UC Libraries resources in celebration of Black History Month

Throughout February, we shared UC Libraries resources and collections in celebration of Black History Month. Below is a list of those highlights, as well as others, so you may continue exploring and learning Black history throughout the year.

Theodore M. Berry Papers Project
An exhibit highlighting the 2010 project to completely process the papers of Theodore Moody Berry, Cincinnati’s first African mayor.

Louise Shropshire: An Online Exhibition
An online exhibit featuring Louise Shropshire a Cincinnati Civil Rights pioneer and composer.

Marian Spencer: Fighting for Equality in Cincinnati
An alumna of the University of Cincinnati (Class of 1942), Marian Spencer fought for Civil Rights in Cincinnati for nearly seventy years. This exhibit examines her career and her papers at the Archives and Rare Books Library.

The Colored Citizen
Published in Cincinnati sporadically from the height of the Civil War in 1863 until approximately 1869, The Colored Citizen was edited by a group of African American citizens from Midwestern cities, including Cincinnati. It was a paper with general news, but with a focus on the political, economic, and cultural affairs that had an impact on African Americans of the age. The Archives and Rare Books Library hold one issue of this paper.

Phillis Wheatley
In 1773, at the age of 20, Wheatley published Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, making her the first published African-American poet.

Lucy Oxley
Source article highlighting Lucy Oxley, MD, the first person of color ever to receive a medical degree from the College of Medicine. Continue reading

Oesper Collection Highlights: Honoring African-American Chemists (St. Elmo Brady)

The Oesper Collections and Museum in the History of Chemistry at the University of Cincinnati is pleased to present a new blog series, Oesper Collection Highlights.  We will feature items from our amazing collections of rare books, prints and portraits, and online collections that will inspire and educate all.  We thank our student intern, Brenna Kobes, for researching and preparing these posts.  If you have questions about the Oesper Museum, please contact Ted Baldwin, Ted.Baldwin@uc.edu, Director of the UC Science and Engineering Libraries. 

Our first installments in the Oesper Collection Highlights will celebrate African-American History Month. African-American Chemists selected for these profiles were early pioneers in the field – some were the first to achieve PhDs in chemistry, whereas others made significant contributions to study and practice. Sometimes their stories and voices have not been heard.  We aim to highlight and celebrate these accomplished African-American chemists who contributed across the spectrum of the chemistry discipline.

St. Elmo Brady

Born in 1884 in Louisville Kentucky, St. Elmo Brady (Fig. 1) is known as the first African American to earn a PhD in Chemistry. In 1905 he earned his bachelor’s in science from Fisk University which he would later return in 1927 to teach chemistry and organic chemistry, a position that he kept for 25 years until his retirement. While studying as Fisk, Brady met Thomas Talley who was a professor of chemistry at the university. His teachings helped to influence Brady and encourage his further studies in the field “I do not remember Thomas Talley for the chemistry he taught me, but for the encouragement and inspiration he gave me to go on” (Martin & Martin , 2006). He then completed his Master of Arts in Chemistry at the University of Illinois. There he co-wrote three papers with Professor Clarence Derick. Brady’s master thesis was written on the Scale Influence of Substitution in Organic Electrolytes (Fig. 2). Once finished, Brady began work on his

Fig. 2, MS thesis cover

Doctorate at the University of Illinois, where he worked in Noyes Laboratory. His thesis was written on the Divalent Oxygen Atom (Fig. 3).

In 1916, he accepted a position at Tuskegee University, then four years later he would move to Howard University. While at Howard, Brady became the chair of the chemistry department. Seven years later Brady would move once again, this time to Fisk University. Here he was chair of the Chemistry department and created the first graduate studies program at a black college. He

Fig. 3, PhD dissertation cover

spent 25 years here before retiring in 1952, leaving an impressive legacy behind. For all the teaching accomplishments that Brady is known for, very little is known about his published works. The works he did write were early in his career and were often co-authored with someone else. Besides his theses for both his Masters and Doctorate, the three abstracts he wrote with Professor Derick and the paper he wrote Professor Beal, the only other written work Brady did were three monographs on household chemistry for girls.

While there is a lack of published work for St Elmo Brady, it is hard to determine what could have caused this. While there is a real possibility that his work was rejected by publishers based on his race (Martin & Martin, 2006), it is also equally possible that Brady enjoyed teaching more than he did writing. Regardless of the amount of published works that Brady had, what cannot be ignored is the path he cleared for those who would follow him. Being the first at something takes courage to not only believe in yourself, but to also know that you are setting an example for so many to follow in the years to follow.

Author: Brenna Kobes (Intern, Oesper Collections in the History of Chemistry

Bibliography

Brady, St. Elmo (1884-1966). (n.d.). Retrieved from University of Illnois Urbana-Champaign Department of Chemistry: https://chemistry.illinois.edu/spotlight/alumni/brady-st-elmo-1884-1966

Martin, D. F., & Martin , B. B. (2006). St. Elmo Brady (1884-1966): Pioneering Black Academic Chemist. Florida Scientist, 116-123.

Noyes Laboratory at the University of Illinois. (n.d.). Retrieved from acs.org: https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/whatischemistry/landmarks/noyeslaboratory.html#st-elmo-brady-biography

Oesper Collection Highlights: Honoring African-American Chemists (Alice Ball)

The Oesper Collections and Museum in the History of Chemistry at the University of Cincinnati is pleased to present a new blog series, Oesper Collection Highlights.  We will feature items from our amazing collections of rare books, prints and portraits, and online collections that will inspire and educate all.  We thank our student intern, Brenna Kobes, for researching and preparing these posts.  If you have questions about the Oesper Museum, please contact Ted Baldwin, Ted.Baldwin@uc.edu, Director of the UC Science and Engineering Libraries. 

Our first installments in the Oesper Collection Highlights will celebrate African-American History Month. African-American Chemists selected for these profiles were early pioneers in the field – some were the first to achieve PhDs in chemistry, whereas others made significant contributions to study and practice. Sometimes their stories and voices have not been heard.  We aim to highlight and celebrate these accomplished African-American chemists who contributed across the spectrum of the chemistry discipline.

Alice Ball

Fig. 1, Alice Ball

Alice Ball (Figure 1) was born in 1892.  She is best known for developing the Ball Method, which was the best know treatment for leprosy in the 20th century.  Ball earned her master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Hawaii and is known as the university’s first African-American professor as well as its first female professor. Her love for chemistry began early, thanks to her grandfather and parents, all of which worked in the photography field. The development of photographic images relied heavily on mercury vapors and iodine sensitized silver plates, all of which would have provided young Alice with a first glimpse of chemistry in action (Latchman, 2020).

In 1912, Ball completed a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical chemistry from the University of Washington. Two years later, she completed a second bachelor’s degree in the science of pharmacy. While at the University of Washington, she co-wrote a pap­er with her professor Williams Dehn, entitled Benzoylations in Ether Solution” (Collins, 2016) . She was offered opportunities at both the University of California Berkeley and the College of Hawaii (now known as the University of Hawaii).  Ball accepted the latter and began work on her master’s degree in chemistry. Her research investigated the chemical properties of the Kava plant, a native of the Pacific islands. This deep understanding of the chemical properties of plants would later work in her favor.  She was invited to work and research alongside Harry T. Hollmann, then employed by the U.S. Public Health Service in Hawaii and serving as acting assistant surgeon at the Leprosy Investigation Station. Ball studied the chemical properties of chaulmoogra oil, derived from a tree of the same name and used medically for centuries. Several issues were present with use of the oil, however.  Topical application was very difficult due to its very sticky nature, the oil had an unpleasant taste which made ingestion hard for patients, and the oil could not be absorbed by the body – it simply just sat under the skin (Wermager & Heltzel, 2007). Ball developed her namesake method that isolated different compounds within the oil and modified them, thereby producing an oil that retained the medical benefits, but could be absorbed by the skin.

This method remains Ball’s greatest achievement, as she unexpectedly passed away just one year later at the age of 24. It is thought that she died of chlorine exposure and poisoning after teaching the proper way to use a gas mask.  However, the true cause is unknown. Ball did not publish her method and findings before her death.  Fellow chemist Arthur L. Dean stole her work and claimed it as his own work. Hollmann attempted to correct this error by crediting Ball in a paper published in 1922.  However, Ball’s contributions were not truly celebrated until the 1970s. when Kathryn Takara and Stanley Ali (two professors and historians at the University of Hawaii), were able to officially recognize her contributions to the field of chemistry. In 2000, the University of Hawaii honored Ball with a plaque placed at the school’s only chaulmoogra tree (Collins, 2016). In 2020, a short film (Fig. 2) titled The Ball Method was released. This film can be found on streaming video services Kanopy and Amazon Prime. The Ball Method details her life and the contributions that she made to the treatment of leprosy and the field of chemistry.

 

Author: Brenna Kobes, Intern for the Oesper Collections in the History of Chemistry

Bibliography

Collins, S. N. (2016, May 12). Alice Augusta Ball: Chemical Drug Pioneer. United States of America .

Latchman, D. (2020, April 22). “The Ball Method” trailer introduces Alice Ball, who discovered treatment for leprosy. Retrieved from medium.com: https://medium.com/science-vs-hollywood/who-is-alice-ball-the-hero-behind-the-ball-method-short-film-69b7c5becc34

Mendheim, B. (2007, September). Lost and Found: Alice Augusta Ball an Extradordinary Woman of Hawai’i Nei. Northwest Hawai’i Times. Hawai’i, United States of America .

Wermager, P., & Heltzel, C. (2007, February). Alice A. Ball Young Chemist Gave Hope to Millions. ChemMatter, pp. 16-19.

On Display: Black History Month and National African American Read In Titles

Black history month display

 

The National African American Read-In display represents a selection of “Must Read” books by African American authors available at UC Blue Ash Library. Books will be on display until February 28, 2020. Borrow a book and volunteer to read an excerpt from a book by an African American Author by visiting ucblueash.edu/readin. Rachelle Lawson, UC staff alumna and author of Girl, Get Yo’ Life is the special guest for this year’s National African American Read In on February 13, 2020 at 11:00 am in the Muntz Auditorium Lobby.

 

 

Celebrating Black Authors and Illustrators at CECH Library

images of black authors and illustrators with text celebrating black authors and illustrators

 

In honor of Black History Month, the CECH Library has curated a display from our children’s and young adult literature collections to highlight the works of Black authors and illustrators. The display includes poetry, novels, picture books, graphic novels, and board books.

From recently published to classics, everyone is sure to connect with something new. The display also features titles from our professional education collection related to promoting the works of Black authors in the classroom.

Visit the display at the CECH Library through February or check out a list of these selected works to learn more.

Haley Shaw, Temporary Librarian
CECH Library

Now on Display for Black History Month and the African American Read In

The UCBA Library has two displays running for the month of February: the African American Read In display (located at the entrance of the library) and the Black History Month display (located near the print station). Both displays will be available through February 28th.

Titles from the African American Read-In display can be used for the college sponsored Read-In event scheduled for Thursday, Febuary 8, 2018 from 12:30pm-1:45pm in the Audiotorium lobby. Read In events are held nationally during Black History Month and highlights African American authors. A full list of titles can be browsed online on the National African American Read In Guide along with information on how to volunteer as a reader.

Black History Month Poster

 

 

 

 

Black History Month Display

UCBA Library Display Celebrates National African American Read-In and Black History Month

Black History Month and the National African American Read-In book display.

Stop by the UCBA Library to browse and borrow books in honor of Black History Month and the National African American Read-In (NAARI). Titles that include a yellow NAARI bookmark are written by African Americans and can be read for the NAARI event scheduled for Tuesday, February 28 at 12:00 pm in the Muntz 119 Lobby.

To see a full list of titles on display, visit the National African American Read-In guide at https://guides.libraries.uc.edu/ucba-naari.

Book Review: Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan

Through painted portraits, and the voices and thoughts he imagined for them, three-time Coretta Scott King winner, Ashely Bryan, has created a beautiful picture book relating the lives of eleven slaves. Using an authentic estate document from the Fairchild’s Appraisement, July 5, 1828, that listed each slave with a price, Bryan breathed life and humanity into what was then believed to be the owner’s “property.”

My favorite parts of the book are the pages that express the slaves’ inner thoughts. The illustrations come across as dream-like, which gives a surreal feel to their personal expression. Written in free verse—this would be a perfect read aloud for Black History month.

Check out Freedom Over Me from the Clermont College Library.

 

Penny McGinnis
Technical Services Manager

UCBA Black History Month Display

by Heather Maloney

display

Black History Month Display includes books and DVDs by and about African Americans.

The latest UCBA Library book and media ​display celebrates Black History Month and the many ​contributions of ​African Americans from past to present.  The display highlights​ a wide variety of titles that include groundbreaking works from African American authors as well as books and media that cover​ key​ cultural, political, and historical events.​​​ ​Included in the ​display is a brief synopsis ​of Black History month from the History.com website ​and three themes of Knowledge, Engagement, and Reflection highlighted ​from Regina Edmondson’s article, “Why it’s important to observe Black History Month”.​

Don’t forget to check out the suggested titles for the National African American Read-In (NAARI) designated with a bright yellow bookmark.​ NAARI titles on display are only a selection of a much more expansive list of books on the National African American Read-In at UCBA Guide. The guide represents selected “Must Read” Books by African American Authors available through UC Libraries and​ was created in conjunction with UC Blue Ash College’s annual National African American Read-In (NAARI) event:​.

Stop in the UCBA Library this month and borrow a book or DVD from the display!

Want to explore more Black History month resources? Check out these links:

Browse and Borrow Books for the National African American Read-In

naariUCBA students, staff and faculty are invited to participate in the 26thannual National African-American Read-In.  The goal of the NAARI is to make the celebration of African American literacy a traditional part of Black History Month activities.  This year, the National African-American Read-In will be observed at UC Blue Ash College on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 from 11:00am – 1:00pm in Walters 100.

During the event, volunteers read aloud a short passage by an African-American author. Information about the national event, a list of recommended readings, and the volunteer registration form can be found on the National African American Read-In Guide at http://guides.libraries.uc.edu/ucba-naari. Be sure to stop by the UCBA Library to browse and borrow suggested titles in the UCBA Library’s periodicals area near the entrance.

We look forward to seeing you there!