150 Years of Tradition at Syracuse University: A Digital Exhibition

In celebration of Syracuse University’s sesquicentennial, Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center has released “150 Years of Tradition at Syracuse University: A Digital Exhibition.” The online exhibition mirrors the physical exhibition on the sixth floor of Bird Library, Special Collections Research Center, which is on display from September 2019 through June 2020. Both exhibitions include audio materials from the Archives.

“We are excited to share the University’s rich history with alumni and friends of the University near and far,” said Dean David Seaman, University Librarian and Dean of Syracuse University Libraries. “Digital exhibitions enable access to those who may not be on campus. It’s also an opportunity to document and share information with researchers globally in a way that is organized and easy to access.”

Contents in the digital exhibition include:


Black Arts Movement Pop-Up Exhibit

Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) is hosting a special pop-up exhibit on the 6th floor of Bird Library on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 from 5:15 pm to 6:15 pm on the Black Arts Movement. It was designed to complement the Humanities Center’s Syracuse Symposium-sponsored lecture, “Black Music and Black Power in the Era of #BlackLivesMatter” by Dr. Mark Lomax, also being held in Bird Library on February 19 from 6:30 to 7:30 pm in the Peter Graham Room.

SCRC staff will have rare and archival materials related to the Black Arts Movement (BAM) available for viewing and listening during the pop-up exhibition in the Spector Room (Room 608) and Hillyer Room (Room 606).

The Special Collections Research Center is home to rare materials on Activism, Social Reform, and Radicalism in the Arts. The Black Arts Movement (BAM), an African American led arts movement, occurred approximately between 1965 and 1975. This renaissance of Black Pride illuminated Black Life amidst and in reaction to the vast cultural, political, and social upheaval of the times through poetry and small press publications, plays, illustrations, artwork, and more. Works related to a vibrant nucleus of poets, thinkers, dramatists, and artists—such as Imamu Amiri Baraka, Sonia Sanchez, Emory Douglas, Ntozake Shange, Dudley Randall, Nikki Giovanni, Askia M. Touré, Haki R. Madhubuti—are held in the collections of SCRC.

If you need an accommodation in order to fully participate in this event, please contact scrc@syr.edu by Feb. 12.


Anna Laganà, Plastics Conservator, Presenting at Annual Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation

Anna Laganà, research specialist in the conservation of plastics at the Getty Conservation Institute (GCI), will present at Syracuse University Libraries’ annual Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation. Laganà’s lecture, titled “The Conservation of Plastics in Museum Collections: a challenging path,” will be held on Wednesday, March 25 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons in Bird Library. The hands-on workshop, titled “Which Plastics are in my collection? The Identification of Plastics without the use of analytical techniques,” will be held the following day, Thursday, March 26 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Antje Bultmann Lemke Seminar Room, Special Collections Research Center, 6th floor of Bird Library. To coincide with the Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation, the Special Collections Research Center Conservation Lab will be dedicated to Joan Breier Brodsky ’67 G’68 on Wednesday, March 25 at 4 p.m. in the Robert Ortwine Gallery, 6th Floor of Bird Library.

All events are open to the public. However, due to limited space available for the workshop, please RSVP to jschambe@syr.edu.

The annual Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation is endowed through a generous gift by William J. ’65, G’ 68 and Joan’67, G’68 Brodsky of Chicago. Beginning in 2004, the endowment has been used to sponsor programs featuring prominent library conservators that promote and advance knowledge of library conservation theory, practice, and application among wide audiences, both on campus and in the region.

Anna Laganà leads projects at GCI, including the investigation of treatment options for plastic works of art, and develops workshops on their conservation. Before joining the GCI, Laganà worked as Coordinator of the Contemporary Art Conservation Laboratory at the Centro Conservazione Restauro la Venaria Reale in Turin, as a researcher of modern materials at the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands,  and most recently as a lecturer at the University of Amsterdam, coordinating the Postgraduate program 1 in Conservation of Modern and Contemporary.

Laganà was part of the POPART project (Preservation of Plastics ARTefacts in museum collections) work team, the first research project on the preservation of plastics in cultural heritage, founded by the European Commission. She is currently founding member and coordinator of the International Network for the Conservation of Contemporary Art (INCCA) Italian group and assistant coordinator of the International Council of Museum-Committee for Conservation (ICOM-CC) Working group Modern Materials and Contemporary Art.

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) will be available for the dedication and lecture on March 25. For more information, or if you need an accommodation in order to fully participate in these events, please contact Julia Chambers at jschambe@syr.edu by March 18.


2020 SCRC Faculty Fellows Program Now Accepting Proposals

The Special Collections Research Center at Syracuse University Libraries (SCRC) is now accepting proposals for two faculty fellows who would like to provide students with an opportunity to handle, analyze, and interpret SCRC’s primary source materials in their classes.

The SCRC Faculty Fellows Program supports innovative curriculum development and fosters new ideas about how to transform the role of special collections in university instruction. Each fellow selected will receive a $5,000 payment, hands-on introduction to the collections, and ongoing classroom support throughout the semester. Proposal applications for the development or revision of a 3-credit course to be taught in the Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 semester from any discipline on campus are currently being accepted now through March 20, 2020.

The original funding for the SCRC Faculty Fellows Program was made possible through the generosity of the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, which promotes the advancement and perpetuation of humanistic inquiry and artistic creativity by encouraging excellence in scholarship and in the performing arts, and by supporting research libraries and other institutions that transmit our cultural heritage.


Mini-Seminar with Professor and Associate Dean Carol Faulkner

Carol Faulkner, Professor of History and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, will lead a mini seminar in the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC), 6th Floor, Bird Library, on Friday, March 6, 2020 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. Faulkner will be discussing her recent book Unfaithful: Love, Adultery, and Marriage Reform in Nineteenth-Century America, which examines how an interconnected group of feminists, spiritualists, communitarians, and free lovers used the act and concept of adultery to challenge the legal institution of marriage. The mini seminar will include a hands-on exploration of select nineteenth-century archival resources from SCRC’s Oneida Community and rare book collections.

The mini seminar is open to the public; however, there is limited space available. Please RSVP to jschambe@syr.edu by February 28, 2020. If you require accommodations to fully participate in this event, please let us know in your RSVP.

Faulkner received her BA from Yale University, and her PhD from SUNY Binghamton. She is the author of Women’s Radical Reconstruction: The Freedmen’s Aid Movement (2004), Lucretia Mott’s Heresy: Abolition and Women’s Rights in Nineteenth-Century America (2011), and Unfaithful: Love, Adultery, and Marriage Reform in Nineteenth-Century America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019). She is the co-editor of The Selected Letters of Lucretia Coffin Mott, Interconnections: Gender and Race in American History, and Lucretia Mott Speaks: The Essential Speeches and Sermons (University of Illinois Press, 2017).


New 150th Anniversary Exhibit: Milestones of SU Libraries

Syracuse University Libraries’ is featuring a new sesquicentennial exhibit of milestones of SU Libraries titled “Let the reader emerge!” on the first floor of Bird Library from February 3 until mid-May. A smaller collection of materials is also on display in the lobby of Carnegie Library. It was curated by Sebastian Modrow, curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, Special Collections Research Center.

The exhibit focuses on the SU Libraries as an evolving and expanding learning space and highlighting the history of the most important buildings on campus, including the von Ranke Library, Carnegie Library, and Bird Library. The sesquicentennial celebration provides the University with an opportunity to reflect on both the origins and growth of the Libraries as a core stakeholder of the academic learning process.

“Academic libraries around the world are a critical cornerstone of universities, providing the history, context, and resources from which to build new ideas and scholarship. We are especially fortunate at Syracuse University to have a robust library system that has supported the campus community for 150 years. This exhibit contributes to the University’s celebration, honoring our past, embracing the present, and impacting the future,” said David Seaman, University Librarian and Dean of Syracuse University Libraries.


Professor Sumathi Ramaswamy to Lecture on Mahatma Gandhi as an Artist of Non-Violence

Dr. Sumathi Ramaswamy, an internationally recognized historian who chairs the history department and teaches at Duke University, is currently working on a book about Mahatma Gandhi. She will be utilizing the primary research materials on Gandhi available through Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center (SCRC). While at Syracuse University, she will provide a public lecture in Bird Library’s Peter Graham Scholarly Commons at 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday, November 13. She is also offering a mini-seminar to a select group on November 15. Syracuse University Libraries’ SCRC is uniquely positioned for this seminar as it houses the acclaimed Margaret Bourke-White archives, which include Bourke-White’s famous photographs of Gandhi for Life Magazine as well as her India journals.

Mohandas K. Gandhi has been described as “an artist of non-violence,” crafting a set of practices of the self and politics that earned him the mantle of Mahātma, “the great soul.” There is an enormous body of scholarship that has explored and critiqued Gandhi’s philosophy and praxis of satyāgraha, non-violent civil disobedience. Yet what does it mean to think of satyāgraha as an aesthetic regime, and its principal exponent as the paradigmatic artist of disobedience? Ramaswamy, who is currently president of the American Institute of Indian Studies, will discuss some modern artists in India who were inspired by Mahatma Ghandi’s non-violent civil dissent. She will sets out to answer these questions with the help of India’s modern artists who have turned to the Mahātma as their muse over the past century, but especially in recent decades. This talk will engage students and faculty from across the arts, humanities, and social sciences; specifically, from Art History, History, Photography, Political Science, African American Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies.

Dr. Sumathi Ramaswamy, an internationally recognized historian who chairs the history department and teaches at Duke University, is currently working on a book about Mahatma Gandhi. She will be utilizing the primary research materials on Ghandhi available through Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center (SCRC). While at Syracuse University, she will provide a public lecture in Bird Library’s Peter Graham Scholarly Commons at 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday, November 13. She is also offering a mini-seminar to a select group on November 15. Syracuse University Libraries’ SCRC is uniquely positioned for this seminar as it houses the acclaimed Margaret Bourke-White archives, which include Bourke-White’s famous photographs of Gandhi for Life Magazine as well as her India journals.


Petrina Jackson Featured as Keynote Speaker at Society of Georgia Archivists

Petrina Jackson, Director of Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center, gave the keynote address at the Society of Georgia Archivists (SGA) conference on October 17, 2019 in Augusta, GA. The conference theme was Strong Roots, Stronger Branches: SGA at 50.

In her keynote address, Jackson explored how her family’s stories have helped to shape her identity and perspective and how that shaping has impacted her approach to archives. Her family has roots in Georgia. She stated, “….my archival work has centered on advocacy, bringing stories relegated to the margins to the forefront, and guiding and empowering all staff to challenge their assumptions and lead from where they are to create an equitable and inclusive archives, workplace, and field.” She further stated that to accomplish her goal of an inclusive archives, she needs accomplices and allies to break out of the status quo and help bring strong, positive change.

Petrina joined Syracuse University Libraries in June 2019 from Iowa State University, where she was Head of Special Collections and University Archives since 2016, and before that was Head of Instruction and Outreach at the University of Virginia’s Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, and Senior Assistant Archivist for the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections at Cornell.

Petrina holds a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh, an MA in English from Iowa State University and a BA in English from the University of Toledo, and is well known nationally, being active in both the Society of American Archivists and the American Library Association’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Section.


University Archives to Host Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster Open Archives

To commemorate Remembrance Week 2019, Syracuse University Libraries Special Collections Research Center will host two Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster Open Archives sessions on Thursday, October 24 from 1 to 4 p.m. and Friday, October 25 from 9 a.m. to noon. Vanessa St. Oegger-Menn, Assistant University Archivist and Pan Am 103 Archivist, will have prepared selections available for viewing in room 608 Bird Library, Spector Room.

The Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster Archives holds over 400-linear feet of material, including correspondence, government reports and legislation, photographs, artwork, audio visual material, and personal items that belonged to the victims of the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland on December 21, 1988. For more information, contact the the Archives at pa103archives@syr.edu or 315.443.0632.


Special Collections Research Center Opens Papers of Dr. Thomas Szasz, Professor of Psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical Center

black and white photo of several people chatting in group, with camera pointing at man wearing jacket and tie and smiling
Thomas Szasz, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries

Syracuse University Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) is pleased to announce the opening of the Thomas Szasz Papers.  At nearly 200 linear feet, the collection represents the culmination of several years’ work by SCRC staff, including surveying, analysis, organization, rehousing, and documentation and description of the correspondence, writings, photographs, posters, awards, and memorabilia of the noted Hungarian-American psychiatrist. The collection is opening during Disability Awareness and Appreciation Month, celebrated in October.

Thomas Stephen Szasz (1920-2012) was an American psychiatrist and scholar, best known for his criticisms of psychiatry and modern medicine, as well as his theories on the intersection of law and psychiatry. Born in Budapest, Hungary on April 15, 1920, Szasz immigrated to the United States in 1938. He received his medical education at the University of Cincinnati and his psychiatric training at the University of Chicago Clinics. In 1956, he became Professor of Psychiatry at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, New York, a post he held until 1990, when he became Professor Emeritus.

“We are very pleased to see the completed finding aid to our father’s collection of papers. Kudos to the archivists at Syracuse University for creating a comprehensive inventory that will be indispensable for researchers and scholars for years to come,” said Margot S. Peters and Suzy Szasz Palmer, Thomas Szasz’s daughters.

Dr. Szasz was a well-known social critic of the moral and scientific foundations of psychiatry and of the social control aims of medicine in modern society, which he referred to as “the therapeutic state.”  A libertarian, Szasz advocated for the legalization of all drugs, the abolition of involuntary mental hospitalization and the insanity defense, and “the right to be mentally ill.”  He was a prolific author and an active correspondent, with strong opinions on the power of language and the relationship between modern psychiatry and the state. His writings, lectures, and speeches often evoked lively debate.

Taken as a whole, the collection illuminates the growth and development of Dr. Szasz’s ideas and theories and his passionate belief in an individual’s right to control their own life. The collection provides useful and salient background context for themes immediately relevant today, such as the problem of addiction, the failure of the “War on Drugs,” and societal attitudes towards individuals suffering from mental health issues.

“We are very excited about the many possibilities that scholars, researchers and students will have to engage with the Thomas Szasz papers and look forward to the impact that the resulting scholarship will have on the field of psychiatry and discussions surrounding mental health,” said Petrina D. Jackson, Director of the Special Collections Research Center.

The finding aid for the Thomas Szasz Papers is available online. For more information about the Thomas Szasz Papers or to schedule a visit, please contact scrc@syr.edu.