Donald and Marian Spencer: Lives of Love and Social Justice

By:  Sam Whittaker, History Department Intern

Donald and Marian SpencerThe Archives and Rare Books Library recently received a new collection of papers from Marian and Donald Spencer.  For over fifty years, the Spencers fought for educational equity and equal rights with organizations such as the NAACP, the U.S. Commission on Human Rights Ohio Board, and the Cincinnati Board of Education. While processing the papers of Marian and Donald Spencer, I learned a vast amount about their groundbreaking electoral campaigns, keynote speeches, court cases, and community boards. However, I also came to know them as people. Donald and Marian Spencer met while they were both students at the University of Cincinnati, married in 1940, and raised two boys. They spent a great deal of their nearly 70 years of marriage in Cincinnati fighting for social justice and equality in the community. Continue reading

In Memoriam: Edgar Slotkin, Ardent Friend of the Archives & Rare Books Library

Edgar SlotkinOn June 21st, the Archives & Rare Books Library lost a friend. Edgar Slotkin, professor emeritus of English, died at the age of 72. Edgar was a remarkable folklorist and Celtic scholar, but most of all he was a man generous of his time and knowledge. At his retirement in 2011, he donated his local folklore collection to us and it became the Southwest Ohio Folklore Archive. Additionally, several years ago Edgar worked with Jerry Newman, our Associate Dean for Collections at the time, to acquire and catalog two wonderful rare book collections of Irish and Welsh literature. Of the former, much of it is from the early 20th c. Celtic Revival period in Ireland and represents a physically fragile gathering of books that might otherwise have been lost. Edgar Slotkin was a kind and learned man, and someone who is greatly missed.

Adventures in Tutus

By:  Sydney Vollmer, ARB Student Worker

I have never been to a ballet in my life. Why? Simply put: everyone in my family (excluding one aunt) has told me it’s boring and weird.  Indeed, I have let the opinions of others shape my own experiences (or lack thereof). I was perfectly happy never thinking to attend a ballet…until I started working at the Archives and Rare Books Library.

As the student worker here, part of my role includes sorting, inventorying, and processing collections so they can be properly stored in the archives for future research. The project I am currently working on is sorting everything that was recently given to us by Cincinnati Ballet Company (CBC).

We hold the collections of CBC that were acquired before I was hired, so the material I’m working on is a recent addition to the archive.  From what I hear, the last round was much more manageable. Below, you can see some pictures of the room where I am working. This is the collection AFTER a preliminary sorting. I’ve probably spent about 12 hours in there over the past few weeks and I’ve even had help and supervision. Even if it doesn’t look like it, this is progress!

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Cincinnati’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade

By:  Kevin Grace

BagpiperOn Tuesday, March 17, the world will recognize St. Patrick’s Day for the Irish and Irish descendants with various celebrations and events, but this weekend will feature the many parades devoted to the day.  Dublin, New York, Savannah, Chicago, Sydney, Butte, New Orleans, and, Cincinnati all have community parades, and studying how these parades are historically manifested reveals a great deal about urban culture – the elements of religion, ethnicity, enfranchisement, inclusion, social mores, and political influence.  The day was first celebrated in America in Boston in 1737. Continue reading

40 Years of The Nutcracker in Cincinnati

The holidays in Cincinnati bring many traditions to mind.  You can go see the Duke Energy train display at the Cincinnati Museum Center (formerly the CG&E train display and previously located downtown), and you surely do not want to miss the Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo.  One tradition in particular, though, is celebrating a big anniversary.  2014 marks the 40th year for Cincinnati Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker.  For many Cincinnatians, a trip to see The Nutcracker at Music Hall is their first experience with the ballet, and for others it might be their only experience.

Panorama of the stage at Music Hall
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CHRC Collections at ARB Recall Cincinnati’s Own Civil Unrest

By:  Nate McGee, CHRC Intern and UC PhD candidate

CHRC Thank You Letter

A thank you card from a student at Aiken High School following a CHRC outreach visit to the school.

Amid a renewed discussion regarding the relationship between minority urban residents and local police, it’s important to think about how our own community dealt with similar issues in the not too distant past.  The Cincinnati Human Relations Commission (CHRC) Collection currently being processed in the Archives and Rare Books Library shows the myriad ways the city and various organizations affiliated with city hall attempted to deal with issues not unlike those currently experienced in Ferguson, Missouri, Staten Island, New York, and in the national news discussion.

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October is National Archives Month

By:  Kevin Grace

Utopia 2014 Archives MonthEvery year the nation’s archivists celebrate October as National Archives Month as a way of promoting the use of original source material by students, scholars, and the general public.  The month is also dedicated to promoting the importance of historical documents and their archival preservation.  For many years now, the Society of Ohio Archivists has selected a theme to be explored and to produce a poster for distribution around the state.  This year for Ohio, we have chosen the Great Depression as our theme, with programs and exhibits having that event as a focus.  To see the photos the committee considered for the 2014 poster, please use this link: http://www.ohioarchivists.org/archives-month-in-ohio-2014-ohio-in-the-depression/.

George Bain, the chair of SOA’s Archives Month Committee, has shared this flickr exhibit of Archives Month posters, including Ohio’s: https://www.flickr.com/photos/councilofstatearchivists/page1/.

To learn more about the holdings of the Archives & Rare Books Library, including our work with the Society of Ohio Archivists, please contact us at 513.55.1959 or by email at archives@ucmail.uc.edu. To learn more about our collections, please visit our website at: http://www.libraries.uc.edu/arb.html.

 

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