Tufts DCA is proud to welcome a new addition to our office: the Samuel Berger Exhibit Case! Generously donated by the Berger family, the case will display items from the Samuel Berger Tufts Memorabilia Collection (MS159) on a rotating basis.
Dr. Samuel Harry Berger (1948-2009) graduated from Tufts University School of Medicine in 1973 before beginning an accomplished career as a pediatrician. Because of the strong connection he developed with Tufts during his years in medical school, he began collecting Tufts memorabilia related to all of Tufts’ schools and colleges and became well versed in the history of the university. Dr. Berger passed away on January 19, 2009, and his wife, Marlene Berger, generously donated her husband’s collection of memorabilia to DCA in 2013.
Stop by the DCA on the Ground Floor of Tisch Library to view the exhibit, which features items from the Berger collection related to sports at Tufts, representations of Jumbo (the university’s beloved mascot), and images of Tufts buildings. Highlights include athletics letter patches, a Jumbo charm bracelet from 1934, early 20th century Wedgwood china with images of Jumbo and iconic Tufts buildings including Ballou Hall and Goddard Chapel, and a 1947 calendar featuring photographs of the Tufts campus alongside the text of “Along the Row,” the title poem from a book of poetry about Tufts by former professor John Holmes.
This exhibit was designed and installed by Leah Edelman, Archives and Research Assistant, in May of 2014. It will be on display until further notice. For more information on the Samuel Berger Tufts Memorabilia Collection, stop by the DCA on the Ground Floor of Tisch Library.
There will be a lot written and said about Terry Cook following his passing yesterday. He was a Canadian archivist whose theories of appraisal have shaped archival theory. I suspect that his archival legacy will focus on his many contributions to the field. But while I deeply admire his writing and thinking, my memories of Terry revolve around his generosity of spirit.
My first introduction to Terry Cook was reading his article “The Archive(s) Is a Foreign Country: Historians, Archivists, and the Changing Archival Landscape” for a paper in my Introduction to Archives course. I have stars and “YES!” and exciting thoughts annotated throughout my copy of the article.
Later that fall, two colleagues and I reached out to him asking if he would moderate a panel we were proposing for SAA. Our collective research was around the intersection of archival practice and social justice activism and his work was foundational for all of us. When he courteously accepted our request he became more than an archival legend; he became a mentor to three young archival students on the cusp of becoming professionals and a friend whose passion for social justice nurtured our own.
Back: Terry Cook, Verne Harris. Front: Jasmine Jones, Amanda Strauss, Erin Faulder
We presented our panel In Pursuit of the Moral Imperative: Exploring Social Justice and Archives in August 2012. Nearly two years after the experience what I recall most vividly are the incredibly kind, welcoming, and supportive words that he used to introduce us. Following the panel we went to lunch with him and his old friend Verne Harris. Our conversation was invigorating and valuable. When we discussed archives-related topics, both Terry and Verne pushed us to think more deeply about the issues, questioned our assumptions, and validated our methods. But Terry also wished to know us as individuals with our own stories and to share a piece of himself with us. He was a man who wanted to encourage us because he recognized the vital importance of many perspectives in the world and in our profession. He had a gracious spirit whose own work did not diminish others’ and who welcomed disagreement and discussion.
That day marks my entrance into this profession. His presence in that day has shaped my work and will continue to shape my thinking. My words seem inadequate to recognize the impact that day in particular, and Terry more specifically, has had on my life. So I end with a picture of his inscription to me in my copy of Verne Harris’s book Archives and Justice, the forward of which was written by Terry.
For Erin, Carry the torch high! Terry
The annual Murrow Forum is one of the highlights of the year for the Digital Collections and Archives because it holds the two largest Murrow related archival collections in the world: the Edward R. Murrow Papers and the recently donated and now digitized Janet Brewster Murrow and Edward R. Murrow Family Papers.
Moreover,the Murrow family comes to campus each year to attend or participate in the Forum and to visit the archives.
This year’s 9th Annual Murrow Forum hosted Ariana Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, and chair, president, and editor-in-chief of the Huffington Post Media Group on April 16th. Even before her arrival, the choice of Ms. Huffington as this year’s speaker started a lively and interesting debate about modern journalism and who now counts as a journalist in the Tufts Daily from February 25th, 2014.
Among topics discussed by Ms Huffington and Jonathan M. Tisch was the history of her blog and news site, the manner in which Huffington Post allows the participation and incorporation of myriad writers and views, blogging for free but keeping the copyright, blog anonymity, print and digital media, and life-work balance among others.
On Monday, I left the DCA office for the last time, ending 10 years as director, 16 years in the archives, and 20 years working for Tufts University. It’s hard to know how to process leaving a place after so long, but after a few days to reflect, I know there are a couple of things I will really miss.
First and foremost, my colleagues! The DCA staff is like none other. Smart, creative, dedicated, ambitious – ready to take chances, try new things, and continually move forward. DCA has attained truly remarkable achievements for a very small program: the Tufts Digital Library, dramatically expanded collections and services, and all of this while engaging in research on electronic records and linked data and archives. I’ve been asked, many times, how we were able to do so much. It’s all about the people – staff in DCA, and colleagues across the libraries and the university who gave us space and support to follow where our creativity and ambition took us. What a great place to work! I cannot thank my colleagues enough for making my time at Tufts so exciting, positive, and productive. I’m going to miss you!
And yes, I’ll miss our collections, even the quirky ones. Jumbo’s tail, icky and not at all photogenic, but the most requested relic of Tufts’ history. Transcripts and student records – not sexy, maybe, but vital to documenting the education of so many thousands of Tufts students over more than 150 years. Newsletters from grassroots environmental organizations, documenting communities’ struggles for environmental justice. The Early American election data gathered by Phil Lampi and made available through the New Nation Votes project (with the American Antiquarian Society and NEH). And more.
My sentimental favorite is the Melville Munro photograph collection. Munro had an extraordinary talent for composition and capturing light, and while his primary subject was daily campus and student life, he left us thousands of images that both document Tufts and, in many cases, are stunningly beautiful. This image, of Jackson students stitching a service flag during World War I is one I am taking with me to my new job.
What’s that new job? I’ll be trading in the steady and true brown and blue of Tufts for Cornell’s Big Red. Coming to Ithaca? Look me up at the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections!
Here at the DCA we manage a lot of material. We have images, folders of documents, ground breaking shovels and other three dimensional objects, digital files, books, and A/V material. In order to manage the material effectively, we need a system that helps us identify, describe, and locate it all.
In 2010 we undertook a project to replace our old collection management system with a new tool that would help us do our job better. This tool is an open source web-based application called CIDER (source code can be found on GitHub.) However, creating the application was only the first step of replacing our old system. We also had to migrate all of the data that existed in the old system to CIDER.
The migration process was no small feat. We had over 600 collections to migrate. Some collections had only a handful of records. Others had thousands of records. We had to standardize, clean up, check the accuracy, and transform all of the existing data before we could import it into CIDER. Once it was in CIDER, we had a complex QA process to ensure that every piece of information was migrated accurately and completely. Each record was touched at least four times before it was considered complete. It took some excellent coordination, motivation, and commitment from those who helped the process go forward and the staff who had to work in an environment where our our data was in two different places at once!
We are happy to announce that the migration and QA process is now complete and we wanted to share some statistics from the process:
- There were nearly 250,000 records migrated as part of this process.
- The first collection was frozen in the old system to prevent changes to the data was on December 20, 2011.
- The QA process was finished on the final collection, 26 months later, on February 24, 2014.
- A quarter million records in 616 collections averages to about 406 records per collection.
- On average, we were able to migrate approximately 2200 records per week.
- Three people worked part-time on the first step of migrating data from one system to another
- Six people worked part-time on the final QA steps.
Time to pull out the tinsel and throw a party!
Many of us did not know that Tufts had a beautiful small bronze by Rodin. In fact very little was generally known about the sculpture except its plaque reads “Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Carl J. Gilbert-Brought from the Rodin Atelier by Mrs. Abigail Adams Homans, mother of Mrs. Carl J. Gilbert.”
Laura McCarty, Senior Art Registrar of Tufts Art Gallery, asked Susanne Belovari (Archivist for Reference and Collections) to do provenance research regarding ‘Despair.’ If one can date the figure to the early years of Rodin’s work, if he supervised the casting, and if the foundry was by Alexis Rudier, the piece would not only have a tremendous value as an artifact but also in monetary terms.
The bronze at Tufts is based on a figure originally called Shade Holding Her Foot (known as Despair/Désespoir after 1900) and was apparently a study for Rodin’s The Gates of Hell.
McCarty and Belovari quickly identified a version of the sculpture in the authoritative Rodin catalog by the Musée Rodin; a figure that was cast in 1902 and that appeared to be similar to the Tufts bronze in form, size, and markings.
After some research into the family of Abigail Adams Homans, it became clear that the most likely person to have purchased the figure was Abigail’s uncle, Henry Adams. Adams had been instrumental or at least helpful in introducing Rodin to American buyers and US museums. Boston figured prominently in this history: from the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900, Henry bought Psyche for his niece Louisa Hooper and then in 1902 Elizabeth Sherman Cameron (wife of Sen. Don Cameron) and Henry helped Henry Lee Higginson to purchase two Rodin marbles and three bronzes, the “first substantial group of Rodin’s sculptures for an American collection.” Both Hooper and Higginson lent their sculptures to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, together eventually ten figures.
Susanne then searched through the published letters of Henry Adams and particularly those with his life long friend Elizabeth Sherman Cameron with little success. Since about 30% of the letters to and from Henry Adams have not yet been published, however, she proceeded to look through the microfilm of the Adams Family Papers, held in the archives of the Massachusetts Historical Society and other repositories. And here in the letters between Henry and Elizabeth, she found the details of the purchase of Despair/Désespoir which clearly identified the figure to be dated from 1902, to be one of only two known early casts by Alex Rudier, and cast under the supervision of Rodin himself.
In the fall Laura and Susanne sent copies of the letters and documentation to the Comité Auguste Rodin in Paris, which corroborated the findings with their own research. Not only will a photograph of the authenticated bronze at Tufts be included in the forthcoming Catalogue Critique de l’Oeuvre Sculpté d’Auguste Rodin (Critical Catalogue of the Sculptural Works of Auguste Rodin) but the Tufts community can now enjoy this rare piece on its campus.
Today is my last day at Tufts DCA, and I keep dwelling on all the things I love about this place. There’s what I I love about Tufts University; today on my way into work, as I walked past the straw bales they put against trees so local kids sledding down the hill won’t hurt themselves, I thought about how one of the things that drew me to Tufts in the first place was how it is a member of the surrounding community. There’s also DCA, and everything I will miss here. Of course there’s the people and the work and everything that we’ve accomplished in the time I’ve been here, but let’s face it, it’s easier to blog about my favorite elements from our collections. Therefore I present for you:
Deborah’s list of five treasures she’s enjoyed finding in our collections, in no particular order:
- “Outerbridge Horsey“. I know this record doesn’t look like much but I am so fond of Mr. Horsey. He’s my favorite name in the entire A New Nation Votes project. One thing I love about the Outerbridge Horsey family is that they understand how truly wonderful the name is: Outerbridge Horsey VII is alive and a practicing architect in Georgetown.
- “Dog with sign protesting new dorms“, 1978. How can anyone not love this beautiful dog, who is very adamant that there should be no dorms.
- “The Ginger-Beer Man“, 1890. This gregarious fellow has been my go to image for testing search for years.
- “Marine Technology Transfer and the Law of the Sea“, 1984. This is a doctoral dissertation, submitted to the faculty of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, by the current dean of the Fletcher School. In between that dissertation and his current position as Dean, he was NATO Supreme Commander Europe. I am always so fascinated by the non-academia experience of the Fletcher faculty.
- I don’t have any particular favorites from the This I Believe collection, but I like the collection so much not just because I’m proud of how much work we put in to making this audio + transcript interface have lovely usability and accessibility, but because the content in general makes the 1950s real to me. Here’s a nice sampling: Annie Fisher, 1954, Nazrat Farooki, 1954, Vita Sackville-West, 1953, Yaroslav Chyz, 1952, Louis Brandeis, 1952, Violet Bonham Carter, 1952. What I love about This I Believe is how it blends famous people and regular Joes so seamlessly, without any presumption by either the show or the speakers that the two classes of speakers are any different from one another.
Diane Pilson, November 1979
Posted on January 16, 2014 by Anne Sauer | Categories: news | |
Tagged: staff |
We are pleased to welcome Liz Francis to DCA, who has joined us in a term appointment in the Records Archivist position. She has already become a key contributor to the archives team. I asked Liz to write a little something to introduce herself here. Stop by and say hello if you’re in Tisch. Welcome, Liz!
I am thrilled to join Digital Collections and Archives as Records Archivist. Stepping in to replace Veronica Martzahl, now Electronic Records Archivist at Massachusetts State Archives, I am grateful to my predecessor for, well, keeping such good records. My role at DCA is to oversee the intake of new collection material, both physical and electronic, and to process incoming collections to ready them for researchers. Jumping right in, the first collection I tackled, with the help of talented Tufts student assistants Elyse Werling and Grace Tam, was the Mobius records – more than one hundred boxes of materials documenting thirty years of experimental and performance art in Boston. Stay tuned for future blog posts about this important collection.
Before joining DCA in November, I assisted researchers at the Massachusetts Historical Society, processed archival collections at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, and researched digital preservation strategies for the MIT Libraries. A long-time Boston resident, I am excited to delve into the rich history of Tufts and the exotic Somerville/Medford borderlands. My initiation begins with some background reading, Jumbo: This Being the True Story of the Greatest Elephant in the World by Paul Chambers. Outside of Tufts, I participate in the wider archival community by volunteering with our regional professional organization, New England Archivists, and our national organization, the Society for American Archivists.
If you see me around campus, don’t hesitate to challenge me to a Jumbo trivia face-off. And if you would like to discuss your own records, contact me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2014 Reunion Classes Exhibit, now on display in Tisch Library (in the cases located near the entrance to the Tower Cafe), highlights the classes of 2004, 1989, 1979, 1964, 1939, and 1914. The exhibit commemorates Tufts alumni through photographs, news clippings, and ephemera selected from the collections of the DCA.
The standing display case focuses on the 10th reunion year of the class of 2004, the 25th reunion year of the class of 1989, and the 50th reunion year of the class of 1964. Highlights from the class of 2004’s time at Tufts include photographs of notable speakers such as Spike Lee and John Kerry, and a photograph of the Patches for Peace quilt created by the Tufts community in response to 9/11. Highlights from the class of 1989’s tenure include photographs of students at rallies and protests, enjoying senior week activities, and at graduation, as well as a photograph of an early performance by a famous Tufts alum. Highlights from the class of 1964 include photographs of students on move-in day and at social functions and sports events, as well as a Tufts Ivy Book and the front page of the Tufts Weekly after JFK’s assassination.
The flat display case focuses on the 35th reunion year of the class of 1979, the 75th reunion year of the class of 1939, and the 100th reunion year of the class of 1914. Highlights from the class of 1979’s Tufts years include a football signed by members of the 1979 football team, and a photograph of the 1975 fire in Barnum Hall that consumed Jumbo, Tufts’s beloved mascot. Highlights from the class of 1939 include coverage of the Great New England Hurricane of 1938, and a photograph of the 1939 women’s basketball team. Highlights from the class of 1914 include photographs of the 1914 Tufts football team and WWI soldiers marching on campus, and a Class Day book.
This exhibit was designed and installed by Leah Edelman, Archives and Research Assistant. It will be on display until Fall 2014. For more information on Tufts history and alumni, stop by the DCA on the Ground Floor of Tisch Library.
Here at DCA, we receive a number of reference requests relating to Tufts graduates who have gone on to do amazing things. For some of these graduates, their career trajectories must have been easy to predict from the time they came to the hill. Oliver Platt and Hank Azaria, both noted actors, performed in a number of plays as undergraduates in the Drama department. Gregory Maguire, author of many books, including Wicked, completed his Ph.D. in English and American Literature at Tufts. Gordon S. Wood, the Pulitzer Prize winner who was perhaps immortalized by a certain bar scene in Good Will Hunting, graduated summa cum laude from Tufts, where he began his academic studies in history.
Sometimes, however, Tufts graduates go on to make their mark in unexpected ways. Eugene Fama, one of this year’s recipients of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science, is one such example. Fama, the Robert R. McCormick Distinguished Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, spent his time at Tufts studying not economics but French.
However, while Fama’s eventual chosen field might have come as a surprise to some of those who knew him here at Tufts, his level of success likely has not. As an undergraduate, Eugene Fama was a busy, well-rounded, and high-achieving student. In addition to playing both football and baseball, Fama was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Sword & Shield, and the Society of Scholars. He won a number of awards, including the Cotter Prize for excellence in French, and was selected for Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. In his senior year, Fama received a fellowship for graduate study at the University of Chicago, where he earned an MBA and Ph.D. in economics and finance and then remained to teach.
Congratulations to Eugene Fama – yet another Jumbo making us all proud.
To see Tufts materials related to Eugene Fama and other notable Jumbos, stop by DCA Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm, send us an email, or give us a call at (617)627-3737.