Summer Quiet

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

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

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

Happy Summer!

Mayor Charles Evers, Mississippi 1969

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Charles Evers was reelected Mayor of Fayette in 1973. 


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



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

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

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


Over 1,000 City Planning Library reports now available!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Lord Mayor’s Show

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SNAC Outreach and Communication

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

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

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

NARA Leadership via SNAC Cooperation and Collaboration

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

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

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

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

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

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

NARA Leadership in SNACSchool

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

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

Examples of SNACSchool training materials:

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

New developments in cooperative membership

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

SNAC technical developments and projects

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

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

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

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

Freedom road and its intersections

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

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

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

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

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

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

Intersession Intermission

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

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

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

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

Nazis Rallied at Madison Square Garden

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Protests

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It Can Happen Here 8

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

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

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

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

The Banality of Evil 11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Closing Thoughts

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

[5] Ibid., The New York Times.

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

[7] Ibid, pg. 4.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Herbaria side by side

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

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

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

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

Cover of the Ruby Diamond herbaria.

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

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

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

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

All photo credits go toward the author.

Historic Children’s Books at the Library of Congress

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

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

The Gertrude Margaritte Ivory Bertram Collection

The Gertrude Margaritte Ivory Bertram Collection covers the service of one African American nurse in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Portrait of Lieutenant Gertrude M. Ivory [see original image]

Bertram was born in Clarksville, Georgia on February 17, 1916. She attended nursing school at the Brewster Hospital and School of Nurse Training in Jacksonville, Florida, which was the first African American hospital in the United States. She then enlisted in the U.S. Army on May 1, 1941 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. While in the Army, Bertram served as a ward nurse in Fort Bragg and later in the West African theater.

Her collection includes numerous photographs depicting herself and her fellow nurses in uniform, as well as African American G.I.s, and a few photographs from her time in West Africa. Her collection also includes an oral history transcript, personal items, newspaper clippings, and manuscripts. This collection is important, as it covers the unique experiences of women and African Americans during World War II, and offers insight that differs from the majority white male G.I. perspective. It depicts African American nurses in both a professional setting, and a casual setting as Bertram enjoyed downtime with her friends.

This collection is one of many at the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience that offers perspective on Army nurses and African Americans during the war. Portions of the Bertram Collection are now available online through DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository and you can see more information about the collection in its finding aid.

Post was written by two guest authors:

Lee Morrison has been involved with the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience since Summer 2018. After graduation, he will pursue a Master’s Degree in Medieval History at Florida State University.

Gillian Morton has been involved with the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience since Spring 2016. After graduation, she will pursue a Master’s Degree in Information Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.

The Henry Mole Diaries: Chronicling a pioneer, farmer and councillor

Nothing beats a good set of diaries for getting a flavour of how people lived in the past. In 2017 the Archives received the diaries of Henry Mole, a Vancouver settler in what is now Kerrisdale, who regularly chronicled his days from 1872 to 1914. There are 35 volumes, each averaging about 50 pages.

A selection of the Henry Mole diaries. Photo by Chak Yung

Mole, who lived from 1839 to 1923, was a successful farmer as well as, from 1894 to 1903, a councillor for the Municipality of South Vancouver. South Vancouver was established in 1892 and comprised all of current-day Vancouver south of 16th Avenue (up until 1908 when the Corporation of Point Grey was created south of 16th and west of Cambie). It amalgamated with the City of Vancouver in 1929.

Portrait of Henry Mole, ca. 1910. Reference code: AM980-S3—: CVA 804-910

In 1855, the then-16-year-old Mole left his home county of Huntingdonshire, England and settled on Ontario’s Niagara peninsula. After a few years, he decided to head for the gold fields out west. Arriving in Victoria in 1882 and then, shortly after, in New Westminster, he found the gold was almost gone. Instead of returning home, he decided to settle in Vancouver. He and a partner, E.J. Betts, pre-empted a piece of land and established a farm in North Arm, now the Kerrisdale area, and in doing so became one of the area’s first settlers.

Detail from Henderson’s BC Directory, 1889.

Mole’s farmland and house were located between Blenheim Street and SW Marine Drive:

Detail from Goad’s Fire Insurance Atlas, 1912. Reference code: AM1594-MAP 342a-: MAP 342a.38

According to a later description by Mole’s grandson, Henry F. Mole, the area in the 1860s was:

. . . nothing but sloughs and ridges . . . .There were no roads – only trails. The only way to travel was to walk – or go by boat up the Fraser River to New Westminster or around Point Grey to the False Creek area and Burrard Inlet. Buildings, fences, implements, bridges and flood gates were all made from lumber cut on farm.[1]

This difficult life was reflected in Mole’s dairies. Each entry started with the weather (he was a farmer, after all), and then proceeded to the day’s business. Entries for each day are quite brief, but nevertheless informative, and the diaries are easy to read thanks to Mole’s quite beautiful and legible hand writing. Here is his first entry from his first diary, from 1872:

Caption: First page of 1872 diary showing Mole’s excellent hand writing. Reference code: AM1676-F01

The entries clearly document how busy the life of a pioneer farmer was. Mole worked seven days a week and his daily routine included farm work, building and repairing dykes, rearing cattle and transporting beef, hay, butter and milk to different places in Vancouver and New Westminster by canoe. He began his work as early as 5 o’clock in the morning and was back home as late as 9 o’clock in the evening or, in some cases, 1 o’clock in the morning.

Excerpt from 1872 diary. Reference code: AM1676-F01

After years of hard work, Mole’s farm began to flourish. Sales increased and farm products were sold further afield to the Vancouver Island area. In 1878, for example, a large order of 14,218 lbs. of hay and 3,985 lbs. of oats was sent to a client named Taylor in Nanaimo. Six cattle were also sold in 1878.

Excerpt from 1878 diary. Reference code: AM1676-F05

Excerpt from 1878 diary. Reference code: AM1676-F05

Although Mole wrote mainly about farm business in his diaries, he did mention some important personal events. On November 7, 1881 he noted his marriage to Elizabeth Ann Cornish:

Excerpt from 1881 diary. Reference code: AM1676-F08

The family grew in 1882 with the birth of twins:

Excerpt from 1882 diary. Reference code: AM1676-F09

Mole was also involved in municipal affairs, and noted his election as a “Councilman” by acclamation in 1894:

Excerpt from 1894 diary. Reference code: AM1676-F21

Mole keeps writing right up to 1914, ever focused on the weather:

February entries from 1914 diary. Reference code: AM1676-F35. Photo by Chak Yung.

A frosty, dull day on February 16th. Close up from 1914 diary above. Reference code: AM1676-F35. Photo by Chak Yung.

Henry Mole’s diaries are an important addition to the Archives’ holdings. Not many daily records of life in Vancouver from the perspective of an early settler exist, and Mole is remarkable in his dedication to the daily task of writing for over more than four decades.

Mole family, ca.1889. From left to right: Polly Paull (Mole’s stepdaughter), Henry Mole, Jane Paull (Mole’s stepdaughter), Elizabeth Ann (Mole’s wife), John Mole (Mole’s son) and Annie Mole (Mole’s daughter) in front. Reference code: AM980-S3—: CVA 804-912

We invite you to come to the Archives and have a look through these diaries and re-live life in late 19th century south Vancouver.

[1] Peter S.N. Claydon and Valerie A. Melanson, ed., Vancouver Voters, 1886, (Richmond, BC: British Columbia Genealogical Society, 1994), 462.

STIrling fund Projects

The Stirling Fund exists to support Stirling’s student community by awarding small grants for activities that contribute to University life. The University Archives recent received two grants from the fund to open up access to our unique collections.

The Brig Digital Archive project will digitise the full set of the first twenty-five years of Brig, the university’s student newspaper, creating a digital archive which will be made freely available on the University Archives website. The paper has been a constant presence in student’s lives, providing an alternative student-centred view of life on campus, since its first issue in October 1969 and we are delighted to be embarking on this exciting project in the papers 50th anniversary year.

The Freedom Road project will support an African history conference which will feature the UK premiere of a new documentary on Malawian history produced by the Lost History Foundation. The documentary focuses on the Mwanza War of 1967 and draws heavily on our Peter Mackay Archive, which provides a rich resource for students of modern African history. The support of the Stirling Fund will allow us to bring members of the Lost History Foundation team to the university to speak about their work challenging and reassessing the modern history of Malawi.

We’re looking forward to working on these projects over the summer months and will provide regular updates on our progress via our blog and social media using #StirlingFund.

Principles of Astronomy as detailed in an atlas by James Ferguson

Ferguson’s planetary phases diagram.

While combing through the vast amount of science related items we hold in Special Collections & Archives, I came across quite the peculiar book. I decided to scour the stacks for it as astronomy has always interested me and I was hoping for some interesting images. I knew from my initial search in the catalog that this item held images; a total of 25 plates, in fact, however what exactly those were was a mystery.

James Ferguson’s
Atlas of plates illustrative of Ferguson’s principles of astronomy is a book that holds multiple illustrations of astronomy related technology from the 1800’s. Ferguson was a Scottish astronomer best
known as the individual who improved and invented many astronomical and other scientific instruments, many of which can be found imaged in this atlas. Surprisingly, the totality of Ferguson’s formal education was met at a single grammar school at Keith in his younger years. His works within the field of astronomy and other sciences can thus only be attributed to his own self discipline, and an ambition to study the sciences.

Remaining cover of the atlas.

The cover of the atlas was made of a cloth fabric that was designed to look like leather, a cheaper alternative for the time, and only has a few pieces left attached to the bare surface show in the image to the left. It is a delicate artifact that needs support when opened however the pages themselves are mostly intact.

I couldn’t help think the images I found in this atlas were the epitome of aesthetic pleasantries. The amount of suns with faces was something I enjoyed most along with the inclusion of zodiac related constellations. Although this is a nice book to look at, there aren’t very many descriptions to go along with them, save for those found on the Orrery illustration on the first page and that found on the map of the world found in the very back of the atlas (see slideshow below for map). As someone who isn’t versed in this subject, I found it difficult to understand not only what these devices were but what they were used for. Despite this, the appreciation for the work itself is still present as it is clearly a magnificent collection of one man’s journey of discovery and invention.

Although his inventions are used for scientific inquiry, they were an item that caught the eye of a totally different set of individuals. I find it funny when researching Ferguson that many of his creations lean more toward the genre of clock-making than scientific discovery, despite the fact that they go hand-in-hand in this particular case. Many of his books detail designs for astronomical clocks that give time of day as well as day of the month, phases of the moon, and the position of the stars. Sometimes, his clocks would even include the state of the tide. If I had a clock like that, I’d want to show it to everyone and, clearly, this sentiment was not lost on clock-makers as they used his designs to build some of the greatest functioning timepieces of the time.

Fascinatingly enough, I’d never heard of James Ferguson until now. When most people think of the sciences, astronomy in particular, names like Nicolaus Copernicus, Isaac Newton, or Johannes Kepler come to mind and rightly so. These scientists created many works and made many discoveries that have led up to where we are today. Ferguson is not lacking in these works either. He produced a number of books during his life, including The use of a new orrery… (1746), Astronomy explained upon Sir Isaac Newton’s principles… (1756), The young gentleman and lady’s astronomy (1768), and The art of drawing in perspective… (1775). 

Regardless of how well-known Ferguson is today, he was widely influential in his own time and has been mentioned by personalities such as Founding Father Thomas Paine and German experimental physicist Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, who is most known for his discovery and study of the Lichtenberg figure which is named after him. Ferguson died in London on November 17, 1776, leaving works like this extraordinarily illustrated atlas as a legacy.

You can explore this item further at the Special Collections Research Center at Strozier Library.

  • Plate 11 of the 17 still present in the atlas.


All image are taken by and credited to the author of the blog.

Time Traveling Drama

In celebration of the College’s bicentennial in 1821, we’re reprocessing several large collections in the archives. One of these is the Dramatic Activities Collection – material assembled by Tuffy McGoun, a professor of dramatics at the College. The collection documents the history of dramatic productions and activities on campus. It’s a long history – our first production ephemera dates from 1826!

In addition to giving a great overview of the dramatic life of the college, the collection is an excellent resource for showing trends in design over the decades. Nowhere is this more evident than in comparing several different productions of the same play. I’ve chosen two popular plays to show examples of how different productions handled costumes, set design, and publicity in different decades.

Our first play – The Rivals, a comedy of manners by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, was first performed in 1775. The plot follows the romantic intrigue between several visitors of the town of Bath, England, a popular holiday spot at the time. The play is somewhat forgotten today – though it did give us the term malaprop, derived from the character of Mrs. Malaprop (who unintentionally substitutes the wrong term for similar-sounding words throughout).

The first Amherst College production took place June of 1843. It was performed three other times: March 1896, February 1906, and May 1963.


Program from the June 1843 production of scenes from The Rivals. Part of the Amherst College Summer Exhibition


Program from the March 1896 production of The Rivals.


Playbill for the 1896 production, performed at the Academy of Music at Northampton. Touts “college men. Costly scenery. Elaborate costumes.”


Cast photograph of the 1896 “Rivals.” Annotations on the back state that this was the first College production to go on tour.


The 1906 “Rivals” program, by the Amherst College Dramatics Association.


Program from a Ware, Massachusetts performance. The penciled annotation says: “The night the curtain came down on Deroin’s head.” Frank Deroin (AC 1908) played the character of Bob Acres.


The 1963 production program. Kirby Memorial Theater was built in 1938.


A production photograph from 1963 depicting the characters Julia and Faulkland.

The second play I chose comes from Shakespeare – the Scottish play! Macbeth was performed at Amherst College in January 1910, November 1941, November 1965, and November 1995. The documentation for the 1941 production is particularly rich, showing the effort that went into the set design and costumes.


A program for the 1910 performance. Note: this wasn’t quite a dramatic production, rather a “reading by members of the Junior Class in public speaking.”


Costumes and set in 1941.



Behind the scenes in 1941.


A set design sketch for the 1941 production.


Program for the 1965 production. This aesthetic look persisted into the 1970s.


Program for the 1995 production.


These images represent only a small slice of the collection which stands at about 72 linear feet of material. As part of the Bicentennial project in the library, we’ll be digitizing a lot of this material in the coming years.




Chatty Whales



All of us in Special Collections have been deeply charmed by the chatty whales and blackfish in this surprisingly entertaining whaling logbook from our Nicholson Whaling Collection.

The logbook is the Journal of the Smyrna (Bark) out of New Bedford, MA, mastered by George Bliss and kept by George Bliss, on a whaling voyage between 1853 and 1857


You can view the full logbook online. “What’s that about a digitized logbook,” you ask? 751 of our logbooks were recently digitized and are available now on the Internet Archive; soon they’ll be added to PPL’s digital collections, along with even more digitized logbooks!

As always, contact us if you’d like to set up an appointment to see any logbooks in person.

Wildflowers of North America

Mary Vaux Walcott sitting on some rocks facing the camera with waterfalls behind her. (original image)

Special Collections here at FSU holds a large collection of books on botany and herbal medicine that go as far back as the 16th century. As much as I would love to scour through the many many herbal encyclopedia we hold, I found myself more interested in the different types of flowers and plants collected and depicted through either art or scientific study that can be found in the archives.

The full collection as it sits in the archives.

Here is Special Collections, we have the five volumes of a collection that holds some of the most beautiful prints of flowers created in the early 1900s. This collection, titled North American Wild Flowers, includes some 400 plates illustrated by American artist and naturalist Mary Vaux Walcott and was first published in 1925 by the Smithsonian Institute.

What’s most interesting about this collection is not the images themselves, but the sweet story of how they came to be. Walcott first took interest in watercolor painting after graduating from Friends Select School, a Quaker college preparatory school. She painted wildflowers she came upon during family trips with her brother who would study and record glacier flow in drawings and photographs as part of his mineralogical studies.

This was only the start for Mary Walcott. She would go on to marry Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution Charles Doolittle Walcott at the age of 54. As she traveled with her husband for his paleontology research in the Rockies and throughout Canada, Mary made watercolor illustrations of wildflowers which can now be seen in the five-volume collection held in Special Collections & Archives.

During a 10 year period, Mary would spend somewhere between three and four months in the Canadian Rockies, finding and studying the finest specimens. More often then not, these illustrations were created under “trying conditions” such as on a mountain side of high pass, and at times when a fire was necessary to warm her numb fingers and body. Despite these conditions and others, such as diffused lighting and subjects which had a lifespan seemingly too short for creating art from them, the fruits of Walcott’s labor can be seen in these immortalized specimens.

Each box volume in this collection consists of a slipcase which holds a book listing each flower, describing them in detail, and a plate of each flower beautifully detailed by Walcott’s hand.

The North American Wild Flowers Collection, can be referenced here in the library catalog. For more information please call or visit Special Collections & Archives.

All photo credits go to the author.

Declassification Diplomacy: The United States Declassification Project for Argentina

This morning I presented the final tranche of newly-declassified U.S. Government records to Argentine Minister of Justice and Human Rights, the Honorable Germán Carlos Garavano. The ceremony marks the successful completion of the U.S. Declassification Project for Argentina, the largest government-to-government declassification release in United States history.

David S. Ferriero (left), delivers the final installment of records to Argentina’s Minister of Justice and Human Rights, the Honorable Germán Carlos Garavano (right). Photo courtesy of

This represents the final stage of an historic effort by the U.S. Government to search, identify, review for public access, and provide records that shed light on human rights abuses in Argentina between 1975 and 1984. More than 43,000 pages of U.S. documents from 16 Executive Branch agencies were provided to the Government of Argentina.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence has posted the collection as a whole, which can be found here:

Records released by the National Archives’ National Declassification Center are available to the public here:

My remarks from the ceremony:

Good morning Attorney General Garavano, Ambassador de Roa, and Director Quinteros.

I am honored to host you today.  I’d also like to thank John Dinkelman, John Demurs,  Corin Stone, Karen Meyers, and Carlos Osorio for attending today’s ceremony.

My first duty is to welcome you to the National Archives – “my house” – as I like to say.  The National Archives serves a crucial role as our Nation’s record-keeper. Our mission is to collect, protect, and preserve the permanently valuable records of all three branches of the United States Government.  We take this responsibility seriously. Public access to government records strengthens democracy by allowing citizens to hold their government accountable, understand their history, and participate more effectively in their government.

When President Franklin Roosevelt, who signed the legislation creating the National Archives, articulated his vision and our mission during the dedication of his Presidential Library in Hyde Park, New York, he said:

“It seems to me that the dedication of a library is in itself an act of faith.  To bring together the records of the past and house them in buildings where they will be preserved for the use of men and women in the future, a Nation must believe in three things.  It must believe in the past. It must believe in the future. And it must, above all, believe in the capacity of its own people so to learn from the past that they can gain in judgment in creating their own future.”  Creating their own future—our mission.

Today, the collection has over 15 billion sheets of paper, 44 million photographs, miles and miles of video and film, and more than 5 billion electronic records—the fastest growing record form. These records start with the Oaths of Allegiance signed by George Washington and his troops at Valley Forge and go all the way up to the Tweets that are being created in the White House as I speak.

Millions of visitors and researchers visit us each year to learn about our Nation’s history.  The National Archives operates 44 facilities in 17 states, including 14 Presidential Libraries and Museums, two research facilities here in the Washington DC area, and 14 Regional Archives across the country.

I am honored to host this important event on behalf of the President, the United States Government, the 16 agencies that participated in this project, and the American people.  To set the stage and emphasize its importance, I used my prerogative as Archivist to showcase two treasures from our vault.

Outside of this room, there are two treaties on display. In 1822, the United States was the third nation to recognize Argentina’s Declaration of Independence from Spain.  While our two nations enjoyed good relations and started trading, it was not until July 10, 1853, that our two nations first formalized bilateral relations with a treaty to allow free navigation on the Parana and Uruguay Rivers. This treaty––focused solely on navigation rights––quickly led to agreement of a broader treaty.

This second treaty, the Treaty of Friendship, Navigation, and Commerce, was signed shortly thereafter on July 27, 1853, and expanded our relationship to include agreements to facilitate increased trade.

Please have a look at them after the ceremony.

I also invite all of you to visit “The Public Vaults” in our museum. The Treaty of Friendship, Navigation, and Commerce that the Argentine Confederation gave to the United States is now on display. This ornate version includes a skippet with the seal of the Argentine Confederation.

The U.S. Declassification Project for Argentina is both historic and significant. There have been other declassification projects in the past. But this one stands out for several reasons. First, the project spanned two Presidential administrations. President Barack Obama directed agencies to conduct this project after receiving a request from Argentine President Mauricio Macri. And after President Macri renewed his request early in this Administration, President Donald Trump directed that it continue.

The project is unparalleled for its scope and breadth. Sixteen Executive branch agencies participated, including Intelligence, Defense, and law enforcement agencies. Over 380 employees from these agencies spent almost 32,000 hours searching for and reviewing records on a word-for-word basis.  The results of those reviews are impressive and reflect the President’s interest. Over 43,000 pages were––or are about to be publicly released. The declassification rate on these pages is 97% and aligns with the President’s instruction to release as much information as possible.

Finally, the process for organizing and completing this project is unique. I attribute its success to the inclusion of all stakeholders. They include the Executive branch agencies working with officials from the Argentine Embassy in Washington DC, the United States Embassy in Buenos Aires, and the Argentine Government. There was also dialogue and communication with Argentine civil society organizations, including two videoconferences; historians working closely from within and outside Government; and cooperation with Carlos Osorio from the National Security Archive.

I thank the National Archives staff who participated in this project: staff from the National Declassification Center, the Center for Legislative Archives, the Presidential Materials Division, the Office of Innovation, the Information Security Oversight Office and archivists from the Ford, Carter, Reagan, and George H.W. Bush Presidential Libraries.

Our staff played a key role throughout this project. In August 2016, just two months after receiving the Presidential directive, the archivists in the Presidential Libraries quickly compiled and reviewed over 1,000 pages of Presidential documents. Secretary of State John Kerry delivered these documents to President Macri later that month on an official trip to Buenos Aires. In December 2016, as the Government of Argentina honored the life of former Assistant Secretary of Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs Patt Derian, U.S. Ambassador to Argentina Noah Mamet delivered an additional 550 pages.

These pages remain significant as they include information from 25 President’s Daily Briefs from the Carter administration. “PDBs” as they are called, are among our nation’s most sensitive intelligence documents and are compiled expressly for the President.

Few others in Government get to read them.

The Carter Administration PDBs were not scheduled for review until the next decade.  These declassified PDBs allow for important context and aid historians in understanding President Carter’s actions and policies regarding human rights violations in Argentina.

In April 2017, President Trump provided over 3,000 pages of newly declassified documents to President Macri.  They included documents from the Carter Library identified by Department of State historians for inclusion in the South America volume of the Foreign Relations of the United States series, the official documentary and historical record of major United States foreign policy decisions and activities.

For this last tranche of records, the staff at National Declassification Center searched over 740 cubic feet of records and identified over 4,600 pages for inclusion. They included records created by the Air Force, Army, the Departments of Justice, Labor, and State, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Joint Staff, the US Information Agency, and US Agency for International Development.

The National Declassification Center staff was supported by declassification professionals from several agencies. I’d like to thank the staff from the Air Force, the Army, the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the FBI, the Joint Staff, the Washington Headquarters Services at the Department of Defense, the Navy, the U.S. Southern Command, and the Departments of Justice and State for their work.  This collaboration illustrates how the National Declassification Center brings together people and processes within the Executive branch declassification community to advance declassification and public access to historical records.

There are distinguished retired Diplomats here today – like Tex Harris and Fred Rondon  who helped save lives while working at the Department of State.

Mario del Carril is here representing his wife, Isabel Mignone.  Her sister was arrested and disappeared in 1976. Her mother Angelica was one of the founders of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo and her father, Emilio, championed human rights and accountability, including testifying in trials.  Azul Hidalgo Sola is also here. Her grandfather, Ambassador Hector Hildalgo Sola was kidnapped and disappeared in July 1977.

The records of Tex Harris and Fred Rondon are here at the National Archives.  The records about Monica Mignone and the work of her parents for justice are here just as records relating to the disappearance of Azul’s grandfather are here. They help tell the story of this period in Argentine history – and in our history.

On your way into this building this morning you passed by two statues. One statue included the words, “Study the Past.”  Using archival records, this project was designed to:

    •         Help families and victims find closure, peace and justice
    •         Ensure accountability and aid judicial processes
    •         Aid Argentine citizens understand its history

The other statue included the words “The Past is Prologue.”  The declassification of these records greatly aids the national history so we can learn from it.

The lessons from these records––and from survivors and those who seek truth and justice for the people of Argentina – are meaningful and offer hope for the future.

Thank you.

Special Document Display: Emancipation Proclamation

The National Archives marks the 156th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation with a special 3-day display of the original document.

The National Archives will display the Emancipation Proclamation in the museum’s East Rotunda Gallery from April 14 through 16, coinciding with the anniversary of Lincoln’s death on April 15. Concurrently, the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862 will be featured in the West Rotunda Gallery from April 12 through 16 in celebration of DC Emancipation Day on April 16.

On January 1, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which declared “that all persons held as slaves” within the rebellious states “are, and henceforward shall be free.”

Emancipation Proclamation, 1/1/1863. View the full document in the National Archives Catalog

As a milestone in the long journey toward abolishing slavery, the Emancipation Proclamation has assumed a place among the great documents of human freedom. The story of the Emancipation Proclamation is one that would help to redefine freedom and eventually change the course of history. Both the Proclamation and the DC legislation represent a promise of hope, freedom, and justice that continues to inspire and resonate with the American people more than 150 years after its creation.

Both documents allowed for the freedom of slaves. President Abraham Lincoln signed the District of Columbia legislation on April 16, 1862, almost nine months before signing the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863.

For conservation reasons, the original Emancipation Proclamation document of January 1, 1863, is displayed only a few days at a time under extremely low light to protect it from damage. This year, visitors can view the documents between 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. in the National Archives East and West Rotunda Galleries in Washington, DC. Admission is free and open to the public.

Additionally, the Emancipation Proclamation and the DC Compensated Emancipation Act will be on special display together between 6 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in conjunction with a related public program that evening.  

The National Archives will host the program, “DC Emancipation Day and the Emancipation Proclamation,” on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, at 7 p.m. in the William G. McGowan Theater at the Washington, DC, museum. A panel will discuss the history and political implications of both documents. Reservations are recommended but not required. Special performances by the Artists Group Chorale of Washington will take place during the display and at the start of the program.

This document display is made possible in part by the National Archives Foundation, through the generous support of The Boeing Company.

You can learn more about the significance of the Emancipation Proclamation, its history, and the measures the National Archives has taken to preserve it in our video .

For a more detailed history, including transcripts, of the document, see the Emancipation Proclamation page on Visit our Catalog to view and download high-resolution images of the Emancipation Proclamation and the District of Columbia Compensated Emancipation Act of 1862.

A Novel Approach to WQXR

Over the years WQXR has distinguished itself in many ways. But perhaps most flattering have been the authors who included it as part of their fictional works. WQXR on the page helps set the scene, tone and mood as well as introduce a familiar voice or piece of music. The bolding of WQXR has been added to the excerpts.

Harvey Swados writing in Nights in the Gardens of Brooklyn, Atlantic-Little Brown Books, 1960, pg. 37.

All evening the radio had been playing. Now, as we remained still, listening to the voice of the rising wind and the beating of our hearts, the WQXR announcer’s deadly familiar voice broke in on us: “Next we are to hear ‘Nights in the Gardens of Spain’ by Manuel de Falla.”Pauline reached out to turn it off. ‘We don’t need it. We’ve had our own nights in the gardens of Brooklyn, for a whole year.’ She touched my lips with her fingers… 


Ellery Queen, writing in Cat of Many Tails, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1949, pgs. 17-19.

He was wild about classical music.  He couldn’t read a note and he’d never had a lesson, but he could hum snatches of a lot of operas and symphonies and during the summer he tried to take in as many of the free Sunday concerts in Central Park as he could.  He was always after his kids to tune in WQXR, used to say he thought Beethoven would do them a lot more good than The Shadow...

(Special thanks to Jeff Spurgeon)


Thomas Pynchon, writing in V., Harper Perennial, 1986, pgs. 95-96.

The bus driver was of the normal or placid crosstown type; having fewer traffic lights and stops to cope with than the uptown-and-downtown drivers, he could afford to be genial. A portable radio hung by his steering wheel, tuned to WQXR. Tchaikovsky’s ‘Romeo and Juliet Overture’ flowed syrupy around him and his passengers. As the bus crossed Columbus Avenue, a faceless delinquent heaved a rock at it. Cries in Spanish ascended to it out of the darkness. A report which could have been either a backfire or a gunshot sounded a few blocks downtown. Captured in the score’s black symbols, given life by vibrating air columns and strings, having taken passage through transducers, coils, capacitors and tubes to a shuddering paper cone, the eternal drama of  love and death continued to unfold entirely disconnected from this evening and place…


Rex Stout, writing in The Final Deduction, Bantam Books, November 1985. Original copy, 1955, pg. 19.

She said she would, and we hung up. The radio clicked on, and a voice came: “…has five convenient offices in New York, one at the—” I reached and turned it off. When I get to bed after midnight I set it for eight o’clock, the news bulletins on WQXR, but I didn’t need any more news at the moment. I had a satisfactory stretch and yawn, and aloud, “What the hell, no matter what Jimmy Vail says we can say Mr. Knapp must have seen it,” yawned again, and faced the fact that it take will power to get on your feet…

[Editor’s Note: Rex Stout appears to be a real fan. WQXR makes an appearance in at least three of his other works: Some Buried Caesar & The Golden Spider; The Golden Spiders; and The Doorbell Rang].


Jhumpa Lahiri, writing in The Namesake, A Mariner Book, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, 2003, pg. 263.

They begin seeing each other Mondays and Wednesdays, after she teaches her class. She takes the train uptown and they meet at his apartment, where lunch is waiting. The meals are ambitious: poached fish; creamy potato gratins; golden, puffed chickens roasted with whole lemons in their cavities. There is always a bottle of wine. They sit at a table with his books and papers and laptop pushed to one side. They listen to WQXR, drink coffee and cognac and smoke a cigarette afterward. Only then does he touch her. Sunlight streams through large dirty windows into the shabby prewar apartment…


Andy Warhol, writing in A: a novel, Grove Press, 1968, pgs. 31-32.

What do you mean Duncan McDonald? [sic]

Yeah uh.

Kaye Ballard had an interview with her on the air and all Kaye Ballard kept saying was, is, “Duncan that’s such a wonderful name, I think, for a woman.” Duncan. Duncan McDonald [sic], the person who announces for W — she has an interview show on at 2:30 on WQ-WQXR and she, and her sponsor is Beshard Rug Company and Lord nad [sic] Taylor.

Oh really?

And all Kaye Ballard gept, kept saying was, “Duncan is such a fabulous name, isn’t that cunningest name you ever heard?” She was great…

[Editor’s Note: Duncan MacDonald was the host of WQXR’s Observation Point program in the 1960s, where she did interviews on books, food and culture.]


Dawn Powell, writing in Angels on Toast, Steerforth Press, Vermont, 1996. Originally published by Charles Scribner’s and Sons in 1940.

On the other hand, as she had pointed out to him, she could show him show girls who had never had a drink in their lives and yet were no balls of fire so far as looks were concerned. She turned the downstairs radio on to WQXR and got the ‘Fifth Symphony.’ She could almost write it herself now —boom boom boom, begin the beginning over and over again till every instrument has got in a few well-chosen remarks, then begin again, and again, ah now we’re getting into it. But no, just where the middle should be the end begins with each little instrument saying a few last words, then altogether, amen, amen, goodbye, –ah but wait a minute, just a last minute suggestion, then goodbye, but wait, one more final nightcap…

(Another tip of the hat to Jeff Spurgeon and Richard Brody.)


Leo Haber, writing in The Red Heifer, Syracuse University Press, 2001, pg. 98-99

I promised my piano teacher at the Henry Street Settlement that I would also listen to classical music on WQXR and WNYC, the city station, and in fact, I did for two hours each evening. At 6:30 P.M., it was the Gambarelli and Divito program –or some advertiser with a name like that– on WQXR presenting short musical pieces, instrumental and vocal…I still managed to hear Felix Weingartner conducting Beethoven symphonies and Toscanini conducting the Tchaikovsky ‘Piano Concerto’ with Vladimir Horowitz at the piano. The opening of this latter piece was actually the opening theme of the WQXR program, and when I was new to all this stuff, I thought that Gambarelli and Divito, the advertisers, were the names of two composers of the work…


Lily Tuck, writing in Interviewing Matisse or The Woman Who Died Standing Up, Harper Perennial, 2006, pg. 8.  First published by Alfred A. Knopf in 1991.

I said, “Molly, I am sure the stereo belonged to Kevin.”

Molly said, “Oh WQXR. Lily, WQXR is the station Inez always listened to. Oh, and have I mentioned this? Have I told you this already, Lily? What Price and Claude-Marie the coroner said when he examined Inez? The coroner said he found drugs in Inez’s blood…”


Anne Strieber, writing in An Invisible Woman, Tor/Forge Books, 2005.

She sat listening to WQXR and watching the golden, wonderful city pass by outside the windows. She thought of the vast, impoverished world out there. She’d never known before how damn lucky she was to be rich. Never again would she fail to notice the realities all around her. It was all too easy to make reality disappear if you lived in the world of Manhattan wealth…


If, dear reader, you are aware of any other novels in which WQXR appears, please don’t hesitate to let me know at  Thanks!




Marian Anderson on The Listening Room

This week marks both the 80th anniversary of Marian Anderson’s historic Lincoln Memorial Concert in Washington, D.C. on April 9, 1939 and her death on April 8, 1993. As part of this week’s commemorations of the legendary contralto, the New York Public Radio Archives is making available a recently acquired, rarely heard interview.

On June 19, 1974, Marian Anderson was a guest of Robert Sherman on The Listening Room, WQXR’s seminal program of recorded music, in-studio performance, and conversation with some of the world’s finest musicians.  In a wide-ranging discussion, Ms. Anderson talks about her early life, her career in Europe in the 1930s, her historic 1955 debut at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, her singing of spirituals, and other subjects. 

At the conclusion of the hour-long interview, host Robert Sherman appears clearly moved by the combined experience of speaking with Ms. Anderson, the impact of her recordings, and the power of her presence. He observes:

“You provide not only beautiful music, but you provide inspiration as a person.  And they come together in a very rare way.”

The Marian Anderson interview with Robert Sherman originally aired in 1974, but appears here in a rebroadcast on June 19, 1993, part of the Marian Anderson Tribute episode of The Listening Room. Portions of the broadcast recording presented here have been edited for streaming on the web in an effort to respect the copyright protections on the published music played throughout the program; the interview itself is presented in its entirety.


Additional archival recordings related to this article:

The Listening Room show page

Today in History: Marian Anderson at the Lincoln Memorial

Marian Anderson in conversation with George Shirley




“Field Flowers,” a bouquet of poetry from Eugene Field

Long known as the “Poet of Childhood,” Eugene Field is famous for his satirical and whimsical poems that evoke dreams, mischief, and romance. One of his most well-known poems “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod” conjures images of the three eponymous sailors casting nets for stars in a crystal-brilliant sea in a child’s dream. 

All night long their nets they threw 
   To the stars in the twinkling foam— 
Then down from the skies came the wooden shoe, 
   Bringing the fishermen home; 
‘T was all so pretty a sail it seemed 
   As if it could not be, 
And some folks thought ‘t was a dream they ‘d dreamed 
   Of sailing that beautiful sea— 
   But I shall name you the fishermen three: 
                     And Nod.1

Field continued his lighthearted and fantastic poems continued to be published after his early death in 1895, at the age of 45. The posthumously published “Field Flowers”  (1896) continues this streak of the magical in the pastoral “Cornish Lullaby”.  

Out on the mountain over the town, 
All night long, all night long, 
The trolls go up and the trolls go down, 
Bearing their packs and crooning a song; 
And this is the song the hill-folk croon, 
As they trudge in the light of the misty moon,– 
This is ever their dolorous tune: 
“Gold, gold! ever more gold,– 
Bright red gold for dearie!” 
Deep in the hill the yeoman delves 
All night long, all night long; 
None but the peering, furtive elves 
See his toil and hear his song; 
Merrily ever the cavern rings 
As merrily ever his pick he swings, 
And merrily ever this song he sings: 
“Gold, gold! ever more gold,– 
Bright red gold for dearie!” 
Mother is rocking thy lowly bed 
All night long, all night long, 
Happy to smooth thy curly head 
And to hold thy hand and to sing her song; 
‘T is not of the hill-folk, dwarfed and old, 
Nor the song of the yeoman, stanch and bold, 
And the burden it beareth is not of gold; 
But it’s “Love, love!–nothing but love,– 
Mother’s love for dearie!” 

As a popular poet of his time, Field’s work was commented in other publications, such as the article “Some Current Literature” by Van Der Dater in the journal Bradley, His Book (1897).

If Field’s poetic works intrigue you, you can further explore the digitized copy of “Field Flowers” at the Special Collections Research Center at Strozier Library or here at the FSU Digital Library.

  1. “Field, Eugene. Wynken, Blynken, and Nod” from “The Golden Book of Poetry” (1947), Poetry Foundation, Poetry Foundation; originally published in “Trumpet and Drum” (1892). 

Modernizing the Proposed Records Schedule Commenting Process

The records management program at the National Archives has been working to
build an open and collaborative electronic records management community with
federal and industry stakeholders for many years. A key component of this
effort has been increasing access to both approved records schedules via the Records Control Schedule portal and making it easier for the public to review and comment on pending records
schedules. These records management efforts have consistently been a
cornerstone of NARA’s Open Government Plans.

Since 2017, we have been planning, developing, and engaging with stakeholders inside and outside of the National Archives on a new approach for public comment and
review. We have now changed the process by which the public can review and comment on proposed records schedules. Now, these schedules will be available on the Federal eRulemaking Portal,

Proposed Records Schedules on

Prior to this change, individuals interested in making comments had to request copies of the proposed schedules based on a single sentence description in the Federal Register. This request, and all subsequent comments, had to be made by email or regular mail.

The new process, via, eliminates the need to request copies of proposed schedules. After posting on, the public will have immediate access to proposed schedules and supporting documentation for a review and comment period that has been extended from 30 to 45 days.

We are transitioning to as a way to improve our own internal business processes, and also to be responsive to clear, widespread interest from the public to use a web-based platform for a more modern, transparent, and efficient way to review and comment on records schedules. On May 30, staff from our Office of the Chief Records Officer will be holding a webinar to discuss these changes with the commenting public. Additional details about the webinar will be available on their blog, Records Express, in the coming days.

Updating the P.A.M Dirac Collection

At the beginning of the Fall 2018 semester, I began working with the Paul A. M. Dirac Collection found in the Special Collections & Archives at Florida State University. I didn’t really know what I would come across when I got started, but the photographs in this collection would end up being the very beginning of my utter fascination for the theoretical physicist.

I enjoy going to museums and reading books over studying science and math and day of the week. Maybe that’s why when I started this journey through the life of Paul Dirac I was both curious and uncertain. On an average day, I would take one box out of the stacks and start on the latest file of images. A single box could have anywhere from six to forty folders and could contain over 100 photographs. As cheesy as it sounds, each photo really does tell a story. I worked with images from the early 1900s which depicted Dirac and his family in period-appropriate dress. I saw images taken in Russia and Israel and Japan. Truly, despite the man being known for his contributions to theoretical physics, I was coming to know him for much more than that. Dirac wasn’t just a phenomenal scientist–he was a fascinating character all in his own category who traveled the world in the name of scientific discovery.

The first color images I stumbled upon in the collection. (see carnations and group photo)

The majority of the work was done through a spreadsheet where I compiled metadata for each image. Doing this not only updates the information by double checking that dates and events are accurate with a fresh pair of eyes, but it also allows for proper digitization. Organizing hundreds of photos, dealing with copyright, and learning the language of metadata has helped me in understanding how vital this work is. Although looking at these pictures and reflecting on the history behind them was one of my favorite parts of this project, understanding the importance of background work was the true takeaway. I had never truly appreciated the time and effort many individuals put in to make something on the web easily accessible for others and being able to reap the rewards of such work has helped me to understand the many layers it takes to make such content.

Snapshot image of the metadata used to digitize the collections.

After finishing my work on the Dirac Collection photographs, I moved on to his manuscripts and notes. I am still going through this work as it’s a hefty bit of information which I alone cannot decipher. Another team member is working on translating the mathematical notes which I will then compile into another document which will allow the information to be neatly transferred online for the public to view.

Before starting this project, I expected to be apathetic toward the process of having to look up and research people, places, and events in order to most accurately describe an image or document. Instead, I found that, despite what many times looked to be dull and uninspiring images, each photo had a story of its own which bled into the next and created a snapshot collection of the story of one man’s life.

Dirac’s papers now reside in Special Collections & Archives at Florida State University. You may see a complete finding aid of the collection here.

All photo credits goes to the author.

These are a few of our favourite things…

Throughout April @ARAScot are running the #Archive30 promotional campaign on Twitter. Like many other services across the UK and internationally we are delighted to join in and meet the challenge of tweeting all 30 daily topics throughout the month! Today’s theme is #FavouriteItem. Below you will will find the items chosen by our Archives & Special Collections team along with some information on how they came to make their choices.

Script for the film Drifters, 1929 (ref. G2.1.8.1)

Our John Grierson Archive holds papers relating to Drifters, his seminal 1929 documentary about North Sea fishing. They include this copy of the script where the ink has run across the page. I like to imagine that it got wet when Grierson was on board the trawlers shooting the dramatic scenes of fishermen at work

Karl Magee, University Archivist

Draft design for the national flag of Malawi (ref. MK/1/3/1/68)

I love this draft of the new national flag of Malawi as the country prepared to move away from the name Nyasaland and gained independence. By itself it serves as an insight into all the preparations a nation has to make as it forges forward on its own. Not only the tough socio-political choices but the joyous stuff too – composing a national anthem, designing the flag and naming your new country, the things that people will be proud of in the future. It sounds like a hefty task but fun too! In the context of the Peter Mackay archive, it gives you a feel for just how involved he was in the process of independence and considering all the struggles and danger that had gone before and would come after, it’s nice to be able to imagine Mackay and his colleagues sat around a table taking a rare moment away from the political strife to decide just how many rays of sunshine there were going to be on their new flag.

Rosie Al-Mulla, Archivist

1869 edition of The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott (ref. Special Reserve O 00.95 1869)

I like this book because of its local associations. The Lady of the Lake is set at Loch Kathrine in the Trossachs. This edition, bound in Maucline ware, features the Wallace Monument on the front cover and was sold at Stirling Castle as a souvenir in the nineteenth century.

Helen Beardsley, Academic Liaison Librarian

Karak, mascot of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games (ref. CG/2/18/3)

Karak was the mascot for the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games and one of the first donations made to our Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive. It featured in our original Hosts and Champions exhibition at the Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow during the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Without doubt it was the object I had the most problems with when it came to setting up the display due to its habit of falling over every time I closed the exhibition case. In fact if I had a pound for every time I had to re-open the case to re-set Karak I’d have a very health bank balance!

Ian Mackintosh, Hosts and Champions Exhibition Assistant

Introducing the HYMAN ShaPIRO Archive

Our archive volunteer Darren, a student at the Centre for Archives and Information Studies at the University of Dundee, introduces a new collection he has catalogued.

University of Stirling Archives

In August 2017, the family of the late Hyman Shapiro gifted
the University Archives three large plastic storage boxes containing dozens of
typed and handwritten manuscripts, research notes and published books. Hyman
Shapiro M.A (1910-1979) was a secondary school teacher of History and English
in the Glasgow locality, including Woodside Secondary School, before being
appointed head of department at Glasgow College. Away from his teaching and
writing career, Hyman ran for candidature for the Glasgow Municipal Election of
1930 for the Dennistoun Ward and it may be argued that much of his writing had
political connotations in support of the Labour Party such as Background
to revolt: a short study in the social and economic conditions that led to the
‘Radical revolt’ on Clydeside in 1820 and of the part played in that rising by
James (Perley) Wilson and the Strathaven weavers
(published in 1945) and Keir
Hardie and the Labour Party
and John Wilkes and Parliament (published in 1971).

It would be safe to say Shapiro had an appetite for
writing and was a highly regarded historian (his work being primarily focused
on secondary school History textbooks for the Then and There Series). After five books published between 1945 and 1972, the biggest of (and probably most ambitious) of
his writing projects would be The History
of the British People
(which was sadly never completed or published before
his death in 1979). From the correspondence found in the collection between
Shapiro and potential publishers, it appears he began working on this project
in 1953. So we can imagine this would have been quite a book if it had been
fully completed and published and would certainly have been a useful go to
source for your history exams!

The collection contains 33 typed manuscript chapters from the unpublished textbook along with Question and Exercises and would have been divided between two volumes, covering all bases of the historical journey of the British people from Britain’s fist inhabitants fast forwarding through the Roman Conquest, Medieval Scotland and England, the Renaissance, Britain becoming a Commonwealth, the Jacobite Rebellions ending in the Eighteenth Century, where sadly the historical journey is cut short!

It would also seem Shapiro was
a great supporter of the Labour Party, as amongst the Political material within
the archive a candidature Labour Party leaflet was discovered dated from 1930
regarding Hyman Shapiro’s political campaign for the Dennistoun Ward of Glasgow
Municipal Election, as well as a Mid Lanark Election leaflet from 1910 for

The collection complements other collections in the University Archives such as The Mitchell Penguin Books Collection, Charles Dickens, Scottish Political Archive and the Amurlee Jacobite Collection. Furthermore, it may be regarded as a useful source for staff and students teaching and studying particular disciplines such as Publishing Studies, Politics and History.

Property tax assessment maps now available

With a nod to international Records and Information Management Month, we’re pleased to announce an addition to the always-popular tax assessment records: the Assessment Division’s Property tax assessment map series is now available to researchers.

The maps appear to have been used to document information that was used by Assessment Division staff to calculate assessed property value for tax purposes. The maps consist of copies of sectional plans created by the City’s Engineering Department, which have been pasted onto board backing for strength.

The condition of the maps indicates they were heavily used by staff, and the maps contain multiple years’ worth of data.

Assessment map no. 117 – Alexandra Street to Matthews Avenue to Arbutus Street to 29th Avenue. Reference code: COV-S711: LEG2282.192. Photo: Sharon Walz

The maps are heavily annotated with property-by-property information, including:

Lot square footage information:

Assessment map no. 117 – Detail showing Blocks 28-30 and 34 of DL 526. Reference code: COV-S711: LEG2282.192. Photo: Sharon Walz

Sale prices of property transactions, often for multiple years:

Assessment map no. 117 – Detail showing part of Block 89 of DL 526. Reference code: COV-S711: LEG2282.192. Photo: Sharon Walz

And sometimes rough assessment calculations:

Assessment map no. 117 – Detail showing part of Blocks 75 and 625 of DL 526 (just south of Arbutus Street and King Edward Avenue). Reference code: COV-S711: LEG2282.192. Photo: Sharon Walz

For many of the maps, we have two versions: one containing information from ca. 1960 to the early 1970s, then a second for the last few years before the City’s responsibility for property tax assessment was transferred to the Province of British Columbia in 1977.

Coverage of the city appears to be virtually complete, though maps for some of the industrial lands adjacent to the Fraser River, especially on the west side, were not included in the transfer. As the maps do not have any naming information on them other than the map numbers, we applied our own naming convention for the sheets: using the names of delineating streets or physical features, in order of East to North to West to South.

Unfortunately, we are unable at this time to digitize this series of maps; the large majority of them require extensive conservation treatment before it would be safe to pass them through our scanner.

We hope this addition to the assessment records is useful for your research, and add another dimension to the history of the city’s development.

Dirac at FSU

It wasn’t until his later years that Paul Dirac moved to work for the University we call home. In September of 1970, after retiring from his position at Cambridge, Paul Dirac moved to Tallahassee, Florida where he was appointed to work as a visiting professor for Florida State University. He was 68 at the time and could have fully retired, but the continuation of his work may be an example of the overwhelming desire Dirac had for the field of science and quantum mechanics.

Tallahassee. Holiday Inn marquee welcoming Paul Dirac on his first visit to the city. (original image)

Prior to his appointment, in June of that same year, Dirac visited the city to test his endurance against the subtropical climate. In the end, he decided to move as Manci, his wife, preferred the weather to that of Cambridge. In 1972, Dirac took on becoming a full professor, a position which allowed him to continue active research and to pass on the knowledge he’d accumulated through the years. During his time at FSU, Dirac supervised a few graduate students, his last being Bruce Hellman who went on to become a physicist for the CIA.

Paul Dirac in his office with last graduate student, Bruce Hellman. (original image)

Tallahassee. Paul Dirac, Leopold Halpern, and two unidentified women together for an outdoor excursion. (original image)

When barking dogs weren’t ruining his walks, Dirac could be found in his spare time visiting the local lakes and sinkholes in an effort to combat the humidity and intense heat of Tallahassee. With a thermometer in hand, Dirac would systematically check the waters and, if they were above exactly 60 degrees Fahrenheit, he would go for a swim.

Dirac had no teaching responsibilities beyond his supervision of graduate students until 1973 when he agreed to give a series of lectures on the general theory of relativity. These lectures were given until 1980 and were used as the basis for his book General Theory of Relativity. He would go on to teach until his death on October 20, 1984, at the age of 82.

The work that Dirac put forth on the subject of quantum mechanics and quantum theory is still an inspiration to physicists today. Dirac’s spirit and the spirit of mathematical beauty, of which Dirac was quite enamored, still persists through science as we know it as theories, he put forward such as that of the single magnetic pole, the magnetic monopole, have not been proven but are enthusiastically looked upon as possibilities for the future of scientific discovery. Dirac’s papers can and should still be read and studied. As it was so eloquently put in The Strangest Man by Graham Farmelo, the more you read Dirac the more you understand quantum mechanics and the brilliant mind of one of the leading pioneers of the fascinating subject.


Farmelo, Graham, The Strangest Man: The Hidden Life of Paul Dirac, Quantum Genius, Faber and Faber 2009.

This used to be…

We’re excited to announce that our 2019 spring exhibition is out in the world as of today. And this time we really mean out in the world. Due to our ongoing renovation we don’t have an actual exhibition gallery, so this year’s curator, Angela DiVeglia, moved the exhibition outdoors.

Exhibition curator, Angela DiVeglia, with one of the signs.

parking lot with carsStarting today, you’ll see signs like this one out in the wild, highlighting the fact that what looks like an empty piece of the city actually might have a colorful history. For instance, this looks a pretty nondescript parking lot, right? But it wasn’t a parking lot in 1914; instead it was Melrose Park, home to baseball’s Providence Grays and their young up-and-coming pitcher, Babe Ruth. You can read all about it via the Rhode Tour app or website, where you’ll find historic images of each site.

You can learn more about the exhibition and program series on our website, where you can find a map of all the sites and links to the Rhode Tour website. Or stop by the library later this week to pick up a printed map.

As a bonus, here’s a gallery of installation photos…

adding rivets to a sign

carrying a sign in town

standing by a sign

This exhibition is part of the Year of the City programming.

Student Traditions – past (and future?)

Every so often there seems to be a rush of interest in bringing back old Amherst traditions. Perhaps alumni wish that students of today could experience gathering as a class to sing at the senior fence. Or students wonder if they are missing out on quirky old traditions that could build school spirit.

Well, today I’d like to share with you some of the lesser known student traditions and activities from the past, all candidates for reintroduction into the Amherst traditions of today!

A photograph of four students in white full-body pajamas or body suits, posed in a photography studio.

Amherst College Competitive Napping Team, 1882

Let’s start with athletics – while competitive napping was only a recognized intercollegiate sport for 7 years, Amherst had 5 champion teams during that time. This is the team from 1882; Alfred Humbrey, at left, won the final tournament round with a record breaking nap of 6 hours and 43 minutes.

A photograph of eight students in formal wear in front of a painted backdrop of Johnson Chapel. The students appear to be holding invisible flutes.

Amherst Air Flute Octet, 1886

In the musical realm, Amherst’s well known Air Flute Octet charmed campus and area concert goers for decades before dissolving during the economic depression of 1893 when air flute prices became exorbitant.

Photograph of a group of students with canes and top hats sitting on a large rock, probably from the 1880s.

Amherst On-Campus Rock Climbing Society, date unknown

The short-lived On-Campus Rock Climbing Society was dedicated to finding and climbing every rock on the Amherst campus.

The Puritan Cosplay Club, 1952

The Puritan Cosplay Club was a wildly popular student activity in the early 1950s. The group attended both Puritan Con and Colonizers Con annually along with groups from Williams, Wesleyan, Yale and many other New England colleges.

Photograph of a groups of students formally dressed holding very, very long pipes, posed around a table in a photography studio

Amherst Extreme Pipe Club, 1883

Amherst’s Extreme Pipe Club was a selective group that existed from 1882-1885. Members of the club competed fiercely to have the longest pipe, by 1885 the pipes were observed to be nearing 8 feet long. The club was disbanded by the faculty after numerous custodian complaints of puncture marks in the hallways caused by students struggling to navigate their pipes around corners and through doorways.

Photograph of a large group of young men in a variety of fashions. Most of the men are looking off the side of the picture with sultry expressions.

Summer School for Fashion Modeling, 1888

Amherst also hosted a number of summer schools in the late 1800s. In a addition to the better know Summer School for Library Economy and Sauveur Language School, there was also the Amherst Summer School for Fashion Modeling which graduated dozens of young men who went on to renown in the Paris fashion plate scene. Appearing in this image (second from left in the back row) is Ellery Huntington, Class of 1888, who was later pictured in hundreds of fashion plates out of New York.

Photograph of a large group of students fighting, surrounded at a distance by a crown of observers

Annual Student Brawl, 1925

Photograph of clusters of students rolling on the ground in fisticuffs, behind them is a crown of onlookers behind a rope.

Annual Student Brawl, 1928

The Annual Student Brawl was a beloved tradition that began in 1899 and extended into the early 1930s. On a fine spring Saturday, the president would declare it “Brawl Day” and the student body would gather on the quad or the playing fields. The president would shoot a ceremonial pistol to start the brawl; after 30 minutes, any student left standing would be declared a superior specimen of Amherst manhood and given a purple striped ribbon to be worn on his hat for the remainder of the year. The faculty and citizens of the town of Amherst would bring their families and picnic on the lawn after the brawl.

Photograph of a group of students holding a variety of implements including, an ax, paddles, boards, rope, brooms, and sticks. Students are posed in front of a house.

The Ax, Rope, Club, Paddle, and Broom Society, 1893

The Ax, Rope, Club, Paddle and Broom Society was a secret society that rivaled the many fraternities at Amherst in the 1890s. Each of the implements in the society name was central to one of the society’s rituals. Unfortunately, the details of their rituals have been lost to time so modern researchers are left guessing. We do know that the club was kicked out of seven rooming housing in the span of three years between 1892 and 1984.

Photograph of three men in top hats with guinea pig images on them, presenting a guinea pig on a tray to a fourth man in front of Johnson Chapel.

Amherst Varsity Guinea Pig Breeding Team presenting their winning guinea pig, 1951.

Last, but not least, is the Amherst Varsity Guinea Pig Breeding Team. The team competed in division 3 guinea pig breeding from 1949 to 1957. Pictured here is the guinea pig that took the team to the national championship in 1951. Numerous alumni guinea pig breeders hoped that the school’s mascot would be officially changed to the guinea pig in 2016, but were, alas, disappointed.

Happy April Fools Day!

(All of the photographs in this post are, in fact, real photographs of Amherst College students, the interpretations however… are not. For more information about Brawl Day, please see the Chapel Rush and the Flag Rush. All the other photographs are unidentified.)