Category Archives: Small Collections

A Civil War Perspective: Benjamin Gaston

Benjamin J. Gaston served as a first lieutenant with the Independent 2nd Battalion Alabama Volunteers and as a private in the 10th Alabama Cavalry.  He wrote several letters to his parents, and sometimes his brothers and sisters, between 1859 and … Continue reading

A Slice of Life: The Helen Cline Papers

Who is Helen Cline? In the grand scheme of things, she’s not an important person from our nation’s past, but in a way she is: she is an example of the millions of “ordinary” people who make the world go … Continue reading

African-American Soldier Portraits

Right now, in the Pearce Foyer of Gorgas Library (2nd floor, Quad side), you’ll find a pretty cool exhibit: Highlighting the collections of Rev. Wylheme Ragland of Decatur, Alabama,  A North Alabama Clergyman’s Passion for History: Preserving Black History through Words and … Continue reading

Everyday mysteries of the archives

Part of the fun of looking through archival material is solving mysteries. When we don’t know much about the provenance of the collection –when there’s only the material itself to go on –that mystery is even more challenging, but potentially more fun. … Continue reading

Fall break with Small Photo Collections: Wade Hall

Donor Wade Hall is that rare kind of collector who sees the value in seemingly normal, everyday documents and photos, things that aren’t connected to a big historical figure or moment but nevertheless make up the fabric of history. The … Continue reading

Family Pets, part two: Dogs

As promised, a return to family pets, this time a look at man’s best friend. All of these images come from the expansive Woodward Family photo collection or from one of the numerous Wade Hall photograph collections. (See this entry … Continue reading

Images from the CSS Alabama

The Confederate cruiser CSS Alabama has quite a history. Our sister blog, Cool at Hoole, has a series of posts telling the ship’s story, which — if you’ll believe it — starts with construction in secrecy in England and ends … Continue reading

Native American Heritage Month

Did you know November is Native American Heritage Month? The W. S. Hoole Special Collections Library houses some really interesting collections pertaining to the Choctaw Indians living in Mississippi and Louisiana at the turn of the twentieth century. The Choctaw … Continue reading

Small Photo Collections: Antebellum Architecture in Tuscaloosa

In the 1920s, student Sydnia Keene Smythe, at work on her master’s thesis, took photographs of several antebellum homes around Tuscaloosa, buildings that most likely don’t exist anymore but whose architecture was luckily captured for posterity. These images make up … Continue reading

Small Photo Collections: Central Iron & Coal

The Central Iron and Coal Photograph Collection is a unique window on the mining industry in Alabama around the turn of the twentieth century. Composed of 70 images in four photo albums, this collection of images — depicting the construction … Continue reading