Archive for the ‘A Day in the Life of Albion College’ Category

A Day in the Life – March 27, 2009

Friday, March 27th, 2009

In honor of Women’s History Month…More on Anna Howard Shaw

Anna Howard Shaw was born on February 14, 1847 in Newcastle-on-Tyne, England. Soon after her second birthday, her family left for America. They settled first in Lawrence, Massachusetts, where young Anna read and re-read Uncle Tom’s Cabin and became passionate about issues of slavery.

When the Shaws moved again in 1859, they found themselves in a much different environment: the wild forests of Michigan. Anna and her family lived in a tiny log cabin surrounded by 360 acres of wilderness. Her father and her two oldest brothers returned to Lawrence to work, leaving Anna, four siblings, and her mother to fend for themselves. Finally, at the age of 15, Anna was able to get work as a schoolteacher, earning two dollars a week. It was at this point that she first dreamed of becoming a minister. When her older sister got married, she invited Anna to live with her in the town of Big Rapids. Here Anna attended high school and met an influential mentor, Miss Lucy Foote. Through Miss Foote’s guidance, she was invited to give her first sermon in the village of Ashton.

The Shaw family vehemently disapproved of her ambition to become a preacher, and they offered to pay her way through the University of Michigan if she abandoned the idea. Anna preached on 36 more occasions that year, however, and then decided to attend Albion College without their financial assistance. She was nearly broke when she arrived at Albion, and then-President George Jocelyn was impressed by her and allowed her to live with his family during her first year at school. Anna gave a series of temperance lectures in an effort to defray the costs of her education, and Miss Foote took up a collection totaling $92.00 from her friends in Big Rapids to help support her education.

In 1876, Anna began to study for the ministry at Boston University. She was the only woman in her class, and she still had to get by on limited funds. After her graduation, she was pastor of the Wesleyan Methodist Church in East Dennis, Massachusetts for seven years. In 1882, she decided she wanted to attend medical school as well, and in 1885 she became a physician as well as a minister, preaching at two churches and treating the urban poor three days a week.

Soon, Anna decided to give up her ministry posts altogether, choosing to travel the country lecturing on temperance, and later traveling with Susan B. Anthony for the cause of women’s suffrage. Anna continued to cross the country and campaign for women’s rights for the next 18 years. She was elected president of the National Woman Suffrage Association in 1904. She held this position until 1915, when she looked forward to retirement at her home in Moylan, Pennsylvania.

In 1917, however, war came to the country and the Council of National Defense appointed Dr. Shaw as Chairman of the Women’s Committee.

It was at this time that the First National Community Song Day was held in Washington, D.C.–on Sunday, December 9, 1917, to be exact. It was held under the direction of the Community Music Department of the National Council of Women. The purpose of the day was to, very simply, sing. The program for the event states:

Why we Sing

We, as American Citizens, have an imperative duty imposed upon us at this hour. We must inculcate American Principles and arouse all citizens of the United States to a realization of the Power of Music in Mental and Moral Preparedness. Let us make this a great power in our country and bring together in one vast army the forces working in America for our great democracy. All the men, women and children of our land cannot enter the trenches–but those who are left at home can join The Army for Encouraging Patriotism and Energized Spiritual Thought Through Community Music.

With your co-operation, the endorsement of our National Administration, our Chambers of Commerce, our Schools, our Clergy and Press, there will be developed a happier people, a greater America–True Democracy.

On this day several important American individuals met to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Old Folks at Home” “A Perfect Day,” “America My Country,” “The Spirit of Victory,” “Come Thou Almighty King,” “Onward Christian Soldiers,” “Keep the Home Fires Burning,” “Over There,” “There’s a Long, Long Trail,” “Pack up your Troubles in your Old Kit Bad and Smile, Smile, Smile,” “Ten Thousand Times Ten Thousand,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” and “America,” which was conducted by Anna Howard Shaw. You can see her holding the baton she used to conduct in her left hand, in one of the photos below (Dr. Shaw is the third women sitting to the right of the man standing on stage).

Anna served as Chairman of the Women’s Committee for the Council of National Defense until 1919, when she again expected to retire, but was asked to travel through the country with former President Taft and Harvard President A. Lawrence Lowell in order to generate support for the newly formed League of Nations. This proved to be too much for Anna’s health, however, and she checked herself into an Illinois hospital.

Shaw died at her home in Pennsylvania on July 2, 1919. A year after her death, the government finally accepted her life’s message and ratified the 19th Amendment, giving women the vote.

The following images are from MSS-0004 Collection on Anna Howard Shaw:

A Day in the Life…February 27, 2009

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Special Collections Receives NEH Preservation Assistance Grant

Hannah Scheiwe, '09, working in the rare books and archives storage area.

Hannah Scheiwe, '09, working in the rare books and archives storage area.

A Preservation Assistance Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities offers promise for the future of the Library’s special collections. The $6,000 award will underwrite a preservation survey of Special Collections, which includes the College archives and rare books collection, along with the archives of the West Michigan Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Albion College Special Collections consists of approximately 7575 volumes and 1726 linear feet of archival material. The archival collections associated with the United Methodist Church precede the division of the West Michigan and Detroit Conferences and, in some cases, even the founding of the College in 1835.  Important college archival collections include the Marvin J. Vann Collection of artifacts and moving and still pictures of the Lacandon Indians of Chiapas Mexico and the J Harlen Bretz Collection of maps and personal papers documenting his discovery of the origin of the Channeled Scablands. Both archives contain records, manuscripts, ephemera, photographs, scrapbooks, art and artifacts, textiles, furniture, slides, magnetic sound recordings, LPs, 16mm film, and video–all documenting the history of the College and the Methodist Church in Michigan from 1814 to the present.

The rare books collection contains a wide variety of items in the humanities, including: Americana; modern first editions of literature; historical and philosophical texts and papers in the sciences, mathematics, voyages and exploration; archeology; early 20th-century poetry; fine press books; and early American textbooks. Nearly 90% of the rare books collection covers the disciplines of theology, literature, and history, dating from the 15th to the early 20th century. Few small colleges have a collection that so broadly represents, through printed books, manuscripts, artifacts, and archival collections the history of printing and binding and the development of Western civilization and thought.

Our collections are used frequently by faculty, students, and staff of the College and the West Michigan Conference as well as by researchers from other institutions for exhibitions, student and faculty scholarship, institutional research, and publications, including books, articles, stage productions, and documentary films.

Mary Houghton measuring to create a protective enclosure for a rare book.

Mary Houghton measuring to create a protective enclosure for a rare book.

The survey that the NEH grant is funding will: (1) assess possible risks to collections from building- and environmentally-related problems; (2) address fire protection and security concerns; (3) evaluate institutional policies and procedures as they apply to preservation; (4) review the maintenance program of Special Collections in terms of shelf preparation, book repair, and commercial binding; (5) provide recommendations for improving storage and handling practices; and (6) review the general condition of paper-based collections.

The primary goal of the assessment will be to obtain recommendations and priorities for Special Collections that can be provided to Albion College’s Campus Master Plan Committee and the Library and Learning Commons Research Team as part the current campus strategic planning process. These two committees will be holding discussions regarding possible renovations and additions to our library buildings over the next year. Thus, it is critical to have this assessment information to ensure that the collections will be properly housed and cared for into the future. The secondary goal of this process is to (1) identify portions of the collections that are in need of further preservation assessment, and (2) review any current policies, procedures, or practices that are in danger of causing harm to the collections.

The grant will be applied towards a preservation consultant from the Northeast Document Conservation Center in Andover, Massachusetts, who will evaluate current environmental and storage conditions and any potential risks to the collections. The process will consist of a one-day site visit in March of this year and the creation of a detailed report, outlining recommendations for the future management, storage, handling, conservation, and exhibition of the archives and rare books collections.

We’ll be sure to keep you up to date as progress with the grant and NEDCC assessment continues, both here and in our Facebook group–become a member today!

A Day in the Life of Albion College – February 6, 2009

Friday, February 6th, 2009

Judson D. CollinsThis week’s post is on target in terms of the publication date but a few days early regarding the subject matter. However, I wanted to celebrate the 186th anniversary of the birth of Judson Dwight Collins on February 12, 1823 in Rose, Wayne County, New York.

Collins graduated in the first class from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1845. He was an instructor at the Wesleyan Seminary at Albion (now Albion College) from 1845-1846. While an instructor at Albion, Collins taught courses in Latin, Greek, chemistry, botany, and rhetoric. He also served as a Sunday school teacher for the local Methodist church and conducted research in anatomy and Hebrew.

Collins is most important to Albion College and to the Methodist Church because he was the first Methodist missionary to China, along with Dr. Rev. Moses C. White in the spring of 1847. Unfortunately, Collins’ short tenure in China was fraught with many obstacles, including his inability to learn the language, the strong Chinese sentiment against foreigners, and finally an illness that required him to return home to Michigan in 1851. He later died at his parents home in May of 1852, never having regained his health.

In honor of Collins and his mission, a stone monument on the quad was inscribed with his name, as well as that of the first principal of the Seminary, Charles F. Stockwell, and first president of Albion College, Clark T. Hinman. Upon the north side of the square obelisk was inscribed,

In memory of Judson D. Collins, A.M., First Missionary of the Methodist Episcopal Church to the Empire of China. Died May 25th, 1852. ‘Go ye into the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.’ -Christ-

In his 1852 address to the University of Michigan’s Union Missionary Society of Inquiry, Rev. C.T. Hinman praised Collins’ missionary spirit, calling him a “martyr for China and for man.” In the 1930s, Alumni Secretary W.B. Buck attempted to find out what had happened to the obelisk. His final impression was the monument had been removed either by choice because “it suggested a cemetery rather than a campus” or that it had been vandalized and broken and had to be removed. It was believed that the names of Stockwell, Collins, and Hinman were transferred to a wall in the Chapel (now Dickie Hall).

In 2001, an exhibit was held by Special Collections, in conjunction with International Week, that highlighted Albion’s Methodist connection to China and Judson Collins’ role in it. Some of the materials from that exhibit are still available online at <>.

Below are additional materials regarding Collins and the monument to him that were not included in the 2001 exhibit or the online overview. Click on the thumbnail for a larger view of the image or a pdf file. You will need Adobe Reader to view the pdfs.

Tehilim, owned by Judson D. Collins

Tehilim, owned by Judson D. Collins

R.D.S. Tyler & Co., Publishers.

Excerpts from Pilcher, Elijah H. (1878). Protestantism in Michigan. Detroit: R.D.S. Tyler & Co., Publishers.

Dryden, Mrs. S.H. (1850, October). Burial of Judson. Western Christian Advocate.

Dryden, Mrs. S.H. (1850, October). Burial of Judson. Western Christian Advocate.

Correspondence between W.B. Buck, Alumni Secretary, and Alumni Elvin Swarthout and Carmi Smith regarding the fate of the Collins monument (1934, February)

Correspondence between W.B. Buck, Alumni Secretary, and Alumni Elvin Swarthout and Carmi Smith regarding the fate of the Collins monument (1934, February)

Scott, Clifton W. (1934, December 13). Judson Collins--Sainted Hero. Michigan Christian Advocate.

Scott, Clifton W. (1934, December 13). Judson Collins--Sainted Hero. Michigan Christian Advocate.

Galloway, Nina B. (1941, July 10). A Visit to the Michigan Grave of Our First Missionary to China. Michigan Christian Advocate, p6.

Galloway, Nina B. (1941, July 10). A Visit to the Michigan Grave of Our First Missionary to China. Michigan Christian Advocate, p6.

Eva, Sidney D. (1947, February 20-March 13). Judson Dwight Collins--Missionary from Michigan. Michigan Christian Advocate.

Eva, Sidney D. (1947, February 20-March 13). Judson Dwight Collins--Missionary from Michigan. Michigan Christian Advocate.

Pellowe, William C.S. (1959). The Beginnings of Methodism in Michigan 1804-1856. Reprint. The Historical Society of the Detroit Annual Conference.

Excerpt from Pellowe, William C.S. (1959). The Beginnings of Methodism in Michigan 1804-1856. Reprint. The Historical Society of the Detroit Annual Conference.

The First Notable Family in Michigan Methodism. Detroit Conference Historical Messenger, pp3-5.

Brunger, Ron. (1985, November). The Collins Family: The First Notable Family in Michigan Methodism. Detroit Conference Historical Messenger, pp3-5.

Brunger, Ronald A., Ed. (1987). Judson Collins--140th Anniversary. The Detroit Conference Historical Messenger.

Brunger, Ronald A., Ed. (1987). Judson Collins--140th Anniversary. The Detroit Conference Historical Messenger, pp1-2.

To view past issues of “A Day in the Life,” please go to <>.

A Day in the Life – January 22, 2009

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Not to make a detour from a somewhat established format, but it recently came to my attention that a former Special Collections student employee, Caitlin Moore, ’04, is doing some really wonderful work in the area of conservation. I wanted to feature her work and that of a few other former Special Collections’ students here in this issue of “A Day in the Life.” I hope it will provide you with a broader view of the type of work that is done in this field and show off the talents of some really exceptional people with whom I am proud to have worked!

Caitlin became interested in book and paper conservation when she fell into a job in Albion College Special Collections as a freshman, mending books for the library and making creative acid-free housings for our rare books and manuscripts. She became more engrossed in what she was doing as time passed and, after taking a book arts class her senior year, decided that her career would somehow have to involve books and conservation. Following her graduation from Albion, she took a month-long course in historical bookbinding; eventually travelling to England to study conservation work with a bookbinder. When she returned to the United States, she began searching for a conservation program. She started with the graduate program at the Iowa Center for the Book in the spring of 2006, where she focused on book and paper conservation and worked in the University’s Conservation Lab, under the tutelage of Gary Frost, a man whom the American Libraries Association calls “a role model for a generation of conservators and preservation librarians.”

Recovery Objects

Caitlin (right) and two of her co-workers unpack boxes of damaged items in the University of Iowa Conservation Lab's remote storage facility. They were careful to wear Tyvek suits and respirators in order to protect themselves from contaminants deposited on the objects during the Iowa floods in June of 2008. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Moore.

“I never thought that two years later I would be involved in the aftermath of a natural disaster,” Caitlin stated. She was offered a position with the Conservation Lab doing collections recovery for local museums and historical societies that suffered damage during the Iowa floods in June of 2008, when heavy snow fall and spring rains caused an unprecedented 500 year flood of the Cedar River. Nine square miles of the city of Cedar Rapids were evacuated, and much of the surrounding area and that of Iowa City and Coralville were devastated by floods. The University of Iowa Libraries were prepared by floods that had occurred in 1993 and erected multiple barriers of sandbags and caisson levees in order to stem the crest of water that eventually rose 11 feet above all previously recorded levels; collections in the Libraries were relocated and evacuated with the help of student volunteers. Other Cedar Rapids institutions, including the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library and the African American Historical Museum and Cultural Center of Iowa, were not so lucky, and their collections were devastated by the floods. The Czech Museum and Library had flood water rise to the top of their shelves, eight feet. Their exhibits were completely destroyed. Many smaller archives and historical society collections were flooded as well.

Record Cleaning

The Lab's method for cleaning and drying damaged LPs. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Moore.

Much was damaged, including LPs, baskets, gourds, tools, sculptures, ledgers, newspapers, books, and too many artifacts to count. As Caitlin was trained solely in book and paper conservation, she had to receive training from objects conservators and other experts in the field of conservation so that she could work with this wide range of materials. In many cases, it was unknown what materials had been salvaged from the buildings until the mud was rinsed off in an outside triage area that was erected from a tent. Works of art were removed from their frames and sent to the State Historical Society of Iowa Conservation Lab for cleaning; textiles were left in the mud for a specialist to examine and determine the best course of treatment; wooden objects were set aside for a wood conservator; books and documents were packed and shipped off for freeze-drying, a process that removes water by changing it directly from a solid to a gas, avoiding the expansion, buckling, sticking, and wicking that usually occurs with water-sensitive and soluble media; and all other items were set aside and dried as best as possible, packed, and sent to the University of Iowa Conservation Lab for treatment.

Recovery Objects

Caitlin Moore, lab technician at the University of Iowa Conservation Lab, works on a feather fan from the African American Museum and Cultural Center that was damaged during the June 2008 flood of Cedar Rapids. Photo courtesy of Caitlin Moore.

You can read more about Caitlin’s work and that of her colleagues at the University of Iowa Conservation Lab in the December 30, 2008 issue of the Des Moines Register and the January 6, 2009 edition of the Press-Citizen. Caitlin also writes for the Lab’s blog, Preservation Beat, which records their flood recovery efforts.

French Posters

This Web page is the result of a project by Ben at the History, Philosophy, and Newspaper Library at the University of Illinois, where he scanned French WWI posters, entered them into a database, and created the appropriate metadata (or indexing).

Amanda Keep, ’07, held the book mending position in Special Collections for two years. She is currently studying Textile Design at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and works in their library doing much the same work she did at Albion. “Learning bookmending and enclosure construction in Albion’s archives and special collections gave me a definite advantage when seeking work after graduation. I was hired on the spot for a similar part-time position at the RISD’s library based solely on my past experience.”

Julie Pepera, ’03, worked in Special Collections during her senior year at Albion. She went on to obtain a master of science degree in information/archives and records management at the University of Michigan School of Information in 2006. Her professional life so far has consisted of working at the National Museum of American History, the Bentley Historical Library, the Henry Ford Museum and Benson Ford Research Center, the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, the Zahnow Library at Saginaw Valley State University, and JStor. Julie currently works as a Customer Training Consultant for Gale Cengage Learning and trains librarians and faculty on how to use Gale research databases.

Julie Pepera

While working at the National Museum of American History, Julie began a pilot project to reformat selected finding aids into a new template that would be compliant with DACS (Describing Archives a Content Standard), which is the U.S. implementation of international standards for the description of archival collections and their creators across material types. Photo courtesy of Julie Pepera.

While it is rare, occasionally students come to work at Special Collections with prior experience in archives. Trenton Ross, ’08, spent his last semester at Albion working in Special Collections, having previously worked at the Palestine Exploration Fund in Marylbone, London as part of an off-campus study program. The PEF promotes historical and archeological research in the Levant, while maintaining an impressive library of material concerning Palestine and the surrounding areas. Trent is now applying to graduate schools and hopes to start an archival program in the fall of 2009.

Map from early 1650s

Trent was able to work with an extensive map collection created through a survey commissioned by the PEF and conducted by Lt. H.H. Kitchener (later Lord Kitchener of WWI reknown) and Claude Conder. He ensured that the maps, such as this one from the 1650s, were catalogued, conserved, and stored properly. Photo courtesy of Trenton Ross.

A former student supervisor for Special Collections, Rosemary Beyer, ’03, used her experience mending books and processing archival collections to set up an archives for the office of an entertainment lawyer with a vast collection of memorabilia. Whenever she sees archival and rare material now, she wonders “are they using [ultraviolet] lining on their windows, did they write in pencil, etc.”

Erika also helped me to create Special Collections' fall 2008 exhibit, "The Changing Face of Campus: Building Makeovers and Misfortunes." The exhibit spanned seven display cases on the second and third floors of the Mudd Learning Center and incorporated a number of digital copies of original photographs, newspaper articles, diagrams, artifacts, and ephemera from the College Archives' collections. Erika did the majority of the research, item selection, and photograph digitization for the exhibition. Photo courtesy of Michelle Gerry.

Erika Winter, ’07, worked in Special Collections both her senior year and this past summer in order to gain further experience in the archives field for her graduate school applications. She processed collections, intellectually and physically organizing them and creating finding aids; answered reference requests; and learned book mending techniques. Erika is currently pursuing a master’s degree in public history at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA and began an internship at the Heinz History Center on January 7, 2009. Of how Albion has affected her experiences at Duquesne, Erika said, “One of my first classes was Archival Studies, and one of the major course objectives was to create a finding aid for a collection. Since I had the experiences I did at Albion, I felt confident about the project as well as participating in class.”

Obviously, a variety of experiences are to be had in Special Collections, including everything from basic filing and data entry to the conservation of damaged library and rare books; the preservation of archival collection materials; the processing and description of archival collections; exhibit design and development; photograph, document, and rare books digitization; reference assistance; and audiovisual reformatting. In many cases, a single project will involve all of these things, which individually require a different level of training, practice, perseverance, and attention to detail.

We will have our first intern in Special Collections for the spring 2009 semester, Albion College senior Erin Powell, who is currently applying to graduate school programs for archives study. Erin will be implementing a new processing method in the West Michigan Conference Archives of the United Methodist Church that is meant to reduce the amount of time spent describing archival collections. It will be great to see how the project turns out and whether or not it can assist us in describing our backlog across all of Special Collections. It is gratifying to know that so many of our students are inspired by the work they do here and that it can help them to succeed in the “real world.” I hope Erin will have an equally good experience with us this spring and be able to use what she learns to her advantage as she moves on from Albion. Io triumphe!

A Day in the Life – December 12, 2008

Friday, December 12th, 2008

This edition of “A Day in the Life” includes images from winter holidays past–dressing up as Santa Claus, putting up the Christmas tree, making snowmen, going to holiday concerts, hanging out with friends, drinking eggnog, opening gifts, and reading special editions of the Pleiad. The images used here are from a variety of sources, including the Pleiad and the College Archives’ photograph collection, as well as scrapbooks from deceased alumni, Frederick Goodrich and Glennie Weston, and others documenting Dean Hall and the Music Department.

Our scrapbook collection is unique in that, many times, the images found here cannot be located anywhere else in the College Archives’ collections. Scrapbooks also provide context for the images and other items included within that one doesn’t find in a singular photograph, for instance–the combination of items sometimes speaks volumes. The amalgamation of physical objects in a scrapbook carries, in addition to mere information, evidence of the use of the objects, through wear and stains and notes written in the margins; as well as evidence of the creator’s thought processes and the culture and fashion of the time implied by color choices, fonts, and stylized drawings.

Unfortunately, due to the acidic paper and glues used in creating scrapbooks and the many different types of materials that are usually used in scrapbooks (everything from leather, dried flowers, felt, human hair, cloth, metal, and photographs to different types of paper documents), they are some of the most fragile items in our collections. They are difficult to provide physical access to because they are so brittle and because many of the items inside have become detached over the years. Scrapbooks are also equally difficult to digitize, due to their large size, in order to reduce handling of the originals. For these purposes, however, we scanned parts of pages in order to provide a peek into this thorny part of the archival world.

If you recognize any of the individuals in the unidentified photographs or have Albion memories of your own that you want to share or donate to the College Archives, please let me know!

Pleiad Christmas 1914

Pleiad December 13,1928