Category Archives: Uncategorized

Oral History | Aging, disability and medical care at Guantánamo

From The New York Times, “Guantánamo Bay as Nursing Home: Military Envisions Hospice Care as Terrorism Suspects Age“:

More than 17 years after choosing the American military base in Cuba as “the least worst place” to incarcerate prisoners from the battlefield in Afghanistan, after years of impassioned debates over the rights of the detainees and whether the prison could close, the Pentagon is now planning for terrorism suspects still held in the facility to grow old and die at Guantánamo Bay.

The Columbia Center for Oral History Research’s Rule of Law Oral History Project, initiated in 2008, explores the state of human and civil rights in the post-9/11 world.

Continue reading

Exhibition Reminder | Ilia Zdanevich: The Tbilisi Years

Guest curator Thomas Kitson, a freelance translator, and Professor Valentina Izmirlieva (Slavic Department) collaborated with RBML Bakhmeteff Archive Curator and Librarian for Russian, Eurasian & East European Studies Rob Davis on our current exhibition, “Ilia Zdanevich: The Tbilisi Years.”

Read more about the exhibition, featured materials and the avant-garde movements inspiring Zdanevich work on the Global Studies blog. The show runs now through 12 July 2019.

Highlights from the RBML Collections | Puppets of Butler Library

puppet on strings with conical hat and read and gold trimmed robe

Yoké thé marionette | Burma (Myanmar) | Brander Matthews Dramatic Museum records, 1750-1970

From Columbia Magazine’s Spring 2019 print edition with the title “The World on a String”: The marionette shown here was purchased in Singapore in 1926 by John Mulholland, who taught at Teachers College and later became a famous magician. Matthews, a skilled conjurer himself, retired from teaching in 1924. He died five years later, leaving his papers — and puppets — to Columbia [Full article].

 

Oral history collection on addiction featured in NPR podcast, Throughline

Addiction and the opioid epidemic gripping the nation are investigated in a new NPR podcast, Throughline.

Taking advantage of decades of NPR’s archival sound and the Oral History Archives at Columbia’s collections, podcast co-host Rund Abdelfatah spent time here in the RBML listening to the voices and stories of people struggling with addiction. The interviews are part of Professor David Courtwright’s collection, Addicts Who Survived.* You can listen to the episode on NPR’s site.

* Addicts Who Survived is a collection undergoing processing, meaning it’s being transcribed, cataloged and preserved by OHAC’s archivist and the Libraries’ staff. 

RBML Pulitzer collections on PBS’ American Masters 📺📰📺📰📺

portrait of Pulitzer in suit and spectacles

Joseph Pulitzer, photo portrait. Photographer and date not listed.

Mere days ahead of the 2019 Pulitzer Prize announcements, tune in Friday, April 12, 2019 for the debut of a new program, Joseph Pulitzer: Voice of the People.

The makers of the long-running PBS series, American Masters, visited the RBML to examine the Pulitzer and World paper collections, speak with Curator for Performing Arts Jenny Lee and filmed a few scenes in the RBML reading room.

If you miss the program on terrestrial TV, you can watch it in the 28 days following the initial airing online for free.

“A journalist is the lookout on the bridge of the Ship of State.” – Joseph Pulitzer

New and Updated Collections | March 2019

rows of archival boxes in a white room

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Head Archivist Kevin Schlottmann shares collections newly opened or updated by RBML archivists.

Dawn Powell Papers
“Dawn Powell (1896-1965) was an American author of novels, plays, and short stories. The collection includes address books, appointment books, books, clippings, correspondence, diaries, ephemera, family materials, manuscripts, notes, notebooks, photographs, programs, research files, reviews, scrapbooks, sketches and drawings. ”

Kudos to Cathy for making sense of this fascinating but sprawling collection; for a tiny taste, here’s an excerpt from the finding aid:

“…portions of the collection were deposited and then either donated or sold to Columbia University in several different tax years during the period of 1995-2014, and this affected how the papers were organized, processed, and maintained by the Library until processing of all collection materials was completed in 2019.”

LGBTQ+ Columbia University oral history collection, 2016-2017
“The LGBTQ+ Columbia University oral history project was a collaboration between Columbia University’s LGBTQ Faculty Diversity Initiative and the Columbia Center for Oral History Research at INCITE. During 2016-2017, a six-interview pilot was undertaken to document LGBTQ history at Columbia University through life histories.” Continue reading

100 years of Bauhaus

Bauhaus, the German school where crafts met fine arts and spawned a style, brand and movement, turns 100 this year.

Walter Gropius received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at a 1961 commencement. Columbia President Grayson Kirk recognized him as “a formulator of architectural controls which help to guide the Contemporary Movement” and as a “eminently vital practitioner” within the Bauhaus Movement.page from Walter Gropius oral history transcript

Stop in to the Rare Book & Manuscript Library to read  Gropius’ 1961 lecture, part of the Architecture Project in the Oral History Archives at Columbia.

Talk | An aftertaste of dread: Cornel Woolrich in fiction and film

27 March 2019 | 7:30pm | Lenfest Arts Center

This Rare Book & Manuscript Library event marks the opening of the The Dr. Saul and Dorothy Kit Film Noir Festival hosted by Columbia University’s School of the Arts. It will feature James Naremore, Chancellor’s Professor Emeritus, Indiana University.

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library holds the Cornell Woolrich Papers.

The festival’s themes is The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of: Paris 1946 and American Film Noir and is curated by Rob King, Film and Media Studies.

Co-sponsored by the School of the Arts. RSVP is required.

Researcher Profile | Andrea Kmetz-Sheehy

We see you every day, handing you a lockers key as you walk in each morning, and receiving it back toward the end of the day. Most often you’re hunkered down over a particular archive, getting to understand a portion of one of our archives better than anyone who works in the RBML.
We await the longer scholarly projects that you’re developing from this research but in the nearer term we thought it would be interesting to give a preview of your work.
 
In this brief interview, Classical Studies master’s degree student Andrea Kmetz-Sheehy shares with us her research into Roman provincial coins. She’s been a steady presence here in the RBML reading room since last year, which makes learning about her research even more illuminating. Thank you for sharing, Andrea!
 
Roman coins with man's head wearing wreath and woman with animals

The close up image of the example coin with the nomenclature and descriptions as provided in reference sources available today, and often also at the time of Olcott. | Coin Image credit: Emma Pratt, American Numismatic Society on behalf of the RBML

Where are you visiting us from?

I’m in my second year of the Master’s Program in Classical Studies at Columbia.

What is your research project?

My thesis project is the cataloguing of the Roman provincial coins of the Olcott Roman Coin Collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Butler Library.  The objective is to create a catalogue for publication of the provincial coin subset in the Olcott Collection. Continue reading

ICYMI: 2018 News from RBML

We’re proud to say that it’s been a big year for RBML with new staff additions, new collections opened, records updated for better access and fine-tuning operations to make the collections needed for your teaching and research available.

Here are just a few of the highlights.

New head of archives Kevin Schlottman and the RBML’s team of crack archivists opened many new collections for researcher use and updated descriptions to make them accessible. You can see what’s available every month by signing up for notifications on our homepage.

In Jewish Studies, a gift of about 200 items, including handwritten materials from the 14th to the 20th centuries, filled in existing gaps in the Judaica collections.

The RBML and Columbia’s Preservation and Digital Conversion Division were pleased to be awarded a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) grant to preserve broadcaster Bob Fass’ recordings from the 1960s and ’70s. We, along with select peer institutions, also received a CLIR grant to digitize Islamic manuscripts and paintings dating from 1000 to 1900.

Continue reading