Special Collections Fair at Yale Family Weekend

photo2The glistening, newly refurbished Nave of Sterling Memorial Library set the scene for a two-hour Special Collections Fair on Saturday, October 11, 2014. Over 150 of the thousands of Family Weekend guests who came to see the restored Nave stopped to engage with the special collections materials on display. Items from the collections of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Divinity Library Special Collections, Manuscripts and Archives, and the Medical Historical Library attracted the same kinds of enthusiastic engagement and questions from parents, siblings, and friends as they do when placed in students’ hands during class engagements in the library. Yale librarians and archivists Joan Duffy, Moira Fitzgerald, Melissa Grafe, Kathryn James, Bill Landis, and Suzanne Noruschat were on hand to answer questions about the items at hand, as well as discuss with visitors the collections and services available to Yale students through the Yale University Library.

photo5Manuscripts and Archives chose to focus on primary source assignments in several Freshman seminars and graduate courses during the current (Fall) term. Items were chosen from collections that had been used in hands-on class sessions for the following Yale courses:

  • AFAM 060/AMST 060/HIST 016: The Significance of American Slavery, taught by Professor Edward Rugemer (Tumblr blog used during class session with HIST 016 students).
  • AMST 014/HIST 007: America’s Backyard?: The History of U.S.-Latin American Relations, taught by Professor Jenifer Van Vleck and graduate student Taylor Jardno.
  • AMST 861/ARCH 4214: Built Environments and the Politics of Place, taught by Professor Dolores Hayden.
  • ARCH 1211: Drawing and Architectural Form, taught by Professor Victor Agran.

 

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New Article in the Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies (JCAS)

Manuscripts and Archives staff members, Michael Lotstein, Records Services Archivist and Matthew Gorham, Arrangement and Description Archivist are pleased to announce the publication of A Genealogy of the Lesbian Herstory Archives, 1974-2014” by Rachel F. Corbman in the Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies (JCAS): http://elischolar.library.yale.edu/jcas/vol1/iss1/1/.  Michael and Matthew currently serve as members of the JCAS editorial board, in partnership with the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and members of New England Archivists (NEA).

Visit the Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies at http://elischolar.library.yale.edu/jcas to learn more about sending in a submission or participating as a peer reviewer. 

The First Yale Unit and WW I

Highlighting the YaleNews article “Defending Allied Skies” by Amy Athey McDonald, which draws heavily on the collections of Manuscripts and Archives.

Personnel of the First Yale Unit of the United States Navy Air Reserve during aviation training in West Palm Beach, Florida, ca. 1915-19, photographic print, F. Trubee Davison papers, 1882-1961 (inclusive). Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University Library.

Personnel of the First Yale Unit of the United States Navy Air Reserve during aviation training in West Palm Beach, Florida, ca. 1915-19, photographic print, F. Trubee Davison papers, 1882-1961 (inclusive). Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University Library.

“In 1916 as America faced a revolution in Mexico and full-blown war in Europe, a group of 12 friends at Yale University decided it was time they learned how to fly. That summer the young men, led by Frederick Trubee Davison ’18 (1896–1974) — manager of the Yale crew team — formed the Yale Aero Club and the volunteer Coastal Patrol Unit #1, later known as the First Yale Unit.

They would become the country’s first naval aviation unit in World War I — the eyes in the skies that spotted enemy troops and land mines, chased U-boats and zeppelins, and engaged enemy planes in battles over Dunkirk and Paris.

They came from great wealth, social standing, and privilege. With surnames like Rockefeller and Gates, members of the First Yale Unit were star athletes and students, part of the “silver spoon” set. Schooled in leadership, service, and sacrifice, they were willing to risk everything to join a war 4,000 miles away in Europe.” Read more …

Yale’s WW I Memorials

Judith Schiff, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library

Judith Schiff, Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library

With the anniversary of the start of World War I upon us, our Manuscripts and Archives colleague Judy Schiff talks in a YouTube video about how Yale’s participation and losses in World War I are commemorated on campus. Give a listen!

Travelling the World in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries

Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, has recently acquired, processed, and made available for research the personal papers of Theodore Martindale Purdy, an 1883 Graduate of the City College of New York and long-time resident of Short Hills, New Jersey. The photograph albums, diaries, sketchbooks, and printed ephemera document Purdy’s extensive world travels as a journalist and correspondent for the New York Mail and Express from 1883-1931. Purdy was born in 1862, married Helen Van Dyk in 1892, and had two children. His son, Theodore Martindale Purdy, Jr. received a B.A. from Yale in 1925. He died in 1944. An online finding aid for collection number MS 1994 provides additional details about the collection of his papers.

"Water bearers," circa 1889-1891 (MS 1994, box 3).

“Water bearers,” circa 1889-1891 (MS 1994, box 3).

Purdy’s travels took him to the Middle East, North Africa, and East, Southeast, and South Asia.  The collection contains numerous albums of photographs from his journeys, including these from a trip to Egypt in circa 1889-1891.

"The Colossi at Thebes," circa 1889-1891 (MS 1994, box 3)

“The Colossi at Thebes,” circa 1889-1891 (MS 1994, box 3)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel diary of Theodore Martindale Purdy, 1890-1891, entries for 22-24 March 1891. (MS 1994, box 12, folder 5)

Travel diary of Theodore Martindale Purdy, 1890-1891, entries for 22-24 March 1891. (MS 1994, box 12, folder 5)

His diaries document his travels and observations, such as these entries from March 22nd-24th on his arrival in Cairo by boat.

 

 

 

 

 

Theodore Martindale Purdy sketches of columns at Luxor and Karnak, from "Cairo '91" sketchbook, 1891. (MS 1994, box 12, folder 3)

Theodore Martindale Purdy sketches of columns at Luxor and Karnak, from “Cairo ’91″ sketchbook, 1891. (MS 1994, box 12, folder 3)

Purdy was a decent artist and the collection contains several sketchbooks of drawings made while abroad, including these columns seen in temples at Luxor and Karnak in 1891.

 

 

 

 

Thomas W. Knox, The Pocket Guide Around the World: The Globe-Trotter's Handy-Book, New York: Charles T. Dillingham, 1884: 18-19. (MS 1994, box 12, folder 6)

Thomas W. Knox, The Pocket Guide Around the World: The Globe-Trotter’s Handy-Book, New York: Charles T. Dillingham, 1884: 18-19. (MS 1994, box 12, folder 6)

Purdy also saved travel guides and other books, including this one in which his marginalia expresses skepticism about the author’s advice for combating seasickness by taking laxatives.

 

 

 

 

Cunard Line passenger lists, 1909, 1925, and 1929 (l. to r.). (MS 1994, box 12, folder 1)

Cunard Line passenger lists, 1909, 1925, and 1929 (l. to r.). (MS 1994, box 12, folder 1)

Finally, Purdy saved some very interesting printed ephemera documenting the intercontinental travel technology of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including these three brochures advertising Cunard Line voyages.

 

 

 

Researchers may use the online finding aid to request boxes from the Theodore Martindale Purdy Papers (MS 1994). Consult our website for additional information about the collections and services of Manuscripts and Archives.

2014 Manuscripts & Archives Diane Kaplan Senior Essay Prize Winners Announced

We thank all thirteen Yale College seniors who submitted senior essays for prize consideration, and congratulate the following two students on their excellent prize-winning essays:

  • Outstanding Senior Essay on Yale:
    • John (Jack) Doyle, Berkeley College. Measuring “Problems of Human Behavior”: The Eugenic Origins of Yale’s Institute of Psychology, 1921-1929.
  • Outstanding Senior Essay Based on Research Done in Manuscripts and Archives:
    • Jonah Coe-Scharff, Pierson College. “New Roads” in Leftist Thought: Dwight Macdonald, Lewis Coser, and the Postwar Crisis of American Marxism.

The prize website provides a list of past winners of each prize, and in the future will contain links to the prize-winning essays on the Yale University Library’s EliScholar digital publishing platform.


Manuscripts and Archives offers two student prizes each year, in memory of our colleague Diane E. Kaplan, who was instrumental in making these prizes available to Yale College seniors. One is awarded for an outstanding senior essay on Yale. The second is awarded for an outstanding senior essay based on research done in Manuscripts and Archives. Each prize winner receives a $500 cash prize, which will be presented at the student’s residential college commencement ceremony. Essays from any department are eligible for consideration and students are invited to nominate themselves for these prizes. The essay prize submission and judging process takes place each year in March-April.

‘Bulldog and Panther’ Exhibit Opens

Bulldog and Panther: The 1970 May Day Rally and Yale – Memorabilia Room, Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University

Bulldog and Panther exhibit poster1969 and 1970 were politically tumultuous years in the United States and indeed around the world. Unrest in U.S. urban areas and on college and university campuses focused on racial and gender inequalities, the ongoing U.S. war in Vietnam, and demands by students for more responsive and inclusive campus decision making. On 19 May 1969 Black Panther Party (BPP) member Alex Rackley was kidnapped and killed in New Haven by other BPP members who believed he was an FBI informant. In a time of intense FBI counter-intelligence focus on neutralizing the BPP’s influence in U.S. cities, the broad swath of indictments for the murder seemed an overreach to many. The defendants were referred to as the New Haven Nine, an allusion to the famous Chicago Seven, and included Bobby Seale, national BPP Chairman, who had spoken at Yale the day of the murder. Seale was extradited to Connecticut on the approval of California Governor Ronald Reagan, and the trial was set to begin in May 1970. A large protest rally was organized for the New Haven Green, scheduled for 1-3 May 1970. This exhibit explores the events leading up to the New Haven May Day rally, and its impact on Yale, the New Haven community, and beyond.

The exhibit is curated by Sarah Schmidt, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and Bill Landis, Manuscripts and Archives. It is free and open to the public Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM-4:45 PM, through May 16, 2014.

For additional resources on the exhibit see the New Haven Register article on a discussion panel, part of a collaborative series of events inspired by the exhibit hosted by the Yale University Library and Pierson College. The panel, held on February 26th, was moderated by Yale history professor Beverly Gage and featured Kathleen Cleaver, Ann Froines, and John R. Williams. Yale TV also did a feature on the exhibit, with interesting interview segments with Henry “Sam” Chauncey, Jr.

Discover Civil War Treasures

The Civil War Manuscripts Collection is well worth delving into and you will find many gems. The collection is an amalgam of correspondence, journals, photographs, printed materials, and ephemera documenting numerous aspects of the War from a predominantly Union point of view, with many Connecticut regiments and individuals portrayed throughout the papers. There are copious amounts of correspondence of soldiers and officers describing military battles and events and commenting on politics, as well as the challenges of daily camp life. Letters from the wives and families on the home front provide a glimpse into civilian activities.

Women on the home front had the opportunity to support the war effort by organizing fairs through the auspices of the United States Sanitary Commission, an organization founded in 1861 to improve the unsanitary living conditions of the troops. The “Sanitary Fairs” could be elaborate events, lasting for several days to a week or longer, to raise money, heighten patriotism, and promote volunteerism.

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“Group of ladies in charge of the Schenectady North Albany Fair for the U. S. San Comm…” (Found in photograph album, box 14, folder 8)

Journals and diaries abound: volunteers describing their newly-issued uniforms and artillery to recounting military battles; medical facilities and operations described by Bridgeport surgeon, Robert Hubbard; a prisoner of war relating life in a Confederate prison camp, to name only a few.

Journal of a soldier from the Seventeenth Connecticut Volunteer Regiment describing the loss of life in his regiment on the first day of the Battle of Gettysburg.

 “On Saturday A. M. July 4, our adjutant reported that the regiment went into the fight on the first day with 369 men & 17 officers, & came out with 91 men & 10 officers.” (Journal labeled “Gettysburg” in box 24)

“On Saturday A. M. July 4, our adjutant reported that the regiment went into the fight on the first day with 369 men & 17 officers, & came out with 91 men & 10 officers.” (Journal labeled “Gettysburg” in box 24)

A large assortment of photographs and engravings of soldiers, officers, Lincoln’s cabinet members, and civilians are of additional interest, as well as ephemera.

Union General Ambrose Burnside, led successful campaigns in Tennessee and North Carolina, however, was defeated badly at the Battle of the Crater and the Battle of Fredericksburg. The term, sideburns, a distinctive style of facial whiskers worn by General Burnside, is believed to have been derived from his surname.

"Gen. Burnside - Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1861 by D. Appleton & Co. in the Clerk's Office of the United States for the Southern District of New York"

“Gen. Burnside – Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1861 by D. Appleton & Co. in the Clerk’s Office of the United States for the Southern District of New York” (Found in box 14, folder 7)

Examples of pictorial envelopes or “covers” demonstrating patriotic and political sentiments.

“Monument to the memory of Jeff Davis” and “Traitor! spare that Tree, Cleave not a single bough! in youth it shelter’d me, And I’ll protect it now.”  (Found in box 32, folder 15)

“Monument to the memory of Jeff Davis” and “Traitor! spare that Tree, Cleave not a single bough! in youth it shelter’d me, And I’ll protect it now.” (Found in box 32, folder 15)

The finding aid, Guide to the Civil War Manuscripts Collection (MS 619), is available on the Internet and is only one of many collections dealing with the Civil War held by Manuscripts and Archives.

Addressing the Challenge of Preserving Born Digital Design Records

In a recent blog post, digital archivist Mark Matienzo wrote about the efforts being made at Yale to preserve the increasing volume of digital records being acquired by Manuscripts and Archives, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and other units of the University Library.  One type of born digital record that is particularly challenging to preserve is the architectural drawing and other design documents created by architecture firms.  In recent years, architects have increasingly abandoned the process of designing on paper, and instead have used software programs such as CAD (Computer-aided design) and now BIM (Building Information Modeling) to generate drawings and complex models that are made up of a series of multi-layered and interconnected computer files—files that can be difficult to recover due to their varied formats and the continually-changing nature of the proprietary software packages.  Given the realities of contemporary architectural practice, how can repositories who collect design records promise to preserve and provide access to these born digital materials?

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Yale University Art Gallery elevation, by Egerton Swartwout, 1929

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Architectural drawing #1, by Gwathmey Siegel and Associates, circa 1968/2010

I recently attended a two-day conference in London, England, “Archiving the Digital: Current Efforts to Preserve Design Records,” which aimed to address this question. Jointly sponsored by the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Victoria and Albert Museum, the conference brought together archivists, curators, preservationists, and records managers from across Europe and North America to discuss what steps firms and institutions have taken thus far to preserve digital design records and what further steps should be considered, from emulation of proprietary software programs to migration of data to common file formats.  What the conference revealed is that resolution of this issue will require—as Mark pointed out in his blog post—a great deal of collaboration among archivists, architects, technology experts, and others.  Although much discussion is still needed, the conference was a positive step forward, an opportunity to contemplate the challenges and opportunities presented by the digital revolution within the design community, and to begin formulating a preservation strategy ensuring the survival and accessibility of these records well into the future.

History of Fight for Rights of LGBT Parents To Be Preserved at Yale

LGBTThe Manuscripts and Archives Department in the Yale University Library will be the future home for the records of the Family Equality Council. A more detailed announcement was posted today on the Yale News website.

The Family Equality Council represents the 3 million LGBT parents in America and their 6 million children. In deeding to Yale all of its historical records documenting the organization and its role in the LGBT family equality movement, the Council ensures the preservation of and researcher access to more than 30 years of materials related to its founding, growth, and expansion. Future accessions to the records will carry on documentation of the organization’s ongoing efforts to advance equality for families with LGBT parents.

Manuscripts and Archives is a major center for historical inquiry and also serves as the documentary memory of Yale University.  The department maintains rich collections in support of research and teaching in the area of gender and sexuality studies at Yale, and actively seeks to add to its collections in this area. We welcome the use of the collections by researchers from within and beyond the Yale community.