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Join us for a Labor History Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon in Hornbake Library

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Join a community interested in promoting labor history by editing the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia. Part celebration and part workshop, Edit-a-Thons are organized around a single topic as a means to build awareness and community. We’ll draw content from labor-related collections at the University of Maryland, including the AFL-CIO Archives. No editing experience necessary, however participants should have basic computer skills. All participants will receive complimentary issues of Labor’s Heritage journal.

Heavy Metal Parking Lot and the Jeff Krulik Collection

When aspiring filmmakers Jeff Krulik and John Heyn visited the Capital Centre parking lot on May 31, 1986, they had little more in mind than to document a fan scene at full peak. What they ended up creating was a cult film now considered among the greatest rock documentaries of all time. Just under 17 minutes long, Heavy Metal Parking Lot features local heavy metal fans expressing their enthusiasm for Judas Priest before the band performed in concert that night. Thirty years later, the film continues to resonate with fans around the globe.

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The University of Maryland is proud to honor both the legacy of the film and that of its co-producer. Jeff Krulik, a lifetime Marylander and graduate of UMD (B.A. English, 1983), is an independent documentarian, videographer and cultural preservationist who has built a distinct career tapping into the rich ore of local culture in the Maryland/D.C. region. In 1996, the Washington Post noted that his esteemed documentaries “demonstrate a loving eye for Americana and eccentricity.”

Krulik, Maryland Alumni Magazine, Spring 2001, photo by John ConsoliThe Jeff Krulik Collection, acquired by Mass Media & Culture collections within the UMD Libraries’ Special Collections and University Archives in November 2015, includes research files and source tapes for more than a dozen documentaries, as well as photos, catalogs, magazines, guides, posters, ephemera and audiovisual materials that represent a lifetime fascination with the offbeat and unusual. The collection is currently being processed, and will be available to researchers within the next two years.

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Krulik’s most iconic film, the exhibit “Heavy Metal Parking Lot: The 30-Year Journey of a Cult Film Sensation”, opening next month in the Gallery at the Michelle Smith Performing Arts Library, illustrates the film’s unexpected path from bootleg copies to international fame. Additional items from the Krulik Collection will also be on display.

Please join us for the opening reception in the the Pavilion of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center on May 27 from 6-8:30pm. This lively event will feature short presentations by film scholars, a screening of the film and a Q&A session with Jeff Krulik and John Heyn.

Click here for more information.

Organizing for Power and Workers’ Rights in the Twenty-First Century Symposium

On April 14, 2016, University Libraries’ Special Collections in Labor History & Workplace Studies will co-sponsor a symposium exploring workers and organizing in the twenty-first century. This event is open and free to the public. All are welcome to attend!

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Attacks on the freedom to organize in the last several decades have created new challenges for working people. New creative approaches have consequently emerged in sectors across the economy such as in domestic care, fast food, big box merchandising, etc. This symposium seeks to examine all those areas while also placing them within the context of a rapidly globalizing environment.

Elizabeth Shuler, Secretary-Treasurer of the AFL-CIO, will present the keynote address. Panelists include Eileen Boris, Teresa Casertano, Lane Windham, Elly Kugler, Nelson Lichtenstein, and Fekkak Mamdouh.

Afterwards, all are invited to join a reception in Hornbake Library, where attendees can enjoy light hors d’oeuvres and view items from UMD’s labor history collections as well as from the Gordon W. Prange Collection of Occupation-era Japanese print publications.

See a full schedule and more information, and join us on April 14th!

Women in the Book Trade

While we normally think that women were not allowed to participate in skilled crafts in early America, the book trades appear to have been an exception.  In colonial and revolutionary Maryland, both Anna Catherine Green of Annapolis and Mary Katherine Goddard of Baltimore were printers who oversaw the complicated processes associated with the production and distribution of printed information in the form of books, newspapers, political broadsides, pamphlets, almanacs, and various types of printed ephemera such as forms, tickets, and advertisements.  After 1800, fewer women operated as independent printers, which was an indication of changing social norms for the role of women and a changing economy that concentrated power in the hands of a few publishers.  However, women continued to participate in some aspects of the book trades, specifically type founding and book binding.  The casting, sorting and packaging of tiny pieces of lead type for printing required patience, a steady hand, and attention to detail.  Similarly, sewing the gatherings of leaves that formed books, required great manual dexterity.  Many woman had the basic eye-hand coordination required in these trades, because sewing, embroidering and other needle skills were expected activities for young females.

A recent gift to the Rare Books Collection in the University of Maryland Libraries is confirmation of women’s continued participation in the book trades.  Published in Philadelphia in 1837, the Panorama of Professions is essentially a textbook that introduced school children to the common trades of Jacksonian America.   Readers got a brief description of each trade, including an engraved illustration.  Teachers using this text also could assign students to answer the test questions for each section, located in the back of the book.  The images for the type founders and bookbinders show men and women at different aspects of the work.  Men are doing the more dangerous work of pouring hot lead to cast the individual pieces of type, while women are assigned the post-production processing activities.  Men associated with bookbinding are shown rounding the text block, attaching the boards, and preparing the leather covers; while woman are sitting at the sewing frames assembling the loose sheets into actual books.

Since primary education in America mostly was coeducational even in the early 19th century, one can assume that these images were meant to show that a young girl could aspire to a profession.  By including women as paid employees in a type foundry or bookbindery, the author and publisher of the Panorama of Professions preserved evidence that women had some opportunities as independent economic actors.  Both trades likely were considered preferable to service jobs or working in the dangerous textile mills that were at the vanguard of the Industrial Revolution.  This revolution eventually spelled the end of manual crafts such as bookbinding and type founding, and with it, the opportunities those professions had for women.


Doug McElrath is the acting head of Special Collections and University Archives at the University of Maryland. He has had a long term interest in the history of the book in Maryland.

 

KAP to Moore 1960-05-17

Women in the Archive

One of the best things about working in an archive is the sense of discovery. Right now, I have five boxes on my desk getting ready to be digitized, to make their debut if you will. They all look rather unassuming but shouldn’t be underestimated.

As a graduate student in literature, I spend most of my time thinking about the voices that historically have been rendered silent, barely intelligible. Currently the voice belongs to Katherine Philips, a female poet whose collected works were first printed in an unauthorized edition in 1664. I’m especially interested in reading the undercurrent of homoerotic desires in her poems, which means I’m reading for what is not said. Often, I have to search for what is illicit, unspeakable, and private–essentially what is left out. The secret joy of this work is discovering the voices of women whose rhetoric implied desires that could not be acknowledged or accounted for during their lifetimes. There is something particularly satisfying in creating an account of the unsaid, after all.

But, cumulatively there is a problem: women have occupied influential political and cultural in public spaces, but their histories have remained most alive in the “private” realm of letters and correspondence, buried in organizational records where they are subsumed into larger “genderless” structures of industries and social/political complexes.

That is why I love spending my time with these scraps and remnants–pieces of letters, correspondence, old files–these remnants speak to the many different accounts of history. In the five slender boxes on my desk, I have the thousands of pages of the private correspondence of another Katherine: American novelist, Pulitzer-Prize winner, and National Book Award winner Katherine Anne Porter. Those five boxes contain a powerhouse.

But, even Porter faced some difficulties of being a woman in a male dominated field. In 1946, Porter wrote to Josephine Herbst, another women novelist that, “the ‘serious’ boys are all snobs and all moved by fashion as much as the run of the mill writer.” Porter’s own desires and ambitions pressed her to work despite the challenges she faced as a woman and an outsider. Her correspondence reveals the lengths to which she would go to work, how she would run herself ragged, sick, and poor if she could get a quiet space and a typewriter. For all this, I am most moved by the private letters passed between her and other women.

My desk is littered with post-it notes quotes: to Marianne Moore in May 1960, “But my dear felicitous phenomenon, you are a dragon, has it been left to me to tell you?,” and Moore’s reply, “it is up to you to imagine a felicitous top to my dragon, in other words to make it a unicorn” or to Flannery O’Connor on April 6 1958: “Dear Flannery: I’ll never forget you standing there in the new spring landscape, watching your peacocks coming towards you…such a smiling pleased look in your eyes, it did me good to see it.”

KAP to Moore 1960-05-17KAP to OConnor 1958-04-06

These women are heavyweights of American Modernism whose works eviscerate our ideas of what it meant to be and to be an American in the first half of the 19th century, and in these five boxes are the remnants of what they thought of each other. This summer my “felicitous phenomena,” my “dragons,” will no longer be cooped up on my desk: soon they will all be available online. Our private little scraps will get to join those “serious” projects. The secret will be out of the box.


Caitlin Rizzo is a second year Masters student in the University of Maryland (UMD) Department of English and a Graduate Assistant for Research and Collection Services at UMD’s Special Collections and University Archives. She will begin her Masters in Library Science with the iSchool in Fall 2016.”

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Special Collections Celebrates 400 Years of Shakespeare!

A new exhibit highlighting the works of William Shakespeare is now on display in Hornbake Library!

In conjunction with the 400 year anniversary of the death of Shakespeare, Special Collections & University Archives joins libraries and departments across campus for Shakespeare@UMD!

Items on display in Hornbake Library include a second folio of the collected works of Shakespeare, printed in 1632 by Thomas Cotes, former apprentice to William Jaggard, who had printed the First Folio with his son Isaac in 1623. Individual copies of the Second Folio were issued with title-page inscriptions to each of the five publishers. Our copy is inscribed “for John Smethwick”. By at least one accounting, “Not more than three or four copies are known with the Smethwick imprint….”

Alongside the treasured second folio, several illustrated editions of Shakespeare’s plays are on display. A beautiful gilt-embossed cover graces an 1848 edition of The Female Characters of Shakespeare, while a wild-eyed King Lear glares out of a 1930 anthology by the illustrator Yunge and a rare print depicts the infamous Falstaff, seated as if casually observing his viewer.

This exhibition will be up through April 2016. After you explore the exhibit, visit the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library to explore more works by Shakespeare in Special Collections and University Archives.