OLL Blog — My path to librarianship and the Oliveira Lima Library

Earlier this month, Fine Books & Collections posted an interview with me as part of their series Bright Young Librarians. While my tendency toward self-deprecation would lead me to question those qualifiers – months of sheltering-in-place I has got me feeling particularly dim and old – I was nevertheless thrilled to be featured in a publication of such note among my colleagues. It was a wonderful chance to speak about both the work Dr. Nathalia Henrich and I have been doing at the Oliveira Lima Library and the circumstances that brought me here. In the interest of highlighting the immense value of our collection and our role in maximizing that value, I’d like to take this opportunity to expand a bit on my remarks.

Apart from my love of history, what most drew me to the the field of librarianship was the social commitment of the library, the idea that the guarantee of access and use of library materials should be the driving force behind the development and implementation of theory and practice. To me, that idea is best expressed in the concept of stewardship. As Sharon Farb puts it, stewardship is, among other things, ‘service on behalf of users and on behalf of society.’ As library professionals such as Daniel Greenstein and Meg Bellinger have noted, while the Digital Age has challenged us to rethink our notions of preservation and ownership, it has also offered us opportunities to think of documented cultural memory in terms of interconnected networks, where the movement and exchange of knowledge takes precedence over the mere guardianship of materials.

This idea of stewardship has greatly eased my own personal anxieties and insecurities as a professional still relatively wet behind the ears. I often agonize over just the right content and structure of catalog records, wading through the mire of numbers and codes. In publishing a new record to our online catalog, I hope to create something laudable and unassailable by my peers. While these are certainly worthy goals, they should never get in the way of access. If I am uneasy about a record I have just created, I can rest assured that by making available to the public materials previously unknown, I am starting a conversation that will never end. Whatever gaps in my knowledge will be filled by those who come to use our collection. Nothing, certainly not my work as a cataloger, is written in stone. Beyond that, if our society’s current discussion has taught me anything, monuments to the past neither are nor should be protected from serious conversations.

In a way, this last point informs the work of Dr. Henrich and I. To be sure, we have been bestowed with the responsibility of keeping alive the memory of Manoel and Flora de Oliveira Lima; we are not, however, in the business of apotheosizing their memory nor the materials in their collection. The purpose of our work is to offer our holdings to the scrutiny of those wishing to undertake the serious and responsible endeavor of scholarship, regardless of their academic titles and honors. I find this in keeping with the legacy of Dr. Oliveira Lima, a man who was neither diffident in debate, intransigent in his political and social views, nor lacking in humor, even when it came to the caricatures of himself which often exaggerated his corpulence.

Access World News now available

The University Libraries is pleased to announce access to our newest database, Access World News. The database provides up to date news locally, nationally and internationally. Users can browse by topics of interest, geographically, or trending topics. In addition to the innovative browsing experience, users can access transcripts from popular news broadcasts such as NPR or 60 Minutes. Access World News is a great resource for students and faculty interested in current events from credible news sources. 

 

“With an unprecedented combination of global, regional and local news, including a unique merging of news formats (PDF image editions, web-only, full-text), this resource supports a diverse range of research needs across an array of academic disciplines for students and faculty. Includes current and archived news content from more than 12,000 sources spanning 200+ countries and territories. Easy-to-use interface.”

 

Major Newspapers: It’s important to have access to news at the national level as well as locally, especially in today’s world. Access World News makes it easy with the variety of regional publications and equally robust nationwide newspapers such as:

  • Baltimore Sun
  • Houston Chronicle
  • Chicago Sun Times
  • Washington Times
  • Catholic Standard (and many more Catholic news sources)

 

Unique Features: Access the information you need with ease by utilizing some of the following tools and attributes:

  • Search by map
  • Full color PDF titles available
  • Full integration with Primo launch coming
  • Easily cite, email, or save articles 
  • View news in multiple formats: full-text, web-only, and images

 

Click here for a quick tutorial on navigating Access World News! 

 

OLL Blog – Entre Manhattan e Rio de Janeiro: O caso do periódico O Novo Mundo (1870-1879) – Alessandra Carneiro

Capa de O Novo Mundo com a imagem de Manhattan com a ponte do Brooklyn ao fundo: vol IV, nº43, 23/04/1874. Hemeroteca Digital, Biblioteca Nacional.

Entre Manhattan e Rio de Janeiro: O caso do periódico O Novo Mundo (1870-1879)

Alessandra Carneiro

Doutora em Letras pela USP

Um veículo de informação e cultura que promova o american way of life no Brasil não soa incomum no mundo globalizado do século XXI, mas não deixa de despertar interesse e curiosidade quando se trata do século retrasado. O Novo Mundo: Periodico Illustrado do Progresso da Edade foi publicado pela primeira vez em 24 de outubro de 1870 e desde 2012 pode ser consultado na Hemeroteca digital da Biblioteca Nacional do Rio de Janeiro. No entanto, manusear um original do periódico é um privilégio que pude ter na Oliveira Lima Library, em 2013, durante meu estágio de doutorado sanduíche financiado pela Capes/Fulbright, nos Estados Unidos. O tamanho grande, a beleza das imagens e o bom estado de conservação de O Novo Mundo impressionam e, sem dúvida, tornam o trabalho com ele muito mais prazeroso.

 Editado em língua portuguesa entre 1870 e 1879, o jornal era impresso em Manhattan e enviado mensalmente aos seus assinantes no Rio de Janeiro. Inicialmente, o fluminense José Carlos Rodrigues mantinha o periódico sozinho, ocupando-se de todas as funções necessárias para a produção e circulação, mas, posteriormente, importantes intelectuais brasileiros contribuíram para a folha, como o poeta maranhense Sousândrade. As matérias de O Novo Mundo (ONM) eram bastante diversificadas, visto que os seus 108 volumes publicados abordam, por exemplo, literatura, política, protestantismo, economia, ciências etc. Era declarado que o escopo do periódico não era publicar notícias atuais, mas discutir os princípios, a política e o progresso da república estadunidense. Assim, o seu intuito era um só: oferecer ao Brasil um exemplo de nação próspera na América que pudesse lhe servir de exemplo de modernização.

 Vale ressaltar que nessa época o Brasil ainda era uma monarquia escravocrata e essencialmente agrária, ao passo que os Estados Unidos – uma república livre e democrática após a Guerra de Secessão (1861-1865) – atravessavam um período marcado pela expansão econômica, além da acelerada urbanização, industrialização e inovação tecnológica. Desse modo, o periódico incentivava a ida de brasileiros aos EUA para conhecer o seu modelo de prosperidade in loco. Nesse sentido, ONM publicava assiduamente propaganda das oportunidades de formação acadêmica existentes nos EUA, tendo Rodrigues, inclusive, assumido a tarefa de guiar e aconselhar estudantes brasileiros recém chegados em Nova York, muitos dos quais se dirigiam à Universidade de Cornell para estudar Engenharia.

Edifício do New York Times onde também ficava a redação de ONM: Vol.4, nº45, 23/06/1874. Pág 162. The Oliveira Lima Library, The Catholic University of America.

Foi também possivelmente incentivado por Rodrigues que Sousândrade mudou para NY em 1871 levando uma de suas filhas para estudar (CARNEIRO, 2016). O poeta contribuiu com algumas publicações assinadas no periódico e manteve anonimamente a coluna Notas Literárias. Ele foi nomeado vice-presidente de ONM em 1875, permanecendo no cargo até 1879. Sousândrade corroborou uma das constantes do jornal que era criticar abertamente o Império brasileiro por meio de publicações concernentes abolição da escravidão.  Por exemplo, em novembro de 1871 foi publicada uma correspondência do poeta intitulada ironicamente A emancipação do Imperador, que refletia sobre a divulgação distorcida da promulgação da Lei do Ventre Livre de 28 de setembro daquele mesmo ano. Uma notícia publicada no jornal Herald de NY atribuía a Dom Pedro II o mérito pelo protagonismo ruma à abolição da escravidão, ao que Sousândrade reagiu ferozmente argumentando que não era iniciativa do Imperador, mas um clamor do povo que ele prudentemente ouviu e que inclusive ameaçava a monarquia. 

No mesmo tom crítico, na edição de março de 1872 saiu o artigo O Estado dos índios no qual Sousândrade condenava o descaso do Império brasileiro pela situação degradante em que viviam os nativos das comunidades ribeirinhas do Amazonas. O argumento do poeta nesse artigo era que o governo deveria investir mais em missionários e educadores capacitados para atuarem junto aos autóctones porque, se bem preparados, eles seriam trabalhadores livres mais adequados à substituição do trabalho escravo, na iminência do seu fim. Para endossar sua opinião sobre a colonização do sertão brasileiro utilizando os próprios nativos, Sousândrade cita no mesmo artigo o naturalista amigo de Rodrigues Charles Frederick Hartt, professor na Universidade de Cornell, que teria voltado do Amazonas há pouco e concluído que o índio seria melhor elemento de população que os imigrantes europeus, pois seriam mais inteligentes que, por exemplo, os irlandeses que emigravam para os

Colégio do Sagrado Coração, instituição de ensino católica voltada para meninas onde estudou a filha de Sousândrade, Maria Bárbara. Vol. II, nº14, 24/11/1871, pág. 25. Hemeroteca Digital, Biblioteca Nacional.

EUA.

Além de Sousândrade, outros homens de letras importantes contribuíram para a revista de Rodrigues, como o engenheiro André Rebouças, Salvador de Mendonça (nomeado cônsul geral do Brasil em NY em 1876) e o ilustre Machado de Assis. No caso deste último, houve uma única publicação feita sob encomenda de Rodrigues no volume de março de 1873: Notícia da atual literatura brasileira – Instinto de Nacionalidade; mas que causou impacto pelo seu posicionamento crítico ao romantismo brasileiro e à dependência ao referencial cultural europeu ainda em voga no Brasil. Considerando o afinamento de Rodrigues com as ideias aventadas por Machado, já se argumentou que a importância de ONM para a literatura brasileira se daria por constituir um suporte relevante da transição entre as tendências literárias românticas para a realista-naturalista/parnasiana no Brasil. (ASCIUTTI, 2010). 

Portanto, O Novo Mundo congregou brasileiros empenhados em assimilar o que consideravam o caminho que levaria o Brasil retrógrado à modernidade. Esses homens de letras não eram, entretanto, passivos à ideia de americanização da nação, pois antropofagicamente (salvaguardado o anacronismo do termo) buscavam no estrangeiro conhecimentos e ações que pudessem beneficiar o país de modo a torná-lo uma potência socioeconômica na América do Sul que fizesse par com os Estados Unidos. No século XIX, um projeto geopolítico desse calibre para a América configurava-se um contraponto inédito ao poder europeu, por isso a importância de ONM.

Referências 

CARNEIRO, Alessandra da Silva. O Guesa em New York: Republicanismo e Americanismo em Sousândrade. 2016. 214 f. Tese (Doutorado em Literatura Brasileira) – Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, 2016.

ASCIUTTI, Mônica Maria Rinaldi. Um lugar para o periódico O Novo Mundo (Nova York,1870-1879). Dissertação (Mestrado em Letras Clássicas e Vernáculas). São Paulo: Universidade de São Paulo, 2010.

Zooming Into a New Normal

Less than three months into the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are already adjusting to some big changes in their day-to-day lives. Perhaps the biggest? Finding a way to work, play, and gather when the traditional methods are forbidden by social distancing rules. 

Happy hours, family gatherings, classes, and meetings are all still happening in quarantined America — it’s just that thanks to a growing number of teleconferencing and virtual meeting applications, they are now taking place in a virtual setting. The popular Zoom teleconferencing software has skyrocketed to prominence in recent weeks, with its daily active user count climbing 340 percent since December 2019 (Bary, 2020). Competitor Microsoft Teams’ daily user count, meanwhile, climbed nearly 40 percent in just one week during March 2020 (Paul, 2020). The University Libraries are in on the trend, too: Since the middle of March, the University Libraries has held two of its monthly All-Staff Meetings via Zoom, providing a way for staff to reconnect and stay productive. We are also using Google Meet and Zoom to bring regular reference and instruction services to our patrons. 

The University Libraries hold an All-Staff Meeting via Zoom.
The University Libraries hold an All-Staff Meeting via Zoom.

Are virtual-only gatherings the future? Right now, there are a number of potential drawbacks, including privacy and security concerns and the risk of lowered productivity. But virtual meetings may also provide a way for organizations — particularly libraries — to continue to better serve their patrons even after the lockdowns are lifted. 

“Zoom-Bombing” and Data Protection

Some of the main concerns about the rapid adoption of virtual meetings are privacy and security. Several high-profile anecdotes about “Zoom-bombings” — cases where hackers broke into a virtual meeting to share inappropriate language or images with attendees — have highlighted the need for caution. According to experts, any organization contemplating adopting videoconference applications should have two top priorities:

  • End to end encryption. In end-to-end encryption, communications are encrypted on the sender’s device and can only be decrypted by the recipient. This prevents third parties (in this case, the virtual meeting application) from accessing the data while it is sent (“End to end encryption,” n.d.). (Note that Zoom, in particular, has run into questions about its encryption or lack thereof.)
  • Data protection. When choosing a virtual meeting or teleconferencing application, organizations should look for transparency about what kind of user data is collected, whether any third parties have access to that data, and whether the application adheres to privacy laws and standards (Paul, 2020). 

Choose the Features You Need

Not all virtual meeting applications work for every team, so it is worth researching to find out which features are right for yours. A first consideration might be price; several of the most popular virtual meeting applications offer limited services for free. For example, Zoom’s free option allows unlimited one on one meetings, but caps groups at 40 minutes and 100 participants; Microsoft Teams’ free tier offers even more functionality (Bott, 2020). Others, like Blue Jeans Meetings and GoToMeeting, offer no free services but do have tiered pricing that can accommodate everything from a single person to a large enterprise (Bott, 2020).

virtual library services
During the COVID-19 pandemic, libraries around the world are using virtual platforms to continue serving their patrons.

Interoperability is also a concern — which software works best with your (or your organization’s) email, calendar, and collaboration platforms? For example, Google Hangouts Meet might be a good choice for organizations that use Google’s other business applications such as Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive (Bott, 2020). The better the match, the more seamless the transition from physical to virtual meetings will be. 

Keep the Connection Going

A virtual meeting can never replace in-person camaraderie and exchange of ideas. But there are some best practices for making a virtual meeting close enough to the real thing. Among them: ask all participants to use video — seeing our colleagues up close is heartening in a lonely time. On the other hand, make sure everyone mutes their microphone unless they are speaking, to minimize feedback and distracting background noise. And rather than force meeting-goers to watch long PowerPoint presentations or listen to a single presenter, encourage a dialogue that lets everyone contribute and be heard (Frisch & Greene, 2020).

Pete Ramsey, a Mullen Library liaison librarian and Outreach and Engagement Coordinator, has been offering virtual library instruction since the stay-at-home orders began. He recommends that instructors or meeting facilitators regularly “check for understanding” during sessions. “It’s helped to make sure the students are actually following what I’m trying to demonstrate,” he says. “For one-on-one sessions, I may have them share their screen so I can troubleshoot searching issues.”

Online Instruction
When teaching library instruction classes online, be sure to check in with students regularly to make sure they understand the material.

The Virtual Library

Libraries are vital partners in their communities, whether those communities are public, academic, or organization-based. Even in a time when physical services are minimal or nonexistent, virtual meeting software can help libraries continue to serve their patronsan, d may even help them find ways to expand their services once physical library visits are possible again.

Here are some ways libraries — including the University Libraries — using virtual meetings for their services.

  • Reference: While many patrons are using email to reach out to librarians with reference questions, virtual meetings can add a more personal dimension. Lea Wade, Mullen Library’s STEMM liaison librarian, recently used Zoom to share her screen and demonstrate to a student how to locate subject guides and databases. “I ran through a few searches for her topic in different databases, showing how to use the database’s limiters in advanced search mode. I also showed how to send the articles to a citation manager, then emailed them to her. It took about an hour, and she was pleased with the results,” she said. “I think being able to share my screen was especially helpful because she could see what I was doing and follow along.”
  • Instruction: Just as other schools, from K-12 to higher education, have moved classes online, so have libraries. Mullen Library’s liaison librarians have continued to offer library instruction to their departments. In addition, Kevin Gunn, the University Libraries’ Coordinator of Digital Scholarship and a liaison librarian, has taught or co-taught several webinars on such topics as open access, scholarly publishing, and digital scholarship. “Showing students how to do something on a website while you are showing your screen and the students are following along on the same computer can be challenging,” he says. Gunn suggests using short, pre-recorded tutorials for asynchronous learning, and devoting virtual meeting time to discuss specific research issues and questions.

Even though Catholic University plans to reopen in the fall for on-campus instruction and residence life, it remains to be seen how the COVID-19 pandemic may change higher education — and libraries — forever. Virtual tools such as these, however, help ensure that all patrons, no matter where they are, can continue to get the benefit of librarians’ expertise. 

References

Bary, E. (n.d.). Zoom, Microsoft Teams usage are rocketing during coronavirus pandemic, new data show. MarketWatch. Retrieved May 5, 2020, from https://www.marketwatch.com/story/zoom-microsoft-cloud-usage-are-rocketing-during-coronavirus-pandemic-new-data-show-2020-03-30

Bott, E. (n.d.). Best video conferencing software for business: Microsoft Teams plus eight more Zoom alternatives. ZDNet. Retrieved May 21, 2020, from https://www.zdnet.com/article/best-video-conferencing-software-and-services-for-business/

Frisch, B., & Greene, C. (2020, March 5). What It Takes to Run a Great Virtual Meeting. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2020/03/what-it-takes-to-run-a-great-virtual-meeting

Paul, K. (2020, April 9). Worried about Zoom’s privacy problems? A guide to your video-conferencing options. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/apr/08/zoom-privacy-video-chat-alternatives

What is end-to-end encryption (E2EE)? – Definition from WhatIs.com. (n.d.). Retrieved May 6, 2020, from 

https://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/end-to-end-encryption-E2EE

The Archivist’s Nook: War Comes to Campus – CatholicU Students in a Time of Crisis

Catholic University Receives War News Calmly

WWII Memorial, originally dedicated in McMahon Hall in 1945. Made by local sculptor, Frank Zuchet, it reads at the top, “We ask a memento for these students of the university who have died in service of their country”.

So reads the main headline of the December 12, 1941 Tower — the first issue of the Catholic University student newspaper published after the December 7 attack on Pearl Harbor. But reading into the article it headlines, and the many articles and letters that are in this same issue, one finds a variety of emotions on display beyond just “calm.” Many members of the campus community expressed fear and anger, patriotism, or even disinterest. This particular issue is a symphony of emotions and uncertainty. Students, faculty, and staff report hopes for peace, desire for revenge, or even attempts at making jokes. Columns advocated for a quick response by the college student to the crisis facing the nation and world. Rumors swirled about what would happen. The uncertainty about the length and severity of the conflict, or even if universities would be able to continue operating the same way in the short- or long-term weighed on many minds in December 1941 and in the months and years ahead.

In hindsight, it is easy to assume that everyone understood what was happening at the time and shared in a collective response. The hindsight of history has provided us with a perspective of the days and weeks following the US entry into World War II that can be uniform and seem well-planned, with every person and institution on the same page. But people and history are seldom so simple and clear-cut. And looking through the student-led Tower during the war years reveals the anxieties, hope, adjustments, and ultimate triumph of the campus community in the face of a global challenge.

Catholic University War Bonds Fundraiser in Mullen Library, 1943

To better understand their place and how their university may respond, students turned to the last major global conflict — World War I. The Tower reports efforts to understand how campus offices functioned and how groups such as the “Student Army Training Corps” operated at the time. Articles reflect on students enlisting and highlighted the way students rallied both to the nation and to the campus during the “Great War.” The paper also took pride in highlighting the service of WWI veterans among the current faculty and alumni community. In its column “C. U. Men of Yesteryear,” the focus shifted from job promotions and weddings to reporting largely on military enlistments. In the August 20, 1943  issue, the Tower casually reported on Class of 1912 alumni: 

Major-General Terry Allen, who so successfully commanded the first U.S. Infantry Division in North Africa, is currently leading the same outfit in the Sicily Campaign. 

Generals Omar Bradley (left), Terry de la Mesa Allen (center), and Dwight Eisenhower (right) pictured on November 10, 1944 in Grenzhof, Germany.

But it was not all focused on the war fronts, as campus life did continue. Changes to college life during the war years were anticipated, with a November 1942 Tower article discussing rumors about changing academic calendars, adjustments to how classes may be taught, and even shifting commencement dates. As the author put it: 

It indicated that the men in charge of the war effort, having solved the major problems connected with transferring the processes of civilian life to the methods of total war, were coming round to putting an end to the difficulties of the position of the colleges in war time.

As the war continued throughout the early 1940s, material and demographic changes occurred on campus. In addition to some dances and social gatherings, USO training sessions were held and military exercises occurred on campus. Publications like the Cardinal Yearbook were suspended from 1944-1947, and more women were able to enroll on campus.

1517th Army unit specialized training program at Catholic University, August 1943, marching in front of the now-vanished Albert Hall

As recounted in an earlier blog, the admittance of women to Catholic University was still relatively new and often limited to programs in the School of Nursing. But with so many male students enlisting, women began to take more active roles on the campus. In early 1943, for example, nine School of Nursing students joined the Tower staff as its first women members. But these writers were not merely replacements meant to keep the newspaper afloat, they were active agents shaping the future of the campus.

Among the nine writers, columnist and member of the Tower business staff Margaret Clarke ‘44, wrote:

It seems that throughout history women are facing some form of competition, some barrier, some challenge. Just in the past World War I days the women of the entire nation faced a challenge when they tried to gain the legal right to vote. But they overcame this challenge, and the country really doesn’t seem any worse today for it…Maybe if the few of this University would come to the realization that the women, too, belong to the University, that they are worthy of having an interest in what goes on about them on their campus. And yes, they have a right to partake in the various campus activities…maybe some day the few will learn to accept these students – and the University really won’t seem any worse then for it.

Catholic University War Bond Drive in McMahon Hall, 1943.

Despite the war ending in 1945, it would take several years for certain pre-war elements of campus life to return. For example, the Shahan Debating Society ceased operations during the war years and only returned in 1946. But other changes were fast and permanent. Women were more prevalent and active in the campus community. Not to mention, the G.I. Bill also led to an increased enrollment, dramatically ballooning the size of incoming classes. And with this increased enrollment came more and more new programs on the campus, from the School of Music to aerospace studies.

But students did not forget the war. Many of those present on the campus in the late 1940s and beyond were veterans. Memorials, both in print and in stone and wood, were established to remember the students and alumni who had passed away in the conflict. 

The November 12, 1946 sports page in the Tower memorialized those lost in the war. The caption reads: “The Editors of The Tower dedicate this potion of our paper to men of C. U. who made the supreme sacrifice, in World War I, and II, and whose names would have appeared on this page in various activities.”

During a time of great upheaval and uncertainty, Cardinals expressed various emotions and turned to the past to understand present challenges. But once the initial shock wore off, members of the campus community rallied both on and off campus, finding ways to win the day and build a University community adapted to the times. While sacrifices were made, opportunities also arose as the campus emerged out of the war years having forged new ways forward. Out of the crucible of crisis, Catholic University’s students adapted and persevered.

Understanding History with Primary Sources

Primary vs. Secondary Sources

Perhaps one of the best ways is to examine documents from an era or event of interest; these are known as primary sources. The Library of Congress defines it as “Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts, or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience.” These sources can be almost anything; a document, artifact, oral history, postcard, etc. Secondary sources, on the other hand, are generally books or articles written about a primary source or document. They contextualize and interpret the primary source in question. [1]

Finding primary sources can be difficult depending on the topic. But, the best places to start are online collections from libraries, museums, and archives, all memory institutions that rely on such documents for their collection and viewing. Today, these institutions are pushing to digitize documents and artifacts to make them accessible to patrons from anywhere in the world. For me, I am currently pursuing a double master’s in History and Library Science. The ability to access digitized documents allows me to engage with the past and apply it to my research. While I cannot physically hold, touch, or feel the document I am studying, through digitization, I can engage with a virtual reproduction or scanned image of the source. Primary sources are essential to my career path and working with them either hands on in the archives or scrolling through scans in a digital collection allows me to engage with topics of interest. 

Transcribing

How can you gain more experience interacting with primary source documents? Several institutions, large and small now offer crowdsourcing opportunities to transcribe documents within their collection. More sophisticated programs include the Smithsonian Institution and the National Archives, but more localized libraries and museums also participate. To gain a sense of the process for transcribing documents, I chose the Smithsonian Institutions because this includes all museums as well as their respective library and archives. After you create an account, then you can choose a specific museum or theme of interest. I picked African American History, Women’s History, and the Archives of American Art so I could have a range of themes and experiences.

Before beginning, a tutorial is suggested for viewing. In the tutorial, guidelines for transcribing and notating are covered. There are different roles you can take on for these projects. The obvious one being transcribing, typing up what the document says verbatim. The other option is to review and edit what another volunteer transcribed. A general rule for all transcription sites is a three step process: a volunteer transcribes the document, a different volunteer reviews, and then the document is submitted for an employee of the institution to provide a final review before providing online access.

My Experience

Screenshot from Sally Ride Papers transcription.
Screenshot from Sally Ride Papers transcription.

Sally Ride Papers: The first collection I worked on was the Sally K. Ride Papers housed at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum Archives. The Sally Ride Papers contain reports, speeches, photographs, etc. I personally worked on documents related to the KidSat program. Sally Ride created this program along with other scientists as a way for school-aged children to look at images of Earth using a camera aboard a Space Shuttle.

These documents were print documents, so reading handwriting was not an issue. Although, with print documents the question of how to arrange graphs, charts, and caption boxes becomes tricky. Luckily, the Smithsonian provides a tutorial on documenting these irregular texts. For this collection, I also reviewed some transcriptions of other volunteers. This was also a good opportunity to see how others handled describing the graphs and images within the text. 

Freedmans’ Bureau: The Freedmens’ Bureau was a government organized agency created during the Reconstruction era to help integrate freed slaves into society. The success of the agency is contested by historians, but the Bureau did set high standards for black education. Under President Lincoln’s administration in 1865, the agency formed as a sect of the Department of War. Most the documents within the transcription collection deal with labor contracts between freedmen and local superintendents. The collection is archived at the National Museum of African American History and Culture. [2]

Screenshot from Freedmen's Bureau transcription.
Screenshot from Freedmen’s Bureau transcription.

Experience: This collection proved a bit more difficult than the Sally Ride Papers in that most documents were handwritten and from the late 1800s. Deciphering the handwriting from the time period was challenging at time, but after looking at a few documents, one can begin to see the continuities in certain words and letters. The subject matter for these documents proved to be a bit mundane, as they were mostly contract, but nonetheless it was fascinating reading materials over 100 years old! 

Lastly, I worked on transcribing documents from the “Letters From Paris: American Artists in Paris, 1860-1930.” This project contained letters from various American artists while they lived or visited Paris. Specifically, for me, I chose Cecilia Beaux’s correspondence from 1888. Beaux was a portraitist during the Impressionist movement. Some of her works include “Man with the Cat,” and “Admiral Sir David Beatty, Lord Beatty.”  [3]

"Man with the Cat"
Painting by Cecilia Beaux. Taken from the Smithsonian American Art Museum website.

Like the Freedmen’s Bureau papers, these were also difficult to read due to the handwriting of the time. Her letters mostly relayed the daily activities of her time in France; visiting friends, going to church, etc. While I was not quite familiar with Beaux or her personal life, I found the personal correspondence to be more interesting rather than the government documents of the Freedmen’s Bureau or Sally Ride Papers.  

I greatly enjoyed the experience transcribing pieces of the past! I recently took a history course on the 19th century in which we learned about the Reconstruction era and the Freedmen’s Bureau. I was able to apply what I learned in class and contextualize the document I transcribed from the organization. In the moment, it may seem difficult to decipher a word or understand the meaning of the document, but once a letter is completely transcribed a feeling of accomplishment takes over. 

How you can get involved

There are numerous crowdsourcing opportunities for you to transcribe! Here in Washington, D.C. three of the largest institutions offer digital volunteer opportunities: Smithsonian Institution (you can pick a museum or theme of interest), the National Archives, and the Library of Congress. Smaller institutions occasionally host events such as a “Transcribe-a-thon” for certain collections. Not only is this a great way to help out, but it provides experience examining primary sources and you just might find a source you want to learn more about or use in your own research! 

 

The Smithsonian: https://transcription.si.edu/

 

Library of Congress: https://crowd.loc.gov/

 

Library of Virginia: http://www.virginiamemory.com/transcribe/

 

National Archives: https://www.archives.gov/citizen-archivist

References:

[1] “Using Primary Sources.” The Library of Congress. http://www.loc.gov/teachers/usingprimarysources/

 

[2] “Labor Contracts.” Smithsonian Institution. https://collections.si.edu/search/record/ead_component:sova-nmaahc-fb-m1902-ref103, “Freedmen’s Bureau.” https://transcription.si.edu/browse?filter=owner:16

[3] “Cecilia Beaux.” Smithsonian American Art Museum. https://americanart.si.edu/artist/cecilia-beaux-300

The Archivist’s Nook: Walter Reuther – 50 Years Later

Today’s guest post is authored by Kimball Baker,  former graduate student of the Catholic University History Department.(1)

Walter Reuther with James P. Davis, Bishop of San Juan, at AFL-CIO Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico, February 1959. George G. Higgins Papers, Special Collections, The Catholic University of America.

A half-century ago, on May 9, 1970, America lost one of its greatest heroes, United Auto Workers President Walter Reuther, in the crash of a plane whose engine, according to the National Transportation Safety Board, was missing parts and had parts wrongly installed—including one part installed upside down. To this day, there is no conclusive proof of foul play, although it is widely suspected.

This tragedy, and several similar tragedies, occurred amidst a time like today, when progressive social reformers are battling valiantly to promote social justice in every area of American life. Therefore, it behooves us to take a fresh look at Walter Reuther and what he fought for, and to realize the large extent to which today’s workers and worker-justice activists are standing on Reuther’s shoulders.

Reuther, in turn, was standing on the shoulders of the workers and worker-justice reformers who preceded his rise to dominance as a leader in the United Auto Workers (UAW) and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) during their organizing and 1935 founding. Reuther and his fellow workers and activists saw Industrial unionism as a direct outgrowth of a democratic-socialist vision for the United States, a vision in which workers and other Americans can thwart income inequality and play larger roles in determining their economic and political destinies.

John Brophy laying a CIO wreath with Dan Benedict and Walter Reuther in Mexico. 12/13/1954. John Brophy Papers, Special Collections, The Catholic University of America.

One cannot fully understand worker justice in the 1930s and 1940s without exploring the extent to which unions in those decades were affected by the relationship between the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA) and its allies, and U.S. socialists and their allies (including the Catholic social-action movement). Communists and socialists were bitter foes long before the 1930s, and except for a brief period of cooperation during the Popular Front era of the 1930s (cooperation which ended with the Nazi-Soviet Pact of August 23, 1939), UAW and other CIO unions were constant battlegrounds. Communist workers everywhere had to follow a line of complete subjugation of worker interests to the war aims and foreign-policy objectives of the Comintern (the Communist Party globally), which still and always included world domination. During World War II, CPUSA-led union factions hampered collective-bargaining activities (already hampered by corporate domination of wartime union-management relationships) by demanding no-strike pledges and extreme production speed-ups, and by downplaying workers’ concerns with low pay, meager benefits, lack of worker input, and unsafe working conditions.

From UAW’s founding, Reuther courageously led the union’s democratic-socialist coalition. He was a member of the Socialist Party in the 1930s until 1938, when he joined the Democratic Party, and he played a major role in UAW going from 30,000 members in 1935 to 400,000 members in 1938. He sought cooperation with the workers of every union faction, and was a veteran of the sit-down strikes and of the bitter three-year-long struggle to organize Ford Motor Company (featuring the famous photo of Reuther bloodied by company goons).

Walter Reuther’s World War II innovations, however, most dramatically exemplify his leadership. His defense-readiness plan was extremely effective, and could serve as a model for dealing with today’s coronavirus. And most significantly, in June 1945 he filed a brief with all war-production agencies recommending that in postwar, “Increased production must be supported by increased consumption, and increased consumption will only be possible through increased wages.” Indeed, he made this recommendation part of UAW’s then-current round of negotiations with General Motors by proposing that the company’s workers be given a 30-percent wage increase and that it not be accompanied by an increase in the price of GM cars. Reuther’s proposal didn’t go through, but it was a ground-breaking challenge to economic inequality in a ground-breaking manner and promises to play a key role in today’s crucial national debates.

Letter of October 24, 1949 announcing a Testimonial Dinner in honor of Walther P. Reuther. Phillip Murray Papers, Special Collections, The Catholic University of America.

Poet Robert Frost speaks of the importance of the “the road not taken”; and America’s not taking the road championed by Reuther set a discouraging tone for the country’s postwar years, when labor had to yield to corporate dominance and the country entered an era of excessive consumer abundance. Reuther was disappointed, but he still fought hard for worker justice (such as by supporting Cesar Chavez and farmworker organizing and by promoting public-sector unions), and he expanded efforts he had long made on other social-justice fronts, including civil-rights struggles, Vietnam War protests, and a greater voice for young people.

Unfortunately, this road called for but not taken has received woefully insufficient attention in the few major biographies of Walter Reuther. Nelson Lichtenstein, for example, in The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit, portrays Reuther after World War II as a champion of corporatism and consumer abundance, a portrayal which insufficiently accounts for Reuther having to row against the anti-labor current of that era and for his increased efforts in non-labor directions. Also, Lichtenstein neglects the positive anti-Communism which Reuther displayed and which helped propel him to the UAW presidency in 1947, helping bring about CIO’s expulsion of 13 CPUSA-led unions in 1949-50. Sadly, positive anti-Communism was soon replaced by the negative anti-Communism of the right wing and of Senator Joseph McCarthy and his ilk.

Ironically, during Reuther’s fight for his innovative challenge, James Matles, President of the CPUSA-led United Electrical Workers-CIO (UE), secretly negotiated with GM on behalf of the 30,000 company workers which UE represented. The UE-GM agreement unfortunately became a basis of the much weaker agreement which UAW eventually had to settle for.

Delegation of American labor leaders, including Walter Reuther, with West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, 1960s. Joseph D. Keenan Papers, Special Collections, The Catholic University of America.

In The Wage Earner, a highly-regarded Detroit labor newspaper, the paper’s editor, Paul Weber, commented in October 1945 on the Reuther challenge: “If Reuther succeeds in forcing GM, one of the country’s largest industrial empires, to redivide the fruits of its production, the day of gigantic profits in American business will be done … [T]he result may not be the end of capitalism, but it will certainly be the beginning of a new kind of capitalism.”

 

The actual result, as we know, was swallowed up in the machinations of runaway capitalists and right-wing politicians, who then gave us decades of assaults on workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively—including, in 1981, President Ronald Reagan’s firing of 12,000 striking members of the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, or PATCO (see Collision Course, by labor historian Joseph A. McCartin, Oxford University Press, 2011). Such assaults continue today, but thanks to the renewal of the democratic-socialist vision for America’s future, Walter Reuther’s “road not taken” promises to become a wide highway of worker justice and of social justice in general.

 

(1)Kimball Baker is the author of “Go to the Worker”: America’s Labor Apostles (Marquette University Press, 2010). For further reading about Walter Reuther in the 1930s and 1940s, he suggests The UAW and Walter Reuther, Irving Howe and B. J. Widick (Random House, 1949).

OLL Blog – As Servinas na Oliveira Lima Library Parte II – Pablo Iglesias Magalhães

Seguimos com a segunda parte do texto do Professor Pablo Iglesias Magalhães sobre as Servinas da nossa coleção. Se você perdeu a parte I, pode encontrar o texto aqui 

 

As Servinas na Oliveira Lima Library 

Parte II: Serva entre o processo de Independência e o Segundo Império

Pablo Iglesias Magalhães

Professor dos cursos de História, do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Humanas e Sociais  e Vice-Diretor do Centro das Humanidades da Universidade Federal do Oeste da Bahia.

Manoel Antonio da Silva Serva faleceu no Rio de Janeiro em agosto de 1819. A tipografia já funcionava em sociedade com seu genro José Teixeira de Carvalho, desde junho daquele ano. A sua parte foi herdada pela viúva, Maria Rosa da Conceição Serva, e a oficina de impressão passou a se chamar Typographia da Viuva Serva, e Carvalho (1819-1827).  Diferente da sua primeira fase, na qual operou em uma conjuntura de prosperidade econômica e relativa tranquilidade política em Salvador, a empresa funcionaria em um período turbulento da História da Bahia, assinalado pela Revolução Constitucionalista (fev. 1821), a Guerra de Independência (1822-1823)  e a Revolta dos Periquitos (nov.1824), sendo que, nesta última ocasião, os prelos da Serva foram transportados à bordo da corveta Maria da Glória, para continuar imprimindo papéis do governo na Baía de Todos os Santos. 

Entre 1821 e 1822, a Serva deu prelo a uma série de papéis constitucionais, cujos raríssimos exemplares se encontram dispersos em bibliotecas públicas e coleções particulares no Brasil, Portugal e Estados Unidos. Esse conjunto ainda não recebeu a devida atenção pelos historiadores. Na OLL, há um exemplar das Reflexões sobre o decreto de 18 de fevereiro deste anno offerecidas ao povo da Bahia por Philagiosotero. O folheto com 11 páginas já começa registrando que “se o respeito ao Monarcha he nas Monarchias o primeiro dever do Povo, he tambem certo que huma justa consideração aos direitos do Povo he da obrigação do Principe, e qualquer ataque a estes direitos chama a resistencia legitima de huma Nação contra o mesmo Rey, que desconhece as suas funcções verdadeiras.” Philagiosotero é pseudônimo do paulista Antônio Carlos Ribeiro de Andrada Machado e Silva (1773-1845), que ficou preso por quatro anos na Bahia, por ter tomado parte na Revolução Pernambucana (1817).  Na OLL, ainda consta um exemplar da Relação dos Successos do Dia 26 de Fevereiro de 1821, escrita no Rio de Janeiro em 10 de Junho de 1821 e o controverso folheto Exame Analítico-Crítico da Questão: o Rei, e a Família Real de Bragança devem, nas Circunstâncias Presentes, Voltar a Portugal ou Ficar no Brasil? (1821).

A morte de Manoel Antonio da Silva Serva e as rupturas institucionais e comerciais entre Brasil e Portugal, produzidas pela Independência, interrompeu o fluxo de livros baianos para a Europa. A Typographia de Serva, influenciada por essas transformações, foi gradualmente convertida em uma tipografia nacional e imperial, particularmente a partir de 1828. Naquele ano, os dois filhos de Maria Rosa da Conceição, Manoel Antonio da Silva Serva (1802-1846) e José Antonio da Silva Serva (1808-1878), se associaram a sua mãe e criaram a Typographia da Viuva Serva e Filhos (1828-1836).  Com o encerramento das atividades da Typographia Nacional da Bahia (1823-1831), a Serva passou a cumprir a função de imprimir papéis do governo imperial e provincial. Os impressos baianos daquele período são mais raros do que os da primeira fase da Serva, pois a interrupção na sua exportação fez com que seus papéis circulassem apenas nos trópicos, ficando mais expostos à umidade e insetos. 

Pigault-Lebrun. Monsieur de Kinglin, ou : a presciencia Bahia: Na Impressão da viuva Serva, 1829. Oliveira Lima Library, The Catholic University of America.

As servinas pós-1822 também ficam mais escassas na OLL. Há a segunda novela impressa na Bahia, Monsieur de Kinglin, ou a presciência de Mr. Le Brun. A primeira novela impressa na Bahia fora uma tradução da Atalá (1819), de Chateaubriand, que havia sido impressa pela primeira vez em Lisboa em 1810 e censurada pelas autoridades inquisitoriais portuguesas em 1812. Monsieur de Kinglin também não foi bem vista à época, por não estar de acordo com os padrões morais e religiosos vigentes, tendo, contudo, a peculiaridade de declarar ter sido publicada “Na Impressão da Viuva Serva”.  Até hoje só encontrei dois livros com essa declaração editorial, atribuindo-se exclusivamente à Maria Rosa da Conceição Serva, que é a primeira proprietária de uma casa editorial no Brasil. Poucas foram, contudo, as novelas impressas na Serva e quase todas, se não todas, traduções do francês para o português. 

Na OLL, uma obra da Serva e Filhos se destaca, até o presente, pelo critério da unicidade. São as Reflexões Criticas Sobre a Administração da Justiça em Inglaterra,  tanto no civel como no crime, e sobre o jury, n’uma serie de cartas a um amigo (1829). Não foi possível encontrar outro exemplar dessas Reflexões Criticas, mas ela foi ofertada no Catalogo nº 14, de 1930, da Livraria Coelho, de Lisboa, classificadas in-8º de 34-53-60 páginas, ao preço de 40$00, em brochura. A primeira edição foi tirada na Impressão Régia de Lisboa em 1826 e seu autor foi José Joaquim Ferreira de Moira (c. 1776-1829), apelidado de “Doutor Macaco”, pelo poeta Manoel Maria Barbosa du Bocage. 

Em 1836, a Typographia da Viuva Serva e Filhos se dividiu em duas oficinas, a primeira que continuou na Cidade baixa e outra no Pelourinho, em uma casa na Rua do Bispo, n.o 29, com o nome de Aurora de Serva e Comp. Essa segunda oficina foi administrada pelo filho mais velho do casal Serva. Intelectual modesto, editor competente e impressor talentoso, que, entre 1836 e 1846, conseguiu restabelecer o prestígio e a apurada qualidade gráfica das servinas, comprometida pela baixa qualidade editorial desde a Independência. Serva transferiu sua oficina, após a Sabinada (7 nov. 1837 – mar. 1838), para outra casa, na quina oposta ao Aljube, n.o 6. Essa casa, contudo, foi destruída por um incêndio na madrugada de 31 de agosto de 1840.   

Moira, José J. F. Reflexões Criticas Sobre a Administração Da Justiça Em Inglaterra, Tanto No Civel Como No Crime, E Sobre O Jury, N’uma Serie De Cartas a Um Amigo. Bahia: Serva, 1829. Oliveira Lima Library, The Catholic University of America.

Manoel Antonio da Silva Serva, filho, retornara para o mesmo prédio onde seu pai estabeleceu a imprensa na Bahia, no morgado de Santa Bárbara. Os livros impressos na última fase da oficina em Salvador (1839-1846) são preciosos. Na OLL existe um exemplar de um livro dessa fase, de autoria do próprio Serva, intitulada Exposição das razões que reclamão o tratado de commercio entre o Brasil e Portugal (1843), que foi oferecida a Associação Comercial da Bahia.  Serva, contudo, faleceu repentinamente aos 44 anos, solteiro e sem herdeiros. Sua mãe e irmão mais novo logo venderam a livraria. A Typographia de Serva encerrou seus trabalhos na Cidade da Bahia em 1846.

Open Educational Resources: Teaching and Learning, Accessible to All

This semester, students may have noticed that they spent less money on required textbooks. That’s because Mullen Library, along with its partners in the Washington Research Library Consortium (WRLC) recently joined the Open Textbook Network. This group of colleges and universities has joined together to produce openly-licensed textbooks — written by academics and peer-reviewed, but made available online for free use by all. Nearly 700 textbooks are currently available, with more added all the time  (“Introducing the Textbooks on Reserve Pilot Program,” 2020).

The Open Textbook Network is just one example of a trend that is reshaping higher education: Open Educational Resources, or OER. It’s a movement that aims to democratize education by allowing for the unlimited use, reuse, and modification of educational materials, at no cost to students or instructors.

What is OER?

Open Educational Resources refers to freely accessible content, digital or otherwise, that can be used for teaching and learning — lesson plans, textbooks, lecture notes and videos, and even full courses. In order to be considered OER, content must be openly licensed, allowing for a wide variety of uses. While licensing agreements vary, most OER allows for the following, known as the “Five Rs”:

  • Retain – users can download, duplicate, and control copies of the content
  • Reuse – the material can be used in a wide variety of ways, including in-person classes, via video, or online
  • Revise – users can adapt or modify the content to suit their specific teaching and learning needs
  • Remix – users can combine the content with other information, either original or from other open sources, to create a completely new resource
  • Redistribute – users can disseminate the content, along with any modifications or remixes, as widely as they need to (for example, share it with other instructors)

A Brief HIstory of OER

While the term “open educational resources” was first coined at a 2002 conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the idea had been circulating among educators for several years already. The open-source software movement of the late 1990s and the rise of distance-learning options around the same time led academics to consider how combining those ideas could help create a new paradigm of education. One early example of OER is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s 2001 decision to put all of its course materials online as part of the OpenCourseware Project. MIT courses can now be accessed by anyone, anywhere, for free (although MIT does not award degrees or credits based on the use of this content) (Guttenplan 2010). 

In 2012, UNESCO and other global partners met in Paris, France, for the First World OER Congress, where they adopted the Paris OER Declaration. The Declaration “reaffirmed the shared commitment of international organizations, governments, and institutions to promoting the open licensing and free sharing of publicly funded content, the development of national policies and strategies on OER, capacity-building, and open research” (Miao et al 2016). In 2017, at the Second World OER Congress in Ljubljana, Slovenia, the partners adopted the Ljubljana OER Action Plan. This list of 41 actions offers ways to help bring open-licensed resources into the mainstream, including enhanced training for librarians and educators on finding and using OER; making resources available in a wide variety of languages, and ensuring equitable and inclusive access (Ljubljana OER Action Plan 2017). 

Benefits of OER

OER has its challenges–for example, ensuring that content that anyone can edit is accurate (Wikipedia is a great example). However, it also has many benefits for students, instructors, librarians, and researchers:

  • Learning anywhere, anytime. Consider the situation in which the Catholic University community–along with many other institutions around the world–finds itself during the COVID-19 pandemic. The use of OER ensures that instructors and students can still access lectures, textbooks, and other essential materials, all without having to set foot in a classroom.
  • Easily modified course materials. Not all OER is one-size-fits-all, but open licensing allows instructors to add, subtract, and/or combine components to fit their needs, and those of their students.
  • Support for all styles of learning. OER includes a huge variety of material that can be used to create traditional lessons, active learning activities, and more.
  • Speed. The publishing cycle for most traditional textbooks can take time, but online, openly-licensed textbooks can be disseminated much more quickly–which also ensures that information is as up to date as possible.
  • Cost savings. A study by the College Board found that undergraduate students pay, on average, $1,240 a year for textbooks (“Average estimated undergraduate budgets by sector,” 2020). At Catholic University, the most expensive traditional textbook, an accounting text, costs students $446 (“Introducing the Textbooks on Reserve Pilot Program,” 2020). Open-access textbooks and other readings are a significant savings for students, opening up the world of higher education to a larger percentage of the population. 

Start Learning (or Teaching)

There are many ways the Catholic University community can make the most of available OER resources. 

To help promote OER and other open access initiatives, liaison librarian Kevin Gunn coordinates CUA’s participation in International Open Access Week each October. First held in 2007, Open Access Week is a worldwide event that helps OER advocates share information and learn from one another about developments in the field. You can read about previous Open Access Week initiatives at CUA in the Mullen Library blog, “What’s Up.”

— Tricia C. Bailey

References

Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (2007). Giving knowledge for free: The emergence of open educational resources. Paris, France: OECD Publishing. Retrieved from http://www.oecd.org/education/ceri/38654317.pdf

College Board (2020). Average estimated undergraduate budgets by sector, 2019-20. Retrieved from https://research.collegeboard.org/trends/college-pricing/figures-tables/average-estimated-undergraduate-budgets-sector-2019-20

Guttenplan, D. D. (2010). “For Exposure, Universities Put Courses on the Web”. New York Times. New York. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/01/world/europe/01iht-educLede01.html?pagewanted=all.

Miao, Fengchun, Mishra, Sanjaya, &McGreal, Rory (2016). Open educational resources: policy, costs, transformation. Paris, UNESCO. pp. 8, 17, 20–21. ISBN 978-92-3-100158-1.

UNESCO (2017). Ljubljana OER action plan. Retrieved from https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/ljubljana_oer_action_plan_2017.pdf

Wade, Lea.  (2020, January 21). Introducing the textbooks on reserve pilot program [Blog post]. Retrieved from  https://www.lib.cua.edu/wordpress/newsevents/12311/.

OLL Blog – Unveiling the Camiliana at the Oliveira Lima Library

Castello Branco, Camillo. A Senhora Rattazzi. Porto: Livraria Internacional de Ernesto Chardron, 1880.
Castello Branco’s A Senhora Rattazzi (1880), part of OLL’s Camiliana.

Portuguese writer Camilo Castelo Branco (1825-1890), is considered one of the most important writers of his generation. His unmistaken style granted him an avid readership and a place in the heart of bibliophiles interested in lusophone literature. Castelo Branco lived as intensely as he wrote. His 1862 novel Amor de perdição (Doomed Love: a Family Memoir), famously inspired by his love affair with a married woman, was written during his imprisonment for adultery and became a bestseller. He was one of the few able to live off of his craft in his time. Castelo Branco wrote novels, plays, essays and poems. He also worked as a translator, translating French and English books to Portuguese. The irresistible force of love is a constant subject of his works, as much as social prejudice and the many forms of moral corruption, leading to stories that often end up in tragedy. Not all of them, though. There is also redemption, achieved through a great deal of suffering, and plenty of comedy. 

As a writer and translator, Castelo Branco had a prolific career, producing over 260 books until his death in 1890.  Although not entirely confined by the canon of Romanticism, he remained a stark critic of the Realist style represented by Eça de Queiroz. The two men were the most prominent examples of the main literary trends in the 19th century.  The importance of Castelo Branco in that context can not be overstated.

No collection of literature of the Lusophone world worthy of its name is complete without the presence of Camilo Castelo Branco. Manoel de Oliveira Lima, passionate bibliophile and book collector since the early age of 14, was very aware of that. Educated in Lisbon, he undoubtedly read and studied Castelo Branco’s works during his formative years. Later, an already seasoned scholar and book collector, he decided to build his very own Camiliana which would become part of the Oliveira Lima Library. Comprising more than 300 volumes, including original works, translations, catalogues from book sellers, Camiliana catalogues, compilations of correspondence, anthologies, and even books that belonged to Camilo Castelo Branco, is still a treasure to be unveiled. 

Castelo Branco, Camilo. Catalogo da preciosa livraria do eminente escriptor Camillo Castello Branco: contendo grande numero de livros raros ..., e muitos manuscriptos importantes, a qual será vendida em leilão. em Lisboa, no proximo mez de dezembro de 1883 ... sob a direcção da casa editora de Mattos Moreira & Cardosos. Lisboa: Typ. de M. Moreira & Cardosos, 1883.
Catalogue of a book auction in Lisbon that sold part of Castelo Branco’s private collection

The idea of revealing Oliveira Lima’s Camiliana to the world had already been in my plans for quite some time when a serendipitous encounter with Fabiano Cataldo, Professor of the School of Librarianship at the Universidade Federal do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UNIRIO) in Brazil, transformed it into a project. Prof. Cataldo researches and teaches on the management of Special Collections in Libraries and has extensive experience organizing specialized catalogues. More recently, he has been interested in the study of book provenance. That interest prompted him to start a project in 2018 with colleagues from Brazil, Argentina, the United States and the United Kingdom, to map other similar projects, carry out an extensive review of concepts, and to study forms of identification and description of provenance marks. Ever since becoming a member of the Projeto “A Eloquência dos Livros: marcas de proveniência Bibliográfica”, the plan to organize a specialized catalogue of the Camiliana took a more defined shape. With the collaboration of Prof. Cataldo,  we developed a plan to study the collection within the framework of the field of provenance studies. The final product will be a printed catalogue of our Camiliana, possibly accompanied by an electronic version. The bibliographic records will also be accessible via our online catalogue.   

Denis, Jean F, Pierre Pincon, and Guillaume F. Martonne. Manuels Roret - Nouveau Manuel De Bibliographie Universelle. Tome I. Paris, a la Librairie Encyclopédique de Roret, 1857.
Castelo Branco’s signature in one of the books acquired in the Lisbon book auction by Oliveira Lima that are now part of the OLL collection.

We are currently in the early stages of the project, which consists of the inventory of the collection. In completing this phase of the project, the aid of our team at the Oliveira Lima Library has been unvaluable. Cataloguing and the itemized description of the books will follow, with a special focus on the provenance marks, of course. Unfortunately, our work schedule has been affected  by the ongoing pandemic. We are doing our best to keep working while being safe. Although we are working exclusively from home and Prof. Cataldos’ visit will not be possible in the summer as previously planned, we are aiming to come up with creative solutions and keep the work going. We hope to be able to announce updates soon. Stay tuned for news on the project!