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Curious Traditions of Times Past: Baby Parties
Posted on September 18, 2014 by Timothy Walsh | Categories: features | |  Tagged:  , , , |

If you read Jill Lepore’s recent article on Wonder Woman in The New Yorker, “The Last Amazon,” it is very possible that a passage about Tufts caught your eye. On page 67 of the article, Lepore, a Tufts alum and recent honorary doctorate recipient, makes a brief mention of a curious and long since abandoned Jackson College tradition:

At Tufts, Marston and Olive Byrne conducted research together. Byrne took him to her sorority, Alpha Omicron Pi, where freshmen pledges were required to dress up like babies and attend a ‘Baby Party.’ Marston later described it: “The freshmen girls were led into a dark corridor where their eyes were blindfolded, and their arms were bound behind them.” Then the freshmen were taken into a room where juniors and seniors compelled them to do various tasks, while sophomores hit them with long sticks. (67)[1]

Jackson College students on Baby Day, 1924

The DCA’s collections, including the Melville Munro papers, contain a number of photographs of these Baby Parties, largely dating from the 1920s. But the collections don’t just give us photographic evidence of these events–they provide some historical context as well. Take this passage from a manuscript in our holdings written by former Tufts History professor Russell Miller:

There has always been freshman hazing to enliven proceedings, and one of the earliest traditions was the annual “baby party,” inaugurated in the fall of 1910. Such festivities were produced by the sophomores “as a suitable reward for improved conduct on the part of the freshmen.” This of course followed a period of hazing of the first-year students for which the survival rate was astounding. Rule Number 1 in 1910 was not to be seen with a Tufts man. In the 1920′s a grass-green button the size of a giant lollypop resided over the heart of every Jackson freshman until the Thanksgiving holidays, and woe betide the wearer who had a forgetful moment. In the fall of 1931, the green buttons gave way to green hair ribbons because of the disastrous effect on clothing. (17-18)[2]

Baby Party, circa 1929

For more on Baby Parties and other interesting bits of Tufts history, stop by the DCA at any time during our open hours or check out our online collection material at the Tufts Digital Library.

Sources:

[1] Lepore, Jill. “The Last Amazon.” The New Yorker. September 22, 2014: 64-73.
[2] Miller, Russell E. “Women’s Role in the History of Tufts University, A Sketch by Russell E. Miller” in Jackson College Histories binder. February 1960. Tufts University. Digital Collections and Archives. Medford, MA.

Introducing our National Digital Stewardship Resident
Posted on September 17, 2014 by Eliot Wilczek | Categories: features | | |

The Digital Collections and Archives and the Tisch Library are pleased to welcome Samantha (Sam) DeWitt to Tufts University as a National Digital Stewardship Resident. Sam comes to us as a nine-month resident through the National Digital Stewardship Residency (NDSR) program in Boston. The program is administered by Harvard Library and MIT Libraries with generous funding from the Laura Bush 21st Century Library Program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. NDSR—Boston is sponsoring five residents this year at Harvard, MIT, Northeastern, WGBH, and Tufts. This program and a parallel program in New York are part of effort to develop a digital stewardship residency program initiated by the Library of Congress. The goal of the program is to “develop the next generation of digital stewardship professionals, through funded, post-graduate residencies.” More information about the NDSR-Boston program is at http://projects.iq.harvard.edu/ndsr_boston.

At Tufts Sam will be working on exploring strategies for Tufts to gain a more complete understanding of the research data produced by its faculty, research staff, post docs, and graduate students. In particular, this project will investigate and test strategies for producing metadata objects that represent Tufts-created research datasets and managing those representative objects in Tufts’ Fedora-based institutional repository.

Sam was previously at the Office of Scholarly Communication at Harvard University where, among other activities, she reviewed DASH (Digital Access to Scholarship at Harvard), Harvard’s model service for sharing and preserving scholarly objects. She also has experience at the Watertown Free Public Library; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the Fuller Craft Museum. Sam has a MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College. She has also maintained a steady practice in fine arts, specializing in abstract landscapes.

DCA welcomes new director
Posted on September 5, 2014 by Eliot Wilczek | Categories: features | | |

The Digital Collections and Archives is happy to welcome Dan Santamaria as our new Director and University Archivist. Dan began working at Tufts on September 2.

Dan comes to us from Princeton University where he was the Assistant University Archivist for Technical Services at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library since 2005. He has also held positions in the archives at the University of Michigan and the New York Public Library. He is Co-chair of the Standards Committee of the Society of American Archivists, among other leadership roles at SAA. Dan has an MS in Information from the University of Michigan and a BA from Wesleyan University.

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

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 | | |

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 | | |

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.