In tribute | First African-American psychoanalyst, Margaret Lawrence dies at 105

National Institutes of Health (NIH) photo archives. – https://www.nlm.nih.gov/changingthefaceofmedicine/physicians/biography_195.html

The New York Times reports that Columbia alum Dr. Margaret Lawrence died on 4 December 2019. Though not defined by the discrimination she faced, the obituary notes that despite being a Cornell pre-med graduate, she was denied entrance to the Cornell’s medical school.

Dr. Lawrence, “absorbed the shock, then applied to Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons. She was accepted, on the condition that she would not protest if white patients refused to be seen by her. (None did.) She agreed, and became the only black student in her class of 104, graduating in 1940.

She would still face discrimination, often being mistaken for a cleaning lady. But she went on to be a renowned pediatrician and child psychiatrist and the first African-American woman to become a psychoanalyst in the United States…”

In this 1991 oral history clip, Dr. Lawrence discusses how racist discrimination amongst psychoanalytic practitioners failed to recognize that black children and families had “sufficient ego strength” to use and benefit from psychoanalytic tools.

She also notes the ways class assumptions about people living in poverty meant that they didn’t receive supportive therapy, or what we might consider today a “wrap around” therapeutic approach. Dr. Lawrence also speaks to her work in helping black children develop ego strength.

 

The Columbia Center for Oral History interviewed Dr. Lawrence as part of the Northside Center for Child Development project. Dr. Lawrence was a student of Dr.Benjamin Spock and did pioneering work with children and young families in Harlem.

This clip is part of a longer interview available on-site in Columbia University Libraries’ Oral History Archives at Columbia in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

In the Desert

Lou Little and CU Football Players at the El Conquistador Hotel in Tucson, Arizona.

On December 19, 1933, the Columbia Lion football players set out on a cross-country trip to Pasadena, California to play in the 1934 Rose Bowl against the heavily favored Stanford. Every player making the cross-country trip was insured for $5,000 to guard against possible injuries on the train ride to California and back. The Lions traveled by night and practiced by day with stops in St. Louis, Dallas and Tucson, Arizona, where they drilled for a full week in the desert sun.

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Cliff Montgomery

Ticket for 1934 Rose Bowl game between Columbia and Stanford.

In preparing the “Roar, Lion, Roar” Columbia football exhibition (on view at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library’s Chang Octagon through December 20), we found a great detail about the 1934 Rose Bowl game in the New York Times obituary for Cliff Montgomery, the quarterback and MVP of Columbia’s victory over Stanford. According to the Times, “Montgomery’s fake to Brominski was so good that Barabas, who was hiding the ball for what would be a naked reverse, added to the deception by standing for a few seconds and watching Brominski.” (23 April 2005) We had to use that in an exhibition label! However, what we found even more interesting is that back in December 1933, Columbia was considered such an underdog that the Times didn’t even send a reporter to cover the game. That’s how unlikely the upset seemed at the time.

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Marking World AIDS Day with oral histories from the collections

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

On December 1, health care practitioners, among others, are recognizing World AIDS Day. The goal is to bring awareness to the fact that AIDS and HIV remain a global pandemic. This year’s theme is “Know Your Status.”

World AIDS Day BadgeFor some historical perspective on the AIDS crisis, we had look at a few of the 74 interviews that make up the Physicians and AIDS oral history project housed in the RBML. About the project,

To construct a collective biography of the early AIDS doctors, Ronald Bayer, Columbia University professor of public health, and Gerald Oppenheimer, associate professor of clinical public health, turned to oral history. After extensive preparation, interviewing, and editing, they published AIDS Doctors: Voices from the Epidemic, an historical account of the epidemic through the eyes of the doctors who experienced it.

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News from RBML’s Archivists | November 2019

vintage assorted books on shelf

Photo credit: Roman Craft

Head Archivist Kevin Schlottmann shares collections new from the RBML

Here are some new and updated finding aids, reflecting work by archivists in archival processing, collections management, and university archives, as well as by our graduate student internship program. – KWS

Updated links to following collections are now included in the finding aids:

Gregory Corso Papers

John Eugene Unterecker Papers

Judith Crist Papers

Lee Lockwood Papers

C.L.R. James Papers

Malcolm X Project records Continue reading

Global Sexualities in the RBML Collections

The  Columbia Research Initiative on the Global History of Sexualities (CRIGHS) recently launched a website and research guide describing approximately 150 archival collections, databases, oral histories, and other sources available across the Columbia and Barnard libraries of interest to historians of sexuality.

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Football is Back!

The Columbia Jester, October 1915, cover artwork by G.W.T. Gillette, CC 1918. Call# CP1 C723

In the “Roar, Lion, Roar” exhibition on Columbia football (on view now at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library), we have a couple of documents on display illustrating “The Ban.” In November 1905, the University Committee on Student Organizations voted to abolish intercollegiate football at Columbia. Other colleges and universities similarly discontinued the sport following a season of repeated injuries and deaths. The Ban at Columbia lasted 10 years and when football returned in 1915, it was reestablished with a number of limitations (which teams Columbia could not play against, when the games would be scheduled, how many games, etc.) and on a probationary basis for the first five years.

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Link

Butler Banner is an exhibit led by Columbia University students and supported and sponsored by Columbia University Libraries. Based on an artifact in the Libraries’ collections and an historic campus event, the exhibit aims to foster conversations about representation in campus spaces, collections, and scholarship.

Throughout Butler you’ll find different aspects of the Banner to engage with, including here in the RBML, a segment of the original, 1989 Butler banner.

Come in and look more closely!

The premise of the current exhibition “Mirror of Humanity: Seeing Ourselves in Playing Cards” is that the imagery used on playing cards tells us a lot about how we have viewed ourselves in the past. As an example, consider the deck The Forbidden City: Pekin & Chinese Views (Los Angeles, CA: Grimes-Stassforth Stationery Co., 1901). From a distance, it is a somewhat grey collection of stock views. But when we look closer, we can see some sights ripped from the headlines, and a set of attitudes from a specific moment in time. The deck was issued just after the Boxer rebellion, a war between anti-foreign Chinese forces and a coalition of Western powers including the United States, newly flexing its muscles as an international power.

The two of Diamonds from Field USA 0117

The two of Diamonds from Field USA 0117

In her guest label, Professor Amy Lelyveld describes many of the scenes depicted on the cards, such as the Two of Diamonds with the British Legation, one of the scenes of fighting: “It is shown here ‘after the Siege’ but with the protective barricade that was erected in front of the entrance and sandbags on the roof—intended to protect the roof from incoming artillery and catching fire–clearly still in place.”

 

The Joker from Field USA 0117

The Joker from Field USA 0117

It is the scorn of the victor which assigned the Joker to “the Chinese official authorized to act as a plenipotentiary in negotiating with peace with the allied foreign forces in early September 1900. He went on to be a signatory to the Boxer Protocol that required the Chinese Government to pay compensation—at immense expense—to the 8 Allied nations who resisted the Boxer Rebellion.”

Come in and see more of this deck, and the rest, from Argentina to South Africa!

 

 

Please join us on Monday, November 11, 2019 at 6 pm for a gallery tour, followed by a reception at Hex & Co., where we will announce the winner of a playing card design competition. Just sign up here.

The exhibition is open in the Kempner Gallery during RBML open hours until January 31, 2020.

News from RBML’s Archivists | October 2019

vintage assorted books on shelf

Photo credit: Roman Craft

Head Archivist Kevin Schlottmann shares collections new from the RBML

Here are some new and updated finding aids, reflecting work by archivists in archival processing, collections management, and university archives, as well as by our graduate student internship program. – KWS

Marie Mattingly Meloney Collection on Marie Curie
“The bulk of the collection deals with Marie Curie’s travels in the United States in 1921 and 1929, as a result of Marie Mattingly Meloney’s fundraising campaigns to purchase radium for Curie’s experiments. It includes correspondence with, photographs of, and manuscripts and printed material by and about Marie Curie. There is also an academic cap worn by Marie Curie while accepting honorary degrees in the United States, and a watch given to Meloney by Curie.”

Marie Curie – Mobile Military Hospital X-Ray-Unit circa 1915

The American Assembly records, 1950-2007
“This collection contains the administrative papers from 1950 to 1970s, which document the establishment of the Assembly and how it operated in the framework of Columbia University and its Business School.” Continue reading