Tag Archives: digital collections

The End of a “Nightmare”: Experiences in the Aftermath of World War II

Continuing their work promoting a new collection of materials from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience at Florida State University by a student leader for the project, Gabriela Maduro.

As World War II came to an end in 1945, individuals across the globe celebrated the cessation of one of the deadliest conflicts in human history. Yet, for many people, the end of the war did not necessarily mean a return to normal life. The letters of the Hasterlik-Hine Collection provide a nuanced first-hand account of the tumultuous period following the end of the war, chronicling the story of a family that had to cope with not only the loss of family members and friends but also, perhaps most significantly, the loss of a homeland.

Letter from Mia Hasterlik to Giulia Koritschoner, August 16, 1945
Mia Hasterlik writes about the joys of V-J day in New York City to her daughter. August 16, 1945 [original item]
Letters from Mia Hasterlik to her daughter, Giulia Koritschoner, highlight the joy with which the end of the war was received in the United States, expressing disbelief at the fact that “this nightmare is really past, that it’s over,” and expressing excitement at a future that was “spreading more beautiful in front of our eyes.” Mia described the jubilation with which VE Day (Victory in Europe) and VJ Day (Victory over Japan) were celebrated in New York, where “all the people [were] happy and drunk and all the soldiers and sailors [were] out of their minds. All the girls got kissed, everybody had lipstick on their faces, thousands of tons of paper, which people had thrown out their windows.”

Underlying the joy of these letters, however, was a lingering sense of sadness and loss. Mia lamented the “heavy, irreplaceable loss” of her father, Paul Hasterlik, who died at Theresienstadt in 1944. While Giulia expressed nostalgia for the Vienna that she was forced to flee from at the beginning of the war, Mia instead stated, “I have no yearning whatsoever for Vienna, could never return. Because of… all the crimes which they carried out with their ‘Golden Viennese Hearts.’” Much of the correspondence during this time also highlights the desperate search for missing family members and friends that took place after the war. Mia, in particular, made frantic attempts to find Boni, an old family friend who had stayed behind in Vienna with Paul, and Ellen Christansen, a childhood friend of Giulia’s who was also forced to remain in Vienna.

Letter from Mia Hasterlik to Giulia Koritschoner, June 23, 1945
A page from a letter to Giulia Koritschoner from her mother. June 23, 1945, [original item]
Yet, the letters of the Hasterlik-Hine Collection also highlight the essential truth that, even in times of dramatic change or loss, daily life must still continue on much in the same way. Many of the letters between Giulia and Mia include discussions of the various suitors that Giulia encountered during her time living in Switzerland. These individuals range from a suitor named Pernal “Franz” Francois who served in the Polish Army to a Viennese man named Gustav Stux who had fallen in love with Giulia despite the fact that he was already in his fifties. Mia frequently reminded Giulia of the respectable family that she belonged to and urged her to keep values of honor and propriety in mind.

The Hasterlik-Hine Collection offers a fascinating glimpse into the aftermath of World War II, as experienced by individuals who lived in countries spanning from Switzerland to the United States. While the fighting ended in 1945, many families still struggled with the death, separation, and upheaval created by the war for years after its official conclusion.

A discussion of these letters and letters like it from other troubled times in history will be presented at the Letters in Troubled Times: Evaluation of Epistolary Sources conference on Friday, February 16, 2018, in Tallahassee, Florida. Please contact Dr. Suzanne Sinke about questions regarding the conference.

First Baptist Church of Tallahassee

One of our goals in the digital collections area is to extend our expertise in digitization to community partners to help those organizations that don’t know how or don’t have the time and resources, to digitize and get their materials online. This year we did pilot community projects with two local organizations and they were a great success. We hope to take what we’ve learned from these projects and continue to partner with local partners to bring Tallahassee’s rich history online.

The latest community project to come online is the first of many sets of materials from the First Baptist Church of Tallahassee. The First Baptist Church has been a cornerstone in Tallahassee for many years. Founded in 1849, its collection not only reflects the history of the church but also of Tallahassee. Due to the church’s close proximity to FSU, it also holds the stories of many of our students over the years who participated in the Church while calling Tallahassee home.

Page from First Baptist Worship, Weekly Events & Pastoral Paragraphs, March 17, 1935
Page from First Baptist Worship, Weekly Events & Pastoral Paragraphs, March 17, 1935 [See original object]
We’ve started our project with the church bulletins. The collection begins in the 1930s and we are working our way up to the present day. These materials will be uploaded into DigiNole: FSU’s digital repository in batches as digitization is completed.

For more information about First Baptist Church, please visit their website. You can also explore the digital collection in DigiNole. Be aware we are loading this first batch still so new items will be added up to 1959 over the next few weeks.

The Minutes of the Faculty Senate

DigiNole: FSU’s digital repository recently ingested the minutes of Florida State University’s Faculty Senate. These documents, including not only minutes but reports of committees, senate rosters and other materials about the business of the Senate, start in 1952 and go up through 2017.

Page from April 20, 1966 Faculty Senate Minutes
Page from the April 20, 1, 66 Faculty Senate Minutes. See original item.

The Faculty Senate is the basic legislative body of the University. It is charged to formulate measures for the maintenance of a comprehensive educational policy and for the maximum utilization of the intellectual resources of the University. It also to charged to:

  1. Determine and define University-wide policies on academic matters, including Liberal Studies policy, admission, grading standards, and the requirements within which the several degrees may be granted.
  2. As the elected body of the General Faculty, the Senate may also formulate its opinion upon any subject of interest to the University and adopt resolutions thereon. Resolutions treating those areas of authority legally reserved to the President of the University and the Board of Regents will be advisory.
  3. Upon the resignation, retirement, or death of the President and upon a request by the Board of Regents, the Faculty Senate will designate individuals to be available for membership on any committee requested by the Board of Regents for the purpose of consultation in the selection of a nominee for President.

For more information about the Faculty Senate, visit its website and explore the new collection of minutes in DigiNole.

Coming of Age in World War II: Homes Away from Home

Here’s another post promoting a new collection of materials from the Insistute on World War II and the Human Experience at Florida State University by a student leader for the project, Gabriela Maduro.

Only thirteen years old when World War II began, Giulia Koritschoner came of age in a time of uncertainty and chaos. Despite the context in which Giulia grew up, however, the letters of the Hasterlik-Hine collection demonstrate the fact that, for those on the home front, daily life often continued on as normal. Indeed, Giulia’s correspondence throughout 1942 regularly includes cheerful greeting cards for holidays that are decorated with personalized drawings and beautiful calligraphy. These letters were sent from not only family members but also a vast array of friends and acquaintances that Giulia made throughout the war years.

A card from Heidi Wettstein to Giulia Koritschoner (original item)

Giulia’s letters to and from schoolmates portray scenes of growing up that remained largely unchanged even in times of war. This is particularly evident in Giulia’s letters to and from Margaret Wolf, a friend from Schaffhausen who evolved from sending letters complaining about disliked teachers and unbearably boring school lessons to letters that explained her fears about graduating from school and having to enter the workforce. Giulia’s own letters mirror this development, as she wrote to her family contemplating a variety of jobs, from a lab technician to a stenographer to a masseuse. Even in the midst of the war, the possibilities for the future seemed endless.

Yet, elements of the war do seep into many of the letters. Discussions of rationing figure prominently in much of Giulia’s correspondence, as Ällägg Bechtold, a school friend from Schaffhausen, described how school was let out early in the spring because of a shortage of coal to keep students warm. Margaret Wolf complained that bakeries purposely sold old bread because it was thought that individuals would consume it more slowly than fresh bread. Even the letter that Giulia’s school principal sent to her was written not on regular paper but rather on postcards that students were encouraged to fill with holiday greetings and send to soldiers in order to boost their morale.

Many of Giulia’s letters to and from her family during this time contain anxiety about Giulia’s grandfather, Paul Hasterlik, who remained behind in Vienna while the rest of the family escaped. Although attempts were made to organize his passage to the United States, these efforts ultimately proved unsuccessful, and the letters reflect concerns about everything from whether Paul was able to find food to whether he was, in fact, actively being “tormented.” Although letters from Paul contained joy about Giulia’s recovery from polio and excitement about her prospects for the future, he remained vague in descriptions of his own life, only briefly mentioning that he was forced to move to another apartment in Vienna.

Other members of Giulia’s family struggled during this time as well. Mia Hasterlik’s letters outline her difficulties finding suitable employment in New York while living in unpleasant conditions. Perhaps most dramatically, Susi Weiss, Giulia’s older sister who moved to Nairobi at the beginning of the war, describes the emotional and physical abuse to which her husband subjected her to and her overwhelming happiness at finally being free of him.
This vast array of voices and subject matter reflected in the Hasterlik-Hine collection depict a strange intersection between war and daily life that occurred for those living on the home front during World War II. Ultimately, the collection offers an invaluable glimpse of what it means to come of age in a time of war, highlighting the fears, delights, and amusements that punctuated daily life.

A discussion of these letters and letters like it from other troubled times in history will be presented at the Letters in Troubled Times: Study of Epistolary Sources conference on Friday, February 16, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida. Please contact Dr. Suzanne Sinke at ssinke@fsu.edu about questions regarding the conference.

Dealing with Daily Life during World War II

This post is by Emily Woessner, one of two students leading the project digitizing selections from the Hasterlik-Hine Collection at the Institute of World War II and the Human Experience. More materials have been added to the digital collection and may be viewed here. The first post about this project is here.

Giulia Hasterlik was only 13 years old when her mother arranged for her to leave Vienna, Austria and travel to Switzerland to live safely without fear of Nazi persecution. Giulia was taken in by a minister’s wife named Alice Sigerist who already had a daughter of her own, Gretli Sigerist, close to Giulia’s age. Giulia lived in the small town of Schaffhausen, Switzerland for 7 years (1938 to 1946). While living in Schaffhausen, she attended an all-girls Catholic school and had many friends. However, she kept in contact with a number of her schoolmates back in Vienna. Letters from Evi Leib and Elizabeth “Lisl” Urbantischitsch, in particular, detail the lives of young girls who are dealing with such situations as crushes, boredom, school work, and prospects of the future. The girls draw pictures in their letters and used secret languages— they worry, joke, and dream just like young girls of today. Their letters to and from one another allowed them to maintain their friendships and a sense of normalcy during the war years.

Giulia was not the best student, a bit mischievous at times, but generally, she enjoyed her life in the small town of Schaffhausen. Although she noted that it was quite different from her middle-class upbringing in Vienna. Unfortunately, in August 1941 at 16 years old Giulia contracted poliomyelitis and was taken to Kanton Hospital in the center of Schaffhausen. She had to pause her studies at school. During this time the letters to and from her classmates served as a window to the outside world where she could escape the boredom of the hospital and maintain her friendships. At times the letters to Giulia simply wished her well and asked how she was progressing with her treatment. Other times her classmates detailed holiday trips, plans for future jobs and schooling, or fun puzzles and poems for Giulia to enjoy. These letters provided relief and laughter for Giulia during her most intense treatment.

Get Well Card sent to Giulia while she was receiving treatment for polio (original object)

It was not only school friends who wrote to Giulia at this time, though. Alice Sigerist had informed both Paul Hasterlik, Giulia’s grandfather, and Auguste Hasterlik, Giulia’s aunt, about the polio diagnosis. Paul and Auguste wrote heartfelt and uplifting letters to Giulia, but they also warned her against saying anything to her mother, Mia Hasterlik, about her condition. They feared the news would be far too upsetting for Mia and worry her unnecessarily because she was already living in New York City and would be helpless to take care of Giulia. For her part, Alice worked diligently to ensure Giulia was properly cared for and enlisted the help of her in-laws and countless doctors. In December 1941 Giulia was transferred to Insel Hospital in Bern, Switzerland where she underwent many months of treatment while continuing to receive letters from her friends and family.

When studying World War II one often forgets that people still had to contend with daily life and its unexpected occurrences. When Giulia Hasterlik fell ill with polio the war was in full swing, her family was strewn across the globe, and she was doing her best to live a normal life in Switzerland. Oftentimes all she had to keep in touch with her friends and family were these letters. They kept her relations, faith, and sanity strong despite all the hardship and uncertainty she endured as a young woman.

A discussion of these letters and letters like them from other tumultuous times in history will be presented at the Letters in Troubled Times: Study of Epistolary Sources conference happening Friday, February 16, 2018, in Tallahassee, Florida. Please contact Dr. Suzanne Sinke for questions regarding the conference.

The Emmett Till Archives expands online

Tobiasblogimage
Page from the Joseph Tobias Papers; regarding an unauthorized film about Emmett Till, 1960.

Recently, we’ve added a new collection to the Emmett Till Archives in DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository. The Joseph Tobias Papers consist of the professional papers, case files, and collected publications of Tobias, an attorney based in Chicago, Illinois. The collection is regarding his representation of Mamie Till-Mobley from 1955 to 1960. Documents include case files for Mamie Bradley v. Cowles Magazines, Inc., Vernon C. Meyers, Gardner Cowles, and William Bradford Huie; correspondence on Till-Mobley’s behalf with the NAACP and motion picture studios; and subject files kept by Tobias on Till-Mobley during and after his employment by her. These primary source materials provide a compelling view into the life of Mamie Till-Mobley shortly after the murder of her son Emmett Till. For more information, see the collection’s finding aid.

The Emmett Till Archives consists of primary and secondary source material related to the life, murder, and memory of Emmett Louis Till.  Florida State University Libraries partners with the Emmett Till Interpretive Center, the Emmett Till Memory Project, and other institutions and private donors to collect, preserve, and provide access to the ongoing story of Emmett Till.  The Till Archives includes newspapers, magazines, oral histories, photographs, government records, scholarly literature, creative works, and other materials documenting the Till case and its commemoration, memorialization, and discussion in scholarship and popular culture.

If you know of materials that might be appropriate for donation to the Emmett Till Archives, please contact Associate Dean Katie McCormick at kmccormick@fsu.edu or (850) 644-6167.

Joining the Digital Public Library of America

We here at FSU are happy to have been part of the team to make the launch of the Sunshine State Digital Network (SSDN) possible. The SSDN will coordinate the work of harvesting Florida digital collections into the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). The first harvest of materials from Florida State University, Florida International University and the University of Miami is now available at dp.la.

The following is from the original press release by FSU Libraries:

Florida State University Libraries and their partners are pleased to announce the launch of the Sunshine State Digital Network (SSDN). The SSDN is part of the Digital Public Library of America and FSU is proud to be the service hub for the state of Florida. The service hub represents a community of institutions in the state which will provide their partner institutions aggregated metadata for the DPLA and offer tiered services to connect institutions of all sizes to DPLA.

The DPLA is an ever-growing national network of libraries, archives, museums, cultural heritage institutions, and volunteers that set out to provide a local impact in its communities, strengthened by a global reach. It is a free service, offering access to over 17 million items from around the globe. DPLA Network Manager Kelcy Shepherd says, “We’re so excited to welcome Sunshine State Digital Network to DPLA and to share Florida’s rich digital content alongside content of our other Hubs. We appreciate SSDN’s commitment to broadly sharing cultural heritage content with the public and to participating in the DPLA network.”

The SSDN operates on a multi-tiered hub system consisting of the main hub and regional sub-hubs. The main service hub is located at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL. The sub-hub is located in Miami, FL with responsibilities shared among the University of Miami (UM) and Florida International University (FIU).

While partnering with UM and FIU, the network will provide digital access to over 72,000 cultural heritage materials from across the state of Florida. FSU will manage all administrative aspects of the network, serve as the financial center, and submit the state’s aggregated metadata to DPLA. By submitting metadata to DPLA, it will increase the discoverability and use of our culturally rich and diverse digital collections while allowing individuals to use materials creatively, enhance their research and learning, develop new resources for teaching and discovery, and foster interdisciplinary inquiry.

You can also read the press release from DPLA here.

Leon High School Yearbooks

Yearbooks are a venerable tradition in high school. They collect and hold memories of a formative time in our lives. Yearbooks also serve as resources for research. They document trends in education, sociology, and demographics. The Digital Library Center recently partnered with Leon High School–the state’s oldest public school–to digitize and make accessible their yearbooks from 1926 to 2013.

One event you can witness through these pages is the integration of public high schools. Leon High School was integrated for the 1963-64 school year. The Leon High School Student Government Association produced this video documenting this change:

You can investigate the results yourself in the 1964 edition of The Lion’s Tale.

Leon High School has also been the home of many notable alumni. In addition to her many academic awards, actress Faye Dunaway was given the superlative “Best Personality” by her class in 1958. Many future politicians, professional athletes, and an X-Games gold medalist have spent time in the classrooms of Leon High School.

Explore these yearbooks and more at DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository.

A New Digital Collection from the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience

Special Collections & Archives is excited to be working with FSU’s Institute on World War II and the Human Experience on an extensive digitization project to bring a large set of letters into  DigiNole: FSU’s Digital Repository. As we add new items to the digital library from this collection, the two students in charge of the project will share information about the work and collection on the blog so here is the first post about the new collection!

The Hasterlik-Hine collection housed at the Institute on World War II and the Human Experience at Florida State University is a unique letter collection in terms of its depth and scope. Donated by Giulia Hine (maiden name: Hasterlik) in 2003, this collection has roughly 14,000 German and English letters spanning familiar generations from the 18th to the 21st century. In preparation for the Letters in Troubled Times: Evaluating Epistolary Sources conference set for February 16, 2018, in Tallahassee, Florida, the Institute processed a portion of the collection focusing on letters to and from Giulia in the years 1938 to 1943 and 1945 to 1948.

Page from a letter from Elizabeth ‘Lisl’ Urbantschitsch to Giulia Hasterlik, January 3, 1939.

Giulia Hine was born into a middle-upper class family in Vienna, Austria on September 30, 1925. Her father, Julius Kortischoner passed away in 1928. Before the outbreak of World War II, Mia Hasterlik-Kortischoner, Giulia’s mother, arranged for Giulia and her older half-sister, Suzanne “Susi” Wolff, to emigrate out of Vienna, Austria to escape persecution under the Nuremberg Laws which deemed the family Jewish. At 13 years old Giulia was safely housed in Switzerland where she lived with Frau Alice Sigerist and her daughter Gretli from the end of 1938 to 1946. Susi sailed to Kenya to meet and marry Robert Seemann in an arranged agreement to keep her safe. Mia stayed in Vienna, Austria for a time in order to take care of her elderly father, Paul, who decided he did not want to leave. Eventually, though, Mia left for England and then emigrated to the United States where her sister Auguste was living in New York, New York. As the family scattered all over the world they wrote hundreds of letters to and from her one another and countless friends back home.

Within the letters, one begins to see the intricacies of maintaining long-distance relationships during one of the most dangerous times in modern history. The use of self-censorship in order to avoid creating worry is apparent in letters written by all. For example, while in Switzerland Giulia contracted Poliomyelitis and yet she kept the entire ordeal from her mother until the end of the war. Susi, on a similar note, hid the details of the abuse she suffered while married to Robert. Despite the troubled times and personal struggles, the letters also reveal many small delights encountered by family members and friends such as anecdotes about pets and school trips. One gains an understanding and appreciations for the bonds of family while reading each letter, especially the heartfelt correspondence between Giulia and her grandfather, Paul. These letters serve as a testament to the strength and ingenuity of a family determined to survive and thrive.

The first set of five sets being digitized are now available in DigiNole: FSU’s digital repository. Translations of the letters are forthcoming for this first batch and will be included in each subsequent batch for the project. Stay tuned for new items in the collection over the next few months.

Hitting the Court

1986-87 Florida State University Lady Seminole Basketball Media Guide
Page from the 1986-87 Florida State University Lady Seminole Basketball Media Guide

It’s basketball season time again in college sports. The men’s Florida State University team takes to the court in their first non-exhibition game of the season this evening against the George Washington Colonials. The Lady Noles already have two wins on the books for this season!

Over the summer, we digitized and made available in the FSU Digital Library, media guides and almanacs highlighting past teams. From the first handbook in our collection featuring the 1966 men’s squad to the almanac celebrating our men’s 2012-13 ACC Championship win to the first women’s team media guide we have in our collections from the mid-1980s, these materials provide a fun and detailed look into past basketball teams here at FSU. Looking forward to watching both teams this year live up to their predecessors! To browse all the Sports Media Guides, visit the FSU Digital Library. You can limit your search to a specific sport using the terms listed under Topical Subject along the lefthand side of the screen.

2012-13 Almanac Men's FSU Basketball
Cover from the FSU Men’s Basketball 2012-13 Almanac