Shining the Light on DPLA in Florida

SSDN

The Sunshine State Digital Network (SSDN) is the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) service hub for the state of Florida. The DPLA is an ever-growing national network of libraries, archives, museums, cultural heritage institutions; it is a free service, offering access to over 21 million items from around the globe. The service hub (SSDN) represents a community of institutions in the state which provides their partner institutions’ aggregated metadata for the DPLA and offer tiered services, such as collections hosting, metadata remediation, training, and digitization assistance to connect institutions of all sizes to the DPLA. Collecting (aggregating) and sharing the metadata records with DPLA allows for the digital objects to be presented to the public in a national context alongside objects from other organizations like the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the National Archives, Harvard University, HathiTrust, and many others and gives them greater exposure. This means that they are easier to find because they are all on one easily searchable platform and they will get more use than they would have otherwise. DPLA offers users many ways to make use of the resources they provide such as exhibitions and primary source sets designed for classroom use.

The SSDN operates on a multi-tiered hub system consisting of the main hub and regional sub-hubs. The main service hub is located at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL. The sub-hub is located in Miami, FL with responsibilities shared among the University of Miami (UM) and Florida International University (FIU). These three institutions contribute metadata for their digital collections content as well as on behalf of several new content partners. SSDN has added three new content partners since February 2018, they are Florida Memory, the City of Coral Gables, and Valclav Havel Library Foundation. Together, these six institutions have shared over 148,000 digital objects with DPLA since our first harvest in November 2017!

The network is currently working toward adding more partners, developing a sustainability model, establishing governance, and supporting Florida cultural heritage institutions to share their resources online. We are doing this with the help of many volunteers around the state serving on our working groups, which focus on metadata, outreach, and training. These groups are currently developing metadata guidelines and documentation, assessing and developing digitization, digital collections, and metadata training, and creating and fostering outreach and relationships with different cultural heritage institutions around the state. We are very excited about the growth of the network in such a short time and about the opportunities we have ahead of us.

Take a look at what Florida has contributed to DPLA and explore what else DPLA has to offer at dp.la.

Post contributed by Keila Zayas-Ruiz, SSDN Coordinator based at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Wikipedia project: month 1

For three months there will be a new addition to the University of Stirling Archives, a Wikipedian-In-Residence. The first month has flown in already, but articles on Wikipedia have already benefitted from a little dose of information from the archives. It has been an interesting project to undertake due to the range of collections that the archive holds. Although it is one of my goals to transfer some of the knowledge from the archive to Wikipedia, another goal will be to interest the public to come and view our collections themselves.

In the first month, my focus has been driven by how many people view certain collections on the archive website. The Leighton Library, Robert Haldane and John Grierson articles on Wikipedia have all had time dedicated to them, with the addition of a new Wikipedia article on the Stirling District Lunatic Asylum or Bellsdyke as it was later known.

There was also time to visit the Leighton Library and take some internal shots of the first purpose-built library in Scotland, if you want to see the inside for yourself you can pop in Monday-Saturday 11am-1pm.

Photograph of the interior of the Leighton Library

The next month‘s focus will be on the Peter Mackay collection, as well as the Royal Scottish National Hospital, Sam Back and Howietoun Fishery. A lovely range of collections to keep me occupied.

Lucy Rodger is completing a Masters in Environment, Heritage and Policy at the University of Stirling, her residency will run until the end of June 2018.

Percy Sutton: The Coming Population Explosion

50 years ago today, Planned Parenthood organized its first conference on family planning at the now-defunct Commodore Hotel in New York City, near Grand Central station. Titled “Family Planning in New York City: Change and Challenge,” it featured speakers culled from health and social-service leaders within Mayor Lindsay’s administration. These included Health Commissioner O’Rourke, as well as high-ranking officials from the Human Resources Administration and the Board of Education.

Family planning had a long history in the city: Margaret Sanger started her controversial first clinic in Brooklyn in 1916, a clinic which then, first as the American Birth Control League in 1921 and then in 1942 as Planned Parenthood Federation of America, became the core of the only national birth-control organization in the U.S. until the 1960s. It is no surprise, then, that the reports from city officials give a cumulative sense of a city fully committed to a progressive approach to family planning (and its always controversial sister issue, abortion): several programs are described, its successes are recounted, the challenges ahead are pointed out —all in the convivial, slightly stilted language of bureaucrats accustomed to public speaking.

Then comes Manhattan Borough President Percy E. Sutton. Less than two years at his post, but already loaded with plenty of experience in the legal, civil-rights, and political arenas, “the chairman” brings his legendary smooth diction to point out some uncomfortable challenges in the field. A keen persuader, Sutton would be the highest-ranking elected black official for more than a decade, and here you can hear why: here is a man utterly at ease in front of a crowd, and a man also unafraid to speak his mind.

Significantly, Sutton had also introduced an abortion bill in 1966, seven years before the Roe v. Wade decision. Although the bill was defeated, it has been hailed as groundbreaking for its time, and has been said to inspire New York’s progressive stance on the issue (at least until recently). More broadly, Sutton continued to show interest in family planning, and in his speech he outlines his reasons for having been supportive of the issue: at its most basic, he predicts that the population explosion will be as destructive as a nuclear explosion.

But it is the subtleties in his delivery that set Sutton apart in the proceedings. After a series of well-meaning reports from city officials, all of which tend to sound “top-down,” he suggests keeping one’s ear to the ground in the communities most likely to suffer from the ill effects of an unplanned population increase. To that end he quotes an off-the-cuff remark by civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer. Imitating Ms. Hamer’s Sunflower County, Mississippi cadence, he retells her disdainful comment:

Huh! White folks talkin’ about family planning…When they had that cotton to chop,when they had that corn to holdthey said, “Children, have fun—have a lot of children!”Now we talk about voting:they talk about family planning.

Sutton uses this remarkable quote to respectfully —but not without bristle— tell the audience about attitudes that may harm the progress of family-planning programs. (He also cannot resist to note that Fannie Lou Hamer is much more eloquent than Mississippi senator James Eastland, a known supporter of racial segregation) But somehow, by presenting possibly dissenting views, Sutton does not sound any less convinced: he merely seems to be warning the surrounding policymakers of possible setbacks, and above all asking them to be inclusive: to listen. It is an attitude that served him well in his long career in the public service.

Welcome to the Paris Press Archives!

Amherst College Archives and Special Collections is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Records of the Paris Press. The records arrived here in April 2018 and we’re looking forward to making them quickly available to the public.

The Paris Press was founded in 1995 with the mission of publishing “groundbreaking yet overlooked literature by women.” Paris Press authors include: Muriel Rukeyser, Virginia Woolf, Emily Dickinson, Bryher, Ruth Stone, Zdena Berger, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. In 2018, the Press was acquired by Wesleyan University and all Paris Press books will be available through the Wesleyan University Press.

The Records of the Paris Press includes some fifty to one hundred linear feet of paper records in addition to several terabytes of born digital material. This is the perfect opportunity for the Archives to practice the principles of extensible processing – an iterative process that creates baseline access points for archival material but allows for more detailed work as user demand dictates. The Paris Press records were well-organized when they were active, and the records creators kept everything categorized by publishing job and at the box level. We’ll be maintaining that organization as we prepare a box-level inventory for the public. We soon will have publicly available descriptions of the collection on our collections portal and in the library catalog. Check back soon!

Below are a number of shots of the newly-arrived Paris Press records as they made their way onto shelves at our off-site storage facility, the Bunker.




U.S. Coast Guard Logbook Scan-a-Thon

The featured scanning project from the National Archives Innovation Hub focuses on logbooks of the U.S. Coast Guard vessels that served in the Vietnam War. These vessels participated in Operation Market Time, an effort to patrol the South Vietnamese coast to keep supplies from reaching North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong forces.

The logbooks contain the highlights of each ship’s voyage, written up every four hours by the deck officer on watch. Information recorded may include incidents of shots fired, transportation of detainees, and contact with friendly or unfriendly vessels. Many veterans of the Vietnam War use these logbooks today to help establish their eligibility for veterans’ benefits.

Logbook cover for the USCG Point Glover

Logbook cover for the USCG Point Glover, December 1966. National Archives Identifier 75675099

To support this digitization project, the Innovation Hub recently held a scan-a-thon, inviting staff and the public to help veterans access the history of the ships they served on by scanning logbook pages. Thanks to our citizen scanners, we exceeded our goal of 2,000 pages and scanned a total of 2,314 pages in one day!

Once each month’s logbook is scanned, it is uploaded into our online Catalog and made easily available to everyone. View the completed logbooks in our Catalog.

Among the 20 attendees at the scan-a-thon were five Coast Guard veterans who scanned the logbooks of the ships they had served on in Vietnam. After the event, veteran Tom Livingston emailed to say:

“I had a great time in the Innovation Hub and I appreciate all of the hospitality shown to me by you and your staff. It was a thrill for me to touch some of the documents I wrote 50 years ago in Vietnam. I enjoyed it so much that I will plan another trip to DC this summer.”

Tom Livingston, former commander of the Point Slocum, points to his signature on a logbook page

Tom Livingston, former commander of the Point Slocum, points to his signature on a logbook page

Also attending were Scott Price, Chief Historian of the Coast Guard, and Emily Brockway from the Coast Guard’s Office of External Outreach and Heritage. The Innovation Hub hopes to work with these Coast Guard offices in the future as we continue the project.

Archives specialist Adebo Adetona gave a talk about the logbooks, how they were created, and how they are used today. The talk was streamed on Facebook Live. One attendee emailed later to say:

“I am glad that someone videotaped the lecture portion because the impact became more clear to me about the usage of the scans. Previously, I thought it was about Veteran pension benefits; now, I know that the scans support veterans made ill by Agent Orange exposure receive medical benefits rightfully due to them.”

Adebo Adetona delivers his talk

Adebo Adetona delivers his talk

Many thanks to all of our citizen scanners and scan-a-thon participants for helping to make these important records more accessible to our veterans. We estimate that there are over 100,000 total pages that need to be scanned for this project, so there is more work to be done. If you are interested in helping scan, visit us in the Hub! You can learn more about this project and how to volunteer at the National Archives Innovation Hub.

More Legacy Open Data Sets Now Available

We’re delighted to announce that even more legacy versions of the City’s open data sets are now available for download through our online database.

Back in November 2017 we released the first batch of sets, spanning October 2014 to April 2016. For basic information on how to access and download the data sets, please take a look at our post from November 2017.

The most recently added sets include the earliest versions we have, grabbed in November 2010.

Description of Bikeways data from November 2010 snapshot

With so many sets now available, it’s helpful to know how to isolate the data from a particular snapshot date. On the Open Data Catalogue series description page, scroll down to the Scope and content field for the list of snapshot dates.

Scope and content of Open Data Catalogue series with dates datasets were grabbed

Data packages (grouped by subject just like on the live Open Data Catalogue) all have “Open data catalogue” and the date (just month and year) of the snapshot in the title, so the easiest way to narrow your search results to a specific snapshot is to use the Advanced search.

Search “open data catalogue” (in quotation marks) in Title AND the snapshot date you’re looking for (also in quotation marks) in Title. Here is an example showing a search for January 2013:

Using Advanced search to isolate data sets from the January 2013 snapshot

We continue to snapshot the Open Data Catalogue quarterly, and data sets grabbed in 2017 and 2018 are currently being processed and making their way to our database. As always, we would love to see what the community produces with the data, so please feel free to get in touch with us!

Playbills in the Spotlight

It’s time for a student spotlight to hear what some of our students are working on behind the scenes at Special Collections & Archives.

My name is Meg Barrett, and come Fall semester, I will be a senior (!), studying Art History. I’ve been working with Special Collections & Archives since the summer of 2016, and I’ve been able to work with some really interesting materials, such as photo records of the university’s College of Nursing to eighteenth-century French newspapers.

Most recently, however, I had the opportunity to create the container list for the School of Theatre’s playbill collection, located in the Degen Resource Room of the Fine Arts Building. This list was added to the collection’s finding aid which means you can now search the collection’s thousands of titles.

The collection has over 200 binders filled with thousands of playbills for plays and musicals, dating back to the 1870s. The collection consists of playbills of shows across the country, such as in New York or Chicago, and even university productions. As an avid theatre fan, who takes every opportunity to see a campus theatre production and enjoys a good musical theatre soundtrack, being able to work on this project was a great experience. The collection includes playbills from shows such as The Boy Friend from 1954, which was Julie Andrews’ Broadway debut, the 1996 production of This is Our Youth, starring Mark Ruffalo, or even the 2000 performance of The Crucible at the Florida State University Fallon Theatre. I am so grateful that I was given the chance to work on this project and look through all of these fascinating materials.

Editor’s Note: Meg has been a fantastic addition to Special Collections & Archives and we’re going to miss her this summer as she goes on a European adventure but will look forward to having her back in the fall!

Archivist, temporary contract (8 weeks)

Information Services
Library and Archives Research Support

Archivist
Grade 6, Point 24
Temporary Appointment for 8 weeks
4 June – 27 July 2018

An opportunity has arisen at the University Of Stirling Archives for a recently qualified archivist to work on a short-term project preparing a number of personal paper collections for a larger project which will catalogue our Commonwealth Games related collections.

The collections relate to three individuals with a long association with Commonwealth sport:

• Sir Peter Heatly (1924-2015), winner of gold medals for diving at three consecutive Commonwealth Games in the 1950s, Vice Chair of the 1970 Edinburgh Games and Chair of the Commonwealth Games Federation from 1982-1990
• Willie Carmichael (1905-1988), Manager of the Scottish Team in 1938, Chair of Commonwealth Games Scotland from 1950-55, and Director of the 1970 Edinburgh Games
• Douglas Brown (1940-2016), Honorary Secretary of Commonwealth Games Scotland from 1999-2011 and a major figure in Scottish Swimming.

The University of Stirling Archives holds an extensive collection of material relating to the Commonwealth Games including the administrative records of Commonwealth Games Scotland. The University Archives has created a system of arrangement for our Commonwealth Games related collections which is to be applied to the above personal collections in advance of future cataloguing of the material.

The main duties of this short-term contract include:

• Preliminary sorting and arrangement of the above personal paper collections
• Further sorting of Commonwealth Games-related material in these collections into sub-series of records
• Checking and correcting draft Excel lists for Sir Peter Heatly and Willie Carmichael collections
• Updating the box list for the Douglas Brown collection, providing further information on its contents

Job specification:

Essential:

• Postgraduate qualification in archival studies or equivalent
• Previous practical experience working in an archive service (including volunteering)

Desirable:

• Knowledge of / interest in the history of sport
• Knowledge of international archive cataloguing standards
• Experience of using CALM for Archives cataloguing system
• Registered member of the Archives and Records Association

Applications:

Please send an up-to-date CV with a covering letter explaining your interest in the post to Karl Magee, University Archivist at karl.magee@stir.ac.uk

Please use the subject heading CG Archive application in your email.

Closing date for applications is Monday 14 May 2018.

Interviews will be held on the afternoon of Thursday 17 May 2018.

Delighting Audiences, One Hashtag Party at a Time

Since launching the #ArchivesHashtagParty in August 2017, the National Archives has brought together over 600 archives, libraries, and museums around the world and reached millions of people on Twitter and Instagram. More than 48,000 tweets have used our campaign hashtags and the initiative has generated thousands of visits to the online National Archives Catalog.

Archives Hashtag Party

Each monthly hashtag theme is chosen to spur discovery of our holdings, interest in our mission, and hopefully to spark delight in discovering archival materials. Although many of these topics– #ArchivesSquadGoals, #ArchivesGameNight, or #ArchivesDanceParty–may seem lighthearted, they make history accessible on a personal level.

After we hosted #ArchivesCute in September, Vox wrote that the theme “provides a glimpse into what a vintage Instagram would have looked like…When we think of historical archives and photos from the past, most of us tend to envision stuffy documentary footage, stone-faced ancestors posing for family photos, or famous moments in history captured by journalists on the scene. We certainly don’t think of history as aligning with the way we view the world around us today.”

Initially, we had planned a six-month run, but we received such positive feedback from audiences and cultural organizations alike that we decided to open up the #ArchivesHashtagParty as regular monthly digital gathering. It’s especially gratifying to see that with each installment in the series, we further our goal to be a convening force for cultural organizations that raises the visibility and impact of archives around the world.

One of the primary goals of the National Archives Social Media Strategy is to “cultivate a community of practice,” and this has been one of the guiding principles behind the #ArchivesHashtagParty. We designed the parties to be inclusive and easy for archives of all types to jump in and feature their own collections. After we saw the power of these digital gatherings to mobilize our community, we realized we had an opportunity to highlight the role of archives by inviting guest organizations to co-host themes.

In February 2018, our first guest co-host was the National Museum of African American History and Culture, who hosted #ArchivesBlackHistory. Today, Friday, May 4, our co-host is the National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute. We’ll share photos and stories about animal care and conservation with the theme #ArchivesAnimals. Through these kinds of takeovers we are able to broaden our range of subjects, enliven the series with fresh takes on engaging the public with collections, and reach new audiences.

NOLA Jazz Museum image of musician playing the accordion

The National Archives #ArchivesHashtagParty has ignited a social media phenomenon that is greater than the sum of its parts. Alone, each archive is a single voice in the crowded social media space; together we are attracting viral attention that acts as a multiplier of all of our individual audiences.

I am proud of the National Archives staff who have contributed to this campaign and have collaborated in a meaningful way, taking NARA’s social media efforts to a new, worldwide audience. They have also strengthened the global community of archives, bringing visibility to our collective holdings and the value of the work we do.

Learn more at: archives.gov/hashtagparty

Thief Sentenced for Stealing Artifacts from the National Archives

By stealing World War II records from the National Archives and Records Administration and selling them to collectors, a thief victimized the American people and damaged the agency entrusted with safeguarding our nation’s records. Antonin DeHays recently received 364 days in prison and three years on probation, eight months of which are to be served in home confinement, along with 100 hours of community service, for the theft of records from the National Archives.

DeHays, a private researcher, stole and sold identification tags and related items from files of American servicemen whose planes were downed in Europe during World War II, as well as other original records from the National Archives at College Park.

Images of stolen dog tags

A few of the items stolen by Antonin DeHays from the National Archives at College Park

Judge Theodore D. Chuang sentenced DeHays at the U.S. District Court in Greenbelt, Maryland, also ordering him to pay $43,456.96 restitution to those who unknowingly purchased the stolen goods. Chuang said DeHays committed “an egregious, morally repugnant crime” of “auctioning of our history to the highest bidder.”

As Archivist of the United States, I attended the sentencing and delivered a Victim Impact Statement, describing the tremendous damage that DeHays caused the National Archives, and asked for a maximum prison term as a consequence of the crime’s impact and in order to send a message to others about the serious nature of this offense.

I am pleased that Judge Chuang gave DeHays a stiff punishment for his crimes. His sentence sends a strong message to others who may contemplate stealing our nation’s history. The theft of records from the National Archives amounts to stealing from the American people, and it merits a severe penalty whenever it occurs. During his remarks, Judge Chuang stated:

Mr. DeHays, you have committed a very serious offense.  Your actions were an affront not only to every American who has ever served in uniform under the flag that stands behind me, but to every American child … who has ever pledged allegiance to that flag in their classroom, because it is for them that the National Archives are preserved, so that they can be inspired by our high points and learn from our low points, so as to make this nation and this world a better place in the future.  We must ensure that no one will commit the same kind of crime again.”

I remain shocked and angered that a historian would show such disregard for records and artifacts. As a veteran, I am disgusted that anyone would steal records and artifacts documenting those captured or killed in the service of their nation.

When a theft does occur, we rely on the Office of the Inspector General and the Justice Department to build a case and bring the perpetrator to justice. I want to thank them and recognize them for their hard work and collaboration identifying the loss and working to ensure the return of stolen items. We can always learn from a theft such as this, including any weaknesses and vulnerabilities in our processes. The security of the holdings of the National Archives is my highest priority and I pledge to continuously improve our policies and procedures to ensure our holdings are safe, while maintaining the balance of providing access to the records of the American people.

You can read my Victim Impact Statement and the remarks by Judge Chuang.

University’s James Hogg Collection in STV programme

The University Library’s James Hogg collection recently featured in an episode of ‘The People’s History Show’ on STV. The piece was filmed in the University Archive and features Duncan Hotchkiss, Literature and Languages, talking about James Hogg. The show was broadcast on 30th April at 8pm and for the next month or so you can watch it on the STV Player (registration required): https://player.stv.tv/episode/3n6b/peoples-history/

 

Helen Beardsley

Academic Liaison Librarian

 

Freezing Film for Preservation Week

In honor of Preservation Week, I thought it was high time to do a post on our film preservation program.






Cellphone pictures of a few nitrate negatives from
the Lincoln Wade Barnes Photographic Negatives Collection

First off, what is film and why was it so ubiquitous for so long? The first 70 years of photography were dominated by images created on metal and glass (daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, glass plate negatives). These technologies had some significant limitations – they were bulky, fragile and difficult to use. The advent of the first plastic film base in the 1880s was revolutionary. Nitrocellulose film, or nitrate film, was light, flexible, portable and could be produced on an industrial scale. Film allowed for an explosion in amateur photography and the invention of motion pictures. Nitrate film had the major disadvantage of being highly flammable and degrading in a relatively short time frame. Cellulose acetate film base (popularly known as “safety film” in the early years because it was not flammable) was under development beginning in the 1910s and was fully adopted by the early 1950s. Acetate film has only been superseded by digital photography in the past couple decades.

Why do we need to preserve film?

It is easy to understand the need to preserve nitrate film – no one wants a fire hazard in their collection and many nitrate negatives show clear signs of decay. Ultimately, very decayed nitrate negatives will turn either to dust or goo, completely destroying the image. Acetate film also decays, causing the film base to shrink, warp and become brittle with time. For photographic film, this can cause bubbling and channeling between the image or emulsion layer and the film base.


For motion picture film, the shrinkage of the film base can make it so that the sprocket holes in the film no longer match the holes in the projection equipment, causing the film to tear or break when projection is attempted. Advanced decay can cause curling, spoking (see below), warping and breakage.


In addition, color dyes used in photograph and motion picture film are very sensitive fading with time and detrimental environmental conditions. While it is often possible to recover the images from damaged acetate film, it is a very expensive and time consuming process that involves separating the emulsion layer from the film base and carefully adhering it to a new polyester film base. Unfortunately faded dyes can not be recovered.

What is Amherst doing to preserve our film?

IMG_20180419_105931227

Cold storage is hands down the best way to slow the chemical reactions that cause decay in nitrate and acetate film and color dyes. Storage below 30 degrees Fahrenheit extends the life of film by hundreds of years. (This calculator from the Image Permanence Institute allows you to explore the life span of acetate film under various environmental conditions.) With the generous support of the college, we’ve been able to install two freezers for storing our film materials. Our nitrate films are now all housed in a special flammable materials freezer and we are steadily moving our acetate film materials into a new walk-in freezer that will ultimately house all of our acetate film collections – negatives, slides and motion picture film.

Because neither of our freezers have humidity control, we bag each box of film that goes in the freezer in moisture proof packaging using the protocols designed by the National Park Service. The materials in each box are packed carefully to reduce motion (film is very brittle when frozen), and each box is packed in two layers of vapor barrier bags. Inside each bag is a humidity monitoring card that we use to make sure that seals on the bags have not failed during storage.


Olivia Gieger ’21 packaging film from the Amherst College Football Film collection

If researchers need to work with any of the frozen materials, we can remove them from the freezer and after a 24 hour equilibration period, they can be freely used.

Cold storage allows us to stabilize the condition of our film based materials so that they can be used for centuries to come. It also allows us to focus our digitization and preservation reformatting efforts on materials that have a more urgent need for attention, such as audio-visual materials on magnetic tape (look for a post on legacy AV media digitization in the coming months!)

Resources:

https://www.filmcare.org/
This page created by the Image Permanence Institute has a lot of great information about identifying types of film and levels of deterioration and tools for cold storage planning.

https://www.filmpreservation.org/
The National Film Preservation Foundation is a key organization in the United States providing funding and information on motion picture film preservation. The Film Preservation Guide available as a free pdf on their website is a great introductory text for cultural heritage institutions.

https://www.nfsa.gov.au/preservation/guide
This technical preservation guide from the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia includes a section on preservation at home for film, audio, video and still photographs.

https://www.nps.gov/museum/coldstorage/html/index.html
This guide by the National Parks Service demonstrates the step by step procedures for implementing cold storage.

Pirates of the Caribbean

It isn’t every day we digitize a 17th-century book about pirates. A few months ago, a colleague at the University of South Florida (USF) Libraries asked if we would be able to digitize our copy of Bucaniers of America, or, a true account of the most remarkable assaults committed of late years upon the coasts of the West Indies: by the bucaniers, of Jamaica and Tortuga, both English and French : wherein are contained more especially, the unparallel’d exploits of Sir Henry Morgan, our English Jamaican hero, who sacked Puerto Rico, burnt Panama, &c. (we just don’t title books like that anymore do we?). We were happy to oblige and also excited about why USF wanted a digital copy.

Page from Bucaniers of America
Page from Bucaniers of America

They were working with The Tampa Bay History Center on a new exhibit, Treasure Seekers: Conquistadors, Pirates & Shipwrecks and while USF was providing their copy of the book for the physical exhibit, they also wanted to be able to provide access to a digital copy as well. Due to the age and binding of the volume, it was a tricky digitization project but we persevered in the end! You too can now take a look at this fascinating volume chronicling the exploits of the buccaneers that ruled the waters of the Caribbean in the 1600s which includes the very famous Captain Morgan.

The WQXR Listener Advisory Committee

“WQXR is a different kind of radio station,” said WQXR Executive Vice President and General Manager Elliott Sanger. Indeed, operating and programming a successful commercial radio station between 1936 and 1946 without catering to the lowest common denominator was fairly unusual. He went on to explain that it could not have been possible without the support and enthusiasm of its listeners whom the station could call for advice. This is why the WQXR Listener Advisory Committee was created. Sanger detailed how it came about.

“We wanted a cross-section of the people who listen to WQXR,” said Sanger. A detailed questionnaire went out to 11,000 people selected at random from the then 26,000 subscribers to the station program guide. Nearly 8,500 people answered the 82 questions, a phenomenal rate of return. Additionally, 85% of the respondents added comments and suggestions WQXR staffers compiled into 900 pages of feedback on the station. This group was invited to join an advisory committee. 2,496 agreed and they were balanced with a randomly selected group of non-subscribers making a 4,500 person committee. The committee had no meetings but continued to respond to station queries that were seriously considered and acted upon.

For this gathering, Sanger wanted to thank committee members with a series of free concerts at Hunter College. This talk was given as an introduction to that series.

WQXR transcription disc label for Elliott Sanger’s talk about the WQXR listeners advisory group.
(Courtesy of the University of Georgia Peabody Archive Collections)

 

Poetic Activism and Ruby Dee

Glowchild, and other Poems, published in 1972, is an anthology of works by black poets on the subjects of “nature, passion, politics, hope, peace, freedom, and other topics, gathered primarily with the inner-city youth in mind” (Catalog Description). The included poems were selected by Ruby Dee, poet, playwright, actress, journalist, and lifelong activist.

20180423_094522
Glowchild, and other Poems

Nature and Poetry

To choose a poem to highlight in this collection is difficult, as they are all worth reading, but following this Year of Poetry month’s theme, Nature and Poetry, we’ll focus on two poems that consider an aspect of nature and use that image to reflect on some of the complexities of human experience. Both poets were high school students. 

I LOVE…

I love, the birds that sing to me in the 
Birth of morning. 
I love, the cold clear water on my skin to wake
My rested face.
I love, walking briskly through the clean 
Crisp noon air. 
I love, to see people being
People together. 
I love, to see love being loved
Don't you?
--- LaVerne Davis, New Rochelle H.S.

“ESCAPE”

Have you ever watched a fly trying to get out a window?
It yearns for the sunshine on its back, and lost freedom. 
It goes back and forth trying to get out. 
Maybe it's trying to tell US something. 
Should WE also try to get out, 
Get back to the outdoors, 
Escape from the prison called civilization?
To where a man is free and doesn't die from 9-5. 
Where he's not boxed in by responsibility. 
Yes, maybe WE also should be looking for the space in the window to Escape.
--- Robert Kaufmann, Albert Leonard Jr. H.S.

In Dee’s introduction to the collection, she stresses the importance of these poems:

20180423_094539
From Dee’s Introduction

American Negro Theater

The anthology is a poetic continuation of Dee’s activist work, and its target audience of “inner-city youth” is near and dear to Dee’s own experience growing up in Harlem in the 30s and 40s. She began her acting career with the American Negro Theater (ANT), a group founded in 1940 when Abram Hill and Frederick O’Neal approached librarians of the Harlem Branch of the New York Public Library system; the librarians offered the group the use of their basement stage and a game-changing theater troupe arose. Eventually, along with Ruby Dee, actors Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte came out of the American Negro Theater. ANT worked to write and produce theater that was thoughtful and radical.

The goals of the American Negro Theater were:

  1. To develop a permanent acting company trained in the arts and crafts of the theatre that also reflected the special gifts, talents, and attributes of African Americans.
  2. To produce plays that honestly and with integrity interpreted, illuminated, and criticized contemporary black life and the concerns of black people.
  3. To maintain an affiliation with, and provide leadership for, other black theatre groups throughout the nation.
  4. To utilize its resources to develop racial pride in the theatre, rather than racial apathy.

(from Wikipedia)

 

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1962 Photo of Dee by Carl Van Vechten, Van Vechten Collection at Library of Congress

Ruby Dee

Ruby Dee is likely best known for her role in the stage and film productions of A Raisin in the Sun, which made its Broadway debut in 1959. Dee played Ruth Younger, the wife and mother of the impoverished Younger family. She became quite famous and popular, but never shied away from participation in political activism, leading her to be blacklisted and harshly criticized at several points in her career.

It is difficult to capture the breadth of Dee’s accomplishments in this space. To learn more about her amazing life and career, you can read a memorial piece, written just after her death, here.

Here is a video of Ruby Dee appearing on the Dick Cavett show in 1970, around the time that she began collecting poems for production in Glowchild, and other Poems.

 Glowchild, and other Poems is a beautiful anthology, filled with poems by young black people writing about their experiences with the harsh realities of life. It’s disappointing to discover that the book was banned in libraries across the states. Dee carefully curated the anthology to incorporate poems that would be useful to young people who identified with the experiences of the writers; to take away access to that experience — and most of these bans took place in public school libraries — is a crime.


Sources:

Rux, Carl Hancock. “Ruby Dee: 1922-2014.” American Theatre, no. 7, 2014, p. 20.

Smith, Jessie Carney and Lean’tin L. Bracks. Black Women of the Harlem Renaissance Era. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2014.

 

On the hunt for 2116 Maple Street: A house history expedition – Part 3: City Directories

The final part of hunting for information about 2116 Maple Street, after looking at fire insurance maps, water records, building permit registers, and photographs, involves looking up the names of the residents in the city directories.

The Archives’ city directories available in the Reading Room. Photo by Bronwyn Smyth

The city directories are one of our most well-used resources, as many researchers look for the history of a building’s occupants, or where a relative lived over time. It is time consuming to go through the publications year-by-year and trace the occupants of a house, but, I would argue it is time well spent. Often an underlying narrative emerges about the residents, about the house, and about the neighbourhood.

The mechanics of using the directories are fairly straightforward. They are divided into two major parts – addresses and names – also with a third section for advertising or business listings. However, before we get into the how-to, I want to step back and look at the history of the directories, what other information they contain, and why I even started thinking about these things in the first place.

Until recently I approached the directories more as the place to go to find occupants of a building, but as I spend more time using them, I have been realizing that they contain a wealth of information in addition to people’s names and addresses.

As George Young wrote in his 1988 The Researcher’s Guide to British Columbia Nineteenth Century Directories, “Directories constitute one of the most detailed, diverse, and occasionally, even delightful insights into our past.”[1] And so I started looking at every directory from 1888 to 1996 to see what I could learn about them – publication times, how the information was collected, who published them, and what other information they contained.

Many of the early directories I could surmise the month they were published through the dates written at the bottom of a preface or in the introductory material. Some directories were published in January, while others were published in April, May, or June. By the 1940s prefaces with dates were no longer written, but dates could be found under the governmental information, with a phrasing like, “Latest information available October 27th, 1945” in a 1945 BC and Yukon directory, or, “elected June 12, 1952,” in a 1952 Vancouver and New Westminster directory  giving some frame of reference. By the 1960s those phrases disappeared, however, and with it an indication of the time of year a directory was published. It is important to remember, though, that the information in the directories was typically collected in the year leading up to the publication date.

Roy Wrigley Ltd. Printers & Publishers, located at 300 West Pender Street, 1935, two years after Sun Directories Limited took over the city directory publishing scene in Vancouver. Detail from AM1535-: CVA 99-2873

The publishers of the directories changed throughout the years. The first Vancouver city directory was “Compiled for R.T. Williams by Thomas Draper”, and published by R.T. Williams in Victoria. Henderson’s City Directories started appearing soon after. The preface and introductory material of these two different directories were keen to point out the advantages of using their particular directory over the competitor’s, in phrases such as, “Every effort has been made to secure the christian [sic] names in full, which we believe will be of advantage,” in Henderson’s 1890 directory, and “There are one hundred pages more than were in the 1889 Directory; while the price remains the same,” in Williams’ 1891 directory, or, in the case of Henderson’s 1919 directory, “The Miscellaneous Section in the front part of the volume, containing up-to-date statistics and information, much of which is not to be found elsewhere in print”. Wrigley Directories, Limited, began publishing its directories in 1918, and eventually amalgamated in 1924 with Henderson, while Williams’ directories for Vancouver disappeared. For the next ten years, Wrigley’s dominated the directory publishing scene in Vancouver. Sun Directories Limited bought Wrigley’s and started publishing their version of the directory in 1934 [2]. By 1950, the city directories were being published by B.C. Directories, Limited, which eventually became a division of R.L. Polk & Co. Ltd. Publishers in 1972. The directories were only published as long as they were profitable. As other information sources became available, the directories ceased publications in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The cover of Wrigley’s British Columbia Directory 1920. Photo by Bronwyn Smyth

Spending time going through the directories for dates made me aware of the wealth of supplementary material crammed into the front matter. The Williams’ 1892 directory has a summary of the number of days snow fell in Vancouver, and number of “fine days”. Williams’ 1893 directory has a list of general wages for labourers and the hours they work, customs statistics (amount of imported and exported goods), and postal rates. The 1909 Henderson’s directory  added a Chinese business firms directory, as well as a breakdown of the demographics of Vancouver’s population into general ethnicities. A 1911 Henderson’s  has listings of lighthouses, light keepers and their mailing addresses, along with school statistics. When Wrigley’s took up the publishing city directories, it furnished the fronts of its directories with descriptive sections with accompanying photographs titled “Sport in the Canadian Pacific Rockies”, and “Motoring in British Columbia”.

Some of the earlier directories had quite a lot of supplementary material, such as “Motoring in British Columbia” as seen in Wrigley’s British Columbia Directory 1920. Photo by Bronwyn Smyth

Now that I have taken a detour, let me get back to explaining how to use the directories by returning to my house history hunt for 2116 Maple Street. From the water service records and building permits, I know that the house was built in 1912. However, it does not show up in the city directories until 1913. Often, it is the case that a house or building will not start appearing in the directories until a year or two after it was built.

Since I am looking up an address, I begin with the address section of the directories. In the 1913 directory, the occupant is listed as Lewis H Vernon. After I have the name, I then turn to the name section of the directory.

Looking for the occupant of 2116 Maple Street in the address section of the 1913 directory.

From looking up Mr. Vernon’s name, I see that he works at Vernon Brothers Ltd., which, very nicely has a listing at the top of this page, detailing that Vernon Brother Ltd. was in the business of contracting, building, real estate, loans and insurance. It also lists the office’s address. When looking up the name, I will know I have the correct one because the house address is listed next to the name. I find this a good way to double check my research work.

Looking up the name found in the address section of the 1913 directory.

I will then repeat this process for the proceeding directories – start by looking up the address, noting the person or persons listed, then look up the person or persons to give me information as to what their occupation was. It is important to remember that the listing of occupants is not exhaustive. In the early directories, women (unless single or widowed) were not typically listed. This changed by 1934 under the new publisher Sun Directories Limited when married women were listed in parentheses after their husbands’ names. The directories also only capture adult occupants. Furthermore, people from ethnic minorities were sometimes listed simply by what nationality they were, or that the canvasser assumed they were, rather then named.

When I look through the directories I keep in mind that there  may be inconsistencies or errors. The information was collected by door-to-door canvassers, and later in the 1990’s telephone canvassers. The information was given voluntarily and misspellings could occur. For example, from the 1916 directory, the occupant’s middle initial appears differently in the address section and name section.

Herbert A Stein is listed as the house occupant.

Herbert E Stein instead of Herbert A Stein is listed in the name section of the same directory.

Abbreviations are found throughout the directories including for names, businesses and occupations. A page is typically included at the beginning of the directory that helps decipher them.

Over the years a civil engineer, a phonebox operator, a university student, and a fisherman lived at 2116 Maple Street.

A telephone operator, 1940s. Reference code: AM1545-S3-: CVA 586-853

The more I do house history hunts, the more I become addicted to it. I learn more about how this city developed, who the inhabitants were, and gain a better appreciation for why certain features exists. For instance, why a road curves a certain way, or why a building, though now residential, looks like it once was a corner store. House history research is both a good way to be introduced to the Archives and the types of records in our holdings, and can spark one’s curiosity about the past.

[1] Young, G. The researcher’s guide to British Columbia nineteenth century directories. University of Victoria, 1988.

[2] City of Vancouver Archives, Wrigley Printing Co., AM54-S23-2–, Loc. 505-E-04, File 253, Conversation with Roy Wrigley written by J.S. Matthews, 24 April 1947.

Editor’s note: A number of institutions in the Lower Mainland hold partial to full sets of City Directories, either in hard copy or on microfilm. The digital versions linked to in this post are part of the Vancouver Public Library’s BC Directories collection dating from 1860-1955.

Aussie Hosts and Tartan Champions at the Gold Coast Games

The University Of Stirling Archives was invited by Commonwealth Games Scotland to present a special Australian-themed version of our Hosts and Champions exhibition at Scotland House, Team Scotland’s HQ during the Gold Coast Games. Aussie Hosts and Tartan Champions featured a selection of material relating to Scotland’s participation in the four previous Games held in Australia (Sydney 1938, Perth 1962, Brisbane 1982 and Melbourne 2006).

The exhibition included a range of memorabilia related to Scotland’s participation in previous Australian Games.

Located in the vibrant centre of Surfers Paradise Scotland House provided a central hub for athletes and their families, supporters, sporting officials and the media. The team branding and promotional images of the athletes marked it out as a home-from-home for Scottish visitors to the Gold Coast (with Irn-Bru and Tunnock’s tea cakes being provided during the live coverage of the opening ceremony of the Games!)

During the first week of the Games the exhibition provided the backdrop to a number of events which celebrated the heritage and history of Team Scotland’s experiences competing down under. On 4 April Jon Doig, CEO of Commonwealth Games Scotland, hosted a discussion with a panel of past athletes who had competed at the previous Games held in Australia. Tales of travel and competition were shared from Perth in 1962 through to Melbourne in 2006 and the event also provided our exhibition team with the opportunity to speak about value and importance of the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive.

The panel who participated in the CGS Heritage event on 4 April (left to right): Richard Haynes (CMC, University of Stirling), Karl Magee (University of Stirling Archives), Louise Martin CBE (President of the Commonwealth Games Federation) , Michael Cavanagh OBE (former Chair of Commonwealth Games Scotland), Jon Doig OBE (CEO Commonwealth Games Scotland), Colin Gregor (former Scotland Rugby 7s captain)

Other events included a visit from the Queensland Branch of the Australian Society of Archivists, which generated some stimulating discussion relating to the use and promotion of sporting heritage, and an evening reception for Stirling Alumni welcoming former students and staff of the university resident in Gold Coast to the exhibition to find out more about the work of the University Archives.

Our exhibition team welcomed a group of Queensland archivists to Scotland House on 3 April.

The display of our Aussie Hosts and Tartan Champions exhibition in Scotland House during the first week on the Games provided a great opportunity for our archives team to promote the value of Scotland’s sporting heritage to visitors. Gold Coast 2018 ended on 15 April with Team Scotland collecting a record-breaking haul of medals at an overseas Games. Next stop Birmingham in 2022!

The exhibition provided current athletes with an opportunity to learn about the history and heritage of the Games (pictured Viorel Etko, Wrestling)

Artists’ Books: A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature

Some of the most interesting materials in FSU’s Special Collections are Artists’ Books (also known as Book Arts). These are works in which the form of the work, the art and decoration on its surfaces, and the book’s moving parts are as important as the text of the work. Artists’ Books come in many shapes and sizes, from tiny to oversized. They often play with the format of the codex — pieces of substrate (writing surfaces) linked along one side to form what we refer to as a “book” — making meaning in often profound and exciting ways.

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The Artist’s Book we are highlighting today is A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature, written and designed by Clifton Meador. Our copy is one of 25 that exist in the world. It comes in a “laser-cut birch plywood slipcase with dovetail joints,” and is broken into five volumes. Each volume has a different color schema that coordinates with the coloring of the seasonal forest scene depicted within. The volumes are accordion pleated and contain images and words only along one side; the back is blank.

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Accordion pleated works give the reader freedom in how they are read. An accordion-pleated text can be turned into a typical book-ready experience by keeping the pages folded up and going one at a time. Alternately, they can be unfurled entirely, revealing the length of the work in full. A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature has an additional complexity to its consumption, in that the text and images are facing separate directions; each volume contains a forest scene printed horizontally along the accordion folds while the text runs vertically down the long side of the bottom of the image.

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The textual content is a supposed lecture by an imaginary professor, who discusses nature and our relationship to it at length. The text of the lecture is broken up into shorter phrases that sometimes jump away from the margin and “grow” into the forest scene.

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The phrases take on a poetic quality, which is why it felt like the perfect choice for highlighting in our Year of Poetry blog series. While we often see poetry and prose and distinct forms, prose — especially spoken performance prose, as we might expect from a lecture — can take on a poetic quality, especially as it incorporates repetition, rhythm, and alliteration.

“The border of each image includes a text from a long, imaginary lecture by a professor who — even though he sounds convinced — is actually confused about how to understand nature: he drifts between thinking of nature as something to read and nature as an anthropomorphic presence. This work was inspired by Chinese literati landscape painting, a mode of art that used images of nature as a vocabulary rather than as representation of specific landscapes. For these literati, landscape was a metaphor for personal experience: for the confused professor in A Repeated Misunderstanding of Nature, these pictures of the autumnal forests of Maine become a book that defeats reading.” — Vamp & Tramp Booksellers Website

 

This beautiful work is available for you to examine in Florida State University’s Special Collections, and we invite you come see it in person! It is much bigger than can be perceived in the images here.

Gertrude Hall Brownell Collection of Viola Roseboro’ Correspondence

I recently processed a single box collection of correspondence from Viola Roseboro’, a fiction editor and author at the turn of the 20th century, to her friend Gertrude Hall Brownell, poet and author.  The correspondence spans an eight year period (1936-1944) toward the end of Roseboro’s life.


This small collection contains primarily one-sided correspondence from Viola Roseboro’ to Gertrude Hall Brownell, with the occasional enclosed letter by Gertrude Hall Brownell or other correspondent, including a single Willa Cather letter. The correspondence reflects Roseboro’s views on literature, politics, current events, shared acquaintances, her health, finances, and living arrangements, and her lifetime love of Shakespeare.  This collection gives a glimpse of  a close friendship between two women in early 20th century New York.


Viola Roseboro’ was born in Pulaski, Tennessee in 1858, daughter of the Reverend S.R. Roseboro’ and Martha Colyar. Roseboro’ attended Fairmont College in Monteagle, TN and worked as a stage actress before settling in New York around 1882 to begin a career in newspapers and magazines as a freelance writer and reader.

Roseboro’ joined the staff of McClure’s Magazine, a monthly periodical publishing literary and political content, as a manuscript reader in 1893 before becoming the fiction editor for the magazine. As editor, Roseboro’ was known for her talent in selecting and publishing unknown authors, such as O. Henry, Jack London, and Will Cather.


Roseboro’s first collection of short stories, “Old Ways and New” was published in 1892. “The Joyous Heart,” a novel, was published in 1903, followed by another collection of short stories, “Players and Vagabonds,” published in 1904. “Storms of Youth,” Roseboro’s final novel, was published in 1920. Roseboro’ also published numerous short stories and articles in various magazines.


Roseboro’ and Gertrude Hall Brownell (nicknamed Kitty) first met at an afternoon reception at the Barnard Club in New York City in 1900 and remained close friends and correspondents until Roseboro’s death in 1945 in Staten Island, NY.

Gertrude Hall Brownell was a poet and author, born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1863. Hall Brownell married William Crary Brownell (AC 1871) in 1921 and died in 1961.

Viola Roseboro to Gertrude Hall Brownell envelope

The Gertrude Hall Brownell Collection of Viola Roseboro’ Correspondence can be accessed in the Amherst College Archives & Special Collections.

Digitized copies of McClure’s Magazine are accessible online through Hathi Trust.

Bibliography:
Viola Roseboro’ obituary. New York Times, January 30, 1945.
McClure, S.S. “My Autobiography” McClure Publications, 1913.

Clifton in the Capital: Tallahassee Civic Activist” Exhibition Opening

Guests are invited to explore the life works of Clifton Van Brunt Lewis, a local activist in the Tallahassee civil rights movement who championed for equality, pushed for historic preservation and founded many of Tallahassee’s beloved cultural institutions, including LeMoyne Center for the Arts, Tallahassee Museum, and the Spring House Institute.

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Clifton and her husband George Lewis II supported student protestors during the lunch counter sit-ins and theatre demonstrations, as well as worked on interracial committees such as the Tallahassee Association for Good Government and the Tallahassee Council on Human Relations. Clifton established “The Little Gallery” in the lobby of the Lewis State Bank, showcasing both white and black artists in a rotating display. She stayed active until the very end, pushing for equal rights, environmental protection, and art and beauty for everyone.

Their family home, the Lewis Spring House, is the only residence designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright in Florida during his lifetime. It is operated by the Spring House Institute. Visit them at PreserveSpringHouse.net.

The opening reception is Thursday, April 12 from 5-7PM  in the Mary Lou Norwood Reading Room, second floor Strozier Library. Exhibit curator Lydia Nabors will give a short talk at 6:15PM.

The exhibit will be open 10AM-6PM Monday through Friday in the Norwood throughout Summer 2018.

You can also explore the exhibit online at CliftonInTheCapital.omeka.net.

Poetry and Nature: Robert Burns’ “Tim’rous Beastie”

In keeping with month’s theme, Poetry and Nature, I wanted to turn back to Robert Burns’ “To a Mouse,” a poem that delights and provokes upon each reread. In the poem we can see Burns’ tendency to find inspiration in the everyday; a brief encounter with nature gives him the opportunity to ruminate on the state of man and mouse alike. 

FSU’s Special Collections holds an incredible number of volumes of Robert Burns poetry, as well as ephemera connected to Burns fandom. A simple search for “Robert Burns” in the catalog of Special Collections items returns 149 items, including plays, music, biographies, and pamphlets, and most of these are either in the Shaw or Scottish collections.

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The Kilmarnock Burns, opened to “To a Mouse”

Likely our rarest item is our copy of the Kilmarnock Burns, the earliest printing of a collection of Burns’ works; 612 copies were printed in 1786 on a subscription basis, and was immediately successful, turning Robert Burns into a national celebrity. It is in this volume that “To a Mouse” was first printed for public consumption. Here’s a video of Dawn Steele performing the work:

We learn in the poem’s subtitle, and in the lore surrounding its inception, that the titular “Mouse” was glimpsed, “On Turning up in Her Nest with the Plough, November, 1785.”

Burns laments this action, expressing dismay that he’s caused her tiny mouse-heart to race: “O, what a pannic’s in thy breastie!” Upon the poem’s closing, however, Burns has considered the differences between himself and the “wee beastie”: while both mice and men experience the roughness and instability in life, the mouse has the advantage in not being able to either dwell on the past or anxiously anticipate the future. 

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You can visit the Kilmarnock Burns, along with other Burnsiana, in the Special Collections exhibit “‘In His Great Shadow’: Robert Burns’ Legacy.”

Spring is here, and FSU’s campus is covered in blossoming trees, lush green leaves, and curious critters. Take some time this week to consider your relationship to the natural world around you. Do you notice the little things on your walks through campus? Do you allow, as Burns did, these external stimuli to impact your thoughts and feelings about yourself, or even to provoke poetic expression?

Bad Children of History #34: French Rascals

Today’s gallic ungovernables come from a 1930 edition of the classic Les Malheurs de Sophie, with color illustrations by Jacques Touchet.

For those unfamiliar with the story, Sophie is an adventurous little girl who lives in a castle in the French countryside. She spends her days wandering through flowery glades, capturing squirrels, hosting tea parties, bickering with her beloved and well-behaved cousin, getting underfoot in the kitchen, and generally participating in wholesome mischief.

Here you can see one of Sophie’s great passions: scaling furniture in order to put her hands into unsanctioned containers.



When she isn’t stealing bon bons, Sophie likes to join cousin Paul in fun and completely normal children’s activities such as catching flies in a paper box. Of course, being bad children of history, Sophie and Paul get in a fight over the paper box, resulting in a series of unfortunate events culminating in the release of a great swarm of flies and a single interloping bee.

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“My eyes!!!!”

Apian mishaps aside, Sophie and Paul are great companions. They go for walks, they fall off a cart, they have arts and crafts time. Here’s an illustration of their creative endeavors, right after some watercolor painting and an argument wherein Sophie threw water in Paul’s face:

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Yes, hello, despite their teeny waistcoasts and extravagant domicile, Sophie and Paul are just like children everywhere: sometimes sweet, sometimes curious, often plain old naughty.

Hambro and Zayde: A Piano Duo Like No Other

Jascha Zayde seated at the piano in the WQXR studio in the 1940s.
(WQXR Archive Collections)

For seventeen years, Leonid Hambro (1920-2006) and Jascha Zayde (1911-1999) regularly entertained WQXR audiences through their show Duo Piano Classics.  Zayde was the first staff musician hired by WQXR in 1936; the pianist, composer, and conductor told Robert Sherman in a 1986 interview that he was first paired with Clifford Herzer to form the station’s first piano duo. Their weekly collaborations became one of the station’s most popular offerings, and the four-handed studio concerts continued with Hambro replacing Herzer in 1947. You can listen to their May 17, 1951 show by clicking the “Listen” button above.

Individually and as a duo, Hambro and Zayde were busy on many other fronts as well. They produced albums together and are noted for their recording of Poulenc’s Sonata for Two Pianos. Additionally, Jascha Zayde was also the staff pianist for the New York City Ballet for more than 25 years, and also conducted the Broadway premieres of two operas by Gian Carlo Menotti: The Medium and The Telephone. After he stopped performing live on WQXR, Zayde directed the station’s educational activities and was a judge for its annual musical competitions.

Victor Borge, Sergio Franchi and Leonid Hambro from the ABC Television sepcial Victor Borge at Carnegie Hall, December 12, 1963
(Wikimedia Commons)

Meanwhile, Leonid Hambro made more than 100 recordings and toured worldwide, playing as a soloist with the orchestras of Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago and London, and was known as a gifted chamber music artist, working with Fritz Kreisler, Jascha Heifetz, Isaac Stern, Leonard Rose and Pierre Fournier. Though a longtime collaborator of Zayde’s, Hambro was probably best known for his partnership with Victor Borge. In the early 1960s, the Danish entertainer had been seeking a ‘straight man’ for his piano comedy routine; Hambro agreed to join with the musical funny man, and the two appeared regularly together on stage and television for ten years.

Real Pen Work and Exercises for Flourishing

We recently acquired a lovely volume entitled Real Pen Work: Self Instructor in Penmanship, published in 1884 by Knowles & Maxim.

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This book includes step-by-step instructions on everything from how to sit properly at your writing desk to the proper degree to which to slant letters. It features samples of script, promissory notes, verses for autograph albums, and these elegant business letters.

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There are handwriting exercises as well as exercises for flourishing, the latter of which sounds suspiciously like something one would find on a clean eating and wellness blog.

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The bulk of the book consists of illustrations made entirely through offhand flourishing, such as this graceful swan and this squiggly family (complete with curlicue guardian angel).


There’s even a small section of ornamental lettering, including some lovely color alphabets.


If you’d like to take a look at this or any of our other books on handwriting and hand-lettering, get in touch!

Welcome to the Year of Poetry: T. S. Eliot and The Waste Land

Happy Poetry Month!

This month begins FSU Libraries’ Year of Poetry, April 2018 – April 2019, an entire year of celebration dedicated to poetry in all of its forms and facets. Look out for events on campus that invite you to participate in exploring poetry creation and poetry enjoyment!

National Poetry Month is always in April, a reference to T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land*:

“April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.”

Listen to The Waste Land at Librivox.com

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The beautiful book pictured is from Florida State’s Special Collections. It is Eliot’s Poems, 1909-1925, a first edition of the first collection of Eliot’s poetry to include The Waste Land, a disjointed and highly allusive work that is central to modernist poetry.

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The Waste Land
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Spine with Label

You can find information about National Poetry Month here, including suggestions for ways to participate. Sign up for Poem-a-Day and participate in National Poem in your Pocket Day (April 26th)! 

And come to Special Collections in Strozier Library to experience some historic poetry materials in person, like Eliot’s The Waste Land!

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*Thank you, Jeff Hipsher, Service Desk Supervisor in the Scholars Commons, for this info.

Great and Good Friends: National Archives Loans Artifacts to Thai Exhibition

The National Archives played a major role in the grand opening last week of a new exhibition in Bangkok, Thailand, at the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles. An international group effort, the exhibit—“Great and Good Friends: 200 Years of U.S.-Thai Friendship”—features more than 40 records and gifts loaned from the National Archives.

The items exchanged between Thai royalty and American Presidents—including ceremonial letters, head-of-state gifts, and an 11-foot facsimile of the 1833 U.S.-Siam Treaty—have never before been exhibited outside the United States. They will be featured among manuscripts, musical instruments, textiles, and other 19th-century artifacts loaned from the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution.

Members of the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles exhibit loan international install team pose in Bangkok, Thailand

Members of the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles exhibit loan international install team pose in Bangkok, Thailand, on March 3, 2018. National Archives representatives are Presidential Libraries museum collections officer Kim Koons (rear, third from left) and National Archives supervisory conservator Abigail Aldrich (Photo courtesy of Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles, Bangkok, Thailand)

The “Great and Good Friends: 200 Years of U.S.-Thai Friendship” exhibit opened on March 21, 2018, at the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles  in Bangkok, Thailand, and continues through June 30, 2018. United States Ambassador to Thailand Glyn Davies had the idea for the exhibition.

The title of the exhibit originates from the formal greeting—“Great and Good Friends”—used by U.S. Presidents in addressing the kings of Siam when contact between the two governments was limited to envoys and letters. The friendship between the nations began when an American sea captain entered the port of Bangkok and initiated an historic association between the two nations. These ceremonial gifts, on loan from the National Archives and our Presidential Libraries, reflect the continuing strong friendship of the American and Thai peoples.

We are pleased to share these and other historic treasures, and are honored to partner with the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok, Meridian International, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Queen Sirikit Museum on the ‘Great and Good Friends’ exhibit.

While many of the objects are in remarkable condition, particularly for their age, some items underwent conservation to improve their stability in preparation for display. Conservation staff at the National Archives provided professional oversight of the treatment services performed on the decorative objects, textiles, and textual items from the agency.

National Archives supervisory conservator Abigail Aldrich and senior conservator Lauren Varga share several items including a silver niello bowl

National Archives supervisory conservator Abigail Aldrich and senior conservator Lauren Varga shared several items including a silver niello bowl with gold trim given by King Prajadhipok to President Herbert Hoover in 1931. From the Collection of the U.S. National Archives, Hoover Presidential Library and Museum. (National Archives photo by Jeffrey Reed)

Other related resources within the National Archives Catalog include the daguerreotype of King Mongkut and daughter, from King Mongkut to President James Buchanan, 1861; a Siamese sword with scabbard, from King Mongkut to President James Buchanan, 1861; and a letter from King Chulalongkorn to President Theodore Roosevelt. A silver-framed photograph of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, inscribed by the King and given to President John F. Kennedy in 1963, is available to view via the online Kennedy Library catalog.

For more information on items within the exhibit from other sources, see the recent Library of Congress blog post that showcases the Library’s Thai instruments on loan. For more detailed information on the “Great and Good Friends” exhibit and a history of the relationship between the two nations, see the Great and Good Friends exhibition website.

The PIDB Welcomes New Member Alissa Starzak

The PIDB welcomes a new member, Alissa M. Starzak.  U. S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) has appointed Ms. Starzak to  a three-year term on the PIDB.  The PIDB looks forward to Ms. Starzak’s participation in continuing  work on transforming and modernizing the security classification system.  

Ms. Starzak joins PIDB from her current position at Cloudflare, a company providing web-security and optimization services.  In this position she is responsible for public policy.  Prior to joining Cloudflare, Ms. Starzak worked for the U.S government in a variety of national security positions.  Most recently, she served as the 21st General Counsel of the U.S. Department of the Army, after confirmation by the Senate. As General Counsel of the Army, she was the primary legal counsel to the Secretary of the Army and the Army’s chief legal officer.  Her appointment as Army General Counsel followed service as the Deputy General Counsel for Legislation at the U.S. Department of Defense.  As Deputy General Counsel she advised on legal issues with a legislative or congressional component, and managed an office of attorneys responsible for developing the Department of Defense legislative program.

Prior to moving to the Department of Defense, Ms. Starzak served as Counsel to the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, focusing on legal issues relating to intelligence collection and covert action, and as an Assistant General Counsel at the Central Intelligence Agency’s Office of General Counsel. She also worked in private practice in Washington, D.C., and clerked for The Honorable E. Grady Jolly, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  She graduated from Amherst College and the University of Chicago Law School, where she served as an editor of the University of Chicago Law Review.  Ms. Starzak is serving her first term on the PIDB.

 

 

Sacrifice Your Darlings

Morgan Library in “Ballou’s,” 1855

In early 2017 I posted about 25 individual daguerreotypes from the Amherst College Class of 1850 that are part of the Archives and Special Collections. I provided new glass for each daguerreotype, reassembled each unit, and attempted to identify the members of the class. The daguerreotypes were in envelopes, having been removed in the 1980s from a grouping in an old wooden frame, which was apparently discarded. With only two exceptions – Austin Dickinson and George Gould – there were no names attached to the daguerreotypes from a class well known to Emily Dickinson, who often mentioned Austin’s classmates in her letters.  The identifications I proposed in the 2017 post were based in particular on things like a visible fraternity pin in a daguerreotype that could be compared against a list of known fraternity members, or later images of the students that could be compared with their youthful ones. In this way, it was possible to identify everyone at least tentatively. And there the matter rested.

A few months later I needed to write a thank-you note to someone who gave us a collection of daguerreotypes by Professor Ebenezer Snell’s brother William Ward Snell (the subject of a future post). For my thank-you, I looked through a collection of note cards in the department and chose my favorite, a photograph showing the interior of Morgan Library in the late 19th century.  I’ve looked at this photograph many times, but this time – with daguerreotypes on the brain – I noticed something I’d never noticed before. Can you see it?

Look closer:

I knew at once that there was a framed group of daguerreotypes on the wall.  Furthermore, it was reasonable to think it was a group of people somehow connected to each other (faculty or students) rather than a bunch of random daguerreotypes framed together (if anyone ever did that anyway). I went to a good scan of the photograph and examined it. The one on the left in the second row caught my eye — I yelped– surely that was Austin Dickinson…  I wasn’t looking for him — he just stuck out in some way, perhaps because I’ve seen his big, doughy face a million times already and I have its template impressed on my brain.

 

My more levelheaded and therefore initially skeptical colleague Chris examined it – and agreed. It then occurred to me that if this daguerreotype showed Austin, was he where he ought to be if the daguerreotypes were in alphabetical order? I counted. He was. The next thing to do was to place the ones with solid identifications in their proper place and then to work down through the list of students. Chris and I had a lot of fun with this part.

In order to do the work, we looked at the daguerreotypes that had some physical aspect that made them stand out – those that showed solarization in the whites that made them glow (like Faunce in the middle of the second row), or that were especially dark; those in which the direction the sitters were facing was a factor; or those that were framed in ovals, which seemed especially visible. These variables allowed us to put the images in place and recreate the framed group that you can see in the library photograph above. So here’s the Class of 1850 in alphabetical order, from left to right, top to bottom. If you want to be a smarty-pants, you could compare them with the identifications in the previous post and see where I was wrong.

Left to right, top to bottom:
Avery, Beebe, Bishop, Cory, Crosby, Dickinson, Ellery, Faunce, Fenn, Garrette, Gay, Gilbert, Gould, Gregory, Hodge, Howland, Manning, Newton, Nickerson, Packard, Sawyer, Shipley, Stimpson, Thompson, Williston (see list of full names at end of post). Daguerreotypist undocumented but most likely J.D. Wells of Northampton.

 

But  – oh no…!

Are you familiar with the expression “sacrifice your darlings”? I remember exactly when I first heard that expression and who said it to me. It’s usually employed (everywhere…tiresomely) as a helpful reminder to edit your writing (good advice, and I attempt to abide by it–I swear), but I also think of it in broader terms to mean giving up something one treasures.  In this case, it meant that my heart must be broken and a darling sacrificed, for it revealed that the photograph below — the same photograph that is my computer’s background– is not Henry Shipley, known to his mates as “Ship,” the brilliant bad-boy of his class who couldn’t stay out of trouble and whose tragic story (see second half of earlier post) has become linked in my mind with this particular photograph:

Instead, it’s Minott Sherman Crosby, a schoolteacher and principal of two schools, the Hartford Female Seminary and then Waterbury High School, and later superintendent of schools in Waterbury.  He lived to 1897 and had three children with Margaret Maltby Crosby.

 

An inconvenient truth. At right, Minott Crosby in “History of Waterbury”

This identification continues to disorder my mind and send up a bristling resistance. I still associate that face with Ship, though sadly now. Instead, the real Shipley is — according to the group order — this fellow:

So I put this guy – this Shipley – as the background on a second computer, where he duels across the room with his alter-ego (aka Crosby) for my affection. But I continue to struggle to accept the truth, which is a strange lesson in sacrificing a darling, and in how hard it is to give up a cherished belief in the face of better evidence — a lesson for every era.

So for now, at least, this should be it for the Class of 1850. Unless something else comes up….

 

***********************************************************************************************

Full list of the graduates of the Class of 1850:

William Fisher Avery (1826-1903)
Albert Graham Beebe (1826-1899)
Henry Walker Bishop (1829-1913)
John Edwin Cory (1825-1865)
Minott Sherman Crosby (1829-1897)
William Austin Dickinson (1829-1895)
John Graeme Ellery (1824-1855)
Daniel Worcester Faunce (1829-1911)
Thomas Legare Fenn (1830-1912)
Edmund Young Garrette (1823-1902)
Augustine Milton Gay (1827-1876)
Archibald Falconer Gilbert (1825-1866)
George Henry Gould (1827-1899)
James John Howard Gregory (1827-1910)
Leicester Porter Hodge (1828-1851)
George Howland (1824-1892)
Jacob Merrill Manning (1824-1882)
Jeremiah Lemuel Newton (1824-1883)
Joseph Nickerson (1828-1882)
David Temple Packard (1824-1880)
Sylvester John Sawyer (1823-1884)
Henry Shipley (1825-1859)
Thomas Morrill Stimpson (1827-1898)
John Howland Thompson (1827-1891)
Lyman Richards Williston (1830-1897)

There were also 15 non-graduates in the class, all of whom departed Amherst long before the daguerreotypes were made.

 

Pepper’s Work in Lowering Hearing Aid Costs

Recently, while engaging in a record survey project involving the Claude Pepper papers,  I discovered Pepper’s influential work in lowering hearing aid costs to improve affordability and strengthen precise hearing loss screenings among seniors.

pepper-hearing-aid-correspondence.jpeg

Senator Claude Pepper was perhaps the first politician to grasp the burdens of older Americans owning hearing aids. In fact, many people that were 65 and older during his congressional service either couldn’t afford hearing aids, because their insurance didn’t cover the cost, or they were exposed to fraudulent tactics to purchase them. As sellers created the illusion that hearing aids could either physically cure hearing loss or prosthetically correct hearing loss to a state of normalcy. And, in some cases, older adults fell victim to purchasing two hearing aids for both ears when only one was necessary due to a faulty diagnosis. As a result, Claude Pepper took great pride in building awareness about hearing aids and affordability by introducing the H.R. 646 Bill on January 15, 1979, to propose a supplementary medical insurance program to aid in covering hearing aid costs and safeguard consumer abuse. The bill also pushed for hearing aid manufacturers to advertise that hearing aids could not cure or impede hearing impairments. The bill demanded that the Food and Drug Administration mandate the requirement of an audiologist examination before purchasing hearing aids under the Medicare program to secure accurate treatment. Senator Pepper fought hard for this great cause, even though Congress later decided to reject the bill.

If you would like to learn more about Claude Pepper’s work regarding hearing aid legislation, please visit the Claude Pepper Library & Museum. Materials are available for researchers and can be discovered online through the collection’s finding aid.