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DCA welcomes new staff member
Posted on August 28, 2014 by Eliot Wilczek | Categories: features | | Add comment |

The Digital Collections and Archives is happy to welcome Kendra Ciccone, who started at the DCA on August 18 as a term Processing Archivist. She will be spending most of her time working on the records of the Institute for Global Leadership and the Center for Health, Environment & Justice.

Kendra comes to Tufts from the National Archives regional office in Waltham. She also has worked in the archives at Brandeis University and at the Smithsonian Museum of American History and the Minute Man National Historical Park. Kendra has a MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College and a BA from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

Please feel free to stop by the DCA to say hello to Kendra.

From the Deck to Downtown: Commemorating 120 Years of the Boston Floating Hospital
Posted on August 25, 2014 by Eliot Wilczek | Categories: features | | Add comment |

DCA’s fall exhibit, From the Deck to Downtown: Commemorating 120 Years of the Boston Floating Hospital is now on display in Tisch Library (located near the entrance to Tower Café). The exhibit features photographs, publications and the original charter of incorporation from two recent DCA acquisitions: the Historic New England Medical Center archives (MS099) and NEMC Archives—The Boston Floating Hospital (MS213). The exhibit celebrates the 120th anniversary of what is now the Floating Hospital for Children, the pediatric unit of the Tufts Medical Center.

The New England Medical Center was established in 1930 by uniting the Tufts College School of Medicine, the Boston Dispensary, and the Boston Floating Hospital for Infants and Children (BFH). In fact, from the BFH’s founding, students of the School of Medicine served on board the medical ship. In 2008, NMEC was renamed the Tufts Medical Center, reflecting not only its close relationship to Tufts, but also its mission of being a community based, teaching and research hospital.

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The Boston Floating Hospital was founded in 1894 by Congregational minister Rufus Tobey. Tobey discovered from Boston Board of Health reports that children under the age of five were most vulnerable to illness and death during the summer. Moreover, he observed mothers and their children taking respite from the heat on his walks home from work each evening. Learning of a successful hospital boat in New York, Tobey set up a similar enterprise in Boston. It sailed around Boston Harbor every summer from 1894 until 1927, when, sadly, the boat burned. A partnership with medical organizations in Boston, including the Tufts College School of Medicine, revitalized the hospital as a land-based facility, located in the Jackson Memorial Building at 20 Ash Street. It was renamed the Floating Hospital for Children in 1965 and became NEMC’s official pediatric wing.

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Innovations on board the BFH were plentiful, including the establishment of a milk lab. Research by Alfred Bosworth contributed to the development of the first synthetic milk product, commonly known today as Similac.

This exhibit was designed and installed by Elizabeth Mc Gorty, Project Archivist for the Historical New England Medical Center archives. It will be on display through January 2015. To learn more about the New England Medical Center and its history, be sure to visit DCA on the Ground Floor of Tisch Library, or check out the T-NEMC portal on the Tufts Digital Library, which includes a timeline, historical resource guide, and some digitized photographs from these collections.

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On to Illinois
Posted on August 20, 2014 by Eliot Wilczek | Categories: features | | Add comment |

Susanne Belovari, Archivist for Reference and Collections in the Digital Collections and Archives, is leaving Tufts on August 20 to accept a position at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champagn. Susanne will serve as Archivist for Faculty Papers, a tenure-track librarian/archivist position.

Susanne joined the DCA in 2005. During that time she has led our work on managing, preserving, and providing access to many of our flagship collections. These include the Edward R. Murrow Papers, the Jester Hairston Papers, the Ernest Hartman Papers, the photographic collection of Melvin Munro, the records of Cultural Survival, and the historical records of the New England Medical Center and associated medical institutions. Susanne has greatly improved the DCA’s reference services; brought many classes into the archives to help students learn Tufts history using primary sources; and put together numerous exhibits, including a remarkable exhibit on Tufts athletics that is now on display at the Steve Tisch Sports and Fitness Center. Before coming to Tufts Susanne worked as Archivist and Historian for the Holocaust Victims’ Information and Support Center, Jewish Community of Vienna. Susanne has a PhD in Comparative Sociology and History, a MA in Sociology, and an MS in Library and Information Science, all from the University of Illinois.

We wish Susanne well on her new endeavor. We will miss her insights and knowledge about our collections, her international perspective, her cooking and good humor, and her keen sense of Tufts history and social justice.

Samuel Berger Exhibit Case at DCA
Posted on May 16, 2014 by Leah Edelman | Categories: exhibits, features, news | | |

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.

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From TV to Tablet: Is the Digital Frontier Making Journalism Better? 9th Annual Murrow Forum 2014
Posted on April 18, 2014 by Susanne Belovari | Categories: features | |  Tagged:  , , , |

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.
Edward R. Murrow reading, ca. 1938

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.

 

 

Looking backward, looking forward
Posted on April 3, 2014 by Anne Sauer | Categories: features | | |

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.

Jackson Students with Service Flag

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!

Provenance regarding the Tufts sculpture ‘Désespoir’ by Auguste Rodin
Posted on February 19, 2014 by Susanne Belovari | Categories: features | |  Tagged:  , , , |

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.”


odin sculpture called Désespoir or 'Despair

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.

DCA’s 2014 Reunion Classes Exhibit Now on Display!
Posted on January 9, 2014 by Leah Edelman | Categories: exhibits, features | |  Tagged:  , |

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.

Tufts students at unidentified outdoor function, 1964

Historical New England Medical Center Archives
Posted on October 31, 2013 by Susanne Belovari | Categories: features | |  Tagged:  , , , , , , |

New England Medical Center model and poster, ca. 1950

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.

So Long and Thanks for all the Elephants
Posted on September 15, 2013 by Veronica Martzahl | Categories: features | | |

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.

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,

Veronica Martzahl