National African-American Read-In at VCL, February 20, 2017

Join us for the 2017 National African-American Read-In!  

Celebrate Black History Month at Vassar College Libraries as we host an African-American Read-In. Come read or come listen to a variety of different works authored by African Americans.  

  • Date: Monday, February 20, 2017
  • Time: 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. 
  • Location: Class of ’51 Reading Room, Thompson (Main) Library.  

A reception will follow the readings at 4 p.m.

Frequently asked questions:

Follow along on Twitter with the hashtag #AfricanAmericanReadIn

For more information about the National African-American Read-In, visit http://www.ncte.org/aari. 

We look forward to seeing you there!

Happy Ada Lovelace Day 2016!

Ruth Fulton Benedict (VC 1899)

Ruth Fulton Benedict (VC 1909)

Happy Ada Lovelace Day! On October 11, 2016, we’ll celebrate Ada Lovelace Day, an annual event recognizing achievements of women in science, technology, engineering, and math. This year we’re adding a new reason to celebrate: we are thrilled to announce that the papers of Ruth Fulton Benedict (VC 1909) are available digitally through Alexander Street Press’s Anthropological Fieldwork Online via open access. Though Benedict was a social scientist rather than in a field identified with STEM, her use of the scientific method to learn about others helped her advance her life’s work in anthropology. As she stated during her acceptance speech for the Annual Achievement Award of American Association of University Women in 1946, “I have faith of a scientist that behavior, no matter how unfamiliar to us, is understandable if the problem is stated so that it can be answered by investigation and if then studied by technically suitable methods. And I have the faith of a humanist in the adventures of mutual understanding of men.”

The Papers of Ruth Fulton Benedict are available through a partnership with Alexander Street Press.

The Papers of Ruth Fulton Benedict are available through Anthropological Fieldwork Online.

Over the past year, the Vassar College Libraries have worked with Alexander Street Press to digitize and make freely available more than 8,000 pages of diaries, field notes, articles, teaching materials, and correspondence (much of which is transcribed), as well as photographs.

The papers of Benedict, a renowned anthropologist, are housed in the Archives & Special Collections Library at Vassar. As the finding aid to her papers notes:

In 1909, after graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Vassar College, in Poughkeepsie, New York, [Ruth Fulton] Benedict traveled to Europe with college friends. Following that, she was a social worker for a year, then spent three years teaching before marrying Stanley Benedict, a biochemistry professor at Cornell Medical School, in 1914.

In 1919 Ruth Benedict began taking courses, first at Columbia University with John Dewey and then at the New School for Social Research with Elsie Clews Parsons whose course in ethnology of the sexes kindled Benedict’s interest in anthropology. Under the guidance of Franz Boas, Benedict received her doctorate in 1923 from Columbia, where she remained throughout her career. In 1948 she was promoted to full professor in the Faculty of Political Science, the first woman to achieve such status.

Benedict’s fieldwork was done in California among the Serrano and with the Zuñi, Cochiti, and Pima in the Southwest. Student training trips took her to the Mescalero Apache in Arizona and Blackfoot in the Northwest. From her work in the field, several of her books were developed: Tales of the Cochiti Indians (New York: 1931); Zuñi Mythology (New York: 1935); and Patterns of Culture (Boston: 1934), which became a bestseller and influenced American life in that it explained the idea of “culture” to the layperson.

open-accessWe are thrilled that these materials are able to reach the widest available audiences through open access.

Wishing you a happy Ada Lovelace Day and best wishes for a wonderful semester for the arts, sciences, and social sciences alike!

Resources about Benedict:

Barbara Beisinghoff Residency


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This autumn, as the Vassar campus begins to undergo its yearly change from leafy green Arcadia to the clear white light of Winter, it has undergone another transformation toward transparency through the energies of the internationally acclaimed graphic artist Barbara Beisinghoff.  Resident on campus with the filmmaker Eva Wal from September 19 to October 14, Barbara’s campus-wide installation, “When Light Touches Paper,” includes an exhibit of her artist’s books and prints that sprawl between the Van Ingen Art Library and Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.

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It also includes the metamorphosis of campus trees, most notably the great London Plane tree on the Library Lawn, into “Poetrees” of couchéd paper fragments of texts from poets including Paul Celan and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

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Trained as an etcher, Beisinghoff’s work has evolved into a sculptural relationship with hand-made paper, upon which she inscribes watermark and water-jet-carved figures that can only be seen with backlighting.

Included in the Art Library portion of her exhibit is her “Room for a Clairvoyant.”  This is a space populated by semi-transparent prints with texts derived from the German novelist Christa Wolf’s 1983 novel Cassandra, based on the story of the tragic prophetess of Troy. The showcase of artists’ books in the reading room of the Art Library contains a series of imaginary books from Cassandra’s library, which include stories of contemporary emancipated women, for Beisinghoff explains that “such a wise woman, able to see across time, would have to have had a library.  Also included are “Tau Blau” or Dew Blue — a work whose paper is made out of flax grown on her estate near Hannover, and the biographical “Allmannigfaltige,” which features images of six of Goethe’s women inscribed into his color theory.

Events:

A film of Barbara’s stay on campus, “Wölbe Dich, Welt” = “Grow Vaulted, World” by Eva Wal is continuously showing in the Room for a Clairvoyant in the Art Library before Mid-Term week.

Barbara will give a gallery talk Thursday October 6 at 5:00 p.m., beginning in the Project Gallery of the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center.

On Wednesday October 5 at noon on WVKR (91.3FM)  The Library Cafe, hosted by Art Librarian Thomas Hill, will feature a 45 minute interview with the artist about her artist’s books and etchings, installations and public commissions, and her residency at Vassar College.

On Tuesday October 11 at 5:00 p.m. in the Class of 1951 Reading Room in the Main Library Barbara Beisinghoff wil be participating in a symposium on artists’ books with artist Werner Pfeiffer, Women’s Studio Workshop executive and artist Ann Kalmbach, and Special Collections Librarian Ronald Patkus.  A reception will follow.

The residency of Barbara Beisinghoff and Eva Wal is sponsored by the Creative Arts Across the Disciplines initiative, a program funded with a grant from the Andrew W. Melon Foundation. The theme of this year’s residency is “touch.”

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Dancing, 2015. Barbara Beisinghoff. Waterjet and watermark drawings on handmade paper, 135 x 110 cm.

 

Poetree, Vassar College Library Lawn. Barbara Beisinghoff. Text by Paul Celan and other poets. Handmade couchéd paper on bark.