THIS JUST IN: Motoring through the Depression: to Florida & New England by ‘House Car’

By Nicola Hellmann-McFarland, Special Collections Library Assistant

What exactly is a “house car”? It is, indeed, what it sounds like -a house that is also a car, very much like any other recreational vehicle (RV). However, it is often custom-built on a truck frame or a small bus, converted into a bulky sleeper and touring car made to allow its driver and inhabitants to romance the road with maximum convenience, celebrating their freedom to explore.

This was the idea of Winfield L. Markham from Lakewood, NY, who took to the road with his box-shaped house car in the early days of the Great Depression during the winters of 1930 and ’31. One of our latest additions to the Florida Photograph Album Collection at Special Collections, an album entitled “Motoring through the Depression: To Florida & New England by ‘House Car,’” showcases this excursions.

Camping-friendly alterations were generally made to cars almost as soon as they were introduced. Allegedly, the first version of a house car was the Pierce-Arrow’s Touring Landau from 1910 (America’s premiere prestige automaker at the time), which attracted quite a crowd when it was shown at the Madison Avenue Motor Show in New York that year. It was a nifty car to own, and only three Landaus were made, one of which was purchased by cereal magnate Charles William Post. A few years later, refusing to be outdone by Post, another famous cereal magnate, Will Keith Kellogg, requested his own vehicle -only fancier, of course. Known as the “Ark”, it was built from a white motor truck and was modeled after a classy Pullman railroad car.

The house car owned by Winfield L. Markham was not as dandy as those owned by Post or Kellogg, but it sure went places. In it, he made at least three long trips – a 5000 mile trip to Florida with a friend, a 1675 miles trip through New York and the New England States with his mother and a party of friends, and another trip to Florida, again with his mother and the same friends.

One of Mr. Markham’s hobbies was to produce travelogues of his trips, and he documented these voyages by taking many photographs of the places he went, with or without his travel companions posing in them. Afterwards, he arranged 95 of his images in a beautiful, hand-made photo album, each neatly captioned with typed titles, echoing both the diversity of the places traveled and the curiosity and eagerness of the travelers to explore unknown territories.

In his images, Mr. Markham’s eye for the quirky managed to capture the details of life on the road and his appreciation of nature side by side with his interest in cultural history. On one of the trips south to Florida, for instance, Mr. Markham and his travel companion Glenn W. Harris had made a stop in Georgia at the site of “Stone Mountain,” the gigantic memorial to the Confederacy of which had only been partially completed at the time –a surprising scene for today’s onlooker-, and in the following year, on their way back north from the Sunshine State, the group traveled through Florence, SC, where Mr. Markham took pictures and also gave a lecture at what his photos’ captions describe as the town’s “first colored high school”.

His pictures also reflect a fascination with Florida’s lush nature. He visited the state’s “Largest Cypress Tree” near Orlando twice, and there are several images in the album depicting the beauty of Florida’s royal palms and live oaks.

Furthermore, he documented himself and his travelers savoring Florida’s oranges, a Seminole Indian man fishing in the waters of the Everglades, and scantily-clad bathers and suit-wearing businessmen side by side at Miami Beach.

 

During his trip through New York and New England, his images brought a different set of interests into focus. There are images of the travel party roughing it between boulders in the Adirondack Mountains and marveling at the 228 feet high Taughhannock Falls near Ithaca, NY. The travelers were also captured admiring some Art Deco at Bok Singing Tower near Lake Wales and enjoying the simple pleasure of an Atlantic Ocean beach.

Throughout the entire photograph album, we get to see the quirky house car, framed by the great outdoors of the White Mountains of New Hampshire, on a snowy road somewhere in North Carolina, gawked at by a group of nosy school children in Clinton, NC, and appearing majestic by the rolling waves of Daytona Beach.

In our day and age, we often take travel experiences for granted and might not even be easily impressed by them anymore. But in 1930 when personal motorized transportation -let alone inside a bulky custom-made house car- was still a relatively new thing and other American states beyond one’s own hometown were thought to be far and mysterious destinations, it is easy to imagine how much of an adventurer’s heart Mr. Markham and his travel companions must have had to embark on such long expeditions. They belonged to the early camper culture of Americans, following their wishes to take to the road and explore their country while enjoying “the intimate pleasure of traveling in a vehicle that was both an oversized car and an undersized house.” (Home on the Road: The Motor Home in America by Roger B. White)

The photo album, “Motoring through the Depression: To Florida & New England by ‘House Car,’” can be viewed as part of the Florida Photograph Album Collection at Special Collections on the eighth floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.



THIS JUST IN: Ben Cartwright Wants You to Know About Propaganda

Lorne Greene as “Ben Cartwright” in the long-running TV show Bonanza. (Photo: NBC)

By Nicola Hellmann-McFarland, Special Collections Library Assistant

For those of you old enough, or those who have fathers and grandfathers that remember the Golden Age of Television, the 1960s TV show, Bonanza, was about Ben “Pa” Cartwright and his three sons, who ran a farm by the name of “Ponderosa Ranch” in the Wild West during the Civil War era. Bonanza aired on television for an amazing fourteen years, and it rose to legendary status, as did Ben Cartwright, a beloved and wise patriarch, an upstanding citizen, and a conservative – in the best sense of the word. Although this was not his first television job, Canadian actor Lorne Greene (1915-1987), who played Ben Cartwright, quickly became an American household name as much as that of his alter ego.

None of his other memorable roles had reached a status as iconic as the role of Ben Cartwright, and in the face of all his “olden days” wholesomeness, who would have thought that Lorne Greene was actually quite interested in philosophy? And why is his name among those of the creators of a card game from the mid-1960s entitled The Propaganda Game? Well, one of his friends at the time was a certain Robert W. Allen, a former student of Professor George Henry Moulds, author of the book Thinking Straighter. Rumor has it that Allen and Greene “were discussing philosophical topics one evening, when Greene suggested that they design a game based on propaganda and its techniques.” Allen, remembering Moulds’ textbook, contacted his former professor, and the three men went to work on what eventually became The Propaganda Game in 1966.

“The Propaganda Game” comes with an instruction book, 40 cards containing propaganda quotations, four “prediction dials,” and a “clear thinking chart.”

Designed to be played by two to five players, the game’s neat little plastic box includes an instruction book, 40 cards containing propaganda quotations, four “prediction dials,” and a “clear thinking chart.” Players must compete in propaganda techniques like self-deception, language, irrelevance, and exploitation. The instructions indicate that one player must read a quote, and the other players must secretly decide which technique is being employed. Afterwards, they must vote on an outcome to be decided by the majority rule. Each player who did NOT vote with the majority must then try to sway the popular voters to change their vote within one minute. Finally, the majority voters are instructed to cast their ballots again, and the true outcome is determined.

The Propaganda Game has been played continuously ever since it joined the ranks of the Academic Games Leagues of America. It has educated thousands of players on how to recognize propaganda techniques used in advertisements, political announcements, and other examples from human dialogue.

We can thank Lorne Greene for creating socio-cultural awareness by lending his famous name to this game, and The Propaganda Game itself can be viewed in all its glory here at Special Collections on the eighth floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.



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.



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.



Now Available: The Lenny Kaye Science Fiction Fanzine Collection

A small sample of zines from the collection.

A small sample of zines from the collection.

Sam #8

Sam #8

We are happy to announce the acquisition of the Lenny Kaye Science Fiction Fanzine collection at the Special Collections Department of the University of Miami Libraries. The Kaye collection constitutes a very rich and unique trove of science fiction fanzines from the 1940s to the 1970s, and represents a significant addition to our ever-growing zine holdings. The zines were originally collected by Lenny Kaye, who is best known as the guitarist for the Patti Smith Group, and for compiling the seminal 1960s garage rock collection Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era.

Science fiction fandom has been a significant source of published material, starting in the 20th century and continuing through today. The Lenny Kaye Science Fiction Fanzine collection documents the self-publishing activity of the sci-fi fandom community in the mid-20th century. Despite being primarily amateur publications, there is a significant sense of organization evident in the community. Many of the fanzines were published as part of amateur press associations, including the Fantasy Amateur Press Association (FAPA), and the Spectator Amateur Press Society (SAPS). The topics of the zines include reviews of science fiction literature and films, fanfiction, updates about conventions, and news and notes about different fan clubs dedicated to the genre. Some fanzines might veer off into the intensely personal, while others devolve into gossip about other fans or writers.

The National Fantasy Fan

The National Fantasy Fan

The collection includes important titles, such as Cry of the Nameless, JD-Argassy, and Yandro, and is truly international in scope: zines held include those produced in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Japan and several European countries.

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Yandro

 

 

 

 

The Special Collections Department at the University of Miami Libraries holds over 5,000 zines in six unique collections. In addition to science fiction, our zines also include punk rock fanzines, perzines, and independent publications covering a wide variety of other subjects, such as LGBT rights, environmentalism, art and poetry. We have a significant amount of zines from South Florida, as well as zines produced in countries in the Caribbean and Latin America.



Local Food Experts Engage Foodie Community of South Florida

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Click the image above to watch a video of the discussion on May 13. More photos from the event can be viewed on Facebook.

by Sarah Block, Library Communications

Local food experts reflected on South Florida’s abundant natural offerings, strong multicultural seasonings, and rich supply of untapped resources—all shaping the area’s evolving culinary landscape—during a panel discussion at UM Special Collections’ Tropical Gastronomies featuring chef and cookbook author Norman Van Aken, food blogger and Edible South Florida editor Gretchen Schmidt, and author and historian Mandy Baca.

Mandy Baca is talking.

Mandy Baca, author of The Sizzling History of Miami Cuisine: Cortaditos, Stone Crabs & Empanadas, discusses Miami food history with chef and cookbook author Norman Van Aken and food blogger and Edible South Florida editor Gretchen Schmidt.

Moderated by Special Collections Head Cristina Favretto, the discussion touched on well-established fares and flavors such as stone crabs, citrus, and mangos, the formation of Van Aken’s New World Cuisine, and how recent developments like the farm-to-table movement are shedding light on lesser-known edible flora and fauna. The event was held as part of a UM Libraries-wide exhibition exploring the rich culinary traditions of South Florida, Cuba, and the Caribbean. Vintage restaurant postcards and menus, local organizational cookbooks, and dining brochures from Pan American World Airlines, Inc., and other materials are on display from Special Collections.

During the event, Favretto announced that Special Collections aims to further its collection of food- and cooking-related materials through the establishment of the Culinary History Collection of Florida, and is seeking donations of historical materials such as restaurant menus, local and regional recipe books, oral histories with chefs, and images of restaurants, grocery stores, and farmers’ markets. Individuals interested in contributing to the archive are encouraged to contact Special Collections at 305-284-3247 or asc.library@miami.edu.

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The discussion touched on well-established fares and flavors and how recent developments like the farm-to-table movement are shedding light on lesser-known edible flora and fauna.



Special Collections’ Food Chains Screening Opens Discussion on Farmworker Exploitation

by Sarah Block, Library Communications

Food Chains is available for checkout on DVD from Richter Library.

Click the image above to watch a video of the discussion on April 22. More photos from the event can be viewed on Facebook.

Local farmworkers demanding fair labor practices in farm fields are making meaningful changes in one of the nation’s most critically relied on but historically exploited areas of the labor force. An event at the University of Miami Special Collections on April 22 brought together UM students, faculty, and community members for a screening and discussion of the documentary Food Chains: The Revolution in America’s Fields, directed by Sanjay Rawal. The film documents the activities of a group of farmworkers in Immokalee, southwest Florida, in their fight for living wages and workers’ rights.

“Special Collections is a community resource. This is an opportunity to promote meaningful discussion about issues that are close to many South Floridians and affect farmworkers across the country,” says Beatrice Skokan, manuscripts librarian at Special Collections who organized the screening and panel discussion.

IMG_7958-webPanelists included Will Pestle, an associate professor of anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences, Silvia Perez, farmworker leader of the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, and Natali Rodriguez, national staff member of the Student/Farmworker Alliance, engaging in a discussion on the many issues in farm labor described in the documentary, which premiered at the 2014 Berlin Film Festival and is gaining national exposure on Netflix streaming. Food Chains is available for checkout at Richter Library.

Based in Immokalee, one of the nation’s largest suppliers of tomatoes, the film describes the inhumane realities of the largely undocumented migrant workers who carry out long and strenuous daily physical labor in tomato fields for meager pay. Human rights violations ranging from sexual abuse to slave labor often go unreported out of fear of retaliation or deportation.

“The hardest thing is coming to the realization of how little you mean to the people you are working for,” says Gerardo Reyes Chavez, one of the workers featured in the film who helped form the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (CIW) as a means to advocate for a better quality of life for farmworkers. One significant step of the CIW is the establishment of the Fair Food Program, which demands that large purchasers of tomatoes acknowledge their reliance on farmworkers. Participating food retailers and farms agree to pay workers one penny more per pound of tomatoes picked and eradicate abuse in the fields.

Since 2011, major corporations including Whole Foods, Fresh Market, Chipotle, and McDonald’s have signed on to the program, meaning they have agreed to buy tomatoes exclusively from Fair Food Program farms. Since its inception, the program has added $15 million to workers’ payrolls.

Following the film, panelists and audience members engaged in a discussion moderated by Will Pestle. Many questions were directed towards Silvia Perez, a leader of the CIW who appeared in the film, about current efforts of the CIW, such as the continuation of a long-fought campaign to gain the support of Publix, and the spread of their mission to other regions and types of agriculture. Click here to view the discussion.

Silvia Perez, a leader in the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, discusses the fight for fair labor standards in a panel discussion following the film. Photo by Andrew Innerarity.



COOLCRAZYBEAUTIFUL: The Grandes Heures of Anne of Brittany

cristina-puffer_thumbA Pick of the Week from

Special Collections of the UM Libraries

By Cristina Favretto, head of Special Collections

 

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More than 300 pages of the illuminated manuscript have large borders illustrated with a careful depiction of, usually, a single species of plant.

The Grandes Heures of Anne of Brittany (Les Grandes Heures d’Anne de Bretagne in French) is a book of hours that had been originally commissioned by Anne of Brittany, consort of King Louis XII of France and illuminated in Tours or perhaps Paris by Jean Bourdichon between 1503 and 1508. Though our copy is an 1861 facsimile of the book, it showcases the fine quality and care that went into the nineteenth century printing process.

Facsimiles like these often sell for prices well into the thousands today due to the level of accuracy they capture of the original, including its drawings and trimmings which are finely illustrated with rich, appealing colors. Its pages are also delicately lined with gold paint at the edges to emulate the air of luxury that the original contained, and the text inside is presented in beautiful calligraphy, surrounded by adornments of flowers, curling vines, and depictions of various daily scenes of Anne in worship.

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Scenes from the Life of Christ and that of Mary are depicted as well as a number of portraits and scenes of saints.

The book is so detailed and intricate that it contains over a hundred different species of plants simply being used as borders and decorations, and the portraits themselves are an excellent homage to medieval religious art, reflecting the essence of it perfectly.

Since the replica had been created to scale of the original, the weight of this volume truly feels massive in one’s hands, giving the reader a small feel for how the upper echelons of French society had chosen to conduct their persona l worship. Though some would claim this more as a work of vanity than anything else considering the sheer level of labor put into it and how many times Anne shows up as a subject caught in reverent supplication, it is difficult not to feel awed by the presence and magnitude the book has to offer. It’s a stunning work of art on visual merit alone that overpowers the actual text within which primarily offers daily prayers to be recited during canonical times of the day.

 

 

 

COOLCRAZYBEAUTIFUL is written by Yvette Yurubi and showcases unique items at Special Collections and the University Archives discovered by librarians and staff members while on the job. They gather monthly for “Show and Tell” to present their top finds. You too can experience these items up close, and access other rare and interesting treasures, by visiting Special Collections and the University Archives, located on the 8th floor of the Otto G. Richter Library.