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.



“Pink Powder” Exhibition Extended through January 2017

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Silueta Works in Iowa, Ana Mendieta, 1976, on view at Richter Library. The photograph is part of Mendieta’s series depicting her silhouettes created from the earth over time.

Otto G. Richter Library, 2nd floor

Featuring works by Tracey Emin, Naomi Fisher, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Ana Mendieta, and Susanne Winterling

Pink Powder, an exhibition of renowned works owned by the de la Cruz Collection is now on view at Richter Library through January 2017. The exhibition brings together a group of artists whose work addresses the female form and identity.

Imagery varying from the quiet and ponderous, to the raw and rebellious, subvert the traditional role of the female muse within the canons of art history, literature, and popular culture.

From the “earth-body” work of Cuban-American artist, Ana Mendieta, to the drawings of female bodies as plants by Miami artist, Naomi Fisher; and from the confessional work of British artists, Tracey Emin and Sam Taylor-Johnson, to the autobiographical work of Berlin-based artist, Susanne Winterling; the artists in this exhibition address the female body with an unapologetic intensity and encourage a conversation on the healing power of the visual arts.

This exhibition is organized by the de la Cruz Collection in collaboration with the the Libraries and Miami Institute for the Americas with contributions by the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Lowe Art Museum in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Frost School of Music on the occasion of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October 2016.

 



Curate Your Own Identity at the ID Project

 

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This pop-up exhibition is a platform for exploring identity through art and the written word.

The ID Project opened on October 27 at the Lowe Art Museum as a pop-up exhibition and experimental space that encourages visitors to reflect on and explore notions of identity. The exhibition encompasses a display of identity-centric artists’ books and zines for purchase and browsing, with a focus on questions such as: Who am I? Who are you? Who are we?

The ID Project is the result of a unique partnership with the Lowe, co-curated and co-created by Jill Deupi, Beaux Arts Director and Chief Curator of the Lowe; Cristina Favretto, Head of Special Collections at University of Miami Libraries; and Amanda Keeley, Founder of EXILE Books, and occupies the space of the Lowe’s former Store.

During the opening on October 27, guests engaged in a variety of activities to “curate their identities,” including:
• Making and decorating a 3D paper mask with different materials
• Using mirrors to study their reflection and draw their self-portrait
• Creating and sharing a 10-line bio-poem with friends, other guests, or….just for them
• Using a special app to develop their own personal musical beat on an iPad
• Placing color beads in vessels to express reactions to six selected artworks in the Lowe
Writing Class Radio, who was on hand to facilitate writing true stories about personal identity

On view through April 2017, The ID Project will be accompanied by a series of “identity salons” that invite visitors to tackle this fundamental concept from a wide range of angles, including gender, sex, culture, race, age, and socio-economic status. In addition, special programs will address the theme of identity, and complement the Lowe’s dynamic exhibitions currently on view, all of which speak to the notion of identity and Walt Whitman’s truism: “We contain multitudes.” The schedule of salons and programs will be announced.

“Identity shapes our lives, both independent and collective,” says Jill Deupi, Beaux Arts Director and Chief Curator of the Lowe. The ID Project provides an exciting platform for expressing ideas about how we define ourselves and how we see others, and serves as a flexible viewing and making space for education, enrichment, and enjoyment,” she adds.

The ID Project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the State of Florida.



“Pink Powder” Exhibition Now On View

anamendieta

Silueta Works in Iowa, Ana Mendieta, 1976, on view at Richter Library. The photograph is part of Mendieta’s series depicting her silhouettes created from the earth over time.

September 20 – November 1, 2016
Otto G. Richter Library, 2nd floor

Featuring works by Tracey Emin, Naomi Fisher, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Ana Mendieta, and Susanne Winterling

Pink Powder, an exhibition of renowned works owned by the de la Cruz Collection is now on view at Richter Library. The exhibition brings together a group of artists whose work addresses the female form and identity.

Imagery varying from the quiet and ponderous, to the raw and rebellious, subvert the traditional role of the female muse within the canons of art history, literature, and popular culture.

From the “earth-body” work of Cuban-American artist, Ana Mendieta, to the drawings of female bodies as plants by Miami artist, Naomi Fisher; and from the confessional work of British artists, Tracey Emin and Sam Taylor-Johnson, to the autobiographical work of Berlin-based artist, Susanne Winterling; the artists in this exhibition address the female body with an unapologetic intensity and encourage a conversation on the healing power of the visual arts.

This exhibition is organized by the de la Cruz Collection in collaboration with the the Libraries and Miami Institute for the Americas with contributions by the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, Lowe Art Museum in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Frost School of Music on the occasion of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, October 2016.

 



New Exhibit Explores Gender and Social Justice in Vintage Board Games

By Yvette Yurubi, Reference Assistant, Special Collections

Long before video games came along, board games dominated as a common pastime for adults and kids. With their 2-D platforms, simple narratives, and easy, straightforward objectives, they were a hit among friends, during parties and family gatherings. So what can we learn today from this historic national pastime?

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What Shall I Be? The Exciting Game of Career Girls (1966), players vie to be first in becoming a “career girl.”

After Special Collections recently acquired a series of vintage board games, UGrow Fellow Ellen Davies created a display highlighting what games can tell us about social issues and attitudes in mainstream culture. Without the many bells and whistles virtually transporting players to worlds beyond, these games used more simple tactics to entertain, meanwhile reflecting the ideals of the time. In games from the 1960s and 1970s, we are transported to a time when even the concept of equality, regardless of gender or race, was still making its way into many parts of society.

What Shall I Be? The Exciting Game of Career Girls, for instance, is a game where players must roll the dice, move around the board, and collect career, personality, and subject cards in order to obtain their “dream job.” The game only offers to women six very limiting jobs to choose from: model, airline hostess, ballet dancer, actress, teacher, and nurse. Notably absent are many STEM-based jobs aside from nursing, jobs in the military, and hard-labor jobs, and the game comes equipped with set-backs where a modeling career is out of a player’s reach due to them being overweight or being unattractive. It presents a singular view in which women are highly valued for their looks and behavior rather than their education, intellect, and abilities.

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Male career options highlighted in What Shall I Be? The Exciting Career Game for Boys.

It’s notable that the boy’s version of the game does also offer careers that would be considered traditional for men alongside an array of educational possibilities: law school – statesman; graduate school – scientist; college – athlete; medical school – doctor; technical school – engineer; and flight school – astronaut. However, the absence of careers like steward, model, or dancer also shows a limited perception where men aren’t granted much freedom to pursue anything that doesn’t fall within long-stemming societal views of masculinity.

While these games might be taken at face value, it’s also possible that the creators wanted to use them to make social commentary by highlighting the blatant lack of equality. Woman & Man: The Classic Confrontation furthers this idea by encouraging players to take on the role of the opposite gender and experience “life” through their lenses. The goal of the game is to gather 100 status quo points, though those who choose to play as women can only start with a range of 5-40 points and a position as an assistant while those who play as men, start the game with 36-60 points and a managerial position. The lack of gender equality is exhibited from the onset, illustrating the harder struggle women have had to endure to even stand on an even playing field with men.

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Woman & Man: The Classic Confrontation (1970s) encourages players to experience life through the lens of the opposite sex.

In the wake of growing awareness of social issues and the expanding and rapidly evolving concepts of gender and sexuality, these games seem laughably outdated and politically incorrect. However, aside from their novelty, they do provide an opportunity to open up a dialogue about how casual sexism and restricted gender roles once dominated the social consciousness of the past and how they continue to be an issue today that everyone is struggling to transform and reinvent so that future generations do not have to be so confined in what role they feel they should have to fulfill in order to be accepted into society. We eagerly invite you all to venture to the 8th floor and join us with your friends to share in the experience of these vintage games which are now on exhibit.



Student Co-Curated Exhibition Explores Orange Bowl Festival History

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Design for a Busch Gardens Orange Bowl Parade entry, 1970. Orange Bowl Committee Archives, University of Miami Special Collections.

by Sarah Block, Library Communications

For many ’Cane fans, Miami Orange Bowl nostalgia comes with the territory of football season. But this year is special—marking ten years since the team kicked off their final season at the original home field. With the help of the archives, two UM undergraduate students have been gearing up for the anniversary.

Over the course of ten months, Andrew Wodrich, ’17, and Francesca Ciuffo, ’19, conducted research using the rarely seen records of the Orange Bowl Committee held by the University of Miami Special Collections. Their efforts have culminated in the first public display of the organization’s papers, titled Miami Celebrates: The Orange Bowl Festival, 1930s-1990s.

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Miami Celebrates: The Orange Bowl Festival, 1930s-1990s marks the first public display of the Orange Bowl Committee Papers.

Now on view on the first floor of the Otto G. Richter Library, the exhibition features original photographs, letters, and memorabilia, among other materials, donated to the University in 2012, highlighting six decades of Orange Bowl Festival events and many memorable moments at the iconic stadium.

The students co-curated the exhibition under the mentorship of UM librarians as part of the new Library Research Scholars Program, which promotes student engagement with the University of Miami Libraries’ research collections and service programs.

Aerial view of the Miami Orange Bowl, 1964. From the University of Miami Historical Photograph Collection, University Archives.

Aerial view of the Miami Orange Bowl, 1964. From the University of Miami Historical Photograph Collection, University Archives.

“I was really interested in researching Coral Gables and Miami history, and that led me to the work of the Orange Bowl Committee,” explains Wodrich, a neuroscience and history major from Michigan. “Immediately I became fascinated by the story of people, so many decades ago, working together to create something out of nothing.”

Wodrich and Ciuffo’s discoveries actually date back to even before the founding of the Orange Bowl Festival (which continues today as the Capital One Orange Bowl). One featured poster advertises the precursor bowl known as the Festival of Palms, held on New Year’s Day, 1932. The Hurricanes faced Manhattan College at downtown Miami’s Moore Park, winning 7-0. “It was an idea to attract tourists for the holidays, which the city desperately needed, economically speaking,” Wodrich says.

That game, they explain, set the stage for the Orange Bowl—its annual match-ups as well as the surrounding festivities. Burdine Stadium, later named the Miami Orange Bowl (and today’s site of Marlins Park) opened in 1937, just five years following the Palm Festival. But the elaborate pageantry, flamboyant parades, and slough of events now iconic to the Orange Bowl brand spread out far beyond the stadium walls.

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Francesca Ciuffo, who co-curated the exhibition as a freshman, discusses her work at an April reception celebrating the inaugural class of Library Research Scholars.

The parade is a prominent exhibition highlight, with large-scale illustrations of original float designs over its walls showing off a substantial creative investment matched by a variety of corporate sponsorships, from Busch Gardens to Eastern Airlines, Barnett Bank, and Coppertone. “It was a major undertaking. Earnie Seiler, today considered the ‘father of the Orange Bowl,’ selected the participants and established the lineup,” Ciuffo explains.

“The festival just took over the city,” says Ciuffo, a public relations and broadcast journalism major from New York. “People from all over the country and world were suddenly coming in droves for the attractions. There were tennis tournaments at Flamingo and Salvadore Parks, a regatta that started at the Pelican Harbor Marina, and of course there was the parade, which was held on Biscayne Boulevard.”

wodrich

“There is a strong UM tie throughout the history of the Orange Bowl that we really wanted to come through,” says exhibition co-curator Andrew Wodrich, ’17.

The final parade, held in 2001, capped off a 66-year tradition that still shines in the legacy of Seiler, who as City of Miami’s director is remembered as a creative and technical driving force in all areas of the festival. “He was a local football coach who just through persistence got this thing off the ground,” Wodrich says. “Originally he was out there on the street just waving down cars to get people to fill the stands.”

The exhibition additionally highlights some of the original members of the Orange Bowl Committee, including UM trustees Oscar E. Dooly and Arthur A. Unger, which Wodrich points out as a meaningful connection. “There is a strong UM tie throughout the history of the Orange Bowl that we really wanted to come through.”

Miami Celebrates: The Orange Bowl Festival, 1930s-1990s is on view through December 2016. The exhibition is sponsored by the Lynda and Michael Gordon Exhibition Program.

Photos by Brittney Bomnin.



Replicating an Ancient Artifact: Exhibit Highlights 3D Printing in Action at the U

As part of the research for a current exhibit at the Lowe Art Museum, Kay Pacha: Reciprocity with the Natural World, curator Dr. Traci Ardren collaborated with Dr. William Pestle, a faculty member in the Department of Anthropology, and anthropology student Adam Sticca to gain insight on how ancient Andean people made and used the art that would help tell the story of their lives 2,000 years ago. By creating a 3D replica of one such piece, an ancient Peruvian whistling vessel, the researchers were able to carry out intensive study of the artifact’s qualities in ways that could not have been done with the fragile original.

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UM researchers used the Digital Media Lab‘s 3D printer to replicate an ancient artifact from the collection of the Lowe Art Museum.

The 3D print, created in Richter Library’s Digital Media Lab through CT scan images they provided to the lab, is now on view on the first floor of Richter Library.

“From an archaeological perspective, 3D printing capabilities allow for more intensive study of an artifact free from any destructive processes which would damage the original piece,” says Adam Sticca, a freshman in the Department of Anthropology. “In this specific case, the printed replica allowed us to more closely examine the complex structure inside the hollow base. The process took a fair amount of trial and error in order to properly print the object as a hollow structure. This printed replica serves as a shining illustration of the capabilities and applications of 3D printing technology now offered at the library.”

Kay Pacha: Reciprocity with the Natural World is on view at the Lowe Art Museum through July 2, 2016. To learn more about 3D printing, including how to use it for your projects, stop by the Digital Media Lab and sign up for a 3D printing consultation.



Current Exhibition Extended Through July

We just received approval by Dean Charles Eckman to extend our current exhibition “The Pan American University: The Original Spirit of the U Lives On” through July 2016, so that the participants of the RBMS Conference could see it when they visit the Otto G. Richter Library in late June.

FYI, RBMS stands for Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, which is a division of the American Library Association. This year the group meets in Miami from June 21 to 24 at the Biltmore Hotel for various programs. Please go to the link below for further information about the conference.

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We appreciate very much the opportunity to display University of Miami’s history as well as University Archives’ collections for the attendees of the Conference.



Objects in the Archive: Now on Display

objectsArchive_FINAL-withBlurb_webby Sarah Block, Library Communications

The exhibition features materials that highlight how the physical characteristics of objects can provide insightful clues about the past and inform the present.

Curated by Meiyolet Méndez, interim chair of the Cuban Heritage Collection, and Dr. Martin Tsang, UM Libraries CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in History and Area Studies, Objects in the Archive includes three-dimensional objects related to education, industry, and religion in Cuba from the Collection and outside materials. They span commodities and marketing materials from the tobacco industry, Republic-era educational memorabilia, creative works such as artist’s books from Cuba’s Vigía collective, and a rich variety of religious objects.

Tsang, a former CHC Graduate Fellow, culled religious ornaments and sculpture, many from the Lydia Cabrera Papers, that document influences of Afro-Cuban religion on the island and largely informed his own doctoral work.

“As an anthropologist I’m very interested in these material objects that remain and the inspiration, symbolism, and value that is given to and contained in these materials.” In his ethnographic fieldwork Tsang, who is also an initiated Lukumí priest, has also studied Afro-Cuban religion in both Cuba and on our doorstep through interviews and objects including religious icons and Afro-Atlantic beaded art.

“In some cases,” he explains, “objects have their own lives. A sculpture, such as that of a deity, can be as meaningful in a person’s life far beyond the concept of an inanimate object, taking on its own biography.”

One such object, a cement figure with cowrie shell features honoring the deity Elegua, is featured in the exhibition courtesy of Biscayne National Park, where it was originally found and is part of a larger religious use study that Dr. Tsang has conducted there. “The materials used and the way it’s created offer insights about origins of time and place, and broader cultural patterns and mobility.”

Objects in the Archive is on view through August 2016.