All posts by FSU Special Collections

October is Archives Month

The Special Collections & Archives Division is celebrating American Archives Month which is celebrated every October by archivists throughout the United States.

American Archives Month is an opportunity to raise awareness among various audiences of the value of archives and archivists. These audiences may include students, scholars, policy makers, influential people within our communities, prospective donors, and the general public. It’s also a time to focus on the importance of records of enduring value and to enhance public recognition for the people and programs that are responsible for maintaining our communities’ vital historical records.

This month, Illuminations will share behind the scenes posts about what our archivists do here at FSU and how we contribute both to the success of our patrons and the FSU Libraries as a whole. We’re also participating in the Society of Florida Archivists Archive Month festivities, which this year includes an exhibit on the theme Weird Florida, celebrating all that is weird and wonderful about our state.

Let Archives Month commence!

September Scoop on Special Collections & Archives

We’re starting a new feature here on Illuminations, a monthly “Scoop” as a quick way to share what our different areas have been up to over the last month and keep you up to date and informed about what our hard working staff are up to!

Special Collections & Archives

For several months, Burt Altman, Archivist, has been engaged in a project to reprocess the Paul A.M. Dirac Papers. The work has involved shifting and reboxing his vast collection of personal and professional correspondence, calculations, articles, photographs, and travel files, as well as his late wife Margit’s papers. These materials were housed in archival boxes, many of which were underfilled, so that the folders couldn’t stand upright, and there were preservation issues with storage of photographs and several photo albums. Also, most photographs were not properly described in the finding aid, which impeded access. These activities will insure better long-term preservation and more efficient access for this extremely significant collection. To continue providing access during this project, a note was placed in the catalog record and in the finding aid informing researchers that preservation and rehousing is being done, and if materials are needed, to contact Burt or the Special Collections Reading Room. Burt is happy to report that as of the last week of September, nearly 65% of this collection has been reprocessed, and the project will be completed sometime in October.

Hannah Davis, archival assistant in HPUA, disbinds a book for better storage and access.
Hannah Davis, archival assistant in HPUA, disbinds a book for better storage and access.

Heritage Protocol & University Archives

Outreach: HPUA attended the Emeritus Coffee Chat and celebrated the 100th birthday of 1936 FSCW alumna and emeritus chemistry professor, Kitty Hoffman. We had a great time hearing stories and sharing memorabilia with alumni!

Preservation and access: We disbound two books that contained West Florida Seminary catalogs from the late 19th century and they will be digitized and added to the Digital Library. The catalogs provide a unique look at our predecessor institution, and will be an invaluable resource for researchers interested in the West Florida Seminary.

Claude Pepper Library

This month, the Claude Pepper Library brought a new collection into its stacks. In 1990, Larry Durrence was named a Visiting Professor at FSU with a full-time assignment with the Florida Tax & Budget Reform Commission (TBRC). In January 1991 he was then promoted by the Commission members from Senior Analyst to Executive Director for his remaining term with the TBRC. This past Friday the 26th, Mr. Durrence donated three boxes of material related to the work of the Commission during his time there. The collection will be processed and made available to researchers by the early spring of 2015.

The Pepper Library also hosted Dr. G. Kurt Piehler’s ‘The American GI in War and Peace in World War II” class on the 18th of September. Coming in as part of a larger tour hosted by History Liaisons Sarah Buck-Kachaluba and Bill Modrow, the history seminar class was introduced to Claude Pepper and his work during the Second World War while a member of the US Senate. The class was also able to hear an excerpt of a Pepper speech given in late June of 1941 which warned of the dangers of the Nazi threat.

Cataloging & Description

Amy Weiss, Head of Cataloging & Description, taught a workshop entitled “RDA without tears” to help put RDA coding into a practical perspective. A lot of RDA training is very theoretical in orientation, but this class was intended as a “how to” class.  Three members of the medical school library joined up for the class, as did one of the serials catalogers. We went over the basics of the RDA record in the MARC format, and we discussed “hybrid records” where some features of RDA are used in an AACR2 record.

The Authorities/Catalog Management Unit and Linda Brown in Serials finished the ASERL Documents Project. To explain, Florida State University Libraries is a member of the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL). Last year, the ASERL libraries were asked to select three areas to catalog for the Centers of Excellence – an ASERL program envisioning the creation of comprehensive collections of U.S. government information from each Federal government agency. FSU’s 3 ASERL collections are Economic Development Administration (1965-) Call number is C46… approx. 400 items, Federal Security Agency (1939-1969) Call number is FS2… approx. 3,000 items and the Library of Congress Country Studies Call number is D101.22:550- approx. 316 items.

Digital Library Center

The DLC started several new projects this month. The Florida Handbook from 1947-2012 and Florida State College for Women scrapbooks were in the DLC for digitization. Image quality control continues on the Florida Flambeau images and we’ve started a pilot project for the loading and metadata creation of the issues in the FSU Digital Library. We completed the digitization of the latest batch of papers from the Paul A.M. Dirac collection which now goes into post digitization processing before loading into the FSU Digital Library. We also attended the History program mixer event hosted in the Special Collections Exhibit Room and enjoyed introducing the DLC to the faculty and students in that department.

Cataloging and Description: A New Era

We continue our introductions of the FSU Special Collections & Archives division with the Cataloging and Description department. This post was written by Amy Weiss, Annie Glerum and Ruth Ziegler.

The faculty and staff of the Cataloging and Description department
The faculty and staff of the Cataloging and Description department.

The Cataloging and Description Department supports the academic programs of Florida State University by organizing and describing print books, e-books, video recordings, streaming video, microforms, maps, and other monographic materials purchased or received by the library. Four librarians, two library specialists and four library support staff catalog 36,000 titles per year following national standards of bibliographic control and in keeping with established cataloging practices and priorities. The department works with Acquisitions to load e-resource packages, which add thousands of records to the library catalog each year. Original records are contributed to OCLC, an international bibliographic database. FSU contributes nearly 1,000 original records per year. The department participates in international cooperative cataloging programs including NACO (Name Authority Cooperative) and SACO (Subject Authority Cooperative) through the Library of Congress. We contribute 500 to 600 records every year to the national authority file. Two units – Complex Cataloging and Authorities/Catalog Management collaborate to create workflows and apply the latest technologies in its routine work and projects.

A sample of new technical work for Cataloging and Description are the ETDs (Electronic Theses and Dissertations). Instead of receiving MARC (Machine-readable Cataloging) records for the ETDs, we receive non-MARC metadata and convert it into MARC so it can be loaded into the online catalog for users to find. Data conversion is also key to another recent job, the London project, where we are processing a file of records that were converted from the Access database the FSU London branch library uses for their local catalog to MARC records for FSU’s main campus catalog. After the records have been processed, they will be loaded in the FSU catalog so that professors and students visiting London will know whether or not they need to bring a given book with them. Librarians Annie Glerum and Yue Li and Library Specialist Dominique Bortmas have been working on these projects.

Remodeling the Dirac Science Library has been a major concern for the University Libraries. When the Libraries received funding for compact shelving, weeding the collection quickly became a priority. Librarian Ruth Ziegler and Library Specialist Nakia Davis collaborated with the University of Florida and worked out a withdrawal plan to remove 62,000 unwanted volumes from the catalog using global change. Reports were given to Collections Access so that they could remove books from the shelves for resale or to discard. Using this method, books did not have to be moved to the Catalog Management unit and there was considerable savings of time and effort.

Rare Books and Special Collections materials are cataloged in Cataloging and Description. When the University Libraries acquired a complete run of books published by the Grove Press Department Head Amy Weiss assembled a team of catalogers (Melissa Burel, Tim Kanke, Valeria Kosmynin and Annie Glerum) and instructed them in Special Collections cataloging. The team was able to get the books cataloged in time for a special event planned around the collection this past spring.

Ordinary cataloging is not what it once was. Cataloging of most English language materials is done in conjunction with vendors who supply both the books and the bibliographic records, as well as physically processing the book with property stamps, security strips, and barcodes. After two years of working with the Coutts/Ingram, we have changed vendors to Yankee Book Peddler (YBP). YBP will supply electronic and print books with accompanying MARC records. We will continue to do quality control checking to make sure all books have full records.

Cataloging and Description called 711 W. Madison Street home
Cataloging and Description called 711 W. Madison Street home

Cataloging and Description loads catalog records for large e-resource packages, e-books and streaming media. This can be a complicated process. FSU is part of the shared State University System (SUS) Libraries catalog. Loading electronic records requires coordination between the schools. Librarian Ruth Ziegler works with FSU’s Apryl Price, E-Resources Librarian and with FALSC (formerly FLVC). Collaboration with the other schools who have purchased the same materials is sometimes necessary when errors occur in batch loading.

There are still some traditional cataloging functions performed in Cataloging and Description. We receive books which are not yet cataloged and which require original or close to original cataloging. Most of these books are in foreign languages, but not all. Many of the books are held by very few United States libraries, with FSU being one of a very few copies held. In cases like these, FSU performs a public service by providing high quality cataloging for these materials so that they can be located by scholars throughout the country.

A traditional cataloging task which is taking on new significance is authority control. Authority control provides the underlying structure of the catalog. It’s something that most users and librarians don’t think about. It’s a very important component in cataloging and the post cataloging process. Authorities are established forms of personal, corporate, conference, geographic names, subjects, uniform titles and series records that link to records in the bibliographic file. This involves using the Library of Congress authority file from which we follow established access points. New access points are set up when there is a conflict in the Library of Congress Name Authority File (NAF). In this way, works by a single author or on a given subject can be found together in the catalog. In current thought about the future of cataloging, authorities will become linked data, which will associate each name or concept with a number or code so that items can be linked out to the web and not just collocated in a catalog. From the traditions of library cataloging, come the innovations of tomorrow.

Introducing Heritage Protocol & University Archives

Heritage Protocol & University Archives (HPUA), housed in Special Collections & Archives at Florida State University Libraries, maintains the official repository of university historical records. The archive holds publications, records, photographs, audio-visual, and other material in physical or digital form created by or about Florida State University. We also archive the student experience through the acquisition and preservation of materials created or acquired by alumni while they were students at the university.

Greetings from Florida State College for Women, see full description here.
Greetings from Florida State College for Women, see full description here.

Our staff consists of Heritage Protocol & University Archivist Sandra Varry, Archives Assistant Hannah Davis, and part-time assistant Colin Behrens. We are also fortunate to have Graduate Assistants Rebecca Bramlett and Katherine Hoarn with us for the fall.

Our mission is to preserve and share the history of FSU with everyone – our FSU community and the public at large. We have a great time posting photos and interesting tidbits on our Facebook page and interacting with our fans as well as attending events on and off campus to promote HPUA. We provide images and information to news and media outlets as well as to researchers. On campus an important job we have is to provide not only historical records preservation for official records, but to provide that material to the university for everything from reports or events, or to help staff do research for projects. Factual data for administrative purposes is important, but we also get to do things like help celebrate the 100th birthday of an alumnus (two so far this year!).

Poster from a performance by Deathcab for Cutie at FSU. See full description here.
Poster from a performance by Death Cab for Cutie at FSU’s Club Downunder. See full description here.

We receive photographs, scrapbooks, and everything you can imagine from loyal fans, alumni, and their families from all over the world. The actual items come from all periods of time across our 163 year history. The combined knowledge base of student and university created records plus our professional archival staff makes us the place to come for Florida State History!

Recent projects include the digitization of over 300 posters from Club Downunder. All HPUA digital collections can be seen in the FSU Digital Library.

Our fall exhibit exploring the life and times of Florida State College for Women students through their scrapbooks is in the works and will open up mid-October in Strozier Library, and we look forward to seeing you there!

1927 Faculty Baseball Team. See full description here.
1927 Faculty Baseball Team. See full description here.


Poetry in the Great War

Page from The Child's ABC of the War
Page from The Child’s ABC of the War

Today is the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I. To mark the occasion, we’re pleased to announce a new collection of books from the John Mackay Shaw Childhood in Poetry collection published during World War I are now available in the FSU Digital Library.

These 32 books were chosen from the larger subject guide to World War I poetry created for the Shaw collection. That bibliography covers 360 poetry books and young adult magazines produced in Great Britain and North America during World War I, many focused on trying to explain to children the conflict and how they could help the war effort in their country.

Today’s reader does not often know most of the poetry collected here but these books offer a unique glimpse into this extraordinary period of history. The Shaw Collection mostly focuses on the experience of childhood through poetry and prose but the books collected surrounding this era by Shaw are wide ranging in their voices. The Child’s ABC of the War explains to British children the words they would be hearing as the conflict escalated and tried to reassure them that Britain would stand tall. Other books included were written on the front by young men like Robert W. Sterling who never returned home. There is poetry written by women left to man the home front and childhood stories turned into propaganda for the war effort.

We hope to add more unique materials from the Shaw Collection to this collection in the coming months as we continue to mark the World War I Centennial.


New Digital Collection: Cuneiform Tablets

The Florida State University Digital Library now shares a selection of the cuneiform tablets held by the Florida State University Libraries Special Collections & Archives.

In 1922, Dr. Josiah Bethea Game (1869-1935) negotiated the purchase of twenty-five tablets for the Florida State College for Women (FSCW). The tablets range in size from one to two square inches, and are square, rounded and cone shaped. The tablets were found by archeologist Dr. Edgar J. Banks (1866 –1945)  while excavating in Babylonia (present-day Iraq) for the University of Chicago in 1903-1904. The ancient inscribed Babylonian clay tablets illustrate the oldest of writings and were are mostly temple records and business documents dating from over 4000 years ago.

Among the cuneiform artifacts are a ritual tablet from Warka dated 2100 BC; a memorandum from Senkereh, the ancient Larsa, 22 BC; a temple record, sealed with the royal seal of the King of Ur of the Chaldees, 2350 BC; sun-dried business contract, 220 BC; sun-dried exercise tablet, 2200 BC; butchers bill for four sheep, 2150 BC; a votive cone, King of Amanu, from the temple of the goddess Ishtar, which he built in the royal residence of his kingdom 2100 BC; a tax bill, 2350 BC; and a business contract dated in Nebuchadnezzar’s reign.

This selection of our cuneiform collection was digitized and translated as part of a project in 2008 and now join the growing digital collections in the FSUDL!

Reflections of a French Dream: Early Modern Maps from Florida (16th-19th c.)

On the occasion of the international conference “La Floride Francaise. Florida, France and the Francophone world ” organized by the Winthrop-King Institute at FSU (20-21 February 2014); FSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives and North Redington Beach map seller La Rose des Vents present an exceptional selection of antique maps and documents reflecting French involvement in Florida during four centuries.

La Floride

Between the middle years of the sixteenth century and the early nineteenth century Florida was a recurring concern of French governments in their attempts to introduce a French presence south of Canada. Maps of Florida, many of them produced in France but also in the Netherlands, England, Italy or the United States, thus represented tools for the military and diplomatic action of France, images sometimes fanciful of territories to conquer or reconquer, but mostly images of a dream conceived in Huguenot minds, at the height of the Religious Wars, a dream that never came to be true but fed a nostalgia that lived on long after Florida had ceased to be considered another viable Nouvelle France.

Located in the Strozier Library Gallery, the exhibit is open February 17 to March 21, 2014, Monday-Friday, 10am to 6pm.

A Campus Mourns with a Nation

Front page of the Florida Flambeau, November 25, 1963
Front page of the Florida Flambeau, November 25, 1963

Shock and disbelief enveloped Florida State University’s campus after President Kennedy’s assassination on November 22, 1963. Compared to the thousands of words being printed in world newspapers, on FSU’s campus, “a silence [fell] at the first heart-tearing announcement.” Students gathered around TVs and transistor radios in their dorms, on Landis Green, at the Sweet Shop, waiting for the confirmation: “Ladies and Gentleman, the President of the United States is dead.” During station breaks from the news, “heads would bow and tears fell without hesitation.” Classes were canceled, and a memorial convocation was held, featuring musical performances and an address from Dr. Gordon W. Blackwell, University President.

Blackwell acknowledged the difficulty for students being away from home during this time and tried to bring perspective to the event especially to the age group that had connected with President Kennedy in a way they had not connected with a president before: “There can be no question but that the late President caught up the enthusiasm of the young with his warm personality, the brightness of his mind, and his love for sports and the out-of-doors. He carried them forward with the vigor of his thinking which matched his vibrant personality.” Blackwell ended by challenging both students and faculty to carry forward Kennedy’s ideals, “As students and as teachers of new generations, let us move with firm resolve to replace fanaticism with tolerance and prejudice with understanding, so that each of us may retrieve from these tragic days something of personal significance and lasting value that this community, this state, this nation – yes, even this world, will become truly a better place in which to live.” [excerpts from The Selected Addresses of Gordon W. Blackwell, The Florida State University, 1965.]

Pepper and Kennedy

Today marks the fiftieth anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. A capable and dynamic leader, as well as the first and only Catholic president to date, Kennedy was a symbol of the change that had begun to come over the United States during the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Beloved by millions across the country, he could stir crowds to a frenzy simply by being in front of them, recalled Senator Claude Pepper in his autobiography, Eyewitness to a Century. After learning of President Kennedy’s assassination while at lunch with Mildred Pepper at the Democratic Club in Washington D.C., a stunned Pepper wrote in his diary:

Pepper Diary, 11-22-1963
Click for enlarged image

Below is the typed entry pulled from Senator Pepper’s diary transcripts:

Typescript, Pepper 11-22-1963
Click for enlarged image

Later, Pepper would go on the air via a Miami radio station, WIOD, to inform his constituency of the tragic events of the day:

Pepper Address
Click for enlarged image

To the always traumatic experience of losing a world leader there was in the death of President Kennedy the added shock of assassination. Having witnessed firsthand the pain that the nation felt in the wake of the death of FDR, Pepper was all too familiar with the feelings of loss that his fellow Americans were enduring. Both Pepper and Kennedy saw eye to eye on many issues facing the nation including Civil Rights, elder care and the rights of the poor and disenfranchised, issues that Claude Pepper would continue to fight for until the end of his career in 1989. In addition to the images shown above, the Claude Pepper Library and Museum also holds further correspondence, ephemeral items and photographs relating to President Kennedy as well as those of the six other presidents that Pepper served under during his years in office.

John F. Kennedy and Claude Pepper
Click for enlarged image

The Claude Pepper Library and Museum is open Monday through Friday from 9am-5pm. For further details please contact Robert Rubero at (850)644-9217.

King of Books, Book of Kings. Early Printed English Bibles from the Carothers Collection

King of Books, Book of Kings ExhibitArticle by William Modrow, Rare Books & Manuscripts Librarian

What Bibles did English people read in the time of Shakespeare, Spenser, or Milton? Why did they view the events of the Reformation or the Civil War as biblical episodes? In occasion of the fourth centenary of the first edition of the King James Bible, in 1611, the Strozier Library’s Special Collections Department presents a selection of 27 treasures from the collection of early printed Bibles bequeathed to the library in 1982 by Milton Stover Carothers, Director of FSU’s Presbyterian Center, in memory of his parents Julia Stover and Milton Washington Carothers

Under a title borrowed from Andrew Marvell, King of Books, Book of Kings revisits the role of Bible publishing in early modern England according to the innovative methods of the History of Text Technologies program (HoTT) created in 2007 at FSU. Stemming from a rigorous analysis of Bibles as material objects, it thus emphasizes the international nature of the first English Bibles whose original synthesis involved Parisian typefaces, Auvergne paper, German or French illustrations of Venetian origin, and commentaries drawing on the Flemish Desiderius Erasmus or the French John Calvin. Beyond the history of Biblical artifacts it also highlights the political figure of English kings as biblical sovereigns, from Henry VIII to James I, constantly to the good kings of the Old Testament, David, Solomon or Josiah, or to Jesus-Christ himself.

King of Books, Book of Kings offers a new example of the multi-faceted collaborative effort between the Strozier Library and the History of Text Technologies (HoTT) program as its direct origin is the graduate seminar “The Bible as a Book (13th-18th c.)” that François Dupuigrenet Desroussilles, professor in the Religion Department and HoTT faculty, has been teaching every year in Special Collections since 2009.