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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.

Cover image of César : sí, se puede! yes, we can!

Today is César Chávez Day.  To celebrate you might want to check out some of the books for children in Cubberley Library's Curriculum Collection:

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.

Logo for the Graduate School of Education

People come from all over the world to study international comparative education at Stanford's Graduate School of Education and now their masters monographs are being loaded into the Stanford Digital Repository (SDR). These are being added as we receive permission and PDFs.

Digging Deeper Logo

In January, Stanford launched Digging Deeper: Making Manuscripts, an online learning experience devoted to the technologies involved in creating and interpreting medieval manuscripts. We're off to a roaring start with thousands of enrolled participants across more than 90 countries (and it's not too late to sign up!).  The creation of the course has been a truly collaborative experience: Stanford University faculty and library staff have worked closely with counterparts at Cambridge University, Stanford Academic Technology Specialists, graduate students, and a team from Stanford's Office of the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning to produce a suite of learning materials that have become much richer than any of us envisaged at the beginning of the process in 2013!

Bridget Whearty and Astrid Smith in the digitization lab

As the CLIR postdoctoral fellow in Data Curation for Medieval Studies at Stanford I work primarily with data about large collections of digitized manuscripts and fragments. For example, I have helped to make our teaching collections more easily discoverable in Searchworks. I've also been bringing together partner institutions' descriptive metadata to feed a specialized manuscript search environment. 

In practice, I write code to transform batches of 70, 300, 500, or 1000+ manuscripts at a time: I've gotten very comfortable thinking of medieval manuscripts in the tens, hundreds, and even thousands. But the truth is that these large batches of digital-medieval manuscripts I curate are built of unique, single objects. Single objects that, just like the physical objects they grow from, are made by individual people, in particular environments, under specific institutional, financial, and social pressures. 

In order to better understand the process that leads to the creation of a digital-medieval book, I recently followed the digitization of a fifteenth-century book of hours, Stanford University Libraries, M0379, from the request for digitization, through the slow hard work of taking the images and hours of post-production labor, to its arrival in Stanford Digital Repository (SDR). 

Cover image of The Mitten

The shortening of the days and the increased crispness in the air invites stories that begin “Once upon a time…” If you love fables, fairy tales, tall tales or trickster tales come to Cubberley Library to check out our latest display of picture books and children’s literature. The tales span many cultures and a familiar tale may be retold in many ways. We have Cenderillon: a Caribbean Cinderella and a cyborg Cinderella along with her more traditional sister. The brothers Grimm have Little red cap while the story Lon Po Po is a Red Riding Hood tale from China. Trickster tales also span continents. On our shelves Ananse from Africa and Brer Rabbit from the American south are up to their usual tricks. Some of the tales are humorous: Maynard the Moose is The uglified ducky and that darn bear bursts The mitten every time. Other stories have a more serious bent such as Briar Rose, Jane Yolen’s heartbreaking retelling of Sleeping beauty as set against the historical backdrop of the Holocaust. Whatever your preference is--humorous, serious, traditional, retold or twisted--we have it, so come visit.

Cover image of Sosu's call

"World Literature Today , the award-winning magazine of international literature and culture, today announced Meshack Asare as the winner of the prestigious 2015 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature. Awarded in alternating years with the renowned Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the biennial NSK Prize recognizes great accomplishments in the world of children’s storytelling." (reported October 24, 2014)

Asare's books include Sosu's call, The brassmanʼs secret and Chipo and the bird on the hill : a tale of ancient Zimbabwe.  For other books of interest see Cubberley Library's list of Children's books with an African theme.

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