Special Collections & Archives Blog

In the 'University Archives' Category...

Documenting Diversity: Z. Smith Reynolds Library Special Collections and Archives’ Initiative for Creating a Well-rounded University Record at Wake Forest

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 11:19 am

This article is cross posted on the Library Gazette.

In celebration of National Archives Month and North Carolina’s Archives Week (October 22-28), ZSR’s Special Collections and Archives is reaching out to invite departments and student groups across campus to deposit their paper and electronic documents in the University Archives. We particularly encourage submissions from groups underrepresented in the Archives, such as WFU’s ethnic minority, LGBTQ, and international communities. We want to identify, locate, secure, and make accessible these important and at-risk historical records.

The Documenting Diversity initiative seeks to raise awareness of the importance of preserving the historical records, especially of under-represented groups. We will provide consultations and guidelines for the transfer of non-current records to the Archives.

Documenting Diversity kicks off with an Archives open house event in the Special Collections Reading Room from 4-5 pm on October 25th. Members of the WFU community will have the opportunity to see the University Archives, drop off materials, view some collections already housed in the archives, and discuss the future of a more inclusive and well-rounded University record. Light refreshments will be served.  Participating departments and organizations include


We encourage all interested individuals and groups to attend the Archives open house and to contribute appropriate materials to the University Archives. Visit the PDC website to register for the event.  Please send questions to Rebecca Petersen petersrb@wfu.edu.

The Henlee H. Barnette correspondence series finding aid is online!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012 4:57 pm

Special Collections and Archives is pleased to announce that the first segment of the Henlee H. Barnette papers finding aid is now online! The correspondence series of the Barnette papers fills 27 boxes, and spans the years 1943-1996. It gives great insight to Dr. Barnette’s life while he was a student, father, minister, professor, and social activist. Some correspondents of note include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Olin Binkley, John Claypool, John Howard Griffin, Elton Trueblood and Millard Fuller.

Henlee Hulix Barnette was a 1940 graduate of Wake Forest College who became a professor, Baptist minister, and outspoken advocate for social change. One of the most progressive Baptists of his time, Barnette worked to advance the civil rights movement, spoke out adamantly against the Vietnam war, and spent some of his early years of ministry in one of the most dangerous areas of inner-city Louisville, living in and serving the people of the Haymarket neighborhood.

Vicki and Rebecca will continue to process the other parts of the collection, and announcements will be made when new series have been added to the finding aid. This is such a rich collection of materials that researchers will find great insight and information in this first section of correspondence, as well as additional series that are to come.

See the finding aid here: Henlee Barnette Papers (MS 474)

Two New Finding Aids Available Online!

Thursday, June 7, 2012 3:13 pm

Special Collections and Archives is pleased to announce the online publication of two new finding aids! The Bill Leonard Papers and the Wake Forest UniversitySchool of Divinity Collection have been processed and the findings aids are available online. These two new additions, as with the rest of our published finding aids, can be found at our Special Collections webpage. Researchers both on campus and off are encouraged to browse our collections online and make an appointment to access the materials.

Catalogues and Bulletins of Wake Forest are now online

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 12:22 pm


We are happy to announce that the Wake Forest Catalogues and Bulletins are online! Thanks to the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center for doing the scanning and to Vicki Johnson for organizing and transporting the bulletins. Varying titles and binding made this project no easy feat, but the benefits far outweigh any challenges this project may have presented. As of now, you can access the titles through the Special Collections and Archives page by clicking on the Howler Yearbooks under Popular Resources.

A Civil War Gem found in the Archives (by Vicki, Craig and Rebecca)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 11:48 am

A story within a story, three members of the Special Collections and Archives team recount the discovery, preservation, and access of an exciting and well-traveled gem from the collection. We hope readers will enjoy the story and keep the relevance and enduring nature of the “Lebanon Greys” alive for at least another century!


It is amazing what gems we discover in the University Archives and NC Baptist collection on a regular basis… One day last week a researcher called asking to see the “Diary of the Lebanon Grays”. Our able student intern, Kathleen, took down the request and then told us what the researcher was looking for. The request was met with a resounding “huh?” by all of us. I checked our finding aids to see if there was a match, no luck. I went to the trusty ProCite database that usually contains information that isn’t listed anywhere else, no luck. Finally when Megan and I resorted to Googling the name, we found a listing on the Tennessee State Library page, under a Bibliography of Tennessee Civil War Unit Histories >Confederate. Interestingly enough, it listed a transcription of the diary that was done in 2000, the title of which is Diary of “The Lebanon Greys” Located in the Minutes of Sandy Springs Baptist Church, Iredell County, North Carolina, Reposited at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, N. C. Lebanon, TN: T. E. Partlow, [2000].


Obviously Mr. or Ms. Partlow had found the diary and done the translation sometime in the past, but we could find no information about it here in our listings. Maybe it was a misprint and the diary wasn’t really here, or maybe it was at the WFU historical museum the town of Wake Forest… Luckily when I went to investigate, I found that we had the original manuscript records for the church as well as the microfilm. As I looked through the records, I came upon a small book that was literally falling apart. I opened it carefully and saw a diary entry from April 23rd 1861 that said “On Tuesday the 23rd day April 1861 at the Court House in the town of Lebanon a company for the defense of the South was organized comprised of the Young men of the town and vicinity- Said company was duly organized at 2 o’clock of the day above mentioned and by report of a com. appointed for that purpose it was unanimously determined to call themselves The Lebanon Greys. Regular entries continue only through August of that year, but one final entry was added that said “April 9th 1865 today the Army of Northern Va surrendered Quite an unpleasant day with the Rebs to day in Va.”

So how did this wind up in a book of church minutes, you ask? On the following page is the inscription “This Book was found one the Battle field of Manases Brought here by T F Hayne and sold to M.S. Vestal and then M.S. Vestal taken this book an presented it to the Sandy Springs Church. M.F. Vestal, C.C.” I suppose that because resources were scarce in the South at that time, the church decided to use the book for its records, which begin on the next page and go through 1879 and hold quite an interesting history of their own as well.


Rebecca Petersen brought this diary/church record to Preservation. I don’t think I am alone in thinking about the person who actually held this book on a battlefield during the Civil War. This kind of makes you get goose bumps. It is one of the pleasures of being part of Special Collections and I’m sure is part of the reason most of us are drawn to this work.

In Preservation, I was able to repair this diary, which was missing the front cover and was about to lose all the pages. I stabilized the text block with Japanese tissue and created a new cover piece which I attached to the text block. I scanned the rear cover and printed out a copy of it for the front cover. After covering the new front cover with book cloth, I glued down the scan of the rear cover I’d made to the cloth so it was roughly similar in appearance. I also created a new end sheet with was glued to my new cover and the recently repaired text block. A few other minor repairs like repairing paper tears and loose hinges meant the book was structurally sound enough for handling and scanning. I have to confess, I didn’t want to give the diary back to Vicki and Rebecca.

It is amazing to hold this book and know that a soldier who fought in the Civil War wrote on these pages. It is even more amazing that we found itbecause of a research request and probably wouldn’t have ever known about it if the researcher hadn’t asked. Just another unique piece of the history we have here in Special Collections!


By the time the diary made it back to me, it had a new chapter to the story and a new front cover. Craig did a fantastic job of restoration and our plan to digitize the item was easier now that the diary was stable. The Special Collections and Archives team has completed many digital projects this year focusing on Civil War materials to commemorate the sesquicentennial of the war between the states. We have already contributed the Herbert E. Valentine Civil War Diary, the Lipe Family Civil War Letters, the Confederate Broadside Collection, and the George L. Bright Civil War Diary. ASERL has put together a “Civil War in the South” to highlight archival collections relating to this time in American History. We intend to digitize the Diary of the Lebanon Greys and add it to both our digital collections page as well as the ASERL project.

It is amazing that an object like a diary can have so many different stages of “life.” We are excited to show the world the journey from Lebanon, Tennessee, to Manassas, Virginia, to Sandy Springs Baptist Church, to the ZSR Preservation room, and finally to a new life as a digital object. Stay tuned and we will soon have the diary available in both the physical form and a digital representation for the public to view, learn from, and enjoy.

It Was A Simpler Time?

Thursday, September 22, 2011 4:11 pm

While accessioning materials into the University Archives today, I came across the Wake Forest University Civil Defense Manual from 1966. A small but very detailed document outlines the shelter locations, the supplies (food, sanitary, and medical), locations of telephones in the shelters, and locations of janitor’s closets with hoses for filling water drums.

The Wake Forest University Civil Defense Committee had their work cut out for them! I am so happy they didn’t have to use them, but was interested that the Library had on hand 26 cases of Nabisco crackers. (Accession #2011.0067)

Archives’ materials featured in new calendar

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 4:07 pm

This past summer (remember when it was hot)? we received a request from a researcher who wanted to see our collection of old football programs, especially the ones from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. He said he wanted to make a calendar of some of the covers, and he spent several days looking through and photographing our collection. We thought that was a nice idea, but didn’t realize what a great final product would result! Lo and behold, one day a few weeks ago, I received a box of the new calendars and they look GREAT. We are excited that part of our collection made this publication possible, and we hope that lots of folks will want one for themselves. No, we don’t get any money from the sales of the calendars, but it’s a great tool for showcasing the unique materials that are in the Archives and letting people know that we are here. If you know a Wake alum, current student, or anyone who loves WFU, this would be a great gift for Christmas or any time. Check out this link to get more info and to order one for yourself.

Asgard Press

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!

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.

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.

ABCs of Special Collections
Collection News
Digital Projects
News & Events
Rare Book of the Month
University Archives
What Are You Working On?
a day in the life of a librarian American Indians American Revolution archives Arthur Conan Doyle Baptist book repair workshops botany Charles Dickens Christmas detective fiction Documentary Film Edgar Allan Poe Elizabeth Blackwell Engraving gift books Harold Hayes herbal home movie day illustrations Ireland James Joyce John White Laurence Stallings Mary Shelley Maya Angelou medieval manuscripts poetry preservation mold programs Rare Book of the Month Rare Books Roanoke Shakespeare Sherlock Holmes Special Collections Strand Magazine Theodor deBry Thomas Hariot Travel Narratives Venice W.B. Yeats W.J. Cash wake forest Writers' Lives
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
December 2009
November 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
October 2008
September 2008
July 2008
April 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007

Powered by WordPress.org, protected by Akismet. Blog with WordPress.com.