Category Archives: Archives

Information regarding our archive and manuscript collections

New Additions ~ Maritime Collections

Another Spring Semester comes to a close here on campus.  This week is the last week of classes, then finals, and the thrill of graduation weekend and summer.  This semester has brought many changes to Rare Books & Special Collections, including the opening of the new Reading Room and Classroom Annex space.  If you haven’t had a chance to see the newly remodeled spaces yet, please drop by the next time you are on campus for a tour!

In addition to new spaces, there have also been many new additions to both the rare book and the manuscript collections in Boatwright Library.  The last blog post talked about the new World War II correspondence collection, but I wanted to share also the wonderful new additions to the maritime and naval collections that have been added this spring.

Three new first editions have been added to the rare book collection, which already houses an impressive set of travel and maritime-related works.  The first new addition is a 1977 2-volume first edition of George Forster’s A Voyage Round the World, In his Britannic Majesty’s Sloop, Resolution, commanded by Capt. James Cook, during the Years 1772, 3, 4, and 5.  This set adds to our materials on both sea-faring voyages and exploration literature by adding another version of Cook’s sailings.

The second new first edition account is a 1779 first edition of A Voyage to New Guinea, and the Moluccas, from Balambangan: including an account of Magindano, Sooloo, and other islands; and illustrated with thirty copperplates. Performed in the Tartar galley, belonging to the Honourable East India company, during the years 1774, 1775, and 1776 to which is added, a Vocabulary of the Magindano Tongue.  This account was written by one of the most experienced ship captains and documents social and cultural life as well as maps, panoramas, coastal charts, genealogy, and a English to Magindano and Papua vocabulary.

The third new addition to the rare book maritime collection is the 1802 first edition travel account of a woman traveler through the Crimea and Black Sea regions.  The book is written in the form of letters by Maria Guthrie, and translated and edited by her husband, Matthew Guthrie.  Her letters document her varied encounters during her travels, including a whirling dervish ceremony and a letter concerning Jews in the Crimean region.

Three new manuscript maritime collections have also been added to the Boatwright Library archival materials.  The largest of the three documents the work of U.S. Naval Commander Horace Elmer, who had an illustrious naval career including heading the department of seamanship at the U.S. Naval Academy from 1883 to 1886.  His last service included organizing and commanding the Mosquito Fleet, including the inner coast defense of the Atlantic and Gulf States during the Spanish-American War.  The archival collection includes journals from his time at the naval academy and a number of ship’s logs which include precise technical sketches including the engines of the U.S.S. Monitor. There are also several scrapbooks including one from his daughter, Edith Elmer Wood, which contains images of family, the Naval Academy, and the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair.

Two smaller manuscript items have been added as well. The first item is the journal of Edward Reavely, Quartermaster First Class serving on the U.S.S. Chester in 1917.  As a destroyer, the Chester was active during World War I as an escort between Gibraltar and Britain.  The second item is the private journal of Edward Paul Duffy, a printer on board the U.S. flagship Trenton, written in 1881.  While on board, Duffy printed the twice-monthly Trenton Herald and served as a special correspondent to the Baltimore Sun.  His journal documents his print work, the weather, and trips off the ship as well.

Each of these new additions bring new stories of explorations, travel, and sea voyages just waiting to be discovered.

Other People’s Mail

Working with archival material allows the researcher opportunities to learn about different places and other times.  Photographs of long-vanished buildings or reports of events long over are reminders of things no longer present.  But perhaps the most immediate, and occasionally the most poignant, way to immerse yourself into a different world is through reading other people’s mail.

Stacks of World War II letters

World War II Correspondence

Archival collections often contain a variety of correspondence, including business communications, official statements, organizational announcements, and academic inquiries.  For many researchers, however, it is personal correspondence that best brings the past to life.  When reading mail sent years or even centuries ago, one can’t help but try to fill in the gaps, to hunt for clues in deciphering the stories behind the penned or penciled words, seeking the individuals who wrote or received the letters.  Recently, the Rare Books & Special Collections division of Boatwright Memorial Library purchased a collection of more than 700 letters, the majority of them written during World War II.  The collection is a compilation of several different sets of correspondence.  Although connected by the time period, these different sets offer a view into the lives of many individuals, each with their own story to tell.

For example, one set of about 100 letters written on U.S. Navy letterhead share the story of a young couple named Paul and Charlotte.  Paul wrote almost daily between March and July 1944, and through his letters, readers come to know a bit about life in the Navy, the challenges of planning a wedding via correspondence, and enough of a hint about Charlotte’s world to spark curiosity.  A bit of research uncovered that Charlotte and her family were Jewish immigrants to the United States, having left Germany in 1934.

The largest set of correspondence in the collection are the approximately 250 letters written by George Orlikowski to his girlfriend, and later his wife, Mary Zyla Orlikowski, which cover the time between July 1942 and March 1945.  In addition to learning much about both of their lives, many of the envelopes and stationary are humorous by themselves.

World War II letter

Letter from George to Mary with code for salutations

In one letter written in December 1944, George offers a secret code to Mary so that she can know where he is at in the Pacific after he sails without the censor catching on to them; he indicated he would change which salutation he uses in his letters to her to identify his location. Even after more than 70 years, the letters still carry the scent of his cigarette smoke.

Perhaps the most intriguing series of correspondence in this collection are the variety of letters sent to Dorothy “Dot” Raynham, a female college student, by a variety of soldiers between 1942 and 1944. With at least fourteen different men writing her from nearly all branches of the military, these letters offer glimpses of military life as well as life on the home front for at least one college student and her family.  Whether it is a bomber pilot wistfully recalling their dance to a Glenn Miller tune or a sailor encouraging her in her schoolwork, the range of correspondents suggests there may be an interesting story about this particular moment in her life.

Reading other people’s mail in the archives offers a glimpse into the past, one way to bring history alive, for researchers of all types, including University of Richmond students.  This collection has already been utilized in several classes, including a Weekend College session doing hands-on history and a first-year seminar exploring a life in letters.  Materials from this collection as well as correspondence from other collections is currently on exhibit on the first floor of Boatwright Library through the end of April.

New Spaces!

Construction is finished, and we are so pleased with our brand new spaces.  During the past six months, our space on Level B1 of Boatwright Memorial Library has slowly been taking shape.  We’ve watched with eager anticipation as the new reading room and the new classroom were created.

new reading room

New reading room

Our new reading room space is designed for research use.  The glassed-in room showcases the beautiful hardwood floor and the new custom shelving.  With the new room come new procedures, too, as now all materials will be brought to the researcher.  Although we will miss having researchers in the actual rare book room, the new spaces allow for much better environmental controls for the collection.

The new classroom is equally beautiful.  It has flexible table designs to accommodate seminar-style or lecture-style classes or to allow for exploring large oversized documents like Japanese scrolls.  The large monitor provides much-needed internet access as well as display options, increasing the possibilities for classroom instruction in the space.  The first few classes we’ve held there this semester have given the space rave reviews, and we look forward to hosting many more in the years ahead.

new classroom

The new classroom space

We hope you’ll come visit our new spaces in person!  For Spring Semester 2017, the reading room is open Wednesday and Thursday afternoons from 1:00 – 4:30 p.m. or by appointment.

What’s in the Pot?

Cookbooks as we know them began as handwritten manuscripts of trial and error, what worked and what didn’t. The first printed cookbook appeared in 1470, but most cooks relied on their mother’s or their cook’s hard won receipts.cook1

Cookbooks can also tell us something about the society and ecomonics of the time. Where eggs and fresh milk were plenty and refrigeration a thing of the future.

In our Special Collections we have many cookbooks dating back to the 17th century. But it is in a fairly new cookbook, Famous Recipes from Old Virginia (1941) that we find some recipes from well-known cooks.

“Thos. Jefferson’s Recipe for Ice Cream

2 quarts of ‘good’ cream

½ pound sugar

6 yolks eggs

Mix yolks and sugar. Heat cream (with vanilla) until near boiling point, the pour it gently into the egg mixture. Stir well, and heat again to near boiling, stirring constantly; strain and when cool, freeze.”

Some recipes almost need translations!

“Martha Washington’s Crab Soup Recipe

Throw into boiling water fifteen crabs that are alive and kicking. When done pick meat up fine. Have ready a broth made of two quarts of water in which you have boiled until done one pound of middling meat, to this add crab meat. Heat two cups of rich milk and stir in well beaten yolks of two eggs. Pour into boiling crab soup, but do not let it come to a boil any more. Cook five minutes. Season with salt and hot pepper and serve from hot tureen.”

The Washington Wedding Cake with its pound and a half of butter, 10 cups of flour, pound and a half of sugar and 18 eggs, is shocking, and then you get to the part about baking for three and a half to four hours! Ah, the good old days!

 

The Marguerite Roberts Collection

Amid the books, maps, and journals collected the Galvin Rare Book Room, there are also a number of manuscript collections. You won’t find these in the catalog yet, but they will be there soon. One such collection is that of Dr. Marguerite Roberts, long time English professor, and Dean of Westhampton College. Dr. Roberts was a well-known Thomas Hardy scholar and spent much of her professional life researching and studying the author and his works.

Primarily interested in his theatrical works, her master’s thesis was an in depth study of his play in verse, The Dynasts. Hardy himself described this work as “an epic-drama of the war with Napoleon, in three parts, nineteen acts and one hundred and thirty scenes”. She also studied

Mrs. Hardy's Letters to Dr. Roberts

Mrs. Hardy’s Letters to Dr. Roberts

his stage version of Tess of the D’Urbervilles, and wrote Tess and the Theater, followed by Hardy’s Poetic Drama and the Theater. Her last work was a study of the influence of Hardy’s second wife, Florence, on Hardy and his circle of friends and colleagues who frequented his home at Max Gate, Florence Hardy and the Max Gate Circle.

In doing her exhaustive research for these books and articles, Dr. Roberts wrote many letters to Hardy’s literary executor, actors, directors, and most notably, Mrs. Hardy herself. Interestingly, these contacts led to a lifetime of letters, holiday cards, overnight visits, and gifts.

And there is one item in the files that is not attributed to anyone, but most likely is Dr. Roberts’ watercolor of Stonehenge, which plays largely in Tess of the

Sketch of Stonehenge

Sketch of Stonehenge

D’Urbervilles, with a quote from the book on the back. A woman of many talents on a subject of endless interest.

 

Half Way There!

It’s June already and the construction is well on it’s way.  The reading room outside the rare book room is taking shape, as is the classroom around the corner.  Also included in this reconfiguring is an office for our new Archivist and Book Arts Studio Coordinator.  But pictures will tell you more than words at this point so here goes!

Entrance

The entrance to the new reading room.

 

 

 

 

 

Reading Room

The bones of the reading room.  There will be tables and display shelves.

 

Reading Room

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class roomClassroom

And here is the classroom, first looking back toward the rare book room,  then towards the door to the workroom.

And finally the new office.  Office

Sign

May not look very exciting right now, but it will add so much to what we can do!  So this fall look for the sign on the new door and come and explore our new Uncommon space!

Big Changes for the Rare Book Room

Boatwright’s Special Collections are growing, but our space is not.  So, beginning on May 2, the Galvin Rare Book Room will close until July 1st, in order to create new spaces for research, reading, and instruction.  The rare book room itself with remain as is, but the ante room will open into the adjoining study room to become a reading and research area. This will allow us to close the rare book room, and add more shelves, making room for our burgeoning collection.

The two study rooms remaining on B1, and adjoining the new reading room, will be redesigned as a classroom with audio-visual equipment.  This will allow us to accommodate larger class sizes, and provide more types of instruction.

As sad as it is to lose the wonder of walking through the rare book room shelves and handling their treasures, this new arrangement will allow us to accept and house more collections.  It will also enhance what we are able to offer our students and professors.  So, keep watching this space for the unveiling of the new face of the Galvin Rare Book Room.

A Letter from Somerset Maugham

Near the end of World War II, Roger K. Lewis, a captain in the Army Air forces, was stationed in the Philippines as a public relations officer. He had just finished reading The Razor’s Edge by Somerset Maugham and wanted to tell the writer how impressed he was with the book. And having been a combat artist, he shared some of his thoughts about being an artist. He mailed it off to Maugham’s publisher (Doubleday), not knowing whether it would be forwarded to Maugham, or whether he would get a reply.

maughamSeveral weeks later, Lewis received a typewritten letter.

Thank you for writing such an interesting letter. I was glad to receive it.

Of course, if you are a painter, you have nothing to complain of. A writer

often runs short of material but a painter never can and as long as one can

express one’s self it doesn’t matter what the medium is, and in expressing

one’s self, one expresses at the same time whatever philosophy, life, experience,

thought and emotions have evolved in one, and I don’t see that one can expect to get

anything more out of life than something like that.

Yours always sincerely,

Somerset Maugham

Four years later, Lewis spotted a short item in an issue of Time magazine. It read: “Novelist Somerset Maugham, visiting friends in San Francisco…had something pleasant to remember. ‘The nicest compliment ever paid me’ he announced, ‘was a letter from a GI in the Pacific during the war, who wrote me that he had read an entire story of mine without having to look up a single word in the dictionary.’”Maugham2

“I’m sure he was referring to my letter,” Lewis said. He framed his letter and the Time article, and despite Maugham’s wishes that his letters be destroyed, Lewis passed it on to Boatwright Library in 1997. It hangs in the Galvin Rare Book Room along with one of Lewis’s combat sketches.

 

Civil rights leader donates permanent collection to Boatwright Library

Wyatt Tee Walker, a distinguished theologian and civil rights leader, has gifted his personal collection to the University of Richmond Boatwright Memorial Library. The collection includes hundreds of historical pieces, including papers, recorded sermons and memorabilia.

Walker, who lives in Virginia, served as chief of staff to Martin Luther King Jr., executive director of the Southern Leadership Conference and special assistant for Urban Affairs to Nelson Rockefeller. He is a specialist in sacred music, cultural historian and prolific author. Walker is pastor emeritus of Canaan Baptist Church of Christ in Harlem.

Significant items in this historical collection include photographs Walker took of King while they were jailed in Birmingham in 1967; numerous letters to King and others regarding civil rights issues; and journals, drawings, diagrams and notes kept by Walker’s wife Theresa, who was also active in the civil rights movement. The collection also includes books, records, awards and clothing.

“We are justly proud that we were on the right side of history and can share our experiences with the general public through this partnership with the University of Richmond,” said Walker.

“We are honored that Dr. Walker has entrusted Boatwright Memorial Library with the care of this amazing collection,” said Lynda Kachurek, head of rare books and special collections. “We expect civil rights and other historians from all over the country and world to be interested in this scholarship, as well as our faculty, staff, students and the general public.”

This special collection will be the largest under the care of Boatwright Library. It will be housed in the Galvin Rare Books Room. The collection will be catalogued and processed and is expected to be available for research beginning in late 2016.

“This collection documents a critical moment in American history,” said University of Richmond President Ronald A. Crutcher. “It will help generations of students and scholars better understand the men and women who led the Civil Rights Movement and their work for social justice. We are so grateful for Dr. Walker’s generosity and for the opportunity to bring this collection to the University library.”

 

Link to original press release

On This Day ~ December 12: A New King

The highest of distinctions is service to others. ~ King George VI

Accession proclamation King George VI

Proclamation of Accession to the Throne of King George VI [Special Collections, DA584 .P6 1936]

On December 12, 1936, the official proclamation of a new King of England, George VI, was announced formally.  His story is a well-known one, most recently the subject of the 2010 film, The King’s Speech, which dramatized the events that made him king as well as the personal obstacles he faced.

Born on December 14, 1895, the second son of King George V, young Albert never expected to become king.  Early in 1936, when his father passed away, Albert’s brother, Edward, ascended the British throne as King Edward VIII.  In less than a year, however, Edward abdicated the throne on December 10, to marry Wallis Simpson, leaving the crown to his younger brother.  Edward’s radio broadcast the following day led to the official proclamation of the new king on December 12.

The coronation of King George VI took place on May 12, 1937, and he went on to lead Britain during the years of World War II and beyond, until his death in February 1952.

Our holdings include the official proclamation, pictured above, as well as two copies of the official souvenir program of the 1937 coronation [Galvin Rare Book Room, DA584 .K52].