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In the 'Featured Collection' Category...

Featured Collection: David Needham Gore Papers

Thursday, September 26, 2013 2:42 pm

This Featured Collection post was written by Paige Horton, student assistant in Special Collections and Archives.

The David Needham Gore Papers (MS192) is a small, but worthwhile collection housed amongst hundreds of larger collections in Personal Collections & Manuscripts. We should all know by now not to judge a book by its cover or a collection by its size. Small, but mighty the David Needham Gore Papers house biographical information, sermons, personal correspondence, and Cape Fear Baptist Association Notes that speak to his work as a missionary. This collection offers a unique view into the late 19th century in North Carolina.

David Needham Gore was not only a Wake Forest College graduate but he was also a much loved and highly successful North Carolina pastor. Born in 1835 in Columbus, North Carolina, Gore dedicated his time to serving his community through his church. According to Baptist Biography Data Form, housed in Folder 1, Gore was a pastor at County Line Baptist Church in Turkey Creek, Louisiana and also a missionary to Ogbomosho, Nigeria, in West Africa for several years. He was also the first pastor of the Piney Forest Baptist Church after it organized in 1869. Gore was pastor for two periods: 1869-1875 and then again from 1877-1879. He also led in the organization of the Sunday school for the church in 1871. Reverend Gore was “greatly loved and respected by the members of the church.”

The great debate about this collection comes in the form of the Civil War. In his biological information there is a reference to Gore being Captain to the 18th Regiment in 1861. When our librarians researched this they found no mention of a David Needham Gore who served from North Carolina in the Confederate Army. In his Biography data it also says that he served as chaplain and that was also found to be inconclusive. What we do know about Gore comes from his biography information but also the rest of the collection including sermon notes, the personal correspondence, and the Association notes.

The entirety of his personal correspondence is addressed to one Miss Mary Rockwell of Whiteville, North Carolina. The correspondence, dated from 1879 to 1881, is well preserved and offers an exciting look into the everyday life of a 19th century pastor. The Association notes also hold interesting bits and pieces about Gore as a pastor. He was an Itinerant for the Southern portion of the Cape Fear Baptist Association in 1860; while he was Itinerant, he “traveled for 56 days, preached 93 sermons, received 65 persons, and baptized 46…[and his] traveling expenses [were] but $1.80.” Maybe the most surprising fact out of all of that is that he only spent $1.80 for 56 days of travel! The Association notes hold many more pieces like this in which Gore’s missionary work is detailed out.

The collection is full of interesting and surprising details just like the ones listed above. To access the collection students can view the finding aid to get a brief overview or make an appointment with the Special Collections to view the collection.

Featured Collections: Dean of Women and Women’s Government Association

Monday, March 4, 2013 4:43 pm

This post was written by Paige Horton, student assistant in Special Collections and Archives.

Women and Wake Forest have quite the colorful history. In honor of Women’s History Month we here at Special Collections dug around and found something very special for you: The Deans Record Group: Dean of Women (RG4.3), and Women’s Government Association (RG4.31) Collections.

The collection itself is made up of minutes, correspondence, and subject files that feature staff, student committees, and societies. The University Archives is home to the administrative paperwork available in the finding aid, and the Women’s Government Association handbooks can be found in the library catalog. Students can get a first-hand look at the Women’s Government Association (WGA) handbooks which details all the guidelines women had to live by at Wake Forest.

The History of Wake Forest provides an interesting look into the admission of women. Women of junior and senior status were officially admitted into Wake Forest College in 1942. The College came to this decision based on the amount of students they could potentially have:

From the Baptist junior colleges, young women were graduating and were going to other institutions to complete their college work. Among them were not a few who could not find the work desired in Meredith College or in any other Baptist college for women, and on that account they were going in increasing numbers to the University of North Carolina and other institutions, where they could get the instruction they desired. With them often went their brothers and friends, who normally would attend Wake Forest. If Wake Forest College would admit them they would go there, since they desired to be in a Baptist college. Another consideration was that for the duration of the war the income from students’ fees would be materially lessened by the drafting for the armed services of those who would be regularly among the students of the College, and that this loss might be reduced by the fees of the young women from the junior colleges who would not go to Meredith College in any event.

In 1943 a board member “presented a compromise which allowed women to enter Wake Forest in any class (previously they had been admitted only at the junior and senior levels); recognized university status for Wake Forest, giving it the right to develop as it thought best and committed the convention to greater support of Wake Forest through funding of development programs.”

The admission of women to Wake Forest College, along with the end of the war, had some unforeseen complications. In spring 1946 the campus total came to 1,000 students. There wasn’t enough space to house all the students but the college and the town worked together to “provide lodgings of some kind for everyone.” Women stayed in Bostwick and Hunter dormitories, “even in the basements and attics.”

The Women’s Government Association and the Dean of Women were created in response to the acceptance of women. According to the 1964 handbook, “The WGA is you. The officers are elected by you and will represent you in all matters pertaining to the life of the women of Wake Forest College. The WGA is not merely a law-making organization, but a group created to help give a sense of unity to all the women of Wake Forest College. The WGA desires to help you, and in turn, needs your support to make your years here a success.”

The WGA created a handbook instructing coeds on how they should conduct themselves while at Wake Forest. Some of the rules include:

Coeds could not ride in cars or airplanes without the written permission of their parents. They were forbidden to enter any man’s room or apartment, and fraternity houses were strictly off limits. Women could not smoke on the streets, and they were not allowed to possess or use alcoholic beverages. Only Seniors were permitted to date every night of the week and, in that activity, were forbidden to go to the stadium, the athletic field, and certain dark areas of the grounds.

The handbooks have a variety of codes of conduct but here are some of the more interesting ones!

1953-1954: Dating in parked cars during the evening is not permitted. A date is considered being in the company of a boy more than fifteen minutes.

Blue jeans are for picnics and hikes—not to be worn on campus or in the parlors except for unusual circumstances. Permission to wear jeans on the campus may be obtained from any member of the council.

Hose are worn when going to Raleigh.

1957-1958: Bermuda shorts may be worn to the phone booths, drive-in movies, miniature golf course, through the small parlor when leaving or entering the dorm to and form a car, on picnics, swimming, in the recreation room, and to the Farmer’s Dairy Bar. These rules apply except on Sundays. Bermudas may be worn on Sundays with raincoats or skirts.

1961-1962: A student may not go to the phone or be in the parlor without wearing shoes.

During serenades girls are asked to dress adequately and to be as courteous and considerate as possible. They are also asked to refrain from making excess noise whether they attend the serenade or not.

1962-1963: Second semester freshmen may go to the library any night, but must return to the dorm by 10:30. During this time she may go to the soda shop to get something, but may not sit down to eat it.

1965-1966: It’s a College rule that participation in or inciting a riot (and this includes panty raids) is subject to penalty.

You’ll be considered on a date if you leave the dormitory with a boy after 7:30pm. However, you are permitted to go to the library or to one of the science laboratories with a boy without being considered on a date.

1969-1970: You are asked to use good taste in what you wear both on and off campus. Sweat shirts and cut offs are discouraged! Slacks and shorts are not to be worn in administrative offices in Reynolda Hall, the Chapel, classes, or the Magnolia Room. Please do not wear slacks and shorts on the upper campus before two pm on Sundays.

1970-1971: Wake Forest students are expected to recognize that marijuana, LSD, and other psychedelic drugs are illegal…The University’s physicians, counselors, and chaplains are available to students who wish to discuss confidentially matters concerning drug use, subject to the legal limitations on confidential communication.

Naturally the inclusion of women on campus led to some unforeseen consequences. “Some of the campus hijinks over the years were coeducational in nature. The admission of women to Wake Forest had initiated an automatic rivalry which was sometimes friendly and on occasion somewhat sour.”

Some of these issues were explored publicly. One girl wrote into the OG&B saying: “It seems as if one must look like Liz Taylor to get a date. Have you boys ever realized that you don’t look like Clark Gable?…I believe that if given a chance the girls that aren’t so beautiful would prove cute enough for your adorable personalities…give the Wake Forest coeds a chance.” The newspaper received several responses from the male population in varying degrees of dissatisfaction. Winston-Salem also took notice to this ‘rivalry’. In 1966 a reporter for the Winston-Salem Journal surveyed the girls at 8 colleges and universities and reported that they found Wake Forest men to be “rude, crude, and unacceptable” and “retarded mashers.”  “Since admissions standards for men were lower, women tended to be more ambitious and intelligent, and they found it difficult to locate a marriageable man on the campus,” (History of Wake Forest IV, p.307-308).

Another aspect the collection provides interesting insight into is the creation and upkeep of the societies.  The societies the collection offers information on includes the Fideles, Rigels, Petales, Les Soeurs, S.O.P.H., Thymes, Laurels, and Strings. “The societies themselves are primarily social in their function. They hope to offer the coed a broader scope of social living and at the same time to make some contribution to the life of the College and the community as well as to the lives of the society members.”

The Student Affairs Committee held open-hearings in order to properly evaluate how the societies were functioning- around campus and this is what they found.

It appears that the societies are most important for the girls during their freshman and sophomore years: in other words, they apparently fill a need for entering girls as they orient themselves to ready-made identity groups and make minor loyalties and friendships within the larger loyalty to Wake Forest College. According to our findings, senior girls rank them at the lower side of the list of factors most important in their collegiate career. Apparently there is already operating an unconscious phasing-out of society-identity in the lives of some students who are most mature, more self-reliant, more scholarly. Therefore, we recognize the role of societies in this maturing process of the individual student and in their contribution to the loyalty to the academic community, but we think that for those girls who tend to outgrown them, we would encourage a procedure whereby their membership could relapse into an honorary status.

Overall The Deans Record Group, Dean of Women, and Women’s Government Association Collections offer an exemplary and unique inside look at the social lives of women at Wake Forest College. To access the collection students can view the finding aid to get a brief overview or make an appointment with Special Collection to view the collections.

Featured Collection: George Pennell Collection of Circus Ephemera, Photographs, and Papers

Wednesday, February 6, 2013 9:17 am

This Featured Collection was written by Paige Horton, a student assistant in Special Collections and Archives.

The George Pennell Collection of circus ephemera, photographs, and other materials is an intriguing collection made of a compilation of legal documents, personal letters, pictures, and memorabilia from his time working as an attorney with various circus and carnival companies. Special Collections was gifted the collection from George Pennell’s son, Timothy Pennell, in late 2007.

George Pennell graduated with a degree in law from Wake Forest College and later was a member of the Board of Trustees. His son Timothy Pennell followed in his father’s footsteps. At Wake Forest , Timothy graduated with a B.S. 1955 and a M.D. in 1960. After graduation he went on to work as a surgeon at the Bowman Gray School of Medicine.

George Pennell’s life as an attorney working in the amusement industry had him juggling multiple vocations. Primarily, he was the attorney for owners and their shows. However, Pennell was also hired by circus and carnival companies to “procure some acts which they desire to contract and pay a flat rate.” He organized big fairs with multiple circus companies: “I have had 2 phone calls from two of the Big Shows tentatively wanting Asheville for the coming fall…I am reorganizing this Fair with a new corporate setup,” (Nov. 28, 1950). He also had the “Power of Attorney for rental purposes on the Lot” (Feb. 14, 1951) which allowed the circus to rent land out for the duration of their performances from local owners.

It was obvious to everyone that Pennell loved his job. He admits this to a friend in a personal letter joking, “if I didn’t enjoy being around show people I certainly would never accept employment.” It is also evident that the people Pennell worked for appreciated him just as much. In 1965 Pennell received a certificate of appreciation from Jack Smith (managing director) and Alex Irwin (chairman of the board) of Robbins Bros Circus for “your contribution and service in the furtherance of the outdoor circus industry.”

While the collection is primarily about Pennell’s life as an attorney, it also sheds light on the amusement industry in the mid 20th century. The collection contains a multitude of pictures and circus books giving a well-rounded view of the industry. And, as can be expected with a collection about the circus, there are several entertaining photos of the so-called “assistant freaks,” and a letter explaining the “circus slang.”

The collection also gives an inside look at some of the big name circus’ today, namely Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus. At the time Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey’s show, The Greatest Show on Earth, may or may not have been the greatest show in the world but it was most definitely the largest. According to the Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus website, The Greatest Show on Earth consisted of “100 double-length railroad cars and 1,200 employees…[it] was arguably the largest traveling amusement enterprise up to that time.”

Pennell did work with the company for well over a decade. The collection sheds insight into Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey Circus route book, management, and legal contracts. The documents show both the overwhelming success of their show The Greatest Show on Earth and the decline. Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey gave their last tented performance on July 16th, 1956. The collection has a copy of the newspaper clipping the details the ending. In it John Ringling North, head of the circus, says “the tented circus as it now exists is, in my opinion, a thing of the past.” The shut-down was prompted by the audience’s changing tastes but also by “labor troubles, bad weather, and rising costs.”

The George Pennell Collection is a well-rounded collection that has great research potential for Wake Forest students, staff, and faculty. To access the collection students can view the finding aid to get a brief overview or make an appointment with Special Collection to view the collection.

Featured Collection: Gertrude Stein and Conference Press

Thursday, October 25, 2012 3:17 pm

This post was written by Sarah Appleby, Graduate Student in English and student employee in Special Collections and Archives. Thanks, Sarah!

Stein in Richmond, VA 1934

The material in this collection comes from collaboration between influential writer, Gertrude Stein, and the professional endeavors of three young men at a fledgling press. Conference Press was founded in the 1930s by UCLA students Hal Levy, Gilbert A. Harrison, and William Bayard Okie, who formed the press after meeting writer William Saroyan. In their own words, from a 1940 prospectus:

Once upon a time there were three young college boys who liked the way William Saroyan wrote. So one day they left the campus of the University of California at Los Angeles and drove across town to a Hollywood studio where Saroyan was “writing for pictures.”

Saroyan was very cordial and for a half an hour the four young men (Saroyan was but a couple of years older than his admirers) talked about William Saroyan,writing in general, and the prospects for the U.C.L.A football team. Soon the talk switched to publishing, and before anyone was quite sure what had happened thethree college boys had formed a publishing house and Saroyan had agreed to give them enough stories to make a book.

The Conference Press was born. And Saroyan, bored with Hollywood, was going to have another book published.

A few hectic weeks followed. Saroyan, as the first of four Conference Press vice-presidents (there was no president), helped read galley proofs in the print shop, ate ice cream pie at the nearby drugstore, and sang baritone in the quartet of embryonic publishers they drove home in the early mornings. The three college boy publishers, starting from scratch with absolutely no knowledge of the publishing business, soon found themselves learning by the fast and sometimes bitter method of first-hand, first-time experience.

That first meeting in Saroyan’s office was on November 12. On December 12 the book was in the bookstores, ready to be sold.

That first book was really just a collegiate lark. Now we are out of college,working on our second book, and planning the ones to follow. (CP)

Front page from original typescript

From edited galley proofs

Gilbert Harrison corresponded with Gertrude Stein beginning in 1933—he would continue to do so until her death in 1946—and met her in Pasadena during her 1934-35 tour of America. In 1937, Harrison visited Stein and Alice B. Toklas in Paris. This relationship resulted in the 1940 Conference Press publication of Stein’s work, What are Masterpieces? The young men proudly announce their “new and important” book:

This book is important because it brings into print for the first time the famous Oxford-Cambridge lectures of Miss Stein—Composition as Explanation, An American and France, and What are Masterpieces.

These lectures present, clearly and positively, her aesthetic theories and the basic philosophy underlying her experimental work.

The lectures are supplemented by several illustrative examples of Miss Stein’s creative work—the poem Precosilla, the pen-portraits, Edith Sitwell and Jean Cocteau, a play, A Saint in Seven, from her early period, and a play, Identity, from her most recent period.

Here, at last, is a book which shows that her work has been consistent and logical, that her contribution to American literary thought is strikingly profound. (CP)

Layout art

That publication is the cornerstone of the collection. The Conference Press collection tells the story of a book and how it was envisioned, edited, constructed, advertised, sold, and received. Featured among the items in the publishers’ archive are the original typescript prepared in part by Alice B. Toklas, galley proofs corrected in Stein’s hand, and preliminary layouts and sketches for the book by designer Ward Richie, himself a prominent figure in Southern California fine printing.

Ward Ritchie painting

A two-page, handwritten letter from Gertrude Stein praises the publication: “Really and truly it is a quite perfect book.” (Stein’s handwriting is, however, exceedingly difficult to read at times, so proceed with caution). Also found within collection are several pages of purchase orders and correspondence to the gentlemen of Conference Press. The young press published What are Masterpieces? not long after their first book, William Saroyan’s Three Times Three (the “stories” Saroyan gave them to publish while they were still students), and the two works were offered for purchase simultaneously to distributors and interested parties. One could pre-order a copy of Stein’s book for $2; $2.50 once it hit the shelves.

From 1940 prospectus

Additionally, the collection houses some miscellaneous Stein ephemera, such as manuscript notes written on the title pages of detective stories, bibliography notes by Robert Bartlett Haas with additions and corrections in Stein’s hand, and theatre programs from productions of Yes is for a Very Young Man, 4 Saints in 3 Acts, and The Mother of Us All (the programs of which are, on their own, interesting and worthwhile artifacts that feature period-specific advertising and marketing).

Manuscript fragments

Theatre program

There are also several copies of articles written by Stein for diverse publications such as The Psychological Review, Cosmopolitan, Saturday Evening Post, and the New York Times, as well as general clippings, reviews, and a few photographs. Throughout, the collection helps provide fascinating insight into both Gertrude Stein’s writing process and product, and a publisher’s endeavors, from inception to publication and reception.

Take a look at the finding aid for the collection!

Featured Collection: Fries Woolen Mill Diary (MS39)

Monday, August 6, 2012 12:32 pm

 

The Fries Woolen Mill Diary is story within a story. Two men are responsible for this one folder “collection” being a part of the WFU archives, Francis Levin Fries and Wallace Barger Goebel. Separated by almost one hundred years, Fries was instrumental in the creation of the original diary and Goebel is responsible for the copy within our collection. The diary is a wealth of information about Salem as a mill and textile town.

http://www.digitalforsyth.org/photos/7492

[The following is transcribed from what we believe is Goebel's narrative and research on Fries and the diary]

Francis Levin Fries was born October 17, 1812, in Salem, NC. He was the eldest child of John Christian William Fries and Johanna Elizabeth, maiden name Nissen. He was educated in the boys’ school of Salem, and then at Nazareth Hall, in Nazareth, PA. In 1836 the Salem Cotton Manufacturing Company was organized in Salem, and Mr. Fries was employed as its Agent. Though without and previous experience whatever, he went North, studied cotton mill machinery, bought what was needed, shipped it to Salem, installed it, and ran the mill for nearly four years.

In the fall of 1839 Francis Fries began to make plans for a small wool-mill, to be conducted on his own account. Fortunately for the historian, it was then still the rule in Salme that the new enterprises must have the approval of the Aufseher Cellegium, and therefore the Minutes of that Board, furnish interesting information concerning the preliminaries. On Oct. 25, 1839, the Minutes of the Collegium recorded that Francis Fries and his father, William Fries, were planning to build a small woolen mill on a  lot back of William Fries’s home-place, that is on the west side of what is now South Liberty (then Salt) street. Members of the Collegium were favorably inclined, but a few days later the neighbors entered a protest, basing it on their fear of the smoke from the steam-engine, and because he planned to use slave labor in the mill. On Nov. 21st the Collegium had a conference with Mr. Fries, in which these objections were freely discussed. Fries agreed to build his factory on an out-lot at the corner of the new Shallowford Street and Salt Street, thereby removing the smoke from the center of town. There was a rule in Salem dating from the action of the Congregation Council in February, 1820, that no slave might be taught a “trade or profession” that is a handicraft of any kind, no matter whether the slave belonged to the ma teaching him or was hired from another. This applied only to the residents in the town of Salem, and from the wording of the resolution was evidently intended to prevent competition with the white artisans of the community. In the conference with Fries in 1839, the Collegium concluded that it would not be teaching a slave a trade to let him run a machine, and therefore would not establish a dangerous precedent. It was noted that Fries did not expect to establish a large factory, because not a great deal of suitable wool was raised in the State, so not many slaves would be employed there, and he promised to give bond that if the slaves made trouble, he would send them away, and if in the course of years the factory became a nuisance he would give it up. The Collegium met again on the following day and decided that as the weaving would be done on William Fries’ farm, outside the town, the men running the machines would rate a “day laborers”, and so no precedent would be established.

The lease system still prevailed in Salem, and on Feb. 3, 1840, a Lease was signed,  giving Fries possession of a lot on the north-west corner of what are now Brookstown Avenue and South Liberty Street. As the factory developed this lot proved to be too small, and adjacent land was added several times.

From the beginning Mr. Fries was assisted in the wool mill by his younger brother Henry w. Fries, who became a partner in the business in March, 1846. Among the papers of the firm of F. & H. Fries there is a small mill diary, beginning abruptly on April 13, 1840 and setting forth the details of what was virtually a pioneer enterprise. It presents a vivid picture of the industry, tireless energy, and versatility of the owner; and of his treatment of his slaves, his “boys”, of whom he expected readiness to follow his lead in work, but for who he would close the mill when the weather was right for a rabbit hunt, or when a circus was in town.

During the Civil War the Fries Mill was run for the government, making the “Confederate Gray” cloth used for the soldiers. When the war opened, Mr. Fries was in poor health, and died in August, 1863. His brother ran the mill until the sons of Mr. Fries grew to maturity, the name continued unchanged. Henry W. Fries never married, and remained head of the firm until his death in November, 1902, at the age of seventy seven.

After the Civil War, Henry W. Fries helped a number of the slaves formerly belonging to the family to buy homes of their own. Some remained in the employ of the firm, or individual members thereof, until death, although in the wool mill they were largely replaced by white labor.

http://www.digitalforsyth.org/photos/9614

The original Fries Woolen Mill Diary is part of the Francis Levin Fries Papers, 1850-1925 held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Wallace Barger Goebel graduated from Wake Forest in 1925 and published A History of Manufactures in North Carolina Before 1860 in 1926, the same years handwritten on the title page of his transcribed diary. It can be deduced that the transcription and accompanying summarized biographical and historical note at the beginning of WFU’s copy of the diary was part of Goebel’s book research.

Described as the “Lady’s Man” in the Howler’s Prophecy for the Class of 1925, Goebel became an author, a professor of history and political science, and an archivist at the U.S. National Archives and Records Service. Although Goebel’s papers were acquired by the Archives in 1988, it is believed that the Fries Woolen Mill Diary (MS39) has been in the collection since the late 1920′s. Goebel has made a lasting impression on Wake Forest. He not only provided the Archives with this account of Winston-Salem history and his own personal papers, he also has a scholarship fund established in his name here at Wake Forest. The Wallace Barger Goebel Scholarship is based on ability and need, with first preference to a student interested in literature, second preference to a student interested in history, and third preference to a student enrolled in the premedical program.

 


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