This summer, we were privileged to have two FIU History Department interns working with us here in the library. Both Joselyn Naranjo and Alexander Gordon had been enrolled in the class I taught on war propaganda last spring, and had inquired about possible internships during the summer. After arriving for their orientations, Ms. Naranjo chose to focus on some of the New Deal materials in our collection, while Mr. Gordon opted to work with Sharf Associate Librarian Rochelle Pienn on a project focusing on the Russo-Japanese War. Here are our respective reports:

Ms. Naranjo’s project involved helping us catalog and generate the metadata links that enable visitors to access the digital images to our primary source materials. As a direct result of her work, dozens of rare books and hundreds of digital images from The Christopher DeNoon Collection for the Study of New Deal Culture have been added to our online catalog records.


In addition, Ms. Naranjo assisted in creating descriptive label text for items that will soon go on display in our museum galleries in time for the upcoming presidential election in November. We had been asked by the curators to provide some materials from past elections, and chose to highlight some of the campaign literature and other ephemera related to the 1932 and 1936 elections.


Many Americans assume that in the midst of the “Great Recession,” political campaigns have become more contentious and negative than those of the past, with Photoshop and the internet allowing individuals to manipulate a candidate’s campaign imagery and transform it with subversive messages.


Some of the materials selected for inclusion in this up-coming exhibit, however, should remind us that presidential elections have always been contentious affairs and that negative attack ads, smear campaigns, guilt by insidious association, and presidential “red-baiting” were common strategies even during the Great Depression.




The more things change, the more things stay the same.

And now a report from Sharf Associate Librarian, Rochelle Pienn:


One of the most rewarding activities at the Wolfsonian library is the opportunity to teach. Coaching students in discovering the cloistered mysteries of rare book cataloging and introducing young people to the intellectual decision-making required to think like a member of the Library of Congress provide me with professional satisfaction, as well as inspiration.

This past semester, I trained one of the Chief Librarian’s history students to use MARC (Machine-Readable Cataloging Record) code to enter titles from the Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection into our online cataloging system. The student, Alexander Gordon, practiced inputting the appropriate numbers and subfields, normally reserved for a technical librarian’s eyes, which encode information specifically to create public access to books in the Wolfsonian library catalog.

Alex’s focus in class was on the Russo-Japanese war. The Sharf collection provided an ample selection of rare titles contemporary to the war for Alex’s cataloging practice. During our training, I also introduced him to the sometimes unpredictable world of Library of Congress (LC) subject creation and its authority heading index. A bright and inquisitive student, Alex soon caught on to how LC formatted and structured its authority files, and was adding his own choices to records in no time. Here are some of the books Alex cataloged and other works from that collection with illustrated covers:

The Japan-Russia war: an illustrated history of the war in the Far East, the greatest conflict of modern times

by Sydney Tyler; illustrated by photographs and drawings made by eye-witnesses.

Rasplata, (The reckoning) : his diary during the blockade of Port Arthur and the voyage of Admiral Rojestvensky’s fleet 

by Commander Wladimir Semenoff ; translated by L. A. B.

At the Fall of Port Arthur, or, A Young American in the Japanese Navy

by Edward Stratemeyer; illustrated by A. B. Shute

Under the Mikado’s Flag, or, Young Soldiers of Fortune

by Edward Stratemeyer; illustrated by A. B. Shute

Under Togo for Japan, or, Three Young Americans on Land and Sea

by Edward Stratemeyer; illustrated by A. B. Shute


~ by "The Chief" on August 22, 2012.

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