Special Collections & Archives Blog

In the 'General' Category...

Graylyn Estate Collection Finding Aid Complete

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 10:53 am

Special Collections and Archives is happy to announce the completion of the Graylyn Estate Collection finding aid. This collection contains information on the planning and construction of the estate as well as the many uses by both the Medical School and Wake Forest University. This is a highly used collection and we see wide reaching benefits from the publication of this finding aid. Many thanks to Sarah Appleby for her work on transcription.

The Thomas K. Hearn, Jr. Collection Finding Aid, Part Deux

Monday, February 18, 2013 3:21 pm

We are happy to announce that the processing of the Dr. Thomas K. Hearn, Jr.  collection and finding aid are now complete.    An intern for Special Collections, Mary Ann Ramsey,  began the processing of the materials a few years ago, and did a through job with a sizable part of the collection.  I picked up the processing last year and completed it after several “rogue” boxes were discovered, which caused it to take longer than originally anticipated.  Now that all of the materials have been organized,  the first and second parts make a complete collection that tells the story of Wake Forest from 1983 until 2005.   The materials in the collection reflect Dr. Hearn’s time at Wake Forest as President of the university as well as after his retirement in 2005.  Dr. Hearn presided over the school during times of great change and growth, which can be seen in the correspondence, speeches and articles that are part of this collection.  His legacy of service to Wake Forest and the community is preserved in the archives and will be a wonderful resource for researchers.

See the new, completed finding aid here: Thomas K. Hearn, Jr. papers

New Acquisitions: Jan Hensley’s NC Authors Collection

Wednesday, February 13, 2013 9:55 am

ZSR’s Special Collections received an exciting addition to its Southern American literature collections in 2012 with the gift of Jan Hensley’s personal collection of materials by and about North Carolina authors. Mr. Hensley, who attended WFU in the 1960s, is a photographer, author, and collector who has been active in the North Carolina literary world for nearly 50 years. He is best known for his candid photographs of authors, which have been exhibited at Wake Forest and at many other venues throughout the state.

The Hensley Collection will be transferred to SC&A over the next three years. We received the first shipment of materials in December 2012 and have begun cataloging and processing. The first collections are materials by Burke Davis, Robert Watson, and Reynolds Price. Included in the Price collection is a bound volume of The Hi-Times, the student newspaper of Needham Broughton High School in Raleigh, NC. Price was chief editor of the paper during his senior year.

The Hensley Collection includesa wide array of print, audio, graphic, and archival materials.  Most authors represented are from North Carolina, but a few are from other regions in the South. The collection includes many books, most of them first editions and many of them autographed or inscribed by their authors. But it is the more ephemeral materials in the collection that may prove most valuable to researchers in the long run.

Jan Hensley’s collecting scope included things like small chapbooks, broadsides, journal and serial publications of poems and stories, and posters and flyers advertising author appearances or other events. Mr. Hensley also kept personal notes on his interactions with authors and made audiotapes of readings and question-and-answer sessions. These types of materials can document the early career of an author who went on to later renown, or the changes in literary publishing over several decades, or the interactions between authors and the reading public. Taken as a whole, the Hensley Collection provides not only a wealth of information on individual authors, but also a snapshot of the literary culture of North Carolina over the past half century.

The David K. Jackson Finding Aid is Now Available Online!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013 3:56 pm

Special Collections and Archives is pleased to announce that the David K. Jackson finding aid is now available! Donated by David K. Jackson to ZSR in 1986, this collection complements a larger collection of his materials located at Duke University. Jackson was a scholar and an Edgar Allan Poe enthusiast, something that is clearly reflected in our holdings of his papers. Thanks to Brittany Newberry, a student assistant and aspiring archivist, for completing this project!

Clarence Herbert New Collection announced in Archival Outllook

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 1:04 pm

CHN Archival Outlook

In the November-December 2012 issue of The Society of American Archivists publication, Archival Outlook it was announced that the Clarence Herbert New (1862-1933) Collection had been processed. Now, the world knows. New was a prolific writer and world traveler. The C. H. New Collection is very rich with albums of photographs, coats of arms, maps from around the world, scrapbooks of world voyages and of course New’s writings in The Blue Book and Free Lances in Diplomacy. The finding aid may be explored here.

The Signal and other digital preservation resources at the Library of Congress

Thursday, January 17, 2013 4:19 pm

The Library of Congress is doing a great job of developing best practices for digital preservation-both for individuals and libraries.

The National Digital Information Infrastructure Program (NDIIP) has a very good digital preservation site which focuses on a national strategy to collect, preserve and make available significant digital content, especially information that is created in digital form only, for current and future generations.

They have developed a number of resources, one of which is a monthly newsletter on digital preservation.

Their blog,The Signal has a good piece on personal archiving and webinars on this topic.

Ethiopian Psalter, 18th or 19th Century

Thursday, December 13, 2012 2:10 pm

Illustration from an Ethiopian manuscript psalter, depicting King David with a harp

Ethiopia, the oldest independent nation in Africa, has a unique Christian tradition dating back to the 4th century. The Ethiopian Orthodox Church developed largely in isolation after the Islamic conquest of Egypt in the 640′s. But Christianity remained the official state religion for many centuries, and the Ethiopian imperial family claimed to be descended directly from the Biblical King Solomon.

The Ethiopian Bible is unique, containing several apocryphal books that are preserved nowhere else. The Ethiopian Church maintained a strong tradition of manuscript Bibles and other religious texts, and illuminated Bibles were very popular from at least the 12th century onward. The 15th century was a golden age of artistic achievement in Ethiopian illuminated Bibles, and many later manuscripts contain copies of illustrations from this period. Ethiopian iconography, although it shows some influence of European and especially Byzantine artistic traditions, is as distinctive as the religious tradition from which it stems.

The Ethiopian manuscript in ZSR’s Special Collections is a psalter (a collection of the Psalms of David from the Christian Old Testament) probably dating from the late 18th or early 19th century. The printing press was not widely used in most of Africa until the mid-19th century, so a strong manuscript tradition persisted much longer that it had in Europe. The psalter is written in Ge’ez, a syllabic script traditionally used for Ethiopian liturgical texts, in red and black ink on vellum pages. Some pages, like the one pictured above, have decorative headpieces.

The psalter also has five full-page illustrations with iconography very typical of Ethiopian religious texts. The colors are bright and saturated, and the figures are outlined in black and are depicted in full face with wide eyes (in the Ethiopian as in many other African artistic traditions, only enemies are depicted in profile).

In addition to King David pictured above, there is a crucifixion scene.

Mary’s halo and the tears on her face and St. John’s were added in pencil by a later owner of the book.

Illustrations of St. George slaying a dragon and of the Madonna and child are featured on facing pages:

Both the St. George legend and the cult of the Virgin Mary were extremely important in the Ethiopian religious tradition. Illustrations of St. George slaying the dragon to rescue a north African princess were common in Ethiopian Bibles. And since the saint was also supposed to be the protector and frequent companion of Mary, depictions of George were often juxtaposed with  illustrations of the Virgin and the infant Christ.

The final illustration is a figure of an aristocratic Ethiopian man in contemporary dress holding a small book.

This is almost certainly a depiction of the patron who commissioned the psalter. The volume in his hand looks very similar to the manuscript book in the ZSR collection.

The library’s manuscript psalter is also a small book bound in dark red leather over wooden boards.

The book also has a leather cover and carrying case. This type of case, called a mahedar, is very typical of Ethiopian Bibles from this time period.

Small books like this one were intended for personal use, in contrast to larger volumes for church or ceremonial uses. The portability and personalized iconography of this psalter suggest that it was an object of private devotion and study. There is also much evidence of use by a later owner in the book itself. There are pencil notes throughout the book and extensive notes and sketches on the endpapers. At least one of the book’s owners apparently had an artistic bent:

Ethiopian manuscript texts like this one are found in libraries and private collections throughout the world. Many were dispersed in 1868 after British troops defeated the Ethiopian Emperor Tewodros and looted the churches and monasteries of Maqdala. The exact origins of the ZSR manuscript psalter are unknown; it was acquired as a gift in the 1940′s as part of the personal collection of Oscar T. Smith.

Charles Lee Smith Finding Aid Complete (Again)!

Thursday, November 8, 2012 3:52 pm

Although the Charles Lee Smith papers have had a finding aid online, it has not been complete. Well, it is now! We have added 3 additional boxes and an over-sized folder to the former collection. Many of you may know of Charles Lee Smith from the Charles Lee Smith Library (the books that are housed in the “Rare Book Reading Room”) but we also have some of his correspondence, scrapbooks, printed materials, and clippings.

Take a look at the finding aid!

 

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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