FSU students had a mysterious time last month at our Special Collections and Archives Escape Room. The room was open from 2:00-4:00 p.m. on September 9th during the University Libraries Open House.
Students were able to go inside our exhibit room and interact with the exhibit, “A Century of Mystery and Intrigue”, in order to solve the escape room that was built around it. This exhibit was curated by Joseph, a Special Collections & Archives Scholar-in-Residence and Guest Curator who is 12 years old.
The escape room patrons worked diligently to find the four words that would reveal the title of the unpublished manuscript of Suzette Burns, whose ghost was haunting Strozier Library and sending the message to FSU faculty, staff, and students to “PUBLISH IT.” They worked through puzzles involving messages in bottles, decks of cards, and other eerie ways that lead to them solving the mystery.
After finally finding the title of Suzette Burns’ manuscript, students were rewarded with FSU Libraries goodie bags, as well as bragging rights for having completed the escape room with time to spare.
If you missed out on this puzzling experience, you’re in luck! Sign up here to participate in our next haunting escape room, which will take place on Tuesday, October 29th from 6:00-9:00 pm in the Strozier Library exhibit room.
The Wild West has been a source for literary inspiration as long as people have lived and settled there. Special Collections and Archives hosts a variety of Wild West stories across popular mediums, including dime novels and small books.
First published in 1860, dime novels became a popular source of media for young audiences and adults alike (Cassidy, 2011). Dime novels provided cheap entertainment and were popular among Civil War soldiers as well as children, although there was quickly a rising moral panic about the contents of these inexpensive texts corrupting America’s youth. Filled with tales of cowboys, Native Americans, gold, and adventure, the dime novels were exciting and sometimes scandalous material churned out at an impressive rate. Margaret Cassidy cites an 1896 copycat train robbery by young men with a collection of “blood and thunder” dime novels stashed away in their den in her speech “Pernicious Stuff”. This robbery and other crimes like it pulled the same moral panic that video games inspired nearly a century later, as violent and dangerous media that confuses their parents and corrupts the youth.
Dime novels were often set in the heyday of Manifest Destiny, as the American government pushed settlements west, spearheaded by cavalry, wagon trains, and cowboys. Antagonists were created from individuals who stood as barriers this aim: train robbers, Native Americans. In this manner, dime novels seem to follow the narrow point of view of white men, however women are occasionally given the spotlight, as in “Fred Fearnot and the Ranch Girl Owner; And How She Held Her Own.” by Hal Standish, published in 1918.
Perusing these dime novels also allows readers to view ads and propaganda statements that reflected their times, including wartime rationing during World War I, as well as advertisements for other dime novels, as included in these 1918 dime novel advertisements. (For more information on the Dime Novels Collection, click this link.)
The Western remained to be a popular setting for stories for decades to come. The Robert M. Ervin Jr. Collection contains a wide variety of comic books, serials, and monograph that covers a multitude of genres including science fiction, fantasy, and Westerns. The Ervin Collection contains multiple Better Little Books, petite texts containing stories and illustrations involving popular characters, such as the Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, and Gene Aughtry. These tiny tomes cost about fifteen cents and were popular with young readers.
As we gear up for Fall semester, Special Collections & Archives will be taking some time to complete projects and prepare for the coming school year. This includes the Special Collections Reading Center in Strozier Library, the Pepper Library Reading Room, and the Heritage Museum. However, we will still be available to researchers! We will be by appointment only August 5th through August 15th.
Available appointment times are from 10-12pm and from 1-4pm, Monday through Friday. To complete an Appointment Request form, please click here. In order to ensure that we can fulfill your request, please request appointments at least 24 hours in advance, and keep in mind that you must request your desired materials ahead of time as well.
Finally, please note that Special Collections & Archives will be completely closed Friday, August 16, 2019 for a division retreat. This closure will include the Pepper Library and Heritage Museum spaces.
Ina VanStan (1901-1989) was a Professor of Clothing and Textiles at Florida State University. Her studies focused on a variety of fabrics pre-Colombian Peru, as well as other cultural artifacts from that time.
The Ina VanStan Printing Plates contain twenty-three printing plates of various sizes depicting fabric patterns from Van Stan’s studies of Peruvian fabrics. The printing plates were used for producing images for VanStan’s scholarly publications. The collection’s finding aid offer’s access to VanStan’s relevant publications on artifacts such as dolls, fabric fragments, and feather ornaments; it provides a springboard for those interested in further study of ancient Peruvian culture.
The Apollo 11 mission, commissioned by President Kennedy in 1961, sought to “perform a crewed lunar landing and return to earth” (nasa.gov). It was the first mission of its kind and dramatically changed the landscape of the Space Race in the 1960s and 1970s. The Space Race was an ongoing contest between the United States and the Soviet Union, where each country sought to outshine the other. With the Apollo 11 mission, however, the Space Race reached its apex, for on July 20, 1969, the Apollo 11 crew landed on the moon and planted the United States Flag on the lunar surface.
To commemorate and memorialize this momentous occasion, the Claude Pepper Library will be hosting an exhibit on the Apollo 11 mission from July 16 to December 16, 2019. We will have on display numerous photographs, correspondence, and other materials related to the mission including a large photograph of Astronaut Buzz Aldrin standing next to the American flag planted on the moon’s surface. The exhibit will consist of three thematic parts: earlier space programs in Florida, materials relating to the Apollo 11 landing, and FSU’s reaction to the landing. Sample materials selected include photos of the crew with Florida governors and legislators, the poster for the mission, and additional correspondence about the impact of the mission on Florida’s cultural memory.
More importantly, the Apollo 11 mission strikes near to the hearts of many Floridians. Launched from Cape Kennedy in Cape Canaveral, the mission has become a major part of our cultural identity as Floridians and as Americans. Throughout the country this year, festivities and celebrations are occurring to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch. According to nasa.gov, almost 650 million people heard Armstrong utter those famous words “…one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” And these words have stayed with us, are woven into our cultural fabric. We should be proud of this achievement; on the 50th anniversary of the launch, let us celebrate this momentous occasion in American history.
The images in this post come from the Spessard Holland Collection. To learn more about this collection, please see its finding aid.
The exhibit is available in the Claude Pepper Library which is open Monday-Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Florida State University is closed Thursday, July 4 and Friday, July 5 in observance of the 4th of July holiday. We in Special Collections & Archives are off to enjoy our long weekend in the Florida sun. We’ll resume our normal operating schedule on Monday, July 8 (without too bad a sunburn we hope)
An iconic structure of Florida State’s campus, the gothic-styled Westcott Building was once threatened by a massive blaze on April 27, 1969. The fire started in the roof above the fourth floor, spreading beneath the sheetrock ceiling and causing intense damage throughout the fourth floor. The Westcott Building housed the University’s administration as well as the art department at the time and attention turned to not only saving the building and human lives, but the innumerable valuable documents and pieces of art stored within the structure.
As the April 28, 1969 edition of the Florida Flambeau notes, the art department was deemed a total loss but a painting by Reubens valued at $30,000 dollars, as well as work by FSU faculty member Dr. Karl Zerbe, valued at $50,000 were safely extracted from the inferno by brave students. Florida Flambeau editor Sam Miller details some of the more memorable moments from the scene:
“After the fire was out, students again poured in to try to salvage the paintings from the third floor. Perhaps the first comic relief of the evening came when two students carried out a bigger-than-life painting of a psychedelic nude.”
For those interested in taking a step into the University’s past, we invite you to view the linked 13 minute video that includes a variety of moments from FSU in 1969, including the Westcott Fire (skip ahead to 3:25). You can check it out here.
Are you intrigued with the delicate art of Japanese flower arrangement? So was Katherine Wallick, the treasurer of Virginia Peninsula Chapter of Ikebana International from 1972-1973. Wallick took a variety of workshops for her craft, including workshops with Ellie O’Brien in 1970 as well as Jackie Kramer of Holland. Researchers can track Wallick’s progress as an ikebana student through the diagrams and notes in her workshop notebooks, as well as a vast collection of her photographs, magazines, and books on the topic. The images below detail a few items from the collection’s holdings.
Katherine Wallick writes notes to herself on Japanese phonetics in this personal ikebana study notebook, dated from 1970-1972.
E- A as in ape (or eh)
i – ee as in “eek”
o- o as in Bow
u- u as in super
Below this phonetic breakdown is a note about the Sogetsu school of ikebana. There are many schools of ikebana, each following its own philosophy of design and style.
This bound compendium of Ikebana International Magazine contains issues from 1974-1977. The pages displayed here are from Issue 47 contain images and descriptions of the materials and containers used in each arrangement, as well as a critical description of the arrangements pictured.
This second notebook page contains a preliminary sketch of the “basic upright style” ikebana arrangement that Wallick was learning about. The angle at which certain plant elements (such as flowers, leaves, or stems) lean at is of utmost importance in ikebana arrangements. One can note the system by which Wallick identified the different elements in her arrangements (perhaps as instructed so by her teacher) by comparing this page with the other notebook on display.
With the passing of President Emeritus Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte we would like to take a moment to reflect on his life and his contributions. He has had considerable impact on Florida State, serving the university since 1984 and teaching through this past spring, as well as the political and legal fields.
D’Alemberte was a Tallahassee native, his childhood home was located just across the street from the capitol building. His grandfather attended the Seminary West of the Suwannee River and his mother attended Florida State College for Women, both predecessor institutions to Florida State University. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of the South and his Juris Doctor from the University of Florida.
D’Alemberte was well known in the law community for his work helping underserved populations and for his commitment to human rights. He served in the Florida House of Representatives from 1966 to 1972 and as President for the American Bar Association from 1991 until 1992. His work in the legal field won him numerous awards from the Florida Bar Foundation Medal of Honor in 1987 to the Florida Academy of Criminal Defense Lawyers Annual Criminal Justice award in 1993 to an Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for his work allowing in allowing electronic journalists access to court proceedings.
He served as the fourth dean of the Law School from 1984 to 1989 and President of the University from 1994 until 2003. He established a public pro bono requirement for FSU Law School students, a rarity at the time. He was instrumental in developing Florida State University’s College of Medicine which graduated its first class in 2001, and the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory was established during his tenure. He led a campus wide beautification project which resulted in the renovation of the College of Law’s Village Green and the Heritage Museum’s renovation. He was honored with his own commemorative window in the museum in 2017.
Visitation for family and friends will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. this evening in the D’Alemberte Rotunda at the FSU College of Law.
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, June 5th at 2pm in Ruby Diamond Concert Hall. Both are open to the public. The Heritage Museum will remain open until 5pm on Wednesday to allow visitors to view D’Alemberte’s window.
Several unprocessed collections of D’Alemberte’s papers are housed in Heritage & University Archives and the Claude Pepper Library. Included are administrative files from his time as President of the University and his files from his time as Dean of the College of Law. For more information on our collections, please contact Heritage & University Archivist, Sandra Varry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Digital Library Center (DLC) recently uploaded a new set of material to the Castro Archaeological Site Collection in DigiNole! The most recent additions to this collection contain comprehensive notes, drawings, and analysis of the Castro archeological site in Leon County. More information on this collaboration between the DLC and FSU’s Department of Anthropology can be found on our previous post from August 2018.
In addition to preserving important details about the excavation of the Castro site, digitizing and uploading this collection to DigiNole gives visitors a glimpse into the day-to-day operations of both professional and student archeologists.
Though this marks the end of digitization of the Castro material, our collaborative efforts with the Department of Anthropology will continue. Keep an eye out for more updates as we continue to add more archaeological content to DigiNole!