All posts by Kacee Reguera

About Kacee Reguera

Heritage & University Archives Assistant Florida State University

McClellan Family Molasses Cookies

The cane mill

For five generations, my family has spent Thanksgiving at our family farm, making 100% cane syrup in our cane mill. It’s a fact I’ve hung my hat on my entire life, one that every single one of my cousins has done a project on at some point in our lives, and a source of pride and tradition within my dad’s side of the family. Every year of my life, my dad’s entire life, my grandpa’s entire life, and two generations before THAT, have repeated the same process every year to create the end product that is 100% pure cane syrup. There is nothing like a warm biscuit covered in hot, fresh, golden syrup. Of course, Coronavirus has thrown a wrench in our plans for this year. We’ll be doing 2 cookings of cane syrup, as opposed to our average of 4-5, and replanting as much as we can for next year. 

And this is what we call trash ^^^^

I won’t go into the entire process, but as a bit of background on how the sauce syrup is made, you start by planting your cane. Then you strip the cane of its leaves. You then cut the tops of the cane off. Just when it’s time to start making the syrup, you cut the cane from the base of the plant. Once you have all of the cane compiled (approximately 1 trailer = 1 cooking), you start the juicing process. The cane is juiced and stored in a holding container. Once all cane is juiced, it’s sent via pipes to the kettles to cook for 6-8 hours. It must be constantly skimmed to remove dirt and impurities. The syrup must reach a certain density that is taken by a hydrometer. Once it’s ready, it will be scooped into the trough, strained, and put in a warming container. Once in the warming container, the syrup is sent via a pipe system to a control that lets us fill each glass bottle of syrup by hand.

Now to the cookies themselves. This recipe comes courtesy of my Great Aunt Norma McClellan Starling. My dad is very good at making these cookies. I had actually never made them completely by myself before! 

To be completely honest, I thought this whole process was going to be way more complicated than it actually was. I will say, my parent’s kitchenaid mixer helped A LOT. In fact, these cookies can’t really be made by hand. They also can’t be made without Crisco. Okay technically they can be made with butter. But sometimes you really do have to use Crisco, and that’s okay. 

After mixing the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients separately, I mixed the two together. I did not let them chill for an entire hour (due to time restrictions), and instead only let them chill for about 20 minutes. I then took them out and used a small scoop, formed them into balls and rolled them in sugar.  

The resulting cookies were SO GOOD. They were warm, soft, delicious and made the house smell like Fall. They were given 5/5 stars by my dad – high praise!

The last little piece that I wanted to add were photos from our family archive. In the middle of the map, to the right of “Oak Ridge Pecan Orchards”, you’ll see “McClellan’s Store” – where we still sell syrup when we can.

“Archive of Me” by Kacee R.

During this American Archives Month, here at Special Collections & Archives we have been having discussions about items that would go in our personal collections- any documents, images, or objects we’ve held on to for a long time that we would want future archivists to keep in our collection.

This was a difficult question for me because I am an avid collector- of coins, VHS tapes, vinyl records, and vintage cameras, to name a few. I decided to turn to items I’ve acquired related to my family. 

This is the box my grandmother kept everything in. Pictured on the right are some of the slides and both handheld slide viewers.

This little box of film slides is one of the few of my grandmother’s belongings that stayed in the family. When I received the box, it was filled to the brim with film slides in no particular order. Also inside the box were two handheld slide viewers.

This is what it looks like inside the slide viewers. The one on the left is actually a keychain with an image glued into it. The larger slide viewer, on the right, lets you insert different slides.

In order to ensure the longevity of the slides, I transferred them to acid-free slide protectors. Despite this, I still kept the box and baggies she used to organize the slides and everything is stored together.

I would definitely want this object to be included in my archive. It speaks volumes about my grandmother’s tendency to record and store information. It also serves as a window into my own family, as well as into a time long gone.

Is there anything you know you would want archivists to keep in your Archive of You? Leave a comment and let us know!

Library History at FSU, Part 3: Dirac

This post is part of a series. Click here to go to the first post.

In these next installments of Library History at FSU, we will be exploring the histories of the seven satellite libraries affiliated with FSU. This installment traces the history of the Paul A. M. Dirac Science Library at Florida State University.

Panoramic of the Dirac Science Library

Discussions about a science library began as early as 1961, when faculty recognized the need for a science research center closer to the “science complex”, as it was referenced in the 1977 Florida State University Building Program. This is the area on the northwest side of campus that consists of the science buildings, including the biology, chemistry and physics buildings. Faculty and administration wanted to create a space for scientific research in close proximity to those students that would be using the material. The physical distance between Strozier Library and the science buildings was the main reason for the push to establish a science library. In 1963, a Science Library Planning Committee was created. This committee put together several proposals and had lengthy correspondence with university administration, but by 1970 the Science Library still had not been built.

Exterior view of the Dirac Science Library
Dirac Science Library, undated, view this item in the digital library

In 1976, a new Science Library Building Program Committee was created. The University Space Committee approved a long-term building plan that included the science library, and it was finally opened in 1989. It was dedicated the Paul A. M. Dirac Science Library in December of 1989.

Crowd Gathered in Front of Paul A. M. Dirac Statue for Dedication Ceremony, 1989
Crowd Gathered in Front of Paul A. M. Dirac Statue for Dedication Ceremony, 1989, view this item in the digial library

Dirac Library is located amongst the math and science buildings of FSU and supports STEM-related research. The science library houses most science and math library materials and offers group and individual study rooms. Four STEM subject librarians are available to provide scholars with research consultations, data management support, library instruction, and other services. The library was renovated in 2015 and now has wireless displays for collaborative work, a Starbucks, and houses Geoset Studios, a recording studio part of the Global Educational Outreach for Science Engineering and Technology initiative.

On This Day in the Florida Flambeau, Friday, September 2, 1983

Today in 1983, a disgruntled reader sent in this letter to the editor of the Flambeau. In it, the reader describes the outcome of a trial and the potential effects that outcome will have on the City of Tallahassee.

Florida Flambeau, September 2, 1983

It is such a beautifully written letter that I still can’t tell whether or not it’s satire. Do you think the author is being serious or sarcastic? Leave a comment below telling us what you think!

Library History at FSU, Part 2

This post is part of a series. Click here to go to the first post.

In this second installment of Library History at Florida State, we’ll be looking at the trajectory of the Library School since its reorganization in 1947. We’ll also be exploring how Special Collections & Archives has grown since its establishment in 1956.

Strozier Library, 1957
Strozier Library, 1957, view this item in the digital library

As mentioned in our previous library history post, the School of Library Training and Service was restructured in 1947 and began offering a master’s degree. In 1967 and 1968 respectively, the school began offering doctor of philosophy degrees and advanced master’s degrees.

In 1981, the new library school building, the Louis Shores Building, was opened and the name of the program was once again changed to the School of Information. The school’s name was changed once more in 2004 to the College of Information. In 2009, the College of Information merged with the College of Communication to become the College of Communication & Information. The college now consists of three schools, the School of Information, the School of Communication, and the School of Communication Science & Disorders, offering both undergraduate and graduate courses on campus and online. The School of Information is an international leader in the iSchool movement and is the only iSchool in the state of Florida. The school offers graduate and specialist degree programs entirely online.

Shores Building, undated
Shores Building, undated, from the Florida Flambeau/FSView Photograph Collection, MSS 2006-012

The department of Special Collections grew rapidly after 1953 with Louise Richardson as the head of the department, a role she would hold until her retirement in 1960. As early as 1962 Special Collections was curating and hosting exhibits using their holdings. By 1964, Special Collections holdings included the McGregor Collection of Early Americana, the Crown Collection of documents, pictures, and manuscripts, an archival collection of photographs of Florida and Floridians, an extensive rare book collection, and the Shaw “Childhood in Poetry” Collection. By this time the library was also a depository for federal documents.

Strozier Library, Special Collections, 1958
Strozier Library, Special Collections, 1958, view this item in the digital library

By 1973, Strozier library contained 1,150,000 volumes, 500,000 government documents, 93,000 maps, and a collection of micromaterials exceeding 700,000. In 1985, the Claude Pepper library was established as the official repository for the Claude Pepper Papers.

Between 1995 and 1996, Special Collections was relocated to its current location on the first floor of Strozier library. The Heritage Protocol program, now known as Heritage & University Archives, was established in 2001 to gather university history related documents and memorabilia.

According to the Special Collections Annual Report for 2003, Special Collections, along with the Digital Initiatives? Center, was already providing digital access to rare Florida materials. The extensive Photographic Archives collection was being used by departments all across campus. 

In the coming installments of Library History at FSU, we will be focused on the satellite libraries of Florida State University: the Dirac Science Library, the Maguire Medical Library, the College of Engineering Library, the Law Research Center, the Library and Learning Center at the FSU Panama City Campus, and the Allen Music Library.

This post is part of a series. Click here to go to the next post.

From the Talisman to Smoke Signals: a student publication at FSU

The history of Florida State University and its predecessor institutions is ubiquitous with numerous and varied outlets for student expression. Student-run publications have been at the heart of student expression on campus since 1906, when Florida State College for Women students began Talisman. The Talisman was the first literary magazine published by an institution of higher learning in Florida (A Booklover’s Guide to Florida by Kevin McCarthy, 1992). In 1914, publishing of Talisman ceased publishing to make way for Florida Flambeau, a student-run newspaper published weekly. According to the first issue of the Flambeau, too much was happening on campus for news to only circulate on a quarterly basis, as it did with the Talisman.

Florida Flambeau, January 23, 1915, View this item in the digital library

In the early 20th century, literary magazines were influential across colleges and universities in the United States. They served as a means to not only showcase the literacy and expressiveness of students, but also to share news as to the happenings on campus. In 1926 work began on establishing a new college magazine for Florida State College for Women and the first issue was released towards the end of that year. In 1927 the magazine began being published under the name Distaff. By 1928, Distaff was being published four times a year.

Florida Flambeau, October 22, 1927, View this item in the digital library

The college magazine was published as Distaff until 1947, when students voted to change the name to Talaria. This name only lasted four years until 1951, when students once more opted for a name change. They held a contest and Smoke Signals won. Along with this name change, students demanded a change in the content of the magazine. Since the magazine’s founding it had focused on short stories, poetry, expression, and literacy. Students wanted a shift in content toward action and humor (Florida Flambeau, June 22, 1951).

Florida Flambeau, February 16, 1951, View this item in the digital library

In the 1970s, students clashed with university administration regarding censorship of Smoke Signals. They censored and prevented dissemination of several issues throughout the 1970s due to what they considered at the time “libelous” and “vulgar” materials. (Florida Flambeau, October 21, 1977)

Smoke Signals continued publishing until at least 1985, when they were still hiring writers for the magazine through the Florida Flambeau. (Florida Flambeau, Novemeber 25, 1985) The last issue of Smoke Signals in our holdings is from Winter of 1970.

Several issues of the Talaria and Smoke Signals are now available to be viewed on our digital library, DigiNole: FSU’s digital repository, and can be viewed here.

This article was written by Kacee Reguera, an assistant in Heritage & University Archives.

Library History at FSU, Part 1

The history of the Libraries at Florida State University traces back over 100 years to our beginnings as the West Florida Seminary. In the 1880s, students had access to both a reference library, housed in College Hall, and a more expansive “university library,” which was located off-campus. The first librarian for the university, J.A. Arbuckle, was appointed in 1897.

By 1903, University administration wanted the library to be “the center of college life.” New librarian Mary A. Apthorpe was appointed, and critical changes began transforming the library under her lead. The library offerings were expanded and items began being catalogued according to the Dewey Decimal System.

In 1911 the new Main Building, which is now Westcott, was completed and the library was moved. The library saw extensive growth and four different librarians during its time in the Main Building between 1911 and 1924. According to the 1914-15 course catalog, the library held over 8,500 volumes and was circulating over 600 books a month. By 1923, the library held over 16,000 volumes.

As library holdings and services continued to grow, the university recognized the need for a dedicated library building. Work began on the new space, that is now Dodd Hall, in 1924. This building served as the library for Florida State College for Women and then for Florida State University until Strozier Library was built in 1956.

The Library (Dodd Hall), undated
The Library, undated,

The new library opened to students towards the end of 1924, and Louise Richardson was hired as the university librarian, a role she would hold until 1953. Along with being the librarian, Richardson also created curriculum for and taught the first library science courses offered by Florida State College for Women. In 1926 “Library Science” became its own instruction area, composed of two classes: Library Methods and Advanced Library Methods. In 1929, Etta Lane Matthews was hired as the first professor of Library Science.

Excerpt from 1935 Flastacowo, Department of Library Science
From 1935 Flastacowo,

By June 1930, the Department of Library Science was officially established and had nine faculty and seven courses. The department had also received American Library Association accreditation to properly qualify students as librarians.

Beginning with 1929-30, this department will offer opportunity to properly qualified students, who have successfully completed the Sophomore year, to fit themselves as school librarians. Not more than ten students will be admitted to each class in this department.
From the 1929 course catalog,

As the university continued to expand their course offerings and enrollment steadily rose, the Department of Library Science was restructured in 1946 to offer a major in Library Science. In 1947, the department was renamed to the School of Library Training and Service and was established as a professional school offering a master’s degree. This was Florida’s first nationally accredited professional school for the training of librarians.

Library science students studying, circa 1950s
Library science students studying, circa 1950s,

The new library building, now known as Strozier, opened in 1956. Between 1956 and 1958, major reorganization and expansion took place within the library. The Department of Special Collections was created during these years with the goal to “preserve and make available to scholars rare books and historical documents of Florida”

Excerpt from the President's Report, 1954-58
Excerpt from the President’s Report, 1954 – 1958,

This excerpt from the 1954-58 President’s Report describes some of the amenities offered by the new library. It also makes clear that from the opening of the new library, university officials recognized a need for even more space. The addition mentioned in the last sentence of the excerpt became a reality in 1967, when the library was expanded to include a 5-story annex.

In the next installments of Library History at FSU, we’ll explore how the Department of Special Collections transformed and grew after its inception in 1956. We’ll also trace the next steps for the Department of Library Training and Service, or “The Library School” as it was referenced in the President’s Report, after 1947 and how it became the online degree program it is today.

This post is part of a series. Click here to go to the next post.