By Rebecca Pattillo
We are living in an historic moment. In the same way that, today, we want to know how Louisvillians navigated the historic 1937 flood of the Ohio River, years from now, others will want to know how we navigated the experience of a global pandemic brought on by the novel coronavirus.
In the spirit of documenting this moment, the University of Louisville Archives and Special Collections wants to collect and preserve the experiences and reactions of UofL students, staff, faculty, and administrators. Personal accounts can range from direct observations to artistic reflection and may touch on any number of themes such as displacement from student housing, working from home, the shift to online learning or teaching, social distancing or self-quarantining, or leading the university through the crisis. Personal accounts can be in the form of a journal or blog, email, photos, videos, audio recordings, or social media posts. (We will collect physical materials once the Archives reopen to the public.)
Eventually, ASC hopes to extend the request to all of Louisville, but is beginning with the UofL community for now.
To submit digital material, continue to the following form: https://louisville.libwizard.com/f/my_covid-19_experience
While walking last week in Germantown with Teddy, her medium-sized Terrier mix, Libraries Assessment Librarian Anita Hall saw a poster that looked familiar. It was a larger version of historic lapel “badges” issued to citizens during another difficult era: Louisville’s great flood of 1937.
The badges contained an upbeat pledge that ended with the catchphrase “I Dare You To Catch Me Not Smiling,” and were widely distributed after the historic 1937 flood to boost morale. Now posters are reappearing locally during the COVID-19 era in a variety of colors that differ from the badges’ original orange. An enterprising individual must have recognized a similar mood arising in our current reality and thought we could use the boost.
“It made me quite emotional to think about other times that people in the city have come together to weather a crisis,” Hall said. “Seeing these makes me feel very connected to the whole city.”
The Ohio River’s over-spill engulfed 70% of Louisville and 90% of Jeffersonville, Indiana, and devastated other communities along the river from Pennsylvania to Illinois. Getting back to normal life after the waters receded was a shared public challenge. During this time, Louisville Mayor Neville Miller created the Committee on Morale to prevent panic and encourage cooperation, service, and determination. Notices, broadsides, and posters were posted throughout the city to offer ways to cope and recover from the extensive damage.
In 2017, Archives and Special Collections held an exhibit showcasing these artifacts and archival photography from its collections chronicling the flood’s impact. A part of the exhibit was Mayor Miller’s scrapbook kept during the era and now housed in ASC’s Rare Books collection – it includes the original orange flyers. Also part of the exhibit was a quarantine pass allowing individuals to leave their homes for a period of time; it is collected in ASC’s C.H. Burkholder Papers.
“Even though I burst into tears when I first saw the poster, I’m smiling now!” Hall said.
Let’s all keep smiling!
(Thanks to Anita Hall and Rebecca Pattillo.)
In honor of Women’s History Month, “Louisville’s Fiber Legend: The Life and Work of Alma Lesch,” is on display at the University of Louisville’s Bridwell Art Library. The exhibit consists of artifacts from the Alma Lesch manuscript collection. The papers in this collection include correspondence with galleries, museums and schools concerning exhibitions and workshops; articles in newspapers and magazines about Alma Lesch; exhibition catalogs which include Lesch’s work; supporting materials for workshops Lesch conducted; publications and newsletters from Shakertown; articles, newspaper clippings and ephemera on various art-related topics; lists of students and other documents from her tenure at UofL.
Alma Wallace Lesch (1917-1999) lived her whole life in Kentucky, and although her career as a working artist started in her 40s, she attained a width and breadth of textile arts that few can attain.
Earning a B.S./Education from Murray State (1941), and a Masters of Education from the University of Louisville (1962), Alma had her first career as a 3rd grade teacher, then taught at Louisville School of Art (1961-1978) and became an Adjunct Faculty at University of Louisville (1975-1982); while at UofL she founded the Textiles Program. She also taught at Haystack Mountain School of Crafts and Arrowmont School of Crafts. By 1974, she was named a Master Craftsman by the American Crafts Council, was awarded The Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Arts in 1987.
Although Alma didn’t start her professional artistic career until the 1960s, her first quilt was started at age 5 and completed at age 12, while learning embroidery and sewing from her mother and grandmother.
Most noted for her innovative fabric portraits made by sewing vintage clothing while adding embellishments that helped describe the person, Alma also worked with quilts, embroidered art, macramé, jewelry made from beads or buttons, collaged textile sculptures, woodcuts, basketry, and glass mosaics.
Alma is also a leading authority on natural dyes, writing several books.
Her works are found in several museums including the Speed Art Museum, Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, Evansville Museum of Arts and Science, the American Crafts Museum of New York, the Arrowmont School in Gatlinburg, and the Flint (Mich.) Institute of Art, as well as the Bridwell Art Library/UofL.
The Louisville Courtier Journal called her the “Undisputed Grande Dame of KY textiles and a pioneer in the National Crafts Movement.” A historical marker is found in her honor in Shepherdsville, KY.
While most UofL students, faculty and staff are working from home, they may download Adobe’s Creative Cloud software to their personal devices for free, to be used until May 30, 2020.
How do people request individual access?
Anyone can complete the form at this link. Jason Zahrndt, of the Delphi Center’s Digital Media Suite, will then create the account and contact the individual within two business days.
How do I request access for my whole class?
Any faculty wanting all their students to have access can also complete the form and select the option to provide the class roster through a file upload. Zahrndt will then complete the account creation and email all the individuals with more info within two business days.
You all can also email the complete class roster (instructions for getting that roster here) to Zahrndt at firstname.lastname@example.org, so that he can add their accounts.
How do I complete the install and use the software?
When the Adobe user accounts are created, each person will receive a direct email with tutorials and guides for installation and use of the software (this page).
For more information, please contact Zahrndt at email@example.com.
Wondering how to access art and architecture books while the Art Library is closed?
The University of Louisville has a trial subscription to the A&AePortal database which provides access to important art and art history scholarly books from some of the world’s finest publishers and museums such as Art Institute of Chicago, Princeton, and Yale University Press. This resource provides access to several titles owned by the Bridwell Art Library in an electronic format.
RedShelf is offering free electronic textbooks to students whose institutions are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The e-books can be borrowed until May 25. The following texts are a sample of what’s available:
Stokstad’s Art: A Brief History
Gardner’s Art Through the Ages
Practices of Looking
Culture of Design
Art History: The Basics
Ways of Seeing
VitalSource is also offering free electronic textbooks to students at the University of Louisville. Use your UofL email to sign up. The e-books can be borrowed until May 25. The following texts are a sample of what’s available:
Stokstad’s Art: A Brief History
Art of Mesopotamia
Greek Art and Archaeology
History of Modern Art
Janson’s History of Art
Roman Art & Archaeology
The Art of Writing About Art
What is “Islamic Art”?
Check out the Art Library Remote Resources and Services guide for information about remote access to library resources and services for art faculty and students. If you have any questions about accessing resources while off-campus, contact the Art Library at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We regret to announce our Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon event has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our top priority is the health and safety of our faculty, staff, students, and community. We will keep you informed once the event has been rescheduled.
UofL scholarship is having an impact on the burgeoning coronavirus pandemic. Two studies on the novel coronavirus COVID19 have been downloaded hundreds of times from UofL’s institutional repository, ThinkIR. Community-Acquired Pneumonia due to Endemic Human Coronaviruses compared to 2019 Novel Coronavirus: A Review and Endemic Human Coronaviruses in Hospitalized Adults with Community-Acquired Pneumonia: Results from the Louisville Pneumonia Study are posted in the Journal of Respiratory Infections, an open access journal hosted by ThinkIR. Because the journal is open access and has no paywall, anyone may access this information from anywhere across the globe with an internet link.
ThinkIR is an open-access digital repository that provides worldwide access to the scholarship of the University of Louisville community. Through ThinkIR, faculty and graduates can highlight their scholarship, accomplishments, and successes as researchers for a global audience, increasing their visibility and making new connections. As a core commitment of University Libraries, ThinkIR also preserves that scholarship for future researchers. ThinkIR currently includes student dissertations, theses, faculty publications, and freestanding open access journals produced at or hosted by the University of Louisville.
In addition to this research, Kornhauser Health Sciences Library has created a Library Guide on the Novel Coronavirus that offers a variety of information related to COVID19, including curated scholarship, links to national, local and regional resources, tips and other sources of information: https://library.louisville.edu/kornhauser/covid19.