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.

Sisters_of_Selma

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.  http://scrcexhibits.omeka.net/exhibits/show/japanese-woodblock-prints

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:

https://www.historypin.org/channels/view/58028/#!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.”

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

“The Light That Shatters Darkness” Artist Statement

Many years ago I wrote a poem titled “Coal,” the first of several born of my experiences working the midnight shift above an underground coal mine in southern Illinois. For seventeen years I tolerated the chronic weariness of an unnatural work schedule, the repetition of inputting transcendental ciphers and weekly tonnages into an ancient computer that stalled as stubbornly as one of the mules pulling his quota of coal up the rails decades ago. The pay was that good.

And yet there was something else, something in the strangeness of the hours, that alien landscape of endless conveyor belts snaking to the coal preparation plant where giant shakers rumbled and hoppers belched black cataracts into rusted boxcars, the unworldliness of 300 feet below in a honeycombed earth where, to quote that early poem, “the beauty of the ninety degree crosscut/and the truth of the articulating crawler are all that really matter.”

It was this Keatsian blending of the natural and supernatural that forced me to write down my nightly observations of what I believed and still believe to be a unique, almost blessed, opportunity. I imagined myself in the place of the miners, men who knew the feeling of loneliness in the impenetrable darkness, the dangers of three-ton slabs of limestone and a machine nicknamed “The Ripper,” who heard the voice of poetry but could never put it into words. They were the sons and grandsons of miners, and they too appeared to know how fortunate they were to share something far beyond the ordinary.

I hope that these poems, complemented by Doc Horrell’s photography, may give one an echo of that voice I heard during those long night shifts, as I tried to mine words hard as coal.

~David Bond

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | October 24, 2014

#AskAnArchivist October 30th

On October 30, archivists around the country, including from SIUC, will take to Twitter to answer your questions about any and all things archives! This day-long event, sponsored by the Society of American Archivists, will give you the opportunity to connect directly with archivists in your community—and around the country—to ask questions, get information, or just satisfy your curiosity.

Tweet: SCRC at SIUC #AskAnArchivist Day on Oct 30: Archivists from the Special Collections Research Center at SIUC will answer your questions about historical materials. Ask them anything! http://bit.ly/1zkBCNB

As professional experts who do the exciting work of protecting and sharing important historical materials, archivists have many stories to share about the work they do every day in preserving fascinating documents, photographs, audio and visual materials, and artifacts. Increasingly, archival work extends beyond the physical and includes digital materials. #AskAnArchivist Day will give you a chance to connect with archivists who are tackling the challenges of preserving our digital heritage for the future.

What questions can be asked?
Archivists participating in #AskAnArchivist are eager to respond to any and all questions you have about archives and archival work.
No question is too silly…
• What’s the craziest thing you’ve come across in your collections?
• If your archives had a soundtrack, what songs would be on it?
• What do archivists talk about around the water cooler?
…and no question is too practical!
• What should I do to be sure that my e-mails won’t get lost?
• I’ve got scads of digital images on my phone. How should I store them so I can access them later on?
• How do you decide which items to keep and which to weed out from a collection?
• As a teacher, how can I get my students more interested in using archives for projects?

How does it work?
#AskAnArchivist is open to everyone—all you need is a Twitter account! To participate, just tweet a question and include the hashtag #AskAnArchivist in your tweet. Your question will be seen instantly by archivists around the country who are standing by to respond directly to you.

Have a question for a specific archives or archivist? Include their Twitter handle with your question. They may not know every answer right away, but they will get back to you after they’ve had the chance to do some digging.
Don’t have a question right away? Search Twitter for #AskAnArchivist and follow along as questions and answers are shared!

So get ready!  Twitter to answer your questions all day long on October 30 at SCRC at SIUC #AskAnArchivist.

The Society of American Archivists is a professional organization that represents one of today’s most exciting professions. Archivists have the expertise to protect and share important historical material and to save today’s vital records for our future needs.

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | September 11, 2014

Banned Books Week 2014

BBW14_CoverArt_op2Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. Check out the frequently challenged books section to explore the issues and controversies around book challenges and book banning. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

Come to SCRC and see our 1st Amendment collection.  While you are there, read a banned book!!

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