Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bracken Library Will Host Marathon Screening of Ken Burns’ The War

Bracken Library will host a two-day marathon showing of The War, a film by Ken Burns, on January 30-31, 2010, as part of the Muncie Public Library/Ball State Public History Program’s upcoming speakers series, “America and the World in the 1940s.” The film is fifteen hours long and was six years in the making.

Dr. Michael Doyle is the Academic Advisor for Adult Programming at Muncie Public Library. After making the decision to show the film to the public, he began looking for a place that had high student traffic, was conveniently accessible for Muncie community members, and comfortable for viewing such a long presentation. Bracken Library’s room 104 was the perfect choice. Dr. Doyle said, “I am always looking to foster more town and gown relationships for Ball State.”

With Bracken Library being so well-known by both students and community members, Doyle imagines that many people will find it convenient to slip in and slip out, as desired. “World War II is a perennial subject of fascination,” says Dr. Doyle, since it touched everyone’s lives, whether soldiering in the European or Pacific Theaters or staying on the home front growing victory gardens, working in assembly plants, or watching loved ones go off to war. Doyle notes that through the years, many veterans of the war have not been talkative about their experiences in the war, which “enhances its mystique” for so many family members of all ages, from college students on up.

Dr. Doyle says that the Ken Burns film is the first in our generation to interweave the European, Pacific, and home front activities, rather than treat them separately. It “gives a sense of what it was like to be alive in the 1940s, when you did not know what would happen from one day to the next.” The film also pays special attention to the affect of the war on and the involvement of African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Hispanic Americans.

When The War originally aired on PBS in September 2007, many local PBS stations were given the opportunity to develop related programming. For WIPB, Ball State personnel directed and produced the Telly-winning Echoes of War, a live 60-minute interactive educational program(, which Ken Burns introduced and closed. Because of Burns’ involvement in 2007, he personally made the decision that his production company, Florentine Films, would waive the usual public screening fee for this upcoming 2010 showing of The War at Bracken Library.

The marathon screening of Ken Burns’ The War will take place in Bracken Library’s room 104 over the weekend of January 30-31, 2010, from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. both days. The War was directed and produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.

Muncie native Joseph M. Fisher (left) and Vernie Druin standing in front of a tank in Koblenz, Germany, March 1945. From the Joseph Fisher World War II Scrapbook Collection in Archives and Special Collections, available online in the Digital Media Repository at

Additional Archives and Special Collections World War II Resources:

Friends Memorial Church Collection

When Muncie’s Friends Memorial Church celebrated their centennial in 2008 by removing the contents of a time capsule placed in the cornerstone of their building in 1908, they found an unpleasant surprise. Water had seeped in through a hole in the metal container holding the historical objects carefully placed there a hundred years before. Many of the items were damaged, mildewed, or moldy. Some seemed beyond repair or salvage.

Mrs. Pat Barnett and other members of the congregation contacted John Straw in the University Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections to see what might be done to preserve these valuable relics of the church’s past. John Straw and Maren L. Read, Archivist for Manuscript Collections, paid a visit to inspect the items and provide professional advice.

The result was a collaborative project between the Friends Memorial Church and the University Libraries to digitize the contents of the time capsule and make them available in the Digital Media Repository ( The same was done for other items in the church’s archives and for materials in the Libraries’ Archives and Special Collections about the history of the church.

The Friends Memorial Church Collection is now available online at the following address: CISOROOT=/FrndsMem. Items in the digital collection include photographs, a handwritten church roster from 1906, the building contract, histories, directories, reports, and issues of the Muncie Evening Press and the Muncie Evening Star with articles and photographs about the church. The water damage done to the items is apparent in several of the digital images.

The Friends congregation held their first meeting in 1876. The first meetings were in a private home north of the Courthouse Square and later in a public hall above retail rooms across from the old Delaware County Courthouse in the 100 block of North High Street. The first church building was erected at Mulberry and Seymour streets in 1903, and the current church was built in 1908.

The Libraries’ collaboration with the Friends Memorial Church will continue as more items from their archives are digitized and made available over time. For more information on the Digital Media Repository, contact John B. Straw, Assistant Dean for Digital Initiatives and Special Collections,, or 765-285-5078.

Drawings and Documents Archive Continues to Expand

The Drawings and Documents Archive, located in the College of Architecture and Planning (CAP), has experienced a great deal of change this year, particularly during the past semester.

Students, alumni, and outside researchers have expressed their appreciation for greater access to materials through longer hours of operation and quicker responses for research requests, and for an active outreach program through online resources and exhibitions. CAP Dean Guillermo Vasquez de Velasco said, “The Archive has been transformed into an interesting, exciting, and accessible place for students and faculty.”

Evidence of this transformation is in the user statistics for the Archive. This semester 455 users accessed 721 items in the collection. By comparison, for the same period a year ago, 197 users accessed 24 items in the collection. The University Libraries are also expanding access to the Archive collections by digitizing hundreds of rare architectural drawings and making them available in the Digital Media Repository (

The Pierre and Wright Architectural Records Collection was the first collection digitized. Edward Pierre and George Wright were two of the most influential architects in Indiana during the 20th century and were responsible for important structures such as the Indiana State Library and Old Trails Office Building, as well as the houses in Williams Creek Estates and numerous structures in Indianapolis. You can access our growing online collection of Pierre and Wright material at

Other collections currently being digitized are the Schuyler N. Nolan Landscape Architecture Records Collection, Wayne M. Weber Architectural Records Collection, and Samuel G. Bartel Architectural Records Collection. For more information, contact Carol A. Street, University Libraries’ Archivist for Architectural Records,, 765-285-8441.

Usually, we do not get to hear how our online collections affect offsite researchers. This photo, available online in the DMR, shows the Edward Pierre-designed Dodd House soon after the house was built in 1946.

One Indianapolis homeowner recently ended his five-year quest to determine the architect who built his house, thanks to our online collections. “This is just terrific! I am as pleased as punch!” he wrote us, sending along this picture, taken at a similar angle.

Grant Awarded

Carol A. Street, Archivist for Architectural Records, has been awarded a Preservation Needs Assessment Grant from the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts. The $6,700 grant, partially funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, will pay for a consultant from the Conservation Center to conduct a preservation assessment of the Drawings and Documents Archive.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Friends Memorial Church Collection Added to DMR

We are pleased to announce that the Friends Memorial Church Collection has been added to the Digital Media Repository:

This digital collection contains historical documents and photos for Friends Memorial Church in Muncie, and is the result of a collaboration with the church. While some of the items are from Archives and Special Collections, many of them came from the cornerstone of the building where they had been placed in 1908 and were opened in 2009. Unfortunately, water had seeped into the cornerstone so many of the items were damage. We worked with them to digitize and preserve what could be saved.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Holiday Archive Hours

Holiday Archive Hours
(beginning December 21)
*8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.

*Dec. 23
8:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.

*Dec. 24 and Dec. 25

*Dec. 31
8:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
*January 1, 2010

We will resume regular hours January 11, 2010

Indiana Diners and Drive-ins from the Drawings and Documents Archive

Experience the history of the American diner! The Drawings and Documents Archive’s new exhibit, Indiana Diners and Drive-ins, explores the architecture of the diner from its origin as a night lunch wagon, where night workers and bar patrons bought five-cent ham sandwiches and pie after the regular restaurants had closed for the night, to the rocket ship-inspired drive-ins of the 1950s, where teenagers cruised in their Ford convertibles, looking for a malt and a burger.
The humble diner is a familiar aspect of the American landscape. No road trip would be the same without its comforting neon beacon at the end of a long road, and every late night out deserves to be capped off with a visit to the local greasy spoon to ease the transition home.

While we may take the structure of the modern diner for granted, it has experienced many architectural revisions in its progression from novelty business to regular customers. Indiana diners, as well as the diner’s midcentury offspring, the drive-in, developed according to cultural interests and pastimes and, therefore, architecturally reflect what was happening in Indiana and in the rest of the country.

The exhibit is available for viewing November 12, 2009, through January 5, 2010, at the College of Architecture and Planning’s gallery, located on the first floor. To see the exhibit online, visit For more information, contact Carol A. Street, University Libraries’ Archivist for Architectural Records,, 765-285-8441.

Review of the Additions to the Ball State Digital Media Repository in 2009

T’was the night before final exams, and all through the halls of academia, not a student was texting or tweeting. It was time to look in the digital stocking to see what gifts were waiting.

Suddenly such a clatter arose on the roof of Bracken Library, and with a clang and a twitter, the digital elves, those little pixel pixies, had arrived, delivering new digital resources from the University Libraries to bring joy and academic advancement to all the Ball State girls and boys. (And thanks to that jolly little round-bellied elf named Google and his competitor elves, to boys and girls everywhere.)

Here is a list of this past year’s stocking stuffers, all of which are accessible to you through Ball State’s Digital Media Repository,

Art History Images – A selection of significant artworks, ranging in date from prehistoric to the late 1990s, including such styles as Abstract Expressionist, Fauve, Surrealist, Pop and beyond.

Charles E. Bracker Orchid Photographs – Thousands of digital photographs of orchids taken by Dr. Charles E. Bracker from 1964 through 1999.

Cantigny First Division Oral Histories – Forty high definition video oral history interviews with veterans of the U. S. Army’s First Infantry Division, commonly known as the “Big Red One.”

Middletown Women’s History Collection – Diaries, minutes, correspondence, photographs, and other archival materials documenting the experiences of women and women’s organizations in Muncie, Indiana, from the 1880s through the 1930s.

Muncie Redevelopment Commission Records – Minutes from 1973 and 1980-2004 that document the organization’s work to rehabilitate properties in the city of Muncie.

Pierre and Wright Architectural Records – Drawings, photographs, 3-D models, and other materials from the architecture firms of Edward D. Pierre, the Pierre Wright Partnership, and Edward D. Pierre and Associates, documenting many well-known buildings designed by the firms throughout Indianapolis and the state of Indiana from 1920 to 1960.

376th Heavy Bombardment Group Oral Histories – Audio and video oral histories with veterans serving in the 376th Heavy Bombardment Group during World War II.

Yorktown-Mount Pleasant Township Historical Alliance Collection
Photographs, newspaper clippings, and other materials from the Historical Alliance documenting the history of Yorktown and Mount Pleasant Township, Indiana, from 1888 to 2007.

So all the Ball State students, faculty, and staff snuggled warm in their beds, knowing these digital gifts were waiting just a click away on the University Libraries’ wonderful Web site to help them achieve success in their academic careers.

As they fell into slumber on this cold winter’s night, they dreamed of all the new digital resources that would arrive in the new year: American Almanacs, Indiana Historical Atlases, Delaware County Aerial Plat Maps, Beeman Costume Collection, Frederick Putnam Diaries, Student Architectural Models and Projects, Samuel Bartel Architectural Records, Wayne Weber Architectural Drawings and Photographs, Holy Cards Collection, Historical Children’s Books, Bird Specimens Collection, Vietnam Veteran’s Oral Histories, and so much more.

From all the University Libraries’ digital elves, season’s greetings, and to all a good night.