An African American Woman in Haile Selassie’s Ethiopia

The following post was written by Camila Tessler, Archivist, Manuscripts and Archives.

Clippings relating to Dorothy Hadley's marriage Malaku Bayen, circa 1931. Dorothy Hadley Bayen Papers (MS 1570), Box 1, Folder 3.

Clippings relating to Dorothy Hadley’s marriage Malaku Bayen, circa 1931. Dorothy Hadley Bayen Papers (MS 1570), Box 1, Folder 3.

In 1931, Dorothy Hadley of Evanston, Illinois, married Prince Malaku Bayen of Ethiopia, Nephew of Haile Selassie I. Malaku Bayen was studying to be a doctor at Howard University, and upon the completion of his degree, he returned with Dorothy Hadley Bayen and their son Chip to Ethiopia.

Dorothy’s work was not just of a housewife and a mother, but also as an activist for the Ethiopian and black communities, both abroad and locally. During various times in her life she acted as a fundraiser for the Haile Selassie Fund, working in New York to raise money both from the black and white community. In one letter, she stated that she could easily raise funds in the black community, while the white community was never very generous, leading her to conclude that the natural home for black Americans would be Africa, and that Ethiopia held the future of the unity and the redemption of black people.

 

Letter from Dorothy Hadley Bayen to her sister, Leora Hadley, page 2, undated but circa 1935. Dorothy Hadley Bayen Papers (MS 1570), Box 1, Folder 1.

Letter from Dorothy Hadley Bayen to her sister, Leora Hadley, page 2, undated but circa 1935. Dorothy Hadley Bayen Papers (MS 1570), Box 1, Folder 1.

Dino Robinson has written an article about Bayen, summarizing her work for the Ethiopian community and the movement that became the Rastifarian religion here. The Dorothy Hadley Bayen Papers at Manuscripts and Archives do cover this facet of her life, but they also demonstrate some of the culture shock and cover the adaptation of a woman who grew up in the Midwest to a life in Ethiopia. In several letters, she chronicles everything from the purchase of furniture (expensive in Ethiopia, but of good quality) and the personalities of her servants (from good to bad to drunkards) to life as a newly minted member of what was the oldest royal dynasty on the planet.

Her letters paint a very vivid and detailed picture of life in Ethiopia in the 30s, but the most refreshing part of her letters is her bubbling personality. She chides to Toots and Sam, in a letter dated December 27th 1935, “Why don’t you all write to me and let me know if you are living or dead?” In another letter, this one to her family, she admits that either she, or someone in their family, named her husband’s human skeleton (presumably for anatomy) Mussolini, and laments that her husband bought two rugs that they will be paying off “for twenty years hence!”

Letter from Dorothy Hadley Bayen to her family, page 1, 2 October 1935. Dorothy Hadley Bayen Papers (MS 1570), Box 1, Folder 1.

Letter from Dorothy Hadley Bayen to her family, page 1, 2 October 1935. Dorothy Hadley Bayen Papers (MS 1570), Box 1, Folder 1.

What her letters also give us is an outsider-insider view of the Ethiopian Empire. As a member of the royal family, Bayen had access into a place where most people did not, but as an American, she also had a perspective that allowed her to wonder, question, and describe customs and practices that she was not familiar with. She describes meeting the Emperor Haile Selassie:

There are two palaces, or as they are called “gibbee”, the upper, and the lower. The lower is the old palace that was Menelik’s and the new one is that built I think around 1930 when this present ruler was made emperor. It is in the new one that they receive all the important foreign visitors. It is a large two-story gray stone building inside a very huge compound, and there are soldiers and guards standing all around. Her Majesty and Sahai (her daughter) met us in a room furnished with gold and brocaded furniture, Louis XIV style (I think) […] I felt foolish bowing and backing out and so forth, seein’ as I have had so little practice in this sort of thing, and every minute I was afraid I would get my feet all tangled in my long skirt and go sprawling out on the floor. Wouldn’t that have been something? (Dorothy Hadley Bayen to her family, page 2, 2 October 1935. MS 1570, Box 1, Folder 1.)

Through her correspondence with her family in the Evanston, we get a good picture of a person in an extraordinary situation, and a witness to the beginnings of a movement that formed the basis of a new religion. But we also are given the perspective of an outsider to a new culture, a new life, and a new way of thinking.

See the online finding aid for the Dorothy Hadley Bayen Papers in Manuscripts and Archives for additional information about this collection.

Mary Johnson’s Legacy of New Haven Activism

The following post was written by Michael Brenes, Senior Archivist for American Diplomacy, Manuscripts and Archives.

The events at the end of the summer in Charlottesville, Virginia, brought into sharp focus the ongoing and painful legacy of racism in the United States. But the marches led by white supremacists, including members of the Ku Klux Klan—now collectively rebranded as the “Alt-Right”—also generated a resounding and determined resistance against the violence witnessed around the world, which echoed the vibrant history of social movements in the United States. Indeed, as much as the horror at Charlottesville revealed the conspicuous bigotry that remains prominent within sectors of the country, it also offered an opportunity for historical reflection—to assess the significant progress made on civil rights and race relations.

News clipping from an unknown paper documenting the Ku Klux Klan in New Haven for the taping of Sally Jesse Raphael Show, 1987 June 16. Mary Johnson Papers (MS 2050), Box 15, folder 12.

News clipping from an unknown paper documenting the Ku Klux Klan in New Haven for the taping of Sally Jesse Raphael Show, 1987 June 16. Mary Johnson Papers (MS 2050), Box 15, folder 12.

For the Yale and New Haven community, the moment recalls the 1980s, when members of the Ku Klux Klan held marches and rallies across Connecticut. In May 1980, Imperial Wizard Bill Wilkinson of the Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan came to Hartford, Connecticut, in response to “an influx of applications” received by the hate group. Days after Wilkinson’s announcement, ten Klansmen burned a cross in Hartford near Bradley International Airport. By March 1981, the Klan arrived in Meriden looking for a confrontation. The hate group planned a march to recruit new members, creating a tense standoff between the Klan and counterprotestors. The march quickly turned violent, with demonstrators pelting Klansmen with bottles and bricks. The Klan was chased out of Meriden, but vowed to return. As recent Yale graduate Nelson Reed (’17) wrote in his senior essay , “[t]he Invisible Empire was like a parasite in Connecticut: small and persistent, the Klan wreaked havoc, threatening the state’s racial immune system,” much to the dismay of the state’s residents.

The Klan resurfaced in Connecticut again in 1987—this time, in New Haven. The talk-show host Sally Jesse Raphael invited members of the Aryan Youth Movement and James Farrands of the Shelton chapter of the Ku Klux Klan to a taping of her show in New Haven, ostensibly to discuss why they maintained such repugnant ideas. One of the leaders of the resistance against the Klan was Mary Johnson, a longtime activist in New Haven since the 1960s. Johnson argued that Raphael was sensationalizing white supremacy. Johnson told the New Haven Register, “The Klan has not made any attempt to come to New Haven in many years and [Raphael] has the gall to invite them, to give them a platform.” Johnson and fellow activists shouted down the Klan at the taping, forcing white supremacists in the audience to leave the stage.

"We Support the Unions at Yale," poster, circa 1980s. Mary Johnson Papers (MS 2050), Box 20.

“We Support the Unions at Yale,” poster, circa 1980s. Mary Johnson Papers (MS 2050), Box 20.

Mary Johnson’s run-in with the Klan represented only one moment in a lifetime of fighting against injustice. Her papers in Manuscripts and Archives—donated to Yale in 2016—demonstrate Johnson’s longstanding interest in a range of social issues, from dilapidated housing and poor public transportation in New Haven, to immigrant rights and union organizing. Johnson was also involved with the group Greater New Haven Coalition for People, whose records came to Manuscripts and Archives in 2014. Now processed and accessible to researchers, both collections offer multiple possibilities for researchers looking to discover more information about the history of social activism in New Haven and its connections to the Yale community.

Mary Johnson died on August 13th, 2017, but with her archival collection in Manuscripts and Archives, her storied and extensive legacy in New Haven activism and politics will endure.

"El Grupo Moncada" event poster, circa 1980s. Mary Johnson Papers (MS 2050), Box 20.

“El Grupo Moncada” event poster, circa 1980s. Mary Johnson Papers (MS 2050), Box 20.

An 1802 Petition on Dining at Yale College

Petition regarding Commons, page 1, circa 1800-1801, Bates Family Papers (MS 65), Box 1, folder 5

Petition regarding Commons, page 1, circa 1800-1801, Bates Family Papers (MS 65), Box 1, folder 5

In a December 1995 “Old Yale” column from the Yale Alumni Magazine, Chief Research Archivist Judy Schiff traces the history of dissatisfaction with dining facilities, service, and fare all the way back to the opening of the first Yale College building in New Haven in 1718. Sometime in 1800-1801, more than two and a half decades before the infamous Bread and Butter Rebellion of 1828, four members of the Class of 1802 sent a petition to Yale President Timothy Dwight protesting against the immoral and wicked behavior of the kitchen staff. The petition survives in Box 1, folder 5 of the Bates Family Papers (MS 65) in Manuscripts and Archives. Herewith the text of the petition:

To the President of Yale College.

Sir,

Sensible of the important purposes for which the Commons was originally designed, and convinced of the salutary consequences of which they might still be productive, we cannot but regret the unfortunate perversion of so valuable an institution.

With these impressions, and with the presumption that the President is ignorant of the conduct of those employed in the Hall, we beg leave respectfully to remonstrate, and submit to his consideration the following facts.

  • 1st. We have satisfactory proof that they have unwarrantably converted to their own use sundry articles belonging to the kitchen.
  • 2d .They have served up a part of our provision, in a more palatable manner, which, for a pecuniary reward, they have appropriated to the use of individuals.
  • 3d. They have continually harboured the low, riotous, and immoral inhabitants of this town.
  • 4th. They are destitute of cleanliness.
  • 5th. By deserting the hall, for the purpose of prosecuting their own private, they have shamefully neglected the duties of their occupation.
  • 6th. They have in the presence of the more young and inexperienced students, traduced the character of the Authority.
  • 7th. They admit into the hall, to the exclusion of others, those who will furnish them with spiritous liquors.
  • 8th. They have appropriated to their own use much more than an equitable portion of the better provisions provided by the steward.
  • 9th. They are notorious for excessive drinking.
  • 10th. They are openly profane.
  • 11th. They constantly violate the sabbath, by admitting into their company disreputable persons, and by diverting themselves with ludicrous and improper amusements.

It is therefore the unanimous request of the Junior Class that for these and many other improprieties, the President would take into consideration the conduct of the Cooks and make such regulations as he shall think proper.

Isaac C. Bates, Wm. F. Brainard, Jeremiah Evarts, Junius Smith, Committee in behalf of the Class

Petition regarding Commons, page 2, circa 1800-1801, Bates Family Papers (MS 65), Box 1, folder 5

Petition regarding Commons, page 2, circa 1800-1801, Bates Family Papers (MS 65), Box 1, folder 5

The “Commons” in question in the petition was the first separately standing Commons building on Yale’s Old Campus. It was built in 1782 as a dining hall, or Commons, and designed by Jeremiah Atwater. It’s location was behind South Middle College (today’s Connecticut Hall) and behind the Chapel Street location where Street Hall was eventually constructed in 1864, approximately in the present location of the southern end of McClellan Hall. It served as the dining commons for Yale College students until 1820, when a larger Commons building was constructed nearby. From 1820-1888 the building was used as a chemical laboratory and known as the Old Laboratory, and from 1885-1887 also served as the first home for the Yale Cooperative Society (which after 1893 became the Yale Cooperative Corporation). The building was demolished in 1888, contemporaneously with the construction of the new Kent Chemical Laboratory building across High St. from the Old Library (now Dwight Hall) at the corner of Library St. (on a site now occupied by Jonathan Edwards College).

And what of the four members of the Class of 1802 selected by their classmates to petition the Yale College president seeking some kind of redress for the perceived abuses of the Commons staff?

  • Isaac Chapman Bates (January 23, 1779-March 16, 1845) practiced law in Northampton, Massachusetts, and later served in the U.S. House of Representatives (1827-1835) and the U.S. Senate (1841-1845) representing Massachusetts.
  • William F. Brainard practiced law in his hometown of New London, Connecticut.
  • Jeremiah F. Evarts (February 3, 1781-May 10, 1831) also was a lawyer, served for many years as treasurer then secretary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions. He was one of the leading opponents of Indian removal, and engaged in lobbying efforts attempting unsuccessfully to defeat the Indian Removal Act of 1830.
  • Junius Smith (1780-1853) also practiced law, and later in his life was a determined supporter of efforts to build a fleet of transatlantic steam ships.

 

 

 

Winners of the 2017 Manuscripts and Archives Diane Kaplan Memorial Senior Essay Prizes

Poster for 2017 senior essay contest

Poster for 2017 senior essay contest

Manuscripts and Archives is pleased to announce the winners of the two 2017 Manuscripts and Archives Diane Kaplan Memorial Senior Essay Prizes. The winners each will receive a certificate and a check for $500.00 at their residential college ceremonies on Commencement Day, Monday, May 22, 2017. Prize-winning essays are also published in EliScholar, the Yale University Library’s digital platform for scholarly publishing. Additional information about the prizes is available on our MSSA Prizes website.

Title page of Sarah Pajka's senior essay, "Doctors, Death, and Denial," 3 April 2017

Title page of Sarah Pajka’s senior essay, “Doctors, Death, and Denial,” 3 April 2017

The prize for an outstanding senior essay on a topic relating to Yale is presented to Sarah E. Pajka (Morse College) for her essay Doctors, Death, and Denial: The Origins of Hospice Care in 20th Century America. Her senior essay project was advised by Professor Naomi Rogers of the Program in the History of Science and Medicine. Sarah’s essay explores the emergence of the need for hospice care in the United States in the rise of institutionalized medicine and the conundrum presented by “the patient who could not be healed.” Sarah used the Florence and Henry Wald Papers (MS 1659) in Manuscripts and Archives, among other sources, to explore the pivotal role of Yale School of Nursing Dean Florence Wald in the development of Connecticut Hospice, which was the first modern hospice facility in America when it opened in 1980.

Title page of Sarah Kim's senior essay, "Of a Healthy Constitution," 3 April 2017

Title page of Sarah Kim’s senior essay, “Of a Healthy Constitution,” 3 April 2017

The prize for an outstanding senior essay based significantly on research done in Manuscripts and Archives is presented to Sarah D. Kim (Jonathan Edwards College) for her essay Of a Healthy Constitution: Socialized Medicine Between the Triumphs of Social Security and Medicare. Her senior essay adviser was Profession Jennifer Klein of the Department of History. Sarah used, among other sources, the Isidore Sydney Falk Papers (MS 1039) in Manuscripts and Archives to explore the debates in the United States over the controversial issue of national health insurance between the late 1930s and the early 1960s. She uses Falk’s activism on national health care as a lens through which to explore the impact of Cold War politics on the debate.

Congratulations to both Sarahs for their outstanding senior essay accomplishments! Thanks as well to the 15 other members of the Yale College Class of 2017 who submitted senior essays for consideration in this competition. The 2017 MSSA senior essay judging panel consisted of 11 Yale alumni and Yale University Library staff members.

Waging War(s): Formation of the AIDS Committee of Toronto

Doctors in New York and California have diagnosed among homosexual men 41 cases of a rare and often rapidly fatal form of cancer. Eight of the victims died less than 24 months after the diagnosis was made

 

LAWRENCE K. ALTMAN, “RARE CANCER SEEN IN 41 HOMOSEXUALS.” New York Times, Jul 03, 1981.

By July 1981, 41 men received diagnoses of Kaposi sarcoma, a cancer that was endemic to parts of Africa and the Mediterranean region and rarely seen elsewhere. When it did occur in the United States, it was generally seen in men of Mediterranean, Eastern European, and Middle Eastern descent above the age of 50 and often took ten years for it to result in death if left untreated. However, the Kaposi sarcoma cases first seen in 1981 struck men in their 30s and they died within three years in many cases.

Further testing of the men showed that something had gone horribly wrong with their immune system. Their T-cells were nearly or outright non-existent. Other diseases were also showing up that most adults with a healthy immune system would never develop, such as thrush and Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia. These men died of the latter as well. The only real link that was found was that the majority of the infected were homosexual men and had many sexual partners. A few men were also intravenous drug users. Hemophiliacs also suffered these problems on occasion. After years of confusion and research performed by scientists in countries such as the United States and France, this destruction of the immune system was named Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and its vector was determined to be a virus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Scientists discovered that HIV was passed through contact with certain infected body fluids, such as blood and semen, while saliva and sweat carried so little viral load and would not transmit the virus. Eventually, antiretroviral treatments were developed to slow the loss of T-cells and decrease the patient’s viral load, allowing them to live longer lives.

At the very beginning of the epidemic, there was a lot of fear and confusion across the United States. Gay people were blamed for infecting others and press coverage was homophobic in tone. Those with AIDS and their advocates fought back against government inattention to the crisis. Homosexuals and drug users were perceived as immoral by many, responsible for their own suffering and unworthy of assistance. Much has been written on this time period, including the nonfiction works And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts and Close to the Knives by David Wojnarowicz (whose papers are part of New York University’s Downtown Collection) as well as the plays Angels in America by Tony Kushner and The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer.

An example of the atmosphere of discrimination against the gay men and lesbian communities. From the <title>Gay Community News</title>, June 26, 1982.

An example of the atmosphere of discrimination against the gay men and lesbian communities. From the Gay Community News, June 26, 1982. (Box 6, folder 2)

 

While many of the first reports of AIDS were coming out of the United States, Canada also began recording statistics of people falling ill with the syndrome. Bert Hansen, an American professor of the history of science and medicine then teaching at the University of Toronto, was among those concerned about the growing epidemic in 1982. His and others efforts to help AIDS patients through the founding of the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT) is documented in the Bert Hansen Papers (MS 2042).

A newspaper article announcing the start of the AIDS Committee of Toronto.

A newspaper article announcing the start of the AIDS Committee of Toronto. (Box 2, folder 6)

ACT had its roots in an April 5, 1983 meeting held at the Church Street Community Center, run by Gays in Health Care and the Hassle Free Clinic in Toronto. On April 26, 1983, volunteers formed five different groups to begin work on several fronts: the Medical Liaison Committee, the Media Relations Committee, Fundraising and Special Events Committee, AIDSupport, and the Community Education Committee.

Hansen chaired ACT from 1983 to 1984. During his time, the five working group began projects that set the course for ACT. The Medical Liaison Committee contacted medical professionals for more information about patients with AIDS and to give them information as well. They also worked with the medical profession towards inclusive policies and support for people with AIDS. The Media Relations Committee spoke to reporters on behalf of ACT, held press conferences, and produced press releases. They also monitored the media for coverage of the epidemic, especially of the gay community; circulated articles that were positive and informative to others; and responded to press that was discriminating and bigoted in nature. Their intent was to make sure people were properly informed about AIDS rather than solely receiving news reports that were panicked, sensationalist, and exploitative of patients with AIDS and their loved ones.

The gay men community, especially AIDS activists, often faced insults, poor reporting, and exploitation, as described in the opinion section of the September 3, 1983 issue of Gay Community News.

The gay men community, especially AIDS activists, often faced insults, poor reporting, and exploitation, as described in the opinion section of the September 3, 1983 issue of Gay Community News. (Box 2, Folder 5)

The Fundraising and Special Events Committee held events to raise funds for research into the disease and for day to day office costs of the committee. Most of ACT’s fundraising for research was in conjunction with other organizations, but they did organize smaller events in the Toronto area for ACT. AIDSupport sought to set up counseling and advising for AIDS patients as well as helping with practical needs, such as providing meals, transporting those who were unable to do so themselves, and running social activities for people with HIV and AIDS. The Community Education Committee was responsible for producing pamphlets and holding talks and workshops about how AIDS affected the body and how it may be spread. (During Hansen’s time with ACT, it was still not known what the exact vector was for AIDS, or even certain what bodily fluids transmitted the syndrome.) They modeled their services after the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) located in the United States, after hearing about their work. To get a clearer sense of GMHC’s work, a committee member visited their offices to observe and make a report of their operations.

The report on the activities of the Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) offices and operations.

The report on the activities of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) offices and operations. (Box 1, Folder 5)

A volunteer survey sheet distributed by ACT.

A volunteer survey sheet distributed by ACT. (Box 1, folder 11)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bert Hansen stepped down from ACT in 1984 and returned to the United States in 1985. He continued to keep track of the media response to HIV/AIDS, which is also documented in the collection’s subject files. ACT continues to serve the Toronto community of those who are HIV positive, and providing community education on the disease itself and the stigma around those who have it.

Researchers wishing to work with the Bert Hansen Papers can view the finding aid here. Researchers can also visit our website for more information on visiting Manuscripts and Archives and using our collections.

Guest Post: A Salisbury Christmas in Berlin, 1838

This is a guest post by Robin Dougherty, librarian for Middle East Studies at the Near East Collection,Yale University Library.

The Legacy of E.E. Salisbury exhibit poster.

The Legacy of E.E. Salisbury exhibit poster.

The year 2016 marks the 175th anniversary of the appointment of Edward Elbridge Salisbury (1814-1901) as Professor of Arabic and Sanskrit Languages and Literatures at Yale. An exhibit devoted to exploring this groundbreaking appointment, its context, and its legacy (and based upon materials in Yale’s Manuscripts and Archives department, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and general library collections), is on display in the Memorabilia Room of Sterling Memorial Library through February 6, 2017. If you had the time, you too could trace Salisbury’s life and legacy through documents held in Yale collections and elsewhere. For the Christmas season, I’d like to highlight two paragraphs that can be found in items held in the collections of Manuscripts and Archives.

Salisbury (B.A. 1832), scion of the wealthy Salisbury family of Massachusetts, married his cousin Abigail Phillips (1814-1869) shortly after completing his theological education at Yale. The two then set out on the customary honeymoon/”Grand Tour” of Europe. As Salisbury later wrote in his brief autobiography, “We younglings … were amply provided for, and could follow freely our fancies and tastes.” On this Grand Tour, Salisbury not only visited the great universities of Europe, meeting the greatest living scholars of the time, but stayed on long enough in Paris and Berlin to acquire a foundational education in Oriental languages (principally Arabic and Sanskrit), aiming to establish himself as an academic (and, in 1841, successfully obtaining a Yale professorship to teach these two Oriental languages). He was among only a few dozen Americans up to that point to make the arduous journey across the Atlantic in pursuit of advanced study in Europe—a group dominated by graduates of Harvard and Yale. His journal entries and the letters that he and Abby wrote back home reveal their discoveries and their impressions as New England innocents abroad.

Although terribly homesick for her family, friends, and her Congregationalist church back in the United States, newlywed Abby gamely explored Europe with her husband Edward, studying European languages with him and giving birth to their daughter Mary (1837-1875) in Switzerland. In December 1838, not long after arriving in Berlin with Edward and little Mary, Abby described to her mother-in-law Abigail Breese Salisbury, with great excitement, a scene utterly unfamiliar to most New Englanders of the time:

Letter from Abigail Phillips Salisbury to her mother-in-law Abigail Breese Salisbury, 16 December 1838. E.E. Salisbury Papers (MS 429), Box 11, folder 45a. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Letter from Abigail Phillips Salisbury to her mother-in-law Abigail Breese Salisbury, 16 December 1838. E.E. Salisbury Papers (MS 429), Box 11, folder 45a. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

This is a very gay time in Berlin, every one is making preparations for Christmas, a fair has already begun, to last until Christmas, the booths are filled with toys & fancy things, principally for children, & every one seems so busy & happy that it is a pleasure to see them, one enclosure is filled with pine trees to place the presents on, which is the custom in every German family you know, in the evening the booths are illuminated & must present I think a very pretty sight. [Salisbury Family Papers (MS 429), Series III, Box 11, Folder 45b, APS to ABS, 16 December 1838.]

She concludes her letter to her mother-in-law with the fervent hope of establishing the “pretty” German-style observation of Christmas in her own New Haven home after returning from the Grand Tour. Theodore Woolsey, future president of Yale but at that time still just a professor of Greek, was Salisbury’s brother-in-law, having married Salisbury’s sister Martha—Abby’s 1838 letter paints a lovely picture of her own little family joining Madame Salisbury along with Woolsey’s budding family in a style of Christmas celebration that would be utterly innovative in New Haven:

If it please God, I trust the next year we may all form a happy family circle around a Christmas tree, for it is such a pretty custom, I think we shall adopt it.

In his journal entry for Dec. 18, 1838, Edward recorded his own impressions of his first experience of the celebration of Christmas, German-style:

“Journal of travels in Europe 1838 May 27-1839 Aug 6,” p. 147. E.E. Salisbury Papers (MS 429), Box 5, folder 251. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

“Journal of travels in Europe 1838 May 27-1839 Aug 6,” p. 147. E.E. Salisbury Papers (MS 429), Box 5, folder 251. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

I have just returned from an eveng visit to the “markt”…. All the streets in the quarter of the fair are alive day and night with people moving to and fro’ the great deposit of Christmas presents; grave looking gentlemen may be seen carrying off rocking-horses half concealed under their cloaks, and servants bearing home on their shoulders the “Christmas-tree,” which must be introduced by stealth, while the “Kinder” are asleep, dreaming of their patron Saint Nicholas…. There is not a family in Berlin, probably, however humble, which does not have its tree and its interchange of gifts.–The house of amusement, as I style it, exhibits dioramas, green-houses, a saloon for refreshments, (where are made tables for separate parties,) and a mock concert of automaton musicians,–a capital quiz! From one of these dervish objects to another, old & young, high and low stroll, and look and laugh, and look and stroll again. It would seem as if the whole city had given up its cares and were in quest of wherewithal to divert the mind. Almost every face looks brightened and intent,–miserable must he be who has not some share of the general blitheness. [Salisbury Family Papers (MS 429), Series I, Box 5, Folder 251: “Journal of travels in Europe 1838 May 27-1839 Aug 6,” p. 147-148. Salisbury here has translated the German word “Festhalle” as “house of amusement.” He uses “quiz” to mean a practical joke or hoax of some kind. His use of “dervish objects” is unclear, perhaps referring to the spinning and gyrating movement of the automaton figures.]

Illustration of Saint Nicholas by Howell, from Clement Clark Moore, Visit of Saint Nicholas (Fisher & Brother, circa 1850). Shirley +569. Courtesy of Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University .

Illustration of Saint Nicholas by Howell, from Clement Clark Moore, Visit of Saint Nicholas (Fisher & Brother, circa 1850). Shirley +569. Courtesy of Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University .

Edward was a connoisseur of the arts, and throughout his journals and letters freely offered his opinions on the musical offerings of the day. As part of his journal entry quoted above, he made this interesting suggestion

I like the festival which thus spreads a joy over half the year, or at least makes one bright spot when, otherwise, all would perhaps be gloom, or dimness; I could suggest, as an addition, however, that there might be some great musical festival on this occasion, to give utterance to the deeper feelings associated with the season in the performance of the “Messiah”. I think it is not preaching which one wants at such a time.

Handel’s “Messiah,” originally composed for use during Lent, had been popular in the U.S. and Europe since its composition. It was first performed on Christmas Day, in its entirety, in Boston, 1818, but did not achieve its current popularity as a piece for the Christmas season until the late 19th century–Salisbury’s taste was way ahead of its time!

George Roy Hill

The George Roy Hill Collection serves as both an examination of the creative as well as the physical labor that went into making feature films. Hill, who directed work such as The World According to Garp and Slaughterhouse-Five, was a student at Yale College (Class of 1943), and opted to give his collection to Yale University because both he and Paul Newman were affiliated with Yale. His best known film, however, is probably Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, starring Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Katherine Ross

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, which was the top grossing movie of 1969 and went on to win several Academy awards, received critical praise. It features the character who became the namesake for the Sundance Film Festival, which was started by Robert Redford.

Examining the material in this collection shows the tremendous physical, creative, and emotional labor that went into creating a feature film. The costume and set designs, along with the reproduction of some of the few photographs existing of the real Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, show the detail and the dedication of the designers.

A costume design for Tiffany, and a costume design for Butch Cassidy, designed by Edith Head

A costume design for Tiffany, and a costume design for Butch Cassidy, designed by Edith Head. Box 10, Folders 1-2

The creative process was tracked through the scene breakdowns and storyboards, where stunts and critical scenes were carefully planned, shot by shot. These breakdowns are hand drawn and look like animation storyboards. These shots also required a great deal of technical skill. Hill speaks in an interview about the methods they used to capture particularly important moments–such as the last scene of the film, which is a freeze-frame–and his thought process that spoke to the legend of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid returning in this final moment right before they died.

Storyboard for the film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Storyboard for the film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Box 24

The creative team worked hard on the style and flair of the film; this translated into an iconic film, with iconic moments that linger in cinema history.

Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy and Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid photograph

Paul Newman as Butch Cassidy and Robert Redford as the Sundance Kid photograph. Box 6 Folder 1

But looking into the collection shows that this movie and its legacy was not easily won. George Roy Hill, the director, seemed to be in constant conflict with William Goldman, the screenwriter. He treated Goldman’s concerns about changing the script lightly and regarded his notes as funny but inconsequential. Hill wrote to Goldman, in a letter dated May 7, 1969:

You will be happy to know that during the last going through the movie for corrections, I read your notes to the editors and your letter and at the moments, our notes are getting more laughs than the movie. We are doing nothing with them, but it provides us with general merriment in our travail.

If you feel any reluctance about fulfilling the above request I am sure that a recollection of what comes when I’m left to my own devices will spur you to the needed effort. [Box 1, Folder 5]

Goldman, in reply, wrote a letter dated May 12, 1969. He seemed particularly incensed at the notion that any changes to the script were made without his consent, and compared the request from actors for additional material to clarify intent to asking Shakespeare to allow the actor playing Ophelia to suggest Hamlet ad-lib that “maybe I should kill myself” in the middle of Hamlet’s famous ‘To be, or not to be’ soliloquy. He charged Hill with protecting his work, stating:

I have no idea what the fucking actors actually said since the script girl was a microcephalic and the director less than lax when it came to PROTECTING MY FUCKING DIALOG [Box 1, Folder 5]

In fact, these two argued about almost everything in the movie, including hiring Burt Bacharach to do the score – the point where Hill hired him without consent, in the middle of an argument with Goldman. None of this, however, detracted from good art. Goldman, for his part, won an Academy award for the script, and Bacharach won an Academy award for the song Raindrops Are Falling on My Head, written for this film. So in this regard, whether the conflict was as volatile as Goldman’s letters suggest or as mild as Hill’s, the dedication of the designers, the screenwriter, and the director resulted in a film whose legacy includes being on several lists of the best films and screenplays of the first hundred years of cinema.

Guest Post: Abolitionist Sentiments Meet Profit Motives

This guest post is by Connor Williams, a second-year graduate student in the Yale History Department, who has been working as a graduate assistant on a project in Manuscripts and Archives to identify more collection materials relating to slavery, abolition, and resistance in the 19th-century United States.

I had great hopes for the William and George, the Woolsey brothers.  At first glance, their resumes seemed impeccable: they were New York merchants who at times served as presidents of both the New York Chamber of Commerce and the New York Manumission Society. William also fathered Theodore Dwight Woolsey, Yale’s anti-slavery President during and after the Civil War, and through his service their surname graces Yale’s grand concert hall and war memorial, where the walls bear the names of the 114 Yale men who died for the Union.  (For full disclosure, 54 Yalies also died for the Confederacy, and their names are intertwined alphabetically with their Yankee classmates, providing a troubling reminder of how far the Lost Cause spread).  On more esoteric matters the Woolseys also appealed to my northeastern biases—they were early blockade runners when Jefferson forced his myopic Embargo Act upon the merchant classes, and savvy operators in international trade.  William even petitioned that Congress include black and foreign-born seamen in its 1795 act guarding against sailors’ impressments, acknowledging that though not U.S. citizens, they nonetheless sailed for American merchants and deserved “the protection of the American flag.”  Taken in sum, the Woolseys presented that which so often eludes a student of the New Republic and the 19th century: pro-union, anti-slavery federalists who were civic minded and strove to enhance the lives of many.  In short, some early Americans who we can celebrate without reserve, and in whose eponymous concert hall the Yale Glee Club can perform without regret.

Yet maxims exist for a reason: and that which seems too good to be true almost always is. Reading through the Woolsey’s business records, slight patterns start to emerge.  Though noble in purpose, the manumission society’s practices leave something to be desired for the modern researcher: one manumission was contingent on the slave’s faithful service as a deckhand aboard two dangerous voyages to the East Indies and back, while another master manumitted his slave only after the slave finished eleven years service as a hired hand (the master received the wages).  That man, twenty-seven years old at the time, would not receive his freedom until close to his fortieth birthday.  A similar document, for a five-year-old girl whose owner calls her a “wench,” withholds freedom for twenty years.

In matters of trade, some troubling anecdotes also appear: most notably, in the summer of 1796, William Woolsey seemed reluctant to investigate claims that New York merchants were bringing enslaved men and women to Cuba in order to take away the valuable sugar products being created there.  Despite being reminded that it was “a crime against humanity and the law of the United States” by a petitioner and receiving evidence of nine New York vessels plying the illicit trade, Woolsey only lukewarmly consented to form a committee to investigate future claims, and to act only if “any cases should be discovered sufficiently clear so as to warrant them to commence a suit.”

One of three plantation mortgages the Woolseys underwrote soon after the Louisiana Purchase. As with many documents issued in New Orleans, the text is entirely in French.

One of three plantation mortgages the Woolseys underwrote soon after the Louisiana Purchase. As with many documents issued in New Orleans, the text is entirely in French. Woolsey Family Papers (MS 562), Box 69, Folder 26.

Perhaps Woolsey’s reluctance to investigate New York’s commercial ties to slavery was prophetic: seven years later the United States purchased the Louisiana Territory from France, and the Woolseys were some of the first major investors in the plantation products—especially cotton and sugar—that New Orleans now offered the nation.  In 1805 George Woolsey even went so far as to employ New Orleans denizen George Phillips as his agent in the port to buy and ship slave-grown sugar and cotton up north: William signed on as a silent partner.  From the start Phillips’ letters to Wolsey indicate an ambition that borders on avarice: he repeatedly asks for more buying power, fewer restraints on his agency, and more money. This process culminated in Phillips’ entry into three mortgages with the Woolseys for  $75,000—at least $1,500,000 in today’s dollars, and almost certainly more in real value—to expand his New Orleans operation.  For one of the mortgages, Phillips offered 41 slaves as collateral to secure a $23,000 loan.

Not uncommon at the time, and increasingly common during the antebellum era, one $23,000 mortgage was secured by 41 slaves.

Not uncommon at the time, and increasingly common during the antebellum era, one $23,000 mortgage was secured by 41 slaves. Woolsey Family Papers (MS 562), Box 69, Folder 26.

Though dubious, this in itself is not especially damning.  Successful mortgages never see the security brought into question; instead, the debts are paid on time to the benefit of both parties.  The Woolseys, an apologist might say, faced the same dilemma that investors face today: diversifying their portfolio across varied interests, even those that may cause controversy.   In this sense, a mortgage secured with slaves was no different than an investment in shipping cotton.  Slavery existed somewhere in the process, but there was little that William and George, as merchants and creditors, could do about it.  Besides, their work with the manumission society, however faulty, demonstrated that their intentions were in the right place.

As their business dealings worsened, the Woolseys began to consider the possibility of actually acquiring the slaves as a security, and made plans to sell them.

As their business dealings worsened, the Woolseys began to consider the possibility of actually acquiring the slaves as a security, and made plans to sell them. Woolsey Family Papers (MS 562), Box 69, Folder 27.

Yet the events that transpired removed any of these ambiguities.  By 1807, Phillips proved to be overwhelmed in his new venture, and rumors came back to George that the debtor was unable to meet his upcoming financial obligations.  Woolsey wasted no time in dispatching another agent to the New Orleans, with instructions to press the Woolseys’ claim with all haste to recover whatever funds might remain.   He expressed his desire for the agent to avoid collecting the slaves as payment, but tellingly instructed his new agent to “dispose of them in the most summary way possible” in case nothing else could be collected.  By 1808, Woolsey was actively pursuing their collection, before Phillips “[sent] them away to Baton Rouge” or another difficult to reach part of the territory.  The Woolsey brothers, whatever their intentions at the outset might have been, had become slave owners and slave-sellers.

Ultimately, money trumped morals. Fearing that the slaves would be moved inland to Baton Rouge, Woolsey ordered his agent to collect them at once.

Ultimately, money trumped morals. Fearing that the slaves would be moved inland to Baton Rouge, Woolsey ordered his agent to collect them at once. Woolsey Family Papers (MS 562), Box 69, Folder 28.

Ultimately, this is meant neither to sensationalize the Woolsey family story, nor to insinuate that the accomplishments of the Woolsey family—and their works at Yale—are necessarily invalidated by this moment in two of their lives.  A trove of much needed scholarship over the last decades has outlined the prominent roles northerners and northern institutions played in the trading and financing of enslaved people and the plantation goods they produced.  A dozen years ago Craig Wilder’s Ebony and Ivy focused the issue on venerable academic institutions, and Yale continues to grapple with its past relationship with slavery and slaveholders to this day, as highlighted by the debate over the name of Calhoun College during the 2015-2016 academic year.  Moral judgments on matters like this depend on more factors than could possibly be listed in this blog post.

Yet the facts of the case present us with a compelling historical case study that reminds us that American slavery was not confined to the plantation, and that though the heartless cruelties of the lash and the auction need to be remembered by all, they are far from the only instances in which slavery interacted with our society during the New Republic and antebellum years.  The story of this pair of manumission-minded brothers from New York, who inadvertently acquired absolute control over the lives of 41 humans and sold them for cash rather than granting their freedom is a telling reminder that rather than a “peculiar institution” within American society, chattel slavery was a foundation upon which that entire society was built.  The question is not whether the Woolseys could have absorbed the $23,000 loss that would have come with emancipating or manumitting their suddenly acquired slaves; for whatever it matters, their record books, which often reached six digits, suggest that it would have been a manageable loss.  The right question should be how a society could exist in the Land of the Free that saw human beings enumerated, valued, and mortgaged as property, and how their otherwise liberal-minded new owners could wish for them to be quickly “disposed of” as though they were a sub-par shipment of any other commodity to be sold at whatever price could be salvaged.   For while there are many rubrics for what constitutes a slave society, it’s difficult to think of one where this story, preserved in Yale’s Woolsey Family Papers, would not fit.


Note on quotations in this post that are not accompanied by an image of the quoted document: Quotations in this post relating to manumission and illicit trade with Cuba are taken from letters in the Woolsey Family Papers (MS 562), Manuscripts and Archives, Box 67, Folders 2-3. The discussion of the growing precariousness of George Phillips’ financial dealings in New Orleans are drawn from correspondence that can be found in the Woolsey Family Papers (MS 562), Box 68, Folders 11-12.

 

The Henry A. Kissinger Papers

KIssingerCollage2Manuscripts and Archives is pleased to announce the availability of the papers of Henry A. Kissinger, former Secretary of State (1973-1977) and Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (1969-1975). The papers document Dr. Kissinger’s pre-government, government, and post-government careers and are comprised of correspondence, memoranda, writings, speeches, photographs, films, videos, sound recordings, and other material. The papers have been digitized and the collection overview page provides information on collection content, research strengths, access to the digital collection, and ownership and copyright. Please consult: http://web.library.yale.edu/digital-collections/kissinger-collection

Pioneers in Family Planning: Margaret Sanger, Rose Pastor Stokes, and Emma Goldman

The women’s rights movement was one of the most significant of the Progressive Era.  In addition to the right to vote, women advocated for equal rights to access to higher education, the professions, and other occupations; for marital and property rights; and for freedom of information on family planning.  While the media focuses on the centennials of World War I-related events, it is important to note other historic milestones.  In 1914, “Birth Control,” was a new term coined by the movement’s leader, Margaret Sanger.  And in 1916, a new wave of women’s activism led to the opening of the first public birth control clinic in America.  Important groups of papers of Margaret Sanger’s colleagues, socialist (later Communist) Rose Pastor Stokes and anarchist Emma Goldman (in the Harry Weinberger Papers) are in Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Rose Pastor Stokes (1879-1933), political activist and author, at her desk in her New York City apartment.

Rose Pastor Stokes (1879-1933), political activist and author, at her desk in her New York City apartment. Rose Pastor Stokes Papers (MS 573), Box 10, Folder 20.

Born in 1879, Stokes vividly described her early life in her autobiography, I Belong to the Working Class.  The drafts in her papers were edited and published in 1992.  A poor Jewish immigrant from Russian Poland, at the age of eleven Stokes went to work in a Cleveland cigar factory and struggled to educate herself at the public library at night.  In 1903 she moved to New York City and became a feature writer for the Jewish Daily News.  On an assignment she interviewed the “millionaire socialist” James Graham Phelps Stokes, whose brother, Rev. Anson Phelps Stokes was the Secretary of Yale University.  When they were married in 1905, the tabloids dubbed her “the Cinderella of the sweatshops.”   Working with her husband in the socialist movement, Stokes moved progressively to the left and eventually became the highest-ranking woman in the American Communist Party.  Highly talented, she was a charismatic political speaker, writer, dramatist, poet, artist, and singer.  Her fearless dedication to reform causes is reflected in her correspondence and subject files.

Workers at Gleichmans Cigar Factory in Cleveland. Rose H. Pastor is in back row, third from left.

Workers at Gleichmans Cigar Factory in Cleveland. Rose H. Pastor is in back row, third from left. Rose Pastor Stokes Papers (MS 573), Box 10, Folder 20.

In January 1916 Stokes supported Sanger, who was facing federal charges for distributing “obscene” literature on birth control, by organizing a dinner to raise funds for her defense at the historic Brevoort Hotel on lower Fifth Avenue.  Margaret Sanger described it in her autobiography as follows:

As we were about to go in to dinner, Rose Pastor Stokes, the Chairman, took me aside and said, “Something very disturbing has happened. We’ve just been talking to Dr. Jacoby. He has a speech ready in which he intends to blast you to the skies for interfering in what should be a strictly medical matter. Remember he’s greatly admired and he’s speaking here tonight for the doctors. We meant to have you come at the end of the program but now we’re going to put you first so that you can spike his guns.”  My trepidation was increased. Nevertheless, I plunged into my carefully prepared maiden speech in behalf of birth control.

In October 1916 Sanger opened the Brownsville Clinic in Brooklyn where her pamphlet What Every Girl Should Know was distributed.  She was arrested and served 30 days in jail, but nonetheless in December the New York Birth Control League was established.  In 1921 Sanger united the growing number of state leagues into the American Birth Control League, renamed “Planned Parenthood” in 1942.

Emma Goldman, an early mentor of Margaret Sanger and the author of Why and How the Poor Should Not Have Many Children, was arrested in 1916 for her birth control lectures and public instruction.  On December 22, 1916 she wrote to her attorney, Harry Weinberger on her “Mother Earth Publishing Association; Mother Earth – Monthly Magazine of Anarchist Thought” letterhead stationery:  “Please write a letter to the Judge… Tell him about Dr. Robinson’s book and the Margaret Sanger pamphlets that are being sold everywhere and go through the mail…. Then tell him about the birth control campaign, of the people in different professions sponsoring. …Write to the judge that none of us who are engaged in the birth control campaign stoop to sneaking in a leaflet in a book.”

Blog post author: Judith A. Schiff