Category Archives: Oral History

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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New from RBML’s Archivists | September 2019

Newly Processed Collections

Cast in “A Musical Celebration of Broadway Honoring Patti LuPone”; The 27th Annual Black-Tie Benefit Gala for The Drama League at The Pierre Hotel, New York City; Photograph: © 2011 Richard Termine

Patti LuPone papers
A collection of scrapbooks, scripts, sheet music, and photographs chronicling the career of the Tony award winning actress and singer Patti LuPone.

#Loveinaction OH Collection
“The interviews of the #LoveInAction oral history collection were taken to document narrators’ experiences in the Student Interracial Ministry and SIM’s impact on their lives. The Student Interracial Ministry was founded in 1960 at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Spurred by the civil rights movement, this student-run group strove to build greater understanding between people of diverse backgrounds by placing students in congregations to worship and live in different communities.”

Harriet Zuckerman papers
Correspondence, manuscripts, research files, drafts, memoranda, etc of the noted Columbia sociologist Harriet Zuckerman.

Manuel Ramos Otero papers

Manuel Ramos Otero

“Manuel Ramos Otero (1948-1990) is considered the first openly out homosexual writer from Puerto Rico. He resided in New York City for much of his adult life. In 1990, he returned to his hometown of Manatí, Puerto Rico, where he died of complications from HIV/AIDS. The collection includes personal and professional correspondence, manuscripts, notebooks and notes, reviews, photographs, and newspaper clippings. These materials range in date from Otero’s infancy to his death, 1948-1990. There is also a small section of the collection that contains material related to Otero posthumously, which dates from 1990 to 2007.”

Paul Levitz papers
Paul Levitz is a comic book writer, editor and executive. Currently the writer of Legion of Super-Heroes and Adventure Comics. He has served as a writer, editor, vice president, executive vice president, president and publisher at DC Comics. Over 40 years of comics scripts and Fanzines from the 1960s and 1970s.

Columbia University historical recordings, 1902-1985
A collection of phonograph records, reels of audio tape recordings, and motion picture films recording a variety of Columbia University academic and extra-curricular activities and events such as lectures; speeches, some at award ceremonies; commencement; installation of Nicholas M. Butler and Dwight D. Eisenhower as presidents of the University; King George VI of England during his visit, 1939; speech of England’s Queen Mother, Elizabeth in 1954; homecoming; football, the band; academic and alumni conferences; and radio programs under the auspices of Columbia.

Maison Française records, 1930s-2000s
Founded in 1913, the Maison Française of Columbia University was the first French cultural center established on an American campus. This collection consists of photographs, correspondence, event materials, fundraising records, calendars, publicity materials, programs, newsletters, interviews, and records related to a renovation project. It includes two scrapbooks containing mostly photographs of events at the Maison Française, such as the visits of Edith Piaf, Jean-Paul Satre, Maurice Chevalier, Charles Boyer and Marcel Marceau.

Bard College Minutes, 1928-1944
This collection consists of the Board of Trustees and Faculty meeting minutes of St. Stephen’s College (1928-1935) and Bard College of Columbia University (1935-1944). In 1928, St. Stephen’s College, an undergraduate college of arts and sciences in Annandale-on-Hudson, was incorporated within the educational system of Columbia University as one of its colleges for undergraduates. In 1935, with former Columbia professor Donald Tewksbury as Dean, the College changed its name to Bard College of Columbia University, in honor of its founder, John Bard. In 1944, Bard opened its doors to women students and ended its association with Columbia.

Updated finding aids / collections

Virgil Thomson papers
There is now an online finding aid for the papers of music critic and composer Virgil Thomson.

Indusco Records
Oversize material in the Indusco Records is now fully described.

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

 

 

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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Lo and behold: a new finding aid for the Wellington Koo Papers

Processing collections and creating finding aids according to updated archival standards gives RBML archivists the opportunity to discover anew our collections. In this post, Processing Archivist Yingwen Huang reflects on creating a new finding aid for the heavily used Wellington Koo Papers. Wellington Koo, a graduate of Columbia and a prominent statesman and diplomat from China, played a major role in positioning China in the 20th Century international political scene. Koo used this papers as the basis for his extensive (10,000+ pages!) oral history interview held in RBML’s Oral History Archives.

“I hope this record will contribute in some small way to a mutual understanding between East and West, and to an understanding of history.” – Speech on the presentation of the Koo oral history to Columbia University, May 28, 1976

At the age of 31, Koo was the youngest delegate in the Chinese Delegation to the Paris Peace Conference. He was the key figure in speaking on the behalf of China in the direct restitution of Shandong province during the conference. He later went on to serve as the Chinese Ambassador to France, England, the United States, while representing China at the League of Nations and contributing to the founding of the United Nations.

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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)

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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Celebrate the International Year of the Periodic Table in our collections

Let’s be honest: most contemporary awareness weeks and anniversaries are commercially-driven attempts to garner social media clicks and buzz.

But occasionally there’s something worth noting related to the humanities or the sciences. Herewith, the United Nations has declared 2019 the International Year of the Periodic Table.

“The Periodic Table” by James Nicholls is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

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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.