Tag Archives: Photos

Updating the P.A.M Dirac Collection

At the beginning of the Fall 2018 semester, I began working with the Paul A. M. Dirac Collection found in the Special Collections & Archives at Florida State University. I didn’t really know what I would come across when I got started, but the photographs in this collection would end up being the very beginning of my utter fascination for the theoretical physicist.

I enjoy going to museums and reading books over studying science and math and day of the week. Maybe that’s why when I started this journey through the life of Paul Dirac I was both curious and uncertain. On an average day, I would take one box out of the stacks and start on the latest file of images. A single box could have anywhere from six to forty folders and could contain over 100 photographs. As cheesy as it sounds, each photo really does tell a story. I worked with images from the early 1900s which depicted Dirac and his family in period-appropriate dress. I saw images taken in Russia and Israel and Japan. Truly, despite the man being known for his contributions to theoretical physics, I was coming to know him for much more than that. Dirac wasn’t just a phenomenal scientist–he was a fascinating character all in his own category who traveled the world in the name of scientific discovery.


The first color images I stumbled upon in the collection. (see carnations and group photo)

The majority of the work was done through a spreadsheet where I compiled metadata for each image. Doing this not only updates the information by double checking that dates and events are accurate with a fresh pair of eyes, but it also allows for proper digitization. Organizing hundreds of photos, dealing with copyright, and learning the language of metadata has helped me in understanding how vital this work is. Although looking at these pictures and reflecting on the history behind them was one of my favorite parts of this project, understanding the importance of background work was the true takeaway. I had never truly appreciated the time and effort many individuals put in to make something on the web easily accessible for others and being able to reap the rewards of such work has helped me to understand the many layers it takes to make such content.

Snapshot image of the metadata used to digitize the collections.

After finishing my work on the Dirac Collection photographs, I moved on to his manuscripts and notes. I am still going through this work as it’s a hefty bit of information which I alone cannot decipher. Another team member is working on translating the mathematical notes which I will then compile into another document which will allow the information to be neatly transferred online for the public to view.

Before starting this project, I expected to be apathetic toward the process of having to look up and research people, places, and events in order to most accurately describe an image or document. Instead, I found that, despite what many times looked to be dull and uninspiring images, each photo had a story of its own which bled into the next and created a snapshot collection of the story of one man’s life.

Dirac’s papers now reside in Special Collections & Archives at Florida State University. You may see a complete finding aid of the collection here.

All photo credits goes to the author.

A Visual Tour of Florida State University History: The Historic Photograph Collection

Heritage & University Archives is excited to present a newly reprocessed collection: The Florida State University Historic Photograph Collection. An initial inventory, which took a project archivist roughly four months to compile, indicated that the collection included nearly half a million images in both print and negative format. Former graduate student Dave Rodriguez then spent a year organizing and reprocessing the original several small collections and new accessions into its current state. The collection is now housed in over 200 boxes in the Special Collections & Archives stacks.

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The collection during reprocessing.

 

The images cover a wide time span, from FSU’s earliest iteration, the Seminary West of the Suwannee River, to the present. While the photographs date back as far as the 1800s, the bulk of the material is dated between 1920s to the 1970s.

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The Platonic Debate Society, 1903.

 

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Student reading, undated.

The images themselves depict every facet of life on campus, from construction and special events to students relaxing on Landis Green and action shots of athletics contests. Some notable items in the collection include prints from the Flying High Circus, Homecoming, and various theatrical performances. In addition, a series dedicated to buildings, faculty, and university presidents help give a complete view of what campus was like at any decade.

 

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Andrews Brothers, undated.

 

Additionally, some images from the collection have been scanned and entered into FSU’s Digital Repository, Diginole.

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The Flying Circus, undated.

For more information about Heritage & University Archives and the Florida State University Historic Photograph Collection, please contact Sandra Varry at svarry@fsu.edu or visit heritage.fsu.edu

A Century of Seasons: Early FSU Sports History

Florida State University’s Special Collections presents A Century of Seasons: The History of Florida State Athletics.  Visitors are invited to explore the history of Florida State athletics, which spans over ten decades, from the turn of the century to the modern day.  Beginning in 1905 and ending in 1947 Tallahassee’s campus was a women’s college, then known as Florida State Women’s College (F.S.C.W.).  These forty-years were marked by energetic school spirit, enthusiastic intramural rivalries and vibrant traditions.   A Century of Seasons highlights this age of intramural competition between Odd and Even classes with images, documents and artifacts.

F.S.C.W. intramural teams compete in a basketball game as fans watch from the sidelines.
F.S.C.W.’s 1914 intramural basketball teams compete as fans watch from the sidelines.

Basketball was phenomenally popular during the F.S.W.C years and, arguably, the most anticipated event of the year was the Thanksgiving Day competition.  Photographs of the game and the athletes tell the story of this highly anticipated event and the women who competed in it.  The exhibit also includes photographs and artifacts documenting minor and non-traditional sports played on campus over this period, including archery and an aquatic sport known as prelo.  Wooden dumbbells from the early twentieth century have survived and are displayed next to an image of the tumbling class putting them to use.

A collection of student scrapbooks, which contain unique photographs and ephemera from sporting events and provide a fascinating look at the way athletics, affected the daily lives of students.  Each of the scrapbooks displayed portrays the personality of its owner and the collected photographs, newspaper clippings and ephemera with the scrapbooks shows a unique perspective on the athletes and fans who attended the university when it was yet young.

A Century of Seasons: The History of Florida State Athletics is open from 10am-6pm in the Strozier Exhibit Room until February 2014.

A Century of Seasons: Modern FSU Sports History

ImageAthletics at Florida State College and Florida State College for Women had always been popular, but after the inception of FSU, sports exploded. Now able to have varsity teams because of the addition of men to the student body, the Tallahassee past time of Seminole fanaticism began. In the exhibit A Century of Seasons: The History of Florida State Athletics, photos, artifacts and ephemera from FSU’s favorite sports teams are on display, as well as forgotten athletic groups like Tarpon Club, the women’s synchronized swimming club, and Gymkana, FSU’s premier gymnastics show troupe.

A Century of Seasons traces the history of FSU athletics, like the incredible growth of FSU football. The excitement was palpable in 1947 when after a 40 year hiatus, FSU hosted its first football game against the Stetson Hatters. While the first season was a dismal bust (the Seminole squad lost all five of their games), the love for football had been instilled in FSU students and Tallahassee citizens alike. It didn’t take long for Florida State football to develop into a powerhouse team: winning the Cigar Bowl in 1950, their first undefeated season in 1950, starting in the top 20 in 1971, and the decades of winning teams under the coaching of Bobby Bowden.

ImageA Century of Seasons also highlights the illustrious career of the Tarpon Club, FSU’s oldest club. The synchronized swimming team was created in the 1920s, originally with the name Life Saving Corps. The club hosted exhibitions that would demonstrate form swimming, figure swimming, speed swimming, lifesaving techniques, diving, and canoe handling. The group adopted the name Tarpon Club in 1937, and developed into a highly-regarded club that garnered awards from national organizations, featured in Hollywood films, and eagerly anticipated water pageants. Tarpon Club disbanded in 1994 and left Florida State with a unique and well-loved history.

A Century of Seasons: The History of Florida State Athletics is open from 10am-6pm in the Strozier Exhibit Room until February 2014.