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SCRC News and Notes

Interesting Find in the Collection: Beyond Segregation: The Problem of Power

The National Education Association, as advocates for educators and public education, took on a unique role in the wake of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling. In 1962, two former NEA departments were combined into the Commission on Professional Rights and Responsibilities. The Commission was tasked with investigating the state of education in the U.S.A., focusing especially on individual districts, allowing them to identify local factors that may be hindering the work of students and/or teachers. The Commission's reports provide a fascinating historical snapshot of education at the local level. The investigations covered the mundane, such as overcrowded classrooms and poor quality facilities, to the controversial, like teachers dismissals following accusations of communist sympathy. Following Brown, school districts in the 17 states where segregation had been required desegregated with varying degrees of acceptance, resistance, and difficulties. Throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s, the Commission investigated school districts that were experiencing difficulties integrating.

Thumbnail of the cover of Beyond Desegregation: The Problem of Power

In February of 1970, a report titled Beyond Desegregation: The Problem of Power was issued following an investigation into East Texas schools. There were some positives. For example, East Texas schools were desegregating at a faster pace than most other Southern schools. In reporting the problems, however, it draws attention to an often overlooked problem that accompanied integration. As separate school districts merged, redundant teaching positions would often get eliminated. Were the system fair, distribution of the remaining jobs would have been fair, as well. Unfortunately, the reports show that this was not the case. As the report says, "[i]t would have been news if the NEA Special Committee had found, during its study, even one single school district where there was any significant amount of faculty desegregation, where the desegregation process had been accomplished equitably and without the release or demotion of black teachers, or where a black principal had been appointed to the principalship of any school with as much as 10 percent white student enrollment."

The report is 57 pages in all, and provides a background of East Texas' uniqueness, insight into how locals resisted intregration, addresses the question of power imbalance within the community, and finishes with suggestions on how to overcome this imbalance. Eventually, the report came to Gelman Library Special Collections as part of the NEA Collection. A .pdf of the first 7 pages of report is available below, explaining the methodology the investigators followed. Anyone interested in reading the rest of the report, or in knowing more about the NEA's role in integration, can contact the NEA Archivist at smallen@gwu.edu.

Interesting Find in the Collection: NEA Travels to Russia

In 1959, National Education Association Regional Vice-President Allan M. West visited the Soviet Union to evaluate its educational system. He was only one of 7000 US citizens to visit the communist country that year. He made the trip so he could evaluate first-hand the Soviet educational system. The NEA Collection, housed in Gelman Library's Special Collections, contains records and photographs from that trip. Here we see some schoolchildren posing for the camera.

Russian Schoolchildren

Unfortunately, the pictures have no context, so we do not know which city these were taken in. The files do include a daily itinerary of West's travels, which included Poland before travelling to the Ukraine and then on to Russia proper. Along the way he was able to interview education officials and individual teachers, to get a sense of what the life was like for a teacher in the USSR. On October 9, he arrived in Moscow and photographed Red Square. You can see more photos here.

Red SquareHe had a chance to visit with officials of the Soviet Union's Trade Union of Education, Higher Education and Scientific Establishments. From this meeting, reports on statistics and anecdotes of daily life for teachers in the USSR were produced. From this report, we learn that teachers were paid 10 rubles a day, and received a 10% raise every five years. The entire enrollment is Russia in 1959 was 31,500,000 students. Most striking was that teachers in the country taught classes in 66 different languages, 40 of which were not written languages.

This was neither the first nor the last time the Association would interact with educators from Russia. In 1908, a Russian teacher wrote NEA Secretary Irwin Shephard asking if he could send over some NEA publications, as he considered the USA "the most forward" in the new methods of educating children. In 1978, Soviet officials met with NEA executive staff and, in 1995, it was Russian, rather than Soviet officials.

If you'd like to learn more about the National Education Association's interactions with Russian and Soviet educators, contact the NEA Archivist Vakil Smallen at smallen@gwu.edu or 202-994-1371.

Interesting Find in the Collection: The Classroom Printer from 1932

The Classroom Printer from 1932

The Classroom Printer, made in 1932 in Chicago by Classroom Teachers Inc., has over 300 individual stamps teachers could use to teach sentence structure. It includes letters, numbers, symbols, colors, names, and various words, representing parts of a sentence. The bottom has a pullout box that holds the stamps, and beneath it sits a stamp pad and ink. 83 years later and the only thing that would keep this set from working is the dry ink in a bottle. Even the colors on the logo remain vibrant, and the stamp labels are all still legible. This product comes with a guide, included below, which details some of the uses a teacher may find in the classroom for this product.

The guide included with the Classroom Printer

This treasure came to Special Collections from National Education Association and will be added to the NEA Collection. Although it was not produced by the NEA, it was a gift to Gelman Library on their behalf. Due to its nature as a tool for teachers in primary school classrooms, this object will be added to NEA1005.RG, Series 20, Elementary, Kindergarten, and Nursery School Educators

Interesting Find in the Collection: Puerto Rico: Tragedy in the Schools

In 1978, the National Education Association sent a task force to Puerto Rico to investigate the state of the island's education system. One year later they published a book titled Puerto Rico: Tragedy in the Schools. The book is a collection of powerfully sad photographs that capture the effects of neglect and poverty. A small selection of the photographs can be found here. There is also a narrative that recounts the personnel and political problems that accompany, and sometimes cause the deterioration seen in the images. The book was given to Gelman Library Special Collections by the NEA and has recently been added to the Library catalog. Anyone wishing to see more photographs or read about the task force's findings can come to the Special Collections Reading Room, located on the 7th floor of Gelman Library.

A Splendid Wake 3: An Annual Celebration of DC Poetry

Friday, March 20
Gelman Library, Room 702

Join us for A Splendid Wake 3, an annual celebration of poetry in the nation’s capital from 1900 to the Present.  This 3rd event in the series will feature presentations on:

Georgia Douglas Johnson & the “Saturday Nighters” 
May Miller
The Federal Poets 
Poetry Workshops born during “Poetry and the National Conscience” conferences 
The Modern Urban Griots

Paper Window: An Exhibit of Artists' Books

Image: Poster announcement for Paper WindowWednesday, February 11 • 5-7pm
Luther W. Brady Art Gallery
Media and Public Affairs Building, Second Floor
805 21st St. NW

Gelman Library is pleased to announce the opening on February 11 of "Paper Window: An Exhibit of Artists' Books from the Corcoran Art and Design Collection," featuring rare and one-of-a-kind handmade artists' books on loan from Gelman Special Collections. Come join the opening reception at the Brady Gallery, in conjunction with the opening of "Luminaries: Portraits from the GW Permanent Collection."

Vintage Audio on Home Rule

Gelman's Special Collections is a go-to source for DC history. Recently, WAMU radio reporter Jacob Fenston came by our reading room for some background info and vintage audio for this week's Metro Connection feature: The 51st State, Or The Last Colony? Listen to his piece on Home Rule with Eleanor Holmes Norton, featuring a brief voter registration jingle and a clip of D.C.’s first delegate to Congress Walter Fauntroy proclaiming himself the "baddest dude on Capitol Hill." 

Introducing New Kiev Judaica Collection Research Fellow, Dr. Laura Tomes

Kiev Judaica CollectionThe I. Edward Kiev Judaica Collection of the George Washington University Libraries is pleased to announce the recipient of the 2014-2015 Kiev Senior Research Fellowship.  Awarded every two years, the Fellowship provides a stipend for a graduate, post-graduate, or independent scholar to conduct research using the Kiev Judaica Collection.

The Senior Fellowship has been awarded this year to Dr. Laura Tomes, a director at Hillel International, who will exploit the historical and bibliographic materials of the Kiev Collection towards her book-length study of Sabbath schools and Reform Jewish education in America between 1873 and 1923.  Dr. Tomes holds degrees in theology and Jewish studies from Oxford and a doctorate in religious studies from Georgetown University.

“I’m delighted to have the opportunity to enhance my research on the development of pedagogies in American Jewish education, and I look forward to using the extensive resources of the Kiev Collection,” said Dr. Tomes, who will be taking up her Fellowship in the new year.
This award marks the third iteration of the Kiev Fellowships.  The first Senior Fellowship was held by Dr. Jonathan Skolnik, Assistant Professor of German at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, whose subsequent book, Jewish pasts, German fictions: history, memory, and minority culture in Germany, 1824-1955, was published this year by Stanford University Press.  The second Senior Fellow was Dr. Barry Trachtenberg, director of the Judaic Studies Program at the University of Albany, State University of New York.  Prof. Trachtenberg
advanced his research on the Algemeyne Entsiklopedye, the first comprehensive encyclopedia in Yiddish, launched in Berlin in 1932 on the eve of the Nazi period.

Established by Dr. Ari and Phyllis Kiev in 1996, the Kiev Judaica Collection is based on the private library of Dr. Kiev’s father, Rabbi Dr. I. Edward Kiev (1905-1975), one of the preeminent Judaica librarians of the 20th century.  Housed since 1998 in the Kiev Room of the Gelman Library, the collection contains more than 28,000 volumes, along with Jewish graphic art, archives, recorded music, ephemera, artifacts and ritual objects.  

For more information visit the I. Edward Kiev Judaica Collection.  


Three New Series in the NEA Collection: The Film, Audio and Video Collection

There are three new series in the NEA Collection. All three series contain moving image and audio recordings produced or held by the National Education Association between 1938 and 2011. Appropriately, the series belong to the NEA Film, Audio and Video Collection. The series are: Conventions; Educational Material; and Promotional Material. The Convention series contains recordings from various conventions, conferences and workshops. Most of these recordings are from NEA conventions, the Annual Meeting/Representative Assembly prominent among them. Included on the recordings are prominent speakers and speeches, individual sessions, workshops, interviews and highlights. The Educational Materials series contains recordings of material intended to educate NEA members, prospective teachers, other educators, and the general public on diverse topics such as classroom management techniques, personal safety, identifying child abuse, legal and policy advice, and guidelines for using new technology. The Promotional Materials series contains recordings intended to promote the message, the accomplishments, the needs and the image of the National Education Association, its affiliates, the education profession and political allies.

All three series contain a variety of formats. Although Special Collections provides equipment to watch and listen to many formats, some of the recordings cannot be played at this time. The finding aid can be found here. Attached to each item in the finding aid is a Technical Requirements Note. This note will help Special Collections determine if the material can be played or digitized in-house.

Special Collections on "Metro Connection" from WAMU

Allen Lee HotelThe old Allen Lee Hotel in Foggy Bottom is getting a major facelift, and WAMU's Rebecca Sheir came by Gelman Special Collections to learn about the building's history with GW's own Professor Chris Klemek. Built as the Llewellyn apartments at the turn of the century, the building at 2224 F St, NW, later became a low-budget hotel and is now slated to become DC's first "pod" hotel with tiny rooms and tiny rates, tagline "Hotel Hive: Buzz More, Spend Less." Listen in as Rebecca Sheir and Chris Klemek browse Special Collections to delve into the hotel's past on WAMU's Metro Connection. And then browse the maps and directories of the site they used on the Digital DC website, a project designed by Klemek, his students, and Special Collections.


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