Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Social Media, Outreach, and SCUA

Through blogs, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, and other outreach activities, University Archives spreads stories from the records of the University's past and promotes our work to preserve and provide access to these important records in new and exciting venues.

In addition to this blog, staff write weekly posts on the Spartan Stories blog, published each Monday morning. These posts, typically about 500 words in length, detail one specific person, place, event, or action in the University's history, from its founding through today. Recent posts have focused on the Darlinettes and Rhythmettes big bands of the 1940s and 1950s, the 1932 Carnegie Library fire, the founding and growth of campus radio station WUAG, and the move of the Chancellor's House in 2003. On the Spartan Stories site, readers can subscribe to receive updates on new postings via RSS feed or email. Since its creation in October 2012, Spartan Stories has been viewed over 14,000 times by more than 6,000 individual readers.

Many of the Spartan Stories readers come to the blog from one of the two social media accounts focused on University Archives. The University Archives Twitter account (@UNCGArchives) has nearly 300 followers. The account is used to highlight collections, anniversaries, events, and resources in SCUA. A recurring trend is participation in the popular Throwback Thursday (#tbt) hashtag, where a photo from the University's past is posted. You can follow University Archives if you have a Twitter account. But if you don't, you can view new tweets by visiting the Spartan Stories site and scrolling through the Twitter box on the right side of the screen (just below the Past Posts).

Below the Twitter blog is a way for folks to keep up with the University Archives Tumblr, the most recent addition to the social media outlets for learning more about University Archives and University history. You can also follow the Tumblr directly if you have Tumblr account. Although we only started the Tumblr in July, we're already up to almost 100 followers -- a large number of whom are current UNCG students. The Tumblr is updated on an almost daily basis, and often focuses on photos, important quotes, or other short highlights from the University's past.

We have also begun posting a number of film clips from University Archives to YouTube. These include some promotional videos for the University from the mid-1970s as well as some shorter clips from events and activities in the 1940s and 1950s. Since posting began in July, the videos have had nearly 1000 views total. The most popular has been a video showing various buildings on campus in the 1950s. This video has been seen by over 300 people.


SCUA staff are also teaching classes, conducting campus tours, developing lectures and other special events, and creating exhibits in the library and around campus in an effort to ensure that the history of the University is known by students, faculty, staff, alumni, and others. If there are people or events in the University's past that you would like us to focus on in future blog posts or social media activity, please let us know!

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October is Archives Month, an annual observance of the agencies and people responsible for maintaining and making available the archival and historical records of our nation, state, communities and people. As part of the month-long celebration, this blog is highlighting some of the innovative and exciting work being done in Special Collections and University Archives.


Friday, October 10, 2014

Preserving Our Digital History

Have you ever tried to access a digital document that you created in the mid-1990s? Finding a computer with the hardware to read the 3.5” floppy or Zip disk it was probably stored on is a massive challenge. But even if you do find a way to access the files, you likely will have trouble opening or reading the content – and that’s if the disk and content haven’t been accidentally erased or corrupted over the years!

Digital preservation is a huge task, and staff at the UNCG University Libraries are tackling issues head on with a newly-created tool aimed at acquiring, managing, and preserving important digital archival files now so that researchers – now and in the future – can have greater insight into how our University and society as a whole operates. This development puts UNCG ahead of most other institutions in terms of proactively addressing digital preservation.

BDRM interface
The new tool – called Born-Digital Records Management, or BDRM – is a collaboration between the Libraries’ Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) and Electronic Resources and Information Technology (ERIT) departments. In preserving University history, for instance, it allows us to actively acquire electronic newsletters, presentations, websites, and other materials that typically lose information and operability if printed.

The BDRM interface allows faculty, staff, and administrators to upload their digital archival records directly to University Archives. Behind the scenes, archivists can use the BDRM tool to arrange and describe these files in a way that makes them findable through online searches, through our finding aids, and (coming soon!) through a special BDRM public website.

While an archivist may simply stumble upon a forgotten Civil War era diary that is still perfectly readable, the accessibility of a chance find is much less likely in the digital world. With their work on BDRM, the University Libraries is ensuring that valuable records aren’t lost due to file deterioration or technological obsolescence. We want to be sure that the archival records created today – regardless of format – are findable and retrievable by researchers now and in the future.

If you have questions about BDRM or transferring digital archival files to the University Libraries, please contact Special Collections and University Archives.

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October is Archives Month, an annual observance of the agencies and people responsible for maintaining and making available the archival and historical records of our nation, state, communities and people. As part of the month-long celebration, this blog is highlighting some of the innovative and exciting work being done in Special Collections and University Archives.

October 10 is also Electronic Records Day, as sponsored by the Council of State Archivists. This day is designed to raise awareness among state government agencies, the general public, related professional organizations, and other stakeholders about the crucial role electronic records play in their world. We in SCUA recognize the importance of electronic records in modern communication, and we are working to ensure that the importance archival records of today are preserved for researchers now and in the future. 

Monday, October 6, 2014

A New Exhibit in the Hodges Reading Room: Kay Brown, David O. Selznick, and Gone with the Wind

Exhibit Poster


The Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to announce a new exhibit -  Kay Brown, David O. Selznick, and Gone with the Wind. This exhibit features photographs and mementos belonging Dr. Kate Barrett, daughter of Kay Brown Barrett. Dr. Barrett is currently a Professor Emerita in the Department of Kinesiology of the School of Health and Human Sciences and continues to be involved in many university projects.

In 1936, Kay Brown was well into her successful career as Eastern Representative of Selznick International Pictures when she came across the yet unpublished manuscript of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind. Brown read the book in galley form and was so impressed with it that she immediately contacted producer David O. Selznick and his financial backer John “Jock” Whitney and urged them to buy the rights to the novel. Unsure of the success of a Civil War film, Selznick initially was not interested in the property, but Brown was adamant and he trusted her. Margaret Mitchell trusted her too and the two women would form a friendship that would last long after the filming ended. The legal rights to the book were purchased from the author for the sum of $50,000. Brown then began the painstaking project of acquiring a writer to adapt the book for the screen. Meanwhile, Selznick began searching for the right director to bring the story to life. 


Kay Brown with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and Jock Whitney at a press conference announcing the purchase of the rights to the novel Gone with the Wind

Casting the movie would soon take on a life of its own.  After the book was published, it became a Pulitzer Prize winning sensation and casting the leads became a national event. While Selznick was considering casting the usual suspects of the Hollywood stars, fans across the country had their own ideas. Everyone seemed to think that Clark Gable was a natural choice for Rhett Butler, but he was under contract to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and legal negotiations ensued. In the end, MGM lent Gable for the movie in exchange for the distribution rights and half of the profits. It was a hard bargain, but as fans threatened to boycott the film if Gable was not cast as Rhett Butler, Selznick had little choice but to agree. Olivia de Havilland was borrowed from Warner Brothers Studios for the role of Melanie Hamilton Wilkes and Leslie Howard reluctantly agreed to take the part of Ashley Wilkes.

Producer David O. Selznick and the portrait of Scarlett O'Hara used in the film

The search for the right girl to play the self-centered and determined heroine Scarlett O’Hara would be the stuff of which legends are made. Selznick’s representatives traveled throughout the country testing local actresses, creating a media frenzy which continued until the movie’s release. Almost every actress in Hollywood tested for the role but ultimately, it was an English actress, Vivien Leigh, who would capture the part and the heart of the nation as Scarlett.

Gone with the Wind premiered in December of 1939 and became an instant critical and financial success. The movie swept the 1940 Academy Awards - nominated in thirteen categories and winning in eight. Selznick took home the Best Picture Oscar, Vivien Leigh won for Best Actress, and Hattie McDaniel won for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mammy, becoming the first African American to win an Academy Award. The movie won additional Oscars for Best Director (posthumously awarded to Victor Fleming) and Best Screenplay (Sydney Howard) as well as Best Cinematography, Best Editing, and Best Interior Decoration. Walter Plunkett, who designed the costumes for the movie, was not nominated as there was not yet an official category for Best Costume Design until 1948.


A personalized photograph of Arthur Miller
After Selznick was forced to liquidate his studio in 1942 amid financial troubles, Brown became a talent scout and agent, representing stars such as Rex Harrison, Montgomery Clift, and John Gielgud, as well as writers Arthur Miller and Lillian Hellman. Brown was considered a brilliant and powerful presence in the literary and film industry until her retirement at 80. In addition to her career, she had a full personal life, marrying James Barrett and having two daughters, Laurinda and Kate.

This exhibit will be featured in the Hodges Reading Room from October 1, 2014 until January 7, 2015. The Reading Room is open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October is Archives Month!

Celebrate Archives Month!!!
October is North Carolina Archives Month, an annual observance of the agencies and people responsible for maintaining and making available the archival and historical records of our nation, state, communities and people. Throughout October 2014, the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) will host numerous exhibits and events aimed at promoting awareness of the importance of our profession to our state’s citizenry and public leaders.

Folks who are not able to attend any of the events or exhibits will still have a chance to join in on the celebration through our various social media outlets. This blog will be used to highlight some of the exciting and innovative work being done to promote archives at UNCG. Additionally, SCUA staff will share additional information and materials via Twitter, Tumblr, and the Spartan Stories blog.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

2014 Women Veterans Historical Project Annual Luncheon

The 17th Annual Women Veterans Historical Project Luncheon will be held on Saturday, November 8th from 11:30-2 at UNCG's Elliott University Center.

The program will feature a panel discussion about veterans writing workshops. Recent North Carolina Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti will facilitate a discussion with women veterans Mary Hennessy, an Army Nurse who served during the Vietnam War, and Pamela L. Adams, an Army Reserve Officer who deployed to Iraq. Both Hennesy and Adams have participated in Bathanti's writing workshops.
Mary Hennessy

Pamela Adams

The program is open to everyone. Tickets are FREE for UNCG military affiliated students (veterans, reservists, active military), $14 for all other military veterans and $18 for non-veterans. Table sponsorship opportunities to support student attendance will be available for $300.

For details and to make reservations please contact Beth Ann Koelsch at (336) 334-5838 or bakoelsc@uncg.edu.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Save the Date(s): October is Archives Month!

October is North Carolina Archives Month, an annual observance of the agencies and people responsible for maintaining and making available the archival and historical records of our nation, state, communities and people. Throughout October 2014, the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) will host numerous exhibits and events aimed at promoting awareness of the importance of our profession to our state’s citizenry and public leaders.

Field Day at State Normal, 1914
Beginning October 1, two exhibits focused on the 2014 North Carolina Archives Month theme of “North Carolina at Play: Health and Leisure in Our State” will be displayed in Jackson Library. The first will be housed at the College Avenue entrance and will highlight resources held by SCUA that tell the history of health and leisure in North Carolina. The second exhibit, which will be next to the library's reference desk on the first floor of Jackson Library, will focus on the history of health and leisure at UNCG since its founding as the State Normal and Industrial School in 1891. These exhibits will be available for viewing at any time the building is open.

The Hodges Reading Room in Jackson Library will host a lecture by Dr. Joy Kasson of UNC Chapel Hill on Lois Lenski and her career as a documentary writer for children on October 8 at 4pm. Much of Kasson's research was done using the Lois Lenski Papers in SCUA. You can read more about the talk here: http://uncgfol.blogspot.com/2014/09/getting-books-from-life-lois-lenski.html

On October 9 at 10:30am in the Hodges Reading Room, SCUA staff will present a talk on "Interpreting College Scrapbooks as a Microcosm of Institutional and Social History." Archivists Kathelene Smith and Jennifer Motzsko will chart the evolution of the scrapbook, from its origins as a commonplace book to the commercially produced album found on 19th century college campuses. They will also explore the similarities, differences, and overall themes shared by scrapbooks held in SCUA as well as their potential use by scholars, and the importance of preserving them for future generations of historians. A number of scrapbooks related to health and leisure will be displayed.

Stacey Krim, curator for SCUA's Cello Music Collection, will present a biographic overview of Lev Aronson, whose manuscript and annotated music is among the most recent additions to the collection. Lev Aronson (1912-1988) was an established performer and teacher of the violoncello and Jewish survivor of the German and Russian labor camps of World War II. After immigrating to the United States in 1948, Aronson continued his career as principal cellist of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in addition to holding teaching positions at Baylor University and Southern Methodist University. In addition to the presentation, original works composed by Aronson around the time of his imprisonment during WWII will be displayed.

Students in the South Spencer Gymnasium, 1907
SCUA will also offer two walking tours of campus focused specifically on the history of health and physical education on campus. Tours will be offered at 2pm on Wednesday, October 15 and Wednesday, October 22. Each walking tour will take approximately 45 minutes and will be limited to 15 participants. The tours are open to any UNCG student, faculty, staff, or alumni. To reserve a place on the walking tour, please email SCUA@uncg.edu and indicate which tour you would like to take part in. Specifics on meeting location will be emailed to participants prior to the tour date.

Throughout October, SCUA staff will share additional information and materials via various social media outlets. Follow University Archives on Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/UNCGArchives) or Tumblr (http://UNCGArchives.tumblr.com) for daily features on the topic of health and leisure in North Carolina, links to web exhibits featuring SCUA materials, and details on a temporary "pop up exhibit" that will take place on campus at a time and location to be determined. Additionally, the Spartan Stories blog (http://uncghistory.blogspot.com) will publish weekly posts highlighting the history of health and leisure activities at UNCG.

***** FULL SCHEDULE OF EVENTS *****

Wednesday, October 8, 4pm, Hodges Reading Room, Jackson Library
"Getting Books from Life: Lois Lenski, Documentary Writer for Children" lecture

Thursday, October 9, 10:30am, Hodges Reading Room, Jackson Library
"Interpreting College Scrapbooks as a Microcosm of Institutional and Social History" lecture

Wednesday, October 15, 2pm
Campus Walking Tour (RSVP to SCUA@uncg.edu, limited to 15 participants)

Wednesday, October 22, 2pm
Campus Walking Tour (RSVP to SCUA@uncg.edu, limited to 15 participants)

Tuesday, October 28, 2pm, Hodges Reading Room, Jackson Library
"A Biographic Overview of Lev Aronson" lecture

Ongoing, October 1 through October 31, 1st floor, Jackson Library
Exhibits focused on "North Carolina at Play: Health and Leisure in Our State"



Thursday, July 24, 2014

University Archives Videos Now on YouTube

University Archives has started posting some video clips to the University Libraries' YouTube account. The clips are digitized from films held in University Archives. A "Films from UNCG University Archives" playlist collates all the University Archives clips in one place. You'll find scenes from past commencement activities, special campus events and visitors, and even a few past promotional videos for UNCG.

This quick tour of campus from 1950 has been particularly well received. Around the 1:50 mark you'll see some shots of Jackson Library in its final construction stages.


Keep an eye on the site for more video clips to come!