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Friday, June 24, 2016

Freedom Train Exhibit on Track at the Rosenbach!

Our newest exhibit, Freedom Train 1947-1949: Exhibiting America's Past to Shape America's Future,  opens next Friday, July 1, and the collections staff has been hard at work on installation. The Freedom Train was a massive traveling exhibition of  over 125 American historical documents, housed in a specially designed train, that crossed the country from September 1947 to January 1949, visiting all 48 states and attracting attendance of 3.5 million visitors. The idea for the train came out of the Justice Department, although they eventually turned to private supporters and created the non-profit American Heritage Foundation to actually run the project. (Some readers may also remember a second Freedom Train that traveled the country for the 1976 Bicentennial with a mixture of historic documents and artifacts.)

Photograph of Freedom Train
  Photograph of Freedom Train. National Archives and Records Administration.

The documents on board the original Freedom Train ranged from the Bay Psalm Book to Jefferson's draft of the Declaration of Independence to the German and Japanese surrender documents from World War II. Philip and Dr. R. were lenders to the train and Dr. R also served on the Document Advisory Committee that helped decide what should be included in the exhibit. Our exhibit will include sixteen of the Freedom Train documents; five are the exact copies that traveled on the train, others are the same book, but not exactly the actual copy that traveled (for example, we are displaying the Free Library's copy of Mourt's Relation, instead of the Library of Congress copy). We have also created an interactive that digitally reunites all 125+ documents.

Photograph of Freedom Train Exhibit
 Photograph of Freedom Train exhibit. National Archives and Records Administration.

The Freedom Train itself debuted in Philadelphia on September 17, 1947, Constitution Day, before beginning its 37,000 mile journey around the country.

Winthrop W. Aldrich, telegram to A.S.W. Rosenbach inviting him to a preview of the Freedom Train. 8 September 1947. RCo I:013:02. Collection of the Rosenbach.

The train was accompanied by a massive citizenship education campaign organized around the slogan "Freedom is Everybody's Job." This rededication campaign reached one out of every three Americans by utilizing every venue from newspapers to newsreels to Captain Marvel comics and Popeye cartoons. Here are Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters singing the Freedom Train theme song, which was written by Irving Berlin.

The Freedom Train has so many fascinating stories associated with it; the documents themselves are compelling, as is the debate over what should be included and what image the organizers strove to present of America as the nation emerged from decades of depression and war into a new Cold War world. There is also an important civil rights story: the question of whether the Freedom Train—an exhibit dedicated to freedom—would allow segregated visitation as it passed through areas that enforced segregation. Langston Hughes penned the protest poem “Freedom Train” that pointedly raised this question and we will be displaying  his manuscript of the poem in our exhibit, on loan from the John Hope and Aurelia E. Franklin Library at Fisk University. Ultimately a policy of desegregated visitation was adopted and the African American community kept pressure on the organizers to follow through. Most cities proved willing to comply (although there were ongoing debates about what exactly constituted segregated or desegregated visitation) but stops were cancelled in Memphis and Birmingham when they refused to create desegregated viewing plans.

Desegregated line, Pine Bluff, Arkansas. National Archives and Records Administration.
Amid all the serious historical stories, one element of the Freedom Train that pleased our collection staff was the wonderful pictures of National Archives staff installing Freedom Train documents in  nice dresses and pearls. Around here, our installation attire usually tends more towards the t-shirt and jeans with a screwdriver sticking out of the back pocket. We decided to walk in our foremothers' footsteps and dress up a bit for this installation. I'll wrap up this post with a few then and now pictures:

Photograph of National Archives Personnel Working on Installation of Documents on the Freedom Train
Photograph of Ms. Hamer Installing Display Documents on the Freedom Train. National Archives and Records Administration.
Photograph of Ms. Zink, Rosenbach registrar, installing display documents at the Rosenbach.
Photograph of Ms. Haas, exhibition curator, cleaning plexiglas hood for an exhibit case at the Rosenbach.
Photograph of National Archives Employees Peggy Mangum and Florence Nichol Loading the Log of the Frigate Constitution onto the Freedom Train
Photograph of National Archives Employees Peggy Mangum and Florence Nichol Loading the Log of the Frigate Constitution onto the Freedom Train. National Archives and Records Administration.
Photograph of Rosenbach employees Judy Guston and Kathy Haas loading an exhibition hood into the gallery.

Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at the Rosenbach and the primary poster for the Rosen-blog.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Ulysses Throughout the House

Today is the day after Bloomsday, but I wanted to squeeze in a Bloomsday blog post anyway. (Technically,since the day described in the book ends after midnight, maybe June 17 could be grandfathered in a little?) This year we extended our Bloomsday festival into the historic house: facsimiles of passages from the manuscript were spread throughout the house, with each passage relating to objects in that space. Our inimitable librarian Elizabeth Fuller put together the passages and objects and I wanted to share a few of her wonderful pairings.

In "Telemachus" Buck Mulligan and Stephen Dedalus discuss the politics of literature. The statue comes from another Hellenized island, Cyprus.
Epi oinopa ponton. Ah, Dedalus, the Greeks. She is our great sweet mother.  Come and look.
    Stephen stood up and went over to the parapet.  Leaning on it he looked down on the water.
    — Our mighty mother! Buck Mulligan said.
    Drawing back and pointing, Stephen said with bitterness :
    — It is a symbol of Irish art.  The cracked lookingglass of a servant.
    Buck Mulligan suddenly linked his arm in Stephen’s and walked with him round the tower, his razor and mirror clacking in the pocket where he had thrust them.
    — It’s not fair to tease you like that, Kinch, is it? he said kindly.  God knows you have more spirit than any of them.
    Parried again.  He fears the lancet of my art as I fear that of his.
    — The cracked lookingglass of a servant!  Tell that to the oxy chap downstairs and touch him for a guinea.  He’s stinking with money and thinks you’re not a gentleman.  His old fellow made his tin by selling jalap to Zulus or some bloody swindle or other.  God, Kinch, if you and I could only work together we might do something for the island. Hellenise it.

In "Scylla & Charybdis" Stephen introduces his theory that Shakespeare’s plays are autobiographical.
— He will have it that Hamlet is a ghoststory, John Eglinton said for Mr Best’s behoof.  Like the fat boy in Pickwick he wants to make our flesh creep.
List! List! O list!
My flesh hears him ; creeping, hears.
If thou didst ever...
— What is a ghost?  Stephen said with tingling energy.  One who has faded into impalpability through death, through absence, through change of manners.  Elizabethan London lay as far from Stratford as corrupt Paris lies from virgin Dublin.  Who is the ghost, returning to the world that has forgotten him?  Who is king Hamlet?
John Eglinton shifted his spare body, leaning back to judge.
— It is this hour of a June day, Stephen said, begging with a swift glance their hearing.  The flag is up on the playhouse by the bankside.  The bear Sackerson growls in the pit near it, Paris garden.  Canvasclimbers who sailed with Drake chew their sausages among the groundlings.
Local colour.  Work in all you know.  Make them accomplices.
— Shakespeare has left the huguenot’s house in Silver street and walks by the swanmews along the riverbank.  But he does not stay to feed the pen chivying her brood towards the rushes.  The swan of Avon has other thoughts.
Composition of place.  Ignatius Loyola, make haste to help me!
— The play begins.  A player comes on under the shadow, clad in the castoff mail of a court buck, a wellset man with a bass voice.  It is the ghost, King Hamlet, and the player is Shakespeare.  He speaks the words to Burbage, the young player who stands before him, calling him by a name:
Hamlet, I am thy father's spirit,
bidding him list.  To a son he speaks, the son of his soul, the prince, young Hamlet and to the son of his body, Hamnet Shakespeare who has died in Stratford that his namesake may live for ever.
Is it possible that that player Shakespeare, a ghost by absence, and in the vesture of the elder Hamlet, a ghost by death, speaking his own words to his own son’s name (had Hamnet Shakespeare lived he would have been prince Hamlet’s twin) is it possible or probable I want to know, that he did not draw or foresee the logical conclusion of those premises?  I am the murdered father : you are the dispossesed son : your mother is the guilty queen, Ann Shakespeare, born Hathaway?
The first thing we learn about Bloom is what he likes to eat, though we soon learn that he has a wide range of interests and his thought processes make connections among them all. The entire "Lestrygonians" episode revolves around food. In the process of ordering a sandwich for lunch, Bloom thinks about advertising, his troubled marriage, dubious processed food, and his recently-buried (“potted”) acquaintance Paddy Dignam. 
—... Let me see.  I’ll take a glass of burgundy and let me see.
Sardines on the shelves.  Potted meats.  What is home without Plumtree’s potted meat?  Incomplete.  What a stupid ad!  Under the obituary notices too.  Dignam’s potted meat. … With it an abode of bliss.  Lord knows what concoction.
— Have you a cheese sandwich?
— Yes, sir.
Like a few olives too if they had them.  Good glass of burgundy take away that feeling.
— Wife well?
— Quite well, thanks ...  A cheese sandwich, then.  Gorgonzola, have you?
— Yes, sir.

Images: James Joyce, Ulysses: autograph manuscript, “Telemachus” episode, p. 4; "Scylla & Charybdis" episode; p. 4, and "Lestrygonians" episode p. 17. EL4. J89ul 922 MS; Male votary figure, Cypress, 300 B.C. 1954.1948; F.G. Fisher, model of Dairy Hill Farm. London, ca. 1830. 1954.2087.007. Photograph of Rosenbach dining room.

Monday, June 06, 2016

Drinking Tea with Muhammad Ali

As the world began to mourn the death of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali on Friday June 3, 2016, his spoken words were remembered as well as his punches. Modernist poet Marianne Moore is mentioned in The Slate article “'I Done Handcuffed Lightning': The Exuberant Spoken-Word Poetry of Muhammad Ali” for writing the liner notes for his album of spoken word poetry, I Am the Greatest.  I dug into our collection of Moore’s correspondence, to see what else I could find about their friendship. There is a lot of bob and weave, duck and evade,  shuffling, and finally, a connection.

Journalist George Plimpton, with whom Marianne Moore had a working relationship, is responsible for introducing the two poets. Writing to Moore on March 29, 1964 about an article on the boxer, then still known as Cassius Clay, Plimpton asked if she would like to meet Clay and offered to bring him for tea. On April 2, 1964 Moore responded, asking him to do so "when pressure abates." Two months later Plimpton explains that the plans for tea have not come together because Clay had been in Africa and he also cautioned Moore that he did not want the introduction to “appear ‘cute’ or forced.”

Plimpton and Moore continue to exchange letters over the next six months, discussing their current writing projects. Plimpton would routinely ask Moore, an admirer of sports and athleticism, to answer questions in essay form, providing opinions and perceptions about sports figures. Meeting Clay is brought up several more times, but “his people” provide vague schedules and make no promises of an appointment. On December 10, Plimpton mentions a conversation with the boxer in Boston, saying that he was enthusiastic and would call when he next came to New York. Moore responded eagerly, but nothing was arranged. Nor did they meet at the Patterson-Chuvalo fight at Madison Square Garden in January 1965, or in October 1965.

World Wide Photos. Cassius Clay and Marianne Moore at Toots Shor Restaurant. 1966.Moore XII:D:11.Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Marianne Moore and Cassius Clay did eventually meet at Toots Shor restaurant in Manhattan, though it appears that the boxer dined on beef stew while Miss Moore alone drank tea.  Together they (mostly Ali) wrote “A Poem on the Annihilation of Ernie Terrell.”  Although there are many other letters between Plimpton and Moore in our archives, we do not have any letters written immediately after their meeting in 1966. In July 1967 Plimpton refers to, “our 'tea' with Cassius Clay.” As was his routine, Plimpton asked Moore a series of questions, including what she had expected Clay to be like and what she thought of him as a poet.  While there is no mention of beef stew, Moore mentions, “For him to exhibit the shuffle indoors despite trying circumstances, I did admire."

As a tribute to Ali, a selection of these letters, and the photo of his Toots Shor "tea" with Marianne Moore, will be temporarily on display in the library partner desk, accessible via our hourly house tours.

Jobi Zink is the registrar at the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Friday, June 03, 2016

Graduation Gear

We have just passed through college graduation season, with its new graduates roaming the streets in caps and gowns. The Rosenbach actually has a fair amount of academic dress represented in our collections owing to degrees accumulated by our founder A.S.W. Rosenbach, and even more by Marianne Moore, so I thought I'd post a few.  I apologize in advance for the photo quality in this post--we don't have formal pictures of these items and I didn't have time to rephotograph them all, so I'm relying on snapshots taken during cataloging.

A.S.W. Rosenbach owes his sobriquet " the Doctor" or "Dr. R" to his 1901 Ph.D. from Penn. Here are the 1901 graduates processing down Broad Street. Dr. Rosenbach is at the very front of the line, near the lower right corner.

U. of Pa. graduating class--1901. 2006.2441. Collection of the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

U. of Pa. graduating class--1901 (detail). 2006.2441. Collection of the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

We do have a U.Penn doctoral hood from Dr. R, but it is edged with brown velvet, which indicates that it is from his 1927 honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree, rather than his earned Ph.D. (In accordance with an intercollegiate agreement, liberal arts hoods are edged in white, fine arts in brown).

University of Pennsylvania doctoral hood. 1927. 2002.0028.Collection of the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Another of his honorary degrees came from the Jewish Theological Seminary, Amherst, in 1945 and we also have his hood from that event.

Jewish Theological Seminary hood. 1945. 2002.0026.Collection of the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

But when it came to number of degrees, Dr. Rosenbach couldn't hold a candle to Marianne Moore. Here she is in academic dress during her first year at Bryn Mawr (from which she graduated in 1909).

Portrait of Marianne Moore. Philadelphia, Broadbent Brothers, November 1905Moore XII:02:31a.Collection of the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Beyond her earned bachelor's degree, Moore would accumulate sixteen honorary degrees--her friend Elizabeth Bishop recalled that "she once modeled her favorite academic hoods for me." The first to honor her was Wilson College, which gave her a Litt.D. in 1949.

Wilson College doctoral hood. Cotrell and Leonard. 1949. 2006.2513.Collection of the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
Among her many other honorary degrees were Dickinson (1952)

Dickinson College doctoral hood. Bentley & Simon Inc. 1952. 2006.2537.Collection of the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

 Washington University in St Louis (1967)

Washington University in St. Louis doctoral hood. Collegiate Cap & Gown Co. 1967. 2006.2517.Collection of the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
and Princeton in 1968
Princeton University doctoral hood. Cotrell and Leonard. 1968. 2006.2538.Collection of the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia.
We also have one doctoral robe for her, which we think is probably from NYU in  1967, when she was awarded the Doctor of Letters degree.

NYU (?) doctoral robe. Bentley & Simon  Inc. 1967. 2006.2535.Collection of the Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Kathy Haas is the Associate Curator at the Rosenbach and the primary poster for the Rosen-blog.