Applications Open for 2017 Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowship Program

Robert Platzman

Robert Platzman in 1941

The University of Chicago Library invites applications for short-term research fellowships for the summer of 2017. Any visiting researcher, writer, or artist residing more than 100 miles from Chicago, and whose project requires on-site consultation of University of Chicago Library collections, primarily archives, manuscripts, rare books, or other materials in the Special Collections Research Center, is eligible. Support for beginning scholars is a priority of the program. Applications in the fields of late nineteenth- or early twentieth-century physics or physical chemistry, or nineteenth-century classical opera, will receive special consideration.

Awards will be made based on the applicant’s ability to complete the proposed on-site research successfully within the timeframe of the fellowship.  Applicants should explain why the project cannot be conducted without on-site access to the original materials and the extent to which University of Chicago Library collections are central to the research.  Up to $3,000 of support will be awarded to help cover estimated travel, living, and research expenses.  Applications from women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are encouraged.

The deadline for applications is February 17, 2017.  Notice of awards will be made by March 20, 2017, for use between June 1, 2017, and September 29, 2017.

Applicants must provide the following information:

  • A cover letter (not to exceed one page) including the project title; a brief summary; estimated dates of on-site research; and a budget for travel, living, and research expenses during the period of on-site research
  • A research proposal not to exceed three double-spaced pages. Applicants should include references to specific archival finding aids and catalog records of particular relevance to their proposed project whenever possible.
  • A curriculum vitae of no longer than two pages
  • Two letters of support from academic or other scholars. References may be sent with the application or separately.

Submit application in one electronic file to: scrcfellowship@lib.uchicago.edu

Letters of reference in electronic form are preferred; print letters of reference can be sent to:

Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowships
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library
1100 E. 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

For additional information contact:
Daniel Meyer, Director, Special Collections Research Center

For additional background on the Platzman Fellowship, and to see a list of last year’s recipients please see our website: http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/scrc/about/platzmanfellowships.html

Special Collections Closed Nov. 24-27

Special Collections Research CenterThe Special Collections Research Center will be closed November 24-27 in observation of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will resume our normal hours on Monday, November 28.

Special Collections Closing at 4:45 Nov. 2

An event in the Special Collections Research Center exhibition gallery (Photo by Jason Smith)

An event in the Special Collections Research Center exhibition gallery (Photo by Jason Smith)

The Special Collections Research Center will close at 4:45 on November 2 for a special event and will not have extended hours that evening. We will resume normal hours on November 3.

An online trove of Biblical manuscripts

The digitization of the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection

An extraordinary collection of 68 New Testament and other Biblical manuscripts dating from the fourth to the twentieth centuries has been digitized and made available for study online. This fall, the University of Chicago Library celebrates the completion of a website (goodspeed.lib.uchicago.edu) featuring digital facsimiles of rare and delicate Greek, Syriac, Ethiopic, Armenian, Arabic, and Latin manuscripts from the Edgar J. Goodspeed Manuscript Collection in the Special Collections Research Center.  This premier collection holds great artistic, historical, and textual significance for scholars.

Eusebius of Caesarea, letter to Carpianus

Goodspeed Manuscript Collection, gms-1017-007, Eusebius of Caesarea, letter to Carpianus. Gospels in Armenian. (Aleppo Gospels). Aleppo, Syria (Berea), 1624.

The inspiration for the digitization project came from faculty working in a range of disciplines from religious studies to art history and classics.  All had an interest in bringing digitized images of manuscripts into the classroom and onto the laptops of students and faculty.  An initial grant from the University of Chicago Provost’s Program for Academic Technology Innovation and an award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services National Leadership Grants for Libraries helped to fund the early years of the project.

Completion of the digitization project was the result of a successful collaboration across Library units including the Digital Library Development Center, Special Collections Research Center, Preservation Department, and Cataloging Department.  Specialists in the Library overcame numerous challenges over the course of the digitization process.  For example, many of the manuscripts are bound in vellum or leather with parchment text pages that are proteinaceous, causing the material to cockle and stiffen over the centuries.  Others feature extraordinary illustrations—from decorative headpieces and initials to full-page images—on media that needed to be handled with the utmost care to prevent flaking or crumbling.

The faithfully photographed works are represented online by high-resolution 24-bit color images that researchers can view in tremendous detail using the zooming capability of the web interface. In addition, Special Collections staff provided detailed metadata about each manuscript’s intellectual content together with descriptions of miniatures, watermarks, and heraldic devices.  This enables both general and advanced users of all disciplines to search and browse the online collection using a wide range of subject headings, descriptive terms, and manuscript features.

Visit goodspeed.lib.uchicago.edu to see the Goodspeed Manuscripts online.

Exhibits Alma and Donald Lach’s legacies continue in Special Collections

Alma Lach Test Kitchen

Alma Lach, photograph, ca.1980, Alma Lach Papers, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The late Alma S. (1914-2013) and Donald F. Lach (1917-2000) were a notable Hyde Park–University of Chicago team. The couple hosted countless dinner parties, beautifully prepared by Alma, EX’38, a great chef, author, and food consultant of her time, and their home was often a gathering place for the esteemed Professor Donald Lach’s students of history.

As a culinary arts leader and a groundbreaking historian, Alma and Donald reached worldwide audiences. Thanks to the generosity of their daughter Sandra Lach Arlinghaus and her husband William C. Arlinghaus, the legacies of both Donald and Alma continue to benefit UChicago’s students and faculty, as well as scholars around the globe. The Special Collections Research Center at the University of Chicago Library has been the proud home of the Donald F. Lach Papers since 1995 and recently received the Alma Lach Papers and Alma Lach Culinary Library from Sandra and William.

Hows and Whys of French Cooking

Alma Lach. Hows and Whys of French Cooking. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974. Alma Lach Culinary Library, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Alma Lach’s Kitchen: Transforming Taste, the current Special Collections Research Center exhibition, displays items from Alma’s rich archive through January 6, 2017.  Alma blazed a path for herself in the culinary world. One of the first Americans to graduate from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, she earned her Grand Diplôme in 1956. Upon her return to Chicago, Alma secured a position at the Chicago Sun-Times as the Food Editor, writing a weekly column on gourmet cookery until 1965. In 1955 she hosted a public television show for children, Let’s Cook. This was one of the earliest cooking shows of any kind on TV, and Alma was one of the earliest chefs to appear before the camera for a regularly broadcasted show. In 1965 Alma launched her own cooking school and was a very popular teacher; she also served as a food consultant for airlines and food companies, such as Lettuce Entertain You, and invented the Curly Dog Cutting Board. Perhaps most notably, in 1974, Alma wrote Hows and Whys of French Cooking (originally published as Cooking à la Cordon Bleu), a best seller that incorporated her knowledge of French cooking and cuisine.

Curly-Dog Cutting Board

Curly-Dog Cutting Board label, Alma Lach Papers, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Alma emerged as an important figure in the transformation of American cuisine in the latter half of the 20th century, moving American palates and kitchens away from basic, conventional cooking  to embrace new flavors, combinations, ingredients, and techniques not only from France but from around the world. She was intrigued by international cuisines as well as the accompanying social aspects. Her culinary book collection contains volumes about ethnic cuisines, including Hungarian, Chinese, Italian, Mexican, Hispanic, and Indian. Some of these cookbooks, as well as selections from her papers, are on display in the exhibition.

Sandra Arlinghaus considers the Special Collections Research Center an excellent home for the Alma Lach Papers and Alma Lach Culinary Library for several reasons. “Mom’s entire culinary career was centered in Hyde Park!” she wrote. “Of equal importance was the fact that my father’s collection was already well-cared for at the University of Chicago Library. It was nice to think that my parents could continue to be together, in perpetuity, at the site where they first met (as students living in International House) and lived most of their adult lives.”

A Child's First Cook Book.

Alma Lach. A Child’s First Cook Book. New York: Hart Publishing Co., 1950. Alma Lach Culinary Library, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Donald F. Lach, PhD’41, was professor of History at the University of Chicago from 1948 to 1988. His scholarship focused on the influence Asia had on the history and development of Europe between the 16th and 18th centuries. The extensive materials found in the Donald F. Lach Papers have been processed into a consolidated collection, and an online finding aid, an indispensable tool for accessing this important resource, has been created.

The Library is raising funds so that Alma’s culinary book collection and papers can be catalogued, processed, and preserved, and, therefore, can become discoverable by all. Both Lach collections are prime examples of archives that warrant care and discovery. Together and separately, the Lachs helped shape their disciplines. With the acquisition and processing of both the Lachs’ archives, Donald and Alma can continue to influence others.

For information about ways to support the Alma Lach Papers and Alma Lach Culinary Library, please contact Yasmin Omer, Director of Development, at 773-834-3744 or at yasminomer@uchicago.edu.

SCRC Request System Temporarily Down September 20

Resources on display in the Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery

Resources on display in the Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery

The ability to request materials from the Special Collections Research Center through our electronic request system will be temporarily unavailable for three hours on the morning of September 20to allow for a system upgrade. The system will be unavailable from 7am CDT – 10:0am CDT.  We regret the inconvenience.

Current Exhibits Alma Lach’s Kitchen: Transforming Taste

Exhibition Dates: September 19, 2016 – January 6, 2017
Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Hows and Whys of French Cooking

Alma Lach. Hows and Whys of French Cooking. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1974. Alma Lach Culinary Library, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

In the pioneering culinary era of the mid-twentieth century, Chicago chef Alma Lach was one of the primary figures who transformed traditional American cooking. As a chef, cookbook author, and food consultant, Alma was widely known for her bestselling book, Cooking à la Cordon Bleu (1970), later revised and published by the University of Chicago Press as Hows and Whys of French Cooking (1974). A graduate of the Cordon Bleu school in Paris (Grand Diplôme, 1956), she was also a member of the Chevalier du Tastevin and Les Dames d’Escoffier. She authored cookbooks for children, co-hosted a cooking show on public television, developed menus for travel and corporate clients, and invented kitchen tools such as the Curly Dog Cutting Board.

Lach also collected more than 3,000 cookbooks reflecting her broad range of interests in food preparation and dining, from classic French and Chinese cuisine to cookbooks popularizing the foods of American ethnic groups and recipe books produced by churches and volunteer groups. This exhibition will explore Alma Lach’s wide-ranging culinary career and display selections from her fascinating collection of cookbooks.

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

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.

Alma Lach Test Kitchen

Alma Lach, photograph, ca.1980, Alma Lach Papers, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

 

SCRC Closed September 5 for Labor Day

The Special Collections Research Center will be closed on Monday, September 5, in observation of Labor Day. We will resume our usual hours on Tuesday, September 6.

SCRC Will Open at 10:30am August 25

The Special Collections Research Center will open at 10:30 am on Thursday, August 25, in order to accommodate activities for Library Staff Day. We regret any inconvenience. We will resume our usual 9:00am-4:45pm hours on Friday, August 26.

SCRC Request Function Temporarily Down August 16, 7am-10am

The ability to request materials from the Special Collections Research Center through our electronic request system will be temporarily unavailable for three hours on the morning of August 16 to allow for a system upgrade. The system will be unavailable from 7am CDT – 10:0am CDT.  We regret the inconvenience.

Exhibits Feature Story 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.

Changes in Special Collections hours

Effective June 21, 2016, the Special Collections Research Center will move from being open Saturday mornings to being open until 6:00 pm on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings when classes are in session.  This change in hours will allow Special Collections to better serve University of Chicago students, faculty, and staff, and to make the best use of available staff hours. The Special Collections reading room will close at 5:45pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The latest time for submitting new item requests daily remains 4:15pm, Monday-Friday. The exhibit gallery will no longer be open on Saturday mornings, but gallery hours are being extended on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings until 5:45pm. Please contact us with any questions you may have.

Special Collections Research Center

SCRC Closed May 30

Memorial Tablet honoring fallen University of Chicago soldiers from World War IThe Special Collections Research Center will be closed on Monday, May 30, for Memorial Day. We will resume our regular hours at 9:00am on Tuesday, May 30.

The Art and Adventuresome Life of Cyrus LeRoy Baldridge, PhB 1911

Saturday, June 4, 2016
11 a.m. – 12 noon
Special Collections Research Center Classroom
The Joseph Regenstein Library
1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL

At this discussion, Jay Mulberry, AB’63, looks toward a summer Special Collections Research Center exhibition he will co-curate on the Art of Cyrus LeRoy Baldridge. Many of Baldridge’s fine book illustrations from World War I, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East are housed in the Smart Museum.

SCRC Closing Early on March 29

The Special Collections Research Center will close at 3:00 on Tuesday, March 29, due to a special event taking place in our space. We will resume our normal hours of 9:00-4:45 on March 30.

2016 Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowships Awarded

Robert Platzman

Robert Platzman in 1941

The Special Collections Research Center is pleased to announce the recipients of the Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowships for 2016.

Established through a bequest of George W. Platzman (1920-2008), Professor in Geophysical Sciences, the research fellowships are named in memory of George’s brother Robert Platzman (1918-1973), Professor of Chemistry and Physics and a member of the Metallurgical Laboratory at the University of Chicago during World War II.

The annual Platzman Fellowships provide funds for visiting researchers whose projects require on-site consultation of University of Chicago Library collections, primarily but not exclusively materials in Special Collections, with priority given to beginning scholars. Additional information on the Platzman Fellowship program is available on the Special Collections web site: http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/scrc/about/platzmanfellowships.html

2016 Robert L. Platzman Fellows

Kate Bellamy
PhD candidate, Centre for Linguistics, Leiden University, Netherlands
Consulting the papers of Paul Friedrich and Norman McQuown
“Rediscovering Lost Voices: Two Approaches to Indigenous Literacy in Purépecha (Mexico)”

Lucie Claire
Maître de conferences, UFR des lettres, Université de Picardie Jules Verne, Amiens, France
Consulting editions of works of Marc-Antoine Muret in the rare book holdings
“The American Destiny of the Humanist Marc-Antoine Muret (1526-1585)”

Azra Dawood
PhD Candidate, History, Theory and Criticism of Architecture and Art, Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Consulting the records of the University of Chicago Department of Buildings and Grounds and the papers of Harold H. Swift, Julius Rosenwald, Robert M. Hutchins, and others
“John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and the Architecture of Protestant Internationalism (1919-1946).”

Raquel Escobar
PhD candidate, History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Consulting records of the American Indian Chicago Conference in the Native American Educational Service records, and the papers of Robert Redfield, Sol Tax, and others
“Reconcile the Indian, Reconcile the Nation: Indigenismo, the Nation, and Transnational Networks of the Inter-American Indian Institute”

Louis Fletcher
PhD candidate, School of Social & Political Sciences, University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Consulting the records of the Social Science Research Committee and the papers of Quincy Wright, Charles E. Merriam, and Beardsley Ruml
“A Genealogy of Democratic Peace”

Ilnyun Kim
PhD candidate, History, Ohio State University
Consulting the records of the International Association for Cultural Freedom
“The Liberal Persuasion: The Congress for Cultural Freedom and the Intellectual Cold War in the World, 1950-1967”

Paul Putz
PhD candidate, History, Baylor University
Consulting the papers of Amos Alonzo Stagg and related archival collections
“Creating the Christian Athlete in the Twentieth-Century United States”

Aulii Silva
PhD candidate, Educational Foundations, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Consulting the papers of Henry Northrup Castle
“Worth Another Look: A Native Hawaiian Review of the Henry N. Castle Papers”

John Suval
Ph.D. candidate, History, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Consulting the papers of Stephen A. Douglas
“Dangerous Ground: Squatters, Statesmen, and the Rupture of American Democracy, 1830-1860”

Exhibits Feature Story 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

Platzman Fellows at Work: Finding Manuel

This post is written by 2015 Platzman Research Fellow Oenone Kubie. Kubie is a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford. She visited SCRC this past summer to consult the papers of Ernest Burgess, Grace and Edith Abbott, Julius Rosenwald, Robert Park, and others, for a study of “Boys’ Street Culture in Chicago, 1900-1929.” Below is her reflection on her time using some of these collections and their relation to her dissertation. To apply for this year’s Platzman Fellowship, apply by February 15.

On the face of it, one would probably expect the source base for my project, Boys’ Street Culture in Early Twentieth Century Chicago, to be extremely limited. Piecing together and examining the experiences and subcultures of Chicago’s working-class and immigrant boys of a century ago may be interesting, but surely this subclass of an already disadvantaged class must be all but invisible in the archives. After all, one must often read archival material against the grain to conduct a history of the childhood of even the wealthiest and most affluent families. It is lucky for me, then, that I am far from the first scholar to be interested in the lives of early twentieth century Chicago’s boys.

The archives at the Regenstein Library are full of the research and reports conducted by Chicago School sociologists, much of it regarding the lives of working class and immigrant children. The favoured method of research, at least by the 1920s, was the life history. Life histories were biographies of individual cases from which, scholars hoped, broad trends could be identified. They were collected either through interviews or by asking individuals to write their own autobiographies, usually with the aid of prompt questions. Of course, these sources come with a whole host of methodological problems – from the power relations of the interviewer and subject to the typicality of the boys’ lives – all of which are compounded by the fact that the subjects are either children or they are adults reminiscing about a childhood ten, twenty, or more years ago. Nonetheless, used critically and in conjunction with other sources, these life histories are undeniably among the most useful sources for projects like mine. The stories they tell are rich with detail and are moving, captivating, and even amusing.

Here let us look briefly at just one life history: the story of a nine year old Mexican-American boy, growing up in Chicago in the late 1920s and early 1930s.[1] Manuel (almost certainly not his real name) was the child to Mexican immigrants. He was born in 1924 and moved to Chicago at the age of 2. In Chicago, Manuel and his family moved every couple of years between different neighbourhoods. Firstly they moved to Brighton Park, then when Manuel was four, to Little Village, two years later they returned to Brighton Park and, three years after that (1933), to the boundary between Pilsen and Little Italy. These areas now all have large Mexican-American communities, and are still known as common ports of entry to immigrants from Mexico.

Manuel’s story attests to what life was like as a young Mexican-American in Chicago in the early twentieth century. Manuel thought of himself as different to both the “white” and the “colored” boys: a distinction both groups seemed keen to enforce. When Manuel and his family moved to Little Village, Manuel remembered that he was one of very few Mexican boys in the neighbourhood at that time. He recalls that he was lonely, the white boys not allowing him to play with them. Later, he would go to the Foster School in Little Italy where, Manuel claimed, the Mexican boys had to group together or they risked being beaten by the African-American boys. Manuel wrote of his equal dislike of the black children saying that, although he occasionally played with some, they were mean and lied a lot. On the other hand, Manuel dreamt of becoming a white boy: “Sometimes I even don’t like myself. I would like to be a white boy and look like Ken Maynard”. Maynard came from champion rodeo riding to become one of the most popular actors in early the Westerns of the twenties and thirties. To Manuel, and others, he symbolised adventure, virile masculinity, but also desirable whiteness which Manuel consciously contrasted to his own, Mexican heritage.

Drawing by Manuel

Drawings by Manuel, from Ernest Burgess Papers, Special Collections Research Center

Manuel wrote of his relationship with his Mexican heritage by talking of his Spanish-speaking parents. He could speak, read and write Spanish but, despite his mother and father often playing them, Manuel knew no Mexican songs. Instead, he preferred songs such as ‘Shuffle off to Buffalo’ (the soundtrack to 42nd Street, a popular musical from 1933). Manuel was particularly scathing of his mother who spoke no English: “My mother knows nothing about American things. She only knows about Mexico. I know more about things than she does”. Despite this, Manuel is keen to follow the career his parents want for him and to become an artist. His story ends with a couple of drawings, one of an ‘Indian’ and one of a sailor.

Manuel’s life history was probably taken in 1933 or 1934. What became of Manuel afterwards, I don’t know, however, he would have turned 18 in the summer of 1942 and, thus, would probably have been drafted into the US Armed Forces. This life history is just one of hundreds the Chicago School sociologists took in the twenties and thirties although one from just a handful of Mexican-American boys asked to participate. Nonetheless, Manuel’s story demonstrates the capacity these histories have to share the experiences of those whose voices are typically missing in the historical record. We can get a glimpse of Manuel’s life, his relationships, his struggles and his hopes.

I’m excited to look over the material I have gathered during my summer at the University of Chicago and am grateful to the Special Collections at the Regenstein Library for funding my trip through the Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowship and also to the staff for the help they offered me while I was visiting the archives.

[1] ‘Case no. A by Edward M. Haddon’, Burgess, Ernest, Papers, [Box 134, folder 4], Special Collections Research Centre, University of Chicago Library

SCRC Will Be Closed Monday, January 18th

The Special Collections Research Center will be closed on Monday, January 18, in observation of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Please note that we will open at 10:30am on Tuesday, January 19.  For more information please see our hours page.

Exhibits Feature Story 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.

SCRC Resumes Regular Hours for Tuesday 12/1

The Special Collections Research Center will return to its usual hours beginning Tuesday, December 1, following this announcement  by the University of  Chicago.

Special Collections Thanksgiving Holiday Hours

The Special Collections Research Center will be closed Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, November 26-28, in observation of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will resume our usual hours of 9:00-4:45 on Monday, November 30,2015.

Application period now open for the Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowship

The University of Chicago Library invites applications for short-term research fellowships for the summer of 2016. Any visiting researcher, writer, or artist residing more than 100 miles from Chicago, and whose project requires on-site consultation of University of Chicago Library collections, primarily archives, manuscripts, rare books, or other materials in the Special Collections Research Center, is eligible. Support for beginning scholars is a priority of the program. Applications in the fields of late nineteenth- or early twentieth-century physics or physical chemistry, or nineteenth-century classical opera, will receive special consideration.

Awards will be made based on the applicant’s ability to complete the proposed on-site research successfully within the timeframe of the fellowship.  Applicants should explain why the project cannot be conducted without on-site access to the original materials and the extent to which University of Chicago Library collections are central to the research.  Up to $3,000 of support will be awarded to help cover estimated travel, living, and research expenses.  Applications from women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are encouraged.

The deadline for applications is February 15, 2016.  Notice of awards will be made by March 18, 2016, for use between June 1, 2016, and October 1, 2016.

Applicants must provide the following information:

  • A cover letter (not to exceed one page) including the project title; a brief summary; estimated dates of on-site research; and a budget for travel, living, and research expenses during the period of on-site research
  • A research proposal not to exceed three double-spaced pages. Applicants should include references to specific archival finding aids and catalog records of particular relevance to their proposed project whenever possible.
  • A curriculum vitae of no longer than two pages
  • Two letters of support from academic or other scholars. References may be sent with the application or separately.

Submit application in one electronic file to: scrcfellowship@lib.uchicago.edu

Letters of reference in electronic form are preferred; print letters of reference can be sent to:

Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowships
Special Collections Research Center
The University of Chicago Library
1100 E. 57th Street
Chicago, IL 60637

For additional information contact:
Daniel Meyer, Director, Special Collections Research Center

For additional background on the Platzman Fellowship, and to see a list of last year’s recipients please see our website: http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/scrc/about/platzmanfellowships.html

Exploring 125 years of history in the Archives

Janet-Rowley-600p

Janet Rowley in her laboratory. 1980s. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf7-01134. Copyright 2015, The Chicago Maroon. All rights reserved. Reprinted with Permission. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Celebration of the University of Chicago’s 125th Anniversary is drawing increased campus attention to the University Archives this year. The mission of the Archives is to preserve and make available materials documenting the history of the University and the work of its faculty, students, trustees, and friends. Archives collections span many formats, from official reports to publications, photographs, media, and physical artifacts. Faculty papers in the Archives include letters, diaries, field notes, manuscripts, and teaching materials. In all, the Archives collections have grown to 60,000 linear feet, or more than 73 million individual items, and digital files comprise more than 20 terabytes of records in the Library’s Digital Repository.

Bon-Voyage-asas-01557_600p

Bon Voyage. From the papers of Julian and Eva Overton Lewis. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Important new collections continue to enhance the Archives. Recent acquisitions include the papers of Janet Rowley, the University’s renowned geneticist and cancer researcher and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. Gary Becker’s papers bring manuscripts, notes, and teaching materials of the 1992 Nobel laureate in economics. The papers of Jean Elshtain document her interdisciplinary work in religion, political philosophy, and ethics. And the papers of Julian H. Lewis, the University’s first African American professor, and his wife Eva Overton Lewis, document an influential career in medical research and the lives of a leading Chicago family.

Julian H. Lewis

Julian H. Lewis, the first African American to teach at the University of Chicago. 1917. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Recent classroom teaching drawing on the Archives includes Mark Bradley’s seminar on International History. Tara Zahra brought her History Colloquium on Migration and Displacement in Twentieth- Century Europe. Daniel Webb drew on the Archives for his class on America in World Civilization, while Susan Burns brought her class on Doing History. Kathleen Conzen led classes on Chicago and Chicago’s South Side, and Katherine Taylor’s courses examined the University’s modern campus architecture.

Support for research is also central to the Archives mission. Within the past year, projects of University researchers have drawn on the records of the Robert M. Hutchins administration, the Committee on Social Thought, and the University’s Chaucer Research Project of the 1930s. Visiting researchers have examined the papers of Mircea Eliade; the papers of University administrators and faculty involved in the world government movement of the 1940s and 1950s; the field notes and data collected by Sol Tax and other faculty members of the University’s influential Department of Anthropology; and the papers of Ernest W. Burgess, Louis Wirth, Everett Hughes, and other leaders in Chicago sociology.

Sol Tax

Sol Tax, Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. n.d. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf1-08219. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The Library’s annual Robert Platzman Memorial Fellowships bring visiting scholars from the national and international scholarly community. This year, one Platzman Fellow from the University of Cambridge is examining the papers of Charles Merriam, Harold Gosnell, and others for a study of attitudes toward American public opinion. Using the papers of Ernest Burgess and Robert Havinghurst, a graduate student from Indiana University is researching a dissertation on the Guatemalan Indigenismo movement. A scholar from the University of Oxford is examining the papers of Louis Brownlow, Leonard White, and other faculty for a study of American political science. And a graduate student from the University of Minnesota is using the papers of faculty member A.K. Ramanujan to examine literary debates in nineteenth-century South India.

Visit the online University of Chicago Photographic Archive at photoarchive.lib.uchicago.edu.

Block group paints, 600 block of South Bowen.

Block group paints, 600 block of South Bowen. Mildred Mead, photographer. April 30, 1952. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf2-09636. Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

Exhibits Poetic associations inspire an exhibition and a gift from the Wachs family

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.

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. (Photo by Michael Kenny)

Poetry, usually considered a solitary art, is often produced within social circles and communities, shaped by friendships, rivalries, and collaborations. The same can be said of book collecting, an activity at once completely individualistic and yet pursued within a network of other collectors, booksellers, and librarians.

The fall exhibition in the Special Collections Research Center, Poetic Associations: The Nineteenth-Century English Poetry Collection of Dr. Gerald N. Wachs, showcases selections from the nearly 900 items assembled through the extraordinary collaboration between Dr. Wachs (1937-2013) and bookseller Stephen Weissman. It also celebrates an exceptionally generous gift from the Wachs family to the University of Chicago Library.

Over 40 years of careful collecting, Dr. Wachs and Mr. Weissman obtained rare publications, both famous and obscure, including many with inscriptions or interesting provenance that provide a roadmap to the poetic associations that spanned several literary eras from the Romantic age to the beginning of the twentieth century and produced some of the most well-known and well-loved poetry in English of all time.

Examples from this rich collection include Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads (1798); the only known copy of Alfred Comyn Lyall’s first edition of Verses Written in India (1880); Felicia Dorothea Hemans’ England and Spain; or, Valour and Patriotism (1808); Alfred Tennyson’s The Ode on the Opening of the Exhibition (1862), the first poem written in his capacity as poet laureate, woven on a silk ribbon for the opening of the International Exhibition held at the Crystal Palace; and The Battle of Marathon; A Poem (1820), Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s first book, privately printed in an edition of 50 copies.

The University of Chicago is most fortunate to have received, as a gift, hundreds of titles from the Wachs Collection thanks to the tremendous generosity of the Wachs Family— Deborah Wachs Barnes, Sharon Wachs Hirsch, Judith Pieprz, and Joel Wachs, AB’92. This splendid gift will create new areas of depth in the Library’s collection, such as Anglo-Indian poetry, and adds many works with features of great interest to researchers.

Dr. Gerald Wachs with his children

Dr. Gerald Wachs with his children

Joel Wachs’s generosity has extended beyond the donation of his late father’s books. As a member of the Visiting Committee to the Library and a University of Chicago alumnus, he made a magnanimous overall commitment of $1 million, including the gift of books, to support the Library. This leadership gift to the University of Chicago Campaign: Inquiry and Impact includes a generous pledge in support of the Library’s Annual Fund, and supplements Library endowments that Joel previously established. His gift also supports the publication of a catalogue of the Wachs Collection, and the work of English graduate student Eric Powell as a co-curator of the exhibition.

Joel’s gift was inspired by his desire to honor his father’s memory and to champion the University of Chicago and its Library. “The libraries were central to my experience at the University, and supporting them has been a way of making sure that these resources are available for generations to come,” he explained.

“The poetry collection was one of my father’s proudest achievements, as he knew that the rare volumes contained much for scholars,” Joel said. “In the years before he passed away, he worked with Library leadership and staff on ways that he could make his collection available for academic research. I have worked hard to help fulfill my father’s hopes.”