Mellon Grant Supports Library-Museum Collaboration

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (January 11, 2017)—The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a $500,000 grant to the University of Miami to support collaboration between the Lowe Art Museum and UM Libraries on their joint effort to further faculty engagement with historical and artistic collections.

“This significant investment by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is vitally important and recognizes the immense potential of a strong library-museum collection to enhance learning and stimulate innovative and collaborative scholarship,” said UM President Julio Frenk.

The grant will enable the Lowe and the Libraries to establish two new faculty fellowships—one devoted to campus engagement and the other to the conservation of art and archival works on paper. In addition, it establishes a new programming fund to incentivize faculty to engage with University collections and enable the development of joint public programs that highlight these collections.

“We could not be more thrilled to have received this remarkable gift, and we are deeply grateful to the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for their generosity,” said Jill Deupi, Beaux Arts director and chief curator of the Lowe. “This transformative grant speaks to the value of higher education, the arts, and the humanities, generally. It equally affirms the power of collaboration and impact of leveraging resources for the benefit of a broad range of audiences.”

Charles Eckman, dean of the University of Miami Libraries, said the partnership was envisioned through the inaugural Academic Art Museum and Library Summit, held in January 2016, which brought together 14 pairs of library and museum directors from North American academic institutions to address opportunities for deep intra-institutional collaboration. “Through the support of the Mellon Foundation, the Lowe and Libraries will be able to work with faculty to carry out our vision for new curricular, interdisciplinary, and collaborative engagement and shared collection stewardship opportunities while providing invaluable experience to emerging professionals in the field,” Eckman said.

A white paper co-authored by Deupi and Eckman that reports on the findings of the 2016 AAML Summit is available in UM Libraries Scholarly Repository (scholarlyrepository.miami.edu).









Internationally Significant Collection Donated to UM, MDC

From left: Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, Jay I. Kislak, and Dr. Julio Frenk

The internationally significant Jay I. Kislak Foundation collection will now have two permanent homes in South Florida – in the Special Collections Division of the University of Miami’s Otto G. Richter Library, in Coral Gables, and at Miami Dade College’s Freedom Tower, in downtown Miami. Assembled over the course of many decades, the Kislak collection includes some of the most important original source materials related to the history of the early Americas, such as two of the earliest published editions of the famous 1493 letter of Christopher Columbus.

The Jay I. Kislak Foundation, University of Miami (UM) and Miami Dade College (MDC) jointly announced the landmark donation of rare books, maps, manuscripts and other historic materials.

Jay Kislak, prominent collector, philanthropist and Miami resident for more than 60 years, has been a lifelong collector of rare books and historic artifacts focused particularly on Florida and the Caribbean, exploration, navigation and the early Americas. In 2004, he and the Jay I. Kislak Foundation donated more than 3,000 rare books, maps, manuscripts and objects to the Library of Congress, whose Kislak Collection now forms the basis of a major exhibition and extensive scholarly and public programs in Washington, D.C.

In UM and MDC, Kislak identified two local partners with the ability and desire to create similarly extensive educational and cultural programming in South Florida. The Kislak-MDC-UM partnership will encompass exhibitions, research, education and public outreach, all designed to serve MDC and UM students and faculty, residents of the local community, and a global scholarly network engaged in the study of Florida, early American history, and the cultures of the Caribbean and Latin America. Through an operating agreement, MDC and UM will collaborate on exhibits, collections care, and events and activities open to the public.

“I think this is an ideal partnership. We have the opportunity to combine the special resources of each institution and create exhibitions and programs that will be enjoyed by Miami-Dade residents and the millions of people who visit here from all over the world,” said Kislak.

“Miami Dade College is the largest and most diverse institution of higher education in the country, and is central to the educational, social, cultural and economic life of our community. Under the leadership of Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, Miami Dade has emerged as a globally recognized institution,” he said.

“The University of Miami is among the nation’s top 50 research institutions, with a library that draws scholars from around the world. With the recent inauguration of Dr. Julio Frenk, this is an ideal time to establish the permanent repository in South Florida to conserve our collections and make them available to scholars and students for generations to come,” Kislak added.

The Kislak gift, representing a combined valuation of approximately $30 million, includes more than 2,300 rare books, maps, manuscripts, pre-Columbian artifacts and other historic materials.

UM and MDC will each receive a selection of important items. Each institution will receive a first edition of the famous 1493 letter of Christopher Columbus, in which the explorer described his New World discoveries to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain.

Other Kislak gift highlights include:

  • A 1486 edition of Ptolemy’s Cosmographia, among the most influential works in the history of cartography. A copy of this atlas was known to have been owned by Columbus.
  • A 1521 volume describing Cuba, by Italian historian Peter Martyr d’Anghiera, who wrote the first accounts of Spanish explorations in the Caribbean and Central and South America.
  • A 1589 volume, The Principal Navigations, Voiages and Discoveries of the English Nation, by English writer Richard Hakluyt, who was known for promoting the British colonization of North America.
  • A two-volume account of the 1804-1806 Lewis and Clark Expedition, commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson after the Louisiana Purchase.

The University of Miami’s share of the Kislak materials will become part of the Richter Library’s Special Collections Division, enhancing a collection highly regarded for its holdings of rare books and archives related to the cultural and political history of South Florida, the Caribbean Basin and South America, as well as its Cuban Heritage Collection of materials related to Cuba and the Cuban diaspora from colonial times to the present. The university is currently renovating its special collections center, which will be renamed the Kislak Center, envisioned as a hub of expanded educational and cultural programming, with lectures, fellowships, undergraduate and graduate courses utilizing the collection resources, and a new exhibit gallery featuring a broad range of materials from the Kislak collection.

“We are grateful to Jay Kislak for his extraordinary vision and lifelong devotion to creating a scholarly and culturally significant collection that showcases the rich history of Florida and the Caribbean,” said UM President Julio Frenk. “Our Special Collections will be home to these unique and exceptionally important materials from the Kislak Collection, and working with our partners at Miami Dade College, the University of Miami will have an unparalleled opportunity to engage our community in the history and culture of our hemisphere.”

Miami Dade College plans to create a permanent 2,600-square-foot public exhibition gallery in the Freedom Tower. The exhibit space will be located in the building’s main public area, adjacent to its ballroom and historic New World Mural, which celebrates Ponce de Leon’s 1513 discovery and naming of Florida.

“We are honored and privileged to receive such a significant gift and to work with such great partners. In a community as diverse as ours, we feel the responsibility to embrace and share the arts, culture and history with our students, faculty and residents,” said MDC’s President, Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón.

The two Miami institutions also expect to collaborate with the Library of Congress in studying and promoting all Kislak collections and making them accessible to audiences throughout Florida and the region.

“For 500 years, Florida has been a focal point of global exploration and cultural exchange,” Kislak said. “I’m thrilled that Miami’s top two institutions of higher education, along with the Library of Congress, will now be using our collections to reveal the fascinating and important role of our community in world history.



DVD Picks: Academy Awards for Best Picture

by Terri Robar and James Wargacki Learning & Research Services

As we move into a new Academy Awards season, it is a good time to look back and revisit old favorites. Here are the most recent winners in the Best Picture category. We hold many others, so check our catalog – we have nearly every film that has ever won the top prize.

The following films are a part of Richter Library’s DVD collection. In addition to the thousands of DVDs spanning comedy, drama, sci-fi, horror, documentary, and other genres, UM Libraries also houses film-related materials such as screenplays, soundtracks, musical scores, and original book titles. Search the catalog to browse music and print resources related to these films.

In 1927, George Valentin is a silent movie superstar. However, the advent of the talkies will kill his career and he will sink into oblivion. For young extra Peppy Miller, it seems the sky’s the limit as major movie stardom awaits. Though their careers are taking different paths their destinies will become entwined.

Based on the true story of Solomon Northup. It is 1841, and Northup, an accomplished, free citizen of New York, is kidnapped and sold into slavery. Stripped of his identity and deprived of all dignity, Northup is ultimately purchased by ruthless plantation owner Edwin Epps and must find the strength within to survive.

Llewelyn Moss stumbles onto a drug deal gone monumentally wrong and a satchel filled with $2 million. It isn’t long before he’s being tracked by Anton Chigurh, a psychopathic “debt collector.” Sheriff Bell sets out to find Llewelyn, not so much for the propriety of recovering the money but to protect one of his citizens from Chigurh, an evil like nothing Bell has ever seen.

A car accident brings together Los Angeles citizens with vastly separate lives that collide in interweaving stories of race, loss, and redemption.

A black comedy story of an actor famous for portraying an iconic superhero as he struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego and attempts to recover his family, his career, and himself.

The story of King George VI of Britain, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it.

In South Boston, the police are waging a war on Irish-American organized crime. Undercover cop Billy Costigan is assigned to infiltrate the mob syndicate. Colin Sullivan is a hardened young criminal who has infiltrated the police department as an informer for the syndicate. When it becomes clear to both the mob and the police that there’s a mole in their midst, Billy and Colin are suddenly thrust into danger. Afraid of being caught and exposed to the enemy, each must race to uncover the identity of the other man in time to save himself.

Boxing trainer Frankie Dunn has been unwilling to let himself get close to anyone for a very long time–then Maggie Fitzgerald walks into his gym. Won over by Maggie’s sheer determination, he begrudgingly agrees to take her on. In turns exasperating and inspiring each other, the two come to discover that they share a common spirit that transcends the pain and loss of their pasts, and they find in each other a sense of family they lost long ago. Yet, they both face a battle that will demand more heart and courage than any they’ve ever known.

When Staff Sergeant Will James arrives on the scene, Bravo Company has thirty-nine days left on its current deployment, and it will be a long time for Sanborn and Eldridge whose styles do not mesh with that of their new leader. While the three members face their own internal issues, they have to be aware of any person at the bomb sites, some of whom may be bombers themselves.

On November 4, 1979, Iranian militants stormed the American embassy in Tehran and captured dozens of American hostages, sparking a 444-day ordeal. There’s a little-known footnote to the crisis: six Americans escaped and a mid level agent named Antonio Mendez devised an ingenious yet incredibly risky plan to rescue them.

Jamal Malik is an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India’s version of “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” When the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating. Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life which reveals where he learned the answers to the show’s seemingly impossible questions.

The riveting true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that would rock the city and cause a crisis in one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions. When the newspaper’s tenacious ‘Spotlight’ team of reporters delve into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment.