Labor Day

Happy Labor Day, or the unofficial end of summer in the US. Here in the South, students have been back to school since mid-August in some cases but we have had a few pleasant mornings so maybe a north Florida fall is coming earlier than usual? We can only hope!

In celebration of Labor Day, Special Collections & Archives is closed Monday, September 4th. We will resume our normal operating hours on Tuesday, September 5th. We wish everyone a safe and happy Labor Day weekend!

In looking for an appropriate image to accompany this post, we found the below image. It made us wonder, is there a union for circus workers? While we couldn’t find a dedicated one, the American Guild of Variety Artists does include circus performers as part of their family. You learn something new every day! No word on whether those poor souls unloading a lion are covered though.

Workers unloading a lion
Photograph of circus workers unloading a lion in its cage from the back of a truck at the Cole Brothers-Clyde Beatty Circus. Bystanders watch close by as the lion is unloaded, 1988. [Original Image here]

A Web Facelift

Special Collections & Archives has needed a web facelift for several years now, however, we were waiting on the overall Libraries’ web redesign project to be completed. Since that project completed with its new look, Special Collections & Archives staff started a complete reimagining and rewrite of all our information on the web. The result was a new set of web pages which launched just in time for the start of fall semester.

SCA Landing Page
Our new landing page at https://www.lib.fsu.edu/specialcollections/index.html

The new landing page uses an image navigation menu that draws the interest of a user and hopefully makes it clear where they can navigate to find out information about our collections, how to do research, visiting information and other areas of our division such as Heritage & University Archives and the Claude Pepper Library. It also allows for the blog to be highlighted with a running feed and puts our hours, often crucial information for our users, front and center.

Collection Highlights
Collections Highlights page

All the content on our pages has been rewritten to make it clearer, more useful and less overwhelming for users. For example, we added a page to highlight our major collections from Manuscripts, Rare Books, Political Collections and Heritage & University Archives. We do this in sections now rather than using one long page of text. This page will update often allowing our area curators to highlight new and exciting collections as they become available.

Other new pages include icon navigation pages for Research and Collections, a revamped Catalogs & Databases page, a better-organized Visit page that gets our users answers quickly for common visiting questions.  The Exhibits & Events page now links to the FSU Calendar so it’s always up to date with current exhibits and upcoming events in our spaces.

SCA Reproduction Form
A form for requesting copies of materials in Special Collections & Archives

Perhaps most exciting to our staff are three new forms to help us better get the information we need to help our patrons. The new Class Visits and Research Consultations forms will help better organize instruction sessions and research appointments in Special Collections & Archives. The Reproduction Request Form puts online a form we’ve used on paper for years. This form especially is often needed by patrons unable to visit our Reading Room so putting it online will help not only staff but our long distance patrons who use it the most.

This is our “phase 1” finish line. We will work in the future to update and enhance the pages for the Heritage & University Archives and the Claude Pepper Library. We’d also like to update the Catalogs & Databases page more; allowing a user to search our materials directly from that page. Most web pages are always works-in-progress but we’re happy to share our latest edition of Special Collections & Archives online.

 

New Tarpon Club Donation to Heritage & University Archives

George Milton, a former anthropology professor here at Florida State University, was well-known not only for his southern charm but also his unique expression through his artwork. During the late 1930’s, Milton was stationed in the Washington D.C. area during his career in the Air Force in World War II and then studied painting at the prestigious Corcoran School of Art after the war. He then furthered his education by receiving a master’s degree in painting and art history from Florida State.

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From a recent donor, the Heritage & University Archives was presented with an original painting from Milton on his impression of the Tarpon Club Tryouts. His dedication to his practice of art was emphasized when he wrote, “a painting is a record of an individual’s personal and vicarious experiences and sensations which he records symbolically and representatively through such media as line, color, form, and texture as they are guided by his conscious and subconscious mind.”

For more information on FSU’s Tarpon Club check out our collection here:
http://fsuarchon.fcla.edu/?p=collections/findingaid&id=3775&q=&rootcontentid=124921

There are also videos and photographs in Diginole:
http://fsu.digital.flvc.org/islandora/object/fsu%3Ahpmain

For more information on George Milton:
http://www.lemoyne.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/George-Merritt-Milton-Bio.pdf

Giving more context with artifacts: the Reubin Askew Papers

Often, it is the memorabilia and ephemera of a politician or public figure that offers the most insight into that individual’s life and work. Recently, the staff of the Claude Pepper Library and Museum completed the physical processing of former Governor Reubin Askew’s personal and professional memorabilia, adding a variable trove of new material to the finding aid of the State of Florida’s 33rd governor. From his U.S. Air Force  issue belt and garrison cap(he served from 1951-53), to one of his blue collared shirts which he dutifully wore during his many press conferences as governor, these items add an invaluable layer of context to Askew’s already existing collection of manuscript materials that chronicle his time as governor, U.S. Foreign Trade Representative and runs for president in 1984 and U.S. Senate in 1987. Please visit the Claude Pepper Library and Museum website for further information on our collections and potential opportunities for learning and exploring our political collections!

Askew_pencils
Colored pencils used by Reubin Askew during the Florida Senate reapportionment of 1960.

Flambeau at your fingertips

Florida Flambeau, January 5, 1994
Front Page of the Flambeau following the 1994 Seminole football win at the Orange Bowl

It has been a long time coming to get to this point but I’m happy to announce that we have finally cataloged and completed the upload of the FSU newspaper, Florida Flambeau from 1915 to 1996. This was a massive undertaking for the Digital Library Center and we didn’t even do the scanning! Digitization of these materials was done from microfilm five years ago. The DLC staff did image clean-up and quality control and then students took over creating metadata for every single issue (easily over 10,000 issues for the 80 year period!). Kudos to all the staff and students who have worked on this project.

The Flambeau provides a fascinating look at not only the college community and its culture over these years but what was happening in and around the great Tallahassee area. Being in the capital city of the state, the Flambeau reports on state and national politics often as well as providing insight into how the college was interacting with the rest of the world. It reports on the funny moments (easily one of our most popular issue reports on streakers in 1974) to how the campus handled tragedies (an article on the Challenger tragedy in 1984 notes how hard hit teachers at FSU felt).

The added bonus of having these online? They are now fully text-searchable. Have a relative who attended, taught or worked at FSU? See if you can find their name! To best way to search all the text is to click on the Advanced Search link at the top right of the page and then make sure Search all (metadata + full text) is selected.

We’ll be looking into adding the issues starting in 1997 soon but how now, happy searching!

FSU facts at your fingertips

Have you ever wondered what the average salary of an FSU professor was in 1961? ($8,940). Have you ever been curious to know how many full-time students were enrolled in 1995? (23,950).fsu-factbook.png

This information and much more is available in the FSU Fact Books now available on DigiNole. There’s a wealth of data in these documents from budgetary breakdowns and property valuations to organizational charts and enrollment statistics.

There’s something for everyone in these documents. History buffs can track the administration and governance of the university. Data enthusiasts have huge sets of information they can use track educational and budgetary trends. Many issues also demonstrate the important role alumni play in the success of the university.

All fact books from 1960 to the present are available to explore.

Bad luck for bees, and other stories.

A selection of hand-colored children’s books from the nineteenth century are available for viewing on DigiNole as part of the John MacKay Shaw Childhood in Poetry Collection. This project began as a partnership between the Rare Books Librarian and the Digital Archivist as a way to share some of the collection’s unique pieces. Because the illustrations are hand colored using watercolors, no two editions of a book will be exactly alike.

FSU_PR4613D37P4
Two versions of the bird orchestra from The Peacock “at Home.” Left image from PR4613.D37P4 1841; right image from PR4613.D37P4 1834.

Some of the newly digitized books include:

The Wonderful History of the Busy Bees  (QL565.2.W87 1833)

Describing the life of a beehive, this 1833 chapbook is a mixture of science lesson, allegory, and children’s story. The industrious bees serving their queen must defend the colony against the vicious wasp attacks — but there’s a surprise twist at the end.

A Was an Archer Who Shot at a Frog  (GR486.A24 1860 *)

This primer, like many others in this project, would have been used to introduce children to the alphabet using common words and pictures. Unlike our modern examples — A is for apple, B is for bear, and Z is for zebra — A Was an Archer uses such gems as, “K was a king, and governed a mouse,” and “V was a vintner, a very great sot.” A particularly interesting feature of the book is its interactivity; a moveable piece accompanies each illustration, connected to a paper tab on the back of the page. Readers could manipulate the pictures with these tabs to make a character wave or doff his hat. Sadly, most of the moveable pieces have been glued down by a previous owner.

Cinderella, of the little glass slipper  (PN3437.C56 1800z)

A classic fairy tale about the benefits of a virtuous life, this book avoids the grisly endings faced by other heroes (like Little Red Riding Hood, Tom Thumb, the Children in the Wood, or — spoiler alert — the bees from the top of this list). Though the coloring is simple, the poetic rhyme and magical elements would have encouraged children to act with kindness, obedience, and modesty. This chapbook is one of eight hand colored Albany edition stories in the Shaw Collection.

The Smiling Book  (PL864.H42S6 1950)

This book was published in 1950 but made its way into this digitization project due to its exquisitely detailed hand coloring. The Smiling Book is printed on crepe paper, giving it a unique texture and flexibility not seen in many other books. While the book does not follow a particular narrative storyline, the illustrations explore nature, weather, and humanity.

 

A total of 68 books have been added to the digital collection.

Illuminations: Highlights from Special Collections & Archives

IlluminationsPoster

While this blog serves as a running feature of highlights from Special Collections & Archives, our newest exhibit makes the materials we talk about online available for the public to see in person. Illuminations the exhibit features items from our manuscript and rare books collections, Heritage & University Archives, and the Claude Pepper Library. Come and see new acquisitions like the Joseph Tobias PapersPride Student Union Records, Marsha Gontarski Children’s Literature Collection, and more.

Illuminations: Highlights from Special Collections & Archives will be on display through the fall semester in Strozier Library’s first floor exhibit space Monday-Friday 10am to 6pm.

Finishing up the “Shoebox Papers” of Dirac

The following is the second of two posts from Dr. Kathy Clark, a professor here at FSU in the College of Education. You may see the first post here. For the past several years, she’s been involved in the digitization and description of a set of papers in the Dirac Collection that are known collectively as the “shoebox” papers. These materials are available online and will shortly benefit from enhanced description from Dr. Clark.

I should say that the “we” in this case are an incredibly bright and talented young man, Emmet Harrington, and myself. Emmet was an undergraduate honors student, who selected my project as part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) at FSU. Although his UROP commitment was only one year, Emmet continued on the project for a second year, and his work was funded by the HOMSIGMAA grant. Emmet graduated from FSU in May 2016, with a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. He began the Ph.D. in mathematics program at Michigan State University in Fall 2016. Emmet’s work on the “shoebox papers” project was invaluable, and he was responsible for three key aspects of the project work.

Using substitutions to simplify polynomial equations
Using substitutions to simplify polynomial equations. From the “Shoebox Papers.”

In particular, Emmet first reviewed the scans of the original items that I identified in 2012 for their mathematical content, and this was necessary work for metadata entry. Emmet also selected interesting problems, which we would ultimately highlight and discuss during a workshop as part of the Seventh European Summer University in Copenhagen in 2014. Finally, Emmet spent a great deal of time cropping images from the original images (of the “shoebox papers” that I selected in 2012), for the purpose of focusing on particular aspects of Dirac’s mathematical doodlings found in the “shoebox papers.” We felt this was an intriguing first project for the purpose of highlighting one aspect of the Dirac Papers at FSU. For example, because of Dirac’s reputation as a Nobel prize-winning physicist, we purposefully investigated the collection for examples of pure mathematics, since Dirac first began his academic life in the field of mathematics.

Finally, Emmet and I submitted a short paper to the BSHM Bulletin: Journal of the British Society of the History of Mathematics, in which we tell the story of our work together, and in which we highlight examples from our investigation into the “shoebox papers” (Clark & Harrington, 2016).

In closing, I want to publicly express my appreciation to HOMSIGMAA’s interest in the Dirac Papers at FSU. I greatly appreciate Dr. Amy Shell-Gellasch’s encouragement to me to seek funding for this project, and for assisting me over the years as we’ve tried to accomplish what we set out to do. I am also supremely appreciative of the assistance and encouragement of Dean Julia Zimmerman, Associate Dean Katie McCormick, Digital Archivist Krystal Thomas, and Studio Manager Stuart Rochford, all of the FSU Libraries. Without them, this work would not have been possible. I am especially grateful for their patience with me, as they have waited a very long time for me to finish my part of this work so that it can be shared with the world.

References

Clark, K. M., & Harrington, E. P. (2016). The Paul A M Dirac papers at Florida State University: A search for informal mathematical investigations. British Society for the History of Mathematics Bulletin, 31(3), 205-214.

FSU Sports Media Guides

Florida State 1982 Gator Bowl Media GuideWhen you’re watching a sports broadcast, have you ever wondered how the commentators can have some many facts and figures about the teams and players so readily available? I don’t doubt some commentators have some statistics memorized, but they also get some help from media or press guides published by the teams.

Sports media guides collect into a single publication many of the facts and statistics a commentator might like to have on hand. You can find in these guides familiar metrics such as RBI’s, rushing yards, or free-throw accuracy (depending on the sport of course). Many of them also contain player and coach profiles, as well as information about the culture or environment team plays in.

You can find on DigiNole in the Florida State University Sports Media Guides collection, a full run of FSU’s football media guides. Football not your sport? Keep watching DigiNole, because we’re in the process of digitizing media guides for many other sports. Maybe you’ll be able to locate a classmate or a relative!