All posts by FSU Special Collections

Just Kidding – Construction Delayed

It’s never a dull moment around here! Our new carpet has been delayed but that means we’ll be open our normal operating hours much sooner!

We’ll still be closed for the FSU Winter Holiday Break from December 23-January 1. We will resume normal operating hours on Thursday, January 2, 2020.

You are welcome to email us at lib-specialcollections@fsu.edu while we are closed and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible in the new year.

We wish you a safe and happy holiday season!

Students Joking around on Campus, December 1946 [see original image]

Under Construction

Grounds Closed Sign
Two Women Standing Behind “Grounds Closed” Sign. From the Mary Leora Singeltary Collection, 1919-1923 [original image]

Some of the Special Collections & Archives space will be under construction starting on Monday, December 16th (we’re getting new carpet!). Because of the need to move furniture and materials for this work, the Special Collections Research Center Reading Room, Exhibit Room, and the Norwood Reading Room in Strozier Library will be closed starting on Monday, December 16. We will resume our normal operating hours on Monday, January 13, 2020.

The Pepper Library and Museum will be closed for the FSU Winter Break from Monday, December 23 until Monday, January 6, 2020.

During these times, you can still search our collections in our finding aid database, the library catalog and access digitized materials in DigiNole: FSU’s digital repository. If you have any questions, you can contact the division through email.

We here in Special Collections & Archives wish everyone a safe and wonderful holiday season!

Boots Thomas Digital Collection online from the FSU WWII Institute

Ernest Ivy “Boots” Thomas Jr. was born on March 10, 1924 and raised in Monticello, Florida. He served as a Platoon Sergeant in the United States Marine Corps, Company E, Second Battalion, 28th Marines of the Fifth Marine Division during World War II. His collection, held by The Institute on World War II and the Human Experience, contains the letters he sent home to his mother during his time training at Parris Island, South Carolina, as well as the time he served as a drill instructor for the Marine Corps.

Through his letters, one can follow his very active and exciting time in the service, starting from his attempts to join (despite having color blindness) and leading him through to his training at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, Camp Pendleton in California, Camp Tarawa in Hawaii, and eventually into the Pacific Theatre for combat in the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Ernest “Boots” Thomas postcard to his mother, Martha Thorton Thomas, September 9, 1943 [original object]

Boots Thomas was known by his comrades and leaders as a natural leader, taking a post as drill instructor early on in his military career. During the campaign for Iwo Jima, Thomas battled through the rough terrain of the island and Mt. Suribachi, taking charge after the platoon leader was wounded. Leading the platoon, he and his men successfully defended against the Japanese and raised the first American flag atop Suribachi on February 23, 1945. The subsequent second larger flag raising, for which Thomas was not present, would later be repeated and captured in the now-famous photograph from Joe Rosenthal of American Press. Thomas was killed in action on March 3, 1945, seven days before his 21st birthday, and awarded the Navy Cross for “extraordinary heroism,” along with the Purple Heart Metal and other combat-recognition awards.

This digital collection was described by FSU student Carmellina Moersch of The Institute for World War II and the Human Experience. Moersch is a senior at Florida State studying Classics, Humanities and Religion. At the Institute, she works as an Archival Assistant, processing collections and gaining important experience related to historical research, analysis, exhibit curation, and more. The Institute works diligently to preserve the photographs, letters, and artifacts of service members and their families. The Institute depends on Undergraduate and Graduate students to process collections, create finding aids, perform administrative tasks, and help further the goal of making our holdings available to researchers and scholars around the world.

To view the Boots Thomas letters in DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository, visit its collection there. You can see all digital collections from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience in DigiNole as well. For more information about the Institute and its programs, please visit its website.

#AskAnArchivist Day is tomorrow!

FSU Special Collections & Archives is once again participating in #AskAnArchivist Day, the kick-off event for American Archives Month. We’ll be taking over the FSU Libraries twitter feed (@fsulibraries) tomorrow, Wednesday, October 2, 2019 from 10am to 6pm.

How does this work? Archivists here at FSU and all over the country will take to Twitter to respond to questions tweeted with the hashtag #AskAnArchivist. No question is too silly, too small or too big. You can ask us here at FSU what the oldest item is we have, what does it mean to process a collection, do we have anything in our collections about your dissertation topic? Just tweet at us with the hashtag and we’ll answer!

Don’t be shy with us or any other archives on Twitter and be sure to ask your questions on #AskAnArchivist day!

Intersession Intermission

As we gear up for Fall semester, Special Collections & Archives will be taking some time to complete projects and prepare for the coming school year. This includes the Special Collections Reading Center in Strozier Library, the Pepper Library Reading Room, and the Heritage Museum. However, we will still be available to researchers! We will be by appointment only August 5th through August 15th.

Available appointment times are from 10-12pm and from 1-4pm, Monday through Friday. To complete an Appointment Request form, please click here. In order to ensure that we can fulfill your request, please request appointments at least 24 hours in advance, and keep in mind that you must request your desired materials ahead of time as well.

Finally, please note that Special Collections & Archives will be completely closed Friday, August 16, 2019 for a division retreat. This closure will include the Pepper Library and Heritage Museum spaces.

Registration at FSU, 1958 [Original Object]

Celebrating the Start of Summer

We recently completed digitization of the newspaper from Leon High School here in Tallahassee. Started in the 1920s, the paper has gone through several name changes to end up at Leon High Life today. Our recent additions to the newspaper started in 1988 and bring us up to the end of Spring 2019. To write this update, I took a look at the newspapers published just at the end of the school year.

As a school publication, there are few to no issues published beyond the beginning of June. These papers are the last hurrah for the seniors, celebrating the next steps for those leaving, looking back at the year of academics and athletics.

2001-2002 Sports Year in Review spread [original item]

They also used these issues to talk about what they’d loved and hated that year, making these issues time capsules to what the kids thought was cool at the time.

Spread from the May 31, 1988 High Life Graduation Issue [original item]

But they were also looking forward to their summer and looking at what would be on deck to go see, hear, and do for their last few months of freedom if they were Seniors or just looking forward to the break if there was more high school ahead of them.

What students were looking forward to in the summer of 1992 [original item]

You can explore the entire run of the Leon High Newspaper for a unique look at life in Tallahassee from a high schooler’s perspective from the 1920s up to 2019.

Godby High Yearbooks Online

FSU Libraries continues to partner with local organizations to bring the history of our region online and available for research. Today’s new digital collection comes from a local high school, Godby High School. Opened in 1966, it officially became a school for grades 9-12 in 1968, graduating its first class in 1970. Much younger than the other high school we’ve partnered with in the past, Leon High School, Godby brings another perspective to student and family life in Tallahassee from the mid-1960s up to the 2018 yearbook.

Spread from the 1975 Godby High Cougar [original item]

You can explore more yearbooks from Godby High here. Yearbooks from 1969 to 2018 are available to browse and search.

A Holiday in the Sun

Florida State University is closed Thursday, July 4 and Friday, July 5 in observance of the 4th of July holiday. We in Special Collections & Archives are off to enjoy our long weekend in the Florida sun. We’ll resume our normal operating schedule on Monday, July 8 (without too bad a sunburn we hope)

Girl at the Beach, Donald DeGraffenreid Pickett Collection, 1958-1959 (Accession No. HP-2008-010) [original image]

Intersession Intermission

As FSU heads towards the summer class semesters, generally a much quieter time on campus, Special Collections & Archives will be available by appointment only during the intersession week, May 6-10, 2019. Appointments are available between 10am to 12pm and 1pm and 4pm during this week.

The Special Collections Research Center in Strozier Library, the Pepper Library Reading Room, and the Heritage Museum will all be closed during that week. SCA has started to use this time to complete projects and prepare new projects for the summer as well as clean up and re-shelve our stacks after the busy semester.

Librarian with Book Carts, ca. 1940s
Librarian with Book Carts, ca. 1940s [original image]

If you need to make an appointment for any of those spaces during the intersession week, please contact Special Collections at lib-specialcollections@fsu.edu or call us at (850) 644-3271. We will resume our normal operating hours on Monday, May 13, 2019.

The Gertrude Margaritte Ivory Bertram Collection

The Gertrude Margaritte Ivory Bertram Collection covers the service of one African American nurse in the U.S. Army during World War II.

Portrait of Lieutenant Gertrude M. Ivory [see original image]

Bertram was born in Clarksville, Georgia on February 17, 1916. She attended nursing school at the Brewster Hospital and School of Nurse Training in Jacksonville, Florida, which was the first African American hospital in the United States. She then enlisted in the U.S. Army on May 1, 1941 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. While in the Army, Bertram served as a ward nurse in Fort Bragg and later in the West African theater.

Her collection includes numerous photographs depicting herself and her fellow nurses in uniform, as well as African American G.I.s, and a few photographs from her time in West Africa. Her collection also includes an oral history transcript, personal items, newspaper clippings, and manuscripts. This collection is important, as it covers the unique experiences of women and African Americans during World War II, and offers insight that differs from the majority white male G.I. perspective. It depicts African American nurses in both a professional setting, and a casual setting as Bertram enjoyed downtime with her friends.

This collection is one of many at the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience that offers perspective on Army nurses and African Americans during the war. Portions of the Bertram Collection are now available online through DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository and you can see more information about the collection in its finding aid.

Post was written by two guest authors:

Lee Morrison has been involved with the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience since Summer 2018. After graduation, he will pursue a Master’s Degree in Medieval History at Florida State University.

Gillian Morton has been involved with the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience since Spring 2016. After graduation, she will pursue a Master’s Degree in Information Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.