Hidden Collection Becomes a Digital Treasure

the carrell

The Carrell: Journal of the Friends of the University of Miami Library was published from 1960 to 1996 to promote Richter Library and its notable special collections.  It featured articles, poetry, and artwork by a range of contributors including Clark Mixon Emery , Theodore Bolton, Charlton Tebeau and many others.  The entire run of the journal was digitized in 2012 to commemorate Richter’s golden anniversary.

The Friends of the University of Miami Library, now called the Friends of the University of Miami Libraries, is a library support organization founded in 1960 by a group of University of Miami faculty, alumni, and community leaders.  The Friends play a vital role in supporting programs, securing gifts, and funding projects for the Libraries.  The first president was the renowned Everglades preservationist and author Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

Digitization of rare and unique special collections has been one of the major initiatives of the University of Miami Libraries in the last decade.  It takes a library-wide collaboration assisted by Richter departments in preservation, digitization, metadata, and digital repository.  In the last few short years, the University Archives has made accessible The Miami Hurricane Archive Online and the University of Miami Historical Photograph Collection, which are among the most popular digital collections Richter offers.

Please go to the link below to browse and research the collection.



Coral Gables Campus featured in 1950 Chevy Commercial

roads to romance

Recently, I stumbled upon an amazing YouTube video titled “Roads to Romance: Coral Gables, Florida, Sunland on Biscayne Bay” presented by Chevrolet in 1950.

It is a wonderful promotional film for Miami and Coral Gables in Technicolor.  Also, it is an excellent visual documentary for the University of Miami, because the first one third of the three minute footage shows off the stunning Coral Gables Campus in 1950.

I was so surprised to hear the name “Miami” pronounced differently, the university buildings looked brand new and modern, and the campus was so open and spacious then.

Please go to the link below to enjoy the video.



Major Donor from the 1940s

In late October, we received an out-of-town researcher. The friendly woman looked straight at me, shook my hand enthusiastically, and said “Hello, I am from the Brockway Museum!”  The name rang a bell right away, because everyone at Richter Library calls the name at least once a day.

Mr. George A. Brockway was one of the first major supporters of the university library. He was an industrialist from Cortland, NY, wintered in Miami Beach, and in October 1943 he gave $100,000 in war bonds for a new library funding. For him the Brockway Lecture Hall in the Otto G. Richter Library was named.

The researcher seemed very pleased to know Mr. Brockway’s contributions for the Library and other University causes have been documented in University’s historical collections and we could produce copies of them while she waited.  Later, we have also sent a complementary high-resolution image of Mr. Brockway presenting a check to the UM’s first president Dr. Ashe from the Historical Photograph Collection (below) for the museum.

george brockway

Please go to the link below to research and browse the University of Miami Historical Photograph Collection.



Exhibition Shines on Alma Mater, Alumni

by Sarah Block, Library Communications
University of Miami Libraries’ University Archives unveils an exhibition highlighting the heyday of three generations of alumni heading back to UM for Homecoming Weekend to celebrate their 50th, 25th, and 10th-year class reunions.

The exhibition, titled Southern Suns and Sky Blue Water, will be on display from November through January 2014 at Otto G. Richter Library, featuring a collection of significant photographs, fanfare, memorabilia, and publications that reflect student life at the University during the 1960s, 1980s, and early 2000s.

“There is a vibrant history here at UM,” says Koichi Tasa, University Archivist and lead curator of this exhibition. He says the exhibition’s title, which is the first line of the University’s Alma Mater, alludes to the timeless backdrop that unifies University athletics, student activities, and campus events across many generations.

Among the exhibition’s ’60s generation mementos is a vintage photograph of soul music pioneer Ray Charles performing at the UM Homecoming Concert in 1963, just two years after the University officially desegregated the campus. Research Services Supervisor Marcia Heath, a curator of the exhibition, said that Charles’s performance was a catalyst in raising morale among the student body during the racially charged period.

“These materials really show us where we’re coming from…how far we’ve come,” she said, also referring to transformations in the University’s physical campus. One photograph taken in 1962 of Richter Library shows completion of the main floors and stacks addition, which earned a design award by Florida Architect in 1964. The library now houses a print collection of over four million volumes.

The exhibition, also curated by Education and Outreach Librarian William Jacobs and Special Collections Research Assistant Steve Hersh, includes IBIS yearbook spreads chronicling the evolution of traditions like Carni Gras, where students in the ’60s and ’80s flocked in high gear to embrace the Carnival spirit.

The exhibition even houses traditional fanfare such as a dink, once-required headgear sported during the first weeks of the semester by freshmen until Miami’s first touchdown, and then tossed into the air. “Like the world, the University is changing daily,” said Cynthia Cochran, Director of Alumni Programs. “The opportunity to visit some artifacts from those periods only enriches [alumni’s] visit back to campus, for some of whom it has been 50 years,” Cochran said.

Since he started at the University Archives in 2007, Tasa has worked closely with the UM Alumni Association. In 2010, artist Jacobina Trump created a mural at the Alumni Center, inspired by collection materials, conveying an unchanging horizon over the many generations to walk the campus. Like the exhibition, it also bears the words Southern Suns and Sky Blue Water. “Those words hit home for us all,” Tasa said.

Special Collections and the University Archives: A Source for UM – and US – History

This summer’s issue of Miami magazine details the play-by-play course of events that led the University of Miami Hurricanes football team to take to the field against the University of Florida Gators in the wake of the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  To move forward with the scheduled game was “a tribute to Kennedy,” writes Gasper González, in his feature story, Playing for JFK.  This poignant piece is well accompanied by images that ground it in its historical context, which set a stage for the reader that is truthful, credible, and, in this way, amplifies the story’s impact.

Special Collections Research Services & Projects Assistant Steve Hersh and University Archivist Koichi Tasa worked with Scott Fricker, UM’s director of creative services, to search, sort, and select fitting materials and publications from the time period referenced in the story.  The Archives’ assemblage of UM’s publications, photographs, and memorabilia served the need well, yet it was in Special Collections’ Orange Bowl Committee Archives that some of the more story-specific items were uncovered.  Mr. Hersh had to be especially resourceful in his search through these materials to narrow in on the precise time period.  The Orange Bowl Committee Archives are quite thorough and thousands of historical items deep, containing scrapbooks, photographs, programs, newspaper clippings, Committee meeting minutes, and many other objects and collectibles.

The UM Libraries have been working closely with University Communications to provide research assistance, high-resolution historical images for publications, as well as the technology and services necessary for the digitization and archiving of UM original materials.  Through partnerships such as this, UM’s history, and its niche in the global perspective, are made available and accessible to present and future generations of researchers looking to the past to tell their story.

“Throwback” with the University Archives

With only three days to spare until her deadline, Miami Hurricane Photo Editor Monica Herndon turned to the UM Libraries’ University Archives as the source for the August 29th issue’s Throwback Thursday theme.  The cover story was a tribute to the 1983 National Football Champions, the University of Miami Hurricanes.

In the Special Collections Reading Room, University Archivist Koichi Tasa and his staff provided Ms. Herndon with several options and resources that included original old football programs and rosters, IBIS yearbooks, and UM history books.  He then guided her through some of the Archives’ digital collections, such as the UM Historical Photograph Collection and The Miami Hurricane Archive Online.

Their search eventually led them to a collection of 35mm film negatives, donated by the University’s Department of Media Relations, and identified as being from the time of the championship.  It was among those materials that Ms. Herndon found what she was looking for: a January 1984 image of the Hurricanes on parade through downtown Miami celebrating the Championship victory (above), and a photo of Howard Schnellenberger (below), the coach who led them to that accomplishment.  The only problem was, the images were still on the Digital Production team’s queue to be digitized, and they were scheduled nowhere near the timeframe by which Ms. Herndon needed them for print.

Enter Digital Production Technician Marcelo Lopes, who Mr. Tasa states is “the hero of this story.”  Mr. Lopes found a viable break in his team’s digitization workflow, shifted priorities accordingly, and was able to accommodate the high resolution scans just in time for Ms. Herndon’s deadline.

“The story was a success on several levels,” said Mr. Tasa.  “It was a true collaboration based on need, available library services, dedication and commitment to the U.”