THIS JUST IN: Lions, Tigers, and Pegacorns, Oh My!

Age of the Womanimal, published for the Garden of the Womanimal/Caroline Paquita exhibition at the Booklyn Art Gallery from April 12 – June 18, 2014.

By Yvette Yurubi, Research Assistant

In following this year’s #BeBoldForChange theme for International Women’s Day, we wanted to highlight one of our more recent and unique acquisitions from Caroline Paquita and Pegacorn Press. Caroline and her collaborators have been publishing zines together since the mid-1990s. These works showcase femininity and sexuality in a raw and brazen way, and capture the female body in all of its many shapes, forms, and sizes, while also tackling the experience of being a woman in today’s society. The exaggerated, cartoon-like designs blend with their uninhibited approach to art and serve to capture women not at their most demure, but at their most feral and expressive, unencumbered by traditional gender roles and society’s seemingly impossible-to-achieve beauty standards. There is an elegant absurdity to her work that completely divorces the notion of being a woman from any regulatory definition and instead represents women as untamed, unapologetic, and unashamed of their own female form.

Garden of the Womanimal, published for an exhibition at the Booklyn Art Gallery from April 12 – June 18, 2014.

On the moniker of her independent press, Caroline states that Pegacorn has “embodied the wild spirit that I wanted the press to embrace – a feral beast, and one that wouldn’t just print and release ‘boring’ work by ‘socially acceptable’ people who have always had opportunities to have their work put out. I wanted artists to feel there were no restraints on what they wanted to put out with Pegacorn Press, and that they had the freedom to make whatever they wanted – that they could be as weird or as wild as they wanted.” Her run of Womanilistic, in particular, with its unhinged and frenetic art style, perfectly encapsulates the ideas of unabashed freedom that she wants to encourage. The style achieves this by using close-up ink drawings of the female anatomy and women wearing bestial features in a manner that is explicitly treated as empowering instead of insulting.

Taco Time, from Womanilistic #3

Several women’s issues are conveyed through abstract images in this set of zines. The themes range from body image to sexuality and gender inequality, taking an evocative stance that emboldens readers to not shy away from these topics but rather to lay them all out in the open for discussion. The resulting images and text elicit a dialogue about modern perceptions of gender and trying to transform the norm by rampaging through the idealistic and encouraging self-expression in an unrestricted sense. These zines also offer a welcome glimpse into the celebration of being a woman in a society where the definition is ever-changing and where barriers are constantly being shattered.

We invite you to come enjoy International Women’s Day every day with us here in the Special Collections Department. Located on the eighth floor of the Otto G. Richter Library, the department is a place where anyone can learn more about women’s history by exploring our growing collection of feminist zines and artists’ books.



Presenting the StoryCorps-Warmamas Community Archive

By Patricia Sowers, Director of Warmamas

storycorps-blog_logoThe Afghanistan-Iraq war is described as our country’s longest war. From 2001 to 2014, over 2.5 million men and women were deployed, most of them to war zones. Multiple deployments were not uncommon. Most of those deployed said goodbye to a mother.

Saying goodbye to a son or daughter leaving for war has never been easy. It matters little if it is a first or last deployment—a mother’s anguish is the same. I, too, had to say goodbye to my own son when he announced that he was being sent to the Middle East in a diplomatic capacity. For six years, I lived in secret fear. Eventually I realized that my own feelings of foreboding were dwarfed by what mothers with children in direct combat were experiencing. Their voices were rarely heard and yet were an essential part of our ongoing national narrative on the gravitas of war. There was a need for a place where these women could share their experiences. Warmamas was created out of this need.

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Patricia Sowers (center), Director of Warmamas, converses with StoryCorps-Warmamas oral history donors at Special Collections. Photo by Andrew Innerarity.

None of us were prepared for the kinds of stories we heard. They were beautiful, they were painful, they were inspiring. Some were tragic. They all told a story of strength. There was a story about a mother who takes to bed for three days when her son tells her he has joined the Marines; the mother who sends her second son off to war but refuses to let her third one go; the mother who talks about developing patience when there is no letter for months; the school-teacher whose son returns with a traumatic brain injury (TBI) and yet shows a determination to get well that she never expected; the mother talking by phone to her son in Afghanistan and suddenly hearing a bomb explode as his camp is attacked; another mother determined to fly to Kabul when she hears her son is injured; the mother who called an admiral at the Pentagon to complain that her son hadn’t written for six months; the mother who doesn’t cry as her daughter leaves for Iraq so as not to upset her. There are many stories about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how one mother has struggled with her son’s suicide by creating a foundation to help other at-risk veterans.

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An oral history interview is conducted at Special Collections for the StoryCorps-Warmamas Community Archive. Photo courtesy of Patricia Sowers.

Many mothers expressed surprise that anyone would be remotely interested in their experiences. They have come to understand, however, that their stories have value and are part of the larger story of war and peace and that perhaps one day a stranger or even a grandchild would want to listen.

Warmamas is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) founded in Coral Gables by Gail Ruiz, local artist and attorney, Philip Busey, UF agronomist and political activist and myself, an English teacher at Miami Dade College and hand-wringing mother. Warmamas began by filming, documenting and publishing mothers’ stories and later partnered with the University of Miami and StoryCorps in 2014 and 2015 as part of the Military Voices Initiative which focused on veterans and their families. The veteran narratives are stored at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC and are also—along with the Warmamas’ mother interviews—part of UM Special Collections’ StoryCorps-Warmamas Community Archive.

We are presently interviewing mothers of veterans of all wars. Most interviews are videotaped in the mother’s home. Audio recordings of veterans of any war can be done at the veteran’s home or at the studio in Richter Library.

For more information, please contact:

Patricia Figueroa Sowers, Director
Warmamas
Email: pfsowers@bellsouth.net
Phone: 305-461-5193

You can also watch her full oral history interview here.

 



The Bunny Yeager Collection

Bunny Yeager, 1965

Bunny Yeager, 1965

Not long ago I told my mother—always curious about my day-to-day life as a writer—that I was working on this very essay about Bunny Yeager the famous pin-up model and fashion photographer. She laughed knowingly and then instantly demurred. After some prodding on my part, my mother finally admitted that the “world’s prettiest photographer,” had once photographed her in bikini. Apparently Yeager, according to mom, was into “finding regular girls around Miami,” in the 1960s. This conversation then strangely loomed over almost every page I turned in the newly acquired Bunny Yeager Archive at the University of Miami Special Collections. I had decided to tackle her collection before knowing this but, good lord, was I going to happen across some kind of nudie pic of my mom?

On the set of Dr. No

On the set of Dr. No

The contents of the Bunny Yeager Archive at Special Collections is, according to Ed Christin, an archivist working with her estate, “the first major acquisition by anybody,” from the artist’s holdings. It comprises all of her publishing correspondence, all of her audio recordings, one hundred plus original images, a scrapbook, a pair of shoes, a bikini, several magazines she’s featured in and nearly all of the books she published. Christin explains that the photos are a good cross-section of the collection and that the bikini was included because, “a lot of people think that she made the first bikini in America.” Of course this grand claim is made by many. There are Roman mosaics from the 3rd century of women in Bikinis.

Milton Berle (left) and Bunny Yeager (right)

Milton Berle (left) and Bunny Yeager (right)

It’s worth mentioning that that the process of looking through most of the pictures in the Yeager archive is equivalent to looking at pornography in the library.  Many of the models are are topless and if people catch what you’re looking at they can sometimes raise eyebrows. Apart from this nervousness, one can further make themselves particularly neurotic, if you start worrying your mother is going to show up in the negatives.

The archive depicts Yeager as a complicated and fascinating artist who rubbed elbows with the greatest faces of a generation. She was on set in White River Ocho Rios, Jamaica for the very first James Bond film, Dr. No to take publicity stills of Sean Connery and Ursula Andrews. There’s photographs by Yeager of heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano and of Milton Berle, one of America’s biggest television stars. There is a picture of the great jazz artist Sammy Davis Jr. photographing Yeager, who taught him how to shoot models in 1955 segregated Miami.

Miss Bornzeville

Miss Bronzeville

It bears mentioning that only folder that includes visual representation of a black woman is in a manila envelope using a common euphemism of the day that would now be considered racist, “COLORED GIRL CONTEST WINNER,” in Yeager’s hand underneath her branded return address. Perhaps indicative of the times, the picture is also only photograph of Yeager’s in the collection which is not labeled with the model’s name.

Sammy Davis Jr. using the photography techniques Bunny taught him.

Sammy Davis Jr. using the photography techniques Bunny taught him.

The reams of letters that make up Yeager’s publishing correspondence lay in clearly marked folders with major names such as Hugh Hefner the publisher of Playboy with whom she worked intimately for years alongside lesser known players. One thing is abundantly clear from reading her letters; Bunny Yeager was always hustling. Whether with the suits behind a magazine, or a book publisher, or the ad men and music executives of her day, Yeager was sending them letters with exactly what she felt and wanted. She seems to be in a constant pitch mode, spit-balling and brainstorming with men in positions of power. One letter to a magazine editor has a list of 15 prospective book titles and topics, with a handful of them almost ridiculous such as “Unusual Pets You Can Own,” and “All about Houseboats.” In a 1965 letter to a film producer, she pitches a television show twenty years before that show was actually made: “Story about detectives and police and vice in Miami Beach.” Yeager at one point offers, “exclusive pix of Santa Claus at a local nudist camp,” to James Lynch at the Enquirer proving there really was no limit to to her hustle. Yeager was a dexterous mix of cunning business acumen, a large personality, an expert photographic eye and a taste for provocation.

Strangely despite the hordes of naked women in the collection, the most shocking title—at least by today’s standards—is Yeager’s diet plan which she regularly pushed on her models and even dabbled with herself. There are moments in reading The Amazing 600 Calorie Model’s Diet (1980), where you wonder how she didn’t inadvertently cause a death by malnutrition. Indeed, near the end of the book there are countless stretching exercises suggested to help, “overcome fatigue brought on by the diet.” At the end, she hilariously implores her fans: “When you realize that it’s really true, that you are the weight you want to be, you will feel like celebrating immediately. Fine. Just don’t celebrate by eating anything.” Yeager later in the archive admits to trying to get back on the diet herself, but admits how hard it is to stick to

Since her death in 2014, Yeager’s career has begun to come back into focus and many have tried to place to label her as a feminist artist, but it is certainly more complicated than that, especially considering by 21st century standards how casually she seems to objectify other women. In a 1958 letter to Hefner she frets that there are “no big bosomed girls around it seems,” and in an angry response to a rejection letter from Lynch at the Enquirer admits that several of her models were “dogs.” It is clear that she was able to sit at the table with some of the major players of her era because she was churning out naked pictures of other women.

A contact sheet showing Bunny's photographs from the Artists and Models Ball

A contact sheet showing Bunny’s photographs from the Artists and Models Ball

Aquatic performer and photographer MeduSirena is one of the last models that Bunny Yeager worked with before she died. She admits that when she arrived for her photo shoot she wasn’t prepared to be asked to be shot nude, but MeduSirena was Yeager’s first subject in five years and she was truly honored to be working with someone she saw as so great, calling the experience “momentous” and “truly great”. She said she felts “not at all pressured but could see how it could happen,” and goes on to explain that “everyone has their own issues with nudity.” MeduSirena was scheduled to have a beach shoot when Yeager died. She went on to explain that Yeager was so good at using natural light and emphasizing the female figure that she remains one of the biggest influences on her life and work.

Bunny Yeager (left) with MeduSirena

Bunny Yeager (left) with MeduSirena

Models were a part of Bunny’s life and now her indelibly part of her legacy. Her working relationship with the beloved model Bettie Page has become legendary, creating a reel of kitschy pin up images that have become emblematic of the genre. Her pictures have a keen attention to composition that can only be described as art.

Perhaps most indicative of her overall output was her role as the producer and director of the Artists and Models Ball on Miami Beach. An age-worn scrapbook chronicling the event over the years shows the event was all the rage of 1960s Miami society. Inside is a seating chart, letterhead with promotions and newspaper clippings before and after. An entrance ticket to the party held at the Deauville in 1961 was $7.50 (the 2016 equivalent of about $60) and they drew over 2500 people.

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Yeager’s Artists and Models Ball scrapbook

The proceeds were for the Scholarship Fund of the Miami Artists School and Gallery and the intention was to highlight Miami as a burgeoning cultural art center. The event appears to have been an elaborate and decadent party with 500 models in costumes with awards such as “Best Undressing Job,” “Briefest costume,” “Girl most likely to Enslave an Artist.” Milton Berle himself called the event a “Jewish orgy,” and there are reams upon reams of bizarre images in Special Collections from the party displaying a type creative and bizarre hedonism that today’s Miami Beach no longer has. It is this event and the countless pictures up and down Miami Beach that demonstrate Bunny Yeager’s legacy is uniquely Miami and her dedication to South Florida has made both the city and the University’s collections a better place.

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Entries in the “Briefest Costume” contest at the Artists and Models Ball

And no. I did not find my mother in the files. Praise the gods. She claims it was only bikini, not full nude. The Book Detective will not be digging further into that question.

Nathaniel Sandler, Book Detective for UM Special Collections

Nathaniel Sandler, Book Detective for UM Special Collections



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.



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 ninth 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 September 30, 2016

Please send inquiries and applications to:

The Dave Abrams & Gene Banning Pan Am Research Grant
c/o Jay Sylvestre
University of Miami Libraries
1300 Memorial Drive
Coral Gables, FL 33146-0320
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, visit http://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

2015: Josue Sakata, Boston Public School Primary Source Sets

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”



Florida Menu Collection: A New Taste of Florida History

By Yvette Yurubi, Reference Assistant, Special Collections

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The Buccaneer Lodge in Marathon, Florida, was a famous resort in the Florida Keys. This menu highlights some of the local seafood dishes.

There is much to be learned about a region’s culture and economy through looking at something as commonplace as a simple restaurant menu. Some of the world’s oldest menus trace back to clay tablets written by the Sumerians who devoted time to listing out foods that they would serve their gods. Since then, menus have become a daily part of our lives, so much so that they tend to go unnoticed beyond their utilitarian purposes. But they also have an important use in libraries and archives, shedding light on moments in time and highlighting changes in the world at large.

In a general sense, menus provide a very graphic and immediate window into the way economy, class, and cuisine affect one another. If you ever want to know where the upper echelons of any society chose to dine or what cuisine they revered as their finest, there is no better source than menus. Hotel and cruise menus, in particular, capture the cultural conscience in terms of what can be classified as luxury and exotic dining while menus for local eateries capture what the working class and less affluent chose to eat on a daily basis. Furthermore, they depict how the nation’s fluctuating GDP and increase or limits in global trade affected the prices of common, regional dishes and foreign dishes over time, showing the delicate interplay between supply and demand.

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Left: A mid-century menu from the Fleur de Lis Room, an iconic restaurant located inside the Fontainebleau Hotel on Miami Beach which hosted performances by Elvis and Frank Sinatra. Right: Menu cover from Little Havana’s China City, today known as Oriental Restaurant.

Florida’s menus, in particular, exhibit the rich history of the many diasporas that make up the state’s diverse population and a growing maritime and agricultural economy as new businesses started to emerge throughout the 1900s. The previous uninhabited swamp lands of Florida were purchased by visionaries like George E. Merrick, founder of Coral Gables, who sought to turn these lands into profit, thus aiding Florida in becoming an agricultural center that quickly expanded and prospered over time. As Florida’s land grew more attractive to other business moguls due to the year-round warm temperatures, its prime fishing locations, and its beautiful beaches, the hospitality industry also flourished.

In the 1960s and the decades that followed, mass diaspora from the Caribbean islands contributed to a dramatic cultural shift that had also affected the local cuisine, particularly in South Florida. Spanish and Caribbean food were rapidly becoming a staple there, introducing native Floridians and vacationers to a new array of dishes and flavors that would eventually expand internationally over time. These trends could be observed in the way traditional American dishes were being replaced by a growing obsession among food enthusiasts in fusion cuisine. The onset of the new millennium also brought about more awareness to health issues and lifestyle choices, paving the way for gluten-free, low-fat, and vegetarian dishes becoming ubiquitous among modern restaurant menus.

As part of our initiative to document Florida’s unique and evolving cultural history, we have been collecting menus from all over Florida and adding them our new Florida Menu Collection. We invite you now to come bring us all the menus you happen to find while dining out or strewn among your old belongings and to donate them to the University of Miami Special Collections department here on the 8th Floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.

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This Miami Beach eatery was also popular in the 1950s.



This Just In: Pan Am Memories

By Yvette Yurubi

A few months ago, we were honored to have former Pan Am stewardess, Daniele Desmoulins Perez-Venero, visit us to donate some of her papers to supplement our Pan American World Airways, Inc. records and our World Wings International, Inc. records. When asked to enrich her donation with some biographical tidbits about her time in Pan Am, she shared with us a few of her fondest memories of how she began as a stewardess and her years working for the glamorous airline:

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“It had barely been two months since I had arrived in New York coming from Paris in a Norwegian cargo boat. I was 24 years old and fearless.

I arrived alone in October of 1964 with 200 dollars in my pocket, no job in sight but possessing a precious green card. I was lucky to get hired as a secretary by the Cultural Department of the French Embassy about a week after my arrival and before all my money ran out. About a month and half later when I saw an advertisement in the newspaper that Pan American World Airways was looking for stewardesses, I was ecstatic. This had always been a dream of mine! So I hurried to make an appointment for an interview and decided to miss work on that day.

After dressing up in my second-hand blue suit, white blouse, and high-heeled leather black shoes, I presented myself at the appointed time and place. The waiting room was full of anxious-looking young ladies like me. When my turn finally came to be called, I was ushered into a dark room where someone -I assume was a psychologist- started asking me questions about myself and about pictures projected on a screen. Then, I was led into a small room with a window where a panel of four friendly looking people was seated. They asked me the usual questions: why do you want to work for Pan Am, how many years of college do you have, what other languages do you speak… I answered everything to their satisfaction. Then they asked me to tell them a little about myself, so I recounted the story of my arrival in New York and also how I had managed to learn English and Spanish fluently. They seemed to be so impressed that they decided to hire me on the spot! They asked me not to tell anyone because this was not done according to their usual long procedure where they would send letters weeks after the interview to let the candidates know whether they had been accepted or not. Of course, I was flattered and left the room beaming.

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After about a month of training and after graduation, Pan Am offered us a choice of destinations for our first flight as trainees. They let me have my first choice which was New York to Paris (with a layover in Paris) and Paris to Monrovia, Africa, where we stayed for a couple of days before flying back to New York. I thought the flight to Paris was a favor to me on the company’s part. They knew how delighted my family and I would be to see each other when I arrived at the Paris Orly airport in full regalia!! And since it was January, I was wearing the same winter coat that I gave to the Special Collections Library of the University of Miami with long black leather gloves. In warm climates, we would wear short, white gloves instead. The Pan Am uniform was actually quite nice-looking. It consisted of a blue-grey gabardine suit, a short sleeves white blouse underneath, a pillbox hat as was the fashion in the sixties, black high-heeled shoes, and gloves appropriate to the season. We changed once on board the plane. We took off our jacket, hat, white blouse, and put on a smock. We also changed our shoes to low-heeled shoes. To illustrate these looks, I provided some photographs of myself in uniform and also wearing a smock inside the plane to the Special Collections Library at UM.

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In those days undergarments were mandatory. We had to wear a girdle and a full slip… and those could be checked, as well as our weight, before flying time. Our hair style could not touch the collar. We could be reported for any transgression; I remember, for example, being reported for having worn green instead of blue eye shadow on a flight.

Because Pan American Airways needed flight attendants who could speak Spanish for their Boeing 707 flights from San Francisco to Guatemala and Panama, they sent me to be based in San Francisco. I remained on the same route for several months, which was a disappointment to me because it was not my first choice. The flights to the Pacific and the Far East sounded more exciting. When my two roommates commented on their flights to exotic destinations like Tokyo, Bangkok, Singapore, Tahiti, Sydney, I could not help feeling rather envious! Finally, my turn came, and they let me fly all their other routes. Some of the countries I flew to that I remember are Japan, Thailand, Guam, England, Australia, Tahiti, and, of course, Guatemala and the Republic of Panama. We often made stops in Hawaii on our way to the Orient or Anchorage on the way to Japan. The company was so big, I never flew with the same people.

We were allowed to bid for the trips we wanted and according to our seniority we got it or not. We always stayed in the best hotels (such as The Intercontinental, Sheraton, Hilton, or other five star local hotels) and were treated like royalty. It was a dream life.

On my first vacation, in April of 1966, I invited my mother to fly around the world with me. I had kept the Pan Am itinerary papers as a souvenir, and I have given them to the Special Collections Library of the University of Miami recently, along with other papers and memorabilia.

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I had to have a valid visa for every stop the plane made along the way, even if we did not plan on staying there. This was a good precaution as we unexpectedly got loaded off in Beirut. It was a time of turmoil before the war and people were trying to get out. However, we did not regret this unscheduled stop; we were able to visit some interesting places like the ancient city of Byblos, and we ended up buying two beautiful hand-made oriental carpets at the free zone in Beirut! We were able to continue on our way the following day. This free travel was one of the wonderful perks of working as a stewardess for Pan American Airways.

I later became a purser but not for long. I got married in Panama and had to quit flying, but I am still in touch with my Pan Am family as a member of the World Wings Miami Chapter.”

These memories are now immortalized in her collection, the Daniele Desmoulins Perez-Venero papers, housed here in the Special Collections department and can be accessed by anyone who wants to relive the captivating world of Pan Am in the 1960s.



Notes from the Miami Zine Fair

By Jay Sylvestre, Special Collections Librarian

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Zine Fair attendees on the plaza at HistoryMiami

On Saturday, April 30, Special Collections and the UM Gender, Sexuality, and Visual Studies Collective shared a table at the 3rd annual Miami Zine Fair. The Zine Fair, organized by Exile Books and hosted by HistoryMiami, featured 140 tables of zine makers, artists, and poets. The event drew more than 1,500 people who came to purchase and swap zines, chat with their favorite zinesters, or simply learn more about zines.

 

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Special Collections Librarian Jay Sylvestre at the zine table.

Special Collections assembled a zine about zines that we called Zineology #1. With more than 6,000 zines in our collection we knew we couldn’t share details about each one so we decided to approach the collection thematically. Zineology highlighted several of our distinct zine collections along with zine subject areas like music, perzines (short for personal zines), gender and sexuality, science fiction, and Florida zines.

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The UM Gender, Sexuality, and Visual Studies Collective

The initial focus of the zine collection was on Florida or Florizines, but it quickly became clear that just as zines serve to subvert and expand the conversation, we knew we couldn’t limit the collection geographically. Florida zines will always be a particular focus, but the amount of variety in the eclectic world of zines requires that we collect zines about anything and everything from here, there, and everywhere.

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Zine artist and Special Collections Library Assistant David Rodriguez (right) recently donated this zine he presented at Zine Fair to our collection.

We met so many people at the Zine Fair that we ran out of business cards and gave away almost the entire first run of Zineology. We had countless conversations with people about the existence of our collection; many of whom had no idea that UM Special Collections has such an extensive zine collection. Participating in an event like the Zine Fair was the perfect venue to share this information. We lost track of how many new potential researchers we met, but we know that we’ve already been contacted by a few people from the fair about adding their zines to the collection.

If we met you on Saturday at the Zine Fair and you would like to add your zines to the collection please give us a call!

 

 

 

 

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Stop by the Richter Library 8th floor and pick up a copy of Zineology #1 for detailed highlights of the zine collection.



This Just In: Celebrating and Preserving Urban Art in Florida

By Yvette Yurubihuff2
A unique collection generously donated by Barbara Young in honor of her late husband, artist and teacher Robert Huff, is now available for research. The Robert Huff Collection includes a vast array of exhibit catalogs dating back from the 1980s to the present. Of interest are the sheer number and variety of exhibits that cropped up all around Miami, showcasing different artists with their own brand and identity that contributed something valuable and new to the art scene.

At the forefront of the collection is one name splayed across many of these exhibit catalogs – Robert Huff himself, a former art professor and chairman at Miami Dade College. His stunning, three-dimensional visual style was celebrated throughout the decades as a welcome presence in Miami as his use of bright colors intersects with architectural designs to create pieces that are unexpectedly harmonious in spite of their disparate elements. Segmenting lines and geometrical shapes present in many of his artworks are where these elements meet and interact to create layered images that paint an urban jungle for its audience to be lured into, inviting them to traverse deeper into the story he tried to tell in each piece.

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These catalogs serve as a celebration of his prominence and success here in Miami and will hopefully evoke the curiosity of future young artists and researchers who wish to delve deeper into his work and those of his contemporaries. We invite you all to come stop by and take a look through the exhibition catalogs to experience the way the urban art movement has shaped Miami’s cultural scene as a whole.

Capturing Florida’s local art scene is one of our key collecting areas here in Special Collections as we feel it has something unique and culturally significant to offer current and future generations. We are striving to document as much of it as possible before historical materials are lost or disappear into the ether (as so many websites do), so materials such as our newly acquired Robert Huff Collection have become crucial to our initiative to preserve Florida’s modern history with the same eclectic flair that we experience in our day-to-day lives living here in this energetic and artistically vibrant city.



Class Project Breathes Life into Historical Documents

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Stereoscopic card showing black men with wheelbarrows and shovels with caption, “Negroes at work near Cristobal, Panama.” Slave Documents Collection, University of Miami Special Collections

In her own academic career, English professor and PhD candidate Allison Harris has spent a significant amount of time in archives, using records dating back to the historical periods she’s studying to support research and to breathe life into her writing. Taking her African-American Literature students to the archives for a project focused on the era of slavery, however, was an idea actually inspired in a cemetery, miles away from the archives.

“I was walking there with a friend and we were thinking about the lives of the people buried there and the legal and social constructions of personhood beyond death,” Harris explains. It was in the midst of gravestones, many inscribed with only a name and a range of dates, that she thought about how the briefest details of a person’s life can evoke wonder about a long ago experience. “Together we brainstormed ways that students could use creative writing to engage with these constructions of personhood.”

After the students enrolled in Harris’s course visited UM Special Collections’ Slave Documents Collection in the fall 2015 semester, they created stories based on real individuals from history referenced in letters by plantation owners, bills of sale, and other legal and personal documents preserved from the pre-Civil War era. The eight short stories, together known as the Slave Narrative project, are told from the perspective of slaves documented in the records.

“Part of the goal of the assignment was to make the documents come to life through plot and conflict. But more importantly, they were to give their characters a rich and vibrant interiority that explored the emotional and spiritual limitations and silences of these archives,” Harris says.

Visit the Slave Narrative Project

The Slave Narrative project, now permanently preserved and available to the public in UM Libraries Scholarly Repository, features the following short stories:

The Example
by Nathaniel Bradley
English Literature major (2018) from Aurora, Colorado

Her Taste of Freedom
by Orlandra Dickens
Sociology and Criminology major (December 2016) from Wilson, North Carolina

The Hill, Named after some White Man
by O’Shane Elliot
Political Science major (Spring 2016) from St. Petersburg, Florida

The Match
by Marcus Hines
Computer Science major (2017) from Los Angeles, California

Betsey Simons: Freedom at What Cost?
by Anthony Maristany
Neuroscience major (May 2017) from Miami, Florida

Earth and Ashes
by Michele Mobley
General Studies major (2017) from Wilmington, Delaware

A Narrative of the Torments and Unlikely Freedom of a Child Slave
by Hanna Taylor
Undecided major (2019) from San Rafael, California

Nameless People, Keep Trekking
by Brandi Webster
Sociology major (2017) from Naranja, Florida

To learn more about the Slave Documents Collection, visit Special Collections in person or online at library.miami.edu/specialcollections.