Author Archives: Kimberly Springer

About Kimberly Springer

Curator of Oral History Oral History Archives at Columbia Rare Book & Manuscript Library Columbia University

As seen on TV: more on the Apollo Theater through oral history

Don’t be trying to half-step on us. If you half- step on us, we are going to let you know. You will not get any applause, we will boo you.

If you’ve watched the new HBO documentary about Harlem’s Apollo Theater and want to know more, the Oral History Archives at Columbia (OHAC) is home to the Apollo Theater Oral History Project.

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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.

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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

Thanks for entering our Playing with a Full Deck Design Contest!

As the Halloween ghouls and goblins and geese came out last night, the deadline for our design contest, Playing with a Full Deck, also came to a close. Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter!

Our panel of judges will get to work and choose a winner to be announced at a tour and reception for the exhibit, Mirror of Humanity: Seeing Ourselves in Playing Cards, on Monday, November 11th at 6pm. From 6pm – 7pm, we’ll have a guided tour of the exhibition with curators Jane Siegel and Kimberly Springer. Then join us from 7pm until 10pm for games, food and a cash bar for beverages with the contest co-sponsor, Hex & Company (2781 Broadway at W. 112th). Please register in advance.

A prize will also offered for a fan favorite selected by public vote. Visit the exhibition in the RBML’s Kempner Gallery to vote for a fan favorite (6th Floor Butler Library) from November 11-15, 2019.

And check out our Spotify playlist of cards-related songs from blues, hip hop, R&B and country!

Contest | Playing with A Full Deck – design your own playing card!

Playing with a Full Deck is a competition for the most creative re-imagining of the standard playing card deck.

The competition accompanies the Columbia University Libraries’ Rare Book & Manuscript Library exhibition, Mirror of Humanity: Seeing Ourselves in Playing Cards.

The Columbia University community is invited to create a new playing card design. The contest invites thinking across academic subject areas, while also encouraging play and creativity. Contestants are asked to think beyond typical boundaries when imagining the playing deck of today and the future.

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Oral History and Storytelling Workshops from OHMA

The Oral History Master’s Program at Columbia has released their fall line-up of workshops. This year’s theme, Oral History and Storytelling, considers storytelling as an underused tool in academic oral history practice.

From workshop, “Finding Fathers: A Cautionary Tale for Oral Historians”

Visit OHMA’s website for workshop details and featured speakers.

September 12, 2019
Europe according to Auschwitz: Experiments from the Laboratory of Reportage

September 19, 2019
Newest Americans: Stories from the Global City

September 26, 2019
Oral History and Indigenous Peoples: Rethinking Oral History, Methods, Politics and Theories

October 3, 2019
Finding Fathers: A Cautionary Tale for Oral Historians

October 24, 2019
Standing With Sky Woman: A conversation on cultural fluency

November 7, 2019
“Necessary as Water”: Queer Black Ceremony and the Depth of Listening