Thursday, July 26, 2018

Architectural drawings update

After a marathon session today, I am pleased to say that Phase I of the architectural drawings project is COMPLETED! 

You may remember from last month that I shared my initial work on a lengthy project to make sense of DSU's architectural drawings. Formerly, the drawings were tossed haphazardly into one of our building's basements and had been neglected for decades. After this room came onto my radar, I volunteered to use my powers of librarianship to process the drawings the same way that I would any archival collection.  It is to be hoped that when I am done, the Office of Capital Planning and Environment Sustainability will be able to utilize the drawings with greater ease.

As the project stands today, I have now gained physical control over the drawings thus completing the first phase of processing.  At the very least, I can say that each drawing has been identified by building.  Moving into Phase II tomorrow, I will begin to identify each drawing by electrical, fire systems, structural, furniture plans, etc.  All of this data will be logged into an excel spreadsheet and soon (I hope) passed onto our campus planning managers. 

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these photographs showing the very drastic improvements from those of last month.  Stay tuned for more later!

Although it still looks chaotic, these drawings are separated by building and
identified by the little blue notes. 

Look! We can now see the floor! 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Happy 25th Anniversary Delaware State University

This month we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the name change from Delaware State College to Delaware State University.

In May of 1993 President DeLauder's administration submitted to the Delaware Legislature a document to request a name change from "college" to "university." The request inspired Senate Bill 138 which was sponsored by Senator Herman M. Holloway Sr.  The bill passed unanimously in the Senate and House, and by July 1, 1993 Governor Thomas R. Carper signed the bill into law.

In the twenty-five years since our name change, the university has continued to grow tremendously. By comparison, the fall 1993 enrollment was 3,301 and in 2017 the enrollment was 4.648. In 1993 the college had 178 faculty members, of whom 61% held doctorates. Today the university has 212 faculty members and 89% hold doctorates. In terms of infrastructure the campus grew from 21 buildings to 33 and today comprises 3 campuses.  Lastly, in twenty-five years we grew from having no doctoral programs to five!

In short, remarkable achievements have been accomplished in such a brief time.  As we embark on a new presidency under Dr. Wilma Mishoe, I look forward to seeing how much further this university will go.

To read the university's statement on our anniversary, check out this article: 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Back into the basement - Architectural drawings

Well, I'm back at it again! Did I ever imagine I would spend so much time exploring the basements and hidden corridors of DSU's buildings? No, I did not. But I must say that I'm having fun, and my inner-vampire is satisfied.

This summer I am partnering with the office of Capital Planning & Environment Sustainability to make sense of a room full of architectural drawings.  The story goes that for years (perhaps decades), after each construction or renovation project was completed, the project drawings were chucked into this room with no rhyme or reason. Today, the room is packed to the gills with battered and decaying drawings.

Each time the university needs to make physical changes to a building, it is nearly impossible to find the appropriate drawings.  That's where librarians can help. Using the paper handling skills and knowledge of records description or "cataloging" that I know as an archivist, I am able to jump in.

I've been working on this project for the past month. At first it seemed daunting, and I didn't know where to start. By picking one section of the room and focusing on just one box at a time, I have been able to make good headway. The room already looks drastically different from the picture above.  Check back at the end of the summer and hopefully I'll have an updated photo of the finished result.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Laws Hall Time Capsule

Big Day, Today! A small gathering of administrators and contractors met this morning to remove a time capsule from the cornerstone of Laws Hall.  After resting behind the wall for 56, the contents were finally revealed.

It was  tough work to crack open the soldered-shut box, but it served to build the anticipation.
      "If the ghost of Lydia Laws comes out I'm gone," someone joked. Turning to me, "I like you so I might save you."
      "As long as it's not bones, I"m good," said another.
      "Yeah, right! It's the campus turtle or something."
      "There's a snake in there!"

But of course the findings were a lot more mundane. No snakes, bones, or ghosts. Found within was an Echo publication, Hornet newspaper, commencement program, Baccalaureate program, course catalog, and a program for the dedication of Laws Hall. While I'm disappointed by the lack of trinkets or personal notes, I had a good day. The excitement was a reminder of why I love my job.  From one day to the next, I never know what adventure may come.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Lights Out at Laws Hall

Tomorrow afternoon from 1:00 to 3:00, we will be saying goodbye to a much loved residential hall. Laws Hall, constructed in 1962, is slated to be demolished this summer to make room for a new dormitory. You are invited to join us for this last opportunity to enter the building and to take a trip down memory lane. Refreshments will be served.  Hope to see you there!

Yesterday, I, as the archivist, scavenged the building to transfer a few last treasures. Among them are a portrait of Lydia P. Laws,, the "Lovely Ladies of Laws Hall" welcome sign that hung over the entryway, a key box with building keys, RA log books, and a small amount of records. Do you have records or photographs of Laws hall? I would love to meet with you tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Honorary Degrees

Congratulations to the class of May 2018! As commencement draws closer, I want to pause to consider the part of the ceremony frequently overlooked by excited graduates and their parents - the conferring of honorary degrees.

As a guest speaker draws to a close, the anticipation is palpable. But before the unending line of graduates can snake up the walkway to receive their degrees, the President must first honor the speaker or distinguished guests with an honorary degree.

What is an honorary degree? Most commonly, it is a doctorate degree awarded to someone who, although he or she has not completed the requisite coursework and assignments, has sufficient field experience to rival a formal education. The degree may also be awarded to someone who commands significant respect within the university community, such as emeritus faculty. The degree is typically referred to as a Doctorate of Humane Letters.

Here at Delaware State University, we have awarded honorary degrees to individuals from all walks of life. They include political dignitaries such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Benjamin Carson, or John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor, the President of the Republic of Ghana. Our past honorees also include cultural titans such as Queen Latifah and Bill Cosby. Check out the list of known recipients below.
The 1985 speaker, Mayor Marion Barry, Jr., arrives by
helicopter from Washington D.C., May 19, 1985

1961: Martin Jenkins
1962: Sterling McMurrin
1963: Thomas Carroll; Walter Aiken
1964: Elbert Carvel; Julius Thomas; Logan Wilson
1965: Leland Hayward; James Nabrit
1966 Robert Weaver
1967 Stuart Udall; Bishop John D. Bright; Reverend Henry Herndon; Dr. Maurice Thomasson, Acting president of DSC
1968: Jack Robinson; William Ryan; Leon Sullivan; Asa Randolph; John McDowell
1969: Herman M. Holloway; Ercell Watson
Mayor Marion Barry, Jr. and entourage
1970: Harriet Williams; King Cheek; Harold Keller; James Baker; Jerome Holland, President of DSC
1971: John W. Lord; William McElroy; Norman Wilder
1972: Sister Mary Elise; James Cheek
1973: Barbara Jordan; Beatrice Henry
1974: Earl Jackson; Barbara Sizemore
1975: Maynard Jackson; Daniel James
1976: Carl Rowan
1977: Pierre DuPont; Walton Simpson; Paul Weatherly
1978: Julian Bond; W.R. Wynder, DSC faculty; William G. Dix, DSC staff
1979: Parren J. Mitchell; James C. Hardcastle, DSC Trustee
1980: Mary Frances Berry
1981: Nicholas H. Rodriguez; Ulysses S. Washington, Jr., DSC Faculty
1982: Walter Faunteroy
1983: Samuel R. Pierece, Jr.
1984: Terrel H. Bell; Crawford J. Carroll; John Robert Price (Posthumous), DSC faculty
1985: Marion Barry, Jr.; James Hazell Williams
1986: Michael N. Castle, Governor of Delaware; Louis L. Redding; Al O. Plant, Jr.
1987: Dr. Luna I. Mishoe; William Granville; Cora N. Selby, DSC Trustee
1988: John Lewis
1989: William H. Gray III, Mr. William H. Davis
1990: Juanita Kidd Stout, PA supreme court; Arthur E. Bragg, DSC Professor Emeritus
1991: A. Richard Barros, DE attorney
1992: Endsley P. Fairman, DE philanthropist
1994: Thomas Richard Carper, DE Governor
1995: Susan Taylor
1996: Benjamin S. Carson, M.d.
1997: Charles M. Cawley, MBNA America Bank
1998: Nikki Giovanni, poet; Dr. Billy Taylor, jazz historian; Edward Loper Sr., artist
1999: Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., J.D.
2000: Dr. Bertice Berry
2001: Dr. William H. Cosby, Sr.; Clifford Benjamin Brown (Posthumous)
2002: Dr. Dorothy Irene Height
2003: Joseph R. Biden, Jr. US Senator
2005: James H. Gilliam Sr., President of Wilmington Housing Inc.
2006: Nathan Hayward III, DelDOT
2008: Clark Kent Ervin, J.D., Homeland Security
2011: Jeff Johnson, investigative journalist
2012: Warren Brown, CakeLove founder
2015: Ann Rosenberg, Global SAP University Alliances; John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor, President of the Republic of Ghana
2016: Joseph R. Biden, Vice President of the United States; Johnny C. Taylor Jr., Thurgood Marshall College Fund
2017: Lisa Blunt, US House of Representatives; Steve Ewig, Executive Officer of Wade Ford Dealership
2018: James McBride, writer

Friday, April 27, 2018

Look who I found at MARAC

On April 12-15, I attended the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  It's always a pleasure to see my former supervisors, classmates, and colleagues.  This time there was a pleasant surprise. Jasmine Smith, our IMLS intern, is all grown-up and has a job of her own. I took the opportunity to get to know more about her new career at the Library Company of Philadelphia. 

Q: What is your new job? 

A: My job is divided into two roles: reference librarian and specialist of African American history.  My role as a reference librarian is to staff the reading room and answer general questions either via email, in person, or over the phone, whereas my role as the specialist is to answer complex questions relating to African American history.  It is also my responsibility to page and shelve materials used by readers; familiarize new readers and fellows on how to use WolfPAC, fill out call slips, explain reading room procedures, and suggest research materials. I also manage the Facebook page for the program in African American history and assist with blog posts. 

Q: What is your favorite part of working for the Library Company?

A: I am constantly surrounded by highly education scholars who are working towards future publications. I enjoy this aspect about my job because it allows me to increase my knowledge on subjects that I am unfamiliar with or have a different perspective on. 

Q: Are there any interesting collections that you've worked with so far? 

A: The Amy Matilda Cassey album is my favorite collection at the moment. Amy Matilda Cassey was a very prominent African American, middle-class woman who was involved with the anti-slavery movement in Philadelphia. Her friendship album dates from 1833 until 1856 and has signatures from activists and abolitionists such as William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, Robert Purvis and more.  This is an important document because it describes how life was for middle class African American men and women during a time of segregation. 

Best of luck to you, Jasmine! 

Some links of interest: