Today’s guest blogger is Pam Yeager from the University of Louisville Libraries Photographic Archives.
Unidentified images in the Photographic Archives provide me with lots of opportunities to indulge my love of getting the story under the surface. But one well-identified photo from a recent acquisition provided some fun and surprises, as well. The Speed Art Museum recently de-accessioned a small group of Louisville photographs. One of these is a photo of a Louisville mansion at 214 W. Broadway that was identified on the back as belonging to William H. Dillingham. Three people sitting on the front steps are almost invisible in the picture, which includes the entire massive façade of the building. Caron’s City Directory for 1885 tells us that Mr. Dillingham owned a woolen mill supplies company at 421 W. Main St. There’s another figure off to the side of the house and farther back – so I assume she is not part of the family – perhaps an employee?By 1905, the residence is listed as owned by J.C. Lewis, and the company on Main St. is not listed. In 1914, Caron tells us that at 214 W. Broadway, Ms. Mattie B. Russell had furnished rooms to let, one of which was occupied by Pauline Bredelli, a music teacher. Perhaps Ms. Bredelli was the connection that led to 214’s next occupant: In the 1916 Directory,the Louisville Conservatory of Music is listed at the address.
From Robert Bruce French’s article about the Louisville Conservatory of Music in The Encyclopedia of Louisville, I learned that the Conservatory opened on September 7, 1915, “in the former Dillingham mansion at 214 W. Broadway.” The Conservatory was a great success, so much so that another larger school was built on Brook St. in 1926-7. But after the Depression hit, student enrollment dropped and the school ultimately declared bankruptcy and closed in 1932. It then merged with the University of Louisville’s part-time (no degrees granted) Department of Music. Faculty and students from the Louisville Conservatory became U of L teachers and students, and in only four years the School was accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music. French’s article also tells us the Brook St. site is now covered by I 65. And instead of the soaring arches of the Dillingham mansion at 214 W. Broadway, you’ll find a Subway restaurant, across from the more modest golden arches of a McDonalds.
Through October 25, 2012 the photo of the Dillingham mansion is part of Special Collections’ exhibit: “Samuel W. Thomas, Louisville Historian”, in the Photographic Archives gallery. Dr. Thomas used the photograph (when it belonged to the Speed Museum) in his book The Architectural History of Louisville, 1778-1900.
“Libraries exist to preserve society’s cultural artifacts and to provide access to them. If libraries are to continue to foster education and scholarship in this era of digital technology, it’s essential for them to extend those functions into the digital world.” – The Internet Archive
Earlier this year, the University of Louisville Libraries began digitizing and adding texts to our very own corner of The Internet Archive, a nonprofit internet library which provides free, permanent access to digital collections from all over the world. Several of the items we’ve added so far are souvenir booklets containing some wonderful photographs of the city of Louisville from the early 20th century.
Other items include biographies and histories of industries in Kentucky, including one of our most downloaded items to date, Fine Whisky Facts compiled by George C. Buchanan.
The books UofL Libraries have uploaded to The Internet Archive can be viewed in several formats including online, on a Kindle e-reader device, downloaded as a PDF file, etc. UofL’s contributions were scanned and assigned metadata by Sarah Frankel and MARC cataloging records were created by Tyler Goldberg.
Last month, the University of Louisville Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) collection reached and surpassed 1,000 titles!
The 1,000th ETD was authored by Daniel Baumann, a recent graduate of the Speed School of Engineering, Department of Bioengineering for his thesis, “Effect of Flow on Human Endothelial Cell and Dermal Cell Growth Rates Supplemented with Drug Infused Media.”
The UofL Libraries are thrilled that what started as a small project in 2002 has grown to a collection of over 1,000 titles. The Libraries have seen an amazing growth in recent years due to an increase in participation from UofL’s graduate students. For the May 2011 graduates, the ETD program’s participation rate was around 87%. For future graduates, the UofL Libraries hope to increase participation to 100%.
We also have appreciated a boost in participation thanks to a mention in the University of Louisville magazine (Summer 2012 edition, p. 39) which put a call out to U of L alumni to give their permission for us to digitize and add these titles to our ETD collection. As the distributed statement noted, electronic documents are more easily accessed by other scholars than print versions.
If you are reading this blog post and this is the first time you have heard of ETDs or you are a UofL Master’s or Ph. D. graduate interested in submitting your work to this digital collection, please visit our about page where you can find out more information about the collection and UofL’s “Nonexclusive License” which can be mailed or submitted electronically.
At the time of Ray Bradbury’s death last week, I had just read something by him for the first time in decades: his short reflection called “Take Me Home” in the Sci Fi-themed special double issue of The New Yorker (88(16): 66, June 4-11, 2012).
Reading his nostalgic piece invoked my own fond memories of the enthusiastic Junior High English teacher who first introduced me to Bradbury’s work. It also, along with the spate of obituaries and tributes that followed that last published work, highlighted some connections between Bradbury’s influences and my current profession.
Ray Bradbury championed libraries, to which he attributes his education as a writer. His “How Instead of Being Educated in College, I Was Graduated from Libraries or, Thoughts from a Chap Who Landed on the Moon in 1932″ (Wilson Library Bulletin 45(9): 842-851, May 1971) is stored in UofL Libraries’ Robotic Retrieval System.
In addition to the role libraries played in his formation as a writer, Bradbury was influenced by Edgar Rice Burroughs. So was my colleague George McWhorter, who established the Nell Dismukes McWhorter Memorial Collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the largest institutional collection of Burroughs materials in the world, in the Special Collections department at UofL’s Ekstrom Library. McWhorter confirms that the collection includes letters from Bradbury.
Bradbury is not the only writer to acknowledge his debt to Burroughs. The Library of America has published two Burroughs titles, with introductions by Junot Díaz and Thomas Mallon; Michael Chabon contributed to the screenplay for the recent film John Carter, based on a story by Burroughs. The U.S. Postal Service is celebrating the centennial of Burroughs’ publications by issuing a Forever stamp of him later this summer.
A History Channel miniseries on the legendary Hatfield and McCoy feud is drawing renewed attention to that chapter in Appalachian history. Many local news outlets have seized this opportunity to promote tourism to the region.
Eastern Kentucky native Jean Thomas (1881-1982) celebrated the musical traditions, dialect, folkways, costumes, legends, and lore of the mountain people through an annual American Folk Song Festival as well as writings and photographs.
Her photo collection, donated to the University of Louisville’s Photographic Archives in 1968, is available online on our Digital Collections website. It includes photos of Hatfield and McCoy descendents as well as kin of the lesser-known Tolliver-Martin Feud of Rowan County, Kentucky. She seemed to enjoy reuniting the formerly feuding families for photo opportunities.
The online finding aid for Jean Thomas’ papers, housed in the University of Louisville’s Dwight Anderson Music Library, reveals that she wrote several pieces about the feuding families, and collected lyrics to songs documenting their stories.
April is National Poetry Month. Yes, the time when the roses are red, and the violets are blue. The time when names like, Maya Angelou, E.E. Cummings, and John Keats jump to the forefront of the literary consciousness. Even a time when, perhaps, like Robert Frost, you begin to ponder about The Road Not Taken.
In celebration of this month listed below are some titles from the Bingham Poetry Room located in the Ekstrom Library on the 1st floor. Formally named the Robert Worth Bingham Poetry Room, Mr. Bingham was notable for many things including, receiving a Law degree from UofL. More information about him can be found in the suggested reads section at the bottom. Housed in this collection is more than 6000 volumes of poetry with an emphasis placed on works published in North America and the United Kingdom. For all who enjoy poetry in all its forms the Bingham Poetry Room will not disappoint.
Here are a few to get you started:3. Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman Location: Bingham Poetry Room, 1st floor, PS3569.I295 D37 2010
Other suggested reads:Robert Worth Bingham & the Southern mystique by William E. Ellis Location: Ekstrom Library, 3rd floor, CT 275 .B5737 E45 1997 Robert Worth Bingham Poetry Room, University of Louisville Library Location: Ekstrom Library, 3rd floor, LD3131 .L449 1966 Selected poems of Robert Frost Location: Ekstrom Libray Bingham Poetry Room, 1st floor, PS 3511 .R94 A17 1993
Check out the complete run of UofL yearbooks online at http://digital.library.louisville.edu/collections/yearbooks/!
Do you need an online source with coverage on women’s history? The UofL Libraries now has access to the database Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000. The collection includes items such as, full-text sources, bibliographies, primary source documents, and reviews for books, films, and websites. You can search by keyword, title, or various browsing options by movement, people, and more.
Topics in this collection include:
- Feminists - Shirley Chisholm, Betty Friedan, Frederick Douglass
- Biographies - Abigail Smith Adams, Annie Oakley
- Politics – Populist Party, League of Women Voters
- Social Movements – Women’s Suffrage, Ending Violence Against Women
This collection is located in our Databases List under the letter “W”. For questions about this database please contact the Women’s & Gender Studies Librarian, Toccara D. Porter by email or phone at 852-6747.
Last week as I was cataloging photographs from the Caufield & Shook collection, one particular image struck me. It was an image from St. Vincent’s Orphanage in 1941 of three little girls eating at a short table. My first impression was “Awww! They look so sweet with their perfect little dresses and bows.” It took me a moment to realize what the scene was really portraying – and even longer to work through some of the complicated ideas related to the photograph’s creation and purpose.
On closer examination I realized that each of these sweet little girls with bows was eating a meager meal of crackers, an apple, and an empty ice cream cone. It was that empty ice cream cone that really got me. I thought, “How sad!” But with a little more thought I considered how perfect these little girls looked. Perfectly neat and clean, coiffed and dressed. How perfectly pitiful to be eating plain crackers and ice cream cones without the ice cream. How perfect for an advertisement asking donors to support the orphanage.
*Mental headslap!* Well, of course, it is! The photograph was commissioned and paid for by St. Vincent’s Orphanage. Sometimes when I’m working with historical photographs I’m so drawn in by the all the details that indicate its era that I forget that not all historical photographs are documentary in nature. This image was taken by the commercial photography studio Caufield & Shook. They were paid to take photographs at the orphanage for some purpose. It may or may not show a typical meal at the orphanage.
In some ways I appreciate the ambiguity of this image. It made me stop and think. What details in this photo were staged? What details are accurate? And where is the line for photographers between documentary photography, commercial work and works of fiction?