We have a new historical factoid for our sign this week!
Porgy and Bess is arguably one of the more controversial operas in American music. Set in South Carolina, the opera focuses on the love Porgy has for Bess and the obstacles he has to overcome to be with her. Gershwin chose to employ the entire cast with classically-trained African American singers for both the Boston performances and the Broadway performances which at the time was groundbreaking. Despite its allegations of being labeled racist for its depiction of African Americans, Porgy and Bess has gone on to be one of the most consistently performed operas around the world.
We’re fortunate enough to own original scores of two of the songs from Porgy and Bess. Additionally we have a vast collection of musical scores which can help with additional research. Stop in this week to look at selections of our musical score collection!
New Year, New Sign!
We’re open at the Special Collections and Archives, and we welcome everyone to come inside and ask us about our collections and our programs.
We’re located on the 4th floor of the Athenaeum.
We’re having an Open House TODAY! Stop by between 12 and 4pm to get a closer look at our Jane Austen Collection, our Early American Print Collection, and our Digital Library.
There is a special focus on our Alumnae/i, with 1920’s Goucher scrapbooks, yearbooks from the honored Alumnae/i classes, and student-newspapers from Goucher.
Come stop by!
"Primitive Dances of the Orient" from The American Dancer, August 1927
Often when we have student researchers working on papers with racial stereotypes as their topic, we often let them sift through our dance magazines. Along with descriptions of creating a riveting “Black Face” performance, there are often examples of racial stereotyping of Asians, Muslims, and Latino/as.
Often these dance magazines were used by theater directors, dance choreographers, and dancers (and enthusiasts) to stay informed and updated on the trends in the business. Art such as this were usually commissioned by the magazine and hand-drawn before being reproduced for mass distribution (the artists’ signature is found on the middle right of the page as “Payzant”. Charles Payzant did much of the cover art and supplementary art for The American Dancer).
This page caught my attention as I was helping a student look for evidence of racial stereotypes of black women in the Jim Crowe era.
The descriptions, from top to bottom:
The Cambodian girls are exponents of an ancient technique which has never changed in the slightest detail nor costume in many centuries. Owned by the Kind and retained for his sole entertainment, the Cambodian ballet has only gone on tour once or twice in their history. Every motion of the arms in their dances commemorated a certain Indo-Chinese legend and not only do their movements follow the rhythm of the music, but every joint of fingers and toes is controlled in perfect harmony.
Ability indeed is exemplified by these stilt dancers of Kweihwating! It is a rare feat to induce sticks to cavort about as one could on human legs, yet these dancers of Norther China garb themselves in fantastic head-dresses, false beards, painted faces, and various humorous disguises to celebrate their New Year. The height of artistry is conceded to by their wierdness and the native who can out do his neighbor in agility as well as makeup is voted a dancer par excellence!
These official dancers in Tibet wear strange masks representing legendary Tibetan characters and are accompanied by a somewhat primitive orchestra, consisting merely of a drum and cymbals. They perform their dances at fixed intervals in the Dalain Lama’s palace at Lhassa.
All misspellings are intentional and from the print.
This is a death threat letter addressed to Dr. Van Meter (a co-founder of Goucher College) from the Black Hand Society from 1913 (100 years ago this past month!). The Black Hand Society was a group of extortionists from Southern Italy with very little formal education, that immigrated to America in the late 1800’s. By 1900, they had established operations in most major cities with Italian communities including Detroit, NYC, Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia and San Francisco.
They threatened individuals who they knew to be wealthy, demanding money be dropped in a specific place at a specific time. In this letter, they demanded the 500 ”gold notes” be dropped at Maryland and 24th which is one of the entrances to the old Goucher campus in Baltimore.
We have no record of whether or not Dr. Van Meter went through with this, but he did not die at the hands of this Black Hand Society, so we are guessing that he probably did. Pretty neat find in the SC&A, this job never gets old, does it?
Reblogged from How Much Art Can You Take?
18th Century glass bottle shards, found at the Epsom sight at Goucher College.
We’ve been working with Tina Sheller’s Historic Preservation class over the past two courses. Each semester reveals more of the lost history of Epsom Farm and the Baltimore found during the 1800’s.
They’re also one of the lucky classes that gets to work in our Archives and Conservation Lab.
Reblogged from Md. Historical Society Photographs
H.L. Mencken (portrait signed by Mencken)
Philip B. Perlman (1890-1960)
Philip B. Perlman Collection
Maryland Historical Society
Baltimore native Philip B. Perlman was a reporter for the Baltimore American while studying political economy at Johns Hopkins University. In 1910 while in law school at the University of Maryland, Perlman began working for the Evening Sun first as a court reporter, then as City Editor from 1913-1917. After leaving the paper, Perlman went on to a career in politics. Read more about Perlman on the photograph collection page.
If you’re interested in Mencken, keep checking back in the next few months— we might be exhibiting our collection of personal correspondences between H.L. and Sara Haardt!
Reblogged from Welcome to George Peabody Library's Wunderkammer!
As many a social media platform has informed us, 2013 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice! One of our recent acquisitions is this miniature pop-up version of the classic novel. Published by the Green Chair Press in 2012, this book incorporates the illustrations created by Hugh Thomson for the 1894 edition in new and wonderful ways!
Another modern revival of Pride and Prejudice! I wonder what the 300th Anniversary will bring us— holograms of Elizabeth and Darcy?
Today marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen. As Goucher’s Special Collections and Archives is home to one of the largest collections of Jane Austen material in the world, we are celebrating in style! Come check out the exhibit on the top floor of the Atheneum. It will run from January 28th-July 26th. For more information about the events around this celebration (including cake!), visit: the Jane Austen Exhibit