Monday, December 8, 2014

Hands-On History: Pennsylvania Forestry

Of all the Trees that ‘were’ in the Woods!  
To honor the 100th anniversary of John Muir's death, December 24, 1914, Special Collections will host a hands-on activity using holdings about Pennsylvania forestry and conservation movement. Staff and faculty are invited to explore Pennsylvania Forest history through a hands-on, primary source activity, on December 10, from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., in the Special Collections Library. Attendees will use finding aids to locate letters, diaries, notes, photographs and more.  These items reflect elements of environmental, political, and gendered aspects of the history of lumber industry that invite comparison with contemporary resource extraction.  
 Engage your inner child this holiday season by joining in a trivia-scavenger hunt with Special Collections photographs, letters, rare books, diaries and pamphlets. Enjoy an hour of fun with colleagues and learn something new about Pennsylvania leadership in forest conservation suitable for this “wonderful time of the year.” 

For more information or questions regarding this event, please contact:  
Doris Malkmus
Outreach Archivist


Monday, October 27, 2014

New Exhibit Open! "Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves"

“Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves,” an exhibition in the B. and H. Henisch Photo-History Collection Exhibition Room, 201 A Pattee Library, is on display through March 31.

The exhibition coincides with the publication of a new book by the Penn State Press “Picturing Dogs, Seeing Ourselves: Vintage American Photographs,” by Ann-Janine Morey, Volume 4, in the series Animalibus: Of Animals and Culture. Books in the Animalibus series share a fascination with the status and the role of animals in human life. Crossing the humanities and the social sciences, these books ask us what thinking about nonhuman animals can teach us about human cultures, about what it means to be human,and about how that meaning might shift across times and places.

Since photography's invention in 1839, animals have been a subject. Early photography coincided with the beginning of the dog’s position as a household pet in Victorian society, and dogs were for the first time pampered and shown as members of the family in studio portrait art. But daguerreotypes, the earliest of the photographic processes, required subjects to remain motionless for several minutes, which meant that wagging tails often resembled fans when the plates registered the exposure.

Later in the century, faster lenses solved this technical problem. By the 1850s, with the introduction of the small carte-de-visite image, it became a popular custom to have the likeness of the family pet (most often dogs) made along with other family members. Meant to look proper and often posed on ornate chairs, every sort of friendly mutt appears. These charming studio poses were displayed with all of the other family portraits in albums made especially for preserving them. Near the end of the 19th-century, amateurs also took up photography, and thousands of photos produced an intimate view of daily life, immortalizing family groups where dogs show up with regularity.

The exhibition draws from 19th-century photographs representing many photographic processes found in the B. and H. Henisch Photo-History Collection and the William C. Darrah Collection of Cartes-de-visite, 1860-1900, both among the holdings of The Eberly Family Special Collections Library.

For more information, contact Sandra Stelts at or 814-863-5388.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Special Lecture on Cooperative Extension at PSU

Jan Scholl, associate professor

A special lecture, titled “The Impact of Cooperative Extension at Penn State,” by Jan Scholl, associate professor of agricultural economics and rural sociology education, is scheduled for noon to 1 p.m. Sept. 3 in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library.

The presentation complements “The Power of Agricultural Cooperative Extension: 100 Years of Penn State Service,” an exhibition on display through Sept. 15 in The Special Collections Library, 104 Paterno Library.

For additional information about this exhibit and the archival collections related to Penn State Extension, contact Jackie R. Esposito, University archivist at 814-863-3791 or
For additional information about this exhibit and the University Archives or if you anticipate needing accessibility accommodations or have questions about the physical access provided, contact Jackie Esposito at 814-863-3791 or