Author Archives: Joseph Watson

Exhibit– A People’s History of Middlebury College: Student Resistance and Social Change

People's History of Middlebury Exhibit

In conjunction with an ongoing student project and J-term class, Special Collections has mounted an exhibit drawn from the College Archives–  A People’s History of Middlebury College: Student Resistance and Social Change.   From an uprising of students in 1822 asking for the dismissal of a professor, to the student strike in 1970 to protest of the war in Vietnam, through the formation of diverse activist groups like the Black Students for Mutual Understanding, the exhibit draws on primary sources in the College Archives.  These resources have been heavily used by Hanna Mahon ‘13.5 and Kristina Johansson ’14 as they’ve worked on the People’s History of Middlebury project over the past year, and used by the students in the J-term class that Hanna and Kristina are teaching.  See the exhibit in the front vestibule, and the Harman Periodicals Reading Area of Davis Family Library.

To listen to an audio recording of the related panel discussion “Middlebury in the 1960s” see this blog post.

People's History of Middlebury Exhibit

Also on display in the Davis Family Library Atrium–  Antique wooden toys produced in local toy factories.

 

Busy start to 2014 in Special Collections

Special Collections has enjoyed a busy start to 2014 with several J-term classes visiting this week to use our collections for coursework. Prof. Peter Lourie’s class Adventure Writing and Digital Story Telling came to see 17th to early 20th century examples of travel and adventure writing, as well as to view photos from the College Archives of students engaging in their own adventures over the years.

And below see some photos from Prof. Kacy McKinney’s class Space and Place in the Graphic Novel. Students learned about the history of illustrations in books, viewing everything from a 1484 illuminated Latin text, to recently published graphic novels.

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Students looking at a wide selection of illustrated books

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Special Collections Director Rebekah Irwin shares a large format art book.

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Prof. McKinney and students view illustrated books from the 16th to the 18th century.

Better World Books and library book sales

Instead of holding book sales to get rid of unwanted books, we’re now sending withdrawn books to Better World Books, a company that turns them into money for the good of humanity.

In recent years, the quality of our local book sales has been declining because we are receiving fewer large gifts of books than in the past. When we accepted large gifts in the past, we often sorted through them and added appropriate books, which was sometimes a small percentage of the total gift, and put the rest of the books into the book sale. Our book sales had interesting duplicate copies and fun books that wouldn’t be appropriate for an academic library. Without that influx of gift books, the local books sales just consist of withdrawn academic books that relatively few people are interested in purchasing. After all, the reason those books are being withdrawn from the library collection is because nobody is using them, so it’s not surprising that hundreds of those books were left over at the end of the last sale. (We couldn’t even give them away for free.)

Rather than sending them directly to recycling, we found the Better World Books library program. We ship our withdrawn books to them at no cost to us, they market them to a world-wide audience, and when they sell them, a percentage of the profit comes to us and a percentage goes to the BWB Literacy Partners. It’s a very efficient way to dispose of our withdrawn books while benefiting both Middlebury and the world beyond.

If we ever have a quantity of books that we think will be of interest to our local community, we’ll probably put them in a sale, but for now, no book sales are scheduled for the foreseeable future.

Seeking 1948 film “Sno’ Time for Learning”

The Middlebury College Archives is searching for a movie about the College filmed in 1948.  It features scenes shot at the Snow Bowl in the winter and the main campus in the spring.  We’ve placed a request with Paramount Picture, which originally produced it, and we’re waiting to hear back from them.  But we also thought it was possible that somebody associated with the College might have a copy somewhere.  If you know where a copy can be found, please let us know.  SpecialCollections@middlebury.edu   802-443-3028.

Article in the Nov. 4th issue of The Campus about the release of Sno' Time for Learning

Article in the Nov. 4, 1948 issue of The Campus about the release of Sno’ Time for Learning

“Holding Walden” recently…

Snippet of The Roost blog.

Snippet of The Roost blog.

Sandy Stott of the Thoreau Farm recently visited Special Collections at Davis Family Library to see Henry David Thoreau’s personal copy of Walden with his notes in the margins. Stott wrote about his visit in this very nice blog post–   http://thoreaufarm.org/2013/07/holding-walden/

Thoreau’s personal copy of Walden is invaluable and one of Middlebury College’s most significant holdings.  Special Collections plans to digitize the pages with Thoreau’s marginalia so that this unique content can be shared widely on the web.  In order to preserve the hard copy safely for future generations, access to it is strictly limited and an advance appointment is necessary.  Please see the Special Collections page for more information.

 

Photos of Sicily on display at Davis Family Library

 

See-cily, by Antonino RiggioThe Italian Summer School is currently presenting a display of color photos in the Atrium of the Davis Family Library.  The display, entitled SEE-CILY,  will be in place until the end of the Summer Language Schools.

This exhibit depicts the inner life of Sicily, a rugged island, rich in history and art. It is a photographic journey through Sicilian culture and folklore, illustrating ancient and cherished traditions. You will discover the heartfelt festival of Saint Agatha, the centuries old handcrafted marionettes known as “Pupi Siciliani”, the superb craftsmanship of artisans working with wood, iron and textiles, as well as the preparation of delicious homemade foods. Churches, monuments and the unspoiled beauty of central Sicily’s landscapes will also be explored. The SEE-CILY exhibition will transport you to places tourists never see. It is a unique collection of forty-two photographs that serve as the nucleus of an ever-expanding exhibit, bearing witness to the sublime beauty and ancient rhythms of this most Mediterranean of islands.

Photographs by Antonino Riggio.   Art Curator: Valentina Morello

I wouldn’t define SEE-CILY as just an exhibit. I see it more as an itinerary, a path through the places and people I grew up with. It is my inner subconscious through the eye of my camera.”  Antonino Riggio.

For more info:  www.antoninoriggio.com

Caution: Recent weather may cause mold to grow on your books!

The weather we’ve been having so far this summer could encourage mold to grow in places it normally wouldn’t.  Damp places like basements can be bad year ’round and should never be used to store books, but even the nice book shelf in your living room will be susceptible to mold growth after many days of rain, heat, and high humidity.  Mold spores are everywhere, just waiting for the right conditions to sprout and grow, so be on the lookout.  If you discover an infestation, read this excellent article from our friends at Cornell University Preservation Dept. to learn how to deal with it.  http://www.library.cornell.edu/preservation/librarypreservation/mee/management/mold.html