Student Research at Yale University Library Exhibit Features MSSA Student Assistant

Student Research at Yale University Library student exhibit curators at the reception in Sterling Memorial Library: Andrew Cordova, History, Silliman College '15; Caroline Sydney, Humanities, Silliman College '16; Miranda Melcher, Political Science, Branford College '16; and Scott Stern, American Studies, Branford College '15.

The exhibit corridor in Sterling Memorial Library currently features an exhibit celebrating Student Research at Yale University Library. The exhibit will be on view through the end of October 2015, and features research projects by four Yale students, shown here left to right at a reception for the opening of the exhibit: Andrew Cordova, History, Silliman College '15; Caroline Sydney, Humanities, Silliman College '16; Miranda Melcher, Political Science, Branford College '16; and Scott Stern, American Studies, Branford College '15.

Andrew Cordova, Class of 2015, and the first panel of his senior essay research exhibit case, 13 May 2015.

Manuscripts and Archives is happy to highlight the work of Andrew Cordova, who has worked in the department as a student assistant for the past two years, digitizing collection material for patron requests and doing quality control for the Kissinger Papers digitization. Andrew's senior essay, "Re-Engineering the Environment: Chester Bowles and Indian-American Relations During the Cold War," was done under the supervision of Associate Professor of History and American Studies Paul Sabin and heavily engaged the Chester Bowles Papers (MS 628) in Manuscripts and Archives. Several images from the Bowles Papers, including two used in Andrew's student research exhibit case, are viewable in the Manuscripts and Archives Digital Image Database.

"Re-engineering the Environment" exhibit case featuring senior essay research by Andrew Cordova, Class of 2015, 13 May 2015.

Bowles, among other public service posts, served as United States ambassador to India and Nepal from 1951-1953 and again from 1961-1969, and it is on this aspect of his career that Andrew focused in his senior essay research. He argues that Bowles "criticized the military as an instrument to influence foreign policy during the Cold war [and] that it damaged America’s reputation as the protector of freedom." Cordova explores Bowles' desire "to build partnerships that satisfied the needs of foreign governments while ensuring U.S. national security issues.

From his exhibit case introduction panel: "Specifically with India, Bowles centered his policies on the maximization of agricultural production. Understanding that India’s lack of food resources could cause political instability that threatened the young democracy, the ambassador persuaded the state Department to export grain to India, finance the construction of irrigation projects, and provide new agricultural technologies to Indian cultivators.In doing so, Bowles contended that India’s young democracy would be strengthened and stabilized, which translated to the decreased likelihood that it would adopt communist ideologies. India is often disregarded as a commanding actor in Cold war international politics. As a key endorser of the non-alignment movement, India is seen as particularly removed from the United states’ mission to limit the spread of communism in Asia. Moreover, U.S.  food exports to India have rarely been seen as a diplomatic tool used to gain influence in a region that largely objected to U.S. initiatives. Chester Bowles, however, harnessed the power of agriculture to influence India, which he saw as the linchpin to U.S. strategic interest in Asia. Bowles’ divergence from military engagement allowed the United States to achieve its interests in a region marked largely by American failures."

Student Research Exhibit reception attendees in the corridor at Sterling Memorial Library, 13 May 2015.

Student Research Exhibit reception attendees in the corridor at Sterling Memorial Library, 13 May 2015.

The reception for student curators that marked the opening of the exhibit was a relaxed send-off to Andrew and co-curator Scott Stern, both of whom will be graduating from Yale College this coming Monday. Andrew will be heading for Alaska for a year of non-profit work in fisheries management before starting law school, focusing on environmental law.

Party Diplomacy: The Ravi D. Goel Collection on Henry Roe Cloud

Thanks to the generosity of donor Ravi D. Goel (Yale College, 1993), Manuscripts and Archives has received a collection created by Henry Roe Cloud, the first self-identified Native American to graduate Yale University.

Henry Roe Cloud was born on a Winnebago reservation in Nebraska in the mid-1880s. Like many Native American children born on reservations in that time period, Cloud went to an Indian school to learn how to read and write in English as well as a trade. Cloud was an exceptional student, moving on to a private boarding school in Massachusetts before starting Yale College in 1906. While at Yale, he was adopted by the Roe family, missionaries that spent some of their time preaching among Native Americans. He received his bachelors in psychology and philosophy in 1910 and his masters in anthropology in 1914. He became a Presbyterian minister, an official within the Office of Indian Affairs, and a lifelong advocate of modern education for Native American youth.

Manuscripts and Archives already holds a collection with some of Cloud’s letters in the Roe Family Papers (MS 774). However, with this new collection, we received more correspondence, including a set of letters addressed to Cloud’s daughter, Marion Roe Cloud Hughes.

The letters were written when Cloud was traveling on behalf of the Office of Indian Affairs. One letter in particular stood out to me because of its familiarity of situation to most: being stuck at a fancy party, unsure what to do.

That’s not to say that Cloud was particularly shy. At Yale he was part of a fraternity (Beta Theta Pi), the debate club, and the Elihu Club. He also regularly talked to people in the course of his work. However, it must have been daunting to be invited to tea with the ambassador to the United States at the Chinese embassy. While Cloud and the ambassador were classmates at Yale together, this was still a far more formal event than Cloud was used to.

Getting to the tea was the first difficulty as neither Cloud nor the taxi driver had change for Cloud’s five dollar bill. Cloud wound up having to ask around the embassy for change before giving the driver $3.00 for a 50 cent fare. When he finally entered the embassy and was received by the ambassador and one of his daughters, Cloud was not quite pleased when the ambassador commented on “how stout” Cloud was and asking what Cloud ate. Embarrassed, Cloud found himself moving on and then lost amongst the 400 or so guests.

Cloud did find a solution to feeling lost. He took refuge at a nearby table with cocktails. After imbibing a bit, he then found his courage to try to find the Chinese ambassador’s other daughters. His purpose, he explained to Marion, was to show the ambassador’s daughters a picture of her and her three sisters so as to have occasion to speak with them further:

"I even went so far as to vie with other ambassadors for the Central and South America republics by saying I was representing the North American Indians! At this the Embassy cohorts lifted eyebrows as much as to convey the thought to me—‘Yes, I duly feel your importance.' To one I said, 'I am anxious to meet the other daughters of the Ambassador'…Soon I was face to face with the daughter and I pulled out your picture with your sisters."

The daughter wrote her sisters' names on the envelope of the picture for Marion and her sisters at Cloud’s request, but otherwise did not seem interested in Cloud’s photograph. Thankfully, he discovered food nearby and wound up in the company of another Chinese citizen who split a taxi with him home from the tea—Cloud would have walked home otherwise, "even if it took me till midnight."

While the party probably didn’t go as Cloud would have liked, at least he had an adventure to relate to Marion. We now also have the letter so we can share in it as well.

The first page of Henry Roe Cloud's letter to his daughter Marion.

The first page of Henry Roe Cloud's letter to his daughter Marion.

Researchers interested in seeing the Ravi D. Goel Collection on Henry Roe Cloud (MS 2008) can now do so via the finding aid located here. To learn more about using Manuscripts and Archives collections, you can visit our website here.

Coalition for People and the West Rock Youth Leadership Program

Manuscripts and Archives recently completed work on a collection of records created by the Greater New Haven Coalition for People (MS 2007). The Greater New Haven Coalition for People was founded in 1981 as an umbrella group of different community agencies and organizations that were concerned about the effect of budget cuts on programs here in the city of New Haven, Connecticut. Soon it evolved into a grassroots organization that focused on organizing and addressing a variety of issues that impacted the low and middle income residents of the city. Some important issues to the group include conditions and safety of public housing, health care and low-cost prescription medication availability for low-income patients, especially those who are uninsured, public transit safety and availability, and programs for children and adolescents.

In 1994, Coalition for People focused heavily on the last item. As they often did fundraising and work with other community organizations, they were included in a Request for Proposals for advanced youth leadership training programs by the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. The Community Foundation had been developing these programs with groups like the Coalition for People for the past two years and wished to provide funding and direction for another year. The focus of the 1994 programs was on younger adolescents in the Fair Haven and West Rock neighborhoods. The core curriculum was focused on such things as "Communication (Individual/Group), Planning and Problem Solving, Cognitive/Academic Support, Conflict Resolution/Mediation, and Diversity/Cultural Awareness." Other aspects of the program included placing participants with mentors, a neighborhood event planned by the participants and special recreation trips.

The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven specifically named Coalition for People to lead the program for the West Rock neighborhood. Coalition for People devised a complete program that was approved and put into action in the summer of 1994. This program was called the West Rock Youth Leadership Program.

In this document from a March 16th meeting, you can see the Coalition brainstorming many aspects of the Leadership Program, including possible community events, recreation, placements for participants, and what they expected from the staff they hired for the program.

Planning for the West Rock Youth Leadership Program.

From MS 2007, Box 19, Folder 10.

Planning for the West Rock Youth Leadership Program.

From MS 2007, Box 19, Folder 10.

This draft of the program's schedule gives you an idea of what they were planning for the adolescents.

Proposed schedule for the West Rock Youth Leadership Program.

From MS 2007, Box 19, Folder 3.

The program was just as much an opportunity for parent involvement as for involvement by the teenagers. Coalition for People regularly sent updates to parents, asking for their help with events and initiatives by the program.

Letter to the parents.

From MS 2007, Box 19, Folder 2.

For the mentorship aspect of the program, the Coalition worked hard to get a large variety of businesses to participate, as can be seen from this list of prospective mentors.

Prospective mentor list.

From MS 2007, Box 19, Folder 9.

Part of the program was planning a community event for the neighborhood. The members of the program chose to host a community fair, with games, food, and tables with representatives from different groups that could provide resources for the community. The adolescents in the program sent out this letter to groups to ask for help.

Letter for the community fair.

From MS 2007, Box 19, Folder 5.

The Community Fair came together on August 27, 1994. By then, the 20 teenagers who participated had gotten a chance to observe, ask questions, and work with role models, take classes, and enjoy day trips that could be as simple as going to the local water park to trips to other cities to see what their museums offered. It is clear that the Coalition had worked hard to help these teenagers. It is equally clear that these teens had a lot to offer.

Flier for the community fair.

From MS 2007, Box 19, Folder 5.

Researchers wishing to work with the Greater New Haven Coalition for People Records can view the finding aid here. Researchers can also visit our website for more information on visiting Manuscripts and Archives and using our collections.

Humor in the Court: The Edward R. Becker Papers

Recently in Manuscripts and Archives, work was completed on the Edward R. Becker Papers (MS 1929). Judge Becker was a Yale Law School alumnus who served in two federal courts, the District Court of Eastern Pennsylvania and Court of Appeals, Third Circuit. He was renowned for his due diligence on cases and his voluminous opinions that could range up to hundreds of pages. He was referred to as the "101st senator" by friend Arlen Specter for the amount of influence he had on legislation, especially with his work on compensating victims of asbestos. He was also devoted to many civic causes, especially those involving the preservation of Philadelphia's history and making it accessible to all. While all of this is apparent in his papers, I couldn’t help but notice something else engaging: Becker and his colleagues' sense of humor.

For instance, Matsushita v. Zenith Radio Corp was one of Judge Becker's cases when he was with the District Court of Eastern Pennsylvania, and the one that made his reputation as an expert in antitrust law. It was a very lengthy case for the court, starting in 1974 and finally reaching a judgment in 1981. After working with it for so long, I'm sure Becker and the other judges were getting rather tired with it. That might explain how a court order was written for "a period of relaxation" in the form of a softball game between the plaintiffs and the defendants, with the only instances of inclement weather allowed to stop the game being "blizzard, volcanic eruption, small pox epidemic, or invasion of the body snatchers."

First page of the "Softball Order" memorandum

First page of the "Softball Order" memorandum. (MS 1929, Box 9, Folder 6)

The second page of the "Softball Order" memorandum.

Second page of the "Softball Order" memorandum. (MS 1929, Box 9, Folder 6)

Humor was not only reserved for court business. The judges delighted in making digs at each other as can be seen in their memorandums and related documents. In this October 20, 1995 memo, Judge Becker had sent out a memo with a wanted poster attached picturing a fellow judge, Anthony J. Scirica, saying he had seen him in the lobby and how "this guy worries me."

Judge Becker expressing his "worries" about "this guy Tony."

Judge Becker expressing his "worries" about "this guy Tony." (MS 1929, Box 16, Folder 1)

The "dangers" of Judge Scirica.

The "dangers" of Judge Scirica. (MS 1929, Box 16, Folder 1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judge Becker was not the only one with a sense of humor. Another correspondent known only as "Bernice" from Washington D.C. told him about her frustration with her day being lifted by his jokes. She was no slouch at cracking jokes either as demonstrated by the puns that keep the note going.

 

Note to Judge Becker with political puns.

Not only full of puns, but an excellent primer in political figures. (MS 1929, Box 2, Folder 6)

The Edward R. Becker Papers is now available for research and the finding aid can be viewed here. You can also visit our website to learn more about our collections and services, including how to request materials located in our finding aids.

"Onanism, or self pollution": Timothy Pickering on Masturbation

There is a vast trove of medical related collections in the Manuscripts and Archives of Yale University Library. I recently had a chance to go through some of these materials for an instruction session I co-taught for a class on the history of mental illness in America. One collection I examined was the Clements Collard Fry Papers. From 1930-1955, Fry was the head of the Department of Mental Hygiene at Yale, the office responsible for the treatment mental health problems among members of the Yale community in the early 20th century. In addition to his work with mental illness, Fry was an avid collector of historical medical documents, and the letter transcribed below is from that collection.

Timothy Pickering (1745-1829)

Timothy Pickering (1745-1829)

The 1827 letter is from the cantankerous Federalist Timothy Pickering, a former Secretary of State and Senator, and addressed to Loammi Baldwin, Jr., a well-known civil engineer who designed canals and dry docks in early America. In this epistle, Pickering offers Baldwin advice on the cause of the “derangement” of one of his brothers (it is not clear if it is Benjamin or George Baldwin), pointing to the “self-pollution” of masturbation. This was a typical view for the early 19th century and Pickering cites the highest authority for this belief, the 1760 pamphlet L’Onanisme by Samuel Auguste André David Tissot (an 1832 English translation can be viewed here. Onanism takes it name from Onan, son of Judah, who refused to impregnate the widow of his brother and practiced coitus interruptus with her. This later became associated with masturbation. See Genesis chapter 38 for the story of Onan). In that work, Tissot argued that semen was important bodily fluid that provided strength for the body and that its reduction through masturbation led to various disorders like epilepsy, poor memory, and insanity.

Loammi Baldwin, Jr. (1780-1838)

Loammi Baldwin, Jr. (1780-1838)

This letter is particularly fascinating for Pickering’s relation of Benjamin Rush’s opinion on masturbation. Rush thought that those who were most virtuous, especially young clergymen, were most susceptible to it, and he had warned his sons to avoid the vice. Pickering agreed with that assessment, reporting that his own sons died early because of their predisposition to onanism. He reported that the only cure for the "derangement" would be regular sex inside marriage or hard work. These types of views mirror the Federalist notion of control -- it starts with the individual body and translates its way up to the body politic. This might be one reason why Pickering expressed curiosity about vegetarianism at the beginning of the letter. If people show restraint in their lives, either through eliminating meat or sexual urges from their lives, a republic based on virtue emerges.

[Transcription of Timothy Pickering to Loammi Baldwin, Jr., 27 October 1827, Clements Collard Fry Papers, Box 1, Folder 6.  Period dashes have been silently omitted. Transcription does not follow the exact layout of the manuscript]

Pickering to Baldwin, October 27, 1827, Page 1 of 3

Pickering to Baldwin, October 27, 1827, Page 1 of 3

Boston Octr. 20, 1827

Dear Sir,

            Since I have been in Boston, I have heard that one of your brothers, an engineer & ingenious draughtsman, had been deranged; but had happily recovered. That is derangement had been ascribed to a violent fever; and the latter brought on by a too intensive application to the Sedentary part of profession. When lately I was at Philadelphia, I visited & repeatedly saw a worthy friend (perhaps forty years old) who appeared to be in high health, as I had before known him to have enjoyed; But taking a meal with him, I then for the first time learned, that he never ate any meat; or rather, for many years past, had entirely abstained from animal food.  Mentioning this, afterwards, to another friend, the latter explained the motive of this abstinence. Some of his family had been liable to derangement of their understandings; and it was apprehended that the Stimulus of animal food, tended to produce an undue excitement, and this a disposition to become derangement.

But there is another, and a fatal cause of derangement in young and unmarried men – Onanism, or self pollution. The consequences [2] are not suspected. The celebrated Dr. Tissot wrote largely on the Subject; and described those consequences, the result of his experiences. consequences really most afflictive. epilebsy [sic], consumption, and the most dreadful of all, Derangement of the understanding. I have at different times conversed with some distinguished physicians, on this Subject – among them, with Dr. Rush.  Many years ago he mentioned the matter to me; and the numerous applications to him, for medical relief; some from young clergymen; the most virtuous [inserted: being] the most liable to that selfish indulgence, which I remember he called “a monkish practice.”  He added, that t[e]aring off the names of the writers, he used to give the letters to his Sons, a warning to abstain from that vice. I have become more conversant with the Subject, because the derangement, and early deaths, of my Sons William & George, arose from that fatal indulgence.

Tissot, L'Onanism, 1797 edition.

Tissot, L'Onanism, 1797 edition.

Perhaps Tissot’s pamphlet may be found at some bookstore – or if not, with some physician of your acquaintance. A short account you may find the Encyclopedia [3] Britannica.

I do not know your brother; but tis enough to have known you, to determine me to give to you the hints herein noticed; being with respect and affection yours.

T. Pickering.

I always ascribed Mr. Bushminter’s epilepsy, and premature death to the cause above suggested.  My only brother lived to a considerable age: but his epileptic fits, for 20 or 30 years, I never doubted, originated in the Same cause. A young man in New Hampshire, grandson of my brother Wingate, was a physician. He was subject to epilepsy. By accident, he met with a woman whom he married. During her life, for 2, 3 or 4 years, he was well. After her death, the fits returned: and he has now quitted the practice of medicine, and gone to work on his father’s farm; which has proved salutary.

Loammi Baldwin Esqr.

[address leaf:]

Loammi Baldwin Esqr.
     Boston

[docket:]

Timothy Pickering Oct. 20, 1827

Yale History Department's Report on the Library in 1969

I’m somewhat of an interloper on this blog. I often work with special collections material from MSSA, but I am based in the Humanities Collections and Research Education (HCRE) department in Sterling Memorial Library. While going through an old filing cabinet in my office space, I came across an excellent find that will soon be available in MSSA – the “Report of the Library Committee of the Department of History” dated April 16, 1969.

1969 History ReportThe 86-page report was a massive effort by Yale’s history department to offer constructive criticism to the library and to suggest ways that collections and policies could be improved. The history department created a committee of 23 faculty members (nearly one-quarter of the department in 1968-1969) that was further divided into eight sub-committees by area of study: Ancient, Medieval and Early Modern, Modern European and Russian, British, United States, Latin America, Asian, and African history. The committee consisted of both senior scholars and young historians and included many familiar names like Michael F. Holt, Daniel Walker Howe, Edmund S. Morgan, Howard R. Lamar, and Robin Winks, among others. The lone woman on the committee was the Mary C. Wright, the celebrated historian of China who was the first woman to gain tenure in Yale’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

List of 23 members of the Yale history department's library committee of 1968-1969.

List of 23 members of the Yale history department's library committee of 1968-1969.

The Eastern and Central European historian Piotr S. Wandycz, the chairman of the committee, wrote the introduction, where he stated the committee had surveyed the holdings of the library and that they were “[d]eeply concerned about the problems of the Library,” which appeared to be in decline because of budgetary issues (p. 1). In light of this, the committee called for closer cooperation between the library staff and the history faculty, since the library was an essential partner in helping the history department retain its top-tier status.  Wandycz noted that, “historians are the prime producers and users of the contents of libraries,” and deserved greater attention from librarians as a result. (p. 2)

The committee made ambitious demands. The United States, Modern European and Russian, and Latin American sub-committees called for a doubling of collections budgets, exclusive of labor costs. Some sub-committees had specific numbers in mind. For example, the African committee called for $50,000 to backfill gaps in collecting (the African collections budget had been $15,000/year since 1963) and a $5,000 annual increase in the African book fund (pp. 84, 86). The Asian sub-committee called for nothing less than a $100,000 acquisitions budget for their area along with a demand “to stop the purchase of trivia, memorabilia, de luxe edition, and pretty books.”  (pp. 78-79, quote on 79).

While the Asian sub-committee worried about poorly made decisions by the library’s acquisition staff, some sub-committees were more concerned with lacunae. Ramsay MacMullen, chair of the Ancient history sub-committee, noted that at least one-quarter of the books published in Roman history since 1950 could not be found in the stacks (pp. 10-11). The report also noted gaps in the microfilm holdings of American, British, and Continental newspapers that were especially galling.

Partial List of Broken Sets of Periodicals for Medieval East Central Europe, 1969.

Partial List of Broken Sets of Periodicals for Medieval East Central Europe, 1969.

But the historians thought books were the most important materials for the library.  They wanted the library to purchase all publications from American and British university presses while paying greater attention to university presses around the world. That being said, the committee decried the gaps in serials and demanded retroactive buying. The library was also called upon to collect the papers of all major national and federal governments in the world. The committee insisted upon a slow down of deaccessioning and and the need to accept all gifts – claiming that space issues and their costs should not trump the value of the collections. In addition, the historians expected cataloging and cross-referencing had to be improved, the essential core of material for every history field had to be purchased regardless of current faculty interest, and better listings of special collections had to be created.

The demands were immense, and while I can’t say what came of this report at the moment, one has to assume it was an impossible agenda to carry forward in full. Things have certainly improved since 1969 – for example, the library can gain electronic access to just about any academic journal in the world if it is willing to pay. Also, Yale has massive collections of newspapers on microfilm and in electronic form, especially improving the gaps in Midwestern newspapers the United States sub-committee mentioned. Filling in the periodical and newspaper gaps has become easier. The easily accessible online used book market makes retroactive book purchases easier, although not perfect.

Advertisement from 1970.  Microfilm sets were the databases of their day.  Translated into 2013 dollars, this set had a real price cost of $294,000 (from http://www.measuringworth.com)

Advertisement from 1970. Microfilm sets were the databases of their day. Translated into 2013 dollars, this set had a real price cost of $294,000 (measuringworth.com)

But some of the problems still remain. The cost of library materials keeps growing, as does their diversity. Today the library has to manage the cost of e-books and print books. In many cases, the print version comes out first and the electronic version appears months later. If an institution goes e-preferred, how does it manage that lag time? At Yale, and no doubt elsewhere, use of e-book packages far outstrips the circulation of print materials.  The yearly content updates for Project MUSE's UPCC and Oxford's UPSO add new strains to budgets that were not contemplated even five years ago, but it's clear from usage data that we must continue to support those purchases. We’re currently between two worlds and being forced to duplicate purchasing and it will be increasingly difficult to sustain.

Collection budgets in the humanities are also feeling pressure from the increased subscription costs of science and medical material. How can the library sustain the ever-rising increases of scientific publishers and keep up with the materials in the humanities? The numbers are startling. According to Robert Darnton, the average subscription to a chemistry journal is now over $4,000. It was $33 in 1970. In 2012, the Journal of Comparative Neurology cost $30,860 (click here for citation). But even humanities journals can be crushingly expensive.  Some electronic subscriptions to history journals can reach into the four-digit realm.

Beyond those budgetary pressures, the library has to deal with the purchase of humanities databases from the big six (ProQuest, Readex/Newsbank, Gale Cengage, Alexander Street Press, Adam Matthew, EBSCO). These databases are often extraordinarily powerful, yet costly – and in most cases carry yearly maintenance fees that can be high. Licensing agreements, along with their associated costs, also have to be managed. To say nothing of the cost of the purchase and preservation of the raw data from databases required by those in the digital humanities (some publishers/companies provide their raw data for free, while others have associated fees).

And more and more databases keep being produced. Dozens of small and medium sized collections and archives are now scanned in full and offered for sale each year. For example, Gale Cengage offers digitized archival collections in their database Archives Unbound and they could conceivably keep doing this perpetually. ProQuest has History Vault. Adam Matthew has entirely digitized the Gilder Lehrman Collection, an important collection of Americana on deposit at the New-York Historical Society. When do we say enough is enough? Should we be spending less on databases and more of our funding on rare and special collections materials that differentiate our collections from other institutions?

Yale’s history department currently does not have a library committee. It's fair to say that a new document like the 1969 “Report of the Library Committee of the Department of History” would be immensely helpful to not just history, but the humanities as a whole at Yale. I know I would read a 2015 report avidly.

David J. Gary
Kaplanoff Librarian for American History
david.gary@yale.edu

A Grassroots View of the American Right, 1955-1960

Masthead for _Right_ from August 1957.

Masthead for _Right_ from August 1957.

Yale University Library has recently acquired a full run of Right: A Monthly Bulletin of, by, and for the American Rightwing, an ephemeral newsletter published by Liberty & Property, Inc. of San Francisco.  The newsletters, which date from October 1955-Sepember 1960, are bound together in a quarto volume that includes other pieces of ephemera, including nine tracts created by the publishers of Right, a 1957 directory (with a 1960 addendum) of right-wing groups in the United States, a recruitment flyer for the Northern League: A Society for the Preservation of the Ethnic and Cultural Heritage of the Nordic Peoples, a booklet by Bela Hubbard titled The Hybrid Race Doctrine, and a three-part essay titled Cultural Dynamics.

_First National Directory of "Rightist" Groups_. 3rd edition of 1957.  Previously owned by M. Lyle Cashion, who was an oil worker in Houston Texas in the 1950s.  He gathered together the materials in this volume.

_First National Directory of "Rightist" Groups_. 3rd edition of 1957. Previously owned by M. Lyle Cashion, who was an oil worker in Houston Texas in the 1950s. He gathered together the materials in this volume.

The purported author of Cultural Dynamics, E.L. Anderson, was really Willis Carto, who was also the driving force behind Right.  Carto founded Liberty & Property, Inc. with the white supremacist Aldrich Blake in 1953 and has been involved with a variety of right-wing groups while managing a large network of right-wing publications and broadcasts for the last sixty years.  He might be most well known for founding Liberty Lobby, a right-wing advocacy group he dominated from 1958 until 2001, when it went bankrupt, as well as his virulent antisemitism and denial of the Holocaust.

For its first year, the publication appears to have been typed and copied for subscribers (who paid $3/year) and had very few images or graphics.  After November 1956, the newsletter takes on a crisper look and feel and contains more imagery, diverse fonts, and stories set off in boxes.  Each newsletter was four to six pages and has a vertical fold, since it was sent in a business-sized envelope to subscribers.

Announcement of William F. Buckley's _National Review_ in the first issue of _Right_.

Announcement of William F. Buckley's _National Review_ in the first issue of _Right_.

Carto provides updates, usually no more than several short paragraphs in length, from other right-wing groups, notes any new publications of interest to his readers, and offers analysis of current events. For example, in the first issue of October 1955, Carto announced the appearance of the William F. Buckley’s National Review; in March 1956, he reported on the incorporation of Robert LeFevre’s Freedom School in Colorado Springs; and in June 1957 he commented critically on the addition of fluoride into the public water supply, a plot, he claims, perpetrated by “the Communist Party and the Aluminum Trust.”

This volume will be available to researchers to use in Manuscripts and Archives after it is processed and cataloged by the library.  If there are any questions about this volume, please direct them to david.gary@yale.edu.

David J. Gary
Kaplanoff Librarian for American History

Enumerating Slaves in Chester County, Pennsylvania, 1780-1821

photo 1"Pursuant to an Act of General Assembly passed at Philadelphia on Wednesday the first day of March Anno Domini one thousand seven hundred and eighty Entitled an Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery ..."

So begins the bound volume of blank pages now known as the Census of the Slaves in Chester County, Pennsylvania, serving as a record in one county of Pennsylvania's conservative approach to the abolition of slavery. The Act, which represented an early approach by a U.S. state to abolishing slavery, simply banned importation of new slaves into the state. Slaves already in the state remained enslaved for life, and children born to them were afforded the status of indentured servants, forced to serve their mothers' master until the age of 28.

photo 2The Act stipulated that residents of the state had to register their existing slaves with the county government annually or risk manumission. Foreshadowing a long tradition to come, members of the U.S. Congress, then meeting in Philadelphia under the Articles of Confederation, were exempted from the Pennsylvania Act.

The volume, a part of the Slavery Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection (MS 717. Box 3, folder 8) in Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library, was maintained by the Office of the Clerk of the Peace for Chester County, which lies West-southwest of Philadelphia. The census records Chester County's slaves from 1780 through the last entry in the volume, dated 1821. The clerk's office maintained an index, at the beginning of the volume, of the pages on which individual county residents' slaves were recorded. The Census provides a stark reminder of the extent of slavery in many Northern states in the decades between U.S independence and the onset of its Civil War. Pennsylvania's legislature did not free slaves outright until 1847.

photo 7

#AskAnArchivist Day on Twitter, Thursday, October 30, 2014

AskAnArchivistDo you have a question about archives? Perhaps you have a research project you'd like to embark on and aren't sure how to get started finding archival sources for it? Are you hanging on to family records at home and worrying that you should be taking better care of them? Maybe you're thinking about a career in the archives and special collections professions and you have a question for someone already working in the field?

Join archivists from around the United States in celebrating #AskAnArchivist Day on Twitter this coming Thursday, October 30th, 2014. Ask any questions, large (well, 140-characters large) or small using the hashtag #AskAnArchivist and engage with archives professionals who will be waiting to respond to you.

Archives are your national, institutional, family, and personal heritage, not some mysterious inner sanctum that only the privileged few get to enter! U.S. archivists, based on their Code of Ethics, recognize "that use is the fundamental reason for keeping archives." We welcome your questions and your research visits to archival facilities, websites, and online access systems.

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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