Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Pacifica Radio Archives is one-third of the way through a remarkable grant project “American Women Making History and Culture: 1963-1982” funded in part by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, to preserve all of our audio related to the American Women’s movement during that time period.

The Pacifica team, led by Project Director Brian DeShazor, decided to undertake this project back in 2011 after reviewing our collection and noting that even though we had digitally preserved nearly all of our recordings related to the Civil Rights movement and LGBT Rights movements, there was still a large number of recordings related to the Women’s movement that had not yet been digitized and were not “discoverable.”  Hundreds of recordings featuring well-known women activists such as Gloria Steinem, Angela Davis, Germaine Greer, Dolores Huerta, Rosa Parks (and many, many more) had been digitized, but over 1,500 recordings featuring lesser-known and unknown women who made the movement a movement were still on reel format.

As I searched our online database using keywords such as “women,” “feminism,” “lesbian,” “male-chauvinism,” “abortion,” etc., I was so excited to find documentation of nearly the entire movement in our collection: the experiences of women from different ethnic groups during the Women’s movement, reports of Women’s movements happening around the world, Women’s sexuality, Women and work, men discussing what they think about Women’s rights, Women-centered art, music, theater; it goes on and on.

One good and bad discovery has been the realization of how much Women’s content had not yet been preserved. One recent example was a male-hosted series about films and the film industry, where nearly all of the interviews featuring male movie directors and actors had been digitized, but those centering on women actors and filmmakers were yet to be digitized.  Also, when adding contributor names (i.e. producers, engineer, etc.) to our database, if I enter a women’s name such as “Jennifer,” one or two names drop down. But if I enter a man’s name like “Steven,” about 30 names drop down. Not only have recordings about women not been equally preserved, but also the women who created them haven’t been equally acknowledged.  Sometimes I run across a recording that seems so important and think “Why hasn’t this been preserved until now???” I get heated, but then remember, “Hey, but we’re doing it now! Keep calm and keep cataloging.”

I’ve heard of archivists getting emotionally involved in the materials they are preserving, and I have definitely had that experience with this collection. While I sometimes feel enraged by the sexism I see even in my catalog, I remember how lucky I am to get to work with all of this great material and how honored I am to be helping to preserve it. The project team including Director Brian DeShazor, Project Coordinator Adi Gevins, Archivists Holly Rose McGee and Joseph Gallucci, Production Coordinator Edgar Toledo, the Pacifica staff and I are looking forward to seeing this important content being used by students, professors, artists, writers, filmmakers, and the general public.

If you’d like to learn more about our project and stay up-to-date with our progress, please follow our blog at: http://womenmakinghistoryblog.wordpress.com/
To learn more about the Pacifica Radio Archives, please visit: http://pacificaradioarchives.org.

Jolene M. Beiser
Project Archivist 




Monday, July 21, 2014

Calling all archivists!

Would you like to contribute to this blog?
Do you have news you would like to share with your colleagues?
Do you have interesting women's collections you would like to share with the world?

Please email any posts, news articles, or suggestions to wcrt.saa@gmail.com.

And don't forget to connect with us on Facebook so you don't miss any women's collections news.

Right: "Victory Waits on Your Fingers"
Produced by the Royal Typewriter Company for the U.S. Civil Service Commission
NARA Still Picture Branch, NWDNS-44-PA-2272

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Discover Archives on Tumblr

Looking for a new way to connect to archives, libraries, and historical organizations? Try Tumblr. The microblogging site offers a wealth of photographs, documents, and news from institutions around the word.

To get you started, I compiled a list of suggestions from our colleagues on Twitter. This list is by no means comprehensive; please share your favorite Tumblrs in the comments.

U.S. National Archives - http://usnatarchives.tumblr.com/ 
U.S. National Archives, Exhibits - http://usnatarchivesexhibits.tumblr.com/
U.S. National Archives, Preservation - http://preservearchives.tumblr.com/
U.S. National Archives, Presidential Libraries - http://ourpresidents.tumblr.com/
U.S. National Archives, Today’s Document - http://todaysdocument.tumblr.com/

AOTUS: Collector in Chief - http://aotus.tumblr.com/

University of Iowa Special Collections - http://uispeccoll.tumblr.com/
University of North Carolina at Greensboro University Archives - http://uncgarchives.tumblr.com/
University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives - http://uwmadarchives.tumblr.com/
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Archives - http://uwmarchives.tumblr.com/

Chicago Public Library - http://chicagopubliclibrary.tumblr.com/
Chicago Public Library YouMedia - http://youmedia.tumblr.com/
New York Public Library - http://nypl.tumblr.com/

Smithsonian Archives of American Art - http://archivesofamericanart.tumblr.com/
Sundance Institute Archives - http://sundancearchives.tumblr.com/

City of Boston Archives - http://cityofbostonarchives.tumblr.com/
Historical Society of Pennsylvania Digital Library - http://hspdigitallibrary.tumblr.com/
Recollection Wisconsin - http://wiscohisto.tumblr.com/

Cool Chicks From History - http://coolchicksfromhistory.tumblr.com/
Women of Library History - http://womenoflibraryhistory.tumblr.com/

Monday, July 14, 2014

News from the Schlesinger Library

The papers of Catherine Atwater Galbraith (1913-2008) are now open for research at the Schlesinger Library.

Galbraith was a linguist who lived most of her life in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and traveled the world with her husband, economist John Kenneth Galbraith, who served as the United States Ambassador to India from 1961 to 1963. The 33.65 linear feet of material (1912-2008) includes correspondence, photographs, writings, diaries covering 80 years of Galbraith's life, Atwater family material, and some personal papers of John Kenneth Galbraith.

Processing of this collection by Jenny Gotwals was made possible by gifts from the Galbraith family, the Esther Margaret Ridder Preservation Fund, the Class of 1950 Fund, the Jeannette Ward Fund, and the Mary Maples Dunn Fund.

The finding aid is online at Harvard University's OASIS website: http://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:RAD.SCHL:sch01429.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

From H-SAWH:

We are putting together a panel for the 2015 SAWH Conference being held in Charleston, South Carolina next June.
Keeping with the conference themes, our panel focuses on different modes of publicly presenting or commemorating the American struggle for women's right to vote. One paper will examine the circumstances in which woman suffragists wrote autobiographies, biographies, and histories of the movement as a tactic to gain new support before the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment. The second paper will explore efforts to memorialize the suffrage victory on college campuses after 1920, wherein groups of women's rights activists took steps to preserve the legacy of the campaign including funding academic chairs, donating literature, hosting scholarly panels, and creating citizenship training programs to rally more young people to participate in government. 
We are looking for a chair, commentator, and third panelist whose research fits with these themes. Since our papers center on activism in the North, we are especially looking for scholars whose work examines suffrage memory or the commemoration of the women's movement in the South. 
Kelly Marino 
PhD Candidate, Dept. of History, Binghamton University
Click here to go to H-Net for contact information.

Monday, July 07, 2014

We're deeply honored to preserve the work of Dr. Michelle Téllez. She's an interdisciplinary scholar trained in sociology, Chicana/o studies, community studies and education.

Left: Dr. Téllez speaking at a Wage Theft Forum, July 2012

In her twenty years of community engagement and activism, she has been involved in multiple projects for change at the grassroots level utilizing critical pedagogy, principles of sustainability, community-based arts, performance, and visual media. Her writing and research projects seek to uncover the stories of identity, transnational community formation, gendered migration, autonomy, resistance and Chicana mothering. She is a founding member of the Arizona Ethnic Studies Network, and is on the editorial review board for Chicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social.


Thursday, July 03, 2014

In the months following the Women’s Archives/Women’s Collections: What does the Future Hold? symposium that was held as part of the 2013 SAA conference, I began thinking more meaningfully about the stories we might tell about women’s contributions and women’s lives through collections housed at the University of Rochester’s River Campus Libraries

How do women become a part of the historical record? How do women’s stories intersect with the broader historical context? How do our collections facilitate a scholarly analysis of the human experience? 

The legacy of Susan B. Anthony echoes throughout many of our collections. Anthony lived in Rochester as an adult and her home became one of the sites in the campaign for women’s suffrage. In addition to the Susan Brownell Anthony Papers, we’re also able to work with scholars to tell stories using our collections and go beyond Anthony and her life-long campaign for women’s rights. 

Beginning in the fall of 2011, we began a project to put Anthony and other social activists in conversation with one another, by working with students to digitize and transcribe nearly 2,000 letters written in the nineteenth-century to and from Isaac and Amy Post. The project’s website went live in 2012 with 200 letters, and we anticipate finishing the digitization of the collection in the summer of 2014. 

The Post family lived in Rochester and their home served as a stop on the underground railroad. The family members supported the newspaper Frederick Douglass published in Rochester, as well as helped to plan the second women’s rights convention that took place shortly after Seneca Falls in the summer of 1848. Their correspondents include Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Harriett Jacobs, William Cooper Nell, and Frederick Douglass. By reading these letters, scholars can better understand the involvement and impact a family like the Posts had on the major social movements of the nineteenth century, and how their involvement was very much a part of the fabric of their daily lives. 

In a letter written to Amy Post after the Civil War, Anthony shares her delight that the Post family will be coming to visit she and her brother at their family farm. Referring to herself in the third person, Anthony writes: 

And Susan B. in 
particular will be very 
happy to see thee & both &
plan about Anti Slavery,- 
as well as visit – 

It’s not completely clear what Anthony means when she says “anti slavery.” Should could be referring to the ongoing debate regarding black male suffrage, or she could be assuming the term anti-slavery to describe women’s status at the time. It’s hard for us to imagine Anthony sitting still long enough to write a letter- while campaigning nationally for suffrage and equal rights- let alone welcoming visitors to her family’s farm. In between the lines, we can read the careful balance women struck, to both assume and cast off societal expectations of women. 

This collection and project helps to underscore one of my big take-aways from the symposium, which is that we find women’s stories in nearly all of our collections and these stories celebrate not only those notable and well-known figures, like Susan B. Anthony, but also those women, who remain silent within the historical record. Bringing these voices to life is one of the things I like best about being an archivist.

Lori Birrell
Manuscript Librarian
University of Rochester