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

British Association for American Studies


Resources for American Studies: Issue 51, January 2001


Resources for American Studies: Issue 51, January 2001


  1. BAAS Library and Resources Sub-Committee Meeting June 2000
  2. Imaginative Representations of the Vietnam War
  3. The Chicago Jazz Archive
  4. Review
  5. Useful Websites
  6. News

BAAS Library and Resources Sub-Committee Meeting June 2000

Minutes of the Committee Meeting held at the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, 15 June 2000.


Dr J Beer (BAAS)
Ms L Crawley (JRULM), Treasurer
Dr K Halliwell (National Library of Scotland), Acting Secretary
Mr D G Heyes (British Library, London)
Dr I Wallace (JRULM), Chair

1. Apologies

Ms K Bateman (USIS Reference Centre)
Mr R J Bennett (British Library, Boston Spa)
Miss A Cowden (University of London)
Ms J Kemble (Eccles Centre)

1a. Welcomes
Dr Wallace welcomed Dr J Beer, who was standing in for Prof. P Davies on behalf of the BAAS Executive.

2. Minutes of the previous meeting
These were signed as a correct record.

3. Matters arising
Dr Wallace had not contacted Peter Fox but still intended to do so.

Dr Wallace reported he had still not retrieved the documentation for the Newcastle bequest, but hoped it would turn up.

In view of the small turn out, the question of the most suitable venue for meetings was discussed. It was again felt that the best attendance always occurred when the group met in London. Dr Beer reported that BAAS sometimes made use of the Institute of United States Studies (the British Library proving too expensive), and that a list of other venues could be had from Jenel Virden, BAAS Secretary. It was thought still important to retain links with the US Embassy. Dr Wallace undertook to pursue, along with Mr Bennett, the use of the Embassy as a venue for future meetings, to contact Jenel Virden and to talk to Prof. Davies about the new Cultural Attaché at the Embassy, who had earlier expressed enthusiasm for BAAS.

Nick Selby had been elected Treasurer of BAAS.

4. Treasurer’s report

Ladies and Gentlemen:

This is my initial report as Hon. Treasurer of BLARS, and in so doing I have merely followed Linda Williamson’s format in producing the current balance sheet. There have been no significant developments since my predecessor’s last statement for the Sub-committee prepared on the 3rd February 2000. This, I feel, is a good thing since I am still finding my way around the post at the moment.

Turning to the statement of accounts: in brief, on the income side, we have carried forward an opening balance of £2974.12 from the last meeting of the 3rd February 2000. We have as yet added nothing to this figure.

The total figure for the expenditure side is £121.70, which covers the cost of issue 49 of the ASLG Newsletter.

The balance in hand is currently £2852.42, showing a decrease of £121.70 owing to the above payment to the British Library of this amount to cover production costs of issue number 49 of the Newsletter. Also, at the present time we have two invoices still outstanding. We are waiting for a payment of £250 for Chadwyck-Healey’s advertisement in the July 1999 (no. 48) Newsletter. As I am unable to find a copy of the invoice in any if the files left by my predecessor I have contacted and I am waiting upon Nick Selby, the newly appointed Hon. Treasurer for BAAS, to forward me a copy of the invoice. When he does so, I can begin chasing Chadwyck-Healey for payment. Nick tells me that he is still finding his feet, as treasurer at the moment but will hopefully send me the invoice later this week.

We are also still waiting to be invoiced by the British Library for issue number 48 of the Newsletter. I have contacted Richard Bennett about this and hope to be invoiced soon. As on previous occasions the sum of £463.68 remains earmarked for the Newspaper Project, so that £2388.74 signifies the uncommitted balance in hand.

I have carried on from Linda Williamson, negotiations with Douglas McNaughton, of Edinburgh University Press, about distributing a 20-page A4 American Studies brochure through our mailing list. I am afraid that nothing as yet has come of this but dialogue is still ongoing in terms of any further possible advertisements. Linda forwarded my details to Norman Williams of Readex but he has yet to contact me. I plan to get in touch with him myself after this meeting and follow on from Linda to negotiate for future advertisements.

Lisa Crawley
Hon. Treasurer BAAS LARS
15th June 2000.

5. Report from Projects Sub-Committee

Dr Halliwell reported that work on the US newspaper holdings list was held up by the lack of placement students able to work on it. The anticipated placements from the Library School in Stuttgart had not materialised. The question of paying a student to work on the project was again raised, but Dr Beer pointed out that after tax, the funds available were not really adequate. It was thought that a direct approach to a library school (initially in Scotland) would be best, as the project was of potential interest to students of librarianship and information science. Dr Halliwell undertook to approach the Library School at the University of Strathclyde. If help was not forthcoming from there, details of the project could then be disseminated more widely.

6. Newsletter

Mr Heyes was presently working with Ms Kemble on issue No. 50, which would hopefully be produced in July. Any details of large or significant acquisitions or contributions on any other subject would be gratefully received.

7. Seminar

Dr Halliwell reported on his communication with Judith Elsdon, Curator at the American Museum in Bath. The Museum had offered speakers on the museum’s Dallas Pratt Collection of Historical Maps and on its holdings in general. However, since the former was a collection of 15th- and 16th-century maps and there was no available visual documentation of either the former or the latter it was felt that the content of such a talk would not suit the theme of the seminar. Dr Halliwell would contact the museum.

Dr Wallace mentioned that Mr Bennett had expressed some reservations about his being able to handle all practical arrangements for the September seminar without some help. After some discussion it was felt that a September seminar would in any case be difficult to arrange in time, given present progress, the need still to find speakers, the need to contact suppliers and other interested commercial parties, and the forthcoming intervening summer. Dr Wallace therefore proposed, with some regret, that the seminar be moved to June 2001. The proposal was accepted. He also proposed that the seminar subcommittee should meet if possible in September to review progress.

8. Sub-Committee membership

Dr Wallace noted that after recent departures, he and Miss Cowden were now the only two original surviving members of the Sub-Committee, and he felt positive steps were needed to recruit new members. He suggested that although it was dated, the Directory of American Studies Librarians in U.K. Libraries (London: American Studies Library Group, 1992) could be used as a list of likely institutions, and that he, together with Mr Bennett and Dr Halliwell, should formulate the text of a letter to be sent to the chief librarians. It was further suggested that Professor Davies, who also, helpfully, has a list of current American Studies departments, could be asked to write a covering note.

9. Date of next meeting

The next meeting would be in February 2001. Dr Wallace undertook to contact Mr Bennett about establishing suitable dates and venues.

10. Any other business

Dr Halliwell noted that the National Library of Scotland were not for the present going ahead with the purchase of the online records for the Sabin Collection because of technical difficulties with bulk downloading. This was however a temporary situation and it was still felt worthwhile to pursue this as a method of increasing usage of this full-text microfiche collection. There was some further discussion of the underuse of microform collections and Dr Beer suggested that publicising information about these collections would be of enormous benefit to researchers. Dr Halliwell undertook to look into compiling and disseminating this information.

The John Rylands University Library of Manchester were thanked for their hospitality.

B.A.A.S Library and Resources Sub-Committee

Notional ACCOUNTS 3/2/00-15/6/00 (not confirmed with BAAS)


Opening balance 2974.12
TOTAL 2974.12
ASLG Newsletter (no.49) 121.70
TOTAL 121.70
Closing Balance 15/6/00 2852.42
Minus Balance held for Newspaper project 463.68


NB: Invoices outstanding: Chadwyck-Healey for advertising in Newsletter 48 – £250 British Library for the production of the July 1999 (no.48) issue of the Newsletter


Imaginative Representations of the Vietnam War

By John Baky, Library Director.

A collection of material entitled Imaginative Representations of the Vietnam War is preserved in the Department of Special Collections at La Salle University’s Connelly Library. The fundamental aspiration of the collection operates under a dual intention: firstly, to discover how a discrete body of creative literature becomes mythopoeic. That is, how a complex event may be interpreted through creative means; and secondly, to discover how creative treatments of an event use aesthetic values to reveal both the fact and emotional essence of traumatic cultural phenomena.

The primary resources for studying the above two processes are gathered in a collection presently consisting of about 9,000 books of fiction and poetry together with 600 non-print items. Additionally, more than 600 films and videos are available. These films include narrative, commercial (Hollywood), pornography, and art films, as well as documentary films, curricular production, taped seminars, and extensive TV-generated material. The collection is limited intentionally to imaginative literature and the visual arts. The collection is focused on fictive writing in the form of novels, short stories, poetry, drama, filmscripts, extensive examples of graphic art, painting, video, TV productions, and sound recordings.

Contained in this collection, and additional to the published written material itself, are unpublished manuscripts, corrected manuscripts, shooting scripts, galley proofs, page proofs (corrected and uncorrected), holograph copies, limited editions, variant editions, runs of comic books, and cartoon art.

The remainder of the collection consists of carefully catalogued items of ephemera such as poetry broadsides, dealer’s catalogues of Vietnam War fiction, published strategy games, published software, vanity publications, and curriculum guides for teaching the war through its literature across many educational levels and curricula. The collection is intentionally strong in material produced after 1980, though virtually every earlier title that appears in the 3rd edition of John Newman’s Vietnam War Literature also exists in the La Salle Collection. In view of that comparison, it is a fundamental goal of the collection to make available literature that demonstrates the evolution of the perceptions of the war experienced after the event had actually ended. The collection is particularly committed to illuminating the process by which fictional narrative becomes mythopoeic. In using this collection, it is possible to both question and document the sources of developing myths about the war experience. For example, one may examine and measure the impact of the original event by seeing how the experience is presented to the public through imaginative renderings. Using hundreds of examples, one can compare systematically how the post-1975 presentations and perceptions of war differ qualitatively from pre-1975 material. The more than 600 films and videos are of seminal utility in this connection. A growing sector of the collection is composed of imaginative representations of Vietnamese refugees during and after the American conflict. As well, there is material representing the growing influence of the Vietnamese émigré community as it establishes itself in American culture. This would include typical hybrid mythic constructions such as the “the Vietnamese Mafia,” rags-to-riches narratives similar in spirit and naivete to the Horatio Algeresque tales of early 20th-century America, young adult fiction, and thinly veiled (mostly) right-wing political diatribes posing as fiction.

More globally, serious scholarly inquiry can be conducted concerning the elusive distinction between fictional narrative and autobiographical perception. The interrogation of this Coleridge-like chimera that mocks and distorts the reflexive distinctions between narrative memory and interpretive imagination fuels the enduring intellectual vigour of this collection.

In direct support of the written and cinematic dimensions of the collection are actively developed collections of graphic arts (posters, prints, collage, ephemera, etc.) featuring such material as ten original silk screen propaganda posters presented to Denise Levertov during the poet’s trip to Hanoi in 1972. Additionally, artefacts of a musical/sound recording nature include tapes of Hanoi Hannah, recordings of Armed Forces Radio broadcasts from Saigon and Danang, tapes of attacks in progress recorded during the onslaught of Tet, underground tapes of GI music broadcasts in-country, and sound tracks of most films released about the war.

Comments so far made by the scores of visiting scholars who have examined the collection indicate that the collection is unique in its depth, peerless in its breadth, and that it is the largest subject collection of its kind in the world.


The Chicago Jazz Archive

By Deborah L. Gillaspie, Curator of Jazz.

The Chicago Jazz Archive is a special collection of the University of Chicago’s Regenstein Library. The Chicago Jazz Archive was established in 1976, the inspiration of two members of the Visiting Committee to the Department of Music. After a lecture by Chicagoan Benny Goodman for a campus series entitled “The Art of the Conductor,” Mrs. Peter Wolkonsky and Mr. Robert Semple suggested founding a jazz archive. A planning committee was appointed, and Professor Richard Wang of the University of Illinois at Chicago became the first Chair of the Archive’s Executive Committee. In 1977, Dr. John Steiner, a distinguished collector and historian of Chicago jazz, joined the Visiting Committee for Music and the Executive Committee of the Archive. His initial donation to the Archive was a large collection of sheet music imprints, most of which were published in or related to Chicago. He has since donated recordings, sheet music, ephemera and realia to the Archive’s John Steiner Collection.

The Archive was originally intended to collect and preserve materials from the late 1910s through the 1920s, documenting the birth of “Chicago style” jazz. While the original donations concentrated on this period and on musicians born here or who spent significant creative time here, the Archive now takes into account the ease with which musicians and influences travel. All jazz styles from oldest to newest are regularly played in Chicago, and the Archive collections reflect this diversity.

Jazz is documented at the Archive with oral histories; sound recordings in 78rpm, 45rpm, LP, and CD formats; audio and video tapes; printed and manuscript parts for stock arrangements; piano sheet music; correspondence; interviews; scrapbooks, photographs, books, periodicals, artwork, and realia; and other jazz-related materials. As collections are processed, finding aids are developed and made available on the Archive website at

The Archive supports the research and instructional mission of the University in music, history, anthropology, and sociology, and provides reference services to academic researchers all over the world via its website, electronic and standard mail, telephone, and research visits. In addition to academic patrons, users of Archive reference services include other jazz archives, museums, historical societies, city agencies, musicians, authors, jazz educators, filmmakers, radio and television producers, publishers, club owners, booking agents, jazz organisations, musicians’ families, primary and secondary school students, and the general public.

In 1982, the Chicago Jazz Archive became home to portions of the Don DeMicheal Archives of the Jazz Institute of Chicago, which include taped oral histories of Chicago musicians, videotapes, and ephemera and recordings from the Chicago Jazz Festivals. The Institute and its members have also facilitated the Archive’s acquisition of many personal collections of jazz material, including donations from Ed Crilly, Don DeMicheal, Jimmy Granato, Harvey Lang, Richard Manning, Jimmy and Marian McPartland, Robert Peck, and many other musicians and collectors.

Archive holdings for the “Chicago” period consists mostly of printed piano sheet music, stock arrangements with manuscript additions, recordings, and a few photographs. Non-sound materials from the 1910’s to the 1930’s can be found in the John Steiner Collection, the Frank Gillis Donation, the Jimmy and Marian McPartland Collection, and the Richard Manning Collection.

Various collections cover the 1940’s to the present. The Jimmy and Marian McPartland Collection contains photos and ephemera from the 1940’s to 1990, with the majority dating from the 1940’s-1960’s. The complete McPartland finding aids is available on the CJA website. The Jimmy Granato Donation consists of scrapbooks of career memorabilia belonging to Chicago clarinettist Granato, and the Harvey Lang Collection of scrapbooks documenting the career of Chicago drummer Harvey Lang. These two collections are of particular interest due to the meticulous identification of people in photographs, and to the wealth of autograph material they contain. The Paul Zuccarello Donation contains stock arrangements and music manuscript used by a working Chicago band in the 1930s-1960s. The Robert Peck Donation contains ephemera from the 1940s-60s, such as concert postcards, reviews, and clippings. The Jamil B. Figi Donation is almost exclusively materials from the early days of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM) in the 1960’s and 1970s. The Jazz Institute of Chicago Collection documents the Institute’s history and that of the Jazz Fair and Chicago Jazz Festival.

In the summer of 1996 the Archive inaugurated two projects designed to document the current jazz scene: the Musicians’ Project and the Women in Jazz Project. The Archive solicits press kits, reviews, URLs for official artist web sites, recordings, and other biographical information from all jazz musicians, not just those from Chicago or who regularly play here. These projects ensure that a body of reliable biographical information about jazz musicians will be available to researchers now and in years to come. The jazz community has been generous in its support of the Project; some of the materials donated were used in the Archive’s 20th Anniversary exhibit, From Dreamland to Showcase: Jazz in Chicago, 1912-1996.

For more information see



The Men of Secession and Civil War, 1859-1861. By James L. Abrahamson.
ISBN 0842028196. SR Books $17.95. pp186.
Reviewed by Duncan Heyes, American Collections, British Library.

The Men of Secession is the first volume in a series from SR Books on the Civil War period in American history entitled The American Crisis Series. This volume is aimed at the student and general reader alike and provides a comprehensive and well-written account for those wishing to explore the origins of the civil war in greater depth.

From the standpoint of the individual, the author focuses on the men who shaped the events that led to secession and eventual civil war. The cast of characters includes, amongst others, secessionists Jefferson Davis, Roger Taney and Barnwell Rhett, and abolitionists John Brown, Salmon Chase, Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. The author’s purpose is to demonstrate that in order to fully understand the Union’s drift into civil war, one needs to look beyond circumstances and impersonal forces and consider the behaviour of individuals. He draws a parallel with the revolutionary period in America when individuals justified independence by condemning Parliamentary legislation and vilifying George III. In the case of the civil war, Abrahamson argues that it required individuals to interpret events and intensify sectional hostility in order to prepare citizens for either secession or resistance. The resulting work provides the reader with a fascinating and compelling account into the hopes and fears of the individuals who were behind the events that led to this turbulent period in American history.

The present volume includes a useful chronology; bibliographical essay; recommended further readings, and an index.


Useful Websites

The Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies

The Balch Library houses the largest multi-ethnic collection in the United States and supports student study, advanced research, and genealogical investigation. Balch holdings contain material on more than 80 ethnic and racial groups, primary sources on more than 30 groups, including resources virtually undocumented elsewhere, and a body of research materials on multiculturalism, immigration, and diversity in the United States. The library contains approximately 60,000 volumes, 6,000 serial titles, 5,000 linear feet of manuscript collections, 6,000 reels of microfilm, 12,000 photographs, and other resources.

The American Museum of Photography

The American Museum of Photography is an award-winning Virtual Museum dedicated to educating and informing. Exhibitions are drawn from the Museum’s Collections, started by Wm. B. Becker over 30 years ago. The Collection contains more than 5,000 photographs, from the earliest daguerreotype portraits to the work of Ansel Adams, landscapes, architectural images, art photography and pioneering photojournalism.

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

Part of the New York Public Library, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture provides access to books, serials and microform collections by and about people of African descent in the United States and throughout the world. The collections are particularly strong in personal papers; records of institutions and organisations; and literary and scholarly typescripts and playscripts. The site contains ‘The Digital Schomburg’ which provides access to full text and images of, ‘African American Women Writers of the 19th Century; Images of African Americans from the 19th Century; Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division Finding Aids; and Studies Dedicated to Fernando Ortiz (18880-1969): A Bibliography of Afro-Cuban Culture. Also of interest are two current online exhibitions Harlem 1900-1940: An African American Community and The Schomburg Legacy: Documenting the Global Black Experience for the 21st Century.



New Centre for American Culture

In November 2000 a new centre for the study of American culture opened, The Henry Luce III Center for the Study of American Culture is based at the New York Historical Society and contains a unique display of almost 40,000 works of art and artefacts drawn from two centuries of American life that have the power to evoke the past and ‘convey the physical reality of history’. The Luce Center houses collections that were formerly kept off site but which are now available in the newly renovated building encompassing 21,000 square feet. In making the collections accessible in this way the Center hopes to provide an important new resource for scholars, students and the general public alike. For more information see

BAAS 2001

The British Association of American Studies Conference 2001 will be held at the Department of American Studies, Keele University, from 6-9 April 2001. The annual conference provides an excellent opportunity for librarians to communicate with scholars and postgraduates and keep abreast of developments in the field. For more information please get in touch with John Dumbrell, Department of American Studies, Keele University, Keele Staffs ST5 5BG, or

Seminars at The Institute of United States Studies

Seminars on the United States Presidency, all in room 358 Senate House at 4pm:

February 15, 2001
Congressional ‘Oppositions’ to the Presidency:Two Centuries of Perspective.
Professor David Mayhew, Yale University and Olin Visiting Professor, Nuffield College, Oxford University.

March 1, 2001
The Prospects for the New Presidency.
Professor David Mervin, Warwick University.

March 22, 2001
The Scandalised Presidency?
Professor Robert Williams, Durham University.

May 10, 2001
Making Sense of the Game: Football Heroes, Poker Players and Styles of Presidential Leadership.
Dr Jon Roper, University of Wales at Swansea.

Seminars on US Literature and Culture, all at 2.30pm: Room 358 Senate House.

Wed 17 January 2001
Broken Heads and Bloated Tales: Quixotic Fictions of the U.S.A., 1792-1815.
Sarah F. Wood, UCL.

Wed 31 January 2001
An Aesthetics of Memory: Phillis Wheatley and Atlantic Crossings.
Carol Watts, Birkbeck College.

Wed 14 February 2001
That’s Entertainment: The Visual Culture of the Mass Participation Lynching in Late-Nineteenth-Century America.
Michael Hatt, The American International University in London, Richmond.

Wed 28 February 2001
Reagan, Roswell and the Reptilians: UFOlogical sub-cultures in 1980s America.
Ben Mumby-Croft, Southampton University.

Wed 14 March 2001
Faulkner, Fussell and World War I
David Rogers, Kingston University.