The Charles Library Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) prides itself on the research value of its extensive archives. This claim to fame inspired his latest exhibition—What’s great, new, next?—in which SCRC staff members selected objects from the centre’s various collections. Rather than telling a story, the exhibit teases SCRC’s offerings.
“[The exhibit] represents the range of subjects that our special collections and archives include and how these collections intersect with the variety of curricula in schools and colleges as well as the value of original research that Temple’s collections offer students and to the community,” Margery said. Sly, Director of Special Collections. “We want to connect these materials with researchers.”
“We want to connect these materials with researchers.”
— Margery Sly, Director of Special Collections
Staff members selected material for presentation based primarily on what they were working on – for research, teaching, cataloging or processing – as well as what interested them.
“My previous university studies focused on both Irish history and literature and the history of the book, so the products of Cuala Press have always fascinated me, particularly as the press was run and operated by women,” said Kimberly Tully, curator of rare books, of the Irish broadsides printed in Dublin in the early 1900s that she chose for the exhibition. “These plates are often used in SCRC instructional sessions with students studying the history of the private arts and crafts press movement, the history of the illustrated book, and the history and literature of the ‘Ireland.”
“I focused on visually appealing materials with a vibrant color palette and unique or unusual materiality,” said Kimberly Tully, Curator of Rare Books. (Photograph by Joseph V. Labolito)
Technical Services Co-ordinator Katy Rawdon, who cataloged items from the Harry C. Cochran Business History Collection, wants her chosen manuscript on Britain’s trading terms with the West Indies to find a wider use.
“I catalog documents like this both as archives of European financial practices and as colonialist policies, with the hope that scholars will find them and use them to interrogate those policies in their work,” Rawdon said.
Meanwhile, treatment archivist Holly Wilson wanted to highlight articles from Red Tide, an underground newspaper from University High School in West Los Angeles, part of Youth Liberation Press Records. “It’s a beautiful collection that talks about current events. There are very similar issues and problems that today’s 16 year olds still face.
A Red Tide case went to the Supreme Court after students were told they weren’t allowed to distribute the newspaper. The Supreme Court ruled in their favour. “These students set a precedent for the rest of the underground high school newspapers,” said treatment archivist Holly Wilson. (Photograph by Joseph V. Labolito)
The travel brochures curated by Josué Hurtado, Public Services and Outreach Coordinator, are intended to interest students and scholars of public history and anyone interested in how historical memory is created and shaped in the imagination. popular. “They show what people remember from visits and how historical sites represent themselves and how that might change over time,” Hurtado said.
“These travel brochures from around the world are designed to grab your attention,” said Josué Hurtado, Public Services and Outreach Coordinator. “They’re visually interesting and interesting from a historical perspective because they provide insight into how public history and memories are created.” (Photograph by Joseph V. Labolito)
Additionally, part of the SCRC’s mission is to showcase various underrepresented groups.
“We try to reach beyond the West into non-Western cultures and connect more with our increasingly diverse student body to have material that intersects with their frame of reference,” Sly said.
Some of the various materials in the exhibition include a manuscript copy of a popular collection of prayers and devotions to the Prophet Muhammad, two volumes of an early 20th-century Japanese graphic arts magazine, and a contemporary artists’ book by emerging Pakistani artist Halah Khan which is completely handmade with fabric and thread.
In addition to these international items, Temple’s Philadelphia roots are displayed. A notable example is the material on Tastykake – a delicacy from Philadelphia.
“Tastykake cakes and pies are a Philadelphia tradition along with the Philly cheesesteak, pretzel and hoagie,” Associate Archivist Brenda Galloway-Wright said. “The collection is currently being worked on and when complete will serve as a primary resource for scholars interested in the history of business and advertising in Philadelphia, as well as the history of [Tasty Baking] company itself.
Tasty Baking Company started in 1914 and has served generations of Philadelphians. “Since its inception, the company sold individually wrapped desserts, which was a novel idea in the early 20th century,” said Associate Archivist Brenda Galloway-Wright. (Photograph by Joseph V. Labolito)
Recordings from notable locations like the Philadelphia Zoo and the Society Hill Playhouse are also featured. “I love local history and learning about what and who once occupied the spaces around me,” said Courtney Smerz, archivist of collections management. “These collections, along with the archives of the Asian Arts Initiative, provide access to different parts or perspectives of the greater history of Philadelphia.”
“The Asian Arts Initiative is a really cool arts organization in the city,” said Courtney Smerz, archivist of collections management. “The discs are excellent and full of stories and information about Chinatown and Philadelphia’s large Asian community, dating back to the early 1990s. I’m excited to make them available to scholars in the coming months. (Photograph by Joseph V. Labolito)
A contract for a musical performance by the first female cantor is presented along with part of the Jewish archives of Philadelphia. “It’s exciting because we have a lot of musical and cultural material, so it helps tell the story of Philadelphia,” Associate Archivist Casey Babcock said. “I wanted to put this [contract] in this discussion of arts and culture in Philadelphia.
Ultimately, the exhibit offers an eclectic taste of the SCRC’s collections.
“I’m interested in how people receive it,” Sly said. “We had so much fun making it, and I hope other people have fun watching it and learning from it.”
To see and learn more, see the What’s great, new, next? exhibition open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. until May.