All posts by FSU Special Collections

Clifton in the Capital: Tallahassee Civic Activist” Exhibition Opening

Guests are invited to explore the life works of Clifton Van Brunt Lewis, a local activist in the Tallahassee civil rights movement who championed for equality, pushed for historic preservation and founded many of Tallahassee’s beloved cultural institutions, including LeMoyne Center for the Arts, Tallahassee Museum, and the Spring House Institute.

Clifton_Poster

Clifton and her husband George Lewis II supported student protestors during the lunch counter sit-ins and theatre demonstrations, as well as worked on interracial committees such as the Tallahassee Association for Good Government and the Tallahassee Council on Human Relations. Clifton established “The Little Gallery” in the lobby of the Lewis State Bank, showcasing both white and black artists in a rotating display. She stayed active until the very end, pushing for equal rights, environmental protection, and art and beauty for everyone.

Their family home, the Lewis Spring House, is the only residence designed and built by Frank Lloyd Wright in Florida during his lifetime. It is operated by the Spring House Institute. Visit them at PreserveSpringHouse.net.

The opening reception is Thursday, April 12 from 5-7PM  in the Mary Lou Norwood Reading Room, second floor Strozier Library. Exhibit curator Lydia Nabors will give a short talk at 6:15PM.

The exhibit will be open 10AM-6PM Monday through Friday in the Norwood throughout Summer 2018.

You can also explore the exhibit online at CliftonInTheCapital.omeka.net.

Solidifying U.S.-Czech Relations

“Dobrý den!” Or, as we in the Czech Republic say, “hello!” Over the past few months, I have been working on creating a container list for the Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte Collection. Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, a Tallahassee native, is a lawyer, professor, and former President of FSU. A former President of the American Bar Association, Sandy is well known throughout the legal world and has made important contributions in promoting equality and democracy. Special Collections & Archives received these materials recently, and it has been my job to help organize and categorize all of the materials in the collection. Despite the preponderance of legal files, case briefs, and writs of certiorari, there have been a few interesting finds in the collection.

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In particular, I am intrigued by Sandy’s connections with the American Friends of the Czech Republic, a group designed to increase relations between the United States and the Czech Republic. Sandy was a board member of the group and oversaw the erection of a statue of T.G. Masaryk, who was the first president of the now extant country of Czechoslovakia. Most of the materials pertaining to Sandy in this part of the collection are site proposal documents and information on the Resource Development Committee of the American Friends of the Czech Republic. I find this particular part of the collection interesting for two reasons: first, given that my family heritage stems from Slovakia in a tiny town near the Czech Republic, it is always wonderful to pour over and analyze information from my ancestral homeland; second, and more importantly, Sandy’s work with the American Friends of the Czech Republic reifies his overall drive to be amicable, and most of all, helpful. This notion is further peppered throughout the entirety of the collection, particularly in his extensive and lengthy list of Pro Bono hours and in his service in and on multiple commissions, organizations, and commissions designed to improve access to education and to basic, fundamental resources.

Further, I believe that this part of the collection comments on a common undercurrent of the D’Alemberte Collection, that is, that despite our differences, we, as a human race, are profoundly more similar than we might believe. Ultimately, I am quite honored to be working on this collection and to have come to know, vicariously, such a reputable member of the FSU community.

Post by David Advent. Advent,  a native of Western North Carolina, is a junior English Literature and International Affairs double major at FSU. He is currently conducting his Honors in the Major Thesis and holds numerous campus positions that promote the visibility of undergraduate research at FSU.

Rebuilding in the Post-War Years: The Legacy of the Hasterlik-Hine Collection

This is the final blog post from the students in charge of the Hasterlik-Hine Digitization Project in cooperation with the Institute of World War II and the Human Experience. 

Written from 1945-1948, the final portion of the digitized portion of the Hasterlik-Hine collection offers an invaluable glimpse into life after World War II. Excitement over Giulia Koritschoner’s upcoming trip to the United States characterizes many of the post-war letters, as does joy about reconnecting with the family friends that the Hasterlik-Hine family had lost contact with during the war.

However, the most prominent aspect of the final portion of the collection is the numerous insights it offers into the difficulties that accompanied post-war life in Austria. Supplies were so scarce that “people had to fetch water in buckets an hour away on foot after having stood in line for an hour” and had to “take long walks in the woods to find small pieces of wood to have a little bit of heat.” Yet, perceptions of the former Axis powers varied dramatically. Mia felt pity for those living in these countries, expressing sadness that individuals were “starving” in Vienna while those in the United States were “suffocating in superabundance.” Others, however, only expressed contempt for the former Axis powers, even stating that they did not see the point of sending rations and supplies to “enemies who should starve to death.”

The one consensus among all parties seemed to be the dramatic nature of the occupation of Austria by Allied forces after the war, which was so severe that it seemed as if “all the nations have sent their soldiers to Vienna.” However, even in Vienna, life would, eventually, return to normal. In a letter from March of 1946, Boni celebrated the future of Vienna, writing, “Surely the people will tell you… about Vienna. About ruins and hunger, about cold rooms and deserted streets, about demoralization and despair. All that is also true here. But alongside that are also attractive things. People who want to live well, who certainly feel themselves to be unfortunate, but who are interested in the tragedies and little jokes of the greater evolution of things…”

A Copy of Swiss Identification Papers for Giulia Kortischoner, 1946 [Original Object]
Reflecting the tenacity, resilience, and hope for the future that characterizes the Hasterlik-Hine collection, Boni’s letter exemplifies the sentiments upon which many of the survivors of World War II ultimately constructed their futures. Giulia’s letters to childhood friends such as Ellen Christansen and Lisl Urbantschitsch transformed from letters filled with cartoons that complained about teachers to letters that reflected exciting plans for the future. While Giulia discussed her upcoming trip to the United States, Lisl shared her plans to emigrate to California and live with her father. Developing an increased sense of independence throughout the post-war years, Lisl would employ her artistic talent in order to secure a lucrative job making puppets. By 1947, Lisl was living in Paris and enjoying her independence.

Giulia’s life was, ultimately, one of joy and success as well. On April 21, 1946, she sailed from Paris, France to New York City, finally reuniting with her mother, Mia Hasterlik, from whom she had been separated for eight years. By 1948, Giulia had married Gerald Hine and was pregnant with their first child. Giulia would return to Vienna for a few years with her husband before living out the rest of her life in the United States. She passed away in 2015 at the age of 90.

A discussion of these letters and letters like it from other troubled times in history will be presented at the Letters in Troubled Times: Evaluation of Epistolary Sources conference on Friday, February 16, 2018, in Tallahassee, Florida. Please contact Dr. Suzanne Sinke at ssinke@fsu.edu about questions regarding the conference.

Hours Change for Special Collections Spaces

Due to an event to be held in some of our spaces the Special Collections Research Center will be closing at 3:30pm on Thursday, January 25, 2018. If you need to make arrangements to use our collections between 4-6pm that day, please make an appointment by emailing lib-specialcollections@fsu.edu.

The Special Collections Exhibit Room, due to the same event, will be closing at 12:00pm on Thursday.

All our other areas will keep their normally scheduled hours.

We will resume normal operating hours for the Research Center and Exhibit Room on Friday, January 26, 2018.

The End of a “Nightmare”: Experiences in the Aftermath of World War II

Continuing their work promoting a new collection of materials from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience at Florida State University by a student leader for the project, Gabriela Maduro.

As World War II came to an end in 1945, individuals across the globe celebrated the cessation of one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. Yet, for many people, the end of the war did not necessarily mean a return to normal life. The letters of the Hasterlik-Hine Collection provide a nuanced first-hand account of the tumultuous period following the end of the war, chronicling the story of a family that had to cope with not only the loss of family members and friends but also, perhaps most significantly, the loss of a homeland.

Letter from Mia Hasterlik to Giulia Koritschoner, August 16, 1945
Mia Hasterlik writes about the joys of V-J day in New York City to her daughter. August 16, 1945 [original item]
Letters from Mia Hasterlik to her daughter, Giulia Koritschoner, highlight the joy with which the end of the war was received in the United States, expressing disbelief at the fact that “this nightmare is really past, that it’s over,” and expressing excitement at a future that was “spreading more beautiful in front of our eyes.” Mia described the jubilation with which VE Day (Victory in Europe) and VJ Day (Victory over Japan) were celebrated in New York, where “all the people [were] happy and drunk and all the soldiers and sailors [were] out of their minds. All the girls got kissed, everybody had lipstick on their faces, thousands of tons of paper, which people had thrown out their windows.”

Underlying the joy of these letters, however, was a lingering sense of sadness and loss. Mia lamented the “heavy, irreplaceable loss” of her father, Paul Hasterlik, who died at Theresienstadt in 1944. While Giulia expressed nostalgia for the Vienna that she was forced to flee from at the beginning of the war, Mia instead stated, “I have no yearning whatsoever for Vienna, could never return. Because of… all the crimes which they carried out with their ‘Golden Viennese Hearts.’” Much of the correspondence during this time also highlights the desperate search for missing family members and friends that took place after the war. Mia, in particular, made frantic attempts to find Boni, an old family friend who had stayed behind in Vienna with Paul, and Ellen Christansen, a childhood friend of Giulia’s who was also forced to remain in Vienna.

Letter from Mia Hasterlik to Giulia Koritschoner, June 23, 1945
A page from a letter to Giulia Koritschoner from her mother. June 23, 1945, [original item]
Yet, the letters of the Hasterlik-Hine Collection also highlight the essential truth that, even in times of dramatic change or loss, daily life must still continue on much in the same way. Many of the letters between Giulia and Mia include discussions of the various suitors that Giulia encountered during her time living in Switzerland. These individuals range from a suitor named Pernal “Franz” Francois who served in the Polish Army to a Viennese man named Gustav Stux who had fallen in love with Giulia despite the fact that he was already in his fifties. Mia frequently reminded Giulia of the respectable family that she belonged to and urged her to keep values of honor and propriety in mind.

The Hasterlik-Hine Collection offers a fascinating glimpse into the aftermath of World War II, as experienced by individuals who lived in countries spanning from Switzerland to the United States. While the fighting ended in 1945, many families still struggled with the death, separation, and upheaval created by the war for years after its official conclusion.

A discussion of these letters and letters like it from other troubled times in history will be presented at the Letters in Troubled Times: Evaluation of Epistolary Sources conference on Friday, February 16, 2018, in Tallahassee, Florida. Please contact Dr. Suzanne Sinke about questions regarding the conference.

In his “Great Shadow”: Robert Burns’ Legacy

Robert Burns’ ability to spontaneously produce musical and poignant verse earned him the title of “Scotland’s Bard,” and ensured that his legacy would remain especially close to that nation’s people and their descendants. Special Collections & Archives’ forthcoming exhibit, “In his ‘Great Shadow’: Robert Burns’ Legacy,” opening January 22nd, explores not only the lyrical finesse that led to our remembrance of him, but especially how he is remembered.

Portrait_of_Robert_Burns_Ayr_Scotland
Portrait of Robert Burns by Detroit Publishing Company [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Items created by Burns Clubs for memorial celebrations evince the long history of social responses to Burns’ greatness; drawing on the Scottish and John McKay Shaw Collections at FSU’s Special Collections & Archives, the exhibit especially highlights the tradition of Burns Suppers, which are still celebrated around the world. Like memorial celebrations, poetic homages to Burns began almost at the moment of his death. This exhibit explores these poetic echoes, from Sir Walter Scott to current Scottish poet laureate Jackie Kay. Experience firsthand the social and poetic legacies of Burns — what Keats called “his Great Shadow” — through beautiful historical items in our collections.

The exhibit is holding a soft opening starting January 22, 2018, and then will be open through the Spring semester in the Exhibit Room in Strozier Library, Monday-Thursday, 10am to 6pm and Friday 10am to 5:30pm.

Happy Holidays from FSU Special Collections

All of us here in Special Collections & Archives wish you and your family a safe and wonderful holiday season!

The cover from Dear Santa Claus: charming holiday stories for boys and girls, 1901 (original item).

We have a series of children’s books in the Shaw collection that was published especially for children at the holidays in the late 1800s and early 1900s. This cover comes from one of our favorites which includes one of the most famous Christmas poems, “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas”

Our hours are a bit different over the next few weeks so here are our altered hours through January 8, 2018:

  • We’ll be open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, December 18 and 19, 2017.
  • We’ll be available by appointment on Wednesday and Thursday, December 20 and 21, 2017. To schedule an appointment, email lib-specialcollections@fsu.edu or call (850) 644-3271.
  • We’ll be closed starting Friday, December 22, 2017 until Tuesday, January 2, 2018
  • We’ll be open 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. starting Tuesday, January 2, 2018 through Friday, January 5, 2018.
  • we’ll resume our normal operating hours on Monday, January 8, 2018

Coming of Age in World War II: Homes Away from Home

Here’s another post promoting a new collection of materials from the Insistute on World War II and the Human Experience at Florida State University by a student leader for the project, Gabriela Maduro.

Only thirteen years old when World War II began, Giulia Koritschoner came of age in a time of uncertainty and chaos. Despite the context in which Giulia grew up, however, the letters of the Hasterlik-Hine collection demonstrate the fact that, for those on the home front, daily life often continued on as normal. Indeed, Giulia’s correspondence throughout 1942 regularly includes cheerful greeting cards for holidays that are decorated with personalized drawings and beautiful calligraphy. These letters were sent from not only family members but also a vast array of friends and acquaintances that Giulia made throughout the war years.

A card from Heidi Wettstein to Giulia Koritschoner (original item)

Giulia’s letters to and from schoolmates portray scenes of growing up that remained largely unchanged even in times of war. This is particularly evident in Giulia’s letters to and from Margaret Wolf, a friend from Schaffhausen who evolved from sending letters complaining about disliked teachers and unbearably boring school lessons to letters that explained her fears about graduating from school and having to enter the workforce. Giulia’s own letters mirror this development, as she wrote to her family contemplating a variety of jobs, from a lab technician to a stenographer to a masseuse. Even in the midst of the war, the possibilities for the future seemed endless.

Yet, elements of the war do seep into many of the letters. Discussions of rationing figure prominently in much of Giulia’s correspondence, as Ällägg Bechtold, a school friend from Schaffhausen, described how school was let out early in the spring because of a shortage of coal to keep students warm. Margaret Wolf complained that bakeries purposely sold old bread because it was thought that individuals would consume it more slowly than fresh bread. Even the letter that Giulia’s school principal sent to her was written not on regular paper but rather on postcards that students were encouraged to fill with holiday greetings and send to soldiers in order to boost their morale.

Many of Giulia’s letters to and from her family during this time contain anxiety about Giulia’s grandfather, Paul Hasterlik, who remained behind in Vienna while the rest of the family escaped. Although attempts were made to organize his passage to the United States, these efforts ultimately proved unsuccessful, and the letters reflect concerns about everything from whether Paul was able to find food to whether he was, in fact, actively being “tormented.” Although letters from Paul contained joy about Giulia’s recovery from polio and excitement about her prospects for the future, he remained vague in descriptions of his own life, only briefly mentioning that he was forced to move to another apartment in Vienna.

Other members of Giulia’s family struggled during this time as well. Mia Hasterlik’s letters outline her difficulties finding suitable employment in New York while living in unpleasant conditions. Perhaps most dramatically, Susi Weiss, Giulia’s older sister who moved to Nairobi at the beginning of the war, describes the emotional and physical abuse to which her husband subjected her to and her overwhelming happiness at finally being free of him.
This vast array of voices and subject matter reflected in the Hasterlik-Hine collection depict a strange intersection between war and daily life that occurred for those living on the home front during World War II. Ultimately, the collection offers an invaluable glimpse of what it means to come of age in a time of war, highlighting the fears, delights, and amusements that punctuated daily life.

A discussion of these letters and letters like it from other troubled times in history will be presented at the Letters in Troubled Times: Study of Epistolary Sources conference on Friday, February 16, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida. Please contact Dr. Suzanne Sinke at ssinke@fsu.edu about questions regarding the conference.

Dealing with Daily Life during World War II

This post is by Emily Woessner, one of two students leading the project digitizing selections from the Hasterlik-Hine Collection at the Institute of World War II and the Human Experience. More materials have been added to the digital collection and may be viewed here. The first post about this project is here.

Giulia Hasterlik was only 13 years old when her mother arranged for her to leave Vienna, Austria and travel to Switzerland to live safely without fear of Nazi persecution. Giulia was taken in by a minister’s wife named Alice Sigerist who already had a daughter of her own, Gretli Sigerist, close to Giulia’s age. Giulia lived in the small town of Schaffhausen, Switzerland for 7 years (1938 to 1946). While living in Schaffhausen, she attended an all-girls Catholic school and had many friends. However, she kept in contact with a number of her schoolmates back in Vienna. Letters from Evi Leib and Elizabeth “Lisl” Urbantischitsch, in particular, detail the lives of young girls who are dealing with such situations as crushes, boredom, school work, and prospects of the future. The girls draw pictures in their letters and used secret languages— they worry, joke, and dream just like young girls of today. Their letters to and from one another allowed them to maintain their friendships and a sense of normalcy during the war years.

Giulia was not the best student, a bit mischievous at times, but generally, she enjoyed her life in the small town of Schaffhausen. Although she noted that it was quite different from her middle-class upbringing in Vienna. Unfortunately, in August 1941 at 16 years old Giulia contracted poliomyelitis and was taken to Kanton Hospital in the center of Schaffhausen. She had to pause her studies at school. During this time the letters to and from her classmates served as a window to the outside world where she could escape the boredom of the hospital and maintain her friendships. At times the letters to Giulia simply wished her well and asked how she was progressing with her treatment. Other times her classmates detailed holiday trips, plans for future jobs and schooling, or fun puzzles and poems for Giulia to enjoy. These letters provided relief and laughter for Giulia during her most intense treatment.

Get Well Card sent to Giulia while she was receiving treatment for polio (original object)

It was not only school friends who wrote to Giulia at this time, though. Alice Sigerist had informed both Paul Hasterlik, Giulia’s grandfather, and Auguste Hasterlik, Giulia’s aunt, about the polio diagnosis. Paul and Auguste wrote heartfelt and uplifting letters to Giulia, but they also warned her against saying anything to her mother, Mia Hasterlik, about her condition. They feared the news would be far too upsetting for Mia and worry her unnecessarily because she was already living in New York City and would be helpless to take care of Giulia. For her part, Alice worked diligently to ensure Giulia was properly cared for and enlisted the help of her in-laws and countless doctors. In December 1941 Giulia was transferred to Insel Hospital in Bern, Switzerland where she underwent many months of treatment while continuing to receive letters from her friends and family.

When studying World War II one often forgets that people still had to contend with daily life and its unexpected occurrences. When Giulia Hasterlik fell ill with polio the war was in full swing, her family was strewn across the globe, and she was doing her best to live a normal life in Switzerland. Oftentimes all she had to keep in touch with her friends and family were these letters. They kept her relations, faith, and sanity strong despite all the hardship and uncertainty she endured as a young woman.

A discussion of these letters and letters like them from other tumultuous times in history will be presented at the Letters in Troubled Times: Study of Epistolary Sources conference happening Friday, February 16, 2018, in Tallahassee, Florida. Please contact Dr. Suzanne Sinke for questions regarding the conference.

Joining the Digital Public Library of America

We here at FSU are happy to have been part of the team to make the launch of the Sunshine State Digital Network (SSDN) possible. The SSDN will coordinate the work of harvesting Florida digital collections into the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). The first harvest of materials from Florida State University, Florida International University and the University of Miami is now available at dp.la.

The following is from the original press release by FSU Libraries:

Florida State University Libraries and their partners are pleased to announce the launch of the Sunshine State Digital Network (SSDN). The SSDN is part of the Digital Public Library of America and FSU is proud to be the service hub for the state of Florida. The service hub represents a community of institutions in the state which will provide their partner institutions aggregated metadata for the DPLA and offer tiered services to connect institutions of all sizes to DPLA.

The DPLA is an ever-growing national network of libraries, archives, museums, cultural heritage institutions, and volunteers that set out to provide a local impact in its communities, strengthened by a global reach. It is a free service, offering access to over 17 million items from around the globe. DPLA Network Manager Kelcy Shepherd says, “We’re so excited to welcome Sunshine State Digital Network to DPLA and to share Florida’s rich digital content alongside content of our other Hubs. We appreciate SSDN’s commitment to broadly sharing cultural heritage content with the public and to participating in the DPLA network.”

The SSDN operates on a multi-tiered hub system consisting of the main hub and regional sub-hubs. The main service hub is located at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL. The sub-hub is located in Miami, FL with responsibilities shared among the University of Miami (UM) and Florida International University (FIU).

While partnering with UM and FIU, the network will provide digital access to over 72,000 cultural heritage materials from across the state of Florida. FSU will manage all administrative aspects of the network, serve as the financial center, and submit the state’s aggregated metadata to DPLA. By submitting metadata to DPLA, it will increase the discoverability and use of our culturally rich and diverse digital collections while allowing individuals to use materials creatively, enhance their research and learning, develop new resources for teaching and discovery, and foster interdisciplinary inquiry.

You can also read the press release from DPLA here.