Feed aggregator

Where’d you get this book? Bertha Payne Newell and the Book of Mormon

Devil's Tale Posts - Mon, 06/09/2014 - 13:00

Many visitors to the Rubenstein Library have asked about the provenance (origin) of this particular copy of the first edition of the Book of Mormon (1830). Until recently, we knew only what the bookplate states: that it was donated by “Mrs. W. A. Newell.” Its history was lost, until some diligent research turned up a very interesting story about a remarkable woman.

We now know that this copy of the Book of Mormon was donated by Bertha Payne Newell to Duke University, late in the summer of 1941.

Bertha Payne was born in Racine, WI, on January 20, 1867. She was home schooled, but later attended classes at the University of Leipzig (Germany) and Clark University (Worcester, MA). Eventually Payne found her calling as a school teacher and educational reformer. She was progressive in her philosophy and soon found exciting outlets for her evolving pedagogy. In her early teaching career, according to The University of Chicago Magazine, Payne was “associated with Hull House, the Chicago Froebel Association, and the Chicago Institute under Colonel Frances W. Parker.”

She attended the University of Chicago, where she matriculated in the autumn of 1899 at the age of 32. She arrived at Chicago during John Dewey’s influential years as the head of the nascent School of Education. During her eight years as an undergraduate, Payne also taught many courses in the School, and among them were “Pedagogy of the Kindergarten,” “Froebel’s Educational Philosophy,” “Mental Development in Early Childhood,” and “Kindergarten Theory and Practice.” She received her PhB (bachelor’s degree) in March 1907.

Payne quickly distinguished herself as an expert on kindergarten education, publishing many articles on the subject and serving on the editorial board of the journal, The Elementary School Teacher.

On August 2, 1909, Bertha Payne married the Rev. William Allen Newell in Asheville, NC. Rev. Newell was a Methodist minister from Cabarrus County, NC. They eventually settled in Morganton, N.C.

After her move to North Carolina and after the birth of their daughter, Olive, in 1910, Bertha Payne Newell became an activist for racial justice, labor rights, and peace. She worked hard to end lynching in the American South. She was a leading member of the influential Commission on Interracial Cooperation, which she directed 1931-35, and from 1931 to 1938 she served as secretary to the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching.  She joined several other committees and commissions in the 1930s and 1940s that advocated for child labor laws and other social change.

Attendees – including Bertha Payne Newell – of the joint meeting of the ASWPL and African American members of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation at Tuskegee Institute, 1938.
From Jessie Daniel Ames Papers, 1866-1972, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Her husband, Rev. Newell, died February 26, 1940. 18 months later, Bertha Payne Newell donated more than 100 books to Duke University, including this copy of the Book of Mormon. It’s likely that the university’s Methodist origins and the proximity of the school to Morganton were factors in this important gift.

Bertha Payne Newell died September 4, 1953, in Greensboro, NC.

The provenance of this book was surprising to us; assumptions about who might have donated it were challenged and proven incorrect by archival research. Our books and manuscripts come to us in many ways and through many means (gift, purchase, abandonment!). We continue to be enthralled and inspired by the history of these important cultural treasures.

 

Post contributed by David Pavelich, Head of Research Services

The Saga of the Nazi Newsreel

Tech Services Feed - Wed, 06/04/2014 - 13:30

A group of three uniformed men stand together in silence and black-and-white, engaged in what one imagines is small talk.  They are outside, others like them mill about, the mood one of dulled anticipation.  The men are obviously enjoying the extended gaze of the camera but not certain what to do with it.   One of them is Hermann Gӧring.

The scene comes from a film so long on the shelves at Duke no one could say where it came from.  It was simply titled “Hitler Youth Rally, 1936, Nuremberg.” I was attempting to provide a student with a primary source for a paper he was writing on Nazi propaganda, and hoped this film could help.  But I needed better description.  Our electronic catalog yielded a brief record listing the same title and nothing else, only that it was cataloged from an accession record.  But the paper files we keep on our collections had nothing under “Hitler,” “Nazi,” or “Nuremberg.”  I emailed some colleagues to see if they could help my search, and in the meantime began to analyze the film for clues as to its origins.

The film’s most immediate message was that it was a 31-minute, 16mm, black-and-white newsreel printed on Agfa stock and bearing the Agfa logo, silent but with descriptive intertitles.  Gӧring’s was the first face I recognized.  The two other men with him were mysteries but I thought had to be of similar high position — definitely Nazis, but Hitler Youth, no — and within a few minutes googling I found one of them was Ernst Rӧhm, head of Hitler’s dreaded street gang, the Sturmabteilung (aka Brownshirts).  Rӧhm was close to Hitler but, homosexual, an ardent socialist, and holding that the German army should be absorbed under the S.A., was increasingly considered a liability by the Nazi command.  In 1934 Heinrich Himmler falsely told Hitler that Rӧhm was plotting an overthrow, and Hitler had Rӧhm executed, during the purge known as the Night of the Long Knives.  I was fascinated, taking one step forward and moving one step back.  There was a story in this film, but neither was it about Hitler Youth nor did it date to 1936.  So what did we really have here?

As the film unfolded it was clear the setting was the Zeppelinfeld at Nuremberg, where the Nazis held their annual rallies.  I thought if I had a point of comparison, it might be possible to place the year the film was made.  The most obvious choice was to see if Leni Riefenstahl, the image maker of Hitler and the Nazis in the early 30s, had shot a Nuremberg rally prior to her stylistic landmark, Triumph of the Will, which documented the 1934 rally and which, importantly, did NOT include the recently expired Ernst Rӧhm.  And indeed, Riefenstahl had made a film of the rally in 1933, the year in which the Nazi propaganda machine was officially established under Joseph Goebbels.  However, all copies of the 61-minute Der Sieg Des Glaubens (Victory of Faith) had been destroyed following the purge, in an effort to expunge Rӧhm from Nazi history.  All but one.  And that copy, conveniently, had been digitized and published to the Internet Archive.  I downloaded the Riefenstahl film, set up two video playback windows on my computer, and began a comparison.

What you’ll find as you look through films of the Nuremberg rallies is that a standard narrative tends to be followed:  there are preparations on the Zeppelinfeld as crowds pack the town of Nuremberg proper, followed by the arrival of the high command and Hitler and their international guests – in the early 30s this included England as well as Spain, Italy, and Japan.  Then the speeches and incessant marching, perhaps an interlude where the Hitler Youth are shown setting up their tents and camping out as if at a boy scout jamboree, and ending with a speech where Hitler delivers his menacing vision of German supremacy.

It was when Hitler stepped off his plane in Riefenstahl’s film that I found my first clue.  I remembered a similar spot in our newsreel, and when I lined the scenes up and ran through them several times, I realized it was exactly the same moment, shot from different angles.  Marvelously, the films’ respective cameramen could be seen in the others’ shots.  Confirmed: this was 1933, the year before Rӧhm was killed and all traces of him destroyed.  I ran through the film trying to find similar points and discovered that in several places our photographer and Riefenstahl’s photographer probably stood shoulder-to-shoulder.

Same scene, opposite perspectives. Leni Riefenstahl’s “Der Sieg Des Glaubens” (left) reveals the cameraman who shot our Nuremberg Rally newsreel (right). Riefenstahl’s film and other sources were used to confirm the date the newsreel was made. The photographers’ presence in the frames adds deeper dimension to these carefully staged works of propaganda.

I began to wonder about the rarity of our film, and as I started to reach out to other archives I also prepared the filmfor presentation, creating a finding aid and uploading the movie to YouTube, at first as an unlisted resource so I could share it with other archivists who could help with its identification.  Lauren Reno, our rare materials cataloger, began refashioning the catalog record, while Sarah Carrier, our Research Services Coordinator and a fluent German speaker, accepted the challenge of translating the titles.  During this process Sarah echoed Hannah Arendt when we talked about what these rallies were actually like, commenting that the film really brings home the banality of evil – “There must’ve been a lot of sitting around and waiting at this thing.”

As Sarah worked on the titles, I got an email from our University Archivist, Val Gillispie.  Val had found documentation for the film, picking up the trail in our old card catalog, which was recently digitized, and following it to a gift agreement.   Donated in 1967 by Duke Divinity graduate John Himes, the film came to us in two reels, and the original description stated, “This is perhaps a movie film with sound tracks.  It is a film of a Hitler youth rally in 1936 in Nuremberg.”  We have no idea whether Himes or the accessioning archivist described it so, or where Himes got the film, but there was enough information on the agreement to discover a little more about Himes.  During World War II he was a chaplain in the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, the inspiration for the television film Band of Brothers, so how he came to be in possession of the film spurs the imagination.  At some point after his donation, the two reels, neither one a soundtrack, became one, spliced together in the wrong order but otherwise unharmed.  Several years ago the film was digitized for preservation but no analysis was done.

While these pieces of the puzzle came together, I was contacted by Leslie Swift at the United States Holocaust Museum, who I had queried about the film.  The Museum did not have a copy of it, although they had shorter snippets of other newsreels from the 1933 rally (our film is by far the longest and most detailed after Riefenstahl’s).  Leslie is interested in the narratives of these propaganda films, and noted that one scene in our film, where Hitler is touching the Nazi flags with the flag that is being carried next to him, is something she hadn’t seen before in other similar films.  I talked with Sarah about this, who in doing her research found out it was a ceremony performed using the Blutfahne, or the “blood flag” that had been used in the failed 1923 Nazi uprising, to “sanctify” other flags.  The blood flag, always carried by Jakob Grimminger, was apparently lost after the war, and, grail-like, has its own cult of followers. (It is true that in doing research into materials such as this film, fascination and horror, with the past and present, mix together in equal parts.)

Leslie gave me a contact at the Bundesarchiv, to whom I wrote the next day.  According to Karin Kuehn, a film archivist at the Bundesarchiv, the film “seems to be a so called Schmalfilm-Monatsschau.  These were compilations of several newsreels for home cinema made by Agfa.”  Karin noted that the Bundesarchiv holds some of this type of footage, but only a few might be a match with our film.  I’m hoping within the next few months to be able to view some of that footage.

Re-discovering historical resources such as the Nuremberg Rally film is what makes my job such a joy.  This film and another film we have – in the Doris Duke Collection, portraying the trial of the 20 July conspirators in 1944 – presents two poles of the Nazi propaganda effort. The process we went through to identify the film, to dig a little deeper, will hopefully inform future research, and create a more complete picture of the past.

Post contributed by Craig Breaden, Audiovisual Archivist

 

 

 

The Saga of the Nazi Newsreel

Devil's Tale Posts - Wed, 06/04/2014 - 13:30

A group of three uniformed men stand together in silence and black-and-white, engaged in what one imagines is small talk.  They are outside, others like them mill about, the mood one of dulled anticipation.  The men are obviously enjoying the extended gaze of the camera but not certain what to do with it.   One of them is Hermann Gӧring.

The scene comes from a film so long on the shelves at Duke no one could say where it came from.  It was simply titled “Hitler Youth Rally, 1936, Nuremberg.” I was attempting to provide a student with a primary source for a paper he was writing on Nazi propaganda, and hoped this film could help.  But I needed better description.  Our electronic catalog yielded a brief record listing the same title and nothing else, only that it was cataloged from an accession record.  But the paper files we keep on our collections had nothing under “Hitler,” “Nazi,” or “Nuremberg.”  I emailed some colleagues to see if they could help my search, and in the meantime began to analyze the film for clues as to its origins.

The film’s most immediate message was that it was a 31-minute, 16mm, black-and-white newsreel printed on Agfa stock and bearing the Agfa logo, silent but with descriptive intertitles.  Gӧring’s was the first face I recognized.  The two other men with him were mysteries but I thought had to be of similar high position — definitely Nazis, but Hitler Youth, no — and within a few minutes googling I found one of them was Ernst Rӧhm, head of Hitler’s dreaded street gang, the Sturmabteilung (aka Brownshirts).  Rӧhm was close to Hitler but, homosexual, an ardent socialist, and holding that the German army should be absorbed under the S.A., was increasingly considered a liability by the Nazi command.  In 1934 Heinrich Himmler falsely told Hitler that Rӧhm was plotting an overthrow, and Hitler had Rӧhm executed, during the purge known as the Night of the Long Knives.  I was fascinated, taking one step forward and moving one step back.  There was a story in this film, but neither was it about Hitler Youth nor did it date to 1936.  So what did we really have here?

As the film unfolded it was clear the setting was the Zeppelinfeld at Nuremberg, where the Nazis held their annual rallies.  I thought if I had a point of comparison, it might be possible to place the year the film was made.  The most obvious choice was to see if Leni Riefenstahl, the image maker of Hitler and the Nazis in the early 30s, had shot a Nuremberg rally prior to her stylistic landmark, Triumph of the Will, which documented the 1934 rally and which, importantly, did NOT include the recently expired Ernst Rӧhm.  And indeed, Riefenstahl had made a film of the rally in 1933, the year in which the Nazi propaganda machine was officially established under Joseph Goebbels.  However, all copies of the 61-minute Der Sieg Des Glaubens (Victory of Faith) had been destroyed following the purge, in an effort to expunge Rӧhm from Nazi history.  All but one.  And that copy, conveniently, had been digitized and published to the Internet Archive.  I downloaded the Riefenstahl film, set up two video playback windows on my computer, and began a comparison.

What you’ll find as you look through films of the Nuremberg rallies is that a standard narrative tends to be followed:  there are preparations on the Zeppelinfeld as crowds pack the town of Nuremberg proper, followed by the arrival of the high command and Hitler and their international guests – in the early 30s this included England as well as Spain, Italy, and Japan.  Then the speeches and incessant marching, perhaps an interlude where the Hitler Youth are shown setting up their tents and camping out as if at a boy scout jamboree, and ending with a speech where Hitler delivers his menacing vision of German supremacy.

It was when Hitler stepped off his plane in Riefenstahl’s film that I found my first clue.  I remembered a similar spot in our newsreel, and when I lined the scenes up and ran through them several times, I realized it was exactly the same moment, shot from different angles.  Marvelously, the films’ respective cameramen could be seen in the others’ shots.  Confirmed: this was 1933, the year before Rӧhm was killed and all traces of him destroyed.  I ran through the film trying to find similar points and discovered that in several places our photographer and Riefenstahl’s photographer probably stood shoulder-to-shoulder.

Same scene, opposite perspectives. Leni Riefenstahl’s “Der Sieg Des Glaubens” (left) reveals the cameraman who shot our Nuremberg Rally newsreel (right). Riefenstahl’s film and other sources were used to confirm the date the newsreel was made. The photographers’ presence in the frames adds deeper dimension to these carefully staged works of propaganda.

I began to wonder about the rarity of our film, and as I started to reach out to other archives I also prepared the filmfor presentation, creating a finding aid and uploading the movie to YouTube, at first as an unlisted resource so I could share it with other archivists who could help with its identification.  Lauren Reno, our rare materials cataloger, began refashioning the catalog record, while Sarah Carrier, our Research Services Coordinator and a fluent German speaker, accepted the challenge of translating the titles.  During this process Sarah echoed Hannah Arendt when we talked about what these rallies were actually like, commenting that the film really brings home the banality of evil – “There must’ve been a lot of sitting around and waiting at this thing.”

As Sarah worked on the titles, I got an email from our University Archivist, Val Gillispie.  Val had found documentation for the film, picking up the trail in our old card catalog, which was recently digitized, and following it to a gift agreement.   Donated in 1967 by Duke Divinity graduate John Himes, the film came to us in two reels, and the original description stated, “This is perhaps a movie film with sound tracks.  It is a film of a Hitler youth rally in 1936 in Nuremberg.”  We have no idea whether Himes or the accessioning archivist described it so, or where Himes got the film, but there was enough information on the agreement to discover a little more about Himes.  During World War II he was a chaplain in the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, the inspiration for the television film Band of Brothers, so how he came to be in possession of the film spurs the imagination.  At some point after his donation, the two reels, neither one a soundtrack, became one, spliced together in the wrong order but otherwise unharmed.  Several years ago the film was digitized for preservation but no analysis was done.

While these pieces of the puzzle came together, I was contacted by Leslie Swift at the United States Holocaust Museum, who I had queried about the film.  The Museum did not have a copy of it, although they had shorter snippets of other newsreels from the 1933 rally (our film is by far the longest and most detailed after Riefenstahl’s).  Leslie is interested in the narratives of these propaganda films, and noted that one scene in our film, where Hitler is touching the Nazi flags with the flag that is being carried next to him, is something she hadn’t seen before in other similar films.  I talked with Sarah about this, who in doing her research found out it was a ceremony performed using the Blutfahne, or the “blood flag” that had been used in the failed 1923 Nazi uprising, to “sanctify” other flags.  The blood flag, always carried by Jakob Grimminger, was apparently lost after the war, and, grail-like, has its own cult of followers. (It is true that in doing research into materials such as this film, fascination and horror, with the past and present, mix together in equal parts.)

Leslie gave me a contact at the Bundesarchiv, to whom I wrote the next day.  According to Karin Kuehn, a film archivist at the Bundesarchiv, the film “seems to be a so called Schmalfilm-Monatsschau.  These were compilations of several newsreels for home cinema made by Agfa.”  Karin noted that the Bundesarchiv holds some of this type of footage, but only a few might be a match with our film.  I’m hoping within the next few months to be able to view some of that footage.

Re-discovering historical resources such as the Nuremberg Rally film is what makes my job such a joy.  This film and another film we have – in the Doris Duke Collection, portraying the trial of the 20 July conspirators in 1944 – presents two poles of the Nazi propaganda effort. The process we went through to identify the film, to dig a little deeper, will hopefully inform future research, and create a more complete picture of the past.

Post contributed by Craig Breaden, Audiovisual Archivist

 

 

 

Pages

Subscribe to David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library aggregator