Friday, October 31, 2008

French Revolution Pamphlets Available

A collection of rare pamphlets from the French Revolution period is now available in digital format. Students, faculty, staff, and researchers globally may access these documents anytime from anywhere, 24/7/365. The French Revolution Pamphlet Collection can be found in the Ball State University Digital Media Repository, a project of the University Libraries, at

The collection contains pamphlets published from 1779 through 1815. Although the French Revolution occurred from 1789 to 1799, this collection documents the time leading up to the revolution through the Napoleonic Wars (1799-1815). Often privately printed due to newspaper censure by the French monarchy, the pamphlets were used to disseminate information and ideas concerning nationalism, citizenship, personal freedom, and social injustice.

The collection contains 544 pamphlets. Digitizing is continuing and the entire collection will ultimately be available in the Digital Media Repository. While the pamphlets are in French, an English title is provided as well as the French one. A link to a finding aid in English for the entire collection is available on the splash page. Our objective is to eventually provide a translation of each document.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Brian A. Knowles’ Love of History Leads to Career Choice as Archivist

Brian A. Knowles, University Libraries’ Part-time Temporary Assistant Archivist, remembers watching public television programming with his grandmother Joan, and one of the memorable documentaries he viewed as a young adult was about World War II. The program sparked a lifelong interest in history. This passion propelled him to obtain a dual degree in historic preservation and history from Southeast Missouri State University.

While a civilian, Brian worked as an intern at the Archives at the Marine Corps Base Quantico, located in Quantico, Virginia, which is about 35 miles south of Washington D.C. While there, he assisted researchers, accessioned documents and materials, and helped organize Command Chronologies for transition to the National Archives and Records Administration.

The highlight of his internship was processing and digitally scanning World War II photograph albums. Within those albums were rare photographs of the American flags raised at various sites on Iwo Jima in 1945. Other photographs show the daily life in and out of combat as Marines served on Okinawa and Iwo Jima.

Brian’s appreciation and passion for history led him to serve as a volunteer at the Cape River Girardeau Heritage Museum, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, and at Trial of Tears State Park, Jackson, Missouri. With almost seven years of service with the U.S. Marines Corps Reserve, Brian has trained throughout the U.S. and was activated for deployment to Iraq in 2004 for one year.

During 2007, Brian met Prof. David Ulbrich, formerly of the Department of History, and decided to pursue a master’s degree at Ball State. His idea was to take classes under Prof. Ulbrich; however, when Brian arrived on campus, he learned that Prof. Ulbrich had taken a position at Ohio University. Dr. Arthur W. Hafner, Dean of University Libraries, said, “We are glad Brian is at Ball State University Libraries while he is earning a master’s degree in history because he is bringing us his considerable experience working with archival materials and knowledge of historic preservation.”

Brian is currently working on projects in the College of Architecture and Planning’s Drawings and Documents Archive where he utilizes his archive experience and educational background in historic preservation. One significant project is adding architectural renderings and drawings of the Joseph Cezar Collection to the archive’s database. Cezar was an illustrious architect, from the 1930s into the 1970s, who worked extensively in Indiana, designing offices, buildings, churches, and houses.

In the future, Brian’s vocational objective is to apply the experience and new skills gained while working in the Ball State University Libraries to a career in the Archives at the Marine Corps Base Quantico.

Internship in Ball State University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections Provides In-Depth Learning Experiences

by Joseph Michael Brugos,
Archives and Special Collections Undergraduate Intern

This semester I have had the opportunity to work in the Ball State University Archives and Special Collections as an undergraduate intern. This internship is my final requirement for my public history major. This experience has given me the opportunity to combine academic and professional fields in an eye-opening, deeply satisfying learning experience.

I have been able to apply my undergraduate education in a real-life working situation in more ways than I thought. My activities in the Archives are eclectic so that I have been able to work in many different aspects of the unit. My main project this semester is processing the papers of former Indiana Governor Otis Bowen. In addition, I have worked at the Archives’ reference desk where I help students and faculty to locate and use research materials. My assignment has also allowed me to assist in researching and installing exhibits.

In my studies as an undergraduate, I examined many different types of historical institutions. Archives were always the most interesting to me because of their emphasis on both preservation of historical materials and presentation of resources to the public. So far in my internship, I have been able to do both.

All of my assignments have been in a professional setting, and they have served to prepare me for a career after graduation. While I am not sure which career path my life will take, I know that I will forever draw on my experiences that I have gained in the Ball State University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections.

Ditsky Award Winner Conducts Research in the Ball State University Libraries

Dr. Luchen Li, Associate Professor of Humanities and Communication and Director of the Office of International Programs at Kettering University, Flint, Michigan, recently conducted a week-long research visit in the Ball State University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections as this year’s recipient of the Steinbeck Research Award established by Mrs. C. Suzette Ditsky in honor of her late husband, noted Steinbeck scholar Dr. John M. Ditsky. Dr. Li’s research topic was the ethical dimensions of John Steinbeck’s world. He plans to publish the results of his research in The Steinbeck Review.

Steinbeck Lecture Series to Feature Dr. Barbara A. Heavilin

Dr. Barbara A. Heavilin, co-founder and co-editor of the Steinbeck Review, will deliver this year’s Steinbeck Lecture on October 30, 2008, at 7:30 p.m. in Bracken Library’s Forum Room, BL-225. Her topic is John Steinbeck as Mr. American Spectator.

Dr. Heavilin is Associate Professor of English at Taylor University. She has published numerous articles and books on Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck, including The Critical Response to John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath and John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath: A Reference Guide. She has served as editor of the Steinbeck Yearbook series. Her latest book, A John Steinbeck Reader: Essays in Honor of Stephen A. George, will be published by Scarecrow Press this fall.

The Steinbeck Lecture Series was founded by Dr. and Mrs. Tetsumaro Hayashi in honor of Dr. Richard W. and Mrs. Dorothy Burkhardt and Dr. John J and Mrs. Angeline R. Pruis, whose generosity has helped Ball State University to recognize internationally prominent Steinbeck scholars and educators for 30 years. Dr. Hayashi is a noted Steinbeck scholar and past president of the Steinbeck Society of America, and the founder of the Steinbeck Research Institute at Ball State University.

Dr. Robert D. Habich, Professor of English and Interim Chair of the Department of English, and Mr. John B. Straw, Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections in the University Libraries, serve as co-organizers for the Steinbeck Lecture Series. The Steinbeck Lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, contact John B. Straw, or Dr. Robert Habich, 765-285-8407.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

New DMR Collection

We are pleased to announce a new digital collection in the Digital Media Repository: the Joseph Fisher World War II Scrapbook. This is a collection of letters, photographs, memorabilia, and other items in a scrapbook compiled by Joseph Fisher’s mother about his experiences in the Army in World War II. The digital collection provides access to the individual items in the scrapbook and also the ability to page through the entire scrapbook. It will be a good resource for students and faculty studying World War II.

You can go directly to it at