Category: New Collections

New Acquisition: Civilian Exclusion Posters

Photo of “Civilian Exclusion Order No. 41” poster acquired by University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives

The December 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan set into course a cascading release of executive orders and exclusion orders that effectively functioned to segregate and intern Japanese Americans, citizen or noncitizen, in internment camps.  Such actions were propelled, in part, by fears of allegiance to Japan, posing threat to the United States, despite lack of concrete foundation to such assertions. Italians and Germans were also selectively targeted for internment or deportation.

One of the first dominoes in the chain was Executive Order 9066 issued by President Franklin Roosevelt on February 19, 1942 (Nakamoto, 2015).  The executive order did not operate as an official exclusion order, but instead gave power to the Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, to enact exclusion orders. An excerpt from Executive Order 9066, President Franklin Roosevelt declares,

“I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as he or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion.” (Nakamoto, 2015)

Following Executive Order 9066, General John DeWitt of the Western Defense Command released Public Proclamation No. 1 that designated the first “military areas” from where Japanese Americans were to be excluded.  While the government deemed the behest of the orders a “voluntary evacuation,” the reality was starkly antithetical to such a claim, and the orders undeniably transgressed the legal rights of Japanese Americans (Nilya, n.d.).

Though Public Proclamation No. 1 is the one of the earliest in a broad series of civilian exclusion orders following Executive Order 9066, General DeWitt was calculating in his intentions with Japanese Americans, before any executive orders were officially released by President Franklin Roosevelt.  General DeWitt proposed the removal of Japanese Americans as early as December 19, 1941, and by the time of January 7, 1942, General DeWitt had defined and designated 86 military areas from where he proposed Japanese Americans be removed.  By February, General DeWitt’s military adjutant, Allen Gullion, persuaded Assistant Secretary of War John McCloy of the deleterious presence of Japanese Americans and plans for mass exclusion.  Secretary of War Henry Stimson, convinced by these baseless claims, perpetrated the objectives of General DeWitt and was the final persuading influence of President Franklin Roosevelt in the fateful days of February 1942 leading up to the release of Executive Order 9066 (Nilya, n.d.).

The cascading civilian exclusion orders demanded evacuation of Japanese Americans from defined military areas, offering only a few days to a week for Japanese American families to prepare.  Japanese Americans were to renounce nearly all belongings, allowed to bring only what could be carried. The Federal Reserve Bank was authorized to liquidate their assets often for much less than its market value. Public postings of civilian exclusion posters purposely humiliated and degraded Japanese Americans.

University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) has acquired several civilian exclusion posters delineating orders for Japanese Americans, one of which Civilian Exclusion Order No. 41, and the other, Instructions to all Persons of Japanese Ancestry.  Civilian Exclusion Order No. 41 reads,

1. Pursuant to the provisions of Public Proclamations Nos. 1 and 2, this Headquarters, dated March 2, 1942, and March 16, 1942, respectively, it is hereby ordered that from and after 12 o’clock noon, P.W.T., of Monday, May 11, 1942, all persons of Japanese ancestry, both alien and non-alien, be excluded from that portion of Military Area No. 1 described as follows…

Fear of espionage and outright discrimination are reflected in the civilian exclusion orders that removed the majority of Japanese Americans from the West Coast. Civilian exclusion posters serve as stark artifacts of this period and reminders of the lengths to which people may go to oppress and subjugate one another based on fear and prejudice.

A related post published in the SCUA blog, World War II and the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council discusses the effects of Japanese exclusionary laws on Japanese American university students on the west coast.

Sources

Nakamoto, A. (2015, June 17). Executive Order 9066 vs. Civilian Exclusion Order. Japanese American National Museum. https://blog.janm.org/2015/06/17/executive-order-9066-vs-civilian-exclusion-order/

Nilya, B. (n.d.). Civilian exclusion orders. Densho Encyclopedia. http://encyclopedia.densho.org/Civilian_exclusion_orders/

Nilya, B. (n.d.). John DeWitt. Densho Encyclopedia. http://encyclopedia.densho.org/John_DeWitt/

Written by Alexandra Mueller, Special Projects Archivist

New Acquisition: Albrecht Dürer

Photo of title page of Della simmetria de i corpi humani, libri quattro by Albrecht Dürer, translated by Giovanni Paolo Gallucci; working copy of Giovanni Antonio Barca

Albrecht Dürer exemplified a mastery and uniqueness in his contribution to Italian art in the 15th and 16th centuries.  Though Dürer excelled in varied mediums and forms of art, wood cutting emerged as his most deft and accomplished medium.  Dürer’s proficiency in wood cutting flourished during his youth apprenticeship under artist Michael Wolgemut of Nuremberg, Germany.  His carefully cultivated interest in art deviated from a long family lineage of working goldsmiths, though historically a deviation that proved largely influential in Italian art theory.  Dürer’s most ingenious contributions were his keen analysis of the complexity of human proportions, and the application of mathematical and geometrical principles to reflect the human form in art.  Inherent to Dürer’s artistic work of the human form was a philosophy of realism, starkly opposing the prevailing leaning towards idealism and perfection held by many of his contemporaries.

University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) recently acquired Della simmetria de i corpi humani, libri quattro by Albrecht Dürer and translated by Giovanni Paolo Gallucci.  The work is subdivided into five parts, the first four of which are attributed to Dürer, and the fifth an addition by translator Gallucci, a collection of writings by Italian poets on topics related to human form in art.  The first two books by Dürer portray technique for accurately representing the bodily proportions of humans in a variety of sizes, shapes, and ages.  Dürer’s third book continues his exploration of mathematical principles and the direct relationship to human proportions.  Building significantly on the mathematical principles and artistic explorations of books one, two, and three, Dürer’s fourth book invaluably links geometry and the human form in movement.

The copy of Della simmetria de i corpi humani, libri quattro by Albrecht Dürer and translated by Giovanni Paolo Gallucci acquired by SCUA is the Italian first edition and first issue published in 1591.  The ownership of the book adds an interesting peculiarity and invaluableness to its condition; the specific copy, possessed by Giovanni Antonio Barca, contains annotations by the owner in his own preparation to publish on the subject.  Barca drew from and manipulated the theories and work of Dürer, yet Barca did not include direct attribution to Dürer for intellectual contribution to his work.  The influence, however, is undeniable.

-Written by Alexandra Mueller, Special Projects Archivist

New Acquisition: Victoria Regia

Photo of title page of Victoria Regia: A Volume of Original Contributions in Poetry and Prose, edited by Adelaide A. Proctor, acquisition of University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives

The social structure of Victorian England represented a chasm deep and wide separating the public and private sphere, one that women were forced to straddle uncomfortably and fought to bridge and to bind seamlessly.  The private sphere was considered the realm of women, and the public sphere the realm of men.  A unification of the two was discouraged, if not entirely avoided and feared.  Emerging feminist activists attempted to eradicate the divisive nature of Victorian England society by championing women’s suffrage and the right to education and employment.  A particular feminist, Emily Faithfull, keenly and astutely estimated the impact of gainful, fitful employment for women in elevating their status (Frawley, 1998).  A close cohort of Emily Faithfull, Emily Davies, denounced the common justification for the oppression of women that asserts women inherently different than men.  Davies instead declared “a deep and broad basis of likeness” between men and women, and believed “only good could come of enabling women to take a greater part in the intellectual and public life of men” (Schwartz, 2011, p. 674).

Emily Faithfull’s greatest conquest involved shattering hegemonic expectations of the sexes and breaking women into a sphere of the working world traditionally relegated to men, expertly done so with the novel development of a printing press owned and operated by women.  The birth of the historical Victoria Press was closely knit to the pioneering women of the Society for Promoting the Employment of Women (SPEW), and to the women of the Langham Place Circle, an activist organization for the employment of women and a constituency of women editors and publishers of women’s periodicals.  The women instrumental in the propagation of these activist organizations include Emily Faithfull, Jessie Boucherett, Bessie Rayner Parkes, and Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (Robinson, 1996).  In regard to the guiding principles of the activism of SPEW, the Langham Place Circle, and the Victoria Press, founder Emily Faithfull poignantly stated,

Our cry is not for work per se, but for fit work fitly paid.  Time will work great changes in our traditional and conventional ideas on these points; and the question has, I believe, to be wrought out, rather than thought out – it must be solved by actual progress, however slow, rather than by written arguments, however specious. (Frawley, 1998, p. 87)

Photo of spine of Victoria Regia: A Volume of Original Contributions in Poetry and Prose, edited by Adelaide A. Proctor, acquisition of University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives

The Victoria Press produced publications that were “Conducted by Women,” an inscription often used by publishers to delineate a publication as produced primarily by women.  Bessie Rayner Parkes of the Victoria Press and Langham Place Circle consulted close friend George Eliot about the nature of publishing, especially in reference to women.  George Eliot replied, “It is a doctrine of Mr. Lewes’s, which I think recommends itself to one’s reason, that every new or renovated periodical should have a specialité – do something not yet done, fill up a gap, and so give people a motive for taking it . . . ” (Robinson, 1996, p. 159).  Emily Faithfull and her cohorts embodied the words of George Eliot deeply, constructing a business and creating a product innovative and that filled a gap – the absence of the voice and presence of women in publishing and in the larger public sphere.

The selection of “Victoria” as the representative name of the printing press, and the use of “Victoria” in the titles of The Victoria Magazine and Victoria Regia, was by far no haphazard, half-baked choice.  Emily Faithfull and the Victoria Press held Queen Victoria in high esteem, regarding her as an exemplar in the struggle to maintain domain in both the private and the public spheres (Frawley, 1998).  The Victoria Press’ use of Queen Victoria’s namesake and the selection of content in the publications attracted her interest and procured her support.  Queen Victoria named Emily Faithfull as “Printer and Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty” (Frawley, 1998, p. 93).

University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) acquired one of the Victoria Press’s earliest publications, the Victoria Regia.  The Victoria Regia: A Volume of Original Contributions in Poetry and Prose was edited by Adelaide A. Proctor, a fellow member of the Langham Place Circle (Tusan, 2000).  The volume is a compilation of a variety of literary works in many forms contributed by women and men, arranged with no special or preferential consideration.  In truth to the Victoria Press’ mission and values, the Victoria Regia contained a tribute to Queen Victoria in the preface that extolled the Queen and served as a nod of appreciation to her support (Frawley, 1998).

Emily Faithfull and her cohorts created something so pioneering, so magical and transformative.  For many women, the Victoria Press helped connect the private and public spheres of their lives, allowing habitation and fulfillment in both realms.  The Victoria Press was vastly influential in promoting gainful, fitful employment for women on a grander scale.  The Victoria Regia and other early works of the Victoria Press laid brickwork for the continued success of the all-woman printing press.

Sources

Frawley, M. (1998). The editor as advocate: Emily Faithfull and “The Victoria Magazine.” Victorian Periodicals Review, 31(1), 87-104. https://www.jstor.org/stable/20083055?seq=1

Robinson, S. C. (1996). “Amazed at our success”: The Langham Place Editors and the emergence of a feminist critical tradition. Victorian Periodicals Review, 29(2), 159-172. https://www.jstor.org/stable/20082917?seq=1

Schwartz, L. (2011). Feminist thinking on education in Victorian England. Oxford Review of Education, 37(5), 669-682. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23119462?seq=1

Tusan, M. E. (2000). ‘Not the ordinary Victorian charity’: The society for promoting the employment of women archive. History Workshop Journal, 49, 220-230. https://www.jstor.org/stable/4289669?seq=1

Written by Alexandra Mueller (Special Projects Archivist)

New Acquisition: Slavery Documents

Photo of “Statement Attesting that a ‘Negro Woman’ is Free Born, Frederick County, MD, 1832,” acquired by University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives

The antebellum period of the United States was harsh and biting, clothed in darkness by the perpetuation of the institution of slavery.  The institution of slavery was nestled in the racial attitudes and political leanings of British colonists, attitudes and leanings that incubated a society prone to its development, where “slavery […] is a symptom of this political culture, rather than a cause” (Acharya et al., 2018, p. 106).  Hubris provided a justification for the perpetuation of slavery.  William Brownlow, a newspaper editor and post-Civil War governor of Tennessee, stated, “God always intended the relation of master and slave to exist,” and posited the church as an institution supportive of maintaining this arrangement (Acharya et al., 2018, p. 106).  The deeply-rooted prejudices and racism driving the growth of a system of slavery in the States, and the arrogance to believe oneself as above the life and humanity of another, provide little mystery as to how a piece of paper with calligraphic printing could have the power to provide freedom, granted through manumission or other statements and affidavits, or to bequeath, trade, or sell African American slaves through wills and testaments.

University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) recently acquired an antebellum-era document, “Statement Attesting that a ‘Negro Woman’ is Free Born, Frederick County, MD, 1832.”  The statement claims Charlotte Jaines of Frederick County, Maryland, is “free born.”  It is of a collection of documents known as freedom papers – manumissions, statements, affidavits, etc. – proclaiming freedom to whom the document refers.  The official declaration stated,

Maryland, Frederick County, to wit, on this 19th day of May 1832, before me the Subscriber and Justice of the Peace in and for said country, personally appeared David Harris and makes oath on the holy Evangely of Almighty God, that Charlotte Jaines the negro woman now in my presence is a free born, to the best of his knowledge. Sworn before George Rice.

Photo of “An Account of the Sales and the Real and Personal Estate of Henry Holeman Deceased,” acquired by University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives

Another recent acquisition of University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) from the antebellum period is “An Account of the Sales and the Real and Personal Estate of Henry Holeman Deceased.”  Henry Holeman was a resident of Shelby County, Tennessee.  Historically, the population of Shelby County had the one of the highest percentages of enslaved persons (35%) in the state of Tennessee, and heavily relied on slavery to support the economy (Acharya et al., 2018).  Upon Holeman’s death, Holeman’s account, dated February 18, 1853, stated the recipients of eight slaves owned by Holeman and their respective prices, and settled matters of personal property, including approximately 270 acres of land (James E. Arsenault & Company, 2020).

These documents are illustrative of the harsh, biting history of slavery.  To wade through the ugliness of history is as paramount of a task as the study of illuminating points of history.  Converse, examine, dissect.  Listen, carefully, and lead.

Special Collections and University Archives serves as a repository of historical materials, some of which may be considered prejudiced, stereotyped or offensive. Historical data is an important resource in the study of contemporary and past cultures. As such, we take seriously our responsibilities in preserving and cataloging such material and provide access for the purpose of scholarly research and study. See: SCUA Statement Regarding Objectionable Content

Sources

Acharya, A., Blackwell, M., & Sen, M. (2018).  Deep roots: How slavery still shapes Southern politics. Princeton University Press.

James E. Arsenault & Company. (2020). The sale of eight named slaves in Tennessee. James E. Arsenault & Company. https://jamesarsenault.com

Written by Alexandra Mueller (Special Projects Archivist)

New Acquisition: Anti-Slavery Literature

Photo of University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives acquisition, the Monthly Offering, Collins, John A., editor, Lydia Maria Child, William Lloyd Garrison, et al.

The Monthly Offering, edited by John A. Collins and alive with contributions by notable abolitionists, including William Lloyd Garrison and Maria Weston Chapman, is an historical abolitionist periodical published between July 1840 and December 1841.  The acquisition of the Monthly Offering by University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives contains a complete collection of the twelve-issue periodical.

The Monthly Offering falls in the era of the second phase of the Abolitionist Movement.  The advent of the cotton gin and the development of the cotton industry, as well as an evolving technological landscape of the American states, offered a keen opportunity to continue the exploitation and enslavement of African Americans to support a changing economy.  Key organizations and key initiatives emerged as the Abolitionist Movement grew, one of which was the American Anti-slavery Society (AAS) (McCartney, 1992).  The AAS stemmed from the abolitionist publication, the Liberator, edited by William Lloyd Garrison, a close cohort of John A. Collins and an active abolitionist who professed slavery should be embattled with only “the sword of the spirit” (McCartney, 1992, p. 37).  Garrison’s peaceful plea may be reflected in his attraction to the wielding of the written word in abolitionist literature.  The AAS, of which both Collins and Garrison were members, called for political action, although the manifestation of which was poorly or confusedly conceived (McCartney, 1992).  Collins held several leadership positions, most prominently Vice President, in the Boston branch of the AAS, the Massachusetts Anti-slavery Society.  While in service to the AAS, Collins edited not only the Monthly Offering, but another abolitionist newspaper publication, the Monthly Garland (James E. Arsenault & Company, 2020).

The contents of the Monthly Offering were varied and instrumental.  Included were pieces of abolitionist literature, the sharing of abolitionist events, and perhaps most interestingly, the inclusion of slave narratives.  Collins desired for the wealthy and plebeians alike to afford access to the publication.  The inaugural issue promised the periodical “could be afforded so low that every one might procure it, who had a desire to become acquainted with the nature and influence of slavery, and the means employed for its removal” (James E. Arsenault & Company, 2020). Narratives comprised of memoir, autobiography, and other forms of testimony by slaves speak personal truths of experiences of slavery.  Abolitionists published slave narratives in abolitionist literature to further fuel the fire of opposition to the institution of slavery (Trap, 2011).  The Monthly Offering, as conceived and implemented by Collins, Garrison, and others, perhaps contributed to the political action called for by the members of the AAS, for struggles may be muscled by words and action, a deftness of the tongue.

Photo of University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives acquisition, Bible Against Slavery, 1864, Vail, Stephen M., D. D.

The Bible Against Slavery by Stephen M. Vail also hailed from the era of the second phase of the Abolitionist Movement.  Stephen M. Vail served as Professor of Biblical and Oriental Literature in the Methodist General Biblical Institute of Concord, New Hampshire.  The Bible Against Slavery is an impassioned analysis of the Bible and slavery.  The title page has the statement, “Replies to the ‘Bible view of slavery.’ By John H. Hopkins, D. D., Diocese of Vermont; and to “A Northern Presbyter’s second letter to ministers of the Gospel,’ by Nathan Lord, D. D., late president of Dartmouth College; and to ‘X,’ of the New Hampshire Patriot.”  The seminal work by Vail has been reproduced from its antiquarian form to modern format in order to preserve the historical content of the document and to promote accessibility.  The following is an excerpt from the Bible Against Slavery written by Stephen M. Vail revealing of Vail’s conceptions of the relationship between the Bible and slavery:

As a christian [sic] nation receiving the Holy Scriptures as our guide, it becomes a grave inquiry what saith the Scriptures on this question? If the Bible is against slavery it is important to know it. If the Bible be found, after all the efforts of slavery, to be on the side of Freedom it will be a confirmation of its Divinity to the minds of millions, and the Bible will be dearer than ever to the hearts of all mankind. If as many have claimed, it be against human liberty and in favor of oppression, the inference will continue to be drawn by thousands that it is not from heaven. My own belief is that it has been greatly misunderstood, —and such has been the traditional power of slavery over us, that as yet we have only faintly apprehended the truth, —that the Bible is always and every where [sic] against slavery.  (Vail, 1864)

Special Collections and University Archives serves as a historical repository of materials, some of which may be considered prejudiced, stereotyped or offensive. Historical data is an important resource in the study of contemporary and past cultures. As such, we take our responsibilities in preserving and cataloging such material seriously and provide access for the purpose of scholarly research and study.

Sources

James E. Arsenault & Company. (2020). The organ of the Massachusetts Anti-slavery Society. James E. Arsenault & Company. https://jamesarsenaultcom

McCartney, J. T. (1992). Black power ideologies. Temple University Press.

Trap, D. (2011). Slave narratives. In J. C. Inscoe (Ed.), The Civil War in Georgia: A new Georgia encyclopedia companion (pp. 244-248). University of Georgia Press.

Vail, S. M., D. D. (1864). Bible Against Slavery. Fogg, Hadley & Co., Printers.

Written by Alexandra Mueller (Special Projects Archivist)