All posts by FSU Special Collections

Update #2 on Coronavirus and FSU Special Collections

As many institutions are doing at the moment, Florida State University is changing operations for a period to respond to coronavirus. What does that mean for Special Collections & Archives?

Original Campus Library Doors, ca. 1940-1944 [original image]

Until further notice, the Special Collections & Archives public areas, including all reading rooms, are closed to the public for the safety of our staff and our patrons. However, our collections are still available even if you can’t come visit them in person. Please contact Special Collections & Archives at lib-specialcollections@fsu.edu for help in doing research in the archives. Also, our online catalog, finding aid database and digital library remain open for remote use. Please be aware much of our staff is working remotely at this time so answers to reference questions or digital reproduction requests may be delayed until we are in the building again.

The Heritage Museum and the Claude Pepper Library and Museum are closed at this time as well.

This is a very fluid and rapidly changing situation and we will do our best to provide updates if and when any of this information changes. Please check back with the FSU Libraries COVID-19 Updates and Resources webpage for the latest information. We ask everyone to be safe during this time.

Update on Coronavirus and FSU Special Collections

As many institutions are doing at the moment, Florida State University is changing operations for a period to respond to coronavirus. What does that mean for Special Collections & Archives?

Nursing students standing outside Jackson Memorial Hospital, 1950s [original item]

Until further notice, access to all FSU Libraries is limited to holders of FSU IDs and students from the joint FAMU/FSU College of Engineering. Community members or traveling scholars will be unable to visit our collections in person. However, our collections are still available even if you can’t come visit them in person. Please contact Special Collections at lib-specialcollections@fsu.edu for help in doing research in the archives while they are closed to the general public. Also, our online catalog, finding aid database and digital library remain open for remote use.

For our FSU campus community, our hours will reduce, as they normally do, during Spring Break. March 16-20, the Research Center Reading Room, Exhibit Room and Norwood Reading Room will be open from 10am to 4:30pm. The Heritage Museum will be closed and the Claude Pepper Library and Museum will be closed as well.

This is a very fluid and rapidly changing situation and we will do our best to provide updates if and when any of this information changes. Please check back with the FSU Libraries COVID-19 Updates and Resources webpage for the latest information. We ask everyone to be safe during this time.

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]