June 2020 Archives

June 25, 2020

map of White Earth and Red Lake and railway lines completed in Minnesota in 1890.

Despite the disruption of the COVID-19 shutdown in March, the class of 2020 completed a wide range of original research projects using Yale Library collections and resources. Seven students wrote senior essays that were recognized with one of three annual library prizes. The winning essays have been published on Eli Scholar.

The Harvey M. Applebaum ’59 Award is for an essay using the library’s collections of government documents and information. This year, a first prize of $500 and a second prize of $250 were awarded. The Applebaum Award is chaired by Kenya Flash, government information librarian. The 2020 submissions were judged by Barbara Esty, data librarian; Cate Kellett, catalog librarian; Scott Matheson, associate librarian for Technical Services; Youn Noh, digital information research specialist; and Jennifer Snow, librarian for anthropology, sociology, and women, gender, and sexuality studies, producing these results:

  • Second prize: Stephanie Higginson, Morse College, for Against Executive-Controlled Administrative Law Judges. Stephen Skowronek, Pelatiah Perit Professor of Political Science, was Higginson’s senior essay adviser. The prize judges said Higginson’s work “provided novel comparisons and a new lens on the intersection of mid-century ‘teen panics’ and the promotion of increasingly severe anti-drug laws.”

The Manuscripts and Archives Diane Kaplan Memorial Prize is for an essay based substantially on research in any Yale Manuscripts and Archives collection. The $500 prize was presented to two students this year. The Kaplan Prize is chaired by Bill Landis, associate director for Public Services. Jennifer Coggins, archivist for collection development;  Mike Lotstein, university archivist;  Steve Ross, manager for Public Services; Judy Schiff, chief research archivist; and Camila Tessler, archivist, also served as judges for this year’s essay submissions.

  • Steven Rome, Grace Hopper College, for  The Apostle of Dissent: J. Hendrix McLane’s Fight Against History in Post-Reconstruction South Carolina. David Blight, Sterling Professor of History, of African American Studies, and of American Studies, was Rome’s senior essay adviser. “Steven Rome’s essay is especially noteworthy in its creative use of a small, serendipitously assembled personal papers collection as a springboard to explore political developments in South Carolina in the immediate aftermath of Reconstruction,” Landis wrote. “Drawing on a variety of sources, Rome examines the ultimately futile attempts of John Augustus Hendrix McLane to forge a progressive, purportedly race-blind alliance between farmers and other working-class South Carolinians to counterbalance the power of lawyers, bankers, and red-shirt politicians in that state as Jim Crow-era racism solidified.”   
  • Sahaj Sankaran, Silliman College, for Ambassadors Extraordinary: Chester Bowles, B.K. Nehru, and Ambassadorial Agency in Indo-American Relations, 1961-1969.  David Engerman, Leitner International Interdisciplinary Professor of History, was Sankaran’s senior essay adviser. “Sahaj Sankaran’s essay is a beautifully written, structured, and argued exploration of the agency exercised through the contemporary ambassadorships of Chester Bowles and Braj Kumar Nehru in the tumultuous decade of the 1960s,” Landis said. “Sankaran makes creative use of an array of documentation in MSSA’s Bowles Papers and the Nehru papers held in the Nehru Memorial Library in New Delhi, India, and from several other archives, to weave a convincing thesis about these ambassadors’ actions and influence during a unique moment in the Cold War relationship between India and the United States.”

The Library Map Prize recognizes the best use of maps in a senior essay or equivalent project. This year, a first prize of $500 and an honorable mention of $250 will be awarded. The Map Prize is chaired by GIS Librarian Miriam Olivares. This year’s judges are Anna Arays, librarian for Slavic and East European studies; Brandon Milliate,  librarian for South and Southeast Asian studies; Catherine DeRose, manager of the library’s Digital Humanities Lab; Kayleigh Bohemier, librarian for science research support; Kelly Blanchat, librarian for undergraduate teaching and outreach; Lori Bronars, life sciences librarian; and Rachel Sperling, librarian for environmental studies.

  • First prize Heidi Katter, Silliman College, for Railroad Ties: Tracks to the White Earth and Red Lake Ojibwe Reservations, 1860s-1910s. Ned Blackhawk, professor of history and of American studies, was Katter’s essay adviser. The prize judges said Katter’s essay was a “clear and compelling project that uses a variety of archival maps to construct and advance an argument on railroad colonialism, ‘federal geographic consciousness,’ and the dispossession of White Earth and Red Lake lands.” 
  • First prize Soledad O. Tejada, Davenport College, for The Public and the Personal: Mapping the NYC Subway System as an Urban Memoryscape. The faculty adviser was Elihu Rubin, associate professor of architecture and of American studies. “This was an ambitious, innovative, and theoretically grounded project that used a variety of cartographic and artistic sources in the paper, which strengthened its points about cartography and mapping memory,” the prize judges wrote. “The artistic component successfully and creatively combined the physicality of place with the transient and elusive nature of memory.”
  • Honorable mention: Peter A. Luff, Jonathan Edwards College, for Social Agglomeration Forces and the City. This project had two faculty advisers, Costas Arkolakis, professor of economics  and Sun Kyoung Lee, postdoctoral associate in economics. “The author used a rigorous methodology, and thoroughly described the process to generate and geocode data from historic NYC archives,” the judges wrote. “Merit is given to the use of GIS-based maps, including 3D visualization, to demonstrate the veracity of the argument while providing an intriguing glimpse into New York City’s Gilded Age.”

Image: Marschner Map of Original Vegetation, cited by Heidi Katter '20 in her essay "Railroad Ties"

Post on June 25, 2020 - 10:07am |

June 23, 2020

Crowd of students with Beinecke Library director inside the library

Edwin C. (E. C.) Schroeder, director of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and associate university librarian, will retire next year on August 31, 2021, at the conclusion of his current term and after more than 30 years of service with Yale University Library, beginning as a catalog librarian in 1989 and as director since 2011.

Under his leadership, the library made landmark acquisitions, including the Meserve-Kunhardt Collection of American photography and the Takamiya Collection of medieval manuscripts; expanded use of the library’s collections in teaching; and raised the library’s profile both locally and globally.

“The Beinecke Library has undergone a remarkable transformation during E.C.’s tenure,” said Susan Gibbons, the Stephen F. Gates ’68 University Librarian and vice provost for collections and scholarly communication.  “E. C. has worked to make the library’s extraordinary holdings more widely available to all.”   

More than 600 courses are now taught on site each academic year, and the library has engaged new audiences in the New Haven community as well as around the world. The Beinecke Library has become a destination to an unprecedented degree, attracting nearly 200,000 visitors in a typical year.

Barbara Rockenbach, incoming on July 1 as the Stephen F. Gates ’68 University Librarian, will work with Vice Provost Gibbons and Provost Scott Strobel to plan a search for Schroeder’s successor starting this fall.

Schroeder was appointed to his first five-year term by President Richard Levin in 2011 and reappointed in 2016 by President Peter Salovey.  Other highlights of Schroeder’s tenure include:

In a message to Beinecke Library colleagues this week, Schroeder noted the vast changes he has “witnessed, participated in, and helped lead” over the course of his career at Yale. In 1989, he remembered, catalog work forms were typed on a manual typewriter and used to create both catalog cards and online records. “Today,” Schroeder said, “as we continue our work away from the library, it is remarkable how successfully our researchers and public audience can explore and study the wide-ranging collections of the library remotely.”

In his final year as director, Schroeder said he will focus on the post-COVID-19 reopening of the library, initiatives to address systemic racism, implementation of a new digital library system, and continued expansion of digital access to the collections.

Schroeder reflected: “Our current time powerfully underscores the importance of pursuing our mission, inscribed at the entrance to the library: ‘to serve as a source of learning and as an inspiration to all who enter.’” 

Post on June 23, 2020 - 2:17pm |

Through the Help Us Make History project, the University Archives has documented the stories of Yale undergraduates during the 2020 Spring Semester.  The first prompt “Share a picture of your study space” was a great success.  See some examples of how Yale undergraduate students finished out their semester.  If you would like to participate, there is still time to visit the site and send us a pic of your study space from the past semester.  Otherwise, stay tuned for more prompts coming soon!

Image of a Yale student's COVID-19 isolation work space“Desk in my brother’s room at home. Around me were childhood stuffed animals, a turtle tank and a full-size bed. Important to me is the sunlight filtering in. Lighting has had a drastic influence on my mood, motivation and study habits. The same is what occurs in my brain, the logical connections, the development of claims, the cranking out of problems. But nothing outside my mind has continued the same. I miss the intellectual generosity that the Yale space fosters and that my peers bring into my life.”

Image of a Yale student's COVID-19 isolation work space“I lived in Baker Hall, my work-space was the desk next to my bed. I had a nice view of the trees from my window. In had everything I needed in my small work-space:  a small pot to warm water for tea, my computer for attending my online classes, a lamp, a calendar, and pictures to remind me of my family and home (Mexico). I played the ukulele to relax, each post-it was a new ukulele song. I had three boards on the walls to write down my ideas, a section of my one of my boards can be seen in the reflection on the mirror.”

Image of a Yale student's COVID-19 isolation work space“My family and I moved from CT to NJ during our spring break.  Due to the quarantine, we weren’t able to buy a lot of the furniture we were planning to and I built myself a makeshift desk out of boxes and totes.  The desk is in my room and was definitely a huge improvement from sitting on my bed for hours on end.”

Post on June 15, 2020 - 5:05pm |

June 9, 2020

Campus view through diamond-paned window

“I’ve struggled with what I can say about the killing of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and so many others. Their deaths expose the persistent systemic racism in American society. The library's commitment to fight this racism is reflected in our community values. Words are important, but insufficient. In this moment, I am challenging myself and my colleagues to find new ways to strengthen the structures and culture of Yale University Library so that we do our part in addressing the challenges of systemic racism and injustice.

“At an individual level, so many Black and African-American members of our community are experiencing grief, anger, fear, frustration, and many other emotions. I recognize their pain, and I offer them my deepest respect and support.
 
“Yale Library collections include powerful expressions by Black individuals of their lived experiences as well as historical evidence of the efforts of individuals and organizations to celebrate Black culture and fight racism. These include the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection at Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library; documentation of the 1970 May Day Rally and Yale in Manuscripts and Archives; the papers of  the Rev. Samuel N. Slie, New Havener and Yale alumnus who worked against racism and for peace and justice, in the Divinity Library; and interviews with African-American composers and musicians in Gilmore Music Library’s Oral History of American Music Collection.

“Going forward, the library will increase its efforts to serve as a broadcast channel for the powerful words, images, film, and other expressions of Black lives. We will prioritize access to these important cultural resources through digitization, such as the recent addition of 11,000 new images from the papers of Langston Hughes to Beinecke Library's online collections. We will also continue our commitment to collaborative efforts like the Black Bibliography Project that explore how “bibliographic and cataloguing practices have to change in order to accommodate Black print culture and its modes of production, dissemination, and use.”

“These initiatives leverage the library’s collections to bring Black voices to the fore and prioritize making Black collections available for teaching, learning, and research. But these initiatives must be a catalyst for additional ideas and meaningful actions. We must also grapple with hard questions about what we can do individually and as a library community to re-examine power structures and confront systems of oppression and the conditions under which they persist.

“This work is still to be done. I pledge that we will undertake and continue it.”

 -- Susan Gibbons, Stephen F. Gates ’68 University Librarian and Vice Provost for Collections & Scholarly Communications

Post on June 9, 2020 - 3:55pm |