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!
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.
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.
DCA is pleased to announce that as of July 2013, it is preserving the historical New England Medical Center (NEMC) Archives for the Tufts Medical Center located in Boston, MA.
Please take a look at our new featured collection page for the Historical New England Medical Center Archives which also includes online pdfs for a historical resource guide and a timeline stretching back to 1665.
Browse through already digitized images regarding some of the medical institutions and check out findings aids to already existing collections at DCA.
As Douglas Adams said, “I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be.” While anyone who knows me will attest that this quote certainly applies to my personal lack of direction, especially when driving, it also applies to my career path. I left college with a strong start in a career in retail at a major bookseller. Several years on that career path taught me patience, customer service skills, and that I didn’t like working a job with crazy hours and no time off on holidays. After that I spent five years doing medical billing for a drug and alcohol treatment facility where I learned how to do really fast data entry and that I was really interested in record keeping practices. I also learned that when I started talking about how no one was writing letters anymore and that correspondence was shifting to email and wondered what that would mean for historians in the future, people would look at me funny. So I decided to go where people understood these concerns: library school.
The plan was my husband would work and I would go to school and take care of our 1 year old son. Things didn’t go quite according to plan, and I found myself looking for a part-time job as well. And that’s what brought me to where I needed to be – Tufts University Digital Collections and Archives. Well, technically it brought me to the American Antiquarian Society and the A New Nation Votes project, but the data entry work was being done at Tufts and I was interviewed by Anne Sauer, so let’s leave it at DCA. I was so nervous for that interview. I had barely a semester of library school completed and I was just hoping that my undergraduate degree in history would make me a strong candidate. In retrospect, I really didn’t need to worry since I had five years of previous data entry experience and I’m wicked fast and accurate. So there I was at the end of the following summer when a cadre of Simmons students went off into the world and there were openings for new grad school assistants. I transitioned from A New Nation Votes to DCA proper where I promptly processed my first collection of materials. It was one box and I spent two weeks on it. Yup, that was a bit of overkill there! So there I was again – not where I thought I wanted to be, but ABSOLUTELY where I needed to be. And that continued to the summer of 2007 when two brand new positions were added to the DCA staff. I was nervous applying since I still had a year of library school to finish, but the time I had spent in the department and the work I had done (I got faster than a box every two weeks) paid off. Anne took a chance on me, and gave me the flexibility to finish my classes.
Veronica’s farewell cake featuring a Fighting Jumbo.
Thus started six amazing years as the Records Archivist for the DCA. I can’t begin to put into words how much I needed to be there as I started my career (which is a bit of bummer since this is a blog after all.) I have learned so much about the profession, about how to balance workloads and deadlines, and how to take the risks you need to take to make improvements in workflows and processes. I’ve also learned that something a professor told me when I was hired is absolutely true: in twenty or thirty years when the profession is looking back on the most innovative, daring, and influential archives at the start of the digital era, Tufts DCA will be the institution everyone talks about. That will be 100% because of the leadership of our director, Anne Sauer. She allows her staff the room to grow, to contribute, and to try the cutting edge. And she trusts us to not mess it up.
This post will get very long and I will start crying if I start listing all the wonderful people I have had the honor to work with in the DCA, so I will limit this to just one more person mentioned by name, our amazing University Records Manager, Eliot Wilczek. Eliot is a rock star in the archives profession. He doesn’t believe it, but he is. While details were being worked out for my new job at the Mass State Archives, my new boss was talking to someone from another state archives. He couldn’t say too much, but mentioned that he was working on getting someone from Tufts. The guy from the other state archive looked at him in awe and said, “You’re getting Eliot Wilczek!” And Eliot is so awesome I can’t even feel annoyed about that, because really, who wouldn’t want Eliot working with them? So my parting present to Eliot is that I promise, in print, that I will never make “Eliot Groupie” ribbons to put on the Society of American Archivists conference nametags, even though EVERYONE would would want one.
So in closing, I guess I would say that I’m leaving not because I want to go so much as I know that my new job is where I’m supposed to be. Because I would be totally insane to WANT to leave the most wonderful colleagues I could ever hope for. I’m just so glad I can still call them my friends.
With much love and respect,
Did you know that the Digital Collections and Archives holds the oral history recordings and transcripts of the West Medford African-American Remembrance Project? These oral histories were created conducted under the supervision of Tufts Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Associate Professor, Rosalind Shaw in 2005 and 2006. Topics include growing up in West Medford, school desegregation, employment opportunities, as well as a general sense of what it was like to grow up in this area as an African-American during the mid-twentieth century. Check out the Tufts Digital Library for audio and transcripts from this project.
There will be two events at the Society of American Archivist annual meeting in New Orleans about the Tufts University Digital Collections and Archives LiAM grant project on linked archival metadata.
Research Forum Presentation
Anne Sauer will give a 15 minute presentation on LiAM at the Research Forum in the Jefferson Ballroom, on Tuesday, August 13, at 1:00pm. She will review the goals of the project and give an update on the progress the grant has made.
Open LiAM Meeting
We have reserved a meeting room (Ascot Room) in the conference hotel on Wednesday afternoon, August 14 from 1:00 to 3:00pm. The is an opportunity for people to learn about the project, ask questions, and provide feedback. Space is limited, so if you think you would like to attend, please email Anne Sauer (email@example.com).
LiAM is focused on planning for the application of linked data approaches to archival description. Our goal is to better understand the benefits that linked data could bring to the management, discovery, and use of archival collections while also investigating the efforts required to implement these approaches. Central to this effort is identifying graduated approaches that will enable archives to build on existing description as well as mapping out a more ambitious vision for linked data in archives. This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.
The Digital Collections and Archives will be offering two in-person training classes on managing institutional data and records on the Boston campus. To sign up for these classes send an RSVP to Eliot Wilczek (firstname.lastname@example.org). Both classes have an enrollment limit of 20 people.
July 23, 12:00-1:00pm (Bring Your Own Lunch)
Sackler 220, Boston Campus
Institutional Data 101 What’s the Right Thing to Do:
General strategies and recordkeeping rules at Tufts
July 30, 12:00-1:00pm (Bring Your Own Lunch)
Sackler 220, Boston Campus
Institutional Data 102 How to do the Right Thing:
Storing, destroying, or saving records at Tufts
April 28, 2013 marked the 75th Anniversary of the Quabbin Reservoir and the flooding of the four town that now lay at its bottom: Dana, Enfield, Greenwich, and Prescott. However, through the A New Nation Votes project, we have access to a piece of the history from these towns – their voting records from their founding through 1825. Here is a sampling of some of the major categories were votes from these town appear.
Lt. Governor Elections
For more information about the Quabbin, and about the Connecticut River and its Tributaries, check out the Pioneer Valley History Network’s special topic website.