
  • Bosworth, Allan R. America’s Concentration Camps. Read as a teenager. My introduction to Japanese internment camps. One of the books that made me realize that the US has a number of dark periods in its history beyond what I had learned in school…
  • Sartre, Jean-Paul. Huis clos. The first French book I read cover-to-cover, again as a teenager. It was a time when “L’enfer, c’est les autres” really resonated!
  • Cheng, Nien. Life and Death in Shanghai. This autobiography really gripped me as no others about the Cultural Revolution.
  • Polo, Marco, William Marsden, and Jon Corbino. The Travels of Marco Polo, the Venetian. Not sure which edition I read, but read it as a teenager and likely put the “traveling bug” into me. A factor in my living/traveling for 9 years before returning to the US…
  • Hofstadter, Richard. Anti-Intellectualism in American Life. A book I read in college – understood from then on that the ignorance I often see around me is nothing new…
  • Carroll, Lewis. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. One of the first books I remember reading ALL BY MYSELF as a child – and reread later for the wonderful portmanteau’s of language.

Devon Smith (WorldCat list here)

Jackie Dooley (WorldCat list here)

  • Hijuelos, Oscar. The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love. Cuban American brothers in New York City and their visions of the perfect woman. I felt like the heat and humidity was enveloping me the entire time I was reading. Painfully human characters.
  • Tartt, Donna. The Secret History. An incredible writer in the technical sense who also weaves weird and wonderful tales. Classics prof draws his students into the supernatural, woo hoo! Many didn’t care for her next (The Little Friend), but I did. Can’t wait to dive into The Goldfinch.
  • Borges, Jorge Luis. Labyrinths: Selected Stories & Other Writings. Borges: the most amazing short story writer of all time. And of course the most fascinating fantasy library ever imagined is the centerpiece of The Circular Ruins.
  • Irving, John. A Prayer for Owen Meany: A Novel. Such a weird but endearing protagonist, matched only perhaps by Iggy J. Reilly in A Confederacy of Dunces (which, alas, didn’t occur to me until my list was already at ten).
  • Solženicyn, A. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. My first view of life as a member of Soviet society. Indelible.
  • Gardner, John. The Sunlight Dialogues. Gardner was one of my favorite novelists when I was in my 20s (add to that Vonnegut, Irving, and Robbins, weirdos all). Sunlight stands in for them. Or maybe I should have picked his retelling of Beowulf from the perspective of the monster Grendel.
  • García Márquez, Gabriel. One hundred years of solitude. Speaking as a student of Latin American literature, is it necessary to explain why this was, and is, so affecting and influential?
  • Eco, Umberto. The Name of the Rose. It’s the librarian in me, but also, I suppose, the fallen Catholic. Not to mention his amazing depiction of the Middle Ages.
  • Craig, Charmaine. The Good Men: A Novel of Heresy. More ex-Catholic fascination with Medieval times and the joys of the Inquisition! Craig evokes the era with extraordinary skill. And she did her research in lots of Medieval libraries. Oh, and the Cathar Heresy is a fascinating bit of French history.
  • Neruda, Pablo, and Nathaniel Tarn. Selected Poems. Extraordinarily beautiful use of the Spanish language, generally well-translated into English–but read him in the Spanish if you’re able. One of the top reasons why I’m glad I majored in Latin American literature.

Bruce Washburn (WorldCat list here)

Bruce says, “Not all of these remain influential, for me anyway. One thing they have in common is that I’ve read each one multiple times and have recommended them to others.”

  • Gilliam, Harold, and Gene M. Christman. Weather of the San Francisco Bay Region. This might be the little book that has influenced me the most. I still have my copy from 1970. The great Harold Gilliam taught me all about fog. His 1962 commentary at the end regarding climate change is fascinating from this distance.
  • Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. This shows up on many lists, I imagine. If you read it when you were young, especially. Old Atticus is still kind of a role model. And I learned what a “chifforobe” is. That’s important information for a 12 year old.
  • Tolkien, J. R. R. The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings. Actually the whole series. I read it in the early 70’s before LOTR became an industry. I remember an intro by Peter Beagle about these works, saying “the strangest strangers turn out to know them”. That hooked me.
  • DeLillo, Don. Libra. I’ve read this a bunch of times and am always entertained. It influenced me to read everything else from DeLillo.
  • Banks, Russell. AfflictionThe take-away for me was advice given to Wade Whitehouse by his brother. Wade is plagued by problems, including a bad tooth. His brother says list your problems in priority order and tackle one at a time starting with the tooth. Wade doesn’t listen.
  • Catton, Bruce. Mr. Lincoln’s Army. Actually, the Army of the Potomac trilogy. Here’s Catton describing the battle of Antietam: “south of the fence, filling all of the ground between the road and the wood, was Mr. Miller’s thriving cornfield — THE cornfield, forever, after that morning.
  • Gibson, William. Pattern Recognition. I’m not exactly sure why but I always really enjoy re-reading this one. There must be some pattern to that.
  • Ricks, Thomas E. Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq. Everything that can go wrong, does. Not that this should influence any further adventures, I’m sure those will be great.
  • McCarthy, Cormac. Blood Meridian, or, The Evening Redness in the West. Not everyone’s cup of tea, I imagine. But after reading it I looked at the West differently. Harsh and arbitrary rather than pastoral and benign.
  • Wright, Lawrence. The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11. Probably a good time to re-read this one again. I was willfully ignorant about the forces and people involved. Still kind of am.

Roy Tennant (WorldCat list here)

Roy says, “Although I cheated and did 15. So sue me. ;-)” Never a rule follower, that Roy….

  • Kazantzakis, Nikos. Report to Greco. I fell in love with Kazantzakis before I met my Greek American wife. So my inevitable trip to his beloved Crete was made all the more sweet when it happened. I raise a glass of Raki and toast him and his work.
  • Gonzales, Laurence. Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why : True Stories of Miraculous Endurance and Sudden Death. Read it. Understand it. And one day, when you need to live it, you’ll be ready.
  • Herbert, Frank. Dune. The single best marriage of Ecology and Science Fiction there ever was, or ever will be. Two of my loves, joined at the hip and completely believable. Amazing.
  • Eiseley, Loren C. All the Strange Hours: The Excavation of a Life. Loren Eiseley is my hero. I need no other. A scientist, a thinker, an outdoorsman, a writer, a poet and a prose poet, a true Renaissance Man. What I aspire to be, and fall short of, but love to strive to achieve.
  • Shirer, William L. The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany. I read this in two weeks as a teenager, and I felt like I was 80 when I was done. It was like mainlining all the hate and disaster this world has to offer and it was almost more than I could take. It still is.
  • Zinsser, William Knowlton. On Writing Well The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction. My bible of writing. May I one day prove worthy.
  • Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel. The Lord of the Rings. I read this as a mid-teen and the poem “All That is Gold Does Not Glitter” become my mantra, as I spent 17 virtually alone in my treehouse on an Indiana farm.
  • Trevor, Elleston. The Flight of the Phoenix. I’ve always tried to be the ultimate Boy Scout — prepared for anything, and ready to deal with whatever is thrown at me. So I fell in love with this story of doing exactly that to survive. Rebuild a crashed plane and fly it out of the desert. Awesome.
  • White, T. H. The Once and Future King. Because some legends require a whopping good telling.
  • Sinclair, Upton. The Jungle. One of the best introductions to Socialism, buried, in the end, by its account of slaughterhouses. Which goes to prove that people care more about what they eat than just about anything else.
  • Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West. There are no words.
  • Solženicyn, Aleksandr I. The Gulag Archipelago: 1918 – 56 ; an Experiment in Literary Investigation. It was slow going in a lot of places, but this is one of the most important accounts of 20th Century history. And every now and then you would come across a true gem of insight. Without him no one outside of Russia would know.
  • Robbins, Tom. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues. If you can only read one thing before you die, read the Preface of this book. I mean, srsly.
  • Stegner, Wallace. Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West. As someone who learned to run rivers at 21, and within a few months of that set off down the Colorado River as a guide, I cannot begin to imagine what Powell and his men thought as they made the same journey for the very first time. And with science.
  • Abbey, Edward. Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness. I’ve always been in love with the outdoors, so this paean to nature, and to the desert that I learned to love in my teens and early 20s, really spoke to me. It still does.

Ricky Erway (WorldCat list here)

Ricky says, “I’m being literal, going to earliest influences.”

Melissa Renspie (WorldCat list here)

Melissa writes, “Now that I step back and look at it, I wonder what it means that my list is made up of books I read as a child or a young adult. I’ve also read most of them to my children. I can interpret this in several ways: 1.) I’ve read these books so many times they’re burned in my mind, or 2.) I really love children’s books. When I was young I wanted to write children’s books when I grew up. That hasn’t happened yet but it still could. Maybe I just haven’t grown up yet?! ;-)”

Ralph LeVan (WorldCat list here)

  • Leithold, Louis. The Calculus, with Analytic Geometry. My dad pushed me into mathematics. (I suspect he felt weak in it.) I enjoyed it, but never felt the passion for it that I do for programming. But, this book was just about as good as it got. Leithold had a wonderful way of making the concepts simple.
  • Heinlein, Robert A. Stranger in a Strange Land. Counter-culture in Los Angeles in the 60’s. This book defined it.
  • Pratchett, Terry. Small Gods: A Novel of Discworld. A book about a man and his personal relationship with his god. This is one of the two books I try hardest to get people to read.
  • Pratchett, Terry. Reaper Man. “There is no justice, there is just us.” Terry Pratchett creates characters that you care about. I often cry while reading his books. One of his most endearing characters is Death.
  • Knuth, Donald Ervin. The Art of Computer Programming. My sophomore year of college was about working my way through this book. I won’t swear that a lot of it stuck to me, but the experience certainly did.
  • Heller, Joseph. Catch-22, A Novel. My mother told me to read this. I’ve always respected her suggestions and this was a good one. I was depressed for a week after reading it.
  • Cheech And Chong. Cheech And Chong. I know this is supposed to be books, but this album was exactly what my life in Azusa was like. I knew all the characters in this album. I snuck friends into the drive-in in the trunk of my car. Dave’s not here.
  • Chabon, Michael. The Yiddish Policeman’s Union. I love this book. It’s one of two books I try to make people read. It’s a great mystery. It’s a great love story. It’s a loving insight into Yiddish culture. The story is one surprise after another right up to the end.
  • Cherryh, C. J. Downbelow Station. I love the books of CJ Cherryh! This book is part of her Company series. It does a wonderful job of making you feel like you understand what it’s like to live on a space station. It’s not a happy life.
  • Kraft, Philip. Programmers and Managers: The Routinization of Computer Programming in the United States. The Communist Manifesto for programmers. I was lucky to take a couple programming and society classes at UC Irvine in the late 70s. This book has a lot to say about where we fit into our businesses.

And finally, my own list.

  • Eastman, P. D. Go, Dog, Go! I loved the illustration of the dogs in the houseboat, and playing in the trees — I could look at this for extended periods of time.
  • Baum, L. Frank. The Wizard of Oz. …and the many other books that followed – thankfully I didn’t know it was an allegorical commentary on the gold standard
  • Paterson, Katherine. Bridge to Terabithia. So beautiful, and so sad.
  • McCullough, Colleen. The Thorn Birds. The first book I checked out of the adult section of the library – don’t judge, I was 10 or 11.
  • Michener, James A. Centennial. I loved James Michener books because they were so very, very long. I have never wanted a story I liked to end.
  • King, Stephen. The Shining. Stephen King is an amazing story teller with a very twisted mind.
  • Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World. For a while I could not get enough of the dystopian future thing.
  • Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath. I spent several years in college and after doing research in archives trying to figure out why in the heck the Joads would move on from the FSA camp, which seemed like heaven to me.
  • Steinbeck, John. East of Eden. The levels of manipulation are fascinating.
  • Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. A college friend assigned it to me. I love rereading it, and of course all the derivatives are fantastic.

Robert Kiley, Underground Movements, New York’s Subways

When Robert “Bob” Kiley took over as Chief Executive Officer of the New York City Metropolitan Transportation Authority his mission was to revive the City’s crime-ridden, dilapidated subway system where ridership had fallen to levels not seen since 1918. By the time he delivered this lecture at the New York Public Library’s Celeste Bartos Forum in February, 1988, Kiley was five years into the job and well on the way to guiding the City’s subways back from the dark days of the late 1970’s when every car in the subway fleet was covered with graffiti and trains routinely broke down.

Kiley, who before coming to New York led the Boston subway system back from a fiscal abyss, acknowledges that urban dwellers will always have an uneasy relationship with their underground trains. “The word ‘underground’ inspires fear,” says Kiley, noting that it summons thoughts of the “realm of Hades.” But the transit executive says there is nothing more important for modern cities than maintaining its public infrastructure, particularly the subway systems, which transmit the life blood of a metropolis — its people.

Kiley points out that it took New York City — the leading industrial center in the Western Hemisphere after the Civil War — a longer time than many of the world’s great cities to develop a subway system.    While technology existed at the time to operate trains under the streets of New York, Kiley says political corruption squelched civic improvements.

For much of the second half of the 19th Century, William Marcy “Boss” Tweed controlled the political process in New York; he favored the interests of businesses that ran horse-drawn buses and thwarted subway development legislation. Kiley says that New York became “the most inconveniently arranged modern city in the world.” Indeed, in 1873 workers were spending a sixth of their day trying to get to their jobs. Only then did Tweed come out in favor of privately funded elevated train construction for the City — a boondoggle. This form of transit mainly served to further enrich the notorious financier, Jay Gould, the politically appointed Rapid Transit Commissioner and owner of these urban steam-powered railroads. As Kiley describes with disgust, the elevated trains covered the streets and the people with soot and cinders and did little to ease urban congestion.

In 1894, through the efforts of business leaders and the press, a new Rapid Transit Commission was formed, and a method of funding devised: City bonds were issued to private businesses for the construction of an electric powered subway system.

The former MTA CEO recounts how, in October 1904, the first subway line, privately owned by the Interborough Rapid Transit Company or IRT, rolled down the tracks underneath Broadway from City Hall to 145th Street. Soon it was carrying 25,000 people a day. Kiley extolls this moment which “finally conferred order where there was almost none.” Powered by electricity, with stations decorated in ornate terra cotta and tracks just below the street surface, the new subway was, he explains “the very best that 19th Century technology could offer.”

However, as New York City rolled through the 20th Century, the demands on the subway system soon exceeded its capacity. When the IRT grew too crowded in 1907, Kiley wryly notes that the City Club complained: “we do not get a civilized ride for our five cents — the trains are like cattle cars.” Other subway lines were developed, such as the privately owned Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Company or BMT. But New Yorkers remained dissatisfied.   Kiley says Mayor John Hylan, who presided over the City in the early 1920’s, enhanced his populist creds by campaigning against any attempt to raise the five-cent fare.

Kiley blames the political aversion to raising the nickel fare – it was in place from 1881 to 1948 – for restricting capital improvements on the system and causing fiscal woes for the IRT and BMT. The City had to take over those private lines in 1940, combining them with the Independent City-Owned Rapid Transit Railroad, or IND, which started in 1925 at the end of Hylan’s last term of office.

Kiley adeptly traces the decline and gradual renaissance of the City’s subways from 1948, when subway ridership reached its zenith of 2 billion riders, to 1988 when it had emerged from an almost mortal dysfunction. Statistics play an inevitable and telling role in this account. Necessary fare hikes, starting modestly with five-cent increments until the fare was doubled to a half dollar in 1977, corresponded with the loss of hundreds of millions of riders per year.

When Kiley took over the MTA in the early 80’s, the supervisory force had been depleted by retirements. There were just 300 managers for 50,000 employees. A critical train car repair shop had just one manager for 1100 workers. Train tracks that were supposed to be inspected twice weekly were so neglected that half the trains could be out of service at any one time.

Kiley describes how he moved the MTA from triage to a system of accountability, in part by jettisoning civil service and collective bargaining rules, to hire a new cadre of managers.   At the time he delivered this lecture, New York subway tracks were being regularly inspected under the supervision of 177 managers rather than just seven, graffiti had been removed from 85% of the cars, crime on the trains had declined significantly and ridership was returning to levels that existed before the City’s fiscal crisis of the 1970’s.

Bob Kiley, who later went on to manage London’s underground transit system, believes that well-maintained, publicly-funded infrastructure benefits business and maintains the life and growth of society. This well-regarded transit executive believes that New York’s subway system is its greatest public asset, albeit a fragile one, ever dependent upon a political will to continue providing capital for its sustained development into the 21st Century.

__________________________________________

This talk originally aired on WNYC as part of the Voices of the New York Public Library series of lectures from the NYPL’s Celeste Bartos Forum on June 27, 1993.

 

PIDB Visits Presidential Libraries and the Center for Content Understanding

On September 11-12, 2014, the PIDB traveled to College Station and Austin, Texas to see first-hand how the Presidential Libraries are providing access to their important holdings.  The PIDB would like to thank the Directors and staff at the George. H. W. Bush and the Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Libraries for hosting us.  We appreciated their candid comments on how these historically significant records can be better prioritized for declassification review.  The PIDB believes the records in the Presidential Libraries are among our nation’s most valuable.  We share and support the National Archives’ commitment to ensuring long-term access to these important and sought-after records.  Our aim is to bring greater awareness to the challenges facing declassification programs at these Libraries so that Presidential records, including electronic records, may receive priority for declassification and public access.

In addition to visiting these two Presidential Libraries, the PIDB met with research scientists from the Center for Content Understanding (CCU) at the Applied Research Laboratory (ARL) at the University of Texas at Austin.  The research scientists at the CCU are supporting a joint effort of the National Archives and the Central Intelligence Agency to develop and use technology to identify specific information in Reagan administration electronic records for declassification.  The pilot project calls for testing technological capabilities performing rules-based analysis to  aid and automate classification and declassification decision-making.  This effort supports a commitment the President made in his Second Open Government National Action Plan, adopted from the PIDB’s recommendation in our 2012 Report on Transforming the Security Classification System.  The PIDB extends its appreciation and gratitude to the professionals at the CCU and ARL for hosting our visit and for providing a comprehensive briefing on this successful pilot project.  The PIDB believes the government should continue efforts to support this important work.  It offers a way for the Record Access Information Security Interagency Policy Committee / Classification Reform Committee to begin analysis of how technology will transform the classification system and make declassification more efficient and effective.  Implementing technological tools, like the ones tested at the CCU, are imperative – without it, the government will not be able to keep pace with the volume of records requiring declassification review.

Everything old is new again

Mosul. Erbil. Erzurum. Aleppo. Adana. Armenians. Yazidis. Kurds. Read the news lately? If you have, then these words suggest something to you.   Undoubtedly, we’ll all be even more familiar with them soon enough.

But in the archives “everything old is new again.” Or maybe it’s more accurately the reverse, everything new is old, with new associations mingling with older ones. Around here, the words above are likely to remind us of our many Amherst College missionaries who left the campus to make new lives in the Middle East, often for decades and generations.

For example, when I hear “Kurds,” I think “Koords” (having a weakness for old-timey spellings). And then I think “Earl Ward. Missionary and photographer in Turkey between 1909 and 1913.” And then, “Nesbitt Chambers, missionary in Turkey for forty-five years.”

Earl Ward, ca. 1910

Earl Ward, ca. 1910

William Nesbitt Chambers, ca. 1880

William Nesbitt Chambers, ca. 1880

We may be hearing a lot about the Kurds these days, but Ward and Chambers heard about them before we did, including their reputation for being fearless warriors, a reputation that’s still talked about today.

The photos below are Earl Ward’s, and many of the captions are from “Yoljuluk,” Nesbitt Chambers’ memoir. Ward arrived in Turkey in April 1909 with his camera locked and loaded, immediately commencing a record of his four years there. Nesbitt Chambers, older than Earl by several decades, began his service in Turkey in 1879, and he remained there with his family for most of the next forty-five years.

Ward's caption on reverse: “Picture of three Koords. Notice the armament. These Koords are mountaineers & enjoy a fight better than eating. This is the way in which they like to pose for a picture.” Chambers in "Yoljuluk": “The Koords appealed to me in many ways, a race of fine physique, many of them tall and of handsome appearance, with a vigorous swing that would naturally characterize mountaineers who roam at pleasure over hill and valley.”

Ward’s caption on reverse: “Picture of three Koords. Notice the armament. These Koords are mountaineers & enjoy a fight better than eating. This is the way in which they like to pose for a picture.”
Chambers in “Yoljuluk”: “The Koords appealed to me in many ways, a race of fine physique, many of them tall and of handsome appearance, with a vigorous swing that would naturally characterize mountaineers who roam at pleasure over hill and valley.”

Chambers: “Their mode of living in many ways corresponds to what I had imagined might have existed in Europe during feudal times, the Bey of the district resembling the lord of the manor.  Such a Bey in his robes riding a magnificent horse, elaborately caparisoned and followed by a retinue of retainers, mounted on beautiful Koordish horses, made a fine show.”

Chambers: “Their mode of living in many ways corresponds to what I had imagined might have existed in Europe during feudal times, the Bey of the district resembling the lord of the manor. Such a Bey in his robes riding a magnificent horse, elaborately caparisoned and followed by a retinue of retainers, mounted on beautiful Koordish horses, made a fine show.

"Koordish encampment"

“Koordish encampment”

Ward: “Four Koords – same as in Koordish encampment.  Notice Koord with spyglasses, another with cartridges in belt, little girl at right, Armenian boy, a guard, at left.”  Chambers: "They are generously hospitable, bountiful hosts with a sense of the sacred rights of the guest who is safe while within his host’s precincts.  However, their sense of the rights of property is not developed to such an extent that the guest might not be relieved of his possessions once outside the territory of his host.  They maintain the tribal system."

Ward: “Four Koords – same as in Koordish encampment. Notice Koord with spyglasses, another with cartridges in belt, little girl at right, Armenian boy, a guard, at left.”
Chambers: “They are generously hospitable, bountiful hosts with a sense of the sacred rights of the guest who is safe while within his host’s precincts. However, their sense of the rights of property is not developed to such an extent that the guest might not be relieved of his possessions once outside the territory of his host. They maintain the tribal system.”

Ward: “Wheat-pit in Harpoot.  Pile of wheat in centre taken in market at Harpoot.”  Chambers: It was at Erzroom that I received my first near view of the Turkish situation.  The [Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78] had left the country almost desolate, wheat was to be found but the price was exorbitant, and famine conditions resulted from the apathy and inefficiency of the administration… One of my first journeys was through the villages over which the war had swept.  We visited villages inhabited by Turks, Armenians, Koords, Persians, Yezidees.  There are no rural districts as in the Occident.  All the people of a vicinage group together and form a village.  I was impressed by what I saw of the modes of life, ranging in the towns and larger villages from well-built comfortable  houses with an upper story, to the half underground structures with conical mud roofs that seemed to rise from the ground.”

Ward: “Wheat-pit in Harpoot. Pile of wheat in centre taken in market at Harpoot.”
Chambers: “It was at Erzroom that I received my first near view of the Turkish situation. The [Russo-Turkish War of 1877-78] had left the country almost desolate, wheat was to be found but the price was exorbitant, and famine conditions resulted from the apathy and inefficiency of the administration… One of my first journeys was through the villages over which the war had swept. We visited villages inhabited by Turks, Armenians, Koords, Persians, Yezidees. There are no rural districts as in the Occident. All the people of a vicinage group together and form a village. I was impressed by what I saw of the modes of life, ranging in the towns and larger villages from well-built comfortable houses with an upper story, to the half underground structures with conical mud roofs that seemed to rise from the ground.”

Unidentified town, perhaps Harpoot, where Earl Ward was stationed.

Unidentified town, perhaps Harpoot, where Earl Ward was stationed.

Both Chambers and Ward witnessed war in the region, Chambers in the 1890s and again in 1909 and 1915, and Ward in 1909, from the moment of his arrival in Turkey. Although Ward was the more devoted photographer, Chambers too left a photographic record of the region, including the photos below. These two images show the city of Adana before and after the massacre in April 1909, but they could be mistaken for something out of today’s news.

Chambers-Adana-before-1909-massacre

Ward’s journal: “Constantinople. Monday, April 19 [1909]. Upon arrival found Mr. Peet away and Mrs. Peet quite anxious as to danger of massacre & looting. Terrible news from Adana, 2 Am. Missionaries killed, Armenians massacred. Drs. Greene, Herrick, Mr. Peet, Carson & Mrs. Mardin consulted about sending relief.”

Ward’s journal: “Constantinople. Monday, April 19 [1909]. Upon arrival found Mr. Peet away and Mrs. Peet quite anxious as to danger of massacre & looting. Terrible news from Adana, 2 Am. Missionaries killed, Armenians massacred. Drs. Greene, Herrick, Mr. Peet, Carson & Mrs. Mardin consulted about sending relief.”

I’ve never been to the Middle East. I know it mostly from long-ago classes, the news, and working with missionary collections. Even though the latter are technically “old news,” they provide an important context for what is happening in the Middle East today. Most of the native groups Ward and Chambers worked with still live in the area, and many of the problems in the Middle East today have identifiable roots in the past that the two missionaries knew. Understanding the historical context is important for a broader view of the world we live in, and for arriving at solutions that endure. Our missionary collections are a great place to start.

Finding Us in Social Media

Now that we’ve introduced ourselves, where else can you find us besides here at Illuminations?

Heritage Protocol & University Archives can be found on their lively Facebook page where they often share photographs and fun facts about FSU’s long and proud history.

HPUA on Facebook

The Claude Pepper Library uses its Facebook page to promote its collections and events as well as sharing photographs and information about Claude Pepper himself.

Pepper Library on Facebook

The Origins of the “Star Spangled Banner,” in Six Minutes

The Star Spangled Banner turns 200 this month. To commemorate, listen to the inimitable Oscar Brand explain in words and music its origins from a sheep-shearing song to the national anthem.

This is a live recording from a 1982 concert at the legendary Spencertown Academy Arts Center in upstate New York. It was broadcast on WNYC as part of the show “Folk Music Almanac,” hosted by Dave Sear, who graciously donated the audio. Enjoy!

Herstory Café: Women and Rodeo

October is Women’s History Month and we’re celebrating by hosting a Herstory Café on October 2nd from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. Bring your Stetson and enjoy Mary-Ellen Kelm’s illustrated talk on “Frontier Femininity: rodeo cowgirls in B.C.” Dr. Kelm is the author of A Wilder West, Rodeo in Western Canada and teaches history at Simon Fraser University.

1385151009825

UBC Press, 2011

The event is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Vancouver City Archives and Simon Fraser University’s Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies.

Herstory Café has been presenting accessible and thought-provoking public events on women’s history topics since 2007. We hope to see you here for an evening of cowgirl culture and great conversation.

Introducing The Digital Library Center

The Digital Library Center at FSU’s Strozier Library has digitized thousands of rare and unique items ranging from existing materials in FSU’s own Special Collections & Archives division to international patron research requests.

Their staff of experts consists of Willa Patterson, Giesele Towels and studio manager, Stuart Rochford. Together they carefully work to create content for the ever-growing FSU Digital Library, which already contains a vast collection of academic and FSU-related scans.

Utilizing a combination of flat-bed scanners, a book scanner and a medium-format, overhead camera, the Digital Library Center creates accurate copies and works closely with its patrons to deliver the perfect product.

The DLC typically receives digitization requests directly from Special Collections & Archives and, based on the size and scope of the project, will ultimately decide which equipment to use for the job. Smaller items such as individual, written notes and papers are usually scanned using the extremely capable Epson Expression 10000 XL.

ATIZ BookDrive Pro with cradle and lighting kit

ATIZ BookDrive Pro with cradle and lighting kit

Other times they are handed fragile, rare books with damaged binding or spines which require a bit more delicate attention. For these materials, the Epson would do more harm than good, due to having to lay the book flat and apply pressure for an accurate scan. In this case they will move to the ATIZ BookDrive Pro (pictured above) which features a 120° V-shaped book cradle and adjustable glass for applying gentle pressure to lay the pages flat.

This setup contains two Canon Rebel T3is and an LED lighting kit for uniform light distribution. The book scanner software allows for rapid production by shooting two pages at a time and automatic organization and numeration.

Large-format camera

Phase One IQ180 Medium Format Camera

For larger materials, including maps, posters and even oversized books, the Digital Library Center uses their powerhouse setup; the overhead medium format Phase One IQ180 camera back with Schneider lens and its vacuum base (to pull the items flat). Along with two massive HID (High Intensity Discharge) light fixtures, this setup allows the DLC to produce accurate copies without sacrificing the integrity of the photographed material.

Together, the Digital Library Center staff and its state-of-the-art technology produce accurate and high-resolution scans and continues to upload quality online content for our researchers’ convenience. Feel free to browse around FSU’s online Digital Library and see what we’ve been up to!

Stuart Rochford is the Digital Library Center manager at FSU and has worked with Strozier Library since 2011. He graduated from FSU with a BFA in graphic design and is currently working on his Master’s Degree in Library Science.

Interesting Finds At Pepper Library

During the third week of the fall semester the History Department here at Florida State University threw a meet and greet for their students and professors. The Special Collections & Archives Department was asked go through some of their collections and make up some displays for this meet and greet. Here at the Claude Pepper Library we decided to put some items from the 1950 primary election in one of our displays. I was tasked with finding items for the 1950 election display and boy did I discover some interesting items in our collection!

A little back story…

The 1950 primary election was between the incumbent Florida Senator Claude Pepper and U.S. House of Representatives Congressman George Smathers. This primary election between the two Florida Democrats was one of the dirtiest political races in U.S. history. There were three major issues facing Sen. Pepper at the time of his re-election. The first issue was Sen. Pepper’s support for America maintaining a peaceful relationship with Russia at the end of WWII. The second issue was for Sen. Pepper’s legislation and support for the National Health Insurance Act of 1949. The third issue for the senator was his support for many of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s legislation, including the controversial Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC). Sen. Pepper’s support for these three issues only hurt him in the 1950 primary election against George Smathers.

My interesting find

When the primary was over and all the ballots were counted, Rep. Smathers defeated Sen. Pepper to become Florida’s newest senator. Smathers ran one of the nastiest smear campaigns in Florida’s history against Claude Pepper. Pepper’s nickname from his opposition during the campaign was “Red Pepper” due to his visit to Russia and meeting with Communist Leader Joseph Stalin. Sen. Pepper advocated for America to keep our relationship with Russia open in order to prevent WWIII. Sen. Pepper also supported (though he denied this during his re-election campaign) the FEPC which was also used against him in the primary.

Negative of news article from 1950 Senate campaign.

Negative of news article from 1950 Senate campaign.

The interesting find I discovered while going through the wealth of information we have on the 1950 election was an article in the Richmond Times Dispatch after the election was over. Titled, “Smathers’ Defeat of Pepper – A Triumph for the Nation” is dated May 4, 1950; the article gives a brief summary of the election and the issues that affected the outcome of the election. The issues covered in the article are the FEPC, Sen. Pepper’s and Rep. Smathers’ voting record and the change the Richmond Times Dispatch believed was taking place in Washington, D.C. Rep. Smathers ran as the opposite of Sen. Pepper and his alarm over what was taking place in Washington, D.C.

The best find in the article is its closing sentence: “Now the victory of George Smathers over Claude Pepper has brought new and striking encouragement to those who are determined to save the United States from sliding over the socialistic precipice.”

Discovering the changes in American attitudes towards different topics that were relevant during Claude Pepper’s lifetime is always fun and interesting to us here at the Claude Pepper Library. To find out more information about the 1950 primary election or about Claude Pepper come visit us at the Claude Pepper Library.

Mallary Rawls is an archives assistant at the Claude Pepper Library.

Talk Like a Pirate – library metadata speaks

Pirate Hunter, Richard Zacks

Pirate Hunter, Richard Zacks

Friday, 19 September is of course well known as International Talk Like a Pirate Day. In order to mark the day, we created not one but FIVE lists (rolled out over this whole week). This is part of our What In the WorldCat? series (#wtworldcat lists are created by mining data from WorldCat in order to highlight interesting and different views of the world’s library collections).

If you have a suggestion something you’d like us to feature, let us know or leave a comment below.

Fusion workshops at the 2014 PHOTOgraphie festival

PHOTOgraphie, British Columbia’s only professional photography festival, is coming September 26-29. Amateur photographers are welcome to participate.

PHOTOgraphie logo

 

 

 

 

 

Fusion is a separate event that is being presented as part of PHOTOgraphie for the first time.

Fusion 2014 logo

 

 

 

 

 

Organized by Beau Photo Supplies and Vancouver Photo Workshops on September 28, participants can register for one or more speakers and workshops presented throughout the day. Workshop registration includes admission to the trade show.

We’ll be presenting “The Ins and Outs of Donating to an Archives” at  9 am at the Roundhouse, discussing the process of acquisition and what we do with archival materials once they have been acquired.

We look forward to meeting new people at this event and showing them what we do!

 

Reminisce at the FSU Heritage Museum

Werkmeister Reading Room, FSU Heritage Protocol Museum

Werkmeister Reading Room, FSU Heritage Protocol Museum

We are happy to announce that the Heritage Museum has reopened for the fall! Located in the Werkmeister Reading Room in Dodd Hall, the Heritage Museum has photographs, ephemera, and artifacts that document the history of FSU.

Students Reading in Dodd Hall Library, ca 1950s

Students Reading in Dodd Hall Library, ca 1950s

Dodd Hall, arguably one of the most beautiful buildings on campus, was built in 1923 and served as the library for the Florida State College for Women, and then for FSU until Strozier Library was built in 1956. It was named for William George Dodd, who joined the FSCW faculty in 1910. After the library moved into Strozier, WFSU housed its studio there. In 1985, the Claude and Mildred Pepper Library opened in Dodd Hall, and remained there until the library moved to the newly built Pepper in 1998.

Renovations began to improve the former library space in 1991. Named Professor William H. Wermeister and his wife, Dr. Lucyle T. Werkmeister, the Werkmeister Humanities Reading Room opened as a quiet space for students to study. In 1997, the Werkmeister Window, the crown jewel of an already-gorgeous space, was installed. The stained glass window was designed by Professor Emeritus Ivan Johnson and crafted by Bob and Jo Ann Bischoff. The window took over 10 years to build and contains over 10,000 individual pieces.

Regular hours for the Heritage Museum are Wednesday-Friday 12pm-5pm, with special extended hours until 7pm on Fridays before home football games. Museum tours are also available by appointment. Hope to see you there!

Cataloging and Description: A New Era

We continue our introductions of the FSU Special Collections & Archives division with the Cataloging and Description department. This post was written by Amy Weiss, Annie Glerum and Ruth Ziegler.

The faculty and staff of the Cataloging and Description department

The faculty and staff of the Cataloging and Description department.

The Cataloging and Description Department supports the academic programs of Florida State University by organizing and describing print books, e-books, video recordings, streaming video, microforms, maps, and other monographic materials purchased or received by the library. Four librarians, two library specialists and four library support staff catalog 36,000 titles per year following national standards of bibliographic control and in keeping with established cataloging practices and priorities. The department works with Acquisitions to load e-resource packages, which add thousands of records to the library catalog each year. Original records are contributed to OCLC, an international bibliographic database. FSU contributes nearly 1,000 original records per year. The department participates in international cooperative cataloging programs including NACO (Name Authority Cooperative) and SACO (Subject Authority Cooperative) through the Library of Congress. We contribute 500 to 600 records every year to the national authority file. Two units – Complex Cataloging and Authorities/Catalog Management collaborate to create workflows and apply the latest technologies in its routine work and projects.

A sample of new technical work for Cataloging and Description are the ETDs (Electronic Theses and Dissertations). Instead of receiving MARC (Machine-readable Cataloging) records for the ETDs, we receive non-MARC metadata and convert it into MARC so it can be loaded into the online catalog for users to find. Data conversion is also key to another recent job, the London project, where we are processing a file of records that were converted from the Access database the FSU London branch library uses for their local catalog to MARC records for FSU’s main campus catalog. After the records have been processed, they will be loaded in the FSU catalog so that professors and students visiting London will know whether or not they need to bring a given book with them. Librarians Annie Glerum and Yue Li and Library Specialist Dominique Bortmas have been working on these projects.

Remodeling the Dirac Science Library has been a major concern for the University Libraries. When the Libraries received funding for compact shelving, weeding the collection quickly became a priority. Librarian Ruth Ziegler and Library Specialist Nakia Davis collaborated with the University of Florida and worked out a withdrawal plan to remove 62,000 unwanted volumes from the catalog using global change. Reports were given to Collections Access so that they could remove books from the shelves for resale or to discard. Using this method, books did not have to be moved to the Catalog Management unit and there was considerable savings of time and effort.

Rare Books and Special Collections materials are cataloged in Cataloging and Description. When the University Libraries acquired a complete run of books published by the Grove Press Department Head Amy Weiss assembled a team of catalogers (Melissa Burel, Tim Kanke, Valeria Kosmynin and Annie Glerum) and instructed them in Special Collections cataloging. The team was able to get the books cataloged in time for a special event planned around the collection this past spring.

Ordinary cataloging is not what it once was. Cataloging of most English language materials is done in conjunction with vendors who supply both the books and the bibliographic records, as well as physically processing the book with property stamps, security strips, and barcodes. After two years of working with the Coutts/Ingram, we have changed vendors to Yankee Book Peddler (YBP). YBP will supply electronic and print books with accompanying MARC records. We will continue to do quality control checking to make sure all books have full records.

Cataloging and Description called 711 W. Madison Street home

Cataloging and Description called 711 W. Madison Street home

Cataloging and Description loads catalog records for large e-resource packages, e-books and streaming media. This can be a complicated process. FSU is part of the shared State University System (SUS) Libraries catalog. Loading electronic records requires coordination between the schools. Librarian Ruth Ziegler works with FSU’s Apryl Price, E-Resources Librarian and with FALSC (formerly FLVC). Collaboration with the other schools who have purchased the same materials is sometimes necessary when errors occur in batch loading.

There are still some traditional cataloging functions performed in Cataloging and Description. We receive books which are not yet cataloged and which require original or close to original cataloging. Most of these books are in foreign languages, but not all. Many of the books are held by very few United States libraries, with FSU being one of a very few copies held. In cases like these, FSU performs a public service by providing high quality cataloging for these materials so that they can be located by scholars throughout the country.

A traditional cataloging task which is taking on new significance is authority control. Authority control provides the underlying structure of the catalog. It’s something that most users and librarians don’t think about. It’s a very important component in cataloging and the post cataloging process. Authorities are established forms of personal, corporate, conference, geographic names, subjects, uniform titles and series records that link to records in the bibliographic file. This involves using the Library of Congress authority file from which we follow established access points. New access points are set up when there is a conflict in the Library of Congress Name Authority File (NAF). In this way, works by a single author or on a given subject can be found together in the catalog. In current thought about the future of cataloging, authorities will become linked data, which will associate each name or concept with a number or code so that items can be linked out to the web and not just collocated in a catalog. From the traditions of library cataloging, come the innovations of tomorrow.

Professor Laurence Tribe, The Constitutional Convention of 1787

The original is secured under glass at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. But according to Laurence H. Tribe, America’s leading liberal interpreter of the United States Constitution, “it’s not embalmed in a time capsule of amber as though it was not meant to change over time.” In this 1988 lecture at the New York Public Library’s Celeste Bartos Forum, the Harvard Law School Professor of Constitutional Law, marks the 200th anniversary of the Constitution, originally drafted on parchment and signed September 17, 1787 by 39 of 42 delegates to the Constitutional Convention.

Tribe, whose many books include his widely taught treatise, American Constitutional Law, passionately argues that the now centuries old document is a living blueprint, whose drafters left to future generations the tasks of filling out the notions of liberty and equality under the law. Seeking scholarly support for his argument, Tribe goes back to the historical moments when the Constitution was literally prepared, first as the hand-drafted parchment, and then the day after, on September 18, 1787, when 500 copies were printed en masse and delivered to Congress in New York City, the early capitol of the United States.

The law professor posits that the written words in this monumental document, while critical to the formation of our democracy, are not the sole source of the Constitution’s power. For evidence, Tribe notes that the early printed copy used when the Constitution was ratified by the original States contains errors of punctuation and capitalization. It was this printed copy that was relied on by Congress and the Judiciary until 1878, after the original parchment was removed from storage for the Philadelphia Exposition. Tribe suggests that an errant semi-colon in Section 8 of Article 1 of the original Constitution could have been discovered in that document creating an argument that the Framers meant Congress to have unbridled power to pass laws. Yet, such a discovery, says Tribe, would not have affected the long history of Constitutional interpretation limiting Congressional authority.

Tribe believes evolving understandings of the human needs of a changing American society injected meaning into the Constitution at its very outset beyond the limits of written words or grammar. Indeed, the Articles of Confederation, which convened the first and only Convention, required a unanimous vote of all the States to adopt a Constitution. Yet a desire for a governmental structure for the young nation drove the delegates at the 1787 Constitutional Convention to adopt the Constitution with just the votes of nine of the thirteen states.

While acknowledging that there has been only one official Constitutional Convention in this nation’s history, the Constitutional expert argues that there have been several defacto Conventions. He sees a Second Constitutional Convention in the ratification after the Civil War of the 13th , 14th and 15th Amendments, which granted freedom to slaves and conferred due process of law to all and voting rights for men regardless of race.

He contends that the Supreme Court’s 5 to 4 ruling in 1937 upholding a minimum wage law amounted to a 3rd Constitutional Convention because it effectively overturned past High Court interpretations of the 14th Amendment precluding laws limiting the property interests of businesses. The ruling opened a door extending Constitutional protections to the long line of laws existing today that establish labor and environmental rights.

The Harvard professor sees the Supreme Court’s recognition under Chief Justices Earl Warren and later Warren Burger of criminal due process rights, privacy rights, and the rights of women as the functional equivalents of Constitutional Conventions, in keeping with his theory of an evolving Constitution not bound by the idea of an “original intent” of its drafters. “We the People once just meant white, property owning men,” says Tribe. But that is no longer the case. As this renowned Harvard legal scholar proposes, the Constitution continuously grows along with the American social understanding of what constitutes liberty and equality, concepts that cannot remain stagnant.

Tribe, the author of God Save This Honorable Court, has argued more than any other living lawyer in front of the Supreme Court. He acknowledges the paramount importance of the Court in the development of a vibrant Constitutional Law, transformed over the years through decades of interpretation. This point of view compelled Tribe, who has testified many times before Congress, to lead the 1987 fight to reject Federal Circuit Court Judge Robert Bork, then President Ronald Reagan’s nomination to the Supreme Court. The reason for Tribe’s opposition: Bork steadfastly refused to acknowledge the existence of legally protected liberty interests, such as privacy rights, because such rights were not literally spelled out in the Constitution.

Finally, Professor Tribe applauds the public’s involvement in the Supreme Court nomination process, as well as vigorous advise and consent by the Senate on the President’s nominee. The law professor rejects the notion that this politicizes the selection of High Court Justices. Tribe sees it more as a collaborative process necessary to assure that the Constitution continues to be interpreted as a living document.

________________________

Laurence Tribe’s talk was broadcast as part of the Voices At the New York Public Library series airing originally on February 14, 1993.

Negatives, negatives everywhere…

This summer we started a multi-year project to reprocess one of our most visually rich, fascinating, least known and hardest to use collections (hoping, of course, to change these latter points).

Students exploring the newly opened Frost Library in September of 1965

Students exploring the newly opened Frost Library in September of 1965

The College Photographer’s Negatives Collection is a large collection of negatives and prints created by the official college photographers from 1960 to 2005. The college photographers documented all aspects of the college and college life: events, staff, buildings, sports, theater, daily student life, and everything in between. The current project is to rehouse the negatives (which are already listed in the finding aid) and organize and integrate the many boxes of prints. Our hardworking student assistant, Tessa McEvoy ’16, has already rehoused the 21,000+ negatives from the 1960s and is moving full steam ahead into the 1970s.

The old and the new. The negatives will be much easier to use in their new mylar sleeves.

The old and the new.
The negatives will be much easier to use in their new mylar sleeves.

Once this is complete our dream is to digitize all the negatives (by rough estimate there are 240,000 images) and make them available on the Amherst College Digital Collections site. We also hope to add the digital photographs of campus that have been taken since 2005 (many of which are available on the College’s flickr site) to the collection so we can ensure proper long-term storage and access to this more recent college history.

We will certainly be back on the blog to give updates on this epic project but for now, please enjoy this small selection of images from Amherst College in the 1960s (click through for larger images):

President Kennedy's helicopter landing in memorial field in advance of his October 1963 commencement and Frost Library ground breaking speeches. (image 63-001-8 neg 17)
President Kennedy during his visit to campus, October 1963. (image 63-001-8 neg 23)
President Kennedy driving by the Amherst town common, October 1963. (image 63-001-8 neg 29)
Moving the books out of Converse Library, July 1965. (image 65-001-05 neg 9)
Students in the newly opened Frost Library, September 1965. (image 65-001-20 neg 1)
The circulation desk of the newly opened Frost Library, September 1965. (image 65-001-20 neg 4)
The future site of Hampshire College, August 1965. (image 65-007-3 neg 4)
Vietnam War protesters at commencement 1966, the commencement speaker was Robert MacNamara. (image 66-005-6 neg 15)
Chemistry lab, August 1966. (image 66-014-7 neg 5)
Administrative staff learning to use the new Centrix phone system, September 1966. (image 66-031-1 neg 13)
Performance of The Tempest in Kirby Theater, November 1967. (image 67-053-3)
Chuck Berry playing at the May 1967 prom! (image 67-044-1 neg 4)
Prom goers enjoying the Chuck Berry performance, May 1967. (67-044-1 neg 27)
Performance of Charly's Aunt in Kirby Theater, September 1967. (image 67-052-2)
Newly finished social dorms, summer 1963. (67-080-18 neg 27)
Newly finished social dorms, summer 1963. (image 67-080-18 neg 23)
Common area inside one of the newly finished social dorms, summer 1963. (67-080-2 neg 11)
Trustees' wives touring the newly completed Crossett Dormitory, November 1963. (67-080-3 neg 39)
Fraternity rushing, March 1968. (68-106-9 neg 34)
Open house in the new Merrill Science building, November 1968. (68-082-a4 neg 10)
Students gathered on the quad for a two-day moratorium on classes to allow students to discuss campus and national issues, April 1969. (69-001-1 neg 26)
Students gathered in the Cage to discuss campus and national issues during a two-day moratorium on classes, April 1969. (69-001-12 neg 14)

Additional Guidance on Managing Email Released

I am pleased to announce that the Office of Management and Budget and the National Archives released a memo yesterday afternoon to the heads of executive departments and independent agencies on managing email. Over the past few weeks, this issue has been brought into focus through testimony that I delivered to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. In addition, we have received questions from agencies as they are reviewing our Capstone Bulletin to determine if this approach is feasible for them. This is also important in light of the requirement in the Managing Government Records Directive (OMB M-12-18) for all email to be managed electronically by December 31, 2016.

The memo reinforces the importance for each agency to manage their email properly and includes a new NARA Bulletin to assist agencies. NARA Bulletin 2014-06 reminds agency heads of existing NARA guidance and resources to assist in managing email.  The memo also reminds agencies of the upcoming deadline in the Directive to develop suitable training for all agency personnel.

Our Office of the Chief Records Officer is leading our efforts to work with agencies to meet all the goals in the Directive. For more information about this work, and other initiatives they are undertaking, please visit their Records Express blog.… [ Read all ]

Introducing the Claude Pepper Library

The Claude Pepper Library was established in 1985 as the official repository for the Claude Pepper Papers, a unique and multi-faceted collection of manuscripts, photographs, audio/video recordings, and memorabilia documenting the life and career of U.S. Senator and Congressman Claude Pepper (1900-1989).

A campaign card from Claude's 1938 senate bid.

A campaign card from Claude’s 1938 senate bid.

Since that time, the holdings at the Claude Pepper Library, located on West Call Street on the FSU Campus, have grown in size and scope. The Pepper is currently home to 17 collections with varying focuses including the papers of lobbyists, governors, political action groups and those dealing with landmark legal cases.

Our staff consists of Claude Pepper librarian Robert Rubero, archives assistant Mallary Rawls and part time assistant Maria Meade. The mission of the Claude Pepper Library is to support and advance research, teaching and engagement by acquiring, preserving and providing access to collections dealing with the political history of the State of Florida on national and local levels for use by students, faculty and researchers worldwide.

Tallahassee National Organization for Women parade banner ca. 1970's.

Tallahassee National Organization for Women parade banner ca. 1970’s.

At the Pepper Library we also enjoy posting to our Facebook page and enjoy updating our followers through our “Today in Pepper History” posts. More importantly, we offer patrons a firsthand experience with primary source materials from a variety of creators, all giving a glimpse into the political landscape in the State of Florida with a range of over 75 years. The Pepper Library has regularly hosted archives training sessions, class tours and guest lecturers and plans to continue these events in the future. There is also a museum component located in the Pepper Center which chronicles the life of Senator Pepper and is based on his book, Eyewitness to a Century.

Recent projects include the online ingestion of over 6,000 photos from the Pepper Papers, all of which can currently be seen in the FSU Digital Library.

Stay tuned for future blog posts as we bring you more great examples from our collections here at the Pepper Library!

Former Florida governor Spessard Holland during World War I ca. 1918.

Former Florida governor Spessard Holland during World War I ca. 1918.

 

Introducing Heritage Protocol & University Archives

Heritage Protocol & University Archives (HPUA), housed in Special Collections & Archives at Florida State University Libraries, maintains the official repository of university historical records. The archive holds publications, records, photographs, audio-visual, and other material in physical or digital form created by or about Florida State University. We also archive the student experience through the acquisition and preservation of materials created or acquired by alumni while they were students at the university.

Greetings from Florida State College for Women, see full description here.

Greetings from Florida State College for Women, see full description here.

Our staff consists of Heritage Protocol & University Archivist Sandra Varry, Archives Assistant Hannah Davis, and part-time assistant Colin Behrens. We are also fortunate to have Graduate Assistants Rebecca Bramlett and Katherine Hoarn with us for the fall.

Our mission is to preserve and share the history of FSU with everyone – our FSU community and the public at large. We have a great time posting photos and interesting tidbits on our Facebook page and interacting with our fans as well as attending events on and off campus to promote HPUA. We provide images and information to news and media outlets as well as to researchers. On campus an important job we have is to provide not only historical records preservation for official records, but to provide that material to the university for everything from reports or events, or to help staff do research for projects. Factual data for administrative purposes is important, but we also get to do things like help celebrate the 100th birthday of an alumnus (two so far this year!).

Poster from a performance by Deathcab for Cutie at FSU. See full description here.

Poster from a performance by Death Cab for Cutie at FSU’s Club Downunder. See full description here.

We receive photographs, scrapbooks, and everything you can imagine from loyal fans, alumni, and their families from all over the world. The actual items come from all periods of time across our 163 year history. The combined knowledge base of student and university created records plus our professional archival staff makes us the place to come for Florida State History!

Recent projects include the digitization of over 300 posters from Club Downunder. All HPUA digital collections can be seen in the FSU Digital Library.

Our fall exhibit exploring the life and times of Florida State College for Women students through their scrapbooks is in the works and will open up mid-October in Strozier Library, and we look forward to seeing you there!

1927 Faculty Baseball Team. See full description here.

1927 Faculty Baseball Team. See full description here.

 

Thomas Wilfred and the Music of Light

In 1968, pioneering artist, musician, and inventor Thomas Wilfred sat down with Patricia Marx at the WNYC studios to discuss his life and work. Wilfred died about a month before this program aired on WNYC.

Thomas Wilfred was the inventor of the Clavilux, a device that operated much like a pipe organ, but instead of emitting sounds, the operator could slide keys to cast color projections on a screen. Debuting in the 1920s, Wilfred’s machine and accompanying color ‘conversations’ have had a lasting influence on artists working today. Remember Terrance Malick’s Tree of Life? Wilfred’s Opus 161 was used during key moments in the film.

Wilfred took an unusual road to becoming a light show pioneer, and one that seems improbable today:  at an early age, he taught himself the medieval lute, became quite good, and toured North America and Europe extensively.  He saved the money he earned to exclusively fund his artistic experiments.  In this interview, Wilfred describes the feast and famine lifestyle of his early artist days.

I also had to make a living.  I found out I had a good baritone voice and I liked old songs.  So I found a lute…and I began to practice and sing unusual old songs to the lute and that took and I made money on it.  So I would go out through winter and sing until I had funds enough, then spend the summer experimenting until I went broke then go back and sing some more.

Thomas Wilfred Lute Performance 1914
Thomas Wilfred Lute Performance, 1914.

After years of performing, Wilfred gave up music up to fully commit to building his light machines.  In 1919, he constructed a laboratory in Huntington, NY and for the next six years he developed an instrument from which one could ‘play’ light, controlling its form and motion using a keyboard-like console. His first public performance was in New York and Wilfred compared it to a Bach fugue: the forms were rigid in composition, rather uniform in movement, and he played from a strict set notations that resembled a classical score. Later on, Wilfred would loosen up his performances by allowing a more improvisational style.

These light performances were rooted in Wilfred’s well-considered artistic conceits.  He had studied traditional art earlier in life but was ultimately unconvinced that practices like painting and sculpture had the ability to capture the essence, beauty, and nature of light.   Wilfred came to the conclusion that it was impossible to depict or represent light though any medium that doesn’t employ light itself.  ”Because light moves”, Wilfred said, “it becomes necessary to create art where movement is at its core and a necessarily dimension or factor where light is the subject for consideration.”

Cleveland performance was on April 22, 1923Images from the Cleveland Public Auditorium performance on April 22, 1923, and the Cornish Theatre performance on March 5-6, 1924. (Yale University Manuscripts and Archives)

While large public performances of the Clavilux became a regular occurrence throughout the 1930s, Wilfred also became interested in building machines that were specifically for home use.

First home clavilux model built in 1930.
First home clavilux model built in 1930. (Yale University Manuscripts and Archives)
Luminar, #36.
Built in 1928, the luminar was an automatic clavilux to be projected on a white ceiling in the home. (Yale University Manuscripts and Archives)

Wilfred talks extensively in this interview about the how his inspiration comes from nature, and how his performances and compositions are meant to tap into universal consciousness.  One can imagine how both his light shows and his rhetoric would appeal to later psychedelic art movements (in fact, the Whitney Museum featured Wilfred’s Opus 162 in its 2007 exhibition The Summer of Love). And although Thomas Wilfred’s legacy and his pioneering inventions has been somewhat preserved, he still remains a relatively unknown figure in the art world. There are only 35 extant Clavilux compositions known to exist today, and, since Wilfred had been reluctant to have his work recorded to film during his lifetime, many original pieces no longer exist. For more information about Thomas Wilfred’s life and work see. http://wilfred-lumia.org/

Missionary in a Japanese Internment Camp

In a previous post I wrote about Otis Cary (AC 1943), “Amherst’s Man in Japan,” who worked with Japanese POWs after World War II and went on to represent Amherst College at its sister institution, Doshisha University, for several decades. I’ve recently had an opportunity to revisit the incredibly rich and vast unprocessed collection of Cary Family Papers to discovered another story from the war, this time featuring Cary’s father, Frank Cary (AC 1911).

Frank Cary as an Amherst senior, 1911

Frank Cary as an Amherst senior, 1911. An all-season athlete, his nickname was “Jumbo.”

Santo Tomas Internment Camp, 1945. Shanties were built in the courtyard to relieve overcrowding. National Archives, Records of the Office of the Chief Signal Officer [111-SC-202141]

Like his father before him, Frank Cary was an ordained Congregational minister (Oberlin, 1916) who served as a missionary in Japan. From 1916 until 1941, he was involved in school and church work in Japan until the threat of war made it necessary for Americans to leave the country. Cary went to Davao, in the Philippines. When the Pacific war broke out in December 1941, the Japanese took control of the Philippines. Cary  became a prisoner, interned first at Davao; then in December 1943 he was moved to the Santo Tomas Internment Camp in Manila. (This was on the campus of the present-day University of Santo Tomas.)

The Cary Family Papers include dozens of Frank Cary’s handwritten and typewritten copies of letters to family back home in the U.S. — some of which may never have been delivered during wartime. Many of these letters were posthumously published by the Cary family in 1993 as Letters from Internment Camp, Davao and Manila, 1942-1945. Although Cary writes with an awareness of the Japanese censors, his letters provide a wealth of detail about life in the camp and his fellow internees. Several hundred prisoners occupied one-and-a-half floors of a large administration building on the campus, under careful but for the most part humane supervision of the Japanese. Crowded conditions prevailed, and makeshift shanties were erected in the building’s courtyard to relieve the problem. One of the most critical problems, especially toward the end of the war, was a lack of nutritious food. Cary describes several stays in the camp hospital. Like many internees, he suffered skin ulcers on his legs and symptoms similar to those of beriberi, caused by a lack of vitamin B1 in the diet.

Frank Cary's notebook included many pages of detailed descriptions of his fellow internees.

Frank Cary’s notebook included these pages of detailed descriptions of his fellow internees.

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An oath issued to the internees by the Japanese, with Frank Cary’s handwritten note indicating that he refused to sign it.

Letter from Santo Tomas dated January 28, 1944.

Letter from Santo Tomas dated January 28, 1944.

Since he spoke fluent Japanese, Frank Cary was among the small handful of internees who could communicate with the camp Commandant and his military staff.  When the day came (February 3, 1945) when American troops arrived at the camp gate to demand surrender, Cary served as an interpreter and presented the terms of surrender to the Japanese officers of the camp. Since the Japanese are culturally resistant to the humiliation of surrender, the Commandant stated that he would open the camp only on the condition that he and his men be allowed safe conduct off the campus. It was a tense hostage situation, but the Americans allowed it. (However, Cary mentions in his letter below that they later heard a rumor that the Japanese who were led out of the camp this way were later “wiped out to the last man.”)

Cary's fascinating account of how the camp was finally liberated in February 1945.

Cary’s fascinating account of how the camp was finally liberated in February 1945.

At the end of the long ordeal in Santo Tomas Internment Camp, many prisoners had died of starvation or disease. On the day of liberation, Frank Cary’s weight was just 135 pounds — this for a large-framed man who had played football, baseball and track at Amherst and whose college classmates had dubbed him “Jumbo.” By May 1945, he returned home to his mother in Bradford, Mass.  Eventually, however, he returned to Japan to continue his missionary work, which he did until 1960, then completing his career serving as a pastor at Plainfield (Mass.) Congregational Church.

Introducing Ourselves

The Special Collections & Archives division of Florida State University Libraries includes Special Collections & Archives, Heritage Protocol & University Archives, the Claude Pepper Library, Cataloging & Description and the Digital Library Center. The division advances research by acquiring, preserving and providing access to primary and secondary source materials through our different areas.

Our division is large; over 20 people under five different umbrellas, each with their own focus. Over the next month, we’ll be introducing our different hats to you as we re-launch this blog as a way to share our daily work, our special projects and our events and exhibits with the FSU community and beyond.

We’ll start at the top: Special Collections & Archives.

This is the name for the entire division but it is also the name for the area in the division that holds the rare books, historic maps, photographs and unique manuscripts collected by FSU Libraries since its beginning. We’re located in the Special Collections Reading Room in Strozier Library.

Headed by Associate Dean Katie McCormick, Special Collections & Archives is home base for Burt Altman, Archivist, William Modrow, Rare Books Librarian, Lisa Girard, Collections Manager and Krystal Thomas, Digital Archivist. Many student assistants as well as the faculty and staff in other areas of our division assist us in our daily work and projects.

Students work with Special Collections materials during a class taught by Bill Modrow.

Students work with Special Collections materials during a class taught by Bill Modrow.

In classes, programs and exhibitions, we support active learning and engagement through use of our collections. We conduct class-specific sessions and work with professors to make sure we’re enhancing the curriculum and help students with primary source material-based projects. One example of this is our collaboration each year with the Museum Objects class on campus who take over our exhibit room to get hands on experience with planning, installing and promoting physical and digital exhibits.

The faculty and staff of Special Collections work hard to create and maintain discovery tools for our materials and are constantly re-evaluating and editing our finding aids, library catalog records and digital collection records to make sure our materials are easily findable.

We’re also always on hand when materials are being used in the Reading Room to answer any questions and de-mystify even the most challenging of our collections. We know using our collections is unique for many of our patrons so whether it’s a one on one research consultation with our materials or a short tutorial on navigating our online finding aids, we make sure you can find what you need.

One of our staff talks through what needs to be digitized for a patron.

One of our staff talks through what needs to be digitized for a patron.

We are lucky to have varied collections for patrons to use. We hold one of the largest collections of French Revolution and Napoleonic research materials in the world in order to support the Institute on Napoleon & The French Revolution at FSU. We also have an extensive collection of children’s poetry and literature in the John Mackay Shaw Collection and a large Florida history collection in both books and manuscript materials. Our rare book collection stretches from the earliest cuneiform tablets to the artist books being produced today.

We’re also well aware that we live in the 21st century and we have many avenues open to us to share our materials with those patrons who can’t make it to Tallahassee. The FSU Digital Library (FSUDL) holds many items from Special Collections & Archives and will continue to add more as we work to make our collections more and more accessible, as well as searchable, for our users. In this work, we often digitize materials for patrons who need images for publications or special projects that we can then bring in to the FSUDL.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll introduce the other parts that make up the Special Collections & Archives division at FSU!

A Musical Tribute to Edgar Varèse, April 17, 1981

In the archives world, sometimes the least expected finds are somehow the most rewarding. The satisfaction of unearthing a rare gem derives not from the serendipity (or luck) of it all, but rather from the feeling of having been working in your field long enough to have earned the reward –much like gold prospecting.

So it was in 2012, while transferring audio for Q2 Music’s collaboration with Carnegie Hall, American Mavericks. One of the requested items, stored in an offsite vault in New Jersey, was a set of three open reel tapes in boxes which were scarcely labeled as “Varèse 4/17/81.” After a quick turn in the oven (the tapes are of an era and type which require this special treatment), we put the tapes on the reel-to-reel machines. The barely-lebeled tapesBut wait: this crowd noise…this reaction… this sound… surely this was not a concert of classical music –much less of music by the notorious enfant terrible of the avant-garde, Edgard Varèse? Had a rock concert recording somehow been placed in the wrong tape box?

Further research was necessary. Was this… could this be… the legendary 1981 tribute to Varèse at New York City’s Palladium? The concert famously hosted by Frank Zappa (a longtime Varèse fanatic) and performed by Joel Thome’s Orchestra of Our Time, bootlegs of which had been circulating for decades?

Indeed it was: a complete, pristine recording of a remarkable show that has not been forgotten by those who participated or attended –a “curious but appropriate meeting of music and milieu,” as the New York Times put it (mildly). When else has there been a concert of decidedly uncompromising music been performed in a 3000-seat rock venue for an enthusiastic, young audience?

It is unclear how or why these tapes were recorded, but we are thrilled to present this concert in full. If you were at that concert, tell us about it in the comments section.

PLEASE NOTE: There are several obscenities uttered in this recording.

The program:

Ionisation, for percussion ensemble
Density 21.5, for solo flute
Intégrales, for Small Orchestra
Offrandes, for soprano and chamber orchestra
Déserts, for 15 Instruments. Percussion and Magnetic Tape of Electronically Organized Sounds

BONUS: Listen to John Schaefer and Joel Thome speak about Zappa and the concert in 1993.

Happy Birthday Claude Pepper!

Claude Pepper speaking before a Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies rally ca. 1940

Claude Pepper speaking before a Committee to Defend America by Aiding the Allies rally ca. 1940

Born on September 8, 1900 in Camp Hill Alabama, Claude Denson Pepper was a devoted public servant who served the state of Florida for over 40 years as a member of the Florida House of Representatives (1926-27), the US Senate (1936-1950) and the US House of Representatives (1963-1989). During his time in the Senate, he was a proponent of President Roosevelt’s New Deal Legislation and was instrumental in the passing of the Wage and Hour Bill as well as the Lend Lease Act.

In the House of Representatives, he served as an impassioned advocate for elder rights, health care and for strengthening and protecting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other government sponsored programs on behalf of millions of Americans. He died in Washington D.C. on May 30, 1989 and was the 26th individual to have lain in state in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda.

Senator Pepper’s collection resides within the Claude Pepper Library at Florida State University and reflects the many of the challenges and changes that took place in American life throughout his distinguished career. You may see a complete finding aid of the collection here. Topical strengths within the Pepper Collection include aging, Civil Rights, crime and drug prevention, National Health Care, New Deal Legislation, Lend-Lease, McCarthyism, U.S. foreign and domestic policy, welfare and worker’s rights.

The Pepper Library is currently working on re-housing several portions of the Pepper Papers as well as digitizing and making available the Pepper Photograph Collection, portions of which are currently available in the Florida State University Digital Library.

Stay tuned for more posts on the life and papers of Senator Claude Pepper on this blog as we continue to bring more of this great collection to your fingertips. Happy Birthday Senator Pepper!

The Start of a New Season

The defending national champions Florida State University Seminoles host a sold out football home opener this weekend against the Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina.

In the 1950s and 1960s, FSU played the Bulldogs of the Citadel fairly often when both schools were part of the Southern Conference. The homecoming game of 1955 featured the Citadel and a rather useful program which laid out definitions of penalties and a referee hand signal guide.

Hand Signal Guide from the 1955 Homecoming Program [see full description]

Hand Signal Guide from the 1955 Homecoming Program [see full description]

The 1962 game versus Citadel, following the Citadel’s 1961 championship year, was also FSU’s home opener that year and was widely discussed before it was played. Here, FSU HB Terry Hollman is brought down by two Citadel defensemen during the game.

Florida State HB Terry Hollman is brought down by a partially obscured player for The Citadel, as Cadet center Mike Reardon (55) rushes to assist. [See full description]

Florida State HB Terry Hollman is brought down by a partially obscured player for The Citadel, as Cadet center Mike Reardon (55) rushes to assist. [See full description]

In the wake of that game, The Grandstand Coach, a weekly publication of the FSU Boosters, recapped the game in comical fashion.

Comic from the Grandstand Coach - The Citadel Edition [see full item]

Comic from the Grandstand Coach – The Citadel Edition [see full item]

Here’s wishing the team a great weekend! Go Noles!

Edwin Fancher: Change and Continuity in Greenwich Village

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) works to preserve the architectural heritage and cultural history of Greenwich Village, the East Village, and NoHo. In the mid-1990s GVSHP started an active series of oral history interviews —and, not surprisingly, in 2000 it sat down with Edwin Fancher, co-founder of the Village Voice, to document his role in the founding of the iconic publication. As GVSHP’s Senior Director of Operations I was excited to recently learn of a much earlier interview, when Fancher spoke to four student journalists about the state of the Village for the WNYC show Campus Press Conference on October 4, 1959. At that point the Voice was not even four years young, and the neighborhood was going through some sea changes.

The Campus Press Conference conversation includes diverse issues affecting Greenwich Village at the time, such as racketeering, the relationship between local Italian immigrants and bohemian newcomers, the community’s reaction to interracial and homosexual couples, expansion of New York University, gentrification, and Greenwich Village as an intellectual center. Fifty-five years later, some of the concerns in the neighborhood remain strikingly similar, while some have evolved, and yet others are a distant memory. Although the interview is dated in terms of its language and cultural understanding, particularly as it relates to race and sexuality, it also offers great insight into the time.

Two topics in the conversation stand out. The first is change in Greenwich Village: when one of the reporters asks Fancher if the area has been experiencing change and whether it is for the better or worse, Fancher wisely explains that Greenwich Village has historically been a neighborhood of great change. But even in 1955 this was nothing new.  When Fancher notes, for example, an increase in the development of luxury housing and the dwindling of the Italian community, I am reminded of a New York Times article from 1902 noting how 

Greenwich Village, that quaint old district of New York. . .  though its history is rich, has within recent years fallen low in the social scale. Italians are now in great part colonizing it —Italians of the laborer order. Even the architectural charm of this district, extending for some blocks below Fourteenth Street, and between Sixth Avenue and the North River, is rapidly going, tenements now replacing the curious old dwelling houses for a half century its feature.

When GVSHP talks to current residents concerned about new development or the loss of businesses, we often explain that Villagers have always worried about change. Indeed, although Greenwich Village is a neighborhood that continually experiences change, many of us today worry about the loss of tenement housing and its impact on the character of the neighborhood.

The second topic that stands out is the role of the Village as a cultural center. One reporter asks Fancher about the Village’s reputation as an intellectual center, and Fancher prophetically responds that in his opinion, the cultural scene of the Village of the 1940s and 50s will come to be known as “a golden era,” even comparing the bohemian character of the 1940s and 50s with that of the 1910s and 20s. It is natural for Fancher to more easily identify with Allen Ginsberg than say, Edna St. Vincent Millay: for example, Fancher’s oral history with GVSHP from 2000 notes how he and his Village Voice partner Dan Wolf “were part of what could probably be called a kind of a bohemian culture, focused around the San Remo and Louie’s Bar. We were friends with Jimmy [James] Baldwin and Kerouac and Ginsberg—a whole lot of literary people.” But in many ways, Fancher was right. Young people today often refer to the “iconic Greenwich Village” as that of the mid-century, forgetting those who paved the way two generations earlier.

While other issues mentioned in the interview (such as racketeering) are a distant memory for the Village, its citizens still worry very much about change and the state of the neighborhood as a place for artists. As a historic preservationist, I worry about insensitive changes to the neighborhood’s historic architecture. As a historian, I think deeply about how different groups have influenced the culture of the neighborhood. But like Fancher, I can see the very positive points in the neighborhood’s current incarnation: enjoying an afternoon spent in the Jefferson Market Garden or an evening at the Cherry Lane Theatre; listening to music at Smalls or having a coffee at Café Reggio; leafing through books at the Strand or shopping for toiletries at C.O. Bigelow. Perhaps someday, this time might be described as a “Golden Age” of the Village as well.

The Paul Yee fonds

The Paul Yee fonds is now available for research. The fonds consists of approximately eight metres of textual records, 4000 photographs and 50 posters that Yee created or accumulated in the course of his work as an activist, historian, curator, archivist, public servant, and writer of fiction for children and adults. The fonds also includes records of Yee’s personal life and family history.

Crew taping on Pender Street for the Saltwater City video.  Photographer:  Paul Yee. Reference code AM1523-S5-1-F019-: 2008-010.1423.

Crew taping on Pender Street for the Saltwater City video. Photographer: Paul Yee. Reference code AM1523-S5-1-F019-: 2008-010.1423.

Paul Yee was born in Spalding, Saskatchewan, in 1956. His father, Gordon Yee, emigrated from China to Canada in 1922. In 1951, four years after the Government of Canada repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act, Yee’s mother, Gum May Yee, immigrated to Canada to join Gordon Yee in Naicam, Saskatchewan, where he ran a café.

Both of Yee’s parents died within a few years of his birth. His mother’s brother Foon Wong and Foon’s wife Lillian adopted Yee and his elder brother Vernon. We hold photographs of the boys at the Wongs’ house at 350 East Pender Street, and elsewhere in Vancouver.

Yee attended Strathcona Elementary School and Britannia Secondary School, as well as the Mon Keang School , where he studied Cantonese. Report cards, photographs, and other records relating to Yee’s education at these institutions are in the fonds.

Mon Keang School at 123 East Pender, ca. 1960. Photographer William E. Graham. Reference code AM1135-: cva 1135-2.

Mon Keang School at 123 East Pender, ca. 1960. Photographer William E. Graham. Reference code AM1135-: cva 1135-2.

Yee’s work as a cultural and social activist began when one of his high school teachers encouraged him to join the organizing committee for a conference on identity and awareness for Chinese Canadian youth. Yee worked on two more such conferences while an undergraduate at UBC. His fonds includes programs, workshop handouts, promotional materials, reports, and Yee’s notes from these conferences.

In 1976, inspired by a suggestion made at one of these conferences, Yee and several other young Chinese Canadians established the Pender Guy Radio Collective, which produced a weekly program on Vancouver Co-operative Radio until 1981. As the Pender Guy radio scripts, photographs, oral history transcripts, and promotional material in Yee’s fonds demonstrate, the collective advocated for recognition of the unique experiences and histories of Chinese Canadians.

Signs outside an office at Strathcona Community Centre in which an on-air broadcast of Pender Guy was taking place, ca. 1978. Photographer:  Paul Yee. Reference code AM1523-S6-F12 -: 2008-010.0999.

Signs outside an office at Strathcona Community Centre in which an on-air broadcast of Pender Guy was taking place, ca. 1978. Photographer: Paul Yee. Reference code AM1523-S6-F12 -: 2008-010.0999.

Pender Guy volunteers interviewing people on Pender Street. Photographer:  Paul Yee. Reference code AM1523-S6-F68-: 2008-010.0428.

Pender Guy volunteers interviewing people on Pender Street. Photographer: Paul Yee. Reference code AM1523-S6-F68-: 2008-010.0428.

Vancouver-based activist band Kokuho Rose Prohibited performing during a marathon weekend at Vancouver Co-op Radio, May 1978. Photographer:  Paul Yee. Reference code AM1523-S6-F14-: 2008-010.1087.

Vancouver-based activist band Kokuho Rose Prohibited performing during a marathon weekend at Vancouver Co-op Radio, May 1978. Photographer: Paul Yee. Reference code AM1523-S6-F14-: 2008-010.1087.

Yee volunteered with several other Vancouver-based cultural organizations, including the Chinese Cultural Centre of Vancouver, and participated in Katari Taiko and the Asian Canadian Writers Workshop. As a member of the latter group, Yee co-edited and published essays, poetry, and short stories in the Inalienable Rice anthology (1979) and the Vancouver edition of Asianadian magazine (1980).

A band performing in a variety show at Strathcona Community Centre as part of the 1977 Mid-Summer Festival organized by the Chinese Cultural Centre of Vancouver. Photographer:  Paul Yee. Reference code AM1523-S6-F11-: 2008-010.0256.

A band performing in a variety show at Strathcona Community Centre as part of the 1977 Mid-Summer Festival organized by the Chinese Cultural Centre of Vancouver. Photographer: Paul Yee. Reference code AM1523-S6-F11-: 2008-010.0256.

Yee completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1978 and a Master of Arts degree in history in 1983, both from UBC. He worked for the City of Vancouver Archives beginning in 1979, first as a summer student and later as a full-time archivist, writing poetry and prose in his spare time.

In 1981, publisher James Lorimer & Company asked Yee to write a book of stories about children living in Vancouver Chinatown. These stories were published as the book Teach Me to Fly, Skyfighter and Other Stories. Drafts of Skyfighter and many of Yee’s subsequent publications are in his fonds;the most recent set of manuscripts in the fonds is for Shu-Li and Tamara, a picture book published in 2008. A future donation from Yee may include drafts of some of his more recent publications.

The first page of an early handwritten draft of Chapter 1 of The Curses of Third Uncle. This draft was likely written in 1984.

The first page of an early handwritten draft of Chapter 1 of The Curses of Third Uncle. This draft was likely written in 1984.

From 1985 to 1987, Yee served as chair of the committee that mounted a major exhibit at the Chinese Cultural Centre in celebration of Vancouver’s centennial. Titled Saltwater City, the exhibit was the first to assemble and display artifacts, photographs, oral histories, and written records of immigrant and native-born Chinese Canadians living in Vancouver in the 19th and 20th centuries. Photographs, correspondence, a guest book, reports, and other records in Yee’s fonds document the exhibit committee’s work and the enthusiastic response the exhibit received from the public.

The Saltwater City exhibit viewed from the second floor of the Chinese Cultural Centre in 1986. Photographer:  Paul Yee. Reference code AM1523-S6-F28-: 2008-010.1567.

The Saltwater City exhibit viewed from the second floor of the Chinese Cultural Centre in 1986. Photographer: Paul Yee. Reference code AM1523-S6-F28-: 2008-010.1567.

Yee’s book based on the exhibit was published in 1989, winning the Vancouver Book Award. His updated version of the book was published in 2006. Drafts and research materials for both editions of Saltwater City: An Illustrated History of the Chinese in Vancouver and related correspondence are in the Yee fonds.

Wing Hing Dry Goods owner Lin Bei-lian standing at the front entrance to his shop prior to the business’s final closure. In the 1970s and 1980s, Yee photographed many Chinatown buildings and businesses to document changes in the neighbourhood’s landscape. Photographer:  Paul Yee. Reference code AM1523-S6-F72-: 2008-010.0489.

Wing Hing Dry Goods owner Lin Bei-lian standing at the front entrance to his shop prior to the business’s final closure. In the 1970s and 1980s, Yee photographed many Chinatown buildings and businesses to document changes in the neighbourhood’s landscape. Photographer: Paul Yee. Reference code AM1523-S6-F72-: 2008-010.0489.

Yee moved to Toronto in 1988 to work as the multicultural coordinator for the Archives of Ontario. In 1992, he joined Ontario’s Ministry of Citizenship as a policy analyst, and in 1997 he left public service to write full-time.

While Yee’s records of his own life and work comprise the bulk of his fonds, he has also donated more than 1000 photographs left to him by his Aunt Lillian and Uncle Foon Wong. The Wongs’ photos include portraits of Lillian, Foon, and their family and friends in Vancouver from the early 1900s to the mid-1980s, when Lillian passed away, as well as photographs of members of the Wong Kong Har Tong, the Chinese Empire Reform Association, and other Chinese-Canadian community organizations active in the early and mid-20th century.

Lillian Ho Wong and her co-workers at a millinery shop, ca. 1919. One of Paul’s Aunt Lillian’s first places of employment was the Wonder Millinery Shop at 776 Granville Street in downtown Vancouver; this photograph may have been taken there. Reference code AM1523-S5-1-F013-: 2008-010.3056

Lillian Ho Wong and her co-workers at a millinery shop, ca. 1919. One of Paul’s Aunt Lillian’s first places of employment was the Wonder Millinery Shop at 776 Granville Street in downtown Vancouver; this photograph may have been taken there. Reference code AM1523-S5-1-F013-: 2008-010.3056

Yee’s efforts to document and preserve the history of Chinese Canadians in Vancouver and elsewhere in British Columbia extended to salvaging records from abandoned community association buildings. Yee has given us the records he collected from the Hoy Yin Association of Vancouver and the Duncan, B.C., branch of the Chinese Nationalist League, or Kuomintang (KMT). These materials include records of fundraising for Chinese Nationalist causes during the Second World War, association members’ personal correspondence and photographs, and records of the two associations’ respective operations. The majority of these records are written in traditional Chinese.

The Archives is grateful to Paul Yee for the donation of his records, and we invite researchers to use them.

We Gave Joan Rivers a Tape-Lift

At the risk of sounding ghoulish and terribly morbid…

Like any good news organization, when we heard Joan Rivers went into the ICU at Mt. Sinai, we tried to prepare for the worst. The Archives Department got into gear and started looking for all the material we had with the funny woman. Lo and behold a ten-inch reel of back-coated polyester tape from 1999 shows up in the catalog. And, perhaps Rivers would have appreciated it, the 15-year-old tape of her needed a face lift.

It was, like a lot of our tape collection, suffering from binder breakdown and/or hydrolysis, a.k.a sticky-shed syndrome. In short, the goo that holds the oxide particles to the tape itself becomes a bit undone, which makes playing the tape next to impossible without squeaking and squealing and gummy residue left on the tape machine heads. It leaves a mess and a muddy sound.

A quick remedy? Baking. The tape goes into a laboratory convection oven for four hours at 53 centigrade (130 Fahrenheit). Then, out on a shelf like a fresh apple pie to cool. More often than not, the tape plays back through the tape machine transport without a hitch allowing us to create a digital master from the original analog tape.

So, here she is on July 18, 1999, with Leonard Lopate in the old WNYC studios having a grand time making jokes and puns about getting old and dying.