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#TBT Outdated Upon Completion: The Library’s Brief Two Decades in Austin Hall

 

 

Throwback Thursday

“The old Villanova College Library in the east wing of Austin Hall proved too small almost as soon as it was completed in 1924. Unfortunately, the Depression of the 1930s and then World War II forced the College to postpone the building of a new library for another two decades.” -Ever Ancient, Ever New Villanova University

We have come a long way since our brief stay in Austin Hall! Can you imagine working in such a small space without headphones to eliminate distractions? Or maybe the headphones are the distractions?


Nathaniel Gosweiler is a graduate assistant in the Communication and Marketing Department at Falvey Memorial Library. He is currently pursuing an MA in Communication at Villanova University.


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Distinctive Collections: The Smallest Item

What is the smallest item in your collection?

While our Distinctive Collections have many small and fascinating items (a Sumerian clay tablet, a miniature edition of Shakespeare’s plays), the smallest item has to be this tiny seed pod amazingly filled with even tinier carved ivory animals. This item belongs to the James D. Reap, Jr. World War II Collection, which coincidentally also houses one of the largest items from Distinctive Collections (see: Scanning a Panoramic Sketch).

 

The little red seed comes from the red sandalwood tree, common in India and other tropic areas. Sometimes called the Red Lucky Seed, Circassian Seed, Jumbi-Bead, or magic charm bean, the hollow seeds filled with carved ivory animals (usually elephants) were likely sold or distributed as souvenirs that would bring good luck with each animal inside. This seed, like a fancy perfume bottle, has a carved stopper on top that fits just right. Inside easily and comfortably fits thirteen paper-thin little animals. The animals are intricately carved and some are quite recognizable. There is a camel and a giraffe, an elephant, and other four-legged creatures. Each one is only about 4 mm tall (the giraffe is 6 mm tall) and the seed with stopper measures 8 mm wide and 12 mm height.

We are not sure where Reap acquired it, but it was certainly while overseas between 1944-1946. After enlisting in the Navy in November 1943 and training at Bainbridge, MD and Fort Lauderdale, FL, he was then ordered to San Diego to join the Japanese invasion force. The USS White Marsh took Reap to Pearl Harbor, HI, where he was assigned to the USS Proteus, a submarine tender, as a radar and communications technician. He was stationed at various times at: Guam; Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands; Japan; and Panama. After the war, Reap was honorably discharged from Naval service on April 6, 1946.

Earlier this summer we had a chance to revisit this collection with James D. Reap, Jr.’s son and great-granddaughter during their visit to campus. They fondly remembered the little “ivory zoo” and son James J. Reap recalled his father proudly rolling out the sketch of Yokosuka Naval Base in his basement to show family and friends. The family is happy that the collection is now being preserved with Villanova University’s Distinctive Collections, and excited to see items shared online in the Digital Library.

 

James J. Reap, ’69 and his granddaughter, Abby, pose with items from the James D. Reap, Jr. World War II Collection.

 


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FotoFriday: Honoring One of Villanova’s Bravest

Photo of Bernie Mason

Happy Independence Weekend to Bernie Mason ’95 CLAS (he turned 99 years old in May) who served in World War II with the legendary Ghost Army before becoming a successful commercial artist!


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Recommended Reading: Remembering the 75th Anniversary of D-Day

Remembering the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, June 6, 1944, Falvey Memorial Library Staff shared their recommended reading on the battle and World War II.

sophie scholl and the white roseGeoff Scholl: Sophie Scholl and the White Rose by Annette Dumbach and Jud Newborn

Dave Burke: Stalingrad by Anthony Beevor; Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Michael Foight: Manzanar by Peter Wright, photography by Ansel Adams

Sarah Wingo: City of Thieves by David Benioff

Linda HauckAll The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Marianne Watson: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand unbroken

Darren Poley: The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: Pope Pius XII And His Secret War Against Nazi Germany by David Dalin

The Night Trilogy: Night, Dawn, Day  by Elie Wiesel

On Trial at Nuremberg by Airey Neave

Helmet for My Pillow: From Parris Island to the Pacific by Robert Leckie

Run Silent, Run Deep by Edward Beach

The Shadow of His Wings: The True Story of Fr. Gereon Goldmann, OFM by Gereon Goldmann

The Great Escape by Paul Brickhill

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Guadalcanal Diary by Richard Tregaskis

thirty seconds over tokyoThirty Seconds Over Tokyo by Ted W. Lawson and Robert Considine

Letters and Papers from Prison by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Longest Day by Cornelius Ryan

D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II by Stephen Ambrose

D-Day: The Battle for Normandy by Antony Beevor

The Cruel Sea by Nicholas Monsarrat

At Dawn We Slept: The Untold Story of Pearl Harbor by Gordon Prange, Donald Goldstein, and Katherine Dillon

Miracle at Midway by Gordon Prange, Donald Goldstein, and Katherine Dillon

Mister Roberts: Play in Two Acts by Thomas Heggen and Joshua Logan

The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial: A Drama In Two Acts by Herman Wouk

Joanne Quinn: Armageddon: A Novel of Berlin by Leon Uris

Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman

Shawn Proctor: Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut


Marc Gallicchio, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of History, who was named a winner of the prestigious Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy for his book Implacable Foes: War in the Pacific, 1944-1945, recommended American films that deal with aspects of war not normally captured on film. Below he shares his D-Day film recommendations:

 

The Longest Day (1962) “Offers the most comprehensive multi-national look at the different operations and services involved in bringing off the invasion. The Germans receive even-handed treatment and the scene of thousands of GIs moving ahead on Omaha beach outdoes in power similar scenes from Saving Private Ryan.

“Five directors worked on the film and they employed a star-studded international cast. The movie follows the story presented in Cornelius Ryan’s book of the same name. (Ryan also wrote A Bridge Too Far, which became a very good movie but which gave us one of the most vapid and overused clichés in the English language.)”

 

Saving Private RyanSteven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998) “Best remembered for its first thirty minutes in which viewers find themselves suddenly thrust into the terrifying experience of the GIs on Omaha Beach.

“The remainder of the movie unfolds like an extended episode of the 1960s television show Combat, except that the guest stars aren’t the only ones who get killed.”

 

Sam Fuller’s memoir/movie, The Big Red One (1980) “Has a brief segment on D-Day. The film shows how Fuller’s unit got to Normandy by way of North Africa and Italy and follows it through the campaign in France and into Germany to the end of the war.

“Although the violence does not come close to reaching the Tarantino levels of Saving Private Ryan,  The Big Red One is more disturbing and thought provoking than Spielberg’s blockbuster.”

 

The dark comedy/farce The Americanization of Emily (1964) “Hollywood’s most subversive movie, takes place in England during the build-up for the invasion but concludes with a memorable scene on Omaha Beach.”

 


Kallie Stahl, MA ’17 CLAS, is communication and marketing specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. 


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Dig Deeper: Award-winning History Professor Recommends Films Exploring Rarely Seen Sides of World War II

Marc Gallicchio

In celebration of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, June 6, 1944, first we take a look at World War II with Marc Gallicchio, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of History, who was named a winner of the prestigious Bancroft Prize in American History and Diplomacy for his book Implacable Foes: War in the Pacific, 1944-1945.

Implaceable Foes Book Cover

Dr. Gallicchio, who is not a fan of actual war films, offered recommendations for American films that deal with aspects of war not normally captured on film. (Films are in chronological order by subject portrayed.)

The Last Emperor (1987). “This lavish film is based on the memoir of Puyi, the last emperor of China and the nominal ruler of the Japanese-created puppet state of Manchukuo. The movie takes viewers from the overthrow of the Qing dynasty in 1911 to a few years after the creation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

“The parts of the movie dealing with Japan’s takeover of Manchuria in 1931 and the subsequent creation of Manchukuo, the first acts in Japan’s invasion of China, are particularly well done.”

(AVAILABLE VIA INTERLIBRARY LOAN.)

Empire of the Sun (1987) “Directed by Steven Spielberg, the movie is based on the autobiographical novel by the same name by British science fiction writer J.G. Ballard. This movie begins just before the attack on Pearl Harbor when Japan has already been at war with China for four years.”

“As the movie opens, its central figure, a young boy named Jaime (played by Christian Bale), is living the privileged life of Englishmen in the Shanghai International Settlement. That existence abruptly ends with Japan’s attack on American and European possessions throughout the Pacific, including the Shanghai International Settlement. I included this film because it vividly portrays that period before the war before U.S. entry that many Americans rarely see depicted in film.”

(AVAILABLE VIA INTERLIBRARY LOAN.)

Letters from Iwo Jima (2006) “This is the companion film to Flags of Our Fathers, both of which were directed by Clint Eastwood. Letters from Iwo Jima tells the story of the battle from the Japanese perspective. By this time in the war, February 1945, the main Japanese objective in continuing the fighting was to make the war as costly for the Americans as they could.”

“The Japanese had long lost any hope of victory in the war. Their ultimate goal was to stave off unconditional defeat by bringing a war-weary United States to the negotiating table.  The movie does an excellent job of depicting the Japanese defensive strategy based on heavy fortification inland from the beaches. The whole island had been turned into a fortress by the time the Americans attacked.”

(AVAILABLE IN THE LIBRARY’S DVD COLLECTION.)

The Americanization of Emily (1964). “Vanity Fair called this little known gem one of the most subversive American films ever made. It stars James Garner and Julie Andrews and was based on a novel by journalist William Bradford Huie, who, coincidentally, was a war correspondent on Iwo Jima.”

“Garner plays a confirmed coward who got his first and last taste of war in the assault on Tarawa in the Pacific. From that point on, he ingeniously avoids combat and becomes an adjutant to rear admiral stationed in London before the Normandy invasion. The movie is a dark comedy enlivened by sharp provocative dialogue.”

(AVAILABLE VIA INTERLIBRARY LOAN.)


Shawn Proctor

Shawn Proctor, MFA, is communications and marketing program manager at Falvey Memorial Library, and is proud to have watched half of these films in the theater as a kid.


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Last Modified: June 5, 2019