The Gerald R. Gill Papers at Digital Collections and Archives
Posted on March 26, 2017 by Daniel Santamaria | Categories: events, exhibits, features, news | | |

Gerald R. Gill was a beloved faculty member in the History Department of Tufts University from 1980 to 2007. In those twenty-seven years he had a profound and lasting impact on the lives of his students and the Tufts community as a whole. This past fall Digital Collections and Archives accessioned nearly 150 boxes of material documenting Professor Gill’s life and work. The collection of papers, photographs, and digital files documents Gill’s teaching, research, and the lives and work of black faculty, staff, and students at Tufts.

Gerald R. Gill

Gerald R. Gill

Professor Gill was well known for his mentorship of his students, and for developing relationships that often extended beyond the students’ years at Tufts. He won numerous awards for teaching at Tufts and was twice named Massachusetts Professor of the year. Professor Gill was heavily involved with community service, working with students and student groups at Tufts and serving as a frequent commentator on events and topics involving Boston’s African American community on radio, television, and at community events. Professor Gill’s papers include hundreds of letters and photographs from students who thanked him for his mentorship or just provided updates about their lives. Gill also collected material on Tufts students, alumni, and faculty of color. The flyers, photographs, and documents in the collection demonstrate the powerful connections formed between Gill and the Tufts community.

Students on the Tufts Campus. Photograph from the Gerald R. Gill Papers.

Students on the Tufts Campus. Photograph from the Gerald R. Gill Papers.

Professor Gill’s scholarship focused on African American protest movements. His dissertation, Dissent, Discontent and Disinterest: Afro-American Opposition to the United States’ Wars of the Twentieth Century, evolved into published articles and a book project. At the time of his death, he was working on a history of African American protest in Boston, Struggling Yet in Freedom’ s Birthplace: Black Protest Activities in Boston, 1930-1972. Professor Gill’s work researching the African American community at Tufts resulted in “Another Light on the Hill” published in Tufts Magazine’s sesquicentennial issue, the first major history of African American undergraduates at Tufts. As President Bacow wrote in a message to the Tufts community after Professor Gill’s death, “helped us understand Tufts and its history in ways that many had not appreciated before.”

Beyond the Barricades Forum Materials, 1990

Beyond the Barricades Forum Materials, 1990

Professor Gill passed away suddenly in August 2007. In September 2016 his daughter, Ayanna Gill, donated nearly 150 boxes of records documenting his life and work to Tufts Digital Collection and Archives (DCA). Archives staff are currently working to process and describe the collection but an initial finding aid is available and the papers are open by appointment in the DCA reading room.

Beginning March 31st selections from the Gill Papers will be on exhibit in the Tisch Library lobby and a celebration of the Gerald Gill and Gill Papers will take place as part of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy’s symposium “The Past Present and Future of Black and Native Boston,” also on March 31st in Breed Memorial Hall. Digital Collections and Archives is also planning a long-term project to create an online exhibit based on Gerald Gill’s Another Light on the Hill, the first iteration of which will be available the week of March 27th. For more information on Gill Papers, please consult the finding aid or send us an email at

The Order of the Coffee Pot Welcomes You!
Posted on September 2, 2015 by Rose Oliveira | Categories: events, exhibits, features | | |

For the original see Activities and organizations records, UA024.001.006.00008

For the original see Activities and organizations records, UA024.001.006.00008

The DCA cordially invites you to join the Order of the Coffee Pot! On September 5th as part of Tisch Library’s Freshman Open House, the Digital Collections and Archives (DCA) welcomes new students, their families, and all interested parties to explore Tufts traditions with coffee and iced tea, postcards and buttons, and an opportunity to win a Dunkin’ Donuts Gift card!

The Order of the Coffee Pot was one of the early secret societies at Tufts. As Russell Miller noted, secret societies at this time were equivalent to fraternities[1] and were not really secret. The Order of the Coffee Pot was exclusively created for upperclassmen in their last two years at Tufts[2] and was formed in 1858 as an offshoot of the Theta Delta Chi Fraternity.[3] Augustus E. Scott, a founding member of the order, recalled the genesis of the group in a 1906 celebration of the Kappa Charge.[3] He explains that after “students who were inclined to more studious things had gone to bed”[4] late night suppers would occur. Food for these late night meals was procured from locked pantries using shovels to extract cakes and pies, while eggs were had from hens located behind their dormitory. Coffee accompanied these treats, providing the basis for late night meetings, and the Order of the Coffee Pot was born. Members of the Order of Coffee Pot were given a silver badge engraved with a coffee pot and the Latin phrase “Quum nobis placeat, cujus referet” – which translates to “Since it pleases us, whose business is it?”[5] This badge was worn at all public occasions where coffee was served.[6] The order lasted for ten years, 1858-1868, eventually dwindling away.

In 1951, there was an attempt to revive the Order of the Coffee Pot as a student organization that intended to be truly secret and was formed “to foster good fellowship on the Hill.”[7] As reported in the Tufts Weekly, the new Order of the Coffee Pot was to be a self-perpetuating group manned by two members from the sophomore, junior, and senior classes. Based on a similar group in Bowling Green, Kentucky, the Order of the Coffee Pot was charged with publicizing school events in fun and entertaining ways. These secret members would be revealed at the end of their senior year in the Weekly and new members would be chosen from the freshmen class in secret.[8] Despite the good intentions, no exposé of the members was published in the Weekly; it appears that the Order did not get off the ground.

However, we at the DCA thought it was a perfect institution to revive. So on September 5th, in honor of good fellowship and Tufts traditions, we are having our own celebration. Although no treats will have been gathered with a shovel, nor hens robbed of their eggs, we will offer refreshments and a peek into other interesting traditions that occurred at Tufts. We will have a mini-exhibit in the Reading Room touching on some early traditions at Tufts like the Jackson College baby parties, the Horribles parade, the periodic dunking of freshmen at the Reservoir, and beanies and bows, just to name a few. Those who come to the exhibit can enjoy our specially created buttons and postcards and enter to win a gift card to Dunkin’ Donuts, a New England tradition.

We look forward to meeting you and inducting you into the Order of the Coffee Pot!

[1] Russell Miller, Light on the Hill: A history of Tufts College 1852-1952 (Boston: Beacon Press Books, 1966), 384.
[2] Miller, 384.
[3] Nathan Marvin, “Kappa Charge: Its Founding & History,” Kappa Charge of Theta Delta Chi, Last Accessed September 2, 2015, .
[3] Theta Delta Chi. “Kappa SemiCentennial ” The Shield: Official Publication of the Theta Delta Chi Fraternity, 22:1 (March 1906), 266. Google Book.
[4] Theta Delta Chi, 266.
[5] Theta Delta Chi, 266.
[6] Alaric Bertrans Start, ed. History of Tufts College, 1854-1896 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: University Press, 1897), 35.
[7] Bob Cox, “Coffee Pot Society Formed to Perk Up School Spirit.” Tufts Weekly LVI, 2 (October 4, 1951): 3.
[8]Cox, 3.

Open Repositories 2013
Posted on July 19, 2013 by Erin Faulder | Categories: events | |  Tagged:  , , , |

Last week, while others were worrying about Sharknado, I was worrying about how we were going to preserve all the Sharknado tweets, memes, and news references.

Erin wearing an Anne of Green Gables hat

Perhaps not that exactly. But in between homages to Anne of Green Gables, I was engaged in numerous discussions about how archivists should be preserving and making big data sets and software available and accessible at the Open Repositories conference held on Prince Edward Island.

The plenary speaker, Victoria Stodden, spoke about the increasing necessity for access to research data and the code used to manipulate the data in order to reproduce and verify results. Articles are useful references that advertise research, but the data sets and code are integral parts of the scientific process and necessary to preserve as well. However, how to require submission, where to deposit, and mechanisms for equitable open access are the tricky elements to making this vision a reality.

Closing plenary speaker, Jean-Claude Geudon, envisioned a potential future where publishers would provide free access to the articles but required payment for access to the data and code. Repositories should claim this territory as their own as part of their efforts to support quality of scientific research over competition of scientific publishing.

Open access publishing is something DCA supports. It is time to look at open access data as well.

Celebrate International Archives Day June 9th
Posted on June 5, 2013 by Susanne Belovari | Categories: events | |  Tagged:  , , |

June 9, 2013 is

The International Archives Day.

Exhibitions, conferences, visits, debates and other events will be organized by the International Council of Archives. and many archives and archivists across the globe to promote archives and the archives profession.

The Universal Declaration of Archives recognizes the essential, unique, collective role that archives play in accountability, transparency, efficiency, protection, and preserving the memory of individuals, institutions and communities.

Deranian featured in Tufts Now
Posted on May 8, 2013 by Susanne Belovari | Categories: events, features | |  Tagged:  , , , , |

The family history of Dr. Martin H. Deranian, whose papers are preserved at DCA as the Hagop Martin Deranian papers, 1931–2008, has been the topic of a recent article in Tufts Now.

“Resilient Women” talks about Armenian women and the Armenian genocide, in particular the experiences of two women who inspired Joyce Van Dyke’s play ‘Deported’ first performed in Boston in 2012. The two women who were deported and eventually immigrated to the USA were friends: Elmas Sarajian, the playwrite’s grandmother, and Vartar Nazarian, the mother of Dr. Martin Deranian. Dr. Deranian taught dental history at Tufts School of Dental Medicine for 40 years and still has a dental practice in Worcester, Mass.

DCA is currently working with Dr. Deranian to obtain, among other material, his unique collection of diary-like binders which go back to his student years and which include much of his family’s history and Dr. Deranian’s consistent efforts regarding Holocaust and Genocide Studies.


Eight Annual Edward R. Murrow Forum on Issues in Journalism: Christiane Amanpour
Posted on by Susanne Belovari | Categories: events | |  Tagged:  , , , |

Tufts has organized a Edward R. Murrow Forum since 2006. The guest of this year’s forum on “International Reporting in the 21st Century: Coverage, Context and Courage” was Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent, CNN Global Affairs Editor, ABC News. While Johnathan Tisch talked with Christiane Amanpour about her upbringing in Iran as well as her personal and journalistic experiences since then, questions from the audience elicited discussion of such issues as the professional coverage of emotionally draining events or e.g the importance of the camera crew in creating news.

If you missed the event, you can watch her interview, the first live broadcast of a Murrow Forum, on Made in Medford or read an article about Amanpour in Tufts Now.




CBS Evening News celebrates 75th Anniversary of World News Roundup
Posted on March 14, 2013 by Susanne Belovari | Categories: events | |  Tagged:  , , , |

When Edward R. Murrow and William Shirer reported from Vienna, Austria, and London about Hitler’s March into Austria on March 12th, 13th and 14th of 1938, they began a type of news round up for CBS that eventually would turn into the CBS World News Roundup. This week, CBS Evening News celebrated the 75th Anniversary of this program with a broadcast titled ‘Broadcast legends on 75 years of CBS World News Roundup.’ Since the world largest collection of Edward R. Murrow Papers resides at DCA, Tufts University, CBS Evening News worked with the archives to locate historical material and photographs for this anniversary broadcast.


William Shirer, Edward R. Murrows and colleagues


You can watch the CBS Evening News Anniversary Story online.
If you want to learn more about news reporting and Edward R. Murrow, visit our exhibit essays at The Life and Work of Edward R. Murrow. There you will find photographs, details, and stories related to Edward R. Murrow, his wife Janet Brewster Murrow, and the so-called Murrow Boys who included one woman. Our collection brochure describes the approximately 55 linear feet of paper record and photographs next to the audio-visual material and artifacts available at DCA for your research. Finally, the digital library search portal provides you with the Edward R. Murrow Papers finding aid which also links you to over 300 photographs from this collection.

DCA receives new collection from Cultural Survival, a Cambridge-based NGO
Posted on February 22, 2013 by Susanne Belovari | Categories: events, news | |  Tagged:  , , , , , , , , |

DCA is pleased to announce it has recently signed a donor agreement with the Cambridge based organization, Cultural Survival, to preserve its historical records. Cultural Survival (CS) was founded in 1972 to assist indigenous peoples across their globe in ‘struggles for human rights, sovereignty, and autonomy.’

CS was founded by David Maybury-Lewis, Evon Vogt, Jr., Orlando Patterson, and Pia Maybury-Lewis and was originally loosely affiliated with Harvard University where David Maybury-Lewis was a professor of anthropology. To find out more about CS, take a look at its online history.

CS boxes from 2nd shipment

This week DCA received the second major transfer of historical records including office records, project and special project files, CS publications, reports, publicity material and limited runs of smaller indigenous publications that might be difficult to obtain elsewhere. Among these records, photographs, slides, and VHS tapes created by indigenous peoples will be invaluable in documenting a history long ignored in Euro-American discourse regarding indigenous issues, self-empowerment, and the development of indigenous organizations across the globe.

As part of this donor agreement, Ted MacDonald, CS first project director, also transferred about 25 linear feet of historical materials to DCA. His files cover the first 15 years of projects developed, funded, or rejected by CS and will reveal many gems: take here a look at a very early example of self-demarcation by the indigenous Ye’kuana in Southern Venezuela (creating ethno-cultural maps) completed in 1995.

<Ye'kuana Self-Demarcation Project (1995)
Ye’kuana Self-Demarcation Project (1995)

And then read a CS Quarterly article about this project, The Ye’kuana Self-Demarcation Process, published fifteen years later when such demarcation projects had become wide-spread.

Patches for Peace: remembering 9/11
Posted on September 9, 2011 by Deborah Kaplan | Categories: events, exhibits | |  Tagged:  , , |

On September 11 2001, about 400 students and staff gathered at Tufts’ Hillel to grieve, to spend the day together, or to talk about possible actions in the face of the attacks. Within a couple of hours students decided to create a Patches for Peace Quilt to provide a creative outlet and set a message of hope, peace and community. Hillel provided logistical and infrastructure support, and members of the Hillel student board approached many of the approximately 160 student organizations and groups for their participation in the project. Eventually 88 student organizations — ranging from the Association of Latin American Students to the Arab Student Association, from the Chamber Singers to the Inter Greek Council, and from the No Homers Club to the Women’s Soccer Team — each produced a patch.

See the quilt at the online Patches for Peace quilt exhibit, or see the actual quilt on temporary display at the Tufts Campus Center from September 11 to October 11, 2011.

SHEAR 2011
Posted on August 5, 2011 by Eric Beck | Categories: events, exhibits | |  Tagged:  , |

It was my privilege to attend SHEAR (Society for the Historians of the Early American Republic) last month in Philadelphia.  I gave a short presentation on the New Nation Votes project in conjunction with two papers that have made good use of our data.

The first was from David Houpt, a graduate student at the Graduate Center at City University New York.  His paper, “Critical Masses: Celebratory Politics and Political Mobilization in the Congressional Election of 1794” discussed the rather surprising win of a Republican candidate in, what until then, had been the Federalist stronghold of Philadelphia.  His paper made use of these election results, with special detail on the ward level results.

The other paper was from Daniel Peart.  Entitled “An ‘Era of No Feelings’? Rethinking the Periodization of Early U.S. Politics”, it made use of a variety of elections throughout the Era of Good Feelings (1815 – 1824), measuring voter turnout in all of the existing states and refuting the notion that voter turnout declined as the Republican party gained a stronghold and Federalist competition declined, instead showing that the areas with the highest turnout were the areas with the least amount of Federalist competition.  Daniel recently completed his PhD at University College London and will start this month as a lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London.  He was inspired to pursue this idea when he heard a presentation at the 14th Annual Conference of The Association of British American 19th Century Historians given by Phil and the previous coordinator, Krista Ferrante.

I added a bit of context about the site and showed off one particularly interesting election – the 1824 North Carolina Presidential Election which contravenes the long-held notion that Andrew Jackson was the clear winner of the 1824 election.

Overall, it was a great opportunity to connect with the scholars who are making use of this project and to get some valuable feedback as well.  One result: a new feature on the home page that notes what the most recently updated data is.