Belfer Audio Archive to celebrate 50th anniversary with series of lectures and concerts

Belfer Audio Archive at 50The Belfer Audio Archive at Syracuse University will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a series of lectures, concerts, and film screenings from October 31 to November 2, 2013. Developed by a team of faculty, librarians, and members of the University community, the events will highlight the Belfer’s rich heritage and illuminate the importance of recorded sound to music-making in the twentieth century, and the legacy of those practices on music today.

Since its founding in 1963, the Belfer Audio Archive rapidly became a leader in sound re-recording and preservation technologies. The Archive now houses one of the largest collections of sound recordings in North America, with particular strengths in cylinders and discs up to 1970. With new leadership and an administrative home in Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center, the Belfer Archive is becoming more fully integrated into the academic and cultural life of the University and the broader communities that it serves.

The anniversary celebration will explore a number of common themes.  The opening lecture, “Sound, Memory, and the Psychoanalytic Century” presented by Paul Théberge, sets out a primary focal point: how sound recording became the vehicle for a diverse range of public, cultural and individual memories, and, at the same time, how sound technologies in cinema have played a vital role in representing the experience of aberrant psychological states of mind.  The lecture will be followed by a double-feature screening of Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound and Rebecca.

A seminar on Friday will explore the history of the Belfer Audio Archive itself, from its founding by Prof. Walter Welch to current research and scholarship that is being conducted in the Archive’s collections. Other events on day two include a Syracuse Symposium 2013 panel discussion with distinguished film music scholars who will explore how composers and producers have used sound technologies to create new ways of expressing psychological states, particularly in film scores by composers Miklos Rósza and Franz Waxman, and an SU Symphony Orchestra concert featuring Rósza’s Spellbound Concerto and Waxman’s Rebecca Suite, as well as a new work, Goodnight Moon, by SU composer Andrew Waggoner.

The final day features the renowned Kronos Quartet. First violinist David Harrington will converse with Alex Ross, music critic of The New Yorker, taking as a starting point how archival sounds documented in audio recordings intersect with the ensemble’s cutting-edge music-making. The series will conclude with a concert by this uniquely creative string quartet.

For more information and a full schedule of events, see

Lecture and seminar related to Libraries’ Audubon exhibition

irmscher-sliderChristoph Irmscher, Professor of English at Indiana University at Bloomington, will present the lecture, Lives of the Birds: Audubon and the Problems of Scientific Biography. The lecture will be held on September 5 at 5 p.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons on the first floor of Bird Library. It directly precedes the opening of the Libraries’ fall exhibition, John James Audubon and the American Landscape.

Audubon’s colorful life, which took him from Haiti to France to the United States, has attracted almost as much attention as his life-sized portraits of birds engaged in all sorts of spectacular activities. Drawing on Audubon’s own representations of the lives of birds, in his images and his writings, as well on his own recent attempts in the genre of life-writing, Christoph Irmscher shows how Audubon used ornithology as a form of covert autobiography.

Irmscher, a native of Germany, is widely recognized as the leading authority on Audubon. He is the editor of the Library of America edition of Audubon’s Writings and Drawings. He is the author of the recent biography, Louis Agassiz: Creator of American Science (2013), and of several other books on subjects ranging from natural history writing (The Poetics of Natural History, 1999) to the life of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Longfellow Redux, 2008, and Public Poet, Private Man, 2009.) His work has been supported by the National Endowment of the Humanities, most recently for summer institutes on Audubon held at the Lilly Library, Indiana University, in 2009 and 2011.

Irmscher will also present a companion mini-seminar on September 6, 2013 from 10 a.m. to noon in the Special Collections Research Center on the 6th floor of Bird Library. The mini‐seminar is free and open to the public, however advance registration is required. To register, contact Barbara Brooker at or at 315‐443‐9763.

Research Roundtable session with guest speaker, William Brooks

On Friday, February 8, Syracuse University Library’s Belfer Audio Archive will welcome William Brooks, Professor of Music at the University of York, England, and Emeritus Professor at the University of Illinois, who will lead a roundtable discussion entitled They Were There: Quotation in Songs of World War I. The roundtable will be held in the classroom at Belfer from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m.

Among the thousands of contemporary First World War-related publications are many hundreds issued by unknown musicians, many self-published. A surprisingly high number of these use musical quotation to make their points – this in contrast to Tin Pan Alley composers, who used quotation more sparingly. Notably, the emerging recording industry allied itself with Main Street USA: in a significant number of recorded songs, additional quotations are introduced, raising interesting questions about differences in audience, purpose, and aesthetics between the two industries.

This talk presents statistical and demographic information about these musicians’ use of quotation, based on an ongoing inventory of two important Midwestern collections of sheet music and an informal collection of about 250 recordings. The songs quoted, and the ways they are used, tell us something about the shared musical heritage of middle Americans. The evolution of this repertory over the eighteen months of American involvement parallels America’s changing moods, and its abrupt termination signals the country’s postwar shift of attention from international to domestic matters, from historical tradition to modernist innovations.

Brooks, a scholar of American music for many years, has published extensively on experimentalists like Charles Ives and John Cage and also on American popular culture of the early twentieth century.

For more information about the roundtable and Brooks’ research, visit

Due to limited seating, advanced registration is required. To register, contact Barbara Brooker at or at 315.443.9763.

Co-sponsored by the Humanities Center, the Research Roundtable series in the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) is designed to connect outside scholars who have used special collections with Syracuse University faculty and students having similar interests.

Grove Press lecture and panel discussion with U of Iowa’s Loren Glass

Loren Glass, Associate Professor of English at the University of Iowa, will present a lecture entitled Counter-Culture Colophon: Grove Press, the Evergreen Review, and the Incorporation of the Avant-Garde on Wednesday, January 16 at 6:00 p.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons on the first floor of Bird Library. He will be introduced by Sean Quimby, Senior Director of Special Collections at the Syracuse University Library.

Responsible for such landmark publications as Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Tropic of Cancer, Naked Lunch, Waiting for Godot, The Wretched of the Earth, and The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Grove Press was the most innovative publisher of the postwar era.  In this talk, Loren Glass will tell the story of how the press and its house journal, the Evergreen Review, revolutionized the publishing industry and radicalized the reading habits of the “paperback generation.” Grove Press was not only responsible for ending censorship of the printed word in the United States but also for bringing avant-garde literature, especially drama, into the cultural mainstream as part of the quality paperback revolution. Covering topics such as world literature and the Latin American Boom, experimental drama such as the theater of the absurd, pornography and obscenity, revolutionary handbooks, and underground film, Glass will reveal how Barney Rosset built Grove into a communications center of the counterculture.

On Thursday, January 17 at 5 p.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, Glass will also moderate “Remembering Grove” a panel discussion with former employees of Grove Press, including, Judith Schmidt Douw (foreign rights), Fred Jordan (editorial), Claudia Menza (the Evergreen Review), Nat Sobel (sales), and Astrid Rosset.

Glass’s first book, Authors Inc.: Literary Celebrity in the Modern United States, was published by New York University Press in 2004. His history of Grove Press, Counter-Culture Colophon: Grove Press, the Evergreen Review, and the Incorporation of the Avant-Garde is forthcoming in the Post*45 Series with Stanford University Press in 2013.

The public lecture and panel discussion are free and open to the public.

Strange Victories: Grove Press, 1951-1985
is part of the 2012–13 Ray Smith Symposium “Positions of Dissent,” co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, Humanities Center, School of Architecture, LGBT Studies, and the departments of English, History, African American Studies, and Art, Design, and Transmedia. For more information on the symposium visit

Research Roundtable session with guest speaker, Gregory Goodale

Dr. Gregory GoodaleOn Friday, September 28, Syracuse University Library’s Belfer Audio Archive will welcome Dr. Gregory Goodale, Associate Professor at Northeastern University, who will lead a roundtable discussion entitled Reading Sound: Theories & Perspectives.  The roundtable will be held in the classroom at Belfer from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m.

Can sound be read like words or images? Do ambulance sirens, coughs, and train whistles mean anything? Dr. Goodale believes that sounds have meaning and more importantly, sounds can be read. From the pause in Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “the only thing we have to fear is … fear itself” to the noise that Wile E. Coyote makes every time he falls off of a cliff, sounds matter.

During this discussion, we will listen to the sounds of presidents from the turn of the 20th century, blues from the 1930s, and political advertising from the present. We’ll hear people screaming at each other in defense of their political opinions. And, we’ll wonder whether we all might become better citizens by learning how to read sound.

Dr. Goodale’s scholarship on sound has been quoted in political magazines like The New Republic and Les Influences, as well as news radio programs. He has explored his findings in the book, Sonic Persuasion: Reading Sound in the Recorded Age (University of Illinois Press, 2011). For more information about the roundtable and Dr. Goodale’s research, please visit

Due to limited seating, advanced registration is required. To register, contact Barbara Brooker at or at 315.443.9763.

Co-sponsored by the Humanities Center, the Research Roundtable series in the Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) is designed to connect outside scholars who have used special collections with Syracuse University faculty and students having similar interests.

Research Roundtable session with guest speaker, Maarten Van Gageldonk

Maarten Van GageldonkMaarten Van Gageldonk (Radboud University Nijmegen)
“The Changing Field of Periodical Studies: Grove Press and Evergreen Review as Transatlantic Cultural Mediators”

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Guest Scholar: Maarten van Gageldonk, Radboud University Nijmegen

Faculty Moderator: Jan Cohen-Cruz, Director of Imagining America

For the past several years, scholar Maarten van Gageldonk has visited Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center to conduct research in the records of the American publisher Grove Press and its in-house literary and cultural magazine, Evergreen Review. This November, SCRC will host a Research Roundtable for van Gageldonk to share his work with an intimate group of faculty and graduate students from across the humanities at Syracuse University.

One aspect of van Gageldonk’s project is to understand the role that Grove Press and Evergreen Review played in the introduction of the Theater of the Absurd to the United States. Born out of Cold War anxiety and strongly influenced by Existentialism in the 1950s and 1960s, authors such as Samuel Beckett, Eugène Ionesco, Harold Pinter, and Fernando Arrabal devised a new form of theater that discarded traditional theatrical approaches. These authors produced plays that were ambiguous, illogical, and that profoundly questioned the human predicament. As Ionesco put it at the time, for these authors, the absurd is “that which is devoid of purpose. When man is cut off from his religious, metaphysical, and transcendental roots he is lost; all his actions become senseless, useless, absurd.”

It is no coincidence, van Gageldonk tells us, that the Absurd playwrights appeared in the pages of Evergreen Review and had their plays published by Grove Press. Drawing upon SCRC’s archival holdings, van Gageldonk will highlight some of the cultural strategies Grove Press employed in introducing the Absurd playwrights to the United States. While previous scholarship on Grove has often focused on the various censorship court cases in which the publisher was embroiled in the early 1960s, van Gageldonk intends to stress a different side to the publisher that heretofore has received little attention: the influence Grove exerted on the postwar cultural field by introducing a wide variety of European avant-garde writers into the United States. What is more, van Gageldonk suggests that, by studying periodicals as cultural mediators rather than as passive barometers, we might further explore their role as active shapers of the cultural field. Thus van Gageldonk’s project not only sheds light on the role of Grove Press and Evergreen Review in bringing avant-garde European culture to postwar America; it also offers a new approach to understanding the complicated relationship between publishing houses and literary magazines during this period, as well as the role magazines play in our society.

Line, Shade & Shadow: Fabrication and Preservation of Architectural Drawings, a lecture and workshop in the Brodsky Series

Friday, October 28th at 4 p.m.

The Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation is pleased to present Lois Olcott Price from the Winterthur Museum of the University of Delaware as its speaker on Friday, October 28th at 4 p.m. Because architectural drawings are not created as an end in themselves, but as graphic documents to construct a building, sell a project or explore a design concept, the materials and techniques chosen by the drafter are particular to the function of the drawing as well as the period in which it was created. The interpretation and preservation of architectural drawings depends upon an understanding of their functions in architectural practice and on a working knowledge of drafting materials and techniques. This lecture will include tracing the use of supports, media and photo-reproductive processes used to create architectural drawings in the 18th to 20th centuries.


Research Roundtable session with guest speaker, Matthew Hedstrom

Matthew HedstromMatthew Hedstrom (University of Virginia)
March 4, 2011

Now an assistant professor of religious studies and American studies at the University of Virginia, Hedstrom held postdoctoral positions at the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University and in the Lilly Fellows Program at Valparaiso University. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. in American studies from the University of Texas at Austin and his B.A. in history from Haverford College. His main areas of teaching and research are religious liberalism, the cultures and politics of pluralism, religion and race, and print culture. Seeking a Spiritual Center: Books, Book Culture, and Liberal Religion in Modern America (Oxford University Press, 2011), his first book, offers new interpretations of the influence of religious liberalism on American culture in the 20th century, and of the place of consumer culture and print media in shaping spirituality. The book traces the rise of religious middlebrow culture in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s through an examination of key texts, reader reception, transformations in publishing, and a variety of public reading programs, and relates these developments to the production and propagation of liberal religious sensibilities and practices in the 20th century. This work draws on extensive research in archival collections around the country, including the Norman Vincent Peale and Frank Laubach collections at Syracuse.

Holly Krueger to give 2010 Brodsky lecture: Featuring Herblock!

The Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation presents Holly Huston Krueger, Senior Paper Conservator at the Library of Congress, on Friday, October 22nd at 4:00 p.m. in the Hillyer Room on the 6th floor of Syracuse University’s Bird Library.
With over thirty thousand original drawings for illustrations, cartoons and comic strips, the Library of Congress is one of the largest repositories in the world. The evening lecture will give an overview of the Swann, Cabinet of American Illustration, Art Wood, and Herb Block collections and the preservation issues particular to these materials. Krueger will discuss past and ongoing conservation actions as well as new directions in scientific preservation research on the Herblock cartoons.
Her workshop the following day will focus on identification of different materials used in the construction of cartoons and illustrations and how to assess the associated preservation issues. Treatment and housing solutions will be presented.
Holly Huston Krueger is a graduate of the Cooperstown Graduate Program in Conservation in New York. She has worked at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco, the Amon Carter Museum, and Perry Huston and Associates in Ft. Worth, Texas. She currently works as Senior Paper Conservator at the Library of Congress, a position she’s held since 1992. During her tenure, she has been Team Leader for large, multi-year projects aimed at preserving vast cartoon collections. She has recently completed a five year project to conserve and house the fourteen thousand original drawings of Herb Block that were donated to the Library upon his death in 2001.
The Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation is endowed through a generous gift by William J. ’65, G’ 68 and Joan Brodsky ’67, G’68 of Chicago, Illinois. 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 will typically include lectures and workshops by prominent library conservators.
For more information, contact Peter Verheyen, Head of Preservation and Conservation, at or 315.443.9756 or visit the library web site at

Don Etherington to give 2009 Brodsky Lecture: A Sixty-year Odyssey in Bookbinding and Conservation

Don Etherington, President of Etherington Conservation Services, will give the 2009 Brodsky lecture on Friday, October 16th at 4 p.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons in Syracuse University’s Bird Library. A Sixty-year Odyssey in Bookbinding and Conservation chronicles Don Etherington’s career and describes how the bookbinding and conservation fields have evolved during this time and how he learned from and contributed to this evolution.
On Saturday, October 17, Don will also instruct a full-day workshop on the restoration and repair of historic cloth bindings using the combination of Japanese paper and linen. If possible, attendees should bring at least two books needing repair. No prerequisite is required for this workshop and tools will be available. Workshop fee (including all materials) is $100 and is free to students at Syracuse University. Enrollment is limited to 12 with priority given to Syracuse University students. The deadline for registration is October 2.
Don Etherington began bookbinding at age thirteen as a student at the Central School of Arts and Crafts and at Harrison’s & Company in London. He studied bookbinding and design with Edgar Mansfield and Ivor Robinson at the London School of Printing and worked as a conservator for the BBC and Roger Powell and Peter Waters. From 1967 to 1969, he was a training consultant at the Biblioteca Nazionale in Florence where he trained individuals in conservation practices as part of the flood response effort. He came to the Library of Congress (LC) in 1970 with Peter Waters, where he served as Training Officer and Assistant Restoration Officer. He served as Assistant Director and Chief Conservation Officer at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas at Austin. In 1987, he joined Information Conservation, Inc. where he created a new conservation division. In 1982, he co-authored, with Matt Roberts, Bookbinding and the Conservation of Books: A Dictionary of Descriptive Terminology, the first comprehensive attempt to compile terminology from all the bookmaking and conservation fields
For more information or to register for the workshop, contact Peter Verheyen, Head of Preservation and Conservation at or 315.443.9756 or visit the library web site at