All posts by FSU Special Collections

Poetry in Protest, a new Exhibit in Strozier Library

Poetry in Protest

Poetry can be a powerful tool for eliciting emotion and is frequently used to express dissent or advocate for change. FSU Special Collections & Archives’ latest exhibition, “Poetry in Protest,” explores the genres, tactics, and voices of poets that write against the existing world and imagine societal revolution.

As a means of delving into the subject, the exhibition begins with poet Michael Rothenberg’s work in developing the global event 100 Thousand Poets for Change, where poets around the world read in support of “Peace, Justice, and Sustainability.” While some of the materials on display are explicitly poetry responding to some aspect of the status quo, others are less direct in their means of protest. Poetry containing eroticism that is transgressive push back against societal norms of sex and love; works written in dialects or languages of the oppressed insist upon the existence of those voices in the world.

The selections from FSU Libraries’ Special Collections encompass nearly 2,500 years of poetical dissent, including Sappho, William Wordsworth, Gwendolyn Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, Tupac Shakur, and many more. Materials from the Michael Rothenberg Collection are on display for the first time since their recent acquisition as well.

Stop by this Fall and take a tour of some of the greatest voices of protest poetry in history through this exhibition of items from FSU’s Special Collections & Archives. This exhibit is located in the Exhibit Room on the first floor of Strozier Library. It is open Monday to Thursday, 10am to 6pm and on Fridays from 10am to 5:30pm.

Artist Books Collection Continues to Grow

This post kicks off a month of posts celebrating American Archives Month. Yesterday, Special Collections & Archives did a Twitter Takeover of the @fsulibraries feed for #AskAnArchivist day so be sure to check out those conversations. 

This post is written by Melissa Quarles, Special Collections & Archives’ new graduate assistant. You’ll be hearing more from her over the next year but today she highlights our artists’ books.

For the past two years, Florida State University (FSU) has been steadily growing its collection of artists’ books, which are currently housed in Special Collections & Archives. These unique works blur the boundaries between art and literature, encouraging readers to question How Books Work and what they mean to each of us. Anne Evenhaugen, the head librarian at the Smithsonian’s American Art and Portrait Gallery Library, describes artists’ books as “a medium of artistic expression that uses the form or function of ‘book’ as inspiration. It is the artistic initiative seen in the illustration, choice of materials, creation process, layout and design that makes it an art object.” The difference between a regular book and an artist’s book is determined primarily by the creator’s intentional treatment and presentation of the materials.

A few earlier posts highlighted new and interesting artists’ books in our collection. The books we house encompass a wide range of genres, forms, and topics. We have several books that feature poetry, such as Indra’s Net by Bea Nettles. This beautifully marbled paper scroll features a poem by Grace Nettles (the artist’s mother) printed over a spider web design. Attached to the inside of the lid, a small silver bell rings to evoke the memories described in the text. The original poem, from a book called Corners, can be found in our collection as well.

Artists’ books are often multi-sensory experiences. Music for Teacups, a joint venture by Melissa Haviland and David Colagiovanni, is part of a larger project “investigating the destructive moment of a breaking piece of family tableware to highlight family dynamics, upbringing, inheritance, etiquette, and issues of class. ‘Music for Teacups’… rhythmically dissects the poetic moment of a falling and breaking teacup as it sounds during its last second as a complete object.” (description from Haviland’s website). The work consists of an accordion fold booklet of cut-outs shaped like teacups, as well as a 45rpm record of the accompanying music. However, since we have no playback equipment, patrons who wish to listen to the piece are directed to this sample video (from Colagiovanni’s website).

Many of our artists’ books offer political and social commentary or center on issues such as human rights. One such work is Bitter Chocolate by Julie Chen. The book itself is shaped like a large bar of chocolate, which unfolds like a Jacob’s ladder. Each panel is connected by magnets, so that they can be unfolded to reveal four different sides. The unique tactile and structural aspects of the piece are a staple feature of Chen’s work, but the content is equally compelling. Two of the sides narrate a story about the mythical Mayan chocolate goddess, “Cacao Woman.” The goddess rejoices in the widespread love of chocolate among humans, but also laments the chocolate industry’s reliance on forced child labor, abuse, and trafficking. The other two sides feature the author’s personal memories and experiences with chocolate, as well as facts about its production worldwide.

FSU students, alumni, visitors, and the general public are invited to visit Special Collections & Archives and check out our rich collection of artist books. Patrons may also wish to explore how to make their own art books. Many of our works include explanations of the printing and construction processes, and we even have books designed to elicit inspiration for budding artists. FSU also has its own publisher, the Small Craft Advisory Press. Other resources, articles, books, and artist websites are listed below.

Resources:

Articles/Books:

Artists:

Updating the Heritage Museum

A guest post by Brianna McLean, currently working with Heritage & University Archives on exhibit development.

Dodd Hall Library, ca. 1920s (Jewell Genevieve Cooper Scrapbook, 1924-1930).  http://purl.flvc.org/fcla/dt/1925009
Dodd Hall Library, ca. 1920s (Jewell Genevieve Cooper Scrapbook, 1924-1930). http://purl.flvc.org/fcla/dt/1925009

Starting with the institution’s inception as the Seminary West of the Suwannee River in 1851, a new exhibit I’ve been working on for the Heritage Museum follows the timeline of Florida State University through important historic milestones: the Civil War; Florida State College and Florida State College for Women (FSCW); the World Wars; Integration and the Civil Rights Movement; the rapid development through the end of the 20th Century; and today.

If you are new to campus and have not had a chance to stop by the Heritage Museum in Dodd Hall, it is a quiet place to study, read, and relax during your busy week. The museum is the location of the original library for FSU, which makes it the perfect location on campus to learn about FSU’s history and enjoy the gorgeous Collegiate Gothic architecture and iconic stained glass. This building functioned as FSU’s library from its construction in 1923 until Robert Manning Strozier Library was built in 1956. Dr. William George Dodd was born in 1874 and served as an English professor of the Florida State College for Women and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences from 1910-1944. He contributed greatly to FSU, including publishing History of West Florida Seminary in 1952.

Dodd Hall Library, 1964 (FSU Historical Photographs Collection). http://purl.flvc.org/fcla/dt/124370
Dodd Hall Library, 1964 (FSU Historical Photographs Collection). http://purl.flvc.org/fcla/dt/124370

As a researcher for this new exhibit, I had the pleasure of learning all about FSU and all the people who made it possible to attend school here today. As a student at FSU since 2012, first as an undergraduate and now as a graduate student, I thought that I knew a great deal about FSU’s history. After combing through numerous books, articles, documents, and photographs, I realized there are so many hidden gems to be found in our history. Some of my favorite stories include the origin of garnet and gold, the traditions of the women of FSCW, the history of protest on our campus, and our relationship with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. One of the most comprehensive collections on FSU’s history is the FSU Historical Photograph Collection, from which most of the images in the exhibit will come. Some of the best secondary resources include the works of Dr. William Dodd, Mike Rashotte, Robin Sellers, Gerald Ensley, and Dr. Jennifer Koslow.

Dodd Hall Today, taken with my phone.
Dodd Hall Today, taken with my phone.

Interested in donating to the Heritage Fund or materials to the Archive? Please contact Heritage & University Archivist, Sandra Varry.

Heritage Museum Hours: Monday through Thursday, 10am-4pm. For up-to-date museum and library hours, please visit, https://fsu.libcal.com/hours/.

Working amongst History

Today we have a guest post from Brianna McLean, a student employee for Special Collections & Archives over the past summer.

Like most undergraduate students at FSU, the FSU Libraries have always been a place to study, research, read, and hang out with friends.  When I first came to FSU, I did not know about the many career opportunities libraries could offer. After working two years at the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience in the History Department, I had a wonderful opportunity to work in the Digital Library Center (DLC) in Special Collections this summer.  Not only did I gain valuable experience, I worked closely with some of the best library professionals learning metadata, digitization, and cataloging processes.

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West Florida Seminary Students Doing Fieldwork in Surveying and Engineering, 1900

As someone who recently graduated with a history degree, I have a lot of experience researching and working with primary sources. Working in the DLC and Special Collections, I was able to be part of the process of preparing primary sources for researchers. When you create metadata and inventory items, you have to think of the things a researcher might be looking for, enhancing your own research skills. Historical preservation and cataloging is the whole other side of research that is crucial to education and the availability of information. I would urge all students to become familiar with Special Collections (fsuarchon.fcla.edu/) on the first floor of Strozier and the digital library, Diginole (fsu.digital.flvc.org).

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Coeds With Raincoats on in the Sunshine, 1962

Working in Special Collections is not just exciting because of the research experience; it was incredible to be able to work with all the books, photographs, documents, and artifacts. FSU’s Special Collections has everything from cuneiform tablets to comic books. One of my favorite projects in the DLC was working with the FSU Historical Photograph Collection and the Tarpon Club Videos. FSU has such a rich history and Special Collections contains endless information from the beginning when FSU was the West Florida Seminary to the more recent history of our campus. I have included some of my favorite photographs with this blog post.

The first image is of West Florida Seminary students in 1900 surveying in front of the original administration building, which is now the Westcott Building. The second image is from 1962 when women were still prohibited to wear pants on campus, so they circumvented the rule by wearing open raincoats over their shorts. The final one is unfortunately undated, but it is of the Westcott Building before the iconic fountain was installed. These photos are perfect examples of why I love working in archives. Being a historian, I enjoy research and telling the stories of humanity. However, there is something incredibly special about being able to hold and see the items for yourself, as well as preserving them for many more people to have the same opportunity.

Westcott Building
Taken with my phone. This image is part of the FSU Historical Photographs Collection.

Brianna McLean recently graduated with her B.A. in History, minor in French from FSU. She is continuing her education this fall at FSU, beginning her M.A. in History, studying the French Revolution and Napoleonic France. Brianna is excited to continue working with FSU Libraries in the Heritage Museum this fall.

Florida State: Traditions through the Eras

Florida State: Traditions through the Eras is an exhibit that traces back some of Florida State University’s most well-known traditions through the institution’s long history. What we now know as FSU has gone through many changes over the years: beginning as the Seminary West of the Suwannee River, then the Florida State College, Florida State College for Women, and finally Florida State University. Many of the symbols and practices we know today, like the school colors or the university seal, have been carried over through these iterations, evolving with the institution itself.

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Cover of a 1930 Memory Book from Florida State College for Women

The exhibit is divided into four main categories: Seals, Torches, and Owls; School Colors & Honors Societies; Music & Marching; and Camp Flastacowo & the FSU Reservation. The digital exhibit further separates the School Colors and Honors Societies into two groups. More information regarding each category can be found on their respective digital exhibit pages.

The materials in this exhibit were curated in collaboration with Women for FSU. As part of their Backstage Pass program, members get a behind-the-scenes look at how things are done at FSU. Because of this collaboration, the process of putting the exhibit together was somewhat unique: instead of researching a wide number of potential materials and only gathering a select few, we gathered a wide number of materials, from which the members would be able to pick and choose their favorites. The exhibit you see today is made up of those choices. Gathering dozens of items from all over Special Collections and Archives was quite an undertaking, but getting a glimpse into the development of FSU over its existence made it a worthwhile one.

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A page from a Color Rush Scrapbook

After the event, the time came to put together a digital version of the exhibit. While the physical version is ultimately limited by space, the digital exhibit could incorporate basically every item that we had initially gathered. That being said, incorporating all of those items digitally meant a lot of digitization. Through a combination of scanning and photography, the digital exhibit now contains approximately fifty of the items gathered to reflect FSU traditions past and present.

Florida State: Traditions through the Eras is currently on display in the Florida State University Heritage Museum in Dodd Hall and accessible online here. If you have any questions regarding the exhibits or the museum, visit the Special Collections & Archives website or feel free to contact us at lib-specialcollections@fsu.edu.

Post was written by Dylan Dunn, Special Collections & Archives Graduate Assistant 2017-2018.

Intersession Intermission at Special Collections

Special Collections & Archives Research Center Reading Room, the Claude Pepper Library, and the Norwood Reading Room will be available by appointment only during the dates of August 6-17. Our faculty and staff will use this “downtime” during FSU’s intersession to complete projects and prepare for the upcoming semester (as well as spruce up our spaces!).

If you need to access our collections during this time, please contact us at lib-specialcollections@fsu.edu or (850) 644-3271 to schedule an appointment. We will resume our normal hours on Monday, August 20, 2018.

Celebrating the 4th

Special Collections & Archives, along with Strozier Library, the Claude Pepper Library and the Heritage Museum are closed in observance of Independence Day. All our spaces will resume normal hours on Thursday, July 5, 2018. We wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Front Page of the Florida Flambeau, July 2, 1984
Front Page of the Florida Flambeau, July 2, 1984 [read entire issue in DigiNole]

Shining the Light on DPLA in Florida

SSDN

The Sunshine State Digital Network (SSDN) is the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) service hub for the state of Florida. The DPLA is an ever-growing national network of libraries, archives, museums, cultural heritage institutions; it is a free service, offering access to over 21 million items from around the globe. The service hub (SSDN) represents a community of institutions in the state which provides their partner institutions’ aggregated metadata for the DPLA and offer tiered services, such as collections hosting, metadata remediation, training, and digitization assistance to connect institutions of all sizes to the DPLA. Collecting (aggregating) and sharing the metadata records with DPLA allows for the digital objects to be presented to the public in a national context alongside objects from other organizations like the Smithsonian, the Library of Congress, the New York Public Library, the National Archives, Harvard University, HathiTrust, and many others and gives them greater exposure. This means that they are easier to find because they are all on one easily searchable platform and they will get more use than they would have otherwise. DPLA offers users many ways to make use of the resources they provide such as exhibitions and primary source sets designed for classroom use.

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). These three institutions contribute metadata for their digital collections content as well as on behalf of several new content partners. SSDN has added three new content partners since February 2018, they are Florida Memory, the City of Coral Gables, and Valclav Havel Library Foundation. Together, these six institutions have shared over 148,000 digital objects with DPLA since our first harvest in November 2017!

The network is currently working toward adding more partners, developing a sustainability model, establishing governance, and supporting Florida cultural heritage institutions to share their resources online. We are doing this with the help of many volunteers around the state serving on our working groups, which focus on metadata, outreach, and training. These groups are currently developing metadata guidelines and documentation, assessing and developing digitization, digital collections, and metadata training, and creating and fostering outreach and relationships with different cultural heritage institutions around the state. We are very excited about the growth of the network in such a short time and about the opportunities we have ahead of us.

Take a look at what Florida has contributed to DPLA and explore what else DPLA has to offer at dp.la.

Post contributed by Keila Zayas-Ruiz, SSDN Coordinator based at Florida State University in Tallahassee.

Playbills in the Spotlight

It’s time for a student spotlight to hear what some of our students are working on behind the scenes at Special Collections & Archives.

My name is Meg Barrett, and come Fall semester, I will be a senior (!), studying Art History. I’ve been working with Special Collections & Archives since the summer of 2016, and I’ve been able to work with some really interesting materials, such as photo records of the university’s College of Nursing to eighteenth-century French newspapers.

Most recently, however, I had the opportunity to create the container list for the School of Theatre’s playbill collection, located in the Degen Resource Room of the Fine Arts Building. This list was added to the collection’s finding aid which means you can now search the collection’s thousands of titles.

The collection has over 200 binders filled with thousands of playbills for plays and musicals, dating back to the 1870s. The collection consists of playbills of shows across the country, such as in New York or Chicago, and even university productions. As an avid theatre fan, who takes every opportunity to see a campus theatre production and enjoys a good musical theatre soundtrack, being able to work on this project was a great experience. The collection includes playbills from shows such as The Boy Friend from 1954, which was Julie Andrews’ Broadway debut, the 1996 production of This is Our Youth, starring Mark Ruffalo, or even the 2000 performance of The Crucible at the Florida State University Fallon Theatre. I am so grateful that I was given the chance to work on this project and look through all of these fascinating materials.

Editor’s Note: Meg has been a fantastic addition to Special Collections & Archives and we’re going to miss her this summer as she goes on a European adventure but will look forward to having her back in the fall!

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.