Enabling discovery of the Saul Bellow Papers: A gift from Bob and Carolyn Nelson

2015 marks the centennial of the birth of the late Saul Bellow. The 1976 Nobel laureate in literature, Bellow taught as a member of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago from 1962 to 1993, immortalizing Hyde Park and the city of Chicago in his novels and making a lasting impression on generations of students. Now, thanks to a generous gift from alumni Bob Nelson and Carolyn Nelson, 2015 is also the year when the processing of the University of Chicago’s Saul Bellow Papers begins.

Saul Bellow

Saul Bellow, signing copies of his book “Humboldt’s Gift” in the university bookstore. September 1975. Photographer John Vail. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf1-00516, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library.

The Saul Bellow Papers include 145 linear feet of material dating from roughly 1940 to 2003. The collection is currently divided into 71 parts, reflecting a series of gifts, deposits, and acquisitions that began in 1963. Almost half of the Papers—a total of more than 222,000 pages—are manuscripts, letters, and other materials written by Saul Bellow himself.

Because of the generosity of the Nelsons, the Bellow Papers can now be fully reviewed, systematically rearranged into one unified collection, and described in a comprehensive manner for the first time. The collection will be organized into a single sequence of nine archival series: biographical, correspondence, writings by Saul Bellow, writings by others, honors and awards, photographs, memorabilia, oversize, and restricted private letters. After arrangement and description are completed, a guide to the collection with a comprehensive inventory of all materials will be added to the online Special Collections Finding Aid Database, where it can be searched in the context of related collections and discovered worldwide through all web search engines. The fully organized Saul Bellow Papers will be available for consultation by faculty, students, and visiting researchers and scholars in the Special Collections Research Center Reading Room.

“The Nelsons’ gift will be invaluable to scholars on campus and around the world, who will be able to discover comprehensive descriptions of the archives online,” said Brenda Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian.

The increased accessibility of the Saul Bellow Papers, and the scholarship such access will enable, are important to the Nelsons. “Bellow is acknowledged as one of the preeminent novelists of his (and our) time,” Bob wrote. “Processing his papers will advance understanding and appreciation of his work.”

Carolyn and Bob Nelson

Carolyn and Bob Nelson

The Nelsons feel an enthusiasm for the Papers that harkens back to their days as students at UChicago, when they saw Bellow strolling around Hyde Park and enjoyed reading their favorite Bellow novel, Herzog. Graduates of the Humanities Division, Bob, AM’64, and Carolyn, AM’64, PhD’67, are avid collectors of literature who have assembled more than 6,000 books including approximately 300 first editions. Carolyn is a longstanding member of the Visiting Committee to the Library, serving since 2005, and Bob served on the Visiting Committee to the Division of the Social Sciences from 2005 to 2013. Carolyn, whose degrees are in English, is a distinguished bibliographer who worked at Yale University Library updating the foundational Short-Title Catalogue of Books . . . 1641-1700, and launched a groundbreaking companion catalogue, British Newspapers and Periodicals 1641-1700. The Nelsons’ support thus extends Carolyn’s lifelong commitment to enabling the study of literature in English.

Even unprocessed, scholars have begun finding gems in the collection. Benjamin Taylor makes special note of letters from Bellow’s father and John F. Kennedy in our Library’s Bellow Papers in his 2010 volume of Bellow’s selected correspondence. Zachary Leader, author of the 2015 biography The Life of Saul Bellow, relied heavily on our collection for his work. Their initial discoveries speak to the tremendous potential of the Papers as the collection becomes more widely known.

Feature Story People 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.

October 1 is #AskAnArchivist Day: Tweet Us Your Questions!

TAskAnArchivistomorrow is ‪#‎AskAnArchivist‬ Day on Twitter! Archivists around the country will take to Twitter to answer your questions about any and all things archives.This day-long event, sponsored by the Society of American Archivists, will give you the opportunity to connect directly with archivists in your community to ask questions, get information, or just satisfy your curiosity. #AskAnArchivist Day is open to everyone—all you need is a Twitter account. To participate, just tweet a question and include the hashtag #AskAnArchivist in your tweet.

We’ll be taking your questions from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Tweet questions directly to us @uchicagoscrc

 

 

 

Exhibits Feature Story 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.

 

 

Feature Story 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.

SCRC Opening at 10:30am on July 16

The Special Collections Research Center will open at 10:30am on July 16, 2015. For a complete listing of late opening days or closures, please see our Hours page.

Saul Bellow Papers Being Processed, Temporarily Closed for Research Starting August 1, 2015

Saul BellowUpdated 2/25/16:  Processing of the Saul Bellow Papers is expected to be complete by the end of 2016.

Beginning August 1, 2015, archivists in the Special Collections Research Center will formally organize the Saul Bellow Papers, which will be closed to research during this time.  Processing is expected to be completed by the end of August 2016, but further updates will be provided as the work continues. This work will make the Bellow Papers more accessible for use once the project is completed.  If you have any questions about the Bellow Papers please contact us.

Exhibits Feature Story 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.

 

Exhibits Feature Story 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.

People Alice Schreyer, Associate University Librarian for Area Studies and Special Collections, leaves UChicago

Alice Schreyer will be leaving the University of Chicago Library to join the Newberry Library as the Roger and Julie Baskes Vice President for Collections and Library Services on August 24. Alice’s last day at UChicago will be July 17.

Alice Schreyer

Alice Schreyer

“Alice has accomplished a tremendous amount for the Library since her arrival in 1991,” said Brenda Johnson, Library Director and University Librarian at the University of Chicago. Serving initially as Curator and then Director of Special Collections through 2011, she fundamentally reconceived and expanded collections, programs, and spaces to emphasize and encourage the use of rare and unique materials by faculty and students at all levels. Among the collections added to the Library during Alice’s tenure are the Saul Bellow Papers, the Barbara and Bill Yoffee Collection of African-American Children’s Literature, the Bibliotheca Homerica Langiana, and the Daniel Clowes Archive. Alice supported the retrospective conversion of Special Collections catalog records, the encoding of archives and manuscript finding aids in EAD, and the launch of the Aeon online request circulation system. An early champion of digitization of Special Collections materials, Alice led several grant-funded projects and helped guide the development and expansion of Library digital collections as co-chair of the Digital Collections Steering Committee. She also oversaw a transformative series of construction projects, including the reconfiguration that shifted Special Collections from three floors to two and created new stack and staff spaces on A-Level; the Rosenthal Seminar Room project that produced the Library’s first smart classroom; the HVAC project that addressed environmental needs of the collections; and the recently completed construction project that reshaped Special Collections’ first floor and created its new public face on the Mansueto pathway. She also directed Preservation from 2007-2011 as the Mansueto Library, with its new Conservation and Digitization Laboratories, was being planned and constructed.

Since 2011, the Library has benefitted from Alice’s leadership in a number of roles. She served as Assistant University Librarian for Humanities, Social Sciences and Special Collections from January 2012 to June 2014, creating the Library’s first unified humanities, social sciences, and area studies division; as Interim Library Director and Associate University Librarian for Area Studies and Special Collections from July to December 2014; and as Associate University Librarian for Area Studies and Special Collections and Curator of Rare Books since January 2015.  

Alice has also played a vital role in shaping special collections librarianship throughout the country. Before joining us, she worked at Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Library of Congress, and the University of Delaware Library. She was the founding editor of the ACRL journal Rare Books & Manuscripts from 1988 to 1993 and a member of the ARL Task Force on Special Collections (2002-2006), for which she wrote “Education and Training for Careers in Special Collections Librarianship; A White Paper” (November 2004). Book collectors and librarians continue to refer to Alice’s essay, Elective Affinities: Private Collectors & Special Collections in Libraries (Chicago: University of Chicago Library, 2001), originally delivered at the Library of Congress and published by the University of Chicago Library Society. In addition to teaching courses on special collections librarianship from 2001-2012, she has served on the Board of Directors of the Rare Book School at the University of Virginia since 2004, as Secretary from 2009 through 2014, and as Chair since January 2014.

“We will miss Alice greatly but are pleased to know that she will be nearby and that we will have the opportunity to collaborate with her as she takes on her new role at the Newberry,” Johnson said.

Feature Story UChicago Library acquires papers of cartoonist Daniel Clowes

The University of Chicago Library has acquired the papers of cartoonist Daniel Clowes, Lab’79, giving researchers access to never-before-seen notes and sketches from the acclaimed comic book author.

The materials in the collection—notes, outlines, narrative drafts, character sketches, draft layouts, line art, book dummies and more—reveal the start-to-finish artistic process behind three of Clowes’ award-winning graphic novels: The Death-Ray (2011), Ice Haven (2005) and Mister Wonderful (2011). The collection also includes ephemera related to two major exhibitions of Clowes’ work.

Daniel Clowes at the "Comics: Philosophy and Practice" conference at the University of Chicago in 2012. (Photo by Jason Smith)

Daniel Clowes at the “Comics: Philosophy and Practice” conference at the University of Chicago in 2012. (Photo by Jason Smith)

“Daniel Clowes’ work is renowned for its sharp satire and compelling characters. This collection offers rare insights into Clowes’ creative process and the challenges and complexities of his art. It will be an exciting resource for scholars at the University of Chicago and beyond,” said Daniel Meyer, director of the Special Collections Research Center, which will house the Daniel Clowes Archive.

Clowes’ first professional work appeared in Cracked magazine 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.

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 was collected in an expanded hardcover edition in 2011. Materials related to Ice Haven, The Death-Ray and Mister Wonderful are featured in the Daniel Clowes Archive.

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.

L-R: Hillary Chute, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Seth, and Chris Ware at the at the "Comics: Philosophy and Practice" conference at the University of Chicago in 2012. (Photo by Jason Smith)

L-R: Hillary Chute, Charles Burns, Daniel Clowes, Seth, and Chris Ware at the at the “Comics: Philosophy and Practice” conference at the University of Chicago in 2012. (Photo by Jason Smith)

“I couldn’t be more honored and pleased (and, frankly, astonished) to have my archival materials included in the University’s Special Collection,” Clowes said. “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, and there could no more appropriate place for these papers to find their home.”

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.

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

Prof. Hillary Chute, the conference organizer and expert on contemporary comics, has included Clowes’ work in her courses and interviewed him for her book Outside the Box.

“Dan Clowes is one of the most important cartoonists working today—and, crucially, he helped to invent the ‘graphic novel’ field as we know it today in his decades of groundbreaking work. His work has been a huge influence on many, many cartoonists—and on me, both as a person and a scholar of comics,” said Chute, associate professor in English and the College. “I could not be more honored and thrilled that the University has acquired an archive by an artist of this caliber.”

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.

The Daniel Clowes Archive is open to researchers.

A University of Chicago news release

2015 Platzman Memorial Fellowships awarded

The Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowships for 2015 have been awarded to 11 recipients.  Recipients will visit between June-October 2015.

Established by 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 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.  This year’s group of fellows brings the total number of scholars supported by the Platzman program since its inception in 2006 to eighty.

Feature Story A rare manuscript is rebound

Conservation and digitization of a New Testament manuscript collection support scholarship and teaching

Most book conservators never have the opportunity to reconstruct a 16th-century Byzantine binding from scratch.  For Ann Lindsey, Head of Conservation at the University of Chicago Library, that opportunity came in February, in connection with a major project to digitize all 68 New Testament manuscripts in the Edgar J. Goodspeed Manuscript Collection.

Ann Lindsey reconstructs a 16th-century Byzantine binding

Ann Lindsey reconstructs a 16th-century Byzantine binding with historically sympathetic materials in the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library’s Conservation Laboratory. (Photo by Robert Kozloff)

The role of the Conservation program at the Library is to maintain collections over time, ensuring that they can be used by current scholars and future generations.  Most of the manuscripts in the Goodspeed Collection, which date from the 5th to the 19th centuries, have required only minor treatments, if any, to be handled safely during the digitization process.

But the John Adam Service Book, one of the last eight items in the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection to be digitized, presented an unusual case where the disbinding and rebinding of a rare manuscript were merited.  Originally handwritten in Greek in the 15th to 16th century on paper produced in Italy, it was rebound in the 1850s, with a typical 19th-century cloth cover, and illustrated by its namesake, John Adam, near Epirus, Greece.  By the time it was acquired by the University of Chicago Library in 1930, its spine covering was missing.  When Lindsey examined the Service Book in anticipation of digitization, she found that any further handling of the manuscript would cause the exposed spine and 19th-century oversewing to damage the original 15th- to 16th-century pages. 

Lindsey conferred with her colleagues in Special Collections and Preservation, and the group concluded that the original manuscript would be best preserved, and scholars would be best served, if the book were disbound, digitized, and then rebound, using historically sympathetic materials so that researchers could consult it as needed and get a better sense of what the book was like when it was first bound and used in the 16th century.

A forensic investigation of the John Adam Service Book’s binding  

Sixteenth-century thread from the John Adam Service Book

Above: Ann Lindsey points to the threads that remain from the John Adam Service Book’s 16th-century binding (Photo by Robert Kozloff). Below: A photomicrograph of thread from the John Adam Service Book. By analyzing the thread under a microscope, Lindsey confirmed that it is linen.

A handful of linen threads are all that remain of the original binding—but they provided the evidence that Lindsey needed to determine that the book originally had a Byzantine binding, a rarity in American libraries. 

Most European books from the 15th and 16th century were bound in the Western style, sewn from start to finish on top of cords, with each stitch going through all of the pages of the book.  The threads are then secured in multiple places along the spine. If the folds of such pages were cut as part of a subsequent rebinding process and the spine were to be broken later, the threads would come out in many small pieces.

The folds of the John Adam Service Book were cut when the book was rebound in the 19th century.  But the threads Lindsey found upon examining the book are long, notched, and made of linen—all signs that this manuscript originally had a Byzantine binding.  When employing this method, bookbinders cut a notch in the back section of each page.  They sewed the first section of pages to a wooden board, the second section to the first section, the third section to the second, and so on, tucking the thread into notches and securing it with link stitches.  Because a Byzantine binding was used, when the folds were cut and the 19th-century binding was later broken, the thread emerged in long pieces. 

Once Lindsey identified the type of binding, she was able to infer much about the book’s construction. Byzantine bindings used quarter sawn hardwood front and back boards, had decorative grooves, and were covered in goat skin.  A new binding made of historically sympathetic materials should include all of those features. 

“It’s Ann’s remarkable expertise in seeing and interpreting evidence that we all respect so much,” said Daniel Meyer, Director of the Special Collections Research Center.  In addition to her master’s degree in Library Science, Lindsey has a certificate of advanced study in conservation from the University of Texas and conservation experience gained at the Huntington Library and the University of California, Berkeley, before she came to Chicago to lead the Library’s conservation efforts.  Her knowledge of how to rebuild a Byzantine binding came from a special class entirely devoted to the subject. 

Disbinding and rebinding

Lindsey uses link stitches to bind the second group of pages to the first group, which she previously sewed to a front board made of quarter sawn white oak. Quarter sawing positions the wood’s rings almost straight up and down so that the board does not curve over time. (Photo by Robert Kozloff)

Lindsey uses link stitches to bind the second group of pages to the first group, which she previously sewed to a front board made of quarter sawn white oak. Quarter sawing positions the wood’s rings almost straight up and down so that the board does not curve over time. (Photo by Robert Kozloff)

With a plan in place to create a new binding that would resemble the original one, Lindsey painstakingly humidified each folio slightly so that the 19th-century glue would soften and could be removed with a microspatula, along with the binding threads. Lindsey then gathered folios into sets of four, which she “guarded” with Japanese tissue and wheat starch paste at the edges to strengthen it in preparation for rebinding. The sets of pages were carefully delivered to the Digitization Laboratory, also in the Mansueto Library, where high-resolution images of each page were created by Photographer Michael Kenny and will be posted to the Goodspeed website. 

Once digitized and returned to the Conservation Laboratory, Lindsey sewed the boards and pages together in the Byzantine style, attaching half the pages to the front board and the other half to the back board, before lashing the two halves together, lining the spine with linen, and sewing a heavy end band across the two boards and the newly reconstructed spine.  As the final step, she used a dark brown goat skin to cover and hold the book together. 

Lindsey greatly enjoyed the woodworking and leatherworking that the project required, but the stitching of the binding is her favorite part.  “The sewing is the process where you start putting it back together,” she said. “It’s the heart of the book—and its literal backbone.  It’s what makes a book work well.”

Why digitize the full Goodspeed Collection?

Digitization of John Adam Service Book

Michael Kenny prepares to digitize a page of the John Adam Service Book. (Photo by Robert Kozloff)

The Goodspeed Manuscript Collection is the first collection of bound early manuscripts that the University of Chicago Library committed to digitize in its entirety—and that work is expected to be completed within the next year.  The Library’s Special Collections Research Center is digitizing materials from its archives, manuscripts, and rare book collections as funding permits in order to enhance access to scholars.   In choosing where to begin among the early manuscripts, Special Collections staff members were drawn to the Goodspeed Collection because of its focus and coherence. 

“The Goodspeed Collection was brought together for one principal purpose,” explained Meyer. “Edgar Goodspeed was working with other scholars on a new translation of the New Testament and gathered early manuscripts of the New Testament that could inform the translation.”

All the Goodspeed Manuscripts relate to the New Testament in some way. The John Adam Service Book is a trephologion, or festal menaion, a liturgical book that includes text for the great feasts that fall within the fixed cycle of services of the Orthodox Church, such as those for the Birth of the Virgin, The Great Martyr Demetrius, and the Birth of Jesus.

The Rockefeller McCormick New Testament, cove

The Rockefeller McCormick New Testament, cover, front (binding).

Edgar Goodspeed, DB 1897, PhD 1898, became Chairman of the Department of New Testament and Early Christian Literature in 1923 and soon after began seriously collecting New Testament manuscripts for the University of Chicago. Goodspeed regarded such manuscripts as essential to humanities research, just as laboratories are essential to the natural sciences, and expected them to be invaluable not only to his own work, but to the research of many at UChicago.

It seems safe to assume that if Goodspeed were alive today, he would jump at the opportunity to have the collection digitized, for he regularly sought ways to raise both scholarly and public awareness of the unique manuscripts at Chicago, and encouraged the publication of facsimile editions that would allow scholars to study the manuscripts from afar. His first major discovery, The Rockefeller McCormick New Testament, uncovered almost by chance in an art dealer’s shop in Paris in 1927, was an unparalleled historical and iconographical find, featuring a fine cursive hand, splendid gilt covers, and more than ninety miniature illustrations.  Only the second complete Byzantine New Testament manuscript to be brought to the U.S., it attracted sensational publicity in the press and on radio and was reproduced in a three-volume facsimile edition suitable for scholarly research by the University of Chicago Press in 1932. 

The attention generated by Goodspeed’s early collecting efforts helped to fuel interest in the acquisition of additional New Testament manuscripts and led to expanded faculty expertise in iconography and textual editing at Chicago. Many other acquisitions made possible by Goodspeed captured the imagination of scholars and the public, among them, the Elizabeth Day McCormick Apocalypse.  The only known illustrated Apocalypse in Greek at the time, it gained renown for its 69 remarkable miniatures dating to roughly 1600.  A facsimile edition was published by the University of Chicago Press in 1940. By the time he retired in 1948, Goodspeed had built one of the most impressive collections of New Testament manuscripts then held at any American university.  In recognition of his achievement, this collection of early Greek, Syriac, Ethiopic, Armenian, Arabic, and Latin New Testament manuscripts bears his name today.

Elizabeth Day McCormick Apocalypse

The Elizabeth Day McCormick Apocalypse, fol. 15r. John, Letter to Smyrna: Christ’s voice emanates from heaven, upper left; John stands at center, dictates to the deacon Prochorus who is writing, seated on bench at right.

The Goodspeed Collection continues to function as a treasure trove for scholarship and teaching, now fueled by the growing availability of the digitized facsimiles online. Current faculty who use the collection include Hans-Josef Klauck, Naomi Shenstone Donnelley Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Literature at the Divinity School, who has taught a course on Revelation and the Elizabeth Day McCormick Apocalypse using both the original manuscript and online digital facsimiles. “In my judgment, the digitization of the codex was an exciting experience and provided a great chance for better, more advanced and more exciting teaching in my very field,” Klauck concluded.  

Divinity School Dean Margaret M. Mitchell was a member of the original team that planned and obtained funding for the digitization project and has delved deeply into another item in the collection, the Archaic Mark—the first Goodspeed manuscript to be digitized. Resolving a 70-year debate, she collaborated with Library staff and technical experts in micro-chemical analysis and medieval bookmaking to definitively determine that this Gospel of Mark was not a genuine Byzantine manuscript but rather a fascinating late-19th- or early-20th-century forgery.  

The Library expects that more scholarly discoveries will be made, and additional students around the world will benefit as the remainder of the Collection is posted online.  Already, the Goodspeed Collection website has delivered an average of more than 38,000 pages per year to more than 2,800 users around the world, including 57 percent from North and South America, 30 percent from Europe, and 10 percent from Asia.

“When we began the Goodspeed Manuscript Collection project in 2005, the University of Chicago was among the first to propose digitizing entire manuscripts instead of selected pages,” explained Alice Schreyer, Associate University Librarian for Area Studies and Special Collections. “We received a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Library and Museum Services for this innovative approach, which is now widely accepted. We are thrilled to be completing this important work, which will support many types of scholarship for decades to come.”

High-resolution images of 57 of the Goodspeed manuscripts are currently available online at goodspeed.lib.uchicago.edu.

RESCHEDULED: Wikipedia Edit-a-thon: University of Chicago Edition

editathon graphic

New date and time: April 15, 2015 at 4:00 p.m. in the Special Collections Research Center, Regenstein Library room 130.

On April 15, 2015 the University of Chicago Library will host a Wikipedia edit-a-thon in the Special Collections Research Center. The subject focus of the event is great women in University of Chicago history. Experienced Wikipedia editors and new users alike are welcome to participate. Librarians in Special Collections have chosen specific events, organizations, and people without existing Wikipedia articles to be created as part of this event.  As well as short articles that can be expanded upon. The list includes some notable names to be researched and added to Wikipedia: Georgiana Simpson, Gertrude Dudley, and Marlene Dixon. This is a great opportunity to learn how to edit Wikipedia but also learn about the role of women in shaping and sustaining the University. 

Those in attendance will be able to consult primary source material in special collections as well as print and electronic secondary sources to verify facts. Staff will be on site to offer help navigating online resources to help editors build new articles or enhance existing articles.

Wikipedia has a lot to offer and gain from working with the University Library. This event provides an opportunity to learn how articles are built and maintained and provide on-site access to databases and one-on-one assistance from reference librarians in navigating these sources. New users shouldn’t shy away from attending.

The event begins at 4:00 p.m. and ends at 8:00 p.m. Dinner will be provided. Come for all or part of the evening. Registration required, please RSVP by 4/12/15. Email: specialcollections@lib.uchicago.edu or sign up on Facebook

Participants are asked to bring their own laptop and power cord.

New to Wikipedia?

Create an account on Wikipedia, if you don’t have one already.  There are a lot of benefits for doing so, particularly with collaborative events like edit-a-thons.  

Once your account is made, try running through The Wikipedia Adventure, an automated tutorial that will help cover some of the basics of using Wikipedia.  It takes about an hour to complete, and it’s an excellent resource for getting started.    

Exhibits Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles: A History of LGBTQ Life at the University of Chicago

Weddstock Protest 1992

Photograph from Weddstock protest, 1992. Chicago Maroon. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, apf7-03580-001, Special Collections Research Center, The University of Chicago Library. Used with the permission of the Chicago Maroon.

Exhibition Dates: March 30 – June 12, 2015

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

Description: From lesbian relationships in the early 1900s to the founding of Chicago Gay Liberation in 1970 to today, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning individuals have long been part of the University of Chicago’s history. More than 95 oral histories gathered from LGBTQ alumni, faculty and staff join with archival and donated materials to tell those stories in this exhibition.

The oldest material in the exhibition documents relationships between the first generation of female faculty and graduate students at the University at the start of the 20th century. The exhibition also explores the consequences faced by male instructors caught in vice raids of the 1940s, the founding of Chicago Gay Liberation in 1970, the impact of AIDS on the University of Chicago community, anti-gay violence in the 1980s, and activism for partner benefits for same-sex couples and improvements to the campus climate for queer, transgender and gender non-conforming students. As the Chicago Maroon declared in 1980, “The University of Chicago may be gayer than you think.”

Gay Liberation Dance poster

Gay Liberation Dance poster, 1971. Used with permission of Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections at Northwestern University.

Drawing on the rich holdings of the University of Chicago Library—including the papers of Marion Talbot and Ernest Burgess, administrative records, and a multitude of campus publications—and other major archives, the exhibition displays letters, academic papers, and student newspaper articles, as well as posters, ephemera, photographs, a square of the AIDS Memorial Quilt made by UChicago students, and other visual documentation tracing this complex history. The exhibition also introduces new materials and selections from oral histories collected by the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality from alumni such as James Hormel, JD’58, former dean of students of the Law School and the first openly gay U.S. ambassador; cultural anthropologist Esther Newton, AM’66, PhD’68, who wrote the first major anthropological study of a homosexual community in the U.S. while a graduate student at UChicago; and Deborah Gould, AM ’90, PhD ’00, activist, scholar, and author of the first book to analyze the emergence, development, and decline of the direct-action AIDS movement, ACT UP.

Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

Price: Free and open to the public

Presented by the University of Chicago Library and the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality

Curator: Lauren Stokes, Ph.D. candidate, Department of History, The University of Chicago

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

Facebook Event Page: Exhibit

The Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles Project

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.

Based on previous research into women’s history and experience at the University, students and faculty at the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality identified a pressing need to capture the history and experience of LGBTQ individuals and communities at the University of Chicago. In 2011, the CSGS launched the project Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles, documenting LGBTQ life at the University of Chicago from the early 20th century through the present day. During this time, students and staff working on the project have collected more than 95 oral histories, gathered donated materials from alumni, students and student groups, and mined the archives at the University of Chicago Library, Northwestern University, the Kinsey Institute, the Chicago History Museum, Gerber/Hart Library and Archives, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison for materials.

In addition to producing new scholarship, the Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles Project contributes to building community and expertise around the history of sexuality across disciplines by providing undergraduate and graduate students at the University space for research and intergenerational mentorship. The project has offered a yearly undergraduate course that has trained students in oral history and archival research methods and exploring LGBTQ history. The project also brings scholars of LGBTQ history working in universities and archives across the United States to campus for public lectures and student/faculty workshops.

Opening Gala

Chicago Pride Parade, 1991

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.

Date: April 1
Time: 6-8 p.m.
Location:
Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, The University of Chicago Library, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, Illinois 60637
Facebook Event Page – Opening Gala

To RSVP

Celebrate the opening of the exhibition Closeted/Out in the Quadrangles: A History of LGBTQ Life at the University of Chicago. A reception and short program will mark the opening, and visitors will have the opportunity to meet researchers, oral history narrators and project organizers.  

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, or Susie Allen at sjallen1@uchicago.edu or 773-702-4009.

Upcoming Event: “More Than Lore: Women Founders of the University of Chicago”

 

hitchcock and rockefeller

You probably recognize some of the men in this photo, but can you identify the woman in the front row? Do you know her name or anything about her? Would you like to?

In celebration of Women’s History Month The University of Chicago Library invites you to a study break to learn more about the women who helped build and grow the University.

The event will take place on March 4th in Regenstein Library room 122.  The highlight of the afternoon will be a talk at 3 p.m. given by Daniel Meyer, University Archivist and Director of the Special Collections Research Center, on the women who greatly contributed to the establishment of the University of Chicago. Immediately following the talk everyone is welcome to visit the Special Collections Research Center to view selected original  documents and photographs highlighting women from the University Archives.

 

The event schedule:

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

2:30 p.m. Doors open, room 122, Regenstein Library. Refreshments served, women’s history-themed giveaways

3:00-3:30 p.m. More Than Lore: Women Founders of UChicago, talk given by Daniel Meyer

3:30-4:30 p.m. Display open in the Special Collections Research Center, room 130, Regenstein Library

Plus, pick up one of our new University of Chicago Women trading cards.  Collect them all!

UChicago Women Trading Cards

Famous women of University of Chicago trading cards.

Visit SCRC Gallery During “Archives After Hours” February 12

eggan_girlThe Special Collections Research Center  will host an after-hours talk on Thursday evening, February 12, from 5:00-7:00 in the gallery.  The event will be led by curators for the  latest exhibit, “I Step Out of Myself”: Portrait Photography in Special Collections. Remarks begin at 5:30 and light refreshments will be served.

 “I Step Out of Myself”: Portrait Photography in Special Collections highlights outstanding examples of fine art and photojournalistic portraiture held in the Special Collections Research Center. Displaying selections rarely on public view, the exhibition draws from the work of a varied group of 20th-century photographers: Eva Watson-Schütuze, Carl Van Vechten, Layle Silbert, Mildred Mead, Yousuf Karsh, Alice Boughton, Joan Eggan, and Tina Modotti.

The Special Collections Research Center Gallery is located within the The University of Chicago Regenstein Library, 1100 East 57th Street,  on the first floor.

The Gallery is open Monday-Friday: 9:00 to 4:45 , and, when classes are in session, Saturdays 9:00  to 12:45. The Gallery is closed on Sundays.

New Library Director and University Librarian arrives on campus

Brenda Johnson

Brenda Johnson

Dear University of Chicago Faculty, Students and Staff,

As I begin my second week on campus, I would like to say how very happy I am to have arrived at the University of Chicago. The warm welcome I have received from so many of you in the last few days has made me feel immediately at home.

The University of Chicago’s status as one of the world’s premier academic and research institutions and its Library’s role in fueling intellectual inquiry and a transformative education are well known internationally. As the year unfolds, I look forward to learning much more about your work; about the ways you rely on the Library to support your research, teaching and study; and about the ways you see your needs evolving as you break new scholarly ground or advance in your education.

It will be my great pleasure to meet many more of you and to discuss these matters with you in the coming months.

With warm regards,

Brenda L. Johnson
Library Director and University Librarian
The University of Chicago Library

Exhibits Feature Story ‘I Step Out of Myself’: Portrait Photography in Special Collections

Julio Antonio Mella.  1928. Photograph by Tina Modotti (1896-1942). Frances Hooper Papers. Special Collections Research Center.  The University of Chicago Library.

Julio Antonio Mella, 1928. Photograph by Tina Modotti (1896-1942). Frances Hooper Papers. Special Collections Research Center. The University of Chicago Library.

Exhibition Location: Special Collections Research Center Exhibition Gallery, 1100 East 57th Street, Chicago, IL
Dates: January 12 – March 20, 2015
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4:45 p.m; and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. while classes are in session.  Consult hours.lib.uchicago.edu for Special Collections Research Center hours.
Free and open to the public

Curators: Ashley Locke Gosselar, Laura Alagna, Brittan Nannenga, and Eileen Ielmini

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

“I Step Out of Myself”: Portrait Photography in Special Collections highlights outstanding examples of fine art and photojournalistic portraiture held in the Special Collections Research Center. Displaying selections rarely on public view, the exhibition will draw from the work of a varied group of 20th-century photographers: Eva Watson Schütze, Carl Van Vechten, Layle Silbert, Mildred Mead, Yousuf Karsh, Alice Boughton, Joan Eggan, and Tina Modotti. From the romance of Schütze’s portraits of domestic life at the turn of the 20th century, to the stylized glamour of Van Vechten’s celebrity photographs in the 1930s, to the unflinching presentation of raw poverty in Mildred Mead’s portraits of residents of Chicago slums in the 1950s, “I Step Out of Myself” explores the wide range of technique, style, subject matter, and emotion found in modern photographic portraiture.

Use of Images and Media Contact

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

SCRC Closed on January 1, 2015

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The Special Collections Research Center will be closed on Thursday, January 1, 2015 in observance of New Year’s Day. We will reopen and resume regular business hours on Friday, January 2, 2015. To submit a reference question online please use our webform found here:  http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/ask/SCRC.html

 

 

 

SCRC Closures in December

Bartlett Hall Winter 1948

Bartlett Hall Winter 1948

The Special Collections Research Center will be closed December 24-25, 2014, and will be open 9:00am-12:45pm on December 26. We will not be able to retrieve items on December 26; all requests for items to be used that day must be submitted no later than noon on December 23. For more information on our hours or for information on requesting items please see our web pages.

Special Collections Closed November 27-30

The Special Collections Research Center will be closed November 27-30 in observation of the Thanksgiving holiday. We will resume our normal hours on December 1.

Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowship applications now open for 2015

Applications are now being accepted for the Summer 2015 Robert L. Platzman Memorial Fellowship program. 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.  The deadline is February 16, 2015.  For more information on the program, and directions outlining how to apply, please see our Fellowship website. Applicants may also wish to view the list of past recipients from 2014 and their projects.

Enabling worldwide discovery of rare books: A gift from Roger and Julie Baskes

Enhancing online catalog records for rare books is a high priority for the University of Chicago Library in the University’s capital campaign. Detailed cataloging is an essential tool for researchers to discover handwritten annotations, special bindings or illustrations, and other features of individual copies of rare books. The Library has long recognized the scholarly value of this work, but without additional funding the project could take as long as 20 years to complete.

Julie and Roger Baskes

Julie and Roger Baskes

Prominent Chicago cultural philanthropists Roger and Julie Baskes stepped forward this spring as the right donors for this endeavor. In his seven years on the Library’s Visiting Committee, Mr. Baskes said, he was impressed by “the Library’s extraordinary commitment to keeping its collections physically and instantly accessible, at the very center of the campus” through the construction of the Mansueto Library. An avid and knowledgeable book collector, Mr. Baskes has also nurtured a long affiliation with Chicago’s Newberry Library, serving as a trustee and previously as chairman of the board. Over the last 30 years, he has cultivated a one-of-a-kind personal collection of rare and historical books with maps.

In doing so, Mr. Baskes explained, “I became aware of the extraordinary collections of rare books at the world’s great research libraries, especially as the catalogs of these libraries began to be accessible online, and discovered that the University of Chicago Library is one of the world’s most important repositories of rare books. Julie and I also understand that however rare, beautiful, or extensive such materials may be, their value to scholars is entirely dependent upon their accessibility.”

Baskes Bookplate

The electronic bookplate for gifts from the Roger Baskes Collection.

With that in mind, Mr. and Mrs. Baskes made a $250,000 commitment to support the cataloging project. “Twenty-first century readers and students of rare books and manuscripts, whether part of the University of Chicago community or from other parts of the world, will come to the Library after they have learned from its online catalog that there exist materials important to their research,” Mr. Baskes said. “We believe that little would add to the value of the Library’s remarkable Special Collections more than the enhancement and editing of its catalog, and we are honored to support it.”

Along with their monetary support, Mr. and Mrs. Baskes are also donating rare and historical books with maps that they have collected. So far the Library has received approximately 100 titles ranging from the 18th century to the late 20th. In addition to American, English, and French books with maps, the gifts include books in Japanese, Armenian, and Ottoman Turkish. When they are cataloged, the associated online records will bear a custom electronic bookplate (pictured) and will be readily retrievable by searching the catalog for the donor name.

“We have long understood the importance of improving access to our rare book collections by providing more detailed and accurate catalog records,” said Alice Schreyer, Interim Library Director and Associate University Librarian for Area Studies and Special Collections. “Roger and Julie’s gift will make the unique features of our collections known to a wide range of scholars who would otherwise not discover them.”

In recognition of their gift, a group study space in the Special Collections Research Center will be named the “Julie and Roger Baskes Group Study.” Students, faculty, and visiting scholars use this room to work collaboratively with rare and historical materials.

#AskAnArchivist Day is October 30

 

Curious about what goes on behind the scenes in the Special Collections Research Center? (“Is it really like the movie National Treasure?”) Burning with questions about campus history? (“When was my dormitory built?”) Wondering what to do with your digital files? (“How should I store the photos on my phone so that I have access to them later on?”)

On October 30, staff in the Special Collections Research Center will join archivists and special collections librarians from across the country on Twitter to answer your questions about any and all things archives! This day-long event, sponsored by the Society of American Archivists, will give you the opportunity to ask questions about archives and archival work.

To ask us a specific question use #AskAnArchivist and tag us @UChicagoSCRC.

 

Here’s the lineup:

10 am: Ashley Locke – Processing Archivist and Christine Colburn – Manager in public services and collections

11 am: Leah Richardson – Special Collections Reference Librarian and Laura Alagna -Digital Archivist

12 pm: Catherine Uecker – Rare Books Librarian and Laura Alagna – Digital Archivist

1 pm: Ashley Locke – Processing Archivist and Joe Scott – Exhibits Designer

2 pm: Leah Richardson – Special Collections Reference Librarian and Brittan Nannenga – Accessions Archivist

3 pm: Julia Gardner – Head of Reader Services and Christine Colburn – Manager in public services and collections

Don’t have a question right away? Search Twitter for #AskAnArchivist and follow along as questions and answers are shared! Follow the Special Collections Research Center on Twitter: https://twitter.com/UChicagoSCRC