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New Exhibit: The AFL-CIO Merger

The AFL-CIO, America’s largest federation of trade unions, represents over 12.5 million workers. Before 1955, the AFL (American Federation of Labor) and the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organizations) were separate, competing organizations. The two organizations chose to merge in 1955 in order to strengthen the labor movement and eliminate competition between different unions and workers. This mini-exhibit, on display in the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library, tells the story from the formation of the joint Unity Committee to the December 5, 1955 merger in commemoration of AFL-CIO’s 60th anniversary.

In 2013, the AFL-CIO gifted UMD their entire archive, over 6 miles of documents. The documents, photos, and artifacts on display are all from the AFL-CIO collection. To learn more about what’s in the AFL-CIO collection, go online to go.umd.edu/laborarchives or contact us.

Volunteer Opportunities in Special Collections and University Archives

Looking to gain experience working in a special collections library or archival repository? Special Collections and University Archives is host to volunteers and field study students looking to build up their resumes. They work closely with  library staff to make accessible some of the University’s most valuable research collections.

Current volunteer/field study opportunities include:

Archival Processing, Thomas Kahn papers

Thomas Kahn was Director of the AFL-CIO International Affairs Department. Responsibilities will include:

  • Develop processing plan for 130 linear feet of unprocessed records.
  • Assemble metadata by inventorying boxes.
  • Make recommendations regarding preservation needs and series descriptions.
  • Student will write blog post about experience.

Contact: Jen Eidson, Labor Collections


Labor History LibGuide

LibGuides are online subject guides used by the University of Maryland Libraries to provide greater access to materials in our collections. Responsibilities may include:

  • Develop content for a new LibGuide on a topic such as: child labor, labor legislation, membership records, union proceedings, etc… by using existing print guides that are out of date. Content will need to be updated.
  • LibGuide should include information we have in the University of Maryland Archives’s labor collections on the chosen topic as well as resources at other labor archives and bibliographic resources.
  • There is a possibility to create more than one guide and/or write corresponding blog post and/or selecting materials and writing captions for mini-exhibit in Maryland Room.

Contact: Jen Eidson, Labor Collections


Research Copyrights For Photos Used In Labor’s Heritage Journal

Journal was edited and printed by the George Meany Memorial Archive, 1989-2004. Responsibilities include:

  • Prepare journal for digitization by researching copyright information of photographs and terms of use. Student will review unprocessed boxes of administrative files as well as gain information from existing institutions’ websites.
  • Draft letters of inquiry for supervisor to review and send to obtain additional information as needed.
  • Student will gain insight into how publications are developed, initial research required, the importance of documenting rights for authors and photographic images used in publication.
  • Student will write blog post about experience.

Contact: Jen Eidson, Labor Collections


Legacy Metadata Conversion

Collection information for the AFL-CIO Archive is located in multiple locations: retired database tables, printed finding aids, spreadsheets, and obsolete e-documents.  In the Winter of 2016, some of this metadata will be migrated into ArchiveSpace. However, it will be partially incomplete. Responsibilities include:

  • Convert legacy metadata/finding aids into EAD for ArchiveSpace.
  • Gain experience using ArchiveSpace by adding missing collection information to existing records while learning about legacy and obsolete metadata formats.
  • Student will write blog post about experience.

Contact: Jen Eidson, Labor Collections


Special Collections Reference Experience

Gain experience with handling reference in a special collection library. Responsibilities include:

  • Serve on the Maryland Room Reference Desk.
  • Rotate in various subject areas within special collections handling outside reference queries.
  • Evaluate reference strategies and provide recommendations for improvement.
  • There is the possibility to assist the Researcher Experience Team, a Special Collections and University Archives staff team, with special projects.
  • Student will write blog post about experience.

Contact: Amber Kohl, Special Collections Services Coordinator

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Speech to AFL-CIO

In 1961, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and leader of the civil rights movement, spoke at the AFL-CIO’s Fourth Constitutional Convention. Though the early labor movement had a complicated history with race relations, by the 1960s the AFL-CIO and the civil rights movement had fully embraced each other in solidarity. President George Meany introduced King as “a courageous fighter for human rights” and “a fine example of American citizenry.”

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In his speech, King commented on the similarities between the labor movement and the civil rights movement:

“Negroes in the United States read this history of labor and find it mirrors their own experience. We are confronted by powerful forces telling us to rely on the good will and understanding of those who profit by exploiting us.”

“Our needs are identical with labor’s needs, decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children and respect in the community.”

Dr. King also drew attention to the need for solidarity between the two movements: “The duality of interests of labor and Negroes makes any crisis which lacerates you, a crisis from which we bleed.”

King asked two things of the AFL-CIO in his speech: root out racial discrimination in labor unions and provide financial assistance to the civil rights movement. King’s message did not fall on deaf ears: he received a standing ovation from the delegates.

Read Dr. King’s full speech online

Watch a clip from Dr. King’s speech (starts at 15:33)

Read more about the labor movement’s relationship with the civil rights movement

Looking Back at 2015…

2016 is right around the corner, the perfect time to reminisce on all the happenings that shaped Special Collections and University Archives in 2015!

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We’ve posted stories on our talented staff, as well as exhibits and events, like Alice 150, Halloween in Hornbake, and the Frederick Douglass statue dedication. We’ve also shared updates on our various collections, including the archives of the AFL-CIO.

Take a look at the top 5 blog posts of 2015:

5) New Exhibit: Achievements and Milestones in UMD Athletics

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4) New Exhibit: Highlights from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners Archives

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3) Pride at Work records at UMD

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Labor Archivist Jennifer Eidson packs up boxes with Pride at Work’s Executive Director Jerame Davis.

2) New Exhibit: Bookends of the Civil War

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1) Take a Trip Down the Rabbit Hole this Fall

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Honorable mentions for several posts published in previous years that rank among the most popular posts of 2015:

Kelmscott Press Inspires Imitators

Kelmscott Press 'Poems of John Keats'

Books Published Before 1850

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William Morris, Walter Crane, and Socialist Art

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Here’s to an exciting new year in Special Collections and University Archives!

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Christmas Greetings from Special Collections

Celebrate the holidays with these yuletide selections from Special Collections and University Archives!

Our Robert Frost Collection includes beautifully printed and designed Christmas Cards, also known as chapbooks,  featuring poetry by Robert Frost.  Printed by the Spiral Press, the idea for these cards began in 1930 not by Frost, but the founder of the Spiral Press Joseph Blumenthal. With’s Frost involvement, a new card was published annually until 1962. While not all overtly Christmas-themed, the poems have Frosts’ unmistakable rural charm.

Many notable authors and poets looked for inspiration in Christmastime, from the humorous to the introspective. Works by Ernest Hemingway, Ogden Nash, T.S. Eliot, H.L. Menken, Louisa May Alcott, and many more can be found in Special Collections and University Archives.

Looking for something more classic? The Kelmscott Press, a fine printing press started by English author and socialist WIlliam Morris (1834-1896), printed a wonderful edition of ‘Good King Wenceslas‘, illustrated by Arthur J. Gaskin. Also in our Rare Book collection is a copy of ‘The Night Before Christmas’, printed in 1899. This edition, issued by famed New York City Bookshop Brentanos, is illustrated by J. C. Chase.

Visit the Maryland Room in when we re-open on January 4th and explore more from our collections!

 

Spotlight on Wonderland: The White Rabbit

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I fear I shall too be late to turn in my final papers! Must dash!! Cheerio!!!

At last, finals week; the week we both long for (as a herald to winter break and relative peace), and dread ( don’t even ask how many papers I need to finish) is finally here. In the spirit of this hectic period, we shall follow the swift, zippy, speedy, breakneck, hasty, expeditious wee rabbit across the various landscapes of Wonderland. I am inspired by the words of Sherlock Holmes (played by Robert Downey Jr.), in the recent film version (2009),  ” My journey took me some what further down the rabbit hole than I intended and though I dirtied my fluffy white tail I have emerged, enlightened.”

When we first meet the nameless white rabbit, Alice is dozing, and in her state of reverie she follows him down to another world. Amusingly enough, Alice finds it rather unremarkable that he rushes by her, saying “Oh dear, Oh dear, I shall be too late”, but when he pulls a pocket watch from his waistcoat she can no longer be disinterested.

It is in the rabbit’s house that she finds one of the bottles that reads “Drink Me”, that changes her size so drastically. Accordingly, Alice soon becomes too large for the rabbit’s home, and frightens the dickens out of him.

Though she loses track of him for a while, Alice then runs into the rabbit again at the Queen’s croquet game, and he finally directly addresses Alice, though not as we would expect from their earlier meeting.

“It’s–It’s a very fine day!” said a timid voice at her side. She was walking by the White Rabbit, who was peeping anxiously into her face.” They speak about how the Duchess was under a sentence of execution for boxing the Queen’s ears, until the Queen scares them into focusing on the game at hand. The next time we see the rabbit is at the court proceedings, where he serves a herald to the court. With a trumpet in hand and a scroll in the other as he calls upon Alice as a witness to the proceedings.

What do you think of the White Rabbit?

Did You Know?

Lewis Carroll’s inspiration for the White Rabbit may have been Alice Liddell’s father, Dean Henry Liddell, who was known for running late to services at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford.

According to Lewis Carroll: “the White Rabbit should wear spectacles. I am sure his voice should quaver, and his knees quiver, and his whole air suggest a total inability to say “Bo” to a goose!”

Visit the Maryland Room gallery in Hornbake Library from October 2105-July 2016 to explore the White Rabbit and the rest of the Wonderland cast of characters in the exhibit Alice 150 Years and County…The Legacy of Lewis Carroll: Selections from the Collection of August and Clare Imholtz.

 

The Alice 150 Years and Counting Online Exhibit is Here!

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The wait is over, Alice fans! You can now view the online exhibit for Alice 150 Years and Counting…The Legacy of Lewis Carroll!

All your favorite items from the exhbiit will be available for your viewing pleasure including items that won’t be on display in Hornbake Library until next year!

Alice exhibit website with an orange Chesire Cat in a tree on a beige background. Alice with a long neck is below the image on the right of the text about the site.

The site is mobile compatible so you can get your Alice 150 fix anywhere, at any place, at any time. You can learn more about Lewis Carroll while drinking your morning coffee, peruse the international Alice illustrated books as you wait for class to start, go beyond Wonderland to the world of Alice advertisements in between sandwich bites, and read up on the collectors of the exhibit, August and Clare Imholtz, while waiting for the bus.

Check out the online exhibit today!