“What is truth” is a question for the ages, and it was also a question for the students of the spring 2022 ART 344: Digital Darkroom class. One of the most collaborative classes that SCUA teaches, Digital Darkroom combines the efforts of ROI Librarian Maggie Murphy and archivists Carolyn Shankle and Kathelene Smith. Together they created an interesting class session this spring, resulting in projects that helped students construct a library exhibit and zines, inspired by materials founds in Special Collections and University Archives. Dividing the students into three smaller groups helped everyone to maintain a safe distance and gave the archivists more one-on-one time to review the material with the students. While Maggie worked with her group in the library, the remaining students were divided into two groups in the Hodges Reading Room and the Research Room. Hodges was divided into multiple stations which featured rare books related to photography and photographers.
Each station highlighted a specific time period so that the students could experience the aesthetic, perspective, and technical changes in photography from the Victorian era to the 2020 Women’s March. The Research Room displays focused on the question “What is truth?” or how multiple perspectives give a more comprehensive understanding of the truth. Each table exhibited artifacts that encouraged students to find a “truth” – and since they were art students, they were asked to either describe or draw what they found. In some cases, this might be illustrated by the difference between a photograph of a student and a painting of her, or perhaps the student perspectives seen in campus scrapbooks as opposed to the administrative perspectives seen in a university publication. The students left the session with a greater understanding of what can be discovered in Special Collections and University Archives and were hopefully inspired to create a dazzling exhibit for the Jackson Library Lobby, as well as amazing zines for their class project!
The Special Collections and University Archives Division (as it became known in 1972) began as a closed stack area on the third floor of Jackson Library. The Circulation Department (where I was a staff member from 1967 to 1971) was responsible for materials held there. While I was happy with my responsibilities, there was no room for advancement without a library degree. I was encouraged to apply to the University of Illinois, which I did. With my earlier background in art (MFA, UNCG, 1965) I had found the area of librarianship of which I wanted to be a part. It seems like magical thinking that this position would happen, but it did. The timing was right, the need urgent, (and it was before the days of search committees and national searches). I wrote an argument for the new position while still in Illinois and was rewarded with an offer before I finished my degree work.
With my new library spurs, I returned in the Fall of 1972 eager and full of ideas. I inherited that closed stacks cage and given the key to the realm with no telephone, no copy machine, no card catalog or shelf-list and a view of the flat, tarred roof.
A small, rather unfocused collection of rare books called the “Gold Star Collection”, was there along with the College Collection of school-related printed materials and photographs, student scrapbooks, the “Pine Needles” college yearbook and other college publications. These were housed there along with items deemed too fragile or too controversial to be kept in the open stacks of the library, (e.g., Playboy magazine and foreign “art” periodicals). This was also a storage area for materials no one had dealt with such as the transferred papers of the first three Presidents of the college, Charles D. McIver, Julius I. Foust and Walter C. Jackson. Two retired librarians worked a few hours a week on the College Collection, organizing vertical file items and photographs documenting the history of the school. Student help came later, and it wasn’t until 1974 that Betty Carter arrived to help take on the University Archives.
The fun began day after Labor Day in 1972, my first official day on the job. I felt a bit overwhelmed: Why is this (or that) here? Are there funds for conservation of damaged and deteriorating materials? Will I have a budget? After meeting and talking with other rare book librarians and archivists in North Carolina institutions, it was obvious to me that UNCG has an opportunity to complement programs of study at UNCG and establish collection efforts unique to our institution. Cooperative collection development, reorganization and conservation of materials were major priorities in the 1970s. We needed collection development policies for book collection and an updated archives records schedule to guide the transfer of university generated documents and publications.
Over the years specialist booksellers were helpful with their depth of knowledge. I worked closely with those who had expertise in subject areas that would strengthen our existing collections. Those who dealt in out-of-print materials were most generous with their knowledge. They also had amusing and amazing stories to tell and had locks on book-world gossip with they shared over leisurely drinks and dinners. Many of them from London to California were over-night guests in our home. I took lessons from these seasoned professionals even when I didn’t take their advice!
Clearly, UNCG has obvious strengths including an uncatalogued collection of books by, about and of interested to women (The Anthony M. Ludovici collection purchased in the 1960s), the early children’s books (part of the large Lois Lenski collection), and books illustrated by famous 20th century artists. To build on some of these strengths seemed obvious. A nascent women’s studies program supported expansion of our already impressive collections of historical works relating to women.
Other areas were less well defined. Many out-of-scope and non-rare items were transferred to the general collection. An early inventory revealed some items missing or mutilated. We discovered in the ‘70s that some enterprising, knowledgeable individuals had left the library with more than they had when they entered. Some titles were recovered over time but at great expense of replacement or restoration. Luckily, we had private funds that enabled replacement of some losses and to repair damaged materials. Security improved rapidly!
Throughout the 1970s, we refined and expanded collection development guidelines. This early period saw expansion of our cello music and women’s history materials. Rounding out themes of the art of the book included selected English and American private presses of the 19th and 20th centuries. Collections were heavily used by art, music and dance.
The decade also benefited from healthy private funding sources when interest rates saw historic highs and Friends of the Library donations brought good annual returns. To celebrate the U.S. Bicentennial, the Washington handpress was restored with help from the Smithsonian and the former Library Director, Charles M. Adams. Samples of small keepsakes were printed for the occasion. Speaking engagements to book clubs and literary groups resulted in greater public interest in Special Collections in the decade of the 1970s. It was a busy time of growth and wider exposure for researchers on campus and from other institutions.
SCUA is pleased to recognize our Conservation Specialist and Preservation Manager, Audrey Sage, who received a UNCG Staff Star! She was awarded this accolade by the UNCG Staff Senate and the Chancellors office when she was nominated by a colleague who wanted to acknowledge her volunteering and service for the university. A Staff Star is selected when they have been observed being kind, thoughtful, helpful and considerate. It is an honor for Audrey to receive this recognition, but she considers it to be a greater gift to serve the University and so many wonderful organizations in the community through opportunities made available by involvement with the UNCG Staff Senate.
Beth Ann Koelsch Receives Honor From the National World War II Museum
Women Veterans Historical Project Curator Beth Ann Koelsch has been invited by the National World War II museum in New Orleans to be on the advisory board for an exhibition focused on the service of American women, Our War Too: Women In Service.
SCUA in the News!
Stacey Krim and the UNCG Cello Music Collection are honored! To read the articles on the online publication from The Cello Museum, please click on the title:
Erin Lawrimore spoke at Joymongers Brewing Co. about brewing with UNCG University Libraries colleagues Richard Cox and David Gwynn.
Kathelene McCarty Smith and Carolyn Shankle visited Well.Spring Retirement Community in December presenting Charles Dickens and the British Tradition of Ghost Stories at Christmas and bringing rare material from SCUA’s vast collections!
Founded in 1999, Triad Stage is a regional theatre located in downtown Greensboro. In September 1999, Triad Stage purchased downtown Greensboro’s Montgomery Ward building, built in 1936 and vacant for almost 40 years. Triad Stage began renovations on the building in 2001. After the renovations, Triad Stage’s building included a 300-seat theatre, rehearsal hall, offices, and lobbies.
The theatre’s grand opening occurred in January 2002, with a production of Tennessee Williams’s “Suddenly Last Summer.” In 2008, Triad Stage completed additional renovations to the Pyrle Theater. Renovations included adding a scene shop annex, the creation of a 90-seat Upstage Cabaret performance space, and the creation of a rehearsal hall and studio for WUNC Radio’s Greensboro Bureau.
In 2011, Triad Stage purchased a 30,000 square foot building near the Greensboro Coliseum Complex to serve as the theater’s new production facility, relocating its scene, costume and properties shops as well as its warehouse.
In June 2019, Patrick Dollar, archivist, began discussions with the head of the Triad Stage Board of Directors of Triad Stage. In March 2021, Patrick and Stacey Krim, Manuscripts Curator, took a van and picked up 45 boxes that were being stored at the Triad Stage offices. Patrick spent 6 months processing, arranging and describing the materials in the collection.
The collection includes publicity and marketing materials, newspaper clippings, playbills, photographs, and scale models set designs from Triad Stage’s history. Processing the collection was a chance to stroll through Greensboro’s theatre history, with many regionally and national recognized names appearing.
Not only does the collection encapsulate the artistic history of the organization, but it also, also captures the Greensboro reception of plays, which could vary widely. The press clippings for each play are an invaluable insight into the theatre culture of Greensboro and the region. Triad Stage rightly earns its reputation for prompting conversation and debate among theatregoers about the artistic merits of productions, staging many lesser-known plays alongside well-recognized favorites, and serving as a showcase for plays written by local artists documenting Appalachian culture.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the collection is the set design models, created to visualize how the set (and potentially some costumed actors) would look in the Pyrle Theater. The models date from 2002-2019 and give researchers a first-hand look into how painstakingly each play is brought to life at Triad Stage. Audrey Sage, head of Preservation Services, cleaned the models and crafted custom enclosures to insure their long-term preservation.
The collection will be an extremely valuable resource, as performing arts is one of SCUA’s strongest collecting areas. This collection complements many of our other theatre collections, including the Robert C. Hansen Performing Arts Collection. SCUA plans to immediately incorporate the Triad Stage Records into theatre and English courses visiting Special Collections. To view what materials are in the collection, please visit the finding aid here: https://uncg.as.atlas-sys.com/repositories/2/resources/737.
Coming soon! As part of UNC Greensboro’s celebration of the centennial of Women’s Suffrage, UNCG Special Collections and University Archives will be featuring an oral history project focused on women politicians in the Triad area. Women in modern politics represent progressive successes in the fight for gender equality since the brave rebels and pioneers of the suffrage movement. In the 21st Century, mucth attention is given to women politicians at the national level, leaving women politicians at the local and regional level overlooked and under-documented. Women Politicians in Their Own Words is the first attempt to document women politicians on a local and regional level in the Triad region of North Carolina. The oral history collection is anticipated to be prepared by late Spring – early Summer of 2022. The project is funded through a grant from UNC Greensboro’s She Can, We Can: Beyond the Women’s Suffrage Centennial celebration.
Rare Books documents the complex history of race and race relations through published accounts. Our holdings contextualize and expand the primary source materials collected in Manuscripts. The reader will discover how the writers persevered and actively advocated for their freedom as well as their hopes for a more equitable future.
NOTABLE WORKS INCLUDE:
Wheatley, Phillis. Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral.. London: Printed for A. Bell, bookseller, Aldgate and sold by Messrs. Cox and Berry, King-Street, Boston, 1773. A first edition of the first work of poetry written by an African American woman: While scholarship has not confirmed this, the engraving of Phillis Wheatley is considered to be a based on an original portrait created by Scipio Moorhead, an enslaved man from Boston.
Wilson, Harriet E. Our Nig, or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black : In a Two-Story White House, North, Showing That Slavery’s Shadows Fall Even There. Boston: Printed by Geo. C. Rand & Avery, 1859. A first edition of the first novel written and published by a free African American woman. Wilson’s work fell into obscurity for a multitude of reasons – this work depicts the life and hardships of a free person of color in the abolitionist North where she was treated poorly and lived as an indentured servant as there was no path to economic self-support. Henry Louis Gates, Jr discovered this work in 1982, brining it and the author to the forefront of research.
NARRATIVES OF FORMERLY ENSLAVED PEOPLE:
All three autobiographies by Frederick Douglass:
Douglass, Frederick. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Boston: Published by Anti-Slavery Office, No. 25 Cornhill, 1845. [Shown above]
Douglass, Frederick. My Bondage and My Freedom : Part I – Life As a Slave. Part II – Life As a Freeman. New York: Miller, Orton & Mulligan, New York: 25 Park Row — Auburn: 107 Genesee St, 1855.
Douglass, Frederick. Life and Times of Frederick Douglass : His Early Life As a Slave, His Escape from Bondage, and His Complete History to the Present Time, Including His Connection with the Anti-Slavery Movement. Hartford, Conn.: Park Publishing, 1882.
Jacobs, Harriet A. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Edited by Lydia Maria Child. Boston: Published for the author, 1861. The first narrative written and published by an African American woman who escaped from slavery.
OTHER NOTEWORTHY TITLES:
Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a Slave : Narrative of Solomon Northup, a Citizen of New-York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and Rescued in 1853, from a Cotton Plantation near the Red River, in Louisiana. Edited by D Wilson. Auburn: Derby and Miller, 1853. [Shown above on left]
Jones, Thomas H. The Experience of Thomas H. Jones : Who Was a Slave for Forty-Three Years. Worcester Mass.: Printed by Henry J. Howland, 1857.
Keckley, Elizabeth. Behind the Scenes : Or, Thirty Years a Slave, and Four Years in the White House. New York: G.W. Carleton & Co, 1868.
Truth, Sojourner. Narrative of Sojourner Truth : A Bondswoman of Olden Time, Emancipated by the New York Legislature in the Early Part of the Present Century : With a History of Her Labors and Correspondence, Drawn from Her “Book of Life..”Edited by Olive Gilbert and Frances W Titus. Boston: Published for the author, 1875.
Randolph, Peter. From Slave Cabin to the Pulpit : The Autobiography of Rev. Peter Randolph: The Southern Question Illustrated and Sketches of Slave Life. Boston: James H. Earle, publisher, 178 Washington Street, 1893. [Shown above on right]
Johnson, Isaac. Slavery Days in Old Kentucky : A True Story of a Father Who Sold His Wife and Four Children by One of the Children. Ogdensburg, N.Y.: Republican & Journal Print, 1901.
In addition to the works mentioned above, Rare Books collects works by African American authors such as Alice Dunbar-Nelson, Pauline Hopkins, Alice Walker, Edward A. Johnson, and Paul Dunbar. Recognizing that the route to publishing their work was often blocked, Rare Books also focuses on collecting African American authors who published only five or fewer works during their lifetime.
Affiliated archival collections include Loren Schweninger Papers, MSS 0195; and the Digital Library on American Slavery which includes: North Carolina Runaway Slave Notices, 1750 – 1855; People Not Property, and Race & Slavery Petitions.
The Special Collections and University Archives continues to build their collections, strategically investing and acquiring significant, unique and interesting items. These collections further the interest of the University as scholars, researchers and patrons seek discoverable information that furthers their knowledge and understanding of both the past and the future. Occasionally, items acquired are in sizes that are less common. We have recently acquired several very small items that presented us with an opportunity to construct thoughtful and intentional enclosures. Many times, smaller items require a larger enclosure so it may claim it’s space on the shelf, and not be overshadowed or overwhelmed by its neighbors.
I selected an interesting artist book titled “Trains” by Kathy and Gary Miller of Iron Bear Press to create a unique enclosure. The book measures 2.875” x 1.75” x .25”, that includes its own paper slipcover that is imprinted with images of railway lines. It has beautiful polaroid photo transfers and is constructed in an accordion style format. The story speaks of memories of watching trains, counting cars and pressing pennies on the tracks, which resonated with me, as this is a very fond memory of my own, when visiting my grandmother’s house when I was young. I designed a special clamshell enclosure for this small volume. I created a drawer, into which the book can rest and remain secure, until it is retrieved for viewing. The overall dimensions of the enclosure are 6” x 9” x 1”.
Our manuscripts archivist, Stacey Krim, discovered an oversized match book while recently processing the Marjorie “Marge” Burns Papers. The question was raised regarding the safety of storing a potentially combustible item within a collection. While researching options and opinions, she discovered one solution that was implemented at Smithsonian Institute Archives whereby a sink mat was created to surround the matchbook and enclosed with mylar. I decided to create a similar enclosure. By utilizing the mylar, any potential friction would be minimized, thus limiting combustion of the match heads, although there is the theory that in many cases, match books of this age are most likely inert. This item will be stored in a file, so I created a two-sided mat, wherein both sides of the match book are visible. On one side of the construction, the Mylar is tucked under the corrugated board, allowing it to be lifted, if there is need to temporarily remove the match book.
Beth Ann Koelsch, curator for the Women Veterans Historical Project, was thrilled to acquire the 1943 diary of Charlotte E. Ward, of Delaware, Indiana. Ms. Ward served with the United States Army Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) and then the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) from 1943-1945. This small diary measures a little over 4” x 3” with a handy spot to store a small pencil. I designed an oversized enclosure, through consultation with the curator, so it would measure 8” x 11”, a substantial size in order to happily rest between its collection mates on the shelf. The diary rests in a custom fit recess with a board overlay to hold it in place. This recess can be lifted to allow easy access for retrieval of the diary.
It is always delightful to view and enjoy the various treasures from the SCUA collections. Preserving and caring for these is gratifying knowing these endeavors will serve those far into the future.
Special Collections was thrilled to recently acquire this beautiful volume by Frank Hamrick – IT WAS THERE ALL ALONG.
This hand printed and bound volume uses Irish linen thread, Canapetta bookcloth and Davey board to bind a collection of wet plate collodion tintype photographs that were taken throughout Louisiana, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Texas and Tennessee near the Cumberland, Ouachita, North Toe, and Mississippi Rivers as well as the Little Choudrant, McNutt, Sand and White Creeks, and the Gulf of Mexico. The cover art was created from a handprinted relief print on cotton rag paper.
“John Steinbeck’s To A God Unknown describes the cycle of rain in California declaring ten years of average rain, ten years of plentiful rain and ten years of drought. In the bad years, no one remembers the good years, and in the good years, no one remembers the bad years. On a hill in Tennessee, water pours from a cave after a storm, and through a system of creeks and rivers, finds its way to the Gulf of Mexico.
A mural in Louisiana states, “In a flood every raindrop feels responsible.”
As the grandson of a well driller, I learned early in life that water does not originate from a faucet, nor simply disappear after going down the drain.”
We were delighted to find these intriguing and informative recipes and cooking guidelines in our copy of “The New Hostess of To-Day” by Linda Hull Larned. It was published in 1931 by Charles Scribner and Sons. The charmingly playful illustrations bring a sense of fun to the kitchen as an exploration of new and interesting ways of cooking a variety of dishes is brought to the page. Here are a couple of recipes from this volume: