Updates from Special Collections and University Archives


Posted: 01/18/2023 - 11:04

Hello! My name is Tess Will, and I am a master's student at UNCW in the Public History Department. For my last year of graduate school, I have been a Processing Intern here in Special Collections at Randall Library, where I am learning archival processing methods, engaging with professional texts in the field, and learning lots of new skills! I have been working in museums, libraries, and archives for over five years, starting when I was an undergraduate student at East Carolina University. As a history major at ECU, I was first introduced to the world of archives and museums through my own historical research, where I became enamored with the "stuff" of history. While I loved the research, I found myself drawn to the care and management of historical archives and artifacts, which led me to pursue a minor in public history. My first public history position was as a tour guide at the Country Doctor Museum in Bailey, North Carolina, where I interpreted medical history to the public and dipped my toes into collections care. Before I graduated, I was lucky enough to work as an intern in the History Collections of Laupus Library and as a State of North Carolina Intern at the Queen Anne's Revenge Conservation Lab.

 I chose to pursue a graduate degree in public history because it encompassed the fields that I love and would prepare me for a variety of different positions. I was thrilled when I was accepted into the program here at UNCW because of Wilmington's rich (though at times difficult) history and the many cultural/historical institutions I could engage with while a master's student. Something I found important in a master's program was an emphasis on practical experience, and UNCW had just that. Students in the public history program are required to complete a practicum as one of their final credits to graduate, and I was lucky enough to do that work here in Special Collections!

During my time here at UNCW and in Wilmington, I have learned a lot about caring for the past, both physically and intellectually. I love my position here in Special Collections because of the skills and competencies I have learned, but I also find the work to be incredibly fulfilling. I enjoy creating order from chaos and making the past accessible to researchers and the public alike through my work. During the course of my practicum, I hope to accomplish the following goals:

  1. ArchivesSpace: As I continue my work here in Special Collections, I would like to become more familiar with our software ArchivesSpace. Data entry and navigating different types of software are incredibly important in the positions I hope to find myself gainfully employed! I would like to become more competent with different aspects of ArchivesSpace because it is a commonly used software in many archives and libraries.
  2. Engage More with Professional Texts: As a public history student, I have become very well-rounded but lack the specialized training that archivists and librarians get while completing degrees in Library Science. As a part of my practicum, I will be reading and discussing texts as assigned by my practicum supervisor (Thank you, Nicole!). I hope that this work, built upon readings I completed last fall, will help me be better prepared for a potential position in an archive.
  3. Be More Aware of Archival Silences: Archives and museum collections to this day are overwhelmingly filled with the voices of the wealthy, white, educated elite. As a public history professional and (hopefully!) future archivist or collections manager, I want to continue the work started by others and become more aware of how to make collections more equitable. I hope to join the good work of erasing the silences within archives.

Upon graduating in May, I hope to gain a full-time position as an Archivist, Collections Manager, or Registrar. In these positions, I would be able to interact with the "stuff" of history daily through careful care and organization. I look forward to spending my last months of graduate school here in Special Collections and can't wait to see what I learn next!

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Posted: 04/22/2021 - 15:17

 

Before the Clean Air Act (1970), the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (1970), and the Clean Water Act (1972), there were few regulations for industrial pollution and very limited enforcement. As a result, it was not uncommon for polluted rivers to catch fire. 

For example, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio, was continually polluted from the 1880s through the early 1970s. It suffered a major fire in 1952. Finally, an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California pushed Senator Gaylord Nelson from Wisconsin to create the first Earth Day in 1970. 

Earth Day 1971 at UNCW was a full day of special events, including programs on the impact of pollution on Southeast North Carolina. Over the years, Seahawks have raised Earth Day awareness with films, guest speakers from industry and science, environmental education, and a “filthy” photo contest.  

Fifty-two years after the EPA opened, industrial pollution remains a problem for the country, compounded by our growing climate crisis. Earth Day empowers everyone to contribute to a cleaner environment. What small steps can we take to benefit our communities? For example, as consumers, we could stop throwing trash outside car windows. Our apartment complexes could provide proper outdoor trash and recycling containers for residents. Local business can discourage waste, help the bottom line, and promote our shared environment. 

What action steps should we take for our planet and our people? Let us know how to end the contamination of America! 

Bibliography 

https://www.epa.gov/clean-air-act-overview/evolution-clean-air-act#caa70

https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/history-clean-water-act 

https://www.history.com/news/epa-earth-day-cleveland-cuyahoga-river-fire-clean-water-act 

https://www.earthday.org/history/ 

https://digitalcollections.uncw.edu/digital/collection/p17190coll1/id/1519/rec/20 

https://digitalcollections.uncw.edu/digital/collection/p17190coll1/id/1824/rec/5

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Posted: 02/28/2021 - 21:09

COVID-19 is not the first virus to affect American college students. We are just beginning to learn about the long-term health effects of COVID. Another life-threatening virus was polio.

First some background information from the Mayo Clinic: Polio is a contagious viral illness that in its most severe form causes nerve injury leading to paralysis, difficulty breathing and sometimes death. Poliovirus can be transmitted through direct contact with someone infected with the virus or, less commonly, through contaminated food and water. People who have polio but don't have symptoms can pass the virus to others.

Polio came to United States in 1894. The first successful vaccines—developed by Dr. Jonas Salk and Dr. Albert Sabin—were not available until the 1950s.

Dr. Albert Sabin, inventor of the oral polio vaccineDr. Albert Sabin, inventor of the oral polio vaccine / Photograph from Hauck Center, University of Cincinnati Libraries

Caring for the health of all the students at Wilmington College, Dr. Samuel Ravenel sent a letter to college president, Dr. William M. Randall, recommending that the college require polio vaccines for all students before admission (Board of Trustees minutes, 14 Jan. 1959 p. 2). After review by the executive committee, the board decided not to make the vaccine mandatory for students (Board of Trustees minutes, 11 Feb. 1959 p.3).

Later, at the Board of Trustees meeting on 26 January, 1965 (p. 3), Dr. Randall recommended that enrolled students meet “... certain physical examination entrance requirements .... This would require smallpox vaccination, tetanus toxoid, polio immunization, serology, and a chest x-ray.” 

Bibliography

The History of Polio Vaccines. Available at https://www.historyofvaccines.org/timeline/polio.

Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of Trustees of Wilmington College. (14 January, 1959). Available at https://digitalcollections.uncw.edu/digital/collection/bot/id/207/rec/1.

Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of Trustees of Wilmington College. (11 February, 1959). Available at https://digitalcollections.uncw.edu/digital/collection/bot/id/208/rec/3.

Minutes of the Meeting of the Board of Trustees of Wilmington College. (26 January, 1965). Available at https://digitalcollections.uncw.edu/digital/collection/bot/id/285/rec/4.

Photograph of Albert Sabin. Courtesy of Hauck Center for the Albert B. Sabin Archives, University of Cincinnati Libraries. 

Polio. The Mayo Clinic. Available at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/polio/symptoms-causes/syc-20376512.

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Posted: 02/13/2020 - 11:45

My name is Darby Freeman. I am a senior at UNCW studying English Literature and Philosophy. I have worked at the Randall Library circulation desk for just over two years and began an internship in the Special Collections department at the beginning of this semester.

I was first introduced to Special Collections by a professor who took our class to the department after assigning a lengthy research paper. We did an activity that involved stringing together events to form a cohesive narrative. I thought it was cool to watch a story reveal itself as we went through all of these different types of literature, written by unaffiliated groups, that came from a variety of locations.

I have always enjoyed my job at the circulation desk because I love being around books and literature. I handle books daily, whether I’m checking them in or out, collecting them for patron holds, or reshelving them. This has led me to discover many fascinating books that I otherwise would’ve never encountered, be it fictional, historical, or theoretical. When I first heard about the internship in Special Collections, it felt perfect for me. It’s like taking the job I already knew I loved and making it more interesting and in-depth. Since beginning work at the library, I’ve been curious about a career as a librarian or archivist, and by working in Special Collections I have an opportunity to try out archival work and see if I enjoy it (spoiler alert: I do).

My job as an intern in Special Collections is to document, process, and arrange collections either purchased by or donated to the department. Processing involves documenting and researching the topics and historical context of the collection. After the initial documentation and research, I arrange the collection, which entails organizing the materials in a way that promotes understanding and accessibility. The arrangement is vitally important to the integrity of the collection; if related materials are separated from each other, it is harder to understand the context of the collection as a whole. Archivists are basically the gatekeepers of history, so it is imperative that they accurately represent the contents of a collection and provide any necessary context to encourage more thorough understanding.

So far, I have worked on The Camera Shop Records, Virginia Harriss Holland World War II Memorabilia, and H.J. Southwell Murder Correspondence. It’s been interesting reading about history that happened only a couple of blocks from where I currently live. Some were easy to research, like the H.J. Southwell Murder Correspondence, which had significant news coverage that spanned nationwide. The Camera Shop Records, however, was more difficult because most of the information about the owner could only be found in his obituary. I enjoyed both collections.

This work requires that the processer be detail-oriented and exercise critical thinking skills in their assessment of the collection. I had some exposure to these skills prior to beginning the internship, but I’ve never had an environment quite like this to test them. Since starting the internship, I have gained a better understanding of what it means to be detail-oriented towards something completely unfamiliar to you. Additionally, my analytical and critical thinking abilities have been tested in ways they previously never were. Normally, I analyze a text, and use critical thinking skills to extract meaning, and then scan for details to support my thoughts. Special Collections processing feels like the reverse. I have to pay attention to every detail so that when I’m thinking critically and analytically, I am able to piece together the fragments of history present in a collection.

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Posted: 12/04/2019 - 09:50

Throughout the course of the semester, I have had an amazing opportunity to research and handle various artifacts from Pre- Hispanic Mexican cultures. I worked with figures from Veracruz, Colima, and the Chupicuaro culture, as well as village scenes and hollow figures from Jalisco. I was able to gain hands on experience handling and critically evaluating artifacts for damage and unique characteristics. Then, I recorded my observations in the artifacts’ catalog records in PastPerfect, updating the description and condition fields of each record. This work provided me with a glimpse into the technicalities of keeping good museum records. I now have a deeper appreciation for the amount of work and time it takes to properly care for and store artifacts.

Along with observing the artifacts to enhance the catalog records, I completed research to supplement their cultural history. This information was used to create a digital exhibit with the tool, Esri Story Maps. I incorporated information from the accession records, catalog records, and information gathered through my research to provide an interactive visual for individuals to engage with.

 

                                               

                                                     https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/0d88b2c8d54546f3ab7644819ff8af43 

The digital exhibit includes images of each artifact and provides a descriptive overview of its background and possible uses.  A major challenged that I faced while creating the exhibit and gathering information was the lack of contextual information for many of the artifacts. These artifacts were donated years ago and their original context has been lost over time. This is crucial for ethnographic artifacts because modern day scholars identify their purpose and significance through provenance and location of discovery.

Overall, this invaluable experience taught me new skills involving museum curation and digital design. This internship allowed me to connect my passion for anthropology to my passion for Communication by providing a platform for other individuals passionate about the history of humanity to get involved.   

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Posted: 07/17/2019 - 09:37

The curtains are about to fall on my time here in the Special Collections department of Randall Library at UNCW. It feels like it wasn’t that long ago that I sent the email to Miss. Rebecca that asked if I could do an internship here for the summer. That was the email that would officially begin my road towards achieving my dream of becoming an archivist. I have spent almost two months in this department honing my budding skills and gathering the professional experience that I was sorely lacking. To reach the next level from part-time grocery clerk and graduate student to the Archival version of the Jedi Padawan. Those two months have been one of the greatest experiences in my entire graduate career. 

I was like the excited, energetic little kid that was walking through an amusement park. From the first collection I processed to the last, I was journeying through and learning about a multitude of different subjects and topics that range from the theatre to environmentalism to World War II and more. You get to learn a universal amount of topics, which is one of my favorite things about the archival field. It is one of the things that attracts me to the career. From different topics to careers/fields to an individual’s personal story, I could practically learn about a host of things that come together to create our world. A world that I could access at any time either from the comfort of my office desk or taking a short stroll to the archival storage area to pull out a collection box. Overall, becoming a resident of a realm where having a detail-oriented mindset, the endless thirst for knowledge, and an unwavering passion for a field that you worked so hard to be a part of is a goal that I am now more determined than ever to see come to fruition.

With these qualities that will help mold me into the archivist that I want to be, I processed three collections in total with a “go get them, wake up, get up, get out there” attitude. The very first collection that I got to work with and process was the Steve E. Cooper Collection, who is a resident playwright who mainly wrote scripts that focus on LGBT rights. This collection was made up of ten scripts in total, which includes the Lambda Series, Aladdin, Think of Me in January, etc. It was both a fun and exciting first collection to ease me into the world of archiving. 

The second collection that I got to process was a bit of a doozy, which put my attention-to-detail mindset to the test. It was the Lena Ritter Papers. She was an environmental activist who relentlessly worked hard to protect the coast of North Carolina, including Stump Sound and Permuda Island. I was meticulous in making sure that all of those newspaper clippings, letters, copies, etc. were where they were supposed to be. I’ll admit, there were times where I was becoming a bit paranoid in making sure that this collection was not only chronologically arranged, but also in making sure that it was virtually clean of rusty staples and paper clippings. I can definitely say with confidence that this is the collection that I learned the most about archival work from. 

Finally, the last collection that I processed was probably my favorite collection out of the three that I got to work with. It was the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company Collection, which is a collection that tells the story of a Wilmington shipyard that was built for the purpose of building naval war ships for World War II. Not only did it include a historical document that was written up in 1945, a map, and two printing plates, but it also includes a variety of photographs that are of the shipyard, as well. Among these photographs were photos of the different ships that the NCSC built, which includes the Zebulon B. Vance. This ship was not only the first ship to be launched from the shipyard, but was also christened by Alice Broughton, who was the wife of North Carolina Governor, Joseph Melville Broughton. I also got to put the skills to use I learned from obtaining my history degree by conducting a lot of research for the historical background notes for this collection, which was a lot of fun. It was like doing journalism work to uncover the truth.  The truth can’t hide for long when this future archivist is on the case!

All three of these collections come together to create that coveted professional experience that I have so desperately been looking for. An experience that has both enhanced and given skills that will prove to be valuable allies in my quest to acquire the Holy Grail that is an archiving career. Of these skills, the ones that I am the most happy to learn are the ability to work with different archival technologies and the ability to familiarize myself with different arrangements that are used to organize collections physically and logically. For the latter, what I mean by that is that there is a big difference between arranging collections physically for storage and arranging them in a digital setting that allows researchers to specifically find what they are looking for. I learned this from processing the Ritter Collection. I was struggling to grasp this at first, but after I took my time and exercised patience, I eventually understood this skill.

That was one of the challenges that I faced in this internship. Like everything else in life, there is no such thing as a completely smooth road. You will encounter a few speed bumps or potholes along the way, which is what I did. The biggest challenges that faced me in this internship were maintaining a “patience is a virtue” attitude and swallowing my pride to ask for assistance for what I perceived to be issues that I felt I should have been able to resolve myself. I have a perfectionist mindset, which means that everything I do in a job has to be absolutely perfect. There can be no room for mistakes. If I make even one slip up, no matter how big or small that slip up may be, then I criticize myself. To say that I have high expectations of myself would be an understatement.

The way I handled it is that I keep remembering the fact that I am only human. I am supposed to make mistakes, which help me become a better archivist. There are going to be instances where I am not going to know how to resolve every issue. There is no such thing as an individual who virtually knows everything. Therefore, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. When you ask somebody for help, you are also helping the researcher who is looking for information, as well. It hurts the researcher when you do not ask for assistance from your fellow archivists. Overall, I took it slow and got in the mindset to ask for help when I needed, which was how I overcame the challenges that came up during the internship.

These challenges did not put a damper on my perception of both this internship and libraries as a whole. Before I even began this internship, my initial perception was that the library is an information powerhouse that allows researchers to not only look for information in peace, but also to meet up with their fellow colleagues to exchange ideas. This internship not only bolstered that perception, but it has also changed it a little bit, as well. Now I perceive libraries as a community center where not only different departments can come together to exchange ideas, but also the entire town as a whole. There are almost no rooms in a library that are isolated in a back corner and hidden from the public. There were a couple of instances where I witnessed a few guests visit the Special Collections department to look through the vast treasure of collections that the department has. That further proves that both the Special Collections department and the library as a whole aim to continue fostering a strong relationship with the community that they reside in. It has made me want to be a part of that effort

Ultimately, I had a wonderful and enrichening experience here in the Special Collections department. I was finally able to put the knowledge that I have been gaining from my master’s program to practical use, which is one of the things that I am most happy about. I was able to create and build connections here that will last long after I leave. This will be an experience that will be a great resource for me to glean from as I eventually begin an archiving career of my own. It will also be an experience that I will never forget. I would like to thank both Miss. Rebecca Baugnon and Miss. Nicole Yatsonsky for taking me on as an intern in Special Collections. I also would like to thank everybody on campus, as well as the community of Wilmington, for showing me that awesome Seahawk hospitality. Thank you everybody and enjoy the rest of not just this summer, but the rest of the year, as well.

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Posted: 05/31/2019 - 00:00

Greetings and salutations. Please allow me this opportunity to introduce myself. My name is Gavin Nelson. I am an intern doing a summer internship here at UNCW as part of a course I am taking in my university’s master’s program. Before I began my adventure into the world of libraries, I went to Western Carolina University for four years. It was there that I got a Bachelors  of Science in History, as well as two minors in Japanese and Business Law. I chose history as my field  of specialty because I have always been fascinated with the past, which I believe can play a tremendous role in helping us forge a great future. It is also like reading through one big storybook that is filled with tales of adventure, excitement, and more.  Specifically, my favorite subjects of history include Asian history, European history, and Military history.

After I graduated from WCU, I decided that I want to use that degree to become a “gatekeeper of information,” as my dad put it. I felt a desire to work with a vast variety of data and information for the purpose of sharing wonderful and amazing stories with my community. Towards that end, I officially made the decision to open the door and step through into the world of library and information studies. I began my journey towards my destiny by entering a master’s program that is offered by the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Not only have I been in the program since 2018, but I also just finished my third semester of the program. I officially have only one more semester left before I graduate with a master’s degree in Library and Information Studies. It won’t be long before I can say the iconic line that Howard Wolowitz from Big Bang Theory said, which was “I have a master’s degree!” With that degree, I plan to go into the field of archiving, which is the dream career that I am diligently working towards.  This internship is going to help me get that coveted professional experience that will help achieve that dream.

Outside of my studies, I do have some favorite pastime activities that help me  relax and reenergize. My most favorite activities to partake in are playing video-games, watching crime documentaries and crime shows, and watching video-game let’s plays and streams on YouTube.  I think of them as a temporary escape from reality whenever I need to get rid of stress and unwind. 

For this internship, there are some goals, both personal and professional, that I would like to accomplish. The goals that I am aiming to accomplish are the following:

Professional Goals:

  1. Digitization. I would like to really learn about the process of digitizing archival materials and sharing them in the cyber realm. I strongly believe that technology is going to have a major impact on how archives are going to be run. I would like to get ahead of it and learn these technological skills now so that I won’t be playing catch-up later.
  2. Acquire professional experience working with archival materials.  I would like to get experience acquiring, processing, arranging, preserving, and sharing archival materials. It is actually one of the big reasons why I am doing this internship. Up until this point, I have yet to gain any library experience. This internship will be a tremendous help in accomplishing this goal.
  3. Explore the relationship that the archives department has with the rest of the academic community. I am thinking about working in an academic library, and I am interested in seeing for myself how the Special Collections department interacts with the academic community.

Personal Goals:

  1. Finally acquire some real library experience. As I previously mentioned, I have yet to accumulate any ounce of library experience. I recently tried to apply for a library job, but that didn’t go through. It was mainly because I wasn’t exposed to customer service, which involves working with my community. I was determined to do something about it. I decided to get a part-time job at my local grocery store, which involves interacting with the public on a daily basis.  That is the job that I currently have now, but it is not the dream job that I want to have. This internship will give me that much-needed experience that will help me land that dream job.
  2. Have fun! I personally believe that if you want to be successful at any job that you do, you have to have fun. You need to be happy! Joyful!  Enthusiastic! Have a “Boot-Scooting Boogie” attitude that makes others laugh and want to join in on the fun and excitement! At my current job, I always try to have fun and party like a wild, party animal! It is what makes my guest love me! It was how I earned the title of Employee of the Month. Overall, I am making it my mission to not only do my absolute best in this internship, but also to have big, bang, boogey woogey fun at the same time! Also, I am going to try to look good while doing it in my blue suede shoes!

All of the goals that I have listed are representatives of what I am hoping to gain from this awesome experience. I want to be exposed to the amusement park that is archives. I want to go on all of the gentle and thrill rides that make up the archival department. Afterwards, I want to share the awesome time that I have at this amusement park with everyone else. Personally, that is what I believe archives are all about.  Archivists acquire a wide variety of stories and experience them for themselves. Afterwards, they share this experience with their community and invite them to come experience these stories, as well.  That is what I would like to do when I eventually begin my future library career. That is what I am hoping to learn and experience through this internship. Each of the goals that I have listed will give me the tools that I need to get the most fun and experience out of the rollercoaster that will not just be this internship, but also my future library career as well.

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Posted: 09/16/2014 - 16:05

Lauren Love is an intern working in Special Collections


Recently, we’ve acquired the personal papers of Dr. Walter Conser, a professor of Religious Studies and History here at UNCW. Spanning his career to date, this collection includes materials related to the research of Dr. Conser’s various interests including the religion and history of the Southeast, Native American studies, nonviolence and civilian-based defense.

A collection of nonviolence pamphlets written by Gene Sharp

 

Within the personal papers of Dr. Conser are a collection of nonviolence pamphlets written by Gene Sharp. These along with a small assortment of vinyl records from the 1960s are part of a series of nonviolence related materials included in this collection.
 

Presently, the collection is being assessed and rehoused. By the end of the semester there will be a searchable Finding Aid for researchers to use on our website.
 

Many of the books Dr. Conser has worked on as a contributor, author, and/or editor can be found in the Randall Library General Collection.

 

 

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Posted: 07/31/2014 - 10:25

Lauren Love is an intern working in Special Collections


July 28th marked the 100th year since the start of WWI. Selected items from the war years held at the UNCW Randall Library Special Collections will be highlighted in this blog post. For information about additional collections and books relating to WWI please browse the Special Collections and UNCW Archives website.


Harmon C. Rorison Private Papers, 1903 - 1976
 

A banker in peace times, Harmon C. Rorison grew up in Wilmington and was a veteran of WWI, the Russian-Polish war, and WWII. This collection (MS 17) includes riveting correspondence sent home by Rorison while he was in the Kosciuszko Squadron fighting against the Bolshiviks. Below is a scanned image of a newspaper from the day WWI officially ended.

The Wilmington Dispatch - November 11, 1918 - Great War is Ended Today
                                                                  The Wilmington Dispatch Front Page - November 11, 1918


 

TAPS: Selected Poems of the Great War (1932) 

Compiled by Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. and Grantland Rice this work includes a small amount of illustrations by Captain John Thomason. Taps is part of our rare book collection and is in excellent condition. The poems within are written by mothers, lovers, soldiers and fathers; they shed light on the emotional state of the various peoples touched by WWI.

                                  

Front of TAPS by Roosevelt and Rice                   Dreamers

Soldiers are citizens of death's gray land,
     Drawing no dividend from time's to-morrows.
In the great hour of destiny they stand,
     Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.
Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win
     Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives.
Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
     They think of firelit homes, clean beds, and wives.

I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats
     And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,
Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats,
     And mocked by hopeless longing to regain
Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
     And going to the office in the train.
                                               

             
Siegfried Sassoon

 

 

                       No Man's LandIllustration by Captain John Thomason for No Man's Land

                    No Man's Land is an eerie sight                   
                    At early dawn in the pale gray light.
                    Never a house and never a hedge
                    In No Man's Land from edge to edge,

                    And never a living soul walks there
                    To taste the fresh of the morning air;-
                    Only some lumps of rotting clay,
                    That were friends or foemen yesterday.
                    What are the bounds of No Man's Land?
                    You can see them clearly on either hand,
                    A mount of rag-b ags gray in the sun,
                    Or a furrow of brown where the earthworks run

                    From the eastern hills to the western sea
                    Through field or forest o'er river and lea; 
                    No man may pass them, but aim you well
                    And Death rides across on the bullet or shell

                    But No Man's Land is a goblin sight
                    When Patrols crawl over at dead o'night;
                    Boche or British, Belgian or French,
                    You dice with Death when you cross the trench.
                    When the "rapid," like fireflies in the dark,
                    Flits down the parapet spark by spark,
                    And you drop for cover to keep your head
                   With your face on the breast of the four months' dead.

                   The man who ranges in No Man's Land
                   Is dogged by the shadows on either hand
                   When the star-shell's flare, as it bursts o'erhead,
                   Scares the gray rats that feed on the dead,
                   And the bursting bomb or the bayonet-snatch
                   May answer the click of your safety-catch,
                   For the lone patrol, with the life in his hand,
                   Is hunting for blood in No Man's Land.

                                     James H. Knight-Adkin


 

Sidney Gardner MacMillan Private Papers, 1918-1919

For any student or researcher interested in WWI, the correspondence of Sidney G. MacMillan are a worthy investigation. His letters detail the daily life of an American soldier during the last years of the war and are very detailed and beautifully written. Included in the collection are five postcards from France, two of which are shown below.

 

Côte-d'Or  -  Quemigny-sur-Seine  -  Cascade de la RocheCôte-d'Or  -  Pothières  -  Le Château


 

The Yellow Dog (1918) 

A  story of fiction filled with the rhetoric of war and patriotism, this book was written by Henry Irving Dodge and published in 1918. 

 

Dust jacket of The Yellow Dog by Henry Irving Dodge


 

Colored Soldiers by W. Irwin MacIntyre

A collection of first hand accounts from African American soldiers during the war written in the vernacular of those telling the stories. Some of the accounts are humorous while others shed light on what the war years were like for some of America's non-white population.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Sources can be accessed by visiting Randall Library Special Collections:
  • Dodge, Henry Irving. The Yellow Dog. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1918. Print.
  • Harmon C. Rorison Private Papers, 1903-1976. Special Collections and Archives, Randall Library, University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
  • MacIntyre, William Irwin. Colored Soldiers. Macon: The J.W. Burke Company, 1923. Print.
  • Roosevelt Jr., Theodore, and Grantland Rice. TAPS: Selected Poems of the Great War. New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company Inc., 1932. Print.
  • Sidney Gardner MacMillan Private Papers, 1918-1919. Special Collections and Archives, Randall Library, University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
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Posted: 07/31/2014 - 10:25

Lauren Love is an intern working in Special Collections


July 28th marked the 100th year since the start of WWI. Selected items from the war years held at the UNCW Randall Library Special Collections will be highlighted in this blog post. For information about additional collections and books relating to WWI please browse the Special Collections and UNCW Archives website.


Harmon C. Rorison Private Papers, 1903 - 1976
 

A banker in peace times, Harmon C. Rorison grew up in Wilmington and was a veteran of WWI, the Russian-Polish war, and WWII. This collection (MS 17) includes riveting correspondence sent home by Rorison while he was in the Kosciuszko Squadron fighting against the Bolshiviks. Below is a scanned image of a newspaper from the day WWI officially ended.

The Wilmington Dispatch - November 11, 1918 - Great War is Ended Today
                                                                  The Wilmington Dispatch Front Page - November 11, 1918


 

TAPS: Selected Poems of the Great War (1932) 

Compiled by Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. and Grantland Rice this work includes a small amount of illustrations by Captain John Thomason. Taps is part of our rare book collection and is in excellent condition. The poems within are written by mothers, lovers, soldiers and fathers; they shed light on the emotional state of the various peoples touched by WWI.

                                  

Front of TAPS by Roosevelt and Rice                   Dreamers

Soldiers are citizens of death's gray land,
     Drawing no dividend from time's to-morrows.
In the great hour of destiny they stand,
     Each with his feuds, and jealousies, and sorrows.
Soldiers are sworn to action; they must win
     Some flaming, fatal climax with their lives.
Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin
     They think of firelit homes, clean beds, and wives.

I see them in foul dug-outs, gnawed by rats
     And in the ruined trenches, lashed with rain,
Dreaming of things they did with balls and bats,
     And mocked by hopeless longing to regain
Bank-holidays, and picture shows, and spats,
     And going to the office in the train.
                                               

             
Siegfried Sassoon

 

 

                       No Man's LandIllustration by Captain John Thomason for No Man's Land

                    No Man's Land is an eerie sight                   
                    At early dawn in the pale gray light.
                    Never a house and never a hedge
                    In No Man's Land from edge to edge,

                    And never a living soul walks there
                    To taste the fresh of the morning air;-
                    Only some lumps of rotting clay,
                    That were friends or foemen yesterday.
                    What are the bounds of No Man's Land?
                    You can see them clearly on either hand,
                    A mount of rag-b ags gray in the sun,
                    Or a furrow of brown where the earthworks run

                    From the eastern hills to the western sea
                    Through field or forest o'er river and lea; 
                    No man may pass them, but aim you well
                    And Death rides across on the bullet or shell

                    But No Man's Land is a goblin sight
                    When Patrols crawl over at dead o'night;
                    Boche or British, Belgian or French,
                    You dice with Death when you cross the trench.
                    When the "rapid," like fireflies in the dark,
                    Flits down the parapet spark by spark,
                    And you drop for cover to keep your head
                   With your face on the breast of the four months' dead.

                   The man who ranges in No Man's Land
                   Is dogged by the shadows on either hand
                   When the star-shell's flare, as it bursts o'erhead,
                   Scares the gray rats that feed on the dead,
                   And the bursting bomb or the bayonet-snatch
                   May answer the click of your safety-catch,
                   For the lone patrol, with the life in his hand,
                   Is hunting for blood in No Man's Land.

                                     James H. Knight-Adkin


 

Sidney Gardner MacMillan Private Papers, 1918-1919

For any student or researcher interested in WWI, the correspondence of Sidney G. MacMillan are a worthy investigation. His letters detail the daily life of an American soldier during the last years of the war and are very detailed and beautifully written. Included in the collection are five postcards from France, two of which are shown below.

 

Côte-d'Or  -  Quemigny-sur-Seine  -  Cascade de la RocheCôte-d'Or  -  Pothières  -  Le Château


 

The Yellow Dog (1918) 

A  story of fiction filled with the rhetoric of war and patriotism, this book was written by Henry Irving Dodge and published in 1918. 

 

Dust jacket of The Yellow Dog by Henry Irving Dodge


 

Colored Soldiers by W. Irwin MacIntyre

A collection of first hand accounts from African American soldiers during the war written in the vernacular of those telling the stories. Some of the accounts are humorous while others shed light on what the war years were like for some of America's non-white population.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Sources can be accessed by visiting Randall Library Special Collections:
  • Dodge, Henry Irving. The Yellow Dog. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1918. Print.
  • Harmon C. Rorison Private Papers, 1903-1976. Special Collections and Archives, Randall Library, University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
  • MacIntyre, William Irwin. Colored Soldiers. Macon: The J.W. Burke Company, 1923. Print.
  • Roosevelt Jr., Theodore, and Grantland Rice. TAPS: Selected Poems of the Great War. New York: Doubleday, Doran & Company Inc., 1932. Print.
  • Sidney Gardner MacMillan Private Papers, 1918-1919. Special Collections and Archives, Randall Library, University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
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