Celebrate Black History Month with African American Read-In at Ekstrom Library

On Monday, February 8, words of African American authors will come to life as volunteers gather to read their written works out loud at the 27th Annual African American Read-In.

Attendees will gather in Ekstrom Library’s newly renovated First Floor East, in the Learning Commons, under the Cardinal Birds, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the event.

“The requirements for what may be read, or by which authors, are very broad,” said Joan D’Antoni, U of L professor of English Composition. “Participants can read books, poetry, articles, or anything – the only requirement is that the author be African American.”new image

Every 20 minutes or so, attendees will get the chance to win a free book by an African American author. Organizers plan to give 15-20 books away.

“The book give away is unique to our read-in,” said D’Antoni.

The University of Louisville has hosted a read-in since it was first established by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English in 1990; it has been hosted by Ekstrom Library for the past 10 years. Now international in scope, the read-in celebrates Black History Month in February with a focus on literacy; the NCTE encourages schools, churches, libraries, bookstores, and other community groups to host and coordinate the read-in events.

“People who come to the read-in are really attentive,” said Fannie Cox, an Outreach and Reference Librarian and member of the Commission on Diversity and Racial Equality (CODRE). “They will stop and listen and they are amazed to be getting books.”

Anyone interested in reading at the event should contact Joan D’Antoni at joan.dantoni@louisville.edu.

The event is co-sponsored by the University Libraries and the U of L Department of English.


Civil Rights Exhibit on Display at Kornhauser Health Sciences Library, Opening February 2, 2016

University of Louisville Kornhauser Health Sciences Library will host a three-part exhibit on Civil Rights.  The exhibit will run from February 2, 2016 – April 29, 2016 and will feature information on the bus boycott, the March on Washington, the Selma march, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and many other prominent events from the Civil Rights movement.  The three-part exhibit will be shown as follows:

February 2, 2016 – February 29. 2016 “The Road to the Promised Land”

March 1, 2016 – March 31, 2016 “The Selma March”

April 1, 2016 – April 29, 2016 “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

The exhibits will be on display 24/7 on the main floor of the Kornhauser Library.

Questions or comments?  Contact Tiffney Gipson, 852-8530, tagips01@louisville.edu


Bound Together: Two New Exhibits Highlight the Art of Bookbinding

In an era when tablets and screens compete to replace printed media, it seems important to understand the pleasures and physical intricacies of books. Two exhibits focused on bookbinding structures, held at UofL’s Archives and Special Collections (ASC) and Bridwell Art libraries, aim to enlighten visitors on these pleasures. The two exhibits, “Under Cover: Five Centuries of Bookbinding” and “Folded Books” feature unique and artful bookbinding methods.

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Biblio Tech book set. Photo courtesy of Karen Hanmer

Highlighted in “Under Cover” is the art book set Biblio Tech: Reverse Engineering Historical and Modern Binding Structures with a Focus on Board Attachment, created by book artist Karen Hanmer.  This set of model books is designed to be used by students learning new bookbinding structures.  Each of the 12 miniature books is only partially completed, allowing the viewer to see the steps taken to sew and glue the final bindings together.  To compliment these contemporary samples, several finished books will be shown at the ASC Library.

“We chose to purchase Biblio Tech due to the very instructive nature of each model,” said Bridwell Library Director Sarah Carter.  “The set comes with an instruction booklet, which students may use to learn how to sew their own book.  Our entire artist’s book collection, with over 300 items, is a teaching collection.  That means that students may examine them in person, versus looking at them in a display case.”

The book is a recent gift to the Art Library from Guy and Libbye Montgomery, Libraries donors who greatly value physical books, and who wished to support hands-on study for student learning. Another book presented within the ASC exhibit was conserved through the Montgomerys’ funding is a Little Gidding version of the Book of Common Prayer.

“I’m excited to show Bridwell Library’s new book alongside such beautiful and fascinating specimens from Archives and Special Collections,” Carter continued.  “I think that anyone who sees the models side-by-side with a finished example will have a better appreciation for the complexities of bookbinding.”

A companion exhibit, “Folded Books,” will also be on display simultaneously in Bridwell Art Library.  The focus is a small selection of artist’s books which use only glue and folded paper, rather than the sewn bindings emphasized in “Under Cover.”  Unusual bindings, such as flag books, tunnel books, and ox-plow books, will be on display.

“These book structures are aligned with pop-up books, but professional artists use these structures in their work to convey complex ideas that wouldn’t have the same effect in a more traditional format,” said Carter.

Students and faculty may contact Carter to make an appointment to see additional examples of artist’s books.

 

Under Cover: Five Centuries of Bookbinding

February 1st through April 30th

Archives and Special Collections Library

Ekstrom Library Lower Level

 

Folded Books: Selections from Bridwell Art Library’s Artist’s Books Collection

February 1st through April 30th

Bridwell Art Library

Schneider Hall 102

 


The Archivist’s Eye: African-American Artistry and Community Activism Found in Collector’s Artifacts

By Tom Owen, Archivist for Regional History, Archives and Special Collection

Last September, I returned from vacation to find on my desk chair a file folder of fifteen or so miscellaneous archival items related to African-American history. They had been left there by Donna Woods, the niece of a committed friend of UofL’s Archives and Special Collections, Juanita White, who has been involved in local Black history research for decades. Woods subsequently told me that the materials had been part of a larger cache of historical documents found on a shelf in an upstairs closet of an abandosigma_theta001ned house in Louisville’s Russell neighborhood that her father had purchased decades ago. She believed the collection of memorabilia had been assembled by a long-deceased African-American school teacher named Lucille Keene.

A couple of weeks ago I got around to putting my archivist’s eye on what at first blush might be like useless left-behinds found in an empty sock drawer. Should the disparate items be kept or pitched?   Just because some items date to the mid-1920s doesn’t automatically mean you keep them. Is the information duplicated elsewhere? Is it relevant to the history of the Louisville area? Do the documents answer questions that future inquirers might ask?

If retained, should the items be kept together as part of a small identifiable collection or dispersed among topical reference files here in our archives? Could I make a better judgment if I knew more about the person who conscientiously clipped articles from newspapers, picked up a funeral leaflet at church, or assembled concert programs over a four decade period? Are there threads of meaning that give deeper purpose to Lucille Keene’s collecting?

The items in the file primarily document performances in Louisville of two classically-trained African-American concert artists, internationally-renowned Roland Hayes and Marian Anderson. Hayes, a native Georgian, actually worked as a waiter at Louisville’s Pendennis Club — a Louisville City Directory confirms he boarded in a West Chestnut Street home in 1911 — long before he hit the big stage. Clearly with both hometown and racial pride, Ms. Keene had kept Hayes’ programs from concerts in our River City in 1925, 1926 and 1961. Marian Anderson’s 1957 and 1959 Louisville concerts are documented with associated news clippings describing the turn-away crowds, the African-American sorority that sponsored her visits and a reception for Anderson in a private home. Finally, there is a 1960 funeral flyer containing a biographical sketch for Eugene S. Clayton, who had been elected to the old Louisville Board of Alderman in 1945 as the first African-American local legislator.

My archivist’s eye saw sufficient evidence that Lucille Keene had stashed away documents that celebrated Louisville-connected African-Americans who made a significant mark in the face of hostile circumstance. Clearly, her effort was worth preserving for future generations but did those few disparate items need to stay together as a Lucille Keene Collection? Led by both the collection’s small size and the fact that the items revealed no details about the life of the collector, I decided that research would be better served if the documents were placed in biographical reference files for Roland Hayes, Marian Anderson and Eugene Clayton that we maintain here in the archives.

Interestingly, after I decided the disposition of the file’s contents, I learned a lot more about Lucille Keene. With the help of Ms. White, an inveterate researcher in African-American history, we determined that Keene was not a teacher after all. In fact, born in 1893, Lucille (Hall) attained only an eighth-grade education and worked as a maid and tobacco factory “stemmer” before her marriage to John Keene, a butler and house man, when she likely became a housewife. From online searching it was determined that the Keenes owned their home in the Russell neighborhood for over fifty years with Lucille dying in 1969 and John in 1983. An even fuller picture of Ms. Keene emerged when I asked our research friend about those items from the closet cache that were distributed—a few at a time—to various schools and archival repositories across the U. S.

Had I known earlier, I would have urged Ms. Woods to keep Ms. Keene’s “archive” together here at UofL in a larger collection bearing her name. In that way, a researcher could quickly ascertain in one place many of Keene’s interests and commitments based on the totality of what she decided to stow away years ago! An online search of the archival finding aid that would be prepared for her papers would turn up documents that were specific to the organizations, institutions, individuals and places she touched.

From a verbal description of those items dispersed elsewhere it appears that John Keene’s income as a butler must have been sufficient for his wife to be fully engaged in the religious and social life of African-American Louisville. Despite her limited education, Lucille was a leader in the women’s movement of her American Baptist Church sometimes traveling to state and national conferences. In addition, she once served as president of her local women’s club affiliated with the Kentucky Association of Colored Women and was honored for her extensive volunteer service to both the Red Cross and the American Cancer Society. Several postcards sent back home chronicle her travels to Chicago, Washington D.C., and New York noting her stops at sites that commemorated African-American achievement. When considered along with those items left on my desk chair, Lucille Keene was a busy Louisville woman who took great pride in the achievements of her race despite hobbling discrimination.

I’m grateful that I was able to put my archivist’s eye on a few things discovered in Ms. Keene’s closet and, with the help of Juanita White, to learn more about her significant community involvement.


Libraries bid Fond Farewell to OLT’s Sahab Bolhari

On Friday, the Libraries says goodbye to a familiar, friendly member of the technical crew. Sahab Bolhari, a student worker with the Libraries’ Office of Libraries Technology (OLT), has been hired as a Technical Specialist with the History, Anthropology and Geography/Geosciences departments, and begins work on January 11.

Highly proficient, congenial, and a member of the tech crew since July, 2012, Bolhari will be greatly missed by his co-workers. sahab_bolhari

“Sahab has that renaissance blend, a unique pairing of preeminence as a technician, but also someone who likes people and is nice to work with,” said Troy Plumer, OLT technology consultant. “He embodies that liberal arts adage, ‘The next best thing to knowing is knowing how to find out.’”

“IT is constantly changing . . . Sahab really understands this and is constantly evolving,” Plumer continued.

“We’ll miss him greatly.”

Bolhari is set to graduate in May with a major in political science, and a minor in Russian Studies. His first love is IT, though, and he has enjoyed working with OLT for the past three years.

“IT is my passion. I haven’t had a single day where I’ve dreaded going into work. I really enjoy what I do, so that makes things easy.”

So why the political science degree? “The degree is just to make me a more well-rounded person,” he said.

He had praise for his co-workers as well.

“I learned a lot from Sheila [Birkla],” he said. “She has been kind of my mentor here. I didn’t know as much as I thought I did when I first got here. She gave me lots of advice and that has been very important.”

Members of OLT will honor Sahab with cake and cookies on Friday, January 8th, celebrating his new position, and bidding a sad farewell.

Luckily he’ll just be a two-minute walk across the Belknap campus, in Lutz Hall.

Sahab is among some 90 students who work for the University Libraries with tasks such as research, customer service, administrative support, checking out books and equipment, and other duties. Students learn how to navigate a real job, and the Libraries truly benefit from their efforts.

“We are one of the largest employers of student workers on campus,” said Libraries Associate Dean Melissa Laning. “They are a hugely important part of the services we offer.”


UofL Libraries Dean Robert E. Fox, Jr. Wins 2015 Campus Development Award

Dean Bob Fox was awarded the William J. Rothwell Faculty Award for distinguished service in development for 2015. Eligible recipients must be a dean, associate dean, department chair, professor, or associate professor who has distinguished him/herself among their colleagues in service specific to development during that calendar year. Dean Fox was the only person outside University Development to be awarded.

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Libraries Dean Bob Fox and Director of Major Gifts Denise Nuehring.

Nominated by Libraries’ Director of Major Gifts Denise Nuehring, Dean Fox received the award from Keith Inman, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, on December 16th. Nuehring’s nomination praised Fox’s “leadership and unwavering support” in building a development program within a difficult fundraising atmosphere over the past four years.

The letter continues:

The library is a challenging fundraising environment due to the alumni being the priority of the academic units for fundraising purposes.  Working within this constraint takes creativity to identify methods to expand the prospect pool.    Dean Fox has shown a willingness to try different avenues and has been supportive of the many ideas presented to him.  He participates in the development process continually and often contributes financially as well to cover program expenses.

Dean Fox is an excellent leader with an exceptional ability to motivate and inspire his direct reports.   He creates an environment which allows one to not feel daunted by challenges but instead to see them as opportunities for exploration, growth and success personally and professionally.


Four Decades of Law School History

The Law Library has added four retrospective publications to its online collections. Whereas the previous collections consisted of historical legal documents, the most recent additions were published by Law School students and prominently feature the school and its alumni.

An example of a front page from the Louisville Lawyer, dated December 1966. An example of a page from the Louisville Lawyer from December 1961.

The earliest of the publications is The Louisville Lawyer, which was published from 1955 to 1974. With stated aims of “foster[ing] and maintain[ing] a closer relationship between the school and the alumni” and setting the foundation for a “full-fledged law review” (which came to be in 1961), the student-run newspaper featured articles on local and national legal issues; news from and about the law school, students, faculty, and staff; as well as feature articles about prominent alumni and professors.

An example cover page of the Louisville Law Examiner from the September 1984 issue.An example of a page from the Louisville Law Examiner from September 1978.

The Louisville Law Examiner, published from 1975 until 1991, was the most similar to a student newspaper. Although most pieces were still written to connect with and inform alumni, an increased number of features, articles, and (perhaps especially) advertisements were directed at students. Similarly, the type of humor found in the writing and comics of student newspapers such as the Cardinal, though not foreign to the Lawyer, was more frequently found in the Examiner.

A characteristic that did not change was the commitment to coverage of legal issues. A feature present throughout the Examiner’s run was known as “The Brandeis Brief”, a term originally applied to a practice Louis Brandeis created as an attorney, combining legal research with relevant contextual factors. The related goal of the namesake column was to “serve as an inspiration for others who feel that laws must conform to and reflect societal needs.”

An example of the cover of The Brandeis Brief, Spring 1994 issue.An example page from the Winter 1994-1995 issue of The Brandeis Brief.

When the Law Examiner expanded with the goal of attracting a national audience in 1992, it also appropriated the name given to Justice Brandeis’s writing style. The Brandeis Brief was no longer a newspaper, but a magazine. The namesake feature was replaced with the Harlan Forum (named after another locally-born Supreme Court Justice and donor to the law school, John Marshall Harlan), where two legal experts offered contrasting views on a prominent issue. Alumni news was expanded, however news about students was limited to one or two pages. The Brief forwent coverage of events such as orientation and Student Bar elections, instead featuring profiles of students, major student achievements, or significant changes to school programs familiar to alumni.

Shrinking budgets brought the end to the student-run Brandeis Brief in 1997. However, the title was reused for a School of Law-produced publicity magazine between 2000 and 2006, and the name has been revived once again for the current alumni relations newsletter.

An example page from the 1979-1980 Senior Bulletin.An example page from the 1989-1990 Senior Bulletin.

The odd addition out is the Senior Bulletin collection. Senior Bulletins showcased the graduating class for alumni and potential employers in addition to serving as a de facto yearbook. An archetype of the Senior Bulletin was printed in 1962 before the compilation was absorbed into The Louisville Lawyer from 1963 to 1974. The Bulletin became a separate publication again for the 1974-1975 school year, and with the exception of the 1976-1977 school year, was produced annually. “Senior”, an artifact term from when the School of Law was an undergraduate program, was replaced with “Graduating Class” for the Bulletin’s last four years of publication. Much the same as with The Brandeis Brief, budgetary concerns brought the end of the Bulletin after the 1998-1999 school year.

Much like a yearbook, participation was not mandatory, so the Bulletins do not serve as a complete record of every graduating student or of their activities. Nonetheless, if you are looking for quick information on a graduate, a class, or even law faculty members of a year covered by the collection, the Senior Bulletins are a good place to start.

You are invited to explore both the law student publications and the Senior Bulletins at http://digital.library.louisville.edu/cdm/landingpage/collection/law/.


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