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2020 Year in Review

As we reach the end of a decidedly unprecedented and unusual year, let’s look back on some of the topics we researched, discussed, and discovered in SCRC’s collections this year.

A big thank you to all of the staff members (Courtney Asztalos, Brett Barrie, Mike Dermody, Dane Flansburgh, Petrina Jackson, Jim Meade, Meg Mason, Sebastian Modrow, Vanessa St. Oegger-Menn, Jim O’Connor, Daniel Sarmiento, David Stokoe, Colleen Theisen, Nicole Westerdahl, Lynn Wilcox) and students (Breeann Austin, Natasha Bishop, Isabel McCullough, Tiffany Miller, Aisha Pierre, Ari Spatola, Nora Ramsey, Jana Rosinski, Jason Wilborn) who wrote posts or contributed to the blog this year!

If you missed any blog posts this year or are looking for some collection-themed holiday reading, browse blog posts by month or topic below linked below!


January

February

Students look at materials in classroom.
Visitors check out highlights of SCRC’s rare materials, including issues of the Black Panther Party newspaper and an assortment of poetry from Broadside and Third World Presses.

March

April

May

Campus Postcard
University Campus, Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y. Syracuse University Postcard Collection.

June

July

August

September

Margaret Bourke-White Suitcase
Black leather suitcase with “Margaret Bourke-White, New York” stenciled across the top and a LIFE Magazine luggage tag. Margaret Bourke-White Papers.

October

October Preservation Countdown Series

TIME: Archives Preservation Countdown

RISK: Photographs, Lacquer Disks, and the Margaret Bourke-White Papers

JUDGEMENT: Pope Leo XIII and the Belfer Cylinders Collection

UNKNOWN: Cassette Tapes and the E. Thomas Billard Papers

VALUE: Photographs, Memorabilia, Films and Syracuse University Archives

Preservation Countdown Banner

November

December


1800s fabric samples in purple and gray
Fabric samples featured in an 1867 letter addressed to Mary Edwards Walker. Mary Edwards Walker Papers.

Activism & Social Reform

Construction workers
Workers on site of Sims Hall construction. Syracuse University Photograph Collection.

Art, Music & Photography

Letter signature on paper
Ying Li’s signature on her farewell letter to Marcel Breuer. Marcel Breuer Papers.

Celebrating BIPOC Voices

Man walking with child sitting on his shoulders
Alpha Phi Omega members playing with children at an event in Hendricks Chapel, circa 1950s.

Disability Studies

Illuminated initial "B"
A close-up of a Renaissance edition of the works of Bernard of Clairvaux, featuring the only illumination in the copy. Rare books.

Medieval Texts

Advertisement for soap product Velvet Borax Flakes in red text on white background
The 1909 streetcar advertisement for Velvet Borax Flakes produced by the National Chemical Company located in Syracuse, N.Y. Lyall D. Squair Streetcar Advertisements Collection.

Plastics & Consumer Culture

Exhibition case with materials from the University Archives' exhibit, "150 Years of Tradition at Syracuse University"
Exhibition case with materials from the University Archives’ exhibit, “150 Years of Tradition at Syracuse University.”

University Archives

Plastics Exhibit
“Survival Kit: Provisions for your Research Journey” Sky is The Limit banner in the Plastics Pioneers Reading Room.

Working in SCRC



Tempering Virtue, Prohibiting Vice

By Grace Wagner, Reading Room Access Services Supervisor

Prohibition is often seen solely within the context of bootleggers, speakeasies, flappers, and the flagrant flouting of an archaic law set into place by a governing body out of touch with the realities of the populace. When the Volstead Act came into effect on January 17, 1920, it ushered in a 13-year period where alcohol’s production, sale, and distribution was prohibited by constitutional law.  

Socially, economically, and politically, this move impacted the American people as a whole. From reform leaders to satirists and political cartoonists, from pious industry titans to the various political factions seeking government office, opinions ran the gamut, from those strongly in support of the movement to those who regarded the entire decision as little more than a joke. The strong feelings evoked during this period demonstrate how temperance was an issue that had far more nuance and longevity to it than is always granted in our reimagining of the past. SCRC’s collections help us to make sense of various viewpoints during this movement, from the 19th century into the present day.

“Dealing out poison” [1858]

Black text on white background
Gerrit Smith pamphlet, “To the Friends of Temperance of the State of New York”, dated 1858, which advocates for a new state amendment. Gerrit Smith Pamphlets and Broadsides, Rare books.

Although the Volstead Act was not passed until 1920, the temperance movement had its roots much earlier in American history. Alongside abolitionism and suffrage, temperance ranked high among the social issues most important to reformers of the 19th century. Gerrit Smith, a known abolitionist and suffragist who lived in upstate New York and corresponded with Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, among others, was also a supporter of the temperance movement. Smith’s views on the subject can be seen in the “To the friends of temperance of the state of New York” pamphlet that Smith addressed to the Glens Falls Temperance Society on February 2, 1858:

“But the evil hour came, and all our achievements were destroyed in a moment of time The legislature, next following this decision of the Court of Appeals, passed an act which made it legal to license men, to deal out poison to our fellow-citizens, and thus the vendors are protected by legal barriers from the burning indignation of an incensed people… The evidences of a fatal relapse are thickening all around us. Crime is on the increase, want is becomming haggard, and immorality stalks unblushing through our streets at noon-day.”

Gerrit Smith, “To the friends of temperance of the state of New York”

Smith was not alone in his beliefs. Temperance was also a major political issue for many women and suffragists at the time, who knew firsthand the impact unregulated liquor production could have on their home lives.

In the pamphlet, Smith calls upon the need to “incorporate the principle of prohibition into the organic law of the State,” but simultaneously acknowledges that “there has been no concentration of effort — no harmony of views, or definite purpose of action,” in reference to the efforts made on behalf of the movement itself. This observation serves as a harbinger for the way in which the temperance movement seemed to lurch along through the years, never ceasing to exist entirely, but slowing losing the initial drive and purpose that once held it together.

“I hate reformers” [1922]

Blue book cover with a wavy sword in the center
The cover for the 1922 volume, Nonsenseorship. Rare books.
Illustration of Dorothy Parker.
Dorothy Parker Hating Reformers from Nonsenseorship, illustration by Ralph Barton. Rare books.

Soon after Prohibition was set in place, the anthology, Nonsenseorship: observations concerning prohibitions, inhibitions and illegalities, was published. The volume was a collection of the thoughts of “a group of not-too-serious thinkers” on issues of alcohol regulation and other government reforms. Dorothy Parker and Ben Hecht were among the thinkers pegged to write for the anthology that was illustrated by Ralph Barton.

Not one to mince words, Dorothy Parker’s “Hymn of Hate” spared no enemy the ire of her pen. From prohibitionists, to movie censors, to those who exhibited moral outrage at cigarette smoke or shortened hemlines, Parker managed to reject the various groups concisely with only a few words at the top of her hymn: “I hate reformers; they raise my blood pressure.” Dorothy Parker’s take on Prohibitionists expressed similar sentiments: “They [Prohibitionists] can prove that the Johnstown flood, / And the blizzard of 1888, / And the destruction of Pompeii / Were all due to alcohol.”

“Is It Right?” [1926]

Purple grapes on an orange background.
A badge celebrating fifty years of Welch’s from 1919, shortly before Prohibition and bootleggers temporarily caused the business to experience a loss of profits. Edgar T. Welch Papers.
Black text on beige background
“Is it Right?” [1944] from the New York State Issue, a Anti-Saloon League publication, saved by Welch. Edgar T. Welch Papers.

It is unlikely that Dorothy Parker and Edgar T. Welch, the son of the founder of Welch’s Grape Juice company, would have found any commonality in their beliefs. In 1869, Dr. Welch, a dentist, began producing unfermented wine for church services and medicinal purposes. By 1893, the company had changed their name to Dr. Welch’s Grape Juice and switched entirely over to manufacturing juice products. Despite the fact that the company never produced alcoholic products, the wine and liquor industry still had an impact on Welch’s business. In fact, in a history of the company, Prohibition is cited as having a “disastrous,” but temporary, impact on the grape juice industry, as buyers seeking grapes “for illicit use” caused the price on Concords to rise to astronomical levels and grape juice manufacturers to operate in the red for the next two years.

It is perhaps not surprising that Edgar T. Welch, who took over his father’s business in 1926, continued to ruminate on this subject and saved a 1944 clipping from the Official Organ of the Anti-Saloon League of New York, titled, “Is It Right?”, that posited, among other moral quandaries: “Is It Right for the Government to require ration points for Grape Juice, but none for Grape Wine? Both are made from Grapes and Sugar.” Welch later resigned from his business position to work for and spread the word of the Methodist Church.  His papers are held at SCRC.

“Getting sick of the voyage” [1926]

Noah's ark cartoon
Carey Orr’s cartoon of Noah’s ark, demonstrating how the American populace was beginning to “Get Sick of the Voyage.” Carey Orr Cartoons.
Moon Mullins cartoon
A Moon Mullins cartoon featuring Moon’s younger brother Kayo, depositing what appears to be bottles of alcohol out the bedroom window. Frank Willard Cartoons.

By 1926, Prohibition restrictions had been in place for six years, and many were ready for the experiment to be over. Among them was Chicago Tribune contributor Carey Orr, a political cartoonist who frequently incorporated the prohibition question into his cartoons of this decade.

One such example was a cartoon from 1926 titled “Getting sick of the voyage,” with a depiction of Noah’s ark and various animals gathered on board. In this case, however, the ark is a “Dry Ark” and Noah is the “Anti-Saloon League.” Various animals onboard include, “Stupid Law Enforcement,” “Stiff necked drys,” “Political  Crooks,” and “Gouging gov’t agents’,” among others. On board is a man labeled “Public” who says to Noah, “I never would have come if I’d known you were gonna bring this outfit along.”

Another cartoonist who found his footing during the era of Prohibition was Frank Willard, whose comic strip Moon Mullins debuted on June 19, 1923. The nickname of the title character, “Moon,” was short for “Moonshine,” a term that had deep roots in American history, but gained additional traction during the Prohibition era. Willard drew Moon Mullins until his death in 1958, and the cartoon continued to have a life beyond this point in time, until it ceased its run in 1991. Even in later cartoons, allusions to alcohol continued to be depicted and pop up in unlikely places in the cartoon. The above cartoon from 1944 shows Moon’s younger brother, Kayo, another regular character who appeared in the comic strip, gathering up an assortment of heavy objects, including what appear to be several bottles of liquor — perhaps moonshine — to throw out the window.

“Will beer bring back prosperity?” [1932]

Communist pamphlet
“Will Beer Bring Back Prosperity?” was a booklet published by the Communist Party in 1932. Rare books.
Herbert Hoover election platform
Herbert Hoover’s 1932 platform included “Amendment of the Prohibition Laws,” demonstrating how Republicans and Democrats had become united on this issue by this time. Campaign Collection.
1952 ballot
A national ballet from Indiana in 1952, where the dry camel representing the Prohibition Party, remains on the ticket. Campaign Collection.

The repeal of Prohibition was a key issue on the 1932 election ticket, not only because people were decidedly “sick of the voyage,” but also because the economic state of the country had left many citizens in a state of turmoil. Democrats and Republicans alike were now in favor of repealing the Volstead Act, though their approaches to this differed by degrees of severity. The Communist Party published the 16-page pamphlet “Will beer bring back prosperity?” that year, making their position clear (repeal), while simultaneously citing the capriciousness of their opposing parties: “Both Republicans and Democrats advocated prohibition; now they both advocate its repeal. In 1920, they promised ‘prosperity’ through prohibition; now they promise ‘prosperity’ by the repeal of prohibition.” 

Of the ticketed parties, it was only the Prohibition Party that sought to keep the restrictions in place past 1932. And, although the Volstead Act was repealed in 1933, led by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who had ultimately won the 1932 election on the Democratic ticket, the Prohibition Party did not disband shortly thereafter, or indeed, even at all.  In the 1950s and beyond, even today, the party continues on, still looking at temperance as a model to uphold, but diversifying the party platform with other issues of concern, including states rights, law reform, and lowering government spending and taxes.


The Campaign Collection (Campaign Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries), the Edgar T. Welch Papers (Edgar T. Welch Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries), the Carey Orr Cartoons (Carey Orr Cartoons, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries), and the Frank Willard Cartoons (Frank Willard Cartoons, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries) are part of SCRC’s manuscript collections. “Nonsenseorship,” “Will Bring Bring Back Prosperity?,” and the Gerrit Smith Pamphlets and Broadsides are part of SCRC’s rare books collection.


“In the Beginning of the Year, and When it Ends:” Memorials to Pan Am Flight 103

By Vanessa St.Oegger-Menn, Pan Am 103 Archivist & Assistant University Archivist

This December 21 will mark the 32nd anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland that killed 270 individuals from 21 countries. Among those whose lives were lost were 35 students returning from a semester abroad in London, England and Florence, Italy with Syracuse University’s Division of International Programs Abroad (now Syracuse Abroad). Each year on the anniversary, the communities that suffered this loss come together to remember, to grieve, and to continue to heal.

The lives of those lost as a result of the bombing have been commemorated in physical spaces across the world. Some are quiet places of solitary contemplation, while others stand amid hectic daily life. Annual memorial services are held each year in Lockerbie, at Syracuse University, and at Arlington National Cemetery at three of the largest and most public memorial spaces dedicated to the disaster. The Pan Am Flight 103/Lockerbie Air Disaster Archives at the Special Collections Research Center is honored to hold collections and materials documenting the creation and use of these memorials.

GARDEN OF REMEMBRANCE: LOCKERBIE, SCOTLAND

On the one-year anniversary of the disaster, 21 December 1989, the Garden of Remembrance at Dryfesdale Cemetery was officially dedicated. A symbolic interment for the 17 unidentified victims was also held in this space earlier that year. Consisting of a garden and memorial wall bearing the names of all 270 victims, the Garden of Remembrance has since grown to include plaques dedicated to individual victims by their loved ones. The memorial stone wall was erected with the assistance of the Lockerbie Air Disaster Trust. In June 1990, the re-dedication of the Dryfesdale Cemetery Lodge, now the Remembrance Room, created a space of quiet reflection for those who travel to Lockerbie to pay their respects.

People gathered in garden near stone wall and flower beds.
Dedication of the Garden of Remembrance in Lockerbie, Scotland on 21 December 1989. Richard Paul Monetti Family Papers.
Small stone building in a grassy lawn.
The Remembrance Room at Tundergarth Parish Church, circa 199. Christopher Andrew Jones Family Papers.

LOCKERBIE MEMORIAL CAIRN: ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

Senate Joint Resolution 129 designating Arlington National Cemetery as the site for the Lockerbie Cairn was unanimously approved by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in November 1993, following the extensive efforts of the American families of the victims. The Cairn, a traditional Scottish symbol of remembrance, was a gift from the people of Scotland to the people of the United States. It is constructed of 270 red sandstone blocks mined from the Corsehill Quarry in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, the same quarry from which the base stones of the Statue of Liberty were mined. The names of each of the victims are engraved on the structure’s granite base. The original design for the Cairn was completed by Lockerbie resident Donald T. Bogie. The families of the victims were involved with all aspects of the planning and construction of the Cairn. Deirdre Fortune, wife of victim Robert Fortune, served on the Cairn Committee of the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, Inc. and was instrumental in commissioning and preparing reports, designs, and proposals for various government agencies. She further served on the Dedication Subcommittee responsible for coordinating the dedication of the Cairn by President Clinton in 1995. The principle mason involved in the Cairn’s construction was Frank Klein, father of victim Patricia Klein. The bronze dedication plaque affixed to the side of the Cairn was designed by sculptor J. Clayton Bright, brother of victim Nicholas Bright. An annual memorial service coordinated by the Victims of Pan Am Flight 103, Inc., the largest US-based victims and families group, is held at the Cairn on December 21.

Four children removing a red cloth from the base of a statue.
Family members of the victims of the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing unveil the inscribed base of the Lockerbie Memorial Cairn at the 3 November 1995 dedication ceremony. Thomas Britton Schultz Family Papers.
Printed program with Bill Clinton’s signature in felt-tip marker.
Program for the 21 December 1993 groundbreaking ceremony for the Lockerbie Memorial Cairn signed by President Bill Clinton. Richard Paul Monetti Family Papers.

PLACE OF REMEMBRANCE: SYRACUSE UNIVERSITY

Dedicated on 22 April 1990, the Place of Remembrance is Syracuse University’s permanent physical memorial to the victims of the disaster. The monument consists of a semi-circular granite and limestone wall engraved with the names of the University’s 35 study abroad students who perished in the bombing. The site also includes a Remembrance Garden and a circular granite bench bearing the names of Clay, New York residents Paula and Glenn Bouckley who were among the victims of the disaster. At the suggestion of the students’ families, the inscription on the wall was amended shortly after the dedication to include the phrase “caused by a terrorist bomb.” Located directly in front of the Hall of Languages and behind the main gateway to campus, the Place of Remembrance is a prominent feature of the campus environment.

The dedication of the Place of Remembrance was attended by families of the 35 Syracuse University study abroad students, faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members. “The Gates of Prayer” by Ceil Buonocore, printed in the dedication program seen here, was used as a responsive reading during the ceremony. “This marvelous place, at once a most mundane center, a functional portal of our daily comings and goings, is now pledged as well to stand as an honored symbol of the spirit of [g]ateway and of [p]assage,” Ronald R. Cavanagh, Vice President of Undergraduate Studies, remarked. “Not a place apart, obscure or aloof and avoidable. But an undeniable, almost irresistible conduit of our collective energies. A place at the heart of our [w]elcomes and [f]arewells.” A Rose-Laying Ceremony coordinated by the Remembrance and Lockerbie Scholars program as part of Remembrance Week and an annual memorial service organized by Hendricks Chapel are held at the site annually.

A person with long, curly hair running their hand over names engraved on a stone wall.
A student touches the names engraved on the Place of Remembrance at the 22 April 1990 dedication ceremony. Place of Remembrance Collection.
Printed program.
Program for the 22 April 1990 dedication of the Place of Remembrance including “The Gates of Prayer” by Ceil Buonocore. Place of Remembrance Collection.

While a dedicated space or place can often be  part of the tradition of how we remember those we have lost, there are also the small remembrances we practice every day. In silence, in song, in thought, or in prayer. In solitude or with others.  Although the communities impacted by the Pan Am 103 tragedy won’t be able to come together in person this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, December 21 will always be a day of reflection and remembrance. All are invited to join with the Archives and University community in the spirit of remembrance during the Hendricks Chapel annual memorial service, which will be held virtually this year on Monday, December 21 at 2:03 p.m. EST. Further information and registration details will be made available at Remembrance.syr.edu in the coming days.


Thomas Britton Schultz Family Papers (Thomas Britton Schultz Family Papers, University Archives, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries), Christopher Andrew Jones Family Papers (Christopher Andrew Jones Family Papers, University Archives, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries), Richard Paul Monetti Family Papers (Richard Paul Monetti Family Papers, University Archives, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries) and the Place of Remembrance Collection (Place of Remembrance Collection, University Archives, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries) are part of the Special Collections Research Center’s University Archives collections.


Hail Librarians!: Reflecting on SU Library Service

By Nora Ramsey, Reference Assistant

“Hail, Librarians, holders o’ the golden keys!”, wrote poet Frank Elijah Dudley in 1955. This line belongs to a series of poems that Dudley personally sent to Syracuse University Librarians. A writer and poet, Dudley valued knowledge and frequently expressed his appreciation by sending poetry to libraries all around the United States— it also helped that it was free publicity for his own works. Frank Elijah Dudley (sometimes referred to as F.E.D.)  was born in Bath, NY in 1884. Mr. Dudley also traveled around the country giving recitations of his writings in order to fund the publication of his poetry. 

In the Frank Elijah Dudley Papers housed at the Special Collections Research Center, Dudley’s writings often refer to various New York locations, such as the “Lackawanna Lake Shore,” the “Chautauqua Assembly,” “Rochester’s Russell,” and “Syracuse’s Wells.” Also within his collection is a packet addressed to “Syracuse University Special Collections through Lester G. Wells Librarian” that contains 31 different poems on various subjects. Some poems have been anointed with golden stars around the edges.

Black text on white background
Frank Elijah Dudley’s “Salt and Pepper” poem. Frank Elijah Dudley Papers.

As an MLIS candidate, I was intrigued by Dudley’s sentiments towards the SU Librarians and I decided to take a deeper look into the activities of the SU libraries during this time. The 1950s were a period of expansion and development for the SU libraries. In 1956, after years of students advocating for extended library hours, the library eliminated what was referred to as  “supper break.”Instead of students having to leave the library from 6pm to 7pm to accommodate dinner time, the library would be open straight through from 7:50am to 10pm. During this time, the library also announced it would also extend their hours later on Friday night. 

Black and white photo of students studying at tables
Students studying in Carnegie Library in 1959. Syracuse University Photograph Collection.

Searching through the library’s history was riveting because I gained more insight on the development of library programming and general library development over the ages. For example, one article published by the “Daily Orange” in 1959 advertised a film showing in the library. However, this wasn’t an ordinary film — it was titled “Research in the Library” and it was meant to help teach students how to write a paper, how to use the card catalog, and how to read reference books. Many students can probably relate to this experience, as we have all had our librarians come into our classes to teach us how to conduct research and how to use reference materials.

Newspaper clipping of library hosted event
Newspaper clipping of library-hosted event with the headline, “Library to Show Film” dated 1959. Syracuse University Clipping Files.

All in all, I’m sure that Dudley’s poetry put a smile on some faces within the library. In a time where the SU libraries were expanding to accommodate increasing student needs, these poems might have allowed the university librarians a dose of positivity.

The Frank Elijah Dudley Papers (Frank Elijah Dudley Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries) are part of the Special Collections Research Center’s manuscript collections.