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The Encampment for Citizenship, 1939-2009

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In 1946, following the chaos and horror of World War II and concerned by what they saw as the American education system’s failure, Algernon D. Black, a leader of the New York Society for Ethical Culture, and Alice Kohn Pollitzer, a prominent civic leader, began an experiment in democratic living. Inspired in part by the Civilian Conservation Corps and other work camps, the Encampment for Citizenship was a non-profit, non-partisan, non-sectarian summer residential camp for students.

Working with members of the American Ethical Union, Black and Pollitzer sought to create a life-changing experience. The student body would be racially, geographically and economically diverse. The educational program would be both intellectual and experiential.

The Encampment was founded on principles that had long been held and practiced by the AEU: a firm belief in the value and efficacy of education and the notion that one’s principles must be manifest in action. Education was seen as the first step toward solving many of the world’s most difficult problems.

During the 50 years following the Encampment’s inception more than 7,000 young people participated in annual summer sessions, year-round leadership training programs and various short-term projects in locations across the United States and Puerto Rico. Some notable alumni include: Gale Brewer, Ada Deer, Joseph O. Prewitt Diaz, Barney Frank, William Haddad, David Harris, Allard Lowenstein, Jean McGuire, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Charles Patterson, Miles S. Rapoport, David Rothenberg, Hal Sieber and Floyd “Red Crow” Westerman.

The Encampment for Citizenship collection is held in Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library. Materials include Encampment publications, program and recruitment brochures, correspondence and memoranda of staff and board members, letters and correspondence of students and alumni, alumni and staff directories, alumni newsletters and reunion materials, yearbooks, newspaper and magazine articles, fundraising and sponsorship materials, student and staff evaluation questionnaires, workshop materials, photographs and slides. The bulk of the materials date from 1946 to 1997, with concentrations in the collection’s holdings dating from the late 1970s to the early 1980s and from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s.

In 2016, as the Encampment marked its 70th anniversary, VCU Libraries presented materials from the Encampment Collection in its online gallery. It is the library’s hope that these photographs, documents and student publications serve as a digital scrapbook, revealing not only the organization’s history, but also some of its spirit.

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Finding Aid, Encampment for Citizenship Collection, 1939-2009  (M 391)

Online Exhibit: “Encampment for Citizenship: Education for Democratic Living”

By Alice W. Campbell, digital outreach and special projects librarian

Image: Encampers attend Dodgers game at Ebbets Field, 1950s, VCU Libraries Special Collections and Archives

Communal effort creates access to rare ms.

On Friday afternoon, April 7, Transcribathoners gathered in the lecture hall of Cabell Library. A Transcriba-what? 

Transcribathons are organized by the Folger Shakespeare Library: Think of it as crowd-sourcing to decipher the handwriting of early modern manuscripts. Co-sponsored with the Folger Shakespeare Library, the VCU Department of English, the VCU Humanities Research Center and VCU Libraries, the Transcribathon provided hands-on digital humanities work—moving forward the Folger project to provide readable transcriptions of rare manuscripts in their collections via an open-access database for global access by researchers and students of this pivotal era in history (http://emmo.folger.edu/).

Handwriting from this period followed a variety of forms, including the prominent “Secretary’s Hand,” which may seem to our eyes ornate and often somewhat unreadable. And yet this kind of detective work is extremely popular—especially at VCU, which has the honor of being the only university to host a Transcribathon twice!

her photos are available on the library Flickr site.

London Low Life gives “street view”

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BKS_HV4088L8_G74_168A new resource at VCU Libraries provides an almost “street view” of the topsy-turvy world of Dickens and Sherlock Holmes — only it was all too real for those who lived on the margins:  London Low Life.

Through visual records of cartoons, maps, sketches, subversive posters — and the texts of broadsides, “swell’s guides,” chapbooks, ballads, slang dictionaries, and more — researchers can experience the vibrant and illicit culture of London street life.  The brothels, gin houses and East End slums of the 19th century’s greatest city reveal the contradictions of a progressive era marked by the neglect of those consigned to poverty.

Fascinating in its depth of detail, London Low Life illumines the dark, secretive, and dangerous paths of a forgotten history and the lives of those who suffered but also subverted their situation.

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By Kevin Farley, humanities collections librarian

Image: The Great army of London poor: sketches of life and character in a Thames-side district / by the river-side visitor, The Lilly Library, Indiana University

Planning students display posters

Spring 2016 MURP Student Posters

Spring 2016 MURP Student Posters

This fall,  James Branch Cabell Library will showcase a set of posters  from the students of the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) Program in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Policy.

The posters will be displayed on the long wall on the east side of Cabell Library (the wall adjacent to Suite 121) now known as a Scholarly Display Wall. The posters are examples of the students’ final projects and address pressing local and regional issues. 

The posters will go up the week of Sept. 12.

Interested in displaying scholarly posters in Cabell? Contact the library liaison to your school.

By Patricia Dillon Sobczak, business and public affairs collections librarian

Access World News: New and current media

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Access World News contains materials from 9,688 sources spanning 160 countries, 1978 to the present. Content includes newspapers, newswires, journals, broadcast transcripts and videos. Searching can be limited to:

  • Country, state and territory, region, province or city
  • Decade, year, month, day, era or presidential era
  • Language

In addition to searching, users can use the Find a Topic feature to browse by topic. Twelve broad subject areas are broken down into lists of popular and current interest topics. Clicking a topic acts as a user-friendly starting point for related search terms.

Access World News also provides a “quick access” style list of special reports and hot topics. These items gather news reports of breaking events and popular social and cultural topics for ease of access. Users can find these lists under “Other Products” in the upper left corner of the search screen.

Coverage of the Richmond Times-Dispatch may be of particular interest to local scholars. The Richmond Times-Dispatch is covered from 1985–present. Additionally, Richmond Times-Dispatch blogs are covered from 2006–present. The Collegian from the University of Richmond (2007–current) and the Commonwealth Times from VCU (2003–current) are also indexed.

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By Stephani Rodgers, liaison to Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness

Image: Access World News

Times Digital Archive: Every page & article since 1785

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VCU Libraries provides access to a vast resource of historical and contemporary information via the Times Digital Archive.  Recording centuries of British and world history, culture, politics and business, The Times (London) was established in 1785, and is the oldest daily newspaper in continuous publication. The Times Digital Archive is an online, full-text facsimile of more than 200 years of The Times, providing searchable access to every page of every issue from 1785. This access represents 1.4 million pages, nearly 70,000 issues and more than 11 million individual articles.

From this wealth of information, researchers have an unparalleled opportunity to search and view historical and contemporary journalism and images of human events. Read by both world leaders and the general public, The Times has offered readers in-depth, award-winning and objective coverage of world events since its creation. The user interface facilitates quick searches as well as detailed research, browsing for discovery and download options.

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By Kevin Farley, humanities collections librarian

Image: Waymarking.com

Orlando: Women’s Writing in the British Isles

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Advancing our understanding of the history and present of women’s contributions to the literary, cultural and political life of Great Britain, VCU Libraries provides access to the landmark database, Orlando:  Women’s Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present. Orlando exemplifies digital humanities’ efforts to broaden access to little known or studied texts, provide historical and cultural context for authors and their works and inspire transformative ways of reading and understanding women’s literary engagement with their readers and the world through writing. Created at Cambridge University, Orlando is designed with a “unique structure and searchability,” encouraging researchers “to examine its information and critical comment in a wide range of configurations and to re-form this in new and creative ways. Orlando is open to the serendipities of productive browsing,” and fosters in-depth research through cultural, biographical, and textual discovery. More than 1,300 writers are included, and approximately 30,000 items are available for discovery–a growing list of authors and texts. Orlando will greatly enhance teaching and research at VCU, and foster a dynamic and innovative reading experience.

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By Kevin Farley, humanities collections librarian

Image:  “A Woman Seated at an Organ (or Writing Desk),” Yale University Art Gallery, public domain.

Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century

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VCU Libraries offers The Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century, a landmark digital collection for African-American studies. With this resource, researchers have access to historical analysis and context, original newspaper accounts and crucial first-person records of the experiences of those seeking greater political and cultural freedom in the turbulent 20th century.

Records reveal not only the efforts of those in power to oppose the civil rights movement, but the organizational efforts and everyday protests of individuals and groups united to end widespread restrictions to freedom for blacks in the United States.

The wealth of sources includes government records from the FDR, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and H. W. Bush presidencies, as well as the activities of the FBI on civil rights leaders and participants. The records of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), National Association of Colored Women’s Clubs (NACWC), Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) are available.

From the founding of the NACWC in the last decade of the 19th century to the riots that followed the verdict in the Rodney King trial in the 1990s, researchers will discover how these momentous events were experienced by those who lived them, and continue to influence American life, culture and politics today.

Of particular importance is the inclusion of vast records that describe events that may be less known now, but were crucial milestones in the struggles against oppression and toward equality. These include: the fight against forced labor in the first half of the 20th century (documented in the Peonage Files of the U.S. Department of Justice, 1901-1945); the migration of African-Americans to urban areas in search of work and equality; the East St. Louis Riot of 1917; the Scottsboro case and the passage of the anti-lynching laws; the heroism of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II; the FBI actions against the Black Panther Party, and the passage of the Civil Rights Act. These detailed and multi-layered perspectives on history await discovery in The Black Freedom Struggle in the 20th Century and will create innovative teaching and research for VCU.

Additional online scholarship available through VCU Libraries includes Black Historical Newspapers, Black Studies Center, Black Studies in Video, and Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive.

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By Kevin Farley, humanities collections librarian

Image:  Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. “William L. Patterson, executive director of the Civil Rights Congress, addressing the Bill of Rights Conference, circa 1940s.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1940 – 1949. 

Governmentattic.org: FOIA requested docs posted online

 

FOIA

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Governmentattic.org is a non-commercial website that provides electronic copies of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) inquiries. The documents on the website were obtained legally, following the FOIA rules. Each document has an identified source. The site is funded by the site owners, and receives no outside funding. Governmentattic.org is organized into 11 categories, including Department of Justice documents, FBI documents, Legislative Agencies, Government Corporations and State Records. From the FBI records regarding Ike Turner and alleged check passing to files regarding electronic surveillance at the Department of Justice, there is something to interest everyone.

If you are curious about how many requests are fulfilled and denied, you might be interested in the data from foia.gov.  This site also explains the process for filing a FOIA request.

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By Stephani Rodgers, Liaison for Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness

Race and Violence Research: Charting the Literature

For much of the 20th century, librarians fielding questions relevant to the topic of race and violence guided researchers to historical and general social science resources.

Scholars found articles about people, court cases, or events in databases like America: History and Life, or Sociological Abstracts. Primary evidence might be most easily found in newspapers, and court records. Photographic records, personal and agency records, newsreels, and video have long been available, but until large-scale digitization efforts were underway,  these were not readily accessible outside of individual archives.

In 2016, the range and number of resources on race and violence, and their ease of access, looks quite different.

It’s possible to create quick searches that reveal compelling patterns of growth and change in disciplinary topic treatment. A sophisticated multi-disciplinary database, like Web of Science, allows a search that offers evidence for expanding perspectives. Comparing decades, and using a search on “race OR racial” and “violence”, an effort identifies:

  • 1970-1979, 11 scholarly articles;
  • 1980-1989, 18 scholarly articles;
  • 1990-1999, 381 scholarly articles;
  • 2000-2009, 1,003 scholarly articles.

By the latest half decade, from 2010-2015, the same search identified 1,386 scholarly articles.

This exercise reveals the information explosion in research. But, these sorts of carefully constructed searches can offer evidence to help us  quantify, and pinpoint these “explosions” in a field.  What may be more intriguing, if not entirely surprising, is that while the 11 articles from 1970-1980 spanned across four broad disciplinary areas, notably sociology and ethnic studies, by the most current five years, the 1,386  identified articles spanned 50 broad research areas. These 50 include predictable disciplines like history, psychology and urban studies, but also include research in fields like substance abuse, anthropology and international relations. The largest current disciplinary area for this research appears to be in criminal penology, with emerging  research in areas as diverse as surgery and linguistics.

Today, librarians will want  to understand more about your interests in race and violence to recommend additional databases, but here are some starting suggestions:

Because Web of Science is also a citation-tracing database, it is possible to reveal author connections, disciplinary crossovers and persistence of research findings through citation analysis. This sort of search in Web of Science can quickly identify leading and new scholars in a field like race and violence, or other areas. For help with crafting a search in Web of Science that can reveal a quick picture of growth in disciplines relevant to topics that interest you, contact Sara Williams, liaison to African American Studies.

By Sara Williams, Head, Academic Outreach

Image: Black Panther Demonstration, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, 1970, Black Studies Center

Stubbins: U.S. municipal buildings postcards

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Researchers studying planning, history, architecture and similar subjects that involve built environments now have a new national resource. The Stubbins Collection of U.S. County Courthouse and Municipal Building Postcards has been digitized and is now freely available online.

The collection features U.S. county courthouses and other municipal buildings such as town halls and city halls. The postcards represent every state except for North Carolina. Many of the buildings depicted were built  in the late 19th or early 20th century. Some no longer exist. The collection documents various architectural styles. Browsing the collection, you can find clock towers aplenty (Springfield, Mass., Springfield, Ohio, Lincoln, Neb. and more). You’ll find public buildings hundreds of miles apart that resemble each other. (Take a look at Richmond, Va.’s city hall and that of Grand Rapids, Mich.) Domes, columns, soaring arches are typical features of these turn-of-the-century governmental cathedrals.

The postcards also illustrate the various state government structures. Many states have at least two tiers of local government, counties and municipalities (village, town, city, and borough), but some have unique governing structures. For example, the Commonwealth of Virginia has 95 counties and 38 independent cities. In most states, cities are part of the county government.

This collection was amassed by James F. Stubbins, who taught pharmaceutical chemistry for 34 years at the School of Pharmacy, Virginia Commonwealth University. Born in Honolulu in 1931, his family was living in the Philippines when Pearl Harbor was bombed in 1941. Stubbins, along with his mother and brother moved to Denver to live with family until the war ended. When he was 14 the family moved to Las Vegas. Stubbins earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Nevada at Reno in 1953 and then served in the Army. He earned a master’s degree in organic chemistry from Purdue University in 1958 and a doctorate in medicinal chemistry in 1965 from the University of Minnesota. Stubbins joined the faculty of the Medical College of Virginia (now VCU) in 1963 as an assistant professor of pharmaceutical chemistry. Among the faculty, he was well known for his boxes of index cards on which he recorded the details of every scientific paper he read. Stubbins retired from VCU in 1996 and was granted emeritus professor status.

An avid postcard collector, he began the hobby as a young man. He was a founding member of the Old Dominion Postcard Club, formed in Richmond in 1978. Stubbins died on April 22, 2009. His family made a gift of his collection to Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library in 2010.

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By Sue Robinson, director of communication and public relations. For more information about this resource or others

Image: Talladega County Court House, Talladega, Alabama, VCU Libraries Special Collections and Archives

HeinOnline: Legal materials from the colonies forward

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VCU Libraries subscribes to HeinOnline, a searchable image-based database of legal research materials. What makes acquisition of this database exciting is its depth and its application to so many different disciplines and areas of study. While HeinOnline is an excellent resource for researchers looking for articles on legal issues of any kind, the collections have applicability to anyone studying history, political science, public policy and administration, homeland security, criminal justice, international relations, or any topic which involves those subjects.

At the heart of the database is the law journal collection which includes more than 2,000 publications, each provided from its first issue to the latest, subject to moving-wall restrictions. The historical collection of state statutes provides superseded statutes for all 50 states, some dating as far back as 1717.

The same “from inception” coverage, with various cut-off dates, applies to the Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Reports, and many other collections. Having older versions of laws and regulations is of great benefit for those researching the evolution of statutory and regulatory coverage of certain topics.

A few examples will provide an indication of how deep the collections are. The U.S. Treaties and Agreements Library contains not only all U.S. treaties, but also books and other texts such as Great European Treaties of the Nineteenth Century (1918), History of the Five Indian Nations of Canada (1755), and treaty guides and indexes such as Hertslet’s Commercial Treaties: A Complete Collection (Vols. 1-31). Foreign Relations of the United States covers every administration from Lincoln through Carter and also includes historical texts such as Trescot’s Diplomatic History of the Administration of Washington and Adams (1857) among many others. The U.S. Congressional Documents collection includes the Congressional Record (and its predecessors) from the 1st Congress to current, as well as Congressional Budget Office documents from 1976 to present, and what appears to be all of the unclassified Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports. Finally,the Session Laws collection for Virginia covers 1661-2013, thus extending our access significantly backward from December, 1861, the date of the first print volume in our collection.

Each page of every document has a permanent link. Click on the link icon to display the permanent link that can then be placed anywhere.

Citations for journal articles only may be exported to RefWorks; instructions are linked from the RefWorks guide. The combination of WestlawNext and HeinOnline provides access to legal, regulatory, and Congressional information from colonial times to the present day.

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By Marilyn Scott, education research librarian

Image: Creative Commons

History in Your Hands: A digitized Dickinson letter

Emily_DickinsonFinding aid

A 17-word letter from poet Emily Dickinson to a neighbor is now widely available to researchers through a new “History in Your Hands” exhibit in the online VCU Libraries Gallery.

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) lived most of her life in the family home in Amherst, Mass. She lived quietly. While often identified as a recluse, Dickinson kept close relations through correspondence, which often included poems.

The VCU Libraries letter was written to Mrs. Henry F. (Adelaide Spencer) Hills, the wife of  a businessman. The Hills family had their summer home in Amherst. Adelaide was a frequent correspondent with her neighbor, Emily. After Mrs. Hills’ death in 1910, the letter passed into the hands of her children, specifically her daughter Susan Clapp Hills Skillings, and then to Susan’s heirs. The letter was purchased for the VCU Libraries in 1972 by The James Branch Cabell Library Associates Board. It is the only Dickinson letter VCU Libraries holds.

Like much of Dickinson’s correspondence, this letter is a brief note, written in pencil. Thomas H. Johnson, who published the authoritative work of Dickinson letters, identifies this as letter #614 with a possible publication date of 1879. Prior to the letter’s recent digitization and online publication, it was known only to scholars through transcriptions. Because of its fragility, access to the letter is restricted. Permission to view the original must be granted by the head of Special Collections and Archives. Inquire at the reading room desk or send an email to libjbcsca@vcu.edu.

If you’re interested in learning more about the poet and her work, the Emily Dickinson Museum offers many resources related to Emily Dickinson and to Dickinson scholarship. The two major collections for Emily Dickinson’s manuscripts and family papers are Amherst College and Harvard University.

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About the History in Your Hands series of exhibits:

Every archival collection holds a story. Manuscripts and artifacts bear witness to past events, but only a careful researcher can piece together the facts of history and reveal the narrative within the collection. VCU Libraries Special Collections and Archives houses many fascinating primary source materials that wait for inquisitive minds to study them. History in Your Hands exhibits present featured manuscript collections that we believe merit further research. Only when you take “history in your hands” can you begin the process that will allow the full story to be shared.

If you have any questions or comments regarding these materials or this exhibition, please contact the Special Collections and Archives staff in James Branch Cabell Library.

Finding aid

Image:  Emily Dickinson. Daguerreotype. ca. 1847 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. This image is in the public domain. Amherst College Archives & Special Collections is the home of the original.

Portals to the Past: 1898 catalog offers RVA design details

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The newest addition to VCU Libraries’ digital collections featuring architectural elements of the American South is a catalog of doors, windows, mantels and sashes for 1880s buildings.

Thomas E. Stagg was a 19th century Richmond, Va. firm and manufacturer of sashes, blinds and doors for the construction of homes and businesses. Operations were run out of an office and storage space at 1444 E. Main St.

This 1898 “vest-pocket” edition of the Stagg catalog–likely intended to be used on building sites–includes order instructions, price lists and measurements. The Digital Collections catalog is searchable and has hundreds of detailed images of window sashes, doors, columns, mantles, corner and plinth blocks available from the Stagg company.

Many of these architectural and decorative elements are seen throughout Richmond’s historic private and commercial buildings.

According to window restorer and woodworker Dixon Kerr in an article, “How to Copy Vintage Millwork” posted on the Old House Authority website, Richmond was an area prominent in the manufacture of millwork sold throughout the United States. Kerr writes: “In the late 1880s there were approximately a dozen such businesses in Richmond with 30 to 50  employees: Thomas E. Stagg, at 1421 Cary St.; J.J. Montague, at the corner of 9th and Arch Streets; Hare and Tucker, at 2318 Main St.; Whitehurst and Owen, at Byrd and 10th Streets; DuVal & Robertson, at 11th and Porter and 7th & Hull Streets; and Binswanger & Company, at 1427 E. Main St. Binswanger, now a commercial glass company, is still in business; Siewer’s Lumber Company and Ruffin and Payne, still in business, were also in business at the time. Beckstoffer & Son continued in the business until the early 21st century.”

Copyright

Materials in this collection are in the public domain, and thus are free of any copyright restriction. Please acknowledge VCU Libraries if any of the materials are used.

Additional Research Information

The print catalog is housed in Special Collections and Archives at James Branch Cabell Library. For more information, see the catalog record. Please direct reference and research inquires to libjbcsca@vcu.edu or call (804) 828-1108.

Image: Cottage Doors, page 55, Thomas E. Stagg catalog

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Journal of Social Theory: Art education resouce

Scholars Compas

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An important publication in the arts world, The Journal of Social Theory in Art Education, now has a new publishing base: Virginia Commonwealth University’s Scholars Compass.

VCU Libraries launched it in mid-summer. Paper proposals for the next thematic issue on “Navigating Divides” will also be managed through Scholars Compass. Deadline for submission is October 15.

Published annually since 1980, and currently edited by a VCU faculty member, The Journal of Social Theory in Art Education (JSTAE) serves as an alternative voice in art education. It showcases research that addresses social issues, action and transformation as well as creative methods of research and writing. JSTAE is the official journal of the Caucus of Social Theory in Art Education, an issues group of theNAEA National Art Education Association.

“We were founded to represent points of view that have not always been embraced or accepted by mainstream journals,” said Editor Melanie Buffington, Ph.D., an associate professor of Art Education at VCUArts. “As a journal, we are open to a range of article formats and different points of view. There are numerous traditional journals in the field. We co-exist alongside them and present a range of voices.”

The intersection of arts and society provides a broad canvas for JSTAE. Recent article topics include craft as activism, feminist zines, religion and visual culture, freedom of speech and censorship, and public monuments and memorials. Many of the ideas explored and theories investigated have immediate real-world applications in schools, non-profits, galleries, public art offices and other community resources that generally lack access to scholarly journals.

“Anyone who is interested in the content, anywhere in the world can now access it,” Buffington said. “The theories our members and authors embrace often address underserved populations, so making these ideas freely available to a wider audience is appropriate for our mission.”

Outreach beyond academic circles was appealing to Buffington, who particularly wants teachers to have access to these ideas that can translate to classroom use. For the first time, the peer-reviewed journal’s full archives, from the first issue in 1980 to the present, are openly available online.

An additional appeal to Scholars Compass, she said, is posting contributions that go beyond text and include robust images, video, audio and interactive components. “Contemporary artists expand the limits of works of art. It is fitting that an art education journal expands the limits of what is an article.”

JSTAE is a sound example of the kind of journal that is well suited to open-access publishing. It serves the public and also serves scholarship. Its content has public-serving purposes and fulfills VCU’s mission of translational research–moving findings and ideas from the academy quickly into the public realm, where scholarship can improve quality of life and society.

“Given the international prominence of VCU’s School of the Arts and the established reputation of JSTAE, this is a great fit for Scholars Compass,” said Jimmy Ghaphery, Head of Digital

Technologies for VCU Libraries. “We expect the journal to continue to grow in exposure and gain readership through our search engine optimization. We are also very excited that the journal embraces open-access publishing as a way to share its content as widely as possible. This is especially rewarding to me in a field like art education, where many of the practitioners do not have access to high priced subscription journals.”

“This is our first full peer-reviewed open access journal in Scholars Compass since we launched less than one year ago,” said Sam Byrd, Digital Collections Systems Librarian at VCU Libraries. “We invite more faculty to bring their projects to VCU Libraries. We’re here to help.”  Byrd can be contacted at sbyrd2@vcu.edu.

About Scholars Compass

Academic journals are at the foundation of scholarship. As digital access becomes more the norm and prices of printed or electronic journals continue to rise unchecked, academic libraries nationwide are providing affordable avenues for easier publication online and management of the peer-review process. Run by VCU Libraries, Scholars Compass provides technical support and training to faculty who want to manage journals, peer-review processes, conferences, conference proceedings and reports and much more. Have a project to discuss? Contact: Sam Byrd, sbyrd2@vcu.edu.

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Image: Illustration of an article on assessment by Sharif Bey, Syracuse UniversityThe Journal of Social Theory in Art Education, Cover, No. 34

Oral History Online: 2,700-plus collection of text, audio, video

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Oral History Online takes pride in being a landmark database of English language oral history. It offers more than 30,000 pages of full text.

The materials are divided into several categories, including repositories, collections, interviews, places and historical events and are in alphabetical order. More than 2,700 collections are offered. Interviews date back to the 1930s and can be accessed through full text, audio or video.  Information on historical events range from the American Revolution to the Iraq War. The database offers information on a wide variety of places.

Access this information in the form of audio, video and text. There are almost 19,000 bibliographic records to choose from.

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By Katlyn Pierre, public relations intern. For more information about this resource or others

Image: Creative Commons

Virginia Heritage: Find manuscripts and archives

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Virginia Heritage: Guides to Manuscript & Archival Collections in Virginia provides users with access to a historic records about Virginia.

Information is taken from various libraries, museums and universities all around Virginia. Users can look through some of the 12,000-plus materials that Virginia has to offer using the browse option or go through basic search and look for specific topics that may interest them.

Discover materials on everything from the New Deal to school accreditation in Virginia. There is a plethora of information from around the state that explore the events that made Virginia what it is today.

Many of VCU Libraries historic collections are discoverable through this resource.

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By Katlyn Pierre, public relations intern. For more information about this resource or others

Image: Creative Commons

Historic Fulton: Online oral history project

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VCU Libraries announces the next stage in telling an important and little-known story of the once-vibrant Historic Fulton community that fell victim to 1970s urban renewal.

The Historic Fulton Oral History Project is now digital. Transcripts are searchable. Audio files that literally give these accounts voices are also available.

“We are very excited to partner with The Valentine and the Historic Fulton community to make this important collection accessible online,” said Lauren Work, VCU Libraries digital collections librarian.

The physical neighborhood of Historic Fulton, a venerable history-rich section of Richmond that had declined into blight and slum-like conditions, was razed in the early ‘70s. Gone were some 800 houses and businesses. While the physical neighborhood was lost, emotional ties to the East End community remain strong. The oral histories capture memories, observations, facts and, for some, sadness and outrage at what was taken from Historic Fulton residents.

The team that initiated the oral history project was The Valentine, the Neighborhood Resource Center (NRC), Virginia Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), and the Greater Fulton’s Future Legacy Committee (GFF). The project was funded by a grant from Virginia LISC and is part of the Greater Fulton’s Future Plan. At its onset, Veronica Fleming, then Virginia LISC senior program officer, said theoral history project would be a model for other community documentation efforts nationwide. “Neighborhood revitalization is not just about bricks and mortar projects. It is also about preserving history and creating pride in communities.”

The project was spearheaded by former Valentine curator Suzanne Savery. During 2011 and 2012, Caroline Morris, then a College of William & Mary history doctoral student, and Project Coordinator Corliss Freda Johnson interviewed current and former residents of Historic Fulton.

“Finally, we have a chance to share our story. Fulton is gone and this project will keep it alive,” reflected Johnson.

The Historic Fulton Oral History collection contains 17 interviews with 32 named interviewees, teachers, activists, clergy and community leaders who grew up in the predominantly African-American community in the 1930s through 1950s. The interviewees also witnessed the death of Historic Fulton through Richmond’s urban renewal efforts.

The collection presents the unique perspectives of these residents. As Historic Fulton undergoes more change with the pending arrival of the Stone Brewery in Rocketts, oral history participant the Rev. Mary Perez reflects, “Historic Fulton as we knew it, lived and loved it, was taken, but our memories will never be taken away.”

The Valentine is the repository for the project and holds copyrights. Physical copies of the oral history transcripts have been distributed to various research institutions in the Richmond region, including James Branch Cabell Library’s Special Collections and Archives. VCU Libraries involvement was at this last stage—providing a stable, accessible digital platform for paper and audio files to house these important voices.

Making the project available in a searchable, digital format with streaming audio will expose these oral histories more broadly to researchers and residents alike at a time when interest in Historic Fulton is keen and the region is poised for renewal. The new Stone Brewing Company is locating to Fulton, heralding a potential rebirth of a forgotten community in coming years. “We expect this new collaborative collection to perform at the same high level as our other historic collections, to be used in courses and research at the university and in the community, and to receive thousands of touch points nationwide through its online visibility,” said Work.

“The Historic Fulton Oral History Project will be an invaluable research tool as students and scholars begin to examine what happened in Fulton during the 1970s,” said Meg Hughes, curator of archives for The Valentine. “Hearing firsthand accounts of living and working in this neighborhood brings Fulton to life.”

VCU Libraries has long fostered these sorts of partnerships in community and neighborhood documentation as part of our core values.

Said University Librarian John E. Ulmschneider: “VCU Libraries is proud to present and preserve this digital collection alongside its previous online efforts, such as Carver Community Oral Histories, Farmville Civil Rights Photographs, Voices of Freedom Oral Histories, and Jackson Ward Architectural History.” These collections are available online. http://dig.library.vcu.edu

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Image: Historic Fulton, Circa 1925, The Valentine

Flickr Commons: VCU digital special and archival collections

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VCU Libraries has been named as the 100th institution to take part in Flickr’s The Commons, an online project that seeks to share hidden treasures from the world’s public photography archives.

As part of The Commons, VCU Libraries’ digital special and archival image collections that have no known copyright restrictions will be discoverable through the photo-sharing website Flickr, as well as through search tools that pull public domain images without known copyright restrictions for us and reuse.
“It’s pretty significant,” said Lauren Work, digital collections librarian. “VCU Libraries will be joining an international group of institutions with the goal to increase public access to image collections that have no known copyright restrictions, which connects directly to our educational mission.”
Joining The Commons will greatly increase the discoverability and potential use of VCU Libraries’ image collections. It will also allow the public to share their knowledge of the images, potentially enriching the collections with comments and tags.
“Flickr has millions of registered users, and various search tools pull content from Flickr Commons,” Work said. “These factors greatly expand the potential for the use of our collections.”
VCU Libraries is starting out with these four collections to introduce itself to The Commons and to reflect  the diversity of its collections.
The initial collections will include:
 
·    Jackson Ward Historic District, a series of photographs documenting Richmond’s historic Jackson Ward neighborhood.

·    Rarely Seen Richmond, a collection of over 600 postcard images of Richmond, most dating from 1900 through 1930.

·    PS Magazine, the Preventive Maintenance Monthly, an Army publication on preventive maintenance that features the artwork of comics artist Will Eisner, who served as the magazine’s artistic director from its inception in 1951 through 1972.

·    Baist Atlas of Richmond, Va. (1889), a digitized version of “The Atlas of the City of Richmond” that was compiled and published in 1889 and serves as a valuable resource for researchers and others interested in Richmond’s urban archeology, architectural history and historic preservation.

·    The Newlyweds and Their Baby, which was the first American family newspaper strip. It was created in 1904 by George McManus and published in New York World, and centered around an elegant young couple and their baby Snookums.

Work said VCU Libraries intends to add other existing digital collections, as well as future collections that have no known copyright restrictions.

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Image: Joe’s Dope Sheet (Issue 052 1957 page024_page025), Flickr Commons

Baist Atlas: 19th century digitized map

baistatlas

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Researchers and others interested in the history and architecture of Richmond can now explore the city as it was at the end of the 19th century, thanks to a newly digitized map from 1889 that Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries has posted online and made fully interactive.

The map is from the “Atlas of the City of Richmond,” which was published in 1889 by the Philadelphia firm of George William Baist. The original Baist Atlas is made up of 20 panels, each 18 1/2 inches tall and 28 inches wide, mapping all areas of Richmond, including parts of Henrico and Chesterfield counties, as well part of as what was then the city of Manchester on Richmond’s Southside.

VCU Libraries spent several years preserving and restoring the fragile map held by James Branch Cabell Library Special Collections and Archives and photographing and digitizing the entire atlas. Over the past several months, the VCU Libraries web team also built an interactive website that allows users to explore the city’s urban archaeology and architectural history.

“It’s a learning tool, a way to explore Richmond, a way for people to do research on different parts of the city, and, due to the fact that it is in the public domain, to use in ways we haven’t even thought of yet,” said Lauren Work, digital collections librarian with VCU Libraries.

The interactive Baist Atlas site features an in-depth contextual exploration of each area of the city, information on various points of interest located within each panel, a number of historical illustrations and photographs from other VCU digital collections, and a street index.

The entirety of the map is juxtaposed over the modern Richmond map in Google Maps, showing both how the Richmond area was outlined by Baist and how Richmond has changed, grown and evolved. Geospatial data used to create the modern day map overlay is also available for download and use.

“We’ve created a whole new way for people to interact with the map,” Work said. “It’s also fully downloadable so people can use it on their own. We also see this as a nice segue into other VCU Library special collections – because you can click through and keep exploring other VCU digital collections.”

For example, a visitor might be interested in exploring the Jackson Ward neighborhood. The website shows several points of interest, such as the Richmond Almshouse, which was built in 1860 to 1861 as a refuge for the city’s poor, and Ebenezer Baptist Church, which was built in 1873 and replaced the original church and was the city’s first public school for African-American children.

Images of the points of interest link to VCU Libraries’ Jackson Ward Historic District collection of photos documenting the historic neighborhood, as well as its Richmond Commission of Architectural Review Slide Collection of more than 7,000 color photographs of Richmond.

The overlaid maps also show how Richmond’s urban planning significantly impacted Jackson Ward.

“There are buildings that are still there, but a lot have disappeared,” Work said. “You can really see the impact of modern day Richmond – for example, you can see [Interstate] 95 coming in through Jackson Ward – and a lot of other things that weren’t there before.”

John Kneebone, Ph.D., chair of the Department of History in the College of Humanities and Sciences, said Baist Atlas project holds interest “because it reminds us that the landscape is evidence of our history, too, and in Richmond one can certainly read the past on the landscape.”

Kneebone added that “the site uses images from existing image collections that VCU Libraries digitized and made available some time ago, but now the images are connected with their locations on the map, making those collections even more useful for teaching and for study.”

The Baist Atlas links with several digital collections held by VCU Libraries, including its Rarely Seen Richmond collection of more than 600 vintage postcards of Richmond from the early-20th century, and Richmond Illustrated Imprints, a new collection of illustrations and photos from books published in the late 1800s and early 1900s to sell Richmond as a destination.

“VCU Libraries has rich and diverse special collections, and the interactive 1889 Baist Atlas is only the beginning of the type of research and digital resources these collections can provide to our community,” Work said.

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By Brian McNeil, public relations specialist

Image: Outline & index map Richmond and vicinity, Baist Atlas