Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | August 26, 2016

Dime Novels & Penny Dreadfuls

What did Americans read for cheap thrills before the comic book era? Welcome to the world of Dime Novels and Penny Dreadfuls–colorful magazines for the masses promising action-filled tales of heroes and villains.  A new exhibit in the Hall of Presidents and Chancellors explores this world of lurid adventure. Curator David Bond chose examples from our own collection–titles like Brave and Bold Weekly, Pluck and Luck, Work and Win and the Buffalo Bill Weekly–to illustrate the heyday of this low-brow literature. Enjoy the evocative covers and learn why civic leaders condemned the genre as a pathway to depravity. Open to the public weekdays from 8:30 to 4:30.

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | July 18, 2016

“Insight” radio programs now available online

Insight, a public affairs program, was broadcast on radio station WRAJ in Anna (Union County), Illinois, between 1965 and 1977. Don Michel, owner and operator of WRAJ, hosted Insight and interviewed interesting people both in WRAJ’s studios and at various locations around the nation.

The collection of 453 interviews includes such national celebrities as Walter Cronkite, Bob Hope, Arthur Godfrey, Colonel Sanders, Spiro Agnew, Ann Landers, Peter Jennings, Danny Thomas, Nancy Reagan, and Ralph Nader. Michel also interviewed many local people, from Anna church elders to the chief of police to the winner of a youth competition at the Anna fair. Southern Illinois University figures on record include Delyte Morris, John Y. Simon, and Buckminster Fuller. Michel also interviewed returning Vietnam veterans and former prisoners of war. Together, this collection of interviews brings to life the social, cultural, and political currents of the 1960s and 1970s in southern Illinois and beyond.

Alerted by tickertape, Don Michel covered the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy from Anna, contacting the Dallas police by phone and talking to an officer who arrested Lee Harvey Oswald. Michel’s continuing interest in the assassination led to interviews in New Orleans with Oswald’s landlord, a co-worker, and others, as well as coverage of the Warren Commission findings and the investigations of New Orleans prosecutor Jim Garrison.

The series was sponsored on WRAJ by the First National Bank of Cobden.  It is available online at

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | June 13, 2016

Underground and Alternative Newspapers

Underground or alternative newspapers were particularly prolific in the period 1965 to 1973, focusing on countercultural politics, civil rights, ecological concerns, women’s liberation, the draft, and the Vietnam War.  Well-known publications included The Ann Arbor Argus, Berkeley Barb, and Village Voice, but Carbondale and SIU also produced a number of alternative papers during that era.

An exhibit in Morris Library’s Hall of Presidents and Chancellors presents 18 selections of these “underground” printings, published in the Carbondale region as options to mainstream papers.  The Southern Free Press, Big Muddy Gazette, The All-American Rage, Environment, Uhuru-Sasa (Freedom Now), Black Unity, and Kol Shalom are some of the featured titles.  David Bond curated this educational exhibit.

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | April 11, 2016

Opening of Peter London papers

A reception and symposium will introduce to the region the Peter London papers, a new collection within Morris Library’s Special Collections Research Center at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

The events, which are free and open to the public, are set for April 14 and 15. They will highlight the personal and professional papers of artist and art educator Peter London, chancellor professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He donated his papers, which will complement SIU’s extensive philosophy holdings, to SIU in 2015. The April events, with London in attendance, will mark the opening of the collection to library visitors.

The reception will be at 4 p.m. on April 14 in the third floor rotunda of Morris Library and London will present the keynote address. Also speaking will be Josh Shearer, vice-president of the Southern Illinois Art Education Association, and Pam Hackbart-Dean, director of the Special Collections Research Center.

The art education symposium is from 9 a.m. to noon on April 15 in the same location.

Speakers will include Barbara Bickel, associate professor of art education at SIU; Thomas Alexander, co-director of the Center for Dewey Studies: Jon Davey, SIU architecture professor; Aaron Darrisaw, a doctoral philosophy student who is working as a London Project graduate assistant with funding provided by London; and Patricia Rain McNichols, president of the Spiritual in Art Education Caucus of the National Art Education Association.

London is a Distinguished Fellow of the National Art Education Association, the author of several books about art as a spiritual practice and holistic pedagogy, and an artist with works found in many public and private collections throughout the world. His collection now housed at SIU documents the philosophy of education and art and give researchers insight into the use of art as a socially and personally transformative aesthetic process, according to Hackbart-Dean. She said through his collection, London also demonstrates the connection between the creation of art and the creation of an elevated life — how one informs and enhances the other.

The university’s SCRC is home to numerous art, philosophy and education resources, featuring the works of education philosopher John Dewey, architect and designer R. Buckminster Fuller, and a host of others. The collections are available for research use.

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | March 7, 2016

Celebrating Our Three Millionth Volume

Please join us as we celebrate the acquisition of Morris Library’s three millionth volume—Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe—with a presentation by Dr. Jo-Ann Morgan, Professor of African American Studies at Western Illinois University, and Dr. David Anthony, Professor of English at SIU Carbondale. Morgan will discuss the visual culture of Uncle Tom’s Cabin while Anthony will talk about the significance of Stowe’s work as literature.

Published in March 1852, Uncle Tom’s Cabin sold more than 300,000 copies in its first year and humanized the cruelty and suffering of slavery for the general public. It was controversial from the start, sparking outrage in the South where it was banned as abolitionist propaganda. President Lincoln, when he met Stowe in 1862, may or may not have greeted her as “the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war,” but the story illustrates the novel’s popularity and power. It is still occasionally banned today, for outdated racial language rather than its anti-slavery message. For that reason it will be added to the library’s Ralph McCoy Freedom of the Press collection, in honor of our first dean and his devotion to the principles of the First Amendment.

The Friends of Morris Library purchased this first edition/first printing of Uncle Tom’s Cabin to highlight the continuing growth and breadth of Morris Library’s academic collections and achievements in supporting faculty, student and community research. As we celebrate this milestone we acknowledge not only the size of our collections but the range of resources that libraries must now acquire for research use. We also take the opportunity to reflect on the future of books, libraries, and the exchange of information.
This event honors a tradition begun with a 1968 ceremony to present the library’s one millionth volume, a first edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass donated in honor of President Delyte W. Morris. In 1988 the library welcomed its two millionth volume, a 1644 printing of John Milton’s Areopagitica.

The celebration will take place Wednesday, March 30, at 3 p.m. in the first floor rotunda. A reception will follow in the Hall of Presidents and Chancellors.

ills  Tom  Eva

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | February 10, 2016

Women of Distinction: Highlights from SCRC

To celebrate women’s history month in 2016, Special Collections Research Center has created an exhibit that showcases the trailblazing women and groups of women whose collections we have in each of our archival collecting areas.

Our University Archivist, Matt Gorzalski has highlighted the contributions of four SIU women: Katherine Dunham, Charlotte West, Dorothy Davies, and Lucy Woody with emphasis on their impact at SIU and within their professions.

Our Political Papers Archivist, Walter Ray exhibits the workings of women organizing by telling the story of several women’s political groups. These include: Carbondale Women’s clubs, The League of Women Voters, Women Politicians, and Women in Unions.

Our Manuscript Archivist, Christina Bleyer has focused on women in business and publishing, namely Caresse Crosby and Mary Hegeler Carus.

All of these women and women’s groups have given us potent examples of what it means to actualize one’s vocation often in the face of discrimination. We encourage you to tour the Hall of Presidents and Chancellors and learn from these powerful women.

Posted by: Pam Hackbart-Dean | October 28, 2015

Paul Simon on YouTube

Senator Paul Simon is on YouTube. Simon was a five-term Democratic congressman and two-term senator from Illinois who ran unsuccessfully for his party’s presidential nomination in 1988. Mr. Simon was a strong advocate of government solutions to social problems. He favored direct federal loans to college students, programs to create jobs and national adult literacy programs, a constitutional balanced-budget amendment and the North American Free Trade Agreement. He also served on the Senate Judiciary committee. Special Collections Research Center, working with the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, has digitized videos in all format types and made them available on YouTube. Playlists include Simon’s Floor speeches, campaign videos, press conference, special events, and public service announcements. Currently there are approximately 200 videos available. More will be added as copyright permits. Take a look:

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.

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