iSchool, Arts & Sciences and Libraries Collaborate on “Art of Romanticism” Course

As part of Professor Romita Ray’s “Art of Romanticism” course this past spring 2019 semester, Ray, her students, School of Information Studies (iSchool) Professor Daniel Acuna, and Elizabeth Novoa, President of Unika Analytics, designed a website titled Romanticism at Syracuse University. The site features four items from Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections and pieces from the SUArt Galleries.

screen shot of website
Screen shot of Romanticism at Syracuse University website.

As part of the coursework, Ray and her students regularly met in the Lemke Seminar Room on the 6th Floor of Bird Library to study objects in the Libraries’ Special Collections, and the Libraries supported both high resolution scanning and permissions assistance for the website.  They also met with Acuna and Novoa over the course of the semester to discuss the website and its evolution. The site features fourteen opinion/editorial length essays written by students in the class, each centered on a specific object in the collection. The website incorporates zoom features to help viewers scrutinize the featured objects. It is optimized for mobile use, so it can be viewed on tablets and smart phones.

“What’s equally wonderful is that a signed watercolor by JMW Turner showed up in the collections. It was transferred from the library to the SUArt Galleries a few decades ago. Students were also excited to learn about William Blake’s famous Songs of Innocence and John James Audubon’s acclaimed Birds of America, original hand-colored prints of which are housed in Special Collections. Studying these objects first-hand raised questions about print-making techniques, social issues of the time, the politics of art-making, and in the case of Audubon’s prints, questions about ornithology and our understanding of the animal world today ,” said Ray, Associate Professor of Art History and Chair of the Department of Art & Music Histories in the School of Arts & Sciences. “We have some treasures hiding in our art collections here at SU. Collaborating with Novoa and Acuna meant leveraging technology in the best possible way to make visible the stories behind these treasures. ”

“This is another outstanding example of collaboration across the Syracuse University campus and community,” said David Seaman, Dean of Libraries and University Librarian and Interim Dean of the iSchool. “Providing students with the opportunity to work with our Special Collections is an important service of the Libraries.”


PlastiVan® Visits Syracuse University Libraries

Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center hosted a visit from the PlastiVan® on April 26, 2019.  The PlastiVan® is sponsored by SPE Foundation, an association of more than 22,000 members uniting plastics professionals worldwide and committed to making the plastics world better by providing a forum that generates awareness of issues facing the plastics community to identify solutions that will benefit everyone. The PlastiVan® program travels to schools and companies throughout North America, educating people of all ages about plastics chemistry, history, processing, manufacturing, sustainability and applications.

High school student sitting at table in library working beside Libraries curator
Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central student (left) works with Syracuse University Libraries’ Curator of Plastics and Historical Artifacts, Courtney Asztalos (right) during PlastiVan® field trip.

The PlastiVan® provided a unique field trip for forty local Syracuse high school students from the Institute of Technology at Syracuse Central. PlastiVan® CEO, Eve Vitale, delivered onsite PlastiVan® instruction sessions complete with hands on scientific experiments. Syracuse University Libraries’ Curator of Plastics and Historical Artifacts, Courtney Asztalos, provided one-hour sessions in the Lemke Room showcasing the Libraries’ historical plastics collections.

“The Libraries’ plastics collection is truly unique,” said Courtney Asztalos. “It provides an opportunity to unite chemistry, engineering and history. And the PlastiVan® program helps to spark that curiosity.”

“This is a great opportunity to provide experiential learning to high school students in the area,” said Dean David Seaman, Librarian and Dean of Syracuse University Libraries. “SU Libraries is committed to educating those in our campus and broader community.”


Syracuse University Libraries and Department of Chemistry Collaborate to Identify Chemical Composition of Plastics Artifacts Collection

Syracuse University Libraries has collaborated on a first-of-its-kind project between the Special Collection Research Center (SCRC) and the Department of

Syracuse Chemistry of Artifacts Project (SCOAP) team in front of Plastics Artifacts Collection on 6th Floor of Syracuse University Libraries’ Bird Library. From left to right: Chemistry PhD candidate Elyse Kleist, Dr. Mary Boyden from Syracuse University Chemistry Department, and Dr. Timothy Korter, Chemistry Professor.

Chemistry. Courtney Asztalos, the Libraries’ Plastics Pioneers Curator of Plastics and Historical Artifacts, partnered with Syracuse University Chemistry Professor Dr. Timothy Korter to investigate the chemical composition of objects from the Plastics Artifacts Collection, located on the 6th Floor of Bird Library. Along with Professor Korter, Dr. Mary Boyden and Chemistry PhD candidate Elyse Kleist created the Syracuse Chemistry of Artifacts Project (SCOAP) to use Raman spectroscopy to analyze plastic items from the Plastics Artifacts Collection. Raman spectroscopy is a non-destructive technique using a laser beam to enhance knowledge of the chemical composition of plastics. This information is critical to the Plastics Artifacts Collection’s conservation, preservation, and curation.

In addition to the benefit to the Libraries, the collaboration is also providing a research opportunity for the Chemistry Department. With a solid foundation now in place through the creation of a comprehensive reference database of known plastics and formation of research protocols, the SCOAP team has set the stage for undergraduate students to engage in undergraduate research beginning in the fall of 2019. “It is magnificent to see the plastics artifacts being utilized in new and exciting ways, especially in contributing to SCOAP’s chemical research,” said Courtney Asztalos, Plastics Pioneers Curator. In the fall 2019, students enrolled in CHE450 (Introduction to Chemical Research) will work alongside Prof. Korter and Dr. Boyden on the project as part of their American Chemical Society certified degrees. They will use Raman spectroscopy to identify the chemical composition of items in the Plastics Collection and will also work with Libraries staff to understand the historical and cultural value of important plastics artifacts. “From a chemistry perspective, this is an outstanding example of applying rigorous analytical chemistry techniques in a real-world scenario where the students can immediately see the positive impact of their investigative work,” said Dr. Korter.

“We are delighted to partner on this innovative research project,” added David Seaman, Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, “which combines skills and materials from the Special Collections Research Center with faculty and student expertise, and which adds to our knowledge of important items in our collections to benefit future research. This is exemplary of the kind of work an R1 research university is engaged in.”

This initiative was made possible through financial support from Invest Syracuse and the Department of Chemistry for the purchase of a portable Raman spectrometer, microscope, computer, and supplies, as well as SU Libraries for project space and the purchase of modern polymer reference samples that were used to create a plastics reference library. Members of the Plastics Pioneers Association also donated reference samples to SCOAP’s plastics reference library.

For additional information, visit SCOAP website at https://tmkorter.expressions.syr.edu, Plastics Artifacts Collection at www.plastics.syr.edu, or SCRC website at https://library.syr.edu/scrc.


Studying Dante’s Religious Culture and the Problem of the Beatific Vision: Questions of Method, Lecture by Zygmunt G. Barański

In this lecture, Zygmunt G. Barański, Serena Professor of Italian Emeritus at the University of Cambridge and Notre Dame Professor of Dante & Italian Studies at the University of Notre Dame, will examine the unsystematic treatment of Dante’s religious culture in scholarship, with particular attention to the poet’s treatment of the issue of heavenly beatitude in the Commedias final canticle, Paradiso. Barański has published extensively on Dante and on medieval and modern Italian literature and culture. For many years he was senior editor of The Italianist, and currently holds the same position with Le tre corone.

A selection of materials from the Special Collections Research Center related to Dante’s works will be available to view before and after the talk.

For more information about the lecture, visit http://thecollege.syr.edu/event-items/PROGRAMS/2019.04.10-Baranski.html.

This event is co-sponsored by The English Department, the Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program, Syracuse University Libraries, and the Syracuse University Humanities Center.

The lecture will be held at 5:00 p.m. in Bird Library, Spector Room, Bird 608. A reception will follow in the Hillyer Room, Bird 606.

To request accommodations, please contact aleone@syr.edu.


Textile conservator Deborah Lee Trupin to give annual Brodsky Lecture on April 11 in Bird Library

Deborah Lee Trupin, textile and upholstery conservator, will give the lecture A Tale of Two Flags: How History of Treatment and Ownership Affected Conservation Treatment of Two Early Nineteenth-Century American Flags on Thursday, April 11, 2019 from 2:00–3:30 p.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, 114 Bird Library. The lecture will be preceded by an interactive workshop, Textile Identification, Inspection, and Recommendations for Proper Housing and Treatment, from 9:00 a.m. –12:00 p.m. in the Lemke Seminar Room, Special Collections Research Center, 6th floor, Bird Library.

The lecture and workshop are open to the public, however there is limited space available for the workshop; please RSVP to jschambe@syr.edu if you are interested in attending the workshop.

The event is the 2019 offering of the annual Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation. The series is endowed through a generous gift by William J. ’65, G’ 68 and Joan Brodsky ’67, G’68 of Chicago. Beginning in 2004, the endowment has been used to sponsor programs that promote and advance knowledge of library conservation theory, practice, and application among wide audiences, both on campus and in the region. Programs typically include lectures and workshops by prominent library conservators.

Between 1995 and 2006, Deborah Trupin led a team of textile conservators at the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) in the conservation treatment of two rare, early 19th-century flags: the 1809 Fort Niagara Garrison flag and the 1813 ‘Don’t give up the ship’ flag from the United States Naval Academy. Trupin’s lecture will address the treatment of these two historic flags, including cleaning, removal of past treatments, and preparation of these large textile objects for long-term exhibition. The interactive workshop will cover the basics of textile identification, agents of deterioration, care and storage, preventive conservation and collection management issues.

Deborah Trupin, principal of Trupin Conservation Services, has over 35 years of experience in textile conservation. From 1986 to 2015, she was Textile and Upholstery Conservator for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation’s Bureau of Historic Sites (Peebles Island) in Waterford, NY, where she was responsible for the conservation of the textile and upholstery collections of the 35 state‑run historic sites, and supervised the New York State Battle Flag Preservation Project. She is an assistant adjunct professor in FIT’s Fashion and Textiles Studies MA program. Her main interests in conservation include preventive conservation, tapestries, upholstered furniture, flags, historic house museum issues, and the history of conservation/restoration. Trupin is a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation and serves on their Board.

Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) will be available for this event. For more information, or if you need an accommodation in order to fully participate in this event, please contact Julia Chambers at jschambe@syr.edu by March 27.

 


New Director of Special Collections Research Center Joins Libraries

Petrina Jackson is Syracuse University Libraries’ new Director of the Special Collections Research Center, effective June 3, 2019.  She comes to the SU Libraries 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.

“I am so excited to join SU Libraries and work with the fantastic staff of the Special Collections Research Center,” says Ms. Jackson, “and to building the SCRC’s distinguished collections and support for scholarship and teaching. I look forward to our work ahead.” David Seaman, Dean of Libraries and University Librarian, adds “we are delighted to have Petrina bring her expertise, energy, and engagement to the SU Libraries, and I’ll look forward to seeing the SCRC continue to develop into a major university resource for faculty and students alike.”

Petrina Jackson 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.


2019-2020 Alexander N. Charters Adult Education Grants-in-Aid Program Now Accepting Applications

Since 1949, Syracuse University has assembled historical documents and University rAlexander N. Chartersecords, including manuscript, print, visual, and media materials, related to adult education. This material is known collectively as the Alexander N. Charters Library for Educators of Adults, in recognition of Dr. Charters’ efforts in promoting and expanding our adult education holdings. Through the generosity of Dr. Charters, we are also able to offer annual grants to one or more scholars or practitioners wishing to do research in our adult education collections. Up to $5,000 worth of grants-in-aid are awarded most years. The amount of the award depends upon the scope of the research outlined in the applicant’s proposal.

Deadline for Applications: March 20, 2019

Learn more about the application process here: https://library.syr.edu/scrc/programs/grants.php.


2019 Faculty Fellows Program Call for 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 a one-of-a-kind opportunity to handle, analyze, and interpret SCRC’s primary source materials in their classes.

The SCRC Faculty Fellows program aims to support innovative curriculum development and foster new ideas about how to transform the role of special collections in university instruction. Each fellow will receive a $5,000 stipend, a hands-on introduction to the collections, and ongoing course support.

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.

Deadline for Applications: March 20, 2019

More information about the 2019 program and application can be found here: https://library.syr.edu/scrc/documents/FacultyFellowsProgram20192020CallforProposals.pdf.

 


What’s New in Special Collections? A selection of new acquisitions, recent donations and freshly available material from the Special Collections Research Center

The Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) at Syracuse University Libraries, home to many of Syracuse University’s rare or unique research and teaching collections, will hold a special viewing of recent acquisitions and newly available material on Thursday, February 7, from 4-6 p.m. in the Antje Bultmann Lemke Seminar Room on the sixth floor of Bird Library.

A selection of materials on display will include, but not limited to, an early 16th century palimpsest, an 18th century Mexican illuminated missal, examples from the newly processed papers and records of SU Chancellor William P. Tolley and newly-accessioned materials from the Pan Am 103 Archives. Staff will also be on hand to showcase SCRC’s ongoing digitization and preservation initiatives regarding wax cylinders and plastics artifacts.

What else is new in Special Collections? Meet the new members of SCRC’s curatorial team who together with SCRC archivists and audio engineers will be on hand to comment on the significance of the items and to field questions.

This event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact scrc@syr.edu or call 315.443.2697.

 


Dane Flansburgh Appointed Assistant Archivist for the Special Collections Research Center

The Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) is pleased to announce that Dane
Flansburgh has been hired as Assistant Archivist.  Dane joined SCRC in August of 2016 as Temporary Project Archivist processing the Crusade for Opportunity Records and the records of Chancellor William P. Tolley.  Prior to joining SCRC he was Project Archivist at the Strong Museum of Play in Rochester, NY where he processed the records of the Atari Coin-op Division. This project, comprising 600 linear feet, was completed in only 18 months and resulted in a presentation at the New York Archives Conference, “Processing Colossal Acquisitions with a Small Staff; Or, What to Do After a Semi-Trailer Shows Up at Your Loading Dock.” Dane has a B.A. in History from LeMoyne College and an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh, with a specialization in Archives, Preservation, and Records Management.

We are delighted to welcome him as a permanent member of SCRC staff.