Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Of birthdays, Campus Humor Magazines, and the Pulitzer Prize!

One of the most beloved Alabamians and University of Alabama alums has a birthday this week - Happy Birthday, Harper Lee! And it was 47 years ago this week that she received quite a birthday present -- the Pulitzer Prize in Letters for her novel (and one of the most read and beloved books of the 20th century), To Kill a Mockingbird.

What many people don't know about Ms. Lee is that she got her literary start right on The University of Alabama campus as a columnist and editor. In 1946, she served as the editor of The University of Alabama's humor magazine, Rammer Jammer. The UA Libraries have started to digitize the Rammer Jammer , with some of the earliest issues available here with more to come!

The images featured here are from three of the major University of Alabama student publications -- an article from the Crimson White ("Little Nelle" Heads Ram, Maps Lee's Strategy") which appeared in the October 8, 1946 edition; a page from the 1947 yearbook, the Corolla (which are also being digitized as part of the Corolla Digital Initiative -- did you know that you can sponsor a Corolla and make it available online! ); and Rammer Jammer, the UA humor magazine which was published from the mid-1920s through the mid-1960s -- it later
became known as Mahout.

All of these publications are housed at the Hoole Special Collections Library (of course!) and are very, very cool -- and now some of them are available online, which is also very cool indeed. But we all know who is the coolest -- and we wish her a very Happy Birthday!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Hamp@Hoole: Happy 100th Birthday to the Legendary Lionel Hampton

Lionel Hampton would have been 100 years old this week. He passed away in August of 2002 at the age of 94, a musical legend and performer for a remarkable eight decades.

Hampton was born on April 20, 1908 in Louisville, Kentucky. After his father was killed in World War I, Hampton and his mother moved to Birmingham, Alabama. They later moved north to Kenosha, Wisconsin, then to Chicago. His earliest musical experiences were in Birmingham, playing drums in a Holiness church. He started his professional musical career as a drummer, touring with bandleaders in the 1920s, then moving to Los Angeles in 1927.

Everything changed for Hampton in 1930, when during a recording session with Louis Armstrong. It was in this session that Hampton would first play the vibraphone -- the instrument he made legendary. When Armstrong asked him if he knew how to play, he said "yeah, I can play that" (based on his experience with a xylophone), and he recorded "Memories of You" on vibes with Armstrong.

Hampton went on to play in the 1930s with the Benny Goodman Orchestra, and soon after was recording under his own name for RCA Victor -- recording sessions with musicians like Dizzie Gillespie. In 1940 he assembled his own big band, with members including such legends as Dexter Gordon, Charles Mingus, and the legendary singer and Tuscaloosa, Alabama native, Dinah Washington. Though he is most widely known as a vibraphonist, he is often remembered for his wild drum performances. Most performances included him working the drums, vibes, singing, and playing piano.

Hampton's legend lives on as a dynamic band leader and vibraphonist -- and it is he that was responsible for making the vibraphone what it is today. And his passion for music and life is reflected in the legacy he left behind both in recordings, and in his good works in politics and in the community.

The W.S. Hoole Library's sound recordings include several by Lionel Hampton from the Wade Hall Sound Recordings. Images from a few of the albums are featured here.

Here's an early television recording of Hampton and his orchestra with his hit, "Flying Home".

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Exhibit! Mashup #2: Audubon meets T.P. Thompson meets the Elusive Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

Opening this week -- Audubon meets T.P. Thompson meets the Elusive Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, the second in what we're calling an "exhibit mashup" -- bringing together a few things in an interesting way.

This exhibit focuses on J.J. Audubon, the ornithologist and artist; T.P. Thompson, a book collector; and the ivory-billed woodpecker, a bird that was documented by Audubon and has recently been spotted and made international news.

The exhibit is inspired by the upcoming lecture and book signing on Thursday April 24th with UA professor, Dr. Michael Steinberg. Steinberg will discuss his new book, Stalking the Ghost Bird: The Elusive Ivory-Billed Woodpecker in Louisiana (LSU Press, 2008).

T.P. Thompson's books make up the foundation for the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library's Rare Books Collection. The library of over 10,000 items was purchased by The University of Alabama in 1938. Over four decades later, in the 1970s, the Hoole Library acquired the papers of T.P. Thompson. Thompson's papers provide great insight into his passionate hobby as a collector of books and other materials.

This exhibit includes maps and books from his collections as well as images and information that create an interesting portrait of the convergence of these two men and one very big and mysterious bird (Fact: Did you know that the ivory billed woodpecker stands about two feet tall and is the largest woodpecker in the United States!?).

One highlight of the exhibit is a portrait of Audubon, which has been purported to be the only self-portrait the artist ever did. This painting has been on display in the Hoole reading room for many years and has been moved to the lobby for this exhibit.

Another highlight of Thompson's collection and of the exhibit is an important association copy (a seven volume set) of the first octavo edition of Birds of America, published in 1839-1844 by the author & by J.B. Chevailier, Philadelphia. It is inscribed by Audubon and presented to his sister-in-law, Eliza Berthoud. (Image of Audubon's signature and inscription shown here).

T.P. Thompson's passion for collecting and his broad commitment to civic and charitable endeavors in New Orleans in the late 19th and early 20th century are very evident in his manuscript collection, and are touched upon in this exhibit as well. He gave freely of his time and his funds for a great many causes, but even more remarkably, he readily opened his home to researchers so that they may use his library.

“Any student who desires to refer to my books
is welcome, as I look upon myself rather as a custodian, than an owner. Good books, while seemingly frail, outlive many generations of proprietors.” - T.P. Thompson

He made a request in his will that upon his death, his books would be made accessible to Southern students. They are, and continue to be, at the Hoole Library.

(Image of Thompson's hand written catalog card for the royal octavo Birds of America shown here)

Mashup #2: Audubon meets T.P. Thompson meets the Elusive Ivory-Billed Woodpecker is on display in the lobby of the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library and opens today, April 16, 2008. The Hoole Library is open Monday-Friday from 8 am - 5 pm with Thursday evening hours until 9 pm.

Additional resource: It should be noted that The University of Pittsburgh Library has developed a great digital project that allows users to search for Audubon plates by keyword. That site is available at http://digital.library.pitt.edu/a/audubon/

Honey, for better or for worse, #1 Hit this week in 1968

Forty years ago this week, Alabama native son Bobby Goldsboro's song Honey (I Miss You) hit #1 on the Billboard Charts.

Honey holds a unique position in American popular music history as both a #1 hit (for five weeks, from April 13 - May 18, 1968) and, according to a 2006 CNN list, named "The Worst Song of All Time". Despite that dubious honor, Honey was covered by a long list of performers including: Ed Ames, Eddy Arnold, Percy Faith, David Houston, John D. Loudermilk, Roger Miller, Jimmy C. Newman, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap, Tammy Wynette, Leon Ashley (Mental Journey, Jack Greene, Hank Snow, Lynn Anderson, Orion, Jim Nabors, Roger Whittaker, Sil Austin, Billy Joe Winghead, Lawrence Welk, Dean Martin, and Hana Zagorova.

Bobby Goldsboro was born Marianna, Florida and grew up in Dothan, Alabama. He also attended Auburn University before leaving to begin a music career. Goldsboro is still performing writing music. He is also featured in the "Homegrown in Alabama" section of our exhibit, Hear Hair Here! at the Hoole Library.

Watch a performance of Honey here:

Monday, April 14, 2008

Libraries Lecture Series: The Warrior Image with Andrew Huebner

Please join us tomorrow, Tuesday April 15 at 4 pm Gorgas 205 for:

The Warrior Image, Soldiers in American Culture from the Second World War to the Vietnam Era (UNC Press 2007) with Dr. Andrew Huebner, UA Assistant Professor of History [Download the flier here]

A reception and signing will follow his lecture and presentation. This event is sponsored by UA Libraries with the generous support of Dr. Lakey and Susan Tolbert. Please join us!

About the book: Images of war saturated American culture between the 1940s and the 1970s, as U.S. troops marched off to battle in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Exploring representations of servicemen in the popular press, government propaganda, museum exhibits, literature, film, and television, Andrew Huebner traces the evolution of a storied American icon--the combat soldier.

Huebner challenges the pervasive assumption that Vietnam brought drastic changes in portrayals of the American warrior, with the jaded serviceman of the 1960s and 1970s shown in stark contrast to the patriotic citizen-soldier of World War II. In fact, Huebner shows, cracks began to appear in sentimental images of the military late in World War II and were particularly apparent during the Korean conflict. Journalists, filmmakers, novelists, and poets increasingly portrayed the steep costs of combat, depicting soldiers who were harmed rather than hardened by war, isolated from rather than supported by their military leadership and American society. Across all three wars, Huebner argues, the warrior image conveyed a growing cynicism about armed conflict, the federal government, and Cold War militarization.

The Hoole Library's Wade Hall Photograph Collection holds an important subset of photographs of American soldiers and military personnel. Most of these photographs are snapshots and studio portraits created for personal use and date from the Civil War era through the first Gulf War.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A-Day 2008: UA Athletics and Terry Saban help raise funds for University Libraries

This cool image from 1968 Corolla - the '68 Corolla is available online as part of UA Libraries' Digital Collections (and part of the Corolla Digital Initiative and of course analog versions of all Corollas are available at the Hoole Library

Celebrate A-Day and give to a great cause! UA Athletics and Coach Saban's wife, Terry will help raise funds in order benefit academics for all UA students by taking donations for the University Libraries at the A-Day Game tomorrow, Saturday April 12, 2008. Terry Saban, UA students, faculty, staff, and student-athletes, including members of the UA men’s basketball team, will be collecting donations for the University Libraries at each gate at Bryant-Denny Stadium and in the Walk of Champions area before the A-Day Game and inside the stadium throughout the first half. Volunteers collecting donations will be wearing green shirts with the message “Athletics & Academics Support UA Libraries” printed on them.

“By helping raise money for the Libraries we are helping the entire University,” said Mal Moore, director of UA Intercollegiate Athletics. “Our Libraries must remain in the forefront with new resources and services and 21st-century technology,” said Terry Saban, wife of UA head football coach Nick Saban. “The University’s libraries provide critical services and resources that our students need to excel academically. We want our libraries to be just as good and nationally recognized as our athletic programs.”

“The money raised for the University Libraries on A-Day will be invested solely in what we know students need,” said Louis A. Pitschmann, dean of UA Libraries. “Although the Libraries continue to invest heavily in books, we need to acquire more and also to provide students with the online databases they need to remain competitive academically. Students at the Capstone are using libraries more than ever before, more than 1.3 million times last year.”

On A-Day, donations can also be made at the Bruno, McLure, Rodgers and Gorgas Libraries. Donations will be accepted in cash and check form. Donors who wish to give via credit card can go online to participate at www.lib.ua.edu , then must click on the “Make a Gift” link. For more information, contact Cheryl Altemara at 205-348-1416 or caltemar@ua.edu.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Collaborative Architecture Exhibit: Dwelling in the House of the Lord

A new offsite exhibit, Dwelling in the House of the Lord: Spirituality and Space in Tuscaloosa County was developed by Sarah Murchison Campbell, a graduate student in the Department of History. The exhibit project is a joint project of the Summersell Center for the Study of the South and the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library. Working with professors Kari Frederickson and Jessica Lacher-Feldman, Sarah Murchison Campbell's exhibit explores some of the most prevalent architectural styles in the Tuscaloosa area. This exhibit will be on display during the Race & Place conference to be held on April 11-12 in the AIME Building on The University of Alabama campus. The exhibit will be displayed in Gorgas Library following the conference. The Hoole Library holds a great deal of material relating to local and regional church history including published congregational histories, archival collections from local churches and church groups, and photographs and other materials from local churches and other religious organizations.

Sarah's introductory exhibit label explains her research goal for this exhibit:

"Architectural structures stand as valuable historical sources. The architectural language of those structures illuminates the nature, values, and personalities of a region as profoundly as any statistic or human voice. Whether expressed in courthouses, schools, houses of worship, city halls, libraries, or houses, the architectural language of buildings both shapes and reflects the organization, character and caliber of the communities in which they come to life. In a region historically distinguished by the persistence of a deep strain of Christian evangelical Protestantism, church buildings in particular have made a significant contribution to the South’s architectural identity.

The exhibit documents and interprets four major architectural styles embodied in Tuscaloosa County churches. The goal of the exhibit is to illuminate the important role church architecture plays in our community’s built environment. Though the architectural subjects chosen for this analysis represent a diverse body of denominational and congregational cultures and create a colorful portfolio of architectural styles, the project seeks to determine through visual and historical analysis whether there is a common language regarding “what is church?” By examining the ways in which each religious structure depicted uses, manipulates, or avoids altogether the traditional architectural concepts of place, form, light, space, movement, materials, scale, and beauty, this analysis seeks to reach a more nuanced understanding of how and why church buildings speak in the language that they do. What makes a church a church in the eyes of the building’s architect, its congregation, and sightseers and church shoppers passing by? How do church buildings define the space around it? Is structural functionality more important than aesthetic delight? Is the architectural composition and design of a church a reflection of the body of believers worshipping inside its walls? How do churches affect what our community looks like and how it operates?"

Friday, April 4, 2008

Recognizing Peace and Remembering the Peacemaker: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Please join us in remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose life was taken forty years ago today. This letter was sent by Dr. King in recognition of Burford Boone's receiving the 1957 Pulitzer Prize "for his fearless and reasoned editorials in a community inflamed by a segregation issue, an outstanding example of his work being the editorial entitled, 'What a Price for Peace,' published on February 7,1956" in the Tuscaloosa News.

Dr. King's poignant personal note echoes his message and legacy as a champion of human rights, of justice and equality, and as an inspirational unifying force for Peace.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

(Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert Du Motier) Lafayette wuz Here 4/3/25

It was on April 3, 1825, during his tour of the United States that French general and Revolutionary War hero the Marquis de Lafayette was entertained at Montgomery with great fanfare -- so much fanfare, in fact that Governor Israel Pickens spared no expense for Lafayette's visit to Alabama. His visit actually expended more funds than existed in the state treasury! Lafayette also visited Cahaba and Mobile as part of his tour of the state of Alabama.

The Hoole Library's holdings in this area are not vast by any means, but there are a few interesting things that further illustrate the lavishness and significance of Lafayette's visit to the state of Alabama 183 years ago today!

Donated by Patrick Cather, Hoole a small collection of typescript copies of financial materials relating to Lafayette's visit in our manuscript collections. The bill of fare furnished by J.B. Houer included six hams, 8 roast turkeys, 6 roast pigs, 24 fowls, 12 ducks, 6 dishes roast beef, eight dishes mutton and kid with the necessary trimmings, and vegetables in proportion.... (one can only imagine the trimmings and vegetables needed to set off the array of meats listed)

Additional materials were donated by D.L. McCall, including research materials for an article he wrote on Lafayette's visit to Alabama in April 1825. The paper was subsequently published in Alabama Historical Quarterly, Vol. Seventeen, 1955. One letter, written by Governor Pickens to Lafayette expresses such unbridled excitement about the prospect of Lafayette visiting Alabama.

It reads, in part, "Never on any occasion in my life have enjoyed so valued an honor that now afforded me of being the medium of communicating to you the cordial sentiments of my fellow citizens. Although this new state has only within a very few years been admitted to the American family of republics (Alabama became the 22nd state on December 14, 1819!) and but recently indeed has the territory it occupies emerged from a wilderness; yet its inhabitants are the immediate descendants of your companions in their great first struggle for liberty and they are not insensible that most of the soil they inhabit and the valued privileges they enjoy from a portion of the patrimonial inheritance then achieved. And altho our infant institutions have not sufficiently matured to promise you that animating display of the monuments of the arts, which you have witnessed with gratification in some of our elder sister States; Yet of one truth I assure you that nowhere will the veteran friend of liberty and of man, receive a more cordial and united welcome."

The Hoole Rare Book Collection also holds the twelve volume set, Mémoires, correspondance, et manuscrits du général Lafayette, published in Brussels in 1837-1839. This set was originally part of the T.P. Thompson library, which is the foundation for the Hoole Rare Book Collections.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Tonight at Hoole: The Gladney Lecture for Justice and Social Change with the Rev. Dr. Dorsey Odell Blake

Please join at the W.S. Hoole Special Collections Library, 2nd Floor Mary Harmon Bryant Hall at 7:30 this evening, Wednesday, April 2nd for the 2008 The Rose Gladney Lecture for Justice and Social Change with Rev. Dr. Dorsey Odell Blake.

Rev. Dr. Blake's lecture is entitled "40 Years after King: Wilderness or Promised Land".

A copy of the flier for download is available here:

Rev. Blake was the first head of the African American Studies Program at the University of Alabama, and was the first full-time African-American Male faculty member (1972-1977 at UA). Dr. Dorsey Odell Blake is the Presiding Minister of The Church for The Fellowship of All Peoples in San Francisco, CA. Founded in 1944 during a time of local, national, and global tension and conflict, The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples is the nation's first interracial, interfaith congregation. Its mission, as articulated by co-founding pastors, Dr. Howard Thurman and Dr. Alfred Fisk, and visionary members, was to create a religious fellowship that transcended artificial barriers of race, nation, culture, gender, and social distinctions.

In establishing the context for the lecture series, Rose Gladney has written: "This great experiment in democratic governance which we call America draws strength from multiple human struggles to create not only a more physically comfortable life, but also a just and equitable society. I am fortunate to have grown into adulthood in the midst of the 20th century's greatest examples of such struggle: the African-American liberation movement, the women's liberation movement, and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender liberation movements—all symbols and symptoms of the larger human struggle for justice and social change." Dr. Rose Gladney is a retired UA Professor of American Studies. The Rose Gladney Lecture for Justice and Social Change was endowed in her honor.

The Gladney Lecture is co-sponsored by UA Libraries, American Studies, Honor's College, New College, Religious Studies, Women's Studies, African American Studies Program, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Diversity Committee of the College of Arts and Sciences.