Bad Children of History #36: Curtains Are Not For Wiping

Oh how we’ve missed the Bad Children of History! We recently cataloged a book that’s part of our Wetmore Collection, and contains dozens of delinquents and ill-mannered imps: La Civilité Puérile et Honnête, an etiquette book for children with illustrations by Louis-Maurice Boutet de Monvel.

Boutet de Monvel’s illustrations aptly capture the sneakiness and hilarity of childhood, as well as the joy of hanging out at the seaside with miniature pizza peels.


(Etiquette hot tip: don’t bury your friends’ heads in the sand.)

The “what not to do” images are priceless.


“It wasn’t me.”


“Agh, I dropped my Twinkies!”

This book’s children are naughty, and snotty.

They’re wiggly and squiggly.


They’re rude and crude.

We love the action shots.


We also love the recommendation about bread-licking in the “table manners” section.


Periodicals from the BC Gay and Lesbian Archives collection now available!

Back in May we announced that longtime LGBTQ2+ community archivist and activist Ron Dutton had donated his entire collection, known as the BC Gay and Lesbian Archives, to the City of Vancouver Archives.

Since then, we’ve been hard at work getting the collection processed and available to researchers. Subject files have been available since the summer, and we’re delighted to announce that the Periodicals series is now fully processed and available in the Reading Room. The series contains a broad range of titles ranging from community magazines and newspapers to newsletters, activity and event guides, comics and zines, representing a diverse spectrum of LGBTQ2+ experiences.

Detail from back cover of an issue of Faggo Punk & Queer Zine, 2000. Reference code: AM1675-S2-F536

The earliest publications in the Periodicals series date from the 1950s and were all published in the United States by early LGBTQ2+ rights organizations. Titles include The Mattachine Review (published by the Mattachine Society), One (published by ONE, Inc.), and The Ladder (published by the Daughters of Bilitis).

Issues of the Mattachine Review (AM1675-S2-F369), One (AM1675-S2-F104), and The Ladder (AM1675-S2-F185)

Publications pertaining to LGBTQ2+ life in Vancouver begin with ASK newsletter, published in Vancouver by the Association for Social Knowledge (ASK). Formed in 1964, ASK was one of the earliest LGBTQ2+ organizations in Canada.

September 1964 issue of ASK newsletter, published in Vancouver. Reference code: AM1675-S2-F209

Many more Vancouver publications emerge in the 1970s, including Gay Tide, published by the Gay Alliance Toward Equality (GATE), as well as newsletters from the Society for Political Action for Gay People (SPAG) and the Metropolitan Community Church of Vancouver.

A highlight of the series is a near-full run of Angles, a community newspaper focusing on Vancouver LGBTQ2+ life launched in 1983. Angles was published by the Vancouver Gay Community Centre Society, now Qmunity.

1985 issues of Angles. Reference code: AM1675-S2-F002

The series also includes a number of zines and comics published independently in Vancouver and beyond.

Daisy Gets Erotik zine, 1996-2002. Reference code: AM1675-S2-F550

Ink Me : A Zine By and For Queer Asian Women. Reference code: AM1675-S2-F579

Oh… : a comic quarterly for her, because it’s time, 1992. Oh… was published in Victoria, BC. Reference code: AM1675-S2-F537

We are thrilled to have all 8.4 metres of periodicals described and available to view in the Reading Room. As always, Reading Room staff are happy to help you narrow down your search. Please pay us a visit and dive in!

Tet Offensive Declassification Project Aligns with PIDB Recommendations

Earlier this summer, the Intelligence Community (IC) published newly declassified records about the 1968 Tet offensive on   Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Communist-backed military attacks against American forces and American allies in the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), the declassified records posted are the first in three planned public releases scheduled for this year and 2019.  Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Daniel R. Coats asked IC agencies to conduct this project, based on the recommendation of the IC Senior Historians Panel.  Director Coats asked this Panel to identify topics of historical interest as part of an IC-wide effort to enhance public understanding of IC activities.   This project supports the IC’s Principles of Intelligence Transparency Implementation Plan (February 2015) and Principles of Intelligence Transparency (October 27, 2015) initiatives.

The declassification of these historical records align closely with the long-standing PIDB recommendations to conduct topic-based declassification review and to prioritize historically important records for declassification.  The PIDB also recommended that the IC should clearly define “sources and methods” to facilitate declassification and public release of no-longer sensitive information.

Specifically, this declassification action supports recommendations in PIDB’s 2012 Report to the President, Transforming Classification, and the 2014 PIDB Supplemental Report to the President, Setting Priorities.  Declassification projects like these aid public and historical knowledge, but they also benefit policymakers and practitioners seeking to learn lessons from the past.

While the 2014 PIDB supplemental report specifically recommended “topic-based declassification,” the 2012 PIDB report had already recommended that: “Each agency should have an in-house history staff to assist agency records officers and declassifiers in the prioritization of records,” so that “access to these historical records will aid policymakers in retrieving the documentary records of past policy decisions, lending context to contemporary decision-making while cataloging valuable information for future analysis and public release.”

The 2012 PIDB report recommended that: “The specific protections afforded intelligence sources and methods need to be precisely defined and distinguished,” for federal agencies to appropriately share and ultimately declassify intelligence information, just as the IC’s ambitious Tet Declassified website now so effectively does.

Named after the Vietnamese Lunar New Year, or “Tet” celebrations, which in 1968 fell on January 30 and coincided with the first surprise attacks by the North Vietnamese Army and local militants in the south, the Tet Offensive initially beleaguered such high-profile targets as the Presidential Palace and the U.S. Embassy in Saigon.  Although thwarted at the end of 1968 by American and South Vietnamese forces, the surprise and early success of the Tet Offensive began to undermine public support in the United States for the war in Vietnam.

The IC’s Tet Offensive Declassification Project represents an important step toward normalizing topic-based and prioritized declassification of historical records.  It is valuable to citizens seeking a better understanding of this event and will aid public discussion.  And it will aid agency policymaking on the lessons learned from historical experience.  The PIDB looks forward to the public release of the next installment, and to promoting similar initiatives by all executive-branch agencies.


Digital collections priorities, 2018-2019

New projects

People Not Property: Slave Deeds of North Carolina
A collaborative endeavor between the UNCG University Libraries, North Carolina Division of Archives and Records, and North Carolina Registers of Deeds among others. Working as an addition to and evolution of the Digital Library on American Slavery, the project is leading towards a unique, centralized database of bills of sales indexing the names of enslaved people from across North Carolina.When complete, People Not Property will include robust metadata, high resolution images, and full-text searchable transcripts. We hope to open the project to states beyond North Carolina, creating a central location for accessing and researching slave deeds from across the Southern United States.

Photos and Concert Programs of the UNCG Cello Music Collection
The proposed project is to digitize photographs and concert programs from 4 of the Cello Music Collections: Luigi Silva, Elizabeth Cowling, Rudolf Matz, and Ennio Bolognini. The digitization of these materials would enhance the existing cello digital music collections. The concert programs would allow researchers to track the performance careers of these cellists, and the photographs would add a visually appealing component to the collection, which would make the collection more attractive to non-musicians.

Bryan School Annual Reports
Digitize the Bryan School’s annual reports to the Provost, from 1969-70 to 2003-04. The Bryan School will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding in the 2019-2020 academic year.

UNCG Graduate, Summer Session, and Extension Bulletins
Digitization of the bound graduate, summer session, and extension course bulletins. These will complement the undergraduate bulletins that were digitized several years ago, providing a complete picture of courses offered at UNCG since its founding. This will allow researchers to learn about these programs offered outside of the standard undergraduate curriculum.

Ongoing projects

Wordsworth for the Blind


One of the great things about working in a college library is that student research projects often send us digging into parts of the collections we probably wouldn’t have explored otherwise. Earlier this week I talked with a vision-impaired student who had consulted our twentieth-century braille edition of Worsdworth in the past. The published bibliography, The Amherst Wordsworth Collection, includes entries for two other editions of Wordsworth produced for blind readers in the nineteenth century.

Matthew Arnold’s edition of Wordsworth in braille

Matthew Arnold’s edition of Wordsworth in braille.

Before we go any further, I must give all the credit to the Perkins School for the Blind in Boston for their excellent summary of the history of Books for the Blind, a corner of printing history I had never explored before. Thanks to their site, we can situate the two nineteenth-century works within a wider context. The 1891 edition is printed under the auspices of the Perkins School with Boston Line Type, based on a system developed by Samuel Gridley Howe in 1835.

Wordsworth printed in Boston Line Type, 1891.

The Howe Memorial Press was named to honor the inventor of the Boston Line Type, a system of raised letterforms that can be read by touch as well as by sight. Here is a stanza from the poem “There is an Eminence” in Boston Line Type:

“There is an Eminence” in Boston Line Type, 1891.

In contrast to the Perkins School, Dr. Simon Pollak started using braille at the Missouri School for the Blind in 1860. We hold an 1896 edition of Wordsworth printed with the Missouri Braille system:

Wordsworth in Missouri Braille, 1896. Printed in St. Louis.

We are grateful to the person who took the time to add the title page information in ink, since this volume is entirely in Missouri Braille. As a bonus, the Missouri edition had a loose broadside tucked in the front with samples of multiple writing systems for the blind:

Alphabets for an Exhibit

Alphabets for an Exhibit, 1934

Although it’s difficult to make out in this image, the alphabets are Boston Line, “Moon’s Type,” New York Point, American Braille, and “Braille’s Type.”

Beyond simply holding copies of these items, there are clues to a closer connection between the Wordsworth collection and the Perkins School for the Blind. Both the 1891 and the 1896 editions have bookplates that indicate they were once part of the Perkins School library:

The final image that includes “Presented by Perkins Institution” suggests that the school may have given the volumes either to Cornelius Patton, who then gave them to Amherst, or they were donated to Amherst to add to Patton’s Wordsworth collections.

Archives holds one other item related to the Perkins School: The Life and Education of Laura Dewey Bridgman, the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind Girl:

Laura Dewey Bridgman, 1878

First published in 1878, this biography of the first deaf-blind student at Perkins to learn to read and write includes a facsimile of her first letter:

Laura Dewey Bridgman.


The Bulletins of Tallahassee’s First Baptist Church

Through an ongoing collaboration with The First Baptist Church of Tallahassee, we have been working to digitize and share all of the church’s published bulletins from the 1930s through today. This collaboration is one of several FSU Libraries’ projects aimed at bringing community collections online.

The First Baptist Church’s bulletins typically consist of community updates, upcoming events, Sunday programs, and other information centered around the congregation. Each pamphlet contains photos and unique illustrations related to the events occurring at the time.

Page from The Voice of the First Baptist Church Volume 21. Number 19, October 23rd, 1986
Page from The Voice of the First Baptist Church Volume 21. Number 19, October 23rd, 1986 [See original object]

As we continue adding more material to this collection in DigiNole, visitors can gain a better understanding of what life was like in Tallahassee from the perspective of the church. The first three batches of bulletins up to 1989 are now available while those printed in the 1990s will be uploaded next month.

The bulletins are just one phase of this collaboration with The First Baptist Church of Tallahassee, so keep an eye out for future updates to see what’s coming up next.

IARPA Director, Leading Program Scientists Tout “Human Machine Team”

On September 18, 2018, a new Defense One Breakfast Series opened with a high-level panel discussion on “the critical mission imperative of artificial intelligence.”  In a lively exchange, IARPA Director Stacey Dixon, former IBM Watson Director Rob High, ODNI Senior Scientist David Honey, and Senior Scientist Michael Wolmetz of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, each stressed the importance for national security of advancing United States Government initiatives in developing artificial intelligence (AI) to augment human analysis and intelligence collection.

Dr. High, formerly Director of IBM Watson and currently Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of IBM, pointedly argued that while demonstrating the capability of machines to beat human opponents at chess, IBM Watson had most significantly proven that a team combining human and machine capabilities will consistently defeat machines alone.

Although Dr. High and the other panelists more generally found the greatest potential for AI in combination with human capabilities, their examples focused on advances in machine capabilities such as facial recognition and human language processing.  On the whole, “The Human Machine Team” panel mostly hinted at the potential for machines to augment human performance, without much engaging timely issues of how human organizations must adapt to the dynamic implementation of rapidly emerging technologies.

Indeed, during the brief question-and-answer period at the close of the event, a working intelligence analyst challenged the panelists to consider whether the Intelligence Community itself is yet prepared for the generational influx of analysts who already enter the profession thoroughly adapted to the use of constantly improving technologies in every aspect of their lives.

As the first in what should be ongoing public discussions by prominent leaders of advanced research in the Intelligence Community, one can hope that the next DefenseOne Breakfast Series event will further develop how AI and other emerging technologies must transform and modernize the outmoded processes and legacy systems that still remain so widely in place across the executive branch.

Updating the Heritage Museum

A guest post by Brianna McLean, currently working with Heritage & University Archives on exhibit development.

Dodd Hall Library, ca. 1920s (Jewell Genevieve Cooper Scrapbook, 1924-1930).
Dodd Hall Library, ca. 1920s (Jewell Genevieve Cooper Scrapbook, 1924-1930).

Starting with the institution’s inception as the Seminary West of the Suwannee River in 1851, a new exhibit I’ve been working on for the Heritage Museum follows the timeline of Florida State University through important historic milestones: the Civil War; Florida State College and Florida State College for Women (FSCW); the World Wars; Integration and the Civil Rights Movement; the rapid development through the end of the 20th Century; and today.

If you are new to campus and have not had a chance to stop by the Heritage Museum in Dodd Hall, it is a quiet place to study, read, and relax during your busy week. The museum is the location of the original library for FSU, which makes it the perfect location on campus to learn about FSU’s history and enjoy the gorgeous Collegiate Gothic architecture and iconic stained glass. This building functioned as FSU’s library from its construction in 1923 until Robert Manning Strozier Library was built in 1956. Dr. William George Dodd was born in 1874 and served as an English professor of the Florida State College for Women and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1910-1944. He contributed greatly to FSU, including publishing History of West Florida Seminary in 1952.

Dodd Hall Library, 1964 (FSU Historical Photographs Collection).
Dodd Hall Library, 1964 (FSU Historical Photographs Collection).

As a researcher for this new exhibit, I had the pleasure of learning all about FSU and all the people who made it possible to attend school here today. As a student at FSU since 2012, first as an undergraduate and now as a graduate student, I thought that I knew a great deal about FSU’s history. After combing through numerous books, articles, documents, and photographs, I realized there are so many hidden gems to be found in our history. Some of my favorite stories include the origin of garnet and gold, the traditions of the women of FSCW, the history of protest on our campus, and our relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. One of the most comprehensive collections on FSU’s history is the FSU Historical Photograph Collection, from which most of the images in the exhibit will come. Some of the best secondary resources include the works of Dr. William Dodd, Mike Rashotte, Robin Sellers, Gerald Ensley, and Dr. Jennifer Koslow.

Dodd Hall Today, taken with my phone.
Dodd Hall Today, taken with my phone.

Interested in donating to the Heritage Fund or materials to the Archive? Please contact Heritage & University Archivist, Sandra Varry.

Heritage Museum Hours: Monday through Thursday, 10am-4pm. For up-to-date museum and library hours, please visit,

On the Media’s Big Bang

Why are YOU mad at the media?

That was the question host Brian Lehrer posed to listeners on the frigid morning of Sunday, February 7, 1993, during the premiere of a WNYC-AM call-in show titled Inside Media. A few weeks later, the existence of a media trade magazine of the same name necessitated a change, and On the Media was born. The stated intent of the show was to “find out what it is ordinary people want to know,” and its mission was “covering those who cover the news and reporting on reporters” — a worthy endeavor, since “one of the things the media does worst on a day-to-day basis is to cover itself … It covers its interests by not covering its issues.”

Lehrer welcomed the guests for the first hour of that very first show, all movers and shakers in the world of journalism: Everette Dennis, executive director of the show’s co-producer, the Freedom Forum Media Studies Center at Columbia University; Suzanne Braun Levine, editor of Columbia Journalism Review; Donna Minkowitz of the Village Voice; and Kenneth Woodward of Newsweek. The panel ran through the major stories of the day: USA Today divulging the HIV status of tennis icon Arthur Ashe, press coverage of the then-current topic of gays in the military, and Bill Clinton’s difficulty in finding an Attorney General nominee.

The panelists also discussed what made the show’s callers mad about the media. The callers, beginning with the outspoken “Larry in Manhattan”, gave Brian and his guests plenty to respond to: media sensationalism (see Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuocco), the influence of corporate ownership on the media, and much more.

For the show’s second hour, Lehrer hosted Columbia University presidential historian Henry Graff, Eleanor Clift of Newsweek, and Susan Page of Newsday for a discussion (with callers) on the unflattering press coverage of the less-than-three-weeks-old Clinton presidency. Anyone who thinks hostilities between the press and certain American presidents is a recent phenomenon may be surprised by this snapshot of the media’s relationship with the Clinton administration.

Lehrer would host the show for the first two weeks, and was followed by Warren Levinson of the Associated Press. After several other locally-based journalists tried their hands as host, the microphone was eventually handed to Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter Alex S. Jones — not to be confused, of course, with the infamous, non-Pulitzer-prize-winning Alex Jones of InfoWars.

Though the debut episode wasn’t On the Media as it exists today, February 7, 1993 was the show’s Big Bang moment. Listening back now is a lot like taking a time machine back a quarter century, getting out, and realizing that the media and political landscapes of the early nineties are actually pretty similar to today’s.

Whatever Happened to Ice-T?

“Not only did they take that Ice-T record off the market, they got rid of him.”

At least, that was the take of journalist Playthell Benjamin on the December 12, 1993 episode of On the Media, when host Alex S. Jones and his guests took on gangsta rap. Ice-T and his rap/metal group Body Count had released the song “Cop Killer” the year before, and police, politicians, and many in the media had successfully pressured Warner Bros. Records to pull the album and drop him from their roster.

For a brief moment, some common ground was found on the radio, as Benjamin joined First Amendment absolutist Nat Hentoff of the Village Voice and Scott Baird and Ben Mapp from the music industry for a colorful and confrontational discussion on violent and sexually explicit rap lyrics.

Unsurprisingly, the issue was as difficult to kill as Ice-T’s career. Nearly a year-and-a-half later, a group led by William Bennett, Empower America, Bob Dole, and civil rights leader C. Delores Tucker were pressuring Time-Warner to stop releasing songs with violent lyrics, including hit singles by rappers like Dr. Dre and Snoop Doggy Dogg and rockers like Nine Inch Nails. This led to a reprise of the topic on On The Media, with guest host Brian Lehrer leading a more cerebral, but equally contentious, discussion with Empower America’s Bill Dal Col, journalist and critic Stanley Crouch, Katha Pollitt of The Nation, and professor and writer Michael Eric Dyson.

Why did rap lead to some of the most hostile discussions in the early days of On the Media? And whatever happened to Ice-T, Dr. Dre, and Snoop Doggy Dogg and the other rappers many of these guests deemed destined for the dumpster of pop culture history?

As it turns out, at least one of these notorious disruptors of law and order crossed over to the other side of the thin blue line—on television, at least.

On the Entrance Ramp to the Information Superhighway

As you read this on the Internet, you may be in a cafe or on a train platform surrounded by people engrossed in the digital information pouring out of their Internet-enabled devices. At this point, we are all part of the estimated nearly 300 million Internet users in the U.S.

But in 1994, only 11 million households had computers equipped with modems that could access popular services like America Online, CompuServe, and Prodigy, as well as — for those who dared — the recently launched and still very mysterious World Wide Web. If you were an Internet user in 1994, when On the Media first addressed the issue, you were in the vast minority.

This was the world in which On the Media host Alex S. Jones, a digital naif, hosted several discussions on how this new “Information Superhighway” might change the way Americans consume media, and how that media might change to accommodate the new interactive platform. The topic was appropriate for On the Media, which regularly questioned how new technologies, from the burgeoning interactive online world to the introduction of lightweight cameras, would change the way news is reported.

One prominent issue the show covered was the generation gap between media members: Many older journalists were uncomfortable posting in online forums and having their words disseminated without copy editors or fact checkers. Who could afford to go online? Who would control access? Who would control content? Would it become a Misinformation Superhighway?

In a sea of doubt, some chose to forge ahead anyway: on the March 27, 1994 show, guest John Perry Barlow, one of the founders of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and occasional lyricist for The Grateful Dead, discussed how the Deadhead community were trailblazers truckin’ down the Information Superhighway.

Today, when almost everyone has a video camera in their pocket and media figures, politicians, and other public figures leverage the immediacy of social media to create and communicate with their often disparate audiences, it is fun to look back to the time when we were all stuck on the entrance ramp, merging onto the Information Superhighway without much of a map, let alone a GPS.  

“Something blew up under the World Trade Center…”

“Something blew up under the World Trade Center on Friday and New York was converted, via newspaper headlines, to a city under siege—a place where no one is safe.”  

On the morning of February 28, 1993 — two days after an explosion turned the World Trade Center’s subfloors to rubble, killing six and injuring more than 1,000 — Warren Levinson introduced the fourth week of Inside Media, which would return two weeks later as On the Media. The first hour of the show was planned to be about the media’s coverage of the run up to America’s military intervention in Bosnia, but the explosion made that story seem like an afterthought. Broadcast live less than 48 hours after the explosion, there were not yet any official reports on the cause of the blast, so speculation by the media was running rampant as to whether or not it was a bombing and, if so, who was responsible. With troops about to land in Bosnia, some suspected a party related to that dispute, while rumors of a phone call from a Colombian source claiming responsibility also circulated.

Levinson’s guests that day included Jane Hall, a New York-based Los Angeles Times reporter (and future On the Media host) and Anne Nelson, executive director of the Committee to Protect Journalists. The panel explored the story’s local and national angles: How was the ensuing destruction and investigation affecting travel into and around the city? How did the local media inform and, in some cases, aid the public in the immediate aftermath of the blast? How did this confirm the national narrative of New York as a violent hellhole after what Jane Hall called “the urban nightmare” had actually happened? Were some in the media behaving irresponsibly for quickly dubbing it a terrorist attack without official confirmation?

This episode provides a fascinating snapshot of a time of much uncertainty and resiliency, and in retrospect, a precursor to 9/11 and the events that would follow.

Vancouver Elections: New Video Wall Show

With the 2018 civic election set for October 20, and advance polls October 10-17, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to search through our holdings to see what election-related material would make an interesting and new video wall show. As the official repository for the City’s records of archival value, our holdings are rich in election-related material. These records give insight into how Vancouver and its electoral system has developed and changed throughout the years. The changes range from who could run for election, and who could vote, to frequency of elections, to the abolishment of the ward system, to what topics ruled the various plebiscites in a particular election year. A sampling of these records–photographs, posters, maps, and other visually interesting textual records–has been captured in the latest addition to our video wall shows: Vancouver Elections.

Council room at City Hall, ca. 1910. Reference code: AM336-S3-2-: CVA 677-82

The invention of photography preceded the incorporation of Vancouver in 1886, which means that there are photographs of the first elected city officials, including the first mayor, and the first City Hall in our holdings. Later photographs capture significant milestones in Vancouver’s political arena. A photograph showing Helena Gutteridge, the first woman elected to City Council, taking her oath of office in 1937 represents one of these milestones.

Helena Gutteridge, first alderwoman, taking the oath of office, 1937. Reference code: AM54-S4-: Port P276.1

Other photographs featured include “Old City Hall”, located at 423 Westminster Street (now Main Street), the laying of the corner stone at the current City Hall in 1936, and a shot of a group of men taken that same year, who voted in Vancouver’s first election fifty years earlier.

Other election items featured in the video wall show include Gutteridge’s nomination paper for Alderman, sample ballots, tallies of election results, and posters and postcards encouraging people to vote.

Election ballot sheet, 1921. Reference code (for file): AM336-S2–

This latest edition to our video wall shows will be exhibiting in the Archives’ gallery space, as well as in the City Hall rotunda across from the elevators during this election season. You can also view it on YouTube, along with past video wall shows.

For more information on Vancouver’s civic election, visit

Isaac Stern On His 1956 Tour of the Soviet Union

On May 3, 1956, the 35-year-old violinist Isaac Stern became the first American concert artist to perform in Moscow’s Grand Conservatory Hall in ten years. Despite the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States being firmly underway, Stern was hailed through five encores and warmly embraced by Russia’s leading violinist David Oistrakh.

The Moscow performances, accompanied by Alexander Zakin on piano, were the start of a month-long tour that would take the violin virtuoso to Leningrad, Kiev, Baku, Tiflis, and Erivan before his finishing-up back in Moscow. 

It is worth noting that this tour was undertaken two years before Van Cliburn’s winning performance at the Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition, often cited as an example of music’s power to bring about reconciliation and as the beginning of a cultural thaw between the two superpowers. 

In his interview with WQXR Music Director Abram Chasins, Stern reflects on the warmth of the Russian people in the streets and their desire to know more about the world at a time when trustworthy information was the leading casualty of the Cold War. His take was based on his experiences in those six Soviet cities: The amazing number of orchestras to be found in the Soviet Union; the high standards of performance at their conservatories; their broad knowledge of the classical repertoire; the shockingly poor conditions of rare violins and other instruments; the sizable state support for artists and musicians; and the significant number of music students eager to learn and of audiences, eager to listen. 

We the People of the United States…

Constitution Day and Citizenship day, celebrated every year on September 17, marks the 1787 signing of the U.S. Constitution, which defines the U.S. Government and outlines the fundamental rights of all citizens. As the guardians of the nation’s Charters of Freedom, including the Constitution, we serve a key role in this yearly celebration.

Thirty-one new United States naturalized citizens took the oath of allegiance on Constitution Day on Monday at the National Archives Rotunda in Washington, DC. Sworn in just steps away from the Charters of Freedom—the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights—the new Americans hail from 25 different countries: Australia, Cameroon, Chile, China, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, The Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Nepal, Peru, Philippines, Romania, Spain, Togo, United Kingdom, and Vietnam.

Image of naturalized U.S. citizens taking the oath of allegiance at the Naturalization Ceremony
Thirty-one naturalized U.S. citizens take the oath of allegiance at the Naturalization Ceremony held at the National Archives’ Rotunda in Washington, DC, on Constitution Day, September 17, 2018. (National Archives photo by Kelsey Bell)

Guest speaker the Honorable Caroline Kennedy, former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, expressed her gratitude at being able to share the “special day” with the new citizens. Kennedy said, “Every time I enter this Rotunda, I am overwhelmed with the privilege and the responsibility that comes with being an American.”

Image of the Honorable Caroline Kennedy with Nii Armah Dagadu, originally from Ghana, who was sworn in as a new American citizen at the event.
The Honorable Caroline Kennedy provided the keynote address at the Naturalization Ceremony held at the National Archives on Constitution Day, September 17, 2018. Nii Armah Dagadu, originally from Ghana, was sworn in as a new American citizen at the event. (National Archives photo by Kelsey Bell)

“America is the only country founded on an ideal,” Kennedy added. “We have no king, no official church or language—we are bound to each other by our shared commitment to the ideals and values of freedom, equality, opportunity, tolerance, diversity, and the rule of law. The fact that ours is the oldest written constitution still in use is a testament to the enduring power of those ideas, and to the skill with which the Founders framed them.”

The first and signature pages of the Constitution have been on display since the entire document came here from the Library of Congress in 1952. In 1970, for the first time ever, we displayed all four pages of the original document during Constitution Week. Doing so was the idea of Assistant Archivist for Educational Programs Frank Burke after having a conversation with a visitor inquiring why all pages were not on public view. Since 2003 all four pages of the document have been on display for more than a million visitors each year.

I encourage you to visit the National Archives News page on Constitution Day, where you can find events and resources about the Constitution, read a transcript of the Constitution or watch a number of related videos. Let us reflect on our privilege as public servants and as Americans. Take a few moments to read the Constitution as citizens united by its enduring value to our nation. We hold in trust the records that tell our nation’s story.

Our First City Archivist – Major J.S. Matthews

There is never a day that passes at the Archives when we don’t mention Major Matthews’ name or appreciate his legacy. While he was very much a man of his time, the fruits of his efforts to document and collect the historical records of Vancouver’s development form the cornerstone of our private-sector holdings, and the importance of his role as advocate for their continued care and preservation cannot be overstated.

The Archivist at Work – Major Matthews, 1941. Reference code: AM54-S4-: Port P567

Born in Wales, September 7, 1878 and educated in Auckland, New Zealand, Matthews headed for North America at the age of 20 to make his fortune, landing in San Francisco. Moving up the coast he made brief stays in Tacoma, Seattle and Victoria, before making Vancouver his permanent home.

Major Matthews, 1916. Reference Code: AM54-S4-: Port P1179

Over the course of his working life he held a variety of positions, including a 20-year stint with Imperial Oil. He joined a local militia unit in 1903 and during the First World War was transferred to regular forces. He served in Europe from February 1916 to May 1918, eventually attaining the rank of ‘Major,’ a title he would use for the rest of his life. After the war Matthews operated his own scow and tug business for a time, eventually retiring in 1924.

Panoramic view of the City of Vancouver, 1998, map reputed to be the first item Major Matthews collected upon his arrival in 1898. AM1594-: MAP 547

Always an avid collector of photography and ephemera, it was at this stage in the Major’s life that his full attention was turned towards the collection and documentation of the City’s history.

Major Matthews’ house at 1158 Arbutus St, 1931. Reference Code: AM54-S4-: Bu P803

After filling every nook and cranny of his home in Kitsilano, he began a prolonged campaign to find a permanent and more appropriate home for the voluminous and steadily growing collection of documents, photographs, and other memorabilia he had amassed. He first attained space in 1931 in the attic of the old City Hall on Main Street, a location that by all accounts was cold, dirty, and inadequate for the storage of irreplaceable historical documents. City staff had relocated to temporary quarters in the Holden Building on East Hastings Street in 1929, enabling the Carnegie Library next door to use the space as an annex and reading room. The City Museum had space on an upper floor.

First Archives room on Main Street, 1931. Reference Code: AM54-S4-: City N11

In 1933, amid public concern that Vancouver’s historical records should be preserved, and quite a bit of behind the scenes lobbying by the likes of the Provincial Archivist John Hosie (who had become a strong supporter of Matthews’ archival work) and former Mayor LD Taylor, City Council finally and unequivocally appointed Major Matthews City Archivist, making him and his work officially part of the City government. He was 55, and would hold the position until his death in 1970.

By enlisting the help and support of prominent local personalities, the Archives was moved several times. The first was in 1933 to the temporary City Hall in the Holden Building on East Hastings.

First City Archives room at temporary City Hall in the Holden Building. Reference Code: AM54-S4-: City N19

First City Archives room at temporary City Hall in the Holden Building, with archival assistant Margaret Giles seated at the desk. Reference Code: AM54-S4-: City N20

The second was in 1936 to the brand new City Hall at Cambie and W. 12th Avenue.

Dr. D.P. Pandia, Secretary to Mahatma Gandhi with Major Matthews at the City Archives in the new City Hall, ~1939. Reference Code: AM54-S4-: Port N164.1

The third, was in 1959 to the Main Library at 750 Burrard Street, despite Matthews’ desire to be close to City Hall. He viewed the move as a five-year temporary solution, but was still there in the late 1960s, continuing to argue with Council over his priorities and the Archives budget right up until his death in 1970.

Interior view of the City Archives, Burrard Street, showing Mrs. Jean Gibbs, Assistant City Archivist and another woman at work, 1959. Reference Code:  AM54-S4-: Port P1626.1

During this period of frequent moves Matthews was also embroiled in a controversy with the City over ownership of the materials, at one point even relocating the holdings back to his home in protest.

Major and Mrs. J.S. Matthews sign documents to appoint responsibility for the Archives’ holdings to a board of trustees, 1938. Reference Code: AM54-S4-: Port P352.3

In 1939, he reluctantly signed an agreement that turned the authority to manage the collection over to a board of trustees, with one caveat, that the City Archivist have the final say in the disposal of any item in the collection. His wife Emily, his trusted advisor for almost 30 years, signed with him.

Photographic reproduction of an architectural rendering depicting the City of Vancouver Archives and the Museum of Vancouver in Vanier Park, 1974????? Reference Code: AM1376-: CVA 88-1

Ever the outspoken advocate for a permanent, dedicated space for the Archives, Major Matthews did not live to see the completion of our current facility, which opened to coincide with the provincial centenary in 1972. Designed by McCarter and Nairn, and named in Matthews’ honour, the Major Matthews Building was the first municipal archives repository in Canada to be built for the sole purpose of housing a city’s archives, a fitting legacy for a man so dedicated to preserving the documentary heritage of our city.

[Editor’s note: This post, the first in a series recounting the accomplishments of our City Archivists, was written by Megan Schlase and originally appeared in Archives Newsletter Number 3: October 2006]

A Strength of Snells

A pounce of cats.  A crash of rhinos.  A gaze of raccoons. A prudence of vicars.  A strength of Snells.

Whenever I think of the Snell family of Western Massachusetts, I think of collective nouns, especially the entertaining “terms of venery.” The Snells are such a distinct unit that they seem to demand their own term.  There are a lot of them, so there are many lives to follow and stories to be told.  And they’re tight-knit.  Something —  maybe it’s from those early days as a big family in North Brookfield – bound them together, even when some of them ended up on the other side of the country.  So there’s a strength to them as a group, and that suggests their term, a “strength of Snells.” It’s not as colorful as “a murder of crows,” but it certainly describes the Snells.

The Snells are of particular interest to us because of their links to Amherst College.  If you’re even a little familiar with Amherst’s early history, you’re likely to have heard of Professor Ebenezer Strong Snell (1801-1876), known to his family as Strong.  Strong was about 14 when his father, Reverend Thomas Snell, a trustee of Williams College, was meeting with other trustees to discuss whether Williams should move to Hampshire County, and Strong was a student at Williams College during the September 1818 “Convention of the Congregational and Presbyterian Clergy,” when his father participated in discussions about an institution of higher learning in Amherst.  To make a long, complicated story short, a new college was finally formed in Amherst and Reverend Snell’s old friend President Zephaniah Swift Moore of Williams was chosen to lead it.  Shortly thereafter, in September 1821, Strong Snell and a small group of students accompanied Moore from Williams College to Amherst to open the new institution.

Strong’s senior year therefore took place at Amherst College. Many decades later, he reminisced, “I was the first individual ever admitted to Amherst College. For Dr. Moore, having heard my examination at Williams College, received me, without requiring another examination, which was the case with no other.”* Strong was one of two students to graduate in the first class (a third having left before the end of the year). His father, Reverend Snell, continued to support the new college by participating in President Moore’s inauguration ceremony and serving for 33 years on the Board of Overseers of the Charity Fund, 15 of them as Secretary.  Given this history, it would not be surprising if both Strong and his father were deeply attached to the College and if Reverend Snell regarded it as one of his children.

Reverend Snell’s children – the human ones – numbered ten. Thanks to a 2017 gift of 24 daguerreotypes and an accompanying genealogical chart, we can see this founding family of Amherst College as they were in the early era of photography. There are even daguerreotypes for the houses occupied by each of the married Snell couples.  The gift was from Susan Burr Snell, a great-great-granddaughter of Reverend Snell’s youngest son, William Ward Snell, who was born in April, 1821, as the first Amherst College building, South College, was being completed and in the year Amherst College opened its doors. What makes the gift even more extraordinary is the fact the daguerreotypes were taken by William Snell. In the two photographs below the genealogical chart halves are arranged against the corresponding daguerreotypes:


A founding family. Note that nos. 9 and 22 are the same daguerreotype (numbered 9); that there is no daguerreotype for one member of the family (Sarah) who died before photography was available; and that #19, the daguerreotype for Lewis Thorpe, is missing. There were also two sons, Samuel and Edward, who died early.


A camera obscura. Image from the “American Cyclopaedia” vol. 3 (George Ripley and Charles A. Dana).

So how did young William Snell (visible in daguerreotype number 15) come to be a photographer in an era where photography was still new? His biography has not been written – it exists in pieces here and there — and he has been entirely unknown to historians of photography.**

Several sources (listed below) have brief entries for William, including one or two that quote him. From these sources, we know that William spent time (maybe a year or so) working at Otis Tuft’s machine shop in Boston.  Since Boston had several practicing daguerreotypists who taught others, he most likely learned the art there. The influence of his older brother was probably involved as well – we know from a letter of April, 1829, that Strong had a camera obscura that William had access to.

Strong Snell to his family, April 1829: “One thing more, and I must stop for want of time. I should like much to have at Amherst the principal parts of my “Electrical Machine,” and my “Camera Obscura Box”…The Box (Camera Obscura) is one, and I should be glad of the whole.”


An as-yet unpublished “Rushford History of Churches, Schools, and ‘Movers and Shakers’” provides some important details and is the most specific source for the years of William’s travel as an itinerant daguerreotypist:

“At age 22 he learned the newly discovered art of photography, and being in delicate health [this is borne out by the letters in the Snell Family Papers], became an itinerant daguerreotypist.  In this capacity he traveled for three years [1843-46] visiting nearly all the states in the Union, but devoting the greater part of his time to Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Carolinas.”

In an e-mail about the gift of daguerreotypes, Susan Snell, William’s descendant, wrote that William “took photos of southern belles so that they could be shared around the neighborhood in hopes of finding a husband.”  In fact, Susan’s gift contains a daguerreotype of a Southern girl that William retained from among those he took for customers, along with an explanatory note.  The note, from an interview in 1900 between William and his son William Emerson Snell, records that the daguerreotypist was offered ten slaves by the girl’s mother if he would marry her.  “I relinquish my claim when you make yours,” the mother told him.  As an abolitionist, the note says, he was shocked at the offer.  Since he remembered it more than 50 years later, the occasion clearly made an impression.

“A Southern girl.” This daguerreotype shows a backdrop that would be very typical for an itinerant daguerreotypist. The tablecloth shown here appears in a daguerreotype of a family member (not included in this post), suggesting that Snell carried this particular tablecloth with him and that its pattern could be used to identify at least some of his daguerreotypes. Note that there are several different cloths in the daguerreotypes of family members shown above, some specific to a couple and probably from their own homes.

The Rushford History continues: “In 1846 he returned home with improved health taking charge of a garden near Boston for two years [a letter in the collection suggests that it was his sister Tirzah’s in Brookline], then entered into a machine shop at Lawrence, and became a machinist by profession, as he was by the strong bias a mechanical genius. William has been credited with the invention of the principle of the mechanical knotter or twine binder, which he sold to Appleby who made improvements and revolutionized American agriculture.”

A letter from Strong to his sister Tirzah Emerson in spring of 1847 confirms that William was back in Massachusetts but was still trying to determine what he would do for work – by this time he had decided he didn’t want to farm. Working as a machinist seems to have been a temporary solution for him, but he still felt unsettled.

At the same time, the Snell family was approaching the celebration in 1848 of Reverend Snell’s 50th anniversary as pastor of the North Brookfield Congregational Church. There were plans for family members to gather for the occasion, and it seems likely that many of the daguerreotypes above were taken during this period. However, evidence in Strong’s letters suggests that the Porters in Illinois couldn’t attend the celebrations, so the daguerreotypes of the Porters were probably taken toward the end of William’s earlier travels and after March, 1845, when the Porters moved to Hadley, Illinois. One or two others – such as the Rushford cabin — must date from even later since William only moved to Minnesota in 1855. During all the time that he was a daguerreotypist he seems to have used the same camera lens, one more suited to portraits than to landscapes.

In late 1850 William married Jane Fay of Vermont, and in the spring of 1855 he left for Minnesota, where he staked a claim to land in the new town of Rushford.  Jane followed him there a short time later. In Rushford, William found the preacher in himself, no doubt reaching back to what he learned from his father. The family remained in Minnesota until the late 1880s, when they moved to California. William Snell died there in 1901.

The southeastern area (Sioux territory) of Minnesota. William Snell settled in Rushford, located in the lower right section, a bit below the “t” in “Hokalt.” Map detail from “Chapin’s New Ornamental Map of the United States” (1853) from the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection.

Knowing that William Snell took the daguerreotypes above also demonstrated that he took several of the daguerreotypes that have long been at Amherst College as part of the Snell Family Papers.  These daguerreotypes were taken at the same sitting as the ones we received from Susan Snell, or very close in time. In each of the comparisons in the slideshow below, the additions from the new gift are on the left and the daguerreotypes that have been at Amherst for several decades are on the right. Notice the subtle differences between the daguerreotypes for each individual.  (Click on any image to see the slideshow.)

One of William’s daguerreotypes of Strong is also curious in that it shows him with equipment (as yet unidentified –if you know, please tell us) and two books, one of which supports a section of the unidentified equipment:

Strong’s books and equipment. Image flipped.

As a dedicated nosey parker (or an undiagnosed obsessive-compulsive), it was important to look at the books Snell has with him. Sometimes the books in daguerreotypes can be identified, sometimes they can’t. In this case a little Photoshop work and subsequent investigation in our library catalogue revealed not only the title of the work – they’re two volumes of a four-volume title — but the fact that we own the exact copies that Strong uses in the photograph. How often does that happen? Probably not that often:

Left to right, the volume in the daguerreotype, flipped; the same volume in the Archives and Special Collections, and interior with Snell’s signature.

When we look at all the Snell family daguerreotypes above (and there are more in the Archives than I’ve included here), we can imagine the scenes: William visiting family members; gathering and setting up the backdrop, the chair, the table, the cloth to cover the table and the books or flowers on it; William suggesting poses (“hold still!”), including where the hands should be, and the silence in the room for those long seconds a daguerreotype required. The Snells come to life in this way – you can feel them bustling around the room, moving the props around, or maybe running to change clothing between shots. You can sense the excitement they must’ve felt as they anticipated how the daguerreotypes would turn out. That these images lasted as a group this long – almost 170 years! – is amazing, and a testament to the strength of Snells.




* Amherst Graduates Quarterly, 1947, but originally from Strong Snell’s diary in the Snell Family Papers.

**A daguerreotypist named William Snell operated in Eastern Massachusetts from 1843-1865, but he is not William Ward Snell.


Sources that mention William Ward Snell:

History of North Brookfield, p. 755.

The History of the Descendants of Elder John Strong, of Northampton, Mass., p. 62.

Congregational Work of Minnesota, 1832-1920, p. 278.

The Home Missionary, vol. 55, Feb 1883, p. 303.  Snell is also mentioned in several other volumes of this publication.

Minutes of the General Congregational Association of Minnesota, referencing Snell’s “Reminiscences of a Thirty Years’ Pastorate in Minnesota,” [Sept.] 1884, p. 18.

The Christian Union, Vol. 30, No. 21, re “Reminiscences,” p. 502.

“A Tale of Two Valleys,” by Conrad G. Selvig, chapter 2.

Minutes of the Annual Meeting of the Southern California Congregational Conference, 1901, p. 52 (obituary).

“Rushford History of Churches, Schools, and ‘Movers and Shakers’,” unpublished volume; excerpt provided by the Rushford Historical Society.

“History of Fillmore County,” volume 1, 1912.





Studying the birds after a war

Our partnership with the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience has introduced me to some of the most interesting people of the Greatest Generation. I added a new one to my list this week as I loaded a set of photographs from Dr. Oliver L. Austin Jr. Students working for Dr. Annika A. Culver digitized this small set of images from the collection earlier this year for a museum in Japan. A student described them over this summer and now they are available in DigiNole (and later this year, will be available in DPLA).

Nihonbashi Takashimaya Department Store
Nihonbashi Takashimaya Department Store, 1946-1949 [original record]

Dr. Austin sounds like he was always up for an adventure. In 1931, he received Harvard University’s first Ph.D. Degree in Ornithology. As a seasoned sailor whose family owned a summer home on Cape Cod, Austin felt that he could be of service to the US Navy, and volunteered for sea duty in World War II, a somewhat unpopular posting prior to the Battle of Midway when the Japanese were still a formidable presence in the western Pacific Ocean. In 1942, when he was 39 years old, he went to naval headquarters in Boston and received his orders in late July. After three months of communications school, he was assigned to the USS Tryon, an evacuation transport, or armed hospital ship, headed for an embattled contingent of Marines in New Caledonia. Deck service was followed by duty in Admiral Bull Halsey’s communication pool and as communications officer on a gas tanker to forward bases. While in dock, he collected over 2,000 bird and bat specimens in “no man’s land” of the Pacific Theater’s roughest battles, including Tulagi and Bougainville, and even discovered two new bat species in Guadalcanal. After two years in the Navy and earning Lieutenant Commander rank, Austin was transferred to “military government school” at Princeton University to prepare him for service in the future occupations of Korea and Japan.

Dr. Oliver Austin
Dr. Oliver Austin, 1945-1952 [original record]

Dr. Austin headed the Wildlife Branch of the Fisheries Division in the Natural Resources Section (NRS) for Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) from September 4, 1946 to December 31, 1949. He was honored as one of only two members of the US Occupation of Japan who received a personal commendation for meritorious civilian service by General Douglas MacArthur. Austin implemented reforms of game laws and created wildlife sanctuaries as well as public hunting grounds to help conserve and manage Japan’s wildlife and natural resources. During his nearly four years in Japan, Austin left behind almost 1,000 well-preserved color photographic slides of postwar Japan under reconstruction. Highlights include American expatriate life, ordinary Japanese families in Tokyo and the countryside, and Japanese veterans purveying street entertainments. These sorts of images are included in the materials now available in DigiNole.

Later, in 1955 and 1956, Dr. Austin was invited to work as an Air Force scientific observer on the US Navy’s first Operation Deep Freeze, a preparatory expedition for the International Geophysical Year. In addition to his work on the expedition, Austin conducted research on Adelie and emperor penguins, skua, and seals, implementing a bird-banding project for his ornithological work.

More images from this collection are available through a project hosted by the WWII Institute and hopefully we’ll add more into DigiNole in the future.

NARA’s Annual Records Management Report Indicates Agency Progress toward Fully Electronic Environment

NARA’s Federal Agency Records Management Annual Report for 2017 indicates that federal agencies continue their efforts to transition to a fully electronic environment as required by the President’s reform plan, Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century, and NARA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan.

The report indicates that ninety-eight percent of executive-branch agencies believe they can meet the OMB/NARA Managing Government Records Directive (M-12-18) target of managing all permanent electronic records in electronic format by December 31, 2019.  However, the report also noted that more work is still required and agencies must actively continue modernization efforts.

Key recommendations supporting digital modernization call for:

1) Senior Agency Officials for Records Management (SAORMs) to ensure that records management programs are properly resourced and aligned with agency strategic information plans;

2) SAORMs to promote an information governance framework that requires collaboration between records management and information technology staff;

3) Agencies to improve email management, particularly in records retention scheduling and final disposition;

4) Agencies to ensure that new and departing senior agency officials and leaders receive documentable briefings on their responsibilities for records management, and if applicable, require that they obtain approval before removing personal files or copies of records;

5) NARA to increase its oversight activities (inspections, assessments, or system audits) to evaluate the accuracy and causes of extreme changes in record-management performance data.

The publication of NARA’s Federal Agency Records Management Annual Report for 2017, which consolidates data reported annually to NARA in the Senior Agency Official for Records Management Report, the Records Management Self-Assessment (RMSA), and the Federal Email Management Report from executive-branch agencies, was announced on August 22, 2018, by NARA through the Chief Records Officer for the United States Government.

An Evening with György Ligeti

In November 1986, Hungarian composer György Ligeti paid a rare visit to New York to receive the prestigious Grawemeyer Award, the largest composition prize awarded at the time. (In a New York Times interview Ligeti described the award, with characteristic irony, as “a kind of Nobel Prize for music.”) The visit also prompted a concert of two recent pieces by Ligeti at Merkin Hall on Wednesday, November 12, 1986, broadcast by WNYC on February 4, 1987, which can be heard above. It was an interesting time in Ligeti’s career: a few years earlier, the composer — best-known at the time for his icy 1961 Atmosphères, used to striking effect in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey—had experienced a mid-life creative crisis of sorts. From then on, his music had made a decisive move away from the overtly modernist, cerebral music of Atmosphères and toward a more expressive, colorful, though nonetheless complex, sound. The pieces in this concert fully reflect this new aesthetic, and include the New York premiere of the Études pour piano, premier livre and the Brahms-inspired Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano.

In 1983, Ligeti described his earlier pieces as “crystalline in nature,” and his more recent work as “much more vegetative and proliferating.” This new music incorporated a broad range of influences, from the mechanical piano music of the American outsider Conlon Nancarrow, to the percussive minimalism of Steve Reich, to the polyphonic “hocket” singing of the Pygmies of central Africa. In the program notes for the concert at Merkin Hall, Ligeti also mentions artists M.C. Escher and Saul Steinberg, and writers like Jorge Luis Borges and Franz Kafka as influences on the “intellectual environment in which I work as a composer… In my music one finds neither that which one might call the ‘scientific’ nor the ‘mathematical’ but rather a unification of construction with poetic, emotional imagination.”

György Ligeti on Etudes for Solo Piano

Sandwiched between the performances, the composer gives a brief and (if you’re into this sort of thing) entertaining explanation of the composition techniques used to create the Études. In his humble, humorous way, Ligeti — with assistance from Banfield — makes the advanced musical theory underlying these dense, polyrhythmic pieces seem simple and even approachable. In a refreshingly casual style, the composer reminds us that even the most advanced technique and theory, like the most advanced technologies, are tools, not ends in themselves.


“An Evening with György Ligeti” Wednesday, November 12, 1986 at 8:30 pm Merkin Concert Hall, Abraham Goodman House

    Etudes for Solo Piano, first book (1985) (New York Premiere) – Volker Banfield, Piano1. Desordre2. Cordes vides3. Touches bloquees4. Fanfares5. Arc-en-ciel6. Automne a Varsovie
    György Ligeti on Etudes for Solo Piano
    Etudes for Solo Piano, first book, repeated – Volker Banfield, Piano
    Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano (1982) – Volker Banfield, Piano; Robin Graham, Horn; Saschko Gawriloff, Violin.1. Andantino con tenerezza 2. Vivacissimo molto ritmico3. Alla marcia 4. Lamento adagio

Digitizing the Castro Archaeological Site

In a recent collaboration with the Department of Anthropology, FSU’s Digital Library Center has digitized thousands of objects including photos, field notes, and other fascinating material produced during 2000-2002 of the Castro archaeological site located right here in Leon County, Florida.

The Castro site was one of many Franciscan missions found in Northwest Florida. Established by Spain in 1663, these missions were built on Apalachee homelands and functioned until they were destroyed in the early 1700s by Anglo-Creek military forces from the Carolina colony. These sites were eventually abandoned by the Apalachees and indigenous peoples, and evidence of their existence was buried over time by natural processes.  

Guided by FSU Anthropology Professor Dr. Rochelle Marrinan, students in the Field School surveyed and excavated the Castro site to analyze its settlement pattern and layout with an emphasis on its church complex. In both Anthropological Fieldwork courses, ANT4824, and ANG5824, the students learned and practiced basic survey, excavation, preparation, and analysis of cultural materials.

Students carefully excavating a portion of the Castro site
Students carefully excavating a portion of the Castro site. [See original object]

Using a combination of flatbed scanning and photographic techniques, the Digital Library Center digitized the wide range of material from this project. Included in the Castro Archaeological Site Collection are photographs, video, topographic maps of the site, detailed hand-written notes by each student, and other administrative and analysis documents. The findings of these hard-working teams are now publicly available in DigiNole and can be found here.

Page of student field notes from the Castro site.
Page of student field notes from the Castro site. [See original object]

Digitizing the Castro site material isn’t the first time the DLC has collaborated with FSU’s Department of Anthropology. The Windover Archaeological Site Collection in DigiNole details the digs of an Early Archaic site near what is now Titusville, Florida. Unearthing the secrets of Florida’s rich and complex history is a fascinating experience and we look forward to our next collaboration with the Anthropology Department.

The Relevance of the Past – Doris Chapman’s Facial Reconstructions in the 1930s.

We were delighted to welcome Cherwell School student Jack Evans on a sixth-form work placement here in the archives. One of his assignments was to catalogue a box from the Stuart Piggott archive. Here are his thoughts on what he found:

“Recently I spent a week working at the Institute of Archaeology as work experience. Working through the archives was the most interesting time I spent, as I read through the notes and letters of Stuart Piggott. Piggott was a celebrated archaeologist who had a key focus on prehistory, initially in the British Isles but towards the later years of his career increasingly so in India and Europe as a whole. He began work in 1928, aged 18, and published influential papers and books until his final book in 1989. As a result of the quality of his work, he was often in communication with other celebrated archaeologists, and so his archives are a wealth of information, revealing much about the field as well as those who populated it.


Churn Bell Barrow, Berkshire, 1932: photo Stuart Piggott. (HEIR ID 35356, copyright Institute of Archaeology)

The history of archaeology, that is, the study of archaeologists and their craft, explores two periods of history simultaneously. The ancient history examined through excavated artifacts exists alongside the early modern history of the 20th century in which the archaeologists lived, allowing us to see how cultural and societal norms helped to influence the ways in which we studied our ancient ancestors as the field developed.

Doris Chapman, whose only online presence is as the wife of Alexander Keiller (a famous archaeologist), demonstrates this in various ways. Chapman was an artist, and Keiller’s third wife. As I worked through Piggott’s archive, organising each item he had decided was important enough to preserve, I came across groundbreaking work she had done in 1937 – a collection of drawings (Piggott Archive Box 52). She used Bronze Age skulls found at sites such as a burial mound at Rushmore Park, Cranborne Chase (excavated by General Pitt Rivers in the 19th century), and Lanhill Barrow, near Chippenham, Wiltshire (excavated by Kieller, Piggott, A.D. Passmore and A. Cave in 1937) to attempt to draw the faces of humans from over four thousand years ago. She used the structural features of the skulls, creating photo-realistic drawings that helped to put a face to the people who lived in these sites, the people who used the weapons and pottery that had been excavated alongside their skeletons.

facial reconstruction001

“Bronze Age Interment. Barrow 20, Susan Gibb’s Walk, Rushmore Park. Adult male, Height 5.4.5” D. Chapman 1937

facial reconstruction004

“West Kennet Long Barrow. Age 35. Height 5.7.” D. Chapman, 1937.

facial reconstruction002

“Skull 4, Lanhill.” D. Chapman, 1937.

At this point in time the study of the face was not without controversy. In archaeology, very few people had made efforts to deduce the appearances of prehistoric peoples (Wikipedia claims that the first to do so was Mikhail Gerasimov in 1964). In wider culture, the study of physiognomy, where personality and traits are determined by examining the face, had become increasingly widespread in Europe. The Nazi party promoted the identification of and the characterisation of ethnic groups based on facial features through their national school curriculum, a policy which aided their dehumanisation of the groups they would later systematically destroy. Doris Chapman’s efforts seem to have come at the wrong time. War broke out in 1939, and as it continued, and the Nazi’s goals became evident, the study of the face became a taboo concept . Nobody would want to carry out work that could be likened to the work of the Nazis, and more accurate visualisations of prehistoric peoples would not be created for decades. Societal pressures had confined the study of the face to a far smaller role following 1937.

Chapman’s work also allows us to see how technology and its availability influences how we see the distant past. When comparing her drawings to modern day reconstructions, such as that of the Jericho Skull in 2017, we can see the drastic differences. The importance of archives and their organisation can be seen here therefore, as it allows us to see how archaeologists and historians reached their conclusions with the means available to them. As technology improves, new conclusions can be drawn. This does not invalidate the work of the earlier archaeologists, but rather shows that they are key steps towards building the most accurate image and perception of history. It is easy to imagine Chapman’s drawings being used as evidence to determine the character of the people who lived near modern Chippenham, for example, with this knowledge then influencing other conclusions drawn about culture and intelligence. As technology and ideas have improved these conclusions can be altered, improved, moving closer and closer towards a truthful account.

facial reconstruction005

The cover Stuart Piggott’s notes for ‘Neolithic Cultures of the British Isles’. Institute of Archaeology, Oxford, Stuart Piggott Archive, Box 52.

This can even be seen in Piggott’s later work, for example a 1954 book concerning Neolithic cultures in the British Isles was challenged in its chronology by the advent of radiocarbon dating. However, this also teaches us an important lesson about modern day efforts – they are constrained by our own cultural beliefs and modern technology. It is difficult to find any certainties, and it is necessary to remain open to the possibility that new scientific methods and apparatus can provide compelling evidence to change interpretations of the past.

Finally, the drawings show us the struggle which women have faced, especially in archaeology, to have their work recognised and to make a name for themselves. The Oxford University Archaeological Society, established in 1919, did not accept women until 1927, as I discovered when I worked on the OUAS archive. Often women were sidelined by their husbands, despite carrying out much important work themselves. Chapman shows another woman who, despite fascinating work and incredible artistic talent, found herself lost into obscurity. She is Keiller’s wife to most concerned, her work hidden from many. Despite this, we can see even more the injustice of the public, as she was clearly acknowledged in private. An archaeologist with the reputation of Piggott recognised the importance of these drawings, keeping them in his own personal archives. Growing equality today again shows us how perceptions change with culture. Ideas developed by women which may have been ignored out of hand in the past are now considered equally, and this helps to lead to a more balanced view of history – both ancient and not so ancient.”

Jack Evans, The Cherwell School, Oxford, August 2018


Piggott, S. 1954. The Neolithic Cultures of the British Isles: A Study of the Stone-Using Agricultural Communities of Britain in the Second Millenium B.C.  Edinburgh University Press

National Archives Works to Release Records Related to Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh

The mission of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is to provide access to the permanent records of the Federal government, which include Presidential records from NARA’s Presidential Libraries.

President Donald Trump nominated Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court on July 9, 2018. NARA has permanent records related to Judge Kavanaugh, because he served in the White House Counsel’s Office and the White House Office of the Staff Secretary under the Administration of President George W. Bush, and he also served as an Associate Independent Counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr during the Administration of President William J. Clinton.

Each time a candidate is nominated to the Supreme Court by the President, the staff at the National Archives and Records Administration immediately begin the task of reviewing and releasing records related to that nominee. The process is governed by several laws, including the Presidential Records Act, the Federal Records Act, and the Freedom of Information Act. All of the records, electronic and paper, must be reviewed by archival staff before being released by NARA.

In addition to the challenges of reviewing the records, the archival staff face an enormous number of documents—in Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s case, far more than previous nominees.  While National Archives processed and released roughly 70,000 pages on Chief Justice John Roberts and 170,000 pages on Justice Elena Kagan, there are the equivalent of several million pages of paper and email records related to Judge Kavanaugh in the holdings of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and in the National Archives.

This is a challenging task that National Archives staff are currently working to meet. These are not open records under the Presidential Records Act, and the way we’re reviewing and releasing them is governed by the processes specified in the law, including that we must give first priority to records requested by a chairman of a congressional committee. Some records might be withheld or released in redacted form for various reasons: to preserve the secrecy of grand jury proceedings; to protect the personal privacy of living individuals; to protect the identities of confidential sources; and to protect confidential communications within the White House.  The PRA representative of former President George W. Bush, who has an independent right of access to Presidential records of his administration, is also engaged in a separate process to review and provide records to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

In our efforts towards transparency, we have created a new webpage summarizing the Judge Kavanaugh records. Presidential records are being reviewed by NARA archivists and will be released on NARA’s George W. Bush Presidential Library’s website, along with previously released records. NARA has released the records from the Office of Independent Counsel Starr on the National Archives website. Additionally, correspondence between NARA and the Senate Judiciary Committee related to the overall process can be found in NARA’s FOIA Electronic Reading Room. I encourage anyone with a deep interest in how this process works to read these exchanges for the latest and most accurate information.

I remain deeply committed to the efforts of archives in providing transparency as our best hope in combating low public trust in government. Transparency also supports active public engagement with government, and NARA is seeing high levels of engagement and interest in what we do. After all, archives and open government records are one of the pillars of democracy. When I became Archivist of the United States, I took an Oath of Office just as every Federal employee. I swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Rule of Law. That is what I have been doing, that is what I am doing, and that is what I will continue to do as long as I am the Archivist of the United States.

Working amongst History

Today we have a guest post from Brianna McLean, a student employee for Special Collections & Archives over the past summer.

Like most undergraduate students at FSU, the FSU Libraries have always been a place to study, research, read, and hang out with friends.  When I first came to FSU, I did not know about the many career opportunities libraries could offer. After working two years at the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience in the History Department, I had a wonderful opportunity to work in the Digital Library Center (DLC) in Special Collections this summer.  Not only did I gain valuable experience, I worked closely with some of the best library professionals learning metadata, digitization, and cataloging processes.

West Florida Seminary Students Doing Fieldwork in Surveying and Engineering, 1900

As someone who recently graduated with a history degree, I have a lot of experience researching and working with primary sources. Working in the DLC and Special Collections, I was able to be part of the process of preparing primary sources for researchers. When you create metadata and inventory items, you have to think of the things a researcher might be looking for, enhancing your own research skills. Historical preservation and cataloging is the whole other side of research that is crucial to education and the availability of information. I would urge all students to become familiar with Special Collections ( on the first floor of Strozier and the digital library, Diginole (

Coeds With Raincoats on in the Sunshine, 1962

Working in Special Collections is not just exciting because of the research experience; it was incredible to be able to work with all the books, photographs, documents, and artifacts. FSU’s Special Collections has everything from cuneiform tablets to comic books. One of my favorite projects in the DLC was working with the FSU Historical Photograph Collection and the Tarpon Club Videos. FSU has such a rich history and Special Collections contains endless information from the beginning when FSU was the West Florida Seminary to the more recent history of our campus. I have included some of my favorite photographs with this blog post.

The first image is of West Florida Seminary students in 1900 surveying in front of the original administration building, which is now the Westcott Building. The second image is from 1962 when women were still prohibited to wear pants on campus, so they circumvented the rule by wearing open raincoats over their shorts. The final one is unfortunately undated, but it is of the Westcott Building before the iconic fountain was installed. These photos are perfect examples of why I love working in archives. Being a historian, I enjoy research and telling the stories of humanity. However, there is something incredibly special about being able to hold and see the items for yourself, as well as preserving them for many more people to have the same opportunity.

Westcott Building
Taken with my phone. This image is part of the FSU Historical Photographs Collection.

Brianna McLean recently graduated with her B.A. in History, minor in French from FSU. She is continuing her education this fall at FSU, beginning her M.A. in History, studying the French Revolution and Napoleonic France. Brianna is excited to continue working with FSU Libraries in the Heritage Museum this fall.

A Call to Action for Scholars of American History: Contribute to Wikipedia

Our mission at the National Archives is to drive openness, cultivate public participation, and strengthen our nation’s democracy through public access to government records.  We are fast approaching the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, a hallmark of the expansion of democracy here in the United States. On March 8, we will open our exhibit, Rightfully Hers: American Women and the Vote, which celebrates its modern relevance through inclusive retelling of the women’s suffrage movement.

Photograph of suffrage parade
Photograph of Suffrage Parade, 1913. National Archives Identifier 593561

As the National Archives, along with many other organizations, prepares for the 19th Amendment’s centennial we are working hard to increase access to the records we hold around women’s suffrage. One way we are doing this is by collaborating with Wiki Education, a nonprofit focused on empowering people to expand and improve Wikipedia content for the benefit of all. Through this collaboration, Wiki Education is launching a new virtual, immersive training course designed to give participants the skills and practical experience necessary to improve Wikipedia coverage of the history of women’s voting rights in the United States.

Participants in this new course will have the privilege of working with NARA’s subject matter experts on documents related to women’s suffrage and will learn how to use National Archives records to improve Wikipedia’s coverage of this historic period in our nation’s history. For scholars with a passion for American history, this presents a chance to improve the content of Wikipedia and make it more representative, accurate, and complete using original source materials. Channeling NARA collections into Wikipedia is an opportunity to share our content more broadly and connect with people across the United States and around the world.

Wikimedians add and improve culture at the Proposed Amendments Edit-a-Thon at the National Archives, 2016

In keeping with our strategic goal to connect with our customers, this collaboration with Wiki Education will allow scholars to contextualize archival documents in relevant Wikipedia articles while expanding access to NARA holdings on Wikipedia. It is critical that NARA continues to grow and diversify our audience by connecting our collections with Wikipedia’s hundreds of millions of readers. This collaboration provides an opportunity to deepen our engagement with audiences as they take part in our mission and do meaningful service work on behalf of the country and fellow citizens.

I am proud that NARA can expand the reach of its materials and engage new avenues to directly improve public knowledge.

For more information about this program and Wiki Scholars visit

National Sporting Heritage Day 2018

Sporting Heritage Fair

Leith Victoria Athletic Club

28 Academy Street, Edinburgh, EH6 7EF

Sunday 30 September 2018

2pm to 5pm

The University of Stirling’s Hosts & Champions team are celebrating this year’s National Sporting Heritage Day with a pop-up event at Leith Victoria Athletic Club, Scotland’s oldest boxing club which will celebrate its centenary in 2019. Our sporting heritage fair will focus on boxing at the Commonwealth Games and will celebrate the long and distinguished contribution of members of Leith Victoria to the competition.

Jackie Brown (Leith Victoria Athletic Club) winning Gold in the Flyweight competition at the 1958 Cardiff Commonwealth Games.

Material from the University of Stirling’s Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive will be on display, including a gallery of images illustrating the history of Scottish boxing at the competition. Members of Leith Victoria and the wider Scottish boxing community are invited to visit the event and share their memories of competition. Visitors are also invited to bring bring their own boxing memorabilia, including photographs, which will be digitised at the event by our Hosts & Champions team and added to the archive at Stirling.

Team Scotland badge from the 1958 Commonwealth Games, held in Cardiff.

Sporting Heritage in partnership with the Art Fund, are proud to support community sporting heritage activity across the UK through a programme of locally focused projects in celebration of National Sporting Heritage Day. Follow the action at #NSHD2018.

The Best of WNYC Live – Volume Two

Originally published in 1999.

WNYC has, since its inception in 1924, viewed live music as an important part of our programming. But no one could have foreseen the dramatic and unexpected renaissance of live performances on WNYC in the 1990s – especially after decades of dwindling opportunities to hear live music on the radio. A series of cutbacks by the New York City administration (which still owned and contributed somewhat to the operation of the station) in 1991 resulted in the loss of the few remaining City employees at WNYC, including longtime midday host Andre Bernard. We suddenly found ourselves with a gaping hole in the afternoon. It was a problem, but also an opportunity.

A couple of phone calls and some very tentative questions soon revealed that the city was not just teeming with musicians, but that it was full of musicians who loved the idea of playing live on the radio, for an audience the size of WNYC’s. And we loved the idea of bringing the musical community and the larger community of WNYC listeners together, showing that the formidable world of Classical Music was actually made up of real people – people who told us about their kids, who told bad jokes, who broke strings in mi-performance. So on John Cage’s birthday, September 5, 1991, we invited Margaret Leng Tan to play some of Cage’s works on our piano (which, having been neglected for many years, was perilously close to the sound of Cage’s “prepared piano” anyway). And we haven’t stopped since. What you have here are just a few recent examples of the diversity and the talent WNYC has presented vin our live music programs. From world-famous stars like Richard Stolzman to the young but gifted singers in the American Boychoir, from the legendary Beethoven to up-and-coming Raimundo Penaforte, WNYC takes advantage of being in New York – a city that contains a whole world of music.


Richard Stoltzman

Gershwin/arr. J. Gach: Prelude #2

One of the world’s greatest clarinetists, Richard Stolzman has been a regular guest in the WNYC studios. Here he performs a terrific arrangement of the second Gershwin Piano Prelude, which plays on the bluesy quality of the original. Recorded: August 19, 1999. Engineer: George Wellington.


The Eroica Trio

Raimundo Penaforte: An Eroica Trio, II

Penaforte is a New York-based composer who did, coincidentally, his own arrangements of the 3 Gershwin Preludes. His colorful and effective arrangements for the Eroica Trio convinced them to ask him for a piece of his own. An Eroica Trio was the result. Like the Gershwin, it is an unabashedly American work, played with great energy by one of America’s leading chamber ensembles, and WNYC’s unofficial house band, the Eroica Trio. Recorded: July 22, 1999. Engineer: Wayne Shulmister,


Robert McDuffie

Poldini/Kreisler: Poupee Valsante

McDuffie can play virtually anything on the violin, from Baroque sonatas to a Jimi Hendrix-inspired arrangement of The Star-Spangled Banner, which he has played before New York Jets football games on several occasions. Here he plays one of Fritz Kreisler’s classic salon pieces, where the charming surface masks a piece of often fiendish difficulty. Recorded: May 11, 1999. Engineer: George Wellington.


Alexander String Quartet

Beethoven: String Quartet #9, Op. 59 #3, 2nd movement

The Alexanders came into our studio with an unusual concept: they’d take requests for any movement from any Beethoven string quartet and would play the most requested movements. Votes were cast via email in the days before their appearance, and this movement came out on top. Small wonder: it stands on its own quite well, and divorced from the rest of the 9th quartet, creates a surprisingly exotic mood through some unusual twists in the melody.


Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Edo de Waart, conductor. Beethoven: Symphony #5, finale

Since we can’t fit an orchestra into our studio, we have to go to them. This performance was part of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra’s 1998 U.S. tour, and came to us from the Tilles Centre, where the orchestra and Edo de Waart put on a memorable series of Beethoven Symphonies and Concertos – all of which were broadcast live back to our Manhattan studio, and then heard across Australia via the Australia Broadcasting Corporation. Recorded at the Tilles Center, C.W. Post Campus, Long Island University on November 15, 1998; director: Eileen Delahunty; technical director: Edward Haber; engineers: George Wellington (music mix) and Irene Trudel. Thanks to the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney, Australia.


Valery Kuleshov

Bizet/Horowitz: Carmen Variations

An extraordinary young talent, Valery Kuleshov has spent an increasing amount of time in the United States in recent years. He has become fond of American composers, especially the late Morton Gould, and when last seen here was in the process of adding Gould’s 1994 Anniversary Rag for WNYC to his repertoire. Here he tackles Horowitz’s virtuoso showpiece based on Bizet’s famed opera with typical elan. Recorded: June 4, 1998. Engineer: Edward Haber.


Vox Vocal Ensemble

George Steel, director. Robert Parsons: Nunc Dimittis

Vox is a relative newcomer on New York’s early music scene but has quickly established a niche for itself – a result of director George Steel’s innovative programming (and his position as director of Columbia’s Miller Theater). In Robert Parsons, they’ve discovered a largely neglected composer whose work is full of harmonic surprises; parts of the Nunc Dimittis (sung in English despite the Latin title) sounded like they could’ve been written 4 years ago instead of 400. Recorded: April 29, 1999. Engineer: Wayne Shulmister.


Eliot Fisk

Trad/arr. Segovia: Canciones Populares

Carrying on the legacy of the great Andres Segovia, Eliot Fisk has been omnivorous in his choices of repertoire. As with Segovia, he plays the classic works of Spanish composers like Tarrega and Torriba at the same time that he premieres new works written for him. Here, he plays the master’s own arrangements of a pair of popular songs, the second familiar to many listeners as “Loch Lomond.” Recorded: December 11, 1996. Engineer: Michael DeMark.


Dubrovka Tomsic

Bach/Siloti: Prelude in B Minor

Dubrovka Tomsic is a first-rate Slovenian pianist who simply doesn’t appear enough in these parts, and whose reputation therefore doesn’t match her prodigious talent. As if to prove the point, she performed for us this deceptively challenging arrangement of Bach’s Prelude in B Minor, after only mild urging from our resident piano maven, Sara Fishko. Recorded: April 15, 1999. Engineer: George Wellington.


Modern Mandolin Quartet

Piazzolla: Melodie in A Minor         

Born in Argentina, Piazzolla was raised in New York. And though he died in Argentina in 1992, he was a frequent and welcome visitor to WNYC. Best known for his nuevo tango style, he also had a strong lyrical bent, which he indulged to great effect in this lovely melody. The arrangement is by the Modern Mandolin Quartet, a San Francisco-based ensemble that has made many live appearances and has premiered several commissioned works on WNYC. Recorded: October 26, 1995. Engineer: Michael DeMark.


Shanghai String Quartet

Griffes: Two Sketches Based on Indian Themes

Based for many years now in the United States, the Shanghai Quartet has a wide-ranging repertoire that includes the so-called “standard rep” as well as new works by contemporary composers like Zhou Long. Here, they play an overlooked gem from the early 20th-century American composer Charles Tomlinson Griffes. Recorded: June 17, 1999. Engineer: George Wellington.


Christopher O’Riley

Scriabin/arr. O’Riley: Sequence from “The Lady With the Lapdog”

An unusual project brought frequent visitor Chris O’Riley back to our studios in fall of 1999. “Vers La Flamme” was a narrative but wordless dance by Martha Graham, set to piano works by Scriabin. It was O’Riley’s job to not only play the music, but to help create the sequences of pieces that would accompany each part of the event. For this tableaux, O’Riley plays excerpts from the Sonata #4, as well as the Album Leaf (Op 58 #1), Poeme (Op. 59 #1), and the Prelude in G#m (Op. 11 #10). Recorded: September 21, 1999. Engineer: Edward Haber.


The American Boychoir

James Litton, conductor. Libby Larson: Reasons for Loving the Harmonica

Kurt Masur’s first call when he needs a boy’s choir (which happens more frequently than you might think), this Princeton-based group had a great time performing Libby Larsen’s musical meditation on the humble harmonica. And why not- how often do kids get a chance to sing words like “spit”? (A little spit on the instrument means the music is fervent, we’re told.) My favorite reason for loving the harmonic: “because it gleams like the chrome on a ’57 Chevy.” The American Boychoir’s new CD on Virgin Classics is called Fast Cats and Mysterious Cows – a title they came up with while soundchecking before this performance. Recorded: June 3, 1999. Engineer: George Wellington.


Producer: John Schaefer

Master at WNYC Studios by: Edward Haber

Thanks to: Eileen Delahunty, Fred Child, Sara Fishko, Ralph Graves at Digital Chips, Inc., and YOU, for supporting WNYC Radio.



Call for Proposals: 2019 Creative Fellowship

We’re excited to announce that PPL is now accepting proposals for our 2019 Creative Fellowship.


We’re looking for an artist working in the field of creative writing (poetry, playwriting, fiction, creative nonfiction, etc.) to make new, research-based work related to the theme of our 2019 exhibition and program series: cityscapes and the evolving built environment.

Details on the Creative Fellowship, requirements, and application guidelines can be found here.

Another season of sport at FSU begins

Cover from the media guide for Swimming & Diving, 2009-2010
Cover from the media guide for Swimming & Diving, 2009-2010. [See original object]

FSU is gearing up for another semester to start in just a few weeks. Student-athletes, however, are already back at work. The FSU Volleyball team will play its first match this Friday and the Swimming and Diving teams are back in action by mid-September. These two sports are the last of a long project for the Digital Library Center, the digitization of all the sports media guides for FSU teams that the Archives currently holds.

The sports media guide is essentially the press kit for that season’s team. It includes all the facts and figures announcers seem to effortlessly sprout out as you listen to commentary at sporting events. The Swimming/Diving Team media guides go back to the 1970s whereas the Volleyball guides start in the 1980s. Do you have media guides to help fill in the blanks in our collection? You can always donate to Heritage & University Archives to help complete the collection. Start the conversation by sending an email to

Browse all the available sports media guides in Heritage & University Archives in DigiNole and Go Noles as all our fall sports teams get back in action over the next few weeks!