While archivists spend a great deal of time cataloging and rehousing collections that consist primarily of paper documents, occasionally we have the opportunity to handle three dimensional objects. For instance, while working on the Animal Welfare Institute Records, we discovered an entire carton filled with t-shirts, sweatshirts, and a mask related to different Animal Rights causes. Three dimensional objects like these shirts can provide a different perspective on researching organizations such as the Animal Welfare Institute. The shirts show another way that animal rights groups have tried to disseminate information about causes such as “Save the Whales, Boycott Japanese and Russian Goods” or “Save the Elephants, Keep them all on Appendix I.” These articles of clothing also provide insights into the communities in which this information was being distributed and strategies employed by those working for these causes. For example, one of the shirts for the “Save the Whales” cause is a children’s shirt while the “Save the Elephants” shirt states the organization’s agenda in English, French, and Spanish. These shirts show the Animal Welfare Institute’s attempts to spread their information across age groups and linguistic barriers. Just think of what else can be learned from delving into the Animal Welfare Institute’s records and these interesting artifacts, as well as our other collections on animal rights and animal welfare!
We’ve recently added just over a dozen new digitized films related to university history to our Rare and Unique Digital Collections.College Days NC State, 1950 4H Dress Review Nuclear Reactor Noise Lab Peace Corps
This week is Agriculture Awareness Week, and to help celebrate it, the Libraries is curating a small exhibit that marks the 100th anniversary of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. The federal Smith-Lever Act in 1914 funded life-changing educational programs at NC State and other land-grant universities across the country. Even earlier, the seeds for Extension were sown by a “see-for-yourself” demonstration movement for farmers and rural families in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Early pioneers included Seaman Knapp, A.B. Graham, Booker T. Washington, and North Carolina’s own Jane S. McKimmon.
These educators’ ideals transformed the way land-grant universities saw their roles. Cooperative Extension placed professional educators in local communities with the mission of improving lives. Today, North Carolina Cooperative Extension has programs in all 100 counties and on the Qualla Boundary of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians. These programs draw on research-based knowledge from NC State and NC A&T — the state’s two land-grant universities — to help North Carolinians to move forward and prosper.
To help farmers better produce food, feed, and fiber, Extension has taught improved agricultural techniques, introduced better varieties, improved soil conditions, and promoted mechanization. Shown here is John Johnson and 68.5 bushels of corn produced on one acre of his Scotland Neck farm in 1939.
Extension has also promoted pest management and the cure and prevention of plant diseases. For example, in the 1920s a focus was boll weevil eradication. The insect threatened major damage to the cotton crop in North Carolina and throughout the South.
In 1917 Extension began promoting forestry and timber management as potential revenue sources for North Carolina farms with extensive tree stands. Shown here are workers preparing pulpwood, circa 1930.
Before the 1930s, most North Carolina farms lacked access to electricity. During the New Deal, Extension became a partner in rural electrification, and it promoted the labor saving benefits of electric power. New appliances allowed some farmers to expand into other commodities.
Extension has also focused on soil conservation. Methods for combating erosion have been growing vetch (shown here at a Pineville farm in 1937) and terracing fields.
Cooperative Extension has a long history of youth programs. Boys corn clubs and girls tomato and canning clubs began in 1909 and 1911, respectively. These programs were the beginnings of 4-H in the state. Shown here are youth clubs, circa 1920.
Extension has offered programs for women since the mothers of girls’ canning club members asked for their own clubs in the early 1910s. These programs were originally called “Home Demonstration.” The women’s clubs also raised gardens and canned produce, and they held curb markets as a way for women to earn their own money, as seen in this photo.
During World War II, 4-H youth contributed to the war effort. By raising food in the Feed a Fighter drive, North Carolina 4-Hers were honored by naming two warships, including the U.S.S. Tyrrell, launched from Wilmington in 1944.
Home Demonstration also formed groups for sewing (as seen in this photo from the 1940s), making mattresses, and even upholstering furniture. Today the program is called Family and Consumer Sciences, and it has expanded well beyond its original activities.
The exhibit will be on display in the circulation lobby of D. H. Hill Library until April 4, 2014. The Special Collections Research Center holds many items documenting the history of extension in North Carolina. To discover images similar to those on display in the exhibit, visit the Libraries’ Rare and Unique Digital Collections.
This week, the Special Collections Research Center will be holding a special event at the College of Design.
In conjunction with the AIA Triangle and NCSU School of Architecture Joint Lecture Series on Situated Modernisms & Global Practice, the NCSU Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) is holding a “show and tell” event at the College of Design that will showcase some of its unique materials. The Friday Forum will be held on March 28 from 12:00 – 1:30 in the Belk Rotunda at Brooks Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
This event will complement the lecture on Monday, March 24, at 6:00 pm in Burns Auditorium in Kamphoefner Hall, featuring Roger Clark, FAIA, and Margret Kentgens-Craig. The Friday Forum with Special Collections on March 28 will give faculty, students, and others interested in modernist architecture and the history of the College of Design (previously the School of Design) an opportunity to view materials from Special Collections, including original works by Matthew Nowicki, George Matsumoto, G. Milton Small, and other luminaries who were associated with the College. Items that document the history of the College will also be on display, including materials that reflect the tenure and influence of the School’s first dean, Henry Kamphoefner.
Researchers can now access a great collection of drawings of agricultural and rural structures. Rural electrification, architecture, agricultural innovation, and even animal welfare are just a few of the themes that could be explored through these documents. Other possible topics for study include the history of women and children, as well as leisure studies. These drawings were created by the Department of Biological & Agricultural Engineering and disseminated through the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. They have recently been inventoried by Special Collections and added to the department’s records.
More than 1100 drawings range in date from the 1920s to the 1990s. They include plans, elevations, details, and depictions, mostly of agricultural structures for cows, pigs, and chickens, but also for rabbits, sheep, and turkeys. They were used for feeding, breeding, and shelter. Some are structures built specifically for North Carolina county fairs. There are also plans for privately-owned farms and plants throughout North Carolina, usually for particular structures or landscaping elements. Farm equipment is also represented, such as feeders, spreaders, harvesters, and hay driers. Interestingly, designs for non-agricultural buildings and objects are also found in the collection. These include local community houses, 4-H camps, playgrounds, athletic fields, roadside stands and markets, cabins, vacation houses, and recreational equipment. They provide a rich historical archive of agricultural and recreational structures of North Carolina during this time period.
Some drawings reflect transitions in agriculture during the twentieth century. Those of a 1940 mule barn reflect old practices still in effect at the end of the Great Depression. From the 1940s, electric brooders and dehydrators show the impact of rural electrification. From 1976, a bulk curing barn for tobacco reveals the spread of new production techniques that resulted from research at colleges and universities (in this case, procedures developed at NC State). Also of note are drawings for curbside markets, used by rural women in home demonstration clubs to sell produce and earn their own money, and plans for a Swansboro, North Carolina, 4-H camp, originally a segregated facility for African American youth.
Many drawings were created through the Cooperative Farm Building Plan Exchange. Through this program, each land-grant university submitted plans to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which then disseminated them to other land-grant institutions across the country. Farmers obtained plans from their local Cooperative Extension agents, free of charge, for construction on their farms. Therefore, this collection may document structures not just in North Carolina but throughout the entire United States. Some plans may have also been modified for the specific needs of individual North Carolina farms.
The drawings in this collection can be viewed at the Special Collections Reading Room of the D. H. Hill Library. Interested persons can select drawings from the inventory and then request them through our webform. The records of the Biological & Agricultural Engineering Department have not yet been fully digitized, but some texts and video are available on Special Collections’ Rare and Unique Digital Collections website. The Department of Biological & Agricultural Engineering has existed since 1940, although courses in agricultural engineering date back to the founding of the university. A history of it exists on the department’s website.
On February 8, 1911, the A&M College (later known as NCSU) basketball team played its first game against Wake Forest. Known as the Red Terrors until 1947, when all athletics teams at NCSU adopted the name “Wolfpack,” the men’s basketball team has been a member of multiple conferences and the winner of numerous championships, including the 1974 and 1983 NCAA men’s basketball championships. Since the early 1950s, much of the history of this team has been captured on film.
Two years ago the Special Collections Research Center realized that this rich history, located within a University Archives audiovisual collection that had swelled to over 300 cartons of audiovisual materials, should be made more accessible for the university community and other fans. While half of this collection was processed, the other half remained unprocessed. Identifying and locating the men’s basketball audiovisual materials would be difficult without a detailed inventory. Step 1 was to get a handle on the extent of the collection. Each carton (both processed and unprocessed) was ordered from an off-site shelving facility and inventoried for title, year, and format. We discovered 35mm still image film, 8mm, 16mm, VHS, Betacam, Betamax, U-matic, reel to reel audio tapes, cassette tapes, LPs, CDs, and DVDs, just to name the most popular formats. The content of these materials varied as well – recruitment films, educational films, sound recordings, coaches’ films, speeches, Chancellor inductions, and the list goes on.
Step 2 involved removing men’s basketball materials from the detailed inventory to create its own separate subseries. The Men’s Basketball Audiovisual Materials collection, dated from 1953 – 1994, consists primarily of coaches’ films taken from the bleachers/sidelines. These films were primarily used by coaches for training purposes. There are a smattering of other types films in this collection as well, including copies of some broadcast videos. Some of the coaches’ films have been digitized and can be found online on our Rare and Unique Digital Collections website. Having the men’s basketball materials available for researchers to locate is an exciting step in our audiovisual collections processing plan!
Stay tuned as we process other unique audiovisual collections – next is women’s basketball!
For questions about this or any of our collections, please contact the Special Collections Research Center.
For anyone with an interest in design — type and lettering, branding and commercial art, printing, or graphic design — there is a wonderful new resource for you. The improved finding aid to the Martha Scotford Research and Study Collection on Graphic Design was released earlier this year. It can be found online here.
This collection serves as a record of the history of graphic design through its sample design works carefully collected by Martha Scotford, Professor Emeritus of Graphic Design, and its vast reference resources and books. You’ll find a rich variety of designed works including record covers, notable magazine covers, posters, exquisite print samples produced by paper and print companies including Westvaco (click here to learn about the company’s history), book jackets and works produced by notable designers and design companies.
The collection also contains a strong collection of Italian design reference books. While some of these books are written in Italian, others are bilingual and all contain plenty of images to give a visual sense of the nuances of Italian design.
Another international component to the collection is Martha Scotford’s work on a book design project to publish and English version of a poem constructed by El Lissitzky, praised as one of the finest achievements of Russian avant-garde bookmaking. The collection documents Martha Scotford’s entire process of conceptualizing the project, working with publishers, and fine tuning the design.
The collection is open to researchers and can be requested by making an appointment with the Special Collections Research Center.
Last week, the snow and ice wreaked havoc on campus, but snow has covered our lovely campus in years past! Drawn from the University Archives Photograph Collection, this image of a snowball fight from the 1950s captures a moment in time in student life that was not all that different from our campus last week.
To discover more early photographs of student life and other digitized images from the Special Collections Research Center, go to: http://d.lib.ncsu.edu/collections
N. C. State’s Special Collections Research Center holds reports, periodicals, and other publications featuring research conducted at N. C. State University. Many highlight advances the university and its affiliates have made in agricultural procedures and technology.
Among items in the University Archives, however, are some oddities such as “Kudzu in Rotation with Corn and Small Grain.” This 1953 report, written by faculty members of the Department of Agronomy and published by the North Carolina Agricultural Experiment Station, recommended use of kudzu for erosion control and soil fertilization for corn and small grain production. At that time the plant was cultivated for benefiting crops and forestry, but today it is considered a weed and an invasive species.
It is now known that kudzu spreads rapidly and is problematic to control. It is capable of killing plants and even trees by blanketing them and depriving them of sunlight. In the 1950s kudzu was recommended for crop improvement, but today’s agriculturalists, farmers, and weekend gardeners, with a little twenty-first century hindsight, know it has the opposite effect.
The Department of Agronomy was an early unit within N. C. State’s School of Agriculture (later renamed College of Agriculture and Life Sciences). This department was the ancestor of today’s Department of Soil Science and Department of Crop Science. Many N. C State faculty members in the agriculture programs conducted research through the North Carolina Agriculture Experiment Station, which later became the Agricultural Research Service.
This report and numerous others are part of the University Archives. It was digitized as part of Cultivating a Revolution, a project of the NCSU Libraries to digitize archival materials pertaining to the modernization of agriculture throughout North Carolina. The project was funded in part by a grant under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).
Dr. Burak Erdim’s Architecture 590 course (Rebel Cities: Transatlantic Architectures of Activism, 1920 – Present) recently met with the Special Collections Research Center in order to view some original drawings created by the Polish modernist architect Matthew (Maciej) Nowicki as well as drawings by the architect William Henley Deitrick. The course traces the transatlantic exchanges in housing and planning ideas that emerged in response to the rise of the metropolis at the end of the nineteenth century. The students are studying east-west exchanges between cities; including, for example, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Chandigarh, India. Nowicki executed a number of drawings of the Dorton Arena and the surrounding fairgrounds in Raleigh in addition to collaborating with Albert Mayer in order to design (in India) the new capital city of Punjab, Chandigarh. Sadly, many of Nowicki’s architectural visions were never executed; he died tragically in a plane crash in 1950.
One architectural historian, Marta Urbanska, has referred to Nowicki as one of the greatest architects of the twentieth century, but she notes that he is not very well known. In an interview with the Krakow Post on September 6, 2010, she observed, “Nowicki received a commission which was at that time largely known and hyped in the international press as an architect’s dream. He was offered a fantastic opportunity to design an entirely new city – Chandigarh. Yet whilst the name of the city is very famous in the history of architecture, sadly it is now not directly associated with the name of Maciej Nowicki.”
To view the finding aid of Nowicki materials available at the Special Collections Research Center, go to: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/findingaids/mc00190
To learn more about Nowicki’s life and work, go to the North Carolina Architects and Builders online biographical dictionary: http://ncarchitects.lib.ncsu.edu/people/P000044
The North Carolina Architects and Builders website is an important resource for those studying North Carolina architecture, and is worth exploring: http://ncarchitects.lib.ncsu.edu/
This post is contributed by Darby Reiners, Project Archivist, Animal Welfare and Animal Rights Collections.
After a lot of hard work over the past year, the Animal Rights Network Records are now available for research! Processing the collection was challenging at times, and the nagging feeling that the unprocessed boxes were multiplying while we weren’t looking was present all too often. The results are well worth it, though: this sizable collection documenting the animal rights movement is now accessible to the public. The Animal Rights Network Records contain correspondence, office files, reports, clippings, publications, mailings, and audiovisual resources documenting the activities of the Animal Rights Network (ARN) and other groups advocating for the ethical and humane treatment of animals.
One of the largest series in the collection is the Animal Rights Network files, which include extensive information on how the organization prepared their bi-monthly magazine, Animals’ Agenda. The magazine contained original content and also served to help smaller animal rights organizations network with members of the animal rights community. ARN also maintained a library and archives and encouraged its members to collect and maintain their own collections documenting the animal rights and animal welfare movements; many members donated their collections to ARN. Other series include those of individuals from different organizations as well as files from larger organizations; these individuals and organizations include Ruth Gehlert, head of the Humane Crusade organization in Arizona; Susan Wiedman, founder of the Charlottesville Voices for Animals in Virginia; and the Farm Animal Reform Movement. It was interesting to see the similarities and differences between these groups and individuals. Some of the groups were focused on only one subject within the larger animal rights movement, like the Farm Animal Reform Movement, while others collected materials that covered many subjects not directly connected to animal rights such as vegetarianism, environmentalism, and educational materials. It was also fascinating to see the different ideas that each group or individual had about animal rights issues like hunting, pet overpopulation, and animal testing.
We concluded our processing work with the oversize materials. This part of the processing was the most interesting part of our work because the majority of materials were posters, prints, and drawings that people had created for the animal rights movement. One of these pieces can be viewed below:
Overall, we are pleased about the arrangement of the collection and the guide to its contents. It was a lot of work, but the journey to the finish line was full of exciting discoveries.
The Winter Simulation Conference in Washington, D.C., which was held from December 7-11, was the ideal venue to showcase the new NCSU Libraries’ website that features video oral histories of computer simulation pioneers as well as other collections about computer simulation. Six more video oral history interviews took place during the conference: Russell C. H. Cheng, Ray J. Paul, Peter D. Welch, Lee W. Schruben, Bruce W. Schmeiser, and Averill M. Law. The video oral history project, funded by the National Science Foundation, is a collaborative project with NCSU’s Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.
Pictured above are:
Top Left: Richard E. Nance, delivering his “Titans of Simulation” talk at the Winter Simulation Conference
Top Right: Peter D. Welch, on left, after his oral history interview with NCSU Professor (and project P.I.) James R. Wilson
Middle Left: Lee W. Schruben, preparing for his oral history interview
Middle Right: Ingolf Stahl, donating books on simulation to the Simulation Archive at NCSU Libraries
Lower Left: Robert G. Sargent, on left, with Averill M. Law, after Law’s oral history interview
Lower Right: Ray J. Paul, at the conference reception after his oral history interview, with his book about living with Parkinson’s
To learn more about the Computer Simulation Archive, go to: d.lib.ncsu.edu/computer-simulation
The Special Collections Research Center has received a collection of research reports from the MeadWestvaco company, now called MWV Corporation. These reports document forestry research at the research centers, laboratories, and experimental forests of MeadWestvaco and its predecessors: the Mead Paper Company and the West Virginia Pulp and Paper Company (Westvaco). The collection is comprised of 13 bankers boxes (19.5 linear feet) of reports dating from 1945 to 2007.
Throughout their history, these companies produced paper and packaging products, and they maintained research forests for the development of pulpwood in several eastern and southern states. The reports in this collection originated from research conducted in Kentucky, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Of particular note to the NC State community are reports of research conducted by some of the university’s forestry faculty.
More information about the MeadWestvaco Research Reports can be found in the online collection guide. A more detailed listing of reports exists in most of the boxes in this collection. To access materials in this collection, please contact the research services staff using the online Special Collections request form.
The MeadWestvaco Research Reports join the Center’s growing collection of primary resources on the history of American forestry and foresters. The Center is the repository of the papers of Carl Schenck, the founder of the first American school of forestry; Bruce Zobel, prominent tree geneticist; Ellis Cowling, forestry and plant pathologist; and others. Also, historical records from the forestry programs at NC State University and the NC Cooperative Extension Service exist within the University Archives. Descriptions of the forestry collections exist on the NCSU Libraries’ website. Researchers may also access some digitized photographs and other documents online at the NCSU Libraries’ History of Forestry and Rare & Unique Digital Collections sites.
[Note on images: The top image is from Westvaco Experimental Forest Report WR 12, titled "Packaged Pulpwood" that is contained in Carton 12 of the new collection titled MeadWestvaco Research Reports (MC 00496). The bottom image is from Box 34 of the existing collection titled Agricultural Extension and Research Services Photographs (UA 023.007).]
NCSU Libraries Captures Video Oral Histories of Computer Simulation Pioneers with National Science Foundation Grant
David Hiscoe, 919-513-3425
December 9, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The NCSU Libraries, in collaboration with the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at North Carolina State University and with support from the National Science Foundation, is pleased to present a new video oral history archive of noted computer simulation pioneers. The video oral histories are the latest addition to the Libraries’ Computer Simulation Archive, established in 2003, and feature leaders in the field of computer simulation such as Nobel Prize winner Harry M. Markowitz, Stanford University Emeritus Professor Donald E. Knuth, Syracuse University Professor Emeritus Robert G. Sargent, NC State Distinguished Alumni Richard E. Nance, and NC State Professor James R. Wilson.
The Computer Simulation Archive and new video oral histories are available for viewing at d.lib.ncsu.edu/computer-simulation and will be featured during a panel session at this year’s Winter Simulation Conference in Washington, D.C., which is held from December 8 -11. The Winter Simulation Conference is the premier international forum for simulation practitioners and researchers in the field of dynamic systems modeling and simulation.
The Computer Simulation Archive is supported by an endowment to facilitate the addition of more collections, expedite processing of materials in the archive, and enable the digitization of selected materials documenting the history of computer simulation. With the assistance of simulation scholars, the NCSU Friends of the Library, and individual donors, the Archive continues to develop, providing researchers with valuable insights into the history of the field. Supporters of the Archive include the Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering (ISE), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and the Informs Simulation Society.
The purpose of this NSF grant initiative is to capture and preserve accounts of seminal projects, related pivotal events, and distinguished project contributors from the perspectives of individuals who witnessed the history of computer simulation firsthand. These video oral histories build on the archival collections and audio oral histories already included in the Archive.
Computer simulation was established as a separate discipline of research and practice during the mid-1950s, with many seminal works in the field published from the mid-1950s to the early 1970s. Reflecting the diverse backgrounds of the field’s pioneers, simulation encompasses theory, methodology, and practice arising at the interface of applied probability, computer science, electrical and computer engineering, industrial and systems engineering, management, manufacturing engineering, operations research, and statistics.
The Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) at the NCSU Libraries continues to seek the oral histories of computer simulation pioneers in addition to the papers and records of prominent scholars in the history of computing and simulation as well as computer science.
The video oral histories and more information about the project can be accessed at the Computer Simulation Archive homepage at d.lib.ncsu.edu/computer-simulation.
This post is contributed by Sarah Breen, Library Associate, Special Collections Research Center.
A new finding aid for the Mitchell Bush Papers (http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/findingaids/mc00467) on veterinary medicine has recently been released. Dr. Mitchell Bush is a leader in the field of modern zoological medicine. He began his career working for the National Zoological Park at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. in 1972. Beginning in 1994 he served as the Chief of Veterinary Services at the Smithsonian Conservation and Research Center. He holds a position as an assistant professor in the Department of Comparative Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Medical School and is a visiting scientist at Kruger National Park in South Africa. He graduated from the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis in 1965.
This collection contains research and teaching notes, presentations and materials, journals and publications, correspondence, field studies, field notes, research projects, training materials, anesthesia records, digital media such as floppy disks, CD-ROMS and zip disks and film strips, videotapes and 35mm slides documenting medical studies, surgeries and wildlife in national and international settings.This collection spanning Dr. Bush’s as a pioneer of clinical practice and comparative medicine in zoological settings serves as a valuable resource to the veterinary medicine community. The finding aid to the collection can be viewed here (http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/findingaids/mc00467). If you have any questions, please contact the Special Collections Research Center(http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/scrc/request).
This post is contributed by Lori Harris, Project Archivist, Animal Welfare and Animal Rights Collections.
What comes to mind when you combine the Mistress of Darkness, a Hollywood media personality and a renowned visual artist? The short answer would be animal rights activism. However, a more in depth answer can be located within the Ron Scott Animal Rights Videotape Collection. Ron Scott was a retired Air Force pilot who also served in the New York State Air National Guard. During the 1980s and 1990s, Scott videotaped hundreds of hours of footage at conferences, demonstrations and protests related to animal rights. He also traveled extensively throughout both the United States and Europe videotaping and raising awareness regarding issues of cruelty toward animals and animal sanctuaries. Primarily consisting of moving images in a variety of formats such as VHS, Video 8, U-matics and open-reel tapes, the Ron Scott Animal Rights Videotape Collection provides both research and educational materials that highlight advocacy for the rights of a variety of animal species. Whether advocating for improved treatment of circus animals, or protesting against vivisection, the trajectory of this movement is highlighted through the support of known advocates such as Elvira (Mistress of Darkness), Regis Philbin (Hollywood media personality) and Andy Warhol (visual artist). Organizations represented in the collection include Argus Archives, the Animal Rights Network, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The collection is a rich resource of historical information captured through photographic and video imagery.
Photos by Vito Torelli
During the last few weeks, students enrolled in GD 203, History of Graphic Design, have been visiting the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) to study items from the rare book collections. The SCRC continues to work with more and more faculty members who seek to make use of the collections for their classes.
For Professor Deborah Littlejohn’s Graphic Design course, students have been asked to select an item from a pre-selected list and reflect on some questions which are subjective in nature:
- What is my first visual impression of the artifact?
- What is the physical nature of the artifact? Size, weight, binding, paper, etc.
- How do I sense the artifact?
- What about the physical nature of the artifact interests me?
- What is interesting about the design of this artifact? Typography, images, cover, layout, etc.
The students are then considering more objective questions:
- Why is this artifact in the collection? Why is it important enough to collect?
- What is this artifact valued for? (may be more than one thing) subject matter, author, design, age, writing, illustrations, printing, previous owners, where produced
- Is this artifact mentioned in books about the history of books and printing?
- How does this artifact fit in with history? Printing history, art/design history, history of a discipline, etc.
- Is this artifact an example of something special? A beginning, an end, etc.?
- Is this artifact part of the development of something?
- If there are important individuals involved in the making of this artifact – who are they?
- Is this artifact connected with any other artifact in the collection? In a series, by the same author? by the same designer? about the same subject? etc. Does this add to its importance?
The end result will be a paper that incorporates their findings. Some of the items that the students are examining that have proven to be especially popular include:
The Art of Illumination and Missal Painting by Henry Noel Humphreys. The author created this book as a manual for students to learn the technique of illumination. It contains splendid examples of high-quality chromolithographs, some of which were printed in fourteen different colors. It is an excellent example of Victorian binding using white leather and gold lining. http://catalog.lib.ncsu.edu/record/NCSU1086276
Peter Piper’s Practical Principles of Plain & Perfect Pronunciation by Paul A. Bennett. This book includes the work of forty-one designers, foremost among whom is Bruce Rogers, one of the most influential book designers of the early-twentieth century. The artists, designers, and printers were each given the task to produce one page in the volume independent of seeing the work of the other designers. The results of the project reveal great diversity of design. Rogers designed the title page and the ampersand page, which he printed on sandpaper. The binding, designed by W. A. Dwiggins, uses typography to illustrate the figure of Peter Piper. http://catalog.lib.ncsu.edu/record/NCSU347837
The birth, life and acts of King Arthur, of his noble Knights of the Round Table by Sir Thomas Malory (with designs by Aubrey Beardsley). This book, from 1909, includes illustrations by Aubrey Beardsley. Beardsley (1872-1898) was a leading English illustrator of the 1890s associated with the artistic movement known as Aestheticism. He was commissioned to design the book in 1893. Beardsley died several years later of tuberculosis; he was only 26. http://catalog.lib.ncsu.edu/record/NCSU399938
To learn more about Special Collections, go to: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/specialcollections/
Two recently inventoried collections with newly published finding aids are the records for North Carolina State University: A Narrative History and North Carolina State University: A Pictorial History.
Both books were commissioned by the Alumni Association to correspond with the University’s centennial anniversary in 1987 and reflect the transitions it had made from the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts to the modern North Carolina State University. Both books give a unique perspective into the history of the University. A Narrative History is written by historian Alice Elizabeth Reagan, and A Pictorial History is written by NCSU Department of History professors Murray Scott Down and Burton F. Beers.
For more information on this collection or to view the materials, please contact the Special Collections Research Center.
This year’s “Fall Special” at the Design Library was a success, drawing in keenly interested individuals who were eager to learn more about items in Special Collections relating to architecture, art and design, landscape architecture, and graphic design. Various faculty members, graduate students, and undergraduates from the College of Design as well as other interested members of the community came to see some of the featured selections.
Dean Marvin Malecha attended the event (see above, middle photograph) and reviewed some of his preliminary drawings on napkins for “The Point,” the new Chancellor’s Residence that he designed. He reflected on the design process and how he worked to create the final, successful version of the home. Visitors were intrigued by the fact that he was able to use airline-issued cloth napkins to work through his early design concepts. These items created by Malecha and featured at this event are just a fraction of the materials that are available for study in his papers. The finding aid for the Marvin J. Malecha Papers can be found here: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/findingaids/mc00391
Visitors were also eager to learn more about the drawings selected for display that were created by Matthew Nowicki (1910-1950) for the Indian city of Chandigarh. Before the French architect Le Corbusier was assigned the large-scale project of designing the new capital city of Punjab, Matthew Nowicki (along with Albert Mayer) initially worked on the modernist design. Nowicki spent two months in India absorbing the local culture and developing a number of detailed sketches for structures to be built in Chandigarh. On his return from India to the United States, Nowicki was killed in a plane crash near Cairo. His premature death has been a true loss to modernist architecture. To view the Nowicki finding aid, go to: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/findingaids/mc00190
A number of guests also inquired about digitized architectural drawings in Special Collections. To view some of these digitized resources in Special Collections, go to the following link and begin searching by clicking on “Architecture”: http://d.lib.ncsu.edu/collections/
The NCSU Libraries now provides online access to the 1934 through 2001-2002 editions of the Pinetum, the student journal of the NC State College of Natural Resources (previously the School of Forestry and College of Forest Resources). Since 1934, the Pinetum has documented student life in the college and provided a forum for administrative messages to students. The early volumes, also available in print in the library, contain valuable documentation of the history of the college, its faculty and students, and student clubs and activities. Beginning with the 2006-2007 edition, the Pinetum has been published through the College of Natural Resources’ website.
The digital editions of the Pinetum are available as part of the NCSU Libraries’ Rare & Unique Digital Collections, which provides access to thousands of images, video and audio recordings, and text documenting NC State history. The university’s student yearbook, the Agromeck, and course catalogs are among the historical materials available through this website.