SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE: A HODGE-PODGE OF MATERIALS PULLED FOR A VARIETY OF WOLFSONIAN LIBRARY VISITORS

It has been a busy month here at the Wolfsonian, which has provided me with an abundance of “happenings” to blog about even as it has left me little time to reflect on and write about the flurry of activity. The fall academic semester came to a close and our Digital Library Specialist David Almeida put up a virtual display of a project submitted by two students (Alex Gordon and Rex Chung) taking my America & Movies: War Propaganda from the Spanish-American War to the Present course. Their final project, which used primary source visual materials from the Wolfsonian Library collection dealt with Patriotic Propaganda for Women and Children on the Home Front and can now be accessed online. ( http://www.librarydisplays.wolfsonian.org/WARPROP/warprop.htm )

Mr. Almeida also helped our Associate Librarian Rochelle Pienn put together a video tour of an exhibit of Spanish-American War materials she curated. These items, many of which focus on the Cuban phase of the conflict, came to the museum as a gift from scholar, collector, and long-time Wolfsonian supporter Frederic A. Sharf.

The video that Ms. Pienn and Mr. Almeida collaborated on will soon be made available to the public via the museum’s new website.

This month, the librarians also made five lecture-presentations to a total of 133 Shenandoah Middle School students studying the Holocaust. The students had the opportunity to see examples of some of the propaganda used by the National Socialists to stereotype and create animosity towards Jews in Germany and the occupied territories. There was lively discussion about anti-Semitism in general and how the Nazi regime was able to brainwash a generation of young Germans and to perpetrate their monstrous program of genocide.

We also hosted a large number of Florida International University students enrolled in Professor A. Douglas Kincaid’s summer semester class, part of which is being taught here, the other part in Genoa, Italy. The students will be comparing and contrasting New Deal America with Fascist Italy, exploring such issues as marketing, production, and consumerism; leisure and social welfare programs; industry, economy, public works projects, and labor union activities.

GIFT OF CHRISTOPHER DENOON

GIFT OF CHRISTOPHER DENOON

  GIFT OF STEVE HELLER

Our visiting Wolfsonian Fellow, Dr. Margaret Dikovitskaia spent much of her residency here this May exploring looking at materials depicting the peoples and cultures of Czarist Russia’s borderlands and comparing those photographic and illustrative materials to those employed by other European imperial powers to represent the native peoples of their colonies. Dr. Dikovitskaia looked at a number of unique British photograph albums of the Pakistan and Afghan borderlands as well as at the colonial displays pictured in a number of rare catalogs from various international exhibitions held in the library collection.

GIFT OF JEAN S. AND FREDERIC A. SHARF

Dr. Harsanyi and I also provided guided tours and presentations of archival materials in the library collection to 10 Miami Ad School students and another two university groups: Professor Peter Andrews’ class visiting from Stephen Austin University in Texas, and another group from Broward County led by Rosanne Gibel of the Department of Graphic Design & Advertising Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale. Dr. Harsanyi gave the groups a personalized tour of the exhibit he organized on the advertising of wine and champagne, which included an exhibition catalog for the Festa dell’Uva di Rovereto with a cover design by Italian Futurist artist, Fortunato Depero (1892-1960), a catalog by A. M. (Adolphe Mouron) Cassandre (1901-1968), and other commercial materials illustrated by Paul Iribe (1883-1935).

(A virtual version of the exhibit, Wine, Bubbly, and their Merchants can be seen online at: http://www.librarydisplays.wolfsonian.org/Wine/Wine.htm )

Afterwards, the students had the opportunity to step inside the library’s main reading room to see a display of the work of the “dean of American design” and master of Art Nouveau, William (Bill) Bradley (1868-1962); Art Deco artist Mac Harshberger (1900-1975); Bauhaus graphic designer Herbert Bayer (1900-1985), and others.

GIFT FROM THE ESTATE OF WILLIAM WHITNEY

 

In addition to the large group tours, several other scholars made appointments to do research in the library. Bacardi archivist Patricia Suau, for example, came for a day to look at some of our World’s Fair and International Exhibition materials.

GIFT OF VICKI GOLD LEVI

 Mellon-grant awardee Winifred Elysse Newman, whose work focuses on the issue of perception in psychology and the history of science and philosophies of aesthetics in the arts made several visits to the library. She is presently preparing to integrate Wolfsonian museum objects and library artifacts into her course curricula.

Ken Botnick, director of the illustrated book studio and a full professor in graphic arts at the Sam Fox School, Washington University in St. Louis also spent an afternoon in the library. Professor Botnick teaches classes on graphic communication, the book, typography, and related subjects and plans on returning to Miami for part of his summer sabbatical next year. During this brief visit, he looked at a number of items by Dutch graphic designer Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman (1882-1945).

 

Gustavo Perez-Firmat and his wife traveled from Columbia University to Miami Beach and spent a day exploring our holdings of Cuba and Caribbean tourist trade brochures and ephemera. Professor Perez-Firmat has published books on the Cuban-American experience in the United States (one of which he was kind enough to donate to our reference collection) and also works on popular perceptions of Cuba and the Caribbean. Long-time Wolfsonian supporter Vicki Gold Levi, who gifted hundreds of Cuban tourist trade ephemera to our collection had directed him our way.

GIFTS OF VICKI GOLD LEVI

GIFT OF THOMAS C. RAGAN

This last item is one of hundreds of promotional materials related to the Moore-McCormack Lines recently gifted to us by Thomas Ragan. Many of the brochures, deck plans, menus, and other items he donated advertising the “Good Neighbor Fleet” will soon be on display in our rare book library exhibition space.

~ by "The Chief" on May 26, 2012.

One Response to “SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE: A HODGE-PODGE OF MATERIALS PULLED FOR A VARIETY OF WOLFSONIAN LIBRARY VISITORS”

  1. Thanks, very agreeable.

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