Monthly Archives: November 2012

Be prepared!

If Hurricane Sandy and Winter Storm Athena have taught us anything, it’s to be prepared. We all knew that both storms were coming, and we were able to prepare to the best of our abilities, but nobody knew what the extent of the damage would be. If that has taught us anything else, it’s that even our best attempts can fall short. There is no excuse not to have a plan!

So how can a cultural institution like Burke, or any of the other Columbia libraries, be and remain prepared for a natural disaster like Sandy? (Based off of Columbia University Libraries’ Disaster Response Manual)

1) Keep an updated emergency contact list on hand, including the names and numbers of your institution’s preservation and conservation department.

2) Be prepared with all the necessary supplies, and replenish when needed. Such supplies might include plastic tarps, buckets, paper towels, and other cleaning supplies.

3) Assign priorities to certain groups of materials, so that they will be attended to first in the event of an emergency.

4) Ensure the safety and security of the area in question. Make sure the exits are clear, that the security systems are working, et cetera.

5) Know the floorplan where the collections are located. Note the location of fire extinguishers, emergency exits, sprinklers, et cetera, and make revisions to said floorplan when necessary.

6) Reduce the potential risks to collections, including both fire and water damage. Make sure, for example, that collections are not located on the floor (in case of flooding), and make sure that appliances such as space heaters are turned off.

7) Document all reports of maintenance problems in your location and be sure to report all leaks and other issues to facilities, whether or not damage has resulted from these problems. Proper attention to these and other issues will help curb future problems.

It is important to note that as your institution evolves, so must your disaster preparedness plan. Collections may move, floorplans may change, and key staff members come and go throughout the years. Keeping your plan up to date and making sure that all staff members are continually updated is integral in to maintaining disaster preparedness in your institution. And while having a plan in place is no guarantee that your institution is safe from disaster, you still have done all that you can do to prepare. The rest, unfortunately, is up to the unpredictable force that is Mother Nature.

Interns Wanted!

Are you currently enrolled in a library science/archives degree or in a related field, such as history, anthropology or theology, and are you looking to earn credit and increase your skills on a practical level?

We are looking for interns to help with the processing of these collections, specifically for the Spring 2013 semester. However, interns are wanted and needed throughout the duration of the project.

Please see the internship advertisement HERE for more information.

Qualifications and Skills:

  • Must be currently enrolled in a master’s program.
  • Excellent oral and written skills.
  • No prior specialist archival knowledge needed. Support and training available.
  • Ability to lift heavy boxes (40lb) safely and handle weights of 15 pounds regularly.
  • Organizational/office skills and experience. Familiarity with Word and Excel.
  • Capacity to manage spiral staircase and work with dusty materials.
  • Knowledge of other languages including German, French, Chinese and Japanese appreciated but not required.

How to Apply:

Please submit the following:

  • Cover letter explaining your career objectives and what you hope to gain from the internship.
  • Résumé detailing your education and work experiences.

Send these materials and/or other questions to the project archivist, Brigette Kamsler, at You can also leave a comment here and we will get in touch.

Hope to hear from you!

Gustavus Elmer Emanuel Lindquist Papers, 1897–1955

G.E.E. Lindquist with American Indian Man. Credit to MRL10: Lindquist Papers, in
The Burke Library Archives, Columbia University Libraries, at Union Theological Seminary, N. Y

The Burke Library is happy to announce the processing and availability of the GEE Lindquist Papers, 1897-1955, part of MRL10: North America!

Please see the finding aid HERE.

Gustavus Elmer Emanuel Lindquist was a prominent figure in twentieth-century Protestant missions among Native Americans and an active member of Home Missions Council of the Federal Council of Churches. A full biography on the life of Lindquist can be seen on the Finding Aid.

The collection was originally organized in its original order as organized by the Missionary Research Library. In October 2012 the collection was entirely reprocessed and the organization was overhauled by Brigette C. Kamsler as part of the Luce Foundation grant. The collection is organized in two parts: boxes 1-34 consist of paper documents and writings and boxes 35-66 are the photographic materials. The contents of Boxes 35-66 are digitized and available on line at


Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of correspondence, reports, government publications, committee minutes, papers, surveys, conference materials, articles, newspaper and journal clippings, articles or manuscripts by Lindquist, postcards, booklets, questionnaires, pamphlets, maps, photographs, and lantern slides. Dates are provided when they are known.

Series 1 contains original and carbon copy correspondence dating from 1917-1953. These letters are both to and from Lindquist, and include letters from other individuals. Lindquist annotated the letters that were of particular interest, including:

Letter from M. K. Sniffer to Lindquist, April 25, 1920.

Credit to MRL 10: Lindquist Papers, series 1, box 1, folder 3, The Burke Library Archives, Columbia University Libraries, at Union Theological Seminary, New York.

Organizations represented include but are not limited to schools, such as the Fort Mojave Indian School, the Charles H. Cook Christian Training School, an interdenominational Christian training center for Indians, and the Pawnee Indian Boarding School; the National War Work Council of the YMCA, the Interchurch World Movement, The American Indian Defense Association, The Federation of Protestant Activities, and the Roe Indian Institute; churches, both national such as the Reformed Church in America, Presbyterian and Congregational churches, and local entities including the Chemawa Campus Church.

Lindquist also corresponded with a number of well-known individuals, such as Hubert Work, secretary of the interior and Stephen E. Keeler, bishop of Minnesota.

Another person of note is from Henry Roe Cloud. His letters are comprehensive and contain information on his trips. For example a letter from May 19, 1919 details a trip he made on behalf of the YMCA to Chicolo, where he addressed the students. He was dismayed to see the “distinct lack of interest in the YMCA.”

Letter from Henry Roe Cloud to Lindquist, May 13, 1919.
Credit to MRL 10: Lindquist Papers, series 1, box 1, folder 2, The Burke Library Archives, Columbia University Libraries, at Union Theological Seminary, New York.

Series 2 pertains to Lindquist’s personal writings and publications from 1912-1954. The material is organized alphabetically by the title of the article and come from published magazines as well as manuscript or typescript, some of which was noted as not for publication. Also incorporated with some articles are the draft versions by Lindquist, including his corrections, and the final published version.

Series 3 consists of 8 boxes of records pertaining to specific Native American tribes and reservations that Lindquist worked with and studied, including the Navajo, Hopi, and Apache, from 1900-1954. Lindquist also kept separate files on the drug peyote; this section has been left in series 3 as Lindquist intended because of its intrinsic value to the culture of many tribes. The large amount of material is organized geographically by state, and includes other countries such as Canada, Mexico and South America.

Series 4, Missions from 1897-1955, contains mission-specific and religious material, as well as records from organizations that were involved with missions to the Native Americans. The Home Missions Council (HMC) material contains Annual Reports, Survey of Home Mission Agencies and other administrative records including conferences, meetings, and seminars. The Joint Committee for Indian Work was a combination of HMC and Council of Women for Home Missions (CWHM). The series also contains detailed Indian survey information, including that from the Interchurch World Movement, of which Lindquist was director.

Deaconess Bedell and Seminole Indians Outside the Glade Cross Mission Headquarters, 1912-1953.
Credit to MRL 10: Lindquist Papers, series 8A, box 38, item 723, The Burke Library Archives, Columbia University Libraries, at Union Theological Seminary, New York.

Education, 1915-1953, fills Series 5, and pertains mainly to Native American schools. The series also offers information on non-religious schools, and the Home Missions Literature Program.

Series 6 spanning 1912-1953 contains government affairs and includes information on general topics as well as specific departments within the government. Conferences, committees, proposed legislation, Indian migration and freedom of religion are some of the topics covered. Other items of note contain records relating to “wardship,” the Wheeler-Howard Act, and a handwritten notebook kept by Lindquist detailing Native Americans serving during World War One and World War Two. Specific departmental information in the series is from the Department of the Interior, the Office of Indian Affairs, the Board of Indian Commissioners, and finally the National Fellowship of Indian workers.

The section on National Fellowship of Indian Workers details information on the organization, which was formed to promote the interest of missionaries and all those engaged in the education and civilization of Native Americans.

National Fellowship of Indian Workers, Group of Conference Attendees in front of a Brick Building, 1942-1951.
Credit to MRL 10: Lindquist Papers, series 8A, box OS, item 1833, The Burke Library Archives, Columbia University Libraries, at Union Theological Seminary, New York.

The final series in the first section of the Lindquist material contain source files. Series 7 spans 1912-1953 and offers general materials outside of missions, tribes and government/educational affairs, and appears to be files that Lindquist kept for information on specific topics. Topics include Indians and health, athletics, ethnology and home life.

Series 8 is restricted due to the fragile nature of the material. However the large selection of original photographs, negatives, and postcards collected and taken by Lindquist during his work is available through this wonderful website A wide range of states and locations are depicted, including in the United States as well as Mexico and Canada. Photographs include individual portraits, landscapes, group images, buildings such as churches, private residences and schools, agricultural and industrial scenes, leisure activities and other events and living conditions experienced by a variety of Native communities. The maps are currently unavailable at this time while they undergo conservation treatment.

Please come by soon to conduct research with the Lindquist Papers!

Conviction Born From Struggle and Conversion

MRL 3: Arunodaya: The Autobiography of Bãbã Padamanjí, box 1, and folder 1,
The Burke Library Archives, Columbia University Libraries, at Union Theological Seminary, New York

When I was first given the very small collection of Bãbã Padamanjí (so small in fact, that it only contains one book), to process I wasn’t sure if I would find much information about a Hindu man born in May 1831 in Belgaum, India.  I was sure that my history of Bãbã would be limited to what I found in the handwritten translation of his autobiography Arunodaya (which means light or dawn in Marathi).  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was able to find much more information than I expected for someone who I assumed might have been overlooked by history. Bãbã Padamanjí was a man that by the time of his death in 1906 was responsible for over 70 texts in his native Marathi and also in English, which ranged from Christian tracts that were either written or translated by him to Marathi dictionaries.  He was a man that was dedicated and praised for the conviction of his faith.

MRL 3: The Autobiography of Bãbã Padamanjí, box 1, and folder 1,
The Burke Library Archives, Columbia University Libraries, at Union Theological Seminary, New York

 Bãbã Padamanjí was able to overcome struggles with caste, former religious and pagan practices, family and friends in his journey to become a Christian man in India.  The handwritten translation of his Autobiography in our collection chronicles and gives insight into those particular struggles. I came across numerous sources that discussed how difficult it was to change religions in the caste system of India at the time that Bãbã Padamanjí was struggling with his new found faith.  One source I looked at, Stitches on Time was a collection of social anthropology essays, one of which detailed reasons why these difficulties existed.  Saurabh Dube summarized that “a nation cannot be exorcised from history through the mere expedient of turning our backs on its standardized past and monumental present.”  This is also detailed in a note written for My Struggle for Freedom, (another edited version Arunodaya) the editor Rev. M. P. Davis states, “In a time when changing religion or political belief resulted in a loss of home and family.  [His] story reveals the great advance made in this respect.”

MRL 3: The Autobiography of Bãbã Padamanjí, box 1, and folder 1,
The Burke Library Archives, Columbia University Libraries, at Union Theological Seminary, New York

Bãbã's struggles are evidence as he tells the story of his conversion.  His family was “orthodox and religious minded” and he learned all of the worship ceremonies “from [his] mother’s religious observances.”  These religious observances were mixed with pagan practices such as relying on astrologers, sorcerers, and wizards for “oblations, magic antidotes and the muttering of spells.”  Witches were also brought into the house when the men were gone and he experimented with the “incantations of witchcraft taught by them.”  He admitted to wanting to learn magic spells with “the object of attaining divine power.” His conversion to Christianity was a long process beginning when he was a child and while it was difficult to stop these practices, he was eventually able to overcome them.  He credits the teachings of Christianity with this.  In fact Bãbã states that he writes of these experiences to tell others that “the plan of God made it clear to me…that there is no power in Hinduism to keeps its followers from immoral behaviour [sic]…the fraction of love and peace which is found in the Hindu families is the fruit of their thought, good nature, wisdom, and of reading books of advice of saints; it is not the product of idol worship, muttering of magic spells, vows and fasts…etc.”

His family was of the Kasars caste and prominent.  It was difficult to break with the caste, which was one of the first steps to becoming Christian; once he realized that was something he felt he wanted to do.  He first broke with the caste in secret, with others of like minds in a meeting of the Paramhans Society.  He thought he might not feel as guilty if no one else knew what he had done.  However, he soon became “haunted” in his mind because he was lost to family, “thrown out of the caste (excommunicated);” he felt that all people would call him “polluted.”  This was not the end to his troubles for a man came to meetings, took the vow of secrecy and then revealed the names and the goals of the men there.  “There was great agitation…” his parents like many others took him out of the Mission School and many criticisms were published in the newspapers. 

As his family learned of his desire to become Christian they grew angry.  His father told him “To become a Christian was to him to become polluted and sink to the lowest level.”  His uncle advised his father to disown him, to take away his jobs and money and to encourage others to shun Bãbã in this way as well.  Bãbã felt “in this way I was surrounded and pressed upon from all sides by my own people and the people outside.”  So much so that he vacillated between wanting to run away and poisoning himself.  He eventually set upon expressing his conviction to his father, who even though he felt it would bring great disgrace on the family, realized that Bãbã’s conviction was true and agreed to let Bãbã “have freedom in matters concerning religion.”  His father never followed the advice of the uncle and eventually requested that  his son teach him this religion Bãbã thought was true.

Bãbã Padamanjí said, “It is needless to say what opposition has to be met by one who has to contemplate on an important subject like religion and has to discern as to which things have to be retained or rejected and especially by a man who practices them…we understand how a Hindu (and men of other religions too) has to struggle with hindrances and suffer sorrow, if he desires to become a Christian.”  It is evident throughout the subsequent years following his baptism that once those hindrances and sorrows were overcome Bãbã was able to do what he enjoyed most, write Christian tracts and translations in order to educate other Hindus on what he felt was a more true and enlightened path. 

MRL 3: The Autobiography of Bãbã Padamanjí, box 1, and folder 1,
The Burke Library Archives, Columbia University Libraries, at Union Theological Seminary, New York

Even though I was able to find more information about Bãbã Padamanjí than I thought I was going to, that material is not a large amount.  I am happy that the Burke Library Archives now has been able to add just a little bit more to the history of Bãbã and I that I got a chance to briefly spend some time getting to know him. 

Sources include quotes from Bãbã himself as written in Arunodaya, as well as these other sources:

  • Dube, Saurabh. Stitches on Time: Colonial Textures and Postcolonial Tangles. Durham: Duke University Press, 2004.
  • Padamanjí, Bãbã. My Struggle for Freedom: The Autobiography of Bãbã Padamanjí. Raipur, C.P. [India]: Christian Book Depot, 1944. Burke Call Number: MRL Pamphlets 1830