Tag Archive for Special Collections & Archives

French Students Offer a Glimpse of Wesleyan’s History

Students from Wesleyan’s French 325 class Museums, Objects and Empire, recently presented a pop-up exhibition on the history that surrounds Wesleyan’s former museum that once occupied Judd Hall from 1871 to 1957.

Students from Wesleyan’s French 325 class Museums, Objects and Empire, recently presented an exhibit on the history that surrounds Wesleyan’s former museum that once occupied Judd Hall from 1871 to 1957. Included was information on the Wesleyan’s missionary past; history on Javanese gamelan and ethnomusicology at Wesleyan; and a mummy, acquired by Wesleyan in the 1880s.

Media and Power in Latin America Course Concludes with Pop-Up Exhibit

On May 4, six Wesleyan students presented a pop-up exhibition titled "From Amate to Artists' Books: Crafting Community through Media in Latin America" in Olin Library's Special Collections & Archives. The student curators included Lauren Salazar '17, Brooke Kushwaha '20, Nate Barton '18, Marcos Plaud Rivera '18, Leah Cabrera '17 and Caroline Diemer '18

On May 4, six Wesleyan students presented a pop-up exhibition titled “From Amate to Artists’ Books: Crafting Community through Media in Latin America” in Olin Library’s Special Collections & Archives. The student curators included Lauren Salazar ’17, Brooke Kushwaha ’20, Nate Barton ’18, Marcos Plaud Rivera ’18, Leah Cabrera ’17 and Caroline Diemer ’18. All of the objects in this exhibition shed light on how media artifacts have served as tools for forging and imagining communities in Latin America. The objects date from the Pre-Columbian era to the 21st century, and range in form from stone tools, to photography and artist books. Together, they shed light on how media have been used as components in the construction of empire, to resist political systems of power, and to negotiate individual and collective identity.

Students Share Creative Writings Based on Wesleyan’s Collections

Special Collections & Archives hosted “A Reading of Documentary Nonfiction and Poetry” on May 13. Each student in the “Creative Criticism and Inquiry: Writing Documentary Nonfiction and Poetry” course chose an archival collection from the holdings of Special Collections & Archives and wrote a creative piece inspired by the collection. The class was taught by Teagle Fellow Kate Thorpe.

“The results are wonderful examples of thinking outside the box of traditional archival research,” said Suzy Taraba, director of Special Collections & Archives. “The collections chosen range from Civil War letters to the Hewlett Diversity Archive.”

A selection of the archival materials were on display at the reading.

(Photos by Bill Tyner ’13)

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Katherine Gilchrist ’13

Johnson Hired as New University Archivist

Leith Johnson

Leith Johnson was hired as Olin Library’s new university archivist and he will begin the new position on May 14.

Johnson is returning to Wesleyan from the Knights of Columbus in New Haven, Conn. where he holds the position of multimedia archivist. From 2007 to 2009, he was the project archivist for the William Manchester Papers in Wesleyan’s Special Collections and Archives, and he was the associate curator (later co-curator) of Wesleyan’s Cinema Archives from 1990 to 2007.

Johnson holds a M.L.S. from Southern Connecticut State University and a M.A. in history, Certificate in Public History and Archival Management, and B.A. in American history (cum laude) from the University of Connecticut.

Anne Ostendarp has served as interim assistant university archivist since September 2011.

Conserve, Preserve Historic Books through Adopt A Book Program

County Atlas of Middlesex, Connecticut, from actual surveys by and under the direction of F.W. Beers. Published in 1874.

Olin Library’s copy of the 1874 F.W. Beers County Atlas of Middlesex Connecticut has brittle pages and tattered maps.  However, anyone investigating 19th-century local history finds the Beers atlas invaluable.

“We’d love to make the book accessible to the Wesleyan community and outside researchers, but we can’t do so without damage to the book until its physical condition is stabilized,” explains Pat Tully, university librarian. “It needs to be preserved so that it is usable by current and future scholars.”

To help old books find a home back on the shelves, The Friends of the Wesleyan Library created an “Adopt A Book Program” to support the library’s conservation program. The program offers funds to repair and preserve unique or rare treasures in the library’s collections.

Though many of the books are in fine condition, years of use inevitably causes wear and tear, book bindings decay and their paper deteriorates.

Michaelle Biddle, head of preservation services at Olin Library, will oversee the repair work. Each “adopted” book, including the Middlesex atlas, will take several hours

Jewett Foundation Supports Exhibit Space in Olin Library

Suzy Taraba, University Archivist and head of Special Collections, received a grant from the George Frederick Jewett Foundation for the purpose of upgrading its exhibition area, located outside Special Collections & Archives in Olin Library. The $50,000 award will be applied Jan. 15, 2011 through Sept. 15, 2012.

“The grant will enable us to improve the lighting in the area, and allow us to install new cases that are more secure and attractive, and that offer some humidity control,” Taraba says.

Book Artist, Publisher Robin Price Embraces Chance in Talk, Exhibit

Book artist, fine press printer and publisher Robin Price spoke on "Chance and the Artist's Book (Thank You, John Cage)" March 25 in the Center for the Arts Hall. Her lecture was followed by an opening reception at the Davison Art Center.

Book artist, fine press printer and publisher Robin Price spoke on "Chance and the Artist's Book (Thank You, John Cage)" March 25 in the Center for the Arts Hall. Her lecture was followed by an opening reception at the Davison Art Center. Price is known for taking artistic risks within the context of the traditional format of the book. Her work embraces chance, serendipity, and randomness, and she thrives on collaboration with a wide range of artists.

NEH Supports Henry Bacon Papers

Suzy Taraba, university archivist and head of Special Collections, received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for a preservation assessment of the Henry Bacon Papers. The grant for $5,810, expires June 30, 2011.

Jewish Community Donates Roman Coin to Special Collections

Jewish Chaplain Rabbi David Leipziger Teva holds a silver coin minted in 70 C.E.

Jewish Chaplain Rabbi David Leipziger Teva holds a silver coin minted in 70 C.E.

In 70 C.E., Roman Emperor Vespasian and his son, Titus, sacked the city of Jerusalem, destroying the Jewish temple.

To commemorate the success of quelling the Jewish Revolt, the Romans minted a series of nearly 50 “Judea Capta” (Captured Judaea) coins in gold, bronze and silver to remind the Roman Empire of its victory. Most of these coins depict a Roman soldier or leader, outfitted in military attire, and a mourning female Jewish woman, seated under a palm tree or trophy.

On Jan. 14, Jewish Chaplain Rabbi David Teva Leipziger Teva, director of religious and spiritual life, donated a silver coin, known as a denarius, to Wesleyan’s Special Collections and Archives. The silver denarius, featuring an embossed profile of Emperor Vespasian and the words “Caesar Vespasianus Avg(ustus),” was struck in 69-70 A.D.

The coin shows a mourning female Jewish woman, seated under a palm tree or trophy.

The coin shows a mourning female Jewish woman, seated under a palm tree or trophy.

“The coin was probably minted at a time when the teaching of Judaism and outward expressions of biblical, temple cult-based Judaism were made impossible by a dominating power,” Rabbi Leipziger Teva says. “Fast forward to 2010 at Wesleyan. Today we have multiple creative pathways for students to express and explore their Judaism and their Jewish identities. This coin talked about the complete opposite of all of this.”

Suzy Taraba, university archivist and head of Special Collections and Archives, says the denarius is the first coin donated to Wesleyan in at least 12 years. The coin will be housed with another Roman coin of the 15th century, which is embossed with the first, regularly used printer’s mark.

Taraba encourages faculty teaching courses on religion or history to use the coins as teaching tools. Jewish history

Special Collections Honors Earth Day with Exhibition

At left, Suzy Taraba, university archivist and head of Special Collections, speaks to Phil Resor, assistant professor of earth and enviornmental sciences, and Suzanne O'Connell, chair and professor of earth and environmental sciences, director of the Service Learning Center, during the Special Collections and Archives Earth Day Open House April 22. Taraba is explaining printer and publisher Robin Price's "43." Paper maps from locations along the 43rd parallels are bound in an accordion that structurally supports the main text, which is printed on graph paper and joined together as an accordion.

At left, Suzy Taraba, university archivist and head of Special Collections, speaks to Phil Resor, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, and Suzanne O'Connell, chair and professor of earth and environmental sciences, director of the Service Learning Center, during the Special Collections and Archives Earth Day Open House April 22. Taraba is explaining printer and publisher Robin Price's 43 Paper maps from locations along the 43rd parallels are bound in an accordion that structurally supports the main text, which is printed on graph paper and joined together as an accordion.

Rebecca McCallum, cataloging librarian at Olin Library, used old cataloging cards to knit this "fabric," which was on display at the Earth Day event.

Rebecca McCallum, cataloging librarian at Olin Library, used old cataloging cards to knit this "fabric," which was on display at the Earth Day event. Several Olin library employees created recycled art for the open house.