In addition to the named Rare Book Collections that are housed in the Woodson Research Center we also add newly published books to our collections. We recently received some new books written or edited by Rice University faculty and staff. These include a 2 volume work edited by Dr. Mark Jones, a fellow in political science at the Baker Institute, and a professor in the Department of Political Science: Voting and Political Representation in America; and Joy at Work: Organizing your Professional Life written by Marie Kondo and Scott Sonenshein. Sonenshein is the Henry Gardiner Symonds Professor of Management at the Jones Graduate School of Business.
It’s also exciting to see new books written by our colleagues here in Fondren. David Bynog, Head of Acquisitions, has recently written Notes for Violists. Published by Oxford University Press, the work offers historical and analytical information on 35 pieces for the viola, from Bach to Weber. Bynog is a violist himself and edited more than 40 compositions. Bynog’s book will be preserved in the Woodson Research Center available for researchers.
This will be the last Tech Thursday post I author. It’s a bit of a bittersweet occasion for me, and I hope you all have enjoyed this as much as I have. So, without further ado, I’m going back one more time to my favorite source for Tech Thursday posts- the Rare Book Collection.
A few years ago, Woodson then-intern Susan Kirby made an online exhibit for the History of Science Rare Book collection, featuring some scanned images from a little volume entitled Traité du Nivellement by Jean Picard (1620-1682). Picard was a French astronomer credited with a number of advances in his field, the most famous being the first accurate measurement of the Earth’s size. He was also interested in surveying and hydraulics, and was the principle designer of the aqueducts and cisterns that supplied water to Versailles.
Traité was published posthumously by Phillippe de la Hire, a French polymath and contemporary of Picard. Broken up in sections, the book discusses the theory, instruments, and practices of Leveling, a kind of land surveying. La Hire also included a condensed version of another of Picard’s works, Measuring the Earth. The book includes many diagrams of surveying interments, many of which were original to Picard, including a level fixed with telescope lenses and reticules.
This past spring, the Woodson in partnership with the Humanities Research Center supervised two undergraduate students in archival research in the areas of medical humanities and cultural heritage. Students learned to apply their humanistic training to real-world problems and to put their critical thinking to use as they learned new practical skills. The students conducted deep research and analysis of primary sources and learned about the nature of archives.
Miriam Shayeb is a freshman English major and was selected to work with the Kezia Payne DePelchin Yellow fever epidemic letters, 1878-1879 (MS 201). This collection consists primarily of a bound volume of 34 letters, the majority of which were written by Mrs. Kezia Payne DePelchin (1828-1893) of Houston, to her sister, describing her experiences as a nurse during the Yellow fever epidemic of 1878 in Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama. The letters have been digitized and transcribed and are available in the Rice Institutional Repository. Miriam analyzed the letters to gain insight into the treatment of illness in postbelllum South and the “interactions between doctors and nurses during an era in which nursing was not completely professionalized.” She also focused on the intersection of race and illness and nursing. She created two online articles on the OpenStax / cnx.org platform: http://cnx.org/contents/tNujJ7F6@2/Unsung-Requiem-African-America http://cnx.org/contents/WqpTQGyb@1/A-Mission-of-Mercy-Nursing-in-
Edna Otuomagie is a Junior Visual and Dramatic Arts (VADA) major and was selected to work on the Between Decisions Omeka Exhibit. Utilizing Fondren’s Omeka web-based exhibit platform, the exhibit explores how Rice University historically handled gender/sex and race relations through discussion of the huge decisions Rice made concerning these issues from 1957 to 1970—a time when Rice underwent many changes including desegregation based on gender/sex and race. Edna researched the topic in the university archives and spoke with University Historian Melissa Kean and others in the Rice community. Edna created a fascinating exhibit on a topic of great interest that had not been covered in a succinct but over-arching way. Her exhibit is available online: https://exhibits.library.rice.edu/exhibits/show/between-decisions Edna was honored with First Prize in the School of Humanities for her research and received the Humanities Research Center’s First Prize at the Rice Undergraduate Research Symposium.
Jacqueline McCauley at Rice University, 1965
Both students created thoughtful archival research projects and delivered them in accessible ways online to a broader audience.
Earlier this week, Norie brought you the story of the 1982 Western Regionals College Bowl, where Rice took second place in the finals, so I thought you all might like to see some of the buzzer systems the team has practiced with.
The Quik Pro seems to have a been a popular model for the team; there are three in the collection. There is also a QuizSystem and a Logitek Quiztron.
Horrible Strangle Monster
And, for completeness, here is the 1991 College Bowl National Championship trophy for 1st place.
College Bowl 1991 National Championship, First Place, Rice University
Continuing the project I began with my last post, yesterday I took a few samples of 3.5″ floppies from the Westheimer Literary papers in the hopes of imaging and preserving their data. This time, I was working with our new intern, Clair. Clair is working on the Baker College records, and she had a stack of floppies and CDs that needed some attention, so this was a good time to train her with using Bitcurator. As I expected, things did not proceed as smoothly with the 3.5″ floppies.
We used a USB supported iomega floppy drive. None of the Westheimer discs were readable, and I was worried the problem might be the reader, but then one from the Baker College records still worked!
Westheimer floppies did not mount
With Clair in the driver seat, we imaged the disc, extracted metadata, and compiled the reports. The disc contained a readable doc file, a College Master’s reflection on the responsibilities and pleasures of his job.
Summary: the plug-and-play iomega floppy drive works, and Bitcurator did a great job with imaging the disc.
John “Grungy” Gladu, a longtime friend of Rice and the Woodson, has generously donated several old media readers to augment the Woodson’s digital preservation program. Previously, the Woodson was outfitted to image and capture metadata from floppy discs, Zip discs, CDs, DVDs, reel to reel audio, and Hard Drives. This new equipment will give us access to several more formats, including Jaz drives, Linear Tape-Open 1 (LTO 1) drives, and Peerless storage drives. For good measure, we also got a pristine, unused 5.25″ floppy disc drive.
Prasilova was born in 1899 in Bohemia, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A talented artist, she apprenticed under famed Czech photographer Frantisek Drtikol (1883-1961) at the age of 18, and went on to earn a Master’s from the Graphic Arts School in Munich, Germany. Eventually, Prasilova opened and operated a successful photography studio in Houston, where her clientele included Rice faculty and well-to-do members of the community. Her work has been exhibited at the Museum of Art, Portland, Oregon, the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, and the Museum of Czech Literature. See the finding aid for her collection for more information on Prasilova, and the Rice Digital Scholarship Archive for examples of her work.
An enlarger is used to magnify the image captured on a photographic negative or transparency. The principle of an enlarger is simple: a light projects the negative image through the lens at the bottom of the enlarger and onto photographic paper. The size of the image can be adjusted by moving the lens nearer to or farther from the paper, or by moving the negative nearer to or farther from the lens. The patent number identifies this enlarger as an E. 0. ROGERS PHOTOGRAPHIC ENLARGER, and it conforms to the design on the patent.
Slot for the negative. A light would be mounted behind to the right.
The track controls the distance between the lens and the negative. The enlarger itself can slide up and down on the back board.
Continuing with the Masterson Texana Collection, here is another little treatise on technology, American Horse-Drawn Vehicles. Written by Jack D. Rittenhouse, this first edition is from 1948. This book surveys about 200 different American coaches, carriages, and wagons. Written when horse-drawn vehicles were still in limited use, the book was a response to demands for historical documentation of the rapidly vanishing form of conveyance. According to the dust jacket, the illustrations are generally half-inch scale and contemporary with their corresponding vehicle. Care was taken to “show construction designed clearly.”
Rittenhouse, Jack D. 1912-. American Horse-drawn Vehicles: Being a Collection of Two Hundred and Eighteen Pictures Showing One Hundred and Eighty-three American Vehicles, and Parts Thereof. [First edition]. Los Angeles, 1948.
What counts as technology? It’s easy to think reductively; objects like airplanes and computers will never fail to capture our attention, but processes and less concrete artifices are deserving of our consideration, too.
The Alan Harris Bath Collection (scroll to the bottom) is another of the Woodson’s Rare Book Collections, this one is focused on military intelligence, with something like seventy five books on codes and cryptography. Most of these are histories, focusing on cryptography in particular periods, countries, wars, agencies, and operations, but some are genuine guides and manuals for making and breaking codes.
First published in 1933, this little booklet is meant to be an introduction to cryptography. It discusses “Word and Affix Comparison,” “Vowel Spotting,” “Vowel Characteristics,” etc. Its author, M.E. O’Haver was a notable and prolific cryptographer whose work help spark public interest in secret codes.
A quarterly journal on cryptography, the Woodson holds twenty eight volumes, from the 1977 first issue to 2004. These examples are from the first 2004 edition.