Short Papers Panel: Diversity and Cultural Communities
Sponsored by: Rare Book School at the University of Virginia
Moderator: Athena Jackson, Pennsylvania State University
Common Touch: Re-Envisioning the History of the Blind
Common Touch: The Art of the Senses in the History of the Blind is a joint project of the Library Company’s Visual Culture Program and artist Teresa Jaynes. Through a multimedia, multisensory exhibition, Common Touch interweaves materials from the Library Company’s collection of 19th-century printing for the blind with art works created by Jaynes in response to them. To create this exhibition, and to develop corresponding programming unparalleled in its 285 years, the Library Company formed relationships with several communities not historically well-represented in its undertakings. Artists, activists, disabled, and disadvantaged individuals, have been involved in this project from the start, and their participation has helped the institution grow and evolve as it examines the cultural assumptions embedded in its holdings, and the lived realities just beneath the surface.
Speaker: Rachel D’Agostino, Library Company of Philadelphia
When Bad Things Happen to Good Manuscripts: A Case Study of the Zora Neale Hurston Papers at the University of Florida
In 1960, celebrated African American author Zora Neale Hurston died in relative obscurity in a Florida hospital. With no one coming forward to claim them, her belongings were ordered destroyed. Her personal papers, manuscripts and correspondence were dumped into a burn barrel and set aflame. A friend passing by stopped and doused the flames with a garden hose. The collection was subsequently donated to the University of Florida. Curator of the Zora Neale Hurston Papers Florence M. Turcotte will relate the story of Hurston’s final days, and Conservator John Freund will describe the conservation treatment given to this singed and soaked mass of paper. Together they will provide the audience with a dramatic example of how manuscript materials can be rescued from destruction and tell an important story about American cultural, political and literary history.
Speaker: Florence M. Turcotte, John Freund, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville
Latinos en Oregón: A Latino/a community oral history project
While the development and implementation of an oral history project may be well- known to you, specifically working with your local Latino/a communities on such a project may not be. In 2015 the Oregon Multicultural Archives began a Latino/a community-based oral history project Latinos en Oregón: sus voces, sus historias, su herencia. The project involves a partnership with Oregon State University’s Juntos program which provides Latino/a families across Oregon with the knowledge and resources to gain access to higher education. This presentation will focus on the importance of project partners and community liaisons, the relationship and trust building aspects of the project, the lessons learned and suggested best practices based on experience, as well as current models and ideas for the project’s sustainability.
Speaker: Natalia Fernández, Oregon Multicultural Archives, Oregon State University Libraries and Press
Connecting, Contributing, Commemorating, Collaborating: Archival Adventures with the Records of the Chinese YMCA Movement
The work of the North American YMCA in China during the period from the late 1890s to the 1940s is richly documented in the Kautz Family YMCA Archives. Following several decades of isolation, the Chinese government’s adoption of more open policies in recent decades has opened opportunities for the Archives to connect with the Chinese YMCAs, many of which had been unable to save their own historical records. As the surviving Chinese YMCAs reach their 100th anniversaries, the Archives staff has experienced a fresh burst of interest in the records from those involved with the Chinese Y movement. Rather than just responding to individual reference requests, Archives staff have increasingly taken a more proactive and flexible approach, looking for ways to collaborate with YMCAs there.
Speaker: Lara Friedman-Shedlov, Kautz Family YMCA Archives, University of Minnesota