Estelle and Melvin Gelman LibraryEckles Library at the Mount Vernon CampusVirginia Science and Technology Campus Library

SCRC News and Notes

"Hear in D.C." Exhibit on Washington Music History

Are you a fan of D.C.'s homegrown hardcore punk scene, or the late great Chuck Brown? Come to the 7th floor of Gelman to see the exhibit "Hear in DC: Vernacular Music in the Nation's Capital," featuring historic photos, LPs, and promotional materials for bands that got their start in D.C. The exhibit includes folk, blues, bluegrass, punk, and go-go musicians, featuring items from performers such as Mississippi John Hurt, Flatt and Scruggs, and Fugazi, all part of the new D.C. Vernacular Music Archive at GW.

Newest Issue of Beltway Poetry Quarterly

Beltway Poetry QuarterlySpecial Collections is pleased to announce the newest issue of the local online poetry journal Beltway Poetry Quarterly, A Splendid Wake. GW Special Collections has been documenting the D.C. poetry scene for 30 years as part our Washington Writers' Archive, and we also now partner with the local poetry community to host the the wiki DC Poetry: A Splendid Wake, an encyclopedia of DC poets and poetry.

The Splendid Wake Issue of Beltway Poetry Quarterly includes: Regie Cabico on DC Slam, Dan Vera on Reinaldo Arenas and Roberto Valero, Brian Gilmore on Larry Neal, Patricia Gray on the women who administered the Poetry Office at the Library of Congress, Janet Hulstrand on James A. Emanuel, Linda Pastan on Roland Flint and Siv Cedering Fox, Kenneth Carroll on the 8Rock Collective, Julie R. Enszer on Lesbian-Feminist Poetry in Washington, Elisavietta Ritchie on the Macomb Street Workshops, Philip K. Jason on Merrill Leffler, Grace Cavalieri on May Miller, and Toni Asante Lightfoot on the Modern Urban Griots. Editor Kim Roberts provides a survey of places in the city named for writers, with photos by Dan Vera, and a survey of DC Poetry Anthologies. And guest editor Sklarew writes about William Stafford, the Howard Poets, and Sam Allen, aka Paul Vesey.

Hear in DC: Vernacular Music in the Nation's Capital

Thursday, October 16 
Gelman Library, Teamsters Room (702)
Free, no registration necessary

D.C.'s homegrown music scene is known for punk, bluegrass, go-go, folk, and more. Come celebrate the opening exhibit and first annual symposium of the new D.C. Vernacular Music Archive with a panel of local artists and historians, and find out what makes Washington's cultural geography special. Moderated by Marc Eisenberg of the DC Music Salon, the panel will include Andy Wallace, Ian MacKaye, Kevin Hammond, Kip Lornell, and Stephen Wade, who will also perform.

Interesting Find in the Collection: Thank You Letters to the N.E.A. from Korea

Letter from Chong-kook Kim to Dr. William Carr Thumbnail

War leaves many victims beyond the battlefield. In 1951, the first year of the Korean War destroyed homes, farms and schools, leaving behind deprivation and want in much of the country. Schoolteachers bravely tried to continue classes amidst the chaos, often just setting up a tent in a field. In an effort to assist their professional colleagues abroad, the National Education Association activated the Overseas Teacher Fund. Warm clothing was identified as the greatest single need and, in an entirely voluntary effort, teachers across the United States pitched in to help.

Thankful Koreans teachers and students wrote letters back to express their gratitude. These letters hint at the troubles they face and provide a rare personal glimpse into the lives of civilians suffering through a brutal war. The N.E.A. gathered these letters together and bound them in a unique set of scrapbooks. Nine volumes in all, these books have hand-written letters in English and Korean explaining how they used the gift, translations of select letters and photographs of the writer wearing the new clothes, providing a rare glimpse into the lives of average people during one of the 20th centuries bloodiest wars.

All nine volumes are available to view in the Special Collections Research Center on the 7th floor of Gelman Library. The catalog link can be found here.

University Archives Diversity Research Fellowships

1969 Homecoming Queen Candace WilliamsThe University Archives of the George Washington University is pleased to invite applications for our University Archives Diversity Research Fellowships for the 2014-2015 academic year. These fellowships for research into GW history are open to any GW graduate or undergraduate students and are intended to support the discovery of untold stories of our community. Applicants will specify their own areas of research interest, which may include (but are not limited to) themes such as the history of women, African Americans, Latino/a students, religious life, veterans, students with disabilities, and LGBT individuals on campus throughout GW’s history. Each fellowship will come with a stipend of $2500.

The fellowships will provide support for students to spend two semesters in the University Archives conducting significant research on a GW diversity-related topic of their own design while guided by an approved faculty advisor. Researchers will use University Archives collections, including the historical GW Hatchet newspaper, records of the administration, departments, student organizations, Board of Trustees, photographs, and any supplementary resources outside of GW when necessary to examine the full record of diversity at GW. Staff members from Special Collections will orient students to the archives and serve as a resource to them throughout the project. The research period will begin in November 2014 and end in May 2015. Half of the award amount will be distributed in each semester. Fellows will be expected to produce a final project and share their research at a culminating public event in the late spring of 2015. 

 To apply, please submit:

1)    Research Statement (maximum 2 pages)
2)    Name and contact information of your GW faculty advisor
3)    A current resume 
4)    (Optional) A list of resources you have already identified in our collections or elsewhere that would be helpful to your research 

The research statement should address the relevance of the proposed research to the unique resources found in the University Archives collections. Faculty advisors should be aware of and supportive of the proposed research. Prospective applicants are encouraged to consult the website of the Special Collections Research Center for detailed descriptions of University Archives collections.

All application materials should be submitted electronically to Special Collections at by October 17, 2014. Your email should include the subject line “[Last Name] University Archives Diversity Research Fellowship Application.” Notifications of awards will be emailed to recipients by October 31, 2014.  

These fellowships are generously funded by an Innovation in Diversity and Inclusion grant from the GW Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Building and sustaining a diverse community is part of the university’s intellectual mission. We hope our fellowship recipients can support that mission by contributing to a more inclusive history of GW. 

Learning with Primary Sources at Gelman

Gelman's Special Collections is a great destination for teaching and learning with primary sources. This fall, Assistant Professor of Writing Phil Troutman came to Gelman to check out historic posters and political cartoons with his UW1020 class The Visual Past: Images in American History. Special Collections has also recently hosted classes studying geography, visual arts, and philosophy. For more information on primary sources in Special Collections, browse our archival collections by topic and our bibliographies, or email us at

Reading by Author Brando Skyhorse, Thursday September 11

Take This Man book coverThe GW English Department invites you to a reading by author Brando Skyhorse, PEN/Hemingway award-winning author of Take This Man and The Madonnas of Echo Park, on Thursday, September 11 at 7:30 pm in room 702 of Gelman. Skyhorse is the 2014 Jenny McKean Moore Writer-In-Washington at George Washington University.

New Collection: TV Critic and GW Professor Lawrence Laurent

Special Collections is pleased to announce a new collection from former GW faculty member Lawrence Laurent, a prominent D.C. radio and television critic. The collection contains course material from Laurent’s time in the Journalism and Media and Public Affairs departments, as well as speeches, correspondence, and photographs from his career as a critic for The Washington Post.

In this photograph from November of 1955, Laurent (left) is pictured with World Heavyweight Champion Rocky Marciano at boxing promoter Goldie Ahearn’s Washington, D.C. restaurant. Marciano was the only boxer to go untied and undefeated while holding the world heavyweight title. For more information on this collection, you can browse the finding aid for the Lawrence Laurent papers.

Teamsters Local 544 records

Teamsters Local 544Come explore the inner workings of the Teamsters and see how unions operate and negotiate. The Special Collections Research Center holds an impressive collection of American labor history materials, featuring the records of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. In 2013, the Teamsters transferred 160 boxes of materials here from Local 544 of Minnesota, including documents describing working agreements, proceedings and decisions of grievance hearings, and individual complaints.

This collection also includes correspondence, meeting minutes and agendas, handbooks, constitutions, by-laws, rosters, ledgers, brochures and pamphlets, photographs, and ephemera dating from 1930-2013. You can browse the finding aid for the Teamsters Local 544 records, and ask for more information here in Special Collections.

Required Summer Reading: D.C. Fiction

Read any good Washington fiction lately? There’s nothing like recognizing familiar streets and landmarks in a tale from another time.

For recommendations on 100 years of D.C. novels, check out Special Collections’ Bibliography of D.C. Fiction, featuring such memorable titles as the satire Senator Solomon Spiffledink, the mystery Epitaph for a Lobbyist, and even a first edition of The Exorcist (you knew it was a book first, right?) Even better, explore the collaborative book mapping project DC by the Book -- a project of the DC Public Library -- and download the app to search for and add your own D.C. fiction to the map.