Remembering Dr. Wade Hall (1934-2015)

It’s been difficult putting together this post commemorating Wade Hall’s life and meditating on his legacy. It’s not because there’s nothing to say; in fact, it’s just the opposite.

“When I began working at the Hoole Library in 2001,” wrote Archivist Donnelly Walton, “I immediately heard about our donor Wade Hall. His name is everywhere here because he generously gave us a little (or a lot) of everything you can imagine would be in a special collections library: photographs, sheet music, books, LPs, 8-tracks, wax cylinders, quilts, and manuscripts.”

Wherever you look at Hoole, Wade is there. So how do you write a memorial for someone who will never really be gone? We decided to share memories of the man and reflect on the way his collections are so fundamental to the life of W. S. Hoole Library.

Many thanks to those who contributed their thoughts, especially Amy Chen, former CLIR postdoctoral fellow, who has allowed me to quote from her forthcoming book, Miracle and Mystery: A Guide to the Wade Hall Collection.

You’ll notice that we tend to refer to Wade by his first name – probably because he was and always will be part of the Hoole family.

Continue reading

American WWI Veterans

Spines of five novels, left to right, largest to smallest: Through the Wheat (dark blue), On Man's Initiation (camel brown), Soldiers' Pay (white), Company K (black), A Farewell to Arms (orange)This Veterans Day, we look at a largely forgotten American war: World War I. It’s easy to overlook because our official participation was short and our losses paled in comparison to that of France, Germany, and Britain. However, thousands of Americans were involved in the war effort, both before and after our declaration, and some 116,000 lost their lives, many in the crucial final stages of the war.

Much of the way WWI has come into our cultural consciousness is through novels. Here are just a few of them we hold in our collections at Hoole Library, paired with similar archival resources.

Dos Passos, John. One Man’s Initiation — 1917. London, G. Allen & Unwin, 1920.

Cover shows embossed silhouette of an ambulance against a blue and orange sunset sky.

Ambulancing on the French Front, a 1918 account from Edward R. Coyle

Dos Passos went to war before America did, serving with the American Volunteer Motor Ambulance Corps in France and Italy, later in the U.S. Army Medical Corps. This novel was his first, after which he published the more famous Three Soldiers (1921), depicting the different war experiences of three very different men.

  • Hoole Library holds materials related to another American ambulance driver, Valentine J. Oldshue (MSS.1072): This collection contains newspaper articles about covering the peace negotiations in Paris after World War One, Memorial Day ceremonies at American cemeteries in the 1920s, letters, photographs, postcards from France and Albania, press credentials, and Oldshue’s dog tags. This collection is also online.

Boyd, Thomas. Through the Wheat. New York, Scribner’s, 1923.

Boyd was a journalist from Ohio. This novel draws on his own experiences serving in the Marine Corps in France.

  • Hoole Library holds papers relating to another soldier serving in France, George Waring Huston (MSS.0724): This collection contains correspondence, photographs, and other materials created by the Huston family in Selma, Dallas County, Alabama. Most materials center around George Waring Huston, who was killed in World War I. A large number of letters are from George Huston to his parents Nelle Smith Huston and R. Walter Huston while at Camp Gordon, Georgia. This collection is also online.

Faulkner, William. Soldiers’ Pay. New York: New American Library, 1968 [1926].

Cover of Soldiers' Pay, a 1929 novel by WIlliam Faulkner. Cover depicts a soldier wearing sunglasses, with a cross and smoke cloud in the background.Faulkner started his literary career with this novel about a returning veteran of the war. Though he trained as pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force (having been too short to join the U.S. Army), he never saw combat. Perhaps that’s why he felt the need to write a novel speaking for those who had.

  • Hoole Library holds the papers of another man frustrated by his inability to make it to the front, Paoli Ashe Smith (MSS.1294): This collection consists mainly of personal correspondence from Smith to his mother during World War I, letters received from several of his cousins, financial and legal papers, and photographs. This collection is also online.

Hemingway, Ernest. A Farewell to Arms. New York: Bantam, 1949 [1929].

Hemingway, like Dos Passos, was also an ambulance driver, working with the Red Cross in Italy. That experience, including his wounding during a mortar attack, served as the backbone of this novel, which itself would be transformed into the 1996 film In Love and War.

  • Hoole Library holds materials relating to the service of another Red Cross worker in Italy, Victor Hugo Friedman (MSS.0545): The collection contains Friedman’s personal and official correspondence, photographs of a camp in the Alps, his lieutenant’s commission, his Croce al Merito di Guerra and other military pins and ribbons, and various items issued to him by the military. Incoming correspondence is arranged alphabetically by author’s surname, and outgoing correspondence is arranged chronologically. This collection is also online.

March, William. Company K. New York: New American Library, 1958 [1933].

Cover of Company K, a 1933 novel by William March. Cover shows several soldiers in silhouette against a dark sky, with the title in orange taking up most of the page.March, born William Campbell, was a native of Mobile, Alabama. He served with honors in the Marine Corps, largely in France. Though he wrote many novels and short stories, among them The Bad Seed, this was his first and most enduring. It depicts the war from dozens of perspectives, from the patriotic to the pathetic.

  • Hoole Library holds some of March’s personal papers (MSS.0266): This collection consists of approximately 1100 items dating from from 1897 to 1980, including correspondence, literary productions (publications, manuscripts, notes, research), clippings (primarily reviews), criticism, photographs, memorabilia, and a bust of March.

Recent Acquisitions, Fall 2015

Here are some of our recent acquisitions, all with finding aids online.

Arthur Duncan papers (MSS.4153)

A copy of the first issue of The Open Post (v. 1, no. 1), the news organ of the 57th College Training Detachment of the Army Air Corps, based on the University of Alabama campus during World War II. Also included is a souvenir folder of the University in 1943.
Online finding aid

Thomas Wade Herren papers (MSS.4154)

Papers, correspondence, and photographs documenting the life and military career of Lieutenant General Thomas W. Herren of Dadeville, Alabama
Online finding aid

Stella Long postcard collection (MSS.4155)

Postcards to and from this Hamilton, Ontario, Canada native, as well as to and from her family and friends. There are also delegate and guest tickets to the Republican National Conventions of 1908 and 1916 held in Chicago, Illinois, and a travel brochure from Havana, Cuba.
Online finding aid

Mary Elizabeth Streit Preston papers (MSS.4156)

Typed account of one of the first Americans allowed to enter the U.S.S.R. in 1930, during the first “Five Year Plan.”
Online finding aid

Dall-Tardy letters (MSS.4157)

Letters from members of the Dall and Tardy families of Baltimore, Maryland, and Mobile, Alabama, written between 1840 and 1908.
Online finding aid

Michael Schwartz collection of Army of the Republic of Vietnam patches (MSS.4158)

Fifty-five military (airborne) patches from the Army of the Republic of Vietnam.
Online finding aid

A Little Bit Country, A Little Bit Rock ‘n’ Roll

When you collect Americana, you can’t help but end up with music — and books on music. In the case of Wade Hall, who focused his collecting on the South, that means a lot of country and western, jazz, blues, and rock ‘n’ roll.

Covers of autobiographies Coal Miner's Daughter and Lady Sings the BluesYou’re just as likely to find Loretta Lynn as Billie Holiday, both of whom featured in popular biopics in the ’70s and ’80s.

  • Holiday, Billie, and William Duffy. Lady Sings the Blues. New York: Lancer, 1972. Call Number: Wade Hall ML420.H58 A3 1972ax
  • Lynn, Loretta, and George Vecsey. Coal Miner’s Daughter. New York: Warner, 1980. Call Number: Wade Hall ML420.L947 A3 1980x

Looking for companion pieces? Try Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday at Newport, from the Wade Hall Sound Recording collection, LP 9652; or Coal Miner’s Daughter, from the Wade Hall Sound Recording collection, LP 12626.

Cover of Movin' on UpMusical biographies and autobiographies abound, like these on Mahalia Jackson, one by Jackson herself and another by someone else, written after her death.

  • Jackson, Mahalia, and Evan McLeod Wylie. Movin’ on Up. New York: Avon, 1969. Call Number: Wade Hall ML420.J17 A3 1969x
  • Goreau, Laurraine. Just Mahalia, Baby. Waco, TX: Word Books, 1975. Call Number: Wade Hall ML420.J17 G67

For a bit of Jackson’s music, try Mahalia! Sings the Gospel Right out of the Church, from the Wade Hall Sound Recordings collection, LP 120.

Early Jazz Greats, though mixed in with the books, is actually a set of trading cards. Each features an artist’s rendering and a short biography. (Call Number: Wade Hall ML87 .E37 1982x)

Louis Armstrong is featured in New Orleans to New York, a jazz album from the Wade Hall Sound Recordings collection, LP 12471.

Feel Like Going Home provides portraits, literal and figurative, of blues and rock ‘n’ roll pioneers. (Call Number: Wade Hall ML385.G95 1981)

For a blues record, give The Bessie Smith Story a try (Wade Hall Sound Recordings, LP 11894.)

Do you need a guide to what was hot in country music, circa 1993? (Country: The Essential CD Guide, Call Number: Wade Hall ML102.C7 H38 1993)

The Wade Hall Sound Recordings collection has CD’s, too, including Garth Brooks’s Double Live (CD 98) and Reba McEntire’s Rumor Has It (CD 64).

How about a pictorial history of the Mother Church of Country Music, up through the early 1960s? (Official WSM Grand Ole Opry History-Picture Book, Call Number: Wade Hall ML385.O4x v.2 no.2 1961)

All joking aside, the dated nature of some of these items is exactly why they’re good to collect: they capture a period in time that is receding from us, showcasing important figures that otherwise might disappear from the historical record.

They’re also just interesting, period. Honky-Tonk Heroes (Call Number: Wade Hall ML87 .R8 1975) presents portraits of major country stars in the 1970s. For example, it captures this moment with married superstars Tammy Wynette and George Jones — who were likely divorced by the time the book was published.

Image of Tammy Wynette and George Jones with small girl, 1975

The book covers a range of “honky tonk” stars, from Outlaws like Waylon Jennings to oddball Buck Owens, pioneer of the Bakersfield sound, to the inimitable Dolly Parton.

The book was named for an album by Loretta Lynn and frequent duet partner Conway Twitty. You can find their Honky Tonk Heroes in the Wade Hall Sound Recordings collection, LP 9647. If you prefer, look up George and Tammy’s duet album We Go Together, LP 12927.


The Bad, Bad Girls of Pulp Art

Not a lot of rare book collections boast as many paperbacks as we have. That’s mostly for good reasons — they’re not collectible editions, and they’re much more fragile than hardback volumes. But those collections don’t know what they’re missing. Paperback books can also tell the story of the culture that produced them, and it’s often a different story than their more built-to-last brethren.

Today, we’re going to take a look at the sexed-up art that began to invade paperbacks in the 1930s. Taking their cues from the covers of pulp magazines — those cheap vehicles of sensational mystery, horror, and sci-fi stories — they used dramatic descriptions and attention-grabbing images, often of scantily clad women, to sell novels in a variety of genres. These examples range from 1947 to 1961, the height of the pulp epidemic.

Click on any image below to see a larger version.

Mystery and Detective Fiction

Since a lot of mystery and hard-boiled detective fiction writers wrote for pulp magazines, and some of their novels actually began their lives as short stories in those publications, dangerous women make a really reasonable choice for cover art.

Chandler, Raymond. Pick-up on Noon Street. New York: Pocket Books, 1952. [First published as collection, including the title story, “Smart-Alec Kill,” “Guns at Cyrano,” and “Nevada Gas.”] Call number: PS3505.H3224 P5 1952.

Gardner, Erle Stanley. The Case of the Baited Hook. New York: Pocket Books, 1947. [First published 1940.] Call number: PS3513.A6322 C19 1947.

Cain, James M. Shameless. New York: Avon, 1951. [First published 1951, as The Root of His Evil.] Call number: PS3505.A3113 S4 1951x.


Stories of crime and suspense also made a natural partnership with pulp art.

Cohen, Octavus Roy. Love Has No Alibi. New York: Popular Library, 1948. [First published 1946.] Call number: PS3505.O2455 L6 1945b.

Deal, Borden. Killer in the House. New York: New American Library, 1957. Call number: PS3554.E13 K4.

Clayton, John Bell. Six Angels at My Back. New York: Popular Library, 1953. [First published 1952.] Call number: PS3553.L386 S59 1953.

Bad Girls

It’s not entirely clear what genre these books are, which apparently isn’t the point. The point is, they’re scandalous!

Glendinning, Richard. Too Fast We Live. New York, Popular Library 1954. Call number: PS3557.L445 T66 1954x.

Willingham, Calder. The Girl in the Dogwood Cabin. New York: New American Library, 1961. [First published 1955, as To Eat a Peach.] Call number: PS3573.I4565 G5 1956x.

Gwaltney, Francis Irby. The Whole Town Knew. New York: Popular Library, 1956. [First published 1954, as The Yeller-Headed Summer.] Call number: PS3557.W3 W4 1955x.

The Scandalous South

The South proved a very fertile ground for stories of passion and scandal.

Slaughter, Frank G. Storm Haven. New York: Permabooks, 1955. [First published 1953.] Call number: PS3537.L38 S7 1955x.

Basso, Hamilton. Sun in Capricorn. New York: Popular Library, 1961. [First published 1942.] Call number: PS3503.A8423 S96 1942x.

Caldwell, Erskine. God’s Little Acre. New York: New American Library, 1961. [First published 1933.] Call number: PS3505.A322 G6 1961x.

Southern Literature in Disguise

Literary fiction was not immune. Comparatively speaking, these covers are tame, but they still exaggerate the tone of these novels. The only one that deals with sex, Sanctuary, is less salacious than simply disturbing.

Warren, Robert Penn. At Heaven’s Gate. New York: New American Library, 1949. [First published 1943.] Call number: PS3545.A748 A8 1949bx.

Faulkner, William. Sanctuary. New York: New American Library, 1951. [First published 1931.] Call number: PS3511.A86 S3 1931bx. [synopsis]

O’Connor, Flannery. Wise Blood. New York: New American Library, 1953. [First published 1952.] Call number: PS3565.C57 W5 1953x.

Find Out More

All the books seen above can be found at Hoole Library (in Scout, limit by Location), specifically within the Wade Hall Collection. Dr. Hall’s interest in the South, coupled with his tendency to collect on the basis of popular culture as much as academic value, make his collection a treasure trove of paperbacks of all sorts and their often curious art. Most of the examples above come from the New American Library or Popular Library (in Scout, limit by Publisher).

If you’d like to know more about any of these authors, they have profiles in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, a database available to UA students, faculty, and staff via the Libraries website.

Dr. Wade Henry Hall, Jr. (1934-2015)

We’re sad to report the passing of our friend, Wade Hall, on Saturday.

Having grown up with so little, Wade made it his mission to give as much as possible to others. Though he was born and raised in Bullock County, Alabama, and would eventually return there, he also lived for over four decades in Kentucky, while he taught at Bellarmine University. He was a prolific scholar and writer, producing creative works as well as teasing out the rich history of Southern literature and culture, particularly from his home and adopted states. Of course, we know him best as a collector, one whose instinct for finding the value in the ordinary as well as in the extraordinary was unparalleled.

Not only was he a collector, but he was also a generous donor. We’ll have a tribute post here in the days to come, with a more complete account of his impact on UA Libraries Special Collections. For now, you can get a small sense of his legacy by looking at the dozens of blog posts that reference his collections. Sometimes, they stand out and draw the focus, but just as often these materials are simply part of the tapestry of our archive — an integral part, the warp that makes the weaving possible.

Indian Comic Books

Comic books have become a popular form of entertainment in India. While at first they had to content themselves with our western characters and publishers, more and more India has produced its own heroes and superheroes, such as Super Commando Dhruva, Parmanu, and Shaktimaan.

It has also seen the rise of comics featuring legendary Indian figures and stories. The Alan R. Maxwell Asian Book Fund, endowed by a former anthropology professor, has provided the resources for Hoole Library to acquire over 300 of these comics, most published by Amar Chitra Katha.

Many states or regions of India are represented, including Assam, Arunchal Pradesh, Bengal, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kashmir, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Tripura.

Here’s an overview of what you’ll find.


Cover of four Indian comic books: Banda Bahadur, The Adventures of Agad Datta, The Churning of the Ocean, and The Cowherd of Alawi

(left to right) Stories of Sikhism, Jainism, Hinduism, and Buddhism

Hindu and Buddhist figures predominate, although there are a few stories of Jain or Sikh origin. (Islam, a significant religious minority in India, is not represented because of its discomfort with or outright prohibition of the depiction of humans in art.)

Most Buddhist stories are Jataka tales, fables featuring the Buddha in animal (or sometimes human) form. Many of Hindu stories are about Krishna or other incarnations of Vishnu.


Covers from Indian comic books: The Golden Sand, Gopal and the Cowherd, The Secret of the Talking Bird

(left to right) Folktales of Nepal, Bengal, Karnataka

Folk tales from various regions and ethnic groups of India are represented, as well as stories from neighboring countries.

Two common types are animal fables and Birbal tales.

Indian comic book covers: The Tiger and the Woodpecker, Birbal the Clever

Animal fables and Birbal tales

Animal fables are often drawn from the Panchatantra, a collection of tales designed to communicate wisdom and lessons to three young princes.

Birbal was a historical figure, an advisor to 16th century Mogul emperor Akbar. He’s passed into oral folklore as a man who is constantly tested by his enemies or his emperor, but manages to use his wit and cleverness to prevail.


Much of the collection features adaptations from other sources. Most come from literature, from ancient epics like the Mahabharata and Ramayana to collections of tales like the Bhavishya and Bhagavata Puranas. Others come from scripture and philosophy like the Upanishads and Vedas.

Covers of Indian comic books: The Gita, Vikramaditya, Prince Jivaka, Raj Singh

(left to right) Adaptations of Bhagavad Gita, Bhavishya Purana, a Tamil epic, and a historical romance


Many historical figures have their stories told in these comics. They are often rulers or spiritual leaders, people whose lives are to be emulated or who had a great influence on Indian history.

Covers of Indian comic books: Soordas, Sambhaji, Adi Shankara

(left to right) A 15th c. poet and Hindu saint, a 17th c. ruler, an 8th c. Hindu philosopher

To find these comics in our catalog, select the Advanced Search tab. Enter Maxwell Asian and select all of these from the dropdown beside it. Below the search boxes, from the Location dropdown select Hoole Library.

The Year of Utopia

The College of Arts & Sciences is today kicking off a year-long event, the Year of Utopia. We wanted to get in on the action and showcase some volumes in Special Collections that help trace the literary history of the concept.

Let’s start with the work that coined the term, Thomas More’s Utopia (1516), translated from Latin into English in 1551. Utopia translates to “no place” (source), but it also carries a connotation of sound-alike eutopia, or, “good place.”

Utopia, Thomas More, title page

Rare Books Collection HX811 1516 E751

This volume is from exactly 200 years later. Much had changed in the country’s government and society — notably, the English Civil War had happened, the Commonwealth experiment come and gone — but the yearning for a better society was a constant.

In the wake of the Civil War, another meditation on the perfect society was published, James Harrington’s The Commonwealth of Oceana (1656).

Oceana, James Harrington, title page and facing page, with portrait of the author

Rare Books Collection HX811 1656 .B37

This volume is from 1737.

Though similar works to these were published over the course of the 18th and 19th centuries, the 1880s-1890s saw a boom in utopias and counter-utopias, perhaps reflecting the major upheavals in western society that came with industrialization.

In A Crystal Age (1887), by W. H. Hudson, a narrator falls and hits his head, awakening to a new world of vegetarians who have mostly suppressed their human bodily urges.

A Crystal Age, W. H. Hudson, front cover

Armed Services Collection AC1 .A7 G-196

This volume is a 1944 Armed Services edition, intended to be read by a serviceman or -woman.

A Crystal Age, W. H. Hudson, Armed Services Edition, back cover

I’d imagine WWII was the perfect time to dream of a utopia.

Edward Bellamy’s Looking Backward (1888) started a long literary conversation on the concept of the perfect socialist society.

Looking Backward, Edward Bellamy, title page

Rare Books Collection HX811 1887 .B213

In his novel, the protagonist falls asleep in the late 19th c. Boston and awakens 113 years later to find himself in a heavily industrial society.

The next year, William Morris, a socialist himself, published News from Nowhere, depicting a different sort of utopia, one more based on nature than machines.

News from Nowhere, WIlliam Morris, beginning of chapter one

Rare Books Collection HX811 1891 .M773

We usually refer to this model as a Pastoral Utopia.

Morris’s response was just one of many. Another was Looking Further Forward, by R. C. Michaelis, which sees Bellamy’s utopia end in violent revolution. In 1891, in response Michaelis’s work, Ludwig Geissler published Looking Beyond.

Looking Beyond, Ludwig Geissler, front cover

Rare Books Collection HX811 1891 .G4x

This work took up where Bellamy left off by retconning the plot of Michaelis’s sequel, treating it as a bad dream or hallucination of the original protagonist.

Looking Beyond, Ludwig Geissler, last page of preface

For a full account of the responses and counter-responses, see this article on Wikipedia.

In 1894, William Dean Howells returned the genre to its satirical roots in A Traveler from Altruria. Like More, Howells derives his fictional society’s name from a particular term, altruism, which means “unselfish regard for or devotion to the welfare of others” (source).

A Traveler from Altruria, William Dean Howells, front cover

Crowley Collection PS2025 .T7 1894

In this novel, modern Americans interact with Mr. Homos, from the utopian society of Altruria, and find their society wanting. The work was a comment on Gilded Age capitalism.

Utopian fiction has a long history. The University Libraries hold many of these works, as well as secondary sources that discuss them. In Scout, search by the subject utopias to find both.

Recent Acquisitions, Spring-Summer 2015

What’s been going on since Amy Chen said goodbye? For one, you have two new blog managers: Chris Sawula and Kate Matheny.

Chris is Director of Research & Academic Programs for the A. S. Williams III Americana Collection. Among other things, he’s in charge of outreach and instruction for the Williams Collection, located at Gorgas Library on the 3rd floor. Kate is Reference Services & Outreach Coordinator for Special Collections. She’s holding down Amy’s old fort at Hoole Library.

While both of us are new to our positions, we’re not new to UA Libraries or to the collections we’re working with. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions about these collections or to schedule instruction sessions.

Thing number two: We have some really cool recent acquisitions we’d like to share! All of these are housed at Hoole. Stay tuned for similar updates from the Williams Collection.

Thelma O’Brien photographs and letter (MSS.4144)

The collection contains photographs, snapshots, and one letter from the estate of Thelma O’Brien of Boston, Massachusetts.  Many of the photographs and snapshots are identified and include her family members.  One of the snapshots is of Ms. O’Brien with two other women, one of whom she identifies as her lip reading teacher.  The letter is from the assistant principal at the Horace Mann School for the Deaf recomending that Ms. O’Brien think about applying for a position at the John Tracy Clinic in Los Angeles, California.
Online finding aid

Thomas Harvey (T. H.) Houston papers (MSS.4145)

Collection of photographs and papers of this Alabama Methodist clergyman. Thomas Harvey Houston (1895-1967) served as pastor of serval churches across Alabama, including: Saint Paul Church in Montgomery; Sweet Home in Gadsden; Brownsville in Birmingham; and Lakeside in Huntsville.
Online finding aid

Different bands of Comanches and their probable location and population: manuscript (MSS.4147)

The collection contains the nine page manuscript by Lieutenant J. S. Stewart (CSA), describing the various bands of Comanches, indicating the tribe numbers and probable locations in Arkansas and Texas. The document most likely was written with a view to recruiting the Indians to the Confederate cause.
Online finding aid

Chauncey Leonard letter (MSS.4148)

The collection contains a letter from Chauncey Leonard, an African American U. S. Army chaplain during the Civil War, to the father of one of the soldiers at the hospital in Alexandria, Virginia.
Online finding aid

Five certificates attesting to the service of African American sailors during the Civil War (MSS.4149)

The collection contains affidavits which confirm the service of African American sailors during the Civil War.  In them, white citizens of Massachusetts in good standing, swore under oath that the black person named in the document served aboard the U.S. ship listed in the capacity stated.
Online finding aid

Robert Court Fletcher World War I correspondence and dog tags (MSS.4151)

The collection contains sixteen postcards and letters from Robert C. Fletcher of Birmingham, Alabama, to his sister Fay. Fletcher’s dog tags are also included.
Online finding aid

Melton’s Bluff receipts (MSS.4150)

The collection contains six receipts concerning Andrew Jackson’s farm, Melton’s Bluff, on the Tennessee River in Alabama.
Online finding aid 

Page Windham constable appointment document (MSS.4152)

The collection contains an 1818 document signed by Alabama territorial governor William W. Bibb appointing Page Windham a constable for Monroe County.
Online finding aid

Goodbye from Amy Chen, second editor of Cool@Hoole

By: Amy Chen, CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow

Dear Readers,

IMG_2606As it is the end of my postdoctoral fellowship, I’ve accepted an offer to become a Special Collections Librarian in charge of the instruction program at the University of Iowa, my alma mater, beginning in June 2015. I’ve very much appreciated my time at the University of Alabama Division of Special Collections. I could not be more thankful for my time with my colleagues in the W.S. Hoole Library and the A.S. Williams III Americana Collection, the faculty and students I’ve worked with during my time at UA, and the community members I’ve met while living in Tuscaloosa.

Cool@Hoole was a tradition at the Capstone before I came to UA. The first iteration of Cool@Hoole came under the editorship of its founder, Jessica Lacher-Feldman, currently the head of the Department of Special Collections at Louisiana State University. Lacher-Feldman ran the blog between October 2007 and March 2013.

Serving as the second editor of Cool@Hoole has been an honor. During the time I’ve run Cool@Hoole, between October 2013 and May 2014, the blog posted 140 entries by 49 contributors, including 11 undergraduate and 11 graduate students, 15 librarians, 6 faculty members, and 6 community members from both within and outside of the Tuscaloosa area. Ellie Campbell and Ashley Bond, my graduate assistants from the School of Library and Information Studies (SLIS), assisted with this output.

Among the topics Cool@Hoole discussed was the pedagogy inspired by the Division’s holdings. During the past two years, we’ve chatted with professors Jessica Kidd, Lauren Cardon, Stacy Morgan, and Brooke ChampagneRachel Deale, Melissa Young, and Lindsay Smith, three doctoral students from the history department, shared what it was like to be the first graduate student curators on the Division of Special Collection’s newly-launched public history initiative that provides curation experiences for burgeoning subject specialists.

As exhibitions are a venue to promote UA’s unique and rare materials, Cool@Hoole also covered the shows mounted during this period. Topics for our exhibitions included of strengths in Southern photography, World War I, and Confederate print culture and sheet music.

While exhibitions cover significant subject areas found in our Special Collections, Cool@Hoole also provided overviews of particularly significant items and collections. We posted descriptions of Enoch Arden‘s fore-edge painting, a map of Tuscaloosa when the city was still called Newtown, and even what we found in between the pages of the South’s first anthology dedicated to women’s writing and our early modern manuscript! Plus, we gave an inside scoop to the items our staff members count among their favorites.

But what makes special collections great is not just our materials; our Division is made up of the people who bring their expertise to Williams and Hoole every day to help students and researchers. We’ve interviewed six SLIS graduate students who worked at either Williams or Hoole — Alex Goolsby, Ashley Bond, Ellie Campbell, Haley AaronKatie Howard, Mary Haney — and provided features by many of the permanent staff who work in the Division, including Associate Dean Mary Bess Paluzzi, rare book cataloger Allyson Holliday, archivist Martha Bace, archivist April Burnett, postdoctoral fellows Chris Sawula and Christa Vogelius, archival coordinator Donnelly Walton, institutional records analyst and reference librarian Kevin Ray, Williams curator Nancy DuPree, archival technician Patrick Adcock, and former institutional records analyst Tom Land. We also remembered Joyce Lamont, our founding mother. Together, we have you covered, whether you want to book a class, trace your ancestrycreate a digital humanities project, or learn how to curate an exhibition.

I leave my best wishes to my successor, who will continue the tradition set by Jessica Lacher-Feldman. Please keep reading to learn more about the courses, exhibitions, holdings, and people of the University of Alabama’s Division of Special Collections. I know I’ll be sure to keep visiting too to hear what’s coming up next!


Amy Hildreth Chen