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.

Papers and Publications on Hawaiian Youth Henry Obookiah and Early Missionaries to Hawaii in the Yale University Library

Letter from Henry Obookiah, sent from Cornwall, Connecticut, to Samuel Wells, Jr. of Greenfield, Massachusetts, dated 16 June 1817, page 1. Gustave R. Sattig Collection (MS 1429), Box 1, folder 17. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Letter from Henry Obookiah, sent from Cornwall, Connecticut, to Samuel Wells, Jr. of Greenfield, Massachusetts, dated 16 June 1817, page 1. Gustave R. Sattig Collection (MS 1429), Box 1, folder 17. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

The following post was written by Judith A. Schiff, Chief Research Archivist, Manuscripts and Archives.

In 2020, the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives (HMH) in Honolulu will celebrate the Bicentennial of its founding, by the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM), to bring “literacy, Christianity, constitutional government, polyphonic music, and Western medicine” to Hawaii.  The first anniversary program was held in Connecticut in June 2017, the Bicentennial of the founding of the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, CT.  Its establishment was inspired by the amazing life experiences of a young Hawaiian prince, Obookiah, who arrived in New Haven in 1809 and was educated by Yale alumni, students, and President Timothy Dwight, a co-founder of the ABCFM. After attending the program in Cornwall, Obookiah’s Hawaiian family descendants visited three Yale special libraries on June 20, to examine and discuss original manuscripts and publications by and relating to Obookiah and the early missionaries in Hawaii.  Christopher Cook of Kauai, author of The Life of Henry Obookiah, accompanied the family and is coordinating the bicentennial programs honoring the missionaries’ landing in Hawaii in 1820.

Letter from Henry Obookiah, sent from Cornwall, Connecticut, to Samuel Wells, Jr. of Greenfield, Massachusetts, dated 16 June 1817, page 2. Gustave R. Sattig Collection (MS 1429), Box 1, folder 17. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Letter from Henry Obookiah, sent from Cornwall, Connecticut, to Samuel Wells, Jr. of Greenfield, Massachusetts, dated 16 June 1817, page 2. Gustave R. Sattig Collection (MS 1429), Box 1, folder 17. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

After a period marked by Hawaiian royal family power wars and island unification in the late 18th and early 19th century, a young prince, Opukahaia, in America Henry Obookiah, became the only survivor of his immediate family.  In 1808, he swam out in Kealakekua Bay of Hawaii Island, the Big Island, to greet a China Trade ship.  The captain of the brig Triumph was Caleb Brintnall from New Haven, Connecticut.  Brintnall liked the boy and brought him along, with the permission of Obookiah’s relatives, on his long sealing voyage.  Russell Hubbard (Yale BA 1806) was on board and tutored Obookiah.  After sailing east to Mexico to hunt seals, then west to China to trade skins for goods, they continued west around the world to New York to sell the full cargo of China goods.  Not long after the ship returned to New Haven in the late summer of 1809, Edwin Welles Dwight (Yale BA 1809) found Obookiah sitting on the steps of a Yale building and weeping “because nobody gives me learning.”  Edwin took him to President Timothy Dwight (the Elder), a distant relation, who took him into his home and educated him privately in secular and religious subjects.  In 1810, President Dwight became a founder of the ABCFM and a major force in the first American society to establish missions outside the United States.  A microfilm of the ABCFM records at Harvard is held by the Yale Divinity School Library.

Letter from Henry Obookiah, sent from Cornwall, Connecticut, to Samuel Wells, Jr. of Greenfield, Massachusetts, dated 16 June 1817, page 3. Gustave R. Sattig Collection (MS 1429), Box 1, folder 17. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Letter from Henry Obookiah, sent from Cornwall, Connecticut, to Samuel Wells, Jr. of Greenfield, Massachusetts, dated 16 June 1817, page 3. Gustave R. Sattig Collection (MS 1429), Box 1, folder 17. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Obookiah moved on to other New England schools, studying to become a Christian missionary, and inspired the founding of the Foreign Mission School in Cornwall, Connecticut, known as the Cornwall Indian School, in 1817.  The most important Obookiah document at Yale is a long original personal letter describing the life and studies at the Indian School.  It is the only currently well-known original manuscript letter in his hand. A transcription and link to a PDF of the letter is available at the end of this article. The original is in the Gustav Reinhold Sattig Collection (MS 1429), Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Sadly, Obookiah died from typhus in 1818, not long after the school opened.  His memoirs, edited and published by Edwin Dwight continued to inspire college and theological students to become missionaries.  The school thrived until 1826, when it closed largely due to the concerns raised when the marriages of two Cornwall girls with Cherokee students became known.  In 1993, in connection with the commemoration of the 175th anniversary of his death, the remains of Obookiah were exhumed from his grave in Cornwall and returned to Hawaii.  The Records of Reuben A. Holden, Secretary of Yale University (RU 19) in Manuscripts and Archives include correspondence and printed matter relating to the 150th anniversary (see Series III, Box 275, folder 944).

Letter from Henry Obookiah, sent from Cornwall, Connecticut, to Samuel Wells, Jr. of Greenfield, Massachusetts, dated 16 June 1817, page 4. Gustave R. Sattig Collection (MS 1429), Box 1, folder 17. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

Letter from Henry Obookiah, sent from Cornwall, Connecticut, to Samuel Wells, Jr. of Greenfield, Massachusetts, dated 16 June 1817, page 4. Gustave R. Sattig Collection (MS 1429), Box 1, folder 17. Manuscripts and Archives, Yale University Library.

In the year after Obookiah’s death the first missionary ship sailed for Hawaii, led by Asa Thurston (Yale BA 1816) and Hiram Bingham (Yale Hon. 1819).  A month before their embarkation from Boston on October 23, the missionary board decreed that no unmarried men could serve in Hawaii.  This proved no obstacle to Asa and Hiram, who within a few weeks met and married professional women teachers dedicated to their cause.  A Yale sophomore, Samuel Whitney, was so motivated that with the permission of the faculty he joined the mission.  The Hawaii venture thrived, and, with the blessing of Yale President Jeremiah Day, a second missionary ship sailed from New Haven in 1822, including Joseph Goodrich (Yale BA 1821).  The papers of Hiram Bingham I, in the Bingham Family Papers (MS 81) in Manuscripts and Archives, provide important documentation on the first settlements, their development, and their contributions to the religious, educational, and cultural life of the Hawaiian Islands.


Transcript of a letter from Henry Obookiah to Samuel Wells, from MS 1429, Box 1, folder 17:

Cornwall       June 16th, 1817

My dear sir,

Again, I take my pen at this moment as to embrace this opportunity in writing.  Indeed, on this very day I received a most affectionate letter, but when I came to unseal it, lo, it was from my dear beloved friend Mr. S. Wells!  How, or what answer can I give for it!  Though we were commanded to “give the glory to God in the highest, and on the Earth there is a peace and good will towards men.”  Yes, my dear friend, I received your letter with a thankful heart; I am rejoice[d] to hear that you have still, a lively thought, concerning the great things of Eternity.  O that may our thought sand hearts, be united together in the fear of God and in the love of the Lord Jesus; to whom you spoke well of.  Indeed my dearest friend, we are in a great debt, both to God and the Son Jesus Christ; we have owed them ten thousands of talens [talents?]; alas! How would we repay for all?  Notwithstanding: the greatness of our due to God and for all his goodness and kindness towards us, yet we could easily repay it by giving up ourselves to him; for he does it not wishes for ours but us: for thus as it is written, “my son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.”  Your observations which you observed in this your letter, are just as the thoughts of a true and humble believer in God and as one that fear God.  Surely, as you say that the supreme love and affection, must we give to him who is the lord over all and blessed forever.  Pray that may these thoughts be not mislaid in the heart, but beware of them all.  “Take heed,” says the Apostle Paul, “lest a being left us to enter into his nest, any of you should seem to come short of it.” – I have not heard any news since I wrote last, neither from broad nor yet at home.  There are no more scholars added to our school, but those whom I have already mentions in my last letter.  They make a great progress in their studies, at the least, they all seemed to be very anxious to get long as quick as possible.  Their principal studies are these, the English Grammar, Morse’s Geography, Daboll’s Arithmetic, and together with reading, writing, and spelling.  About four of them are just beginning to read in the spelling-books.  The study hours are beginning from nine to twelve, and from two to five, and from eight to nine in the evening.  The rules of the school are, that, the scholars should not go to any house, or to visit any family in town; neither shall go to a store – , (unless they have a liberty) no visitor or a friend should call to see any that is in the school, at a study hour, no student shall come into another’s room before the study hour is over.  Every student may take part in laboring each two ½ days in a week; two one at a time.  This seems to be very important to us all, as well as to learn to read and write; but some of these youths with me, are very little acquaintance with farmings business, and so that they are not delight in them.  The most part of them are understand about the sailing business.  Since I have received your letter, they had for curiosity of knowing it, or the person from whom the letter was sent, I told them from one of my friends at the place where I was kindly treated by them; they asked me further.  They were very much pleased with the letter, supposed that you as a friend of Christ, and as a true believer in God, by what you spoke well of; both of Christ, and as a true believer in God, by what you spoke well of; both of Christ and his character.  To whom I answered, that I had a strong for you, and that you may be as a fellow traveler through the journey of this wilderness World.  O that we both may meet at the presence unknown to each other in the Eternal world above; where sin never enters there!  Let us not neglect the principal duty, which we owe to the omnipotence God, that is to love him with our hearts, souls, and strength, or at least to pray without ceasing.  With this, I must leave you my dear friend, in hand of God, look to him to receive further instruction – and to know his holy character and perfection.

Remember me in your prayers.

With yours,

Henry Ob.

The following are written on the sheet that bears the address of the recipient:

Greenfield:  I shall always remember them.  Please to remember me particularly to Mr. & Mrs. Repley;    June 20th.  We had today a new scholar added to the school’s very pious character.  His name is James Elyes, formerly of this state.  He seems to have an anxiety of the souls of his fellow’s mortal. He had also a strong desire of being as a missionary as to do good in world.  Three of my friends here were thinking that they had joined the Lord Jesus in their hearts’ Those that lately came to this country.

When I wrote this letter, I had but a few moments at a time; for the want of an opportunity.  My time was taken in many others things to attend, and it is impossible for me to do anything else but what I was bound to, do.  But, be not fear my friend, that you should be, forgotten by me;  I prefer to write to you as often as I can have a time.  And you like wise must, write to me if I don’t.  If nothing happens I shall see you at next fall.  Do not forget to remember me to friends in …

George Sandweth?  He said he met you; one who used to live with Esqr. Field of Enfield.  He is one that seems to be very anxious for his poor soul. H.O.


 

Bibliography of materials in the Yale University Library relating to Henry Obookiah and early missionaries to Hawaii

In Manuscripts and Archives, Sterling Memorial Library:

  • Henry Obookiah.  Letter to Samuel Wells. 1817 Jun 16.  Gustav Reinhold Sattig Collection (MS 1429), Box 1, folder 17.
  • Bingham Family Papers (MS 81), Series I. Hiram Bingham I, 1811-1920. Boxes 1 – 2. Includes correspondence and writings by and about Hiram Bingham (1789-1869) and his wife Sybil Moseley Bingham (1792-1848).   Writings of Sybil M. Bingham consist of her journal, 1811-1847, including photostatic and typewritten copies of extracts, and her manuscript, “Select Hawaiian Phrases.”
  • Reuben A. Holden, Secretary of Yale University, Records (RU 19), Series III. University Secretary: Subject File Special Events. Box 275, folder 944.  Obookiah Ceremony, 1968, contains correspondence and printed matter relating to the exhumation of the remains of Obookiah from his grave in Cornwall, CT and return for burial in Hawaii.

In the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library:

In the Yale Divinity Library:

 

Class Days and Alumni Reunions

Garry Trudeau (left, Class of 1970), Class Day speaker, May 1991. Photograph by Mike Marsland. RU 690, Accn 2009-A-070, Box 12.

Garry Trudeau (left, Class of 1970), Class Day speaker, May 1991. Photograph by Mike Marsland. RU 690, Accn 2009-A-070, Box 12.

With Yale’s Commencement 2016 just past, and the appearance of crowds of Yale alums and their loved ones celebrating reunions over the next two weekends, we thought we’d take a look through the collections in Manuscripts and Archives and see what was going on in 1991, since the Yale College Class of 1991 is holding its 25th reunion this year.

Yale’s senior class gets to invite someone to address them on Class Day, which occurs on Old Campus the Sunday before Commencement each year. The Class of 1991 invited Doonesbury cartoonist, and member of the Yale College Class of 1970, Garry Trudeau to give its Class Day address. Trudeau began cartooning while a Yale undergraduate, and contributed the strip Bull TalesDoonesbury’s precursor, to the Yale Daily News.

In recalling the days of his Yale College career, and reflecting on the “good intentions of the young,” Trudeau delivered some sage words of advice to the class of 1991, as relevant today as they were then. His address is preserved in RU 236 in Manuscripts and Archives, but here’s an excerpt to give you a taste:

Garry Trudeau (Class of 1970), Class Day speaker, May 1991. Photograph by Mike Marsland. RU 690, Accn 2009-A-070, Box 12.

Garry Trudeau (Class of 1970), Class Day speaker, May 1991. Photograph by Mike Marsland. RU 690, Accn 2009-A-070, Box 12.

My advice to you: make a break for it. Take off. Cut your own swath. Stride out from under the longest shadow ever cast by a generation. Ask your own impertinent questions. There are many at hand.

Wonder aloud what war is like for all its participants. Check out the accounting, what it cost us as a nation. Was it the same war for you as it was for the Army engineers who, away from the cameras, bulldozed 100,000 dead conscripts into the pits left by collapsed bunkers?

A focus group of college students told a reporter last winter that they all supported the war, but not one would consider it his duty to join. “It may sound selfish,” said one student, “but I don’t think the best and the brightest should be on the front linesdepends on its

Wonder, too, about the homefront agenda that got overlooked; the energy policy that may have made the war inevitable; an environmental agenda that has been all but abandoned; a business culture so moribund that even 70% of the high-tech components used in our Gulf War weapon systems were produced in Japan.

These questions, when given a public voice, are all part of the ongoing dialogue between those who lead and those who would be lead. Ours is a system whose very vitality depends on its raucous dissent, its competing visions of how it should work. America is still very much a work in progress, and one of the things that has always distinguished it from other countries is that we’ve always been open to reinventing ourselves for the common good.

One interesting bit of contextual information. The day after Trudeau’s Class Day speech, at the Yale’s 1991 Commencement exercises, then-President George H.W. Bush was given an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Yale University.

New Article in the Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies (JCAS)

Manuscripts and Archives staff members, Michael Lotstein, Records Services Archivist and Matthew Gorham, Arrangement and Description Archivist are pleased to announce the publication of A Genealogy of the Lesbian Herstory Archives, 1974-2014” by Rachel F. Corbman in the Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies (JCAS): http://elischolar.library.yale.edu/jcas/vol1/iss1/1/.  Michael and Matthew currently serve as members of the JCAS editorial board, in partnership with the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library and members of New England Archivists (NEA).

Visit the Journal of Contemporary Archival Studies at http://elischolar.library.yale.edu/jcas to learn more about sending in a submission or participating as a peer reviewer. 

2014 Manuscripts & Archives Diane Kaplan Senior Essay Prize Winners Announced

We thank all thirteen Yale College seniors who submitted senior essays for prize consideration, and congratulate the following two students on their excellent prize-winning essays:

  • Outstanding Senior Essay on Yale:
    • John (Jack) Doyle, Berkeley College. Measuring “Problems of Human Behavior”: The Eugenic Origins of Yale’s Institute of Psychology, 1921-1929.
  • Outstanding Senior Essay Based on Research Done in Manuscripts and Archives:
    • Jonah Coe-Scharff, Pierson College. “New Roads” in Leftist Thought: Dwight Macdonald, Lewis Coser, and the Postwar Crisis of American Marxism.

The prize website provides a list of past winners of each prize, and in the future will contain links to the prize-winning essays on the Yale University Library’s EliScholar digital publishing platform.


Manuscripts and Archives offers two student prizes each year, in memory of our colleague Diane E. Kaplan, who was instrumental in making these prizes available to Yale College seniors. One is awarded for an outstanding senior essay on Yale. The second is awarded for an outstanding senior essay based on research done in Manuscripts and Archives. Each prize winner receives a $500 cash prize, which will be presented at the student’s residential college commencement ceremony. Essays from any department are eligible for consideration and students are invited to nominate themselves for these prizes. The essay prize submission and judging process takes place each year in March-April.