Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | October 9, 2015

Southern Illinois Open Archives Day 2015


Participants include:
Special Collections Research Center at SIUC
Illinois Regional Archives Depository
SIUC University Museum
SIUC University Press
Jackson County Historical Society
Williamson County Historical Society

This year to celebrate Archives Month, Special Collections Research Center at SIUC’s Morris Library is organizing an open archives day. The event will take place on Friday, October 23rd. The listed Archives will be open and ready to show you their archival resources. Visitors to the archives will be given a map and a “passport” booklet with the names of participating societies. Each archive will give the visitors a stamp or a signature. Those visitors that visit all the archives, can submit their booklets and be entered to win some books on local history from the University Press. For more information, please contact Dr. Christina Bleyer,, 618-453-1499.

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | September 30, 2015

Banned Books Read-Out

Thursday October 1st at 2pm
1st Floor Rotunda, Morris Library

Participants include: Sheila Simon, Father Dr. Joseph Brown, Rodrigo Carraminana, SIU President Randy Dunn and others. The Readings will be recorded and posted on the ALA Banned Books Youtube channel as part of its Virtual Read Out.

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs—a continuous reading of banned/challenged books—as part of their activities. Now in it’s fifth year (2015), readers from around the world can participate in the Banned Books Virtual Read-Out by creating videos proclaiming the virtues of the freedom to read that will be featured on a dedicated YouTube channel.

Banned book Week InvitationBBW_VirtualReadout_logo3_LG

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | August 10, 2015

New Exhibit: Black Sun Press

A new exhibit at Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Morris Library highlights the Black Sun Press, a Paris publishing company founded in 1927 by wealthy ex-patriates Harry and Caresse Crosby. The BSP, initially created to print the Crosby’s own poems, gradually sought out work from experimental, then-unknown writers such as Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, and Hart Crane.

Black Sun Press, originally called Editions Narcisse in honor of the couple’s black whippet named Narcisse Noir, published beautifully bound, hand-set books, with Roger Lescaret, a former funeral notice printer, as its master printer. The first publication was “Red Skeletons” with poems by Harry Crosby and illustrations by Crosby friend Alastair, as Hans Henning von Voight was known professionally.

In mid-1928 the name was changed to the Black Sun Press, in keeping with the obsessions Harry developed after escaping death in World War I. He was fascinated with death and with a glittering black sun, which soon dominated his writings and even his signature.

Besides continuing to print their own work, Harry and Caresse published ornate versions of “The Fall of the House of Usher,” Oscar Wilde’s “The Birthday of the Infanta,” and letters from Henry James to Harry’s cousin, Walter Berry. Additional titles included D.H. Lawrence’s “The Sun,” James Joyce’s “Tales Told of Shem and Shaun” (later incorporated into “Finnegans Wake”) and various Kay Boyle short stories.

The Black Sun Press published 14 works in 1929 but in December of that year, Harry Crosby died in a suicide pact with a young Boston socialite. Through Caresse’s perseverance, however, the press continued to publish for another 20 years.

The exhibit, curated by David Bond and designed by Beth Martell, includes a portion of the library’s extensive collection of Black Sun Press books, as well as scanned images and photographs from the Caresse Crosby Collection, illustrative of the bohemian lifestyle of the Crosbys and their friends in 1920s Paris.

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | May 27, 2015

Charles Tenney Project by Elizabeth Hartman

“Oh, I remember this stamp dispenser sitting on his desk! We’d hide in his library stacks as he wrote, thinking he couldn’t see us, giggling…”

Generations of descendants fondly gaze at my display on our University Objectives, housed next to the poetic statement itself. And so ended my year-long affair with Charles Dewey Tenney, Vice-President, Poet, Critic, Philosopher, Father, Grandfather, and writer of our Objectives.

A Monument to Life. The exhibit was precised from the Charles Dewey Tenney papers. When I began, the behemoth stack of boxes blinded the brain and dwarfed any collection I previously processed. In a warehouse a mile away, even more boxes awaited my attention. In all there were more than 100 containers, a barrage of papers and reports and notes and manuscripts and correspondence.

In this state the collection is mere data, its contents unknown, pure potential. But the corrugated beige hides a secret. Within I find the story of Southern Illinois University, a Normal School fledgling transformed into a research university system. I find the story of a man brought up under portraits of great men and shelves of great books, who himself came to be a great man writing a great book, The Discovery of Discovery.

The Discovery of Disorganization. Unearthing this story was no slight task. Materials become disarrayed over time without the care of organization – such is entropy. Opening a box is followed immediately by either joy or dismay. Will it be neatly filed folders, all related and arranged? Or will I find a wave of crumbling parchment? How can I maintain the integrity of this collection, paying proper tribute to whatever system a creator may have had, while still telling a story through organization?

The Pain of Letting Go. Even worse, there is the issue of space. Keeping the massive card and quote catalogs Tenney meticulously crafted was impossible. I had to decide how to represent his research process without taking up half of our vault.

In the end, we kept a section of his catalogs as evidence of the inner workings of his mind, along with some personal artifacts, like his stamp dispenser. For now it sits on my desk, reminding me of the balance between archive fever and the constraints of time and space.  The collection is not done, of course, and Tenney is not dead. He lives again every time his papers are used. That is what we archivists are here for – allowing the past to enrich the present.

(Elizabeth is a graduate student in Special Collections and is receiving her MA in philosophy later this summer.)

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | April 15, 2015

Busy, Busy, Busy

Special Collections has been busy this spring working with scholars from as far away as London, England to the 4th and 5th graders from area schools.  Who knew making paste paper could be so fun–as well as fashionable?

Researchers from London, England and University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.

Researchers from London, England and University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point.

4th and 5th graders making paste papers in the Hall of Presidents and Chancellors.

4th and 5th graders making paste papers in the Hall of Presidents and Chancellors.

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | March 19, 2015

Sisters of Selma and Sister Mary Antona Ebo : Women’s History Month

To commemorate women’s history month and the 50th anniversary of the marches from Selma to Montgomery that helped reform voting rights, the Special Collections Research Center at Morris Library is showing the film, Sisters of Selma: Bearing Witness for Change to commemorate women’s history month and the 50-year anniversary of the marches from Selma to Montgomery that helped reform voting rights,. This film will be shown on March 24th at 6:00 P.M. in the Hall of Presidents and Chancellors at SIU Carbondale’s Morris Library.


March 25, 2015, marks the 50th Anniversary of the March on Selma. To commemorate this event, one of the “Sisters of Selma” Antona Ebo will address the SIU community here in Morris Library. Sister Mary Antona Ebo is a legendary trailblazer. Complementing her lifetime career in health services, Sister Antona gained national recognition for her pioneering efforts in civil rights as a black Catholic nun. The image of her marching in 1965 in Selma, Alabama became an icon during the struggle for voting rights.  This event will include remarks from Father Joseph Brown, professor of Africana Studies at SIU Carbondale, songs by the Voices of Inspiration and the Africana Theater Lab, and a lecture by Sister Antona.  March 25th at 2:00 P.M., in Third Floor Rotunda in Morris Library

Both events are free and open to the public.

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | March 4, 2015

SIU University Objectives

Elizabeth Hartman, curator of exhibit.

Elizabeth Hartman, curator of exhibit.

“To advance learning in all lines of truth wherever they may lead, showing how to think rather than what to think, assisting the powers of the mind in their self-development.” Charles D. Tenney, “University Objectives,” 1956.
A new exhibit in Morris Library’s Hall of Presidents and Chancellors explores the hall’s University Objectives, the towering invocation on marble that has inspired generations of students and visitors since it was installed in 1958. The exhibit, mounted by The Special Collections Research Center, will occupy the hall’s west wall through the end of April 2015.

Three exhibit cases cover three main ideas. The first examines the general concept of institutional objectives and our relation to them. The second documents how the objectives were written. And the third case profiles Charles D. Tenney, author of the University Objectives, whose 42-year career at Southern Illinois University ranged from tennis coach to Vice President.

After World War II Southern Illinois University radically reconfigured itself from a mid-sized teacher’s college to a full-fledged research university. In 1955 the university set in motion a process to review this transformation and devise a mission statement of core values to guide future growth. The outward result was the poetic exhortation to “exalt beauty,” “forward ideas and ideals” and make the campus “a center of order and light.”

The University Objectives exhibit captures the spirit of the fast-growing university through contemporary articles, correspondence and reports, illustrated by photographs from the University Objectives pamphlet, recently rediscovered in the University Archives. All materials for the exhibit are from the Charles D. Tenney Collection, available for research in the Special Collections reading room. The University Objectives exhibit was curated by Elizabeth Hartman, Research Assistant to the University Archivist.

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | January 30, 2015

Japanese Woodblock exhibit online

Japanese woodblock prints from the late 19th century are now available to view online. Part of the Open Court Publishing Company records, these prints are from the Sino-Japanese war, and a few from families and other artists in that same time. The majority of these prints were used as war reports and propaganda to keep the public informed about the current status of the battles, as well as to build patriotism, support, and optimism. The exhibit not only highlights the prints, but the artists, parts of a woodblock print and how a print is created.  Christina Bleyer and Joseph Steinbock curated this exhibit.  A traveling exhibit will be unveiled in May 2015.

Nasu no yoichi

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | January 22, 2015

Historypin of Southern Illinois

Wheeler Library, SIU Campus

Did you ever wonder what Cobden looked like in 1910? Or Anna in 1898?  The Special Collections Research Center has been digitizing old photographs and postcards depicting building and street scenes in towns across Southern Illinois for our presence on Historypin. Historypin provides an alternative way to provide access to our visual collections. The photographs and postcards are pinned to a Google map to show what the building, street scene, or landscape looked like years ago. Please see our collection homepage at:!photos/list/

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | December 16, 2014

“The Light That Shatters Darkness” exhibit

“The Light That Shatters Darkness” is a special exhibit featuring coal mining poetry and photographs. The new Special Collections Research Center exhibit can be seen in the library’s Hall of Presidents and Chancellors whenever the library is open from Dec. 1, 2014, through Feb. 1, 2015.  The exhibit merges poetry by David Bond with photographs by the late C. William “Doc” Horrell.

Bond, senior library specialist for Library Affairs, worked for more than 17 years as a third-shift warehouse manager for an underground coal mine, seeing for himself what coal mines are all about. He earned his master of fine arts degree at SIU and his poetry has been published in various literary journals. He is the winner of two Illinois Arts Council Award Fellowships, a MacDowell Artist Fellowship and the Friends of Morris Library Delta Award.

Horrell came to SIU in 1949 and directed the photography services division until 1958.  He was a leader in the creation of the cinema and photography department at the university and taught there until his retirement in 1983. During the 1960s, Horrell shot more than 1,000 black and white photographs at area coal mines. He died in 1989 but his iconic collection documenting the region’s mining history is held in Morris Library’s Special Collections Research Center. Some of those pictures are included in “The Light That Shatters Darkness.”

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