Scottish History and Witchcraft: The Dr. George Fraser Black Collection

Dr. George Fraser Black, a librarian for the New York Public Library and later the Associate Director of the Scottish National Museum of Antiquities in Edinburgh, was a distinguished researcher who was active in the late 1800s until his retirement in 1931. During this time, he researched and published on several topics, most notably Scottish history. His works include a history of Scottish Clans, several bibliographies on Scottish history, and an examination of the Romani language.

Dr. Black
Dr. George Fraser Black

Much of Dr. Black’s research is devoted to looking at how modern Scotland formed and the influence of the Scottish people. A huge topic of interest within the realm of Scottish history was the poet Robert Burns. Among the materials are copies of Burns’s work, photo references, and images inspired by Burns’s poems.

Burns Images
Images inspired by Robert Burns’s works.

Dr. Black compiled most of his research in a series of scrapbooks that included newspaper articles, photocopied book excerpts, and handwritten notes that he found relevant. The collection contains over 30 of these scrapbooks on a variety of topics from folklore to the history of Scottish Clans arranged alphabetically. Perhaps his most intriguing research involved witchcraft. Seven of the scrapbooks in the collection contains detailed information on trials, rumors, and myths surrounding witches and mythical creatures. These scrapbooks hold newspaper articles detailing witchcraft trials as late as the 1920s in the United States while also covering famous accounts from the Spanish Inquisition.

The Witches
Image found in the Witchcraft Scrapbooks of the George Black Collection

This collection is currently still being processed by the Special Collections & Archives team, but it will be available for the public to view soon.

Discovering the Path: The National Institutes of Health in the Claude Pepper Papers

U.S. Senator and House of Representative Claude Pepper was an exemplary public servant who was solely committed to unifying healthcare opportunities for all Americans regardless of socioeconomic status or ethnicity. Throughout his career, he became a fierce advocator of health care reform in strengthening social security funding and Medicare/Medicaid benefits. Thus, creating provisions for at risk populations to receive equal medical coverage.

Claude Pepper maintained a rare awareness of the hardship that many Americans faced in obtaining efficient healthcare. Pepper used his voice to spark change in the U.S. healthcare system to dispense sufficient resources that would generate affordable care and enhance medical treatment. For years, Pepper worked tirelessly to lobby legislators to develop strategies that would allocate funding to provide public health services that would improve health outcomes. Because of his concern for medical care, Pepper established thirteen National Institutes of Health to support innovative endeavors in treating or curing chronic diseases through research. In 1937, during his term as Senator, he co-authored legislation establishing the National Cancer Institute to support cancer research. Subsequently, he helped to establish ten research centers for the cure and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Later in the 1940s, he sponsored legislation to create a national health insurance program to enforce equal healthcare opportunities. Pepper’s legislative efforts have served as a compass for many who are interested in improving health care policies and those who seek to learn the process of how legislators present bills to be passed into law to improve our society.

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The Claude Pepper Library & Museum offers insight into the establishment of the National Institutes of Health on behalf of Senator Pepper’s instrumental legislative work on varied Health Institutes. These materials are available for researchers and can be discovered online through the collection’s finding aid.

The Evolution of the Florida State Administration Building

Florida State administration building has changed often since the founding of the University in 1851. Originally, the administration building was known as “College Hall” and was built in the same spot where the current administration building is today.

college hall FSU 1901.jpg

College Hall at Florida State College – Tallahassee, Florida. 1901. Black & white photoprint. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. Accessed 9 Aug. 2017.

However, in 1910, because “College hall” was deemed structurally unsafe, it was knocked down and rebuilt into the administration building we know today and named “Florida State College’s Administration building” until 1936, where it was named after James D. Westcott, Jr. Westcott was a former student and Florida Supreme Court justice who left a large sum of his estate to the university and declared that the profits only be used towards teacher’s salaries.

james d westcott jr

Harper, Alvan S., 1847-1911. Portrait of Supreme Court Justice James D. Westcott, III – Tallahassee, Florida. Between 1868 and 1885. Black & white photoprint. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. Accessed 9 Aug. 2017.

In 1969, the Westcott administration building suffered severe interior damage, due to a fire. Although much of the interior was destroyed, the university was able to preserve the original collegiate gothic exterior that we know today. Renovations on the building were not completed until 1973 and Westcott is now deemed as an exemplary element of the university.

Westcott fire 2

View showing TFD personnel fighting fire at the Westcott Building from an aerial ladder – Tallahassee, Florida. 1969. Black & white photonegative. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. Accessed 9 Aug. 2017.

A Brief History of Athletics at Florida State University

For most individuals, when they think of Florida State University, they think of Florida State Football. Although football is a paramount addition to Florida State University, it used to be just a minor team at Florida State, with only fourteen official members on the football team in 1903

Football FSU 2

Football captains from Florida State University and Stetson University meet on the football field – Tallahassee, Florida. 1947. Black & white photoprint. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. Accessed 9 Aug. 2017.

For the seasons of 1902, 1903, and 1904, the Florida State football team sported the colors of a yellow-gold and purple and in 1904, the Florida State football team claimed championships against Stetson University and the University of Florida. In 1905, Florida College (now Florida State) was named Florida State College for Women, the student body selected crimson as the University’s official colors. The Administration then combined the color of crimson with purple and achieved the garnet color that Florida State is officially known for and when football was re-established with the co-ed university that is now FSU in 1947, they sported the garnet and gold colors that we still use today.

During the years of the Florida State College for Women (FSCW), football was unfortunately disregarded and substituted with other tradition and intramural teams. A physical education program was developed and supervised by Katherine Montgomery, a former FSCW student graduating in 1918, returned to start her campaign for a physical education program at FSCW. This program included volleyball, gymnastics, and various other athletic clubs that pushed the boundaries for women in sports in an age where it was widely deemed unlikely.

FSU Football 1947

F.S.U. football squad – Tallahassee, Florida. 1947. Black & white photonegative. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory. Accessed 9 Aug. 2017.

Labor Day

Happy Labor Day, or the unofficial end of summer in the US. Here in the South, students have been back to school since mid-August in some cases but we have had a few pleasant mornings so maybe a north Florida fall is coming earlier than usual? We can only hope!

In celebration of Labor Day, Special Collections & Archives is closed Monday, September 4th. We will resume our normal operating hours on Tuesday, September 5th. We wish everyone a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!

In looking for an appropriate image to accompany this post, we found the below image. It made us wonder, is there a union for circus workers? While we couldn’t find a dedicated one, the American Guild of Variety Artists does include circus performers as part of their family. You learn something new every day! No word on whether those poor souls unloading a lion are covered though.

Workers unloading a lion
Photograph of circus workers unloading a lion in its cage from the back of a truck at the Cole Brothers-Clyde Beatty Circus. Bystanders watch close by as the lion is unloaded, 1988. [Original Image here]

A Web Facelift

Special Collections & Archives has needed a web facelift for several years now, however, we were waiting on the overall Libraries’ web redesign project to be completed. Since that project completed with its new look, Special Collections & Archives staff started a complete reimagining and rewrite of all our information on the web. The result was a new set of web pages which launched just in time for the start of fall semester.

SCA Landing Page
Our new landing page at https://www.lib.fsu.edu/specialcollections/index.html

The new landing page uses an image navigation menu that draws the interest of a user and hopefully makes it clear where they can navigate to find out information about our collections, how to do research, visiting information and other areas of our division such as Heritage & University Archives and the Claude Pepper Library. It also allows for the blog to be highlighted with a running feed and puts our hours, often crucial information for our users, front and center.

Collection Highlights
Collections Highlights page

All the content on our pages has been rewritten to make it clearer, more useful and less overwhelming for users. For example, we added a page to highlight our major collections from Manuscripts, Rare Books, Political Collections and Heritage & University Archives. We do this in sections now rather than using one long page of text. This page will update often allowing our area curators to highlight new and exciting collections as they become available.

Other new pages include icon navigation pages for Research and Collections, a revamped Catalogs & Databases page, a better-organized Visit page that gets our users answers quickly for common visiting questions.  The Exhibits & Events page now links to the FSU Calendar so it’s always up to date with current exhibits and upcoming events in our spaces.

SCA Reproduction Form
A form for requesting copies of materials in Special Collections & Archives

Perhaps most exciting to our staff are three new forms to help us better get the information we need to help our patrons. The new Class Visits and Research Consultations forms will help better organize instruction sessions and research appointments in Special Collections & Archives. The Reproduction Request Form puts online a form we’ve used on paper for years. This form especially is often needed by patrons unable to visit our Reading Room so putting it online will help not only staff but our long distance patrons who use it the most.

This is our “phase 1” finish line. We will work in the future to update and enhance the pages for the Heritage & University Archives and the Claude Pepper Library. We’d also like to update the Catalogs & Databases page more; allowing a user to search our materials directly from that page. Most web pages are always works-in-progress but we’re happy to share our latest edition of Special Collections & Archives online.

 

New Tarpon Club Donation to Heritage & University Archives

George Milton, a former anthropology professor here at Florida State University, was well-known not only for his southern charm but also his unique expression through his artwork. During the late 1930’s, Milton was stationed in the Washington D.C. area during his career in the Air Force in World War II and then studied painting at the prestigious Corcoran School of Art after the war. He then furthered his education by receiving a master’s degree in painting and art history from Florida State.

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From a recent donor, the Heritage & University Archives was presented with an original painting from Milton on his impression of the Tarpon Club Tryouts. His dedication to his practice of art was emphasized when he wrote, “a painting is a record of an individual’s personal and vicarious experiences and sensations which he records symbolically and representatively through such media as line, color, form, and texture as they are guided by his conscious and subconscious mind.”

For more information on FSU’s Tarpon Club check out our collection here:
http://fsuarchon.fcla.edu/?p=collections/findingaid&id=3775&q=&rootcontentid=124921

There are also videos and photographs in Diginole:
http://fsu.digital.flvc.org/islandora/object/fsu%3Ahpmain

For more information on George Milton:
http://www.lemoyne.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/George-Merritt-Milton-Bio.pdf

Giving more context with artifacts: the Reubin Askew Papers

Often, it is the memorabilia and ephemera of a politician or public figure that offers the most insight into that individual’s life and work. Recently, the staff of the Claude Pepper Library and Museum completed the physical processing of former Governor Reubin Askew’s personal and professional memorabilia, adding a variable trove of new material to the finding aid of the State of Florida’s 33rd governor. From his U.S. Air Force  issue belt and garrison cap(he served from 1951-53), to one of his blue collared shirts which he dutifully wore during his many press conferences as governor, these items add an invaluable layer of context to Askew’s already existing collection of manuscript materials that chronicle his time as governor, U.S. Foreign Trade Representative and runs for president in 1984 and U.S. Senate in 1987. Please visit the Claude Pepper Library and Museum website for further information on our collections and potential opportunities for learning and exploring our political collections!

Askew_pencils
Colored pencils used by Reubin Askew during the Florida Senate reapportionment of 1960.

Flambeau at your fingertips

Florida Flambeau, January 5, 1994
Front Page of the Flambeau following the 1994 Seminole football win at the Orange Bowl

It has been a long time coming to get to this point but I’m happy to announce that we have finally cataloged and completed the upload of the FSU newspaper, Florida Flambeau from 1915 to 1996. This was a massive undertaking for the Digital Library Center and we didn’t even do the scanning! Digitization of these materials was done from microfilm five years ago. The DLC staff did image clean-up and quality control and then students took over creating metadata for every single issue (easily over 10,000 issues for the 80 year period!). Kudos to all the staff and students who have worked on this project.

The Flambeau provides a fascinating look at not only the college community and its culture over these years but what was happening in and around the great Tallahassee area. Being in the capital city of the state, the Flambeau reports on state and national politics often as well as providing insight into how the college was interacting with the rest of the world. It reports on the funny moments (easily one of our most popular issue reports on streakers in 1974) to how the campus handled tragedies (an article on the Challenger tragedy in 1984 notes how hard hit teachers at FSU felt).

The added bonus of having these online? They are now fully text-searchable. Have a relative who attended, taught or worked at FSU? See if you can find their name! To best way to search all the text is to click on the Advanced Search link at the top right of the page and then make sure Search all (metadata + full text) is selected.

We’ll be looking into adding the issues starting in 1997 soon but how now, happy searching!

FSU facts at your fingertips

Have you ever wondered what the average salary of an FSU professor was in 1961? ($8,940). Have you ever been curious to know how many full-time students were enrolled in 1995? (23,950).fsu-factbook.png

This information and much more is available in the FSU Fact Books now available on DigiNole. There’s a wealth of data in these documents from budgetary breakdowns and property valuations to organizational charts and enrollment statistics.

There’s something for everyone in these documents. History buffs can track the administration and governance of the university. Data enthusiasts have huge sets of information they can use track educational and budgetary trends. Many issues also demonstrate the important role alumni play in the success of the university.

All fact books from 1960 to the present are available to explore.