A Life in Letters: Katherine Anne Porter Digitization Continues!

We are excited to be back in action, kicking off phase 4 of the Katherine Anne Porter correspondence digitization project! Porter was an award winning author best known for her short stories, including Pale Horse, Pale Rider and her full length novel Ship of Fools. In 1966 Porter donated her literary archive to Special Collections at the University of Maryland, where a room was created in her honor. Now housed on the first floor of Hornbake Library, the Katherine Anne Porter room showcases book, photos, furniture, and memorabilia collected during her life.

Katherine Anne Porter talking with R. Lee Hornbake at the dedication of the original Katherine Anne Porter room in McKeldin library, May 15, 1968
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The Visual Culture of Labor in the 1930s: A Visit to the George Meany Labor Archive

On February 8 and 10, 2022, the twelve students in ARTH488D: Mining the Visual Culture of the Great Depression visited the University of Maryland’s Special Collections to explore 1930s materials from the George Meany Labor Archive. Students leafed through folders of original documents and photographs, and worked together to select and analyze a key primary source of their choosing. Our goal was to ask what we could learn from these materials– especially their visual form–about how people experienced the economic crisis and labor struggles of the Depression era. Please enjoy our explorations below!

“No Help Wanted”

This cartoon from a periodical clipping from 1931 in the midst of the Great Depression, shows a man looking at a sign that reads “NO HELP WANTED”. He appears to be sad and dejected. A connection between the viewer and the figure in the image can be made by the way they are both reading the sign at the same time. The figure’s back is turned, directing the viewer’s eyes to the message, while also noticing his posture which shows emotions of dejection, tiredness, and worry. This item creates feelings of sympathy and sadness for the figure and feelings of wanting to help and support him. This image appears to be reproduced in a magazine or pamphlet of sorts to encourage workers to take action in protest for better working conditions, job opportunities, wages, and so much more. We believe this image was intended to resonate with people affected by the crash of the Great Depression. Having the opportunity to look at this primary source allows us to further understand the struggles that working and lower-class citizens endured during a time period of limited jobs and low pay. #GreatDeressionVisualCulture #NoHelpWanted #RouseHimToAction

–Jessica and John

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New Exhibit: A Tale of Fine Wenches: the Women of The Ladies’ Almanack

“Now this be a Tale of as fine a Wench as ever wet the bed…”

Ladies Almanack, 1928

In honor of Women’s History Month, we are celebrating Djuna Barnes’ female focused comedic satire Ladies Almanack

Ladies Almanack was published in 1928 while Barnes was living as an expatriate writer/artist in Paris. She originally wrote it to entertain her partner Thelma Wood, who had been hospitalized. As such, the bawdy humor and absurdist parody almanac is full of inside jokes and references to Barnes’ and Wood’s lesbian (with the exception of Mina Loy) social circle of fellow modernist writers, artists, socialites, and literary women. 

A new exhibit in Hornbake Library A Tale of Fine Wenches: the Women of The Ladies’ Almanack puts the spotlight on Djuna Barnes and the real women who inspired uproarious drama within Ladies Almanack.  On display are a selection of items from the Djuna Barnes papers, including books, photographs, and correspondence that explores the relationships between these women, varying from platonic to romantic. 

Ladies Almanack features a plethora of particularly scandalous women, whose unique vices reference various women, including Natalie Clifford Barney, Mina Loy, Jane Heap, Margaret Anderon, and Gertrude Stein. Characters also appear based on Romaine Brooks, Janet Flanner, Solita Solano, Elisabeth de Gramont, and Dolly Wilde. Together, these women represent a thriving literary and artistic community living in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s.

These women often met at Natalie Clifford Barney’s Parisian salon, which at the time was a popular place among writers and authors to discuss literature and art. Barnes characterizes Barney’s Almanack persona as an aged proprietor of the feminine arts, emphasizing her role as a mentor to the many women who visited her salon. Among these women, Djuna Barnes and Thelma Wood, and Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap were romantically involved. Barnes and Wood’s tumultuous decade-long relationship inspired Barnes’ novel Nightwood, and Anderson and Heap co-edited The Little Review, a literary magazine infamous for featuring works by prominent modernist writers and the first appearance of James Joyce’s Ulysses in a serial format. 

To explore more, visit  Special Collections and University Archives in Hornbake Library to view the Djuna Barnes papers and works by other modernist writers.  

If you have more questions about items in Hornbake’s collections contact us!

New Exhibit: “…at the crossroads on the path to liberation”

Come by the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library to see our latest exhibition “…at the crossroads on the path of liberation”: Changemakers in the Africa Diaspora on display now through mid-March.

This collection of material from our archives invites the University of Maryland community to explore some of the revolutionary and transformative literature in our collections created by changemakers throughout the African diaspora who challenged an oppressive status quo. Through both words and actions, these individuals changed the way people thought about race and class. These works present ideas that push us to take a more critical look at our culture, politics and systemic racism. Some of these authors will be known to you and some might be new. We encourage you to visit and to learn more about these changemakers.

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“Get Out the Vote” Spotlight – National Organization for Women

The purpose of NOW is to take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men.

The National Organization for Women’s 1966 Statement of Purpose

National Organization for Women (NOW) was formed in 1966 as an organization focused directly on advancing women’s rights. It was and remains the most visible second-wave feminist organization, and it represents the first independent American women’s movement since the women’s suffrage movement at the beginning of the 20th century.
 
Twenty-eight women co-founded NOW, including well-known feminists like Shirley Chisholm, Betty Friedan, and Pauli Murray. Their original statement of purpose, written by Friedan and Murray, declared that “the time has come to confront, with concrete action, the conditions that now prevent women from enjoying the equality of opportunity and freedom of choice which is their right, as individual Americans, and as human beings.” Today, their platform also addresses  voting rights. They argue that women are disproportionately affected by voter suppression and work to get feminist candidates elected to office.

Explore the records of the National Organization for Women, Maryland Chapter in Special Collections and University Archives in Hornbake Library.

At the heart of the Special Collections & University Archives exhibit Get Out the Vote: Suffrage and Disenfranchisement in America are advocates and grassroots organizations who have fought for expanding the right to vote. Their individual and collective voices have driven major changes to American voting rights, moving the nation closer to the ideal of “one person, one vote.”

Visit the Maryland Room Exhibit Gallery in Hornbake Library to view the exhibit Get Out the Vote: Suffrage and Disenfranchisement in America or explore the exhibit online.

Exploring Modernism in Literary Special Collections

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the publication of Ulysses in 1922, we are highlighting modernist literary works in the rare books collections in Hornbake Library.

James Joyce (1882-1941): Born in Dublin, Joyce was an Irish novelist and short story writer whose notable works include Finnegans Wake (1939), Dubliners (1914), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Ulysses. Joyce is most noteworthy for his experimental use of language and exploration of new literary methods, such as interior monologue and his use of a complex network of symbolic parallels. You can find works by Joyce including Ulysses first edition, first appearance, and other works such as Pomes Penyeach, Dubliners, Finnegans Wake, Exiles, and The mime of Mick, Nick, and the Maggies, a fragment from Work in progress in the rare books collection.

Other notable modernist writers in the archival collections include:
Djuna Barnes (1892-1982): Barnes was an avant-garde American artist, writer and noted journalist. She is best known for her novel Nightwood (1936), a classic modernist work and a groundbreaking novel often cited as the first modern lesbian novel. Her satirical Ladies Almanack (1928) is a cleverly fictionalized and humorous take on Barnes’s social circle in the lesbian salons of Paris in the 1920s. She also published Ryder (1928) and The Antiphon (1958) among other works of fiction. You can explore Barnes’s literary archive, including her writings, artwork, personal library, and personal correspondence in the Djuna Barnes papers.

Katherine Anne Porter (1890-1980): An American author and journalist, Porter is known primarily for her short stories and novel, Ship of Fools (1962). Her short story “Pale Horse, Pale Rider” fictionalizes her experience almost dying during the 1918 Influenza epidemic. She was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1966 for The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter (1965). You can explore her literary archive, including writings, photographs, and personal library in the Katherine Anne Porter papers. Her correspondence has been digitized and made available online in Katherine Anne Porter: Correspondence from the Archives: 1912-1977.

Elsa Von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874-1927): A German-born avant-garde poet and artist associated with the Dada movement, Von Freytag-Loringhoven was known for her flamboyancy and sexual frankness. She published her poems in The Little Review alongside chapters from James Joyce’s Ulysses. She was also a longtime friend of Djuna Barnes. You can explore her writing in the Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven papers.

Additional modernist writers that can be found in the literary archives are Isabel Bayley, William Faulkner, Robert Frost, Ernest Hemingway, Frances McCullough, Hope Mirrlees’ papers which contain correspondence with T.S. Eliot and Virginia and Leonard Woolf, Ferdinand Reyher, Gertrude Stein, James Stern and Glenway Wescott.

You can also find works by many modernist writers in the rare books collection, such as: T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Marianne Moore, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams, Djuna Barnes, Bertolt Brecht, Katherine Anne Porter, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemmingway, and Virginia Woolf

Two notable collections include:

For more, explore our Guide to Modernist Writers in Special Collections Libguide.

If you have any questions about our Literature and Rare Books collections please contact us. Follow us on social media (@hornbakelibrary) for behind the scenes updates!

Victoria Vera, Candidate for Master of Library & Information Science, University of Maryland.

Degrees of Change: Student Activist History at UMD

Student activism has shaped university and campus life at the University of Maryland, College Park. The University Archives at Hornbake Library preserves and actively collects objects that give us a window into the important history of student activism and the individuals involved in these movements. 

Please enjoy this student assistant video project that highlights several notable moments in UMD student activist history and provides important reminders for those conducting their own archival research!

Investigating Archival Narratives: Student Activism at the University of Maryland

Digitizing the AFL-CIO Civil Rights Department records

In May 2021, Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) began a three year grant project with Georgia State University’s Southern Labor Archive – “Advancing Workers Rights in the American South: Digitizing the Records of the AFL-CIO’s Civil Rights Division.”

SCUA will digitize and make accessible online approximately 45 linear feet (or 20-25%) from the AFL-CIO Civil Rights Department records (listed below), as well as 20 – 16mm films from the AFL-CIO Labor Film collection.  Georgia State University’s Special Collections & Archives will be digitizing 119 linear feet and some audio recordings from the Records from the AFL-CIO’s Southern Area Director’s Office Civil Rights Division for online access.  This project is supported by a Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR). The grant program is made possible by funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.  For more details about the grant award visit CLIR’s list of 2020 funded projects and the University of Maryland Libraries’ announcement.

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Vox Pop Travels America, 1935-1948: A Story Map

Co-host Warren Hull interviews Sgt. Gooseman from the Air Sea Rescue School. Keesler Field. Biloxi, Mississippi. April 2, 1945.

Radio broadcasting played many important roles during World War II. Comedy, drama, music, and information programs entertained, boosted wartime morale, promoted the war effort, and informed listeners about the progress of the war. As a broadcasting archive, the Mass Media & Culture Collections at the University of Maryland has many resources that document the roles radio played during World War II. One such resource is  Vox Pop Travels America, 1935-1948, a story map highlighting Vox Pop, a long-running radio interview program that spent the war years interviewing service men and women and defense plant workers from locations all over the United States.

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Featured collection: AFL-CIO Civil Rights Department records

The AFL-CIO Civil Rights Department was established “to encourage all workers without regard to race, creed, color, national origin or ancestry to share equally in the full benefits of union organization.” The department investigated complaints of discrimination at work and actively to addressed issues of fair employment, housing discrimination and school discrimination. They created and distributing informational pamphlets, holding conferences, and working with federal agencies and independent civil rights organizations.

The AFL-CIO Civil Rights Department records include correspondence, press releases, reports, subject files and interviews, primarily from the 1960s through the 1980s. The topics in this collection cover all the activities conducted by the Civil Rights Department.

Explore the AFL-CIO Civil Rights Department records finding aid

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, 1963

What is a finding aid?

A finding aid is a description of the contents of a collection, similar to a table of contents you would find in a book. A collection’s contents are often grouped logically and describe the group of items within each folder. You rarely find descriptions of the individual items within collections. Finding aids also contain information about the size and scope of collections. Additional contextual information may also be included.