All posts by Ben Yadon

Highlights From the Ervin Collection Vol. 3: Joe Kubert 1926-2012

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We were saddened to learn that comic industry legend Joe Kubert passed away this week at the age of 85. In a truly remarkable career than spanned more than 70 years, Kubert entertained, inspired, and educated.

Perhaps best known for his acclaimed work for DC on Hawkman in the 1960s and Tarzan in the 1970s, Kubert also created the comic characters of Tor and Sgt. Rock.

In 1976, he founded the Kubert School in New Jersey, the United States only accredited comic arts institution.

As comic book writer Mark Waid told the Washington Post, “In the world of comics, Jack Kirby and Will Eisner may have been more influential artists, but Joe Kubert was its most influential man. Even if he were to be remembered solely for his body of illustration work, he’d still be one of the greats, but by opening the Kubert School in 1976, he was able to personally mentor and educate literally thousands of successful artists who owe their careers to his teachings.”

The Robert M. Ervin Jr. Collection in FSU’s Special Collections includes a number of Kubert-drawn comics. You can locate comics in the Ervin Collection by using this guide.

17 February 1940: Eleanor Roosevelt visits FSCW

From the 23 February 1940 Florida Flambeau:

Know Government Says First Lady

Women Urged to Take Interest in Democracy

“Girls, take a vital interest in government in all its details,” Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt advised Florida State college students when she spoke on “Citizenship in a Democracy” here last Saturday.

She cautioned, “You won’t like it very much. You may think it isn’t a clean game, but we women, if we keep to our ideals, can do much to improve politics.”

Mrs. Roosevelt pointed out the great responsibility of the United States in a world at war to find the answers to some of the many problems of the day which, she said, we can only do with full realization of what the problems are. She urged her audience, especially the students, to “know the whole situation of the whole community.” She said these problems are just now being thrust on us as in the past we had a great deal of new country to settle. Now we are building a civilization. To do that we must know our community and from there go out with our minds to the state and to the nation.”

She touched on one of her favorite topics, the position of women in local and national affairs, urging them to participate in finding a solution for such national problems as health and education. To help in these problems Mrs. Roosevelt said women must study the tax problems of their local, state, and national governments as each thing we do depends on tax money.

She closed her 45-minute address by advising students “to work hard, keep an open mind, understand the problems of the whole people, and be willing to pay the price of real democracy which means being willing to see all people share in the good life which will security for all.

“If we can keep our ideals alive in the youth of this generation, I think we can safely leave the future in their hands.”

After the speech, Mrs. Roosevelt was escorted to the home of Mrs. Frank D. Moor, president of the Alumnae association, for a dinner party. Guests at the dinner party included President Edward Conradi, Mrs. Ernest Ekermeyer, Mrs. Charles O. Andrews and Mrs. Fred P. Cone. After dinner Mrs. Roosevelt left by car for Jacksonville.

Mrs. Moor, Marjorie Jessup, and Katherine Graham escorted Mrs. Roosevelt to the stage. Mortar Board members and the 1939 and 1940 usher committee members served in the auditorium.

The college auditorium was filled to capacity for the occasion and hundreds of other students and townspeople packed the gymnasium and the Augusta Conradi theater, where public address systems were installed to carry the address.

Dickens 1812-2012: Dr. John Fenstermaker Lecture 2/29

Charles Dickens is one of the most important writers in English Literary History. Our celebration of his bicentenary in February 2012, presented in collaboration with the FSU English Department, continues on the evening of February 29th with the second of two public lectures, sponsored by the Friends of FSU Libraries and the History of Text Technologies program. Dr. John Fenstermaker (Professor Emeritus, English) will deliver a lecture entitled, “Charles Dickens: ‘It is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas.'” Alongside the lecture, there will be an exhibition of nineteenth-century Dickensiana from Strozier Library’s Special Collections. All are welcome.

Dickens 1812-2012: Dr. Paul Fyfe Lecture 2/15

Charles Dickens is one of the most important writers in English Literary History. In celebration of his bicentenary in February 2012, Florida State University’s Department of English, in collaboration with Strozier Library’s Special Collections, is delighted to announce a pair of lectures on Dickens and his work by eminent FSU scholars. The two public lectures, sponsored by the Friends of FSU Libraries and the History of Text Technologies program, will take place on 15th February (Dr. Paul Fyfe) and 29th February (Professor John Fenstermaker) in the Library. Alongside these lectures, there will be an exhibition of nineteenth-century Dickensiana from Strozier Library’s Special Collections. All are welcome.

– text courtesy Dr. Elaine Treharne, English/History of Text Technologies

Ex Libris White Glove Fundraiser December 1, 2011

Harrison Sayre Circus Collection Event

Julia Zimmerman, Dean of Florida State University Libraries, and the Ex Libris Special Collections Committee cordially invite you to Soar into the Big Top: FSU Libraries Sayre Circus Collection. Support FSU Special Collections by joining us at A La Provence on the evening of December 1 for this very special event.  Attendees will enjoy a white glove examination of selections from the Sayre Circus Collection, a presentation by FSU Flying High Circus Director Chad Mathews,  and a five-course dinner with wine pairings.

While on the surface a quiet, reserved Navy veteran from New England, Harrison Sayre (1913-2005) also had an alter ego that loved the spectacle of the Big Top. For nearly all of his adult life, Sayre visited the circus whenever he could and fastidiously photographed and collected artifacts of all that he experienced. As a member of the Circus Fans of America, he traveled to see circuses in places as far away as Australia, Russia, and Hawaii.

The Harrison Sayre Circus Collection contains approximately 8,000 photographs, including 8″ x 10″ autographs, snapshots, slides, and negatives, as well as circus programs, posters, and other circus memorabilia collected from circuses attended mostly in the mid-Atlantic region during the second half of the 20th century. As a collection, many of the photographs offer a comprehensive study of circus performer costume design and production style. The collection also includes over 300 books consisting of signed autobiographies, biographies, and circus histories.

Date: December 1, 2011  6:30-9:00
Event Registration: $75 per person, $140 per couple
Attire: Business casual
Venue: A La Provence
1415 Timberlane Road
Tallahassee, FL

RSVP by November 28 to Sabine Butler by email at or by telephone at (850) 644-1437.

Highlights From the Ervin Collection Vol. 2: Bulls Eye Comics #11

Bulls Eye Comics #11
Bulls Eye Comics #11

Among the historically important comic books in the Robert M. Ervin Jr. Collection is the lone issue of Bulls Eye Comics, published in 1944 by industry pioneer Harry “A” Chesler. The striking cover art depicts the mysterious Lady Satan dispatching Nazis in occupied France with her trademark chlorine gun. The stories within feature Yankee Doodle Jones, Lady Satan, King Kole, Johnny Rebel, Mother Hubbard, K-9, and the Green Knight.

Banned Books Week Exhibit — 24 September – 1 October

Banned Books Poster
Banned Books Poster for FSU Special Collections Exhibit 2011

Please join us in celebrating the freedom to read by stopping by the Exhibit Room in Strozier Library this week for our Banned Books Week Exhibit.

The tumultuous and often violent relationship between texts and the censorship of words and ideas has existed since ancient times. Throughout history, the censorship of books has taken the form of banning, burning, and bowdlerizing or expurgating. Authors and publishers of books have also been targeted; they have been tried in court, imprisoned, put to death, ostracized and in many cases have also gained celebrity-like fame and notoriety.

This exhibit highlights a wide variety of banned literature, from philosophical and scientific treaties banned on grounds of blasphemy to the very holy books themselves. Works of literature challenged and banned in school classrooms and public libraries for contradicting social attitudes on race, sexual conduct, and violence are included, as are books banned on political grounds for criticizing both ancient and modern political systems.

Banned Books Week PosterAlso, don’t miss the Banned Books Week Read-Out taking place on Monday, September 26, from noon until 1:00 p.m. in front of Strozier Library. FSU Library and Information Studies Professor and great friend to Special Collections Don Latham will serve as master of ceremonies as various Florida State luminaries read selections from some of their favorite banned books. Speakers will include:

 Wayne Wiegand:  The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

Dennis Moore (English): TBA

Barbara Hamby (English):  Howl, Allen Ginsberg

RaMonda Horton-Ikard (Communication Science and Disorders):  I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou

Pamala Doffek (Goldstein Library):  Captain Underpants, Dav Pilkey

Vanessa Reyes: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelou

Meredith Ross: To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee

Laura Brenkus: Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman

Allison George: And Tango Makes Three, Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

Be sure to check out the full calendar of Banned Books Week events on the Friends of The Florida State University Libraries page.

Highlights from the Ervin Collection Vol. 1: Dr. Who and the Daleks


This post is the first in an ongoing series in which we look at some of the highlights of the Robert M. Ervin Jr. Collection of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and comics. The Ervin collection consists of over 1200 individual titles, including both primary and secondary works. You can use this Finding Aid to browse the Ervin Collection by format and title.

Kicking the series off is a gem I uncovered while assisting a patron yesterday: the one-shot Dr. Who and the Daleks movie tie-in comic book, published December 1, 1966. This comic adaptation of a seemingly non-canonical feature-length spin-off of the iconic and long-running British television series features Peter Cushing’s Dr. Who, an earthling scientist who invents a time machine disguised as a police box called TARDIS and, along with his grandchildren, fights off the menace of the Daleks, a race of robotic aliens bent on extermination.

pages from the comic