Women’s Athletics at FSU

When FSU became a co-ed institution, the development of women’s athletics took a backseat to men’s varsity sports. While sports clubs like F Club, Tarpon Club, and Gymkana gave women athletes a place to strut their stuff, there was nowhere for them to compete in an intercollegiate setting.

volleyballIt wasn’t until 1968 when FSU’s volleyball team started to shed its club roots and by 1971, was a full fledged team that made its debut at the AIAW National Tournament. Dr. Billie Jones became the permanent coach until 1975, and led the team to a 107-22 record, cementing FSU Volleyball as a mainstay. Historically, volleyball has been one of the most popular sports at Florida State, being a primary event of Odd-Even competitions, so it’s only appropriate that it would become FSU’s first women’s intercollegiate team. Under the coaching of Cecile Reynaud and Chris Poole, the team has won 4 ACC titles and has played in the NCAA tournament 17 times.

Softball is another sport that grew out of a long history at Florida State. Often played at Odds-Events events, it has become one of the most dominant teams in collegiate softball. Helmed by JoAnne Graff from 1979-2008, the team was propelled into success and has competed in the Women’s College World Series 9 times and maintains the highest winning percentage in the ACC. Under new head coach Lonni Alameda, FSU Softball continues its steak of excellence.

basketballBasketball has perhaps been the most popular sport among women athletes over Florida State’s long history. Starting in 1912, FSCW held a basketball game as part of its Thanksgiving weekend events. The popularity of the annual game became a frenzy, and the school decided to add more events to the Thanksgiving program. The popularity of women’s basketball has continued over its 47 seasons as a varsity squad. Officially established in 1970, Women’s basketball has been on of FSU’s most successful teams. The women’s cagers have played in the NCAA/AIAW tournament fifteen times, and has won the regular season conference title three times and the conference title once.

FSU women athletes have excelled in many other sports, too – track and field, swimming, golf, and soccer, just to name a few. With the support of many women, FSU women’s athletics has been able to grow into the powerhouse it is today.


Banned Books Week 2016

Banned Books Week 2016 is here! This year from September 25th to Ocimg_5315tober 1st, we celebrate open access to information and the freedom to read. FSU Special Collections & Archives is host to several frequently challenged and banned classics available for use in our Reading Room, including:

  • The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien (1954)
  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence (1928)
  • Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury (1953)
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain (1884)
  • The Autobiography of Malcolm X, by Malcolm X and Alex Haley (1965)
  • The Call of the Wild, by Jack London (1903)
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway (1940)img_5313
  • Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell (1936)
  • The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer (1948)
  • Howl, by Allen Ginsberg (1956)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee (1960)
  • Ulysses, by James Joyce (1922)
  • Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs (1959)

For more information on banned books, check out the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week website.

New York City’s Silver Jubilee: The Plan and Promise of WNYC in 1923

New York City’s 1923 Silver Jubilee, celebrating 25 years of borough unification, was a major public relations effort by Mayor John Hylan’s Administration to trumpet its accomplishments and plans for the future. The month-long exposition was headed up by Grover A. Whalen, the city’s commissioner of public works who used it to unveil one of his pet projects: the building of a great broadcast facility that would allow the city to get information and entertainment directly to its residents through the new medium of radio. A year earlier $50,000 had been appropriated for the project by the Board of Estimate and plans for the, yet unnamed, radio station were well under way.

One of the exhibit walls is pictured above. Devoted to what “New York City will broadcast to you,” it shows a transmitting building with ‘crackling’ radio bolts reaching out to an array of New Yorkers eagerly listening to the radio: young men with headphones sitting around a table radio set; a family in front of large console type unit; and children in a bedroom listening at night. Feeding the Municipal Building studio are “radio lines” to various city agencies, departments and legislative offices. Each had a description like these.

Radio programs for the institutionalized.
(NYC Municipal Archives)


Coverage of Board of Estimate meetings.
(NYC Municipal Archives)

Along with assisting the Police and Fire departments, the planned station held the promise of lectures for students, legislative meetings and concerts from city parks, as well as outreach for the Health Department “endeavoring to make New York the healthiest city.”

In addition to subject matter indicated in the exhibit, it was noted that the city would broadcast “popular music, operas and time signals.” The Silver Jubilee Review, the expo’s daily publication, outlined the broadcasting plan in its June 15th edition.

The Officials of the Department of Plant and Structures are of the opinion that there is a new and undeveloped field in broadcasting for municipal governments. The City of New York intends to be the leader in this new field and from a brilliantly illustrated chart occupying considerable space in the Radio booth, a true conception of what New York City intends to do in the development of this infant industry is excellently portrayed. It answers the question: What will New York City broadcast from its new station…

Uncle Sam is already dispensing health through its Radio station at Arlington, Virginia. New York City will dispense health, protection, safety, education, entertainment and in fact, something from every one of its many departments. A closer bond between the people and their government, a more intimate acquaintanceship and the end for which the government is working, the greater happiness of the people, will be attained…[1]

During the Silver Jubilee (held May 28 to June 23 at the Grand Central Palace, then a city convention center) there were daily broadcasts relayed to WJZ, Newark from the “radio broadcasting station” on the second floor of the exhibition hall. Grover Whalen, of course, was among the many speakers.

Commissioner Grover A. Whalen at the Silver Jubilee broadcasting exhibit delivering a speech over WJZ, June 5, 1923.
(Photo by Eugene de Salignac and courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives)

Because radio was still very new, Whalen sought to explain it and its history to-date as part of the exhibition. In addition to the outline for WNYC’s future, the exhibit included  an impressive display of equipment illustrating the medium’s development from the turn of the century to the newest receivers and vacuum tubes of 1923. No doubt a collection worthy, even then, of the Smithsonian, it included a ten-inch spark coil, the earliest transmitting set used on ships and an American receiver from 1901. Behind these displays the following was painted on the wall: “The development of RADIO in the last 25 years has been remarkable!! In the future it will play an important part in municipal affairs.”

Whalen was indeed prophetic and spoke about the station’s impact at the beginning of WNYC’s silver jubilee year in July 1948.

I felt that one of the things that was most important in New York [was] that there should be a station that didn’t have to follow the dictates of any commercial sponsor in order to use the air for the benefit of the people of this great city.

Grover Whalen’s daughter Mary riding in model radio truck at the city’s Silver Jubilee celebration at Grand Central Palace in June, 1923.
(Radio News/WNYC Archive Collections) [2]


[1] “Nightly Radio Talks by Department Chiefs Attract Hugh Crowds of Interested Fans to Municipal Broadcasting Exhibit,” Silver Jubilee Review, June 15, 1923, vol. 1 no. 17. pgs. 1 and 3.

[2]  “Recent Radio Exhibitions,” Radio News, September, 1923, p. 258.

Special thanks to Associate Archivist Alexandra Hilton at the New York City Municipal Archives and Assistant Commissioner for the NYC Department of Records Kenneth R. Cobb.

Interested in more on WNYC history?  Go to: WNYC History.

Subscribe to our weekly E-Newsletter, New York Public Radio History Notes.

General William Westmoreland Reports on the Vietnam War

Dismissing the North Vietnamese government’s “absurd claims of victory,” General William Westmoreland assures the public that triumph in Vietnam is close at hand. This address, given before the American Newspaper Publishers Association on April 24, 1967, finds the commander of US forces dealing with a friendly, appreciative crowd. His rosy picture of the conflict is allowed to stand largely unchallenged during the subsequent Q&A. What success the Viet Cong have achieved is not military but “a clever contribution of psychological and political warfare both here and abroad.” We are facing in Vietnam not a civil war but “massive external aggression.” In all areas, US and South Vietnamese forces are gaining ground. The only reason for the enemy’s ferocious determination is a ruthless program of “political indoctrination,” despite which, many of them are now defecting. The general concludes by extolling the virtues of the US Army and assures the nation’s publishers that he is “confident of victory.” The disaster of Tet, and Lyndon Johnson’s subsequent realization that the war could not, in fact, be won, looms less than a year off.   

William Westmoreland was born in 1914. A graduate of West Point, he served in World War II and Korea before being appointed in 1964 to lead US forces in Vietnam. His command was marked by a sharp escalation in a war that, until then, the Army had tried to play more of an advisory role. As The Economist described it:

General Westmoreland’s tactics were simple: take the war to the enemy, and kill him faster than he could be replaced. Where possible, apply overwhelming, stunning force. “A great country”, he liked to say, quoting the Duke of Wellington, “cannot wage a little war.”

But such a win-at-all-costs strategy ran afoul of larger, more global considerations. Johnson did not wish to risk dragging China and the USSR into the conflict. Increased use of draftees sparked domestic protests and civil unrest. (Indeed, the New York Times reported that in front of the Waldorf-Astoria, where this talk was held, protestors were burning Westmoreland in effigy.) These factors remained outside the narrow scope of a military commander. The novelist Ward Just, himself a former correspondent in Saigon, reviewed Westmoreland’s book, A Soldier Reports, in the New York Times, and lamented:

Throughout this sad and defensive memoir there is an air of confusion, bewilderment and pain. And no wonder. Westmoreland was not in charge, though he was very much the man out front. From the evidence presented here, he did not himself understand what the American role was meant to be — he did not see the war as essentially a political struggle, and his descriptions of the development of American strategy and tactics are as chaotic as the strategy and tactics themselves.

Ten months after this address, the Tet Offensive starkly contradicted Westmoreland’s overly optimistic view of the war. Although he stubbornly claimed repulsing the near-takeover of the South Vietnamese capitol “a victory,” neither the public nor LBJ could stomach such a blinkered view of the conflict. Westmoreland was recalled to Washington and peace negotiations were begun.

In retrospect, with the passions of the time now cooled, Westmoreland can be seen here less the stage villain he was often lampooned as, with his John Wayne demeanor and persistent use of military jargon, and more a familiar, almost tragic figure, the general fighting the previous war. He seems to have no clue that boasting about increased body counts, the many “combat-ready” Republic of South Vietnam troops, and what fine “physical specimens” our soldiers have become, misses the point.  As The Guardian newspaper reported in its obituary:

Westmoreland’s main flaw was that he thought that if he confronted the communist forces directly, either on the ground or with his massive airpower, he could simply win by attrition. The communists’ death toll was very heavy, and this encouraged the delusion that the war was being won, as Westmoreland could not imagine how relatively small countries like North or South Vietnam could sustain such massive casualties. … As Stanley Karnow, the Vietnam reporter and historian noted: “Westmoreland did not understand – nor did anyone else understand – that there was not a breaking point. Instead of breaking their morale, they were breaking ours.”

In later life Westmoreland ran unsuccessfully for governor of South Carolina. In 1982 he sued CBS for a report claiming he had knowingly manipulated figures relating to enemy troop strength. The case was settled with neither side admitting blame.

William Westmoreland died in 2005. 


Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection.

WNYC archives id: 150001
Municipal archives id: T1140-T1141

Stephen Henderson’s Replies


The slaves on the sugar estates – do they appear hardworked dispirited and oppressed? Open your eyes and ears to every fact connected with the actual condition of slavery everywhere – but do not talk about it – hear and [see] everything but say little.*

1824-shepard-chas-u-1850sIn 1832, Yale’s eminent scientist Benjamin Silliman advised botanist Charles Upham Shepard (Amherst Class of 1824) on how to negotiate his visit to the South, where Shepard was to investigate sugar plantations in order to assist Silliman in the production of a report to the United States government on the sugar industry.  The investigation had begun in 1830 with a request from the House of Representatives to Secretary of the Treasury Samuel Ingham to “cause to be prepared a well digested Manual, containing the best practical information concerning the culture of the Sugar Cane, and the fabrication and refinement of Sugar, including the most modern improvements” (“Manual” preface).  Ingham’s successor Louis McLane gave the project to Silliman, and Silliman divided it into tasks for four men, including Shepard, who went to Louisiana and Georgia, “where the sugar cane is cultivated.”

In his advice to Shepard quoted above on how to treat with the planters, Silliman was suggesting that he avoid antagonizing them with any kind of anti-slavery argument if he wanted the planters to cooperate with the research.  Elsewhere — in correspondence between Silliman and Amherst’s President Edward Hitchcock — Silliman comes across as someone who could at once view slavery as an original sin and – from his own earlier visit to the South — observe that most of the slaves he saw were “well-treated,” simultaneous opinions that were probably typical for his time and station.  We don’t know what Shepard’s views were, but it’s likely they were similar to Silliman’s.

The Charles Upham Shepard Papers contain some of Shepard’s notes and correspondence relating to “the sugar inquiry,” including several documents from planters who either answered Shepard in the form of his questionnaire or who wrote their answers in a letter. Many of these focus on the manufacture of sugar from cane, rather than on growing cane itself.


Shepard’s sketch of a “Steam Boiler” used in the manufacture of sugar. (C.U.Shepard Papers, Box 3, Folder 5.)

In at least one case, though, we have notes in Shepard’s hand from his conversation with a planter. The planter was Stephen Henderson, who owned several cotton and sugar plantations, including one named Destrehan, a plantation that exists as a tourist site today.

The name “Destrehan” might not have caught my eye if I had not recently watched the film “12 Years a Slave” and then read both the book from 1853 on which the film was based and a little about the making of the film.

The film includes a scene filmed in Destrehan’s “mule barn,” which was re-purposed to serve as plantation owner Edwin Epps’s cotton barn.  If you’ve read “Twelve Years” or watched “12 Years,” you’ll remember that Epps is the man who enslaved Solomon Northup for ten years — he was apparently the cruelest of Northup’s many tormentors.

"Antebellum splendor": the home of Edwin Epps as it appeared in the 1970s.

The home of Edwin Epps as it appeared in the late 1970s. This photograph was probably taken by Dr. Sue L. Eakin, who brought “Twelve Years” back into public view after many decades in which it was nearly impossible to find a copy.

So, what exactly did this folded-up document that mentions Destrehan say? Here it is, including Shepard’s blurry ink-over-pencil tracing, abbreviations, and mistakes, in a sort of poisoned verse form. It’s a modest-looking document whose early 19th-century handwriting – itself dashed off probably while meeting with the planter– resists quick understanding, but transcribing it reveals sobering truths.  Perhaps only Kara Walker could illustrate this text properly.

























Of course, the people performing the labor described in the document above had names and identities. The document below is the first page of the registry of slaves on Henderson’s estate at the time of his death in 1838, five years after Shepard made his notes. This page shows only the first dozen of the 152 people listed on subsequent pages in the document.



Destrehan Plantation’s site has a transcription of the full list of enslaved people. The complete inventory of Henderson’s estate is available through ancestry.com or ancestrylibrary.com.   See also the new National Museum of African American History and Culture for complementary material on subjects discussed in this post.  The Museum opens next week, and the New York Times has published a preview featuring samples from parts of the museum.

*”Mr. Silliman’s Instructions,” Charles Upham Shepard Papers, Box 3, Folder 5, page 4.

Launching the Beta Program for our Remembering WWI App

Today we’re launching the public beta program for the Remembering WWI iPad app, which puts newly digitized primary source materials into the hands of teachers and museum professionals nationwide. The app is a product of a two-year collaboration among the National Archives, the Library of Congress, the Smithsonian Institution, the National WWI Museum, and others, all working toward the goal of connecting teachers, students and history enthusiasts to primary sources in interesting new ways.

I’ve written a few times about the moving and still images related to World War I and II that have been part of a large scale digitization effort at NARA over the last few years. In addition to the digitization of these rarely-seen photographs and moving images, this app is part of a long-term community engagement plan to connect with existing and new audiences for NARA. On our NARAtions blog, the team has shared how we’ve taken a user-centered design approach to one of our first cross-unit productions, and opened up our collections to free and creative reuse.

We welcome your participation and feedback in this beta program for the Remembering WWI app. The best way to get involved is to join the conversation on the History Hub, where you can learn about downloading the beta app, participate in user experience research, and share your feedback and ideas to help inform changes to the app before being promoted in schools and museums in February 2017.

WWI app screenshot 1

The app features a geographical interface that allows users to explore the archive, but also provides special resources for teachers and curators using the app.

WWI app screenshot 2

The geographical interface makes it easy to connect to content that is relevant to your own communities.

WWI app screenshot 3

WWI films have been broken into short segments based on theme and location, so that you can explore WWI moving images in an entirely new way. There are always links back to the catalog so you can view the film in its entirety.

WWI app screenshot 4

You can also view collections based on a number of diverse themes and locations, and also create your own collections from primary source materials based on subjects you may be studying or want to highlight.

Shaping the city: more records of Vancouver’s Planning Department now available

We are pleased to announce that we are now able to make available a significant volume of records from the City’s Planning Department. The Department has been responsible for land use planning, administering the Zoning and Development By-law and administering development services since 1952.

The Hollies (1388 The Crescent), taken during a walking tour of Shaughnessy by Planning Department staff, ca. 1980. From file COV-S648-F0651

The Hollies (1388 The Crescent), taken during a walking tour of Shaughnessy by Planning Department staff, ca. 1980. From file COV-S648-F0651

The records included in this large batch include additions to the principal records series for the Department (COV-S648 Planning operational records), as well as smaller additions to COV-S650 Civic and Urban Design Panels records and COV-S602 Zoning Secretary’s public hearings files.

Our archival processing work also has resulted in the creation of a number of new series, as the Archives received its first transfers of these records:

Some of these newly-acquired records go back to the foundation of the Planning Department in 1952, when it was created from portions of the former Building Department and took on some of the responsibilities of the Town Planning Commission.

Map of the initial 1955 development scheme for the Oakridge Mall and adjacent areas to the south and west. From file COV-S648-F0643

Map of the initial 1955 development scheme for the Oakridge Mall and adjacent areas to the south and west. From file COV-S648-F0643

The records cover many of the department’s responsibilities for planning and development services in Vancouver, including:

  • Implementation of and revisions to the Sign By-law
  • Creation of and revisions to the Zoning and Development By-law, No. 3575
  • Establishment and abolition of building lines along City streets
  • Planning of and revisions to Vancouver’s street grid and laneways
  • Land use planning around the harbour and transportation linkages to the Port of Vancouver
  • Planning an expansion of Vancouver International Airport in the early 1970s, including citizen involvement in the planning process
  • Beautification and re-development of downtown business districts in the 1960s and 1970s
  • Administration of federally-funded urban renewal projects in the 1960s and 1970s
  • Participation in the Fraser River Estuary Management Program, and land use planning in the Fraser River lands
  • Administration and assessment of the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program
  • Studies to design and construct a freeway network through the City, including a proposed twinning of the Lion’s Gate Bridge and plans to replace the Connaught Bridge (the second bridge at Cambie Street). The records of this project will be examined in more detail in a later blog post.
  • Acquisition of the original Shaughnessy Golf Club and the debate over the site’s use
  • Redevelopment of railway lands, including the development of Oakridge Mall and the surrounding area
  • Evolution of industrial land use policy and re-zoning for non-industrial uses
Photograph of West End view obstruction study model. From file COV-S648-F0662

Photograph of West End view obstruction study model. From file COV-S648-F0662

These records cover some of the critical issues that faced the City’s development in the second half of the 20th century, and we hope you find the records provide valuable background information behind the decisions that have shaped the City for the last 60 years.

Warren Bower: Radio’s ‘Book Dean’

Warren Bower was a Professor of English at New York University and member of the faculty there since 1930. He launched The Reader’s Almanac on December 5, 1938. That first program was called “A Look Forward,” and was a conversation between Bower and his English Department colleague, Bernard A. Huppe.

Reader’s Almanac host Warren Bower in it’s early days.
(NYU Archives, NYU Libraries.)

The two academics were “observing” novelist Willa Cather’s birthday. Initially, the marking of literary birthdays was a regular feature of the show hence the program’s title.  The birthday feature was eventually dropped but the show name remained, as did the idea of talking about writers of the past.  

By the program’s second year, a discussion between Bower and another member of the English Department at NYU also gave way to interviews with current authors whose books had just been published, a format followed for decades. 

During Bower’s nearly thirty-two year run he interviewed many of the leading figures in literature and the arts including: Robert Frost, Marianne Moore (audio above), Virgil Thomson, Ralph Ellison, Alfred Kazin, John Dos Passos, Robert Penn Warren, Archibald Mac Leish, Budd Shulberg, Eva LeGallienne, Stanley Kunitz, Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, James Purdy and Marian Anderson.

In the 1950s the show was also syndicated to some sixty-two public and university stations in twenty-five states as part of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB) tape network. The program was recorded at NYU and fed live by telephone line to WNYC with an elaborate system of signals back and forth.

WNYC issued a press release for the show’s 800th broadcast on March 26, 1957. The occasion was also a tribute to The New York Times music critic Olin Downes and included Downes’ widow, Irene Downes, composer and critic Virgil Thomson, soprano Jarmila Novotna and distinguished composer and educator Dr. Philip James.  The station’s publicity referred to Bower as “Radio’s Book Dean,” and the broadcast was called “the oldest continuous book program on radio.” (Although Bower himself humbly noted it was not the first book program on radio, recalling one by a Northwestern University English professor called Of Men and Books). Bower was also noted for bringing books to television, hosting a weekly series on WPIX-TV (Channel 11).

Warren Bower with author Mark Van Doren on “Reader’s Almanac,” February 18, 1960.
(Photograph by William R. Simmons and courtesy of New York University Archives, NYU Libraries)

A native of Elkhart, Indiana, Warren Bower was educated in Michigan and received a B.A. from Hillsdale College in 1920. He was awarded an M.A. from the University of Michigan, where he taught from 1922 to 1928. Before coming to NYU in 1930 he was on the English faculty of Alabama Polytechnic Institute. Bower served as assistant dean of the NYU Division of General Education, (now the School of Professional Studies) from 1950 to 1966. In addition to teaching he was the author and editor of books on the craft of writing and was formerly a fiction editor at Scribner’s Magazine. Warren Bower died in 1976.

WNYC Director Seymour N. Siegel, Warren Bower and NYU President James M. Hester at the Presidential Citation award ceremony for Bower, December 6, 1968.
(Photo courtesy of New York University Archives, NYU Libraries)

 Special thanks to Deborah Shapiro of the NYU Archives.

Formación Individual en Dirección y Gestión de Proyectos en Servicios de Información (Archivos, Bibliotecas y Centros de Documentación)

Formación Individual en Dirección y Gestión de Proyectos en Servicios de Información (Archivos, Bibliotecas y Centros de Documentación)

TITULO DEL CURSO FORMACIÓN INDIVIDUAL EN DIRECCIÓN Y GESTIÓN DE PROYECTOS EN SERVICIOS DE INFORMACIÓN (ARCHIVOS, BIBLIOTECAS Y CENTROS DE DOCUMENTACIÓN) PRESENTACIÓN EN VIDEO El tutor te presenta en video las características esenciales de esta acción formativa individual BENEFICIOS PARA EL ALUMNO Con este TALLER PRÁCTICO se pretende que el participante identifique y conozca las […]

Consultores Documentales

Updated: The Tarpon Club Collection, 1931-1994

tarpon We are excited to announce that the Tarpon Club Collection has been recently re-processed and updated by project archivist Christine Bethke. Included in the update are new scrapbooks, memorabilia, photographs, and films that have been acquired over the past 10 years.

threetarponThe Tarpon Club began during the early 1920s as the Florida State College for Women (FSCW) Life Saving Corps. The Life Saving Corps began holding exhibitions in the Montgomery Gym indoor pool demonstrating aquatic skills during the 1930’s. These exhibitions featured form swimming, figure swimming, speed swimming, lifesaving techniques, diving, and canoe handling. In the spring of 1937, members of the Corps under the direction of Betty Washburn formed the Tarpon Club, choosing the tarpon fish as its mascot due to its reputation of being an acrobat of Florida waters. The club presented its first “water pageant” in the fall of that year featuring swimming stroke demonstrations and floating patterns performed with musical accompaniment. In 1938, the Tarpons initiated its first group of “Minnows,” or first year members, and established the tradition of requiring Minnows to participate in the club and improve their skills until they were judged eligible to become full-fledged Tarpons. The Club continued to perform at least one production per year, with each show containing a central theme, until its disbandment in 1994.

During its long existence, the Tarpon Club garnered a number of awards and received invitations to perform at national and international aquatic exhibitions. The International Academy of Aquatic Art and the National Institute for Creative Aquatics recognized the Tarpons’ skill through the years with numerous awards, and the club also received an award for its performance in the United States Synchronized Swimming Collegiate National Championships.

puppetsNotable sports writer Grantland Rice featured the Tarpon Club three times in his “Sportlight” series of short films produced by Jack Eton: “Aqua Rhythm,” filmed in Wakulla Springs in 1941, “Campus Mermaids,” also filmed there in 1945, and “Water Symphony,” filmed in both Wakulla Springs and Cypress Gardens in 1953. The Florida Department of Commerce filmed the Tarpon performance “A Dip in Dixie” in 1964 to promote tourism in the State of Florida. Some Life Saving Corps and Tarpon Alumni continued their film roles. Corps member Martha Dent Perry served as the character Jane’s stunt double in “Tarzan’s Secret Treasure” filmed at Wakulla Springs in 1941, and Tarpon member Jean Knapp served as Jane’s stunt double in “Tarzan’s New York Adventure,” also filmed at Wakulla Springs in 1942. Tarpon Nancy Tribble served as an underwater double for actress Anne Blythe in the 1953 film “Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid,” and designed the famous mermaid logo for the mermaid attraction at Weekiwachee Springs with Sis Myers, another Tarpon alumna. Tarpon member Sherry Brown also swam in the chorus of the 1953 Esther Williams film “Easy to Love.” Another notable Tarpon alumna, 1943 FSCW graduate Nancy Kulp, starred in several television shows, films, and theater productions. Also of note is Katherine Rawls, a swimmer in the 1936 Corps and a two-time Olympic swimmer and diver in the 1932 and 1936 summer games. Rawls would go on to be a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS) during World War II.

When the Club disbanded in 1994, it was the Nation’s oldest continuously active collegiate swim group as well as the oldest club on the Florida State University campus.

To see more photographs, ephemera, and artifacts related to the history of Florida State, check out the FSU Heritage Protocol Digital Collections or like the Heritage Protocol Facebook page



Accessing a new collection: initial thoughts

Posted by Ellen Higgs

‘On Wednesday 22nd June 2016, a small uncatalogued archive of Martin William Frederiksen’s collection of 35mm slides, photographs and negatives was transferred from Worcester College, Oxford to the Institute of Archaeology.


Martin William Frederiksen was in international scholar, attending and teaching at various institutions across the world. He was born in Sumatra in 1930 and grew up in Canberra, before studying history at first the University of Sydney in 1957 and then Balliol College, Oxford in 1954, as a Scholar in Classical Studies and as Craven Fellow. He then attended the British School at Rome, retaining strong links with both the school and Italy throughout his lifetime. After becoming PS Allen Junior Research Fellow and obtaining a Masters from Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in 1960 Frederiksen became a fellow and tutor in Ancient History at Worcester College. Unfortunately Frederiksen was killed whilst crossing an Oxford road in July 1980, causing a great loss to classical scholarship both in England and Italy.


Frederiksen’s archive contains 1,183 35mm slides that he had collected or taken throughout his career as well as a number of photographs and negatives of all shapes and sizes. Both media mainly portray the Roman archaeological sites that he visited or was interested in.

From my first look into our newly acquired collection, the majority of the archive itself appears to be in a reasonable condition, with the exception of a few of the slides with a fetching pink tinge as the cyan and yellow dyes have faded. I have, however, encountered challenges with the containers that a number of the slides are housed. Within the collection are two leather slide cases with red interiors that, fortunately for the slides inside, managed to escape the mould that has encroached on the exterior. We had noted that this archive did seem to smell and now we have found and dealt with the source.

mould on the slide box.jpg

Although some of the collection consists of original images taken by Frederiksen, a large number are duplicates which he purchased throughout his career. Frederiksen’s archive includes what appear to be photographs by Fratelli Alinari. Alinari, being established in 1852, is the oldest photographic company in the world and is still active today. The presence of one particular Alinari image within Frederiksen’s collection is particularly interesting due to an image of the Casa di Pansa in Pompeii: a very similar view has already been uploaded onto the Historic Environment Image Resource.


HEIR image ID 44489

Through comparing the two images we have been able to find that Frederiksen’s Alinari image from Pompeii pre-dates the view of the Casa di Pansa we have already uploaded, illustrating the changes that have occurred over time. This therefore shows the relevance and usefulness of even duplicated images within the archive.


The fact that a large portion of Frederiksen’s collection is not his original work then poses the question: is this archive still relevant? Aside from the potential of the images in understanding how landscapes have changed over time (as part of the HEIR project) it is of interest to us as an assemblage – a purposeful collection of objects and images illustrating Frederiksen’s scholarship, locating his ideas in time, space and material cultural context.

So, what now? Due to the archives’ current home in cardboard boxes and mouldy slide cases, my next job is to clean and re-house the 35mm slide collection into the appropriate archival boxes and find the best way to store the wide size range of photographs. This will not only make it much easier when it comes to cataloguing the contents of the archive, in order to make the archive more accessible, and help to prevent any further damage to Frederiksen’s archive, but will enable us to have a better understanding of what exactly we have acquired and what we can learn from the collection.’

About Ellen

Ellen has been volunteering in the archive for several years while studying for her BA in English and History at Oxford Brookes University. She will soon be beginning a postgraduate course in archives…


Felker Talking Telstar

 “Our engineers have had to create a lot of new techniques that are on a heroic scale,” computer and communications satellite pioneer Jean H. Felker reveals in this 1962 talk. A quiet, unassuming speaker, Felker seems to embody the can-do spirit of American technology in the latter half of the 20th century. Speaking before a gathering of scientists and communications executives, he refers to a model of the Telstar satellite “out in the hall.” This satellite, forerunner of the our modern, global communications system, had not yet been launched. Felker refers to it as “the closest thing to a living animal that…engineers have ever made.” Its 1,000 transistors will measure radiation, the impact of cosmic dust, and other forces in the hostile atmosphere of space.

DEC 7 1961; Jean H.. Felker Holds Scale Model Of Telstar; He calls satellite 'a sort of onion in the sky.'; (Photo By Cloyd Teter/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

NASA will launch the satellite (AT&T and Bell Labs footing the bill) with the eventual aim of transmitting both telephone calls and live TV between America and Europe. Because the satellite must be light and run on very little power (supplied by solar cells) much of the technology has shifted to ground stations. Felker shows a picture of an enormous station in Maine, calling it “one of the most impressive things I’ve ever seen.” Over 300 tons, yet precision crafted, much of it is a balloon made of 20 tons of rubberized canvas. A 40 ton gear could not be shipped but had to be assembled on-site inside the balloon! This satellite is just a test. What AT&T eventually envisions, and what indeed came to pass, was a system of satellites covering the entire planet so global communications could be continuous.

There follows a question period in which Felker explains the eventual fate of Telstar—it will burn up. He predicts the picture quality will be as clear as regular TV, and guesses that the rates, though quite literally astronomical at first, will with increased use prove cheaper than those of the current submarine lines. When someone asks about potential collisions, he points out “space is an awfully lonely place.” As an engineer he’d rather launch a satellite than try to hit one. Finally, he rejects the idea of “jamming” by foreign powers, saying when it comes to international communications “people generally behave.”

This is a fascinating glimpse of space and communication science in its initial “golden” period, when every problem seemed solvable by engineering and the future one of boundless progress.

Jean H. Felker (1919-1994) received a degree in electrical engineering but seems to have combined his technical expertise with an almost visionary approach to the possibilities of technology. His early recognition of the importance of the transistor led to significant work on the first generation of computers. The website of the Computer History Museum tells how:

Jean H. Felker led a Bell Labs team including engineer James R. Harris that designed and built a fully transistorized computer dubbed TRADIC (TRAnsistor DIgital Computer) for the U. S. Air Force in 1954. Involving about 700 point-contact transistors and over 10,000 diodes, the prototype operated at 1 MHz while requiring less than 100 watts of power. A lighter airborne version (Flyable TRADIC) using junction transistors replaced an analog computer for navigation and bombing control in a C-131 aircraft.

Felker then moved on to communications. It is hard to overestimate both the practical importance of the revolution ushered in by Telstar and the way in which it embodied the cultural Zeitgeist. The NASA website relates how: 

Although operational for only a few months and relaying television signals of a brief duration, Telstar immediately captured the imagination of the world. The first images, those of President John F. Kennedy and of singer Yves Montand from France, along with clips of sporting events, images of the American flag waving in the breeze and a still image of Mount Rushmore, were precursors of the global communications that today are mostly taken for granted.

What becomes apparent in this talk, which is neither too technical nor at all condescending, is the earnest good will and pride with which Felker touts his team’s achievements. There is a real sense that any problem can be overcome by a combination of original thought and sound application of scientific principles, a far cry from today’s anti-intellectual suspicion of anything “scientific” and that profession’s own unwillingness or inability to make its findings and suggestions relevant and convincing to large sections of the public.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection.

WNYC archives id: 150276
Municipal archives id: LT9551

Vintage Viands: Last Call!

Vintage Viands offers opportunities for students, staff, and the local community to sample foods from an earlier era, and reflect on how taste and ingredients change over time. The event, connected through the Home Economics Pamphlets Collection and the Home Economics and Household Collection, offers attendees an online or physical exhibit. 

This year, Vintage Viands is honored to receive the University Libraries’ Innovation Grant to support the promotion of the event itself and of the collection. See: 2016-17 Libraries’ Innovation Grant will Showcase Home Economics Pamphlets for more details!

No tickets are needed; ticket link will take you to more information about the event.

University Libraries staff are invited to contribute vintage dishes; there will be prizes and it is possible to be reimbursed for the cost of ingredients. Here’s how:

Join us on Friday, September 23, 2016 as we recreate the tastes of the 1920’s!

More information here…

We want to hear from you! NARA’s Open Government Plan 2016-2018

I am proud to announce the publication of our fourth Open Government Plan. To get started, check out the Executive Summary, which provides an overview of the commitments the agency is making to make the National Archives and the Federal government more open over the next two years.

Open Government Plan on Github

We want to hear from you! This plan is a living document and we will update it over time based on the feedback we receive.

We have published this plan on the social coding platform, Github so that the public can provide feedback through the “Discuss” feature and can suggest edits through the “Edit” function. If this is not your preferred method of feedback, please check out all available feedback opportunities, provide comments below on this blog post, or email opengov@nara.gov.

While one could anticipate the enthusiasm for open government winding down during the end of a second term of the administration, we have seen the opposite. During the development of this plan we saw an increase in momentum and greater engagement from the public and staff in open government initiatives. We held more than 20 internal and external brainstorming sessions and briefings, including our first Open Government Webinar on March 29, 2016, for our external stakeholders with nearly 100 participants. Our engagement efforts brought in more than 180 ideas, comments, and suggestions that we considered for inclusion in this plan.

This plan, our fourth, will see us through a Presidential transition and contains more than 50 specific commitments to strengthen open government at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and across government from 2016 to 2018, including:

  • our launch of a social media campaign to collect stories about people’s own personal artifacts and documents from the Vietnam War to enrich the experience of visiting our new exhibit on the Vietnam War;
  • our Office of Research Services will provide additional customer service training for staff members so that we can better serve the public, along with exploring how to incorporate digital tools, like social media and our History Hub pilot to make it easier for the public to find the records that interest them;
  • flagship Initiatives including our work engaging the public and staff in our Innovation Hub, expanding History Hub and Citizen Archivist programs, and developing a solution for user-generated finding aids about our records that update dynamically as needed;
  • commitments from our Office of the Chief Records Officer to provide greater transparency and expanded reporting to better evaluate records management risk in agencies and promote accountability of government officials to the public;
  • commitments from our National Declassification Center (NDC) to develop a special systematic declassification review program for records that were accessioned prior to the creation of the NDC in 2010;
  • in addition to implementing components of the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, our Office of Government Information Services will develop tools to teach students about the power of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to hold the government accountable and work within the Department of Justice to develop standards for agency FOIA webpages; and
  • our Information Security Oversight Office will continue to monitor and report on the state of classification and declassification in government and will also provide guidance and report on agency adherence to the Fundamental Classification Guidance Review.

As we look forward to the next two years, I am confident that we will continue to strengthen and build momentum for our efforts to provide transparency, and foster greater participation and collaboration in our work so that we can better serve the public.

The New York Public Radio History Notes Newsletter

Slices of curious, eclectic, and fascinating WNYC/WQXR history in text and sound links, for your inbox every Friday. New York Public Radio History Notes, the organization’s oldest continuously publishing E-newsletter (16 years! – 841 editions!). Sign-up here.

Catch up on the newsletters we’ve published since June 14, 2013.







Back to School

Part of the back-to-school ritual in the Archives & Special Collections is meeting new faculty and trying to figure out what we have in our collections that they might use. Recently, we had a couple of new faculty ask about what resources we have about Latin America and the Caribbean.

For the course “The Colonial City: Global Perspectives” several people in the department went in search of maps and/or architectural illustrations of cities and towns in the Caribbean. We were confident we would have something for this course given our strong holdings of books, manuscripts, and maps from the era of the French & Indian War:

Plan of Bridge Town This document — “A Plan of Bridge Town, in the Island of Barbadoes”– is part of the Plimpton Collection of French and Indian War Items, 1670-1934 (Box 10, Folder 1).

A bound volume from the same era also has a lot of what we were looking for:

French Dominions 1760 title

The Natural and Civil History of the French Dominions of North and South America (London, 1760) is a very thorough survey of French territories, many of which had just been captured by the English during the French and Indian War. It includes numerous maps of Caribbean islands, like this one

French Dominions 1760 Hispaniola

And some of the maps include detailed city plans:

French Dominions 1760 Harbor

An even earlier book may also be a fruitful resource for this course:

America 1671 title

This copy of America: Being the Latest, and Most Accurate Description of the New World (London, 1671) once belonged to Amherst College alumnus, Dwight W. Morrow (Class of 1895), who served as US Ambassador to Mexico under President Calvin Coolidge. The Archives holds several books from Morrow’s library along with his personal papers. The illustrations in this volume include more maps:

America 1671 Jamaicae

In addition to maps, some illustrations give a very clear rendering of some of the architecture:

America 1671 Potosi

Others are less architecturally detailed, but we hope will be useful:

America 1671 Lima

A third item worth mentioning doesn’t have any illustrations, but may be useful to the Colonial City course as well as another new class on Race and Religion in the Americas. The professor for that course told me he was particularly interested in Guatemala, and it turned out we had a very interesting item that fit the bill:

Gage Survey of the West Indias

This copy of The English American, his travail by sea and land: or, A new svrvey of the West-India’s also comes from Dwight Morrow’s library. It’s the extraordinary narrative of Thomas Gage, an English Catholic whose travels included “Twelve years about Guatemala.”

One of the ways we like to teach with our collections is to get at least one or two relevant books or documents into the hands of the students, then we can point them to deeper online repositories where they may find much more material on their topic. In this case, it is likely that the Digital Library of the Caribbean may be quite handy. And for more material on Guatemala, there are a wealth of resources to be discovered via the Latin American Networked Information Center, the Latin American Open Archives Portal, and others.  Our hope is always that the experience of seeing seventeenth and eighteenth-century books and documents will enable students to make better use of digital resources and bear in mind the physical artifacts that these digital projects are based on.

New Acquisitions: Artists’ Books

FSU Special Collections & Archives is pleased to announce that a number of new artists’ books have been cataloged and are now available through our Research Center Reading Room.

  • IMG_0964
    A detail of one of the “cells” from Ellen Knudson’s Made Up

    Made Up by Ellen Knudson at Crooked Letter Press (2015) – According to artist Ellen Knudson, “Made Up is a non-scientific science book about the imaginary cellular composition of the human body.” Anger, Curiosity, Failure, Fear, Jealousy, Joy, Knowledge, Location, Love, The Past, Success, Talent, Trust, Work – the cells that “make up” a person – are depicted in vivid multiple block linoleum prints. The deluxe edition contains 14 unfolded prints alongside the book in a sectioned clamshell box.

  • Diagram of Wind : Architectural Book with Poem by Michael Donaghy by Barbara Tetenbaum at Triangular Press (2015) – A letterpress printing of Michael Donaghy’s poem “Glass,” featuring texts and images backed with Japanese silk tissue and set on a wave-shaped wooden platform. The varied shapes and textures create different sounds as the pages are turned.
  • IMG_0963
    Postcards and ephemera tell the story of How to Transition on Sixty-Three Cents a Day

    Soil Dwellers by Emily Van Kley at May Day Press (2015) – Inspired by insects that live beneath the soil, featuring handmade papers dyed and printed through contact with plants, sewn in a double-sided accordion format.

  • Blocks off the Block by Katya McCullough’s 2009 Block Printing Class at San Quentin State Prison – 23 linoleum cut prints created by 8 members of Katya McCullough’s 2009 Block Printing Class at San Quentin State Prison.
  • How to Transition on Sixty-Three Cents a Day by Lee Krist (2013) – Artist Lee Krist dedicates this book “to all the people, places, and institutions who helped me transition at such little cost.” It is a non-linear narrative of the artist’s transition from male to female, told through a series of letterpress postcards to the artist’s mother and pieces of ephemera stored in a film canister.

    The familiar childhood Fortune Teller game format reveals gender biases in Indian society

  • The Fortune Teller by Malini Gupta at Ochre (art + design) (2016) – A cootie catcher fortune teller game and a japanese stab-bound book printed on waxed paper infused with incense. According to artist Malini Gupta, “Through this work I seek to investigate the deeply entrenched gender biases that plague the Indian society… The fortune teller is designed in beautiful patterns to entice the viewer to interact with it but also to camouflage the darkness it holds–the darkness of a child being sexually abused and a family choosing to ignore it.”

For a list of these and other artists’ books in FSU Special Collections, visit the Artists’ Books Research Guide.

Wayfaring Stranger Burl Ives Performs at the Book and Author Luncheon

Burl Ives lets his guitar do the talking. In this 1954 Book and Author Luncheon, moderator Irita Van Doren introduces the well-known folk singer who is here to promote his recently published Burl Ives Songbook. She tells an amusing anecdote about Ives’ last appearance at this event, when he shared the stage with Dwight Eisenhower and got the future president to sing a few bars of The Cowboy’s Lament. Ives then gives a short, witty introduction to this miniature concert, also referring to his previous appearance, when he thought he would talk but was instead asked to sing. This time he has brought his guitar but is expected to say a few words! He then launches into an Irish folk song, “The Stuttering Lovers,” and gets the audience to sing the chorus of “Goober Peas.” Sir Edmund Hillary, the conqueror of Everest, is also on the dais and requests “The Foggy, Foggy Dew.” Ives concludes his performance with the old favorite “Blue Tail Fly.”

Burl Ives (1909-95) was a multi-talented performer who first made his mark as a folk singer. A large man with a commanding stage presence, he had previously played football and considered the ministry as possible careers. As the website allmusic.com reports:

After spending his early twenties traveling the country as an itinerant singer, Ives moved to New York City in 1937. By the end of 1938, he had made his Broadway debut, and he also sang folk songs in Greenwich Village clubs. In 1940, Ives began to appear regularly on radio, including on his own show, The Wayfarin’ Stranger, on CBS. Ives made his first records for Stinson, a small folk label, then was signed to Decca, a major label. He made his movie debut in Smoky in 1946. In 1948, his first book, Wayfaring Stranger, was published. In 1949, he had his first chart hit with “Lavender Blue (Dilly Dilly).”

With the rise of McCarthyism, his association with the folk music scene and its ties to organized labor and the Communist Party caused him to be threatened with blacklisting. In 1952 he testified before HUAC Committee, earning the enmity of his former fellow performers. The website for the Association for Cultural Equity notes:

In his testimony he defended folk music as patriotic, not subversive. He distanced himself, as required, from his former associates, explaining that his first audience had just happened to have been “various unions and so-called progressive organizations.” “I am very sorry that I have to bring up names in this manner,” he said, “because I would like to be able not to mention other names, but I can’t [avoid it].” He thanked the Committee “for the very fair and democratic way in which you have heard my story. I believe that in no Communist country would such a hearing be possible at all…” Ives named four people, including his former publicity director, Arthur Meltzer and his friend Richard Dyer Bennet (whose bookings were cancelled forthwith and whose career basically ended.)

Championed by the director Elia Kazan (who had also chosen to testify before the HUAC committee), Ives received his greatest break when asked to create the role of Big Daddy in Tennessee Williams’ play Cat On a Hot Tin Roof. As The New York Times recalled in Ives’ obituary:

Lumbering about the stage as he angrily puffed on a cigar and snarled about the “mendacity” of those around him, Mr. Ives gave a vivid, larger-than-life performance that had critics and audiences cheering. And his skillful work as Gregory Peck’s business rival in the 1958 film The Big Country brought him an Academy Award for best performance in a supporting role. “I was typecast a bit,” Mr. Ives said much later, “and not everyone thought I could act. But that didn’t matter to me because I always saw myself as an entertainer. The movies, plays, music, it’s all entertainment of one kind or another.”

Ives went on to have a long successful career as a character actor on screen and later in television. It’s notable that for this 1954 appearance, fresh off his testimony and recently disowned by the folk community (notably Pete Seeger who blamed him for ruining several people’s lives) he sticks to the more traditional, slightly insipid examples of folk, rather than the questioning, potentially subversive strain of that music popular in the years leading up to World War II. Unlike Seeger and others, Ives clearly saw himself as a performer first, not a social activist. It was a rare moment in American history when so many artists were forced to make a stark decision as to which path they would take and what sacrifices they would be willing to suffer.

Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection.

WNYC archives id: 150181
Municipal archives id: LT2743

So Ya Think Ya Know Yer Morning Edition Hosts?

WNYC started broadcasting NPR’s Morning Edition on November 5, 1979. Since then, the national show has had several local hosts —some occasional, some long-term. Before and during Soterios Johnson‘s tenure (2002-2016) they include, among others, Eric Zoro, Jo Ann Allen, Mark Hilan, Dick Hinchcliffe, Brian Zumhagen, and Marty Goldensohn. See if you can identify these six voices in these six audio clips. (Answers are at the bottom of the page)

1. An earthquake hits Connecticut, 1981
(and did he just make fun of the Richter scale?)
2. A rainy weather report, 1989

3. A bishop encourages love, 1990

4. A giant shark off Long Island, 1991

5. D’Amato loses Senate election, 1998

6. Electronic wallets (ooh!), 2012

Mark Hilan
(WNYC Archives/NYPR Archives)

Jo Ann Allen
(WNYC Archives/NYPR Archives)

Eric Zoro
(WNYC Archives/NYPR Archives)






Solutions: 1. Marty Goldensohn, who apparently hosted some early ME shows   2. Jo Ann Allen, a regular host   3. Eric Zoro, a regular host  4. Dick Hinchcliffe, an occasional host  5. Mark Hilan, a regular host from 1992 to 2002   6. Brian Zumhagen, who occasionally sat in for Soterios.
Do you know any other early Morning Edition hosts? Post a comment below.

New Acquisitions: Medieval Facsimiles

By Marco di Bartolomeo Rustici (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Image from the Codex Rustici, via Wikimedia Commons

FSU Special Collections & Archives is pleased to announce that three new, high-quality facsimiles have been added to our rare books collections and are ready for use in our Research Center Reading Room.

  • Codex Rustici – an Italian manuscript from Florence (circa 1444) depicting a pilgrimage from Florence to the Holy Land. This codex, currently housed at the Library of the Archbishop’s Seminary of Florence, is famous for its ink and watercolor illustrations of the architecture of early 15th century Florence. It was recently restored and made into a complete facsimile through a grant from Ente Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, and a video about the codex can be viewed at their website.
  • Splendor Solis – a sixteenth-century German treatise on alchemy, featuring 19 illuminations of the creation of the philosopher’s stone. It is thought to be the earliest known alchemistic treatise and is an important work for scholars of the history of science.
  • Officiolum di Francesco da Barberino – a richly illuminated early 14th century Italian manuscript, considered one of the oldest Books of Hours produced in Italy. The original manuscript, thought lost for centuries, is now in private hands and can therefore only be studied through facsimile.

Visit our Facsimiles of Medieval Manuscripts and Incunabula LibGuide for more information on these and other facsimiles in our collection.

Leonard Bernstein Conducts the New York City Symphony at City Center

Leonard Bernstein’s “Big, Big Night”

It was the afternoon of October 8, 1945, and Leonard Bernstein had a cold. This wasn’t unusual for the 27-year-old maestro; he was a competitive chain-smoker who sometimes taunted friends for buying filtered cigarettes. Still, his cold couldn’t have come at a worse time. Bernstein was about to make his debut as conductor of the New York City Symphony, a shoestring orchestra created by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia to bring symphonic music to the masses. Tickets were 75 cents, and the balcony at New York City Center was packed with bohemians, bobby soxers, and working stiffs. It was Bernstein’s ideal audience, according to the critic Virgil Thomson: “real New Yorkers, many of them young, most of them working people, and all of them twentieth-century minded.”

Bernstein was giddy to be leading his own orchestra for the first time. “Tonight’s my big, big night,” he wrote his friend David Oppenheim. “I’m a nervous wreck, but the orchestra is so fabulous and excited and young and interested and in tune and precise and enthusiastic, etc., etc., that if it’s not a hit tonight I won’t understand it.”

It was indeed a hit—the Brooklyn Eagle reported that “Mr. Bernstein created a kind of white heat”—and WNYC was there to bottle that white heat. In honor of Leonard Bernstein’s birthday, we’re making the live broadcast of his New York City Symphony debut available for streaming. Recorded on October 8, 1945 at City Center, the program features Aaron Copland’s Outdoor Overture, Shostakovich’s First Symphony, and Brahms’ Second Symphony.

Click here to read more about Bernstein’s salad days conducting “the youngest, poorest symphony in the world.”

Original poster promoting Leonard Bernstein’s debut season with the New York City Symphony. 

(Graphic courtesy of the City Center Archives.)

Special thanks to Marie Carter and The Leonard Bernstein Office, Inc. for permission to stream the WNYC broadcast concert.

Anna Kross, Commissioner of The New York City Department of Correction

“The purpose of the Department is to correct,” Department of Correction chief Anna M. Kross reminds, in this 1959 edition of City Record. The program gets off to a stiff start with Kross reciting statistics and budget data, but once she begins to describe her vision for reforming the jails we are given an excellent overview of the system at that time…and one which looks alarmingly familiar today! There are anywhere from 8,000 to 8,500 people in the city jails, yet capacity is only 5,000, so inmates are “doubling up.” Because of drug-related arrests there has been an influx of new prisoners, yet many of these are “sick people…not criminals.” Kross has been attempting to get them shifted over to city hospitals where their addictions can be treated as medical problems. She is also instituting educational programs in the jails, both for youthful offenders and adults. Because of understaffing (there are only two corrections officers for every 240 inmates, sometimes only one) she has formed councils, both a Youth Council and an Adult Council so prisoners’ concerns can be raised before unrest leads to violence.

Her goals are to foster a realignment between the state and the city. At the present time the state is not reimbursing the city in a timely fashion for housing inmates. There is also a tremendous lag in simple court procedures such as setting bail which means those arrested but not convicted spend needlessly long periods in detention when they have not, in fact, been sentenced for committing any crime. Kross is passionate and well-intentioned, but the problems she cites sound so depressingly familiar one wonders if the faults of this department she is attempting to remedy are, themselves, “correctable.” 

 Anna M. Kross (1891-1979) came from a poor immigrant family which she helped to support by teaching English and working in a factory at night. She attended law school and eventually rose to become a prosecutor, private lawyer, then City Court judge. From early on her commitment to improving the conditions of the poor and under-represented were evident. The Forum on Law, Culture, and Society reports how:

…Kross realized that criminal domestic violence issues posed a unique problem: accused abusers present a future danger and are in need of punishment and monitoring, while alleged victims are vulnerable and in need of ongoing protection from defendant abuse and control.  A hearing or trial in open court, with the couple testifying against each other, often in front of neighbors, would not serve to “bury the hatchet,” but would instead provide additional hazard to future family tranquility.  A judgment with a jail sentence or restraining order simply would not provide the remedy that these families desperately needed. Aware of this, Kross came up with innovative approaches, including the development of a “dedicated court team” to monitor defendants, provide comprehensive services to victims, and inform judges on how to make quick and effective decisions.  By inviting victims’ advocates and resource coordinators to the court, and not just judges and lawyers, Kross was able to adapt to the particular dynamic of criminal domestic violence situations. 

Another area in which she was a leading figure was prostitution. Mae C. Quinn, in a paper published in the Fordham Urban Law Journal, argued:

Kross believed that prostitution, a social issue, could not be meaningfully addressed by the criminal justice system. Over several decades, she questioned the motivations behind the Women’s Court, condemned the police practices it encouraged, criticized its day-to-day processes, and argued the institution simply failed to do what it was intended to do – that is, prevent prostitution. In 1967, the Women’s Court, which had been plagued by decades of controversy, finally closed its doors.

But it was in the area of prison reform that Kross may have left her most lasting mark. As can be heard in this broadcast, she brought an entirely new emphasis to the Department of Correction, focusing on improving conditions and decreasing recidivism. While many of these problems do seem intractable, one can only imagine (or see, simply by reading today’s headlines) how much worse the state of the jails would be without a fair-minded, forward-looking administrator like Kross in charge. The Jewish Women’s Archive describes:

As commissioner, Kross was responsible for making the city’s prison system less dungeonlike and more humane, she installed new shower rooms and mess halls, established token wages for some prison jobs and built separate facilities for adolescents. She also introduced programs for rehabilitating prisoners through training in trades such as baking, stenography and woodworking. Program graduates received certificates of proficiency and help in placement. During her tenure as commissioner, Kross received a great deal of publicity for her outspoken manner and criticism of government policies that discriminated against poor people. She served with the corrections department until her retirement (after several extensions) in 1966 at age seventy-five.


Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection.

WNYC archives id: 150247
Municipal archives id: LT8459

Myrtis Elizabeth Herndon 1932-2016

myrtisherndon.JPGMyrtis “Myrt” Herndon, FSU alumna and friend of Heritage Protocol & University Archives, passed away in March 2016. Myrtis graduated from FSU in 1954 with a degree in physical education and was involved with various campus athletics around campus. She served as the Intramural Manager for the University Recreation Association Women’s Division, secretary of the Theater Dance Group, and was a longtime member of the F Club. While in college, Myrtis received a National rating by the Women’s National Officials Rating Committee in basketball and volleyball, which allowed her to officiate in high school girls’ basketball and volleyball games.
After graduating from FSU, Myrtis earned her master’s degree in education from Northern Illinois College, then began teaching at Hiram College in 1958. She briefly left the college to work for the Peace Corps, but returned in 1966 and taught until her retirement in 1995. While at Hiram, Myrtis served the head coach for the softball and volleyball teams, and played an integral role in developing women’s intercollegiate varsity sports from a local to a national level. In 2003, a new state-of-the-art softball field was named Herndon Field, or “The Myrt,” after her generous funding of the sports complex.
Over the years, Myrtis Herndon has donated many of her personal artifacts to Heritage Protocol & University Archives, documenting her time at FSU. In her collection are F Club song books, Evens memorabilia, and a beautiful hand drawn map of Camp Flastacowo, along with other material that illustrates the development of women’s athletics at FSU.

Camp Flastacowo map
Herndon's FSU artifacts

National Sporting Heritage Day Event, Friday 30 September

SHDay logoHosts & Champions Open Day

University of Stirling Archives

Friday 30 September

1 – 5 pm

On National Sporting Heritage Day we invite you to celebrate and explore our Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive. We’re opening up the University Archives on the afternoon of Friday 30th September to present a pop-up version of our Hosts & Champions exhibition. Celebrating over 80 years of participation and achievement by Scotland in the Commonwealth Games the exhibition has visited ten venues across Scotland, travelled hundreds of miles around the country and been seen by thousands of visitors since Glasgow 2014.

Members of our Hosts & Champions project team will be on hand to provide further information on the Commonwealth Games Scotland Archive and our fascinating personal collections of sporting memorabilia of former competitors and sporting administrators. There will also be an opportunity to view unique home movies of sporting competition from the 1940s to the 1970s that have recently been donated to the archive.

If you’re a researcher thinking of using our collections; a sports administrator interested in finding out more about the value of sporting heritage; a Commonwealth Games athlete, volunteer or baton-bearer; or just have a general interest in the history of sport we’d love to see you on the 30th September!

For further details please contact us at archives@stir.ac.uk


Bad Children of History: The Exhibit!

If you like this blog’s Bad Children of History, you’ll LOVE the Library’s new exhibit… of Bad Children of History!


It’s true: the exhibit cases in the Rhode Island Room on the first floor of the Library are currently featuring all manner of ill-behaved, 19th- and 20th-century children, including greatest hits from the blog alongside some never-before-seen mischief-makers.

These misbehaving moppets are only on display through September 23rd, so hurry on over to see them before they’re gone!

Sharing the Excitement about Open Government

This week I had an opportunity to address the World Library and Information Congress of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) on the work we have been doing here at the National Archives in support of the Administration’s Open Government Initiative.  Thirty two hundred librarians, archivists, and other information professionals from 145 countries traveled to Columbus, Ohio for this week-long conversation on the themes of Connections, Collaboration, and Community.

IFLA World Congress 2016

I chose to share our experience in implementing the President’s Open Government Directive in the creation of three, soon to be four, agency Open Government Plans and how that work has contributed to the creation of the United States National Action Plan which is shared with the International Open Government Partnership.  It is the story of how a small agency can not only contribute, but lead in fulfilling the vision of open government’s three principles:  transparency, participation, and collaboration.

But it was more than an opportunity to celebrate our accomplishments, it was an offer to work with the attendees who are members of the International Open Government Partnership to ensure that their voices are heard in the development of their country’s plans.  More importantly, it was a challenge to those who are not already members to influence their own government about the Partnership’s work and the commitments articulated in the Open Government Declaration.

You can read the entire address here. I ended with:  “We share a common mission—connecting people with the information they need to improve their lives.  Let’s work together to make that happen and make this a better world.”

Association of Canadian Archivists Conference 2016

I had the privilege earlier this year to present at the Association of Canadian Archivists annual conference, which was held this from June 1-4 in Montreal. This year’s conference theme was Future Proche, and (quoting the conference program) sought to “explore how archivists are responding to the needs and pressures of a technologically-driven society and how we are reacting to the demands of the ‘near future’.”

Montreal skyline. Photo courtesy of Luciana Duranti

Montreal skyline. Photo courtesy of Luciana Duranti

The program was particularly strong this year, and I attended many excellent sessions. Some of the sessions that stood out in particular were Innovative Application of Technologies, which looked at potential uses for digital forensics in archives work;  Archiving the Web and Digital Media: Collaboration, Research and Access, which looked at strategies for preserving web content and the ways this type of content is used in research; and Technologie Proche: Envisioning the Archival Systems of Tomorrow with the Tools of Today, which discussed how emerging technologies from many disciplines might be applied to preservation of and access to archival material. The sessions were nicely bookended by Peter Van Garderen‘s keynote address that addressed how technology is changing archives, and Kate Theimer‘s closing plenary that mused on ways technological changes will affect the archival profession.

My session was delivered with other presenters from the University of Manitoba, University of Saskatchewan, and Simon Fraser University. Titled Making AtoM “Da Bomb”, it looked at recent improvements to AtoM, the open source archival description and access software used by us, and by ever-increasing numbers of archives in Canada and around the world. The session was designed to set aside over half the allotted time for audience interaction, and many good discussions emerged about the diverse use cases different institutions have, and potential direction for future AtoM development.

Proposed relationships in an improved accession module for AtoM. Presentation slide photo courtesy of Luciana Duranti

Proposed relationships in an improved accession module for AtoM. Presentation slide photo courtesy of Luciana Duranti

On the final day, the members of Canada’s National Archival Accession Standard Working Group presented an update on their work to develop a national accession standard – the first attempt to produce an archival accession standard anywhere. Their work to date is promising, and I think the Canadian archival community is looking forward to seeing an implementation of the proposed standard.

The day before the conference, I was also able to attend the Archives and Technology Unconference (TAATU), an pre-conference gathering that has been held since 2008, where archivists with an interest in technology and archives get together to discuss initiatives, projects and problems in an informal manner.

Play ball! Photo courtesy of Luciana Duranti

Play ball! Photo courtesy of Luciana Duranti

Of course, no ACA conference is complete without the annual East-West softball game, handily won this year by Team East. Congratulations and thank-you to the organizers for putting together a great conference.

The Library of Babel and Special Collections

The following is a guest post by student assistant Blaise Denton.

The Library of Babel by Jorge Luis Borges. (PQ7797 .B635 B5213 2000)

Here in the Florida State University Special Collections we have a very special volume, Jorge Borges “The Library of Babel.” The standalone volume in our possession is illustrated by Erik Desmazieres. The Book details life in the great and infinite Library of Babel. It is never ending, universal, broken up into hexagonal rooms and filled with an uncountable number of books. Filling each book are letters, clumped randomly to spell out nonsense. Every so often people find a book with words, real words that spell out ideas and thoughts. Because the library is infinite, there must be one book somewhere in the collection that details the past and future. There must be a book that catalogues the rest of the books. There must also be an infinite number of false narratives, false leads, and even more books that are unreadable.

Special Collection isn’t infinite. Most of the books in the collection are carefully catalogued and lodged in a place where we can find them. We know what almost all of them say. But the task of the librarian is the same, whether it is in the Library of Babel or here in Special Collections. We live in a big world, rather full of books, and more full of things. In Special Collections we find those books that “matter”, a rather subjective verb, and we keep them here, safe. They deteriorate; they get lost. We bundle them up safe with boxes and paper wrapping; we hunt them down and bring them back to their preordained place. The librarian’s tasks, in fiction and in life, are to bring order to chaos and to decide what matters.

La Tour de Babel. Plate II etching by Erik Desmazieres

Many of the books in Special Collections are in languages we can’t read. Many of them are so small you need a magnifying glass to examine them, some are so big it takes two people to open them. Some are serious tomes on theology and philosophy and some are tiny children’s books. Some of them are pornographic. But they all have two things in common: they are kept in place by a complex cataloging system, and they are meaningful.

In “The Library of Babel” when someone finds a book with meaning, that book becomes incredibly valuable. People travel from all over the universe, that is to say the library, to look at it. Whether it is fiction, poetry, prophesy or biography the book becomes something invaluable. It has meaning, it proves that there is truth.

Special Collections is rather like that, if a bit less grand. People choose things as

Haute Galerie Circulaire. Plate VII etching by Erik Desmazieres

meaningful enough to write about or otherwise document. Someone has combed through all the books to buy, all the books that have been donated, and selected these. These are the most valuable, the rarest, the oddest books that FSU libraries has. Come look at a book inscribed by a medieval monk. An Akkadian trader. A 60’s beat poet. Come look at “The Library of Babel” by Borges. There are books from every age and perspective here. There are so many books you could never read them all. Try reading a few, very different books and see if you, like the fictional librarian, find some meaning in order.

Leo Rosten Analyzes Humor

“I have no speech. I am not entirely speechless, though,” Leo Rosten begins his talk, titled, “On Humor, and What It Is” at this 1959 Books and Authors Luncheon. Instead of the usual folksy sales pitch writers and celebrities often provide at these affairs, Rosten presents serious thoughts about the place of humor in society, interspersed with amusing anecdotes, in some cases just one-liners, to illustrate his points. In this, he prefigures the form of his wildly successful reference-cum-joke-book The Joys of Yiddish, which was not published until 1968.

Humor, for Rosten, is an entirely positive social force. It frees us from “the prison of the familiar.” All humor is based on compassion and has an element of pathos. It teaches us proportion and liberates us from clichés. No other way of seeing can match its economy and ability to help us “perceive freshly.” He makes about a good a case as one can for “gentle” mainstream humor, entirely ignoring the more corrosive, satiric, transgressive approach of then-contemporary comedians such as Mort Sahl or Lenny Bruce. But the jokes are funny and the audience receptive. He even tells a mildly risque joke and twits fellow speaker and former New York governor Averell Harriman for not laughing. Rosten is ostensibly plugging the second of his H*Y*M*A*N  K*A*P*L*A*N books but, as much a professor as a writer, he seems content to both educate and entertain.

Leo Rosten (1908-1997) was a successful short story writer, novelist, screenwriter, professor, and, as showcased here, authority on humor. He will chiefly be remembered, however, for two books related to his Jewish heritage. The Education of H*Y*M*A*N K*A*P*L*A*N (1937) transcended its roots in mere dialect humor to become a moving evocation of the immigrant experience. As the Israeli newspaper Haaretz explains:

The title character …Hyman Kaplan, was based on a man named Kaplan who had studied English with Rosten, and who evoked both astonishment and begrudging admiration in his teacher. “I walked out of that first night’s class in a daze,” Rosten explained at the time. “I thought the conjugation of verbs meant saying, ‘Drink, drank, drunk.’ I asked Kaplan to conjugate ‘fail,’ and he said, ‘Fail, failed, bankrupt.’ I was stunned.’’

It is not clear whether Kaplan the character is an idiot savant, and thus oblivious to his own brilliance as a mangler of both English and logic, or a poker-faced nemesis who will never let on how much satisfaction he derives from confounding his teacher. What is clear is that Kaplan — who refers to the first president as “Judge Vashington” and the debonair actor as “Clock Gebble,” who thinks the opposite of “new” is “secondhand” and the plural of “dog” is “doggies” — is good not only for some warmhearted laughs, but also for providing insight into the world of immigrants like him, who have to learn not just a new language but also a new way of thinking.

Rosten wrote two more books in the series as well as a stream of works in many other genres. But it was not until 1968 that he had a similar success with The Joys of Yiddish a strange amalgam of dictionary, inquiry into language, and joke compilation that once again struck a chord, this time not with bumptious, newly-arrived immigrants but their more assimilated and affluent modern-day selves. The work both celebrated and legitimized what Middle European Jews had brought both to the language and to the culture of their new country. The Independent newspaper of London points out how: 

…The Joys of Yiddish (1968) was inspired not only by the intrusions of Yiddish words such as “chutzpah” into the American and English language, but by what he called Yinglish, by which he meant English forms of Yiddish expressions such as: “Clever he isn’t” or “It’s all right by me”. It illustrated, he said, “how beautifully a language reflects the vitality and variety of life itself; and how the special culture of the Jews, their distinctive style of thought, their subtleties of feeling, are reflected in Yiddish, and how this in turn has enriched the English we use today”.

Rosten himself was born in Lodz, Poland and brought to the United Stares when he was three. One could argue that these works represent, in veiled form, a kind of autobiography. Certainly humor was a touchstone he returned to over and over again. The New York Times, in its obituary, quotes him as insisting:

Humor is an indication of a wholeness of character structure. …Indeed, I would say that one of the requirements for sanity is a sense of humor — and its absence is crippling.


Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection.

WNYC archives id: 150521
Municipal archives id: LT8896