Tag Archives: Archives Month

Carlton Jackson Papers Celebrate Archives Month

Dr. Carlton Jackson at a book-signing for "Allied Secret: The Sinking of HMT Rohna"

Dr. Carlton Jackson at a book-signing for “Allied Secret: The Sinking of HMT Rohna”

Heartbreaking memories of the 1918 influenza pandemic.  The FBI dossiers on a husband-and-wife team of socialist labor activists.  Gracious letters from Gone With the Wind star Olivia de Havilland.  The gritty details of a guest’s sudden collapse and death during a television talk show.  Accounts from survivors of one of America’s worst wartime naval disasters.

Where can you find all of these within easy reach of one another?  In the papers of Dr. Carlton L. Jackson, a prolific author and historian who donated a large portion of his research and manuscripts to WKU’s Department of Library Special Collections.  Processing of the 4,336 items in this collection was completed in October, which happens to be American Archives Month.  A finding aid is available here.

Carlton Jackson’s career as a history professor at WKU began in 1961 and continued until his death in 2014.  A high-school dropout, the Alabama native resumed his studies during service in the Air Force, then taught school and worked as a newspaperman before arriving at WKU.  The author of more than 20 books, he also held several Fulbright awards and visiting teaching posts, and in 1996 was appointed WKU’s first Distinguished University Professor.

Jackson’s books included Hattie: The Life of Hattie McDaniel, a biography of the Oscar-winning actress who immortalized the role of “Mammy” in Gone With the Wind; Allied Secret: The Sinking of HMT Rohna, an account of the 1943 guided missile attack on this troopship that killed more than 1,000 American servicemen; J. I. Rodale: Apostle of Nonconformity, a look at the self-described “father of the organic movement” in the United States, whose life ended suddenly while a guest on the Dick Cavett Show; and Child of the Sit-Downs: The Revolutionary Life of Genora Dollinger, a biography of this workers’ rights champion whose career began in earnest during the great 1936-1937 “sit-down” strike at the General Motors plant in Flint, Michigan.  Other books of Jackson’s have told the story of the iconic World War II song Lili Marlene; related a social history of the Greyhound Bus Company; assessed the career of movie director Martin Ritt; recalled the heroism of Joseph Gavi, a Louisville restaurateur who was once a partisan fighter in the Jewish ghetto of Minsk; and novelized the life of George Al Edwards, a Green County, Kentucky outlaw.  For a 1976 book on the 1918 influenza pandemic, Jackson placed ads in newspapers across the country seeking eyewitness accounts, and received more than 400 replies documenting the flu’s deadly march through 42 states and 9 foreign countries.  The book was never completed, but this unique collection of letters has been preserved.

“Dr. Jackson’s research and writing testified not just to his energy but to his eclectic interests and inveterate curiosity,” says WKU Special Collections department head Jonathan Jeffrey.  Searching for sources in both public archives and private collections, Jackson corresponded with anyone who might provide a lead.  As a former journalist, he never hesitated to seek a telephone or personal interview, making many friends along the way.  As the collection reveals, his efforts generated wins and losses, both big and small.  While researching a biography of Western novelist Zane Grey, Jackson wondered if Grey’s tales of shark fishing had influenced Peter Benchley’s blockbuster novel Jaws, but Benchley politely replied in the negative.  A greater disappointment occurred when, after his initial contacts proved promising, the Greyhound Bus Company withdrew its cooperation for Jackson’s history.  He scored a coup, however, when he located and corresponded (in German) with the pilot of the plane that had attacked the Rohna.

“I’m basically lazy,” Jackson once insisted in a profile published in WKU’s On Campus.  But it never showed.  After he got an idea for a book he would begin work, reading, traveling, knocking on doors and, like a good ex-journalist, digging.  The result, in addition to his publications, was a trove of research, now available to anyone else who wants to keep digging.

The Department of Library Special Collections is located in the Kentucky Building on WKU’s campus.  Hours are Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Search our online catalogs at TopSCHOLAR and KenCat.

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Archives Month Exhibit

The Kentucky Museum, WKU Library Special Collections & WKU Archives contain thousands of objects, documents and photographs. While the majority Kentucky-centric, many reflect the world outside Kentucky and the United States as experienced by Kentuckians. This online exhibit called Seven Continents created in conjunction with a physical Archives Month exhibit housed in the Western Room, showcases some of the international collections housed in the Kentucky Building. Additional information regarding these collections is available through KenCat the online catalog.  Some highlights include:

Clara Hines diary

April 17, 1954 diary page from Clara Hines European vacation diary.

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Archives Month 2017 – Education

Archives Month Quote

Archives Month is a time to focus on the importance of records of enduring value. This year the theme is Education. With the help of the Kentucky Museum, Library Special Collections has created an exhibit in the Western Room of the Kentucky Building. This exhibit highlights items used by students in classrooms and shows some documents created by school administrators and students.

There is an online exhibit component as well where we highlight photographs and documents regarding all sorts of educational endeavors in Kentucky.

Lastly, we will be asking a question a week about your educational experiences. Question 1: Who was your favorite teacher? Take a look at some of the answers we’ve collected.

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Archives Month – Pecha Kucha

Kentucky Archives Month

Kentucky Archives Month

October is Archives Month and in Kentucky the theme was Civil Rights. This year members of Library Special Collections celebrated by co-hosting a Pecha Kucha about Civil Rights with the Kentucky Museum.

A pecha kucha is a powerpoint presentation consisting of 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each so the talk lasts six minutes and forty seconds. Speakers have to hone in on the point and talk fast!

Pecha Kucha Participants

Pecha Kucha Participants

Our lineup:
Suellyn Lathrop – Civil Rights @ WKU – gave an overview of the WKU response to several civil rights issues through the years and resources for research housed in WKU Archives.

April McCauley – October is American Archives Month – discussion of archives that hold civil rights materials around the nation.

Karen Hogg – Kentucky Marriage Equality Oral History Project – presentation regarding Kentucky attorneys and plaintiffs involved in the recent marriage equality court cases.

Nancy Richey – Introducing the Kentucky African American Encyclopedia – an interesting overview of local people included in this hot off the press volume.

Jonathan Jeffrey – Juliette H. Morgan: A Librarian Civil Rights Hero – a brief biography of Montgomery, Alabama librarian turned activist.

We hope you enjoy our presentations and learn something new.  Library Special Collections is housed in the Kentucky Building and our collections are open to everyone Monday – Friday 9 to 4 and most Saturdays 10 – 3.

 

 

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Filed under General, People, University Archives

#AskAnArchivist Day

SAA LogoOctober 30th has been declared Ask An Archivist Day.  Archivists from around the country will be monitoring Twitter to respond to your questions.  The day long event is sponsored by the Society of American Archivists as the send off for Archives Month.

No question is too silly . . .

  • What is the craziest thing you’ve come across in your collections?
  • If your archives has a soundtrack, what songs would be on it?
  • What do archivists talk about around the water cooler?

. . . and no question is too practical!

  • As a teacher, how can I get my students more interested in using archives for projects?
  • What should I do to be sure my emails won’t get lost?
  • I’ve got scads of digital images on my phone.  How should I store them so I can access them later?
  • How do you decide which items to keep and which to weed out from a collection?

Just tweet your question and include the hashtag #AskAnArchivist in your tweet.

Follow along through the day to see questions and answers.

And even after Archives Month is over you can ask us questions at WKU Archives – archives@wku.edu

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Squirrel!

Kentucky Archives MonthThere are days in the archives that I feel like Dug the talking Dog from the movie Up.  I’m sitting at my desk working and all of a sudden . . . SQUIRREL!

It’s not that I’m easily distracted.  It is the nature of archival work that processing a collection of departmental papers may lead to the identification of a photograph.  Once I open that file cabinet to get the folder of photographs, I see there are 4 or 5 folders for that particular department and I am all of a sudden processing photographs.  Which in turn may lead to the prep work to have the unidentified images digitized.   Continue reading

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What Is an Archives?

Part of our continuing recognition of Kentucky Archives Month.

Whether you are researching your family tree, searching for inspiration for your latest historical fiction novel,1 verifying the royal succession,2 or looking for information about the One Ring,3 the place to look is an archives.

An archives is a collection of historical documents or records providing information about a place, institution, or group of people.  These records include photographs, maps, letters, diaries, government records, and many more things. Many of the types of records in archives are rare and most are one-of-a-kind.  The collections in an archives are often donated by organizations or individuals over time, and often these records are valued family artifacts.  So, archivists have a responsibility to the historical record- and to past donors- to protect and preserve the records in their care.  For more information about what an archives is and about our archival collections, follow the links below:

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Electronic Records Day

emediaSmack in the middle of Archives Month is Electronic Records Day.  Coincidence?  I think not.

We generally think of electronic records as new, now, of the moment and not particularly permanent.

  • email
  • reports
  • blog posts
  • photos on your cellphone

The permanency of records is determined not by format (paper or electronic) but by content.  So while most email is not considered permanent there are emails that should be saved and printed out in total and sent to the archives.

WKU Records Management program provides guidelines for the care and preservation of all university records regardless of format. Contact us at 5-4793 if you have questions regarding the maintenance of electronic records or any other questions.

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The Path to Archives

A month or so ago a student asked me how to go about becoming an archivist.  In constructing my response to him I mentally reviewed my 25+ years in the profession and the changes that have impacted the profession.

Kentucky Archives Month

Time was most archivists were historians by training.  Specialists might also have a degree in another discipline, but by and large we were historians.  These days most have a degree in information science with coursework in public history.

What does that mean?  Information Science is the new library science and is defined as an interdisciplinary field concerned with the analysis, collection, classification, manipulation, storage, retrieval, movement, dissemination and protection of information. While Public History is usually defined as history beyond the walls of the traditional classroom or applied history.  It is most often found in the preservation of historic buildings, creation of museum exhibits and care of public and private records housed in archives. Continue reading

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Archives Month

AKentucky Archives Monthrchives Month is an annual celebration of all things archival and the work of institutions that preserve historical records while making them available to researchers.  This year’s theme for Kentucky is Agriculture in the Commonwealth.

This month WKU Archives will be highlighting the WKU Department of Agriculture in our website feature “Out of the Box.”  We’ll also be blogging about some behind the scenes stuff.  Stay tuned and get out and visit an archives near you.  Check out Kentucky Archives Month events.

 

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