This past year the University of Cincinnati marked its Bicentennial led by the tenants: To Honor the past. Elevate the present. Bend the future. While
celebrating the Libraries’ vital role in the past 200 years of the university, we also took this opportunity to reflect on our goals, objectives, accomplishments and gaps as the next phase of our strategic direction.
Our year of reflection has resulted in the need for the creation of an emerging, and even bolder, Strategic Framework – one built upon the knowledge of our strengths and challenges, coupled with the needs and perspectives of our users, and that will propel us forward as we strive to become the globally engaged intellectual commons of the university – now and well into the future.
The University of Cincinnati Libraries Annual Progress Report, 2018/2019, available online at https://issuu.com/uclibraries/docs/uclannualreport18_19, makes note of the accomplishments and happenings of the previous year, as well as celebrates the people and donors integral to us fulfilling the work of our mission to empower discovery, stimulate learning and inspire the creation of knowledge by connecting students, faculty, researchers and scholars to dynamic data, information and resources.
By: Alex Temple, Benjamin Gettler Papers Project Archivist
The Benjamin Gettler papers processing project has come to a close, but I wanted to write one more entry about efforts to ensure the lasting usability of the collection. As I’ve explored and processed the collection, I found a broad range of material making up the scope and content. Each item in the collection is important, but some items can actually harm others, and storage methods that work for one item will not necessarily work for another. Therefore, each item has been assessed for it’s individual preservation needs, including how to store it so it would not affect the safety of the rest of the collection.
Regarding the paper documents, some are emails printed from an inkjet or laser printer as recently as 2013, while other documents are stock certificates dating back to the 1890s. Regardless of their age, generally all paper-based objects need to be housed in a stable and protective environment, such as acid-free folders, and stored in a room with a relative humidity of 30-50% and temperature between 35-65°F, all of which the University of Cincinnati Archives & Rare Books Library provides.
Of course, not everything was as straightforward as placing into a new, preservation-quality folder. I have written previously about items Gettler had taken from his visit with President Reagan at the White House, largely about some jellybeans. Miraculously, these jellybeans had survived for nearly 40 years. To make their longevity less of a miracle and more of a science, we deferred to The Preservation Lab, a joint lab of the University of Cincinnati Libraries and the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. They vacuum-sealed the jellybeans, and brilliantly constructed a box for them that allowed them to be displayed alongside a note from Ben’s wife Dee. The candy is now protected from being squashed, chewed on, or getting wet. And just as importantly, the rest of collection is less likely to be adversely affected by the composition of the jellybeans, such as sugars and dyes. Continue reading The Benjamin Gettler Papers Processing Project Now Complete
“Artful Books,” on display now through the end of fall semester on the 4th and 5th floor lobbies of the Walter C. Langsam Library, features books created by members of the Cincinnati Book Arts Society (CBAS) inspired by and in celebration of UC and UC Libraries.
Earlier this year, CBAS members visited the Archives and Rare Books Library where they researched and reviewed various collections for inspiration – the results of which are now on display in two cases with over 15 artists’ books covering a wide range of subjects, forms and mediums. Select highlights of the exhibit include:
Jan Thomas, “Shooting Star.” In 1952, Marian Spencer, along with her sons, was not permitted at segregated Coney Island, Ohio, Amusement Park. This singular event became the catalyst for a life of public service as a civil rights advocate, community leader and champion.
Marguerite and Doug Katchen, “Bearcats and the Past.” Bearcats have been symbols of UC at least since the early 20th century. Wooden plagues of the map of Ohio were used as pages on which was described a brief history of the University of Cincinnati and on which were displayed Bearcat and Ohio patches.
Beth Belknap Brann, “Queen’s Icons.” This hand-drawn book is a celebration of Cincinnati’s architectural gems of the late 19th century. It was inspired by the historic photo archives in UC’s Archives and Rare Books Library.
Smruti Deoghare, “200 Years of Red, Black (and White),” the University of Cincinnati colors are more than just college colors. This bold palette of tricolor represents unity in diversity. Over the last 200 years, the University has provided education to people from all walks of life and colors – red, black, white, and all shades in between. The artist feels Tangeman University Center is the ideal architectural symbol of inclusivity on campus.
A brochure describing all of the books on display is available at the exhibit and online.
“Artful Books” was curated by Jessica Ebert, conservation technician in the Preservation Lab and CBAS member, and was designed by Michelle Matevia, communication design co-op student.
The Cincinnati Books Arts Society began in 1998 and is a non-profit organization comprised of professional and amateur book artists, paper artists and creators. Their membership includes bookbinders, print makers, paper marblers, book artists, archivists, conservation professionals and book enthusiasts interested in learning more about books and how they are created. Interested in learning more about CBAS? Check out their website and follow them on Facebook (Cincinnati Book Arts Society).
This fall brings new faces and new publications from the University of Cincinnati Press, along with the conclusion of the university’s Bicentennial celebration, which university archivist and head of the Archives and Rare Books Library Kevin Grace uses as the occasion to recount a gift from William A. Procter that was instrumental to the libraries.
The Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions and the Cecil Striker Society for the History of Medicine will host the 10th Cecil Striker Society Annual Lecture from 5:00-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 15, in the Kresge Auditorium, Medical Sciences Building, 231 Albert Sabin Way.
Before the House of Refuge opened in 1850, there was no institution serving juvenile criminal offenders in Cincinnati. Juvenile offenders were housed with adults in the Hamilton County jail. In the late 1830s, a movement began in Cincinnati to reform the penitentiary system and a man named James Handaysd Perkins took part in this movement. Although Perkins did not live long enough to see it, he had an important role in the start of the juvenile criminal justice system and social services in Cincinnati.
Perkins was born in Boston and moved to Cincinnati as a young man in 1832. He came from a well-to-do family and was a talented writer and speaker, but he seemed to struggle to find his place in life. He suffered from some health problems and also possibly from some mental health issues.[i] He arrived in Cincinnati in search of a quieter life and with hopes of purchasing land for a farm, but instead he quickly became an up and coming member of society. He began studying law under his friend, Timothy Walker, and joined a group of affluent New Englanders already living in Cincinnati. Perkins even met his wife, Sarah Elliot of Connecticut through his social circles. Even though life seemed to be going well for him, Perkins quickly became disillusioned with the law and attempted a variety of different careers from farming to establishing a milling and tool manufacturing business. Continue reading James Handaysd Pekins – An Early Advocate for the House of Refuge
I’ve been lost in the archives, and finally found my way out! I’ve actually been taking some time to look at the collection as a whole, and have been eager to get back into looking at some of the contents at a closer level. One piece which caught my attention early on was a letter from none other than Robert F. Kennedy, from 1957. I’ve been excited to dig into this and learn more about the people in the letter and circumstances surrounding it.
Read Source, the online newsletter, to learn more about the news, events, people and happenings in UC Libraries.
In this edition of Source we celebrate Leonard Bernstein at 100 with news of an exhibit on display in the Walter C. Langsam Library. Dean Xuemao Wang writes about how the occasion of the university’s upcoming Bicentennial has led him to reflect on the contributions of four staff members retiring this fall. We announce two grants received by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine that will promote good data and good health.
University archivist and head of the Archives and Rare Books Library Kevin Grace teaches readers and students in his honors class about Extra-Illustrated Editions. Jessica Ebert, lead photographic technician in the Preservation Lab writes about her work creating visual representations of the conservation treatments performed, and housing created, in the Lab. Mike Braunlin of the John Miller Burnam Classics Library offers his experience and insights gained working in the library for 42 years. The UC Foundation writes about a unique collection gifted to the Libraries from two former professors. Lastly, the annual Books by the Banks: Cincinnati USA Books Festival, of which UC Libraries is an organizing partner, is announced in this issue.
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Taking part in this survey is completely voluntary, but your participation will help us to continue and create more meaningful services centered around your research and data needs. If you agree to participate, please complete the survey via the URL provided to give us more information about your primary research area, the type of data used for your research, and the assistance sought to deal with your data. We appreciate your time and look forward to serving you.
For the past several months, work has continued on processing the Benjamin Gettler Papers donated to the Archives & Rare Books Library. Gettler was a notable lawyer, businessman, and civic activist in Cincinnati, an international philanthropist, and a former member of the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees. I’ve been fascinated by the amount of public transit-related history in this collection. An often over-looked part of urban history is transportation infrastructure. Public transportation records can tell us not only where people lived, worked, and played, but also the routes taken and who the routes served. They can also provide insight into how, where, or why neighborhoods changed over time.
Cincinnati’s public transportation, as we recognize it today, really began in 1873 when several horse-drawn tram systems merged to form the Cincinnati Consolidated Railway Company. Nearly a decade later, it was renamed the Cincinnati Street Railway Company (Gettler, 2012). It remained the Cincinnati Street Railway Company until 1952, after the company had fully transitioned from rail to rubber-tire service, becoming the Cincinnati Transit Company.
Gettler himself was a prominent figure in Cincinnati’s transit history, as his involvement started slightly before the switch from streetcars to buses and through the sale of the Cincinnati Transit Company to the City of Cincinnati, forming the South Ohio Regional Transit Association (S.O.R.T.A.), and finally serving on the S.O.R.T.A. board beginning in 2003. A good deal of the collection in the Benjamin Gettler Papers comes from his involvement in public transportation, including items such as meeting minutes from the board of directors. One in particular which I found exciting to study was the meeting minutes from the board of directors from 1952 to 1954. Continue reading The Benjamin Gettler Papers: An Introduction to Cincinnati’s New Public Transit