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.

Archival Processing Work at Manuscripts and Archives

Image of 11 removable storage technologies laid out on a table: 8" floppy disk (largest, left; square), 5.25" floppy disk (next largest, center; square), 3.5" floppy disk (top center; square), cassette tape (top right, on top of its case; rectangular), 8mm tape (right middle; rectangular), CD (bottom right; round), DVD (bottom right center; round), ZX Microdrive (bottom center; rectangular), SDHC card, CompactFlash card, USB disk (left middle).

Image credit: avaragado from Cambridge, Wikimedia Commons

In these quarterly blog posts, I usually share an update about collections and additions to collections for which MSSA has recently acquired and completed processing. However, since the Sterling Memorial Library building has been closed since mid-March, our processing staff have shifted their attention to processing born-digital material at MSSA.

Born-digital material is material that was created in a computer environment. Born-digital material comes to MSSA in a variety of ways, including on floppy disks (and other fun old school formats!) or CDs; on flash drives; or as direct network transfers. At MSSA, we have a wide variety of different types of born-digital content, including personal computer files from individuals whose papers we hold; email correspondence and websites from organizations whose records we steward; and institutional electronic records created by Yale University offices.

Archival processing for all our materials, including those born-digital, entails preparing materials for use by making sense of and describing them. This allows researchers and other users to discover and access Yale’s rich collections. Processing born-digital materials is a developing area of practice for archives staff across the United States. To accomplish this work, MSSA is consulting the recently-created Yale University Born Digital Archival Description Guidelines. These guidelines allow us to describe our born-digital materials in a standardized and consistent manner to enable user access.

During the past few months, MSSA staff have begun and completed processing for born-digital materials from the Dorrit Hoffleit papers, the Brian Kiss photographs of stained glass in the Sterling Memorial Library Nave, the Arnold Rosin papers, the C. Vann Woodward papers, the Teacher Preparation and Placement Program, Yale College, records, and several other collections.

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

John Franklin Enders and Modern Vaccines

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

We often turn to the past for answers to problems we are facing in the present. While science does not move backwards, it can still be interesting, perhaps even useful to look back and remember the lessons we have learned before. With that in mind, the John Franklin Enders Papers (MS 1478) seem more relevant now than ever. Today, Enders is known to many as the “Father of Modern Vaccines” due to his integral role in developing both the polio and measles vaccines.

John F. Enders on the cover of Time magazine, November 17, 1961. Leonard C. Norkin blog post dated August 4, 2016. https://rb.gy/ixi3mn

John F. Enders on the cover of Time magazine, November 17, 1961. Leonard C. Norkin blog post dated August 4, 2016. https://rb.gy/ixi3mn

John Franklin Enders was a Yale graduate whose life work was in bacteriology and immunology, although it took time to find this ultimate vocation.  He received an Bachelor of Arts in English from Yale in 1919, after spending several years away from his studies to be a flight instructor in the U. S. Naval Reserve Flying Corps during World War I. While pursuing a PhD in literature at Harvard University, Enders was introduced to Hans Zinsser, the head of the department of bacteriology and immunology at Harvard. Shortly thereafter, in 1927, he transitioned to studying bacteriology and immunology, and received his PhD from Harvard Medical School in 1930.

During Enders’ lengthy career, he was a very active author, publishing countless articles and papers for over 40 years. Specifically, his work on measles can be tracked through the numerous publications he contributed to during the 1940s and 1950s, before a vaccine was successfully developed in the early 1960s. These writings include Etiology of Measles published in 1940, Recent Advances in Knowledge of the Measles Virus published in 1958, and Vaccination Against Measles published in 1961. Of course, he wrote papers on dozens of other research subjects including mumps, polio, and influenza, all of which can be found in Series II of the Enders papers.

Measles lab notebook entry for January 25, 1954. John Franklin Enders Papers (MS 1478), Series III, Box 102, Folder 5.

Measles lab notebook entry for January 25, 1954. John Franklin Enders Papers (MS 1478), Series III, Box 102, Folder 5.

Enders’ lab notebooks provide a more granular depiction of his research on measles, as well as many other experiments. As shown in this image, the very first page in volume 1 of his measles laboratory notebooks, dated January 25, 1954, details an attempt to isolate measles using four types of tissues. In total, four measles notebooks span nearly two decades of Enders’ lab work on the virus, from 1954 to 1970.

The picture of Enders’ work is rounded out by the extensive correspondence held in the 88 boxes of Series I from MS 1478. There are more than four boxes of materials completely dedicated to the subject of measles, including correspondence with the Communicable Disease Center (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and correspondence about a measles vaccine study in New Haven, Connecticut.

Letter from John F. Enders to Hans Zinsser, December 12, 1938. John Franklin Enders Papers (MS 1478), Series I, Box 88, Folder 2072.

Letter from John F. Enders to Hans Zinsser, December 12, 1938. John Franklin Enders Papers (MS 1478), Series I, Box 88, Folder 2072.

On a more personal side, letters exchanged with friends and colleagues offer a slightly more intimate portrait of Enders. Although there are only a small handful of letters between him and his colleague and mentor, Hans Zinsser, the notes serve to humanize Enders. In this December 12, 1938, letter to Zinsser, Enders wrote “I have been flattened out myself with what you would probably call grippe…”. Enders seems to get no amusement from the irony that his work in infectious diseases does not stop him from suffering a case of the flu.

 Through his hard work in the field, Enders received many honors, most notably the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963 and the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1954. In addition to the research detailed above, Enders also studied cancer, AIDS, and countless other diseases during his illustrious career. The John Franklin Enders papers are housed at Manuscripts and Archives, and they are a scientific treasure trove waiting to be explored.