Devil's Tale Posts
Working in an archive, you can come across a lot of exciting material and constantly learn something new. When the Rubenstein recently augmented its collection of World War II propaganda leaflets, we took the occasion to reorganize the whole collection. The collection now contains about 270 leaflets as well as some examples of propaganda magazines (most of the non-English documents include English translations). The material was disseminated between 1941 and 1945 with the aim of damaging enemy morale and sustaining the morale of the occupied countries. The collection includes examples of German and Japanese propaganda, aimed at Allied soldiers. Included also are German-language leaflets that were dropped over Germany by a clandestine British intelligence body—the Political Warfare Executive (PWE)—, as well as French-language leaflets, prepared by the French exile government in London and dropped over Vichy France (calling on the French population to not collaborate with the German occupiers or the Vichy regime).Leaflet with text in Tok Pisi
A large portion of the leaflets were aimed at the Pacific area and dropped by the Psychological Warfare Branch of the U.S. Army Forces. Most of them area are in Japanese. Some of them, however, are written in less well-known languages like Tok Pisin and Burmese. A creole language spoken throughout Papa New Guinea, Tok Pisin is commonly known in English as New Guinean Pidgin or Melanesian Pidgin. By trying to identify the languages of the leaflets, I learned that the New Guinea Campaign from 1942 to 1945 was one of the major military campaigns in the Pacific War and that leaflets in Tok Pisin—the most widely spoken language in New Guinea—were dropped by the Allies in order to encourage the population not to collaborate with the enemy. Likewise, material in Burmese was dropped over Burma (since 1989 Myanmar) in 1944 and 1945 during the Burma Campaign—the Allies’s fight against the Empire of Japan, which was supported to some degree by Thailand, the Burmese Independent Army, and the Indian National Army.Leaflet in Burmese dropped during the Burma Campaign, 1944-1945
Leaflet in Burmese (back)
Finally, one might discover personal connections and be reminded of very familiar places, even when far from home. I am from Kiel, the capital of the state of Schleswig-Holstein in northern Germany. I spent many vacations and weekends in Laboe, a little town at the coast of the Baltic Sea, right at the outskirts of Kiel. Kiel/Laboe was one of the main naval bases and is the location of the Laboe Naval Memorial, a memorial for the deaf of World War I built from 1927 to 1936. As such, it was a natural target for propaganda against the German marine like the leaflet found in our collection shows. Imagine my surprise to see a leaflet showing such a familiar sight while processing! The naval memorial still stands today and attracts many tourists (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laboe_Naval_Memorial).Leaflet depicting Laboe Naval Memorial (front) Leaflet depicting Laboe Naval Memorial (back)
If you want to know more about this collection, visit the collection guide: http://library.duke.edu/rubenstein/findingaids/wwiiprop/.
Post contributed by Sandra Niethardt, Rubenstein Tech Services intern and graduate student in Germanic Languages & Literature.
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“Radio Haiti, You are the Rain. If You Didn’t Fall, We Could Not Bloom”: Repression and Remembrance on November 28
On November 28, 1980, the Duvalier regime unleashed a campaign of violent repression on the independent press and human rights activists, destroying the Radio Haiti station on Rue du Quai in downtown Port-au-Prince. The crackdown was not unexpected: in October of that year, Jean-Claude Duvalier had decreed on the National Radio station that only state media would be permitted, that “the party is over” (“le bal est terminé”) for independent Haitian media. In response, Jean Dominique composed his prophetic (and beloved) editorial Bon appétit, messieurs, in which he sardonically declares, “gentlemen, journalists of the official press — the country is yours and yours alone from now on. And all will be beautiful, all will be peaceful, all will be idyllic, all will be pink and wonderful!” and warns these “official journalists” of what will befall Haiti when the independent press is silenced. Ronald Reagan’s triumph in the US presidential election that November meant decreased international pressure on Duvalier’s government – which was largely dependent on US aid – to respect human rights. And so, on November 28, the inevitable crackdown occurred. More than a dozen of Radio Haiti’s journalists were imprisoned, tortured, and expelled. The regime issued an order to kill Jean Dominique on sight; he escaped to the Venezuelan embassy and later went into exile with Michèle Montas in New York. In the years that followed, resistance to the regime spread throughout the country, as economic conditions worsened for the majority of Haitian citizens while the Duvalier family’s lifestyle grew more ostentatious, lavish and dissipated.
On November 28, 1985, five years to the day after the 1980 crackdown on the independent media, protests broke out in Haiti’s third-largest city, Gonaïves. Three high school students — Jean-Robert Cius, Mackenson Michel, and Daniel Israël – were gunned down by Duvalier’s Tontons Macoutes. In photos, they are heartbreakingly young – boys, not yet men. The teenaged martyrs were christened the “Twa Flè Lespwa” (Three Flowers of Hope), and their deaths catalyzed outrage and resistance to the regime, both within Haiti and in Haitian communities abroad.Flier for Brooklyn protest against Duvalier and the killing of the Twa Flè Lespwa. Radio Haiti Archive.
In January 1986, Jean Dominique co-authored a short op ed in Newsday with lawyer and human rights advocate Arthur Helton, discussing the deaths of the Twa Flè Lespwa, the grassroots agitation provoked by their murders, and the United States’ complicity in supporting the Duvalier regime.“Haiti No Longer Suffers in Silence” by Jean L. Dominique and Arthur C. Helton. Newsday, January 27, 1986. Radio Haiti Archive.
They warn, perhaps cautiously: “Discontent grows and a fundamental conflict is looming.” The conflict was indeed looming, but it was not yet clear how imminent it might be.Le Petit Samedi Soir, Haitian independent magazine, for February 1-7, 1986. Radio Haiti Archive.
But on February 7, 1986, just over a week after Jean Dominique’s and Arthur Helton’s editorial was published, it happened: Jean-Claude Duvalier and his family boarded a US Air Force cargo plane and fled to France. On March 4, Jean Dominique and Michèle Montas returned to Port-au-Prince, where many thousands of people – “une masse en délire,” a delirious crowd, according to the Haitian newspaper Le Nouvelliste – received them at the airport and nearly carried them to the old Radio Haiti station on Rue du Quai.Photocopy of Nouvelliste story on return of Jean Dominique and Michèle Montas to Haiti. March 5, 1986. Radio Haiti Archive.
The station had been ravaged, their equipment smashed. But the recordings, miraculously, had survived. J.J. Dominique – Jean’s eldest daughter, who became the station manager after 1986 — explains: “We always said, ‘The Macoutes, they may destroy, but they don’t know the true value of so many things’… They didn’t think, they didn’t understand that the most valuable thing at the station was the work contained in the station’s archive.”
With assistance from the Haitian people – many of whom, though very poor, gave what little money they could afford — the station reopened in 1986. On November 28 of that year, Radio Haiti held a day-long commemoration of November 28, 1980 and November 28, 1985. It included tributes to the Twa Flè Lespwa and to station manager Richard Brisson who had been killed in 1982.Radio Haiti’s November 28, 1986 special programming. Radio Haiti Archive.
The archive also contains many pages of poetry written by Radio Haiti’s listeners, in Haitian Creole and French, on the Twa Flè Lespwa, the reopening of the station and the return of the journalists. The heartfelt, earnest intensity of these poems (these love letters, really) evinces the public’s devotion to Radio Haiti. For Radio Haiti’s listeners, the station was more than a station; it was a symbol of liberty, grassroots democracy, and freedom of expression. For Radio Haiti’s listeners, the journalists were more than journalists; they were heirs to the revolutionary legacy of Haitian heroes who had fought against French colonizers and US occupiers. For me, as the project archivist, finding these poems is a reminder of how irreplaceable and beloved Radio Haiti was and still remains, and how important this archive is.Un Jour Comme Aujourd’hui” by Elmate Parent. Radio Haiti Archive.
A day like today
Under the sorrowful sky of November 28 in the year ‘80
Haiti’s sun went out
Sending these brave men, these heroes,
Fruit of the body of Dessalines, of Charlemagne Péralte
Fighting with courage,
For nothing more than the liberation of Haiti,
Upon the claws of assassins cruel
With hope they suffered and toiled
All for the same cause.
A day like today
The skies of Haiti wept,
And her tears, borne of pain,
Allowed life to germinate.
You, brave patriots, true offspring of the people,
You have suffered such humiliation
And endured physical torture.
You left your families
Your country and your friends
To go and live under another sky
Where you were strangers
All of this for nothing more than the deliberation of Haiti
Your native land…
A day like today
In the heavens over Gonaïves,
Three brilliant stars burned out
They gave their light
To reveal crimes
And their blood to fertilize
The arid soil of Haiti
Whereupon shall sprout and grow
The tree of freedom.
Mackenson Michel, Daniel Israël, Jean Robert Cius
Will your famous names,
Be erased from our thoughts?
Today, 28 November ’86…“Men bèl ti paròl yo” by Emmanuel St. Louis. Radio Haiti Archive.
“Men bèl ti paròl yo” (“Some lovely little words”) draws on metaphors of nature and harvest befitting Jean Dominique, a man who was, after all, an agronomist before he was a journalist and activist. The poet touchingly explains that he “spent all night thinking about Radio Haïti-Inter” before setting pen to paper.
If the sun didn’t shine, plants would not give fruit
If the rain didn’t fall, drought would never stop dancing,
If the rain didn’t fall, there would be no springs
Springs would not give rise to rivulets
Rivulets would not become streams
Streams would not become rivers,
Rivers would not become the sea…
Radio Haiti, you are the sea, we are the fish
If you were to dry up, we could not live.
Radio Haiti, you are our rain,
If you didn’t fall, we could not bloom…
Radio Haiti, be encouraged! Sow! Plant!
God will bring it to fruition.
Let us weed, even if the thorns are many,
The pruning shears of the Holy Spirit will aid us always.“Ayiti Intè ou se manman liberasyon won” by Gueline Alexis. Radio Haiti Archive.
From “Haiti-Inter, You are the Mother of Liberation”:
Yes, you are the mother of liberation
Because when the children of your womb were suffering
You never closed your eyes to it
You stood bravely to defend the people
Just as a mother hen would do
If a vulture came to devour her children…
Now the idol of the Haitian people
As returned to continue
The wonderful work it began
Beautiful mama, hold on tighter
Stronger – courage — never give up.
Post contributed by Laura Wagner, PhD, Radio Haiti Project Archivist.
A manuscript (i.e. handwritten) cookbook can tell us a great deal about its creator. What foods were available to her? How would her family have celebrated holidays and birthdays? Was she an elite woman with a cook who could prepare elaborate dishes, or a farm wife who had to prepare simple, hearty fare and preserve her harvest to feed her family? Do the recipes reflect a particular ethnic or religious background or geographical location? As is the case today, routine meals do not require a recipe. It is the special occasion recipes, especially those that require careful measurements to work properly, that are recorded for future reference.
We know, based on the ingredients, that Rubenstein Library’s New England Manuscript Recipe Book, [ca. 1860]- comes from the northeastern United States. It is no surprise that the little book includes a page of maple recipes, since maple is such a distinctive regional product.
I was intrigued by the Maple Ice Cream Recipe, in part because I am the proud owner of a fancy electric ice cream maker, so much easier than the hand-crank models that would have been available when the recipe was recorded. There is also the nostalgia of tasting maple: Santa always left a maple sugar woman in my Christmas stocking.
This is an extremely simple recipe, with just three ingredients: eggs, maple syrup, and cream:
I made a couple of changes. Given concerns about salmonella, I was not comfortable leaving the egg whites uncooked. I was also worried that mixing the eggs and syrup and boiling the mixture would result in curdled eggs. Instead, I boiled the syrup for about ten minutes to reduce it slightly, thereby intensifying the flavor. In a separate bowl, I beat the whole eggs. Then I slowly dribbled in about a cup of hot syrup, whisking the egg mixture constantly before whisking the egg mixture into the pot of hot syrup. Then I brought the mixture to 170 degrees, turned off the heat, and stirred in the cream.
Finally, I strained the mixture through a sieve to remove any solids and chilled it overnight before freezing, emptying into a plastic container, and leaving it in the freezer for a few hours to firm it up. The result: an absolutely luscious and elegant frozen dessert.
How did it taste? I brought in the whole container to share with my Rubenstein colleagues and it got rave reviews. It is very rich (note the quart of heavy cream!), but delicious.
Intrigued by the annotations (1896, Mrs. Kimber Thomas, Ladies Uplift Club), I did some searching and found a Morrisville, Vermont Uplift Club in The Register of Women’s Clubs (1922). I wondered whether Mrs. Kimber Thomas was given the recipe for Maple Ice Cream in 1896 and contributed it to an Uplift Club fund-raising cookbook and was thrilled to find a reference to this 53-page cookbook: Tried and Proven Recipes from Many Households. Morristown, Vt. : Ladies of the Uplift Club. The one known copy is in the Janice Bluestein Longone Culinary Archive at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Staff have dated it to 1921, based on advertisements printed in the cookbook. As I write this, I am waiting for scans that I hope will confirm my hunches about the Maple Ice Cream recipe’s provenance. The tradition of noting the source and date of a recipe is a lovely way to link culinary creations to a vast network of friends, family, community, and history. The additional information would also allow us to more precisely identify the origins of this precious little cookbook.
Post contributed by Elizabeth Dunn, Research Services Librarian
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Copyright, Rob Amberg
Rob Amberg journeyed to the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina during the height of the back-to-land movement. It was a time when hippies and artists took John Prine’s advice and “blew up [their] TVs, threw away [their] papers, went to the country, and built [them] a house.” All kinds of folks retreated to the mountains back then, and Amberg arrived in 1973 with the suspicious title of documentary photographer.Tillman Chandler’s barn and tobacco crop, 1975.
Copyright, Rob Amberg
I say suspicious because Appalachia has been a favorite testing ground for ambitious artists for more than a century. These artists, documentarians, and musicologists act as arbiters and preservationists for what they view as culturally interesting and valuable, and Madison County in particular, where Amberg found himself and where I grew up, is not always portrayed in a nuanced light.Joe Ross Chandler and Bobby Cantrell, 1977.
Copyright, Rob Amberg.
It’s easy though for artists to fall into the trap of reproducing certain convenient and sometimes sensational tropes. My personal favorite is the proliferation of snake handler portraits. A recent comment on a Vice Magazine series called “Two Days in Appalachia,” a series that provoked much conversation and criticism, pointed out that “poverty porn” has been a long standing tradition of documentary artists creating work from the Appalachian region. So, yes, I think it’s fair to initially approach any stranger with a camera in the mountains with suspicion.The first picture I made of Junior, 1975.
Copyright, Rob Amberg
All of this is to say that Rob Amberg has created a complex, beautiful, and compassionate body of work. Of the many aspects of his work that I find remarkable, I will mention two here: first, when he moved to Madison County in 1973, he came to stay. His photographs, whether documenting the small community of Sodom Laurel, the expansion of I-26, or the continual influx of new people, follow long-term changes in the landscape, a landscape that he calls a shatter zone. Amberg defines a shatter zone this way:
Shatter zone is an 18th-century term that refers to an area of fissured or cracked rock that forms a network of veins that are often filled with mineral deposits. The phrase took on new meaning after World War II when anthropologists and political scientists began using it to speak of borderlands. In this modern definition shatter zones are places of refuge from, and resistance to, capitalist economies, state making, and state rule. Appalachia and Madison County have always fit that definition.At Cricket’s birthday party, Big Pine, 2011.
Copyright, Rob Amberg. I-26 at Buckner Gap, Madison County, N.C. 2008.
Copyright, Rob Amberg.
For four decades, Amberg has acted as a witness and interpreter of both the visible and invisible fissures of a changing landscape, and he has captured moments that could not be experienced, let alone appreciated, by someone who was merely passing through. When viewing his photographs, I often ask myself, how did he get there? He got there because he has dedicated the majority of his life to being in Madison County.J.D. Thomas walking away from his burning home place, Sprinkle Creek, Madison County, N.C., 1997.
Copyright, Rob Amberg
The second aspect of his work that greatly interests me, which is related to the longitudinal nature of his project, is Amberg’s own increasingly entangled role in the community. Once, over lunch, Amberg and I talked about all the goings on in Madison County, and it became clear that he knew more about the land and the people than I did. I was born and raised there, but I left when I was sixteen and now live in Hillsborough. As I have become more of an outsider to the community, Amberg’s intimacy with the land and people continues to grow. And as this intimacy grows, he becomes more implicated in the narratives that he weaves, in the lives that he portrays. And, curiously, as his subjects view his work, they are informed and changed by the stories he tells. All is changing as the work goes on.Ben Amberg, Rob’s son, with Dellie and Junior, 1982.
Copyright, Rob Amberg Junior playing with my daughter Kate, 1992.
Copyright, Rob Amberg
To me, Amberg’s photographs are one continuous conversation. I keep going back to them; they keep speaking to one another and to me. It’s an amazing time to be able to view his work, in medias res. In fact, I’ve never quite had this kind of experience with an artist, one who so profoundly shapes my view of the place I grew up. It’s my hope that he continues to work for many years, and I am excited to follow his efforts as he contributes his photographs and papers to the Rubenstein Library.Isaac Gunter’s tobacco bed and cemetery, 1982.
Copyright, Rob Amberg. Migrant farmworker cutting and spudding tobacco, 1993.
Copyright, Rob Amberg New condominiums at the Wolf Ridge Resort. Upper Laurel, Madison County, N.C., 2007.
Copyright, Rob Amberg
As an addendum, I should mention that Amberg’s photographs reach well beyond Appalachia, and you can follow his current projects on his blog: http://robamberg.com/. Also, you can view the collection guide to learn more about the Rubenstein Library’s holdings.
*I have kept Amberg’s original captions, which reveal a glimmer of how he views the photographs, the people, and the land.
Post contributed by Laurin Penland, Research Services Assistant.
We are pleased to announce this year’s winner of the Middlesworth Award!
The Middlesworth Award is given annually in recognition of students whose research makes use of the primary sources and rare materials held in the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Funding for the awards has been provided by Chester P. Middlesworth (A.B., 1949) of Statesville, North Carolina.
This year’s winner is Michael Sotsky (’15) for “The Fight to End ‘Legalized Lynching’: The Civil Rights Congress’s Rise and Fall in the Southern United States in the Post World War II Era.” He wrote this paper as an independent study under Dr. Nancy MacLean. Sotsky’s primary sources included material on the Civil Rights Congress in the J.B. Matthews Papers and The Daily Worker from the American Newspaper Repository Collection.
We will be celebrating Sotsky and the winners of the library’s other writing and research prizes at an awards reception on Friday, October 30 from 3:30-4:30 in the Holsti-Anderson Family Assembly Room. All are invited for refreshments and the opportunity to honor the recipients.
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