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Keith Johnstone in Holland, 2010

The University Archives is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Keith Johnstone papers. Johnstone, a British and Canadian pioneer of improvisational theatre, is best known for inventing the Impro System and Theatresports, the latter of which has become a staple of modern improvisational comedy and is the inspiration for the television shows such as "Whose Line Is It Anyway?." As an educator, playwright, actor and theatre director Johnstone's ideas about improvisation, behaviour and performance appeal to a wide variety of groups. From actors to psychotherapists, improvisation companies to theatre schools and companies, business and management training specialists and humanities research institutes, universities and film production companies have invited him to come to teach them about his ideas, and how they might apply them.

Jim McRae and KZSU Project South volunteers, 1965

Davis Houck, professor in the School of Communication at Florida State University, writes in the Clarion Ledger about the KZSU Project South Collection on the anniversary of Freedom Summer. Read the full article here.

Hats of to Stanford: An Exhibit on the Junior Plug Ugly

Hats off to Stanford: An exhibit on the Junior Plug Ugly, will be on display this summer in Green Library's Bender Room.

The exhibit explores the rise and fall of one of the university's earliest lost traditions: the Junior Plug Ugly. Named after the "Plug Uglies," a ruthless gang operating along the Atlantic seaboard around the time of the American Civil War, the Plug Ugly was an annual satirical performance started in 1898 that showcased the hand-painted top hats uniformly worn by members of the Junior Class during this period. The performance devolved over the course of two decades into a bloody interclass brawl, until the Administration finally banned the event from ever again taking place on the Stanford campus.

This exhibit features reproductions of photographs and other archival materials from the University Archives, as well as a large selection of original hand-painted plug hats from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, perhaps the largest such selection ever publicly displayed at Stanford.

Navigating the river

The University Archives is pleased to report that more than 20 photograph and slide collections have recently been digitized and are now available online via SALLIE, Flickr, Facebook and Google+. The collections include:

  • Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (SC0634)
  • Felt Lake Dam Photographs (PC0142)
  • School of Education Faculty Photographs (PC0061)
  • Leon Thomas David Collection of Stanford Photographs (PC0126)
  • Ella J. Patterson Photographs (SCM0321)
  • George Harrington Photograph Albums (SC0592)
  • Department of History, Faculty Photographs (PC0025)
  • Stanford University Construction Photographs (PC0125)
  • Stanford University Photographs (PC0069)
  • Todd T. Barrett Photographs Documenting Stanford University (PC0135)
  • Stanford University Photographs and Memorabilia (PC0130)
  • Medical Center, Construction slides (PC0043)
  • Paul G. Allen Center for Integrated Systems, Dedication Photographs (PC0132)
  • David E. Hubka Slides Documenting Stanford University (PC0115)
  • Stanford Centennial Photographs (PC0052)
  • Florence Grace Savage Photographs (PC0068)
  • Henry Eickhoff Photographs of Stanford University (PC0122)
  • Stanford University Photographs (PC0123)
  • Stanford University, Libraries, Earthquake Damage Slides (PC0071)
  • Birge M. Clark Architectural Records and Personal Papers (SC0823)
  • Stanford University and the 1906 earthquake Photograph Album (PC0074)

Of particular note are the George Harrington photographs, which document Harrington's work and travels in Bolivia and Argentina, 1921-1926. Images include villages, local people, trekking on mountain trails and by river boat, geologic formations, other geologists, oil rigs, and various camps established by the oil company.

Jim McRae

On April 24th, the University Archives was pleased to welcome back to the farm Jim McRae ('68), coordinator of the KZSU-sponsored Project South, which interviewed civil rights workers during the summer of 1965. Jim (seen here examining interview transcripts) sat down with us to talk about the project and even provided some personal photographs (below) and documents

Project South, 1965During the summer of 1965, eight students from Stanford University spent ten weeks in the southern states tape-recording information on student participation in the Civil Rights Movement. The eight interviewers -- Mary Kay Becker, Mark Dalrymple, Roger Dankert, Richard Gillam, James McRae, Penny Niland, Jon Roise, and Julie Wells -- were sponsored by KZSU, Stanford's student radio station, and their original intent was to gather material suitable for rebroadcasting in the form of radio programs. Northern college students who were working in the South for the first time were the major focus, although many other topics were also investigated. To find out why these students decided to go to the South to work for the movement, what they expected to find there, what they did find, the pressures they experienced, their reaction to these pressures, what they accomplished, and what they planned to do in the future (both near and distant), they interviewed as many students as possible. What is planned is a series of programs expressing in the volunteers' and workers' own words, their motivations and their feelings towards the many aspects of the South and of the Civil Rights Movement experienced that summer.

Alumni group photograph, undated

The Archives is pleased to announce that it is one of three campus recipients of this year's Stanford Associates Grant, awarded by the Stanford Alumni Association.

Steve Schneider [photographer unknown].

Dr. Steve Schneider was inspired to be involved in climate change and global warming in part because of Earth Day.

Like his eco-ally Carl Sagan, Schneider was a scientist able to Successfully get information to the public. Sagan had his television show Cosmos (recently revitalized by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Sagan’s widow, Ann Druyan—check your local listings).

Schneider wrote popular science books, did radio interviews around the world and appeared in movies and on television.

Here he is with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show on July 19, 1977.  Clip courtesy of  UCAR/NCAR. 

Bing Wing FacadeQuestion: There are three figures on the facade above Green Library's Bing Wing portal. Who or what do they represent?

Answer: There are three roundels above the Bing Wing portal, each housing a relief figure. The figures represent (from left to right) Art, Philosophy, and Science. They were executed by San Francisco sculptor Edgar Walter; the exact date of their design and creation is unknown. Scholars and librarians can take pleasure in the fact that the figure representing Philosophy is shown with an open book in his hands.

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