Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Event: Bancroft Roundtable: "'The World's Best Working Climate': Modeling Industrial Suburbs on the Edge of San Francisco Bay."

The last Bancroft Roundtable of the spring semester will take place in the Lewis-Latimer Room of The Faculty Club at noon on Thursday, May 21. Peter Ekman, Bancroft Library Study Award recipient and doctoral candidate in geography at UC Berkeley, will present "'The World's Best Working Climate': Modeling Industrial Suburbs on the Edge of San Francisco Bay."

Between 1880 and 1940, urban manufacturers, planners, and property developers configured a series of company towns and industrial suburbs just east of San Francisco Bay, stretching from Richmond to Antioch on the shores of the Carquinez Strait. Drawing on visual materials and numerous manuscript collections at the Bancroft, Peter Ekman will discuss how this unfashionable, ostensibly unplanned “middle landscape” came, over time, to serve as a kind of laboratory for new, imitable models of social and spatial order. He will place these experiments within a prehistory, intellectual and material-cultural, of the postwar suburb, and explore their afterlives amid decades of disinvestment.

We hope to see you there.

Crystal Miles, Kathi Neal, and Baiba Strads
Bancroft Library Staff

Friday, May 8, 2015

Primary Sources: Russian-German project to digitize German documents in the archives of the Russian Federation

The Russian Historical Society, the Ministry of Defense and the Federal archival agency, with support from the German Historical Institute in Moscow, are digitizing the large collection of Nazi Germany documents located in various Russian Federation government archives. The site is in Russian and German.

According to the project website description, the collections digitized so far include:

Collection of documents of German secret services 1912-1945. Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History (RGASPI, Fond 458, Series 9)


The collection includes dispersed folders originally formed in institutional archives of Germany, Austria, France and Poland. The documents were moved from Germany to USSR after the Second World War. During 1940’s-1960’s, the collection was transferred to the Central Party Archive of the Institute of Marxism-Leninism of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (currently the Russian State Archive of Socio-Political History) from the Central State Special Archive of the Main Archival Administration of the Council of Ministers of the USSR, General department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the USSR.
Main part of the collection consists of secret services’ surveillance reports of Komintern activities as well as other communist, social-democratic, labor, trade union, youth and other opposition organizations, movements and individuals in various countries.

German documents of the First World War. Central Archive of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation (TsAMO RF, Fond 500, Series 12519)


Central Archive of the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation (TsAMO RF) received the collection of “German documents of the First World War” (Fond 500, Series 12519) from the Military Scientific Directorate and the General Staff of the Military Forces of the USSR during the period of 1953-1961. The collection includes 36,000 pages of institutional documents of German Great General Staff, staffs and chiefs of troops, military units, the Prussian War Ministry, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and others.
The bulk of the collection includes war operations record books (84 folders), maps and schemas (146 folders), personnel files (85 folders), financial records and other documents. Also included are lists of military units and overview of their formation and deployment, records of weapons supply, chemical weapons use, information about damaged and sunken battleships, military propaganda materials and surveillance briefs.
The collection also includes materials about Germany’s foreign and internal affairs, the 1907 Second Hague Peace Conference, The Russo-Japanese War of 1904, peace treaty and economic negotiations with Romania.

Exhibit: New exhibit features 2014 Library Prize winning project from History student Matthew Enger

The Charlene Conrad Liebau Library Prize for Undergraduate Research display case on the second floor of the Doe Library now features an exhibit on 2014 prize winner Matthew William Enger's Order from Chaos: Ethnogenesis, Direct Democracy and Statecraft in California,1948-1958.

Abstract: In the large corpus of academic literature addressing Californian politics in the 1950s, very little scholarship considers the relationship between the state’s robust system of direct democracy, exemplified by the initiative process, and the transformative demographic and economic changes that were then remaking the state. In the course of preparing this thesis, the author found that: (1) the fundamental political, economic and social incentives that sustained a culture of direct democracy in the 1950s have barely changed over the course of sixty years; (2) decades-long political battles centering on old age pensions and public housing peaked in the early part of the 1950s specifically through the initiative process, setting a firm precedent for related disputes in succeeding decades; and (3) white, established, middle-class Californians were psychologically motivated to pursue specific types of policy through the initiative process because of rapid demographic changes that were leaving the state and its cities poorer and less white than they had ever been before. One major consequence of having direct democracy at the onset of a demographic transformation is that elite economic interests and their political allies could usually exploit the initiative process to protect white privilege and maintain existing power structures to the detriment of marginalized communities. As demographic transformation continues to remake the face of the state, the kinds of public policies enacted at the ballot will more and more reflect the priorities of the younger, and more linguistically and culturally diverse California of today.

The full paper is available on eScholarship: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/39x5g29j

 The exhibit was curated by Jeffery Loo and designed by Aisha Hamilton.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Event: Maps & More Movie Study Break: The City that Waits to Die

The City that Waits to Die was produced by the BBC in 1970 and was intended to warn viewers of the dire consequences that awaited the SF Bay Area should another "big one" hit. Although its prognostications are somewhat dated, the movie is an amazing time capsule of 1970s era science with a soundtrack by Mama Cass and vintage supercomputers.




May 8, 11 am - 12 pm
Earth Sciences & Map Library
50 McCone Hall


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Preservation Week: Tips for preserving textiles



Caring for textiles:
  • Store them in an environment where you are comfortable being. Basements can be damp and lead to mold.
  • Box or roll and cover textiles to prevent damage from dust and light. Inspect regularly for insects.
  • Display dyed textiles away from direct light to minimize fading.
  • Hang historic clothing on well-padded hangers and cover with plain cotton.
  • Do not fold if you don't have to. If you have to, pad folds with tissue. Your choice of tissue depends on the fiber content of the textile: for wool, silk, fur, and other protein fibers or when fiber content is mixed or unknown, use acid free (unbuffered or neutral, pH 6-7); for cotton, linen, jute, flax, bast and other cellulose fibers, use buffered (pH 7-9.5).

For more information:

The Textile Museum 
Guidelines for the Care of Textiles including storing oriental carpets, a hanging system for textiles, and a pest chart

The Benson Ford Research Center at The Henry Ford Museum
Extensive resources on the preservation and care of antique textiles and costumes by Mary M. Fahey, Chief Conservator

Image: Livrustkammaren (The Royal Armoury) / Göran Schmidt / CC BY-SA [CC BY-SA 3.0 or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Preservation Week: Tips for preserving books



Don't let your books end up looking like these!

Some tips:

  •  Store books in a cool, dry room with a steady environment, and away from direct sunlight. 
  •  Use polyester covers to protect dust jackets or to keep deteriorating leather from staining other books.
  •  Fragile or damaged books can be stored in boxes or in acid free wrappers
  • Handle books with clean, dry hands. 
  • Dust the tops of the books regularly to minimize pests and mold, and make sure to dust from the spine outward so that the dirt doesn't settle in the pocket behind the spine. 
  • Wood shelves leak acid into books. You can seal them, but that only slows the process. Line the shelves with a barrier such as polyester film, corrugated polyethylene or polypropylene board, metal foil laminate, acrylic sheet, or glass to prevent books from coming into direct contact with the wood. 
  • Remove a book from a shelf by gripping on both sides of the spine at the middle of the book (push in the neighboring book on both sides to get a good grip), instead of tugging at the top of the spine. 
  • Store books upright or flat, keeping similarly sized books together. Use bookends to keep them from leaning. 

 Get more information at http://www.loc.gov/preserv/care/books.html

Image credit:  Old book bindings at the Merton College library. Photo by Tom Murphy VII. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Old_book_bindings.jpg

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2015 Summer Reading List

This year’s list—“Summer Sampler: Selections from First-Year Courses”—offers a potluck of great suggestions from a few of our many faculty who teach these courses.