All posts by Krystal Thomas

About Krystal Thomas

Digital Archivist at Florida State University

Recapping Archives Month at FSU

October is a special month for those us in the archives. It’s an entire month to celebrate our collections and, more importantly, our work which is often shrouded in mystery. Even for our co-workers in libraries. So, archivists have embraced American Archives Month, held every October, as a way to share what it is we do.

Visitors to our FSU Faculty & Staff Open House on October 26, 2018
Visitors to our FSU Faculty & Staff Open House on October 26, 2018

For us here in Special Collections & Archives this year, we started October by participating in #AskAnArchivist day on October 3, 2018, by staging a takeover of the FSU Libraries twitter feed, answering questions and participating in discussions that happened all over the Twittersphere. You can check out the hashtag #AskAnArchivist and the FSU Libraries twitter page to catch up on those tweets.

We had some celebration of the month here on the blog. We opened a new exhibit on protest in poetry, highlighted our Artist Book and Napoleon collections, shared a new digital collection available in our digital library, talked about our new records on FSU presidents, and looked for the spooky side of Special Collections for Halloween.

Special Collections & Archives hosted our first Open House for Archives Month this year for our faculty and staff here in FSU Libraries. We hope to grow this event in the coming years so more people on campus and in the community can come and see our collections and talk to us about our work.

Lastly, we also had our annual tradition of visiting Paul Dirac’s gravesite and cleaning the headstone. Dirac, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, retired to Tallahassee and taught at FSU while he lived here. Upon his death, his papers and collections came here to FSU and is a cornerstone collection to our History of Science materials.

Cleaning Dirac's headstone at Roselawn Cemetery, October 30, 2018
Cleaning Dirac’s headstone at Roselawn Cemetery, October 30, 2018

 

Studying the birds after a war

Our partnership with the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience has introduced me to some of the most interesting people of the Greatest Generation. I added a new one to my list this week as I loaded a set of photographs from Dr. Oliver L. Austin Jr. Students working for Dr. Annika A. Culver digitized this small set of images from the collection earlier this year for a museum in Japan. A student described them over this summer and now they are available in DigiNole (and later this year, will be available in DPLA).

Nihonbashi Takashimaya Department Store
Nihonbashi Takashimaya Department Store, 1946-1949 [original record]
Dr. Austin sounds like he was always up for an adventure. In 1931, he received Harvard University’s first Ph.D. Degree in Ornithology. As a seasoned sailor whose family owned a summer home on Cape Cod, Austin felt that he could be of service to the US Navy, and volunteered for sea duty in World War II, a somewhat unpopular posting prior to the Battle of Midway when the Japanese were still a formidable presence in the western Pacific Ocean. In 1942, when he was 39 years old, he went to naval headquarters in Boston and received his orders in late July. After three months of communications school, he was assigned to the USS Tryon, an evacuation transport, or armed hospital ship, headed for an embattled contingent of Marines in New Caledonia. Deck service was followed by duty in Admiral Bull Halsey’s communication pool and as communications officer on a gas tanker to forward bases. While in dock, he collected over 2,000 bird and bat specimens in “no man’s land” of the Pacific Theater’s roughest battles, including Tulagi and Bougainville, and even discovered two new bat species in Guadalcanal. After two years in the Navy and earning Lieutenant Commander rank, Austin was transferred to “military government school” at Princeton University to prepare him for service in the future occupations of Korea and Japan.

Dr. Oliver Austin
Dr. Oliver Austin, 1945-1952 [original record]
Dr. Austin headed the Wildlife Branch of the Fisheries Division in the Natural Resources Section (NRS) for Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) from September 4, 1946 to December 31, 1949. He was honored as one of only two members of the US Occupation of Japan who received a personal commendation for meritorious civilian service by General Douglas MacArthur. Austin implemented reforms of game laws and created wildlife sanctuaries as well as public hunting grounds to help conserve and manage Japan’s wildlife and natural resources. During his nearly four years in Japan, Austin left behind almost 1,000 well-preserved color photographic slides of postwar Japan under reconstruction. Highlights include American expatriate life, ordinary Japanese families in Tokyo and the countryside, and Japanese veterans purveying street entertainments. These sorts of images are included in the materials now available in DigiNole.

Later, in 1955 and 1956, Dr. Austin was invited to work as an Air Force scientific observer on the US Navy’s first Operation Deep Freeze, a preparatory expedition for the International Geophysical Year. In addition to his work on the expedition, Austin conducted research on Adelie and emperor penguins, skua, and seals, implementing a bird-banding project for his ornithological work.

More images from this collection are available through a project hosted by the WWII Institute and hopefully we’ll add more into DigiNole in the future.

Another season of sport at FSU begins

Cover from the media guide for Swimming & Diving, 2009-2010
Cover from the media guide for Swimming & Diving, 2009-2010. [See original object]
FSU is gearing up for another semester to start in just a few weeks. Student-athletes, however, are already back at work. The FSU Volleyball team will play its first match this Friday and the Swimming and Diving teams are back in action by mid-September. These two sports are the last of a long project for the Digital Library Center, the digitization of all the sports media guides for FSU teams that the Archives currently holds.

The sports media guide is essentially the press kit for that season’s team. It includes all the facts and figures announcers seem to effortlessly sprout out as you listen to commentary at sporting events. The Swimming/Diving Team media guides go back to the 1970s whereas the Volleyball guides start in the 1980s. Do you have media guides to help fill in the blanks in our collection? You can always donate to Heritage & University Archives to help complete the collection. Start the conversation by sending an email to lib-specialcollections@fsu.edu.

Browse all the available sports media guides in Heritage & University Archives in DigiNole and Go Noles as all our fall sports teams get back in action over the next few weeks!

Recording Destruction

The Digital Library Center has been working with the FSU Department of Anthropology for several years now to digitize the materials created at the Windover dig site. We’re nearing the light at the end of the tunnel! However, as I loaded the last of the unit excavation forms, I realized something. I had absolutely no idea what these forms were! So, I sent off an email to Dr. Geoffrey Thomas for some clarification.

To start with, and something that I have never really thought about is that Archeology, the act of excavating, is an act of destruction. If they’re doing their jobs right, at the end of the dig, the site no longer exists. So, the hundreds of forms (For the Windover dig, over 600!), called Unit Excavation Forms, are used to record exactly what the archeologists were seeing as they dug the site. The site itself is divided into squares on a grid with each square having specific coordinates within the grid. Each form then corresponds to a specific square, or as they are called, unit.

Per Dr. Thomas, Unit Excavation forms’ primary role then, is to record the process of removal, layer by layer in each unit. Each form is labeled with information like the site name/number, the coordinates of the unit, the unit number that corresponds with a location on the grid, people working on that unit, and the level (depth) of the excavation. The workers then excavate in 10cm levels (ground – 10cm below surface = level 1) and so on to 90-100 cms = level 10. Each and every artifact is recorded as it is found and the workers make sure to mark the location within the unit, depth, and type of artifacts discovered. So, the unit forms and each level gets a form, then tell us what was found and where.

A Unit Excavation Form from Lot No. 1 at Windover during the 1984 season
A Unit Excavation Form from Lot No. 1 at Windover during the 1984 season [see all forms from Lot No. 1]
You stop digging in a unit when you hit a “sterile” layer, or after you have not hit new artifacts for a few levels. You then close that unit and start on a new one. After completion of a dig, the Unit Excavation Forms can be used to reconstruct each unit so that future researchers know where certain artifacts were found and in what context they belong within the dig site.

Pretty cool right? I also asked Dr. Thomas to think about what people will be able to learn now that these forms are online. Having the forms for the Windover dig online allows researchers and people interested in archaeology to gain information on, not only the process of archaeology but the specifics of the Windover site. If someone is interested in a particular burial and would like to find out the context of the burial (for example individual 90,  a subadult with a large number of grave goods), Dr. Thomas, or the patron themselves, could look up burial 90 and have the excavation forms for that unit. This will allow Dr. Thomas and the researcher to see the position of the body and locations of each artifact in the burial, along with any pictures of the burial site if any exist. This will hopefully greatly increase the amount of interpretive power we have for examining the remains and the way they were treated at death.

Now that we know what they are, enjoy browsing through and getting a picture of the Windover site from the unit excavation forms. You will also find field notes and photographs as part of the larger Windover collection. Happy “digging”!

Note: We are in the process of digitizing and loading x-rays and photographs of burials at the Windover site. However, due to the nature of that material and NAGPRA guidelines, those materials will be in collections with restricted access. Look soon for instructions on how to apply to use these types of materials for research in DigiNole.

Paris is Always a Good Idea (in stereoscope!)

The Digital Library Center has been working with the Art History department for a few years now to digitize and make available a collection of stereographs. While the collection is wide-ranging in its topics, its main focus is on Paris and her environs just prior to “Haussmannization,” or a series of public works projects led by Georges-Eugène Haussmann, which redesigned Paris in many ways. We recently loaded a new set of materials into this collection and wanted to share a few in this set that have the added bonus of color!

Vue dans Le Bois de Boulogne a Paris, ca. 1850-1900
Vue dans Le Bois de Boulogne a Paris, ca. 1850-1900

A former hunting ground of the French Kings, Bois de Boulogne is a large public park on the outskirts of the 16th arrondissement of Paris. It was created as part of Haussmann’s work for Napoleon III who had been impressed by Hyde Park in London during his exile and wanted to include more public parks in his reimagining of Paris (Wikipedia).

St. Cloud-Cascades, Parc de Saint-Cloud, ca. 1850-1900
St. Cloud-Cascades, Parc de Saint-Cloud, ca. 1850-1900

Parc de Saint-Cloud is now considered one of the most beautiful gardens in Europe. On the outskirts of Paris, it was once home to the Château de Saint-Cloud. However, the castle was destroyed during Napoleon III’s war with the Prussians and completely razed in 1892 (Wikipedia). The cascade featured in this stereograph no longer exists; if you visit the park today, you would see waterfalls, but none in the design of the original castle.

Arc de Triomphe, 1850-1900
Arc de Triomphe, 1850-1900

L’Arc de Triomphe needs no introduction. She has stood proudly in Paris’s Place de l’étoile since 1836. Wanted by Napoleon in 1806, the Arc de Triomphe was inaugurated by the French king, Louis-Philippe, who dedicated it to the armies of the Revolution and the Empire (City of Paris).

You may click on any of the links with the images to see larger, zoomable versions and be sure to browse the John House Stereograph Collection for over 1200 stereograph images of Paris between 1850 and 1900.

Memorial Day

American Flag Behind Westcott Building, ca. 1940-1944
American Flag Behind Westcott Building, ca. 1940-1944

Special Collections & Archives will be closed Monday, May 28 in observance of Memorial Day. We will resume our normal hours on Tuesday, May 29.

We wish you all a safe and fun holiday weekend!

Pirates of the Caribbean

It isn’t every day we digitize a 17th-century book about pirates. A few months ago, a colleague at the University of South Florida (USF) Libraries asked if we would be able to digitize our copy of Bucaniers of America, or, a true account of the most remarkable assaults committed of late years upon the coasts of the West Indies: by the bucaniers, of Jamaica and Tortuga, both English and French : wherein are contained more especially, the unparallel’d exploits of Sir Henry Morgan, our English Jamaican hero, who sacked Puerto Rico, burnt Panama, &c. (we just don’t title books like that anymore do we?). We were happy to oblige and also excited about why USF wanted a digital copy.

Page from Bucaniers of America
Page from Bucaniers of America

They were working with The Tampa Bay History Center on a new exhibit, Treasure Seekers: Conquistadors, Pirates & Shipwrecks and while USF was providing their copy of the book for the physical exhibit, they also wanted to be able to provide access to a digital copy as well. Due to the age and binding of the volume, it was a tricky digitization project but we persevered in the end! You too can now take a look at this fascinating volume chronicling the exploits of the buccaneers that ruled the waters of the Caribbean in the 1600s which includes the very famous Captain Morgan.

The Journals of an 19th century Tallahassee Reverend

We recently added a small new set of materials to the digital collection for theSt. John’s Episcopal Church Records. Two items detail the history of the Church further. The other three are journals kept by the Reverend Doctor W.H. Carter. They document his travels and ministry in New York, Florida, and places in-between from 1855-1907. Dr. Carter was born in Brooklyn, New York, and studied at Yale University. Before his time in Tallahassee, Carter was rector of Episcopal congregations in Warwick, New York, and Daytona Beach. After some time spent traveling as a missionary, Carter was installed at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Tallahassee in June 1879. In his journal entry from June 9th, Carter noted: “wonder how I will like it.” He apparently liked it well enough, as he remained in Tallahassee until his death in 1907.

Page from Journal of W.H. Carter, 1874-1897
The page from Rev. Carter’s Journal where he notes his move to Tallahassee in 1879. [See Original Item]
During his time in Tallahassee, Carter oversaw the construction of a new church building in 1880 and continued to take his clerical work on the road to worshippers in many small towns in North Florida, asylums, and the Leon County Jail. In the 1880s he was instrumental in establishing a church building and school for the black congregation of St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Tallahassee, often performing services there. Carter’s work and demeanor left a significant impression on the congregation of St. John’s; his obituary notes that “Doctor Carter’s life was an object lesson of cheerful and patient serenity. In 1950 the church annex was extensively renovated and renamed the Carter Chapel in his honor. You may see all the journals here in the digital collection as well as the other materials digitized from the St. John’s Episcopal Church Records collection.

St. John’s is the mother church of the Diocese of Florida. It was founded as a mission parish in 1829, and the church’s first building was erected in 1837. The Diocese was organized at St. John’s in 1838 and Francis Huger Rutledge, who became rector of St. John’s in 1845, was consecrated the first Bishop of Florida in 1851. The original church burned in 1879; a new church was built on the same site and consecrated in 1888, and it is still the parish’s principal place of worship.

The physical collection includes administrative records; member registries; meeting minutes of the Vestry and church circles; Bibles, Books of Common Prayer, hymnals, and other liturgical works; documentation of the history of St. John’s Church and the Episcopal Diocese of Florida; service bulletins and other periodicals; sermon transcripts; photographs; and motion pictures.

For more information about the collection, visit its finding aid.

Sources:
W.H. Carter Journal, 1874-1897, St. John’s Episcopal Church Records, Special Collections and Archives, Florida State University Libraries, Tallahassee, Florida. http://purl.fcla.edu/fsu/MSS_2016-006
Stauffer, Carl. (1984). God willing: A history of St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1829-1979. Tallahassee, FL. http://fsu.catalog.fcla.edu/permalink.jsp?23FS021651363

Take Me Out To the Ball Game…

In Florida, it’s easy to see how it’s baseball season. We’re coming out an unusually warm February (though more seasonably cool and rainy weather is headed our way). So, it came as no surprise that the college baseball season is already in full swing. The 2018 Noles are riding a winning streak going into the second month of the season, having won their first 8 games of the season. Perhaps they’ve been perusing our collection of media guides from past teams for inspiration in the offseason.

Cover from the 1986 Florida State Baseball Media Guide
Cover from the 1986 Florida State Baseball Media Guide [see original object]
FSU has the dubious honor of being the most successful collegiate baseball program in the United States without a College World Series championship to their name. Maybe this will be their year? We wish them luck!

Browse our entire collection of sports media guides for FSU athletics here and if you have some you see we’re missing, let us know! We’d love to complete our collection.

Taking to the Green

One of the most interesting things about my work is getting to learn things I never thought I would know. Like the fact that, apparently, the golf season in college is all year long with a long break over December and January. Which means, both the men’s and women’s golf teams will be hitting the links again starting this month, the women started their spring season last Friday and then men get up and running today. A perfect time to share the media guides we have digitized featuring past golf squads.

1986 Florida State Golf Media Guide
Cover from the 1986 Florida State Golf Media Guide. Golf was a sport than the men’s and women’s teams shared media guides for some of the 1980s. [original item]
Our collection of golf media guides start with the 1974 team and go up to the 2010 teams. We have a smaller collection of golf than we do for other sports at FSU but these guides still provide a fascinating look at this sport and its history at FSU.