New Online Exhibit on Coeducation at Yale, 1968-1973

Ezra Stiles College petition against housing women in the tower, February 1969

Ezra Stiles College petition against housing women in the tower, February 1969. [RU 821, Accession 19ND-A-086, Box 28, Folder 965]

This month the University Archives posted a new online exhibit entitled, “We thought of ourselves as architects”: Coeducation and the Yale Campus, 1968-1973.  Co-curated by University Archivist Michael Lotstein and Charlotte Keathley, Class of 2022 (Ezra Stiles College), this exhibit explores how the sudden decision to bring coeducation to Yale College in 1969 impacted the buildings and spaces of the Yale campus, which had been conceived and built to house and educate men for the previous 250 years.

Included in the exhibit are university records, photographs, and digitized audio-visual materials which document how in a few short months university administration planned and reconfigured both Vanderbilt Hall and the residential colleges to safely and comfortably house the incoming women; how the implementation of coeducation impacted student life on campus; how the women, through sheer force of will, successfully carved out spaces for themselves on this previously all-male campus; and how the male and female students united in the face of the mounting social and political changes of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

For more information about the exhibit, please contact the University Archives at: archives@yale.edu.

Archival Processing Work at Manuscripts and Archives, April-July 2021

The following information on recent archival processing work at Manuscripts and Archives (MSSA) was written by Alison Clemens, Head of Processing.

MSSA processing staff have begun to transition back to regular onsite work in the Sterling Memorial Library (SML) building and have therefore processed both traditional and born-digital archival materials (i.e., materials that were created in computer environments) over the past three months. Since my last quarterly processing update post in April, MSSA staff have made available the several collections and additions to existing collections, including:

New collections

Yale Egyptological Institute in Egypt, Yale University, Records (RU 1158)

The collection consists of approximately 4 linear feet of photographs of the Church of Saint Shenoute (White Monastery) taken in Sohag, Egypt in 2006 and 2007. Digital copies of the photographs are accessible to members of the Yale community: http://search.library.yale.edu/academic_commons?q=church+of+saint+shenoute

East Asian Languages and Literatures, Yale University, Records (RU 1167)

Administrative files, faculty files, and two scrapbooks of news clipping and ephemera (totaling 8 linear feet) from the Institute of Far Eastern Languages (IEFL), an affiliated organization of the Yale University Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures.

Stephen Kellert Papers (MS 2104)

The collection, totaling 3.83 linear feet, comprises the papers of social ecologist and Yale University faculty member Stephen Kellert. The papers cover his career from the late 1960s through the 2010s with the bulk of material from the late 1970s through the 2000s. The papers include Kellert’s extensive writings and lectures on the “biophilia hypothesis” documenting humans’ social attitudes and relationships with nature. Kellert’s papers include surveys, research studies, design proposals, and writings for academic and general audiences.

Love Makes a Family Political Action Committee Records (MS 2106)

The collection, totaling approximately half a linear foot, primarily consists of questionnaires created by the Love Makes a Family Political Action Committee sent to political candidates in Connecticut to assess their positions on marriage equality and other LGBT rights issues. The collection also contains correspondence, committee files, meeting minutes, and information on the committee’s political endorsements.

Additions to or portions of existing collections

Accession 2019-M-0031 Michael Ivanovitch Rostovtzeff Papers (MS 1133)

This accession contains an album of photographs of Michael Ivanovitch Rostovtzeff’s family before he immigrated to the United States from Russia in 1918, and a CD of scanned photographs from the album.

Accession 2020-M-0021 of the Charles Hill Papers (MS 2070)

This series, totaling 2.17 linear feet, includes Charles Hill’s correspondence, course materials, research files, and his published and unpublished writings between 2007 and 2020. Material in this series reflects Hill’s teaching and research interest in diplomacy and statecraft as well as his administrative duties at the Yale Brady-Johnson Program in Grand Strategy. The files also contain materials related to his professional relationships with former United States secretaries of state Henry Kissinger and George Shultz.

Accession 2020-M-0023 of the G. Evelyn Hutchinson papers (MS 649)

This accession, totaling 0.25 linear feet, comprises pre-prints, correspondence, and research data related to Lake Huleh, Israel.

Accession 2020-M-0027 of the Robert P. Joyce Papers (MS 1901)

This series, totaling 0.25 linear feet, comprises autobiographical writings by Robert Joyce on a variety of topics, including Panama; Ernest Hemingway; Havana in the 1940s; Max Hayward; foreign service; and life in Spetsai, Greece. Also includes a page of a 1994 letter from Joyce to Wendy Hazard regarding Romania and the Volunteer Freedom Corps.

Accession 2020-M-0031 of the Edward Joseph Logue Papers (MS 959)

This series contains approximately 150 photographic prints from the 1940s through the 1990s. Most prints document Edward Logue’s professional and political life during this period. One folder of prints includes personal photographs taken during Logue’s youth, college years, and service in the Second World War. The photographic prints vary in size from 8×10 inches to 1×3 inches. Writing on the verso of many of the photographs provides additional information about the individuals and settings depicted.

Accession 2020-M-0033 of the Sylvanus Dyer Locke Papers (MS 327)

This accession, totaling 0.42 linear feet, comprises forty-five photographs of members of the Locke family, including Sylvanus Dyer Locke, Ellen Josephine Locke, Norman Walter Locke, Helen Locke Norman, John Parker Locke, Sylvanus Dyer Locke, Jr., Lilla Josephine Locke, Norman Wentworth Locke, “Virgil Parker, Brother of Mrs. S.D. Locke [Ellen Josephine Locke],” Helen Scott Locke, “Mamie (Sister of Helen G. Scott Locke),” and “Aunt Bess – John Scott’s mother, at East Lyme.” Photograph subjects also include Edwin P. Young, “The Three Johns – Grandpa Comstock, Uncle John Comstock, Uncle John Scott,” John Paul Young, Abram Baldwin, Plymat [?] Mattoon, Lewis Lauerbrei, and J.E. Gomez of Bogota Colombia, as well as several unidentified people. Also includes one silhouette image, 1957, of an unidentified person.

Accession 2021-M-0017 of the Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates Records (MS 1884)

Project records, correspondence, studies, photographs, scrapbooks, sketches, and drawings pertaining to more than thirty projects. This accession, totaling 446.5 linear feet, has been interfiled into the records.

Accession 2019-A-0003 of the Cambodian Genocide Program, Yale University, Records (RU 902)

This series, totaling 37.33 linear feet, comprises records of the Cambodian Genocide Program, 1941-2009. The material is restricted until January 1, 2045 by Yale University policy.

Accession 2004-M-087 of the Jane Roberts Papers (MS 1090)

Consists of copies of taped ESP class sessions taught by Jane Roberts. The tapes from which these compact discs were made were originally recorded by a variety of people. These compact discs fill in the missing dates of compact discs in Accession 2001-M-058.

Series VII: Computer disks, 1980-2007 of the Allen R. Maxwell Papers (MS 2017)

The series consists of born-digital material containing lexico-statistical analyses of the Syair Awang Simawn, a classical oral epic focused on the founding of Brunei. Maxwell analyses linguistic variations in six versions of the epic poem (A, B, C, D, E, and F), and studies the epic’s creation and significance. The material also includes diaries of Sir Hugh Low, a British administrator of the Malay Peninsula, and diaries relating to the Belaga District of Malaysia translated by Maxwell. Writings include a collection of Maxwell’s unpublished papers on anthropology and the Kadayan people, bibliographies of sources used in his research, and software used to analyze linguistic data relating to the kinship structures of Brunei and Sarawak people. Dates for the materials were determined by the files’ last modified date.

Accession 2009-A-124 of the Yale University Library Materials Concerning Events and Exhibits (RU 368)

1 DVD-R recording of a Yale University Library and Oxford University Press sponsored panel lecture on October 1, 2008 to celebrate the 80th birthday of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the comprehensive dictionary of the English language. The speakers were Fred Shapiro, Simon Winchester, Jesse Sheidlower, and Ammon Shea. Each brought unique and engaging insights to this discussion of the history, function and future of the dictionary.

Accessions 2004-A-096, 2007-A-186, 2008-A-102, and 2010-A-016 of the School of Architecture, Yale University, Records Concerning Events and Exhibitions (RU 886)

Born-digital materials documenting exhibitions at the Yale School of Architecture, 2003-2009.

John Clayton Tracy (1890 Ph.B.) and Jesse Owens’ 1935 World Record

The following post was authored by Genevieve Coyle, public services assistant in Manuscripts and Archives.

In 1890, John Clayton Tracy earned his Ph.B from the Sheffield Scientific School at Yale University, and then his Civil Engineer (C.E.) degree from the Yale Graduate School in 1892. He went on to teach in the Department of Civil Engineering at Yale for 46 years, including serving 22 years as the department chairman. Tracy is known to many engineering students for his important work on plane surveying. His 1907 book Plane Surveying: A Textbook and Pocket Manual is still considered by many scholars to be a key piece of work in building today’s knowledge on the topic.

At the very beginning of his extensive time at Yale, Tracy participated in some extracurricular activities, including the 1890 Yale Track Team. While he may not have made a career out of his speed, he was certainly competitive as seen at a track meet on October 26, 1889 where he ran the 100-yard dash in 10.6 seconds. He also served as a judge for several Yale track meets for events including the javelin throw and dashes.

Yet it was his seemingly forgotten role in a track world record that truly merged his two passions for running and civil engineering.

Jesse Owens was a young, Black track runner who had a brief, impressive career in the track world. He is largely known for the four gold medals won at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, and the many world records he held throughout his career. Perhaps most notably, at a May 25, 1935, collegiate track meet at the University of Michigan’s Ferry Field, Owens broke four world records in the timeframe of 45 minutes. Today, Owens is also known as the first man to ever run the 100-meter dash in 10.2 seconds, setting a record that stood until Willie Williams ran it in 10.1 seconds two decades later. Owens held the 100-meter dash world record longer than anyone since.

However, this record was almost never awarded to Owens, through no fault of his own.

On June 20, 1936, Jesse Owens ran 100 meters in 10.2 seconds, which was a tenth of a second faster than the current world record. Unfortunately, a standard post-race measurement of the course found the length to be 1.5 centimeters short. Despite the fact that Owens was clearly on track to still beat the record if he had gone an extra 1.5 centimeters, officials determined this race would not stand as a world record.

Letter from John C. Tracy to Paul R. Jordan, May 8, 1937

Letter from John C. Tracy to Paul R. Jordan, May 8, 1937

Although little record of this incident can be easily found today, Tracy caught wind of the almost world record, and the John Clayton Tracy Papers (MS 502) hold documentation of his attempt to correct the situation. In March 1937, John Tracy wrote to Jesse Owens’ Ohio State University track coach, Larry Snyder, inquiring about how the measurements of the track were performed. Over the next few months, Tracy was brought into the fold of several other individuals all working to prove Owens’ record should be ratified. In addition, the men discussed a broader goal of setting permanent, international measurement standards to prevent these issues in the future. It is worth noting that their discussion includes the effect temperature would have on a steel measuring tape, and today the World Athletics Organization’s current Track and Field Facilities Manual has detailed instructions on exactly how to account for temperature.

As you can see in the May 8, 1937 letter above, Tracy wrote to Paul R. Jordan, chairman of the Records Committee at the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) of the United States, about the issue. Tracy explains that his expertise on the issue of errors in measurement is two-fold, stemming both from his experience as a judge at track meets as well as his extensive work on plane surveying.

"Permissible Errors in Measurements on Running Tracks" by John C. Tracy, C.E. typescript, page 1

“Permissible Errors in Measurements on Running Tracks” by John C. Tracy, C.E. typescript, page 1

Eventually, on June 11, 1937, John C. Tracy submitted his report, entitled “Permissible Errors in Measurements on Running Tracks,” to the AAU Records Committee. Regrettably, there is no further correspondence on this subject in Tracy’s papers, but we know that Jesse Owens was eventually recognized for having set a new world record that day in 1936.

Archival Processing Work at Manuscripts and Archives, January-April 2021

The following information on recent archival processing work at Manuscripts and Archives (MSSA) was written by Alison Clemens, Head of Processing.

I typically share quarterly updates about collections and additions to collections for which MSSA has recently acquired and completed processing. MSSA processing staff are still working primarily remotely but have had occasional access to the Sterling Memorial Library (SML) building. We have therefore processed both traditional and born-digital archival materials (i.e., materials that were created in computer environments) over the past three months. MSSA processing staff have improved descriptions for approximately twenty born-digital accessions of materials since January 2021, and I’ll point to some highlights of that work in this post.

Since my last post in January, MSSA staff have made available the several collections and additions to existing collections, including:

Phineas Fiske Lesson Book, Circa 1706 (addition to Yale Course Lectures Collection, RU 159)

The Phineas Fiske lesson book was compiled by Phineas Fiske, a graduate of the class of 1704 of the Collegiate School, which was renamed Yale University in 1717. The lesson book was likely used while Fiske was a tutor between 1706 and 1713. The book contains material covering logic, physics, and ethics, and is written primarily in English, except for the section on ethics, which is written in Latin.

School of Architecture, Yale University, Records Concerning Events and Exhibitions (accessions 2005-A-085 and 2005-A-099, additions to RU 866)

Accession 2005-A-099 includes 2 CDs containing digital images documenting the 2004 exhibit “PSFS: Nothing More Modern.” Accession 2005-A-085 includes 1 CD containing digital images of the 2004 exhibition “Light Structures – The work of Jorge Schlaich and Rudolf Bergermann.”

Centerbrook Architects and Planners Records (MS 1844 born-digital material)

The records document projects undertaken by Centerbrook Architects and Planners, LLC. MSSA processors provided additional description for born-digital records from eleven DVDs; these DVDs contain videos documenting the 1984 Festival on Architecture and Planning and Centerbrook’s River Design Dayton and Watkins Glen Development Plan (“Watkins Glen Tomorrow”) projects.

Patricia Marx interview with Thomas Wilfred (MS 2076)

One digital copy of an audiorecording, with transcript, of an interview with Thomas Wilfred conducted on 1968 July 18 at New York Public Radio (WNYC) by Patricia Marx.

School of Architecture, Yale University, Lectures and Presentations (accession 2017-A-0058, addition to RU 880

Twenty-two .mp4 computer files of recordings from the spring 2016-fall 2017 architecture lecture series. Lecturers include Andrew Altman, Keller Easterling, Jonathan Emery, Marianne McKenna, Lukasz Stanek, Tsurumaki, Allison Williams, Elaine Scarry, Jacques Rancière, Mark Foster Gage, Pier Vittorio Aureli, Karsten Harries, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Michael Young, David Erdman, Majora Carter, George Knight, and Elihu Rubin.

Yale Student Papers Collection (accessions 2009-a-072, 2009-a-122, 2009-a-132, and 2010-a-013, additions to RU 331

Four computer files (.pdf and .ppt) documenting Yale student papers. Includes Brooks Swett’s 2008 paper “A Portrait of the Webster Family During the Civil War”; Olivia Martinez’s 2008 paper “On Broadway: A Timeline of New Haven Business”; Shannon Lee Connors’s 2008 paper “New Haven and the American City: Visual Representation of the City, Wooster Square”; Nikolas Bowie’s 2009 paper “Class Warfare, Inc.: James L. Buckley and the Conservative Origins of Corporate Class Consciousness in the 1970s”; Jennifer K. Lin’s 2009 paper “From Chemical Terror to Clinical Trial: The Development of Chemotherapy at Yale in World War II”; Kevin Michel’s 2009 paper “A Struggle Between Brothers: A Re-Examination of the Idea of a Cohesive Conservative Movement Through the Intellectual Life and Personal Conflict Surrounding L. Brent Bozell”; Emily St. Jean’s 2009 paper “Louise Bryant: A Reconsideration”; and Anna Wipfler’s 2009 paper “The Making of the ‘Gay Ivy’: A History of Lesbian and Gay Student Organizing at Yale, 1969-1987.”

Yale University’s 300th Anniversary Commemoration Records (accession 2004-a-160’s born-digital material, RU 844)

Digital images and topical papers for promotional materials and websites for the Yale Tercentennial Program, 1997-2001, originally stored on ten CDs and one zip disk.

New “Virtual Bookshelf of Undergraduate Publications” – Yours to Explore!

The following post was authored by Michael Lotstein, University Archivist, Manuscripts and Archives.

This week the University Archives has updated the undergraduate publications section of the Yale Publications research guide to include a new website called Virtual Bookshelf of Undergraduate Publications.  The Virtual Bookshelf is the brainchild of Jarron Long, Class of 2023 (Grace Hopper College) and contains links and information on dozens of current undergraduate publications featuring a wide variety of topics and interests.  Jarron tackled this project single-handed, mostly over the 2020 holiday break, and aims to promote and celebrate the hard work and dedication that goes into the production of these important publications.  Jarron’s admitted favorites are the Yale Epicurean because, who doesn’t love food(!) and the Turnaround, which is the official magazine of the Yale Undergraduate Jazz Collective.

Screen shot of the Virtual Bookshelf of Undergraduate Publications home page

Screen shot of the Virtual Bookshelf of Undergraduate Publications home page

So take a moment and visit this amazing new site to learn more about the multitude of journals, ‘zines and publications the Yale undergraduate community is hard at work creating!

Archival Processing Work at Manuscripts and Archives, October-December 2020

The following information on recent archival processing work at Manuscripts and Archives (MSSA) was written by Alison Clemens, Head of Processing.

As I mentioned in my posts for October and July 2020, I usually share quarterly updates about collections and additions to collections for which MSSA has recently acquired and completed processing. Since October, MSSA processing staff have had occasional access to the Sterling Memorial Library (SML) building and have therefore processed both traditional and born-digital archival materials (i.e., materials that were created in computer environments) over the past several months.

Since my last post in October, MSSA staff have made available the following collections and additions to existing collections, which we look forward to making available for research when our reading room reopens:

Noriaki Tsuchimoto Papers (MS 2115)

The collection, totaling 43.67 linear feet, comprises the papers of Noriaki Tsuchimoto, a Japanese documentary film director, who directed films on various topics, including environmental issues, nuclear power, corporate history, and Afghanistan. The collection includes manuscripts and documents about his films, including annotated scripts, production notes, shot, and budget sheets; research materials of various topics, including documents on the science of mercury poisoning; location and on-the-set photos; publicity materials; and film stills. It also contains Tsuchimoto’s correspondence with colleagues, as well as decades worth of his datebooks. The topics in his papers vary and include items ranging from labor union newsletters to court documents on cases involving colleagues.

Technoserve Records (MS 2083)

The collection, totaling 38.78 linear feet, includes administrative files, records from Technoserve presidents Edward P. Bullard and Peter Reiling, files and grant information related to Technoserve’s work in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, and newsletters. Administrative files contain business records, meeting and committee files and notes, financial records, and correspondence. Records from the Office of the President include administrative files, correspondence, and writings and speeches by Edward P. Bullard and Peter Reiling. Country files and files relating to grant agreements contain business records and correspondence regarding Technoserve’s work in countries of the developing world. The collection also includes Technoserve’s newsletters documenting the organization’s outreach.

Jean M. Conklin Papers (MS 2057)

The Jean M. Conklin papers, totaling 30.33 linear feet, document the life of a Japanese American family that settled initially in San Francisco, California and later in Sharon, Pennsylvania. Included in the collection are materials created and collected by Jean Conklin about the Morisuye (Jean’s father’s line) and Hasegawa (Jean’s mother’s line) families, of which Jean was among the first generation born in the United States. Also included among the material is documentation about Jean’s father, Masanobu Moriuye, and his efforts to establish the first Japanese American Boy Scout troop in San Francisco, as well as materials documenting Jean’s childhood, college years, and life as the wife of Yale anthropology professor Harold C. Conklin. Also included are pieces of Jean’s artwork, Jean’s public school and college papers, family correspondence, family scrapbooks, 8mm-film footage of family travel between the 1930s and 1960s, VHS tapes, photographs, slides, and research materials related to her family’s genealogy.

Cuban Slavery Collection (MS 2116)

Official documents, totaling 0.42 linear feet and dated 1848-1889, pertaining to slavery in Cuba, mostly from Matanzas, Cuba. Documents include death certificates for enslaved people, petitions for freedom from slavery, documentation of disputes, prisoner correspondence, and arrest warrants. Some death certificates specify the cause of death, the plantation or enslaver, and the enslaved person’s origin in Africa.

Chinese Indentured Laborers in Cuba Collection (MS 2117)

Official documents, totaling 0.42 linear feet, regarding Chinese indentured laborers, often referred to as “asiático” (Asian), in Cuba in the nineteenth century. The documents include death certificates, new contracts, official petitions to the court, documents outlining the movement of workers, documents concerning fugitive people and imprisoned laborers, arrest warrants, and identification documents.

Josephine and Antonio Bouzas Papers (MS 2112)

The Josephine and Antonio Bouzas papers, totaling 1.63 linear feet, contain photographs, legal documents, and correspondence documenting the history of the Josephine and Antonio Bouzas family and their experiences during the Spanish Civil War.

Manuscripts and Archives: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Plan of Action

The following post was authored by Michelle Peralta, Resident Archivist for Yale Special Collections, and Christine Weideman, Director.

To be both transparent and accountable, Manuscripts and Archives shared our initial efforts to address bias and discrimination in our work and workplace in early September. Our first step was to create a Statement of Affirmation on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) which was made publicly available on our blog and website. As a next step, we considered how to sustainably and intentionally incorporate DEI efforts into all our areas of work as described in the affirmation statement. We created a DEI Plan of Action that outlines specific tasks and projects staff are undertaking now or will undertake in the next several years. Work is divided among four categories: collections, services, spaces, and workplace.

We consider the Plan of Action to be a living document that is responsive and reflective. We recognize that it will evolve as a result of our experiences and critical analysis of the work we undertake. We are committed to regular reviews of the plan and will modify, revise, or update it as necessary. We will continue to make the plan accessible as a means of documenting our work and commitments.

We welcome all feedback on our plan, affirmation statement, or our DEI efforts.

Manuscripts and Archives: DEI Plan of Action (developed August 2020)

FY 21 (in progress)

Collections

  • Develop/roll out website to document impact of 2020 on lives of persons in Greater New Haven area
  • Document activities of Grant Hagan Society, student org, to support people of color in Yale School of Music
  • Contact Dwight Hall to document student work with New Haven organizations
  • Document how Yale student organizations are responding to national protests
  • Enhance, correct, and highlight description about our collection material
    • Provide leadership to the Yale Reparative Archival Description (RAD) project

Services

  • University Archivist serves on Yale University working group investigating Yale’s entanglement with slavery and connections to the abolition movement.

Spaces

  • Conduct audit of physical and virtual spaces to ensure they are inclusive, accessible, and welcoming

Workplace

  • Request that diversity competency language be included in all position focus statements or job descriptions so that the importance of inclusivity can be discussed with potential candidates (MSSA recommendation has been passed on to Central HR and is being addressed at the University level)
  • Develop internal MSSA group to focus on workplace culture
    • Develop departmental code of conduct to align with YUL community values and MSSA efforts to address bias in collections, services, spaces, and workplace
    • Develop departmental procedures for addressing microaggressions or inappropriate language/behaviors
  • Update MSSA’s About page including mission statement, history, and collecting emphases

FY 22 (to be planned)

Collections

  • Enhance, correct, and highlight description about our collection material
    • Provide more subject terms for student papers with focus on under-documented populations in New Haven and at Yale, to enhance their discovery and use.
    • Create a LibGuide on our holdings related to minority populations in New Haven and at Yale. Include language about silences and perspectives in MSSA’s collections
    • Create a workflow for staff members to contribute citations and flag MSSA materials/collections documenting under-documented populations in New Haven and at Yale.
    • Create a workflow for staff members to suggest revisions to collection descriptions to make those descriptions more inclusive, accurate, and useful to researchers (pending guidance from RAD)
  • Pursue collaborative projects to surface primary sources/collections related to marginalized populations (Grad School placement of grad students in semester projects within the Library; participating in non-MSSA driven projects)

Services

  • Develop/provide guidance and parameters for archiving student projects, individual or teams, documenting New Haven and Yale history, and what we can do to assist

 

 

 

 

1924 Silent Films from the Yale University Press

The following post was authored by Michael Lotstein, University Archivist, Manuscripts and Archives.

Image of volumes of the Chronicles of America volumes

Chronicles of America volumes published by Yale University Press. Image source: chairish.com

In 1918, the Yale University Press published a fifty-volume book series on American history entitled Chronicles of America. The series included contributions from Yale faculty, including Ellsworth Huntington, Charles Seymour, and Charles McLean Andrews. In 1923, the Yale University Press commissioned the production of historical films based on the series. Ultimately, fifteen films were made at a cost of $1.25 million dollars ($15.2 million dollars today) that proved to be a financial failure. The films not only proved to be theatrically impractical, but unusable in schools that at the time lacked the means to incorporate films into the classroom. Two of these films—“The Puritans” and “The Pilgrims,” both produced in 1924, provide instructive glimpses into how academic historians of a century ago envisioned the shared heritage of the America and New England. Note: The films are posted on YouTube, so there may be commercials included that are unaffiliated with the films or with Yale University Press.

Archival Processing Work at Manuscripts and Archives, July-October 2020

Image of a CD-ROM with rainbow gradient.

Image credit: User Black and White, Wikimedia Commons

The following information on recent archival processing work at Manuscripts and Archives (MSSA) was written by Alison Clemens, Head of Processing.

As I mentioned in my most recent processing post, I usually share quarterly updates about collections and additions to collections for which MSSA has recently acquired and completed processing. Since the Sterling Memorial Library (SML) building was closed from mid-March until this fall, our processing staff shifted their attention to processing born-digital material at MSSA. Processing staff have recently begun entering the building on a part time basis, so we’ll soon be balancing our born-digital processing work with processing materials stored in the SML building.

As a reminder, born-digital material is material that was created in a computer environment. Since March, MSSA processing staff have been consulting the recently-created Yale University Born Digital Archival Description Guidelines in order to describe our born-digital materials in a standardized and consistent manner to facilitate user access.

Since my last post in July, MSSA staff have begun or completed description and processing for born-digital materials from the Edward Grant Oral History Project Records, the William Silver Papers, and several other collections. For my next quarterly update, I expect and look forward to sharing more news about both our physical and digital processing work.

For more information about Yale’s work with born-digital material, see the Saving Digital Stuff blog.

Manuscripts and Archives’ Statement of Affirmation on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The following post was authored by Michelle Peralta, Resident Archivist for Yale Special Collections, Manuscripts and Archives.

During the past several months, staff in Manuscripts and Archives met to discuss our responsibility to address bias and discrimination in our work and workplace. After several lengthy discussions with the entire department, we developed the following Statement of Affirmation. It outlines our commitment to implementing more equitable policies and procedures, remediating prior practices and deepening our understanding of diversity, equity, inclusion issues as they relate to libraries and archives.

In creating our statement, we drew inspiration and guidance from various sources including the Archives for Black Lives in Philadelphia and the Alabama Department of Archives and History, as well as the Society of American Archivists.

Our Statement of Affirmation is included on the departmental blog but will also live on our department homepage as a first step in our efforts to improve transparency and communicate more broadly the ways in which we are carrying out this work.

Statement of Affirmation

Manuscripts and Archives (MSSA) affirms our commitment to adhering to the Yale University Library community values and to addressing bias and discrimination in our collections, services, spaces, and workplace.

  • In doing this work, we acknowledge the following:
    Archives and archivists are not neutral. Archives exist within systems that have traditionally privileged and welcomed narratives of the wealthy and powerful, particularly cisgender, heterosexual white men, and have often perpetuated practices that marginalize, suppress, and harm those with other perspectives and experiences.
  • We cannot fully understand the experience of marginalized communities.
  • We are not experts in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work. This work, however, is an ongoing departmental priority and deserves our dedication, engagement, and willingness to act and to listen.
  • We recognize our institutional and individual privileges as well as our responsibility to collaborate with local and professional communities in addressing DEI issues.

Moving forward, we strive to do the following:

  • Embed our commitment to address DEI issues in our strategic planning, department and unit work plans, and individual goals.
  • Embrace transparency in our work so we can be held accountable internally and externally.
  • Address biases in our services, collection development and stewardship, descriptive practices, spaces, and workplace.
  • Cultivate a safe workplace that empowers staff members and encourages open discussion.
  • Educate ourselves and those around us on DEI issues, recognizing the various experiences and engagement of staff with DEI work.
  • Assess progress on our efforts at least bi-annually.