Special Collections & Archives Blog

During November 2010...

Wake Forest History on Film

Monday, November 29, 2010 2:46 pm

The new Documentary Film program at WFU has proved to be a natural match for our archival collections. Students from Dr. Cara Pilson’s graduate research seminar and first year seminar have frequented Special Collections for instruction and research this semester.

The FYS: History Through the Lens of Documentary Film students, pictured above, are working on a short documentary film on the WFU class of 1964.

Using archival copies of the Old Gold and Black, The Howler, photographs, and other materials from the University Archives, the students researched issues of importance to their counterparts in the early 1960s.

They then selected visual materials to put on film for their documentary project. The students were fascinated by both the similarities and differences between campus life now and that of fifty years ago. My favorite quote from a 2010 student (upon reading an OGB editorial): “I can’t believe how sarcastic they were back then!”

Working with the documentary film students this semester was a great experience for the Special Collections staff as well. Every class teaches us something new about our stuff! Seeing our materials from the perspective of documentary filmmakers is making us think about how we can improve discovery tools for the visual aspects of our collections. We look forward to many more collaborations with our new Documentary Film students.

Hosting the NCLA Archivists’ Toolkit Workshop

Friday, November 12, 2010 4:03 pm

*Note: most of this post is duplicated at the ZSR Professional Development blog.

From 10 am this morning until 3 pm this afternoon, Z. Smith Reynolds Library was inhabited by 50 excited archivists and librarians (from across the state and as far away as Texas) to learn about Archivists’ Toolkit. The workshop, sponsored by the Round Table on Special Collections of the North Carolina Library Association and ZSR Library, included in-depth exploration and instruction about the modules of AT: names and subjects, accession records, resource records (finding aids), importing and exporting EAD/MARCXML, assessment records, and statistics.

Katherine started off our session with a warm welcome to the participants and I introduced our speakers. Dale Sauter, chair of the RTSC, also helped organize the workshop and was in attendance. Participant registrations included lunch, which was catered by our on-campus service. Planning the event was worth the effort after seeing 50 eager participants in room 204.

Speakers Dawne Howard Lucas from Duke University and Kacy Guill of ECU incorporated practical explanations of concepts with hands-on demonstrations of the relational database desktop client. Katherine, Megan, Vicki, Julia, Rebecca, Beth, intern Leatha, and I all learned a great deal about some of the additional customizations and tools that will help Special Collections and Archives better describe, prioritize, and measure our archival collections. Some of the reports that AT generates will help us quantify our preservation and processing needs, as well as demonstrate the accomplishments of our department as we complete projects.

Thanks go out to Giz, Susan, and Roz for helping me with the room reservation, Rebecca for helping with setup, and also to Katherine for her warm welcome to the participants. Now that we all have a better understanding of how to use and customize Archivists’ Toolkit to our needs, we are better prepared for a collaborative, streamlined effort to make our archival resources even more accessible!

Freshman-Sophomore Smoker

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 9:59 am

According to the May 7, 1927 Old Gold and Black, available in DSpace, the incoming Freshman class of 1927 was the largest class to date, with 118 men. They expected respect. What they got was the traditional treatment by the upperclassmen, including hazing and freshman rules. The “Freshman-Sophomore Smoker” was a men’s meeting group where ideas were exchanged in a civil way, resulting in the abolition of the freshman beanies and other class rules.

30 P.M.

This ticket was located in a box in the University Archives and is a glimpse into the lives of student organizations of the past.

The joy of rehousing

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 9:32 am

Yesterday, Rebecca and I pawed through the hundreds of documents in the four records cartons left behind by a former university archivist. We found lots of additions to university archives record groups and created piles all around my office. Now that we’ve sorted everything, we are going to accession these materials into Archivist’s Toolkit for later processing.

Our students continue with rehousing and adding instances in Archivists’ Toolkit. We discard at least two recycle bins full of acidic boxes and folders every day!

This rehousing work is paying off in our stacks, where shelves of neatly labeled and newly-rehoused collections have begun to appear:

Gertrude Hoffman Theater Posters – the totality

Thursday, November 4, 2010 2:21 pm

Gertrude Hoffman Poster

I have gone through every folded poster in the Hoffman collection. There are numerous duplicates, but many really nice surprises. The majority of the posters were from engagements in France by “The Hoffman Girls.” Almost none of the posters have a year (with the exception of one 1911 and one 1934).

Gertrude Hoffman Poster

These posters range in size from 20″ x 24″ to 6′ x 9′.
Gertrude Hoffman Poster

A newly unfolded poster found today is 42″ x 6′ and features Vaudeville performers that will seem racially insensitive today. This poster is of a production by Gertrude’s husband, Max Hoffman.

Max Hoffman Poster

Some posters are simple, and contain the facts with no embellishments:
Gertrude Hoffman Poster

Gertrude Hoffman Poster

There is even a French “Red Cross” or Rouge Croix poster:
Gertrude Hoffman Poster

They are a wonderful group of posters. I’ve divided them into groups and will probably select the best one from each stack of duplicates to preserve. the rest can be stored in archival boxes.
Gertrude Hoffman Poster

Who Is Ruth Pritchard, B.A.?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010 2:49 pm

I have made a very interesting discovery while accessioning the 1937 Howler “markup” from Charlotte Engraving Company, Charlotte, NC. Perusing the hairstyles and facial expressions of the male graduates of the senior class of 1937, I came across the angelic face of a young woman, Ruth Pritchard of Wake Forest, North Carolina. According to the Wake Forest website, women were not admitted until 1942, but as can be seen in the recently digitized 1937 Howler pg. 41, women (including a Junior named Helen Bryan, pg. 49) were showing up in yearbooks before the shortage of men during World War II. Can anyone shed more light on the appearance of women in pre-1942 yearbooks?


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