All posts by Rory Grennan

About Rory Grennan

Rory Grennan is Manuscript and Instruction Archivist at Florida State University Libraries Special Collections & Archives.

Telling Untold Stories Through the Emmett Till Archives

Detail of a newspaper clipping from the Joseph Tobias Papers, MSS 2017-002

Friday August 28th marks the 65th anniversary of the abduction and murder of Emmett Till. Till’s murder is regarded as a significant catalyst for the mid-century African-American Civil Rights Movement. Calls for justice for Till still drive national conversations about racism and oppression in the United States.

In 2015, Florida State University (FSU) Libraries Special Collections & Archives established the Emmett Till Archives in collaboration with Emmett Till scholar Davis Houck, filmmaker Keith Beauchamp, and author Devery Anderson. Since then, we have continued to build robust research collections of primary and secondary sources related to the life, murder, and commemoration of Emmett Till. We invite researchers from around the world, from any age group, to explore these collections and ask questions. It is through research and exploration of original, primary resources that Till’s story can be best understood and that truth can be shared.

Continue reading Telling Untold Stories Through the Emmett Till Archives

Birthday Wishes For Emmett Till

Saturday will mark what would have been Emmett Till’s 79th birthday. Conversation and scholarship around Emmett Till and his place in the mid-century American Civil Right Movement usually focuses on his 1955 kidnapping, murder, and the ensuing trial, and rightfully so. But today, to commemorate the anniversary of his birth, FSU Special Collections & Archives shares here some primary sources documenting his abbreviated life.

Continue reading Birthday Wishes For Emmett Till

What is an Archives?

As part of International Archives Week 2020, the International Council of Archives (ICA) has encouraged its members to consider what archives are and what they mean to researchers and society. Read on for my thoughts and a few sources on archival collections, institutions, and professionals, and what parts they play in empowering 21st century communities.

Continue reading What is an Archives?

Love Your Pet Day – Means Family Home Movies

Today on National Love Your Pet Day, Special Collections & Archives celebrates not only our own pets, but those of our collection creators as well!

Dog and people at beach, 1954
Means Family and dog at beach, 1954. From MSS 2018-004, Box 9, Reel 6.

Continue reading Love Your Pet Day – Means Family Home Movies

New records from St. John’s in DigiNole

We are pleased to announce that additional records of the St. John’s Episcopal Church are now available online through DigiNole: FSU’d Digital Repository. These include records of baptisms, marriages, and burials at St. John’s throughout the 20th century, as well as early vestry minutes, detailing early church events such as establishing the site of the building and cemetery, selecting rectors, and historical practices such as renting seats in the pews. These supplement previously digitized records of church rites and the journals of Reverend W.H. Carter. Genealogists, St. John’s parishioners, and researchers of Tallahassee history will all find value in greater access to these materials.

A page from the St. John's Vestry Records, 1836-1873, discussing pew rates
A page from the St. John’s Vestry Records, 1836-1873, discussing pew rates [original object]


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. You can also explore the digitized materials from St. John’s in DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository.

Reichelt Oral History Collection

Enjoy this guest post by Special Collections Oral History Graduate Assistant Adam Hunt:


Wallace Reichelt, circa 1940
Wallace Reichelt, circa 1940

The Reichelt Oral History Collection in FSU Special Collections and Archives is a rich and unique collection of over 2,100 oral history interviews and transcripts created throughout 1969-2014. The Reichelt Oral History Program was created under Dr. Edward F. Keuchel and University President D’Alamberte in 1969 with the help of a generous endowment by Wallace Ward Reichelt. In 1996, Dr. Robin J. Sellers undertook the directorship of the program. In 1998, the Program expanded to include oral histories of veterans in various military conflicts. These interviews offer rich historical insight into various subjects including but not limited to FSU/FSCW history, Tallahassee and Florida history, the Florida Highway Patrol, World War II, the Vietnam War, and the Korean War. After the departure of Dr. Robin J. Sellers, the Director and Archivist of the Reichelt Oral History Program from FSU in 2014, FSU Libraries undertook the preservation of their oral history collection.
Continue reading Reichelt Oral History Collection

Emmett and Mamie Till, 1954

Emmett Till & the Press: The Davis Houck Papers

One of our most meaningful projects in Special Collections & Archives is the management of the Emmett Till Archives.  The Till Archives collects, preserves, and provides access to primary and secondary source material related to the life, murder, and memory of Emmett Louis Till, whose death in 1955 is significant in the history of the African-American Civil Rights Movement.  Our most comprehensive resource for researchers interested in national press coverage of the Till murder and related events is the Davis Houck Papers.

Continue reading Emmett Till & the Press: The Davis Houck Papers

“With Compliments To Our Customers’ Children”

mss_12-24-riegel-santa

The Louise Richardson Night Before Christmas Collection includes many instances of Clement C. Moore’s famous Christmas poem.  Today’s post highlights a publication that might easily be overlooked by Noelophiles:  a 1910 advertisement for J. Rieger & Company, the self-described “largest Mail Order Whiskey House in America.”

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The Miscellanies of Mr. John Shaw

Happy 119th birthday to John MacKay Shaw, founder of our Childhood in Poetry book collection and bibliophile extraordinaire.  To celebrate Mr. Shaw, and in our ongoing commemoration of 400 Years of Shakespeare, we present a Scope and Content Note for John Shaw’s papers in the style of title pages from the early hand-press era.  Mr. Shaw would surely appreciate our gesture, as the Shaw rare book collection feature works by Shakespeare along with many, many other authors.

shaw scope note

Further Reading on Mr. Shaw and his collection:

Will Eisner Week 2016

COMIC BOOKS IN THE LIBRARY.
Illustration by Will Eisner. From the School Library Journal, Volume 21, Issue 2.

March 6, 2016 would have been the 99th birthday of cartoonist and writer Will Eisner (1917-2005), and once again the week surrounding it has been declared Will Eisner Week by the Eisner Family Foundation.  Will Eisner Week is an annual celebration promoting graphic novels, literacy, free speech awareness, and the legacy of Eisner. Continue reading Will Eisner Week 2016