Promoting, supporting and encouraging the study of the United States since 1955

British Association for American Studies


Resources for American Studies: Issue 49, January 2000


Resources for American Studies: Issue 49, January 2000


  1. BAAS Library and Resources Subcommittee News
  2. The Museum of the City of New York
  3. The John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising and Marketing History
  4. The University of Mississippi Blues Archive
  5. The Sophia Smith Collection
  6. News

BAAS Library and Resources Subcommittee News

A Sub-Committee meeting was held at the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh, 13 September 1999. The meeting was chaired by Dr Kevin Halliwell. 

The Secretary noted that the latest issue of the Newsletter had been mounted on the BAAS website, complete with hyperlinks to the advertisers’ websites. All future issues will be mounted here.

Scottish Association for the Study of America
Dr Halliwell noted that the newly formed Scottish Association for the Study of America is to have its own newsletter.

The content and the timing of the next Sub-Committee seminar were discussed and the following decisions reached:

  1. The seminar will be held in mid/late September 2000.
  2. The subject will be ‘Visual Resources in American Studies’.

The following topics were suggested:

  1. Images in US government documents
  2. Documentary films
  3. Artefacts
  4. Major photographic collections
  5. The internet
  6. Copyright

It was also agreed that there should be space allocated for small exhibition and display stands.Further suggestions/contributions should be forwarded to the Newsletter’s Editor (see back page for contact details).

Updates from libraries

Mr Pinfold reported on the Oxford Institute. Work is slightly behind schedule, although the site is above ground level now.

Dr Halliwell reported that the Scottish Association for the Study of America would be holding its inaugural meeting in October, beginning with a post-graduate seminar on American Studies resources at the National Library of Scotland.

There is a new American Studies centre at the University of Glasgow — the Andrew Hook Centre for American Studies, and there is to be increased American Studies teaching at Dundee, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Stirling.

John Pinfold

Mr Pinfold announced his resignation from the Sub-Committee. This is due to extra work relating to the Oxford Institute and his acceptance of the chair of the Canadian Studies committee. Dr Halliwell expressed the Sub-Committee’s deep regret, but added that his reasons were fully appreciated. He wished to record the Sub-Committee’s huge debt of gratitude to Mr Pinfold for all of the work that he had contributed over many years.
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The Museum of the City of New York

Situated on Manhattan’s Museum Mile, at Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street, the Museum of the City of New York is a non-profit, private educational organisation established in 1923 to collect, preserve and present original cultural materials related to the history of New York City. Today the Museum continues to fulfill its original mission with a wide range of exhibits, educational programs and six curatorial departments, several of which are described below.

The photography collection consists of more than 500,000 prints and negatives that document New York City and its inhabitants from the mid-nineteenth century to the present’some of New York’s earliest photographic views are represented in the waxed-paper negatives of Victor Provost, and the proliferation of the medium is exemplified by the Byron Collection of more than 22,000 images chronicling New York life from 1892 through 1942. The well-known Jacob Riis photographs reveal the Lower East Side’s poverty and squalor in the late nineteenth century. Berenice Abbott’s stunning Changing New York, a WPA photographic project, documents New York City in the 1930s. Other WPA-sponsored Federal Art Project negatives add another 900 images of New York in the 1930s. The Museum’s voluminous holdings of commercial photography firms include the work of Irving Underhill, the Wurts Brothers and Gottscho-Schleisner, as well as photographic work commissioned by the renowned architectural firm of McKim, Mead and White.

Prints and Drawings
The Clarence J. Davies collection of approximately 12,000 views of New York City from the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries is the cornerstone of the Museum’s collections of prints and drawings. Another major component of the collection is the definitive Harry T. Peter Collection of 2,885 lithographs — most hand-colored — by the nineteenth century New York firm of Currier and Ives. Smaller print holdings include a number of late nineteenth century and early twentieth century fine art prints depicting New York through the 1930s. This department also holds early architectural drawings by A.J. Davis, political cartoons executed between the two world wars and the archives of the Planning Board of the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

Vertical Files
Material in the vertical files consist of newspaper clippings and pamphlets. These are organized by street location and subject. Almost every street in Manhattan and many streets in the outer boroughs are represented. The subject files cover such diverse topics as accidents, churches, elevated railroads, immigration, parades, retail trade and shipping. Material in the files is not a comprehensive look at these topics but rather represents a compilation of items acquired and clipped over the years by Museum curators.

Theatre Collection
The Theatre collection is recognised as one of the world’s preeminent performing arts collections. The heart of the collection is the John Golden Archive, which consists of approximately 40,000 folders, organised by production, personality and theatre building. This archive presents a virtually complete chronology of theatre in New York City from the late eighteenth century to the present. The folders contain such materials as photographs, contracts, correspondence, playbills, manuscripts, advertising materials, reviews, obituaries, clippings, sheet music, autographs, souvenir programs, and prompt books with marginalia on blocking and performance. The collection of drawings and caricatures numbers approximately 5,000 and includes often incisive interpretations of theater personalities and productions. Several thousand window cards and posters record the shifting trends in theatrical advertising from 1834 to the present. The photographic holdings of the Theatre Collection provide a visual chronicle of New York theatre from cartes-de-visite of the 1860s through production stills of the 1990s. Sizable donations from several New York photography studios which specialized in theatrical work — the Byron Co., Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten constitute a century of realistic visual records indispensable to scholars, writers and designers. Special categories (beyond the main Broadway Theatre holdings) include material on burlesque, minstrelsy, vaudeville, and Yiddish theatre.

For more information contact:
The Museum of the City of New York, Fifth Avenue at 103rd St., New York, NY 10029, tel: (212) 534-1672,
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The John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising and Marketing History

It would be almost impossible to imagine American society without the apparatus of marketing and sales to move goods and services from producers to consumers. Yet until recently the history of these fields had been preserved in a haphazard way, leaving only limited resources for scholarly research.

At Duke University, however, a unique and exciting endeavour is now underway to preserve the records of the businesses that have been so influential in shaping modern America. As a means to this end, the John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising and Marketing History was established at Duke’s Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collections Library in 1992. Through documentation and programming the Center stimulates interest in and study of the roles of marketing, advertising and sales. The Center also seeks to provide leadership in building national and international networks among institutions that document these fields.

The most extensive collections at the Center are those of the J. Walter Thompson Company, a major international advertising agency founded in 1864, and the Archives of the Outdoor Advertising Association of America, the trade organisation for the billboard and other out-of-town advertising industry. Other ad agency records include those of D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles, Wells Rich Green, and Charles W. Hoyt Company. The OAAA Archives are complemented by many individual collections relating to outdoor advertising, including the papers of the R.C. Maxwell Company and files of commercial artists Howard Scott and Garrett Orr. Specialized collections include the Wayne P. Ellis Collection of Kodakiana, the Nicole di Bona Peterson Collection of Advertising Cookbooks, and the McGraw-Hill Marketing Information Center files. Archival holdings now total well over 3,000,000 items, including such diverse material as meeting minutes, correspondence, research reports, publications, advertisements, films, photographs, and billboards (especially in slides and photographs). The Center’s book and journal collections are growing steadily, in support of the unique archival material.

Ad*Access is a pilot project funded by the Duke Endowment ‘Library 2000′ Fund under the auspices of the Hartman Center. At present the project presents images and database information for over 7,000 advertisements printed in U.S. and Canadian newspapers and magazines between 1911 and 1955. Ad*Access concentrates on five main subject areas: Radio, Television, Transportation, Beauty and Hygiene and World War II. The advertisements are from the “Competitive Advertisements Collection (pre-1955 files) within the J. Walter Thompson Company. This collection was created at JWT as an in-house resource over the period of many decades. Like other advertising agencies, the J. Walter Thompson Company had employees who clipped advertisements from magazines and newspapers and filed them according to the type of product and service advertised. The files could then be used for reference by agency staff. The clippings at JWT appear to have begun in the early 1910s and continues to this day. Although many agencies have created similar ”tearsheet’ files, the JWT collection is one of the few that has been preserved over so many decades. Ad*Access may be found at: http://scriptorium.lib.duke.educ/access/

For further information about the Center contact: The John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising and Marketing History, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708.
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The University of Mississippi Blues Archive

The University of Mississippi Blues Archive was opened in September 1984. As a branch of the University Libraries, the Archive houses an extraordinary collection of records, books, photographs, clippings and memorabilia. For the blues scholar, musician or fan, the Blues Archive is indispensable. Among the Blues Archive’s holdings are the following:

The B.B. King Collection
Blues legend B.B. King’s personal record collection is one of the Blues Archive’s largest. It holds over 7,000 albums, 45s and 78s, and stands as testimony to Mr. King’s eclectic taste in music. Jazz, blues, soul, R&B, rock, pop, and country are all represented.

The Living Blues Collection
Jim O’Neal and Amy van Singel, founding editors of Living Blues magazine, donated the Living Blues collection to the Archive in 1983. It covers a wide spectrum of music, but is primarily concerned with post-war Chicago Blues. Included in the Living Blues collection is a vast quantity of 45s which have been added to the University Library’s main computer catalog.

The Kenneth S. Goldstein Collection
The Goldstein collection, comprised of over 12,000 books and magazines, 5000 albums and 1000 78s and 45s is unmatched in size and scope as one of the premier folklore resources in the United States.

The Blues Archive Photograph Collection
Housing over 20,000 photographs from decades of Living Blues magazine, as well as from top blues photographers, the Photograph Collection serves as an important clearinghouse for publications and institutions around the world. The archive contains some of the only known existing photographs of many musicians.

Other notable collections include the Trumpet Record collection (containing the files and business records of the Jackson, Mississippi record label), the Periodicals collection (housing a rare number of blues magazines and newsletters), the Percy Mayfield collection of memorabilia, the Harmonica and Blues Guitar Projects, and the Blues Archive Subject Files, which track the careers and lives of performers through various clippings and articles.

For further information contact: The Blues Archive, Farley Hall, University of Mississippi, University, MS 38677;
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The Sophia Smith Collection

The Sophia Smith Collection at Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, is an internationally recognised repository of manuscripts, photographs, periodicals and other primary sources in women’s history. The Collection was founded in 1942 to be the Library’s distinctive contribution to the college’s mission of educating women. Under the inspired leadership of its first director, Margaret Storrs Grierson, the Sophia Smith Collection evolved from a collection of works by women writers into a historical research collection of material documenting the lives and activities of women. In 1946 it was named in honor of the founder of Smith College.

Today the Collection consists of 6000 linear feet of material in manuscript, print, and audio-visual formats. The holdings document the historical experience of women in the United States and abroad from the colonial era to the present. Subject strengths include birth control, women’s rights, suffrage, the contemporary women’s movement, US women working abroad, the arts (especially theatre), the professions (especially journalism and social work), and middle-class family life in nineteenth and twentieth century New England. Many of these collections are rich sources of visual, as well as manuscript and printed material.


Over 300 manuscript collections consist of papers accumulated by individual women or by families. They include such materials as letters, diaries, scrapbooks and photographs. Among the most widely used collections are those of the birth control crusader Margaret Sanger; Ellen Gates Starr, co-founder with Jane Addams of the Chicago settlement, Hull House; Mary van Kleeck, social researcher and reformer; and the Garrison, Hale, and Ames families. More recent acquisitions include the papers of broadcast journalist Pauline Frederick and author and activist Gloria Steinem.

Organisations Records

The Organisations’s Records are the archives of women’s associations – minutes, correspondence, reports, publications, and related material. Among the more than 60 organisations represented are Sorosis, one of the oldest women’s clubs in the US, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the National Board of the YWCA. Recent acquisitions still being readied for research include the records of MS magazine and the Women’s Action Alliance.

Periodicals and Serials

Among the 600 periodical titles of current and historical women’s magazines, newspapers, newsletters and other serials are Ladies Companion (1840-44), Women’s Journal (1870-1916), Lucifer: the Light Bearer (1897-1901), Eugenesia (Mexico, 1943-45), Church Woman (1943-49), and Black Sash (South Africa, 1956-72). Early women’s liberation periodicals, such as Shrew, and Velvet Fist are also well represented. There are approximately fifty current subscriptions.

For more information contact: The Sophia Smith Collection, Smith College, Northampton, MA 016063, tel (413) 585-2970, email,
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In Memoriam

Geoffrey Thompson

Geoffrey Thompson of the leading Micromedia suppliers Thompson Henry, who died in October 1999, was a staunch and generous long term supporter of the aims and activities of that particular group of American Studies Librarians which is now known as the BAAS Library and Resources Subcomittee.

Geoffrey was an influential business leader in his own field and was widely known and liked by his colleagues within the Library world many of whom were proud to claim him as a personal friend.

His informed professional knowledge and his unfailing warm bonhomie together with the great civilised gusto of his love of life will sadly be missed by all who came into contact with him.

BAAS 2000
The British Association of American Studies Conference 2000 will be hosted by the Department of American Studies at the University of Wales Swansea, 6-9 April. The annual conference provides an excellent opportunity for all librarians with American Studies responsibilities to keep abreast of changes in the field. For more information contact: Michael McDonnell, Conference Secretary, Department of American Studies, University of Wales Swansea, Swansea SA2 8PP, or

Announcement of Civil War Maps Collection to be Added to American Memory at the Library of Congress
Maps documenting battles, troop movements, reconnaissance efforts and locations of fortifications are a part of the most recent addition to the American Memory historical collections of the Library of Congress. The Civil War Maps collection contains approximately 2240 Civil War maps and charts and 76 atlases and sketchbooks that are held within the Library’s Geography and Map Division. A selection of these maps, based on Civil War Maps: An Annotated List of Maps and Atlases in the Library of Congress, will be made available through American Memory. Updates will be made to this collection on a monthly basis.

Though the large majority of these maps were created during the time of the Civil War, a number were created afterwards to illustrate or explain certain events or battles. Publishers in the North and South created maps included in this collection by both Union and Confederate forces. An introductory essay provides a discussion of mapping during the Civil War highlighting materials that are within the Geography and Map Division of the Library.

Of special interest are maps created by Major Jedediah Hotchkiss, a topographical engineer for the Confederate Army. Hotchkiss’s granddaughter donated these maps to the Library of Congress in 1948. Generals Lee and Jackson used a number of his maps as they planned strategy for various battles. Future updates will include images from his notebooks, which contain detailed notes about his various map projects. Also included are maps that were owned by General William Tecumseh Sherman. Some of these maps, which were donated by members of his family, document Sherman’s military campaigns in Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia and the Carolinas. Users may also be interested in maps that were created as propaganda items to encourage support of one side or the other during wartime and maps that were published in various newspapers. Panoramic maps and city plans are included within the collection.

The Civil War Maps collection compliments many of the American Memory collections currently online including the Selected Civil War Photographs, Pioneering the Upper Midwest, California as I Saw It, Historic American Sheet Music and the WPA Life Histories. Images from these and other collections are used to highlight the material within the Civil War Maps collection and to provide links to these related collections.

The Civil War Maps collection can be found at

For questions please send email to

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