Feature Story

New Science Research Guides

WeImage of scientist have two new science guides to help you gain access to valuable research and disseminate and track your own research.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) is a part of the National Library of Medicine.  You might be familiar with the biomedical literature database, PubMed, but did you know that NCBI supports 40 other databases with biomedical and genomic information? The NCBI Resources guide has been populated with general  information about navigating NCBI resources and information about features and data sources you can find in specific databases, such as Gene and Protein.

In the Research Impact guide you’ll find an introduction to the concept, tools which measure research impact, including Scopus and Web of Science, and a description of different metrics.  These include author metrics like the h-index as well as journal level metrics like the journal impact factor.

Cyrus Leroy Baldridge: Illustrator, Explorer, Activist

Exhibition Dates: June 27 – September 9, 2016
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Self-portrait of Cyrus Leroy Baldridge

Cyrus Leroy Baldridge (1889-1977). Untitled self-portrait. 1940. From the collection of Mrs. & Mr. Jay Mulberry.

Cyrus Baldridge (1889-1977) was an artist, illustrator, and author whose travels took him across Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Far East.  His artistic training began at age 9, followed by education at the University of Chicago. Baldridge also developed an acute social and political awareness through a range of experiences, from working in a social settlement house to cattle ranching in Texas.

He began his career as a frontline artist during World War I, where he worked for several newspapers reporting on life in the trenches. Later he journeyed across continents with his partner, author Caroline Singer, sketching and painting the scenes that would later be published in lavishly illustrated books focusing on world cultures and peoples.

As an alumnus (PhB 1911), Baldridge presented a number of his artworks to the University of Chicago, where they are now part of the collection of the University’s Smart Museum of Art. Archival materials on Baldridge’s student days are preserved in the Special Collections Research Center. An important collection of Baldridge art, books, and documents is also held by University alumnus Jay Mulberry, who is loaning many items for the exhibition.  Drawing on these collections, Cyrus Leroy Baldridge:  Illustrator, Explorer, Activist will explore the full range of Baldridge’s life and art, showcasing many of his illustrations for the first time.

Curators: Alice Kain and Jay Mulberry, AB’63

Hours: Mondays through Fridays, 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.; Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9 a.m. – 5:45 p.m. when classes are in session.

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download by members of the media, and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.  For more information, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

Integrity of the Page: The Creative Process of Daniel Clowes

An exhibition at the University of Chicago Special Collections Research Center offers visitors a rare glimpse into the creative process of legendary cartoonist Daniel Clowes.

Cover sketch for Eightball #23

Cover sketch for “Eightball” #23, ca. 2003-2004. Daniel Clowes Archive, University of Chicago Library. Copyright Daniel Clowes.

The exhibition features notes, outlines, narrative drafts, character sketches, draft layouts and more for three of Clowes’ award-winning graphic novels: The Death-Ray (2011), Ice Haven (2005) and Mister Wonderful (2011).

“Integrity of the Page: The Creative Process of Daniel Clowes” opens March 28 and runs through June 17 at the Special Collections Research Center. Clowes, LAB’79, will sign his new book, Patience, and discuss his work with Daniel Raeburn, lecturer in creative nonfiction, in celebration of the opening of the exhibition on March 29 from 5 to 8 p.m. in Room 122 of the Joseph Regenstein Library.

“The exhibit pieces together these materials so that you can see the arc of Clowes’ art, from his beginning ideas and notebooks all the way through to publication,” said Ashley Gosselar, who curated the show.

Clowes works almost entirely by hand with paper, pencil and ink. “Integrity of the Page” highlights the physicality of his art, allowing visitors to see the detailed elements of his work—lettering, texture and facial expressions—up close.

The material featured in the exhibition is part of the Daniel Clowes Archive, which the University of Chicago Library acquired in 2015.

Character sketches for "The Death-Ray"

Character sketches for “The Death-Ray,” ca. 2003-2011. Daniel Clowes Archive, University of Chicago Library. Copyright Daniel Clowes.

“I couldn’t be more honored and pleased, and frankly astonished, to have my archival materials included in Special Collections,” Clowes said at that time. “The University of Chicago, both the physical campus and the institution, was central, almost overwhelmingly so, to my formative life, the first 18 years of which were spent three blocks away from this very site. There could be no more appropriate place for these papers to find their home.”

Sketch of Marshall and Natalie for "Mr. Wonderful"

Sketch of Marshall and Natalie for “Mister Wonderful,” ca. 2007-2011. Daniel Clowes Archive, University of Chicago Library. Copyright Daniel Clowes.

Clowes’ first professional work appeared in Cracked in 1985. In 1989, he created the seminal comic book series Eightball, which ran for 23 issues through 2004 and earned him a large following and multiple industry awards.

Eightball generated several graphic novels, including Like a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron, Pussey! and Ghost World, his breakthrough hit about the last summer of a teenage friendship. The 2001 film adaptation of Ghost World, based on a script by Clowes and director Terry Zwigoff, was nominated for an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay.

Self-portrait sketch for "Mister Wonderful"

Self-portrait sketch for “Mister Wonderful,” ca. 2008-2011. Daniel Clowes Archive, University of Chicago Library. Copyright Daniel Clowes.

Ice Haven, an intricate tale of kidnapping and alienation in a small Midwestern town, and The Death-Ray, the unlikely story of a teenage superhero in the 1970s, both appeared in Eightball before their publication in book form. Clowes’ “middle-aged romance” Mister Wonderful began as a serialized comic for The New York Times Magazine and was collected in an expanded hardcover edition in 2011.

Clowes’ comics, graphic novels and anthologies have been translated into more than 20 languages, and his work has been the subject of numerous international exhibitions. A major retrospective of his work debuted at the Oakland Museum of California in 2012 and traveled to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 2013.

Clowes, has longstanding ties to the University of Chicago. Born and raised in Hyde Park, he attended the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools before moving to New York to study at the Pratt Institute. His grandfather, James Lea Cate, was a scholar of medieval history and historiography and a UChicago professor from 1930 to 1969. His stepmother, Harriet Clowes, worked in development at the University of Chicago Library from 1976 to 1980.

Layout sketch for "Mister Wonderful,"

Layout sketch for “Mister Wonderful,” ca. 2007-2011. Daniel Clowes Archive, University of Chicago Library. Copyright Daniel Clowes.

In 2012, Clowes participated in the “Comics: Philosophy and Practice” conference sponsored by the Richard and Mary L. Gray Center for Arts and Inquiry. That event brought together 17 world-renowned cartoonists for three days of public conversation.

The Daniel Clowes Archive adds to the University of Chicago Library’s growing collection of materials related to word and image studies. The library holds an extensive collection of contemporary comics, including many comics and zines published in Chicago, as well as the Walter C. Dopierala Comic Book Collection, which contains more than 2,000 popular mid-century comic books. The library plans to add to its comics archive in the years to come.

Images and Media Contacts

Images from the exhibition included on this page are reserved for use in journalistic publications and must be first published between January 2016 and July 2016 in connection with the University of Chicago Library exhibition “Integrity of the Page: The Creative Process of Daniel Clowes,” associated events, or the Daniel Clowes Archive at the University of Chicago Library. Use of the image must include the following citation: Daniel Clowes Archive, University of Chicago Library. Copyright Daniel Clowes.

For more information and high-resolution images, contact:

Mary Abowd
News Officer for Arts & Humanities
The University of Chicago
mra1@uchicago.edu
773-702-8383

or

Rachel Rosenberg
Director of Communications
The University of Chicago Library
ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu
773-834-1519

A University of Chicago news release

Envisioning South Asia: Texts, Scholarship, Legacies

Exhibition Dates: January 11 – March 18, 2016
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637
Associated web exhibit available now at lib.uchicago.edu/e/webexhibits/envisioningsouthasia

Bhadrabahu. Kalpasūtra.

Bhadrabahu. Kalpasūtra, undated. William and Marianne Salloch Collection of Prints and Drawings: “People with Books.” The University of Chicago Library. A folio from an illustrated Jain manuscript.

From the times of Marco Polo to the British Empire to the postcolonial nation, South Asia has been imagined, pictured, explored, and examined. How did explorers, missionaries, colonial officials, and scholars view South Asia? What did South Asian self-representations look like? This exhibition explores the Regenstein Library’s extraordinary resources related to South Asia through visual metaphors of imagination, representation, and engagement. From palm leaf manuscripts to historical maps, and from rare books to digital projects, Envisioning South Asia offers a kaleidoscopic tour through scholarly and popular imaginations in text and image. Many of the artifacts on display, including treasures from Special Collections, are presented to the public for the first time, providing visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich histories and cultures of South Asia.

Since the opening of the University in 1892, scholars and students have explored the languages and civilizations of the Indian subcontinent. As the university celebrates its 125th anniversary, the exhibition also marks the 60th anniversary of the Committee on Southern Asian Studies and the 50th anniversary of the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations.

postcard East Indian railway

East Indian Railway. Postcard from Digital South Asia Library, The University of Chicago Library.

Curators: Ulrike Stark, Professor and Chair, South Asian Languages and Civilizations; Anna Seastrand, Collegiate Assistant Professor, Harper Fellow, Society of Fellows; and Ian Desai, Collegiate Assistant Professor, Harper Fellow, Society of Fellows.

Co-sponsored by the University of Chicago Library, the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, and the Library Society with support from the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations.

Hours: Monday–Friday: 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.; Saturdays: 9 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. when classes are in session. Consult hours for the Special Collections Research Center at hours.lib.uchicago.edu

The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Opening Reception

January 13, 6-7:30 p.m.
Regenstein Library, Room 122, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago

Meet the curators at an opening reception for the exhibition Envisioning South Asia: Texts, Scholarship, Legacies.

Co-sponsored by the University of Chicago Library, the Committee on Southern Asian Studies, the Library Society, and the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations.

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download by members of the media, and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.  For more information, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

ProductivityU: Be more efficient with the Library’s help

Librarian Consultation

Experts will be on hand to guide you to the best productivity tools. (Photo by Jason Smith)

Now that you’ve had one quarter of the academic year under your belt, it’s time to reflect on your productivity pitfalls and add new tools to help you overcome these obstacles. On January 15 from noon to five, the University of Chicago Library is holding an inaugural ‘Productivity Unconference,’ where students, librarians, and technologists will be invited to meet to share tips, tricks, and tools to be a more efficient and productive researcher, student, and academic professional. The unconference will have time for consultations, workshops, and presentations on tools like citation managers, social bookmarking apps, and cloud storage as well as tips to stay efficient and productive during the busy academic quarter.

Everyone across campus including students, faculty, and staff are invited to meet with experienced ‘productivity experts’ from across campus to:

  • Learn how to use free web tools such as Evernote, Box, and Google Apps to superpower productivity
  • Practice new strategies in time management
  • Discover innovative ways to stay in-the-know
  • Manage research documents such as course readings, book chapters, and paper drafts
  • Ensure security online and in research documents

Schedule of Events
January 15, Noon – 5:00 PM
Regenstein, Room 122

12:00 PM – 2:00 PM: Productivity & Project Management Consultations
Members of the University of Chicago community can sign up for 15-minute consultations with librarians, academic technologists, and tech experts to learn about key productivity tools and strategies.

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Productivity Tools & Strategies Lightning Talks
Participants present proposed lighting talks on their favorite project management/productivity tools or strategies. The Lightning talks blocked at 5 minutes apiece, and will give an opportunity for peer sharing and presentation skills.

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Productivity & Project Management Consultations & Productivity “In”
Participants can meet with consultants on key productivity tools & strategies. This time also serves as a place for students to have a “productivity-in,” where students can get to work planning and organizing course readings, assignments, and extracurricular duties for the quarter.

Sign up for a consultation today!

Interested in presenting a lightning talk? Fill out a lightning talk proposal.

Don’t want to commit? Feel free to drop in during the event, grab a snack provided by the library, and chat with other people across campus to learn some new tools and share your strategies on staying productive.

Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in a Library workshop or training session should contact Kaitlin Springmier at 773-702-0229.

PhD student interns gain new perspectives at the Library

When the call went out for summer internship ideas for the University of Chicago’s Graduate Global Impact program, librarians on campus recognized a dual opportunity. PhD students could develop new perspectives on scholarship by working with librarians on important projects, while the work they accomplished could enhance the Library’s offerings for its many users.

Special Collections Intern Ellen Ambrosone with blueprints

Special Collections Intern Ellen Ambrosone with blueprints (Photo by John Zich)

Four interns—Rafadi Hakim, Ellen Ambrosone, Marco Torres, and Eric Phillips—were hired for summer 2015. Through their internships, they gained new insights into the local and global impact of librarianship and scholarship.

The skills these interns developed in the Library can help them in a wide range of environments in the future. “The primary objective of the internship program is to provide graduate students with flexible training that can help them prepare for careers in academia, nonprofits, government, and industry,” said A-J Aronstein, Associate Director of Graduate Career Development and Employer Relations. “The kind of skills that one develops in the Library—including digital skills, coding, and archival research—are just as vital for jobs on the tenure track as they are for jobs in other fields.”

Digital South Asia Library Intern Rafadi Hakim

A PhD student in Anthropology, Rafadi Hakim, was hired to help expand and enhance the presentation of data and texts in the Digital South Asia Library (DSAL). His projects ranged from writing a grant application with librarians to adding digital facsimiles to the DSAL website.

Hakim jumped at the chance to be involved in the digital humanities. “Sometimes as a student, I feel I’m spending so much time fine tuning small parts of my own paper for just a few people,” he said. But, when working on the DSAL, he explained, “It’s not just about this exclusive circle. It’s massively helpful to people in different countries.” His work this summer required thinking about how to best serve students, scholars, and others with varying degrees of fluency in South Asian languages and varying amounts of Internet bandwidth.

Hakim also appreciates the new perspectives on scholarship that he gained from working with James Nye, Bibliographer for Southern Asia, and Laura Ring, Cataloger and Assistant South Asia Librarian.   “It’s nice to get some mentoring from people in addition to the faculty in your own department,” he said.

Rafadi Hakim

Rafadi Hakim examines an image that will be added to the Digital South Asia Library. (Photo by John Zich)

 

Special Collections Intern Ellen Ambrosone

Over the last several years in particular, Special Collections has received an enormous influx of architectural drawings. “They’re hanging on racks; they’re in drawers; they’re in archival boxes,” said Kathleen Feeney, Head of Archives Processing and Digital Access. “Our best estimate is that there are 117,000 of them. We know we have them from the entire history of the University, from landscape drawings to electrical plans, but when we hired Ellen, we didn’t have a strong inventory.”

Ambrosone, a PhD candidate in South Asian Languages and Civilizations, welcomed the opportunity to participate in the first phase of a multi-year project to preserve and make these drawings accessible. She began the compilation of an inventory of the drawings, so that researchers can more readily understand what is available.

Processing Archivist Ashley Locke Gosselar, who helped to direct Ambrosone’s work on the project, emphasized its importance. “Our campus—and the city at large—is renowned for its architecture. What Ellen is doing is helping to preserve that legacy.”

Ambrosone expects to use the skills she developed in her own work, and to share her knowledge with others. “Having a working knowledge of archiving and processing the collection makes me a more well-rounded scholar,” she said. “I’m thinking about how I can incorporate this experience into my teaching to show students how the work scholars do is often built on work done by library professionals.”

Citation Analysis Intern Marco Torres

History PhD candidate Marco Torres joined the Library this summer to analyze citations used in recent UChicago Latin American studies dissertations. “One of the goals of the project is to help us make decisions about what resources should be purchased in the future based on the type of materials PhD students are using,” explained Ellen Bryan, Reference Librarian and Head of the Dissertation Office.

Torres’s own dissertation proposal was approved shortly before his internship began. He plans to go to Mexico City to do research on the labor movement in the late 1930s and its role in Mexican politics. He particularly valued the opportunity to discover the kinds of sources recent graduates used in studying Mexico.

“A lot of what we do as scholars is to look at bibliographies and see patterns in them,” Torres said. “Getting that recent bibliography is not so easy, sometimes.” One unexpected trend he observed was that recent political science bibliographies cite trade publications outside the social sciences, in fields such as medicine.

ACASA Intern Eric Phillips

History PhD student Eric Phillips first met June Farris, the Library’s Bibliographer for Slavic, East European & Eurasian Studies, when consulting the Library’s Archives of Czechs & Slovaks Abroad (ACASA) for a seminar paper on the transformation of Pressburg into Bratislava, the capital of the Slovak half of newly independent Czechoslovakia in post-World War I Europe. He is studying the Czech language and preparing to write his dissertation on the economic history of interwar Czechoslovakia and Austria.

Eric Phillips

ACASA Intern Eric Phillips (Photo by John Zich)

Farris mentioned to Phillips some time ago that ACASA needed to be reorganized. New materials were waiting to be integrated into the original schema devised by early collector Zdenek Hruban, and old materials needed to be rehoused to make room for them. During his internship, Phillips immersed himself in this project. He was delighted to be the first to go through Professor Hruban’s papers and fascinated to see a copy of the Nuremberg testimony of Petr Zenkl, a mayor of Prague, who was sent by the Nazis to Buchenwald concentration camp.

“For the last two summers, I’ve been going to the archives in Prague and trying to navigate them. It’s been a challenging experience,” Phillips said in August. “Now I’m on the other side, learning how archives are organized.”

“Being a historian, archival research is the ultimate goal, so the more you do of it, the more competent a researcher you are, and the more it can help you develop themes in your area,” said Farris.

Hakim, Torres and Phillips’s internships were sponsored by the Division of the Social Sciences Emerging Leaders Initiative. Ambrosone’s internship was sponsored by UChicago GRAD.

Poetic associations and the Wachs collection

Illustration by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828-1882). “The Poems of Dante Gabriel Rossetti: With Illustrations from His Own Pictures and Designs.” Edited with an introduction and notes by W. M. Rossetti. London: Ellis and Elvey, 1904. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library. Gift of Deborah Wachs Barnes, Sharon Wachs Hirsch, Judith Pieprz, and Joel Wachs, AB’92. Detail from the first edition of Rossetti’s poems illustrated with his own pictures.

Exhibition–Poetic Associations: The 19th-Century English Poetry Collection of Dr. Gerald N. Wachs

Dates: September 21 – December 31, 2015

In the period between the French Revolution and the start of World War I, often called “the long 19th century,” English poetry enjoyed enormous popularity and respect. The Romantics and the Victorians, as we know them today, were celebrities and, often, close friends, part of a literary community that influenced their professional and personal lives. Dr. Gerald N. Wachs (1937-2013), working closely with his friend, bookseller Stephen Weissman of Ximenes Rare Books, collected their works over a period of 40 years starting in 1970, using as their guidebook the Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature. They sought the finest copies, whenever possible ones that were presented by the author to other writers, friends, or family members. Books selected for the Wachs collection are nearly all “special”: in splen­did condition, often one of very few known copies, and many with extraordinary inscriptions that illustrate per­sonal and poetic associations. The resulting collection of nearly 900 titles illuminates the life and works of these enduring poets.

George Gordon, Lord Byron."She Walks in Beauty."

George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824). “Hebrew Melodies.” London: Printed for John Murray, 1815. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library. Gift of Deborah Wachs Barnes, Sharon Wachs Hirsch, Judith Pieprz, and Joel Wachs, AB’92. This was the first title acquired for the Wachs collection.

It is difficult to single out representative examples from such a rich assemblage. The exhibition includes 104 items. Some are little-known works by famous authors. For example, Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s first book, The Battle of Marathon; A Poem (1820), privately print­ed in an edition of 50 copies, of which only 15 copies are known to survive. Others are the first appearance of fa­mous works that differ considerably from the version we have come to know, such as Tennyson’s The Charge of the Light Brigade.

After Dr. Wachs’s death, and thanks to the great generosity of the Wachs family (Deborah Wachs Barnes, Sha­ron Wachs Hirsch, Judith Pieprz, and Joel Wachs, AB’92), more than 600 titles have been donated to the University of Chicago. This magnificent gift will create entirely new areas of depth to the Library’s collection, for example Anglo-Indian poetry, and add many works previously not in the collection or with features of great interest to researchers.

Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Hours: Monday–Friday: 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.; Saturdays: 9 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. when classes are in session. Consult hours for the Special Collections Research Center at hours.lib.uchicago.edu.

The exhibition is free and open to the public.

Curators: Catherine Uecker, Alice Schreyer, Sarah G. Wenzel, and Eric Powell

Associated web exhibit: lib.uchicago.edu/e/webexhibits/poeticassociations

 

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download by members of the media, and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.  For more information, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

 

 

Seeing Chicago sociologists anew through the Archives

Harvey Choldin, AB’60, AM’63, PhD’65, finds himself plumbing the archives for an exhibition on the Chicago school of sociology

Harvey Choldin and Joe Scott with a map from the exhibition "Mapping the Young Metropolis"

Curator Harvey Choldin and exhibition designer Joe Scott examine a map from the exhibition “Mapping the Young Metropolis: The Chicago School of Sociology, 1915–1940.” (Photo by John Zich)

A few years ago I was at an opening of one of the Special Collections Research Center’s fascinating exhibitions with my wife, Marianna Tax Choldin, LAB’59, AB’62, AM’67, PhD’79, when it struck me: why not have an exhibit on the Chicago school of sociology? I’m a Chicagoan, an urban sociologist, and a UChicago alumnus, so my fascination with the Chicago school comes naturally. When I mentioned the idea to the director of Special Collections, Dan Meyer, AM’75, PhD’94, that evening, he thought others would be fascinated too.

A couple of weeks later Dan and I met to discuss the idea further. After a lifetime in academia, I expected Dan to appoint a faculty committee of sociologists, including me if I was lucky. Instead he said, to my surprise, that I would be curating the exhibit.

What was the Chicago school? Over three decades teaching urban sociology I was always aware of the work of University of Chicago scholars in the pre–World War II era. An influential 1915 essay by one of the school’s founders, Robert E. Park, conveys the nature of their contributions. In “The City: Suggestions for the Investigation of Human Behavior in the City Environment,” Park argued that sociologists had to get out of the library and conduct empirical research, studying the city firsthand. The city, he wrote, should be their laboratory. We planned the exhibition to celebrate the centennial of Park’s essay.

Ernest Burgess, PhD 1913, also held this view. His landmark 1925 publication, “The Growth of the City: An Introduction to a Research Project,” introduced his concentric zones model of urban growth. Diagrammed in a sort of bull’s-eye pattern, the model was reprinted for decades in book after book about cities.

I was particularly inspired by Louis Wirth’s (PhB’19, AM’25, PhD’26) paper “Urbanism as a Way of Life,” published in the American Journal of Sociology in 1938. Wirth joined the faculty after earning his doctorate. His ambitious paper attempts to define the city and explain why city life is as it is. The essay was broad in scope and fearlessly bold. I always started my urban courses and seminars with it and emphasized it in the urban sociology textbook I wrote.

Park and Burgess sent hundreds of students—two of whom became my professors, Everett Hughes, PhD’28, and Philip Hauser, PhB’29, AM’33, PhD’38—into the city to do research. Using the city as their laboratory, they one by one completed theses and dissertations that became classics of sociology. The titles were evocative: “The Taxi-Dance Hall,” “The Ghetto,” “The Hobo,” “The Gang.” The University of Chicago Press established a series in sociology and published these along with many other dissertations.

Hand drawn map

Ernest Burgess, whose concentric zone model of urban space had lasting influence, used maps extensively in his sociological work. Map of the Radial Expansion and the Five Urban Zones, undated. Ernest Watson Burgess Papers. The University of Chicago Library.

My unexpected task now was to delve into the archives and see what remained from this seminal time and place in sociology. There were disappointments. Park’s archive had very little, and Wirth’s retained items mostly from later in his life, after the number of students dwindled at the advent of World War II and the Chicago school drew to a close.

But there were delightful discoveries too. Harvey Zorbaugh’s project The Gold Coast and the Slum (1929), for example, had a file at the University of Chicago Press. In it were black-and-white snapshots taken in the “slum” of the book’s title, Little Sicily on the Near North Side, during his fieldwork. Another press file, for The Gang (1927) by Frederic M. Thrasher, AM 1918, PhD’26, held a sociologist’s or historian’s treasure: a large map of “Chicago’s gangland” with hundreds of red dots and triangles showing the locations of the city’s boy gangs. Some of the larger ones were the Dukies, Shielders, and West Siders.

A wonderful little archive was that of James Carey, PhD’58, who in the 1970s wrote a book on the Chicago school, tracking down its living members, men and women who had been students then or their surviving spouses. Carey got them talking candidly and informally about their peers and professors and the texture of life during the Chicago school, and later donated transcripts of his interviews to the archive.

Ruth Shonle Cavan, PhB’21, AM’23, PhD’26, the author of Suicide, recalled that “we didn’t have any money to have any paid commercial recreation. So most of our free time was either spent in the library or little groups discussing everything under the sun. … It came as near to a community of scholars as I have ever experienced.” Norman Hayner, AM’21, PhD’23, said that Burgess “worked the tail off us. All of us graduate students knew that we had to work when we got into a course with Burgess, but you learned something.” None of them had any sense of being in a “school”—the name would come years later. They were just doing exciting research.

Burgess’s archives proved to be the mother lode. I saw similarities between Burgess and my late father-in-law, anthropologist Sol Tax, PhD’35. Each man had spent his entire academic life vigorously engaged in social science at the University—and they both accumulated lots of paper that became important scholarly archives. Burgess’s take up 261 linear feet and are filled with treasures. I spent months with them: research proposals, penciled-in questionnaires, tally sheets of answers, drafts, published reports, and things less expected.

When you open a file, you don’t know what you’re going to find. In Burgess’s archive I might stumble on an umpteenth survey of boys in playgrounds or one more neighborhood study report. My challenge was to find items that would be legible and interesting to look at in a display case. One of the most memorable things I found was a field report written by Hauser when he was a student.

A world-famous demographer, Hauser was known for bringing a rigorously scientific approach to sociology. This report, written in 1929, was about his visits to the homes of three men who were killed in the St. Valentine’s Day massacre. In one case the deceased was so poor and solitary that his friends recruited Phil to serve as a pallbearer.

At moments working in Burgess’s archive I felt my own place in the lineage that followed him. One day I found a demographic graph of a neighborhood, dated 1934, by Alex Edidin, PhB’34, who was an old friend of my family. Twenty-five years after Edidin, I had completed the same assignment for my teacher and his fellow student Philip Hauser. I photocopied Edidin’s graph and sent it to his son and my lifelong friend Michael Edidin, SB’60. He was delighted to see it.

In the months I spent in Burgess’s papers, I saw the full range of his involvement with urban issues: crime and delinquency, parks and playgrounds, mental illness, divorce, and more. He corresponded with the Union League Club, the Metropolitan YMCA, and other civic organizations and agencies. Perhaps his major efforts were directed toward solving the problems of the Depression. He directed a census of the city of Chicago in 1934, focused on housing and unemployment. My mother, Hannah Werth Choldin, PhB’30, a young schoolteacher, was an enumerator on that census.

When Hauser and Hughes taught me in the College, Hughes was near retirement and Hauser was department chair. I thought of them as eminent sociologists to be respected for their scholarly accomplishments and to be feared, of course, as professors. In the archives they came to life as young graduate students—getting assignments from their professors and launching new research projects with no notion their work would be remembered for decades to come. In all the years that I’d learned from them, remembered them, and been inspired by them as a scholar, I’d never thought of them like that before.

Harvey Choldin, AB’60, AM’63, PhD’65, is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The exhibit he curated, Mapping the Young Metropolis: The Chicago School of Sociology, 1915–1940, runs through September 11, 2015, at the Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery and an associated web exhibit is available online.

This essay originally appeared in the July/August 2015 issue of the University of Chicago Magazine.

Mapping the Young Metropolis

Hand colored map, “Populations Receiving Relief”

Hand colored map, “Populations Receiving Relief,” October 1934.
Ernest W. Burgess Papers, The University of Chicago Library.

Exhibition: Mapping the Young Metropolis: The Chicago School of Sociology, 1915–1940

Dates: June 22 – September 11, 2015

In 1915, University of Chicago sociology professor Robert E. Park published The City: Suggestions for the Investigation of Human Behavior in the City Environment, a book that inspired a quarter-century of social research at the University of Chicago and transformed the discipline of sociology. This explosion of scholarship came to be known as the Chicago School of Sociology. Faculty and graduate students in the Department of Sociology adopted Chicago as their urban laboratory and began to study the city intensively, examining distinctive neighborhoods, institutions and social patterns. Archives in the Special Collections Research Center preserve key records of their research methodology: tools, such as questionnaires and life histories, along with analyses, such as statistical tables and city maps. Archival documents reveal the new sociological research process, from proposal through data collection to final report. The exhibition also displays a series of influential books written by Chicago sociologists, many based upon PhD dissertations, among them Louis Wirth’s The Ghetto (1928) and Harvey Zorbaugh’s The Gold Coast and the Slum (1929).

Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Hours: Monday–Friday: 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m.; Saturdays 9 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. when classes are in session. Consult hours for the Special Collections Research Center at hours.lib.uchicago.edu.

The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Curator: Harvey Choldin, AB’60, AM’63, PhD’65, earned his Ph.D. in the University of Chicago Sociology Department and is a University of Illinois professor emeritus of sociology.

Associated web exhibit (coming in July):  lib.uchicago.edu/e/webexhibits/mappingtheyoungmetropolis2

Use of Images and Media Contact

Images from the exhibition included on this page are available for download by members of the media, and are reserved for editorial use in connection with University of Chicago Library exhibitions, programs, or related news.  For more information, contact Rachel Rosenberg at ra-rosenberg@uchicago.edu or 773-834-1519.

 

Where the intellectual meets the personal

Curator Lauren Stokes makes invisible histories visible in an exhibition on LGBTQ life at UChicago

Lauren Stokes with her exhibition, "Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles"

Ph.D. candidate Lauren Stokes in the Special Collections Research Center Gallery with the exhibition she curated, “Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles.” (Photo by Joseph Scott)

University of Chicago History Ph.D. candidate Lauren Stokes curated the Special Collections Research Center’s spring exhibition, Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles: A History of LGBTQ Life at the University of Chicago.  With the exhibition’s final days in the gallery approaching, Stokes answered Rachel Rosenberg’s questions about her research process, and described the connections and tensions between the LGBTQ experience on campus and the life of the mind.

Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles is a project of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality.  The project exhibition is on view in the Special Collections Exhibition Gallery through June 12, 2015.  An associated web exhibit will remain online after the gallery exhibition closes.

How did you come to curate this exhibition, and what made you interested in doing so?

Following  the success of the 2009 exhibition On Equal Terms: Educating Women at the University of Chicago at the Special Collections Research Center, the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality decided to sponsor a project on the history of LGBTQ life on campus. The University received a 5-star rating from the National LGBT-Friendly Campus Climate Index in 2012, but we knew very little about the work that it took to get to that point.

Homo t-shirt: "The University of Chicago is gayer than you think"

Ho-mo t-shirt. Donated by Scott Dennis. Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles. Collection. The University of Chicago Library.

I was hired because I had previously researched the history of LGBTQ life at my undergraduate institution, which shares the same mascot as Chicago, so that I can now joke that I am truly the world’s expert on gay and lesbian phoenices.

What challenges did you face in working in the archives and conducting interviews?  What were the most exciting discoveries you made?

Finding LGBTQ life in the archives is difficult because the terms that we use to describe what we are looking for are not the terms that would have been used in the past. More than with other projects I’ve worked on, I needed to do research before I could even do archival research, and I was indebted to previous work on Chicago’s LGBTQ history in order to provide a roadmap. Without the work of previous scholars, for example, I would never have been able to trace the network of “Boston marriages” among the first generation of female faculty and graduate students or have known where to find Gay Liberation in and around the University in the 1970s.

For oral histories, one of our biggest challenges was finding a diversity of narrators. In reaching out to narrators, we sought to span generations (resulting in a range from a 1958 JD to the 2012 AB), racial backgrounds, and sexual and gender identities and expressions.  Many of the first volunteers were highly engaged with LGBTQ politics while at the University, but we were also committed to obtaining the stories of people who may not have been “out” or not have been LGBTQ-identified while on campus. For some of these people, we had to convince them that their experiences were also a necessary part of the history we wanted to preserve.

Photograph from Chicago Pride Parade, 1991. Chicago Maroon, June 1991. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf7-03416-001, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library. Used with permission of the Chicago Maroon.

Photograph from Chicago Pride Parade, 1991. Chicago Maroon, June 1991. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf7-03416-001, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library. Used with permission of the Chicago Maroon.

While curating the exhibit, I then confronted the additional challenge of translating these “invisible” histories, often characterized by silence, into object-based histories. Established institutional and political communities were more likely to leave material evidence of their existence. Now that the oral histories that speak to a different experience are in the archives, I hope that people will continue to use them in order to tell more “invisible” stories in creative ways.

Finally, Patti Gibbons at Special Collections worked to secure the loan of a square of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt that remembers some of the students and alumni who were lost to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s. The quilt reminds visitors of an important chapter in local and national history, but also speaks to the silences that characterize the LGBTQ archive—many of the people we would have wanted to speak to about the early years of Gay Liberation died of AIDS-related causes.

AIDS also affected the material archive in surprising ways—there are many stories of birth families throwing out the personal items of sons and daughters who died of AIDS-related causes, while partners, lovers, and friends in the gay and lesbian community were legally unable to do anything about it.

The UChicago square of the AIDS Quilt on display in the Special Collections Exhibition Gallery

The UChicago square of the AIDS Quilt, Block #753, on loan from the NAMES Project Foundation.
The NAMES Project AIDS quilt square lists some of the students and faculty lost to the epidemic. (Image courtesy of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality)

Has your work on this exhibition enhanced your intellectual and professional development? 

Thinking in terms of an exhibition is very different from thinking in terms of a dissertation. Not only was I telling a story with objects rather than texts, but I was also telling a story that had to arise from a community, and that had to do justice to the 96 people who were willing to share their stories with us.

"Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles" web exhibit

“Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles” web exhibit. Visit lib.uchicago.edu/e/webexhibits/outinthequads/

I began with a great deal of anxiety about oral histories because I did not know if I would create “perfect” oral histories—what if I failed to connect with a narrator? What if I asked the wrong questions? It took the experience of several oral histories, and later the re-reading of those oral histories, before I became comfortable with the idea that “perfection” is not a useful concept for oral histories. An oral history is a conversation rather than a definitive statement of unassailable truth—but these are features of the method rather than problems to be solved.

Finally, I also had the opportunity to teach an undergraduate course about archival research as part of the project, “Sexuality and the Production of History” in Spring 2013. It was incredibly exciting to introduce students to archival research, and specifically how historians work with documents that at first glance may not seem to say much about sexuality. Those students also helped me to look at the documents in new ways, and their insights have filtered into the final product.

These same qualities—the value of collaboration and the ability to accept messiness and contingency as features of the sources that I work with—are also filtering into my other projects, which center on migration in German history.

How does this exhibit address the campaign for marriage equality? And what sort of impact do you want this exhibition to have on public conversations or future scholarly inquiries into LGBTQ history and rights?

The University of Chicago was one of the first universities nationally to offer benefits to same-sex domestic partners in December 1992, and the exhibit documents the faculty, staff, and student activism that made that possible. That moment also resonates with our contemporary moment because of the number of people who wanted to think “beyond marriage” and towards new ways of imagining intimacy and community.

Visitors at the Opening Gala view the exhibition "Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles" (Courtesy of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality)

Visitors at the Opening Gala view the exhibition “Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles.” Molly Liu, AB’13, left, served as an undergraduate intern who collected oral histories for the project. (Courtesy of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality)

The exhibit also uncovers a number of surprising activist strategies that might be worth reclaiming in the present, including coalition work between Gay Liberation and African-American groups in the 1960s and 1970s and queer students and hospital workers in the 1990s. I want everyone to know that LGBTQ people have always been part of the University, and that they have always worked to transform the University in creative and productive ways.

Finally, I think that the exhibit shifts our understanding of the University perhaps even more than it changes our understanding of LGBTQ life: because it was a theme that came up in almost all of the oral histories, I wanted to use the exhibit to explore the tension between the possibilities and the constraints created by the University’s focus on the “life of the mind.” For example, some narrators reported that their process of coming out influenced their path of study—one narrator remembered dropping a Political Science major in the 1960s because he didn’t think he could be a gay politician, while some of our narrators from the 1980s chose to go to law school so that they could make a difference in the AIDS epidemic. At an even more basic level, some of the narrators from the 1960s chose Chicago in part because Illinois was the only state that had decriminalized sodomy. The experiences of LGBTQ individuals offer special insight into the ways that none of our intellectual lives can be separated from our personal lives.