Feed aggregator

ALL-STAR ARCHIVES

Smithsonian Collections - Mon, 07/14/2014 - 8:00am

Fifth Annual All-Star Game program, 1937.
Eleanor Linkous Washington, D.C. Sports Memorabilia
Collection, 1925-1956, Archives Center,
National Museum of American History

It has been 45 years since the city of Washington, D.C. hosted Major League Baseball’s annual mid-summer classic, the All-Star Game.  With a recently built stadium to show off, Washington fans want their turn.  Unfortunately, several other cities also want the All Star Game and some of them have new ballparks too, including Cincinnati (which will host in 2015), Philadelphia, Miami and San Diego.  It might be several years before Washington hosts, but I hope that the city’s 33 years without baseball will count for something to baseball’s selection committee, possibly as early as 2017.  Washington has hosted the All-Star Game four times, twice (1937 and 1956) at Griffith Stadium and twice (1962 and 1969) at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium.  The Archives Center is fortunate to have the programs from two of these games, those of 1937 and 1956.  They were donated to us by SI volunteer Eleanor Linkous.The 1937 program features President Franklin Roosevelt on the cover, throwing out the first pitch, a ceremonial baseball tradition begun by President Taft in 1910 on that season’s Opening Day.  1937’s All-Star game was the first attended by a president.
The game’s roster on both sides contained an impressive number of future Hall of Famers.  For the American League, this included both Joe DiMaggio and Lou Gehrig in one of the only two years their careers as Yankees overlapped.  Also in the game were Joe Cronin and Jimmie Foxx of the Red Sox, and Charlie Gehringer of the Tigers.  For the visiting National League, the list was just as impressive, including starting pitcher Dizzy Dean and Ducky Medwick of the Cardinals, Carl Hubbell and Mel Ott of the Giants, and Paul Waner and Arky Vaughan from the Pirates.  Ironically, even though the home town Washington Senators had three members of its team elected to the All Star Game, Yankee manager Joe McCarthy, who was managing the game for the American League, never put any of them in to play.  Instead, the game was dominated by his Yankees.  The American League won the game 8-3.Clark C. Griffith Memorial All-Star Game program.
Eleanor Linkous Washington, D.C. Sports Memorabilia
Collection, 1925-1956, Archives Center,
National Museum of American History. The 1956 program featured an image of “the Old Fox,” Clark Griffith, a former player and owner of the Senators, who had died the previous autumn.  The game was dedicated to him.  Only five years later, his son would relocate his beloved team to the Twin Cities.Like 19 years earlier, the 1956 All-Star Game was full of future Hall of Famers.  For the American League, there were sluggers Ted Williams of the Red Sox, Al Kaline of the Tigers, and Mickey Mantle of the Yankees.  The National League fielded a team that included Stan Musial from the Cardinals, Willie Mays of the Giants and Hank Aaron of the Braves.  Pitchers in the game included the Braves’ Warren Spahn for the National League and the Yankees’ Whitey Ford for the American League.  The result was quite different from that of the game 19 years earlier, when the Yankee sluggers had dominated.  This time it was the National League dominating, with help from home runs by Mays and Musial.  The final score was 7-3.  This year’s All-Star Game will, almost certainly, feature some future Hall of Famers.  It is fun to speculate which players on this year’s ballot will one day be enshrined in Cooperstown. Cathy Keen, Archivist
Archives Center, National Museum of American History

“Only YOU can prevent forest fires!” Smokey Bear Arrives at the National Zoo

Smithsonian Collections - Wed, 07/09/2014 - 8:00am
Statue of Smokey Bear in Smokey Bear Park in International Falls, Minnesota, sculpted by Gordon Shumaker, 1954, Smithsonian Art Inventories Catalog #IAS MN000034Sixty-four years ago, in June of 1950, a tiny singed bear cub arrived at the National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., having lost its mother and survived a forest fire in the Lincoln National Forest near Capitan, New Mexico.  Named Smokey Bear, he had been rescued and nursed back to health by Forest Service staff to become the living symbol of fire prevention.  Although most people believe Smokey Bear came into existence with the cub, he had actually been a fire prevention ad campaign for the Forest Service for six years prior to that. However it was the tiny cub, found clinging to a tree, who breathed life into the forest fire campaign and grew to be a nationally known symbol who taught generations of children to be careful while enjoying the national forests.

In television and radio ads, Smokey Bear admonished us, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires!” The Forest Service erected an exhibit outside his enclosure at the zoo and he was visited by thousands of families every year.  A popular jingle added the extra “the” in Smokey the Bear, but both are used interchangeably. He even had his own postage stamp.


Smokey Bear 20 cent postage stamp from 1984 shows Smokey the icon and Smokey the cub clinging to a burned tree.  National Postal Museum, #1985.0796.3181.Unfortunately, the original Smokey lacked the charisma one might want in such an icon, and was, indeed, a bit cranky and solitary.


The original Smokey Bear frolicking in a pool at the National Zoological Park in the 1950s, photograph by Francine Schroeder.  Smithsonian Institution Archives, negative #92-3559. But given his difficult early months, it was not surprising he was not the cheeriest of fellows.   He never produced off-spring with with mate, Goldie, and he was retired in May of 1975.

He was replaced with Smokey Bear II for the next fifteen years, but the exhibit was closed when Smokey II was retired. 

Smokey Bear II enjoying the honey and berries that are dispensed from his new automated dispensing tree. National Zoological Park staffers put together the "honey tree" in Smokey’s exhibit area in the summer of 1984. The national symbol of forest-fire prevention turned 40 that year. The Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Program funded the construction, photograph by Jesse Cohen. Smithsonian Institution Archives, negative #95-1209. 










Smokey I passed away in 1976 and his remains were returned to Capitan to rest beneath a stone marker in Smokey Bear Historical State Park.

I have a special fondness for Smokey Bear.  When I was five years old in 1953, I fell down while trying to fly a kite and I broke my arm.  After taking me to the doctor to have the arm set in a cast, my father consoled me by taking me to the little shop full of toys in my home town of Rochelle Park, New Jersey.  I did not hesitate for a moment and picked the little stuffed bear with a shovel, hat, badge, Smokey belt, and Forest Service uniform.  Smokey was my constant companion for many, many years!  This image on Pinterest is most like mine, although it lacks the shovel.  I was rarely seen without him, no matter how much my older sisters teased me, and never went to sleep without him at my side.

The Forest Service is planning to relaunch the Smokey Bear campaign for a 21st century audience, and I suspect he will snuggle with many more little children for generations to come and hopefully reinvigorate the message to care for our national forests.

Pamela M. Henson
Historian
Institutional History Division
Smithsonian Institution Archives

Roses for Hershey

Smithsonian Collections - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 8:00am
Milton Hershey did more than just make chocolate, the famed chocolatier founded the Hershey Rose Gardens. The idea to establish a rose garden arose out of conversations with J. Horace McFarland, an active member of the American Rose Society and a national spokesperson for the City Beautiful Movement. McFarland had hoped to convince Hershey to create a National Rose Garden in D.C. Ultimately, Hershey went on to construct the rose garden in Hershey, Pennsylvania, the town of his chocolate factory and the famed Hotel Hershey, instead of in the nation’s capital.

Hershey Rose Gardens.  Hershey, PA. (AAG# PA072001)
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland CollectionHershey Rose Gardens, which opened to the public in June of 1937, was dedicated in September 1938 by the American Rose Society with J. Horace McFarland attending the dedication. The gardens have expanded from a three and a half acre rose garden to a twenty three acre botanical garden and arboretum that is a popular destination for many.


Hershey Rose Gardens.  Hershey, PA. (AAG# PA072003)
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Gardens, J. Horace McFarland CollectionSee more early photographs of Hershey Rose Gardens in the J. Horace McFarland Collection housed at the Archives of American Gardens.
For more information about the development of the Hershey Gardens see the Hershey Community Archives online.

Jessica Brode2014 Summer Intern Archives of American Gardens 

ARCHIVES PRIDE: LGBT-Related Collections at the Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Smithsonian Collections - Mon, 06/30/2014 - 8:00am
President Obama has proclaimed June 2014 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month, and many cities and towns throughout the United States will celebrate LGBT Pride.  An outgrowth of the gay rights movement, the creation of Pride was sparked by the Stonewall riots in June 1969.  The first Pride parade was held in New York City in June 1970.


Promotional advertisement for DC Cowboys with photographs by Julian Vankim, 1994-2012: front and verso shown.
From the DC Cowboys Dance Company Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American HistorySmithsonian secretary Wayne Clough, in his recent Message from the Secretary, stated in part, “We continue to strengthen our collections so that we may more fully present LBGT contributions to American history, art, science, and culture, and be a welcoming resource to scholars studying LGBT contributions to American society.”  The secretary ended his message affirming, “The LGBT story is an important part of the American experience, and the Smithsonian is committed to making sure that story is told.”

The Archives Center at the National Museum of American History is actively collecting records that tell those stories.  Recently the Archives Center received a donation of the DC Cowboys Dance Company Records, an all-male, gay, non-profit dance company based in Washington, D.C. that was active from 1994-2012. They performed nationally and internationally, "celebrating diversity through dance." Typical performance venues included: Pride Festivals, the Gay Rodeo circuit, and charity events for numerous local and national charities.  The Cowboys also performed on: NBC’s America's Got Talent (2008); Closing Ceremonies of the Gay Games VII at Wrigley Field in Chicago (2006); The Sziget Festival, Budapest, Hungary (2009–2012); ITV’s Dales’ Great Getaway, London, England (2012), and RTE’s The Podge and Rodge show, Dublin, Ireland (2010).  The collection includes correspondence, advertisement, financial records, photographs, and ephemera.

The DC Cowboys Dance Records join over 68 cubic feet of LGBT-related collections currently held by the Archives Center.  The Archives Center’s growing LGBT collections include: The Shamrock Bar: Photographs and Interviews by Carol Burch-Brown; John-Manuel Andriote VICTORY DEFFERRED Collection; Archives Center Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Collection; the Joan E. Biren Queer Film Museum Collection; and the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network Records.  For more information visit the Archives Center website. 

Franklin A. Robinson, Jr., Archives Specialist 
Archives Center, National Museum of American History

In the Good Old Watermelon Time

Smithsonian Collections - Fri, 06/27/2014 - 8:00am
Pollock family eating watermelon in Arizona, ca. 1914 / unidentified photographer. Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.Now that summer is fully upon us, it seemed a good time to share this photograph which has long been a staff favorite here at the Archives of American Art. Not only is it seasonally appropriate (I could go for a 2-foot long slice of watermelon right about now) and a charming family portrait, but it shows the softer side of one of America's most influential artists, Jackson Pollock. Perhaps you didn't recognize him right away since he was only a toddler when this photo was taken, but he is the smallest of the tow-headed youngsters in this picture, standing in the center and struggling to hold up that watermelon that is almost as big as he is. Who knows, perhaps the patterns created by the dribbling of watermelon juice in the dirt sowed some inspiration in him that would later influence his Abstract Expressionist style...

Bettina Smith, Digital Projects Librarian
Archives of American Art

Under the Privilege of the Fifth Amendment

Smithsonian Collections - Wed, 06/25/2014 - 8:00am
“I don’t think I have ever felt so damned alone as on that day”  Lee Hays on his experience testifying before the House of Un-American Activities Committee


Subpoena received by Hays, 1955. Lee Hays Papers.
Hays_02_02_055_001. Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and CollectionsIn 1955, two members of The Weavers, (a folk group comprised of Pete Seeger, Lee Hays, Fred Hellerman, Ronnie Gilbert, and Pete Seeger) were called to appear before the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). HUAC was formed in 1938 in order to discover Nazis within the states, however, it became infamous during the Cold War for interrogating private citizens suspected of having Communist ties.

Lee Hays and Pete Seeger had been identified as Communists by an FBI informant.  During this time, being identified as a Communist could be detrimental to one's livelihood. In the case of Lee Hays it led to a commercial blacklisting that would cast a shadow over the next several decades of his career.  The Weavers and Lee Hays were responsible for penning hits in support of the working class such as "Roll the Union On" and "If I Had a Hammer".  


Pete Seeger and Lee Hays. Photograph by Joe Thompson. Lee Hays Papers,
Hays_02_073_j016. Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections.Hays, along with Seeger, founded People’s Songs which was "organized to create, promote and distribute songs of labor and the American people."  Unfortunately, these politically charged songs came to be at the height of McCarthyism.  That is, when Senator Joseph McCartney encouraged Americans to turn in their neighbors, friends, and family on suspicions of being a Communist.  In retrospect, McCarthyism has been seen as invasive, a witch-hunt, and in a twist of irony, distinctly un-American.

On August 16, 1955 best-selling folksinger Lee Hays appeared before HUAC to defend his political beliefs. 

What follows is a short selection from his trial transcript:


Mr. Tavenner: What I am trying to get at, Mr. Hays, is to learn to what extent the Communist Party has used you in its program to advance the cause of the Communist Party in this country.Mr. Hays: I don’t know what you mean, sir, by the use of the word ‘used’.Mr. Tavenner: I mean used in the sense that you contributed your talent and your services, and your time, and your effort knowingly to assist the Communist Party in the field of your talent.
Mr. Hays: You are asking questions which to me are highly argumentative and debatable, and I don’t propose to get into that debate and argument because it is an area that deals with associations and beliefs and so I do decline to answer that under the reasons stated.
Chairman Walter: You decline to answer because of the fifth amendment, is that right?
Mr. Hays: Under the privilege of the fifth amendment.

Lee Hays, throughout his trial, declined to answer any questions that would identify anyone as being a communist. In personal correspondence, Hays has described the experience as being harrowing.  He found it immoral and un-American to provide information on others' personal and political beliefs; even if they were not Communists or sympathizers.



Letter of condemnation, 1955. Lee Hays Papers,
Hays_02_02_054_006.
 Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections.Letter of Support, 1955. Lee Hays Papers, Hays_02_02_054_015.
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections.

Hays was a popular enough figure in 1955 that the public had many opinions regarding his trial.  Contained in the Lee Hays Papers are letters of support and condemnation that Hays received immediately following his appearance before HUAC.  Following the trial, Hays and Seeger were placed on a commercial blacklist which only allowed them to find work in underground circles. The blacklisting lasted into the late 60's and once it was lifted, Hays went on to enjoy several reunions with The Weavers.

Nichole ProcopenkoRalph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections

On Becoming a National Museum – 50th Anniversary of the National Museum of African Art

Smithsonian Collections - Thu, 06/19/2014 - 8:00am

NMAfA Pavilion , 1987, by Jeff Tinsley, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 87-7812-36.



The National Museum of African Art (NMAfA) is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. Although it did not join the Smithsonian until 1979 and move to its present home in 1987, it was established in 1964 as a private museum at the initiative of Warren Robbins.  These images look back at the museum in the years since it joined the Smithsonian Institution.


Six children, visiting the National Museum of African Art, listen to Amina Dickerson, program director, at the museum in 1978, photographer unknown, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 96-1008.
   At the National Museum of African Art, Legani Kaunda, an artist-in-residence, is at work sculpting from wood a long pipe with a hinged bottom for the tobacco, 1980, by Jeffrey Ploskonka, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 80-16887-37.
Chief Justice Warren E. Burger, Vice President George Bush, and Secretary S. Dillon Ripley at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Quadrangle Complex, June 21, 1983. The complex includes the National Museum of African Art, the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, and the S. Dillon Ripley Center, photographer unknown, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 83-6885.12.  

The National Museum of African Art under construction. The photograph shows workers adding copper covering on the domes and the pink granite on the sides of the building. The hexagonal patio in the foreground, still under construction, will be the centerpiece of an Islamic garden with a waterfall, central water jet and seating walls shaded by eight hawthorn trees, 1986, by Jeff Tinsley, Smithsonian Institution Archives, sia85-5103-16.
Beatrice Birra dressed in traditional African clothing tells stories to an audience of children at the National Museum of African Art, July 15, 2005, by Anthony Cross, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 2005-22813.
Pamela Henson, Smithsonian Institution Archives

Happy Birthday to the Smithsonian’s Transcription Center!

Smithsonian Collections - Fri, 06/13/2014 - 10:18am
As the nation’s premier museum system, the Smithsonian has an enormous collection of historical documents, many of which remain largely unstudied. To allow the public to aid us in the analysis and transcription of these documents, the Smithsonian launched the Transcription Center on June 15, 2013.  As we celebrate our one year anniversary, we are amazed by how much the public has contributed in helping this Smithsonian project.  Let’s do a quick review.

This is a new online system for the public to help us transcribe and review these historical documents held at the Smithsonian.  If you have not seen the Transcription Center before, we invite you to take a quick look at it at http://transcription.si.edu.

The Transcription Center home pageThe Transcription Center contains many different types of documents for our volunteers to choose from.  For example, Field Notebooks were frequently used by Smithsonian scientists as they went on scientific expeditions in the US and around the world.  The field notes documented their journeys and observations of animals, plants and people along the way.  Take a look at an example notebook from 1963 on the observation of Cyanerpes (honeycreepers) birds.  When I look at these notes, I am amazed by the painstaking details and the author’s systematic approach in his work, not to mention the valuable data he collected.
Transcribing a page from a 1963 notebook on the observation of Cyanerpes (honeycreepers) birds by Martin Moynihan
The Transcription Center also includes many diaries from artists and scientists which shed light on the events of the past. Take a peek at Leo Baekeland's diary, started in 1907. Leo Baekeland created Bakelite,  an early plastic; his inspiration, frustrations and motivation are well documented throughout his diary.  
There are also many manuscripts, personal letters, and business documents available to be transcribed. Another example project in the Transcription Center is the Charles Henry Hart Autograph collection, 1731-1912.  This is a collection of 167 letters sent between artists to trace the history of art.

A page from the Charles Henry Hart Autograph collection, 1731-1912.Since the materials are available online, anyone can access these documents from their homes, schools, or offices.  Since launching the Transcription Center, we have already received an overwhelming number of digital volunteers helping us to transcribe and review the documents.  In the first 12 months since we launched the application, we have had more than 900 active volunteers contribute to our crowdsourcing effort.  Together, our volunteers have completed 96 projects which included over 12,980 pages of documents.  A list of the completed projects can be found here; you can read these documents online or download them as PDF files.  They can be used as research references, support documents for homework, or simply reading materials to help you learn more about history.  
One more exciting outcome from the completed transcription: you can search the transcribed text of the object in the Smithsonian’s Collection Search Center.  For example:  In Leo Baekeland’s diary, he talked about “shellac” three time in his diary.  You can now search on “Shellac” online, and get the relevant pages.

A search result page from the Smithsonian Collections Search Center.

Our volunteers come from 124 countries, but most of them are from the United States.  People from all 50 states have joined us in actively transcribing and reviewing our documents.  Outside of the US, the top ten countries from which  our volunteers hail include New Zealand, United Kingdom, Australia, Israel, Canada, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, India, Venezuela and Brazil.



I am humbled by the incredible participation of our volunteers who have given us their time and dedication to help the Smithsonian in the Transcription Center.  We know how much time it must have taken to transcribe the over 12,980 pages of documents already completed – documents which frequently have illegible handwriting and difficult page layouts.  Yet the quality of the finished transcription is outstanding!  In our communications with our volunteers, we can tell that everyone is dedicated to producing quality work.  Our volunteers take full advantage of the “Review” function in the Transcription Center; they reviewed and corrected any inaccurate content and their efforts have resulted in accurate transcriptions for everyone to use.  

Our next blog post will discuss our efforts to make the use of the transcriptions which our volunteers have provided. Stay tuned for more!

Ching-Hsien Wang
Library and Archives System Support Branch, OCIO

Hats Off To You!

Smithsonian Collections - Wed, 06/04/2014 - 2:06pm
Susan Hyde, a benefactor of ARROW, Inc., 1951. National Congress of American Indian records, Photo folder 138, National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, Smithsonian Institution.
This image is for anyone who has ever processed an un-organized, unlabeled, collection of photographs and completed the Sisyphean task without crying (too much).  After much squinting through a magnifying glass at tiny name labels, the National Congress of American Indians photographs have been processed. Though processing this collection had its share of frustrations, an entire box of folders labeled ‘miscellaneous’ being just one, the overall experience was incredibly fulfilling.  NCAI was, and still is, an important and influential organization in serving the needs of Native American tribal governments and communities. Making these photographs more discoverable will help to highlight NCAI’s rich history through the faces of its leaders. There is something satisfying about going back through folders and realizing you now recognize the faces staring back. For me, I’ll never be able to look at photographs of NCAI leaders Helen Peterson, Joseph Garry or Clarence Wesley, to name a few, the same way again. Be on the lookout for an updated finding aid in the near future! 

Rachel Menyuk
Archives Technician, NMAI Archive Center

Spending the Summer with Uncle Lee

Smithsonian Collections - Fri, 05/30/2014 - 2:56pm
Since we've wrapped up scanning the Cook Labs Records, we've moved on to digitizing another gem of a collection: the Lee Hays Papers. This collection represents a small departure from our past digitization projects, which have focused on the papers of three different record labels (Folkways, Cook Labs, and Paredon). The Lee Hays Papers contain materials of a more personal nature--Lee was an instrumental figure in the early folk revival, as well as a passionate labor activist and prolific writer of fiction and nonfiction. He was also a founding member of the influential musical groups the Almanac Singers and the Weavers, where he sang bass and wrote songs alongside the likes of Pete Seeger, Cisco Houston, Josh White, Sis Cunningham,Woody Guthrie, Fred Hellerman and Ronnie Gilbert, among many others. In making our way through the rich correspondence held in the collection, there is such a common thread of brotherhood between Lee and his many correspondents, it makes the material a joy to work through. It seems as if Lee was an honorary part of many families, so of course, there are times when tensions bubble over between him and the people close to him. The papers are intimate and human, and a true treasure trove for researchers.

To celebrate beginning this digitization project, as well as the coming summer months, here are a couple warm-weather highlights from the Pete Seeger correspondence.

Toshi Seeger, undated. Lee Hays Papers, Hays_01_02_001. Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections.


 Postcard from Tao Seeger, written by Toshi Seeger, 15 March 1978. Lee Hays Papers, Hays_01_02_001. Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections.
Look for more highlights from this collection as we continue to digitize it this summer.

Cecilia Peterson
Digitization Archivist
Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections

Resourceful Researcher

Smithsonian Collections - Wed, 05/28/2014 - 8:00am
Alert reader Christine Windheuser (also an Archives Center reference volunteer) handily solved the conundrum I presented in my previous blog, “Lazy Researcher.”  She discovered that the “other” Marian Anderson concert at the Lincoln Memorial was presented as the singer’s tribute to the former Secretary of the Interior, Harold L. Ickes, at a memorial service held in his honor at the Memorial, with an estimated ten thousand listeners on the Mall.  Chris Windheuser (with a little help from ProQuest) located the Washington Post article, published April 21, 1952, which conclusively identified the occasion as a memorial service for Ickes, who died February 3, 1952.

Photograph by Robert S. Scurlock, April 9, 1939
Singer Marian Anderson speaking to Secretary of the Interior Harold S. Ickes before her concert at the Lincoln Memorial.  Assistant Secretary of the Interior Oscar Chapman (at right) was Secretary of the Interior when Marian Anderson sang at a memorial service for Ickes in 1952.  Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History  Ickes was a liberal member of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration, a strong “New Deal” supporter, and administrator of the Public Works Administration, known as “Honest Harold” for his fight against corruption.  As a supporter of civil rights, he tried to address the concerns of both American Indians and African Americans.  Indeed, some biographical sources present him as a nearly heroic figure, fighting bigotry and racism.  It is not entirely clear (to me, anyway) why he was presented as an arrogant, comic caricature in the musical play “Annie,” in which he is forced by President Roosevelt to sing “Tomorrow.”

Photograph by Robert S. Scurlock, April 9, 1939.
Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes (center).
Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American HistoryWhen the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow famed contralto Marian Anderson to present a concert in Constitution Hall, Ickes offered the Lincoln Memorial and the National Mall as a stunning open-air alternative.  Her Easter Sunday concert in 1939 was a landmark event in the history of civil rights.  Robert S. Scurlock photographed that historic recital, attended by a reported seventy-five thousand people.  When Ickes died years later, Oscar L. Chapman, Secretary of the Interior at the time, apparently chose to honor Ickes with this outdoor memorial service, and Marian Anderson was asked to sing in acknowledgment of her friendship with Ickes and to celebrate his efforts at eliminating racial barriers.  The Post quoted Chapman as saying, “The fullness of his [Ickes’s] leadership was vividly dramatized here 13 years ago.  And with her thrilling voice of genius, Marian Anderson on that glorious day, even as today, symbolized and reemphasized for the Nation and for the world that America really stands for equality of opportunity for all on the basis of individual merit.”

Anderson’s vocal program included “Ave Maria” (composer not cited)  Bach’s “Komm’ Susser Tod,” and “Beautiful City.”  Then she led the audience of an estimated ten thousand people in the singing of “America.”  I was delighted to learn that Marian Anderson had honored her mentor this way, and to learn the story behind the Scurlock images of her from the 1950s.  We are not yet certain if Robert Scurlock was again the photographer—it might have been his brother George, or another Scurlock Studio employee—but it seems highly likely that he was.

David Haberstich
Curator of Photography, Archives Center

Surf, Sand, and Easels: Artists at the Beach

Smithsonian Collections - Fri, 05/23/2014 - 8:00am
As Memorial Day turns the corner, your thoughts may be straying to boardwalk fries, sandcastles, and swimming. I know mine are. But did you know that beaches have also been a highly productive place for American artists for over a century? Primary sources abound in the Archives of American Art's collections showing artists having fun (and getting work done) in the sun.

Sketching class on the beach in Provincetown, ca. 1936.
Charles Webster and Marion Campbell Hawthorne papers. Provincetown, Massachusetts, on the very tip of Cape Cod, lays claim to the title of America's oldest continuous art colony. The Cape Cod School of Art was founded there by Charles Webster Hawthorne in 1899, and the town has been a prime attraction for northeastern artists ever since. This photograph from the papers of Hawthorne and his wife, painter Marion Campbell Hawthorne shows a class of artists working on studies after a young model wearing an appropriately nautical hat seated at water's edge. From 1934 to 1958, the hugely influential teacher and painter Hans Hofmann set up shop with a summer school in Provincetown, educating scores of young artists whose names are now in the canon of modern art and design - Lee Krasner, Red Grooms, Helen Frankenthaler, and Ray Eames, among others.

Neda Al-Hilali with her outdoor fiber installation Beach Occurence of Tongues,
1975, unidentified photographer. Neda Al-Hilali papersTo some artists, the beach is more than just a place where you can get a lot of work done during the summer, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Perhaps reflecting the difference in lifestyles between the Northeast and Southern California, where the beach is hospitable year-round, Czechoslovakian-born fiber artist Neda Al-Hilali used Venice Beach as her canvas for a 1975 installation piece titled Beach Occurrence of Tongues. Suzanne Muchnic of the LA Times credited Al-Hilali with leading "textiles out of craft shops and sewing circles to the wider arenas of fine art" (“Art Review: Textiles Pioneer Takes a Step Beyond.” Los Angeles Times. May 20, 1983). And Al-Hilali's monumental brown paper Tongues required a wider arena indeed - the great sandy expanse of the beach.

Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner at the beach, ca. 1955
unidentified photographer.
Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner papers
Naturally, sometimes artists utilize the beach the same way everyone does - for relaxation. Just two weeks after their wedding, Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner moved out to a property in Springs, East Hampton. They lived there year-round and both created some of their best-known works there, Krasner working primarily in the house while Pollock was alive and Pollock in a barn studio out back. This house also happened to be conveniently close to both the Atlantic Coast and the Acabonack harbor, and Krasner and Pollock clearly took advantage of this prime location to take a break from painting. There are several photos from their papers which show the two stretched out on the sand in bathing suits, sometimes accompanied by various friends (such as art critic Clement Greenberg and painter Helen Frankenthaler) and, even occasionally, pets.

What's your favorite thing to do at the beach?

Bettina Smith, Digital Projects Librarian
Archives of American Art

Secret Gardens: Private Gardens of Paradise

Smithsonian Collections - Tue, 05/20/2014 - 8:00am
The secret garden, also known by its Italian name, giardino segreto, has a long history that can be traced back to Roman peristyle houses which featured a garden located within a central courtyard. Secret gardens were also often found within traditional Islamic houses. In the Islamic tradition these enclosed garden spaces were considered paradise gardens--an oasis where one could contemplate privately.

The Friersons’ Hidden Retreat, New Orleans, LA. March 2012.
Laura C.Williams, photographer 
Although secret gardens were originally cultivated as spaces intended purely for the enjoyment of nature, some evolved over time to become more utilitarian. On English country estates, enclosed gardens were often created to shield vegetable gardens that produced crops even through the winter. The walls protected the plants and enabled even sensitive fruit trees to bear fruit. They also served to keep precious, and sometimes exotic, crops hidden from prying eyes.

Davis-Yust Garden, Los Angeles, CAOctober 2002. Judy M.Horton, photographer.The typical configuration of a secret garden is comprised of square or rectangular boundary walls, an entrance and exit, and a fountain (or other water feature) located at the center of intersecting paths laid out on an axis. The walls surrounding the garden shelter the plant life within from the elements. The walls also serve to create a boundary between the outside and inside spaces. When you venture inside a secret garden, you get the feeling of being transported to another place entirely.

Audrey Abrams, 2013 Summer Intern
Archives of American Gardens

This Ticket and 10c Will Admit You!

Smithsonian Collections - Fri, 05/16/2014 - 8:00am
Frank Kenjockety and Louis Belmont Newell  Native American Entertainers collection, Box 2, Folder 3. 
National Museum of the American Indian, Archive Center.
At the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries, Wild West shows were a major form of entertainment. Native American performers in these shows were frequently hired by non-Natives—most famously, for example, by William Cody of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show. Frank Kenjockety of the Cayuga Nation, however, created and managed his own shows over the course of forty years. Among the NMAI Archive Center’s collections is a hidden gem: Frank Kenjockety and Louis Belmont Newell Native American Entertainers collection. Although relatively small, the collection contains tickets, flyers, photographs, and broadsides related to Kenjockety’s and Newell’s work as entertainers. Their materials provide an interesting look at what it meant to be a “Show Indian”—engaging in mock battles with cowboys and demonstrating traditional “Indian songs and dances”—at the turn of the century. This post highlights Kenjockety’s collection materials.

Frank Kenjockety and Louis Belmont Newell Native
American Entertainers collection, Box 2, Folder 8.
National Museum of the American Indian, Archive Center.
Frank Kenjockety (Cayuga) was born in 1871 on Cattaraugus territory, Seneca Nation, and the materials in his collection suggest he formed his first vaudeville troupe “Kenjockety’s Hippodrome and Wild West Show” in the early 1900s. The success of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show from the 1880s to 1913 spawned many imitators and much desire from spectators for similar acts. To entice the public, Kenjockety’s broadsides advertised “fancy rope spinning” and “sharp shooting.”

Kenjockety’s troupe traveled the Wild West show circuit by train playing at state fairs, carnivals and circuses and continued to try out different names for their acts including “F.L. Kenjockety’s Society Circus and Frontier Days in Cheyenne” and “Kenjockety’s Frontier Wild West and Indian Village Show.” Both Kenjockety’s wife Leona and daughter Mabel travelled and performed with the troupe. Mabel performed on horseback as early as nine years old and later became a trick rider. 


Portrait of Mabel Kenjockety (~ age 9) on horseback. 1909. Frank Kenjockety and Louis Belmont Newell Native American Entertainers collection, Folder 7 [P33952]. National Museum of the American Indian, Archive Center.
Frank Kenjockety and Louis Belmont Newell
Native American Entertainers collection, Box 2, Folder 2.
National Museum of the American Indian, Archive Center.
Although Kenjockety was Cayuga and employed Native American entertainers in his early Wild West shows it wasn't until the 1920s that Kenjockety adopted the name “Chief Strong Fox.” It was at this time that he also switched up the focus of his troupe from Wild West acts to historical entertainment featuring “Real American Indians in Costume-Direct from U.S. Government Reservation.” 


From the 1920s through the 1930s, Chief Strong Fox and his troupe toured mainly on the east coast visiting many schools in addition to fairs. He became well known for his lectures on Native American History. Although none of his lectures are a part of this collection, Chief Strong Fox collected letters of praise from school officials, which are preserved in a scrapbook. These letters often spoke highly of the educational value of his talks. Chief Strong Fox frequently worked with other troupes like the group pictured below, “Stanley W. Johnson and his Seneca Harmonica Band.”


Prin. Stanley W. Johnson and his Seneca harmonica band (young boys in white shirts) and the six members of Chief Strong Fox's troupe. Fox is standing on far right behind Johnson (kneeling on ground). Fox's wife Leona is center left, while his daughter Mabel is center right. August 1939. Frank Kenjockety and Louis Belmont Newell Native American Entertainers collection, Folder 1 [P33924]. National Museum of the American Indian, Archive Center.
By 1941, the popularity of the group waned and so the troupe disbanded. Kenjockety passed away only three years later. Though of modest size, NMAI’s collection could potentially add a Native perspective to the vast literature on non-Native-owned Wild West shows.

Rachel Menyuk
Archives Technician, NMAI Archive Center

Trail Tradition: When Hikers Shun Innovation

Smithsonian Collections - Tue, 05/13/2014 - 8:44am
For generations of Americans who have hiked and camped outdoors, spring days in the city mean time to stop daydreaming about where to travel and start packing. Outdoor equipment advertisers are eager to attract consumers attention with latest in high-tech gear: The newest pack! The lightest sleeping bag! The most flavorful food! Yet one famous hiker chose to ignore the hype and stick with what he knew. Meet Earl Shaffer:

Shaffer used this slide as a part of his talk in the years after his AT hike.
Earl Shaffer Collection 1999.0189, Appalachian Trail Slides,
Division of Culture and the Arts, National Museum of American History
Shaffer was the first person to hike the full length of the Appalachian Trail, back in 1948. His gear was unremarkable. He used an army surplus pack and wore surplus pants and a plaid shirt. It was the best rugged, inexpensive clothing available to ordinary people for outdoor sports. (Check this out if you want to learn more about Shaffer’s AT hike in 1948.)

When I came across Earl Shaffer’s papers at the NMAH Archives Center and artifacts in the NMAH Division of Culture and the Arts, what surprised me wasn’t that he had worn those clothes in 1948. What surprised is that fifty years later, when Shaffer hiked the Appalachian Trail again, he chose the same, old-school outfit.

Earl Shaffer donated his gear to the National Museum of American History after his last big hike.
Earl Shaffer Collection, 1999.0189, Division of Culture and the Arts, National Museum of American History
In 1998, most hikers, long distance or not, had traded in external frame metal army surplus packs for internal frame backpacks. They wore clothing built for hiking, not for war—zip off pants perhaps. But not Earl Shaffer. His outfit was memorable for how it stood out from the crowd. “Here came this old fellow that warm, sticky day in well-worn, long-sleeved shirt of blue flannel, long-legged blue work pants, in jungle-style pith helmet with mosquito netting, carrying his minimalist gear in a backpack out of Saving Private Ryan, aiming to hike all the way to Maine.” (1)

So why did Shaffer stick with the old when there was so much good in the new? Shaffer wrote about his gear philosophy in a letter to an editor at Outside magazine just after his first big hike: “The Trail can be hiked in one trip only by sacrificing much of the present day highly touted equipment…. This doesn’t mean that all new things are rejected, but that the new improved versions of old reliables must be chosen.” Fifty years later, Shaffer was still practicing what he preached; he carried old reliable flannel, wool, and canvas instead of the latest innovations. 
Earl Shaffer to P.A. Parson, January 10, 1949, Earl Shaffer Papers, 1903-2002, Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Maybe Shaffer was on to something—how many 79-year-olds do you know who’ve hiked 2,000 miles in one go?
What old hiking gear do you hold on to, even when you learn about high-tech innovations? What hiking clothes or equipment would you like to see preserved for future generations? 

Rachel Gross, Predoctoral Fellow
National Museum of American History

1. David Corriveau, “Shaffer Back on the Trail He Pioneered,” Valley News, Sept 17, 1998, Box 2, Folder 5, Earl Shaffer Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History

Donors in the Archives

Smithsonian Collections - Thu, 05/08/2014 - 8:00am


The Dale/Patterson Family papers is a recent acquisition in the Anacostia Community Museum Archives.  The materials were donated by Dianne Dale—an author, artist, and community historian, whose family settled in Hillsdale neighborhood in southeast Washington, D.C., in 1892.  Ms. Dale is a wonderful community historian and we are fortunate to receive the fruits of her labors.  The collection includes photographs and documents from her family papers and materials Ms. Dale acquired from other families for her publication: The Village ThatShaped Us: A look at Washington DC’s Anacostia Community

As president of the Anacostia Historical Society and former president of the Anacostia Garden Club, Ms. Dale is still utilizing some materials from the collection for her local history projects.  Not wanting to miss out on this important collection opportunity, museum administration agreed to accept her donation in multiple registration sets.  As the museum archivist, I must admit, I would have preferred to receive the total collection at one time in order to complete processing and expedite public accessibility.  However, Ms. Dale generously offered to assist with establishing physical and intellectual control of her donation. 

One of the earliest treasures in the Dale/Patterson Family papers is this 1866 program from the First Congregational Church in Washington, D.C.It’s been months since the first accretion of Dale’s material to our permanent collection and several more have followed.  Dianne Dale is currently working as a Behind-the-Scenes volunteer to help organize the Dale/Patterson Family collection. Although processing this collection would have been a substantive project for an intern, having the donor in the archives has proven to be a valuable resource.  Ms. Dale has brought enthusiasm, passion, and a wealth of knowledge to the archival project, as well as a willingness to learn about archival principles and the preservation of archival collections.For an archivist, listening to a donor weave facts and dates to tell little known stories around documents provides a rich and textured view of a collection. I appreciate learning about the materials and she enjoys learning how we preserve and use them.Stay tuned to discover what interesting tidbits I learn about the treasures in the Dale/Patterson Family papers! 

Jennifer Morris                                                                                                Archivist
AnacostiaCommunity Museum Archives

Lazy Research

Smithsonian Collections - Tue, 05/06/2014 - 8:00am
Photograph by Robert S. Scurlock.  Marian Anderson at the Lincoln Memorial, probably 1951 or later.
Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Among the most popular photographs in the NMAH Archives Center's Scurlock Studio Collection are Robert S. Scurlock's images of the historic concert given at the Lincoln Memorial by African American singer Marian Anderson on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939.  We have other photographs of this renowned singer at the Lincoln Memorial or in concert on the Mall, which apparently document a separate occasion or occasions, such as the one above.  Some show her singing into a WGMS microphone, and we know that those call letters were used in the Washington area from 1951-2007.  WGMS maintained a classical music format from 1946 to 2007, but did not use the call letters WGMS until 1951.  I wish to challenge readers to suggest or identify and document any public open-air concerts Marian Anderson might have given at the Lincoln Memorial or on the Mall, other than the famous 1939 presentation.   (You'll save me some research time.)  Are they likely to be an occasion other than a concert, such as Dwight D. Eisenhower's inauguration in 1957 or John F. Kennedy's in 1961?  Any comments will be appreciated!

David Haberstich
Curator of Photography, Archives Center

The Many Faces of Abraham Walkowitz

Smithsonian Collections - Thu, 05/01/2014 - 8:00am
In 1944, the Brooklyn Museum exhibited the aptly titled show One Hundred Artists and Walkowitz, an exhibition featuring portraits of the artist Abraham Walkowitz created by (naturally!) one hundred of his artist friends and colleagues. The portraits were commissioned and completed during the previous year, though a few were from the earlier part of the century. The artists represented varied in style, from Abstract to Modern to Realism, and the works were not limited to paintings -- also included were sculpture and graphic arts.

A strong supporter and participant in the Modern Art movement in America at the beginning of the 20thcentury, Abraham Walkowitz (1878-1965) may be best known to art historians for his studies of the dancer Isadora Duncan and his abstract series, “Improvisations of New York.” Contributing his work to the 1913 Armory Show as well as many exhibitions at New York’s 291 Gallery, both Walkowitz’s career and œuvre are fascinating. Active in New York City, his contemporaries included modernists William Gropper, Joseph Stella and Max Weber, and it was these and other fellow artists that he called upon to help with what he termed “the experiment of 100 artists*.”
Isadora Duncan I, Abraham WalkowitzImprovisations of New York, Abraham WalkowitzIn addition to the show at the Brooklyn Museum, Walkowitz also published a corresponding exhibition catalogue, and the portraits were featured in a lengthy article in Life magazine. During a recent cataloging project for the Peter A. Juley & Son collection, I came across images of the Walkowitz portraits that appear to have been used in those publications associated with the exhibition. This would make sense as the Juley photography firm was often hired by museums and artists for photos of artwork that could be used in exhibition catalogs and publicity ephemera.
I also found this interesting -- following the exhibition, much of the artwork was gifted by Abraham Walkowitz to various museums (including the Brooklyn Museum and the Newark Museum). Others are either with private galleries or owners, but of the remaining portraits that are unaccounted for, it’s possible that at some point they may have been destroyed. There were several images from the Juley Collection that I was unable to identify and it could be that we are fortunate enough to have documentation of those portraits that no longer exist. Similar to the portraits, there is group of Juley images of watercolors and drawings by Walkowitz that could not be identified. During his interview* with the Archives of American Art in 1958, he mentions that at one point there was a studio fire in which many of his own works were destroyed.
Abraham Walkowitz, Concetta ScaravaglioneAbraham Walkowitz, Unknown Artist*Oral history interview with Abraham Walkowitz, 1958 Dec. 8 & 22, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.
The Peter A. Juley & Son Collection contains 127,000 black-and-white photographic negatives documenting the work of more than 11,000 American artists. Peter A. Juley (1862-1937) and his son Paul P. Juley (1890-1975) headed the largest and most respected fine arts photography firm in New York from 1906 to 1975. Their clients included major artists, galleries, museums, and private collectors of the period.

For more examples of the Walkowitz portraits as well the artist’s own work, check out our collection catalog on SIRIS.

--Rachel Brooks, Photograph Archives, Smithsonian American Art Museum

No Such Animal

Smithsonian Collections - Tue, 04/29/2014 - 8:00am
No such animal, 193-?. Charles Green Shaw papers,
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.As an item-level cataloger who toes the line between archivist and librarian I sometimes feel like a rare beast, so I can identify with the hybrid animals in Charles Green Shaw's unpublished children's book No Such Animal (sub-titled "Twenty-one Little Verses Dealing Mainly With Dumb Beasts And Proving Absolutely Nothing, for Fairly Sophisticated Children of Practically Any Age"). It was Shaw's career as an abstract painter that landed his papers in the collections of the Archives of American Art, but he was also an accomplished writer and poet, publishing over 1500 poems in poetry magazines and winning the Michael Strange Poetry Award in 1954. He wrote clever books for children, including the still-in-print It Looked Like Spilt Milk. Combining his wit and his talent with rhyme are the poems that make up No Such Animal. To round out National Poetry Month, here are a few of my favorites. Be sure to flip through the whole manuscript here.




Most matronly

Of animals --

Kind, gracious, tender, ah!

So very sympathetic too,

Ever prepared to die or do,

The pride of any well-run zoo,

To wit:

the Puma-ma







Far, far removed from sylvan dell

From ivied kirk or cloister --

We give you --

Fried or on a grill,

Baked, roasted, steamed,

Or what you will, --

A bivalve rich in phosphates, still

A poor fish:

The Play-boyster





 Another type

Of the absurd

Is -- if you please --

Half beast, half bird,

Yet one we cannot help

But hope

You'll like -- the Pelicantelope









Bettina Smith, Digital Projects Librarian
Archives of American Art

Edith Wharton on Italian Villas and their Gardens

Smithsonian Collections - Thu, 04/24/2014 - 8:00am
Front cover of the 1904 edition of Italian Villas and Their Gardens

Now that spring has finally arrived in the Washington, D.C. area after a very cold and snowy winter, it’s not surprising to have a beautiful book on gardens catch the eye. This gorgeous book, Italian Villas and Their Gardens by Edith Wharton, has been recently transferred from the Smithsonian LibrariesBotany and Horticulture Library to the Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History. The volume was brought to my attention by our contract rare materials cataloger, Julia Blakely, who incidentally has been doing historical research on the gardens of the British Ambassador’s residence in Washington and who has quite an eye for a great book with a gardening theme.

The gifted American novelist Edith Wharton (1862-1937), whose extensive travels included visits to some of the finest aristocratic homes and estates of Europe, was well qualified to describe the glories of Italian villas and their fine gardens. Her book is organized geographically, with chapters on Florence, Siena, Rome and its outskirts, Genoa, Lombardy, and the Veneto.  Keenly interested in landscape design, Wharton included an appendix with short biographies of the architects and garden designers mentioned in her book. Her critical eye for the differing tastes and habits of upper class Americans and Europeans, as outlined in this book, comes across in statements such as this one, from page 11:

[T]he old Italian garden was meant to be lived in —a use to which, at least in America, the modern garden is seldom put.

Italian Villas and Their Gardens includes 26 pictorial plates by Maxfield Parrish (1870-1966), one of the greatest illustrators of the early 20th century. His artistry here, emphasizing curved lines, saturated colors, and the beauty of nature, shows the influence of the international Art Nouveau movement that flourished during this time, a style exquisitely suited to a book on grand villas and gardens.

The sumptuous bookbinding, in dark green cloth stamped with light green, blue, white, brown, and gold, features a colorful garden scene with a fountain, an elegant wall, and stately cypress trees, framed by substantial gilt-stamped Italian Mannerist-style banners with lions and coats of arms. The bookbinding was designed by the Decorative Designers company, identified by the mark of two interlocking letter “D’s”( with the second D reversed) which appears on the lower right side of the front cover.

Bookplate of Walter Goodman Chard and Kathleen Stevens Chard
The Cullman Library’s copy of Italian Villas and Their Gardens was formerly owned by Walter Goodman Chard and Kathleen Stevens Chard, and has their bookplate, which is signed in the lower right corner by the unidentified designer “RRMcG” and dated 1907. The volume is inscribed on the front free endpaper by Walter Goodman Chard to Kathleen Brooks Stevens, Christmas, 1904; the couple was later married in January 1907 and then added the bookplate with their conjoined names. Walter and Kathleen Chard lived together on a 350 acre model farm named Meadowood, in Cazenovia, New York, where they were among the first in the area to use sustainable practices in raising a variety of livestock and crops. Walter Chard also served as the business manager for his brother, architect Thornton Chard, who designed the large, gracious farm house at Meadowood. Given the Chards’ keen interest in architecture and landscape design, it is easy to see how Wharton’s lovely book on Italian Villas and Their Gardens would have been a treasured addition to their personal library.

Italian Villas and Their Gardens by Edith Wharton; illustrated with pictures by Maxfield Parrish and by photographs. New York: Published by the Century Company; printed at the De Vinne Press, 1904.

Call number:  DG420 .W55 1904 SCNHRB Joseph F. Cullman 3rd Library of Natural History


--Diane Shaw, Special Collections Cataloger, with assistance from Julia Blakely and Daria Wingreen-Mason

Pages

Subscribe to Friends of LSEM aggregator