Goodbye, Special Collections!: Two graduating student assistants reflect

This week, we are pleased to feature a guest post by two graduating students: Christina Balangue and Alex Valdez. Christina and Alex are long-time student assistants in Special Collections and have generously agreed to tell the blog a bit about their work down in the stacks. We will be so sad to see them go!

CHRISTINA: I’m a fourth year at U.Va.’s McIntire School of Commerce, concentrating in accounting. I started working at Special Collections the summer of my first year. After graduation, I will be joining PwC as a tax associate in the private company services group, preparing entity and partnership returns for clients in the greater Washington Metro area.

ALEX: I’ve been working at Special Collections since February 2012. I am also a fourth year but I am majoring in sociology and economics. My plans for after graduation remain fuzzy, but I’m hoping to get involved in social policy research and consulting.

CHRISTINA: The first thing that students realize about the stacks is it’s cold. Not plain cold—parka cold. So we often start our shifts with as much hustle and bustle as possible in order to warm up and acclimate. This means shelving new books, re-shelving pulled books, and pulling patron requests. Re-shelving books and pulling patron requests is one of the first things that students learn in the stacks. Every day, the ding of the dumbwaiter echoes in the stacks, signaling to students that items need to be retrieved from the shelves and sent to the reference desk. After the patrons find what they’re looking for (or not), the items get sent down to be re-shelved.

Christina gets ready to send a book up to the reading room in the dumb waiter.

Christina gets ready to put a patron request in the dumb waiter to be sent up to the reading room.

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Brendan Fox, Stacks Supervisor, and Christina with a truckful of books and boxes to be reshelved.

CHRISTINA: New shelving is a task most of us learned on our first day on the job. It’s simple enough: take a cart of newly acquired materials and place them on the shelf accompanied by a colored flag. This allows our supervisor, Brendan, to check and ensure the book is shelved accurately. Most students, including myself, dread new shelving. While I can’t pinpoint an exact reason for my dislike, the fact remains that every time I see a cart of new books, I turn around and dash to find another task, leaving the new books for the next unsuspecting stacks student to discover.

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Christina flagging a new book so that her supervisor can double-check the location.

ALEX: If we’re not putting something away or wandering through the aisles trying to find something, then we’re probably in the preservation area. Here, we carry out tasks meant to protect Special Collection treasures from the many destructive elements threatening an item’s long-term survival (and yes, we are as dramatic about this job as I make it sound). The first task we learn is how to mylar. We create specialized plastic wraps for books with fragile paper dust jackets or fading front covers to prevent the paper from being torn or the covers from fading further.

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Christina prepares a mylar cover for a book with a paper dust jacket.

ALEX: The second preservation duty we take on is the construction of phase boxes. These are acid-free cardboard boxes custom-designed to fit each individual book. Their job is to hold together books that are falling apart. In our experience, this task appears particularly daunting to the newbie student employee because of its many steps. You get the hang of it eventually, though, and it has actually become my favorite Special Collections job!

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Alex working on a phase box.

CHRISTINA: Special Collections also collects lots of serial publications from the New Yorker to the obscure Crime Times.  We’re responsible for housing and shelving these materials. What’s my favorite part of shelving serials? Sneaking a peek at this week’s New Yorker Caption Contest winner.

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Student assistant Ashlyn Walker with the special serials truck, preparing to put new issues of serial publications into the stacks.

ALEX: Whenever we come into contact with an item that requires unusual housing or has a call number that can’t be found in Virgo, we reach out to our fellow student employees for help. We also often work together to barcode items and make sure the records we have on file are correct.

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Alex and Ashlyn work together to determine why the call number of a phaseboxed book isn’t showing up in U.Va.’s online catalog, Virgo

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Alex and Christina barcode a truck of books that have just been through the preservation process

CHRISTINA: There are many reasons I love working at Special Collections. Being surrounded by rare materials published hundreds of years ago, and protecting these items, are just the tip of the iceberg. What I will miss the most when I graduate are the people working here.  The smiles, care, and trust that I have received from both student and library employees are incomparable and this is why coming to work is always such a pleasure. Special Collections, thank you for a wonderful four years.

ALEX: I enjoy working here because I love U.Va.’s collections. From the miniature books that are no bigger than my thumb to the elephant folios that weigh a ton, I’m fascinated by them all and honored to be able to help with their preservation. Like Christina said, the people we get to work with here are also amazing. Their passion for the materials inspires me and they’re actually all just fun to be around. It’ll be a difficult goodbye, but I am grateful to have been surrounded by such wonderful company over these last few years.

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Here’s the timesheet where we record the hours we have worked…it’s our favorite thing.

Thank you, Alex and Christina, for all your wonderful work over the years. We can’t say enough about how much we appreciate your dedication. And congratulations on your upcoming graduations! WAHOOWA!

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This Just In: Display Fonts and Clip Art and Show Cards, oh my!

This week, we are pleased to feature a guest post from curatorial assistant Elizabeth Ott, who is a doctoral candidate in the English Department. Liz recently produced preliminary catalog records for the collection she discusses in this post.

Special Collections is known for our fantastic collections in the history of type design; this strength just expanded dramatically with the generous gift of approximately 300 books on typography, letterforms, calligraphy, show cards, and graphic design given by the prolific American type designer Nicholas Curtis (b. 1948). Curtis, a resident of Charlottesville, has had a long a varied career as a graphic artist and type designer dating back the late 1960s when he got his start designing rock posters. He now operates his own independent type foundry, Nick’s Fonts, and his type designs can be found everywhere from Trader Joe’s labels to the titles for the recent film Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)—in fact, Curtis is also responsible for many of those super-condensed fonts you see at the foot of film posters, which help cram in the names of a film’s key cast and crew.

Some of Nick Curtis's type designs. The influence of hand lettering from across the decades may be seen in his faces.

Some of Nick Curtis’s type designs. The influence of lettering and type design from across the decades may be seen in his faces.

The range of books in the Curtis gift reflects Curtis’s eclectic style and nostalgic designs. It includes items such as specimen catalogs from nineteenth-century type foundries, how-to guides for producing calligraphy alphabets, books of clip art for early computers, and many manuals for creating show cards. Most of the items in the gift relate to commercial art and offer a glimpse behind the curtain of nineteenth and twentieth-century graphic design. The show card manuals, in particular, offer an example of a now-obscure commercial art profession that had a profound impact on the visual and print culture of nineteenth and twentieth century America.

Show cards (sometimes show-cards, sho-cards, or sho’ cards) were hand-lettered signs used for local advertising and incidental labeling, popular to the point of near ubiquity between about 1880 and 1920, though the practice of show card writing survived well into the sixties. Show cards filled a niche role in early twentieth-century advertising distinct from printed posters or painted signs, allowing shops, restaurants, and other local businesses to produce inexpensive displays for goods and services. Typical show cards were small in scale, at most 11 by 14 inches, and produced on a stiff cardboard or poster board. Examples may be seen in this series of photographs of Charlottesville in the early twentieth century from the Rufus Holsinger Studio Collection:

A show card rests in front of the cash register in this detail from a 1917 photograph of the Timberlake Drugstore on mainstreet.

A show card rests in front of the cash register in this detail from a 1917 photograph of the Timberlake Drugstore on Main Street. (MSS 9862. Image by UVA Digitization Services)

Hand-lettered advertisements for local businesses surround the Charlottesville train timetable in the Gleason Hotel in 1915, detail from a larger photograph. photograph from

Hand-lettered advertisements for local businesses surround the Charlottesville train timetable in the Gleason Hotel in 1915, detail from a larger photograph. (MSS 9862. Image by UVA Digitization Services)

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A very simple 1914 show card for tomatoes. Sections of the photograph’s background have been whited out, perhaps in preparation for use of the image in an article or advertisement. (MSS 9862. Image by UVA Digitization Services)

Show card writers used water based paints or inks in conjunction with a “rigger” brush—a long-handled sable brush—or nibbed pen to create designs. Show cards could be made and remade swiftly, so they were ideal for displays where signs needed to be rotated frequently.

Two scarce instruction books produced by the Speedball pen company, still in operation today. The company name reflects its origins: Speedball began as a specialty company producing nibbed pens specifically for the quick work of show card lettering.

Two scarce instruction books for Speedball pens produced by the C. Howard Hunt Pen Company, which operates today as Speedball. Speedballs were nibbed pens produced specifically for the quick work of show card lettering. Left: Ross F. George,  Lettering, Poster Design for Pen and Brush (Camden: C. Howard Hunt Pen Co., n.d.); Right: Ross F. George, Modern Lettering/Poster Design (Camden: C. Howard Hunt pen Co. , n.d.). (Image by Elizabeth Ott)

Because show cards were meant to be produced quickly, show card writers did not want to spend time creating unique designs and layouts for every new card. Show card manuals offered design templates and best practices for producing attractive, readable show cards that could be easily copied. Manuals instructed writers on how to scale alphabets up and down, how to balance negative and positive space, and how to choose complementary color schemes. More than just a compendium of display alphabets, show card manuals condense the aesthetics of early twentieth-century graphic design into readable, concrete lessons.

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A page spread from E. C. Matthews, How to Paint Signs and Show Cards (New York: Illustrated Editions, 1940). (Image by Elizabeth Ott)

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A page from Charles Strong’s The Art of Show Card Writing, showing an airbrushing technique used to add depth and texture quickly to a flat design. (Detroit: The Detroit School of Lettering, 1907).

These show card manuals are an important, but often overlooked, aspect of the history of typography, graphic design, and American advertising. The script alphabets of show cards influenced type design, especially for display types, but also diverged from many trends in typography. Similarly, the non-pictorial nature of most show cards and their freedom from the constraints of printing meant they were both like and unlike printed advertisements produced during the same time. Ephemeral and rarely preserved, show cards are largely absent from the cultural record, except in photographs that attest to their prevalence. Show card manuals are thus an invaluable resource for understanding the practice of show card writing. Many of the manuals in the Nicholas Curtis gift are extremely rare, available in only a handful of libraries world-wide—indeed, we were unable to find existing holdings for more than two dozen. We are particularly pleased to add these books to our collections, adding their richness and texture to our extensive collections on the history of typography and type design.

The books are marvelous specimen collections in their own right. Incidentally, we believe the ancient author of the concept of humours, Galen, would put his stamp of approval on the layout of the recto of this page. From Pen and Brush Lettering and Practical Alphabets (London: Blandford Press, [1947].

The books are themselves often exuberant celebrations of the myriad ways to design the Roman alphabet.  Pen and Brush Lettering and Practical Alphabets (London: Blandford Press, [1947]).

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ABCs of Special Collections: Y is for…

We have traveled a long way from “A” to “X” and have landed at the letter:

"Y" is for Columna Versalien, which is included in Treasury of Alphabets and Lettering by Jan Tschichold, 1992. (Z250 .T883 1992. Image by Petrina Jackson)

“Y” is for Columna Versalien, which appears in Treasury of Alphabets and Lettering by Jan Tschichold, 1992. (Z250 .T883 1992. Image by Petrina Jackson)

Y is for Yaddo

Yaddo is a retreat for artists in Saratoga Springs, New York, founded in 1900 by Spencer Trask and his wife, Katrina Nichols Trask (1853-1922), an author in her own right. The first residents came to Yaddo to work in 1926, and current artists continue to visit today. Although we do not have the Yaddo archives, which is housed at the New York Public Library, Special Collections has correspondence related to the retreat and its founder.  These letters appear in the papers of U.Va. President Edwin Alderman and U.Va. English Professor James Southall Wilson among others.

Contributed by Sharon Defibaugh, Manuscripts and Archives Processor

About 1912, Katrina Trask, wrote several letters of sympathy and encouragement to Edwin A. Alderman, the first University of Virginia President, during his enforced stay at Saranac Lake, New York, for treatment of tuberculosis (MSS 1001, Box 5).

About 1912, Katrina Trask, wrote several letters of sympathy and encouragement to Edwin A. Alderman, the first University of Virginia President, during his stay at Saranac Lake, New York, for treatment of tuberculosis. (MSS 1001. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

The Clifton Waller Barrett Library contains two of her books, Under King Constantine, published anonymously in 1892 and Lessons in Love.

The Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature contains her books, Under King Constantine, published anonymously, and Lessons in Love. (PS586.Z94.T738 U59 1893 and PS646.F54.T73 L4 1900, respectively. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

Trask’s pacifism is represented by a broadside “The Conquering Army” (1915) distributed through the Clearing House for Limitation of Armament.

Trask’s pacifism is represented by her broadside “The Conquering Army,” distributed through the Clearing House for Limitation of Armament, 1915. (Broadside 414. Photograph by Donna Stapley.)

The arrangement of a literary conference by Professor James Southall Wilson with Elizabeth Ames, the director at Yaddo for many years, June 28, 1930, reveals another University of Virginia connection (MSS 12708-a, Box 1) to Yaddo.

The arrangement of a literary conference by Professor James Southall Wilson with Elizabeth Ames, the director at Yaddo for many years, reveals another University of Virginia connection to Yaddo, June 28, 1930. (MSS 12708-a. Photograph by Donna Stapley).

Y is for Richard Yates

Novelist and short story writer, Richard Yates, is widely considered one of the premier post WWII writers of American fiction. His 1960 novel, Revolutionary Road was lauded by critics and writers alike, but none of his work sold especially well during his lifetime. Yates found work as a writing instructor at many universities, including Columbia, the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop, and the New School for Social Research. A search of our online catalog shows four entries of Richard Yates.

Contributed by George Riser, Collections and Instruction Assistant

(PS3575 .83 R4 1961. Bradley H. Gunter Fund, 2011/2012. Image by Petrina Jackson)

Shown here is a first printing of Revolutionary Road. (PS3575 .83 R4 1961. Bradley H. Gunter Fund, 2011/2012. Image by Petrina Jackson)

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Dust jacket photo of Mr. Yates by Bob Isear. (PS3575 .83 R4 1961. Bradley H. Gunter Fund, 2011/2012. Image by Petrina Jackson)

Y is for Yearbook

From societies and clubs, to high schools and colleges, Special Collections has many yearbooks.  U.Va.’s student yearbook, Corks and Curls, came into the world in 1888 and sadly ceased to be after its 2008 issue.  Corks and Curls gives readers a glimpse into the antics, biases, rebellion, sacrifices, amusement, accomplishments, and achievements of U.Va.’s student body over 100 years of social and academic change.

Contributed by Donna Stapley, Assistant to the Director

Cover of Corks and Curls, 1920. (Photograph by Donna Stapley)

Cover of Corks and Curls, 1920. (LD 5687 .C7 1920. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

1888 Football Team (Champions '88  ):                     LD 5687 .C7 v.1 1888

1888 Football Team, “Champions ’88, ” from the 1888 Corks and Curls. (LD 5687 .C7 v.1 1888. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

U.Va. Basketball Team from the 1934 Corks and Curls ()

U.Va. Varsity Basketball Team from the 1934 Corks and Curls (LD 5687 .C7 1934. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

U.Va. Men's and Women's Track and Field, 2008.

U.Va. Men’s and Women’s Track and Field, 2008. (LD 5687 .C7 v. 120 2008. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

It is hard to believe, but there is only one more letter to go!  Please join us two weeks from today for our final letter and the conclusion of our alphabet series.

 

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Tales from Under Grounds: Literature and U.Va. Societies

This is the third in a series of four posts, spotlighting the mini-exhibitions of students from USEM 1570: Researching History. This is the abridged version of the students’ projects, featured at their outreach program, Tales from Under Grounds.

"Save the Date," Fall 2014. (Photograph by Caroline Newcomb)

“Save the Date,” Fall 2014. (Photograph by Caroline Newcomb)

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Abby Ceriani, First-Year Student

Photograph of Abby Ceriani by Sanjay Suchak, November 19, 2013.

Photograph of Abby Ceriani by Sanjay Suchak, November 19, 2013.

Gothic Literature

This exhibit shows a brief history of Gothic literature, which has had a great influence on both its readership and later literary works. Gothic novels were taken both seriously and ironically as shown by the popularity of the genre and its parodies.

Authors, such as Ann Radcliffe who wrote The Mysteries of Udolpho, were at the heart of the Gothic novel movement. However, not everyone took Radcliffe’s novels seriously. Jane Austen wrote Northanger Abbey, making fun of Gothic romance novels.

To appeal to a broad audience, Gothic fiction was produced in multiple volumes as well as in smaller, cheaper booklets called chap-books. These books, with their elements of romanticism, horror, and mystery have thrilled and entertained audiences over the centuries.

(Photograph by Sanjay Suchak)

Austen, Jane. Northanger Abbey: and Persuasion. London: John Murray, 1818. Jane Austen’s famous novel Northanger Abbey was a parody of Gothic romance novels, specifically, Ann Radcliffe’s The Mysteries of Udolpho. Austen’s novel is about a girl with an overactive imagination. She tries to imagine her ordinary situation as that of a Gothic romance, which causes her much trouble. Austen also makes use of the iconic Gothic scenery by having much of the book take place in an old Abbey. On page 69 of Northanger Abbey, Austen refers to The Mysteries of Udolpho and lists several other Gothic novels. (PZ2 .A8 N 1818 v.1. Sadlier-Black Collection of Gothic Fiction. Photograph by Sanjay Suchak)

(Image by Petrina Jackson)

The Bleeding Nun, a Mechanical Print from The Monk. London: S. Poole, 1817.  The writing on the bottom of “The Bleeding Nun” says “This mechanical print exhibits by its shadow, the terrific change of features of the bleeding nun, according to the description in the novel of The Monk.” The Monk, written by Matthew Gregory Lewis, is an iconic Gothic novel. The mechanical print shows the nun with normal features and can be changed to show the nun with a skull’s face. (Broadside 1817 .B54. Sadlier-Black Collection of Gothic Fiction. Image by Petrina Jackson)

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Becca Pryor, First-Year Student

Becca Pryor talks to a guest about her exhibition, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

Becca Pryor talks to a guest about her exhibition, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

Meeting Marjorie

Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was born on August 8, 1896 in Washington DC. At 14, Rawlings’ short stories were published in the Washington Post. During her studies at the University of Wisconsin, she wrote for the Wisconsin Literary Magazine.  While living in Louisville, KY and Rochester, NY, Rawlings wrote for local journals as well.  After feeling restless living in cities, Rawlings and her husband moved to the rural coast of Florida.  It was here where Rawlings’ writing career really took off.  She drew inspiration from the people, nature, and interactions between the two to shape her novels, such as The Yearling, and short stories.

Rawlings exposed a side of American culture that had not been shared.  She lived in the scrub with a family in order to experience their lifestyle and learn how to appreciate their high spirits amidst low circumstances.  By fully immersing herself in the culture of Florida, she was able to write from a genuine and sincere perspective.

(Image by Petrina Jackson)

Photographs of Rawlings’ Cross Creek, Florida Home. These photos were developed on October 23, 1968, which is 15 years after Rawling’s death.  Rawlings and her husband bought a seventy-two-acre farm in Cross Creek because of the great beauty she associated with the area.  Cross Creek inspired Rawlings to write many short stories, which were published in Scribner’s Magazine.  After some time at Cross Creek, Rawlings moved in with a family who resided in the scrubs of the inland of Florida, so that she could experience firsthand life in rural Florida.  Here, the honesty of the people in the scrub amidst their challenging circumstances impressed Rawlings. (MSS 6785-d. Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature. Image by Petrina Jackson)

(Image by Petrina Jackson)

Catalog of Books In the Taylor Library of American Best Sellers. Lillian Gary Taylor records the title page of Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ The Yearling as well as other information about the book, including its price and physical description.  The Yearling was published in 1938 and won Rawlings a Pulitzer Prize in 1939.  The novel was also the best selling book of 1938 and sold over 250,000 copies in that year alone.  The popularity of this book was so great that it has been translated in over 20 different languages and also made into a motion picture in 1946.  The novel describes the relationship between a young boy, named Jody, and his pet fawn, Flag. Like Rawlings’ other books, The Yearling is set in the inland of Florida where nature plays a key role in shaping the story. (MSS 5231-b. Taylor Collection of American Best-Sellers. Image by Petrina Jackson)

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Adam Hawes, First-Year Student

Adam Hawes introduces himself at Tales From Under Grounds, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

Adam Hawes introduces himself at Tales From Under Grounds, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

The Raven Society

Edgar Allan Poe is perhaps the most well-known Gothic author of the 19th-century. His mysterious tales are some of the most recognized works in literature.  Poe is probably also the most famous college dropout in the history of the University of Virginia. He only attended the university for one year before gambling debts forced him out.  Despite only attending U.Va. for one year, Poe’s influence can still be felt here in the form of the Raven Society.

Named for Poe’s best-known poem, The Raven Society has been at U.Va. since 1904 when it was established as a merit-based, social, literary society. The society continues to hold academic integrity at a high value and presents awards to students and faculty for their academic interests and pursuits.  The Raven Society also presents scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students at each school of the university.  In addition to awarding academic achievement, the society has worked since 1907 to restore and upkeep Poe’s room on the West Range. Overall, the society keeps Poe’s spirit alive at the University of Virginia.

(Image by Petrina Jackson)

The Raven Society of the University of Virginia: A Brief Historical Note by Authur Kyle Davis, 1987. This broadside serves as an overview of the Raven Society. Printed over 80 years after the founding of the society, it lists the history of the society as well as the many aspects of the organization. It also explains membership requirements as well as the the purpose of the society. This document is from the papers of Francis L. Berkeley, Jr. (Broadside 1987 .D38. Image by Petrina Jackson)

(Image by Digitization Services)

This photograph shows the Raven Society at their annual Raven Awards Ceremony, 1952.  At this ceremony, the Society presents the annual Raven Award to students, faculty, administrators, and alumni, recognizing them for their scholarly pursuits.  The members can be seen here dressed formally. (RG-30/1/10.001. University of Virginia Visual History Collection. Image by Digitization Services)

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Carrie Zettler, Second-Year Student

Carrie Zettler discusses her exhibit with (fill in). (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

Carrie Zettler discusses her exhibit with library staff member Barbara Hatcher. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

The Hot Feet In Hot Water

The Hot Foot Society was formed in the spring of 1902 by a group of U.Va. students living on the East Range. The stated purpose of the organization was to host large parties that were open to all who wished to partake in the revelry. Unstated was the acknowledgement that members of the Hot Foot Society liked to drink. Never intending to be members of a secret society, Hot Feet often publicly displayed their drunkenness to the dismay of the University’s faculty.

In 1911, the Hot Foot Society pulled a bold prank. After a particularly rambunctious celebration, a few Hot Feet broke into the natural history exhibit in Cabell Hall and extracted stuffed animal specimens. President Alderman did not see the humor in the prank. He expelled four Hot Foot Society members and effectively disbanded the organization. In January 1913, the Incarnate Memories Prevail (I.M.P.) Society was formed. With the motto of “Nos Mortous, Sed Dormiens” (not dead, but sleeping), the legacy of the Hot Foot Society was preserved in this new organization.

(Image by Petrina Jackson)

“Recollections of the Hot Feet.” Papers of the Hot Foot Society, 1903-1973, n.d. Written by Hot Foot Society member Herbert “Herb” Nash, “Recollections of the Hot Feet” is a poem that tells about the notorious prank pulled by the Hot Foot Society, circa May 1911. The incident happened after a celebration on the Lawn attended by members of Tilka, Eli Banana, and the Hot Foot Society. The poem recounts how a few Hot Feet broke into Cabell Hall and removed stuffed animal specimens from the natural history exhibit. They placed these animals, including a polar bear, a Bengal tiger, and an ostrich behind the desks of professors and on the steps of their Lawn residencies. The poem also alludes to the expulsion of four Hot Feet and the banishment of the organization. (RG-23/46/1.971. University of Virginia Archives. Image by Petrina Jackson)

(Image by Petrina Jackson)

Charter of the I.M.P. Society from Papers of the Hot Foot Society, 1903-1973, c.a. 1914. This document is the first charter of the I.M.P. Society, which was founded on January 12, 1913. Written by Mc-K-Ski I, the charter was officially enacted a year later. The papers contain information about how the new organization would function. Details are provided about the I.M.P. Society’s meetings, members, fees and assessments, initiation, insignia, and festivities.(RG-23/46/1.971. University of Virginia Archives. Image by Petrina Jackson)

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Top 10 Mementos of U.Va. Men’s Basketball

We are pleased to feature a guest post by Third-Year Garrett Gottesman and Fourth-Year Susan Gravatt, bloggers for The Media Studies Experience.

After a tough loss against Michigan State on Friday during the Sweet Sixteen round of this year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, many Cavalier fans have been distraught. But instead of moping around, we decided to dig through the Special Collections Library to find some things that might just restore your faith in the glory that is Virginia Basketball. We may not have a basketball national championship this year, but what we do have is a 109-year old institution focused on respect, academic balance, and character. Our message is clear: win or lose, we are proud to be Hoos!

The collection at the library includes over fifty brochures, eight Sports Illustrated magazine issues, forty-three black and white negatives, three posters, thirty-nine digitized photographs from the 1910s, six autographed pictures, three signed books, and four dissertations. Here are our top ten favorite finds:

1. The Program from the 1910 Game Against VMI

(Photograph by Garrett Gottesman)

The 1910 program is complete with the rules of the game (pre-three point shots) and plans for the dance and refreshments that followed. “Those desiring to dance will kindly secure their tickets at the box office. Gentlemen, 50 cents; ladies, no charge.” (Broadside 1910z .R62. Photograph by Garrett Gottesman)

2. This Photograph of the 1912 Team

(Holsinger Studio Collection. U.Va. Digitization Services)

Check out those basketball belts! (MSS 9862. Holsinger Studio Collection. Image by U.Va. Digitization Services)

3. These Flashbacks to Simpler Stadium Seating at Mem Gym

(University of Virginia Visual History Collection)

Mem Gym was the home court for the Cavaliers from 1924 to 1965, as seen in this 1940 photograph.  (RG-30/1/10.011. University of Virginia Visual History Collection. Image by U.Va. Digitization Services)

(Image by Susan Gravatt)

Note the venue in this brochure for a game against South Carolina, 1956. (RG-27/1/1.101. Image by Susan Gravatt)

4.  Or These Memories from University Hall

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Basketball games were played at the University Hall arena from 1965 to 2006, as seen in this fish-eye photo from 1972… (RG-30/1/10.011. University of Virginia Visual History Collection. Image by U.Va. Digitization Services)

(Photograph by Susan Gravatt)

And in this greeting card… (RG-27/1/1.101. Photograph by Susan Gravatt)

5. This March 1955 Sports Illustrated Article about Buzzy Wilkinson

(Photograph by Garrett Gottesman)

“At this tradition-soaked institution, where students wear coats and ties to class, basketball was long considered a kind of gauche pastime designed for the peasants in the hinterland. Buzzy Wilkinson changed all that. This year Virginia played to packed houses both at home and away.”"Eyes on the Buzzer” from Sports Illustrated, March 19, 1955. (GV885 .H4 1955. Photograph by Garrett Gottesman)

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The article tells the story of the spark that reignited the fire in Virginia basketball, and the number-one-recruited NBA player who decided to pursue a law degree instead. He still holds the ACC record for highest scoring average at 28.1 points per game. “Eyes on the Buzzer” from Sports Illustrated, March 19, 1955. (GV885 .H4 1955. Photograph by Garrett Gottesman)

6. The entire 1975-1976 season

(Cavalier Daily, March , 1976. Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

Front page of the Cavalier Daily, March 16, 1976. (Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

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“The Cinderella Cavs Flirt With Destiny” – This issue of the Cavalier Daily possesses some of the only information around about that 1976 ACC Championship win from the Wahoos. It provides full details of how this underdog team came back to win it all. Going into the tournament, the Hoos were seeded six with a 4-8 record and before taking on North Carolina in the championship game, they had to “topple NC State (75-63) and Maryland (73-65), the third and second seeded conference teams.” The championship was no easy match. Five clutch free throws from Billy Langloh secured the victory over the Tar Heels (67-62)- making their first ACC win also the ‘first time that the first-place bye team lost in the finals’. “As methodical and controlled as their coach is calm and composed, the individual Cavalier’s showed in the ACC tournament that Virginia is henceforth a team to be reckoned with…” Author: Kip Croons. Pages 6 and 7 of the Cavalier Daily, March 16, 1976. (Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

 

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1975-1976 Basketball Yearbook. Kevin Moore exemplified the era with his short shorts and Afro. This yearbook also includes the schedule for the 1976 season that would carry the Hoos to their ACC Championship win. (GV882 .V5. Photograph by Garrett Gottesman)

(Photograph by Garrett Gottesman)

1975-1976 Basketball Yearbook. (GV882 .V5. Photograph by Garrett Gottesman)

7. The Reign of Ralph Sampson

His first. (Image by Petrina Jackson)

Towering over opponents at 7’4”, Ralph Sampson was a lot to love. He was one of the most heavily recruited college and professional athletes of the time and brought unprecedented character to the courts. This is one of six Sports Illustrated magazines whose covers Sampson graced; in it, the writers speculated on the unclear future of this towering 7’4” freshman. (GV885.43 .V57 K45 1979. Image by Petrina Jackson)

(GV885 .43 .V57 K568 1980. Image by Petrina Jackson)

This is the story of three basketball stars who chose to stay in school rather than move on to the NBA after highly successful underclassmen seasons. There is a focus on Sampson’s overcoming of criticisms, particularly by frustrated NBA recruiters looking to draft their top pick and famed sports journalist Howard Cossell who claimed that “The University of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson’s School has a 7’4″ kid at the fifth grade level.” (GV885 .43 .V57 K568 1980. Image by Petrina Jackson)

[Image by Digitization Services]

Autographed photograph of Ralph Sampson. (RG-30/1/10.011. Image by U.Va. Digitization Services.)

 8. Just, the whole Corks and Curls Photograph Archive

(Photograph by Garrett Gottesman)

This endless stack of high quality images from the 1970’s editions of Corks and Curls is nothing short of addicting.  You simply can’t find anything this good online. Check out those Converses! (RG-23/48/1.841. Photograph by Garrett Gottesman)

9. This, Um, Cool Poster From The 1990 Season?

(Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

Nothing says intensity quite like grown men walking out of the smoke with their hands on their hips. If this doesn’t make you nostalgic for the 90’s, what will? (Poster 1980.U57. Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

10. This moment.

ACC CHAMPS! Cavaliers Down Duke to Win ACC Tournament Title and Regular Season Crown. This photo was taken at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, March 2014. (Photograph by Matt Riley)

ACC CHAMPS! Cavaliers Down Duke to Win ACC Tournament Title and Regular Season Crown. This photo was taken at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex, March 2014. (Photograph by Matt Riley)

This year’s Cavaliers were nothing short of amazing. We had 30 overall wins, 16 conference wins, 15 home wins, the first regular season championship since 2007, the first ACC Championship since 1976, and the first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 1995. Long story short, the 2014 team was extraordinary and one that will forever be remembered in history.

Go Hoos!

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The Patriarch and Matriarch of the Albemarle County Rushes

This week, we are very pleased to feature a guest post from Special Collections Reference Coordinator Regina Rush.

“…and they stopped in my vision and looked up at me like I had something…to tell or something that needed to be seen or they wanted something to be remembered. So I kinda get this sense that it is time to understand what it must have been like.”

–African-American genealogist Tonya Groomes,
in the documentary Slavery by Another Name

My pursuit for information about the Rush branch of my family began shortly after I began working in the Special Collections Library in the late nineties.

What I knew about my family’s history could be summed up on a notecard. My paternal grandfather’s name was James Neverson Rush; he married my grandmother, Roberta Brooks; and they raised eleven children in a place called Chestnut Grove, a small unincorporated community in Esmont, Virginia, nestled in the Green Mountains of Southern Albemarle County.

An initial conversation with my father helped fill in a few gaps, but certainly not enough to satisfy my curiosity. I learned that my paternal great grandmother’s name was Ella Rush, but beyond that he knew very little of the Rushes’ history. With my appetite sufficiently whetted and wanting to know MORE! MORE! MORE! I embarked on a genealogical quest to “meet” my people. As one genealogist has put it,  “When you search for your ancestors, you find great friends.”

Well, not only did I find “great friends,”  I found them under my feet at my job, one floor below in the stacks of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library: they were my great-great grandparents, Nicey Ann Coles and Isham Rush.

Here’s how it happened

One Saturday afternoon while visiting my Cousin Gloria, our conversation turned to the subject of our family’s history. After sharing various family anecdotes, I asked her, “Cousin Gloria, do you have any idea what slaveholder owned our family?”  I’d been researching my family’s history for several years, and despite numerous conversations with family members, visits to historical societies, and searching various genealogical databases, this key piece of family lore continued to elude me. So imagine my shock and elation when she responded in her slow, sweet, quiet voice, “Honey, our people were owned by the Rives Family.”

THE RIVES FAMILY??!!

As in the, Special Collections holds numerous collections of this family’s papers, Rives Family? Over the course of the next several weeks, I painstakingly worked my way through collection after collection of Rives papers held at Special Collections. One day, while searching through the papers of a Rives named Robert, I happened upon a letter dated March 24, 1851 to Robert Rives from his sister-in-law, Maria, discussing a recent visit to his home, Oakland, and the declining health of his brother George. I quickly skimmed the contents of the first page and flipped it over. My eyes were immediately drawn to a list of thirty-four names written at the bottom of the page. Excitement slowly began to build in me. Almost afraid to breathe, I quickly scanned the list. PAYDIRT! Number 22 on the list was the name “Nicey.”

March 24, 1851 letter to Robert Rives Jr.  from his sister- in- law, Maria Rives.  In the letter Maria writes about a recent visit to Rives and his family at their home called Oakland,  and the declining health of his brother George.  The contents of the letter has no connection to the list found at the bottom of page two. Rives uses the bottom of the page as scratch paper to list the names of 34 of his slaves and supplies purchased for them. The number 22 on the list is my great-great grandmother, Nicey Ann Coles. (Image by Regina Rush)

. In the letter Maria writes about a recent visit to Rives and his family at their home called Oakland, and the declining health of his brother George. The contents of the letter has no connection to the list found at the bottom of page two. Rives uses the bottom of the page as scratch paper to list the names of 34 of his slaves and supplies purchased for them. The number 22 on the list is my great-great grandmother, Nicey Ann Coles. (MSS 4289: March 24, 1851 letter from Maria Rives to her brother-in-law, Robert Rives Jr. Image by Regina Rush)

Detail of Nicey's name as it appears on the list shown above.

Detail of Nicey’s name as it appears on the list shown above. (Image by Regina Rush)

Uncovering the stories of Nicey Coles Rush and Isham Rush

Nicey Ann Coles was born circa 1823 in Nelson County, Virginia, most likely on one of the several plantations owned by Robert Rives, Sr. (1764-1845), a wealthy international merchant, who farmed tobacco and wheat, but most importantly owned both my great-grandparents. Nothing is known about Nicey’s parents. Information provided on her 1868 marriage license lists only her father’s last name, which is “Coles.” For reasons unknown, her mother’s name is not listed at all. In all likelihood, both she and her parents lived as slaves on Oak Ridge, the 2555 acre Nelson county, Virginia, estate owned by the Rives family. Oak Ridge was originally an 800-acre tract owned by Colonel William Cabell (1730-1798). Cabell later gave it as a gift to his daughter, Margaret Jordan Cabell, and his son-in-law, Robert Rives, Sr. (1764-1845).

Very little is known about Isham Rush, Nicey’s husband: his birth and death dates and parents’ names remain a mystery.  Isham was possibly born enslaved on the Rives Plantation in South Warren, Albemarle County. Census records of his children confirm that Isham was a native Virginian. Three of his children record him as their father on their marriage licenses. By 1868, he disappears from public record. His oldest child was his namesake (spelled “Isom” in the 1870 census) and down through the generations some variation of the name continues to be used. Even today, more than a 150 years later, Isham remains in the family: one of my paternal uncles was named John Isom Rush.

How long Nicey lived and worked on the Rives’ plantation in Nelson is unclear.  Records reveal that she was relocated at some point to one of the Rives’ Albemarle County plantations, referred to as the South Warren Estate. This estate was originally owned by Robert Rives Sr., but upon his death it passed on to his son Robert, Jr. (1798-1866).  Robert, Jr. was born in Nelson County in 1798. He represented Nelson County in the House of Delegates during 1823-1829 and afterward moved to Albemarle County, eventually becoming one of the wealthiest men in Virginia before the Civil War. The 1860 census record his assets at $280,000; most of his wealth was lost during the Civil War.

Records reveal that my great-great grandparents had a longstanding relationship of more than 13 years on the South Warren Estate and managed to raise a family–as much as one could within the restrictive confines of slavery. Their children’s names were Ella (my great grandmother), Cecelia, Louisiana, Lucy, Isham, Neverson and Fleming.  Some evidence suggest they had as many as ten children, but more research needs to be done before this can be confirmed. The Rush families of Chestnut Grove appear to be descended from two of their children, Ella and Louisiana Rush.

The following images were obtained from several plantation records of Robert Rives and provide brief snippets of information concerning Nicey and Isham’s existence at the South Warren Estate, in Warren Virginia.

In an account book held by the Special Collections Library Rives purchases   8 yards of check cotton and 10 yards of Osnaburg  fabric for Nicey  for $6.14. On the opposite page of  Nicey's entry is written the name Isham and under the name "suit of clothes $18.00. The entry dates listed on 1823 but the entry was to have been made much later. Most likely sometime in the 1840's Robert Rives Blacksmith Shop Account Book, 1823; 1843-1846, Accession #4655 (Image by Regina Rush)

An account book held by the Special Collections Library shows that Rives purchased eight yards of check cotton and ten yards of Osnaburg fabric for Nicey for $6.14. On the opposite page of Nicey’s entry is written the name Isham and under the name, “suit of clothes $18.00″ (see next image). While the page includes other entries as early as 1823, these entries likely date to the 1840s.
(MSS 4655: Robert Rives Blacksmith Shop Account Book, 1823; 1843-1846. Image by Regina Rush)

On this page of the Rives account book, opposite of  Nicey's entry is written the name Isham and under the name "suit of clothes $18.00. The entry dates listed on 1823 but the entry was to have been made much later. Most likely sometime in the 1840's Robert Rives Blacksmith Shop Account Book, 1823; 1843-1846, Accession #4655 (Image by Regina Rush)

Opposite Nicey’s entry is written the name “Isham” and under the name “suit of clothes $18.00.”  (Image by Regina Rush)

A discovery in Scottsville

Things got even more interesting when I contacted the Scottsville Museum, after discovering online that they had Rives-related papers. First, I found a relevant entry in a business ledger of Robert Rives, Jr., which is owned by the Scottsville Museum. It lists Rives’ purchase of shoes for some of his slaves.  Among the names on the list are my great-great grandparents, Isham Rush and Nicey Ann Coles. It reads “Shause (Shoes) bought on South Warren Estate June 18, 1849 for the negroes, vis Cyrus, Ben, Robin, Isham, Melvin, Daniel, Washington, Jurdan, Nick, Sophy, Nicey, Jincey, Bevly.” (Robert Rives Ledger 1846-1863. Page 12, Image 8, Scottsville Museum, Scottsville, Virgina).

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Entry from the business ledger of Robert Rives, Jr.  Rives lists shoes that he purchased for some of his slaves.  Among the names on the list are my great-great grandparents, Isham Rush and Nicey Ann Coles. (Robert Rives Ledger 1846-1863. Page 12, Image 8, Scottsville Museum, Scottsville Virginia)

The year 1851 was an eventful one for Nicey. In January 1851, she gave birth to Ella Rush, my great grandmother. Another document indicated that sometime later that year, she attempted to escape from South Warren.

Wait, my great-great grandmother ATTEMPTED TO ESCAPE!!!!!

A September 20, 1851 ledger entry made by Rives reveals that Nicey’s attempt was not successful: “Paid H.D. Robertson for the apprehension of Nicey and mileage there with $7.25.” I wondered at this series of events. Ella is listed in census records as the oldest of Nicey’s children. Perhaps there is a correlation between the two events–her pregnancy and her escape. But no documentation has been uncovered to support this.

The year 1851 was an eventful one for Nicey. January 1851, she gave birth to Ella Rush, my great grandmother. Sometime later that year she attempted to escape from South Warren. This September 20, 1851 ledger entry made by Rives reveals her attempt was not successful.  "Paid H.D. Robertson for the apprehension of Nicey and mileage there with $7.25." Ella is listed in census records as the oldest, perhaps there is a correlation between the two events-her pregnancy and her escape. but no documentation has been uncovered to support this. Robert Rives Ledger 1846-1863. Page 33, Image 18, Scottsville Museum, Scottsville Virginia.

Nicey’s apprehension is documented on the second and third lines of this page. (Robert Rives Ledger 1846-1863. Page 33, Image 18, Scottsville Museum, Scottsville Virginia.)

Albemarle County Courthouse records helped me understand what happened to Nicey after the Civil War, and after Isham Rush disappeared from public record, presumably deceased. On September 18, 1868, Nicey and a man named Paul Moseley went to the Albemarle County Courthouse to obtain a marriage bond. Two days later, on September 20, 1868, they were married at the Chestnut Grove Church in Esmont, Virginia by a minister named Alexander White.

Marriage license of Nicey Ann Coles and Paul Moseley, September 18, 1868. Courtesy of the Albemarle County Courthouse, Charlottesville, Virginia, 22902 (Image by Regina Rush)

Marriage license of Nicey Ann Coles and Paul Moseley, September 18, 1868. Courtesy of the Albemarle County Courthouse, Charlottesville, Virginia, 22902 (Image by Regina Rush)

By 1870 Nicey was 47 years old, still residing in Warren, Virginia. She shared a home with her husband, 47-year-old Paul Moseley, her 12-year-old stepson Paul Jr., and all seven of her children. Ella, 20; Cecelia,18; Lucy, 16; Louisiana, 3; Isham, 13, Neverson, 11; Fleming, 7; and her granddaughter Sophronia, Ella’s 11-month-old daughter. The 1870′s saw Nicey’s daughters Cecelia and Lucy married and out on their own. Her son and step-son had either died or migrated to another area by 1880.

The 1880 census shows that Nicey and her family had moved to Scottsville, near to Cecelia. The census reveals that her husband was still alive and only three of her children remained in her household–Isham, Fleming, Louisiana. Nicey died sometime between 1880 and 1900.

From the first time I looked at the 1870 census record for the Rush line of my family, I felt compelled to learn their stories. Over more than fifteen years of digging into my family’s ancestry, I have amassed quite a bit of raw data that screams out to be put in some sort of form that tells their story. Notes from Under Grounds proved to be the perfect launching pad. It is my honor and privilege to tell the story of my great-great grandparents. I dedicate this blog post to them, the Patriarch and Matriarch of the Albemarle County Rushes of Chestnut Grove.  World, I introduce to you Nicey Ann Coles and Isham Rush, my new friends.

Regina Rush, Reference Coordinator, March 26, 2014. (Photograph by Molly Schwartzburg)

Regina Rush Special Collections Reference Coordinator, March 26, 2014.  She holds one of the Rives ledgers that has helped her recover her family history. (Photograph by Molly Schwartzburg)

Special thanks to the Scottsville Museum and the Albemarle County Courthouse for permission to share images from their collections.

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ABCs of Special Collections: X is for…

Welcome back to the ABCs of Special Collections!  We are excited to bring to you, the letter

X made from two small blades from the tools ()

“X” made from two small blades from the studio of the Warren Chappell Studio. (MSS 10204-bc. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

X is for X-Rated

X is for Henry Miller’s banned book Tropic of Cancer, published in 1934 by the Obelisk Press in Paris. The book was deemed illegal for sale in the United States, Great Britain, and Canada upon publication and remained so for almost thirty years. In 1961, Barney Rosset, publisher of The Grove Press, convinced Miller to let him publish Tropic of Cancer, promising to fight censorship laws all the way to the Supreme Court. In 1964 the U.S. Supreme Court overruled earlier state court findings that Tropic of Cancer was obscene. This case was a landmark case concerning censorship, and opened the doors for a much wider acceptance of previously censored art.

Contributed by George Riser, Collections and Instruction Assistant

(Image by Petrina Jackson)

First edition of Tropic of Cancer, 1934. (PS3525 .I5454 T7 1934. Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature. Image by Petrina Jackson)

 X is for Xylographica

Very rare books indeed!  Dating from approximately 1450, xylographica are block books made by carving text and illustrations into wooden blocks.  Usually the books are not more than 50 leaves, and are considered incunabula, (as they date before 1501) and the content is almost exclusively religious in nature.

Donna Stapley, Assistant to the Director

(Photograph by Donna Stapley)

Facsimile of Das puch von dem Entkrist/Blockbucher. The original was made in 1450, and the facsimile was created in 1925. (Typ 1450 .A57 1925. Stone Typography Collection. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

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Facsimile of Ars moriendi. The original was made 1470, and the facsimile was created in 1910. (Typ 1470 .A77. Stone Typography Collection. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

(Photograph by Donna Stapley)

Of course, wood block printing has remained popular long after moveable type superceded the labor intensive process of producing xylographica.  For example, shown here are some wood carving tools from the 20th-century studio of Warren Chappell. Shown are a wood block and an engraving cushion, burnisher, and two small blades. (MSS 10204-bc. Photograph by Donna Stapley)

X is for the XYZ Affair

Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, John Marshall, and Elbridge Gerry were sent to France by President John Adams in July 1797 with instructions to renegotiate the 1788 treaty between the two nations, ensure French acceptance of the Jay Treaty, and resolve issues concerning the seizure of American merchant ships by the French navy. Charles Maurice de Talleyrand, French foreign minister, approached the American commissioners through agents who demanded bribes before formal negotiations could begin. Although such demands were not uncommon in European diplomacy of the time, the Americans were outraged and left France without undertaking formal negotiations. The publication of the commission’s dispatches (the letters X, Y, and Z, substituting for the names of the French diplomats) created a political firestorm in the United States that resulted in several years of undeclared naval warfare against France.

Contributed by Edward Gaynor, Head of Description and Specialist for Virginiana and University Archives

(Image by Edward Gaynor)

Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes, May 6, 1798. Jefferson describes the “ferment excited here [Philadelphia] by publication of the dispatches” and discusses the possibility of war. (MSS 501. Gift of Mrs. F.B. Stoneman. Image by Edward Gaynor)

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Verso of letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Wayles Eppes, May 6, 1798. (MSS 501. Gift of Mrs. F.B. Stoneman. Image by Edward Gaynor)

(Tracy W. McGregor Library of American History. Image by Edward Gaynor. )

Title page of Instructions to the Envoys Extraordinary and Ministers Plenipotentiary from the United States of America, to the French Republic. (A 1798 .U54. Tracy W. McGregor Library of American History. Image by Edward Gaynor. )

()

Page of dispatch describing request for bribes. (A 1798 .U54. Tracy W. McGregor Library of American History. Image by Edward Gaynor. )

Guess what we have in store for you with the remaining two letters of the alphabet? You will have to wait until next month when we feature the letters “Y” and “Z.”

 

 

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The Media Studies Experience: Restoration Ball Throughout the Decades

We are pleased to feature a guest post by Susan Gravatt, Fourth-Year Media Studies major/Religious Studies minor and blogger for The Media Studies Experience.

Saturday, March 22, 2014, from 9pm to midnight on Peabody Lawn, students will come together for the 51st Annual Restoration Ball. Each $25 ticket enables students and alumni of the University of Virginia to support the restoration of the Rotunda.

Just as the Rotunda has seen numerous changes and renovations in the past, the Restoration Ball itself has evolved in unusual and surprising ways since it began in the 1960s. In sifting through materials at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, I had the unique opportunity to step back in time and follow the history of this grand occasion.

(Photograph by Susan Gravatt)

One of the many posters from the Restoration Ball Ephemera collection, 1981. (LD5680 .R87 R47. Photograph by Susan Gravatt)

I’m not sure exactly when I first heard about this year’s Restoration Ball, but I do know that I found out about it through the now-standard event invitation service that Facebook provides. While posters certainly may be on Grounds (though I have personally not seen any), the Restoration Ball ephemera collection includes a series of posters from the 1960s to the 1980s. Some of the posters feature photographs of the Rotunda while others, like the one above, showcase a drawing or sketch.

Part of me is somewhat sad that these posters are not more abundant today. As I flipped through and photographed these older relics in Special Collections, I couldn’t help but wonder what materials will enter the library to mark the 51st event? Will Special Collections print a screenshot of the Restoration Ball website or the Facebook event? There is a certain nostalgia or romanticism that this poster and the others like it evoke, but checking out the online information about this year’s ball doesn’t have the same effect. Having the ability to hold a poster in my own hands made an event prior to my own birth come to life for me.

(Image by U.Va. Digitization Services)

Restoration Ball in the Rotunda, May 15, 1965 (RG-30/1/10.011. University of Virginia Image by U.Va. Digitization Services)

Before my visit to Special Collections, I did not realize that the Restoration Ball took place in many different locations throughout the years. As the image above shows, many of the earlier balls were actually held in the Rotunda!  According to the primary sources I consulted, by the 1980s, there was a permanent move away from the Rotunda and to Newcomb Ballroom, Peabody Lawn, and other larger, open spaces across Grounds that could accommodate a growing student body. Although I am excited to attend the event myself tomorrow evening, I must say that I am envious of those who danced in the Rotunda. For now, I’ll have to live vicariously through this photograph of past students who enjoyed that luxury. But what I wouldn’t give to have attended the ball in 1965…

Restoration Ball Dance Booklet (Photograph by Susan Gravatt)

A dance request booklet for Restoration Ball guests. (LD5680 .R87 R47. Photograph by Susan Gravatt)

Inside of dance request booklet.

Inside of dance request booklet. (LD5680 .R87 R47. Photograph by Susan Gravatt)

Although I spent almost an hour combing through the various articles and objects in the ephemera collection, the dance request booklet is, perhaps, my favorite find. Because tomorrow night’s Restoration Ball will be my first, I’m not entirely sure what to expect. However, I suspect I will not make song or dance requests to a deejay or live band by writing them down in a booklet. This nifty item enabled guests in the past to do just that.

My research on the Restoration Ball this week left me feeling the way that I do many times after leaving Special Collections. I always wonder how much students would enjoy this rich resource if they really understood the depths of its archives. Special Collections is not a building full of artifacts but rather a home for treasures that gives students a taste of both the history of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia.

Special Collections makes history real and exciting because it enables me to put my student experience in a broader context. I am attending the Restoration Ball in 2014, yes, but I am becoming part of a tradition that has spanned for decades. Special Collections documents these histories and activities that are intrinsic and central to the core of student life at the University of Virginia.

But if dancing and Restoration Balls aren’t your thing, I guarantee that if you spent time in Special Collections, you would discover surprising parallels between the past and your time and interests at U.Va., and beyond.

My research in Special Collections gave me one more reason to get excited about my first Restoration Ball and the 51st for the University of Virginia, tomorrow night.

 

 

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This Just In: Disability in the Archives

"Disability in the Archives," case 1

“Disability in the Archives,” case 1

On February 27-28 U.Va. hosted “Disabling Normalcy,” an interdisciplinary conference organized by Christopher Krentz, Associate Professor of English and Director of American Sign Language.  In conjunction with the conference, Prof. Krentz and graduate student Philip Timmerman prepared an exhibition, “Disability in the Archives,” which is on view in the first floor gallery of the Small Special Collections Library through April 26. Drawn entirely from our holdings, the exhibition features books, manuscripts, and photographs relating to the deaf, blind, physically handicapped, and mentally ill.

"Disability in the Archives," case 2

“Disability in the Archives,” case 2

The exhibition includes several recent acquisitions, some obtained before Prof. Krentz proposed the exhibition and others acquired since, partly with the exhibition in mind.  In this post we feature a few of these items, including several omitted from the exhibition for want of space.

Efforts to educate the blind and vision-impaired received a major boost in the early 19th century with the invention of various tactile reading systems. Although Louis Braille’s dot system has become the international norm, raised letter systems were standard in the United States until the early 20th century. The first to be introduced was “Boston line,” an adaptation by Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe of a Scottish raised-letter alphabet. Much as a type designer adjusts letterforms for legibility, Howe adapted the shapes of letters and numerals so that, when embossed in paper in high relief, they could be more easily distinguished by touch. In 1835 Howe established a press at the New England Asylum for the Blind in Boston (now the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Mass.), where he proceeded to print many raised-letter books for the blind.

Cast list for a benefit performance of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice,  by the "Perkins Players" of the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Mass., May 1917  (HV1796 .M46 P4 1917)

Cast list for a benefit performance of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, by the “Perkins Players” of the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Mass., May 1917. This raised-print program was set in Boston line and printed at the school.  (HV1796 .M46 P4 1917)

We recently added an unusual Boston line imprint to our Joseph M. Bruccoli Great War Collection: a theater program for two benefit performances of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, held in May 1917 at the Perkins School and featuring Perkins students as actors, musicians, and dancers. Proceeds went to the American, British, French, Belgian Permanent Blind Relief War Fund, which assisted Allied soldiers blinded in battle.

Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling, from Fancies of Child-Life (Louisville, Ky.: American Printing House for the Blind, 1877).  (PZ7 .F1997 1877)

Hans Christian Andersen’s The Ugly Duckling, from Fancies of Child-Life (Louisville, Ky.: American Printing House for the Blind, 1877). (PZ7 .F1997 1877)

Following the Civil War, the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville, Kentucky, became the leading American supplier of raised-letter texts. The APHB employed a modified form of Boston line for its publications until 1893, when Braille was first introduced. At the Boston International Antiquarian Book Fair we acquired a copy of the 1877 APHB edition of Fancies of Child-Life, a collection of children’s stories by Hans Christian Andersen and Harriet Beecher Stowe. This copy was sent to the Virginia Institute for the Deaf, Dumb, and Blind in Staunton, Va., where in 1893 it was presented as a school prize “For learning to read in one Session” to Edgar Hickam. A blind resident of Maces Spring, Va. (in the extreme southwest region bordering Tennessee), Hickam was well known locally as a musician and piano tuner, though celebrity would fall, not to him, but to his neighbors, the Carter Family.

The Rev. William Moon's simplified manual alphabet, in Light for the blind: a history of the origin and success of Moon's system of reading (embossed in various languages) for the blind (London: Longmans & Co., 1873).  (HV1678 .M84 1873)

The Rev. William Moon’s simplified manual alphabet, in Light for the blind: a history of the origin and success of Moon’s system of reading (embossed in various languages) for the blind (London: Longmans & Co., 1873). (HV1678 .M84 1873)

Perhaps Boston line’s primary shortcoming was that it adopted essentially the same rather complex letterforms employed for written and printed texts. Hence publications in Boston line are more easily read by eye than by touch. In 1847 the Rev. William Moon of Brighton, England, invented a simplified alphabet better suited to touch. It consisted of “six of the roman letters unaltered, twelve others with parts left out, and six new and very simple forms, which may be easily learned by the aged, and persons whose fingers are hardened by work.” Moon’s Light for the blind (London, 1873) describes his invention, provides a list of available publications, and chronicles his labors on behalf of the blind.

We know far less about the history of mapmaking for the blind, and embossed maps are very uncommon.  Hence we were delighted to acquire at the California International Antiquarian Book Fair a fine copy of a world atlas for the blind published in Germany in the mid-1930s. The challenge was a straightforward one: how to convert two dimensions into three so that cartographic information could be conveyed by touch?  Here the solution was to emboss maps in high relief on durable kraft paper. Geographic and topographic features are differentiated as follows: coastlines by dotted lines, political boundaries by dashed lines, rivers by solid lines, oceans by a uniform pattern of small dots in low relief, and so on, with captions added in Braille.

A manual alphabet from a collection of ornamental alphabets, Recueil d'alphabets, dedié aux artistes (Paris & New York: L. Turgis jeune, [ca. 1845?].  (NK3600 .B65 1845)

A manual alphabet from a collection of ornamental alphabets, Recueil d’alphabets, dedié aux artistes (Paris & New York: L. Turgis jeune, [ca. 1845?].   (NK3600 .B65 1845)

Last month we acquired a rare mid-19th century alphabet book, with a dual Paris & New York imprint, consisting of 24 lithographic plates bearing elaborate ornamental alphabets. These were intended as inspiration for artists, signmakers, and others seeking out-of-the-ordinary letterforms. Imagine our surprise to find on the penultimate plate the standard manual alphabet on which various sign languages used by the deaf (including American Sign Language) are based.

Nervous disorder conveyed in verse, in Miscellaneous reflections. In Verse (Greenfield, Mass.: Thomas Dickman, 1792)  (BD420 .F52 1750 no. 2)

“Nervous disorder” conveyed in verse, in Miscellaneous reflections. In Verse (Greenfield, Mass.: Thomas Dickman, 1792)   (BD420 .F52 1750 no. 2)

Early autobiographical accounts of battles with mental illness are quite rare, and recently we acquired one for the Clifton Waller Barrett Library of American Literature. In 1792, in the small town of Greenfield, Mass., Thomas Dickman printed Miscellaneous reflections. In verse. Mostly written at sundry times, when under long confinement by a complication of nervous disorders. Only three copies are recorded of this 40-page pamphlet, written “by a valetudinary” (whose identity remains unknown) and “printed by request of friends of that class.” Most of the poems are religious in nature, but the initial poems are extraordinary for attempting to convey, in verse, the author’s experience of being in a state of “nervous disorder.”

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Tales from Under Grounds: Women’s Suffrage, Coeducation, and Israeli Statehood

The following blog post is the second in a series of four, spotlighting the mini-exhibitions of students from fall semester’s USEM 1570: Researching History.  This is the abridged version of the students’ projects, featured at their outreach program, Tales from Under Grounds.

Ally Clement gives her classmates a "tour" of her mini-exhibition in preparation for Tales from Under Grounds.

Ally Clement gives her classmates a “tour” of her mini-exhibition in preparation for Tales from Under Grounds.

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Ally Clement, First-Year Student

Photograph of Ally Clement by Sanjay Suchak, November 19, 2013.

Ally Clement presenting her exhibit at the event, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak)

The Fight for Rights: Women’s Suffrage 1886-1912

From one of the first debates on women’s suffrage to why people should or should not advocate for women’s suffrage, this exhibit illustrates the points of view about women’s suffrage from 1886 until 1911. The fight for women’s right to vote was a prominent piece of American history. Women and men across the country joined together in the fight for or against equal voting rights for women.

Suffragettes made newspaper headlines throughout their fight and were the main topics of pamphlets distributed in the early 1900s. The fight for women’s suffrage did not cease until 1920 when the 19th amendment was passed and added to the U.S. Constitution.

(Image by Petrina Jackson)

Scrapbook regarding World War I and Women’s Suffrage, 1913-1918. Emily Wayland Dinwiddie compiled this scrapbook, which includes history-making headlines from newspapers during the beginning of women’s suffrage to World War I. The headlines of this page are what are most important. They show many different views of how people (editors specifically) felt about women having the right to vote. Some headlines are exciting like “Hurrah for the Suffragette!” while others blame women’s suffrage on issues such as divorce or laziness. (MSS 3194-c. Image by Petrina Jackson)

(Image by Petrina Jackson)

“Facts and Dates to Remember” (New York: National American Women’s Suffrage Association, 1911). Numerous informative and opposing pamphlets were issued during the time of women’s suffrage but this handout lists other countries and areas that have already allowed women the right to vote by 1911. The earliest suffrage right listed is Wyoming in 1869. It is important to remember that even though it was not legal to do so, some states already allowed women to vote. (Broadside 1911 .N28c. Image by Petrina Jackson)

(Image)

Verso of “Facts and Dates to Remember” (New York: National American Women’s Suffrage Association, 1911). (Broadside 1911 .N28c. Image by Petrina Jackson)

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Kate Westman, First-Year Student

Kate Westman explains her exhibition to Author Donna Lucey, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

Kate Westman explains her exhibition to Author Donna Lucey, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

Hoo’s She?

Although the University of Virginia did not become fully coeducational until 1970, calls for coeducation were made many years earlier. When a significant number of universities and colleges had begun providing coeducational opportunities by the end of the 19th century, the University of Virginia was pressured into doing the same. The University held on tightly to its tradition, however, as it took nearly eighty years to become fully coeducational after admitting the first female student.

Women were allowed to study at the University in very limited capacities beginning in the end of the 19th century. They could study privately with professors, take examinations, and earn pass certificates. In the beginning of the 20th century, the summer school began, where women could study but not earn credit. Though these opportunities were far from equal to those of men, these were significant steps toward coeducation in the University that clung so tightly to tradition.

Minute Book of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia, 1892. Minutes of the Board of Visitors from June 1892 includes a resolution that was passed in response to Caroline Preston Davis’s request to take math exams. During this time many schools were becoming coeducational, and the resolution that passed was U.Va.’s way of dealing with this issue. With a registration fee and instructor permission, women of good character and preparation could study privately with a professor and take examinations for a specific class in which men were enrolled. However, they were not allowed to attend lectures and received pass certificates instead of diplomas. Though this was a step toward better education for women, U.Va. still held onto tradition, considering itself unprepared to take on the “duties of instruction” for young women at this time. (RG-1/1/1.382. Image by Digitization Services)

Minute Book of the Board of Visitors of the University of Virginia, 1892. Minutes of the Board of Visitors from June 1892 includes a resolution that was passed in response to Caroline Preston Davis’s request to take math exams. During this time many schools were becoming coeducational, and the resolution that passed was U.Va.’s way of dealing with this issue. With a registration fee and instructor permission, women of good character and preparation could study privately with a professor and take examinations for a specific class in which men were enrolled. However, they were not allowed to attend lectures and received pass certificates instead of diplomas. Though this was a step toward better education for women, U.Va. still held onto tradition, considering itself unprepared to take on the “duties of instruction” for young women at this time. (RG-1/1/1.382. Image by Digitization Services)

Detail of the 1892 entry of the Board of Visitor's Minute Book, regarding women at the University. ()

Detail of the June 1892 entry of the Board of Visitor’s Minute Book, regarding women at the University. (RG-1/1/1.382. Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

 

Pass Certificate of Caroline Preston Davis. June 14, 1893. After the Board of Visitors passed the resolution about women studying at U.Va., in 1892, Caroline Preston Davis became the first female student and the first woman to have her studies recognized at U.Va. By taking the same mathematics examinations as men (and doing quite well on them), she earned this pass certificate in lieu of diploma. The paper on which this certificate was printed was the same as diploma paper, but parts of the diploma were marked out. Note that “Mr.” was changed into “Miss” and “a graduate” became “entitled to a pass-certificate on all graduating examinations in the School of Pure Mathematics.” This certificate shows how women were simultaneously close to and far from the educational opportunities that men had. (MSS 4951. Image by Petrina Jackson)

Pass Certificate of Caroline Preston Davis. June 14, 1893. After the Board of Visitors passed the resolution about women studying at U.Va., in 1892, Caroline Preston Davis became the first female student and the first woman to have her studies recognized at U.Va. By taking the same mathematics examinations as men (and doing quite well on them), she earned this pass certificate in lieu of diploma. The paper on which this certificate was printed was the same as diploma paper, but parts of the diploma were marked out. Note that “Mr.” was changed into “Miss” and “a graduate” became “entitled to a pass-certificate on all graduating examinations in the School of Pure Mathematics.” This certificate shows how women were simultaneously close to and far from the educational opportunities that men had. (MSS 4951. Image by Petrina Jackson)

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Bethany Ackerman, First-Year Student

Bethany Ackerman discusses one of her exhibition items with Special Collections staff, November 26, 2013. (Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

Bethany Ackerman discusses one of her exhibition items with Special Collections staff members George Riser and David Whitesell, November 26, 2013. (Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

Coeducation at the University of Virginia

The admission of women into the University of Virginia was not without strife and obstacles. With many faculty, alumni, and students clinging to tradition, the idea of admitting women specifically into the College of Arts and Sciences seemed preposterous. However, as times changed so did the mindsets of individuals with authority at the University of Virginia. Through academic and political reflection, leaders at the University decided to wield their power to move the University of Virginia towards a coeducational society.

Nevertheless, the decision to become a coeducational institution was not the end to the road of controversy, change, and acceptance; it was only the beginning. By following a timeline of student and faculty work, we can gain insight into the path women took to become an accepted presence at the University of Virginia.

(Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

Grimwood, Steve. “By God I Think They’re Here to Stay.” The Cavalier Daily. 14 September 1970: 3. In February of 1969, U.V.a.’s Board of Visitors passed the resolution admitting women into the College of Arts and Sciences beginning in the 1970 fall term. In its first 1970-71 newspaper, the Cavalier Daily notes and elaborates upon the presence of women at the University. The front page headline “350 Women Fill Out Profile of Entering Class” proves the significance of coeducation to the University. The inside article “By God I Think They’re Here to Stay,” further elaborates on student opinion. The article is flavored with mixed emotions; pleasure and tentative acceptance along with skepticism and underlying uncertainty about the future. (Photograph by Petrina Jackson)

(Image by Petrina Jackson)

“Coeducation.” Corks and Curls. Charlottesville: University of Virginia, 1971. Corks and Curls was the yearbook of the University of Virginia. The 1971 Corks and Curls edition was printed two years after women were admitted entrance into the College of Arts and Sciences. In the 1971 Corks and Curls, a small excerpt, titled “Coeducation” speaks lightly and positively about the impact of women on the University. This passage shows that, although admitting women into the College was an adjustment for many, ultimately the change should be accepted with grace and the diversity women offer, gratefully accepted. (LD 5687 .C7.1971. Image by Petrina Jackson)

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Zachary Krooks, First-Year Student

Zachary Krooks discusses his exhibition with Sharon Defibaugh, Special Collections Archives and Manuscripts processor, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

Zachary Krooks discusses his exhibition with Sharon Defibaugh, Special Collections Archives and Manuscripts processor, November 19, 2013. (Photograph by Sanjay Suchak.)

The Journey to 1948: An American Perspective

Most studies of the relationship between the Jewish and the Arab communities in Palestine and the situation that ensued in 1948 are focused on the two groups themselves and the British involvement. This exhibit’s purpose is to show that these entities were not alone in the conflict; the world’s rising superpower, the United States, closely monitored the situation and in turn had a significant impact on the outcome.

Through publications in American periodicals, pamphlets, and proclamations on the subject, one is able to determine that without American influence, it is possible the Jewish-Arab conflict in Palestine would not have resulted in the creation of the State of Israel.

(Image by Petrina Jackson)

“Palestine In the Press” [New York, 1946.]. This book is a series of news articles published in the United States concerning the issue of Palestine and the creation of an independent state. From these articles, it appears that American public opinion is on the side of the establishment of an independent Jewish state in the land of Palestine. Many of the articles criticize the British’s handling of the situation and even go as far as to state that the actions of the British are “all too reminiscent of… a Nazi concentration camp.” What is currently displayed is a political cartoon, in which the cartoonist appears to be stating that without the British support, the Palestinians would lose the state to the Jews, depicting the Palestinians as weak and defenseless. (D743.9 .C65 v.4 no.15. Image by Petrina Jackson)

(Image by Petrina Jackson)

“A Proclamation On the Moral Rights of the Stateless and Palestinian Jews” (New York, 1942). In this proclamation, numerous American military, political, religious, and academic leaders, among others, have expressed their sympathy for the plight of the Jews in Europe and in the Middle East. After detailing the suffering of the Jews in Europe and their unwillingness to give up on their people, the writers of this proclamation state that the Jewish people deserve a nation for which they can fight for and be a part of. (Broadside 1942.P76. Image by Petrina Jackson)

 

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