March 30, 2020
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Virtual Chatham Archives: A Survey of What’s Online

Since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the WHO on March 11th, 2020, life in America has changed significantly. The impact has been felt locally in many ways, with many people working from home and practicing social distancing.  In this environment, the online access provided through the Chatham University Archives becomes an even greater research tool.

The Chatham University Archives has many collections—including many publications created by the university—available to the public on the Web (library.chatham.edu/archives or click here) and we’re happy to share some guidance on searching these materials.

What Do We Have? An Overview:

 

This screenshot shows where you can access the collections on the Archives page – the particular collections I will highlight below are circled in red.

Commencement Programs

  • This collection contains documentation of commencement exercises held at Chatham University between 1870 and the present, including both undergraduate and graduate degree conferral ceremonies (Access the collection here)

Chatham College: The First Ninety Years

  • A book published in 1960 by Chatham history professor and historian Laberta Dysart, detailing Chatham’s history until that point. (Access the collection here)

Yearbooks (1915-2010)

  • This collection contains scanned images of Chatham’s yearbooks from 1915-2010 – a great source of information for campus life and events, as well as information about former Chatham students. (Access the collection here)

Course Catalogs

  • Scanned images and digital archives of course catalogs from 1870-2019 – this would be great for anyone interested in what courses Chatham offered historically. (Access the collections by clicking on the date range you’re looking for: 1870-1991, 2006-2014, 2016-2019)

Alumnae Directories (select volumes)

  • Contact information for Chatham alumnae – a great resource if you’re wanting to find out if someone went to Chatham, but better for genealogical research because the most recent one available online is from 1956. (Access the collection here)

Alumnae Recorder

  • Alumnae newsletters sent out to Chatham alumnae, detailing news from classmates and other pertinent information for Chatham alumnae to know. (Access the collection here)

Minor Bird

Student Handbooks

  • Selected volumes of the handbooks given to students at the start of every school year, detailing rules and regulations. Some of them even have interesting tidbits of Chatham history and folklore, like ghost stories! (Access the collection here)

Student Newspapers

  • Student newspapers dating as far back as the late 1800s. These are a fantastic source of information for not only what was going on at Chatham at the time, but on occasion the greater Pittsburgh area and the world. The newspapers also contain advertisements from local Pittsburgh businesses, enabling a researcher to learn about some historic Pittsburgh businesses. (Access the collection by clicking on the date range you’re looking for: 1895-1903, 1903-1921, 1921-1923, 1923-1934, 1934-1939, 1939-1948, 1949-2018)

The Dilworthian

  • Earlier in Chatham’s history, back when it was Pennsylvania Female College and Pennsylvania College for Women, there was a school called Dilworth Hall that was considered a feeder school for the college. The Dilworthian is their quarterly publication, like a student newspaper, written by their students (who could be considered high school students). (Access the collection here)

How can I access these materials?

All these materials are either held on one of two online platforms, the Internet Archive or Artstor. Coming very soon, we will have video tutorials giving a more detailed overview of how to use each of these. For now, though, here is a helpful tip to get started.

Materials on the Internet Archive are keyword searchable using the search box that has a black background and says “Search inside.” Using the search box with a white background will search all the items in the Internet Archive, rather than the yearbook, course catalog, or student newspaper you selected.

It is also important to think about the terms or keywords to enter into the search box.  A good rule of thumb for the search bar is the mantra “less is more.” For example, rather than searching “sledding on campus,” try “sledding” or “sled.” Keep in mind that search results will be drawn from the text in the volume, not the pictures. So, a picture of students sledding on campus will only be returned from a search for “sled” if there is a caption (or other text) that has the word “sled.”

For searching names, the simplicity principle also applies.  Try searching an individual’s last name, rather than the first and last names together.  This way, the search returns will show listings for “Jane Smith” as well as for “Smith, Jane.”  Also, if you’re looking up a name, make sure you have the correct spelling – the search function shows no mercy for spelling errors!

The above image shows what happens when search results appear. You’ll see the search term that was used in the green circle. The blue arrows (one of which is circled in yellow) show where that term appears in the document. If you hover your cursor over a blue arrow, a box like the one circled in orange will appear – it gives you a slight preview of how the search term is used on that page. When you click on a blue arrow and arrive on the specified page, the search term will also be highlighted in purple – areas where this is present in the image are also highlighted with orange circles.

We hope that this resource overview will help you as you continue to conduct research using the primary source documents. If you have any questions, feel free to use the chat box on the library’s home page to speak to the reference librarian on duty or contact Archivist and Public Services Librarian Molly Tighe directly at mtighe1@chatham.edu.

March 24, 2020
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The 1918 Influenza Pandemic and Chatham University

In the midst of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, members of the Chatham community are responding to the current threat and are comforted by an understanding that our current situation is temporary.  This broad perspective is supported by the history of public health emergencies and the realization that this is not the first time that Chatham has responded to a global influenza pandemic through proactive distancing measures.  Similar closures occurred in the fall of 1918.

Illustration of Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham U) campus around 1918-1920

The 1918 influenza pandemic, the most severe pandemic in modern history, reached into all corners of the world.  Over 17 million people worldwide and 675,000 in the United States lost their lives due to the virus and one third of the world’s population become infected.  Pittsburgh, where widespread economic disparity had many workers living in crowded boarding houses, was one of the hardest hit cities in the country with a mortality rate twice the national average during the worst days of the pandemic.

PCW (now Chatham U) President John C. Acheson

On October 4, 1918, PA State Commissioner of Health Dr. B. F. Boyer ordered that every place of public amusement (poolrooms, dance halls, theaters, saloons) be closed and a city-wide quarantine for Pittsburgh was announced the next day.  Reports from across the country appeared in the local papers detailing the closings of colleges and Universities, sporting and entertainment event cancellations, and a rapid increase in the number of influenza victims in much the same manner as we’ve seen in recent weeks.  The Pennsylvania College for Women (PCW, now Chatham University) suspended classes amid this environment of rapid infection spread.

Despite the impact the 1918 pandemic had on the city population, campus publications from the time spare little space for discussion of the school’s closing or the epidemic itself.  College President Acheson, in reporting to the Alumnae Association in the Alumnae Recorder May 1919 issue, simply states “Early in the session we were compelled to close the college for one month on account of the influenza epidemic” before providing an overview of enrollment, plans for campus expansion, and the 50th anniversary celebration planned for 1920. The Alumnae Association, in their report, mentions that their regular fall meeting was held in November instead of October and that “the postponement being due to the influenza epidemic and the consequent prohibition of public meetings.” Sue Riddle Paine, member of the class of 1894, is mentioned for her time spent “nursing in the slums during the influenza epidemic.”  The first post-pandemic issue of the Alumnae Recorder is otherwise filled with updates about alumnae activities including employment, war work, and family along with discussion of the anniversary celebration and student clubs.

Pennsylvania College for Women (now Chatham University) Class of 1919

Student publications of the era, such as the student newspaper and yearbook, similarly include little mention of the pandemic. Where it is mentioned, the tone is markedly different from discussions about the COVID-19 pandemic occurring today.  For example, the Fall 1918 Sorosis student newspaper includes an editorial titled “Vacation” that describes one student’s dismay at being required to continue her studies while the school was closed. She writes,

Usually vacations are times of great rejoicing looked forward to for weeks ahead, and planned for with all the ingenuity possible.  And so, the surprising announcement which came so unexpectedly, so entirely without warning on that Tuesday morning, “College closes today for an indefinite period” was greeted with great enthusiasm by many. The aforementioned enthusiasm received a chill, however, when the enthusiasts went to classes and heard such heartless assignments as “Finish first book in Economics” or, in International Law, “Prepare next six chapters and know important international conferences up to date.” In other words, “Keep studying and you’ll not have time to entertain influenza germs.

The piece continues with a discussion about how all students should maintain their focus on coursework so that planned Christmas and Easter vacations will not be cancelled. The 1919 yearbook’s “Senior Class History” includes the remark that “The first semester was broken up by the enforced flu vacation, so things had to be done in double-quick time.”  Again here, the author refers to the closure of the school to combat the spread of the virus as a “vacation.”

“Influenza Song” printed in 1919 & 1920 yearbook

Historians contend that we must consider records and primary sources within the context of their creation and, from that context, to gather a broader sense of the perspective being presented.  Considered within the context of the public health disaster of the 1918 pandemic, what can be learned from the statements of the PCW president, alumnae, and students?  Does the treatment of the pandemic in these printed sources indicate carelessness or disregard in the face of so many deaths?  Or, could other events have shaded the statements we see in these sources?

Consider the calendar printed in the 1919 yearbook shown below.  The influenza pandemic is mentioned alongside a variety of activities relating to World War I.

Calendar printed in 1919 & 1920 Yearbook

These and other records in the University Archives describe the Social Work program at Chatham, which was the first of its kind in the country.  How might the war work and the emphasis on social work explain the minimal discussion of the influenza?

Examining primary sources can raise lots of questions and can inspire avenues of research that span across repositories, document types, and record formats.  In continuing to explore the local impact of the 1918 influenza pandemic, what other sources could be helpful?  How might one explore the differences between the 1918 pandemic and the 2020  pandemic on campus and in the region?  What other questions might come up in the process?

Curious for more?  Here are a few links the include discussion of the 1918 pandemic:

Pennsylvania College for Women 1919 & 1920 yearbook (click here)

Sorosis student newspaper, 1918-1921 (click here)

Alumae Recorder, 1916 – 1923 (click here)

National Museum of Health and Medicine Virtual Exhibit, “Closing in on a Killer: Scientists Unlock Clues to the Spanish Influenza Virus” (click here)

Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, 1918 Influenza Epidemic Records (click here)

Online lecture about how steel corporations impacted death rate in Pennsylvania during the 1918 pandemic, via National Museum of Industrial History (click here)

“Records reveal 1918 influenza’s devastating impact on a tiny Pittsburgh community,”  The Digs, Post-Gazette (click here)

“Pittsburgh didn’t confront the 1918 epidemic in time,” Brian O’Neill, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 3/19/20 (click here)

March 17, 2020
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Our Virtual Services FAQs

We at the JKM Library hope you’re all staying healthy and taking all necessary precautions to keep others healthy too. We know this is a stressful time, but the JKM Library’s librarians are here for you and your research needs! That being said, we are limited in how we can help. See the FAQ below, and if you still have questions, please reach out to us through the Ask a Librarian chat on our homepage or via email at reference@chatham.edu.

  • Can I get into the library building?
    • The library building is closed for the time being.
    • The 24/7 space is now also closed to the public. If you have an [urgent, immediate, pressing] need to access the 24/7 space, please complete the Computer Lab Access Request Form on myChatham -> Documents and Forms -> Residence Life -> JKM Library Computer Lab Access Request Form.
  • Can I access the University Archives?
    • Not physically, but the archives’ digital collections can be accessed on their website (https://library.chatham.edu/archives)!
    • You may also email your archives related questions to Archivist Molly Tighe at m.tighe@chatham.edu
  • Can I use E-ZBorrow and/or ILLiad?
    • E-ZBorrow is no longer available at this time. ILLiad is available but limited. Our team is working on setting up remote functionality, and right now we’re working off of an automated system. To increase your chances of receiving your item, be sure to include the ISSN in your request form. Only digital items will be processed at this time, nothing physical.
  • Can I return my library items?
    • If you are graduating and are done with your items, please return them to the library via the drop box in the library vestibule if you are able. If you are graduating but have already left campus or if you will be returning to campus, you can return them by snail mail or in person once we reopen. If you have a question or concern, please reach out to Head of Access Services Kate Wenger (kwenger@chatham.edu).
  • Will I get fined due to Coronavirus related late items?
    • No. If you have any concerns about library items being overdue, please reach out to Head of Access Services Kate Wenger (kwenger@chatham.edu)
  • Can I schedule a research appointment?
    • Yes! Librarians are available to work with you one-on-one via Zoom. Please email your subject librarian or fill out this form to make an appointment.
  • Can I still do research?
    • Definitely! You have access to about 70 digital databases, almost over 750,000 full text eBooks, and over 85,000 full text eJournals.
    • You can search almost all of our digital content via the “All Resources” tab on our homepage.
    • You can search for our individual full text eJournals and ebooks via the “Search for eJournal Titles” button on the homepage.
    • You can search for individual databases alphabetically via our “Find Databases” button on our homepage.
    • See our Research Guides in your subject area or for things like primary sources and citation information via the “See Resources by Subject” button on our homepage.
  • Can I access physical books, journals, movies, or other items in the library?
    • No, unfortunately no physical items in the library building are available at this time.
  • Can I call the library and talk with a librarian?
    • Not right now, but you can email us or Zoom with us, or use our chat
  • Can I chat quickly with a librarian?
    • Absolutely! We will be monitoring our Ask a Librarian chat on our homepage during these hours:
      • 8:00 am – 10:00 pm Monday – Thursday
      • 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Friday
      • 1:00 pm – 7:00 pm Saturday
      • 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm Sunday

We hope this FAQ is helpful and that we can continue to assist you in all your academic endeavors! Please stay up-to-date on library offerings and announcements by checking our social media pages (@jkmlibrary and @chathamarchives on Instagram, library Facebook, archives Facebook) and our website regularly.

March 14, 2020
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JKM Library Moving to Virtual Services Exclusively

JKM Librarians are eager to continue to support faculty, students and staff as we experience the current move to virtual instruction. In keeping with current policy and out of an abundance of caution, librarians will provide remote services only. The library building will be closed for the time being, although at this time 24 hour space is still accessible.

Our Ask a Librarian chat service and Zoom will allow us to continue to provide reference, instruction and consultation services. We will continue to monitor the situation and post information on our home page. https://library.chatham.edu/friendly.php?s=home

We will staff the Ask a Librarian chat service during the following hours:

  • 8:00 am – 10:00 pm Monday – Thursday
  • 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Friday
  • 1:00 pm – 7:00 pm Saturday
  • 12:00 pm – 10:00 pm Sunday

Access our Ask a Librarian chat service on our home page: https://library.chatham.edu/friendly.php?s=home

The Archives and Special Collections will provide remote reference through email.

We have hundreds of thousands of eBooks, journals, and videos available in our databases and searchable from our home page. We can help you locate material that could perhaps substitute for print resources.

Librarians are available for consultations about classes and student support and can be reached by email (jkmref@chatham.edu) or by chat (Ask a Librarian)

We can provide instruction via Zoom.

If you have any items checked out, we suggest you hold on to them – due dates are flexible.

 

Take care and stay well,

Jill Ausel, Library Director

February 28, 2020
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Announcing the JKM Library’s “Judge a Book By Its Cover” Bracket

From the dated to the down-right goofy, we all know that library books can have some of the most outlandish covers ever seen. We know, we know…we’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover. And that’s true! Many amazing books have been saddled with less than appealing covers, and we should give them a fighting chance before writing them off, but for right now, for just this purpose, in this moment, we are going to judge the heck out of some book covers!

Join us in March and April for our first ever Judge a Book by Its Cover bracket. We have selected 16 of our most ridiculous covers for you to compare and vote for the best/worst. Each book featured in the bracket is from our collection and is available for check-out by Chatham community members. You’ll be able to browse them at the Popular Reading display on the first floor of the JKM Library. We encourage you to pick them up and read their synopses! Because, after all, we can’t judge what’s inside by what’s outside, can we? We welcome you to check them out at any time.

Round One will begin on Friday March 6th and last until Tuesday March 17th. Each following round will last about a week, wrapping up on Monday April 6th!

Voting during each round will happen in a number of ways. First, we will have the bracket laid out on our Art Wall on the first floor of the JKM Library. Don’t know where that is? Ask at the Circulation or Reference desks! Each book cover will be posted, and you will be able to vote for you favorite in each matchup by adding a sticker next to the cover you love to hate the most.

We will also be posting each matchup to social media and will encourage folks to vote for their favorites in the comments. Votes will be tallied at the end of each round and added to the votes from the Art Wall. Winners will then move on to the next round, and so on and so forth until we have selected our most gloriously bad book cover!

If you want to play along, you can download a bracket here or pick one up in the library. The book covers are included with the bracket, and they are added below along with the Round One matchup. If you want to share your filled-out brackets with us, post to social media with #BookCoverBracket. We would love to share your perfect bracket!

We hope you enjoy our inaugural Judge a Book by Its Cover bracket and that it inspires you to check out a book you might have discounted before.

ROUND ONE

Matchup 1: Flaubert and Madame Bovary: A Double Portrait vs. The Demon Lover

Matchup 2: A Taste for Death vs. Millennial Women

Matchup 3: Death Notes vs. The Greek Ideal and Its Survival

Matchup 4: Elric at the End of Time vs. Secrets and Surprises

Matchup 5: Startide Rising vs. The Devil Tree

Matchup 6: Dragonseye vs. A Brief Life

Matchup 7: New Worlds for Old vs. Warlock

Matchup 8: The History of the Psychoanalytic Movement vs. Eyeless in Gaza

 

February 20, 2020
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Personal Digital Privacy Tools

As we live more and more of our lives on the Internet, it’s important to take personal digital privacy seriously. Hacking techniques can be very sophisticated, and a breech in your privacy can have devastating effects. Learning how to protect your data and your privacy online, as well as how to develop good digital hygiene, is becoming more and more important.

Last semester (fall 2019), we conducted an informal #BeCyberSmart survey of our patrons, asking which level of familiarity they have with personal digital privacy and which actions they take to protect their personal information online.

Patrons were asked to select a sticker color that corresponded with their knowledge level and place those stickers in the columns representing actions they have taken to protect their personal digital privacy. Below are the results of this interactive informal survey.

While most participants have indicated that they know at least a little bit about personal digital privacy and cybersecurity, there is always room for more knowledge! The more you know, the better able you are to protect yourself online. Below we’ve compiled a quick list of resources for you to use when going about a personal digital detox or increasing your personal digital privacy.

1) Use a password manager like Bitwarden or LastPass.

2) Go through the Data Detox Kit: https://datadetoxkit.org/en/home

  • From the website… “The Data Detox Kit’s clear suggestions and concrete steps help people harness all aspects of their online lives, making more informed choices and changing their digital habits in ways that suit them.”
  • Follow simple step-by-step guides to cleaning up your digital presence and locking down your digital privacy
  • Includes tips and tricks for how to maintain your privacy and good digital hygiene
  • Offers alternatives to popular apps that do not respect your privacy or pose threats to your privacy
  • Developed by Berlin-based organization called Tactical Tech in partnership with Mozilla

3) Swap out Google for DuckDuckGo: https://duckduckgo.com/

  • DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused search engine that runs off of the same search index as Bing, which means it isn’t quite as intuitive as Google, but your information stays safe!
  • It does NOT track your searches
  • It has a very useful browser plug-in that will “grade” each website you visit in terms of how well that website will protect your personal digital information: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/duckduckgo-for-firefox/
  • It blocks ads for you. We still recommend adding additional ad blockers (The Data Detox Kit has great suggestions)
  • When coupling DuckDuckGo with Firefox, you’re off to a good start in terms of protecting your privacy while using the Internet

4) Feeling really adventurous? Try out Brave Browser: https://brave.com/

  • From the website… “You deserve a better Internet. So we reimagined what a browser should be. It begins with giving you back power. Get unmatched speed, security and privacy by blocking trackers. Earn rewards by opting into our privacy-respecting ads and help give publishers back their fair share of Internet revenue.”
  • Brave goes beyond protecting your privacy. It revolutionizes how companies monetize their online presence and put that power in your hands. Instead of suffering through ads, you get to decide where your money goes. And if you decide you’re ok with ads, you get rewarded for it!
  • Brave does not collect your data and gives you incredible control over your own Internet experience

5) Visit the Electronic Frontier Foundation and read up on current affairs concerning personal digital privacy online and more: https://www.eff.org/issues/net-neutrality

  • From the website… “The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development. We work to ensure that rights and freedoms are enhanced and protected as our use of technology grows.”
  • They advocate for safe, secure, and equitable access to Internet resources for all
  • Take advantage of their numerous tools and additional resources to protect Internet users’ privacy: https://www.eff.org/pages/tools
  • Volunteer with the EFF and contribute even more!

February 12, 2020
by library
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“Issues for the 90s” on View in the JKM Library

Archival footage on display in the JKM Library

As part of an ongoing, rotating showcase of recently digitized media in the lobby of the JKM Library, the Chatham University Archives & Special Collections is pleased to present “Issues for the 90s: A Conversation with the President.”  This film features Dr. Rebecca Stafford, President of Chatham from 1983 until 1990, discussing a proposal for coeducation brought forth to the college community in 1990.  The footage was reformatted through support from the Council of Independent Colleges.  Members of the Chatham community and the public are welcome to enjoy the presentation.

The film digs into the questions and concerns alumnae had in the 1990s about the coeducation proposal, enrollment issues, and the future of Chatham College (now University).  According to the footage, coeducation was being considered because of concern about enrollment projections and a desire to sustain the institution.  Dr. Stafford mentions that growth in adult education at women’s colleges, like the Gateway Program at Chatham, served to increase enrollment numbers overall but did not provide a sustainable model over the long term.  Rather, she concluded, Chatham needed to develop a plan to attract more residential students.

Moreover, it is illuminating to learn that coeducation had been considered several times over the course of Chatham’s history.  The footage of Dr. Stafford was recorded in February of 1990, a full twenty-five years before Chatham’s undergraduate programs became coed.  The Coeducation Debate Collection (click here for the finding aid) includes records of the first formal consideration of coeducation at Chatham in the late 1960s and petitions from faculty, students, and alumnae when the issue was raised in 1990.  In the footage on view, Dr. Stafford mentions that Board of Trustees discussed coeducation when changing the school’s name from The Pennsylvania College for Women to Chatham in the 1950s.  She notes the trustees were concerned that Chatham must “have a name that doesn’t have `women’ in it.”

Board of Trustee Minutes from 1954 discussing coeducation.

The “Issues for the 90s: A Conversation with the President” is on view in the JKM Library lobby for the enjoyment of members of the public and the Chatham community.  Those interested in exploring the history of coeducation at Chatham are encouraged to explore the film and related material in the Chatham University Archives and Special Collections.

By Janelle Moore, Archives Assistant, and Molly Tighe, Archivist & Public Services Librarian

January 7, 2020
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The Year of Morocco Book Display

It’s the year of Morocco! The global focus of the 2019-2020 academic year here at Chatham has turned its eye to this multifaceted North African country. Morocco is located in an advantageous region of the world for trade and travel, which led to a fascinating blending of cultures, customs, goods, and people.

Year Of Morocco Book Display

The Year of Morocco first floor book display

The region of modern day Morocco was originally inhabited by Berber tribes and were under both Phoenician and then Carthaginian rule, acting as a critical resource in trade activity with the Iberian Peninsula. When Roman rule expanded and then collapsed, control of Morocco went back to the Berbers. Arab populations invaded in AD 684, adding yet another cultural element to the region.

Over the centuries, Morocco found itself in a unique position in terms of early globalization. As empires blossomed and crumbled, trade expanded and new religious and scientific thought was shared. Morocco’s physical location placed it in the middle of much of this change and movement. Leadership and rule of the region changed as influence in Europe and the Middle East shifted.

Continue Reading →

November 21, 2019
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2019 Day of the Dead Celebrations!

Chatham’s Day of the Dead event series continues to be an exciting and successful celebration! Held for the first time in 2018, the series consists of two events that educate the Chatham community on the international holiday and offer opportunities to celebrate the traditions and act in the spirit of the day.

The series is sponsored by the Jennie King Mellon (JKM) Library, Modern Languages, the Multicultural Affairs Office, and the Counseling Center as part of Chatham’s Latinx Heritage Month celebrations. The events have been held in the JKM Library for the past two years.

Our first event this year, held on October 21st, consisted of a workshop run by students from Mildred Lopez-Escudero’s LNG261 Spanish language course, where attendees learned about the history and reach of el dia de los Muertos. The attendees created cempasuchil (paper flowers) together for addition to the ofrenda (altar). The group then worked together to decorate our 2019 dia de los Muertos ofrenda.

Previous to the event, the library sent out a survey to the Chatham community asking for ofrenda honoree nominations. After a final round of voting, the community selected the Tree of Life Victims, Victims of Gun Violence, and Trans Women of Color who were killed in 2019. These groups held a place of honor on our ofrenda this year.

At our second event of the series, Chatham University’s Counseling Services ran a workshop on grief. The discussion focused on sharing experiences and memories of loved ones who have passed and discussing ways to cope with grief. The group also discussed ways to honor those loved ones. This is the major element of el dia de los Muertos. Remembering and honoring loved ones who have passed allows communities to life up their ancestors, celebrate life, and cope with grief. It’s healing through celebration; honoring both death and life.

After the discussion, the group made paper Monarch butterflies and decorated them with glitter, rhinestones, and other embellishments. Some people wrote the names of their loved ones on their butterfly or messages of remembrance to send out into the universe. The butterflies were added to the ofrenda in honor of the attendees’ loved ones. Both events featured refreshments of traditional Mexican hot chocolate and pan de muerto (Bread of the Dead) to share. Both were prepared by university catering following traditional Mexican recipes.

Almost 60 people attended this year’s event series, an increase over last year. We love this event series and are excited to continue offering it in the future. A big thank you to the Jennie King Mellon Library, Mildred Lopez-Escudero and the Modern Languages Department, Elsa Arce and Counseling Services, and Randi Congleton and the Multicultural Affairs Office.

You can read more about our Day of the Dead celebrations in our blog post from last year’s events, as well as in this post on PULSE@Chatham. Click through our gallery of images to get a good look at what these celebrations entailed.

November 12, 2019
by library
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Joy Harjo: 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States

Crazy Brave by Joy Harjo

On June 19, 2019, Joy Harjo, member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, was announced as the 23rd Poet Laureate of the United States. She is the first Native American to be honored with this title. Harjo is a celebrated author, poet, teacher, activist and musician. She has been awarded multiple high-profile honors and awards in addition to Poet Laureate, including (but not limited to) the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, the Josephine Miles Poetry Award, the Wallace Stevens Award from the Academy of American Poets, the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, and the American Indian Distinguished Achievement in the Arts Award.

She has received fellowships from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rasmuson Foundation, the Witter Bynner Foundation, and the Ruth Lilly Prize in Poetry. Her memoir, Crazy Brave, was awarded both the PEN USA Literary Award in Creative Nonfiction and the American Book Award.

Harjo has written nine books of poetry, a memoir, two award-winning children’s books, several screenplays, three plays, and a number of prose interviews. Harjo often centers native storytelling, histories, myths, symbols, and values. She also focuses on autobiographical, feminist, and social justice themes throughout her writing.

“I feel strongly that I have a responsibility to all the sources that I am: to all past and future ancestors, to my home country, to all places that I touch down on and that are myself, to all voices, all women, all of my tribe, all people, all earth, and beyond that to all beginnings and endings. In a strange kind of sense [writing] frees me to believe in myself, to be able to speak, to have voice, because I have to; it is my survival.” (The Poetry Foundation)

Service is important to Harjo in practice as well as in her art. She is the director of For Girls Becoming, an organization focused on arts mentorship for young Muscogee women. She is also is a founding board member of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation.

Harjo does not restrict her creativity and art to writing. She is also an accomplished saxophonist, flutist, and vocalist and has released a handful of award-winning albums. Like her writing, her music draws from her native roots and collaborates with other native musicians. She tours regularly with her band, Arrow Dynamics.

Read more about Poet Laureate of the United States Joy Harjo on the Poetry Foundation’s website and on her own website. You can check out a number of her works through the JKM Library. We recommend beginning with her acclaimed collection She Had Some Horses. Browse here!

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