Friday, April 17, 2015

2015 Research Travel Award Winners

The Eberly Family Special Collections Library is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 research travel awards program. All winners will visit the Special Collections Library between June and August.

Albert M. Petska Eighth Air Force Archives winner:

David Cain, 2nd Air Division Memorial Library & the University of East Anglia. Mr. Cain will be researching the social interaction of the 8th USAAF with local British people in the East of England between 1942 - 1945, with special focus on the relationship of 8th USAAF service persons to landscape and local people in Britain.

Dorothy Foehr Huck award winners:

Bob Hodges, University of Washington. Mr. Hodges will be researching 19th and 20th century utopian literature in support of his dissertation Figurations of Modernity in Antebellum U. S. Romances.  His work wagers that reckoning with New Americanist revisionist criticisms of the romance offers a chance to reconstruct the romance’s reparative and sometimes utopian compensations for its imbrication with antebellum U.S. economic and technological modernizations.
J. Wesley Leckrone, Widener University. Prof. Leckrone is writing a book entitled "Governing the Commonwealth: Politics, Policy and Executive Power in Pennsylvania.”  The primary topic is the use of gubernatorial power by the five executives elected since 1980.
Angelique Szymanek, SUNY Binghamton. Ms. Szymanek’s topic is “Representations of Rape in Visual Culture.” Her dissertation focuses on the relationship between feminist art production and the anti-rape movement in the U.S. throughout the 1970s and she will be using the Judy Chicago Art Education Collection to support her work.

Helen F. Faust Women Writers award winners: 

Amanda Stuckey, College of William & Mary. Ms. Stuckey  will be researching bodily behavior in the nineteenth-century boy book. She studies the female authorship of children's books in order to understand how the genre of the boy book emerged alongside mid to late nineteenth-century understandings of what constituted able-bodied, self-controlled, disciplined children's bodies and behavior.
Arielle Zibrak, University of Wyoming. Prof. Zibrak’s topic is “Writing Against Reform: Aesthetic Counter-Traditions in the Age of Progress.” Her research focuses on current criticism of late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century transatlantic fiction emphasizes its connection to the political reform movements (abolition, suffrage, temperance, etc.) that so dominated our conception of the period. Her book project attempts to dislodge the critical myth that popular literature and political reform were wholly coherent movements by highlighting significant writers like Rebecca Harding Davis, Kate Chopin, and Edith Wharton who, while committed to social change, wrote against reform, and its underrepresented externalities.

During their research visit, the winners will be invited to give a short, informal presentation about their research that will be open to the public.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Jack Rabin Collection: 50th Anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March

Martin Luther King leads a massive march of three thousand or more demonstrators to the Montgomery County Courthouse on March 17, 1965

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, we would like to highlight our Jack Rabin Collection on Alabama Civil Rights and Southern Activists. This collection is a compact but highly complex, multi-layered compilation of documents, sound recordings, and visual images. Some of its components include: copies of records of the Montgomery Improvements Association (MIA), many hours of oral history by Clifford Durr, an updated filmed interview of Stokely Carmichael (later known as Kwame Ture), 450 black-and-white photographs created by the Subversive Unit of the Investigative and Identification Division of the Alabama Department of Public Safety, and surveillance tapes preserving speeches made  at an anniversary meeting of the MIA in 1963, the conclusion of the Selma-to-Montgomery March in 1965, and in Bessemer and Birmingham, Alabama, during the Poor People's Campaign of 1968. Martin Luther King and Ralph Abernathy are among many leading lights of the civil rights movement heard on these tapes.

This collection was formed by Jack Rabin, mainly between 1973 and 1975. While teaching public administration in Montgomery, Alabama, Rabin assembled most of the collection through contacts with public administration students who were then working for the Alabama Department of Public Safety and through primary-source materials from white activists and African-American civil rights leaders. He also toured the area, taking color slides of historically significant African-American churches and of the Selma-to-Montgomery march route, and he acquired three documentary films on civil rights topics. The resulting collection formed the core of his Center for the Study of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Having joined the faculty of Penn State Harrisburg in 1988, he donated nearly all of the collection to Special Collections at the University Park campus of Penn State on October 10, 2002, including several items acquired after 1975.

To learn more about the Jack Rabin Collection or other Civil Rights materials in Special Collections, visit our website here or contact Research Services (

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Happy Birthday!

Happy 110th Birthday, John O'Hara!
January 31, 1905-April 11, 1970

Novelist and short-story writer John O’Hara was born in 1905 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, in the state’s northeastern anthracite coal region. This month we celebrate O’Hara’s 110th birthday, as well as the 60th anniversary of the appearance of his novel Ten North Frederick, published in 1955 by Random House. The book was his greatest critical and popular success, appearing on the best-seller lists for thirty-two weeks and selling 65,703 copies in its first two weeks. In 1956 Ten North Frederick won the National Book Award for fiction.

O’Hara left Pennsylvania as a young man, but beginning with his first novel, Appointment in Samarra (1934), he set five novels and more than fifty short stories in what he called “my Pennsylvania Protectorate.” The characters of his fictional town of Gibbsville were the miners and poor immigrants, the country-club set, and the college-bred elite of his hometown. 10 North Frederick is the address of a house in the prosperous little city of Gibbsville. Its owner, the distinguished attorney Joseph Chapin, nurtures a secret desire to be President of the United States. The character of Chapin was played by Gary Cooper in the 1958 film of the same name.

O’Hara’s original study in Princeton, New Jersey, was faithfully recreated at Penn State in 1974, as the gift of his widow. The study and its contents is a memorial to the writer and a repository for O’Hara’s considerable legacy of books, manuscripts, letters, and memorabilia.

For information about visiting the O’Hara Study or consulting the John O’Hara Papers, email ( or call the Special Collections Library (814-865-1793).