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 (UL-spcolref@lists.psu.edu).

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 (UL-spcolref@lists.psu.edu) or call the Special Collections Library (814-865-1793).

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Welcome to a new (A)eon!

We're excited to announce that beginning January 26, 2015, the Special Collections Library will begin to use a Special Collections Management software called Aeon.  Aeon will allow us to manage our collections and our request much more efficiently by closing the typical gap between “discovery” and “delivery” and by enabling users to place reading room paging requestsautomatically from library catalogs, archival finding aids, and other online collection management systems.

What is Aeon?
Aeon allows researchers to submit requests for items in the Special Collections Library. Researchers will now be able to register and manage personal information and track requests from any computer using the Aeon system. Previously, registration and requests were done manually, while on-site.

How will Aeon help make research easier in special collections?
Once researchers are registered, special collections' staff will be able to approve requests and retrieve materials more efficiently. Researchers can watch the progress of each request to determine if an item has been retrieved, put on hold, or returned to storage. Researchers can also store all request information in their profile for future review of citation information regarding materials consulted in special collections and also place photoduplication/digitization orders.

Will researchers be able to request special collections manuscripts, books and periodicals using Aeon?
Yes. Books and periodicals housed in special collections are found by searching The CAT, the Penn State University Libraries’ online catalog. If an item in the catalog is located in special collections, the record in the CAT will display an option to request the materials.
Archival collections can be found through Special Collections online Finding Aids. Once you find the Archival Collection you are looking for in the database, you can request materials from individual collections via a “Request Button”.

Will professors be able to request materials for their students to use for class projects?
Yes. Professors can set up class visits as “Events” within their Aeon accounts. Materials to be used during class visits can be managed separately from the professors’ personal research requests. The history of materials requested for a class can be stored and viewed for future use.