Do you like roadside attractions? Have you ever planned the route of a road trip based solely on stopping to see a bizarre site or oddball statue proclaiming “The World’s Largest (fill-in-the-blank)”? Well I certainly have, and that’s partly why I love the current exhibition up in the Photographic Archives Gallery. All Over the Map: Photographs Across America, 2006-2012 by Steve Plattner includes wonderful photos of some of the most beautiful oddities found along our country’s highways: a tractor-trailer perched high in the air, unique monuments built by dedicated outsiders, giant dinosaurs, a castle constructed of junk, mysterious billboards and other puzzling views. Plattner explains that he is “drawn toward unusual people, places, or things” that he feels “are exceptional, that stand out in some way, that often disappear without a trace.” During a gallery talk, Plattner explained how many of these unique American sites are vanishing and that he is compelled to document them.
Once long distance road travel became popular in the 1930s, businesses sprang up along the stretches of highways to attract the numerous tourists. Many of the businesses added unique attractions such as novelty architecture, colorful monuments, and other features meant to draw in customers. But as air travel surpassed family road trips and many of America’s popular highways, such as Route 66, were passed over for the new Interstate Highway System, the unique mom-and-pop businesses and roadside attractions waned in popularity. Plattner commented that many of the sites in his photographs have changed or even disappeared in the years since he shot them. So… come visit the exhibit before both the photographs and the attractions disappear!
All Over the Map: Photographs Across America, 2006-2012 by Steve Plattner will be on exhibit through June 29, 2012. The University of Louisville Photographic Archives Gallery is located in Ekstrom Library, Lower Level. We are open Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM.
I have never seen so many gallery visitors! Of course I haven’t even been working here for very long, but still, our current exhibit in the Photographic Archives is getting anywhere from 15 to 50+ visitors a day! “Louisville’s 1937 Flood: A 75th Anniversary Exhibition” includes 39 photographs showing Louisville’s historic flood of the Ohio River that submerged 70% of Louisville and 90% of Jeffersonville, IN, as well as locations up and down the river from Pennsylvania to Illinois. Photographs by well-known photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White, who was sent by Life Magazine to shoot views of the flood in Louisville, show a range of scenes from a man on an improvised boat made of washtubs, to water-damaged and discarded pianos sitting in a street. And of course, Bourke-White’s famous “World’s Highest Standard of Living” photograph is most recognizable.
Photos by Corwin Short, the Louisville native who was Bourke-White’s escort during her trip, show the famous photojournalist at work: standing atop a car with her camera, walking the pontoon bridge, and eating lunch on a rowboat. Visitors have also been amazed at the aerial photographs on display that show the far-reaching devastation caused by the flood water. These photos were donated to the archive in 2010 and have never been exhibited here before.
Apparently, the Great Flood is still a big deal to Louisville residents, even 75 years later. It has been quite a learning experience, as many of the gallery visitors are eager to share with us their personal and family stories of the flood. In fact, there is a group of people sitting in the gallery sharing their stories with each other right now!
These photographs will be up until this Friday, March 9th, so hurry down to see them before they’re gone.
Anyone who was on the fourth (okay, and third) floor of Ekstrom Library on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 8 knew something was up. This area — normally known for its silence — was packed full of people who gathered to celebrate the dedication of the Romano L. Mazzoli Reading Room in the University Archives and Records Center. A native Louisvillian and alumnus of the Brandeis School of Law, Romano (Ron) Mazzoli represented Kentucky’s Third Congressional District for 24 years, from 1971 until 1995. We also opened his papers to researchers and launched an online oral history collection focusing on the Congressman, his life and career.
The reading room includes exhibits focusing on Congressman Mazzoli, which can be enjoyed anytime between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm Monday-Friday. A companion exhibit showcases Louisville’s Italian American community. The Italian American Association (IAA) has been a generous supporter of the Archives’ work on the Congressman’s papers, and we are working with the IAA to collect materials that document the lives of Italian Americans in Louisville. If you are interested in making a donation, please give us a call at 852-6674!
The Congressman’s papers themselves fill 633 boxes (that’s nearly 700 feet of shelf space). They document his campaigns as well as his time in office, including his work on the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, also known as the Simpson-Mazzoli Act. They also tell the story of a Congressman who placed a very high value on being accessible and helpful to his constituents. A detailed description of the papers is available online (http://uofl.me/lib-mazzoli), and the papers themselves can be accessed in the Archives on the fourth floor of Ekstrom Library.
In addition, we conducted 66 hours of oral history interviews with the Congressman, his colleagues, staffers, campaign volunteers and family. These interviews complement the papers, giving life to the official record and telling stories that simply aren’t captured on paper. These are being made available online via the University Libraries’ Digital Collections (http://uofl.me/lib-mazzoli2).
So come take a look at these new resources – whether in person or virtually!
The Ekstrom Library is host of the “Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933-1945“, which is a traveling exhibit from the U.S. Holocaust Museum that focuses on the experiences of LGBT people during the Holocaust. The exhibit highlights the history between 1933 and 1945, Nazi Germany sought domination over Europe and, in what is now called the Holocaust, the total annihilation of Europe’s Jews.
As part of its effort to create a “master Aryan race,” the Nazi government persecuted other groups, including Germany’s homosexual men. Believing them to be carriers of a “degeneracy” that threatened the nation’s “disciplined masculinity” and hindered population growth, the Nazi state incarcerated in prisons and concentration camps tens of thousands of men as a means of terrorizing German homosexuals into social conformity.
Through reproductions of some 250 historic photographs and documents, Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals 1933–1945 examines the rationale, means, and impact of the Nazi regime’s attempt to eradicate homosexuality that left thousands dead and shattered the lives of many more.
Everyone is welcome to visit! There is an area designated for people to post thoughts about the experience on the comment board or in the comment box, and you can attend one of the many events scheduled listed here!
The exhibit will be in the Ekstrom Library from September 19th – November 28, 2011. If you have more questions please contact Toccara D. Porter or call (502) 852-6747.
About the Image:
“Solidarity.” Richard Grune lithograph from a limited edition series “Passion des XX Jahrhunderts” (Passion of the 20th Century). Grune was prosecuted under Paragraph 175 and from 1937 until liberation in 1945 was incarcerated in concentration camps. In 1947 he produced a series of etchings detailing what he witnessed in the camps. Grune died in 1983.
Credit: Courtesy Schwules Museum, Berlin
We envisioned “Comics! the Ardi and Dick Wilson Collection” as a light-hearted exhibit to welcome our fall semester students. In putting it together, we have discovered a whole other world of comics’ fans way beyond campus. Everyone is welcome to come for the exhibit opening reception on Monday, August 8, from 5 to 7 pm in the lower level lobby of Ekstrom Library. Be forewarned, though. I may be following you around, writing down your comments on the comics.
That, essentially, is how we have done this exhibit. Comics’ aficionado James Manasco (by day the definitely not mild mannered Libraries’ Head of Collection Development) sat before a great pile of comics and talked about each one in turn, while I frantically scribbled –next time, I’ll bring the laptop– his commentary. Over the course of an afternoon James persuaded me to actually care deeply about Batman’s motivation and Wolverine’s adamantium bones.
The Ardi and Dick Wilson Collection is fun, and it now belongs to the entire community. Come join us! And be ready to talk. I’ll bring the laptop.