Harry Ransom Center acquires archive of George Lucas’s special effects expert

Thomas Smith, visual effect producer for “Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back,” and “E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial,” donated his archive to the Harry Ransom Center at University of Texas. Smith was the first head of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) and worked on the special effects for “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Star Trek III: The Search for Spock,” “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi,” “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom,” and “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.”

Spanning 1979 to 2003, Smith’s archive contains 22 boxes of materials documenting his professional work, which will be processed and made available for research. Highlights include storyboards from “Return of the Jedi,” a copy of the “Dick Tracy” script with annotations by Warren Beatty, and sequential storyboards for “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” according to an article about the acquisition. Also in the collection are other storyboards and scripts, screenplay drafts, pre-production research, production materials, newspaper clippings, photographs, and published materials such as fan magazines and cinematography periodicals. The papers also contain material relating to Smith’s time at ILM and Lucasfilm.

Valuable for students and scholars studying special effects in film and its impact on culture, the collection will add to other film collections at the Ransom Center, including David O. Selznick, Robert De Niro, Paul Schrader, Ernest Lehman, Jay Presson Allen, Gloria Swanson, and early special effects creator Norman Dawn.

More than 13,000 road maps go to Stanford

Stanford University Libraries will spend the next year or so processing more than 13,000 road and street maps collected by Robert Berlo, who this month donated his collection to the university for a permanent home. Berlo’s collection fledged from a modest trove he amassed at age 11 during a family road trip in an old, crowded Chevy – no seatbelts – from San Francisco, his hometown, to Boston for a family reunion. According to a news article about the acquisition, Berlo had an official state road map for every state since 1927, along with other road maps, Forest Service maps, topographic maps, regional maps, and city maps. His donation adds to the library’s collection of 7,000 maps donated in 2009 by the California State Automobile Association.

Oil companies, real estate firms, automobile associations, and others groups published the maps starting in the 1920s and distributed them at gas stations. Maps were free, fuel was cheap, and growth of the automobile industry correlated with shifts in where people lived and how they traveled. Stanford’s growing map collections have value for researchers who study urban development, analyze land use development or investigate population growth during the 20th century. They’re a resource for scholars of modern America and the American West.

Berlo has also published nine books based on his map and data collection.

Grant helps western U.S. consortia plan archival network

An Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant for a one-year project, Planning for a Western Archival Network: Administrative, Technical, and End User Concerns, is helping three consortia – Orbis Cascade Alliance, Utah Academic Library Consortium, and University of New Mexico University Libraries – partner to improve access to their Encoded Archival Description (EAD) finding aids.

Awarded last fall, the IMLS National Leadership Grant has allowed 15 representatives from the consortia to meet and examine ways to create better user experiences and realize cost efficiencies through shared standards, technology, and administration. Final recommendations and a report will be released this October, and the consortia hope to pursue additional collaborative funding to implement the project.

Once planning is completed and methods are implemented, end users will have easier and quicker access to both a greater volume and diversity of archival materials, according to a press release this week about the grant’s progress. The intent is to provide a model for other organizations to also use, so consortia across the country may benefit from reduced costs and increased access to collections.

Doctor Gregory Thompson, associate dean for special collections at the J. Willard Marriott Library at University of Utah, states: “We are extremely excited about how this grant will open the doors to incredible collections across the west.” Dr. Thompson, who is the principal investigator on the grant, adds: “In the long-term, citizens everywhere will encounter easier and faster online access to historical photographs, manuscripts, oral histories, and many other rare and historic materials.”

Manuscript identification story looks at value of user-generated content

As user-generated content in social network mediums establishes itself as a valuable information resource for researchers, we have been curious lately about whose content different groups of researchers find most valuable.
With that question in mind, I wanted to point out this story from University of St Andrews in Scotland, about how user-generated content from manuscript experts led to changes in how one of their Italian illuminated manuscripts is understood.
In January, archivists asked on the special collections blog for help identifying a motif on pages of what was thought to be a 14th-century manuscript. Out on Facebook, Twitter, and listservs the post went. As the inquiry picked up interest, the blog post received more than 800 hits. People left comments and emailed the department with ideas and leads. Within two months, some of that communication which came from professors helped identify not only the motif, but when and where the manuscript was produced.
Quoting from the blog post, “What began as an experiment in a new way of tapping into new scholarly networks ended up telling us more about this manuscript than we have ever known.”

IDCA collections hold wealth of 20th century intellectual discourse

High-end fashion designer Issey Miyake, who made black turtleneck shirts for Steve Jobs, was in his early 40s and ran a studio in Tokyo when he showed his designs in 1979 at the International Design Conference in Aspen (IDCA). Years before him, as the IDCA evolved from hosting discussions about design to broader design issues and specific topics, attendees heard artists, scientists, educators, and industry leaders like George Nelson, Betty Friedan, Susan Sontag, and Gloria Steinem speak. Aspen became the place for intellectual discourse. Other conferences that later followed suit, like TED, grew out this model. Launched in 1951 by mostly graphic designers and business people, the annual IDCA ran for 35 years and maintained its core mission to invite well-known names in business and design like Miyake, who was part of a contingent of speakers that year from Japan, to participate. Now in its place is the Aspen Design Summit.

A valuable resource for researchers looking for primary sources about 20th century designers, or insight about the relationship between design and change, are records, transcripts, and other materials from IDCA. These IDCA Archival materials can be found in ArchiveGrid along with collections institutions hold of some of the people who spoke at the event.

Amateur newspapers reveal 1880s teen spirit

Similar to how computer technology today allows the masses to disseminate written material, amateur newspapers during the 1880s ran throughout North America after inexpensive presses became available for hobby printers to buy. Harvard University recently acquired 50 issues of 40 of these amateur newspapers, produced in the United States and Canada between 1882 and 1887. Because these papers circulated locally and attracted teenage readers – who often went on to publish their own – they included puzzles, prose, news of local events, and advertisements for local businesses.

Harvard’s new collections include examples of newspapers from Boston, San Francisco, Danby, Ver., and La Harpe, Ill. An excerpt from Danby’s spring 1884 edition recalls a disdain still familiar today, for the failure of something new and revolutionary to launch:

“It is customary for amateurs, when they issue the first number of a paper, to pen a grandiloquent salutatory with a statement of the great work they expect to accomplish in the near future. The result is that in a few months, some unforeseen and extraordinary event takes place. Their great ardor becomes unaccountably dampened, and their paper which was to rise to so great a height and create such a stir in the ‘Dom quietly shuffles off the stage of existance, and the ‘Dom is deprived of one more journal.”

This passage goes on with its own spirited vision:

“We shall speak our mind freely at all times, under all circumstances, and we can’t be killed by criticism, and shall not turn pale at the bolts hurled at us by any triumvirate, clique, or combination of characters that may abide under the canopy of the ‘Dom.”

ArchiveGrid’s first contributor from Ireland notes major collections

Saint Patrick’s Day this Saturday seemed like an appropriate time to welcome our first contributor from Ireland, The National University of Ireland, Galway. Included in our most recent list of new contributors, the Archives Service at NUI Galway strives to acquire, preserve and make accessible the archival collections held by its library, and to provide services in support of the research and information needs of the university community and other appropriate users.

Also, the Archives Service acquires material by donation, loan, and purchase. In ArchiveGrid, there are 164 finding aids for collections to search.

“We acquire archival collections which support the teaching and research needs of National University of Ireland, Galway, as well as strengthening links between the university and its community,” Archivist Kieran Hoare said.

“The Archives Service is particularly interested in acquiring collections relating to the West of Ireland,” Hoare added, pointing out some of NUI Galway’s major collections (below). These collections are easy to access in ArchiveGrid. Simply type in a keyword from one of the 10 entries (for example, “Galway Town Commissioners” from the first item), and narrow the search by archive if necessary.

1. Minute books of Galway Corporation, Galway Town Commissioners, 15th–19th century; minute books of Galway Urban Sanitary Authority, late 19th century.

2. The Hyde MSS Collection, bequeathed by Douglas Hyde, containing volumes of prose, poetry, and various tracts penned by scribes, 18th century, and including miscellaneous manuscripts of Douglas Hyde.

3. Manuscripts in the Irish language and items reflecting the Gaelic revival included in collections such as the papers of Stiophán Bairéad, Tadgh Seoige, and Eoghan Ó Tuairisc.

4. The Richie-Pickow collection of more than 2,000 photographs and some traditional music material gathered in 1952 and 1953 by an American couple in Ireland, with online access to these and other collections.

5. Collections relating to academics and organizations within the college including papers of An Stoc newspaper, 1924–19248; out-letter book of Professor J.E. Cairnes, 1865–1867; papers of Richard O’Doherty, professor of midwifery, 1849–1876; papers of Mary O’Donovan, professor of history, 1914–1957.

6. Landed estates collections including the Wilson Lynch family, Belvoir, County Clare, c.1860–1930; Eyre family, 1720–1857; O’Connor Donelan family, Sylane, Tuam, 1794–1930; Taylor, Ardrahan, County Galway; Lucan Family Papers; Daly family, Dunsandle, Loughrea; some material of the French family of Ballyglunin.

7. Business collections including legal papers relating to the Clifden–Galway railway.

8. Political collections including those of James Fitzgerald-Kenney, Dr. Byran Cusack, Frank J. Carty Ruairi Ó Brádaigh, and the Brendan Duddy Collection.

9. Theatre collections including those of the Druid Theatre; An Taibhdearc; the Lyric Theatre Belfast; Galway Arts Festival; MACNAS; Shields Family Collection; Siobhán McKenna and Frank J. Bailey.

10. Private papers including papers relating to the will of Annie Barnacle; Stock letters, 1808–1832; Sir Peter Freyer; John McGahern; Joe Burke; Bob Quinn; Thomas Kilroy, John Huston and many smaller collections.

Index update represents 31 new contributors

Among the recent signs of spring is another update to the ArchiveGrid index, adding 218,382 new records to OCLC Research’s system of discoverable collection descriptions. Our 31 new contributors represented in this count come from three continents: North America, Europe, and Australia. We are pleased to welcome them to ArchiveGrid:

National University of Ireland, Galway – James Hardiman Library

Chapman University, Leatherby Libraries

United States Military Academy

Viterbo University

University of New Brunswick, Fredericton

Tennessee State Library and Archives

Bryn Mawr College

Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies Library

South Carolina Historical Society

Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives

Arizona Historical Society, Southern Arizona Division

Texas Tech University

Mid-Continent Public Library

University of San Diego – Copley Library

Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection

University of Leeds, Brotherton Library

Illinois State Archives

Emory University – Gamma Project

The University of Queensland Library

University of Oklahoma, Political Community Archives

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art Library

New England Historic Genealogical Society

Chicago History Museum

Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Archives

Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library

Arkansas History Commission

Boulder Public Library

Libraries Australia

University of Guelph

University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Texas Woman’s University – The Woman’s Collection

UT Austin makes author archive acquisition

The Harry Ransom Center at University of Texas, Austin, has acquired the archive of novelist and short-story writer Tom Coraghessan “T.C.” Boyle. Spanning more than 30 years since the 1970s, the archive covers Boyle’s career. The collection includes manuscripts, correspondence, professional files, and teaching material, including extensive editorial correspondence and letters to and from contemporaries such as Woody Allen, Russell Banks, Joyce Carol Oates, David Foster Wallace and Tobias Wolff. Nearly every published title is represented by a binder of manuscript notes, research material, drafts and proofs. Also included are about 140 short-story files.

Once processed and cataloged, the Boyle papers will be accessible and reside alongside the papers of other contemporary writers: Banks, Wallace, Don DeLillo, Denis Johnson, Norman Mailer, Jayne Anne Phillips and Bruce Sterling.