Architecture & Planning Library Library Closing August 19

The Architecture & Planning Library in the Crough Center will close permanently on August 19, and its collections will be transferred to Mullen Library. Faculty may contact Lea Harrison (harrisonl@cua.edu) regarding course reserves, and students and faculty needing research assistance or help locating items during the transition may contact the Liaison Librarian for Architecture & Planning, Anne Marie Hules (hules@cua.edu).

Digital Scholarship: CH CH CH CH Changes!

9781442238572 (1)I quote from the Spring 1997 Editor’s Page of The Society for Historians of the Early America Republic.

Tempora mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis- Anonymous
Ch, Ch, Ch, Ch, Changes, turn and face the strain- David Bowie [1]

As we deal with closing branch libraries on our campus, we can re-imagine what our University Libraries provide students and faculty. A new book by David W. Lewis (discussed in his webinar) Reimagining the Academic Library [2] exhorts us to concentrate on library space and  preserving digital scholarship while using the disruption of library finances to change practices and processes to deliver resources.

“What product or service can help students and faculty do more effectively, conveniently and affordably a job they’ve been trying to do in their scholarly lives?”

MIT has a task force charged with the future of the modern library. See their idea bank at The Future of Libraries. [3]

The Aspen Institute report Libraries in the Exponential Age Moving from the Edge of Innovation to the Center of Community  encourages us to use design thinking in this reimagination process.

CH CH CH CH Changes …new service models and resources will come to our academic library. We are not alone in this, and it is a good reminder to all on campus and in the land of higher ed that “Times change, and we change with them.”



[1] “Editors’ Page.” Journal of the Early Republic 17, no. 1 (1997): 131-34. http://www.jstor.org/stable/3124646.

[2] Lewis, David W. 2016. Reimagining the academic library.

[3] “The Future of Libraries | Massachusetts Institute of Technology.”, https://future-of-libraries.mit.edu/.

 

 

The Archivist’s Nook: A Different Aria – Opera, NBC, and CUA

Costuming prep for The Juggler
Costuming prep for The Juggler. School of Music Records, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.

This week’s post is guest authored by Marielle Gage, a CUA graduate student in History.

“My, how times have changed!”

Who hasn’t heard some variety of that phrase, if perhaps not in as stilted, “proper” phrasing as above? It’s often an overwrought sentiment, immediately followed by a “when I was your age…” or nostalgia of times past (that everyone complained about at the time) now seen through golden lenses. But in some cases, the sentiment is more than fair.

Take, for example, television. A hundred years ago, no one owned a television. Even thirty years later, during World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt relied on the radio, not television, to broadcast his “fireside chats” to the nation. And ten years after that, there were three regular channels broadcasting, one of which had no problem dedicating four Sunday afternoons to opera in the summer of 1959.

A scene from The Cage
A scene from The Cage. School of Music Records, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.

That’s right. The same year the Grammy Awards were first broadcasted on NBC, that same station approved the broadcasting of four one-act operas, written by and starring CUA faculty, students, and alumni, at 12:30 pm on each of the four Sundays of May. The impetus wasn’t from the higher-ups within the National Broadcasting Channel, but rather from the National Council of Catholic Men, who had a partnership with NBC to broadcast, on radio and on television, a weekly “Catholic Hour” in which presenters could explain, examine, or defend the Catholic faith. CUA’s own Fulton J. Sheen was a frequent participate in the broadcasts; he and others would expound on themes such as the Virgin Mary, racism, the last words of Christ, labor, or marriage. Perhaps wishing to change up the formula, the NCCM commissioned the four one-act operas from CUA’s music department faculty in late 1958. While a couple of different themes were suggested (the early correspondence hints frequently of a retelling of Guadalupe, but is frustratingly vague on any details, and the idea was later dropped), the final four operas were: Dolcedo, the last day of an atheistic philosopher now in the care of nuns (music by Emerson Meyers, libretto by Dominic Rover, O.P.); The Cage, the story of an elevator operator who desperately wishes to travel, but feels trapped caring for his invalid and verbally abusive mother (music by George Thaddeus Jones, libretto by Leo Brady); The Decorator, a glimpse into the life of a middle-class mother trying so hard to be fashionable (music by Russell Woollen, libretto by Frank and Dorothy Getlein); and The Juggler, a retelling of the “clown of God” legend (music by William Graves, libretto by Arch Lustberg).

Filming Dolcedo. School of Music Records, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives.

While none of the operas, perhaps, are must-see classics (The Decorator, in particular, is a bit heavy-handed), it still must have been an adventure for the CUA students who participated and watched the productions. Unfortunately, little remains of any publicity or retrospectives within the CUA community concerning the operas. The surviving letters and photographs, then, remain a tantalizing glimpse at a curious moment in CUA’s musical history, and of American cultural history in general, from a time when it was not inconceivable that a portion of the American population would choose to spend their Sunday afternoons watching opera.

Digital Scholarship: Knowledge is Power

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Francis_Bacon#/media/File:Francis_Bacon.jpg

If “knowledge is power” as attributed to Francis Bacon [1], the job of an academic library may be as David Lankes says:

“These libraries  are  already  part  of  a  culture  and  community  dedicated to learning and founded on the principles of knowledge creation through conversation. Textbooks, journals, symposia, and lectures are all conversations.  They  may  be  sequential,  rigid  in  format,  or  plodding,  but  they  are conversations  nonetheless. “ [2, p.131]

Today’s news brings us new challenges in knowledge creation and conversation in the phrases “million-person research cohort” and “dataveillance” and “informational struggle.”

“million-person research cohort”

The Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program seeks to leverage the information to treat and prevent disease from your genes, environment and lifestyle. According to Uncle Sam Wants You — Or at Least Your Genetic and Lifestyle the Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) has allocated funds in 2016 to have the NIH build a large-scale cohort to collect information at the:

“intersection of human biology, behavior, genetics, environment, data science and computation, and much more to produce new knowledge with the goal of developing more effective ways to prolong health and treat disease.”

“dataveillance”

The PEW Research Center began polling on privacy after the 2013 leaks about the NSA surveillance of online and phone communications in the US. From The state of privacy in America: What we learned:

“Many technology experts predict that few individuals will have the energy or resources to protect themselves from “dataveillance” in the coming years and that privacy protection will likely become a luxury good.”

“informational struggle”

From All Signs Point To Russia Being Behind the DNC Hack by Thomas Rid

“Informational struggle,” Adamsky observes, is at the center of New Generation Warfare. Informational struggle means “technological and psychological components designed to manipulate the adversary’s picture of reality, misinform it, and eventually interfere with the decision-making process of individuals, organizations, governments, and societies.” 

Academic libraries are where conversations about today’s new and yesterday’s sources can take place.

“Academic  libraries  and  the  librarians  who  run  them  need  to  be  in  the vanguard of this expanding access to higher education and to the scholarship and knowledge that make it possible. They must help guide the academy in providing not only sources for scholarship, but scholarship itself to the world.” [2, p136]


[1] Cf. Bacon Meditationes Sacræ (1597) sig. E3v, ‘Nam & ipsa scientia potestas est’. “knowledge, n.”. OED Online. June 2016. Oxford University Press. http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/104170?redirectedFrom=knowledge+is+power (accessed July 25, 2016).

[2] Lankes, R. David, Newman Wendy, Kowalski Sue, Tench Beck, Gould Cheryl, Silk Kimberly, Newman Wendy, and Britton Lauren. “Fitting Knowledge in a Box.” The New Librarianship Field Guide. MIT, 2016. 125-30. Web.

 

The Archivist’s Nook: Best of the Museum Collection on Campus

Ivory Triptych Date of Gift: 1917 Location: McMahon Hall – Room 109
Ivory Triptych
Date of Gift: 1917
Location: McMahon Hall – Room 109

Here at the Archives, keeping track of the many museum worthy art objects on The Catholic University of America campus is perhaps one of our lesser known duties. While we have written extensively about the history of the museum collection as well as several specific objects in the collection, we have long wanted to take you on a grand tour of the “Best of the Museum Collection on Campus.” It was difficult to narrow down which stops to include on this tour as there are so many treasures to find, but we selected a few of our favorites!

We’ll start at the second oldest campus building, McMahon Hall, which was dedicated in 1889 by Cardinal James Gibbons. Walking inside the foyer, one of the most iconic museum pieces at CUA is hard to miss: the heroic statue of Pope Leo XIII seated on a throne. Crowned with a tiara, the Holy Father is raising his hand in a gesture of blessing. The gift of Joseph F. Loubat, the statue was made from Carrarra marble by Guiseppi Luchetti. This statue was famous in its day; Theodore Roosevelt himself rode over to pay it a visit! In front of this imposing, 12 foot tall statue is a massive marble table, a more recently acquired museum piece whose fascinating history is told in a previous blog post.

St. Paul and Madonna and Child Statues Date of Gift: 1959 Location: Mullen Library – May Gallery
St. Paul and Madonna and Child Statues
Date of Gift: 1959
Location: Mullen Library – May Gallery

Now it’s time to make your way down the hall to room 109, the School of Arts and Sciences. In the main seating area, you’ll find a large ivory relief triptych depicting multiple Gospel scenes. Given to CUA in 1917 by Arthur Connolly, this work of art was completed in 17th century France. Ivory triptychs are rarely found at this scale, this one is unusual for its large size. Among the stories of the life of Christ told through the carved panels, you’ll find many Gothic motifs, such as elaborately carved pointed arches.

Our next stop is Caldwell Hall, the oldest building on campus. Walking through the front doors, you’ll ascend the sweeping staircase and enter Caldwell Chapel. An entire museum piece in its own right, this chapel is also home to seventeen, “Munich style” stained glass windows completed by the Royal Bavarian Art Institute between 1888 and 1890. Exiting the chapel, walk down the hall to room 111. This inconspicuous classroom is home to one of a pair of paintings given to the university in 1961 by Antony Pisani. This 126 inch long oil painting depicts the “Hunting of the Meleager,” a heroic legend of Meleager, Atalanta, Jason, and others hunting the Calydonian boar. This painting and its pair, “Dance of Nymphs” located in the third floor hallway of Caldwell, correspond to two famous paintings by Nicolas Poussin: “The Hunt of Meleager” of the Prado and “Dance in Honor of Priapus” of the Sao Paulo Museu de Arte.

Our last stop in Caldwell is on the first floor, in room 100. Known as the Monsignor Stephen P. Happel Room, this space is home to a large oil painting attributed to the Spanish Baroque artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. Donated in 1926, this painting was originally thought to depict St. Francis of Assisi carrying a cross. However, in recent years we have come to believe it may be San Diego de Alcala, as Saint Francis is usually shown as an older, bearded man.

“Dance of the Nymphs” Oil Painting Date of Gift: 1961 Location: Caldwell Hall – 3rd Floor Hallway
“Dance of the Nymphs” Oil Painting
Date of Gift: 1961
Location: Caldwell Hall – 3rd Floor Hallway

Let’s end our museum tour in the John K. Mullen of Denver Memorial Library. While this library is home to many statues and works of art, we’ll highlight just two in the May Gallery of the first floor. This gallery displays two French Gothic wood statues on either side of the fireplace. On the left, you’ll find a late 14th century statue of St. Paul, donated by a Miss Jesse Jebiley. On the right is a 13th century Madonna and Child, donated by Frederick Jambes. They make a wonderful pair to finish off our tour with!

For any questions about the museum collection, send us an email at archives@mail.lib.cua.edu. For an easy to print list of all the items mentioned in this post, follow the link: Best of the Museum on Campus List

The Archivist’s Nook: On 1952’s Television Man of the Year

Virginia Farley Mazzenga, avid fan of Bishop Fulton Sheen, in her confirmation robe, ca. 1953. An avid follower of Sheen’s Life is Worth Living at the time, she says when she watched him on TV it was “as if nothing else was happening in the room. The way he was able to put the teaching over was out of this world.”
Virginia Farley Mazzenga, avid fan of Bishop Fulton Sheen, in her confirmation robe, ca. 1953. A follower of Sheen’s “Life is Worth Living,” she says when she watched him on TV it was “as if nothing else was happening in the room. The way he was able to put the teaching over was out of this world.”

When I was in graduate school at CUA in the 1990s, I came across the name Fulton Sheen while studying American Catholic culture in the twentieth century. I learned that Sheen taught Sacred Sciences and Philosophy at CUA from the 1920s through the early 1950s, wrote dozens of books and pamphlets, and that he was an extremely popular speaker on the National Council of Catholic Men’s Catholic Hour. These fit with my understanding of a charismatic Catholic priest of the twentieth century. Then I learned that Sheen had won the 1952 Emmy for “Most Outstanding Television Personality,” beating out Jimmy Durante, Lucille Ball, and Edward R. Murrow. I thought: huh?

I figured I’d ask my mom if she’d ever heard of him. After all, she grew up Catholic in the 1950s and watched television, had she seen him when she was growing up? I was unprepared for her emotional response. “Oh, I loved Fulton Sheen. I watched Life is Worth Living every week!” I asked her what she liked about him. “I thought he was very saintly. He was mesmerizing when he talked, and he had this stare. His sermons were very deep. My faith was stronger after I listened to him.”

Sheen biographer Thomas C. Reeves notes that Life Is Worth Living went on the air “at the right time, for the 1950s marked a golden age for American churches.” Polls bore this out:  in 1952, 75% of Americans told pollsters that religion was very important to them, and five years later, 81% said they thought religion could answer all or most of life’s problems.¹

Fulton Sheen on the set of Life is Worth Living. Bishop Sheen appeared in full regalia, surrounded by books. He made ample use of a blackboard to make his points.
Fulton Sheen on the set of “Life is Worth Living.”  He appeared in full regalia, surrounded by books and made ample use of a blackboard to make his points.

Nonetheless, few thought Sheen’s show would succeed: when he first went on the air in 1952 he was set up against Milton Berle (known as “Mr. Television” at the time) and Frank Sinatra in what was known as “an obituary spot” at 8 p.m. as it was believed that no one could compete with those two famous personalities. One agent called Sheen “a dead duck.” Take a telegenic and charismatic Catholic evangelizer like Fulton Sheen to this national mood and you get an entire generation of American Catholics with fond spiritual memories of one of the popular religious shows of its time—Sheehan drew many millions of viewers a week.²

Life is Worth Living didn’t run original episodes for long. Starting on the Du Mont network in , the show ran from 1952-1955, when ABC picked it up and ran it until 1957. The show went into syndication, though Sheen starred on other programs until 1968. And many Catholics of a certain age will remember him with affection, as does my mother.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen is pictured in this undated photo with Rev. Gilbert Hartke, O.P., founder of Catholic University's speech and drama department; Clare Boothe Luce, playwright and former congresswoman from Connecticut and U.S. ambassador to Italy; and Clarence Walton, who served as president of the University from 1969 to 1978.
Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen is pictured in this undated photo with Rev. Gilbert Hartke, O.P., founder of Catholic University’s speech and drama department; Clare Boothe Luce, playwright and former congresswoman from Connecticut and U.S. ambassador to Italy; and Clarence Walton, who served as president of the University from 1969 to 1978.

In addition to pioneering in religion and media, Sheen served in several positions of authority within the church. Known for his evangelical abilities, he was named the national director of the Pontifical Mission Aid Societies in the United States and auxiliary bishop in New York at the behest of Cardinal Spellman, the city’s archbishop. With this appointment, Sheen resigned from the faculty of CUA. This mission was one of the largest sources of funds for the Vatican missions, and under Sheen’s guidance as director, donations from America dramatically increased. Pope Paul VI named Sheen as the bishop of Rochester on October 26, 1966, a position from which he resigned three years later. He continued writing and speaking in New York City until his death in 1979. By the end of his life, he had published sixty-six books and sixty-two booklets, pamphlets and printed radio talks. Sheen died on December 9, 1979 before the Blessed Sacrament and was buried in St. Patrick’s Cathedral beneath the altar.

The archives holds several collections of materials related to Fulton Sheen:


¹Thomas C. Reeves, America’s Bishop: The Life and Times of Fulton J. Sheen (San Franciso: Encoutner Books, 2001) 229-240.

²Thomas C. Reeves, America’s Bishop: The Life and Times of Fulton J. Sheen (San Franciso: Encoutner Books, 2001) 229-240.

Digital Scholarship: What’s Next?

Call it being curious. Call it being proactive. Call it being engaged. Maybe it is just human to look to the future. Here are some reports from 2015 and 2016 that give us clues to what the future of learning and libraries may look like.

Libraries & Learning

2016 ALA State of America’s Libraries Report
2016 PEW Libraries and Learning
Horizon Report 2015 Library Edition
2015 IMLS FOCUS SUMMARY REPORT: LEARNING IN LIBRARIES
2015 CLIR The Center of Excellence Model for Information Services

Trends in Digital Scholarship

SPEC Kit 350: Supporting Digital Scholarship (May 2016)
2015 CLIR Building Expertise to Support Digital Scholarship: A Global Perspective

Data!

NISO Alternative Assessment Metrics (Altmetrics) Initiative: Persistent Identifiers in Scholarly Communications
NISO Alternative Assessment Metrics (Altmetrics) Initiative: Alternative Outputs in Scholarly Communications
2015 The Metric Tide: Report of the Independent Review of the Role of Metrics in Research Assessment and Management
‘Preserving Transactional Data’: new DPC Technology Watch Report

Sam Seaborne, of The West Wing: Season 2, Episode: Galileo, reminds us to ask “what’s next?

The Archivist’s Nook: Digital Collections and Copyright – A Tough Boat to Swallow

Fair use? You decide.
Fair use? You decide.

Let’s do a quick exercise. Think back to your last Google image search. Can you remember what you were searching for? Can you remember the reason you were looking?  Can you remember what you found, and how you used it? I’ll go first. According to my search history, around 2 weeks ago I conducted a hunt for images of Monstro the Whale from Disney’s 1940 animated adaptation of Pinocchio. I’ll keep the reasons to myself, but you can see one of the results for yourself in this blog post. Final question – did you happen to investigate the copyright status of whatever you found? I’m betting not, and you’re far from alone. I certainly didn’t, and I know that you can filter results by usage rights. What’s my excuse?

Although copyright law as a subject cannot possibly be covered in a single blog post, we can go over some basic history. According to the US Constitution, the original purpose of copyright in the United States was to “promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.” While the laws governing copyright have evolved over time (sometimes at the lobbying behest of our old friend The Walt Disney Company), that core principal, in theory, has not changed. Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: Digital Collections and Copyright – A Tough Boat to Swallow”

Digital Scholarship: Rest Promotes Productivity!

Lin-Manuel Miranda reading Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
Lin-Manuel Miranda ‏@Lin_Manuel 15 Jun 2015 #MrowbackMonday In 2008 I bought Chernow’s Hamilton bio to read on vacation. @HamiltonMusical rehearsal starts today.

Finishing up our reading theme for June, we remind you to read, perchance, to dream!

Lin-Manuel Miranda: It’s ‘No Accident’ Hamilton Came To Me On Vacation
“The moment my brain got a moment’s rest, ‘Hamilton’ walked into it.”

In his award-winning musical “Hamilton,” Lin-Manuel Miranda makes the case that if Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton had taken a break from work during one particularly high-pressured summer, he could have gone onto become one of America’s greatest presidents. Instead, Hamilton refused to go on vacation with his family and made the worst decision of his life by starting an affair. The career-killing mistake is now infamously known as one of America’s first political sex scandals.

Take a break!