Author Archives: Kimberly Springer

About Kimberly Springer

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

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

 

 

New exhibition | Mirror of Humanity: Seeing Ourselves in Playing Cards

Playing cards were once condemned as “the Devil’s picture book,” gaudy bits of pasteboard that encouraged sins such as time-wasting and gambling. Mirror of Humanity: Seeing Ourselves in Playing Cards instead approaches playing cards as mirrors which retain images of past perceptions of ourselves and others.

Whether commercial products made to appeal to buyers, or fanciful gifts created as souvenirs or advertising, playing cards are objects people at every social level, and in many parts of the world, use regularly. Mirror of Humanity focuses on imagery in playing cards and how they reflect the creators’ alliances and biases.

Cards made in Europe and the United States from the 16th to 21st century are arranged in categories reflecting positions on education, gender, race, celebrity, scenic views, war, politics and political satire.

Click through to hear select songs about playing cards and wheelin’ & dealin’! https://tinyurl.com/playing-card-playlist

The exhibition opens Augusts 26th and runs through January 31, 20120. Please join us on November 11 for a gallery tour, followed by a reception at Hex & Co., where we will announce the winner of a playing card design competition.

The RBML’s Fall 2019 Exhibitions

Remembering the Chicago Defender’s Influence

Noted African-American newspaper, the Chicago Defender, announced earlier this summer that it will cease print production. The weekly paper, founded in 1905, played a crucial role in providing news for scores of migrating African-Americans. With the rise of industrialization, job creation and seeking greater opportunities than in the South, migrants relocated to the North, especially Chicago. The Defender was a resource for establishing black political, social and cultural roots in the city.

A notable number of reporters and editors interviewed for the Oral History Archives’ Black Journalists Collection reflect on the Chicago Defender’s role in their training and influence in creating a black press in American communities.

Panel from Bungleton Green, which ran in the Chicago Defender

Blacks in urban centers used newspapers like the Defender to acclimate to cities and new social mores. One feature newspapers used to convey etiquette and ethics for city living was the cartoon Bungleton Green.

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In Passing | Oral history with Justice John Paul Stevens

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died this week at the age of 99.  Nominated by Richard Nixon, Justice Stevens ruled on several pivotal cases that have shaped environmental policy, presidential elections and campaign financing.

The Columbia Center for Oral History interviewed Justice Stevens for its project, The Rule of Law. The project documents the state of human and civil rights in the post-9/11 world.

Read the transcript online to hear Justice Stevens’ reflections from the bench on Citizens United, capital punishment, affirmative action, shutting down Guantanamo Bay, the 2012 election and the use of advertising among other topics.

Oral history interview with Justice John Paul Stevens, Oral History Archives at Columbia (PDF)

In Passing | Composer, arranger Sid Ramin dies at 100

Award-winning composer, arranger and orchestrator Sid Ramin died this week at age 100. He was best known for his work as orchestrator for several prominent Broadway productions, including West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962). He also composed and arranged scores for films and television programs, including Candid Camera, All My Children (for which he won a Daytime Emmy), The Milton Berle Show, and the made-for-television 1973 remake of Miracle on 34th Street.

Ramin was also well known for composing “Music to Watch Girls By,” written as a commercial jingle for Diet Pepsi and first released in 1966 as a single by Bob Crewe. Have a listen.

See the finding aid for Ramin’s collected papers here in the RBML.

The Oral History Archives announces a new book series

square word bubble with words oral history archives

The Oral History Archives at Columbia and the Columbia Center for Oral History Research are joining forces with Columbia University Press, the Columbia Center for Oral History and the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics to produce a new series of books on oral history methodology and practice.

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Pride Month and history in the RBML collections

Photo by Jiroe on Unsplash

Getting to tell your own story is a gift, but it means that you have to contend with other people’s stories, and I guess that can mean arguing, maybe for 50 years straight. And that’s O.K.  – Who Threw the First Brick at Stonewall? Let’s Argue About It

The RBML’s archival, manuscript, oral history and University Archives are full of materials from people who were out and proud, recently revealed queer collections and likely materials and people still somewhat closeted by historical forces and past archival practices rooted in homophobia.

You’re invite during PRIDE month, and every other month, to explore the collections we have on offer that begin to demonstrate the range of LGBTQIA people, voices and experiences. Some materials to start with include, but aren’t limited to:

Ephemera relating to the LGBT movement in Croatia // A collection of leaflets and cards and one button relating to the LGBT movement in Croatia. Several of the items were issued by Kontra or Iskorak, both based in Zagreb. // http://tiny.cc/rbml_CU_croatia_lgbt

And, by all means, if you come across items in our collections that show evidence of LGBTQIA histories, let us know so that we can update our records accurately.