A few weeks ago longtime College Archivist and Records Management Coordinator Jan Blodgett retired after 23 years of service to Davidson (for information on our new College Archivist, DebbieLee Landi, see our earlier blog post introducing her). Jan has made an impact all across the Davidson College campus and the town of Davidson, including on this very blog – Jan started Around the D on January 21, 2009! This week we’ll celebrate her time as College Archivist by delving into our photo archives for images of Jan:
Jan Blodgett was the first professionally trained archivist to work at Davidson College, and her work building and organizing collections, as well as fostering community and curricular connections is fundamental to the Archives & Special Collections current and future work. We will always be grateful to Jan for her tireless, generous, and energetic work – please join us in wishing Jan a fond farewell and a happy retirement!
This week marks the retirement of Bill Giduz (Class of 1974), the roving campus Director of Photography & News Writer. Bill on his bike, trekking around campus in search of the best photos, has been a familiar sight to many Davidsonians throughout the years. Bill’s author biography for the Davidson Journal, written in 2014, describes him this way:
Bill Giduz’s association with Davidson began in 1970 when he enrolled as a freshman. Nine years later he attended his fifth reunion, learned of an opening in the communications department, and has now worked gratefully in that office for 34 years. He commutes on two wheels, juggles on Sunday afternoons and regularly plays basketball with much quicker young men.
He is also a joggler, as chronicled in the Huffington Post in 2015. While Bill is most familiar as the person behind the camera, this week’s blog reflects on his years at Davidson through another lens – pictures of Bill Giduz, rather than by Bill Giduz! Fortunately we have several images of Bill throughout his Davidson career in the archives:
Bill Giduz has been a valued member of the staff of Davidson College for 37 years, and will continue to be a important part of the Davidson community – happy retirement, Bill!
This installment of Recipes from the Archives is a festive winter punch from Davidson Senior Center’s 1985 printing of The Davidson Cookbook. – Bob Sailstad’s “Danish Glogg.”
Davidson Senior Services (later the Davidson Senior Center) opened September 1977 in the railroad depot building on Jackson Street. The Center sponsored programs, such as an income tax assistance service and a Senior/Student Friendship program, organized day trips, connected volunteers with seniors, put out a yearly newsletter (Tracks), and published three printings of a cookbook (The Davidson Cookbook). The Center closed in spring 2004.
Robert J. “Bob” Sailstad (1915-1998) worked as the Director of Development (1948-1949) and then Assistant to the President and the Director of Public Relations and Development (1955-1968) at Davidson College. After leaving the College he went on to serve at the Director of Educational Affairs and Public Information for The Duke Endowment (1968-1982). He received a B.S. and M.A. from the University of Minnesota, where he met his wife, Patricia Kreis Sailstad. Patricia had worked as a dental hygienist and preschool teacher in Minnesota, and when she moved to Davidson she continued teaching and also helped found the St. Alban’s Play School and the Davidson-Cornelius Day Care Center. Both Bob and Patricia were active members of the Davidson Senior Center.
For this installment in the Recipes From the Archives blog series, I made Marjorie McCutchan’s “Luscious Brownies,” featured in the Davidson Senior Center’s 1985 printing of The Davidson Cookbook.
Marjorie Munn McCutchan (1903 – 1998) was born in Iowa, and received B.A./B. Music from Tarkio College in Missouri. After completing her studies, she taught at the American Mission School for Girls in Assiut, Egypt. While in Egypt, she met her husband, John Wilson McCutchan (Davidson College Class of 1931, faculty in the English department from 1951 to 1961), and they married in 1936. John Wilson McCutchan (1909 – 1966) taught at Assiut College in Egypt, Queens College (now Queens University of Charlotte), Davidson College, and University of Waterloo in Ontario. By 1961, the McCutchans had divorced and J.W. married again, to Betty Combs Ellington.
Marjorie, John Wilson, and their two daughters (Marjorie Ann McCutchan Clark and Mary Caroline McCutchan Henry) moved to Davidson in 1951. After her divorce, Marjorie spent the 1960s living in Philadelphia, where she attained a M.S. in library science from Drexel University and then worked as a librarian at the Board of Christian Education, United Presbyterian Church. After moving back to Davidson in 1969, Marjorie served as the Acting Head of Reference and Personnel at the Davidson College Library from 1972 to 1974.
In addition to her teaching and library work, McCutchan worked as a piano instructor and was very active in the local Presbyterian community, serving as the first woman elder at the Davidson College Presbyterian Church (DCPC). She was one of the first residents to move into The Pines, the local retirement community, in 1988, and also was a member of the Davidson Senior Center. When photographed by Frank Bliss for the Davidson Senior Center, she wrote on her portrait information sheet that she “Returned to America at time of 2nd World War on S.S. Aquitania via Australia then to California, so I’ve been around the world.”
She donated funds to the library in 1988, establishing the Marjorie McCutchan Fund, which has allowed to library to purchase 80 titles.
I chose to make McCutchan’s “Luscious Brownies” for the retirement party of my library colleague, Jean Coates. I selected the recipe because it sounded delicious, and making one former Davidson librarian’s recipe to celebrate the retirement of another Davidson librarian seemed very apropos.
I didn’t deviate from this recipe very much – I was even able to use Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk! I made two batches of these brownies, one with walnuts and one without. The texture of these brownies is different than what I’m used to – the condensed milk and crushed graham crackers made the batter very thick and much harder to pour than I was expecting. I also ended up using a muffin pan to make the batches of brownies, since I didn’t have a metal pan of an appropriate size on hand. The most onerous and time-consuming part of the process was crushing the graham crackers – I broke the crackers into smaller pieces and then smushed them with a meat tenderizer to end up with a finely crushed product. I would recommend melting the chocolate chips prior to mixing the ingredients, a step McCutchan didn’t mention.
Overall, this recipe was a crowd-pleaser – I was even asked for the recipe by one faculty member who sampled them!
Time for another edition of our Recipes from the Archives blog series – week’s dish is Gail Gibson’s “Better than the M&M’s Pimento Cheese” from Great Expectations: The Davidson College 1990-1991 Office Support Staff Cookbook.
The Office Support Staff organization was born out of a long tradition of social groups founded by women staff members at Davidson College – in the 1950s, Professor Ernest Beaty (Class of 1920; English and Latin professor at Davidson College from 1925 to 1966) nicknamed the group of office workers “The Chambermaids,” a reference to the statues on Chambers Building, where most of the women worked. The group first drafted a Statement of Purpose in 1975, illustrating their goals: “The purpose of THE CHAMBERMAIDS shall be to support the students, faculty and administration of Davidson College; to encourage in a considerate and professional manner the full potential development of its members; to foster fellowship; and to establish an official line of communication between its members and the College in order to promote greater understanding and cooperation.”
In 1982, The Chambermaids changed their organization name to Office Support Staff. At the time that the Great Expectations cookbook was produced as a fund-raiser, the organization officers were: Kristi Newton (President), Pat Gardner (Vice-President), Ethel Black (Secretary), and Jo Archie (Treasurer). The front page of the cookbook provides a history of the Office Support Staff, including the major achievements of the group: “Ever since that time the ‘Chambermaids’, now known as the ‘Office Support Staff’, has accomplished a variety of goals such as tuition benefits for our children, flexible summer work hours, using a percentage of our sick days for personal leave time, cumulative years of service to count towards vacation leave, the posting of all jobs so that we are aware of the availabilities and representation on various campus committees, just to name a few.” The Office Support Staff ceased meeting as an organization in 2009.
Though Great Expectations was compiled by the Office Support Staff, recipes were solicited from across all areas of campus. The recipe I chose was submitted by Gail Gibson, who taught in the English department from 1983 until her retirement in 2014. Gibson served as the College Marshall for many years, and is particularly well-known for staging a Chaucer banquet in her home as part of her curriculum. As the College news story on her retirement states, Gibson was very interested in food studies: “‘The best way to know a culture is to know how it eats!’ she explained. The Chaucer banquets ultimately led her to develop popular writing classes focused on food that she taught for years – food as symbol, food as a reflection of culture, food memoir and the anthropology of food.”
Gibson’s statement on the cultural import of food is particularly apropos as we look at her recipe for pimento cheese, a beloved Southern classic. Pimento cheese, as Scott Huler puts it in his story on the history of the food in Our State magazine, is a “Southern, rural, working-class icon — Carolina caviar, some call it” with a fascinating backstory. As a North Carolina transplant, I was particularly interested in having a go at making this cultural staple for the first time.
Gibson’s recipe title is a playful homage to the popularity of M&M’s pimento cheese, suggesting this recipe is even better. I had a little bit of trouble making the recipe – the cream cheese did not easily combine with the other ingredients, and required a bit of milk to thin it out. I also ended up adding more grated cheese than the recipe called for, since once I had completed mixing the ingredients, the orange mixture seemed too smooth. Having never tasted the original M&M’s pimento cheese, I can’t say for sure that this recipe is better… but it is delicious!
Earlier this month, a mysterious parcel appeared in the Archives & Special Collections mailbox.
The package turned out to be a collection of Davidson-related photographs – a treasure trove of mid-twentieth century group shots, as well as images of the old Chambers Building after the fire that gutted the structure in 1921. Here are a few favorites from our newest photo collection:
I hope you enjoyed our mysterious photograph delivery as much as we did! If you can help identify any of the people in these images, please contact the College Archives.
This Saturday, October 18th, Davidson will play host to the third THATCamp Piedmont. THATCamp, short for The Humanities And Technology Camp, “is an open, inexpensive meeting where humanists and technologists of all skill levels learn and build together in sessions proposed on the spot,” according to the official website. The first THATCamp was held at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University in 2008. THATCamps are often organized either around a theme or geographic location, and provide a space for learning, sharing, and collaboration across a range of disciplines and specialties.
This year’s THATCamp sessions will be split between E.H. Little Library and the Knobloch Campus Center, with the day’s activities starting at 8:00 AM with breakfast and registration, and wrapping up at 4:30 PM with post-THATCamp drinks and conversation at the campus coffee house, Summit.
Register online for this Saturday’s free unconference, and please contact Mark Sample (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions. We hope to see you there!
Going to conferences with themes around things digital and archives can be dizzying. This conference had ideas galore but what struck me most was librarians and archivists deep commitment to making our collections accessible to a wide variety of users. As a group we’ve plunged into online descriptions and catalogs, charged ahead adding digital images, and now the call is to find ways to encourage creative reuse of digital materials. At Davidson, we’ve seen class reunions be very creative with photographs and old Davidsonians and are working with faculty and current students to extend their digital skills and bring new perspectives to Davidson history.
I came away energized by the wonderful projects being created at other colleges but also proud that Davidson is holding our own and that our projects – Student Letters, Under Lake Norman, Davidson Encyclopedia – energized other attendees. One area, in particular, is high on my to list –getting more access oral history collections (watch Around the D for more news on this in the future).
Like Jan, Craig expressed his satisfaction with the conference and the way that our own presentation went. The size of the conference was very manageable – Craig pointed out that roughly 85 attendees was ideal: “Enough people for lots of ideas but intimate enough to get to know people.” Craig attended the “From Theory to Action: A Pragmatic Approach to Digital Preservation Tools and Strategies” workshop, which was the result of an IMLS grant to encourage planning for digital preservation at small and medium-sized institutions. He expressed an interest in trying out the Duke Data Accessioner. Data curation and preservation was also the theme of one of Craig’s favorite presentations, Liz Milewicz from Duke University’s “Innovate and Curate? Helping Collaborative Digital Humanities Research Persist Beyond the Experiment.” Milewicz and Leslie Barnes advocate for faculty to think about preservation while creating data, and were able to boil down the data curation questions to five or six basics (Craig notes: “I should ask Liz for the questions”). Another talk that inspired the Davidson team was Thea Lindquist, Holley Long, and Alexander Watkins of the University of Colorado Boulder’s “Supporting Digital Humanists: Taking a Data-Driven Approach to Needs Assessment and Service Design,” which focused on how the Colorado Boulder team sought to discover the state of digital humanities both on their own campus, and in similar institutions by using a variety of methods (environmental scan, a campus scan, campus-wide survey, targeted in-depth interviews, and a symposium). Craig says:
Wow. This is library service/innovation planning as it should be. They really mapped out a plan, stuck to it and did it in a timely manner. Did it all in 9 months including a 50+ page report/recommendations. I really hope they post their survey instrument on DH interest and needs. I need to further investigate NVIVO coding software for quantifying data.
Like Craig, I really enjoyed the talk given by the University of Colorado Boulder team. I thought their characterization of three groups on their campus that should be reached out to – “the usual suspects,” or those already heavily engaged in DH; “the unknowns,” people working with DH, but not with the library; and “DH interested,” those who interested but not yet engaged – would translate well to similar studies on other campuses (like our own). As several of us around Davidson begin to plan this fall’s THATCamp Piedmont, hearing a bit about about Colorado Boulder’s dh+CU symposium and attending CURATEcamp at this conference gave me some ideas for possible sessions.
In addition to what’s already been mentioned, I particularly enjoyed both of Brian Rosenblum Kansas University Libraries’ talks – “The University of Kansas Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities: A Model for Library/Campus Collaboration in Supporting Digital Humanities,” and as part of the “Teaching Digital Humanities in the Library” session. I was particularly intrigued by his nice summation of DH librarians as “nodes,” whose main job duty is to centralize digital activities on campus and push them forward, and the assignment Rosenblum gave to a graduate course, to read Stephen Ramsay’s “The Hermeneutics of Screwing Around; Or What You Do With a Million Books,” and then well, screw around themselves.
Finally, like most of those following the conference hashtag on Twitter, I thoroughly enjoyed Trevor Munoz‘s keynote, “Data Driven but How Do We Steer This Thing?” The talk left me with a long reading list, but feeling excited and inspired about the possibilities (while more aware than ever of some of the pitfalls) for librarians working in and with digital humanities. Overall, all three of the Davidson attendees felt like we got a lot out of Data Driven, and would love to see the conference become an annual one.
Professional development is integral to all of the library staff here at Davidson College, so with that in mind, the Discovery Systems team sent three of its members to the Society of North Carolina Archivists (SNCA) annual conference last week – myself, Jan Blodgett, and Susan Kerr. While we all often attend meetings, conferences, and other trainings, we usually reserve our discussion of takeways, thoughts, and interesting ideas to in-person weekly departmental meetings. We thought that my first SNCA meeting would be a great opportunity to compare and contrast what the Davidson attendees got out of the meeting. So, first up: my takeaways!
To start off the morning, Jan moderated the “Publishing and Managing Digital Collections without CONTENTdm” session, which I presented at. The session was a great opportunity to talk about our ongoing development and roll-out of our institutional repository, as well as to hear about how two other institutions are dealing with increasingly larger and larger digital collections.
One of the sessions that made the biggest impact on me was “North Carolina and the Digital Public Library of America.” I’ve long been fascinated by the DPLA, and hearing about contributing to the DPLA from the point of view of the staff of a service hub (the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center) and from a contributing institution (Wake Forest University) definitely inspired me to think about whether an agile development cycle like the one employed at Wake Forest might work for Davidson. We currently have contributed 404 items to the DPLA, but this is a great time to plan what our next contributions and digitization projects will be.
Another one of my favorite parts of the day was the plenary luncheon presentation by Sarah E. Koonts, Director of the North Carolina Division of Archives and Records. Koonts filled in SNCA members on trends from archives around the U.S., with a focus on advocacy and outreach. Throughout the day of the SNCA conference, I was liveblogging as part of my participation in Day of DH, a digital humanities community-building project. I wrote a bit more on my blog there about what I got out of the plenary, but my main takeaway is that archival advocacy is incredibly important to the field, yet often hard to teach in graduate programs.
When I asked Susan about what she felt the biggest takeaways from SNCA were, she emphasized the serendipitous nature of discovering new tools and methods when at professional gatherings. In particular, she’s been playing around with Jason Ronallo’s (North Carolina State University) CSV-to-EAD conversion application, Stead, and freeformatter.com‘s CSV-to-XML convertor since SNCA.
Jan also got a lot out of attending SNCA this year – in her own words:
I’ve never stopped to count but I’ve probably been to 30+ SNCA meetings during my time at Davidson. Over these years I’ve gained much support, information, professional growth and new ideas from SNCA and this meeting was no exception. My official duties in relation to this springs’ SNCA meeting included being a part of the nominating committee and moderating a panel. Unofficially, it was a time to reconnect with colleagues, chat at poster sessions, and gather ideas for new projects.
After a presentation by archivists at UNC Greensboro, highest on my “let’s do” list is getting our scrapbooks digitized. We have scanned individual images but have yet to tackle the trickier process of scanning whole pages. My first thoughts were of our student scrapbooks – and following UNC-G’s example, I began mentally counting all the scrapbooks from student organizations and campus departments. The numbers could be a bit daunting but bringing Davidson history online through the scrapbooks is an exciting prospect.
We each left the SNCA conference with a different set of takeaways… now to get to work figuring out what we can implement!
Astute readers may have noticed a new name join Jan (the College Archivist and Records Management Coordinator) and Sharon (the Special Collections Outreach Librarian) here on Around the D – mine, as a matter of fact! I joined the staff of E.H. Little Library as the Associate Archivist back in October, and inspired by my old graduate school colleague Stephanie Bennett‘s recent post on what archival processing is all about, I decided to write about what I do on a day-to-day basis. So, notes and highlights on what each day of the first week of classes for the Spring 2014 semester held for the Associate Archivist of Davidson College:
MONDAY (January 13)
Generally, the first thing I do when I get into the office each morning is make a cup of tea and catch up with my inbox. On Monday mornings, there’s usually several dozen unread emails – in part because I subscribe to an assortment of professional listservs.
Post-email-checking, I updated the Archives & Special Collections Twitter, and then went to a Discovery Systems departmental meeting on student workers (possible projects, how many summer students, etc.). I spent the rest of the morning preparing for a class visit to the archives later in the day (including selecting documents and setting up their display with Jan), and working on the Around the D entry to post on Wednesday morning. Sharon and I nailed down a few details related the illumination live demonstration event (set for January 28th, from 11 AM to 12 PM).
After taking a late lunch, I drafted a short news blurb related to the blog topic for the library’s homepage and updated the Archives & Special Collections Facebook. Then Jan and I hosted the first archives class visit of the semester, Dr. Anelise Shrout‘s HIS 458: American Environments to 1893.
After the class ended, Jan, Dr. Shrout, and I discussed ideas for digital exhibits, future projects, and the next archives class visit, then cleaned up and re-filed material from the class. Once back in my office, I Tweeted again, read emails, and pondered a workshop application before heading out for the day.
TUESDAY (January 14)
I started off my day with a walk to the campus coffeehouse, followed by email (both the checking of and the sending of), and reviewing rights usage statements for our institutional repository in preparation for a meeting. I dropped into Jan’s adjacent office (as is my wont) to chat about basketball schedules and how to best tie archival sports material with current events, in order to market the archives to the college community.
Jan and I then headed across the hall to our weekly Discovery Systems departmental meeting. This week’s topic: rights statements. After the shorter-than-expected meeting, I went back to work on the blog entry (editing and resizing images, background research, and transcribing notes from the interview that the blog is based on), followed by the second coffee run of the day.
On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I cover the Archives & Special Collections desk/ office during lunch, which means that I’m the first line of contact for any users. On this particular Tuesday, there were no visitors to the archives while I was there, so I spent most of that time working on an email reference question.
After lunch, I finished writing the blog post, delivered a draft to the subject of the blog for any factual corrections, and then scheduled the post to be published overnight. I spent the last hour of the day working on a bibliography for potential future research project.
WEDNESDAY (January 15)
This morning followed a similar pattern as Monday and Tuesday – caffeine, emails, listserv reading, preparation for a meeting followed by that meeting. In this case, the meeting was with the Library Director to discuss that potential future research project. I then hightailed it back upstairs to my office, to discuss the project with Jan (and also rehash our Monday conversation by brainstorming possible Southern Conference-related future blog posts, as Davidson is moving to the Atlantic 10 Conference in Fall 2014), and to do a bit of research for several now-ongoing projects.
After lunch, I covered the Archives & Special Collections desk, answered a reference question, and did more research. I finished off the day by beginning to process a small collection of letters from two brothers who briefly attended Davidson in the 1870s.
THURSDAY (January 16)
I began the day by posting an announcement on the internal campus news site (first time ever!), and with my standard email and listserv checking. Since I didn’t have any meetings scheduled until the afternoon, I spent most of the morning alternating between research proposal preparation (including bibliography formatting and some metadata cleanup in Zotero), catching up on professional news, and preparing for that afternoon’s meeting.
After an early lunch, I covered the Archives & Special Collections desk and made a few minor updates to the Archives & Special Collections landing page. I sent a bunch of emails, and then scheduled a phone meeting with a fellow Simmons GSLIS alum. The rest of the afternoon was dedicated to a meeting with the Assistant Director for Discovery Systems, the College Archivist, and the Special Collections Outreach Librarian to discuss goals, followed by some more project research and quick email check before heading out the door at around 5:15 PM.
FRIDAY (January 17)
The morning was occupied by checking email, Twitter, and listservs, followed by an attempt to clean off my desk and a solid hour or so of research project reading. I then decided to (finally) install the driver for my desk scanner (a HP Scanjet 8200), scan the caption for a photo from next month’s Smithsonian Magazine, and then Tweet about it.
After lunch, I answered a reference question and sent several emails, before diving back into processing the student letter collection I began to work with on Wednesday.
So, that’s it: a week in the life of this archivist! As you can see from this sample, the majority of my time isn’t taken up with what many consider the heart of the archival profession – processing collections. Rather, I spend quite a bit of time on outreach (both on social media and face-to-face on campus), research, and reference. Some of these foci change from day to day or week to week, and I expect that my processing time will increase (particularly during times when much of the community is off the campus). For now though, if you’d like to know what this archivist is up to, poke your head into my office on the second floor of E.H. Little Library!