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||March 18, 2010 – Issue 26|
Antarctica Collection Coming to SULAIR
A wonderfully deep and diverse collection of books about Antarctica – particularly the history of its exploration – is being given to the Libraries. The donor, Joan Norris Boothe, besides having a long-term interest in Antarctica, is a former Chevron manager, avid hiker and skier, college instructor, and founding member of the Sierra Nevada Alliance. The collection – nearly 1,800 titles, many in multiple editions, including a copy of nearly every published primary expedition account from 1819 through the present – will come to Stanford over time. The first installment of 150 volumes has been received; it includes narratives of voyage and exploration, scientific works, natural history, political treaties, environmental treatises, art and photography, bibliographies, hunting and whaling, and “Antarctic fiction” (see below for more about this recondite genre). In addition to these source materials, Ms. Boothe is providing us with copies and updates of her very substantial bibliographic and chronological databases, which will be highly valuable to researchers in this (hemi)sphere.
There is much interest at Stanford in Antarctica, not least because of global warming concerns. Descriptions of University courses, faculty and research on the Arctic and Antarctica may be found at Stanford’s Global Gateway site. In January, 2010, a Stanford Alumni Travel/Study expedition, “Journey to the Last Continent,” was led by Barbara Block, the Charles and Elizabeth Prothro Professor in Marine Sciences and Senior Fellow, by courtesy, of Woods Institute for the Environment, and a team of world-renowned naturalists. Readers intrigued by our earlier reference to Antarctic fiction should peruse Representations of Antarctica: A Bibliography, assembled by Dr. Elizabeth Leane, University of Tasmania, and listing works in English or translated into English, of adult and juvenile fiction, short stories, poetry, drama, films and television programs, and literary and cultural criticism about the icy continent.
Students Collect, Exhibit and Donate Archive
Professor Carol McKibben’s fall-2009 Introduction to Public History and Public Service addressed the application of historical study in public settings such as museums and heritage sites, national and state parks, and educational institutions. Students in that course assembled an archive of unique local importance and offered it to the Stanford Libraries as both exhibit and permanent resource. With assistance from Professor Al Camarillo and local history buffs, and support from the Haas Center for Public Service and the Department of History, five undergraduates and five graduate students created an archive about an important nineteenth-century California woman, Juana Briones de Miranda.
Juana Briones (1802-1899) was born at Villa de Branciforte (now Santa Cruz), where her mother and grandparents were settlers from New Spain (present-day Mexico). Growing up in the Presidio, Juana Briones learned herbal medicine from Native Americans, knowledge that was instrumental in her later reputation as a curandera, or healer. She acquired property in San Francisco, concerning which she won a Supreme Court victory in favor of her ownership after California statehood was granted in 1850, gave birth to eleven children, divorced her abusive husband and bought a 4,400-acre plot of land in the foothills of today’s Palo Alto. Her adobe house there – constructed in a rare style utilizing lathe-like wooden framing – was later the focus of a neighborhood campaign, spearheaded by the Juana Briones Heritage Foundation, which from 1999-2008 succeeded in preserving the Juana Briones House as living California history. More about Briones’ life and dwelling may be found here.
“Public History provides a critical link between what is created in academic institutions and what is commonly accepted as history by the public,” Professor McKibben said. “It is only through service-learning that students can understand how to make the relationship between academia and popular knowledge accessible and clear without losing the essential complexity of narrative history, and it is only through service-learning that students can fully appreciate the necessity of public service in changing communities for the better in the present. The connections between community developments in the present with historical understandings of communities can best be achieved through hands-on work in the field.”
After reading extensively about Briones in the context of nineteenth-century California and interviewing members of the Juana Briones Foundation, students met with Special Collections staffers Glynn Edwards, about cataloging and storing their collected archive, and Elizabeth Fischbach, about designing an exhibit. Correspondingly, we are pleased to note, this effort resulted in the current display in the south lobby of Green Library presenting highlights of the archive: newspaper articles, historical photos and drawings, letters, microfilm census records, aerial views, and the very samples of adobe wall used to authenticate the house.
Stephen Jay Gould Project Ramps Up
To me, success is the realization of my hopes and dreams: to be happy in my profession, to do something good for mankind and to raise a family. To be successful in my chosen field, which is Paleontology (the study of fossils) one must work very hard . . . Success in this field is the discovery of new facts which lead to a better understanding. From “My Idea of Success,” by Stephen Gould (age 15), 1956.
As previously reported, our Department of Special Collections is the repository of the Stephen Jay Gould Papers, as well as of his personal, highly annotated, library. We harbor great ambitions to reveal the scientific thinking and perhaps creative processes of the well-loved essayist through the digitization and cross-referencing of Gould’s correspondence, juvenilia, research and writings. That project has fairly begun, and we are pleased to announce that Jennifer E. Johnson has been named as project archivist. Previously a visual resources specialist at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Johnson has been an archives specialist for the University Archives since 2008.
“I have particularly enjoyed working on the juvenilia series, which reveals Gould’s unflagging single-mindedness and clarity in pursuit of his desire to become a paleontologist and contribute to the betterment of society,” Johnson said. “I have become familiar with his significant contributions to his fields of paleontology and evolutionary biology, as well as his involvement in the popularization of science, but I have also had the pleasure of becoming familiar with Gould the humanitarian and civil rights activist. As early on as high school Gould was very active in his local chapter of the NAACP and committed to the concept of equality for all.”
Stephen Jay Gould was an American paleontologist, evolutionary biologist, and historian of science. While dedicating most of his career to teaching at Harvard University and working at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, he was one of the most influential and widely read writers of his generation. His extensive personal collection of approximately 1,500 antiquarian books and 8,000 contemporary works is being cataloged concurrently with the initiative to organize and describe his papers. The volumes, some with Gould’s penciled annotations in the margins, comprise a working research library, which he believed to be definitive on the history of early paleontology. Gould’s books and papers were donated to Stanford by his widow, Rhonda Roland Shearer. A Stanford Report article on their arrival at the Libraries may be found here.
Concurrently, digital archivist Peter Chan, with assistance from the Computer History Museum’s software curator, Al Kossow, and utilizing FRED (Forensic Recovery Evidence Device), is working to preserve, catalog and make accessible Gould’s “born-digital” materials, originally stored on diskettes of various sizes, 9-track tapes, and several sets of computer punch cards. Additionally, about 150 audio and visual files document Gould’s lectures and other aspects of his remarkable career. A finding aid for the entire collection is expected to be published later this year.
Lifelong RefWorks Access for Stanford Students
RefWorks is an online research-management, writing, and collaboration tool to which the Libraries subscribes on behalf of the Stanford community. Its publisher recently announced an “Alumni Program” under which current Stanford students will be granted lifelong access to its online services. The Web-based RefWorks system, requiring no special software, allows users to export citations from a database, text file, web page, or Socrates record to create a bibliography and seamlessly format in-text citations for research papers. Bibliographic information may then be stored for future use and shared with others, enabling team-based research projects. Other features include setting alerts from RSS feeds for discovering the latest developments in a field, finding grants, identifying collaborators and thought leaders, and locating opportunities to present or publish findings.
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