Color Our Collections: Local History

The library, archives, and museum world is abuzz this week with #ColorOurCollections, a weeklong cultural heritage coloring fest dreamed up by the New York Academy of Medicine and the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

As coloring fans ourselves, we couldn’t help but toss our hat into the ring. We’ve already shared a University Archives coloring book this week, but today we turn our gaze outward to our beloved city of Scranton.

Local History Coloring Book

Local History Coloring Book (PDF)

All of the pages in the book were created using images from the Library’s digital collections, most of which were digitized from original drawings, photographs, and publications from our University Archives and Helen Gallagher McHugh Special Collections.

We hope you enjoy our book, and we can’t wait to see what colors you bring to our collections!

Color Our Collections: University of Scranton Archives

The library, archives, and museum world is abuzz this week with #ColorOurCollections, a weeklong cultural heritage coloring fest dreamed up by the New York Academy of Medicine and the Biodiversity Heritage Library.

As coloring fans ourselves, we couldn’t help but toss our hat into the ring. We have a few small coloring books headed your way this week, and here’s the first!

University Archives Coloring Book

University of Scranton University Archives Coloring Book (PDF)

All of the pages in the book were created using images from the Library’s digital collections, most of which were digitized from original drawings, photographs, and publications from our University Archives.

We hope you enjoy our book, and we can’t wait to see what colors you bring to our collections!

Scranton Family Papers Scanathon: Success!

Slide3As part of the City of Scranton’s yearlong 150th Anniversary celebration, the Weinberg Memorial Library hosted our very first Scanathon this weekend. In collaboration with the University’s Department of History and the student-run Royals Historical Society, along with community partners the Lackawanna Historical Society and the Scranton Public Library, we set out to digitize materials from the Scranton Family Papers Collection.

Materials

IMG_1737
A volume of the George W. Scranton letters
IMG_1740
A peek inside at the copy-pressed letters

The Lackawanna Historical Society’s Scranton Family Papers collection includes 19 bound volumes of over 9,000 letters written by George W. Scranton, Joseph Hand Scranton, and William Walker Scranton, dating from 1850 to 1917. The Scranton Family collection is quite large; the full set has over 11,000 pages. Our goal for this Scanathon was to completely digitize the  first two volumes of the collection: the George W. Scranton Papers (approximately 414 letters, 625 pages), which cover the time period June 1850 through June 1854.

The Historical Society also loaned us a box of loose correspondence from the Scranton Family, with letters to and from Joseph H. Scranton, Seldon T. Scranton, George W. Scranton, and William W. Scranton, dating from 1841 through 1874.

Participants

We knew we’d need a lot of help, and the History Department stepped up. Faculty member Dr. Adam Pratt came and brought students from his HIST140: Craft of the Historian course. The Royals Historical Society also volunteered in force. In total, more than 30 students came to the Library to work three-hour shifts. Staff members from the Lackawanna Historical Society and Scranton Public Library joined in, working side by side with our students.

Digitization

IMG_1824
History Department volunteers at the Scribe Station

Bound volumes are always difficult to scan. Luckily, we got some extra help from the State Library of Pennsylvania, which loaned us their brand new table top Scribe Station for the weekend. The Scribe Station is part of a new initiative to support the digitization of important cultural heritage materials in the state of Pennsylvania, and we were the first to sign up! We also used the Library’s flatbed scanners to digitize the loose correspondence.

The result? Success! Not only did we completely digitize both George W. Scranton volumes, we also made a serious dent in the loose letters. Over the course of the weekend, volunteers created 1,608 digitized images (over 20 GB).

Why digitize? The most important reason is access. Up until now, the George W. Scranton volumes  have only been accessible to researchers visiting the Lackawanna Historical Society in person. Digitization and online publication will make the letters much more accessible (and full-text searchable!) to historians, students, genealogists, the citizens of Scranton, and any other interested members of the public. Digitization also helps to protect and preserve the papers, which are in rather fragile condition – most researchers will be able to use the digital versions, reducing the wear and tear and decreasing the risk of damage to the original physical volumes.

Description and Transcription

IMG_1820
Volunteers hard at work on metadata

The Scanathon wasn’t just about scanning, though. In order for digitized images to be discoverable and useful, they need to be described. In between shifts on the scanners, our volunteers captured descriptive information (called metadata) about the letters and prepared a spreadsheet that we can use to prepare the digitized images for online publication. Lackawanna Historical Society volunteers had previously prepared transcriptions of the George W. Scranton volumes (thank you!!), which our volunteers copied into our metadata spreadsheets. We also got a start on transcribing the loose correspondence — our students really stepped up to the challenge of reading scrawling, 19th-century cursive.

What’s Next?

The Scanathon may be over, but our work isn’t done quite yet. In the next few weeks, Scranton Public Library and University of Scranton Library faculty and staff will match up the digitized letters with the descriptions and transcriptions and publish them online in the Lackawanna Valley Digital Archives. (To get a sense of how they will look, take a look at this letter that we digitized a few years ago as part of a collaborative Civil War digital history project.)

Update: Full volumes (sans transcriptions) are live on Internet Archive!! (Volume 1Volume 2)

Update: All digitized letters and documents are live in the Scranton Family Papers digital collection!

Early next year, the letters will also be discoverable in the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) via the brand new Pennsylvania Digital Collections Project service hub. The University of Scranton and the Scranton Public Library are both founding members and active participants in this statewide initiative, so we’re thrilled to be able to give this new digital collection the exposure it deserves.

Acknowledgements

IMG_1846
Weinberg Memorial Library, Scranton Public Library, and Lackawanna Historical Society staff putting our heads together to calibrate the Scribe Station (photo courtesy of Julia Frakes)

This was our first Scanathon, and it was certainly a learning experience. Perhaps the most important lesson learned was how wonderful it is to have help and support from so many people. Our deepest thanks go out to: Weinberg Memorial Library faculty and staff (especially Sam Davis, Sheli McHugh, Mary Kovalcin, Sharon Finnerty, Kym Fetsko, Kevin Kocur, Ian O’Hara, and work study Kate Reilly), History Department faculty and students (especially Dr. Adam Pratt and RHS president Julia Frakes), Lackawanna Historical Society staff and volunteers (especially Sarah Piccini and the Martin Family), Scranton Public Library staff (especially Scott Thomas, Martina Soden, Sylvia Orner, and Elizabeth Davis), and the State Library of Pennsylvania (especially Alice Lubrecht and Bill Fee). We’ll scan with you any day!

Happy Birthday, Scranton: Kickoff to the 150th Anniversary Celebration

Scranton150Tomorrow morning at 9:15 am, the City of Scranton will kick off its year-long Sesquicentennial Anniversary Celebration. Scranton was incorporated as a city on April 23, 1866, so next spring (April 23, 2016) will be the city’s 150th birthday.

While the University of Scranton itself wasn’t around back at the very beginning (founded in 1888, we just celebrated our 125th anniversary in 2013-2014), we’re proud of the close ‘town and gown’ relationship we’ve had with the city of Scranton throughout our shared history.

Here at the Weinberg Memorial Library, we’re looking forward to joining in the fun throughout the anniversary year. Beginning in May, each month of the City celebration will highlight a decade (or two) in the city’s history, and here on our Library blog we’ll be highlighting how the University grew alongside the city during that time.

Our University Archives and Helen Gallagher McHugh Special Collections include many rare and unique resources related to the history of the City of Scranton, its residents, and its major institutions.  For example, the Library holds the records of the International Correspondence Schools of Scranton – and in the fall, we’ll be exhibiting materials from this collection in celebration of the 125th anniversary of ICS (now known as Penn Foster), which was founded in 1891.

We’ve been working on digitizing archival and special collections materials and making them publicly available for searching and browsing in our digital collections, but there’s always more to do. We’re currently tossing around new ideas for increasing public, digital access to local history materials with some of our friends on campus (the History and Communication Departments, Royals’ Historical Society, Hope Horn Gallery, and Community Relations) and in the community (the Lackawanna Historical Society, the Everhart Museum, Scranton Public Library/Lackawanna Valley Digital Archives, and Marywood University). More to come on this as our plans develop!

At the state level, we’re collaborating with other academic and public libraries on a broad initiative to establish a Pennsylvania service hub for the Digital Public Library of America, which will make Pennsylvania history and cultural heritage more accessible and discoverable to students, teachers, genealogists, historians, scholars, and others in our communities and around the world.

So happy birthday, Scranton! Let’s get this party started.

Seniors: Vote for Teacher of the Year

VOTE FOR:

TEACHER OF THE YEAR

ATTENTION: GRADUATING SENIORS

2015 University of Scranton Teacher of the Year Award

Each year the Graduating Senior Class selects its “Teacher of the Year.” Beginning Monday, April 13th, please vote for the faculty member who you believe best exhibits the following characteristics:

  • Maintains the highest standards of academic excellence and fairness.
  • Inspires interest in the discipline through personal enthusiasm and dedication.
  • Is consistently effective in communication.
  • Is available outside of the classroom.

The award will be presented during Class Night on Friday, May 29th, 2015.

HOW TO VOTE: To cast your electronic ballot, access www.scranton.edu/toy

WHEN TO VOTE: Monday, April 13, 9:00 a.m. – Friday, April 17, 5:00 p.m.

Remember a Faculty Member Whose Teaching Has Inspired You!

(Posted on behalf of our CTLE colleagues)

Spotlight on Student Workers: April Francia

If you’ve walked into the Weinberg Memorial Library even once in the past three years, you’ve undoubtedly come across the work of this week’s spotlighted student worker, April Francia ’15.

IMG_6530smSince joining the Library in January 2012 as a Digital Services Technology Consultant, April has made significant contributions to all sorts of different Library projects. Here’s a just a small sampling of her work:

  • Digital Collections. You’ve heard about the gigantic newspaper clipping collection we’re working on, right? April processed about 14,000 of those images on her own and trained fellow students to help out with the others. She’s also digitized, cropped, processed, described, and edited thousands of other digital collections resources over the past 3.5 years.
  • Graphic Design. As the Digital Services Department’s resident Creative Suite expert, April has created hundreds of graphic designs for Library collections and services. You’ll spot her designs on our digital signage, web pages, presentation slides, and posters and flyers throughout the building and across campus. She’s especially talented with logos – we have her to thank for our new Reilly Learning Commons logo.
  • Social Media. In addition to designing many of our Facebook cover images, April has experimented with using social media to promote the Library’s digital collections – from Flickr sets to Pinterest boards to HistoryPin tours of campus. Several of her Flickr sets were featured as photo galleries during the University’s 125th Anniversary celebration last year.
  • Marketing and Promotion. You’ll find April’s graphic designs on many of the Library’s promotional items – buttons, water bottles, mouse pads, etc – but she has also contributed her creativity and talent to other innovative projects, like customized thank you notes and Moleskine notebooks, our #wmlenvart Instagram exhibit, 3D printed Christmas ornaments, and the extremely popular Unofficial University of Scranton Coloring Book.

While April jokes that the Library is her second home, she’s made her mark in many areas outside of our building. She is a double major in Philosophy and Political Science and a member of both the Honors and Special Jesuit Liberal Arts (SJLA) programs. (We once heard Dr. Parente compliment her coursework – and as many University community members know, praise from Dr. Parente is high praise indeed!) She is assistant editor of the Windhover, vice-president of the Pre-Law Society, a Royal Ambassador, and a student facilitator for Scranton Emerging Leaders. She’s completed internships with the Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development and the offices of U.S. Senator Robert P. Casey, Jr. and Pennsylvania State Representative Doyle Heffley.  When she takes some time off to relax, you might find her hiking, reading, baking, or watching House of Cards on Netflix.

What’s next for April? She’s currently weighing multiple law school acceptances and plans to work towards a career in law or policy analysis. Whatever direction her path may take, we know it will lead to success. While we don’t know what the heck we’ll do without her when she graduates this May, we’ll be proud to see April go and set the world on fire, and we’ll be cheering her on all the way.

Newly Digitized: Penman Photographs from the Zaner-Bloser Collection

Penman PhotographsOne of the most highly prized jewels in our Helen Gallagher McHugh Special Collections is the Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Collection, one of the most extensive collections of American ornamental penmanship from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Over time, we’ve been digitizing parts of the Zaner-Bloser Collection to make it more accessible to researchers and penmanship enthusiasts around the world.

We’re now happy to announce that more than 500 photographs of celebrated masters and instructors of penmanship from the Zaner-Bloser Collection are now publicly available online. The photographs (96 portraits of women and 453 of men) were gathered by Zaner-Bloser for publication in penmanship journals like the Business Educator. Few of the photographs are dated, but we estimate that most of them were taken between the early 1900s and early 1940s.

Some of the photographs are portraits of celebrated master penmen, including several members of Michael Sull‘s Penman’s Hall of Fame. Others are lesser known teachers and instructors, some of whom we weren’t able to identify (please contact us if you recognize them!).

None of these photographs would be online today were it not for Thomas W. Costello, who spent many hours carefully digitizing the portraits for us. Tom’s great-grandfather is Scranton’s own master penman P. W. Costello, who has three portraits in the collection. Tom described the photograph collection as a “wonderful, well-deserved tribute to the masters and many of the dedicated unsung heroes who worked under the radar teaching penmanship.” We couldn’t say it better ourselves. Thank you, Tom, for bringing the men and women behind the pen into the spotlight.

Making, Modeling, and Materializing: 3D Printing in Teaching and Research

3Dprinting

UofS librarians Sheli McHugh and Kristen Yarmey are hosting an Office of Research and Sponsored Programs research seminar on 3D printing, featuring lightning talks by faculty members Dr. Ben Bishop (Computing Sciences), Dr. Alan Brumagim (Marketing and Management/Entrepreneurship), Dr. Tim Cannon (Psychology/Neuroscience), and Prof. Nick Truncale. Come join us this Friday, November 21 at 3:15pm in Brennan 509!

 

 

20 Years of Friendship

On Saturday night, the Friends of the Weinberg Memorial Library presented the 13th Royden B. Davis Distinguished Author Award to TransAtlantic author and National Book Award winner Colum McCann. It was an extraordinary evening, with record-breaking attendance (250!), a deeply moving address by McCann, and a steady stream of Irish humor from our master of ceremonies, Msgr. Joseph Quinn.

But McCann’s visit was not the only cause for celebration: this year’s event also marked the 20th anniversary of the Friends of the Library. In his remarks, Dean Charles Kratz thanked the many Friends who have supported us throughout the years, recognizing especially the attendees of the very first Friends meeting in June 1994 (pictured above in selections from our digital collections). This year’s award honorarium was donated in memory of Judith L. Weinberger, who had served on the Friends Board, and a special appetizer of grilled cheese and tomato soup was served in her honor.

In addition to the Distinguished Author Award, the Friends support the Weinberg Memorial Library throughout each academic year by organizing fundraisers (like our Book and Plant Sale and the annual Leaves of Class raffle), contributing resources to the Library collections, and sponsoring programs of interest to the community.

During the past twenty years, the Friends have made an enormous impact on the Weinberg Memorial Library and the students and scholars we serve. We are truly honored by your support, and we cannot thank you enough.