Upcoming Events: Old-Time Musician Dom Flemons, Author David Madden

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FlemonsYou’re invited to join the Library Society of the University of Tennessee and the Friends of the Knox County Public Library for an evening with Dom Flemons, the American Songster, on Thursday, March 12, at 7:00 p.m. at the Bijou Theatre. The event is free and open to the public. But, due to high demand, registration is required — at http://www.knoxfriends.org.

Flemons will present this year’s Wilma Dykeman Stokely Memorial Lecture. His performance will be a lecture/demonstration of the history of old-time folk music and its relevance in today’s diverse musical world, with commentary and musical examples as appropriate.

Flemons is widely known for his role in reintroducing the old-time African-American string band music, made famous by groups such as the Tennessee Chocolate Drops, to a new generation. Flemons left the Carolina Chocolate Drops in July 2013 to pursue a solo career. His solo album Prospect Hill was released in July 2014. He was featured on Fresh Air with Terry Gross in July and on Folk Alley Presents in September. His album was one of Folk Alley’s Top 10 Folk and Americana Albums of 2014.

Flemons also will be the featured performer at the Annual Conference of the Society for Ethnomusicology hosted by the UT School of Music. His performance at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, March 13, at the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center will be free and open to the public, although seating is limited.

MaddenNovelist, poet, playwright, essayist, and critic, David Madden will be honored at a reception and lecture hosted by Libraries on Tuesday, April 7, at 5:30 p.m. at UT’s McClung Museum.

Madden’s novels include Cassandra Singing, Bijou, The Suicide’s Wife, Abducted by Circumstance, and London Bridge in Plague and Fire. His most recent work, The Last Bizarre Tale, consists of stories that have appeared in journals but have not appeared together as a collection. The title story, “The Last Bizarre Tale,” involving a corpse that has hung on a hook in a funeral home garage for decades, is evocative of Poe and, in its dark, grotesque humor, Flannery O’Connor and Carson McCullers. “Process is as important as product to David Madden,” writes editor James Perkins, “and one can learn as much about the process of writing as about the human condition by a careful reading of these stories.”

David Madden is a Knoxville native and a graduate of the University of Tennessee. He earned an M.A. at San Francisco State and attended Yale Drama School on a John Golden Fellowship. Writer-in-residence at Louisiana State University from 1968 to 1992, Director of the Creative Writing Program 1992-1994, and Founding Director of the United States Civil War Center 1992-1999, he is now LSU Robert Penn Warren Professor of Creative Writing, Emeritus.




The latest from the Smokies Project: The Photographs and Films of William Derris

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WalkerSisters2From the 1940s through the 1960s, William Derris, owner of the Derris Motel in Townsend, traveled by automobile around the accessible parts of the Smokies recording the people and scenery in both slides and silent film. He used the images and films to entertain and inform the guests at his hotel. His collection was donated to the UT Special Collections and is now the newest digital project from the Great Smoky Mountains Regional Project and the UT Digital Library: digital.lib.utk.edu/derris.

As part of a student practicum project, approximately 340 of the 4400 slides were digitized to create the online presentation. These images document seasonal landscapes in Townsend, Tuckaleechee, Cades Cove, Newfound Gap and Fontana. Derris photographed the Walker Sisters, the most famous residents of Little Greenbrier, and many of the wildflowers he encountered on his travels.

CadesCoveThe films presented a unique opportunity for the team who worked on the collection. The original footage is on 8mm film spools. It includes not only films of the Smokies but many other locales as well. To create the digital collection, the films were first digitized and then the most interesting Smokies content was excerpted to create shorter clips. Since the films were silent, the team decided to add folk music. Local musicians Chris Durman (also our Music Librarian), Steve White, and Leslie Gengozian recorded live music to accompany the films. The musical tunes were selected because there is evidence from folksong collectors that they were played in the Smokies. The result is a wonderful hybrid of new and old technology.




Letters from a Founding Father

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WashingtonLetterWilliam Blount and John Sevier are early American politicians that you would expect to be represented in the University of Tennessee Special Collections manuscript collection. But other members of our founding generation represented in UT’s Special Collections might surprise you. For example we have three items from George Washington, the Commander in Chief of the Continental Army and the new nation’s first President.

The first Washington letter that the library received was donated in 1945 by an alumnus, W. C. Taylor, who had bought the letter from the family of Major James Grant. Grant was an early Tennessee figure, who was involved in his friend William Blount’s conspiracy to seize Louisiana for Britain, and Florida for the United States. The letter was an introductory fragment of a message to William Blount from Washington; it expressed regret that the press of business at the end of the recent congressional session caused him to fall behind in his correspondence. Also part of the donation was a masonic medal, possibly of the Order of Cincinnatus, which Washington and Hamilton had established for former officers of the Continental Army. Grant family tradition held that the medal had been sent to Grant by Washington himself.

The second Washington letter came through another donation, the “Greer and Vinsinger Family Collection,” which consists mostly of material from their ancestor Col. Anthony Walton White. During the American Revolution, White fielded two cavalry regiments at his own expense. Also within this collection are letters from the Marquis de Lafayette, Alexander Hamilton, Horatio Gates, Henry Knox, Banastre Tarleton of the British army, and “Mad” Anthony Wayne. Washington’s letter orders White to send twelve horses to be used by Washington’s staff until their own horses can arrive, and to send an officer to convey instructions to Lafayette.

The third Washington item is contained in an autograph collection assembled by the university’s McClung Museum. Some of the material was donated by Judge and Mrs. John W. Greene when they donated their collection of McClung family papers. Other items came to the museum from various donors. Within the collection are not only letters from George Patton and Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Lee McClung’s correspondence with the actor William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but also letters from the founding generation such as John Marshall, Thomas Jefferson, the Marquis de Lafayette, “Light-Horse Harry” Lee, James Madison, as well as George Washington. The Washington item in the collection is his note written on a letter that had been sent his brother John Augustine Washington. The letter deals with the administration of justice in Pennsylvania over a land dispute. Washington’s note urges mediation as the best solution to the problem.

Thanks to the generosity of donors, students of the University of Tennessee can have the rare privilege of seeing and using letters of the “Father of our Country” George Washington and others of that great generation.




It’s all about student success.

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Four-Hour Film Festival

For the past two years, Media Literacy Librarian Michelle Brannen and Student Success Librarian Ingrid Ruffin have teamed up with UT’s Division of Student Life and resident assistants in the dorms to host a four-hour video contest. The most recent Four-Hour Film Festival took place on February 21. Students were given the necessary equipment, a short instruction session, and space to edit a brief film. In the span of a mere four hours, teams of students created and screened films. Prizes went to the best entries. James Agan, resident assistant in Hess Hall, said, “My residents had the most fun that they have had all year participating in a program.” The program garners support from the Libraries, Residence Halls, UT’s Cinema Studies Department, and the Knoxville Film Festival. Participants learn about valuable resources in the libraries, how to shoot and edit film, and, most importantly, that the Libraries, University, and community care about students and their success.

De-Stress for Success

“De-Stress for Success” highlights the libraries as a place to support the whole student. Each year as final exams loom over anxious students, the UT Libraries and its partners provide de-stressing activities to support relaxation and wellness. Activities such as 15-minute massages, play time with H.A.B.I.T. therapy dogs, and playing games in the living room (Mary E. Greer Room) give students a healthy diversion during a very stressful time. The events change from year to year, but the goal remains the same — to support students and to provide a little stress relief during some of the more intense times of the semester. Even as we strive to provide access to the best resources possible to encourage the creation of big ideas, we work diligently to ensure that students feel that they are part of the larger campus community.

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Dom Flemons – “American Songster” Lecture and Performance March 12

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Dom Flemons

Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 7 PM
Bijou Theatre
Register at knoxfriends.org

Dom Flemons is the “American Songster,” pulling from traditions of old-time folk music to create new sounds. A multi-instrumentalist and singer, Dom has been featured on NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross and his new album, Prospect Hill, has received praise from The Boston Globe, Paste Magazine, Living Blues Magazine, and more. His performance will be a lecture/demonstration of the history of old-time folk music and its relevance in today’s diverse musical world with commentary and musical examples as appropriate.




Andrew Jackson’s Family Bible: Join us to celebrate

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BibleFrontThe Bible in which President Andrew Jackson’s family recorded household births, marriages, and deaths for more than half a century now belongs to the University of Tennessee Libraries. Jackson’s family Bible was purchased with monies from University Libraries endowments and donations from members of the Library Society of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

We invite all members of the Library Society to join the University Libraries in celebrating this important acquisition. Please join us for a reception and viewing of the Jackson family Bible on Tuesday, September 16, at 5:00 p.m. at UT’s McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture.* Brief remarks will be offered at 5:30. Please RSVP to Megan Venable (mvenable@nulltennessee.edu or 865-974-6903).

The existence of the Jackson family Bible was known from contemporary newspaper accounts. In the summer of 1833, President Jackson took a formal tour of New England. On June 17, in Hartford, Connecticut, several visitors brought presents to Jackson in his hotel room. Among them were Silas Andrus and James Walker Judd, publishers whose prominent Hartford firm specialized in Bibles and religious books. As reported in the press, they presented Jackson with “an elegant copy of their Stereotype Edition of the quarto Bible, elegantly bound in red morocco, and gilt.” Jackson’s name was embossed on the front cover, and “Righteousness Exalteth a Nation” was emblazoned on the back. This Bible now resides in UT’s Special Collections.

Newspapers also recorded the encomiums exchanged upon presentation of the Bible. Andrus and Judd briefly addressed Jackson, invoking a divine blessing on the country and on him, and Jackson replied in kind, hoping that Americans would become “distinguished for genuine piety among the nations of the earth.” Newspapers throughout the country printed the exchange. But after this moment, the Andrus & Judd Bible vanishes from the public record. For a century and a half, no one outside the Jackson family knew what had happened to it.

“At The Papers of Andrew Jackson project here at UT, we make it our business to track down every surviving Jackson document we can,” said Dan Feller, professor of history and the editor and director of The Papers of Andrew Jackson at UT. “In our files is a thick folder labeled ‘Jackson family Bible.’ The correspondence in that folder chronicles our efforts over a span of decades to locate several Bibles that purportedly belonged to Jackson, but it makes no mention of this one.”

In recent decades, the survival of the Andrus & Judd Bible was rumored. Just a few years ago, the Bible’s owner surfaced briefly. Without ever meeting or knowing the identity of the Bible’s owner, Feller was able to verify from photographs that it was indeed the Bible presented to President Jackson at Hartford. Eventually, Feller’s contacts among antiquarian book lovers turned up the treasure. The Bible was offered for sale earlier this year, and the University Libraries secured a remarkable historical artifact.

Steven Smith, dean of libraries at UT, noted the importance of acquiring the Bible: “More than a cherished family relic…the Jackson family Bible is a treasure of national significance. It is precisely the sort of rare and unique document of our State’s history and politics that Special Collections is meant to preserve. We are thrilled to be able to return President Jackson’s family Bible to Tennessee.”

The Bible will be preserved and housed in Special Collections within the John C. Hodges Library.

Purchase of President Andrew Jackson’s family Bible was made possible by donations from the following:

Endowments:
Angelyn Donaldson and Richard Adolf Koella Historical Documents Endowment
McGregor Smith Library Endowment
Anonymous Library Endowment Fund
United Foods Humanities Library Endowment

Library Society Members:
Samuel Elliott
Jeff Johnson
Charles B. Jones, Jr.
Steven and Natalie Smith
Chuck West

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*Parking is available on Circle Park Drive.

Our thanks to Professor Dan Feller for providing background on the Jackson family Bible.




Library Society Welcomes Graduate Student Members

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Welcome to our twenty-eight new graduate student members of the Library Society of UT Knoxville! These students joined the Library Society at the membership table at the Libraries’ Graduate Student Open House on August 22 in the John C. Hodges Library.

The Libraries sponsor an open house for graduate students each fall. The event is an opportunity for students to learn how the library supports their research and teaching, to meet their department’s subject librarian, and to learn more about resources in their field, learn about citation management tools like Zotero and Endnote, and register for library services such as interlibrary loan and Library Express delivery.

Membership in the Library Society starts at only $5 for current students. Student members enjoy the benefits of membership in the Library Society including receiving a copy of the UT Libraries’ acclaimed Library Development Review and a subscription to the Library Society’s e-newsletter. This year our student members were sponsored by Library Society board members Jeff Johnson, Charles Jones and Pat Jobe.




Library Hires Student Success Librarians

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Ingrid Ruffin and Anna Sandelli are pictured in the Hodges Library's new research assistance area.

Ingrid Ruffin and Anna Sandelli are pictured in the Hodges Library’s new research assistance area.

The University of Tennessee Libraries is pleased to announce the appointment of two new faculty members. Ingrid Ruffin (pictured, left) is Student Success Librarian for First-Year Programs. Anna Sandelli (right) is Student Success Librarian for Undergraduate User Experience.

What do Student Success Librarians do? Basically, they help students learn the tools of scholarship while adjusting to college life. Two keys to undergraduate success are finding a sense of place at the university and gaining the information literacy skills students will need in every class they take. Success at those vital steps boosts first-to-second-year retention rates and six-year graduation rates—both top priorities for the university. Our Student Success Librarians will implement and expand instruction and academic engagement programs to improve the user experience for undergraduates at UT.

Ingrid Ruffin has experience developing pre-college and first-year programs at UT; for the past two years she served as a diversity librarian resident in the UT Libraries. She is an Air Force veteran and currently serves on the Department of Veterans Affairs Advisory Committee on the Readjustment of Veterans.

Anna Sandelli comes to UT from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she worked with the User Experience team to deliver information literacy and technology instruction to undergraduates. She has a background in corporate communications with an international company for which she provided outreach and marketing services.




“Birds, Bugs, & Blooms” Natural History Illustration Exhibit at McClung Museum

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BBB_Banner_p815A new exhibit exploring natural history illustration from the 1500s to the 1800s opens Friday, September 12, at UT’s McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture. Some of the rare books on display are on loan from the University Libraries’ Special Collections. Special Collections items include works of zoological and botanical illustration, notably a 1665 imprint of the historic Micrographia, by Robert Hooke.

“Birds, Bugs, & Blooms: Natural History Illustration from the 1500s–1800s” will run through January 4, 2015, and explores over 300 years of the intersection of science and art in natural history illustration.

More than fifty rare books, prints, and objects are on view, highlighting how increasing access to books, travel, and technology, as well as the evolution of knowledge, changed the way in which illustrations were created and interpreted. From fantastical images of beasts in the 1500s, to extremely accurate depictions of plants and animals in the 1800s, the illustrations in the exhibit demonstrate the rapid advances of natural history during the print age.

Several exhibit-related programs are planned. Free family programming includes exhibit-related Family Fun Days on September 27 and November 1, and a Stroller Tour for parents, caregivers and young children on October 6.

Other programming includes a natural history illustration workshop, “Using Scratchboard to Create Lifelike Illustrations” on October 5, and lectures on natural history and illustration by Barney Lipscomb, Leonhardt Chair of Botany at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas, on October 22, and UT Professor of History Denise Phillips on November 6.

See the exhibit page for more programming details: http://tiny.utk.edu/birdsbugsblooms.

“Birds, Bugs, & Blooms” is curated by Catherine Shteynberg and Christine Dano Johnson. Lenders include Arader Galleries, Dr. Gordon Burghardt, the National Museum of Health and Medicine, and UT Special Collections. The exhibit is presented by Arader Galleries, W. Graham Arader III, UT Federal Credit Union, the Ready for the World Initiative, ARAMARK, Bennett Galleries, and the Ardath & Joel E. Rynning Museum Fund. Additional support is provided by Knox County, the City of Knoxville, and the Arts & Heritage Fund.

The McClung Museum is located at 1327 Circle Park Drive. Museum admission is free, and the museum’s hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Free two-hour museum parking passes are available from the parking information building at the entrance to Circle Park Drive on the weekdays. Free parking is available on Circle Park Drive on a first-come, first-served basis on weekends. Free public transportation to the museum is also available via the Knoxville Trolley Vol Line.

Additional parking information is available at http://mcclungmuseum.utk.edu/visit/parking.

For more information about the McClung Museum and its collections and exhibits, visit http://mcclungmuseum.utk.edu.




B.J. (Bob) Leggett leads off “Writers in the Library”

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BJLeggett_smallAuthor B.J. Leggett will give the first “Writers in the Library” reading of the 2014-15 academic year. Leggett will read from his latest novel, Prosperity, on Monday, September 15, at 7 p.m. in the Lindsay Young Auditorium of the John C. Hodges Library. The reading is free and open to the public.

Prosperity tells the story of police lieutenant Robert O’Brian, who takes early retirement after being shot in a drug raid and returns to his hometown of Prosperity in the mountains of Eastern Tennessee to work on a second novel. But O’Brian’s plans are unexpectedly disrupted when he becomes involved in the investigation of the death of a high school friend.

B.J. (Bob) Leggett is professor emeritus at UT Knoxville, where he held the title of Distinguished Professor of Humanities. He is the author of numerous studies of modern poetry and criticism, including books on A. E. Housman, Philip Larkin, and Wallace Stevens. Prosperity is his second novel. The first, Playing Out the String, was published by Livingston Press in 2004.

Writers in the Library hosts readings by noted authors of fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. Other authors scheduled to read this semester are, in order of appearance, Amy Billone, Elizabeth McCracken, Keith Flynn, Joyce Jenkins, and David James Poissant. For a schedule of upcoming readings and videos of past events, visit lib.utk.edu/writers.

The series is sponsored by the UT Libraries and the UT Creative Writing Program in association with the John C. Hodges Better English Fund. Writers in the Library events are emceed by the Libraries’ Jack E. Reese Writer-in-Residence, Christopher Hebert.