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From the Archives: Digitized Primary Sources on the 1918 Flu Pandemic

By Rebecca Oviedo

Preserved in Villanova University Archives and now available in the Digital Library are dozens of first-hand accounts and records from women religious of Philadelphia who volunteered to nurse the sick during the 1918-1919 “Spanish Influenza.” The accounts were solicited and collected by Rev. Francis E. Tourscher, O.S.A., who quickly took up the timely task to “assemble facts while they are still a living memory” and compiled that research as Work of the Sisters during the epidemic of influenza, October, 1918 / Philadelphia : American Catholic Historical Society, 1919.

Now we are making the original experiences and recollections written by the Sisters available online. Rev. Tourscher served as University Librarian from 1923-1939, and his papers are part of the Falvey Memorial Library records. His aim in gathering these facts was “to record the experiences and impressions of the Sisters, and incidentally to record their personal observations of the symptoms of the disease and conditions existing during the epidemic in private homes and hospitals.”

Senior Elizabeth Lyons works in the library as a Collections & Stewardship Technician in the scan lab and was eager to digitize the papers. “These papers were a crucial part of my research into volunteering efforts during the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic in Philadelphia. They offered a unique insight into what it was like at the hospitals in Philadelphia. There weren’t a lot of personal accounts of what it was like to live through this period of time, so these offered a really unique perspective. I love working in the library and getting to interact with all sorts of historical documents. It’s really exciting to see what sorts of things have been preserved and what life was like back then! A lot of my fellow history majors were jealous that I get to keep working with primary sources like this, since most archives are closed right now.”

Further access to the manuscripts is provided through careful transcription of each handwritten document. Briana Felice is pursuing a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is completing an internship at Falvey Memorial Library. She has been transcribing the Sisters’ recollections into machine-readable format (Microsoft Word document and PDF) where they are available alongside the digitized item in the Digital Library. This added process ensures that the papers are more easily accessible and findable for users when performing keyword searches. She observes, “With everything going on with the looming pandemic, these letters are very timely. It shows that history really does repeat itself. Hopefully, we can learn a little something from the past.”

Just as scholars today are examining these records of the past, we anticipate that future scholars, staff and students may wish to know and understand what it was like for the Villanova community living through the current COVID-19 pandemic. We invite you to submit your own story and be a part of history: https://library.villanova.edu/about-falvey/coronavirus/submit-your-story

 

 

 


Rebecca Oviedo is Distinctive Collections Librarian/Archivist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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Transcribing History in the Digital Library

By Rebecca Oviedo

 

Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement is pleased to share a new guide on finding, using, and doing transcriptions in our collections. This resource, Transcribing History in Villanova University’s Digital Library, includes examples of some transcriptions of note, an explanation of how to search and access transcriptions in the Digital Library, and an invitation to join us in transcribing history yourself!

The guide also includes several links and examples for teaching and learning online with primary sources. Especially now, when physical access to archival collections has been limited, the Digital Library provides access to thousands of digitized materials from Villanova University’s Special Collections and University Archives as well as dozens of digital donor and partner institutions. One of the goals of the Digital Library is to transcribe these handwritten documents so that they are more easily searchable and accessible to the public.

 

 


Rebecca Oviedo is Distinctive Collections Librarian/Archivist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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Honors Program Senior Theses – Now Online!

By Rebecca Oviedo

Each year theses submitted by Villanova’s undergraduate Honors Program graduating class are added to the Villanova Digital Collection in Falvey’s Digital Library. This research becomes part of the permanent records of the University, kept by Villanova University Archives.

These capstone theses represent the culmination of Villanova students’ academic experience and are valuable records of the community’s scholarly output. They also capture the intellectual trends and contemporary issues that were important to students at a particular point in time.

The theses of this year’s senior class of 2020 are no different. The most current pressing issue of systemic racism is discussed across topics centered on education, voting rights, and access to birth control. Vaccines (and the anti-vaccination movement) are studied through the academic lenses of students from the Department of Biology, the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, and the M. Louise Fitzpatrick College of Nursing. There are submissions in creative writing, and extensive reports on research conducted in campus labs. Several essays touch upon ethics in medicine and public health, and more than one address gender bias and depictions in sports and the media. One Wildcat hypothesized on “Quantifying Jay Wright’s Greatness.”

At the conclusion of this most unusual academic year, each and every Wildcat can be proud of their academic achievements.

 


Rebecca Oviedo is Distinctive Collections Librarian/Archivist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 


 


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100 Seasons of Villanova Basketball Now Available in the Digital Library

By Rebecca Oviedo

This past year, in celebration of Villanova’s 100 seasons of men’s basketball, and in partnership with the Department of Athletics’ External Operations Unit, Falvey Memorial Library’s Distinctive Collections & Digital Engagement has added a significant contribution of basketball-related images and content to the Villanova Digital Library. The items from University Archives include nearly 400 photographs and negatives, and more than 60 additional items, such as media guides, schedules, tickets, and scorebooks.

Since 1920, Villanova Basketball has produced three NCAA national championships and a rich history of outstanding players and coaches. Search and view images of such iconic Wildcats and future NBA stars as Paul Arizin, Larry Hennessy, Bob Schafer, and George Raveling under coach Alex Severance; Wali Jones, Hubie White, Jim Washington, Bill Melchionni, Howard Porter, Chris Ford and Tom Ingelsby from the Jack Kraft era; and, of course, selected images from Rollie Massimino’s 1985 NCAA championship team. One of the most photographed: legendary longtime athletic trainer John “Jake” Nevin.

Negative, Basketball (Jake Nevin/ Trainer and Howard Porter), 1970.

The process to convert these analog materials to a digital environment involved many hands and multiple steps.

The work began last summer, with the help of Erik Sherwood, Laura Davis, and Jessica Leventry, three Penn State students participating in the Villanova Athletic Department summer internship program with Assistant Athletic Director/Marketing Jacob Whitten’s team. The students spent two weeks in University Archives transcribing data from University Negatives Collection envelopes housing the negatives and entering the information into a spreadsheet to be incorporated into University Archives and Digital Library databases. They recorded such metadata as box and folder numbers, names, dates, subject headings, and descriptions for each negative.

Laura Davis carefully examines a negative.

Villanova College Basketball Facts, 30th Season, 1949-1950.

In September of the fall semester, several undergraduate Collections & Stewardship Technicians began scanning the items using the library’s Indus Color Book Scanner and a recently added Epson 12000XL Photo Scanner. These students, trained in appropriate collections care and proper handling techniques for rare materials, included Bernadette Goratowski, Martin Han, Courtney Schultz, and Erin Warren. After scanning materials, the students performed several post-processing steps, including rotating, cropping, and tonal adjustment of the digital images. They logged and tracked their work in the same spreadsheet started by the summer interns. Images were then uploaded to a library server to await further description and metadata by Distinctive Collections staff.

Items were scanned through March 2020, when campus was closed due to the growing threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, and sadly the remainder of Villanova’s 100th season of basketball was cancelled. As much of the world’s workforce transitioned online, I continued my work of describing and entering metadata, now from home, a task that surely could not have been completed had it not been for the careful work of our student employees and interns this past year.

Some images still require additional identification and description. I tried to identify players and add subject headings as best I could, and the media guides proved invaluable for this. If you can identify or date any images lacking this information, please email archives@villanova.edu. We have scanned selected images from the University Negatives Collection through 1974, and there are still several hundred images that have not yet been digitized. The collection spans the 1930s to 1985. If you have a favorite past player, let us know by email or in the comments below.


Rebecca Oviedo is Distinctive Collections Librarian Archivist at Falvey Memorial Library.

 

 

 


 


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Digital Library Discoveries: The 1918 Flu Pandemic

With the world currently battling a new global pandemic of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19, many news sources are looking back at the 1918-1919 worldwide influenza pandemic commonly known as the Spanish flu. An estimated 500 million people, or one-third of the world’s population, became infected with the virus and the number of deaths is estimated to be at least 50 million worldwide with about 675,000 deaths occurring in the United States.

While researching one of our newest Digital Library collections from partner organization The Museum of Nursing History, I came across a featured article in Columbia University’s School of Nursing Alumnae newsletter highlighting Ada Mutch and her experience in 1918.

Philadelphia in particular had “the highest, most rapidly accumulating death toll” in the country. With many doctors, nurses, and medical staff serving overseas in World War I, it was left to nursing students and lay people to step in and help tend to the sick. In Bryn Mawr, the local hospital was overwhelmed with patients and an emergency hospital was opened in the old, vacant Lancaster Inn. At thirteen years old, future World War II army nurse Ada Mutch and her sister volunteered as kitchen help preparing food and serving meals to the doctors, nurses, and staff. They helped to prepare visitors by dressing them in protective gowns and masks and escorting them to see their ill family members. Amazingly, none of the Mutch family became ill.

Ardmore Chronicle – Volume XXIX, No. 55 [57 sic], Saturday, November 2, 1918.

Towards the end of October 1918 the Board of Health for the state of Pennsylvania began to gradually lift quarantines and reopen public places. In our Digital Library, an article in the November 2nd issue of the Ardmore Chronicle reports, “after four weeks the influenza ban which has kept the lid upon virtually every form of activity in the community outside of those connected with the most stringent needs of the people and Government, will be lifted tomorrow in Lower Merion, when the churches will be permitted to resume services. Monday the schools will again hold daily sessions, and Tuesday saloons, theatres, poolrooms, dance halls and other public places will be allowed to open.” Still, the Acting Commissioner of Health, Dr. Benjamin Franklin Royer warned, “great care should be practiced at the time of removing restrictions.”

While we are currently practicing “social distancing” here in Pennsylvania in 2020, Falvey’s Digital Library is always open and awaiting your discovery!


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New Digital Library Resource: WWII Army Nurse Records

Last week we shared some highlights from a recently digitized collection (See: New Digital Partnership: Museum of Nursing History), and we’ve just added some additional items – the scrapbook and papers of World War II Army Nurse Jessie Margaret Ada Mutch (1905-2012).

 

Women in Uniform (The New York Times Magazine, January 24, 1943); from Scrapbook (Part 2).

Ada Mutch was born February 2, 1905 in Scotland and emigrated to the U.S. in 1912 with her parents and siblings. Reverend Andrew Mutch, her father, was Pastor of the Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. Ms. Mutch was educated at The Baldwin School and then earned her Nursing Degree at the Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital School in New York. In World War II she enlisted in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps earning the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. She served from 1942-1946 and distinguished herself in the European Theater of Operations. She then returned to Columbia-Presbyterian to pursue her career in nursing, along with a master’s degree in 1948. She held a dual position as Assistant Director of Nursing and Assistant Professor of Nursing at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. In 1955 she became the Director of Nursing at Lankenau Hospital in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania until her retirement in 1970. She was active for many years as a volunteer for ElderNet, and died on January 27, 2012, one week before her 107th birthday.

Items in this collection include a large scrapbook compiled during her time serving in the U.S. Army Nurse Corp, as well as various materials relating to her career in the army and as a nurse. The disbound scrapbook is on brittle paper and very fragile in nature. Digitization serves as a preservation strategy by creating a surrogate version of the item that allows for immediate access. We are proud to partner with the Museum of Nursing History to digitize the history of this important profession.

 

Most of the scrapbook appears to be from her time in France and contains many French theater programs and souvenirs, photographs, maps, correspondence, newspaper and newsletter clippings and full articles, and several United States government publications from the War Department. Ada Mutch served overseas for three years and two months during World War II. Initially she was a 1st Lieutenant and Assistant Chief Nurse in England; and subsequently became director of the Nursing Section, Northern Ireland Base Section. She later acted in this capacity in France, in the Brittany Base Section, and then in the Burgundy Bay Section, concluding her service in Europe as Director of the Nursing Service in the 807th Hospital Center.

Photograph and map, the “Palace” Hotel, Vittel, France, where the 807th Hospital Center was stationed, April 20 – July 17, 1945.

We were able to scan only a portion of this collection before the temporary closure of campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are eager to return to campus and share the remainder of this exceptional scrapbook and additional items from Ms. Mutch’s collection – as soon as it is safe!


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New Digital Partnership: Museum of Nursing History

Earlier this year, Falvey Memorial Library began a new Digital Library partnership with the Museum of Nursing History, currently located in the former Germantown Dispensary and Hospital on the campus of La Salle University in Philadelphia, PA. This fascinating museum is committed to the preservation and exhibition of historical nursing memorabilia and to the education about nursing’s past. We are excited to assist in the realization of this mission through digitizing and sharing some of their collections online. We were able to scan a portion of this collection before the temporary closure of campus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are happy to be able to share the materials scanned so far.

Cadet Nurse Corps Records, 1943-1946.

 

First up is the collection of Elizabeth (Betty) Lattell-Beardmore-McQuale (1926-2017), a graduate of the United States Cadet Nurse Corps training program at Episcopal Hospital in Philadelphia. Items in this collection relate to Betty’s long career as a nurse, and many of the items highlight her time in the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps program.

Betty began her nursing career in 1943 by joining the Cadet Nurse Corps. Created by Congress in response to a shortage of nurses during World War II, the program recruited women ages 17 to 35 who had graduated high school, for admission to nursing schools by offering to cover their tuition and living costs in exchange for an oath of service during the war. The bill that was passed by Congress included an amendment that prohibited discrimination based on race or ethnicity.

 

A Salute to the Cadet Nurse Corps, Commemorating 50 Years of Service, [1994].

 

Of particular note are Betty’s classmates from nurse training – Jean Y. Oda, Emmy E. Ogami, and Marion H. Tanamachi – three Japanese American women from California. When Betty’s family donated the collection, her daughter especially noted these friends of her mother’s whom she had met later in life, and how they shared that they had enrolled in the Cadet Nurse Corps program in order to be released from Japanese internment camps, where their families were forced to relocate during World War II. Over 350 Japanese American women joined this program and became nurses. View photos of Betty and her friends in the two photograph albums and Betty’s 1946 yearbook, The Episcopalian, which contains many signatures and hand-written notes of well wishes.

 

Photograph Album 1, of Elizabeth Lattell, [1943-1946].

We are proud to provide access to materials about the history of nursing through the Museum’s collections, especially during this public health crisis. We are all more grateful than ever to the nurses and other healthcare heroes! We will be sharing more items from this collection next week, so stay tuned.


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#WeRemember: “Revising the Holocaust” Selections from Distinctive Collections

By Rebecca Oviedo


“It would be a dangerous error to think of the Holocaust as simply the result of the insanity of a group of criminal Nazis. On the contrary, the Holocaust was the culmination of millennia of hatred, scapegoating and discrimination targeting the Jews, what we now call anti-Semitism.”

–  UN Secretary-General António Guterres, January 27, 2017


 

January 27 marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1945 and is designated by the United Nations General Assembly as International Holocaust Remembrance Day. It commemorates victims of the Nazi regime and promotes Holocaust education throughout the world. This week also marks the next event in The Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest’s six-part series Revisionist History: “Revising the Holocaust.”

“Historical revisionism,” when associated with the Holocaust, is usually applied dangerously and disingenuously by Holocaust deniers attempting to deny, obscure, or trivialize the genocide of six million Jewish people and others by Nazi Germany during World War II, and to disguise their denial as academic or legitimate historical fact.

Once again we will be joining the Lepage Center with a selection of items from Distinctive Collections on display before the event. Our selections will focus primarily on publications from the United States, during or leading up to World War II. These items help to contextualize the Holocaust and serve as a reminder that we must recognize and be vigilant against hatred and discrimination.

 

Eugenics in the United States

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before World War II, eugenic-sterilization laws were well established in the United States, with more than 30,000 people in twenty-nine states undergoing forced sterilization. Published in 1922, Eugenical sterilization in the United States detailed Harry H. Laughlin’s study of existing sterilization laws.

Following publication, several more states adopted sterilization laws and Laughlin’s ideas influenced the Nazi Party’s sterilization law passed in 1933. Support for eugenics in the United States waned after the Nazi atrocities became known and with the increasing worldwide discussions of human rights.

 

Antisemitism and Jewish Response

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem is Part I of a four-volume set of reprints from a series of articles appearing in Henry Ford’s newspaper, The Dearborn Independent, in the early 1920s.

In contrast, The “Protocols,” Bolshevism and the Jews: an address to their fellow-citizens is a pamphlet that was distributed by American Jewish organizations as a response to the circulation of fraudulent antisemitic documents and specifically, The Dearborn Independent’s “attacks of extraordinary virulence upon the Jews.”

As founder of the Ford Motor Company, Ford was wealthy and influential. His publications have been cited as having influenced Adolf Hitler and Nazism.

 

Father Coughlin and “Social Justice” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Father Charles Coughlin was an influential and outspoken American Catholic priest who gained prominence and wide audience through radio and his publication, Social Justice, which ran 1936-1942. He was eventually forced off the air in 1940 for increasingly pro-fascist and antisemitic commentary. Special Collections has the full run of this periodical.

 

We will have additional items with us from Special Collections at the event as well as some selected recent scholarship from the Falvey Memorial Library general collection. We encourage you to review subject librarian Merrill Stein’s course guide on genocide and mass killing and Director of Research Services Jutta Seibert’s course guide on The Holocaust in Eastern Europe.

We also highly recommend the History Unfolded project by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which collects submissions from teachers, students, and any participant about different Holocaust-era events as reported in contemporary local newspapers in the United States.

“Revising the Holocaust” will take place Tuesday evening, January 28, in Driscoll Auditorium. Laura Bang, Distinctive Collections Librarian, and I will be there at 6 p.m. The event starts at 7 p.m.

For panelists and more information: https://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/artsci/lepage/events/revisionist_history.html.


Rebecca Oviedo is Distinctive Collections Coordinator at Villanova University.

 


 


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“Revising the Cold War”: Selections from Distinctive Collections

This Wednesday we will be joining The Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest for the next event in their six-part series on “Revisionist History”: Revising the Cold War. Rebecca Oviedo, Distinctive Collections Coordinator, and Laura Bang, Distinctive Collections Librarian, will be there before the start of the event with some selections from Special Collections to whet your appetite and help get the conversation going. Our Distinctive Collections have plenty of primary sources to offer different perspectives, contemporary insight, and aid “revisionist history.”  Here is a sneak peak of just a few of the items we will be bringing:

 

 

These striking illustrations from popular weekly magazine Collier’s, August 5, 1950 issue depict a burning New York City under nuclear attack. The imagined scenario ran in the article titled, “Hiroshima, U.S.A.: Can Anything be Done About It?,” written by John Lear. The first page of the article explains “the story of this story”:

For five years now the world has lived with the dreadful knowledge that atomic warfare is possible. Since last September, when the President announced publicly that the Russians too had produced an atomic explosion, this nation has lived face to face with the terrifying realization that an attack with atomic weapons could be made against us. But, until now, no responsible voice has evaluated the problem constructively, in words everybody can understand. This article performs that service. Collier’s gives it more than customary space in the conviction that, when the danger is delineated and the means to combat it effectively is made clear, democracy will have an infinitely stronger chance to survive.

The article appeared almost exactly 5 years after the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Though imaginary, the images and data are still arresting. Today, with advanced technology, computer simulation and interactive maps, users can view the frightening effects of nuclear detonation with panelist Alex Wellerstein’s NukeMap.

 

We’ll also have on hand this 1984 publication, “Watermelons Not War: A Support Book for Parenting in the Nuclear Age.” Published by the Nuclear Education Project (NEP), a group of five women who came together shortly after the accident at Three Mile Island in 1979. Concerned about parenting in a nuclear age, they developed this guide to help parents and others develop a sense of hope and “find ways to answer our children’s soul-shaking questions about the world.”

 

 

Our final sneak-peak is the January 1959 cover of Bohemia magazine, the first of a three-part special “Edicion de la Libertad” (Liberty Issue) published in Havana after the triumph of the Cuban Revolution. A portrait of Fidel Castro accompanies the headline “Honor and Glory to the National Hero” – the first time he was called a hero in any Cuban print media. The three issues together represent a turning point in Cuban history and for the publication as well – Bohemia, a popular weekly journal, was founded in 1908 and is still published today. One million copies of this landmark issue were printed to meet expected demand. With 210 pages, it is filled with graphic images of bloodied corpses and bodies of the dead at the hands of Batista’s regime. The stark images stand out between the advertisements for alcohol, tires, cigarettes, and face cream.[1]

 

“Revising the Cold War” will take place Wednesday evening, November 6, in Driscoll Auditorium. We’ll be there at 6 pm! The event starts at 7 pm. For panelists and more information: https://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/artsci/lepage/events/revisionist_history.html 

 

[1]Special Collections holds three issues of Bohemia magazine published in Havana, Cuba in January 1959 upon the occasion of the victory of the revolution. Bound presentation volume of Jose Bustamente with title, date, and “Jose Bustamente” on front cover. All issues of Bohemia published between 1910 and 2013 have been digitized and are available on line through The Digital Library of the Caribbean. See also: Richard Denis, “UNA REVISTA AL SERVICIO DE LA NACIÓN: BOHEMIA AND THE EVOLUTION OF CUBAN JOURNALISM (1908-1960)” MA diss., University of Florida, 2016. Retrieved from https://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0050550/00001. And Yoani Sanchez, “Bohemia, Latin America’s Oldest Magazine, Destroyed by Censorship,” HuffPost, https://www.huffpost.com/entry/latin-americas-oldest-mag_b_831747. Accessed November 5, 2019.


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“Revising the Civil War”: A Distinctive Collections Subject Guide

U.S. Army frock coat of Major General Sherman, 1864.

 

This week brings the next event in The Albert Lepage Center for History in the Public Interest at Villanova University’s six-part series on “Revisionist History”: Revising the Civil War. The series brings together national and local experts to explore how today’s events compel us to re-examine critical periods in American and global history. Lepage Center director Jason Steinhauer says the goal of the series “is to show how revision is critical to all historical scholarship, and how new events and new sources continually challenge us to re-think what we know about the past.”

Here at Falvey Memorial Library we are continually bringing new sources and new scholarship to our community. We digitize new items each week for the Digital Library from our own Distinctive Collections as well as partner institutions. We want to share our enthusiasm for “Revisionist History” and this week’s event by inviting you to dig into some of our Civil War-era sources.

One of our most prominent items is the U.S. army frock coat of General William Tecumseh Sherman, on (mostly) permanent display in our Special Collections Rare Book Room. The coat is an eye-catching treasure, and it can easily be used to open a dialogue on how we remember and learn about the Civil War. It is relevant to the discussion of what has been traditionally collected, or not collected, by libraries, archives, and museums, as well as the recent debates surrounding public monuments of Confederate generals. Who have been the writers and preservers of history? What were their motives? Sherman’s coat has been part of our collection for nearly 100 years. In more recent years, part of our mission has included an ongoing effort to identify and acquire materials that relate to under-represented groups in order to diversify the collection and share a more inclusive history.

Here are some additional Digital Library sources from 19th-century America and the Civil War:

 

Sherman Thackara Collection

The coat is part of this collection, donated by the family of General Sherman’s daughter Eleanor, who lived in Rosemont and attended St. Thomas of Villanova church. The correspondence in this collection contains courtship letters exchanged between Eleanor Sherman and Alexander M. Thackara, and letters from Eleanor to her father, frequently referencing public events and personalities, as well as many local individuals, events, and institutions of Philadelphia and the Main Line in the 1880’s and 1890’s. A unique part of the collection is A. M. Thackara’s correspondence, photographs, and memorabilia relating to his years at Annapolis up until his marriage. Here can be found an unusual first-hand picture of Navy life in the post-Civil War period.

Dime Novel and Popular Literature Collection

This unique and distinct category of literature was the main popular reading matter for average readers, both adult and juvenile, during the Civil War and up through the early 20th century. Separate from strictly “news”-oriented newspapers of the day, these materials were created for and read by a mass audience and can be a useful source reflective of the cultural outlook of the period. Here is a search of “Civil War and Dime Novel” in the Digital Library.

Newspaper Collection

This collection contains hundreds of national and regional newspaper titles. Some of the more relevant titles for this time period with more than one issue include: New-York Weekly Tribune (New York, select issues from 1852); The Citizen (Irish newspaper published in New York, issues date between 1854-1856); Olive Branch (Doyletown, Norristown, 1842-1859); National Defender (Norristown, Pa, issues currently range from 1856-1876, with current ongoing digitization of later years); I.C.B.U. Journal (Philadelphia, Irish Catholic Benevolent Union, issues range from 1883-1900); Weekly Wayne Gazette from one of our newest digital partnerships (Wayne, issues from 1871-1872); and of course our own college newspaper The Villanovan begins in 1893.

Humbert Collection

This is the personal paper collection of Augustus Humbert which includes correspondence and orders related to the hunt for the assassin of President Lincoln – John Wilkes Booth – and the failed assassin of Secretary of State Seward – Lewis Payne; Confederate States of America currency; and his Pennsylvania Officer’s State Militia certificate.

John F. Ballier Papers

This collection from the German Society of Pennsylvania includes the Scrapbook of John F. Ballier, circa 1831-1889.  It includes numerous documents from Ballier’s service in the Civil War, including correspondence, military orders and newspaper clippings, as well as memorabilia going back to his apprenticeship as a baker in Aurich (Vaihingen), Wurttemberg, and related to his activities in Philadelphia during the rest of his life, including significant German-American festivities such as the Humboldt centennial in 1869, the Friedensfest in 1871, and the unveiling of the Schiller statue in Fairmount Park in 1886. Included is a manuscript note in the hand of Abraham Lincoln, dated 25 March 1863, addressed to Pennsylvania Governor A. G. Curtin, concerning Ballier’s being allowed to resume his commission.  Also includes an early day edition of the newspaper – Evening Star – April 15, 1865, prior to the announcement of the assassination of Lincoln.

William C. White Letters

William C. White was an Irish Catholic Union soldier from Philadelphia. White began his Civil War service as a volunteer with the 69th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers on August 19, 1861 and served in some of the bloodiest and most important battles of the War – Antietam, Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. This collection contains letters from White to his parents in Philadelphia, recounting his experiences during the war.

Robert M. O’Reilly Papers

Robert Maitland O’Reilly (1845-1912) was the 20th Surgeon General of the United States Army serving from September 7, 1902 to January 14, 1909. O’Reilly served a long military medical career beginning as a medical cadet in August 1862 during the Civil War. This collection includes correspondence, military paperwork, personal papers, and ephemera. The majority of the collection is correspondence between O’Reilly and his family and friends, the bulk being letters sent to his mother, Ellen O’Reilly, and his sister Mary O’Reilly between 1864 and 1900. The letters that O’Reilly sent in 1864 document his service during the Civil War when he was stationed in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Autographs of C.S.A. prisoners taken during the Civil War and held at Johnsons Island.

This manuscript contains signatures of American Confederate prisoners of war held at the Johnson’s Island prison in Lake Erie. It is part of a collection of papers of Eleanor C. Donnelly, 1838-1917, a figure on the Philadelphia literary scene. She was known as “The Poet of the Pure Soul” and was a contributor to numerous Catholic magazines and newspapers.

Candle-lightin’ time / by Paul Laurence Dunbar; illustrated with photographs by the Hampton Institute Camera Club and decorations by Margaret Armstrong

Paul Laurence Dunbar was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1872 to parents who had been enslaved in Kentucky. He became one of the first influential black poets in American literature and was internationally acclaimed for his dialectic verse. Included in this volume is the poem, “When Dey Listed Colored Soldiers,” with photographs accompanying each page of poetry.

 

“Revising the Civil War” will take place Wednesday evening, October 30 at 7-8:30 p.m. in Driscoll Auditorium. For panelists and more information: https://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/artsci/lepage/events/revisionist_history.html

Stay tuned for our next post on “Revising the Cold War” and come see our table at that event for some selected sources from Distinctive Collections!


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Last Modified: October 29, 2019