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Special Collections contributes to Civil War web portal

Monday, August 15, 2011 11:10 am

Z. Smith Reynolds Library has contributed its four collections related to the Civil War to the digital collections portal “Civil War in the American South.” The portal includes digital collections from the Civil War Era (1850-1865) held by members of the Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL). The collections contributed by ZSR are:

  • Confederate Broadsides CollectionOver 250 examples of poems written by Southerners and Confederate sympathizers during the Civil War, including some pamphlets and clippings, as well as broadsides
  • Lipe Family Civil War Letters CollectionThe Lipe (or Leib) family lived in Deep Well (now Mooresville), Iredell County, North Carolina. The collection consists of letters and poems from different Confederate soldiers
  • George L. Bright Civil War DiaryGeorge L. Bright was a band member of the 46th Ohio Volunteer Infantry, a regiment in the Union Army during the American Civil War
  • Herbert E. Valentine Civil War DiaryValentine’s manuscript memoirs relate various anecdotes about his army experiences, mostly in Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina

These collections have been ingested and will be harvested regularly to keep up with any metadata changes. A link to these collections as well as to our page on the Civil War in the American South website have been added to the ZSR Digital Collections page. Thanks to everyone who helped make this project a success!

Cross posted to ZSR Gazette blog.

Findable finding aids!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 3:32 pm

Finding aids for collections from the Department of Special Collections & Archives are now fully search- and browse-able through a new interface!

Check out zsr.wfu.edu/findingaids to see features including:

  • A look and feel like the ZSR website
  • Fully searchable contents, including container lists
  • Browse by keyword and title
  • Collection summary at the top of each finding aid
  • Linked finding aid sections
  • Linked keyword index
  • Expand/collapse container lists
  • Complete box and folder information

Kevin Gilbertson pushed the limits of the traditional finding aid by incorporating his sense of design and prioritizing user needs, creating a new interface for the finding aids on Dspace with XMLUI (the rest of our collections currently use JSPUI). Kevin’s creativity and willingness to understand the priorities of archival description helped him use XML to develop a finding aid interface that is one of a kind.

We invite you to experiment with the search, browse, and container list features. The search box is also featured on the Special Collections & Archives homepage. We are so proud to create greater access to the outstanding archival resources of ZSR!

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!

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:

Theater Actor Prints & Photographs Now Online!

Friday, October 29, 2010 7:57 am

Doris Keane in

We are proud to announce the Theater Actor Prints and Photographs Collection, representing early stage and film actors and actresses, performers, directors, and royalty from the 1880s through the 1930s. The collection includes engravings, etchings, prints, cabinet photographs, cartes de visite, and other photographic materials from England and the United States. The collection includes actors such as H.B. Irving, Fanny Davenport, Lillian Russell, and John Drew.

Images are from the Harold Seton Collection (MS578), the Harold Tedford Collection (MS580), the G. Sykes Collection (MS579), the Clarence Herbert New Papers (MS577), and the library’s collection of theater actor prints (MS581).

This collaborative project is the result of many contributors, including Rebecca Petersen, Craig Fansler, Megan Mulder, Barry Davis, Erik Mitchell, myself, and others.

Tuition in 1872

Wednesday, October 27, 2010 3:17 pm

While re-housing the William Gaston Simmons Papers, one of our students discovered this small piece of Wake Forest’s past:

This receipt from Simmons, the former Bursar, notes payment for tuition, room rent, and servant hire for Spring Term, 1872. Total cost: $3.00.

Need or Greed?

Friday, October 22, 2010 12:14 pm

Take a look at this vibrant poster, circa 1975, from the Energy Strategy Committee of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina –

The artwork and its source committee were likely created as a result of the 1973 oil crisis. Take a look at the gas-guzzling hot rod and the look on the face of the full-service pump attendant!

This and much more can be found in the North Carolina Baptist Historical Collection at Z. Smith Reynolds Library.


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