The Kindred of the Wild

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The Kindred of the Wild (1902)

By: Tina Colvin, PhD candidate in English at Emory University

In 1902, the “father of Canadian literature,” Charles G.D. Roberts, published his book-length collection of wild animal stories, The Kindred of the Wild: A Book of Animal Life. Roberts’s collection emerged at a time when the readership for stories about the lives, deaths, and struggles of wild animals had blossomed, and the popular success of The Kindred of the Wild cemented Roberts’s status as one of the most prominent authors of the period. In keeping with the genre of the animal story, Roberts’s collection depicts animals such as rabbits, eagles, moose, wolves, foxes, and owls as they evade predators, stalk prey, protect their young, play in the snow, and try to avoid the guns, snares, nets, and other dangers posed by humans. The Richard Minsky Collection holds the first edition of the book, one of the versions that also contains illustrations by Charles Livingston Bull who provided dramatic portraits of the wildlife described by Roberts’s prose.

According to Roberts’s appraisal of modern wild animal stories, his own Kindred of the Wild does not suffer from several major mistakes committed by other writers of animal tales. As Roberts explains in his introduction to Kindred, the modern animal story is uniquely engaged with the then-emergent realization that animals possess diverse mental functions, behaviors, and importantly, emotions. The writers who take up this unmapped terrain of animal psychology, Roberts explains, “may be regarded as explorers of this unknown world, absorbed in charting its topography.” Despite their pathbreaking efforts, however, writers of animal stories risk humanizing the animals whose inner lives they endeavor to capture: for instance, Roberts cites Marshall Saunders’s Beautiful Joe and Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty as guilty of creating an overly humanized, and by extension overly sentimentalized, representation of animal existence.

To avoid turning his own animals into humans-in-disguise, Roberts’s stories focus on how animals survive or perish in the face of everyday encounters with their environment, humans, and other animals. In Kindred, an orphaned fawn falls prey to a hungry wildcat, a goose travels across lakes and sky in search of a mate, and a wolf dies in the snow, “kicking dumbly,” from a hunter’s bullet in his neck. Despite Roberts’s attempt to offer “realistic” portrayals of animal life, however, traces of the very humanization he disavows creep into his characterizations of animals. A kingly eagle “takes tribute” from a lesser raptor, and a lynx glares with “exultant pride” after killing a mink. More than humanization alone, too, Roberts projects his own values onto animals: he consistently depicts all his most triumphant, daring, and praiseworthy animals as male, thereby betraying his gender bias and patriarchal thinking.

Keeping these issues in mind, what can Roberts’s work teach us about our relationship with wild animals over 100 years after the publication of this first edition? Despite its flaws, Roberts’s collection reveals that depicting animals in all their nonhuman complexity present an ongoing challenge to those humans who venture to write stories about them. Even more importantly, Roberts’s stories endeavor to show that animals are far from simple, machine-like creatures who act according to an invariable, fixed set of behaviors. Instead, Roberts insists that animals have a diversity of personality and emotion. His tales provided an important precursor to contemporary studies of animal behavior that increasingly confirm many animals’ capacity for not only complex responses to problems, but also a wide range of emotions including grief, joy, and empathy. Ultimately, Roberts’s The Kindred of the Wild and the work of several other writers of wild animal stories marked a growing shift in popular attitudes toward animals, a shift from viewing them as passive automatons to recognizing their varied needs and desires as worthy of human attention.

Miniature Books

By: Amy Chen, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow

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A miniature book from Israel. The book is curled up inside the earthenware jar!

Please see Cool@Hoole’s previous post on the Kate Webb Memorial Miniature Book exhibition.

The history of miniature books is both long and international. Scholars date the appearance of the duodecimo (small size) book to the beginning in the fourteenth century, although miniature books originate with the use of clay tablets by Babylonians around 1750 BC. As early as 900 AD, the Japanese created tiny wood block prints on scrolls. Peter Schoffer, Johann Gutenberg’s protégé, assembled the first miniature book using movable type in Germany in 1468. William Secker published the first American miniature book, A Wedding Ring, in 1690.

However, miniature books did not become widespread until the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Napoleon, a collector and reader of miniature books, helped contribute to the rise of the art form in continental Europe. In the United States, settlers moving westward chose to convert Bibles, hymnals, almanacs, and other reference volumes into tiny editions to make them more portable for their journey.

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Somesuch Press miniature books

By the twentieth century, tourists bought miniature books as keepsakes. Visitors to the 1904 Chicago World’s Fair purchased miniature books encapsulated in walnut shells as souvenirs. Queen Mary commissioned a doll’s house in 1920 on behalf of the people of the United Kingdom. To fill the doll house’s library, 200 miniature books with blank pages were mailed to the most prominent writers of the era. Now, Queen Mary’s doll’s house is a popular attraction within Windsor Castle.

The majority of contemporary miniature books are printed as artists’ books. Artists’ books are created to be works of art and are generally hand-made in limited editions. Miniature artists’ books may resemble conventional books, but they also can be made into fold-up or pop-up styles to surprise and delight readers.

Miniature Book exhibitions on display in Gorgas

By: Amy Chen, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow

Kate Ragsdale

Kate Ragsdale

This April and May, two miniature book exhibitions will be on display simultaneously in the Pearce Lobby of the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library: the Kate Webb Ragsdale Memorial Miniature Book Collection and the Miniature Book Society’s traveling exhibition.

The Kate W. Ragsdale Memorial Miniature Book Collection contains a diverse selection of ninety-six items representing the diminutive art form. Placed in chronological order, the collection spans nearly 230 years, beginning with The Bible in miniature: or a Concise History of the Old & New Testament (1780) and ending on Sidney E. Berger’s Wine by a nose at the finish (2008). A wide variety of American presses, including Somesuch Press from Dallas, Texas and Sunflower Press from Mill Valley, California, represent the art of miniature book during the late twentieth century. However, the Kate W. Ragsdale Memorial Miniature Book Collection does not just contain American books; it also includes an assortment of volumes from Europe, eleven books of which are written in Hungarian. A series of miniature editions of Shakespeare and a number of British and American almanacs from the early twentieth century are additional emphasis areas within the collection.
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Mose T

By: Ellie Campbell, JD and University of Alabama MLIS student

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Mose T painting, currently decorating Hoole’s graduate study work room

Mose Tolliver was a renowned folk artist from Montgomery, Alabama. “Mose T,” as his signature read, was most famous for his paintings of figures on scrap wood, generally on themes including people, animals, and plants. He first gained national attention when he was featured in the groundbreaking exhibition Black Folk Art in America: 1930-1980 at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. His paintings are now held in major museums around the U.S., including the Modern Museum of Art in New York, the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, and the National Museum of American Art in Washington, D.C.

Mose T was born outside of Montgomery, Alabama, in the Pike Road area, circa 1915. The youngest of twelve children, his sharecropping family moved around central Alabama several times during his youth. Tolliver held a number of odd jobs throughout his life, including working as a carpenter, handyman, plumber, house painter, and gardener. He married his wife, Willie Mae Tolliver, in the 1940s. She later helped manage his painting career, and they were married for almost fifty years until her death in 1991. Tolliver was injured in the 1960s while working at the McLendon Furniture Company in Montgomery; a case of marble fell on his left leg, and he used crutches or a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Tolliver had painted before the accident, so several of his friends and family encouraged his hobby afterwards in order to combat his depression over his injuries. He began hanging his art in his front yard and selling it to passersby. By the late 1970s, Tolliver had gained notice from art dealers, galleries, and the Montgomery Museum of Fine Art. The museum hosted a one-man exhibition of his work in 1981, and his work was featured in another exhibit in Philadelphia that year as well. Due to this exposure, he was included in the Corcoran Gallery’s exhibit in 1982, which drew worldwide attention to African-American folk artists. Tolliver remained a key figure in African-American folk art circles until his death in 2006.

Mose T signature

Mose T’s signature

Tolliver’s earlier works were more varied than the work he produced after the Corcoran Gallery exhibit. He always used house paint, and early paintings might have been on many different sizes and types of material, from wood to metal to cardboard. His later paintings were usually on uniformly cut plywood. His subjects often included animals, plants, and people; he often painted his wife or other family members. Some of his most famous paintings are erotic depictions of women like his Moose Lady or Tiger Lady series. After his trip to D.C., he sometimes painted his interpretation of iconic American figures like George Washington, and occasionally drew inspiration from images in magazines or newspapers. In later years his family assisted with his paintings, cutting boards and preparing backgrounds; some of his children have become artists as well. Hoole Special Collection’s Mose T painting is an excellent example of his paintings, featuring a human figure made up of an oversized head and legs on plywood. On the bottom right corner, you can see his name with the signature backwards “s.”

Futher reading:

Robert Andrew Dunn. “Mose Tolliver.” Encyclopedia of Alabama. May 22, 2008. Revised August 13, 2013.

Robert Ely. Mose T’s Slapout Family Album. Montgomery, AL: Black Belt Press, 1996. Hoole Library Alabama Collection ND237.T576 A4 1996

Anton Haardt. Mose T A to Z: The Folk Art of Mose Tolliver. Montgomery, AL: Saturno Press, 2007. Hoole Library Wade Hall Collection ND237.T576 H33 2006

Interview with Kevin Ray, Archival Technician

By: Kevin Ray, Archival Technician

Hello! Thank you for agreeing to talk to us about your role at in the Division of Special Collections. First off, can you tell us a bit about your position?

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Kevin Ray

My current title is Archival Technician, but I do several different jobs. I moved into this position in May, 2013.

Initially, I was going to be processing manuscript collections, but things have changed over the past year. When Jessica Lacher-Feldman left last June to become the Director of the Louisiana State University’s Special Collections, I began handling reference for our Special Collections. This includes all outside reference requests whether by email, telephone, or snail mail. I also spend several hours each week working the reference desks in the Hoole Library and in the Williams Collection in Gorgas. Reference desk time is split among most of the staff in Special Collections, and some of us work in both Williams and Hoole.  I make the schedule each week. I also handle requests for permission to publish.

Now that Tom Land is retiring, I have added building representative to my list of duties, and I’m getting involved in university archives again. I also manage statistics for Special Collections.

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Interview with Tom Land, Institutional Records Analyst

Tom Land, the Institutional Records Analyst in the Division of Special Collections, is retiring at the end of this month after over twenty years of service. This interview is between Amy Chen, the editor of Cool@Hoole, and Tom Land. 

First off, congratulations on your upcoming retirement!

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Tom Land

Thanks, I can’t believe it’s finally here.  I was a young punk and the other staff members were at least in their 40s when I first started working here.  At some point, I don’t remember when, I became the old guy with the institutional memory.  I can now pass the mantle of “Old Man of Special Collections” to Kevin Ray.

Would you mind telling us when you first started working in the Division of Special Collections and what originally got you interested in the field of rare books, manuscripts, and university archives?

I guess, in a way, I kind of stumbled into Special Collections.  I had worked as a student in the History Department for two years and then in Gorgas Library for another two years.  A professor I worked for in the History Department, Russell Bryant, asked if I would be interested in a job in Special Collections.  I had met the Curator of Special Collections, Joyce Lamont, while working at Gorgas and I heard she was a great department head.  I also loved history and the University, so I applied for the records clerk job.  Dr. Bryant gave me a recommendation and Joyce hired me in September of 1986.

How has the Division of Special Collections at The University of Alabama changed over the years?

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Tom Land helps pack items from Wade Hall

Typewriters.  When I started working in Special Collections we used typewriters, we barely even knew what PC (personal computer) meant.  By 1988 I grew tired of the typewriters and decided to use a computer database (yes, it was the Atari Trimbase) to produce finding aids and to track records checked-out in University Archives.  Our Archival Technician, Joe Moudry, helped me get started.  We were really cutting edge.  I say that with some sarcasm, but all the data I entered back then on the Atari has been migrated to other systems over years and we still use that information today.

The other big change is our facilities.  The University Archives were stored in the Gorgas attic and the temporary records were stored in four attics around campus.  We now have clean, climate-controlled facilities for both archives and records management.  Having worked closely on a daily basis with a wide variety of bugs in the dust of the attics for the first half of my career, I really appreciated being able to work in facilities that were built to house a library or an archive.

What is your present role in the Division of Special Collections?

My title is Institutional Records Analyst.  I work with University offices and departments to identify, preserve, and provide access for their archival records.  Additionally, I work with the storage of and eventual destruction of their temporary records.

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Tuscaloosa Area Virtual Museum

By: Elizabeth Bradt and Betty Slowe, Tuscaloosa Area Virtual Museum volunteers

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James Sidney Tarwater

If you can’t get enough of the Tuscaloosa area historic photos and documents, try visiting the Tuscaloosa Area Virtual Museum.

For example, if you are interested in the Bryce Hospital campus now that it has been purchased by the University of Alabama, you may have found the book, The Alabama State Hospitals and the Partlow State School and Hospital: A Brief History by James Sidney Tarwater (RC445.A2 T89) in Hoole under both the Rucker Agee and the Alabama collection.  In the Tuscaloosa Area Virtual Library, you can find a photograph and biographical information about Tarwater.

The Tuscaloosa Area Virtual Museum (TAVM) is an online archive of historic photos and documents of Tuscaloosa and the surrounding area. The photos come from a variety of sources creating a valuable resource for history lovers and students to access for free. The Tuscaloosa News, the Tuscaloosa County Preservation Society, the Heritage Commission, the city of Tuscaloosa, the Paul W. Bryant Museum, Friends of Historic Northport, Stillman College, and private collectors all contribute photos and documents to TAVM for educational purposes.

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Tuscaloosa Preservation Society members in April 2013. Courtesy of TPS. From left to right, top to bottom: David Nelson, John Paluzzi, Charles Hilburn, Cal Wilson, Mary Bess Paluzzi (Associate Dean of UA’s Special Collections), Camille Elebash, Bee Cooper, and Sandra Dockery.

The museum is purely digital, existing only on the internet. The staff is all-volunteer; many are librarians or archivists, some are business people and collectors, but all have an interest in the history of the area and a desire to make it easily available to those who want to learn about it. The project was started with the help of Dr. Steven MacCall from The University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies. MacCall used the project in a metadata class, with students selecting and exploring the software that was ultimately used. MacCall also provided interns to help scan and catalog a large number of photos at The Tuscaloosa News.

TAVM does not retain hard copies of the photographs or documents. The originals are scanned, researched, cataloged and saved to the website. Originals go back to the owner or, if the owner does not want them, they are given to a local historical agency for preservation.

Though still in its infancy, TAVM has over 1100 photos and documents, some accompanied by audio. The staff has begun developing lesson plans for middle school students. Finding answers in TAVM to ten questions about the history of Tuscaloosa allows students to develop search strategies for online research while learning interesting facts about their hometown and seeing life as it was in the past.

If you find you are interested in the history of the area and have a few hours to work, consider donating your time and talents to the museum. Reach Jennie Claybrook at 205-348-5820 for information on how you can help.

Remembering Joyce Lamont, Part III

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Joyce Haguewood Lamont

Joyce Haguewood Lamont passed away on February 22, 2014. Widely recognized for her work in historical preservation and her expertise on the history of the American South, Lamont excelled in her ability to promote the profession of librarianship. She became a valuable resource to scholars, teachers, students, and community members throughout Alabama during her nearly forty years of service at the Capstone.

Read words from her colleagues who are now working at different institutions in the first post dedicated to her legacy. Then follow along to learn about Kevin Ray’s memories of her service on behalf of the University. More memories from her colleagues who remain working for the Division of Special Collections at The University of Alabama conclude our commemoration.

Martha Bace

I didn’t know Joyce all that well as I believe she retired before I came to UA in 2002 and I don’t believe I ever met her until I came to Hoole in October 2007.  I recall the few times I did meet her and got to talk with her, I was always amazed by her voice.  For someone who generally spoke in the higher register, her voice had a surprising depth of character.  I was always entranced – not only with what she was saying, but how she said it.

She was always dressed to the nines.  I never saw her without lipstick or mascara… and oh, how her eyes always sparkled.  And she had a smile that could light up Tuscaloosa.  She was gracious, thoughtful, and oh so knowledgeable.  I know that she will be missed by so many.

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Remembering Joyce Lamont, Part II

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Doug Jones and Joyce Haguewood Lamont with bust of William March (1985)

Joyce Haguewood Lamont passed away on February 22, 2014. Read about her career and the words of her colleagues who have now moved on to roles at different institutions in the first post dedicated to her memory. Statements from more of her colleagues at The University of Alabama will conclude our third day of commemoration tomorrow.

Kevin Ray

The University of Alabama Libraries lost a very special lady on February 22, 2014.  Joyce Haguewood Lamont, Assistant Dean for Special Collections, Emerita, passed away after a battle with cancer. Joyce was born in Choctaw County, Alabama, in 1932, and grew up in Tuscaloosa.  A 1954 graduate of The University of Alabama, she began working in the library after graduation, first in the Business Library, and later in the acquisitions department in the Gorgas Library. Joyce became Curator of Special Collections in 1976. She retired in 1994.

I first met Joyce in 1990, when I transferred to The University of Alabama as an undergraduate history major. That fall semester I began working in Special Collections as a work-study student.  When I graduated in 1993, Joyce hired me as a full-time staff member.  After her retirement the following year, we remained in contact.  For many of us who worked for her, Joyce was far more than a boss or a department head. She was friend and a trusted adviser.
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Remembering Joyce Lamont, Part I

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Joyce Haguewood Lamont looking at journals, 1977

Joyce Haguewood Lamont passed away on February 22, 2014. Widely recognized for her work in historical preservation and her expertise on the history of the American South, Lamont excelled in her ability to promote the significance of the profession of librarianship. She became a valuable resource to scholars, teachers, students, and community members throughout Alabama during her nearly forty years of service at the Capstone.

Lamont, a University of Alabama alumni from Bellamy, Alabama, began as a librarian in the Commerce Library in 1955. She then worked as a bibliographer in Acquisitions in the Amelia Gayle Gorgas Library. In 1975, Lamont became the first curator of the W.S. Hoole Library, eventually accepting the role of Assistant Dean of Libraries for Special Collections and Preservation. During her time in Special Collections, Lamont also taught in the School of Library and Information Studies, where she helped to found the Records Management and Archival Program in SLIS. Lamont retired in 1994. In 2003, the University of Alabama Board of Trustees created the Joyce Haguewood and William Edward Lamont Endowed Library Fund out of donations given by the Lamonts’ friends, colleagues, and relatives.

Joyce Lamont was also a loving wife to her husband, William Edward Lamont, mother to daughter Laura Pennington “Penny” Lamont McAllister, and grandmother to Laura Katherine McAllister and Mary-Keeley McAllister. Both Lamont’s husband and daughter predeceased her.

Lamont’s former colleagues from the Division of Special Collections wish to honor her role as the founding mother of the W.S. Hoole Library. First, we will hear from her colleagues who have left Tuscaloosa, yet who still wish to remember her extraordinary legacy.

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