WWI Poster Art

Hoole Library is home to over 100 World War I posters — large and occasionally fragile, but still in beautiful color.

You can take a look at full-size facsimiles of some of them at Gorgas Library, as part of our exhibit For Home and Country: America’s Entry into the War to End All Wars.

You can now also find them online!

While there were undoubtedly more posters made for World War II, due to our longer and deeper involvement in that conflict, posters from the first “Great War” provide just as interesting a glimpse of the politics of the day, not to mention the art styles! According to the Library of Congress, “During World War I, the impact of the poster as a means of communication was greater than at any other time during history. The ability of posters to inspire, inform, and persuade combined with vibrant design trends in many of the participating countries to produce thousands of interesting visual works” (source).

Processing our posters was time-consuming. Most had long sides from 30-40 inches, some up to 60 inches, so they required two people to safely manipulate or move. We had to temporarily colonize a couple of large tables to use as work surfaces and order several custom boxes for archival storage. The posters then had to be arranged into series.

The desire to limit future handling — by us and by researchers — made digitization imperative. The digitization process, however, was also complicated by the posters’ size. The smaller ones could be captured with the mounted digital cameras we use in our regular digitization workflow, but the larger items had to be captured using a large scanner, work we had to outsource.

The results were worth the time and effort, though. Check out this sampling:

This poster for the Navy features of the work of illustrator James Montgomery Flagg, famous for his Uncle Sam “I Want YOU” poster, used in both WWI and WWII.

This poster by Belgium-born artist J. Paul Verrees was for the earliest version of the Air Force.

This poster for the U.S. Food Administration, illustrated by L. N. Britton, advises Americans about how to ration their diets.

This poster advertised the second of four Liberty Loans, beginning in October 1917; it would raise $3.8 million.

This poster for the Red Cross was designed by commercial artist William Henry “Haskell” Coffin.

This poster for the YMCA, by artist Gil Spear, promoted of the United War Work Campaign, a large, multi-organization effort to fund entertainment for soldiers.

This poster for the American Library Association features of the work of illustrator Charles Buckles Falls, showing his Art Nouveau influences.

If you’re looking for more ways to learn about WWI, there are other local exhibits to check out:

Native American History Resources

The Division of Special Collections has some interesting resources related to the culture and history of local Native American tribes, both in the Williams Collection and at Hoole Library. For Native American Heritage Month, we’d like to share a few pertinent manuscript collections.

Anthropological Research

Alabama Anthropological Society Records (W.0059): This collection contains a variety of materials, primarily from the early part of the twentieth century, of the Alabama Anthropological Society. A significant portion of the collection is made up of correspondence (incoming and outgoing) of Peter Brannon, founding member and the Society’s second president. There are also several papers or reports on Indian relics, as well as other anthropological interests. There is also a photo album containing photographs and newspaper clippings documenting Alabama Anthropological Society field trips from 1920-1922. The photographs were taken at archaeological sites in Dallas County, Macon County, and Elmore County. Finding aid: http://purl.lib.ua.edu/95237

Photo of an archaeological dig, from the

Photo of an archaeological dig, from the David DeJarnette Papers

David DeJarnette Papers (MSS.0421): This collection contains photographs related to archaeology and geology, including photos of the Stanfield-Worley Bluff Shelter dig. There is correspondence to DeJarnette when he served as editor-in-chief for the Journal of Alabama Archaeology as well as personal correspondence related to information on the Native Americans that are associated with Moundville, Alabama. This collection also contains a draft of his MA thesis. Finding aid: http://purl.lib.ua.edu/140622

Peter Brannon Papers (W.0009): Includes a diary of an archaeological trip to Georgia in 1905. Went to Brunswick, St. Simon’s Island, and Cumberland Islands. Also includes a “Catalog of his Indian Relic Collection.” Finding aid: http://purl.lib.ua.edu/90702

Other Research

James F. Doster Papers (MSS.0447): The James F. Doster papers include materials this Tuscaloosa native and history professor at The University of Alabama created and collected. As a consultant for the Creek Nation on claims with the Indian Claims Commission, Doster conducted research in archival repositories in the Americas, England, and Spain. Doster’s research helped substantiate their case against the government by documenting the Creek Nation’s history. His collection therefore offers rich resources on the history of the Deep South in general and Alabama and the Creeks specifically. Finding aid: http://purl.lib.ua.edu/140613

Page from the notebook of R. D. Spratt, from the

Partial notebook page from Notes on the Choctaw Indians, Their Language, etc.

Notes on the Choctaw Indians, Their Language, Etc. (MSS.0298): The collection contains a late nineteenth century ledger with handwritten notes by R. D. Spratt, regarding the history, legends, significant members, and language of the Choctaw Indians. A significant portion of the book deals with the Choctaw language. The book also contains two typewritten pages of information about the Choctaw. Finding aid and digitized content: http://purl.lib.ua.edu/44928

Adrien Rouquette Papers (MSS.1212): Contains a nineteenth century manuscript French/Choctaw dictionary titled Vocabulaire Choctaw (lac Pontchartrain) Louisiane, a photograph of Father Roquette’s chapel, and two clippings from newspapers. Finding aid and digitized content: http://purl.lib.ua.edu/18557

Virginia J. Hanson Papers (W.0018): Includes Research notes and correspondence written between 1935-1937 about African American and Native American folklore for her thesis. These stories are collected in three research binders titled “Negro Lore,” “Indian Lore,” and “Traditional Stories of Slaves and Civil War.” Finding aid: http://purl.lib.ua.edu/95253

D. Barron Research on Native Americans (W.0088): Contains J.D. Barron’s research materials and correspondence related to Alabama place names with roots in Native American languages. Dates from 1887-1906. Finding aid: http://purl.lib.ua.edu/94171


George Strother Gaines Paper (MSS.0551): Deals with Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians, including treaties, from 1810 to 1840. Finding aid: http://purl.lib.ua.edu/84157

Legal documents from the

Legal document from the Creek Indian Land Sales Collection

Creek Indian Land Sales Collection (MSS.0371): The collection contains six documents pertaining to the sale of lands belonging to Ko Yoo Quae, Alpetter Hadjo, Co Choc O Nee, Coch Che Yo Ho Lo, and Pelis-hart-ke–all Creek Indians living in Alabama–between 1833 and 1841. Finding aid: http://purl.lib.ua.edu/19064

John Forbes and Company Land Records (W.0074): Contains three journals recording land sales and transfers of Lanton, Leslie, and Company (later John Forbes and Company) from 1799 to 1853. The company acquired approximately three million acres of land in what is now Alabama and Mississippi after Native American tribes were pressured to cede lands. Indian indebtedness to the Panton, Leslie, and Company resulted in a triangular scheme negotiated by the company and the US Government whereby Native Americans would cede lands to the United States for cash, the Indians would use the cash to satisfy their debts, and the company would release their claims against the Indians. Finding aid: http://purl.lib.ua.edu/95255

Personal Accounts

Partial page from the Jesse Griffin letter

Partial page from the Jesse Griffin Letter

Jesse Griffin Letter (MSS.0597): The collection contains a letter dated 5 September 1813, from St. Stephens, Alabama, to his parents in which Griffin states that he has traveled fifty miles in flight from Indians, who killed more than 400 people in five days. On 30 August 1813, Creek Indians under the leadership of William Weatherford, also known as Red Eagle, attacked white settlers at Fort Mims near the convergence of the Alabama and Tombigbee Rivers, killing approximately 500 people. Although Griffin and his family survived, they lost their crops, livestock, and most of their household goods. This attack was part of the Creek Indian War that lasted from 1813-1814. Finding aid and digitized item: http://purl.lib.ua.edu/19002


For a complete list, including published items, contact Chris Sawula at the Williams Collection or Kate Matheny at Hoole Library.

The Power of Facsimiles, part 1

Facsimiles — exact copies — of historical documents provide a way to access details of the original without having to actually possess it.

Some are of printed items for which certain versions are now rare, or for which the original publishing context — from material details to accompanying images — is often lost. Here, the interest may be in comparing these early versions to later or plainer representations.

Others are of unique handwritten manuscripts such as drafts of works that were later published. There, the interest is often in the author’s writing and revising process.

In this three-part series, we explore some of the facsimiles held by the Division of Special Collections. Part 1 takes a look at literary facsimiles at Hoole Library.

Dante Alighieri, 14th c.

Il Codice trivulziano 1080 della Divina commedia, Rare Books Collection Oversize Z1152.D2.T7

A 1921 reproduction of the work, composed in the early 14th century, made from the copy held in the personal library of Prince Luigi Alberigo Trivulzio.

William Shakespeare, 17th c.

Shakespeare’s comedies, histories, & tragedies: being a reproduction in facsimile of the first folio edition, Rare Books Collection PR2751.A15 1902

A 1902 reproduction of the first folio of 1623, made from the Chatsworth copy.

John Milton, 17th c.

Facsimile of the manuscript of Milton’s minor poems, Rare Books Collection Oversize PR3552.A1

An 1899 reproduction of several poems, composed in the 1630s and 1640s, made from the manuscript held by the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, UK. Unbound. Accompanied by the text in print, on separate pages.

William Blake, 18th c.

Songs of innocence and of experience, Rare Books Collection PR4144.S6 1967

A 1967 reproduction of the work, originally published in 1794. Accompanied by textual representation, on facing or following pages.

Percy Shelley, 19th c.

Note books of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Rare Books Collection PR5436.F6 1911a

A 1911 textual representation of drafts and notes, dating from the early 19th c., held in the personal library of William K. Bixby. Accompanied by some facsimiles of the original.

D. H. Lawrence, 20th c.

Sons and lovers: a facsimile of the manuscript, Rare Books Collection Oversize PR6023.A93 S6 1977

A 1977 reproduction of the manuscript, originally published in 1913.

James Joyce, 20th c.

Ulysses: a facsimile of the manuscript, Rare Books Collection PR6019lO9 U482 1975

A 1975 reproduction of the manuscript, held by the Rosenbach Foundation (Philadelphia), originally published in 1922. In three volumes.

Marianne Moore, 20th c.

A-quiver with significance: Marianne Moore, 1932-1936, Alabama Collection PS3525.O5616 A77 2008

A 2008 reproduction of The Pangolin and Other Verse as well as other poems from the period, written 1932-1936.

George Orwell, 20th c.

Nineteen eighty-four: the facsimile of the extant manuscript, Rare Books Collection Oversize PR6029.R8 N525 1984x

A 1984 reproduction of the manuscript, originally published in 1949. Accompanied by textual representation, on facing pages.

Scripture in Miniature

View of miniature Bible published by Frederick A. Stokes in New York in 189?, with item closed, inside its metal carrying caseIt’s not surprising that one of the best selling books in the world has been produced in miniature form. Still, I didn’t expect to stumble across these two turn-of-the-century specimens today. I was on a hunt in an artifacts box for something completely different (and far less interesting!) when they caught my eye.

Throughout this post, click on any image to see a larger version. For more from our collections, see our tag for Miniature Books.

Pretty Small

The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments. Glasgow: David Bryce and Son, 1901.

This Bible, 1.75 x 1.25 inches, is attached by chain to a miniature lectern, apparently by the publishers themselves.

Closeup of miniature Bible, published in Glasgow by David Bryce in 1901, attached to miniature lectern by a chain

It is charming in this context, but the inside of the book is even more remarkable.

Title page of miniature Bible, published in Glasgow by David Bryce in 1901, attached to miniature lectern by a chain

Not only does it contain the expected scripture, which can be read (with difficulty) with a magnifying glass, but it also features illustrations of Bible people and scenes.

The printer, David Bryce, was a well-known publisher of miniatures, and his books were sold in the U.S. under the imprint of Frederick A. Stokes, such as the example below.

Really Small

The New Testament of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 189?

This book is only .625 x .75 inches, smaller than a postage stamp. Here it is with a pencil, for comparison.

Pages from a miniature Bible published by Frederick A. Stokes in New York in 189? , with pencil eraser for size comparison

It comes in a metal locket-style carrying case smaller than a box of Tic Tacs, at 1.125 x 1.375 inches.

View of miniature Bible published by Frederick A. Stokes in New York in 189?, with item inside its metal carrying case

The ornamental case reads Midget-Book with magnifier window. Though this built-in magnifier isn’t enough to make the book legible, the print quality is good enough to allow us to read much of the text via a high quality scan.

Pages from a miniature Bible published by Frederick A. Stokes in New York in 189?

Looking at the item at 1200 DPI, we also found some helpful explanatory text opposite the title page:

The Publishers beg to thank the Oxford University Press for enabling them to produce in this tiny form a facsimile of their Pica 16mo New Testament, printed upon the very thinnest Oxford India paper ever made.

View of miniature Bible published by Frederick A. Stokes in New York in 189?, with item open inside its metal carrying case

If the original was 16mo or sixteenmo (or sextodecimo), it was already fairly small, though not “miniature,” at 4 x 6.75 inches.

Some information for this post was gleaned from the Guide to the Early Miniature Books Collection, 1727-1925, Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries (link). They appear to have the same Bryce Bible with stand, as well as a metal case Qur’an that is probably very similar to the tiny New Testament. (At the National Library of Scotland website, check out the pages on their metal case Bryce Qur’an as well as their metal case Bryce New Testament.)

Men of Color in the 19th Century

African Americans occupied a wider variety of spaces in the social order of 19th century America than you may realize. Because of the horrors of slavery, there are an uncountable number who, at least individually, are all but erased from the historical record but whose collective presence is felt most strongly. But there are other black lives that sometimes did make a more public mark but have until recently been less comprehensively examined: those of the free and the freed, especially before and during the Civil War and during Reconstruction.

Today, we focus specifically on just seven examples of men of color living in the 19th century, to see how and to what extent their diverse social positions and individual stories are revealed in our collections. Unfortunately, there are sometimes more questions than answers.

William, laborer, enslaved

Encountered in the collection Jacob Ramser Receipt (MSS.1695)

portion of receipt from Jacob Ramser for sale of a slave named William, 1852This collection consists of a receipt by Ramser acknowledging the payment by Alpheus Baker of $1,000 for a male slave named William, aged about 20, whom Ramser warrants to be of sound mind and body, “except that three of the toes of his right foot have been partially cut off.” The transaction was witnessed by J. M. Buford and E. S. B. Fort.

William must have been a strong young man and a good laborer to have commanded such a high price. One wonders how and when his toes were mutilated, if Ramser’s use of the passive voice (“have been partially cut off”) is because he did not know or because he wanted to distance himself from his own actions.

Horace King, architect and builder, enslaved then freed

Materials found in the collection Robert Jemison Jr. papers (MSS.0753)

Portion of a letter from Horace King to Robert Jemison, 1864Horace King was technically a slave, and while that technicality matters, it also doesn’t quite capture the reality of his life. King learned to build bridges from his owner, John Godwin, and eventually the two formed something of a partnership such that he was able to travel on his own to take on projects across the South. He was apparently the stronger engineer and craftsman; his master handled the business side of things. He was freed in the 1840s, and he continued to ply his trade and also had a part in the Reconstruction government of the state. (Read more about him in the Encyclopedia of Alabama or the New Georgia Encyclopedia.)

A note on his connection to the Jemison papers: As a major player in pre-war Tuscaloosa, Robert Jemison was in a position to undertake serious improvements to the town’s infrastructure, including commissioning a bridge to be built over the Black Warrior River. Although in the end King was not chosen for the job, Jemison was keen to keep ties with him for future projects, including the construction of a bridge in Columbus, Mississippi, which is why the two were in correspondence over the course of several years.

Cornelius, enslaved then freed

Encountered in the collection Robert B. McAfee Letter of Emancipation (MSS.1698)

Portion of a statement from Robert McAfee freeing a slave named Cornelius, 1813This collection consists of a letter by McAfee dated March 2, 1813, freeing a slave named Cornelius “from all claims from me & my heirs and he is hence forth to be & act as a free man.” The letter was witnessed by James Campbell; on the obverse annotation states that it was recorded at the May sitting of the Mercer County Court, attested by John Jethen. (The state is uncertain; there is a Mercer County is Illinois, New Jersey, and Ohio.)

One wonders what exactly Cornelius did for McAfee and why McAfee wanted to free him. Was Cornelius the exception, or was it McAfee’s habit to do this? More importantly, did Cornelius know this was coming (was he working toward it?) or was it a surprise? And how did he feel?

Solomon Perteet, builder and businessman, free

Reflected in the collection Solomon and Lucinda Perteet papers (MSS.1129). (The image below is from the Jemison papers, MSS.0753.)

Portion of a summons relating to a debt owed to the estate of Solomon Perteet, 1867

Perteet was born free in Georgia, the son of a white woman from a modest slaveowning family and presumably one of her slaves. He moved to Tuscaloosa in the early 1800s, where he gained prominence in the community as a craftsman and property owner. He purchased his wife, Lucinda, and her child in order to free them, and he apparently did the same for several other enslaved African Americans. (Read more about him at the Tuscaloosa Area Virtual Museum.)

The collection includes receipts and legal papers, mostly pertaining to Lucinda as she handled his estate and lived on after him.

John Smith, sailor, presumed to be free

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

A portion of an affidavit attesting to the Civil War service of John Smith, 1869The affidavits in this collection 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. John Smith was on the U.S.S. Potomac from August 1861 to April 1862, and his comrades from the U.S.S. Kingfisher attested to that fact.

Smith’s name is so generic as to suggest it might be a pseudonym or a dodge to avoid giving his legal name. If this is true, one wonders why he would do that — to hide from something or to restart his life afresh, or perhaps both?  We don’t know where he was born, so we don’t know if he was always free or simply freed or emancipated by the time he served. What’s striking is that the system still required white people to vouch for him. These men did, however, which shows their recognition of his role in the war effort alongside them.

Chauncey Leonard, chaplain, free

In the collection Chauncey Leonard letter (MSS.4148)

Envelope from a letter sent by Chaplain Chauncey Leonard during the Civil WarChauncey Leonard was one of only fourteen African American chaplains in the U. S. Army during the Civil War. He served in the L’Ouverture Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia. The L’Ouverture Hospital opened in February 1864 to serve as the hospital for African American troops and contraband civilians (i.e., escaped and freed slaves). It was set up outside the divisional structure of the other military hospitals in Alexandria. Chauncey Leonard opened a school for the soldiers at L’Ouverture that was well attended.

The collection contains a letter from Leonard to C. T. Beach, stating that Mr. Beach’s letter to his son Peter had been received and read. Leonard also thanked Mr. Beach for the money used to pay an assistant teacher in the hospital’s school.

Jeremiah Haralson, politician, enslaved but emancipated

In the collection Jere Haralson letter (MSS.0625)

Portion of a letter from Alabama State Rep. Jeremiah Haralson, 1876Jeremiah Haralson, born on a plantation in 1846 near Columbus, Georgia, was raised as a slave. After emancipation, he taught himself to read and write. He moved to Alabama, where he served as the first black member of the State House of Representatives in 1870. He served in the state senate in 1872 and in the U.S. Congress from the 44th district from 1875 to 1877. At other points in his life, he was a farmer, a coal miner, and perhaps a minister. (Read more about him in the Encyclopedia of Alabama, or about his career at the U.S. House of Representatives archive.)

The collection contains a letter written in 1876 by Rep. Haralson to the United States Centennial Commission in Philadelphia, requesting an additional invitation for his wife to attend the opening of the Centennial International Exhibition of Industry.

Shakespeare at 400

Portrait of Shakespeare, engraving from book frontispieceFour hundred years ago tomorrow, William Shakespeare’s life was over and the story of his cultural legacy began. At what a legacy it has been!

There are countless adaptations of his work, in every artistic medium we’ve come up with over the years. His stories have also inspired new works, often from something as simple as a turn of phrase. Whether you look to the page, the canvas, the stage, or the screen, Shakespeare is bound to be there.

In this post, we share some of the many published versions of Shakespeare’s works — particularly his nearly 40 plays — which we have at Hoole, dating from the late 16th century to the late 20th century. Click on any image below to see a larger version, or come by to see the item in person.


16th-18th century

While we don’t have any Renaissance-era copies of Shakespeare’s plays, we do have facsimile reproductions of a few of his plays, including this copy of the 1597 edition of Romeo and Juliet.

We also have this 1720 edition of history play Richard II, demonstrating that his plays were being performed — and adapted — 100 years after his death.

Title page of 1720 edition of Shakespeare's Richard II

Call number: Rare PR3729.T5 T7 1720

19th century

By the 1800s, Shakespeare was firmly planted in our cultural landscape. For example, here is a whole book of quotations from Shakespeare, from 1851.

Page opening from book of Shakespeare quotations, 1851

Call number: Rare PR2892 .D6 1851

Some Victorians preferred a cleaned-up version of the bard, such as found in the Family Shakespeare series, “in which nothing is added to the original text, but those words and expressions are omitted which cannot with propriety be read in a family.” It was first published in 1807, but this version is from 1863.

The editor is Thomas Bowdler, from whom we take the word “bowdlerize.” Another popular family-friendly version of Shakespeare came from brother-sister team Charles and Mary Lamb, who turned the plays into prose in Tales from Shakespeare, also first published in 1807.

We also have a set of pocket-sized versions of the plays, published in 1885, with two to three titles in each volume. Pictured below are volumes 2-4, which contain comedies and romances like Measure for Measure, Much Ado About Nothing, and Winter’s Tale.

Spines of volumes 2-4 of the Handy Volume Edition of Shakespeare's complete works

Call number: Rare PR2753 .D2 1885 [vol. 1-13]

Shakespeare was also part of the decorated publisher’s bindings craze at the turn of the 20th century. This 1900 version of As You Like It has an embossed cover in blue, white, and gold, as well as beautiful illustrated pages inside.

20th century

The 1900s found Shakespeare still thriving, especially in colleges and universities. This 1909 copy of Antony and Cleopatra comes from the personal collection of the late English professor Hudson Strode. Not only does it contain lovely etchings to illustrate the story, it also features handwritten notes, presumably Strode’s.

The twentieth century also found Shakespeare making appearances in comic books that adapted classic literature. The editions below are from 1950 (Macbeth), 1964 (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), and 1990 (Hamlet). (All items are from the Sneed Collection, Box 14.)

What the Heck Is a Vertical File?

What the heck is a Vertical File? This is a question I had when I began working in archives. We have three such large archival collections here at Hoole — University of Alabama Pamphlet Files, Alabama Vertical Files, and Rare Vertical Files — and I knew they were home to a variety of strange and wonderful things. But what is a vertical file, exactly, and why do things end up there?

A vertical file is a type of artificial collection, which means it was pulled together by archivists from among an archive’s holdings, rather than donated as a group. According to the Society of American Archivists glossary, these are “materials, often of an ephemeral nature, collected and arranged for ready reference” (source). The key word there is “ephemeral.”

In archives, ephemera are “materials, usually printed documents, created for a specific, limited purpose, and generally designed to be discarded after use” (source). Basically, these are items that may be interesting or helpful or just really cool — and therefore of lasting value –but were perhaps never meant to hang around as long as they have. A vertical file collection usually thrives on these kinds of items.

So these are things worth saving and providing access to that are maybe not substantial enough to warrant creating a whole collection around them. Think of it as the archives catchall. Our wonderful catchall collections occupy 150 boxes and take up 52.5 linear feet on the shelves. Let’s take a look at what kinds of things you’ll find in each, with a few examples

UA Pamphlet Files

This is an eclectic gathering of documents, loosely organized by subject. Much of the content is fliers, programs, and speech texts related to campus events or campus organizations’ activities. In addition, many items come from the Alumni Association, and from various academic units of the University.

Alabama Vertical Files

This collection is organized alphabetically by subject. The finding aid gives a good summary of its contents: materials, both published and unpublished, that document the history of the state of Alabama. These include items such as reprints, pamphlets, typescripts, and photocopies of documents relating to individuals, organizations, cities, and a large number of other topics.

Rare Vertical Files

This collection is highly organized, with most items falling into the following series: Almanacs, Art Catalogs, Associations, Biography, Business, Education, Guidebooks, History, Literature, Travel Brochures. See the finding aid for specifics.

New Finding Aids, Spring 2016, part two

Last month, we shared some of dozens of finding aids that had recently gone online in Acumen.

This week, the focus is on personal collections, including several related to World War II. (Click on any of the images below to see a larger version.)

Notebook page with handwritten text and a technical drawingGuide to the E. M. Lustig papers (MSS.1790)

This collection includes information on, photographs and drawings of, and legal documents relating to many of this Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native’s inventions. It also includes miscellaneous newspaper and magazine clippings, information on his father’s bookstore, personal items, and objects used in his experiments.


Guide to the Louis Lucet papers (MSS.880)

A collection of personal correspondence of this native of France who emigrated to the United States and lived in Huntsville, Alabama. Also includes documents dealing with the history of France in the first half of the nineteenth century.


First page of handwritten letterGuide to the Christopher Heft Papers (MSS.2100)

This is a collection of journal articles about tuberculosis and a series of letters and other correspondence from Christopher Heft, a tuberculosis victim, to his family during his trip to the South in an attempt to cure himself of the disease.


Guide to the Warfield Creath Richardson papers (MSS.1194)

This collection consists primarily of Richardson’s literary output, dating from 1842 to 1914. Included are poems, short stories, essays, plays, and lectures in handwritten and printed drafts, proof sheets, pamphlets, and clippings. There is also a small collection of letters. It contains a letter from Henry Wordsworth Longfellow and two from Thomas M. Owen.


First page of a handwritten diaryGuide to the Nellie F. Drury diary (MSS.3952)

Travel diary from September 1, 1882, to April 2, 1883. Drury was from Saint Louis, Missouri, and the diary covers here traveling to Europe on the Cunard steamship SS Servia. Drury arrived in Liverpool and spent the next month traveling extensively in England, Scotland, France, Monte Carlo, and Italy.


Guide to the O. M. Roberts reminiscences while a student of the University of Alabama (MSS.1199)

Contains a bound, typewritten recollection of this Texas governor’s life as a student of the University of Alabama, 1833-1836. He presented this to the Erosophic Society of the University of Alabama in 1892. The work includes a photograph of a painting of him in approximately 1835.


TelegramGuide to the Helen Becker letters (MSS.1966)

Letters from Sgt. Helen Becker to Lt. Robert O. Haas describing her duties and activities as a Marine Corps Women’s Reservist during World War II.



Guide to the Wallace Sidney Park papers (MSS.3942)

This collection contains letters sent to W. Sidney Park while he was stationed in London during World War II. The letters mostly deal with family matters and securing a contract with the government to build the Park Trainer. The Park Trainer was developed by Park’s company to help train areal photographers. The collection also contains newspaper clippings, magazine articles and photographs.


Handwritten v-mail letter (v-mails were photographically reproduced, and at a smaller scale than the original)Guide to the William B. Shirdan papers (MSS.1266)

Letters from this African American soldier who served in the 310th QM RHD Company during World War II to his family in Montgomery, Alabama.



Guide to the Dodd Sellers papers and militaria (MSS.4159)

The militaria of this Alabama native who was a Master Sergeant in the Marine Corps during World War II.


Page from a WWII guide, depicting a map of FranceGuide to the World War II – U.S. military language guides and phrase books  (PM.017)

Contains a foreign language phrase and guide books for the use of the military.

The International Legacy of Harper Lee

In the days since Alabama writer Harper Lee’s death was reported, the news in the U.S. has been filled with reflections and tributes. Not too surprisingly, obituaries were also common in the U.K., Australia, and other English-speaking countries. But there’s a good bet Harper Lee has been remembered even in places where English is rarely or never spoken — because To Kill a Mockingbird was known all over the world.

At Hoole Library, we have copies in seven foreign languages, published as early as 1960 (the same year as the original) and as recently as 2006.


Translations. Left to right: Spaar de spotvogels [Dutch, 1960], Ne tirez pas sur l’oiseau moqueur [French, 2006], Mei gang cheng gu shi [Chinese, 2006], Убить пересмешника [Russian, 2006], Dræb ikke en sangfugl [Danish, 1963], Wer die Nachtigall stört [German, 1962], Kuin surmaisi satakielen [Finnish, 1961]

An interesting thing happened when I put these titles into Google Translate: they all came up precisely as To Kill A Mockingbird, capital letters and all. Apparently, this is such a common query that the translation engine knew how the phrase being used, so it didn’t bother literally translating the words. (In French, for example, it is “do not shoot the mockingbird”; in Danish, “Do not kill a songbird”; in Finnish, “To kill the nightingale.”)

Since its publication in 1960, To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into over 40 languages (source). As we mourn Ms. Lee’s passing, we remember the ability of this remarkable book to transcend not just time, but also geography and culture.

Covers from (left to right) 1962, 1974, 1982, 1995, 2010

English covers through the years. Left to right: 1962, 1974, 1982, 1995, 2010


Fair Use in the Archive: Copyright or Right of Privacy?

When special collections libraries hold rare books and other published materials, they face the same challenges as other libraries when it comes to copyright and the allowances of Fair Use. But what about their archival collections — unpublished items like documents and photos?

In some cases, the repository’s contract with the donor dictates that copyright stays with the donor. That would make those items subject to the same policies as published items under copyright, including Fair Use. Luckily, in most cases, donors transfer copyright to the repository, which puts it in the unique position to potentially allow greater access than Fair Use, but certainly within it.

Ornate pre-printed title page from a 1912 diaryIn rare cases, though, a donor stipulates that no one be allowed to access the materials for any reason, usually for a set time. If the archive agrees to that stipulation, those items in essence remain private property. At this point, we leave the world of copyright and enter the realm of privacy law, where Fair Use does not apply.

Right of privacy may also come into play with donations that include personal information not about the donor but about someone else, for example, a relative’s financial or medical records. Then again, if that donated material constitutes intellectual property created by a third party, we’re back under copyright law – after all, the donor can’t transfer to the repository a copyright he or she doesn’t actually hold.

Clearly, Fair Use can be a complicated subject when it comes to unpublished materials. As expressed by the Society of American Archivists (SAA), one of the core values of the archives profession is to balance the pursuit of knowledge with legitimate protections on access. Where it’s not a matter of privacy, fair use is essential to an academic archive’s mission.

For a more in-depth discussion of the role of Fair Use in archival collections, see the SAA webpage Copyright and Unpublished Material.