archival adventures

LIBRARY NEWSLETTERS AND INFORMATION

The library has started publishing a newsletter we’re calling Unshelved – in it you’ll find information about events at the library, projects and initiatives we’re working on, and features on the staff and library work-study students you may meet here at Taylor Memorial Library.

newsletter headerMany public and academic libraries have newsletters, magazines, or pamphlets that talk about library happenings, and over the years we have seen our fair share of them!

library handbooks1Early informational handouts came in the form of library handbooks, which served as an introduction to the library. The 1955 Taylor Memorial Library Handbook includes a foreword that states, “before you have spent many days at Centenary you will find that this building is the center of many of your activities. If you are willing to devote a short time to becoming acquainted with its resources and arrangement, you will be able to find quickly and efficiently the material you wish.” These handbooks were published for several years, and included a description of the main areas of the library, a guide to using the card catalog and finding books, articles, and other library materials, and finally, a summary of library services and policies. As new library instruction programs were developed that took over many of these roles, we began printing different pamphlets that focused on specific library services. At one time, this library had several pamphlets on services and resources that included requesting an item from interlibrary loan, using specific databases, and on library policies.

library instruction menu snippetLibrary instruction programs are now more commonplace than ever; we actually offer several different types of instruction that range from a simple drop in visit to introduce library resources and services, to resource overviews that go in-depth on citations, plagiarism, researching, and other library skills. The need for a printed library handbook is largely non-existent, but in its absence, we’ve developed new ways of imparting information to our communities.

Over the past ten years, the library has created many different versions of a newsletter. Six years ago we published Shelf Talk, which talked about new library acquisitions and library events. The first version of Shelf Talk was created by a work study student named Sarah Malcolm. She delivered a new issue every month and dedicated a lot of her time at TML to the success of the newsletter. After her graduation from Centenary, we had difficulty selecting another work study who could focus on Shelf Talk with as much enthusiasm and talent as Sarah, and decided to put the newsletter on hiatus. Shortly afterwards, library assistant Jack Wooldridge ‘adopted’ Shelf Talk and created several issues. Unfortunately, with his departure, Shelf Talk was ‘shelved’ once again.

The idea to revisit Shelf Talk was always in the back of our minds, so the library staff decided to try a different type of newsletter. Instead of book reviews and new acquisitions, we are focusing on the events and initiatives of the library. With this new incarnation, we are hoping to show our community who we are and encourage people to learn more about the library – not just what we have, but what we do. Libraries have always adapted with the times, and Taylor Memorial Library is no stranger to that! We’re always experimenting with different ways of reaching out to our patrons, and we hope they enjoy learning more about the people behind the circulation desk!

spring 2020_online

To read the digital version, complete with clickable links, go here!

TO MRS. MONTELL

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Facsimile of Oscar Wilde Photograph

“To Mrs. Montell, my uncle’s old and loved friend from Oscar Wilde, January 26, 1882, Baltimore, Thursday.”

Many items have been donated to the Taylor Memorial Library over the years but not all of them seem directly related to telling Centenary College’s history. A number of items in the archives were donated by faculty, alumni, or other members of the Centenary community, so there are many objects that once held personal significance to the donor, or were donated by someone with personal significance to Centenary. This photograph of Oscar Wilde, presented to the college in 1958, is one such item, seemingly out of place among the yearbooks, class photos and other ‘Centenariana’ stored in the archives.

It came to Centenary College through Dr. H. Graham DuBois, a member of Centenary’s faculty for 33 years. He was a poet and playwright like Wilde, an English professor at Centenary College for Women from 1929 to 1963, and the Chairman of the C.C.W. Division of Humanities from 1947 to 1959. The Mrs. Montell of the inscription was his grandmother, Mrs. Charles Montell, who had been a friend of Wilde’s uncle, Ledoux Elgee.When Wilde visited Baltimore on a lecture tour of America, Mrs. Montell invited him to tea as a courtesy to a family friend. He accepted her invitation and later sent the photograph to thank her.

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Dr. DuBois, left, and Dr. Seay, president of the college

Dr. DuBois donated the framed photograph of the English poet and playwright to the college in 1958. It was displayed in the library for a while but was eventually placed in the archives for preservation.

“Dr. DuBois Gives Picture of Oscar Wilde to C.C.W.” Spilled Ink 25 3 1958: 1. Print.

A NATION MOURNS!

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The announcement of President Lincoln’s assassination. From the Cummins Collection in the Taylor Memorial Library Archives.

“The President of the United States MURDERED!!”–April 15, 2016 marks the 151st anniversary of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, the unfortunate but historically significant event that shocked a nation still suffering from the aftermath of the Civil War. Just five short days after the end of the war, southern supporter John Wilkes Booth shot President Lincoln at the Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC. An extensive article printed in New Jersey’s Warren Journal on April 21, 1865 discusses the incident in detail including the moments leading up to the shooting, “the corpse of the late president,” and the life attempt on Vice President Johnson. Visit the library archives to view the article in full.

THE CENTENARY SCRAPBOOKS

Scrapbooks have become a multi-billion dollar business in modern America, but long before they became a commercial enterprise they were a way for Americans in the 19th and early 20th century to “record” history in the pre-digital world.  Among the many “treasures” in Centenary’s Archive are the various scrapbooks of former Centenarians – – including a scrapbook kept by Centenary’s first President, the Reverend George Whitney.

Centenary’s scrapbooks include ticket stubs, programs for school ceremonies, invitations, dance cards and a variety of other ephemera that tell the story of life at Centenary a century ago.  The delicate bits and pieces of paper pasted on the pages are fragile and in danger of falling apart. For that reason the scrapbooks have been kept in storage in the Archive and have seldom been seen by members of the Centenary community.

The Taylor Memorial Library is planning to display a few of these scrapbooks in May 2014; hopefully we will be able to grab some images to post! Watch for further information and to see these bits of history at their first public viewing in a hundred years!