Professor William Walker Tells Tales of ‘On-the-Road’ Genealogical Research

by Sarah Block, Library Communications

Questions of ancestry are a known source of debate at family dinners; in some cases those questions still linger beyond the meal. As a table is cleared, chairs pushed in, and everyone heads home, some find that, out of these questions, a new kind of appetite takes form.

UM Professor William Walker, former dean of UM Libraries, can relate to this feeling. He has spent the past seven years engaged in genealogical investigation that began in just such a way.

Walker discussed the challenges and rewards of his work in the March 15 presentation, “Hop into the Jalopy: Tales of ‘On-the-Road’ Genealogical Research.” Using his own work as an example, Walker shed light on the wide variety of resources available in retracing one’s family history. In addition to making use of online information, Walker is a strong advocate for stepping away from the computer and taking to the road.

Growing up in Western Pennsylvania, Walker was raised with the belief that many of his ancestors, some who settled in the area, came from England. Their surname was Chick.

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Professor William Walker’s genealogical work has led him to cemeteries and courthouses, small-town historical societies and public libraries, and the villages and streets where early nineteenth-century settlers lived.

“It was a point of pride for my mother,” Walker said. “When I would ask her about our background, she would say ‘Well we’re English, Welsh, some German – [and as if to say ‘in case you missed it’] did I say English?’”  This version of his ancestry, long informing familial traditions and in some ways his own identity, was called into question, however, when a great-aunt brought up one night that the family’s actual name was shortened from “Kovalchick.” “I immediately started to wonder, is this true? Did the Chicks exist? That’s when I started digging.”

As he built the first rungs of his family tree on Ancestry.com, Walker found the answer was yes – he was a Chick, and the Chicks lived for decades in the south of England. That discovery then led to new questions.

“What you want to gain in doing genealogy is a story,” Walker explained in his presentation at the Otto G. Richter library. “You want to understand – beyond names and dates – why they moved and what their lives were like in these new places.” Uncovering this level of detail in his ancestry would ultimately require deeper research across libraries and historical resources far and wide. In the process, he retraced the lives of Jane McCullough and Harriet Bogle, two of his great-great-grandmothers, who settled in regions of Ohio and Pennsylvania during the late 1800s.

Bogle, from his maternal side, lived most of her life in Dubois, PA, a coal-mining and lumber town twenty miles from where Walker grew up. “My mother had no recollection of her; I had never heard of her.” So when he found her obituary in the town’s historical society, he was amazed by the level of detail recounting her life. “Her parents came over from Yorkshire, England, and were weavers. She ran a truck wagon, then a small store, a series of hotels. She continued running her businesses up until the time she died. Remarkably, she had acquired quite a small fortune.”

Some information came in shorter strands, requiring patience as well as persistence. Locating property records in one Ohio courthouse, for instance, meant standing in line for hours behind gas and oil reps in the quest for fracking contracts. That was after walking a cemetery three times before finally coming across the standalone grave of McCullough, his paternal great-great grandmother. “I have no photograph of her, so in a way this was the only memory of her I had. Her name, and these two interlocking hands carved on top of the tombstone.”

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Walker shared early records he’s found retracing the lives of two great-great grandmothers in “Hop into the Jalopy” at Richter Library.

Wanting to know more about her life ultimately took him even further across the country. In the Family History Library, in Salt Lake City, Utah, he found maps and newsletters from around the time McCullough was alive. He found her 80-acre plot of land in Harrison County, Ohio, that Jane and Robert Walker cleared and farmed. “I really started to gain a sense of connectedness while I was there,” he said.

Walker explained that the Family History Library, which is run by the Church of the Latter-Day Saints, is the strongest resource of genealogical records for the United States and abroad. The Church also operates an online ancestry resource known as FamilySearch.com; it along with Ancestry.com, partners with the U.S. National Archives to help preserve and make available documents such as census and naturalization records.

Finding records on the other side of the pond, however, can be challenging, especially in regards to ancestors of Ireland, where records for many areas were lost due to years of civil unrest and the burning of the Public Records Office in 1922. Still, in addition to visiting there, digging through records offices, knocking on doors and talking to people, he’s found the internet resource findmypast.com particularly helpful for international research. “People are finding ways to patch together records in very interesting ways. My favorite is that in Ireland during the 1800s you had to register your dog, and you had to provide more than your name. So these registries for dog tags have become extremely valuable in lieu of census data.”

And yet the path to some answers have, in a sense, been with him all along. It was through DNA testing, which has gained in popularity in recent years, that he learned Harriet Bogle’s husband, Robert Wallace Bogle, died in the Snake River panning for gold.  “DNA testing is very useful for people doing genealogy because not only does it give you a breakdown by percentile of your heritage, it also matches you with relatives.” After getting in touch with a second cousin he’d never met – who knew many details about Harriet – he was then able to fill in a number of gaps about her life.

The data also revealed lineage in Scandinavia, Greece, and Italy, regions to which Walker never considered as his heritage. “This really gives you a different view of who you are.”

For UM students and employees interested in genealogy, the Libraries provide free access to Ancestry Library Edition. There, users can start their own family trees and find a number of other genealogical tools.

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“This really gives you a different view of who you are,” Walker said.

Photos by Andrew Innerarity.



UM Student on “Pan American University”

By David Colbus, Senior in the College of Arts and Sciences
Student Assistant, University Archives

Throughout last fall, the University Archives worked to curate and install the Pan American University: The Original Spirit of the U Lives On exhibit on Richter Library’s first floor. This was the first exhibit I encountered as a new University Archives assistant. To introduce me to the Archives’ work and purpose, my supervisor Marcia Heath gave me a tour of the recently completed display. The exhibit celebrates Pan Americanism, the University’s 90 years of history, and the new president, Dr. Julio Frenk. Beyond teaching me about my new role in the Archives, this exhibit educated me on the University’s history, and how that history informs the institution it is today.

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“Pan American University: The Original Spirit of the U Lives On,” located on the first floor of the Otto G. Richter Library, features historical materials dating back to UM’s founding years. Photo by Andrew Innerarity.

The exhibit tells us that “Before there were University of Miami students or faculty, defined programs, or even a single building, the enduring concept of UM as the Pan American University had taken form.” Congressman William Jennings Bryan dreamed up this concept, one George Merrick and other founding members of the University strongly shared. Merrick envisioned a “university of our own tropical America…to supply that definite unfilled need of a cultural contact by university facilities with all of Latin America.” This Pan American University would invite cultural and academic exchange across all the Americas. This ideal informed the University’s earliest programs, research focuses, and even the University’s original architectural design. Victor and Rafael Belaúnde were specifically recruited to teach Latin American history and economics, and their establishment of the University’s Hispanic American Studies and Hispanic American Institute set the stage for many of today’s Hispanic-focused programs. The University of Miami also maintained close academic contact with the University of Havana through its early years to facilitate the academic exchange that Pan Americanism called for.

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Photo featured in the exhibition of UM drama students outside of the capitol building in Havana, Cuba, c. 1950s, from the University Archives.

University Archivist Koichi Tasa came up with the vision for the exhibit and served as its chief curator, culling records from the Office of the President Records as well as visual materials from the UM Historical Photograph Collection and UM Campus Architecture Collection, among others from the University Archives.  “It’s a great occasion to showcase our collections and knowledge about UM’s history,” Tasa said.

Archives specialist Marcia Heath worked with Tasa in research for the exhibit, and supervised the Archives’ assistants in their tasks. “We have an opportunity to start and frame important discussions about history, culture, and diversity in our community,” Heath said. “This resource encourages students to broaden their horizons.”

The exhibit was a collaborative effort within the UM Libraries and beyond: Beatrice Skokan and Yvette Yurubi from the Special Collections department and Meiyolet Mendez from the Cuban Heritage Collection researched and provided materials on topics such as the founding of Coral Gables and friendship between UM and the University of Havana. The Library Communications team provided editorial and promotional assistance for the exhibition. They also worked with local artist and UM alum Alex Vahan (Cushy Gigs, Inc.) in the creation of an eye-catching photographic collage surrounding the exhibition space.

Archives’ student assistants Jodiann Heron, Davin Stencil, Cody Andreoni, Sabrina Anand, and I located and researched materials for the exhibit. “What I really like is learning so much about the University. Every single day you learn something different,” Heron said. When I looked through the display cases, I remember being amazed by the complexity and importance of the exhibit. Yes, the exhibit focuses on the cornerstone idea of Pan Americanism and the University of Miami’s close ties to Latin America, following through the University’s creation and history, as well as into the modern day. However, it also locates one of the University’s greatest strengths, our diversity, within that original idea of Pan Americanism. It shows how the University’s devotion to broader understandings of cultural acceptance, of diversity, of peace and equality, stem from this one idea.

This exhibit represents the University Archives in capacity and purpose, and represents its role they could play for the future. Looking forward to 2026, the University will be celebrating its 100th anniversary. The University Archives will play an integral role of this celebration, showing the growth and evolution of our University from the ideals that it was founded upon. I hope that all of the University of Miami, every department and office, helps us in this endeavor. “If anyone in the University wants to celebrate their anniversary, the Archives are here to work with them,” Tasa said. When the centennial celebrations arrive, everyone at this university, everyone who has contributed to its achievements and shaped its reputation, deserve to be celebrated as a part of that history, so that their efforts and accomplishments are remembered, and their spirit and ideals are passed on for those to come.

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Local artist and UM alum Alex Vahan (Cushy Gigs, Inc.) created the historical wall design for the exhibition space using digitized archival materials. Photo by Andrew Innerarity.

The exhibition “The Pan American University: The Original Spirit of the U Lives On” is on view on the first floor of Otto G. Richter Library through May 2016.



Learn a new language!

 

 Mango Languages - Start A Conversation

LEARN NOW!

 

The University of Miami Libraries subscribe to Mango Languages, an interactive, online resource for learning a language.  Whether you are preparing for the trip of a lifetime, seeking personal or professional development, or learning English to settle in the U.S., Mango can help you start that essential conversation.  Every course, chapter, and lesson is designed to simulate the way people learn a foreign language when immersed in everyday life.

Mango may be used from anywhere you have an Internet connection — the library, your home, or even a smartphone using the free mobile apps for iOS and Android devices.  Explore fifty foreign language courses, as well as fifteen English as a Second Language classes, all taught by a variety of native language speakers.

It’s simple to get started.  Visit Mango Languages, create a profile, and start learning!

 

HOW MANGO WORKS

Vocabulary
Mango focuses on words and phrases that will be the most valuable in common, real-life situations for each specific language and culture.

Pronunciation
Mango’s course audio is recorded by native speakers, giving users the best possible models for their own pronunciation.  A voice comparison feature allows students to compare their pronunciation to the narrator’s, using a visual representation to note the differences.

Grammar
Grammar instruction is at the core of Mango’s methodology.  Since each lesson is based on actual conversation, Mango students are constantly learning grammar and sentence structure, at the same time that they’re learning vocabulary and pronunciation.

Culture
Mango integrates cultural insights into each lesson, ensuring that users develop an understanding of the expectations, customs, and etiquette of the culture they are studying.  This helps learners navigate the most appropriate language to use in particular situations and with different audiences.

 

The UM Libraries and Mango are your gateway to new opportunities.  Create your profile now!

For additional information, contact Lisa Baker, Education & Outreach Librarian.

 



Spring Events 2016

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events-header_mailChimp-15_draft02Hop into the Jalopy: Tales of “On-the-Road” Genealogical Research

6:30 p.m.
 

Otto G. Richter Library, 3rd floor
1300 Memorial Drive | Coral Gables, FL

In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day 2016, Professor Bill Walker, former university librarian at the University of Miami and the New York Public Library’s Andrew W. Mellon Director Emeritus of the Research Libraries, invites you to join him on his travels to unlock his Irish ancestors’ pasts. Using his own work as an example, Walker sheds light on the rewarding process of genealogical research using a variety of resources. Learn more.

 

events-header_mailChimp-23_draft01The Map Thief Book Talk + Signing

6:30 p.m.
 

Special Collections, University of Miami
Otto G. Richter Library, 8th floor
1300 Memorial Drive | Coral Gables, FL

Presented in partnership with Books & Books.

A discussion with author and journalist Michael Blanding on his latest book, The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps. Earning praise from Publishers Weekly, the Wall Street Journal, and many others, this investigative work delves into the untold history E. Forbes Smiley III, esteemed and respectable antiquarian map dealer, who spent years doubling as a map thief until he was arrested in 2005. Learn more.

 

events-header_mailChimp-30_draft03Book Launch for The State and the Grassroots: Immigrant Transnational Organizations in Four Continents

4 p.m.; Reception to follow from 6-7 p.m.
 

Cuban Heritage Collection
Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion, Otto G. Richter Library
1300 Memorial Drive | Coral Gables, FL

Presented with the Miami Institute for the Americas and Department of Sociology.

Featuring discussion with co-author and Princeton and UM Professor Dr. Alejandro Portes and invited speakers Harvard scholar Dr. Jorge Domínguez and UM Professor of Law David Abraham with closing remarks by UM President Julio Frenk. Learn more.

RSVP to Miami Institute for the Americas at MIA@miami.edu or call 305-284-9535.

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events-header_mailChimp-20_draft01NERDLab Play Day

7-9 p.m.
 

Visioning Studio for the Future Learning Commons
Otto G. Richter Library, 1st floor
1300 Memorial Drive | Coral Gables, FL

Presented with the Department of Cinema and Interactive Media.

 

events-header_mailChimp-20_draft01The Future of Academic Publishing

4 p.m.
 

Otto G. Richter Library, 3rd floor
1300 Memorial Drive | Coral Gables, FL

Presented with the Center for the Humanities.

Featuring:

  • Peter Berkery, Executive Director, Association of University Presses (AAUP)
  • Peter Potter, Director of Publishing Strategy, University Libraries, Virginia Tech

 

events-header_mailChimp-21_draft01Research Creativity Innovation Forum (RCIF) Awards

5:30 p.m.
 

Visioning Studio for the Future Learning Commons
Otto G. Richter Library, 1st floor
1300 Memorial Drive | Coral Gables, FL

Presented with the Office of Undergraduate Research.
 

UPCOMING: Caribbean Diaspora Oral History Project Reception

The Caribbean Archive at the University of Miami Special Collections reflects profoundly upon what community can mean for universities and their libraries.

As one of the oldest archives on campus, its founding materials came from some of UM’s earliest supporters, their donations of rare and historical books and records driving some of the first archival efforts at the institution—then commonly called the “Pan American University.”

Today the archive is an important draw for scholars and researchers from around the world, with materials stretching back to the 1700s. Learn more.



DVD Picks: Batman & Superman

by Terri Robar, Learning & Research Services

With DC’s release of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, we have the newest incarnation of some of the most loved characters in modern history, Batman and Superman. These characters are icons born from the pages of graphic novels; they transcended the sheet to become blockbuster movies, binge-watched live action series, and beloved afternoon cartoons. Such spin-offs happen year after year. What is it that keeps us coming back for more? Is it the fantasy of being the most powerful human in the world? Is it the never ending pursuit of justice? Or is it the escape into a world in which heroes exist? Whatever the reason is for you, we have a collection for you to indulge and enjoy Batman and Superman.

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.

Tim Burton’s dark and dreary take on how Batman begins his protection of Gotham City. He battles against a corrupt police force, mob gangsters, and his arch nemesis … The Joker

Christopher Reeves stars in this 1970s quintessential depiction of Superman. Here Superman battles with super criminal Lex Luthor as he attempts to destroy California by activating the San Andreas fault.

Batman and Robin have teamed up with Batgirl, and now they must fight Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy before they freeze Gotham City.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman! This is the first Superman TV series. The Man of Steel fights crime with help from his friends at the Daily Planet.

In this psychedelic version of Batman, Adam West’s satire is easily lost with goofball comedy. We find our heroes facing four super-villains who plan to hold the world for ransom with the help of a secret invention that instantly dehydrates people.

In this 90s television series, Dean Cain as Clark and Terri Hatcher as Lois are meant to be together throughout timeless adventures.

The voice of Kevin Conroy for some will always be the voice of the World’s Greatest Detective. Batman the animated series was a staple for most 90s kids.

This more modern animated movie featuring both Batman and Superman shows how the Justice League came together during an alien attack of Earth.

Watch as mild-mannered Bruce Wayne played by Lewis Wilson becomes Batman, the classic superhero who, with Robin, protects Gotham City from the evil schemes of Dr. Tito Daka

As if Dean Cain wasn’t hunky enough, the TV series Smallville features Tom Welling as Clark Kent in his awkward high school days. It’s a nice reminder that even the Man of Steel didn’t always fit in.

Director Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster starring Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne has quickly risen as one of the most dominant Batman movies of all time partly due to Heath Ledger’s unforgettable performance as the Joker.

Man of Steel is the most modern version of Superman to date and takes us into the new Batman vs. Superman film. Henry Cavill is Clark Kent who must become a hero in order to save his new home planet, Earth.



Graphic Novels Spotlight: Batman vs. Superman

by Bill Jacobs & Sean P. Ahearn, Learning & Research Services

Image Credit: Zap-Kapow Comics

The long awaited film Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice brings two of the most iconic characters in graphic novel history together for an all-out brawl! It’s no secret that their clash will somehow come to a peaceful conclusion, showing us the origins of the Justice League. But before there were many there were two. With this post we present to you an opportunity to make the comparison for yourself – Batman vs. Superman.

We have pulled from our collection a series of match-ups to best represent Batman and Superman throughout their long careers and various interpretations. We hope to pique your interest in some of the many characters that are a part of our Graphic Novels Collection.

First, we open with: origin stories – who are they and where do they come from?


Batman Year One

Frank Miller’s noir take on how Batman’s career started has defined modern conceptions of Batman for decades! Year One shows the evolution of Batman’s crime-fighting methods and relationship with Commissioner (then Officer) Gordon.

Superman Birthright

Mark Waid’s sunny but complex, updated version of the Man of Steel is set in the 21st century and is the basis for most modern tales of Superman’s youth. Birthright fills a gap left when Superboy was removed from the story in 1986.

Round 2: Mash-up series show our heroes taking on pop culture icons!

A Tale of the Batman: Gotham by Gaslight

This Elseworlds story pits a Victorian era Batman against the mysterious Butcher of Whitechapel. No one knows his identity. Most people know him only as Jack the Ripper.

Superman vs. Muhammad Ali : The Fight to save Earth from Star-Warriors

To save the planet from the evil alien Scrubb the world’s greatest champion is called, but who will it be? Faster than a speeding bullet Superman or Float like a butterfly Muhammad Ali?

Next, the Golden Age: From 1930 to 1950 the American superhero archetypes were born and grew rapidly.

Batman: The Sunday Classics, 1943-1946

Sunday Batman strips as they were originally published in the newspapers in the 1940s. Follow the Caped Crusader’s original adventures.

The Superman Chronicles

Reprints the first earliest adventures of Superman in chronological order, beginning with his first appearance in Action Comics in 1938.

Finally: Rogues Gallery. Superheroes can only be measured by the super-villains they face.

Hush

Batman’s relationship with Catwoman intensifies as an unknown foe, Hush, trains the Dark Knight’s adversaries, including the Joker and Harley Quinn to wear down Batman, Robin, and Nightwing with a gauntlet of villains before their final showdown.

Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?

Ten years after Superman’s disappearance, Lois Lane recounts his final days when his roster of foes, mysteriously more powerful and vicious than ever, attacked his friends and laid siege to the Fortress of Solitude. Who is the surprise villain behind the master plan and how can Superman save the day?

You make the comparison! And tell us what you think on Twitter or Facebook.

About the Collection

UML’s Graphic Novels collection of more than 1,000 volumes includes newspaper comic strips, Japanese manga, European bande dessinee, and alternative American comics, in addition to superhero stories. Along with high-flying, wall-crawling, planet-saving scenarios, there are detectives tracking down lost library books, demon-fighting ronan, and wine tasting competitions. Many of the unusual storylines are woven into commentary on deeper issues, such as racial history, mass media, and philosophy. Some graphic novels avoid the fantastic entirely, and instead tell mystery stories, autobiography, and graphic essays.



UM Historical Materials Showcased at Inauguration 2016

By Koich Tasa and Sarah Block

Staff and student assistants at the University Archives recently caught a glimpse of the enormous effort in producing large-scale events when they assisted in planning the celebration of President Frenk’s inauguration, which took place during the last week of January 2016.

The University Archives, which houses  a vast expanse of records documenting the history of the University of Miami, provided research and exhibition assistance for the “Firsts at UM” event on January 27 in the Newman Alumni Center as well as the inaugural ceremony, which was held on January 29 at the Bank United Center.

Koichi Tasa says December to January was the busiest time in the decade he has served as University Archivist. “In these months, we gained valuable experience through collaboration with colleagues outside of the UM Libraries,” Tasa said. “We were proud to help bring UM history to life through the materials we preserve.”

President Frenk holding the Second Ceremonial Mace of the UM. Photo Courtesy of University Communications

Working with the Office of the President, University Communications, and other University departments, Tasa and his staff culled information as well as artifacts, including more than 300 high-resolution images for a video that aired at the event and past inaugural addresses and programs from three previous inauguration ceremonies.

The department’s materials were also featured in an exhibit at “Firsts at UM,” in which President Frenk and UM historian and author Arva Moore Parks discussed key moments throughout the 90-year history of the U. Guests, including several pioneers and trailblazers, viewed and engaged with prized memorabilia such as the second commencement mace of the University and the commencement cap and gown worn by the first University president Ashe. Official portraits of the former five UM presidents, also housed by the Archives, were on display.

“Inauguration 2016 was an opportunity, in addition to showcasing our collections and services, to take an active part in the history as it’s being made,” Tasa says. “An unexpected benefit from this experience was that we got to learn more about our wonderful colleagues, who are already proposing ideas for the U’s centennial celebration in 2026.”

In order to assist in facilitating these ideas, Tasa says the University Archives plans to reach out to more schools, departments, and student groups to archive their organizational history. “We believe that such efforts would be a tremendous help for the next historian to write a new book about the University of Miami at the centennial anniversary.”



Cuban-Americans Welcome President Frenk and Dr. Knaul

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (March 3, 2016) — University of Miami President Julio Frenk and his wife, Dr. Felicia Knaul, director of the Miami Institute for the Americas and professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine, shared in a celebration of Cuban history and heritage at a special dinner welcoming them to South Florida’s Cuban-American community and raising support for the mission of the Cuban Heritage Collection (CHC).

“The more I learn about the Cuban Heritage Collection, the more inspired and excited I feel about its future,” President Frenk said in his address to more than 250 guests, including community and University leaders, longtime supporters, and new friends of the CHC, gathered at the Newman Alumni Center on March 1.

“An Evening with the Cuban Heritage Collection: Welcoming President Julio Frenk and Dr. Felicia Knaul” was hosted by the Amigos of the Cuban Heritage Collection, the fundraising arm of the CHC that supports a wide array of programming aimed at expanding and furthering access to the collection.

Located at the Roberto C. Goizueta Pavilion in the Otto G. Richter Library, the CHC houses the largest repository of historical materials on Cuba outside of the island.

“The Cuban Heritage Collection is more than documents, rare materials, and videos. It is the profound and personal testament of the people of Cuba,” said Amigos Chair Aldo Leiva, who co-chaired the event with Aida Levitan.

Frenk and Knaul visited the CHC soon after their arrival at the University in 2015, each taking part in tours of the archives. Knaul, as director of the Miami Institute for the Americas, said she looks forward to opportunities for scholarly collaboration with the CHC that will continue to “bring researchers from around the world to use this collection in its full depth.”

Proceeds from the event will support the CHC’s pursuit of “The Goizueta Challenge,” a fundraising opportunity that promises a $1 million unrestricted operating endowment from The Goizueta Foundation if the CHC raises $500,000 in donations. Dean and University Librarian Charles Eckman announced during the evening that the CHC had recently reached the halfway mark to the challenge.

“The support of many in this room will help sustain and expand programming such as oral history projects, exhibitions, events, digital collections, and new collection initiatives,” Eckman said.

Sponsors for the event included Mariita and George Feldenkreis; Fragomen, Del Rey, Bersen & Loewy, LLP; Leon Medical Centers; Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra, LLC; NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises; Ambassador Paul L. and Trudy Cejas; Century Homebuilders Group, LLC; FedEx Express, Latin America and Caribbean Division; Cuban American National Foundation; Enrique J. Sosa, Ph.D; Hogan Lovells, LLP; Iusfinder Abogados, Madrid; Knight Foundation; Professional Bank; The Bared Family Foundation, Inc.; U.S. Century Bank; Bacardi U.S.A., Incorporated; and Trias Flowers.



The Map Thief Book Talk by Michael Blanding on March 23

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The Map Thief
The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
6:30 p.m.
Reception to follow

Special Collections
Otto G. Richter Library, 8th floor
University of Miami | 1300 Memorial Drive | Coral Gables, FL 33146

Presented in partnership with Books & Books.

This event is free and open to the public. RSVP to richterevents@miami.edu or call 305-284-4026

Maps have long exerted a special fascination on viewers—both as beautiful works of art and practical tools to navigate the world. For those that collect them, however, the map trade can be a cutthroat business, inhabited by quirky and in some cases disreputable characters in search of a finite number of extremely rare objects. Michael Blanding’s The Map Thief delves into the untold history E. Forbes Smiley III, esteemed and respectable antiquarian map dealer, who spent years doubling as a map thief until he was finally arrested while delicately tearing maps out of books in the Yale University Library in 2005. He would later confess to the theft of 97 maps valued at over $3m total, and serve 42 months in prison for his crimes.

Praised by Publishers Weekly, the Wall Street Journal, and many others, the book includes the results of an exclusive interview with Smiley before he went quiet, as well as the other individuals involved; from the dealers he worked with to the librarians affected by Smiley’s theft. Though Smiley swears he has admitted to all of the maps he stole, the libraries he victimized have uncovered hundreds more they accuse him of taking—along with some intriguing clues to prove it.

About the Author
3-BlazerSmile-crop_300x450Michael Blanding is the author of The Coke Machine: The Dirty Truth Behind the World’s Favorite Soft Drink (Avery, 2010), and a journalist with more than 15 years of experience writing long-form narrative and investigative journalism. Previously a staff writer and editor at Boston magazine, Blanding has since freelanced for publications including WIRED, Slate, The Nation, The New Republic, Consumers Digest, and the Boston Globe Magazine, where he has focused on investigative stories involving intensive research and interviews. Blanding has been named a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, and a network fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. An amateur map lover, Blanding has a collection of international subway maps and bought his first antiquarian map while reporting this book.

 


 

Please click map image below to enlarge. Contact us at 305-284-4026 or richterevents@miami.edu with questions about directions and parking.

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Pop Culture Series: Batman vs. Superman

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by James Wargacki, Education and Outreach

With the release of Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice later this month, two pop culture icons from the golden age of comic books will finally meet face-to-face on the silver screen. While both Batman and Superman have been longtime friends and allies, their differing ideologies have brought them into conflict on more than one occasion.

The most iconic battle between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel occurred in the pages of Frank Miller’s classic story The Dark Knight Returns. Published in 1986, the story follows an older and battle-worn Batman coming out of retirement to save Gotham from the uncontrolled lawlessness and corruption that has plagued the city, a fight that quickly puts him at odds with the Gotham City Police Department. The vigilante superhero is quickly pursued for arrest, which escalates with the President of the United States sending in Superman to apprehend the Dark Knight, and ends in a battle that levels an entire city block.

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Batman and Superman battle it out in Injustice: Gods Among Us.

Not to be outdone by the epic battle in The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller once again pitted Batman against Superman in his 2001 series The Dark Knight Strikes Again. Set three years after the events of The Dark Knight Returns, Batman once again resurfaces from a self-imposed exile to round up old friends to battle the totalitarian regime of Brainiac and President Lex Luthor. Frustrated with Batman’s heavy-handed approach, Superman attacks Batman and his army in the Batcave. With the aid of friends including The Flash, Green Arrow, The Atom, Catgirl, and a pair of kryptonite infused gauntlets, Batman subdues Superman in a battle that nearly destroys the Batcave.

In 2003, Scottish writer Mark Millar set Batman and Superman on a collision course in his limited series Superman: Red Son, which is set in the Soviet Union. Superman is aiding the Soviet government in a “…a never-ending battle for Stalin, socialism, and the international expansion of the Warsaw Pact” when he is first noticed by the young orphan who becomes Batman. When Superman eventually takes control of the Communist party, using his powers to create a utopia in his beloved homeland–while using tactics such as electronic lobotomies towards anyone who opposes him—Batman wages a guerilla war against the Superman regime.

The most recent and still ongoing battle between Batman and Superman takes place in the pages of the Injustice: Gods Among Us which acts as a prequel to the video game of the same name. The series opens with Joker targeting Superman instead of Batman. After Superman is subjected to Joker’s madness firsthand, he decides that Batman’s methods are not effective for preventing crime. With the aid of former members of the Justice League, Superman begins to take over the earth and punish criminals without prejudice. Batman gathers his own team of heroes to challenge Superman’s newly formed dictatorship.

With plenty of source material to choose from, Batman vs. Superman has all the components necessary to be as intense of a battle as Superman and Batman have ever had.  If you would like to know more about Batman and Superman, be sure to check out some of the following materials from the Richter Library.

Books

DVDs