Working His Way Through College

In an effort to stay one step ahead of Mahrya (who is already making good progress with cleaning up the minimal level records), I decided to pull an individual scrapbook or small collection to create a record that might serve as an (obviously destined-to-be-shining) example of full level cataloging of scrapbooks.

I settled on the first item from the list (which filed that way because of the quotation marks around the creator’s first name, “Cec” Smith), the Cecil Smith scrapbooks because: a) it was small; b) the subject matter (popular music) interested me; and c) we had found a couple of cool photographs on the UW Digital Collections site while I was trying to explain the “creator” concept in the context of scrapbooks.

Since then I have compiled a few vital statistics on Smith, who seems a most interesting character (he’s the one in the center of the picture above).  The scrapbook mainly chronicles his career as a dance band leader (the band itself seems to have gone by several names) during the late 1920s/early 1930s in Seattle.  Smith supported himself as a law school student at the University of Washington through his work as a musician.  The scrapbook ends around 1937 (though there are a couple of items inserted at the back that date from the following year), following Smith’s passing of the bar exam.  He seems to have continued to play music at social functions even after he began to practice law, but the trail ends there.  I was able to determine from Ancestry.com that he died in Bellevue in 1988; presumably he spent his entire career as a lawyer in the Seattle area.  But did he continue on as a musician at all?

More digging awaits as I try to assemble these and other facts into something more lucid.

Image credit: University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections Division, Seattle Collection, Negative no.14269

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Scrapbook Project to Begin

We are about to embark on the unknown.  Next week we will launch a project to begin to create catalog records for the Pacific Northwest Collection’s scrapbook collection.  The momentum for this project really began when local hero, Mark Carlson, was able to convert the data from the html table listing the (mainly uncataloged) scrapbooks on the current Special Collections Web site into MARC format.

Next week, new iSchool volunteer for Special Collections, Mahrya Carncross, will begin to take these very basic (and sometimes problematic records) and start the painstaking (but fun?) process of turning all of them (approximately 170) into acceptable minimal level records to be loaded into WorldCat.  As time allows, we hope that she also will be able to fully catalog selected scrapbooks as well.  (I’ll try to explain the distinction some other time to all of you non-catalogers out there).  Which means you shouldn’t be running into stuff like this:

040  WAU ǂc WAU
090  ǂb
049  WAUW
1102 Salmon
24510Salmon scrapbook, ǂf 1914.
300  1 ǂf volume
5202 Clippings and menus about salmon.
506  Open to all users.
540  Some restrictions may exist on duplication, quotation, or publication. Contact the repository for details.
655 0Scrapbooks.
9451 ǂl scsbf ǂt 7 ǂs – ǂy In process record; contact repository for up-to-date information

I know I’m intrigued!  We hope to be able to share some of our sure-to-be-exciting discoveries in the scrapbook collection in the coming months.

P.S. The image above does not come from the Pacific Northwest Collection (and it could depict an Atlantic salmon for all I know).  Just a shout out to our friends back East. It is a digital image of a cigarette card in the George Arents Collection, New York Public Library from the always useful and easy-to-search NYPL Digital Gallery.  Full info here.

Image credit: The Salmon, Arents cigarette cards 869, NYPL Digital Gallery Image ID 1570301

New MLIS student tour of Special Collections – success!

Nicole Bouche, Pacific Northwest Curator, lead a tour of 44 new Master’s of Library and Information Science (MLIS) students through Special Collections. Not only was the turn-out larger than anticipated, but the group was enthusiastic and had some great comments and questions.

One of the questions was, “What is the oldest thing in your collection?,” to which Nicole answered, “We have Medieval manuscripts, but the Buddhist texts may pre-date those.” Stay tuned….maybe we’ll get a firm answer from Rare Books Curator, Sandra Kroupa.

Roethke Recordings Available Online

As recently reported in the New York Times, recordings of the American poet, Theodore Roethke, reading selected works are among the latest additions to The Poetry Archive.  This project to make historic recordings of poetry read by their authors freely available to the public was initiated by U.K. Poet Laureate Andrew Motion in 2005.   With the cooperation of the Poetry Foundation, the collection has expanded its scope to include American authors.

The Special Collections Division holds many materials relating to Roethke (who was a member of the University of Washington faculty from 1947-1963), including his papers.  The Roethke papers are described in a rather complicated finding aid, which you can begin to work your way through here.  Although the collection contains many photographs, this image is from our nearby neighbor, the Museum of History and Industry.  It shows Roethke (right) with Seattle-born musician and composer, Armand Russell in an undisclosed location.  Russell, who trained at the University of Washington, played double bass with the Seattle Symphony and several other orchestras, before joining the faculty of the University of Hawaii in 1961.

Image credit: Armand Russell and Theodore Roethke, Seattle, 1955. Seattle Post-Intelligencer Collection, Museum of History & Industry, Seattle, Image No. 1986.5.41028.

Announcements – September 2008

What’s New in the Archives

Carsten Lien papers (27.36 cubic feet), circa 1980’s-2005. Research files, correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, clippings, government publications, reports, audio reel tapes, microfilm, index card files, and maps, primarily relating to Lien’s books, Olympic Battleground: The Power Politics of Timber Preservation, and; Exploring the Olympic Mountains: Accounts of the Earliest Expeditions, 1878-1890; and a planned book on the Cascade division of the Northern Pacific Railroad.

http://www.lib.washington.edu/specialcoll/findaids/docs/papersrecords/LienCarsten5527.xml

Ronald P. Phillips papers (29.86 cubic feet), 1863-2004. The Ronald P. Phillips papers document the personal and professional activities of long-time Seattle Symphony Orchestra clarinetist Ronald P. Phillips (1906-2004) and his first wife, Gladys Bezeau Phillips (1892-1978). The materials consist of biographical material, books, clippings, correspondence, musical scores, newsletters, notes, pamphlets, periodicals, photographs and photographic material, printed ephemera, scrapbooks, scorecards (golf), souvenir books, and yearbooks/directories. http://www.lib.washington.edu/specialcoll/findaids/docs/papersrecords/PhillipsRonaldP5526.xml

Empty Space Theatre records (62.1 cubic feet), circa 1970-2006. The third and largest accession of the Theatre’s records (51.26 cubic feet) contains productions files­—including audiovisual materials—and administrative files dating from its inception through its termination in 2006.

http://www.lib.washington.edu/specialcoll/findaids/docs/papersrecords/EmptySpaceTheatre4481.xml

New Staff

Jennifer Spamer joined the staff of the University of Washington Libraries Special Collections on April 1 as Acquisitions Specialist. She oversees the accessioning of all new manuscripts/archives/photograph collections. Jeni is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan’s School of Information, and comes to the UW from a contract position at Microsoft.

Upcoming Events

The Pacific Northwest Collection will be highlighting recent archival acquisitions in an exhibit, December 2008-February 2009, in the Special Collections Lobby, Allen Library South.

Only in the Pacific Northwest Collection

I don’t wish to frighten small children, but I just wanted to let you know that the Pacific Northwest Collection of the Special Collections Division is still the only place you will find a copy of this hot biography in the University of Washington Libraries.

Adventures in Copy Cataloging

With Alaska so much in the news it was interesting to discover this recently acquired item in the cataloging queue.

Since there was cataloging copy at hand (eight other institutions already hold this item), it seemed straightforward enough a task. Clean up the ISBD punctuation, add local note about inscription, etc. — believe me, I know the drill.

What interested me most, however, was the whole question of what the purpose of this pamphlet had been anyway?  It seemed awfully like those promotional pamphlets put out by transportation companies, but since there is no tangible evidence of that objective, I probably should not assign either “Place marketing” or “Place marketing literature” as a topical or genre access point to this record.  Too bad.  I love it when the LC subject headings actually describe something accurately — sort of.  But it seems likely that Mr. Davis may have been more interested in promoting the sale of his photographs, than in Alaska boosterism, per se.

Image credit: Scan of front cover of Here and there in Southeastern Alaska