Devil's Tale Posts
The image above, taken from the commonplace book of E. Bradford Todd (found in the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library), is representative of a popular view of the science of phrenology. Seen today on ironic posters and T-shirts, as well as modern ceramic reproductions, the phrenological bust has come to serve as metonym for the entire science of phrenology. The image persists, but so too do misconceptions about the nature of this peculiar nineteenth-century science, which proposed to articulate and even predict the character of an individual based on the shape of the skull.
Phrenology was attractive to the masses and inspired writing of all kinds, from diary entries to letters, as well as published texts and broadsides. E. Bradford Todd, as shown above, recorded the phrenological doctrine – complete with his own sketches – into his commonplace book in mid-nineteenth-century America. Eugene Marshall, a schoolteacher in 1851 in Rhode Island, went to see a phrenological lecture and resolved to study the science, a project he took on with such zeal that he eventually attempted to phrenologize himself. Writing in 1823 when the science was still young, another individual gossiped to a friend via letter that a mutual acquaintance was looking for a wife “with all the proper bumps on her head for he is a great believer [of phrenology]” (Eliza K. Nelson papers). As seen in these letters and diaries from Duke University’s Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, from its earliest introduction, phrenology captured the mind of the public and promised solutions to life’s problems, both great and small, not least of which was the problem of crime.
With generous assistance from the History of Medicine travel grant, I recently visited the Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to conduct research in support of my dissertation, “Criminal Minds: Law, Medicine, and the Phrenological Impulse in America, 1830-1890.” My research takes a serious look at the “pseudoscience” of phrenology and considers the ways in which it was viewed as truthful, scientific, and useful to nineteenth-century individuals. In particular, I examine how phrenology, at the beginning of the century, came to be viewed as a valuable possibility for crafting a criminal science avant la letter, more than half a century before the introduction of Cesare Lombroso’s positivist criminology that would later be considered the birth of modern criminology.
Phrenologists wrote early and often about the problem of crime, which was drawing attention from all corners in the nineteenth century. The growth of cities and urbanization, the increasing rapidity and ease of movement of peoples within and between countries, and the rise of mass media that made sensational stories about murder and theft national (and international) news – all of these nineteenth-century trends combined to render crime a particularly fraught problem. Yet well before “criminology” had been introduced, phrenologists and other enthusiasts were considering the ways in which this new science could be used to help solve crime.
While it was primarily intellectuals and professional phrenologists operating within a narrow orbit who ruminated on the potential of phrenology with regard to the criminal problem, we can also find glimpses of the reception of these ideas in the records of non-phrenologists who encountered the science. For example, in the diary of Jane Roberts, a British author, she records a trip on January 6, 1837, to visit a phrenologist in London, Dr. DeVille, with her friend Mrs. Phillips, Lord Byron’s daughter. During this visit, both received phrenological readings by DeVille, but they also heard a long discourse from him about the truth of the science. Interestingly, the examples DeVille chooses to illustrate and prove the science are linked directly to bad behavior and crime, explaining that attention to the developments of the mind (as read in the skull) can serve to prevent or cure evil propensities. He illustrates this claim with two examples: one story in which he identified two robbers before the fact, and a second where a father brings his son in to see DeVille, before he eventually is sent to prison for his crimes. Miss Roberts was impressed by these stories, and resolved to visit him again.
Whether or not Miss Roberts repeated her pilgrimage to the phrenologist’s office, this interaction is representative of the ways in which phrenological ideas about crime entered into vernacular culture. Phrenologists framed their enterprise as a solution to one of the era’s most pressing problems, in part to sell their services to individuals like Miss Roberts. Yet, as I argue, phrenology also made a clear claim attempted to predict and explain the behavior of criminals, and in so doing signaled the development of a new science of crime.
Courtney Thompson is a PhD candidate in the History of Science and Medicine Program, History, at Yale University
Last night’s episode left viewers reeling over the crazy things that some of the characters did. Stan finds a folder of cartoons drawn by Lou on the photocopier. He shows them to some of the other creative staff and they make jokes. Don gets a call from Anna Draper’s niece, Stephanie, who is pregnant and needs help. He tells her to go to Megan’s house and he will fly out to see her. Megan takes her in, but then later tells Stephanie it would be best if she left, writing her a check for $1,000. Lou is angry at the creative staff for mocking his cartoon ambitions and orders them all to work late on a Friday night. Henry and Betty host part of a progressive dinner. Betty speaks up about the war in Vietnam and Henry contradicts her, causing a big argument later. Don arrives at Megan’s house and is disappointed that Stephanie has already left. Ginsberg becomes paranoid about the new computer and goes over to Peggy’s house to work. He tells her that the computer is driving him crazy and makes a pass at her. She pushes him away and sends him home. Sally comes home from school with a broken nose and argues with Betty. Bobby sneaks into Sally’s bedroom to ask if Henry and Betty will get a divorce because they argue so much. Megan hosts a party at her house for her acting friends. Don feels out of place, but then goes for a drink with Harry when he unexpectedly shows up. Harry tells Don that Lou and Jim are pursuing the Commander cigarette account, which will force Don out of SC&P because of the ad he did for the American Cancer Society. When Don comes back to Megan’s house after the party Megan and Amy seduce him together. The next morning Don flies back to New York and interrupts the meeting with Philip Morris executives, selling them on his services, much to the dismay of Jim and Lou. At SC&P Ginsberg calmly expresses his feelings for Peggy and gives her a gift box. She is horrified to open it and see his nipple, which he cut off to relieve the “pressure” from the computer. He gets carried out of SC&P on a stretcher in restraints.
Last night’s episode featured references to Xerox, rumaki, golf clubs, and American Tobacco, among other things. Enjoy our selection of highlighted ads that reflect the brands and themes that Mad Men characters interacted with last night.
A gallery of our selected images may also be found on Flickr.
You may have heard the news: a working draft of one of the iconic songs in American music, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run,” will be displayed in Perkins Library on May 8-11, and then here in the Rubenstein Library from May 12-June 27. While at the Rubenstein, Springsteen’s draft, owned by Floyd Bradley, will be in the very good company of one of the largest collections of manuscripts by another favorite son of New Jersey, Walt Whitman, in the Trent Collection of Whitmaniana.
Both Whitman and Springsteen felt and expressed a deep connection with working-class Americans. After a transient childhood, Whitman worked as a journeyman printer before becoming the “Good Gray Poet”; Springsteen’s mother famously took out a loan to buy him a guitar when he turned sixteen, and years of honing his musical craft at small venues for low pay preceded the breakthrough of “The Boss.”
The working draft of “Born to Run” includes many passages that were changed or excised from the final lyrics, but the chorus “tramps like us, baby we were born to run” is already in place.
“Tramps,” or homeless itinerants looking for steady work and a place to live, became a particular concern in the United States (and for Whitman) during and after the “long depression” of the 1870s. Whitman wrote about this phenomenon in many different contexts, perhaps most memorably in a fragment entitled “The Tramp and Strike Questions.” In a sentence that gets to the core of an element of “Born to Run” and other Springsteen songs, Whitman writes there: “Curious as it may seem, it is in what are call’d the poorest, lowest characters you will sometimes, nay generally, find glints of the most sublime virtues, eligibilities, heroisms.” A volume in the Trent Collection, given by Whitman the title “Excerpts &c Strike & Tramp Question,” contains manuscripts and newspaper stories annotated by Whitman in preparation for a lecture on the topic, which was never delivered.
We’re excited to host the “Born to Run” draft, and please contact us if you’d like to take the chance to see this treasure of American culture alongside items in the Trent Collection of Whitmaniana.
Post contributed by Will Hansen, Assistant Curator of Collections.
In 2009, a single-item addition to our Charles Alexander Gore papers turned up in my cataloging queue. The letter surfaced while preparing some collections to move off-site before renovation of the Rubenstein Library began. When I recalled the appropriate box and pulled the folder into which I was going to place the addition, I noticed that the handwriting on my letter did not match that of Charles Alexander Gore.
Using the embossed address at the top of the letter, I determined that the author probably was Rev. Charles Gore (1853-1932), who became an Anglican Bishop not long after he penned it. Because we do not have any other items created by Rev. Gore, the letter needed to be cataloged on its own. The problem in doing that, however, was that I found Gore’s handwriting almost completely illegible.
I determined that the first line of the letter mentioned a war, which likely referred to the 2nd Boer War in South Africa, given the fact that the letter was written in 1901. Other than that, I could only pick out individual words or phrases in the piece. Frustrated, I put the letter back on my shelf. Every once in a while, I would return to it in order to see if I could make progress deciphering it, and even consulted with my British colleague, Mandy Hurt, who also struggled with the penmanship.
I do not know what happened within my brain, but when I recently opened the letter again, I could suddenly distinguish many of Gore’s words! Not all of them, mind you, but enough to catalog the letter with greater confidence regarding its subject matter. I worked through the sentences, and then showed my transcription again to Mandy, who deciphered several more key words and phrases, she tells me, by searching for “typically British turns of phrase.” Here’s our transcription, as it stands:
Oct. 8 ‘01
Dear Mr. McI[___]
My [pri___,] I believe, is that I am not convinced that, if the raid had been properly punished or negotiations decently conducted, there need have been war at all.
But as things were—with much wrong on both sides (& how anyone can exaggerate the guilt of Krüger, I think)—war became inevitable.
In the waging of it, I thankfully believe that we have been as merciful as possible. I expect the good behavior of our common soldiers has been without example.
I think the ‘camps’ are a gigantic mistake from many points of view & that the loss of infant life (especially) has been [____ ____].
But now what can be done? As far as I can ascertain the women are allowed to go now if they have anywhere to go to & [bread?] to go. You say—move the camps to the sea: this will curtail a painful journey. Will it remedy loss of life? I suppose the authorities [___ ___ be ___] to do this, if possible, or foodstuffs are more easily supplied by the sea. One camp (Victoria I think) is going, I see.
I do not think it is the [best] use [___] the clergy. [_____] this have no more power than the [“Good Boer,”] even if they have disposition, to move the people to any better [mind?].
There are moments when I do feel it is my duty to go on [_____, _____] in protest & though I know [it will] do no good. But in this matter it is so difficult to form an opinion—the best men are so much divided—different opinions are so justifiable–& ([on all just showing]) we have taken such pains in most points to be compassionate that I do not feel [inspired?] to idly denounce them [___ ___]. I have some present [___] to propose. Those I have seen who know the [country assure] me the death rate [___] have been as high or higher if they had been left. How can I tell?
A scan of the letter is below. What do you think about our transcription? If you have any suggestions to make as to the words we still find illegible, please do so in the comments section.
Post contributed by Alice Poffinberger, Original Cataloger/Archivist for small manuscript collections. Mandy Hurt is Assistant Librarian for Electronic Resources & Serials Management.
The harsh reality of returning to SC&P has set in for Don in last night’s episode of Mad Men. He arrives at the seemingly empty office to discover the staff listening to the announcement that an IBM 360 computer will be installed in what was the creative lounge. The creative staff grumbles about losing their space. Pete runs into an acquaintance who now works for Burger Chef and gets SC&P a chance to pitch that account. Lou puts Peggy in charge of Burger Chef creative work, with Don reporting to her. Peggy treats Don like an entry level copywriter and he starts behaving badly. Roger and Mona find out that their daughter Margaret has run away to a hippie commune. After her husband fails to get Margaret back, Mona and Roger drive to upstate New York to retrieve her. Once at the commune, Mona storms off quickly, but Roger stays and lets Margaret show him why she loves it there. Roger seems open minded about the commune, but later gets upset and tries to carry her off after she spends the night with one of the men there. After talking to the computer installer, Don suggests that SC&P prepare a presentation to LeaseTech, but Bert refuses. Don starts drinking and later calls Freddie to invite him to a Mets game. The next morning Freddie lectures Don and tells him he is wasting his second chance, advising him to buckle down and work hard. Don seems to get the message and goes to work ready to do what it takes to earn back the trust of his colleagues.
Last night’s episode featured references to Burger Chef, IBM 360, homemade jelly and gin, among other things. Enjoy our selection of highlighted ads that reflect the brands and themes that Mad Men characters interacted with last night.
A gallery of our selected images may also be found on Flickr.
Mary Samouelian, the Doris Duke Collection Archivist here at the Rubenstein Library, has created a short documentary. “The Guardians of History” features seven archivists working in our Technical Services Department and explores why archivists do what we do. In Mary’s words, the documentary “reveals our intimate relationship with the historical materials we work with, why we are drawn to the mission of preserving history, and how our work makes it possible for researchers, historians, writers, and the general public to discover and experience intimate connections between their lives and historical materials.”
Mary enrolled as a student at the CDS in 2011 and this documentary piece is her final project for the Certificate in Documentary Arts. The photographs associated with the documentary will be exhibited on the Student Wall in Perkins Library this coming Friday.
Congratulations to Mary on this wonderful work!
Last night’s episode of Mad Men features several characters whose elevated hopes for connections with others get dashed. Don flies out to Los Angeles after Megan’s agent calls him to say that she was desperate and demanding with a director after an audition. She is happy to see him, but then gets upset when she realizes why he came. He is forced to admit that SC&P put him on leave and she asks him to go for being dishonest. Peggy is upset that her St. Joseph’s commercial wasn’t nominated for a Clio, and later finds out that Lou only submitted work that he could claim as his own. Betty meets Francine for lunch and Francine brags about her new career as a travel agent. She tells Betty that working in an office is her reward for raising kids. Later Betty tells Bobby that she will chaperone his field trip the next day and he is thrilled to spend time with her. Harry exaggerates SC&P’s media capability to the clients from Koss, and later tells Jim that they need a computer to compete. Don meets with two men from Wells Rich Greene and gets an offer to work for them. Don takes that offer to Roger, who agrees to let Don come back the following Monday. Betty and Bobby have a good time on the field trip until Bobby gives away Betty’s sandwich to a friend. Don arrives at SC&P on Monday morning, and awkwardly greets the staff until Roger comes in around lunchtime. The partners are upset that Don is back, but realize it will cost them too much to fire him officially. Instead they agree to take him back only if he can adhere to several restrictive rules and reports to Lou. He agrees.
Last night’s episode featured references to typewriters, Kahlua, plaid jackets, and bras, among other things. Enjoy our selection of highlighted ads that reflect the brands and themes that Mad Men characters interacted with last night.
A gallery of our selected images may also be found on Flickr.
Every year we rely on a group of dedicated undergraduate student workers who do a little bit of everything to keep the Rubenstein Library running smoothly, but you might not know it since they’re usually working behind the scenes. Since it’s the end of the school year, we wanted to highlight our graduating seniors who will be leaving us. We’re grateful for all of their hard work and are consistently impressed by all that they accomplish in addition to working with us. Meet Rebecca Williams:
My days at Rubenstein Library begin in a routine fashion. I walk to the back office area, put my backpack in a locker, and begin a tour of the stacks. I scan the shelves to check for basic tasks that need to be completed: items to be re-shelved, books to be packaged for shipping, or items to be pulled for patrons. However the last year that I have spent working as a Student Assistant for the Research Services Department has been anything but routine. Sometimes books are not where I thought they would be. Sometimes an item does not arrive from the off campus site. I relish the time I get to spend solving these simple problems.
After completing my daily tasks, I turn my attention to a variety of long and short-term projects. Some of these projects or tasks have included making container lists for various collections, vacuuming books, or helping to process a new collection. I also help to unload the deliveries that come from the LSC, notify patrons of their arrival, and shelve them on-site. Many of my shifts are also spent at the front desk where I enjoy helping the patrons that come into Rubenstein Library. I really have gotten to do a little bit of everything here.
This fall I’ll be heading to Chapel Hill to pursue a Masters in Library Science at UNC’s School of Information and Library Science. I’m also very excited to have the opportunity to work there in the Special Collections Research and Instructional Services Department as well. Working at Rubenstein has helped to confirm I want to stay working in the library world for a long time to come. I will miss all of the wonderful staff here at Rubenstein Library, but I will not be that far away, so hopefully I will be back in the future!
The Rubenstein Library’s three research center annually award travel grants to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars through a competitive application process. Congratulations to this year’s recipients, we look forward to working with all of you!
History of Medicine
Cali Buckley, Pennsylvania State University, Department of Art History, for dissertation work on, “Women of Substance: The Materiality of Anatomical Models and the Control of Women’s Medicine in Early Modern Europe.”
Alicia Puglionesi, Johns Hopkins University, Institute of the History of Medicine, for dissertation work on “The Astonishment of Experience: Americans and Psychical Research, 1885-1935.”
Courtney Thompson, Yale University, Department of the History of Science and Medicine, for dissertation work on “Criminal Minds: Medicine, Law, and the Phrenological Impulse in America, 1830-1890.”
John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History
FOARE Fellowship for Outdoor Advertising Research
Craig Lee, Department of Art History, University of Delaware, “Letter Building: Signage, Supergraphics, and the Rise of Semiotic Structure in Modern American Architecture”
Daniel Towns, Department of History, Stanford University, “The View and the Value: Historical Geography of Signs in San Francisco”
John Furr Fellowships for JWT Research
Lisa Haushofer, Department of History, Harvard University, “Edible Health: ‘Health Foods’ in Science, Industry, Culture in Britain and the United States, 1884-1950
Alvin A. Achenbaum Travel Grants
Dr. Cynthia Meyers, Department of Communications, College of Mount Saint Vincent, “Advertising Agencies and the Decline of Sponsorship in the Network Era of Television”
Dr. Cristina Ziliani: Economics, University of Parma, Italy, “Premium Sales Promotions: A History of Practice and Research, 1890-1990”
Cara Fallon, Department of History, Harvard University, “The Emerging Concept of Healthy Aging in the United States, 1920-1990”
Catherine Hennessey Wolter, Musicology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, “Sound Conversions in Print: A Cultural History of the Player Piano and Early Radio in America Through the Lens of Print Media”
Kelly Jones, History of Medicine, State University of New York – Stony Brook, “’New Hope for Headache Sufferers’: Pain and its Control in Advertisements for Headache Remedies, 1950s-1970s
Daniel McKay, Independent Scholar, “Trading Fears: Marketing the ‘Japan Brand’ to American Tourists and Consumers”
John Hope Franklin Research Center 2014-15 Travel Grant Awardees
Emilye Crosby, State University of New York-Geneseo Topic: “Anything I Was Big Enough To Do: Women and Gender in SNCC”
Paul Grant, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Topic: “Unimagining the Christian Nation: Alienation, Memory, and German-African Reciprocity in Akropong, Ghana 1835-1938”
Nicole Maurantonio, University of Richmond, Topic: “Ombudsman for Humanity: Chuck Stone, Mediation, and the Graterford Prison Hostage Crisis”
Gilet Rosenblith, University of Virginia, Topic: “Low Income African American Women in the South and the Carceral State”
Nicholas Syrett, University of Northern Colorado, Topic: “American Child Bride: A History of Minors and Marriage in the United States”
Adam Wolkoff, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Topic: “Possession and Power: A comparative social and legal history of capitalist social relations in the late nineteenth-century United States”
Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture Mary Lily Travel Grants
Dr. Georgina Colby, linguistics and cultural studies, University of Westminster, for a book on Kathy Acker combining philosophical analysis with literary and critical theory, exploring connections between feminist theory, Acker’s use of philosophy, and her experimental writing practices.
Dr. Donna Drucker, civil and environmental engineering, Technische Universität Darmstadt, for a journal article on sexual behavior and the science of contraceptive testing in the mid-twentieth century United States.
Sara Mameni, Ph.D. candidate, visual arts, University of California, San Diego, for dissertation research on Iran-US relations in the 1960s and 1970s—leading up to Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979—through the lens of queer theory, feminist theory, and postcolonial studies.
Ivy McIntyre, Ph.D. candidate, history, St. Louis University, for dissertation research on South Carolina families in times of personal crisis in the early Republic.
Andrew Pope, Ph.D. candidate, history, Harvard University, for dissertation research on radical social movements and the New South in Georgia from 1968-1996.
Dr. Jason Scott, Dr. Annalisa Castaldo, and Jennifer Lynn Pollitt, for an edited collection of essays looking at how kink identities, behaviors, and lifestyles are represented in popular and cultural studies.
Mairead Sullivan, Ph.D. candidate, women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, Emory University, for dissertation research on questions of breastedness in feminist and queer theory.
Hope Tucker, independent scholar, for an artist’s video on the fragility of reproductive rights in the American South, as seen through the work of those who documented and labored for these rights in the second half of the twentieth century.
Every year we rely on a group of dedicated undergraduate student workers who do a little bit of everything to keep the Rubenstein Library running smoothly, but you might not know it since they’re usually working behind the scenes. Since it’s the end of the school year, we wanted to highlight our graduating seniors who will be leaving us. We’re grateful for all of their hard work and are consistently impressed by all that they accomplish in addition to working with us. Meet Taylor Imperiale:
I’ve been working at the Rubenstein Library since the beginning of my junior year at Duke. I’m now a senior on my way out, so it feels like I’ve been here for quite a while. Over the past two years, the library has certainly undergone a whole lot of changes and the work I do has changed quite a bit as well.
I always enjoy working evening shifts helping patrons at the front desk. On my daytime shifts, you would usually find me in the stacks reshelving items, particularly in the old stacks, organizing some collection, or doing some sort of arts and crafts type activity. For the past year or so I have been working on a project to rehouse our sheet music collection to send it all offsite. I had hoped to finish it by the time I graduate, but alas, I am only about a third of the way through. I wish my successor the best of luck in this seemingly endless, but quite relaxing, task.
Now for a bit about me. In May I’ll be graduating (fingers crossed) with degrees in political science and history and a minor in Spanish. I’ll be spending the next two years teaching Spanish in Philadelphia through Teach for America. After my two-year stint as a teacher, I’ll be moving on to attend the University of Chicago Law School. As it turns out, the generosity of Mr. Rubenstein seems to follow me everywhere because I have been offered a law school scholarship that bears his name. I can’t help but think that having the Rubenstein name on my resume helped me get the scholarship offer.
I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time working here. The staff has always been really friendly and supportive and made me feel like a part of the family. I’d like to thank Josh and Liz especially for being great supervisors, as well as the rest of the staff that made my time here so pleasant. In a couple of months when I’m sure to be missing Duke, I’ll certainly be missing the great folks at the Rubenstein Library.
Last night’s episode of Mad Men depicts Valentine’s Day at SC&P. Several characters are upset when they are treated poorly or shuffled around, but by the end of the episode we see that there is housekeeping afoot that reveals new opportunities. Don’s day to day existence is exposed through sleeping late, cracker eating, and flipping through magazines. Only when he is preparing for Dawn to come by and brief him does he clean up and get dressed to preserve the illusion that he is his normal steely self. Sally and her friends are given leave to go to New York City to attend the funeral of another friend’s mother and subsequently sneak off to go shopping before their return. Once Sally realizes that she lost her purse, she goes to SC&P to ask Don for train fare. Her encounter with Lou Avery exposes Don’s subterfuge and gets Dawn unfairly demoted to reception. Sally waits for Don at his apartment and when he returns from lunch with a contact at Wells Rich Greene he drives her back to boarding school. Peggy mistakes Shirley’s roses as ones for her from Ted, which causes a chain reaction of frustration and awkwardness for the two women. Joan is aggravated when her colleagues keep demanding that she solve their problems with secretarial staff by shifting them around. Pete is angry that he has to defer to Bob Benson and Chevrolet’s permission when he lands the SoCal Chevy Dealers Association account. Sally and Don finally have a frank conversation on the way back to school that begins to repair their damaged relationship. Jim Cutler offers Joan the opportunity to focus on account management, which allows her to leave behind the frustrations of human resources. Joan’s parting gesture as she moves to her new office is to reward Dawn with a promotion to human resources. We see Dawn smile as she settles into her new office.
Last night’s episode featured references to Ritz crackers, Coffee Mate, Chevy Dealers Association, and Cutty Sark, among other things. Enjoy our selection of highlighted ads that reflect the brands and themes that Mad Men characters interacted with last night.
A gallery of our selected images may also be found on Flickr.
Dearest readers, do you ever feel that there’s not enough Rubenstein Library in your social media day? True, we’re on Facebook, and we have this wonderful blog, and many of our collecting centers also have extensive social media presences (check out the list in the right-hand column) . . . but what if you could follow our every rare-book-and-manuscript action on Twitter?
Well, do we have good news for you! We’ve joined the twitterverse! Come follow us @rubensteinlib, let us know about your research projects and your latest special collections discoveries, and get a behind-the-scenes look at how we spend our working days (and sometimes our non-working days).
See you in 140 characters or less!
My most recent project in the conservation lab has been a set of 32 newspapers, issues of the Charleston Courier from 1815 to 1851. Some time in the past, they had been damaged by water, mold, insects, and dirt. All of them had tears, and many also had large losses and were exceedingly fragile. When they arrived in the lab, I could tell immediately that they were going to require a lot of work, but that they would also be fun and rewarding. While modern newspapers are made of wood pulp which quickly degrades, turning brittle and yellow, old newspapers were printed on rag paper made from textile fibers like cotton and linen, and thus they are much more resilient and pleasant for a conservator to work with.
I knew I would need to do aqueous treatments, so, after cleaning off the surface dirt, I tested the inks to make sure they would not be soluble in water. While the black printing ink was stable, most of the papers had a collection stamp in turquoise ink that was sensitive to water. However, I was able to find three ionic fixatives, chemicals that are used to make certain dyes insoluble. I tested all three, and one (Mesitol NBS) turned out to be exactly what this ink needed. I used a brush to apply a small amount to the blue inked area, working over the suction platen to pull the chemical all the way through the paper, and then my newspapers were ready to wash.
Each newspaper was immersed in a bath of deionized water. Extensive discoloration and degradation products were washed out, turning the water peachy yellow. I changed the water in each tray until it stayed clear, signaling that washing was complete. It was rewarding to see what a visual and physical difference there was between the washed and unwashed papers.
After washing and drying, I had many hours of mending to do, and many little puzzle pieces of newspaper to put in place. For my mends I used wheat starch paste and very thin Japanese papers which are almost transparent so as not to obscure the text on the newspapers. I did not fill all of the numerous losses, but I made the newspapers more stable for researchers to handle.
While working on the repairs, I was often confronted with fragments that would say something like “General / troops / fired” on one side and “congress / voted / article” on the back, and thus I would find myself reading the papers to know where the pieces might belong, which is something I rarely get the chance to do beyond a quick perusal. The earlier newspapers had battle reports, as the war of 1812 was still going on. The articles were fascinating, and the advertisements even more so. Many were similar to modern ads: houses for rent, job postings, theater listings, lost and found, dubious medical cure-alls, and sales of merchandise, often accompanied by decorative printed icons. Some were a little more unusual and interesting, like an ad for “Daguerreotype Paintings” or a woman offering her service as a wet nurse. But I was surprised to see ads for slaves, either for sale or wanting to buy, and many alerts for runaways. The runaways were the most intriguing as they gave personal details of the individuals, and I found myself wondering what happened to them, applauding their escape and hoping that they found a better life.
When the mending was finished, I housed each of the newspapers in a clear Mylar sleeve so they can be handled with greater ease and safety. Even after treatment many of them are still fragile, but now they can be handled and used by researchers with much less risk of damage. And I hope they will be used, as they are fascinating! To see more images of treatment and examples of interesting advertisements, see our Flickr page.
Post contributed by Grace White, Conservator for Special Collections, as part of our ongoing “In the Conservation Lab” series.
The shocking shootings in Kansas City during the past weekend have brought renewed attention to Glenn Miller (Glenn Cross), a longtime white supremacist with ties to North Carolina. In Monday’s Washington Post, Robert Satloff, Trinity College class of 1983, wrote about his harrowing experience interviewing Miller in 1981 and the Chronicle article that resulted.
The first-hand account, from the April 15, 1981 issue of the Aeolus (the Chronicle’s weekly magazine of the period) is a frightening glimpse into Miller’s mindset. Satloff wrote, “Perhaps I didn’t think that such close-minded, violent, intolerant people still exist. Perhaps I am naïve. I’m not anymore.”
Read the chilling article below. This issue of the Aeolus, and other Chronicle issues from 1980 to February 1989, will soon be added to the Libraries’ Chronicle digital collection.
UPDATE: The April 15, 1981 issue is now available in full in our Chronicle digital collection.
Post contributed by Valerie Gillispie, Duke University Archivist.
The Archive of Documentary Arts has partnered with Daylight Books, the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, the Center for Documentary Studies, and SPECTRE Arts to bring documentary photographers Vincent Cianni and Mariette Pathy Allen to Durham for a series of events April 23-25.
- Wednesday, April 23 at 12:00pm: A Conversation with Vincent Cianni and Mariette Pathy Allen, Center for Documentary Studies, 1317 W. Pettigrew Street, Durham, N.C. Lunch will be provided.
- Thursday, April 24 at 6:00pm: Artist Talk and Presentation, SPECTRE Arts green space, 1004 Morning Glory Ave., Durham, N.C.
- Friday, April 25 at 6:00pm: Book Signing and Opening Exhibit, Daylight Project Space, 121 West Margaret Lane, Hillsborough, NC
The series will culminate in a book signing and exhibition of work by the artists to celebrate the release of the artists’ monographs TransCuba and Gays in the Military. The book signing and exhibit will take place at the Daylight Project Space on April 25 from 6 to 9pm. Refreshments will be served and the artists will be on hand to sign books and answer questions. More information at www.daylightbooks.org
About the Artists:
Through compelling photographs and interviews made over three years on road trips across the US, Vincent Cianni (born 1952) has created an important historical record of the struggles of gay and lesbian veterans and service members in the US military. As the Human Rights Commission attests, the US military has a long history of civil rights abuses against homosexuals, with harassment and discrimination frequently resulting in lost careers. In many cases, these men and women—highly skilled, well educated, patriotic, courageous and productive—had attained high rank, received numerous medals and held top-level jobs essential to the military. With essays by Alison Nordstrom, Don Bramer and Alan Steinman shedding light on the cultural, personal and political consequences of the ban on homosexuality, this volume tells the stories of men and women who served in silence and oftentimes were penalized and prohibited from receiving the benefits accorded them for serving in the military.
For more than 30 years, New York based photographer and painter Mariette Pathy Allen has been documenting transgender culture worldwide; in 2004 she won the Lambda Literary Award for her monograph The Gender Frontier. In her new publication, TransCuba, Allen focuses on the transgender community of Cuba, especially its growing visibility and acceptance in a country whose government is transitioning into a more relaxed model of communism under Raúl Castro’s presidency. This publication therefore records a cultural watershed within Cuba. In addition to color photographs and interviews by Allen, the book also includes a contribution from Raúl Castro’s daughter, Mariela Castro, who is the director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education in Havana. In 2005, Castro proposed a project, which became law three years later, to allow transgender individuals to receive sex reassignment surgery and change their legal gender.
Post contributed by Kirston Johnson, Curator of the Archive of Documentary Arts.
Everyone’s favorite ad men and women are back with Season 7 of Mad Men! Join the Hartman Center as we look back at some ads that resonate with each episode of the new season in what we call Mad Men Mondays.
The episode begins in January 1969 with freelancer Freddy Rumsen pitching a commercial for Accutron watches to an enthusiastic Peggy. Later Peggy pitches a variation on the same ad to new SC&P creative director Lou Avery and is disappointed when he opts for a blander slogan.
Roger wakes up amongst a group of naked sleeping people on the floor of his messy hotel room when his daughter calls to invite him to brunch. A harried and overworked Ken asks Joan to meet with a representative from Butler Footwear in his stead. She quickly realizes that Butler’s marketing director intends to move all advertising in-house and dismiss SC&P.
Don visits Megan in Los Angeles for the weekend and they have a series of awkward encounters. Don also meets up with a happy, suntanned Pete, who shows him around the new office and brings him up to speed on SC&P gossip. Peggy and Ted have an awkward exchange when he visits the New York office. Joan meets with a Columbia University business professor to get an analysis of Butler Footwear’s plans. The professor’s ideas help Joan keep Butler’s account from firing SC&P right away.
Roger’s daughter forgives him for all of his transgressions over brunch, which doesn’t seem to sink in with him until later when he lies down with his lover and another man. Don meets a woman on the plane back to New York and they have a candid conversation about their lives, but he declines her offer of more. Peggy has to deal with her tenant’s toilet problems and is frustrated with her life.
Last night’s episode featured references to Accutron watches, Austin Healy, brunch, vodka, and sliding doors, among other things. Enjoy our selection of highlighted ads that reflect the brands and themes that Mad Men characters interacted with last night.
A gallery of our selected images may also be found on Flickr.
Dr. Mab Segrest, Fuller-Maathai Professor of Gender & Women’s Studies at Connecticut College, received her M.A. and Ph.D. from Duke University, and became active in lesbian-feminist political and cultural work in North Carolina and nationally during the late 1970s and early 1980s. She left the academy in the early 1980s to work full-time in social movements for the next decade. She is a co-founder of North Carolinians Against Racist and Religious Violence, an organization focused on targeting neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan activity. Segrest’s 1995 book, Memoir of a Race Traitor, narrates this experience. Segrest’s 2002 book, Born to Belonging: Writings on Spirit and Justice, uses travel memoirs in a search for alternatives to the apartheid of her southern childhood.
She is currently working on a social history of Georgia’s state mental hospital at Milledgeville that grows out of her continuing interest in the interface between the intimate and the historical, specifically what constitutes that redundancy of Southern insanity when viewed through archives of an iconic Southern state hospital. Segrest’s personal papers are held by the Sallie Bingham Center.
This program is the culminating event for the Women’s Studies Senior Seminar, which combines feminist and queer theory with historical research on local activists. Co-sponsored by the Sallie Bingham Center, Durham County Library, and Duke Program in Women’s Studies.
Charles “Chuck” Stone Jr. died on April 6 at the age of 89. Stone was a pioneering journalist, a long-time columnist with the Philadelphia Daily News, and co-founder and first president of the National Association of Black Journalists.
Among his notable career accomplishments, Stone was a Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, served as special assistant to Congressman Adam Clayton Powell Jr. from 1965-67, and was a key mediator between alleged criminals and the Philadelphia Police Department. Stone served as Walter Spearman Professor of Journalism at the University of Carolina-Chapel Hill from 1991-2005.
The Chuck Stone Papers were donated to the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture in 2004.
Post contributed by John Gartrell, Director of the John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture.