Workshop | Explore oral history and the future with CCOHR

library aisle of books

Our colleagues over in the Columbia Center for Oral History Research (CCOHR) will host series of workshops on Oral History and the Future. The sessions are centered around the question, “How is this future orientation made real?”

Read more about the series and see the list of presenters coming to campus this fall. 

September 13, 2018, 6:10 – 7:30 PM
Pan Dulce: Breaking Bread with the Past 
Maria Cotera

October 4, 2018, 6:10 – 7:30 PM
The Uses of Narrative in Organizing for Social Justice
Sujatha Fernandes

October 18, 2018, 6:10 – 7:30 PM
Confessions of an Accidental Oral Historian, Archivist, and Podcaster
Eric Marcus

November 1, 2018, 6:10 – 7:30 PM
Accelerating Change: Oral History, Innovation, and Impact
Doug Boyd

November 29, 2018, 6:10 – 7:30 PM
Words Transmitted; Worlds Apart
Fernanda Espinosa 

 

 

Remembering 9/11 through oral histories

To say that the events of September 11, 2001 had a lasting impact on New York City, the nation and the world would be an understatement.

In the days after the attack, the Columbia Oral History Research Office, as the combined research and archives arms were known then, had the foresight, skill and tact to design and execute a large-scale oral history project to hear from New Yorkers about how 9/11 had already changed their lives.

Under the leadership of oral historian Mary Marshall Clark,

The September 11, 2001 Oral History Project consists of five projects and programs focusing on different areas of inquiry related to the aftermath of the destruction of the World Trade Center. As of the tenth anniversary, the project as a whole amounts to over 900 recorded hours (23 hours on video) with over 600 individuals.

Click to play video on The New York Times’ website.

You can hear excerpts from some of the oral histories from this New York Times article and read more about the project.

hand drawn playing cards

Collections News | Albert Field Playing Cards go online

The Columbia University Libraries has digitized cards from nearly two hundred decks of the Albert Field Collection of Playing Cards.

The cards date from the 16th century through to 1801, and were mostly European – French, German, English, and Italian, though we slipped in one deck from a very new United States.

play cards of various suites and iconic figures

JT Humphreys, No revoke playing cards, Albert Field Collection of Playing Cards, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University

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For your next playlist: Oggie and the Blue Lions

If you enjoy big band music, you should listen to the Columbia Blue Lions.

1940s band and leader; dancers in conga line

The Blue Lions featured in the 1943 Columbian on page 202.

C. Ogden Beresford, or Oggie, was a member of the Columbia College Class of 1943. A trumpet player, Beresford joined the University Band, played in the Symphony Orchestra, and was a member of the dance band, the Columbia Blue Lions, which included a tenor sax player from Julliard, Sid Caesar. He participated in three Varsity Show productions, twice as a member of the Pony Ballet (1940, 1941) and once as a second lead (1942). (There was no Varsity Show in 1943.) After graduation, Beresford joined the Midshipmen’s School at Columbia and even served as an instructor for a year. He married Mary Louise Meyer, Columbia Business School Class of 1943. A World War II Navy veteran, he served on the USS Baltimore in the Pacific.

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Oral history interviews with Supreme Court justices

Who will be the next Supreme Court Justice to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy?

The confirmation hearings to vet this administration’s nominee have begun. Reporters are describing what went down on day one as unlike anything they’ve seen before in, collectively, years of judicial reporting.

While you watch and wait to see what happens, stop into the RBML’s Center for Oral History Archives and read transcripts with past Justices.

Here are the interview transcripts we have available in our reading room:

Lebron james in white judge wig and robe

If you only know TV judges, please come read some oral histories with actual judges.

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Now accepting applications for The Pine Tree Scholars program

book pages turningThe Pine Tree Scholars program introduces Columbia and Barnard graduate and undergraduate students to the crafts associated with fine book production, such as typography, letterpress printing, bookbinding, and papermaking, as well as to the rare and art book trades. This program is open to students in all departments and programs.

An informational session for the 2018-2019 program will be held in the Barnard Archives and Special Collections Reading Room (Milstein Center for Teaching and Learning, Room 423) from 2-3pm on Friday, September 21. 

What is this place? A short intro to RBML

That is the question we hear a lot at the beginning of the new academic year as students explore Butler Library and end up here, in the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, aka “The Pink Palace.”

pink castle design and acronym rbml

Is there difference between a “castle” and a “palace?”

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RBML) is Columbia’s principal repository for primary source collections.  The range of collections in the RBML spans more than 4,000 years and includes rare printed works, cylinder seals, cuneiform tablets, papyri, and Coptic ostraca; medieval and renaissance manuscripts; posters; art; comics & cartoons, and oral histories.

Forming the core of the collections: 500,000 printed books, 14 miles of manuscripts, personal papers, archives and records, and 10,000 (and counting) oral histories.

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Newly opened (or refreshed) collections – August 2018

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

* Some collections are not new, but have been re-processed and properly described. Consider them refreshed!

 

Aleksandr Kazem-Bek papers, 1898-2014

“The Aleksandr Kazem-Bek Papers consist of correspondence, family and
personal documents, writings, lectures, notes, manuscripts,
photographs, printed and research materials related to the life and
professional and political activities of Aleksandr Kazem-Bek – Russian
émigré social and political activist, founder and leader of the “Union
of Young Russia” (“Mladorossy”), professor of Russian language and
literature, and journalist. ”

A significant addition was processed, and the entire finding aid was
reviewed and improved.

Shihui Xiong papers, 1907-1974
“The Shihui Xiong papers mainly document the political life of Xiong.
The collection contains papers, photographs, and calligraphy scrolls
by him, dating from 1907 to 1974, with the bulk of the materials
focusing on his involvement in the northeast region from 1930 to
1948.”

This collection was re-processed and properly described. Continue reading

Friday is your chance to see “Enchanted Vision, an exhibition drawing on the Arthur Rackham Collection held here at the RBML.illustration of a sprite

Rackham, a British illustrator illustrated 50 major works beginning with Rip Van Winkle in 1905, Alice in Wonderland, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Winnie the Pooh, and other English and American classics.

The collection contains 26 letters by Rackham and nine Christmas cards either specially designed by him or incorporating designs made for his books. There are also letters to Rackham’s biographer, Derek Hudson, from Winifred Wheeler, daughter of Walter Freeman, a friend who started Rackham on his commercial career. The manuscript notebooks, galley proofs, and a printed copy of Hudson’s Arthur Rackham: His Life and Work are included.

In addition, the Columbia University Library has a collection of 413 Rackham drawings, watercolors, and oil paintings, 30 sketch books, and about 400 printed books and ephemera.

 

New Collection | Morningside resident’s papers document her fight against CU’s 1960s gentrification

Rachel Klepper, a summer intern with RBML’s archives, shares what she’s found through processing the Marie Runyon collection.

In the early 1960s, Marie Runyon received notice that she and her young daughter would have to leave their Morningside Drive apartment building just a few years after moving to the neighborhood. Columbia College of Pharmacy, the owner of the building until it was later sold to Columbia University, planned to move its campus from Lincoln Center to Morningside Heights and would be evicting the tenants.  Runyon quickly began what would become an intense, decades-long legal battle to keep her apartment and those of her neighbors, which would bring her to the forefront of conflict over real estate and gentrification in Morningside Heights.

A collection of Marie Runyon’s papers, newly available in the Columbia University Archives, documents her life and her fight against Columbia through court records and through letters, articles, and flyers documenting the work of neighborhood and student activists. These papers reflect Runyon’s outspokenness and the tenacity she brought to her personal life and her organizing work. They also demonstrate her commitment to highlighting critical questions about the impact of Columbia University’s expansion in Morningside Heights and Harlem on individual residents and on the racial and economic makeup of the neighborhood. Continue reading