Special Collections & University Archives is pleased to announce the recent acquisition of “Standoff,” a portfolio of photographs by Portland-based photographer Shawn Records. The photographs document the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in January of 2016. Included are portraits of the militant Ammon Bundy and his family, as well as images of the media circus and protests that surrounded the occupation. This was a pivotal moment in Oregon and US history, when a group of armed men were able to occupy a government building without significant legal repercussion. The photographs are quiet and subtle, exploring the complex and fraught history of land use and cowboy culture in the American West. The portfolio is now available for viewing within the Special Collections & University Archives reading room.
By Danielle Mericle, Curator of Photography Collections
Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) has recently mounted an exhibit focusing on Black Deaf Americans to celebrate Black History Month.
Black Deaf people have one of the most unique cultures in the world. The Black Deaf Community is largely shaped by two cultures and communities: Deaf and African-American. Some Black Deaf individuals view themselves as members of both communities. Since both communities are viewed by the larger, predominately hearing and White society as comprising a minority community, Black Deaf persons often experience an even greater loss of recognition, racial discrimination and communication barriers coming from both communities.
Little has been written about the Black Deaf community. Even though segregated schools existed until the mid-1950s, no historical analysis of that experience, its people, or events has been written. Only a handful of memoirs by Black Deaf individuals have been published. Recent interest in Black Deaf sign language has produced a seminal work on the subject, The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL, but much more research needs to be pursued. This exhibit seeks to highlight the history, experiences, and accomplishments of Black Deaf Americans through six themes: segregated schools for Black Deaf students, memoirs by Black Deaf adults, incarceration of Black Deaf, Black Deaf sign language, Notable Black Deaf, and artwork of Black Deaf. Some of the archival material exhibited is extremely rare and difficult to find. Several publications on exhibit are considered rare books. Even some recent titles on exhibit are difficult to find.
Yale University Library Paper Conservator Marie-France Lemay recently presented two workshops in Special Collection and University Archives’ Ken Kesey Classroom on the materials of medieval and early modern books. Lemay presented samples of materials and tools that would have been used by early bookmakers and illuminators from the Traveling Scriptorium, a teaching kit created by Yale’s Beineke Library conservators. These workshops were arranged by Dr. Vera Keller in conjunction with a JSMA lecture on the history of color in the Italian Baroque period.
Lemay provided students from Dr. Vera Keller’s “Global History of Color” and Dr. Nina Amstutz’s “Art and Science” courses with the opportunity to handle raw materials used in historical manuscript production and scribal practices, such as stretched parchment and laid paper used for writing substrates and the ingredients for black iron gall ink (gall nuts from oak trees, green vitriol/iron sulfate, and gum arabic). The workshop also included a mixing demonstration of traditional pigments and inks and discussion of the chemical differences of organic versus inorganic materials and the nature of man-made pigments such as verdigris, produced by exposing copper to acetic acid (vinegar).
A new exhibit is now on view during the Winter 2018 term in the Paulson Reading Room in Special Collections and University Archives titled Creative Commonplacing: The Facets of Book Love.
Students of Professor Mai-Lin Cheng’s Fall 2017 course HC421, “Book Love: Or, Reading Commonplaces,” curated this exhibit of commonplace books, diaries, and scrapbooks. The exhibit also highlights other “book love” projects undertaken by the students during the course, including the results of a bookbinding workshop with Collections Conservator Marilyn Mohr and a handwriting workshop with Manuscripts Librarian Linda Long.
The public is invited to an opening reception in SCUA on 1/18/18, 4-5 p.m.
An introduction to the exhibit from the guidebook written by the student curatorial team follows:
Our class during Fall 2017 was the first of hopefully many future classes on the topic of Book Love, exploring the origins of book writing and what it means to love books and share what we understand of the world. Commonplaces are both a reflection of an author and their greater community, with the practice beginning in the seventeenth century as a type of note-sharing. In this class, we explored what it means to be an author as opposed to a compiler, as the lines are often blurred in commonplace books, as readers created their own personal anthologies, with passages, images, and other artifacts important to them to create a commonplace book.
The commonplace book is an artifact of active reading. In it, the reader becomes writer. The interchangeability of these two modes of relating to texts is, of course, familiar in our contemporary era of cutting-and-pasting, tweeting and retweeting, liking and linking. Exploring the origins of this information-sharing, however, reveals a more exclusive and exclusionary history in authorship and the sharing of information, and through exploring the history of book-making students deepened their awareness of an elitist history of information control. In this class, students experiment with individual methods of expressing “book love” in creating their own print or digital commonplace books, and through reading the same texts each student created their own unique commonplace work.
Special Collections and University Archives is currently processing and writing a finding aid for the Quincy Scott collection of twentieth century political cartoons (GA Sc 85). This project was generously supported through an LSTA grant and will also include digitization of a selection of cartoons through the assistance of UO Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Services. This archival and digital collection will provide access to Oregonian political and social perspectives during the Great Depression and World War II through the humor and wit of political caricature. A future blog post will announce when the collection is fully processed and available to the public.
Portland resident Quincy Scott (1882-1965) was the editorial cartoonist for The Oregonian from 1931-1949 and this collection includes original artwork produced during his tenure at the newspaper, comprised of over 4,600 almost daily political cartoons. Scott was a faithful member of the Republican Party and his cartoons strongly reflect his personal stance on local, national, and international political topics, though Scott’s son/biographer notes that these opinions did not always fully align with those of the newspaper’s general editorial team. These cartoons illustrate early twentieth century life and politics in Oregon and will be particularly of interest to those researching the history of critical or conservative receptions of Depression-era legislation. Some of Scott’s frequently illustrated subjects will be highlighted in this post.