The American Civil Liberties Union’s Early History in Documents

Today, we begin a series of blog entries in a new category American Civil Liberties Union History covering the ALCU’s early history.  Written by Samuel Walker, a professor emeritus in the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the author of the only comprehensive history of the ACLU, each entry contains many digitized documents along with Walker’s commentary.  These documents are part of 20 reels of microfilm that we digitized recently with Walker’s generous support and can be accessed here.

A note on the citations to the ACLU Records:  The location of each document is indicated by the microfilm reel number, the original Volume number in the ACLU Records, and the page number(s) within each volume. Locating particular documents should be fairly easy, although it will often require moving back and forth between reels and volumes.

Documents on particular topics are often scattered among different microfilm reels and volume numbers. This is believed to be a result of the disorganization of the records that occurred when the U.S. Justice Department raided the offices of the National Civil Liberties Bureau on August 30, 1918.

Despite the disorganization of the documents, however, most are grouped together in a logical fashion. As a result, readers who access a document related to the founding of the National Civil Liberties Bureau (NCLB), for example, will find related documents on that subject nearby, and these documents may be of interest to readers.

A disclaimer: the text is Professor Walker’s interpretation of ACLU history and some will not agree with it. This is the nature of historical scholarship, but we encourage you to comment and, where possible, cite other ACLU documents that you find online. 

The Daily Princetonian is digitized and keyword searchable

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The Princeton University Archives, working in conjunction with the Princeton University Library Digital Initiatives, has nearly completed a monumental project that will change the way researchers investigate University history. The student newspaper, The Daily Princetonian, has been digitized from its inception in 1876 through 2002. The site has been available in beta for almost two years, but all issues will be loaded as of June 30, 2012. At the suggestion of The Daily Princetonian alumni board who have been among the prime backers of this project, the site is named in honor of the newspaper’s long-serving production manager Larry Dupraz, and researchers are able to perform sophisticated keyword searches that can unlock the vast richness of the daily newspaper that documents so much of the University’s history. (For the years 2002- present, users may search online via the Daily Prince site.)

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“I wrote my final paper for my Freshman Writing Seminar about how the presence of veterans on Princeton’s campus following World War II affected Princeton’s academic environment and social atmosphere,” said Jennifer Klingman ’13. “My research heavily relied on The Daily Princetonian archives, and I had to spend a lot of time and energy searching for relevant articles in Firestone’s microform versions of the newspaper. It was difficult to comb through the articles, and as a result my research was limited in scope. This spring, I wrote my history department junior paper on academic and social changes taking place at Princeton during the late 1940s and 1950s. The online Daily Princetonian archives proved to be invaluable. I was able to access the archives anywhere and at any time, and use the archives’ search function to find a number of extremely useful articles. My independent work has definitely benefited from the existence of the online archives.”

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Freelance journalist W. Barksdale Maynard ’88 states “I am able to write about the social history of Princeton in an entirely new way and have restructured my research to take full advantage of this exciting new resource. For my Princeton Alumni Weekly article on the early history of automobiles at Princeton, the Dupraz Digital Archives allowed me to identify every reference to cars as early as 1901, to pinpoint who owned them and what kinds. I would never have attempted this article without The Dupraz Digital Archives.”

Maynard’s PAW colleague, Gregg Lange ’70, regularly uses the site for his column, “Rally Round the Cannon,” which examines and appraises University history. “You can piece together the story of Princeton football or Woodrow Wilson in a dozen ways. But the unique accessibility of a daily publication allows more subtle topics to arise and recede, and for cross-generational tales to emerge. Be it Ella Fitzgerald singing at a Princeton dance at age 19, then receiving an honorary degree 54 years later; or student revolts against the clubs’ Bicker selection system in 1917 and 1940 presaging its loss of monopoly in 1968, the combination of detail and long view is indispensable in understanding the ethos of the institution over time, and essentially inaccessible without the DuPraz technology and precision. And existentially, if I never see another microfiche in my life I will die a happy man.”

Maynard added, “My regular column in PAW, “From Princeton’s Vault,” has benefited enormously. Recently I was able to identify the earliest references to Princetonians as “tigers,” which had been guesswork previously. It turns out we were wrong by a decade.

This has been an international project, with the newspapers sent from Princeton to Brechin Imaging in Canada, where TIFF images are generated using high end German cameras. The files are then sent via a hard drive to Cambodia, where Digital Divide Data analyzes the structure of each page and uses an optical character recognition (OCR) program to derive machine-readable text, which allows for keyword searching. The hard drive is then shipped to Austin, Texas, where the US office of New Zealand company DL Consulting loads the data into a content-management system called Veridian, which supports searching and browsing, online reading, article extraction and printing, and other features.

Within the library, many hands have worked for this project’s success. At Mudd Library, project archivists Dan Brennan and then Adriane Hanson have overseen the day-to-day work of the project, managing the shipment of the newspapers to Brechin, as well as supervising students with the quality control phase. University Archivist Dan Linke raised the funds from various University and alumni sources and coordinated the project.

Within the greater Library system, Cliff Wulfman, the Library’s Digital Initiatives Coordinator, took the lead in writing the Request for Proposals and then selecting and coordinating the work with DDD, as well as providing technical assistance, support and vision. The Library System Office’s Antonio Barrera designed the front end web page with Phil Menos providing server support, and Deputy University Librarian and Systems Librarian Marvin Bielawski allocated the funds to acquire the Veridian software.

The project employs the METS/ALTO markup standard, the same used by the Library of Congress’s Newspaper Digitization Project, which means that as software changes and improves, we will be able to sustain this resource for many years to come.

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Dissertations in Dataspace policy temporarily changed

The Graduate School’s policy of having dissertations submitted into DataSpace, the University’s Open Access repository, has been changed temporarily, pending resolution of some outstanding questions. David Redman, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, sent the following message out late today. If you have any questions, please contact us:

Dear Directors of Graduate Studies,

As many of you know, the Graduate School, working with the University Archives, established last fall new procedures for the submission of Ph.D. dissertations to ProQuest. Two significant changes were: a) agreeing to use ProQuest’s Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) submission portal, which greatly speeded the ability of students to submit their dissertations; and b) eliminating the necessity of a second hard-bound copy of the dissertation in favor of storing an electronic copy of the dissertation on Princeton’s DataSpace and making the electronic “second copy” accessible there. One consequence of the second change was that our students’ dissertations became almost instantly accessible to anyone with a good search engine. In short, Princeton dissertations were “out there” in the world faster than we had imagined. This has caused some anxiety and distress among many of our new Ph.D.’s, so much so that we are amending our procedures in the following way.

By the end of this month, we will restrict access to doctoral dissertations in DataSpace to those on the Princeton.edu domain, that is, to on-campus users.

This is an interim and (we hope) relatively short term address to a larger problem of easy and fast access to Ph.D. dissertations at a time when students, particularly those in the humanities and social sciences, are anxious about their opportunities to publish their work and advance in their careers. The Graduate School has already had preliminary discussion with some members of the Policy Subcommittee about this issue and wants to continue the discussion with them about refining our policies and procedures.

Thank you for your interest in and concern about this issue. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call (x8-3902) or write me (dnredman@princeton.edu).

–David Redman
Associate Dean

UPDATE: As of today, March 23, dissertations in DataSpace are now restricted to on-campus users only. However, please note that if Google has cached a PDF that it crawled previously, that PDF will remain in Google’s cache until Google expires it. That typically takes a couple of weeks, but that’s entirely up to Google.

UPDATE: As of November 5, all dissertations that have not been granted an embargo are available via Dataspace.

Annual Report 2011: Digital Projects, Content, and Delivery

As a continuation of our series on our 2011 Annual Report, please see a description of our work in digital projects, content, and delivery:

  • Mudd staff continued work to increase our digital content in FY11. We continued a pilot project to digitize collections using our photocopier’s capacity to scan directly into PDF files.
  • Utilizing OIT’s Webspace we accessioned over 8 GB of electronic records from the Project on Ethnic Relations Records and made them available via the online finding aid for the collection.
  • Maureen Callahan investigated the Zeutschel imaging station acquired last year and developed image specifications and workflow. We hope to implement these recommendations in the fall.
  • Christie Peterson oversaw the creation of structural metadata for volumes 3-8 of the Trustees Minutes Digitization Project. Related to this, working with the University Secretary’s office and OIT, we began scanning 20th century Board of Trustees minutes for ingest into OnBase, which will OCR them. Linke also worked with the Secretary and President’s office to reduce the restriction on the Trustees minutes from 50 to 40 years.
  • The Digital Library studio completed the imaging of the Historical Photograph Collection: Grounds and Buildings series (erroneously reported last year), volumes three to eight of the Trustees Minutes, and Mudd’s Political Cartoon Collections, though these images are not yet available online due to the redesign of the Princeton University Digital Library, and, in some cases, the inability to of the PUDL to utilize EAD as a descriptive metadata format.
Stay tuned for further discussion of our 2011 work involving records management, collection development, exhibitions, and more.

Lights, Camera, Action!

The Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library has launched a new blog at http://blogs.princeton.edu/reelmudd/, dedicated to its audiovisual holdings. Through it, we will announce items that we have posted on Princeton University’s two YouTube Channels (http://www.youtube.com/user/princetoncampuslife and http://www.youtube.com/user/princetonacademics). We encourage viewers to post comments that will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of these materials.

In conjunction with the Library’s Preservation Office and the New Media Center, the University Archives has worked to digitize over 40 items and these, along with some films from our Public Policy Papers and additional materials, will be posted on a regular basis.

Nineteenth-century letters move into 21st century

A collection of John Maclean’s papers are now available online. Maclean, the 10th president of Princeton University, served from 1854-1868 when the institution was known as the College of New Jersey. The letters, acquired last year, were scanned and loaded as PDFs and linked to the collection’s finding aid via its folder list. These letters to and from John Maclean document the history of the College of New Jersey as well as family matters. Maclean was the son of Princeton’s first chemistry professor, and the papers include the 1814 inventory of the estate of his father, John Maclean, Sr. One of the more interesting documents provides evidence of New Jersey’s connections to slavery. See the last two entries of p. 3 of this inventory, found in Box 4, Folder 11.

Princeton and the 1918 flu epidemic

The recent issue of the Princeton Alumni Weekly has an article by Mark F. Bernstein ’83 on Princeton and the 1918 flu epidemic entitled “Why Princeton was spared.” Within the article, Bernstein cites the University of Michigan’s Center for the History of Medicine 2005 study on the pandemic for which Mudd Library provided documents. The Center’s website has scanned these and other documents from the National Archives, as well as clippings from the Princeton Packet. These materials explain how Princeton responded to an epidemic that claimed millions of lives worldwide, yet the University escaped with no loss of life. (The fact that Princeton could have just been lucky is not ruled out.) The episode is more than a historical curiosity; it has also been examined by those interested in modern threats like bioterrorism and possible new pandemics like avian flu and demonstrates one of the values of archival records.

IRT Subway Posters available online

Digitizing The Subway Sun and The Elevated Express

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“No More Standing In Line”, “New Tunnel to Brooklyn”, “The Shrunken Nickel”…These are a few of the headlines in The Subway Sun and The Elevated Express which passengers read while riding on subway cars or elevated trains of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company, New York City’s first subway system, in the early twentieth century. A collection of 385 subway posters from the Interborough Rapid Transit Company has been digitized and is available on the Princeton University Library Digital Collections website: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/ns064606d The original prints are a part of the Ivy Lee Papers housed and maintained at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. The posters document developments in New York City transit and make a part of early advertising history available online.

The Interborough Rapid Transit Company, also known as IRT, opened in 1904 in New York City. In 1916, IRT hired Ivy Ledbetter Lee, a leading public relations specialist and member of the Princeton Class of 1898, to promote the company over its new competitor, the Brooklyn-Manhattan Transit Company (BMT). Central to the advertising campaign were two series of posters called The Subway Sun and The Elevated Express, which appeared concurrently. The posters implemented Ivy Lee’s innovative advertising philosophy to educate and inform by communicating directly with passengers, and to present facts and statistics instead of rhetoric. Several of the early posters are messages from IRT President Theodore P. Shonts. The message titled “Coal for Your Service” (1919) provided exact figures showing an 84 per cent increase in the cost of coal from 1916 to 1919. Other posters addressed pressing issues such as the rise in operating costs, congestion, and the need for a fare increase. In “All other prices have been going up” from 1925, a graphic by illustrator C.E. Millard depicted the rising price of food, rent, materials and wages in opposition to the static five-cent subway fare.

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Marketed as “The World’s Safest Railroad”, IRT often publicized safety and the development of time and labor saving devices. “No More Standing In Line” (1921) featured the new “Feather-Weight Pressure” Gate, which reduced the time spent waiting in line at the gates and the need for extra booth operators. Another issue, “Fire Proof” (1921), informed passengers that every part of the subway was fireproof from the subway cars to the stairs.

The series began in 1918 and lasted until the company’s decline in 1932, spanning major U.S. events such as World War I and the Great Depression. The third issue of The Subway Sun, titled “The Call to War” (1918), included a public service announcement notifying every man between the ages of 18 and 45 that he must register for the Draft. The posters also served as a way of announcing service changes or travel tips and of promoting New York City’s local attractions. The series called “Time Savers” (1925) provided maps with routes that helped passengers avoid delays of street traffic. “Ride on the “L” and See New York” (1929) encouraged riders to enjoy the fresh air and sunlight on the elevated trains while viewing the sites of the City.

To learn more about the IRT Subway Posters, listen to the Online Gallery Talk –

“The World’s Safest Railroad” How Ivy Lee Promoted New York’s Subway System, 1916-1932 available on the New York Transit Museum website:

http://www.transitmuseumeducation.org/100/schedule.html#ivylee

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1748 Charter and Early Trustees Minutes Available Online.

The earliest document held by the Princeton University Archives, the 1748 Charter of the College of New Jersey, along with the first two volumes of the University’s Board of Trustees Minutes, have been digitized and are now available online through the Princeton University Library’s Digital Collections website: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/7w62f826z

Images of the documents are also linked from the online finding aid for the Board of Trustees Records: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/w66343618

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The original charter, which has been lost, was issued in 1746 by John Hamilton, president of the Council of the Province of New Jersey, who was acting as governor at the time. Because Hamilton’s authority was questioned, the legal status of the College came under attack, and a second charter was therefore issued in 1748 by Jonathan Belcher, newly appointed governor of the province. It corresponded, for the most part, to the charter of 1746, but it increased the maximum number of trustees from twelve to twenty-three, made the governor of New Jersey a trustee ex-officio, and stipulated that twelve trustees were to be inhabitants of the State of New Jersey. The charter granted the trustees and their successors full power and authority to acquire real and personal property, to erect buildings, to elect a president, tutors, professors, and other officers, to grant degrees, and to establish ordinances and laws.

Volumes 1 and 2 of the Trustees minutes, which date from 1746 to 1823, contain a wealth of information about the personalities and activities of the young College of New Jersey. As these minutes date from the very beginning of the College, they address the multitude of issues and problems the trustees initially addressed.

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The minutes contain the names of officials, trustees, teachers, and students. They also provide a record of the major decisions of the College (such as the election of new presidents) as well as smaller ones (such as which foods the steward could sell to students and where the account books would be kept). Researchers will find information related to the standards for admission and graduation; legacies received; names of members of the graduating classes; names of recipients of honorary degrees; the list of books donated by Governor Jonathan Belcher; the hiring and firing of tutors; the selection and election of presidents; the purchase and sale of land; the establishment of accounting methods; the maintenance of the College facilities; fundraising efforts; the running of the Grammar School; the rate of board for students; and the continual hiring and firing of stewards. Perhaps the most frequent topic of discussion in the early records is the state of the College’s finances.

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We hope to continue to digitize Trustee minutes as well other important records of the University in the coming years.

Historical Postcard Collection available online

The Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library’s Historical Postcard Collection has been digitized is now available online through the Princeton University Library’s Digital Collections website: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/d217qp492

The Historical Postcard Collection consists of over 500 postcards documenting the buildings and environs of the Princeton University campus. Featuring both monochrome and color postcards, the bulk of the collection ranges in date from 1900 through the 1960s. Both unmarked and canceled postcards exist in the collection.

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