Category Archives: Blog

MWDL Fall Update

With most schools and universities back in session the summer is quickly coming to an end, but before we fall off daylight savings time, we have a few noteworthy MWDL items for you.

DPLA

Our August DPLA harvest completed several weeks ago and we are up to 1,086,044 records in their portal. Thanks to everyone who has submitted new collections and continually added records to existing ones. Our fourth and final harvest of 2019 will be in November.

If you’re interested in an account for DPLA’s Analytics Dashboard, please let us know. The dashboard gives you access to usage and metadata statistics about your records in DPLA! The ability to make user accounts was rolled out earlier this year, and many of you are already taking advantage of this feature.

Harvest Requests

We have updated our harvest request form to send an auto-response to you. Now when you submit a collection, you’ll receive an email to the address you specify with the details of your request.

Webinars

We’ve hosted two webinars so far this year to hear from University of Nevada, Reno and University of Nevada, Las Vegas about their Islandora migration projects. Thanks to Emily Boss, Nathan Gerth, Emily Lapworth, and Seth Shaw for giving such great presentations! If you missed these, you can still view the Zoom recordings:

University of Nevada, Reno Islandora migration

University of Nevada, Las Vegas Islandora 8 project update

In the week of November 11,  we’re looking forward to MWDL alum Rebekah Cummings sharing more about the J. Willard Marriott Library’s work inspired by the Collections as Data project. Look for more details shortly.

If you’d like to present an upcoming webinar, please let us know and we can get that scheduled. We’re looking for one more 2019 presentation and 2020 is wide open!

Upcoming Conferences

Finally, if you’re headed to the Utah State Historical Society Conference on September 26-28, we’ll be there! Stop by our table and say hi.

Looking Back to International Women’s Day

Blue and yellow cloth with many small images of women
engaged in various activities, with the text “International Women’s Day March 8” in English and French. Small images of an outline of Cameroon, in yellow, red, and green, are repeated across the cloth.

What do yellow mimosas, violets, and lily-of-the-valley have in common (aside from their perfumery nature)? Each is a symbol of International Women’s Day! Dozens of countries celebrate this holiday on March 8 every year and though it isn’t recognized as any sort of official holiday in the US, it’s the perfect excuse to highlight some of our collections’ notable figures in our March post. If you read along you might also learn something new about the history of the holiday, its controversies, and its setbacks.

The holiday finds its roots at the intersection between the global feminist and socialist movements of the early 20th century. In actuality, the first Woman’s day took place on February 23, 1909 and was organized by the Socialist party of America. In the following years, various other conferences and celebrations took place around the world on different dates, until February 23rd of the Julian calendar (March 8th of the Gregorian). On that day, women began demonstrating across Russia in front of factories and breadlines. The violent response from Czar Nicholas II on the 25th kicked off the February Revolution. After the czar’s abdication, the provisional government granted women the right to vote, the first major power to do so. A lot of this is paraphrased from this wonderful article by Temma Kaplan which I recommend reading.

Across the world, the holiday in the present appears to retain very slim connections to its roots. In Russia the holiday is celebrated through men giving gifts to the women in their lives and lacks any political context. At MWDL the holiday is celebrated through an end-of-March blogpost pointing out cool, relevant, collections and offering a little historical insight.

Nell Shipman Collection

Nell Shipman (as Neeka) and Boyd Irwin (as the pilot) in a scene from “The Girl From God’s Country.”

In the 1920’s Nell Shipman helped pioneer the film industry, creating some of the first outdoor adventure films while making a statement. She owned her own production company by the age of 28 and had already achieved major success as an actress in the silent films, “God’s Country and the Woman” and “Back to God’s Country”. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, she even co-wrote and co-produced “Back to God’s Country”. On top of being a successful entrepreneur and something of a feminist icon, Nell Shipman was also very outspoken in favor of animal rights.

The Nell Shipman photographs collection comes to us from Boise State in Idaho which served as the setting for many of Shipman’s films. The photographs in the Nell Shipman digital collection were, with a few exceptions, donated to Boise State University by Shipman’s eldest son, Barry, in 1988. They date mainly from the latter years of her filmmaking career (1920-1924), but there is a sprinkling of earlier and later images. Particularly well represented by stills are her films The Girl From God’s Country (1921) and The Grub-Stake (1923). So too are her years at Priest Lake, Idaho, where she made several short films known collectively as The Little Dramas of the Big Places. No known copy of The Girl From God’s Country is known to survive, so the stills are all that remain to document that film.

Olga Reifschneider Collection

Cushion buckwheat (Eriogonum ovalifolium – Polygonaceae)

Olga Reifschneider was a botanist and naturalist who contributed greatly to the documentation of native Nevadan flora. Alongside writing about desert biology she wrote about Nevada history, petroglyphs, and published a book biographing prominent botanists in Nevada.

This collection contains 275 images of plants and trees taken in northern Nevada and the Lake Tahoe region by botanist and nature writer Olga Reifschneider from the 1940s-70s, it presents an expansive view of the botanical life of this region and is exclusively devoted to native plants

Gertrude Bass Warner

A Japanese child dressed in a kimono holds an umbrella as she poses for a studio portrait.

Gertrude Bass Warner (1863-1951) was a wealthy American woman who fell in love with Asia. She first traveled there in 1904, married an American engineer in Shanghai, and spent the rest of her life collecting, studying, and promoting Asian art and culture. She was instrumental in building Asian programs at the University of Oregon, in addition to founding the art museum to house the Murray Warner Collection of Asian Art. Mrs. Warner traveled extensively to build her collection, to study, to learn about museum construction and management, and to promote multiculturalism and appreciation for Asian culture. The Gertrude Bass Warner papers, 1909-1923, collection consists primarily of travel diaries, notes, correspondence and ephemera related to research about shrines and religious ceremonies for several manuscripts that Gertrude Bass Warner (1863-1951) was working on. There is also correspondence about pieces of art that she and her husband were collecting to bring back to the United States for a museum exhibit. The bulk of the materials are about Japan during the time period of 1909-1923. Ms. Warner was the founder and director emeritus of the University of Oregon Fine Art Museum.

Lesbian Intentional Community: Ruth Mountaingrove (b. 1923) photographs


Bernice Johnson Reagen smiles while looking to the left of the camera.

Ruth Mountaingrove (1923- ) is a photographer, writer, and artist who moved to Oregon in 1971, settling in communes and eventually co-founding Rootworks, a lesbian land in Southern Oregon. Rootworks was home to the Ovular workshops, which Ruth and Tee Corinne, another prominent lesbian photographer, and others, led. The workshops, which ran for six years, were an opportunity for women to learn photography in the context of the Women’s Movement, providing a means for the women to examine the differences between the way men pictured women and the way the women saw themselves. The feminist photography magazine, The Blatant Image, sprang from the Ovular workshops. The Ruth Mountaingrove collection consists of correspondence, diaries, ephemera, and photographs.

Doris Ulmann Photographs

Ella Welster (left), a most important singer, is pictured here with a young girl (right).

Trained as a pictorialist by Clarence White, Doris Ulmann’s early work includes a series of photographic portraits of prominent intellectuals, artists and writers: William Butler Yeats, John Dewey, Max Eastman, Sinclair Lewis, Lewis Mumford, Joseph Wood Krutch, Martha Graham, Anna Pavlova, Paul Robeson, and Lillian Gish. In 1932 Ulmann began her most important series, assembling documentation of Appalachian folk arts and crafts for Allen Eaton’s 1937 book, Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands. From 1927, Ulmann was assisted on her rural travels by John Jacob Niles, a musician and folklorist who collected ballads while Ulmann photographed. Doris Ulmann died on August 28, 1934.

Many, many more collections…

This list is by no means exhaustive so you are encouraged to go out and find more!

American Fork (UT) Royalty

Showgirls

Cache Daughters of Utah Pioneers Museum

Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Cedar City (UT)

Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Kaysville (UT)

Daughters of the American Revolution: Lake Bonneville and Uintah Chapter Archives

Utah Technical College Women’s Association Scrapbooks

Kathleen (Kitty) Gurnsey Papers

Gracie B. Pfost Collection

Edith Irvine

Gertrude Bass Warner Papers, 2

Juanita Brooks Photograph Collection, 1928-1981

Ellis Reynolds Shipp Papers

Pearl Biddlecomb Baker Collection

Black History Month

February is Black History Month and to help celebrate we’re going to throw a spotlight on some MWDL collections that highlight some important people, events, and experiences of Black communities in the Mountain West region. Celebrate with us by perusing the collections below!

African American Experience Collection – UNLV


Black and white photograph of the Moulin Rouge facade, dated [May 23], 1955.

This collection presenting the experience of African Americans in Las Vegas is a large scale project which led to the formation of the African American Community Advisory Board in Las Vegas, identified important cultural heritage organizations, and created a central portal to access their digitized materials.

We found it well worth the time to sit down and browse through this collection.

James H. Gillespie Oral Biography

James H. Gillespie in a black suit and tie with a red shirt.

James H. Gillespie was a prominent Utah civil rights leader and World War II veteran. He served as president of the NAACP chapter in Ogden, UT for 33 years and passed away in 2009 at the age of 88 leaving behind a tremendous legacy of activism and struggle. We have found two extensive interviews with him in our collections. The one in the above link was recorded by a student at Weber state in 1971, and there is another performed more than a decade later by the University of Utah Oral Histories Project.

Interviews with African Americans in Utah

Past SLC NAACP president Albert B. Fritz.

The Interviews with African Americans collection preserves and remembers the lives of people in Utah whose stories otherwise might have gone untold or been lost. The collection exists as a part of the Oral History Institute and includes the stories of many prominent civil rights activists in Utah including Albert B. Fritz and James H. Gillespie. There are 90 interviews in the collection and the stories relayed in each are raw and powerful.

Special Collections Photographs UN-Reno

Photograph of a crowd outside the arena; Jeffries-Johnson fight July 4, 1910.

The UN Reno Special Photographs Collections features an impressive array of photographs of Jack Johnson, an American boxer in the earlier 1900’s who became the first African American to win the world heavyweight championship, resulting in racial tensions and leading to the “fight of the century” wherein James J. Jeffries came out of retirement to fight him. Johnson’s win over Jeffries caused race riots to erupt across the nation that night (the 4th of July 1910) as white Americans felt enraged by the defeat. Johnson continued to play an important role in events until his death in 1946.