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Have you ever wondered why Stanford is represented by the color cardinal, and not the original choice of gold? Or why the university's motto is in German?

The University Archives, in collaboration with Kathleen Smith, Curator of Germanic Collections and Medieval Studies, is pleased to announce a new exhibition focused on the development of Stanford's insignia. Becoming Stanford: The History and Meaning of the University’s Insignia is now on display in the South Lobby of Green Library.

San Francisco Fountain detail by Joe Thompson

As previously announced, the Ruth Asawa papers are now available. In thinking of fun and innovative ways to present certain aspects of her work, we decided to scan a small series of San Francisco architecture snapshots from her collection and upload them to the social mapping website Historypin, and also include them in their Year of the Bay local history project.  These photographs were probably used as research in creating the San Francisco Fountain in Union Square, which features many cast dough relief images of the city. Unfortunately there is no information on or about the prints in the collection. They are likely all from the 1960s, and were probably taken by Asawa (she has referred to taking pictures of the city in preparation). Architectural historian Sally Woodbridge may have also contributed. The varying qualities of the prints implies that several cameras or developers were used, and that they were probably taken over a period of time. At any rate, they collectively serve as a remarkable portrait of the city in that decade.

Project South, 1965

On March 13th, NPR featured a story on the Project South Collection held in the University Archives and Archive of Recorded Sound. Entitled "A King Speech You've Never Heard--Plus, Your Chance to Do Archive Sleuthing," the article describes the rich treasures found within the audio recordings, including a speech by Martin Luther King, Jr., and asks for volunteers to comb through the materials and share their findings. It also asks for volunteers to help us transcribe the remainder of the collection. So far, our crowd-sourcing experiment has yielded over twenty volunteers, who have completed five transcripts. Several more transcripts are in the works. We thank NPR and all our volunteers for their efforts as there is much work that remains to be done for this amazing collection.

The Project South Collection consists of transcribed interviews with Civil Rights workers in the South recorded by several Stanford students affiliated with the campus radio station KZSU during the summer of 1965. The project was sponsored by the Institute of American History at Stanford. Includes information relating to black history; interviews of members of the Congress of Racial Equality, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, the NAACP, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee; recordings of formal and informal remarks of persons working with smaller, independent civil rights projects, of local blacks associated with the civil rights movement, and other people, including Ku Klux Klansmen; "action tapes" of civil rights workers canvassing voters, conducting freedom schools, or participating in demonstrations ; speeches by and/or interviews with Ralph David Abernathy, Charles Evers, James Farmer, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Hosea Williams; and a Ku Klux Klan meeting and speech made by Robert Sheldon, its Imperial Wizard.

 

Chinese door god prints; officials bringing a rise in rank and a rise in official salary circa 1900.

It is with sadness that I announce the departure of our lead processing archivist, Joe Geller, who is relocating to the east coast. He will be greatly missed by all our staff on the Redwood City campus and throughout the library.

Joe started at SUL in 2006 as a curatorial assistant for Annette Keogh, the former curator for British and American Literature. During these years, I was fortunate to work with Joe as he processed several literature collections, notably:  Irving Rosenthal papers, Rae Armantrout papers, and Edward Dahlberg papers.

Spring term will begin on March 30th and with the new term comes new hours for Special Collections and University Archives.  Our open hours for Spring term will be Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Women playing basketball on field,1900. Stanford Historical Photograph Collection (SC1071: 3293-006).

The University Archives is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibition celebrating the 25th anniversary of Stanford Women's first NCAA basketball victory.

Portrait of Ruth Asawa and wire sculptures by Nat Farbman, from 1955 Guggenheim fellowship application

After more than a year of intensive organizing and arranging, we are very proud to announce that the papers of artist and educator Ruth Asawa (M1585) are now available for research. The finding aid can be accessed from the Online Archive of Calfornia, and the collection record in the Searchworks catalog. A bibliography is also available from the Stanford Digital Repository.

The collection documents her commissions and other creative work as well her involvement in shaping civic arts and educational policy. Perhaps the greatest number of files contain correspondence from a remarkably diverse community of associates: friends, neighbors, artists, teachers, students, architects, designers, patrons, politicians, and philanthropists. She was also close to such major figures as Buckminster Fuller, Imogen Cunningham, Josef and Anni Albers, Ray Johnson, and countless others. In a sense, her papers can be considered a collection of collections. Scholars studying San Francisco history, art education pedagogy, fundraising for non-profits, public art, Japanese American Internment, or Black Mountain College will be rewarded by the collection's breadth.

Of course, there is also a great deal of information on Asawa's own art, particularly her unique wire constructions. The collection contains communication with galleries and museums, many photographs and slides, and insights on her artistic processes as included in portfolios and applications. For instance, here is some detail from an insert in her 1955 Guggenheim application. There are many of these halftone images of her crocheted wire shapes:

 detail, halftone image of Asawa wire sculptures 1955

Please stay tuned: we'll be posting a few more entries on Asawa in the weeks to come.

I'm pleased to announce that Special Collections and University Archives have a new reference email address:

specialcollections@stanford.edu

Our old email --speccollref@stanford.edu-- will sunset on May 1st.  

We are excited about this change and hope it provides our patrons better service.

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