Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Roast of another Kind -- Congratulations Graduates!

Among the 900 students to graduate on December 15th, 2007, one of them just happens to be legendary Crimson Tide and NFL football star Joe Namath. Congratulations to you Joe, and to all of the UA graduates!

Joe Namath first came to The University of Alabama as a student in the early 1960s, and went on to an incredible career that included and transcends professional football. He is a true celebrity -- beloved on this campus and all over the world.

The image featured here is held at the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, and is from a Dean Martin Celebrity Roast from the 1970s. He is pictured with legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, and host Dean Martin. It is a great example of the Hoole Library's ongoing efforts to document University of Alabama history and culture -- from the classroom, to the gridiron, to Hollywood and beyond.

The Hoole Library's photographs are growing and diverse collection of historic and contemporary photographs occupying approximately 150 linear feet. Included are photographs of individuals, structures, and scenes from around Alabama, as well as of people, buildings, and events at The University of Alabama. The earliest photographic image of the University dates to 1859. The Hoole Library is home to an impressive collection of photographs of nearly every format and type including salted paper print; matte collodion; daguerreotype; tintype; cyanotypes; ambrotype; and albumen.

To access a growing digital resource of University photographs, something we're calling "The University of Alabama Encyclopedia" click here.

Congratulations again to UA grads! And remember, the best place in the world to better understand, document, and access the history of your soon-to-be alma mater is right on The University of Alabama campus! Roll Tide!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Need a break? Let your hair down with Hear Hair Here! Hairdos and Hair Don'ts from the Hoole Library's Sound Recording Collections

If the stress of final exams, papers, and the holidays have you down, and you want to take a little break -- please stop by the lobby of the Hoole Special Collections Library and see our exhibit, Hear Hair Here! Hair Do's and Hair Don't From the Hoole Library's Sound Recording Collections. Most of the records selected are from the Wade Hall Collection of Southern History and Culture and feature some amazing, gravity-defying looks that will brighten your day! The Hoole Library is open M-F 8 am to 5 pm, with Thursday evening hours until 9 p m.

I’ll pray for you [sound recording] / The Liberty Sounds.
Central City, Ky. : Cardinal, [196-?]
1 sound disc : 33 1/3 rpm, stereo. ; 12 in.
Wade Hall Sound Recordings | LP 9514

Quiet fire [sound recording] / Roberta Flack.
New York : Atlantic, 1971.
1 sound disc : 33 1/3 rpm, stereo. ; 12 in.
Wade Hall Sound Recordings | LP 13188

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Loujon Press -- It catches my Heart in my Hands by Bukowski

What you'll see at the lecture tonight in addition to a great talk and a cool documentary --

It catches my heart in my hands, by Charles Bukowski; new and selected poems, 1955-1963. Title: It catches my heart in my hands, by Charles Bukowski; new and selected poems, 1955-1963. Introduction by John William Corrington. Designed, edited & printed by Jon Edgar Webb and Louise Webb.

Publication Information: [New Orleans] Loujon Press [1963]
[4] 97 [4] p. illus. 26 cm. Gypsy Lou series, no. 1
Illustrated by the author. "First printing, October 1963." Edition limited to 777 copies, hand printed and hand bound on Linweave Spectra paper of various colors and widths, and signed by the author. "Errata": p. [99]. Two inserts : one by Jon & Louise Webb, one by author. Libraries copy signed by author.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Exhibit Mashup No. 1: Dickens meets Goetzel meets the WPA

A new exhibit will be on display in the lobby of the Hoole Library beginning next week, which features some incredible little artifacts in our collections. These figurines were created as part of the WPA-funded project, the Alabama Visual Education Program.

The Alabama Visual Education Project came out of cooperation between The State Department of Education and the Visual Education Project of the Work Projects Administration. It provided a way for public schools in Alabama to purchase high quality visual aids for education purposes at a low cost. Some of these items are now housed in the Hoole Special Collections Library, including a catalog from 1940 listing items which were available for purchase by Alabama public schools. Also included in the collection are the instructional books Flags, Seals, and Coat of Arms of Alabama published in 1939 and History of Western Costume: prehistoric through nineteenth century, published in the 1930’s and featuring 114 full color plates with detailed descriptions.

We have chosen to exhibit this set of beautifully carved and painted wooden figures depicting characters from Charles Dickens novels. It is understood that decades ago, this set was used for teaching/visual aids by UA's English Department. Also created was a set of Shakespeare figures and Chaucer figures, but only two of the other figures are part of the Hoole Collections.

These tiny figures taken from Charles Dickens' novels and the hand-made wooden storage boxes are compelling and unique items to behold. The Hoole Library also holds a scale model of Shakespeare's Globe Theater, which was created as part of this project.

This exhibit features just the Dickens characters, as well as some of
Dickens' works housed at the Hoole Library, as well as images from these books -- of course featuring his compelling and classic Victorian morality tale, A Christmas Carol.

The most important volume from our collections exhibited is an 1863 edition of Great Expectations printed by Goetzel in Mobile in 1863. This confederate imprint, though rebound at some point long ago in a library binding is an important piece of Alabama history. Please stop by and see this unique convergence of Victorian London, Confederate-era Mobile, and Depression-era Tuscaloosa. This exhibit was developed largely by Amy Allen, SLIS graduate assistant, working with Jessica Lacher-Feldman.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Bohemian New Orleans: The Story of the Outsider and Loujon Press

On Tuesday, December 4 at 7 pm in Gorgas Library room 205 Dr. Jeff Weddle, Assistant Professor, School of Library and Information Studies will talk about his new book, and screen a documentary film –Bohemian New Orleans: The Story of the Outsider and Loujon Press (University of Mississippi Press, 2007) .

The event will begin with a lecture on the on small press/little magazine history and how Loujon fits into all of it, and will do a brief reading from the book. We will also have on exhibit original Loujon Press titles including this copy of the Outsider 4-5, which features a photograph of poet and novelist Kenneth Patchen in a body cast. These materials are part of the Book Arts Collections held at the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library.

Following Weddle's talk, there will be a brief intermission, then a screening of the fascinating documentary, The Outsiders of New Orleans: Loujon Press, directed by Wayne Ewing and co-produced by Weddle. The film premiered on November 11th at the Denver Film Festival. More information is available at

In 1960, Jon Edgar and Louise "Gypsy Lou" Webb founded Loujon Press on Royal Street in New Orleans's French Quarter. The small publishing house quickly became a giant. Heralded by the Village Voice and the New York Times as one of the best of its day, the Outsider, the press's literary review, featured, among others, Charles Bukowski, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Robert Creeley, Denise Levertov, and Walter Lowenfels. Loujon published books by Henry Miller and two early poetry collections by Bukowski. Bohemian New Orleans traces the development of this courageous imprint and examines its place within the small press revolution of the 1960s. Drawing on correspondence from many who were published in the Outsider, back issues of the Outsider, contemporary reviews, promotional materials, and interviews, Jeff Weddle shows how the press's mandarin insistence on production quality and its eclectic editorial taste made its work nonpareil among peers in the underground. Throughout, Bohemian New Orleans reveals the messy, complex, and vagabond spirit of a lost literary age.

Jeff Weddle holds a PhD in Communications from the University of Tennessee and has a broad range of interests and expertise. This talk and film are not to be missed! The flier for the event is available for download at

This event is co-sponsored by UA Libraries, the Program in Creative Writing, and the generous support of Lakey and Susan Tolbert.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Congratulations Harper Lee!

A very special congratulations to beloved native daughter, University of Alabama alum, and friend to the UA Libraries, Nelle Harper Lee. On November 5, 2007, Ms. Lee was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award. The image here is from a January 2006 NY Times article by Ginia Bellafante on the To Kill a Mockingbird High School Essay Contest sponsored by UA's Honors College. The photograph was taken in the lobby of the Hoole Library (and features my arm along with Ms. Lee's visage!). Note the Tiffany stained glass window in the background. (photo by Dana Mixer for the NY Times -

Ms. Lee was honored along with Gary S. Becker, an economist and 1992 Nobel Prize winner; Oscar Elías Bisce, a human rights advocate imprisoned in Cuba; Francis S. Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute; Benjamin L. Hooks, former executive director of the NAACP; Illinois Republican Henry J. Hyde; and President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, first woman elected president of an African nation.

Ms. Lee attended The University of Alabama from 1945-1949. Her novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, received the Pulitzer Prize in 1960 and it continues to captivate the minds and hearts of people all over the world. Several editions of To Kill a Mockingbird are of course included in the Hoole Library's Alabama Collection.

UA Professor to speak on her book, which examines the role of ‘mammy’ in modern American Politics and Culture.

On Tuesday, November 27, 2007 at 4:30 pm, Dr. Micki McElya, Assistant Professor of American Studies at The University of Alabama will discuss her new book, Clinging to Mammy: The Faithful Slave in Twentieth-Century America (Harvard University Press, 2007). The event will be held in the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, on the 2nd floor of Mary Harmon Bryant Hall, 500 Hackberry Lane, on The University of Alabama campus. The talk will begin at about 4:45 pm in the Hoole Library reading room, followed by a reception and book signing in the lobby of the Hoole Library.

McElya’s powerful and beautifully written book examines the far-reaching image of the nurturing, faithful enslaved woman and her hold on the American imagination. McElya exposes the power of the myth of ‘mammy’, an omnipresent figure in popular culture -- from film, song and literature, to advertising and our grocery store shelves, as well as in national monument proposals, child custody cases, white women’s minstrelsy, activism, anti-lynching campaigns and the Civil Rights movement . These images have existed and persisted from the era of the Civil War to today. It is through her carefully researched and thought provoking narrative that McElya argues, “if we are to reckon with the continuing legacy of slavery in the United States, we must confront the depths of our desire for mammy and recognize its full racial implications.”

Scott Sandage, author of Born Losers: A History of Failure in America says, “McElya shows vividly how ‘mammy’ serves as a perfect archetype for analyzing cultural politics of race and gender and how they changed. She gives us parlor theatrics, courtroom drama, legislative debate and movement politics. This is a wonderfully expansive book.”

A small exhibition of materials that illuminate aspects of McElya's book, will be on display in the Hoole Library, curated by Portia Barker, graduate student in American Studies and intern at the Hoole Library, along with Mary Keeley McAllister, undergraduate student assistant who is majoring in Visual Journalism with a minor in American Studies. Jessica Lacher-Feldman is overseeing the exhibit project. Most of the materials for this exhibit are from the Wade Hall Collection of Southern History and Culture.

Dr. McElya will refer to the exhibit in her talk. This event is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Jessica Lacher-Feldman at or at 205.348.0500. This event is sponsored by UA Libraries, and in part by the generous support of Dr. Lakey and Susan Tolbert.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Dreams of Africa in Alabama -- Two Upcoming Lectures with Dr. Sylviane Diouf 11/12 and 11/13

The UA Libraries is co-sponsoring a visit with Dr. Sylviane Diouf, curator at the Schomburg Center for Black Culture in New York, and author of Dreams of Africa in Alabama: The Slave Ship Clotilda and the Story of the Last Africans Brought to America (Oxford University Press, 2007). Dr. Diouf will be in Tuscaloosa for two talks -- the first on Monday 11/12 at 11 am in Gorgas Library room 205 where she will discuss and present a slide show on African Muslims in the Americas. This talk is based on her work, Servants of Allah: African Muslims Enslaved in the Americas (NYU Press, 1999). It was named 1999 Outstanding Academic Book by the American Library Association.

Her second talk and book signing (Tuesday 11/13 @ 4 pm in Gorgas 205) is for her newest work, Dreams of Africa in Alabama which was just named co‐winner of the 2007 Wesley‐Logan prize in African Diaspora History of the American Historical Association. She will sign copies of her works after the talk and there will be a reception.

Dreams of Africa in Alabama is available at the Hoole Library as part of the Hoole Library's Alabama Collection, long recognized as the premiere collection of Alabama materials in the world. The collection strives to be a comprehensive collection of all books by Alabamians, about Alabama, and/or published in the state of Alabama. These materials document the unique cultural and historical experience of Alabama.

Both events are of course free and open to the public! Co-sponsors of Dr. Diouf's visit include: UA Libraries, New College, American Studies, African-American Studies, The Summersell Center for the Study of the South, Modern Languages and Classics, and Religious Studies and the generous support of Lakey and Susan Tolbert.

Please join us!!

Monday, October 29, 2007

From the vaults -- past events and exhibits at Hoole

This time of year brings to mind some cool film screenings we did in 2001, 2002, and 2003 at the Bama Theater in downtown Tuscaloosa right around Halloween.

In 2001, we screened the 1956 film The Bad Seed, which was based on the creepy novel by William March -- whose papers are at Hoole! In 2002, we screened the 1967 film, In Cold Blood, which was based on Truman Capote's stellar book on a quadruple homicide in rural Kansas -- which he researched with his childhood friend and fellow Monroeville, Alabamian, Harper Lee. In 2003, we screened the 1955 semidocumentary film, The Phenix City Story, which was shot in Phenix City not long after the crime took place that was the subject of the film. All three films were introduced by scholars from UA and beyond that added an interesting and unique perspective to the film itself. To read about the events and exhibits that the Hoole Library has done in the past several years, visit

And tune in next year... it may be time again for another cool and creepy film event!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Corolla Digital Initative

Imagine over 100 years of The University of Alabama's yearbook, the Corolla, fully searchable and accessible with the click of a mouse! The UA Libraries have launched a project that will do just that --the Corolla Digital Initiative. Yearbooks are a source of history, humor and nostalgia, and are used by scholars interested in the history and culture of higher education.

We are using this as an opportunity to allow alums, groups of alums, individuals, and others interested in the project to sponsor the digitization of a Corolla in honor of a family member or friend, or just because! For more information about the project visit the Corolla Digital Initiative page, and to see what we've done so far, click here. To sponsor a Corolla, contact Jody DeRidder at or 205.348.0511.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

October is Archives Month!

Celebrate Archives Month in Alabama! Alabama has joined in the nationwide celebration of Archives Month. The poster was designed by Jessica Lacher-Feldman using images from several repositories statewide. To download a pdf of the official Alabama Archives Month poster, visit the Society of Alabama Archivists (SALA) website at and visit the section on Archives month for more information, including a statewide calendar of events. The Society of Alabama Archivists' annual meeting is also held in October and will take place next week, October 25-26 at Troy University Dothan in Dothan, Alabama.

Hear Hair Here! Hairdos and Hair Don'ts from the Hoole Library's Sound Recording Collections

Please visit the Hoole Library and check out some of the biggest and wildest hair in the music industry. We were looking for a little levity, and found some in the incredible album covers in our collections. Most of the covers come from the Wade Hall Sound recording collections, and others from the Ed Hall collection (no relation!). The most difficult part was selecting from the thousands of sound recordings we hold at the library. Among the categories featured are "The Pantheon", "Just for Men", and "The Higher the Hair, the closer to God". The exhibit will be in the Hoole Library lobby through the Fall 2007 semester.

Welcome to What's Cool @ Hoole!

We hope that the Cool@Hoole blog will serve to several purposes -- to show off and highlight new items, to tie into exciting events, exhibits, happenings, initiatives, and news about the library, and to serve as a venue and forum for questions and to build a greater understanding of the who, what, when, where, and why of the special collections library!

Here is a detail of the Tiffany stained glass window you will see upon entering our library. It was installed permanently in our building, Mary Harmon Bryant Hall, in 1993. Donated by the Alabama UDC in 1926, it is a signed Tiffany window featuring several elements that Tiffany developed including confetti glass (as seen in the hydrangeas behind the knight). An excellent article on the window was published by Alabama Heritage.