Libraries and Presidents: From UM to DC

by Jason Sylvestre and Sarah Block

quote-square-Benet2_600x600When Dr. Jay Pearson, UM’s second president, left office in 1962, the University was bustling with a steady surge of students and faculty, new programs and schools, and the construction of many new buildings that he’d pushed for over the course of his tenure. Pearson’s parting achievement, arguably his biggest, was the construction of the Otto G. Richter Library.

The building’s dedication drew hundreds to Brockway Hall, the auditorium upon which the stack tower had just been built, so crowning the space with eight floors of books, which, while before were housed in four temporary facilities throughout the campus, could now be accessed from one building with bookveyors transporting them easily and quickly between floors. A state-of-the-art cataloging system would speed up the process of new books reaching the hands of students, while group and independent study areas provided much-needed academically centered space outside the classroom.

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Archie McNeal, first director of libraries, and Jay F. W. Pearson, second president of the University of Miami, surrounded by books, 1953.

But Pearson it seems knew that the building’s importance was even greater than the sum of its parts—the modern features, or added study space, or the growing collections themselves. “This is the most significant day in the history of our university’s academic growth,” he said in his speech, describing not just a building but a scholarly foundation with a library that would shape the future of the whole campus; something his predecessor President Ashe cleared the way for, and all of its future presidents would be able to build on.

The research university that President Frenk now leads just 50 years later, following so many important milestones through the tenures of Presidents Stanford, Foote, and Shalala, attests to the truth in his statement.

Looking back many years earlier it comes with little surprise that a library, as a place dedicated to the preservation, collection, and access to knowledge, could have such an impact. The Library of Congress, for instance, at the heart of our nation’s capital, is very much a part of the national history it so steadfastly preserves. It is the go-to library for government officials dating back to the time of Thomas Jefferson, who also donated to it his entire personal collection (after the building was nearly destroyed during the War of 1812). Much later, the library even enlightened arguably the most famous national scandal, its checkout history from the White House helping Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein investigate Watergate, leading to the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon. One of the most famous scenes in cinematic history, in All the President’s Men, depicts the two reporters famously looking for clues in a pile of books during their visit.

Staircase inside of Richter Library, circa 1962.

Staircase inside of Richter Library, circa 1962.

In National Treasure: Book of Secrets the library is likened to a web of secret passages leading to a universal book of knowledge, something that could only be metaphorically true—but a significant metaphor. For many, a library is characterized as a place of excitement, mystery, and above all, possibility.

Our UM Libraries are connected closely to our history as well because of unique and distinctive collections dedicated to documenting the records of local and surrounding communities, which today draw researchers from around the world. One such collection, the UM Presidential Papers—including records from all of the presidents while in office—mirrors the practice of many U.S. presidents who have made their papers public, and even built entire libraries for them following term.

President Roosevelt, a major proponent in formalizing the establishment of presidential libraries, dedicated his library in 1941. His speech describes the necessary foundation, of hope, on which all libraries stand. “To bring together the records of the past and to house them in buildings where they will be preserved for the use of men and women in the future, a Nation must believe in three things. It must believe in the past. It must believe in the future. It must, above all, believe in the capacity of its own people so to learn from the past that they can gain in judgement in creating their own future.”

We at UM Libraries welcome with excitement this new era of our university’s history. Be sure to visit the University Archives to learn more about past presidents and the development of UM.

(left) Student at a computer inside Richter Library, 1985. (right) Students in the Richter Information Commons, 2014.

(left) Student at a computer inside Richter Library, 1985. (right) Students in the Richter Information Commons, 2014.



Miró Cardona audio recordings online

José Miró Cardona

Now online: 74 audio recordings from the José Miró Cardona collection including speeches, interviews, and radio broadcasts from the 1960s. The majority of these recordings are speeches and interviews with Miró Cardona and broadcasts of the radio program La voz del Consejo Revolucionario de Cuba. They also include interviews with exile leaders and activists Manuel Antonio Varona, Manuel Ray, and others; radio broadcasts from Cuba; and an interview by Cuban journalists with José Miró Torra, Miró Cardona’s son, who was captured during the Bay of Pigs Invasion.

A lawyer and politician who served as Prime Minister of Cuba for just over one month in early 1959, Miró Cardona (1902-1974) was president of the Consejo Revolucionario Cubano (Cuban Revolutionary Council), or CRC, the Cuban exile organization that worked with the CIA and the administration of US President John F. Kennedy to prepare the Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961.

These reel-to-reel audio recordings form part of the José Miró Cardona Papers held by the Cuban Heritage Collection.

 



Now Accepting Applications: The Dave Abrams and Gene Banning Pan Am Research Grant

The Dave Abrams and Gene Banning Pan Am Research Grant

Abrams Banning Winner Graphic (275x105)The Pan Am Historical Foundation announces the eight annual Dave Abrams and Gene Banning Pan Am Research Grant competition. Up to $1,500 will be awarded to support scholarly research using the Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records held by the University of Miami Libraries’ Special Collections. The grant honors two of Pan Am’s most avid historians, Dave Abrams and Gene Banning.

Since its first international flight in 1927, Pan Am positioned itself as a world leader in American commercial aviation. The Pan Am records date from 1927 to the 1990s and include administrative and financial files; technical and research reports; public relations and promotional materials; internal publications including newsletters, journals and press releases; and thousands of photographs. Image015

The grant is open to advanced graduate students, independent scholars, and faculty. Priority will be given to research proposals that will result in publication in any media.

Application Procedures

Applicants must submit a proposal of no more than two pages describing their research project, include a curriculum vitae or résumé, and provide two letters of recommendation.

Application deadline is October 15, 2015

Please send inquiries and applications to:

The Dave Abrams & Gene Banning Pan Am Research Grant
c/o Jay Sylvestre
University of Miami Libraries
PO Box 248214, Coral Gables, FL 33124-0320
j.sylvestre@miami.edu

About Dave Abrams and Gene Banning

After graduating from the University of Miami, Dave Abrams (1919-2005) joined Pan American Airways and worked for 42 years as a meteorologist, navigator and Director of Flight Operations for Latin America. Abrams was instrumental in the formation of The Pan Am Historical Foundation after the company shut its doors in 1991, and in finding a home for the Pan Am’s archives and memorabilia.

Gene Banning (1918-2006) was one of the longest serving pilots for Pan Am. His aviation days started with the infamous flying boats in 1941 and ended with Boeing 747s in 1978. An avid researcher, Banning was a guiding member of The Pan Am Historical Foundation from its inception and the author of Airlines of Pan American since 1927 (McLean, Va.: Paladwr, 2001).

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About the Pan Am Historical Foundation and the University of Miami Libraries

The Pan Am Historical Foundation is a group dedicated to preserving the heritage of Pan American World Airways. For more information about the Foundation, visithttp://www.panam.org/. The Special Collections of the University of Miami Libraries preserves and provides access to research materials focusing on the history and culture of Florida, the Caribbean and Latin America. The Pan American World Airways, Inc. Records consists of hundreds of boxes of materials and reigns as the most avidly consulted single resource in Special Collections. For more information about the Special Collections of the University of Miami Libraries, visit http://library.miami.edu/specialcollections.

Past Winners

2014: Hadassah St. Hubert, “Visions of a Modern Nation: Haiti at the World’s Fairs”

2013: Ken Fortenberry & Gregg Herken, “Point of No Return: Solving the Mystery of the Lost Clipper”

2012: Felipe F. Cruz, “Flight of the Toucans: Technology and Culture in the Brazilian Airspace”

2012: Gordon H Pirie examined Pan Am’s role in civil aviation to, and from, in post-colonial Africa

2011: Jonathan Ruano, “Pan American Airways, the South Atlantic Route and Rise of the American Empire”

2010: Houston Johnson, “Taking Off: The Politics and Culture of American Aviation, 1927-1929”

2009: Augustine Meaher “Pan Am Arrives Down Under: A Diplomatic and Aeronautical Accomplishment”

2009: Roger Turner, “Pan-Am’s Contribution to the Development of Aeronautical Meteorology”

2007: Jennifer Van Vleck “No Distant Places: Aviation and American Globalism, 1924-1968”

 



Reading Days & Finals Update

We’re here for you throughout the year, and especially during reading days and finals! Whether you’re on the Coral Gables or Rosenstiel campus, you can find quiet study spaces and research assistance in all of the following libraries. View our hours before stopping by, and be sure to let us know if you need anything.

 

Coral Gables Campus

Interdisciplinary
Otto G. Richter Library

School of Architecture
Paul Buisson Architecture Library

Frost School of Music
Marta and Austin Weeks Music Library

 

Rosenstiel Campus
Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science Library



Richter Library Service Update

Construction-Alert200x200

This summer we are making changes to the first floor in anticipation of renovations to occur in Summer 2016. Please note the following changes and improvements:

  • DVDs and audiobooks are now located in the Information Commons near the Digital Media Lab and next to the group study rooms.
    • Print journals D-Z are available by request. To request a journal, ask us at the Circulation Desk for assistance. We also encourage you to explore our extensive online journal collection.
    • More open, flexible workstations are now available in the Information Commons. These stations have access to power outlets, so you can bring your own laptop or other devices. Chargers are available for check-out at the Circulation Desk.

From August 6 through August 22, there will be occasional disruption as we relocate some collections and shelving located on the first floor. For your convenience, we have made disposable earplugs available at the Circulation Desk.

We appreciate your patience as we improve our library spaces to better serve you. Please let us know if you have any questions, and we welcome your feedback.


 

Temporary Access Procedures for Off-Site Materials

Research and special collections materials that are stored off-site and were unavailable during UML’s 24/7 period are now accessible on a limited basis requiring advance notice. If you plan to use these off-site materials (as indicated in the catalog) in the near future, please contact the appropriate person below who will coordinate their retrieval.

Please note that the Brockway Hall Renovation Project will only affect access to off-site materials. For materials housed on-site at our libraries and collections, regular access will apply throughout the project.

  • For questions about UML’s off-site collections, please contact Cheryl Gowing, Associate Dean, Library Information Systems & Access, at cgowing@miami.edu or 305-284-6018.
  • From the Cuban Heritage Collection, please contact Meiyolet Mendez, CHC Librarian, at meimendez@miami.edu or 305-284-5854.
  • From Special Collections, please contact Cristina Favretto, Head of Special Collections, at cfavretto@miami.edu or 305-284-3247.
  • From University Archives, please contact Koichi Tasa, University Archivist, at k.tasa@miami.edu or 305-284-8129.

For general inquiries about the Brockway Hall Renovation Project, please contact library.communications@miami.edu.

 


 

Interruption in Service for Off-Site Materials from April 20 to May 6

There will be an interruption in service for retrieving research and special collections materials stored off-site (as indicated in the catalog) from April 20 to May 6 due to the ongoing construction project.

Following this time, access to these materials will resume on a limited basis and require advance notice. Please contact the appropriate person below regarding near-future use of off-site materials. (Please note that this project will only affect access to materials that are stored off-site. For materials housed on-site at our libraries and collections, regular access will apply throughout the project.)

  • For questions about UML’s off-site collections, please contact Cheryl Gowing, Associate Dean, Library Information Systems & Access, at cgowing@miami.edu or 305-284-6018.
  • From the Cuban Heritage Collection, please contact Meiyolet Mendez, CHC Librarian, at meimendez@miami.edu or 305-284-5854.
  • From Special Collections, please contact Cristina Favretto, Head of Special Collections, at cfavretto@miami.edu or 305-284-3247.
  • From University Archives, please contact Koichi Tasa, University Archivist, at k.tasa@miami.edu or 305-284-8129.

For general inquiries about this project, please contact library.communications@miami.edu.

 


 

UML Renovation Update: Temporary Access Procedures to Off-Site Materials

The University of Miami Libraries (UML) is beginning the first phase of renovations to Brockway Hall, a historic space on the first floor of Richter Library that will serve as the new home of Special Collections and University Archives.

Starting April 2, we will be relocating materials that are currently shelved at Brockway Hall to UML’s off-site storage facility in Miami Lakes. This will result in limited access to materials stored off-site (as indicated in the catalog) from our general collections as well as those from Special Collections, University Archives, and the Cuban Heritage Collection. Further details will soon follow on temporary procedures during each project phase for requesting these materials. Stay tuned for these updates on our website.

We will also be launching a website in the coming weeks that will provide more information about the new space and include detailed updates on this project.

In the meantime, please contact us with any questions pertaining to near-future use of off-site materials. (Please note that this project will only affect access to materials that are stored off-site. For materials housed on-site at our libraries and collections, regular access will apply throughout the project.)

  • For questions about UML’s off-site collections, please contact Cheryl Gowing, Associate Dean, Library Information Systems & Access, at cgowing@miami.edu or 305-284-6018.
  • From the Cuban Heritage Collection, please contact Meiyolet Mendez, CHC Librarian, at meimendez@miami.edu or 305-284-5854.
  • From Special Collections, please contact Cristina Favretto, Head of Special Collections, at cfavretto@miami.edu or 305-284-3247.
  • From University Archives, please contact Koichi Tasa, University Archivist, at tasa@miami.edu or 305-284-8129.

For general inquiries about this project, please contact library.communications@miami.edu.

We thank you for your patience during this time, and look forward to updating you on this exciting project.