Manuscript Repositories Section of the Society of American Archivists Fall 2002

From the Chair: "Ham and Eggs"

New Tolkien Research Materials at Marquette University Libraries

Comic Art Collection

"American Originals" at Carter Library

Grants Awarded: Northwest Digital Archives And Northwest Archives Processing Initiative

Music For The Nation: American Sheet Music, 1820-1860, to American Memory

Work 'n Progress: Stories of Southern Labor

Montana Union Catalog Project Continues

Shneiderman Papers Available

New List of Appraisers Project

Leadership and Next Deadline

From the Chair: "Ham and Eggs"
by Peter Blodgett

As pedestrian as daily life in any workplace can be, those of us who inhabit the world of manuscripts have unique opportunities to encounter, at any moment and without the slightest warning, the poignant, the intriguing, and the bizarre. Such an opportunity leapt unbidden upon me only a few days ago while navigating my way through the uncataloged papers of Robert Glass Cleland. Cleland (1885-1957), long-time professor of history at Occidental College in Los Angeles and senior research associate at the Huntington Library, had ranged far and wide through the fields of California and Western history, as reflected by the many topics found in his voluminous files of manuscripts and research notes. Nothing proved more fascinating, however, than a group of folders gathered in the preparation of his 1947 book, California in Our Time, bearing the mysterious sobriquet "Ham and Eggs."

More than sixty years ago, hundreds of thousands of depression-weary Californians, like millions of other Americans across the country, sought refuge from poverty and hardship in the golden promises of self-proclaimed financial visionaries. Among the most resilient were Lawrence and Willis Allen, whose Life Retirement Payments Association beat the drum for the distribution of thirty dollars to every senior citizen every Thursday to protect elderly Californians from the Depression's ravages and force-feed prosperity by putting millions of dollars into circulation on a weekly basis. Though initially dismissed by serious critics as nothing more than empty promises of "ham and eggs" for the masses, the publicity-astute Allens and their adherents adopted that slight and made it the emblem of their movement. A convoluted scheme involving the issuance of warrants from the state of California, the sale of bond issues and the imposition of various taxes to finance the machinery, it nonetheless caught fire as a ballot initiative not once but twice, in 1938 and 1939, failing of passage in its first incarnation by only a hair's breadth.

Obviously at once fascinated and appalled by the appeal of "Ham and Eggs," Cleland focused his attention upon it in a chapter that delved into the "false prophets and false hopes" of the depression decade. In particular, by gathering hundreds of typescript copies of radio addresses made by the Allens and their associates, he highlighted one of their most successful methods to energize the faithful and convert the skeptical. Today, those aging documents comprise not the dusty remnants of a defunct and forgotten political movement but rather a lively portrait of a tumultuous age. Through them, we can encounter the rise of radio as a medium, with its uneasy amalgamation of advertising, entertainment and public service. We can observe the political convulsions unleashed by mass movements such as "Ham and Eggs" that agitated for great changes to the existing order. And, beneath the clouds of bally-hoo inherent in American political campaigning, we can sense the fear and anxiety that gripped millions of people every day throughout those terrifying years.

No matter its breadth, depth and scope, every repository that collects manuscripts has its own version of "Ham and Eggs" lurking within its stacks. Have we but ears to hear them, the voices of the past can surround us every day in all their distinctive cacophony. To preserve those voices against the ravages of time, to make them accessible to all who would listen to them and to uncover fresh voices to add to the chorus of human experience are the great challenges that we all confront in this new century. In the decades to come, no work could be more exciting or more meaningful as a contribution to our common heritage.

As we pursue that work, let me urge you all to never hesitate to draw upon one of our greatest professional resources-the expertise, abilities and enthusiasm of our peers in the Manuscript Repositories Section. It has been a great joy for me to do so during the past two years as your Vice-Chair and Chair; my deepest thanks go out to my fellow members for giving me the opportunity to serve in those capacities and specially to my predecessor, Kathryn Neal, and my successor, Susan Potts McDonald, without whose generous and unflagging support and friendship it would not have been possible to carry out the demands of this position.

Peter Blodgett
Huntington Library

New Tolkien Research Materials at Marquette University Libraries

Scholars of J.R.R. Tolkien now have access to two new documentary sources in Marquette University Libraries' Department of Special Collections.

An unpublished letter written by J.R.R. Tolkien to Nancy Smith, indexer of The Lord of the Rings, offers revealing insights about the Oxford professor's fantasy fiction. In 1963, several years after preparing the index to The Lord of the Rings, Nancy Smith received an invitation to deliver a lecture about the book to a Tolkien society in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She wrote to Tolkien asking for a greeting that she might read to the group. J.R.R. Tolkien responded with a 1,300 word, handwritten letter, composed over several days surrounding Christmas, 1963. The retired professor described his inspiration for Hobbiton, and the "slow degrees" by which he composed The Lord of the Rings. In addition, Tolkien revealed childhood memories of writing verse about a great green dragon. He outlined how his great mythology began to take shape during 1914-1918, in part while recuperating after the Battle of the Somme. Finally, Tolkien described the parts of The Lord of the Rings that most moved him, nearly a decade after the book's release: the description of Cerin Amroth, the sound of horses of the Rohirrim, and Gollum's failure to repent.

Marquette University Libraries' purchase of the letter at auction was made possible by the Tolkien Archives Fund, established by the late Richard E. Blackwelder (1909-2001). Dr. Blackwelder created the endowment to acquire and preserve Tolkien research material, sponsor public programming, and prepare catalogs about Marquette's world-renowned manuscript collection.

Also now available within the Tolkien Collection is the original screen treatment for a never-produced film version of The Lord of the Rings, written by Morton Grady Zimmerman and annotated by J.R.R. Tolkien. In 1957 J.R.R. Tolkien had agreed to review a film story line, but judged the project unsound and pulled back from further negotiation. The Zimmerman materials also include the screenwriter's production notes, along with correspondence between Tolkien's publisher, Rayner Unwin, and Hollywood agent Forrest J. Ackerman, and one letter by J.R.R. Tolkien to "Mr. Ackerman and Others." Morton Grady Zimmerman (1937-2000) donated the materials to Marquette.

The J.R.R. Tolkien Collection includes more than 11,000 pages of original manuscripts for three of the author's most celebrated works, The Hobbit, Farmer Giles of Ham, and The Lord of the Rings, in addition to the original copy of the children's book, Mr. Bliss. The collection also includes books by and about Tolkien, hundreds of periodical titles produced by Tolkien enthusiasts, audio and video recordings, and a host of published and unpublished materials relating to Tolkien's life and fantasy fiction.

Descriptive inventories for the J.R.R. Tolkien Collection are available online at: library/collections/archives/tolkien.html. For additional information about the J.R.R. Tolkien Collection, please contact Matt Blessing, Archivist, Marquette University Libraries, at (414) 288-5901 or e-mail

Matt Blessings, Marquette University

Comic Art Collection

A finding aid to the Newspaper Comic Strips subgroup of the San Francisco Academy of Comic Art (SFACA) collection at Ohio State University is now available on the World Wide Web. This subgroup includes over 2.5 million independent daily and Sunday strip episodes from U.S. newspapers, in the form of individual clippings, tear sheets, and complete Sunday sections. The collection covers nationally syndicated comic strips from 1898 to 1996.

Records are organized by title, and include holdings dates, creator names, alternate titles, and a representative image of each comic feature.

The collection, begun by Bill Blackbeard in the late 1960s, was acquired by the Ohio State University Cartoon Research Library in 1997. It is available as a resource for researchers interested in the history of comic strips, as well as other subjects related to U.S. newspapers, such as American journalism, commercial printing, and the graphic arts.

The finding aid can be accessed at:

The SFACA collection not only includes comic strips but also comic books and graphic novels, popular periodicals, popular fiction, dime novels and story papers, science fiction fanzines, and other materials related to popular narrative art and writing. Monograph and serial items can be searched through OSU's online catalog, OSCAR. OSCAR can be accessed at:

From Archives Listserve

"American Originals" at Carter Library

The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum has been selected as the only venue in the Southeast to host American Originals: Treasures from the National Archives. This exhibition, which will be on display in Atlanta from September 27, 2002 - January 5, 2003, includes some of the nation's greatest documentary treasures. Atlanta is one of only eight stops the exhibition makes on a three-year national tour. American Originals offers visitors a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view rarely seen historical documents. As part of American Originals, the National Archives will also share one of its greatest treasures by sending the original Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Lincoln in 1863. Due to its fragility, this landmark document will be on special display October 17 - October 20 only. The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, in which President Lincoln announced his intention to free the slaves in the rebellious states, will remain on display throughout the run of the exhibition. Because this is the first time since the 1940's that the original, signed Emancipation Proclamation has traveled to the Southeast, advance reservations will be taken for the special four-day display.

American Originals was created by the National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C. and The Foundation for the National Archives. The exhibition contents were drawn from the vast holdings of the National Archives, which preserves and makes available to the public those records of the United States government that have been identified as having permanent value. Tickets for the October 17 - October 20 display are available after August 21 by calling 404/223-6700.

From Archives Listserve

Grants Awarded: Northwest Digital Archives And Northwest Archives Processing Initiative

Repositories across the Northwest have received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Historic Publications and Records Commission to improve metadata and access to collection information in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.

The NEH awarded a thirteen-member consortium $350,000 to build a database of 2200 EAD-encoded finding aids by June 2004. Participating institutions in the Northwest Digital Archives (NWDA) project are the University of Montana, the Montana Historical Society, the University of Idaho, Oregon Historical Society, Oregon State University, University of Oregon, Center for Pacific Northwest Studies (Western Washington University), Pacific Lutheran University, Seattle Municipal Archives, University of Washington, Washington State Archives, Washington State University, and Whitworth College. The project website can be found at

The NHPRC awarded a six-member consortium $517,000 to process 880 collections, create 615 new finding aids, and improve finding aids for 265 collections. New or improved finding aids will be created as EAD documents and added to the NWDA database. Consortium members for the Northwest Archives Processing Initiative are the University of Montana, Oregon Historical Society, the Montana Historical Society, the Center for Pacific Northwest Studies at Western Washington University, Whitworth College, and Pacific Lutheran University.

Both projects will vastly improve bibliographic access to collections across the Northwest that contain information on agriculture, forest products, fisheries and natural resources; urban and rural social and progressive movements; local, state, regional, and national politics; outdoor recreation; Native American language and culture; and the place of religious communities in the region.

Jodi Allison-Bunnell

Music For The Nation: American Sheet Music, 1820-1860, to American Memory

The newest addition to American Memory, "Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, 1820-1860,", consists of over 15,000 pieces of sheet music registered for copyright during the pre Civil War years. This collection, taken from materials in the Library's Music Division, complements an earlier American Memory project, "Music For the Nation: American Sheet Music 1870-1885", as well as the "Band Music from the Civil War Era" and "Sheet Music from the Civil War Era".

This new installment of pre-Civil War music materials are available through a common "Music for the Nation" page Through this one page, sheet music items are searchable via title, composer or subject for this new collection, as well as the "Music For the Nation: American Sheet Music 1870 -1885" collection.

The years 1820 to 1860 reflect a coming of age for American popular song, and many of the songs from this period are still well known today. Included online are many songs by Stephen Foster who composed such as favorites as "Susanna", "The Old Folks at Home" and "Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair". Other recognizable songs from this era include "There's Music in the Air", "Jingle Bells", "Long, Long, Ago", "Sweet Betsy from Pike", and "Pop Goes the Weasel".

Evident throughout the collection is the burgeoning popularity of the polka, and songs that reflect the growing fame of performers such as the singing Hutchinson Family and the first American tour (arranged by P. T. Barnum) of soprano Jenny Lind, known as the "Swedish Nightingale". In addition to songs, the collection also includes operatic arias, piano music, sacred and secular vocal music, solo instrumental music, method books and instructional materials, and some music for band and orchestra.

Complete page images for all the sheet music items are included in this online collection, which also features two special presentations; one, a listing of the "greatest hits" for the years 1820 - 1860, and a historical background essay on the development of American music in this period by the noted scholar, and longtime specialist in the Music Division, Wayne Shirley.

From the Archives Listserve

Work 'n Progress: Stories of Southern Labor

Students today learn little about the world of work, including their rights as workers. They enter the workforce without basic knowledge of working conditions, how they came about, or unions and the benefits they brought.

Teachers have few curriculum materials available to teach about work and labor. The Southern Labor Archives at the Georgia State University Library is very excited about introducing Work 'N Progress. This program is designed for middle and high school students. This course will examine the goals of the labor movement and how unions try to accomplish their objectives. The place of labor history in the larger framework of American history and the reasons for the growth and decline of unions will be examined. It also focuses on Georgia history.

This on-line curriculum will give teachers the knowledge and materials to prepare students for the workplace. Included are lesson plans and resources.

This course will cover:

This on-line curriculum can be found at

Work 'n' Progress is a project of the Southern Labor Archives, Special Collections Department, Georgia State University Library. This educational project was made possible through generous donations from Joseph Jacobs and the Joseph Jacobs Labor Fund. For additional information about the Southern Labor Archives, visit our website at <>. Please direct any questions or comments to Pam Hackbart-Dean, Director, Southern Labor Archives at 404-651-3896 or

Pam Hackbart-Dean

Montana Union Catalog Project Continues

As part of the Montana Union Catalog Project with the National Union Catalog of Manuscript Collections, the K. Ross Toole Archives has submitted 159 manuscript and 321 oral history records. The NUCMC staff have completed a total of 2025 full records for Montana repositories.

Participants include the Butte-Silver Bow Public Archives, the Catholic Diocese of Great Falls-Billings, the Montana Historical Society, Montana State University-Bozeman, the Museum of Women's History, the Musselshell Valley Historical Museum, and the Tobacco Valley Board of History.

Jodi Allison-Bunnell

Shneiderman Papers Available

The Papers of Dr. Ben Shneiderman, a professor of Computer Science at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a member of the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies and the Institute for Systems Research, are now available at the UM Libraries' Archives and Manuscripts Department located in Hornbake Library. This year-long project to process and make available his papers was funded in part by a donation from Dr. Shneiderman.

The materials in Dr. Shneiderman's collection, which include working papers, correspondence, manuscripts, and other related items, span his entire career, beginning in 1968 with his graduate studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and continuing until the present. They illustrate his work and the emergence of the discipline of human-computer interaction.

The majority of the collection consists of technical materials and correspondence between Dr. Shneiderman and other professionals in his field. The struggle to embrace user interface design as a technical topic and address the human side of technology is reflected in these papers. Also included are conference materials; consulting and grant records; personal correspondence; course materials; photographs; software and other electronic records; drafts and final versions of articles; and clippings from newspapers and magazines.

Founder of the Software Psychology Society (1976), and founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab (HCIL) at the University of Maryland, Dr. Shneiderman developed the notion of "direct manipulation," which clarified the design principles and benefits of the emerging graphical user interfaces. This idea led directly to the invention of the "embedded menu" or "hot link" that became a key contribution to usability of the web.

In recent years, Dr. Shneiderman has received recognition for his work, including an honorary doctorate from the University of Guelph, Canada, a profile in Scientific American, fellowships in two scientific societies, and the ACM SIGCHI Lifetime Achievement Award. In June 2000, Dr. Shneiderman relinquished the directorship of the HCIL, enabling him to pursue other projects.

A paper finding aid is available in the Maryland Room in Hornbake Library, on the University of Maryland, College Park campus, and the complete inventory is available online at: findingaids/schneiderman.

Amy McCrory

New List of Appraisers Project

Julie Herrada and Michelle Sweetser are working to put together a list of qualified and reliable manuscripts appraisers with whom SAA members have worked in the past. A compiled list of submissions will be made available through the Acquisitions and Appraisal Section in either printed form or through the SAA website. To make this effort work, they need your submissions!

Your suggestions may be e-mailed to Michelle Sweetser ( and should include the following information:

Please use the subject line "appraisers" so that Michelle can easily recognize your e-mail.

If you have questions, comments, or ideas about this project, please contact Julie Herrada (jherrada@ Thanks in advance for your response.

Julie Herrada


News items, articles, letters to the editor, and comments are welcome.

Next deadline: March 1, 2003

Send to Pam Hackbart-Dean (see address below)

Chair (2001-2002)

Susan Potts McDonald
Emory University

Past Chair/Chair of Nominations (2001-2002)
Peter J. Blodgett
H. E. Huntington Library and Art Gallery

Vice Chair/ChairElect/Newsletter Editor(2001-2002)

Pam Hackbart-Dean
Georgia State University

Steering Committee

Joseph Anderson, American Institute of Physics
Jodi Allison-Bunnell, University of Montana, Missoula
Su Kim Chung, University of Nevada Las Vegas
Cynthia Ghering, Ohio Historical Society
Kathryn Allamong Jacob, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute

SAA Web liaison

Karen Spicher, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University

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