Yale University Library News

Student Research at Yale University Library

October 3, 2016

Every year, exhibits in the Sterling Memorial Library Exhibits Corridor highlight the research of exceptional Yale students. The selected students’ projects make use of library resources in remarkable and compelling ways.

Rebecca Straub, a graduate student in the Department of the History of Art, researches a less-familiar facet of a well-known Yale figure: Harvey Cushing (1869-1939), groundbreaking neurosurgeon, Yale professor, and a driving force behind the establishment of the Cushing/Whitney Medical Library.  Throughout his life, Cushing was an avid scrapbooker, often relying on scrapbooks to preserve and organize information.  Straub explores Cushing’s fastidious documentation of his personal and professional life and examines how his scrapbooks informed his published materials. 

María de las Mercedes Martínez (Trumbull College ‘16), an Archaeological Studies major, demonstrates how advances in virtual archaeology can create three-dimensional representations of ruined sites.  Her display in the Exhibition Corridor focuses on three major monuments in Palmyra, Syria, which were recently destroyed by the Islamic State.  Martinez seeks to explore how technology can help preserve cultural heritage by virtually replicating structures that have experienced deterioration or destruction as a result of conflicts and disasters, natural or otherwise. Throughout her research process, Martinez has made extensive use of  physical artifacts and archaeological books and periodicals available through the Yale Babylonian Collection.

Camille Owens, a graduate student in African American Studies, pieces together the biography of “Bright” Oscar Moore, a black child prodigy who toured and performed in the United States during the late 19th century.  After discovering a cabinet card photograph in the Randolph Linsly Simpson African-American Collection at the Beinecke Library, Owens sought to learn more about Moore’s life and career.  Her research has become a fascinating interdisciplinary project that addresses race, disability, prodigy, and memory.

The research of Helen Price (Davenport College ‘18) focuses on the early years of coeducation within Yale College.  Price developed her display from research conducted for Professor Jay Gitlin’s course Yale and America, taught through the Department of History.  Her research addresses the specific issues that arose in the areas of academics, housing, and athletics, and also highlights the achievements of several extraordinary female students who attended and graduated from Yale during the initial years of coeducation.

As in previous exhibitions, Student Research at Yale University Library emphasizes the extensiveness of the library’s resources, as well as the diversity and extraordinary creativity of Yale’s student researchers. Students regularly find ingenious and imaginative ways to use the library’s collections, and this exhibition series gives remarkable young researchers the opportunity to share excerpts of their research with the community.