Syracuse University Libraries announce $1 million gift to endow Plastics Pioneers Curator position

Kool_cigarette_Millie_and-Willie_Brout_2010-07-15Dean of Libraries David Seaman is pleased to announce a new endowed fund to support the Plastics Pioneers Historical Plastics Collection, created by a $1 million gift to the Syracuse University Libraries. The donor, a successful member of the plastics industry, wishes to remain anonymous. The annual revenue from this endowment will provide support or will help fund a new curator who will manage and develop the Plastics Collection.

The Plastics Collection was given to the Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center in 2008 upon the closing of the National Plastics Center, which had amassed one of the nation’s largest private collections of artifacts, books, and papers related to the history and use of plastics. The collection continues to be supported by the Plastics History and Artifact Committee of the Plastics Pioneers Association.

In making this gift, the donor and the Plastics Pioneers Association commit to supporting the Syracuse University Libraries as it maintains, preserves, and makes accessible the history and artifacts of the plastics industry. Glenn Beall, a plastics historian and industry activist who helped to broker the gift, said about the anonymous donor, “He was a plastics processor, sold his business a few years ago, and this is his way of giving back to the industry for the wonderful career and business opportunities that the plastics industry provided to him.”

“This generous gift recognizes the importance of our research collections to University scholarship,” says Chancellor Kent Syverud. “It also affirms our commitment to curating and promoting cutting-edge research materials. This collection enables students and faculty to learn how plastics have shaped the modern world, transforming life as we know it.”

Dean Seaman adds that “this new endowed position will allow us to encourage use of the plastics collection across the curriculum, including industrial design, history, chemical engineering, environmental science, and entrepreneurship.” The collection can be accessed through the Plastics Collection website (http://plastics.syr.edu) and in the Plastics Pioneers Reading Room (a 2013 gift of Glenn and Patsy Beall) on the 6th floor of Bird Library.

Syracuse University Libraries welcomes additional contributions of rare or historically significant books, periodicals, and artifacts, as well as financial support to curate and promote our collections.

For more information, contact Lucy Mulroney, Senior Director of the Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center, at (315) 443–8539 or ldmulron@syr.edu.

Black History Month reception in the Special Collections Research Center

crisis_cover news graphicJoin us for a reception to celebrate Black History Month on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. in Bird Library’s 6th floor gallery. On view will be the current exhibition Black Utopias exhibition, co-curated by Professor Joan Bryant and SCRC Director Lucy Mulroney. Refreshments will be provided.

About Black Utopias 

Black Utopias commemorates the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the best-selling narrative of one of the most prominent men of the Civil Rights era. This anniversary holds special significance for Syracuse University because the Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center is home to the records of Grove Press, the avant-garde publisher of the Autobiography. Grove hailed the book as one of its “most important” publications. The first printing of 10,000 copies sold out before it was released in October 1965.

“Black Utopias” takes the personal transformations that form the narrative arc of Malcolm X’s Autobiography as the framework for exploring a range of utopian visions that have shaped Black American life. Although utopias are, by definition, the stuff of dreams, the examples presented in this exhibition are firmly rooted in historical experiences of subjugation, inequality, and injustice. They are at once visionary and modest endeavors to craft worlds of freedom, unity, power, equality, and beauty.

The exhibit features the handwritten letter that Malcolm X sent to Alex Haley during his pilgrimage to Mecca, as well as other unique and rare materials from the collections. It includes documents by little-known individuals and such prominent figures as W.E.B. Dubois, Langston Hughes, Madam C. J. Walker, James Ford, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Exhibition dates: October 8, 2015 –  April 15, 2016

Visit us at: http://scrc.syr.edu

Matrix, Meshwork, Moiré: Patterns in American Print

Jennifer Roberts

2015 Syracuse Symposium™ on Networks

Public Lecture: November 17 / 6 – 7:30 p.m. / Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, Bird Library

Mini Seminar November 18 / 3 – 5 p.m. / Special Collections Research Center / Lemke Seminar Room

Both events are free and open to the public, but advanced registration is required for the mini-seminar. To register, contact Romita Ray at rray@syr.edu

A key question lies at the intersection of network studies and print studies: how might we define the relationship between the social networks that replicated images enable, and the physical net-works — the screens, dots, and lines of various printing matrices — that enable those images to be replicated in the first place? Proceeding through select examples by artists from Benjamin Franklin to Roy Lichtenstein, Jennifer Roberts’s public lecture, Matrix, Meshwork, Moiré: Patterns in American Print, superimposes these social and material networks in order to explore their patterns of convergence and their reciprocal agencies.

Jennifer L. Roberts is Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. She is an art historian focusing on American art from the colonial period onward, with particular interests in craft and materiality theory, print studies, and the history and philosophy of science. She is the author of Mirror-Travels: Robert Smithson and History (2004), Jasper Johns/In Press: The Crosshatch Works and the Logic of Print (2012), and Transporting Visions: The Movement of Images in Early America (2014).

Event Co-Sponsors:

The Syracuse University Humanities Center in the College of Arts and Sciences, organizer of the 2015 Syracuse Symposium™ on Networks

Department of Art and Music Histories

Special Collections Research Center

SUArt Galleries

Visit the website at: http://www.syracusehumanities.org/syracuse-symposium/

 

Libraries’ fall exhibition focuses on Black Utopias

crisis_cover news graphicSyracuse University Libraries’ fall exhibition, Black Utopias, opened on Thursday, October 8 in the Special Collections Research Center gallery on Bird Library’s sixth floor. An opening reception will be held on October 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. The show will run through Friday, April 15, 2016.

Co-curated by Dr. Joan Bryant, associate professor in the African American Studies Department, and Dr. Lucy Mulroney, interim senior director of the Special Collections Research Center, the exhibition commemorates the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, the best-selling narrative of one of the most prominent men of the Civil Rights era.

This anniversary holds special significance for Syracuse University because the Libraries are home to the records of Grove Press, the avant-garde publisher of the Autobiography. Grove hailed the book as one of its “most important” publications. The first printing of 10,000 copies sold out before it was released in October 1965.

“Black Utopias” takes the personal transformations that form the narrative arc of Malcolm X’s Autobiography as the framework for exploring a range of utopian visions that have shaped Black American life. Although utopias are, by definition, the stuff of dreams, the examples presented in this exhibition are firmly rooted in historical experiences of subjugation, inequality, and injustice.

The exhibit will feature the handwritten letter that Malcolm X sent to Alex Haley during his pilgrimage to Mecca, as well as other unique and rare materials from the collections. It includes documents by little-known individuals and such prominent figures as W.E.B. Dubois, Langston Hughes, Madam C.J. Walker, James Ford, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Other events associated with the exhibition include an exhibition tour and brownbag discussion with the curators on Friday, October 23 from noon – 1:30 p.m. and marathon community readings of The Autobiography of Malcolm X for Banned Books Week on September 29 from 2 to 6 p.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons in Bird Library, on September 30 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Coulter Library at Onondaga Community College, and on October 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. at Beauchamp Branch Library, located at 2111 South Salina St. in Syracuse.

For more information, contact scrc@syr.edu or call 315.443.2697.

Lecture and performance by visiting artist Shaun Leonardo

shaun_leonardoShaun Leonardo will present Identity & The Invisible Man on Thursday, April 9 from 2 to 3:30 p.m.  in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons in Bird Library. He will also lead a participatory performance on Friday, April 10, 2015 from 5 to 6:00 p.m. at the La Casita Cultural Center, 109 Otisco Street, Syracuse. Both events are free and open to the public.

Shaun Leonardo will speak on the shape-shifting qualities of identity in the “New World” and the fluidity permitted within the construction of American identity by younger generations, relating his own art practice to colonial and post-colonial histories of the Dominican Republic from the Special Collections Research Center. Leonardo’s work asks: How do I see myself? What does it mean to consider one’s self through multiple identities? When and how are these identities felt to be seamless or celebrated? When and how are they felt to be invisible or manipulated?

In Friday’s participatory performance, Leonardo will call on audience members to join in developing a narrative on identity that draws inspiration from the artist’s own family history, while tying each person in the room to one another and thereby forcing participants to reexamine their self-perceived identities. The performance will incorporate recordings of SU Professor Sydney Hutchinson’s Music in Latin America students’ readings of literature that Leonardo selected from among SCRC holdings.

Shaun Leonardo is a multidisciplinary artist who uses modes of self-portraiture as a means to convey the complexities of masculine identity and question preconceived notions of manhood. The portraits take the form of cutout paintings, drawings, and sculptures, and are also brought to life through performance. He received a BA from Bowdoin College, an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute, and has received awards from Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture; The New York Studio School; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; Art Matters; New York Foundation for the Arts; McColl Center for Visual Art; Franklin Furnace; and The Jerome Foundation. His work has been presented internationally with recent solo exhibitions in New York City.

La Casita is a vibrant cultural, artistic, and educational center supported by Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of the Chancellor.