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News and Events

Gelman and Eckles Closed July 3 & 4Gelman and Eckles Libraries will be closed on Sunday, July 3 and Monday, July 4 to celebrate the Independence Day holiday.

Gelman will reopen at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, July 5. Eckles will reopen at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 5.

The year was 1847 and slavery was legal in the District of Columbia, although it was the site of significant anti-slavery activism. Two enslaved men, known only as Abram and John, were owned by Capt. Haynes of Virginia and brought to Columbian College to assist him in his work as the college's steward. Columbian College student Henry J. Arnold provided Abram with $14 and a letter for an attorney with the intention that Abram would file a lawsuit to win his freedom. For this act of bravery, Arnold was expelled from the college. 
 
While the Arnold Case was not completely forgotten in the history of GW, it has remained largely obscure or else apocryphal to both scholars and the general public. Thanks to collaboration between DCAAP and the GW Libraries' digital services unit, the University Archives have now made available to scholars a cache of documents that illuminates this situation. The documentation consists of drafts and copies of letters written by Columbian College’s then-president, Joel S. Bacon, to Arnold, his family and others who inquired or appealed to Bacon about the matter. With this critical documentation, the story of enslaved people at Columbian College can now be more fully told.

Read more about this incident and the about the documents in a post by University Archivist Christie Peterson.

 

Opening Celebration for the Corcoran ArchivesWednesday, June 15
5 - 6:30pm
Special Collections Reading Room (704)

Please join us as we celebrate the opening of the Corcoran Archives in its new home at GW Libraries Special Collections Research Center. Selections from the collection will be on display in the reading room and light refreshment will be served. Archivists will be available to answer questions and discuss what is known about the archives now and what may yet to be discovered in them. 

The Special Collections Research Center is located in suite 704 of the Gelman Library. Photo ID is necessary to gain entry to the Library.

Nearly a decade has passed since the archives of the Corcoran Gallery and the Corcoran College of Art and Design—now the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design—were accessible to researchers. In June, nearly 2,000 boxes of historical documents and hundreds of thousands of architectural drawings, exhibition posters, photographs and oversized ledgers were donated to the George Washington University from the Corcoran board of trustees.

The Corcoran archives document the life and vitality of one of D.C.’s oldest cultural heritage institutions and provides nearly 150 years of insight into the history of American art museums and art education, from its founding in 1869 through 2014 when the historic agreements between the Corcoran, GW and the National Gallery of Art were finalized. The archives will be available to the public at the Special Collections Research Center in Gelman Library.

Learn more about the archives and how to access them on the Corcoran Archives webpages.  

Nearly a decade has passed since the archives of the Corcoran Gallery and the Corcoran College of Art and Design—now the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design—were accessible to researchers. In June, nearly 2,000 boxes of historical documents and hundreds of thousands of architectural drawings, exhibition posters, photographs and oversized ledgers were donated to the George Washington University from the Corcoran board of trustees.

The Corcoran archives document the life and vitality of one of D.C.’s oldest cultural heritage institutions and provides nearly 150 years of insight into the history of American art museums and art education, from its founding in 1869 through 2014 when the historic agreements between the Corcoran, GW and the National Gallery of Art were finalized. The archives will be available to the public at the Special Collections Research Center in Gelman Library.

“We’ve been excited about receiving the archives since the merger was first announced. The Corcoran is an iconic organization with a rich history and these archives tell the story of not only the arts, but of the city of Washington, D.C.,” said Geneva Henry, dean of libraries and academic innovation at GW. “Access to them is highly anticipated. We have been fielding research requests and the availability of the archives will now provide fascinating insight for researchers into the Corcoran.”

Inside the Corcoran Archives

Some highlights from the hundreds of thousands of materials in these archives include journals from William MacLeod, the Corcoran Gallery’s first curator from 1873 to 1889, summarizing each day’s activities and his opinion of works offered to or purchased by the gallery; 17 letterpress volumes of outgoing correspondence concerning Corcoran activities (1876-1908); exhibition posters, promotional materials from the Corcoran College; and architectural drawings by Ernest Flagg of the historic Beaux-Arts building. Also included are plans for the proposed expansion designed by Frank Gehry (which did not materialize); photographs of events, staff, visitors and exhibitions dating from the 1880s to the 2000s; and documents related to the controversial canceled Mapplethorpe exhibition.

"Getting the Corcoran archives is significant to the Corcoran's evolution,” said Sanjit Sethi, director of the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design. "These archives are part of our living history. In these boxes lies a history that can be activated by students, faculty, researchers and community members. People who take the time to decipher, analyze and interpret this information can both gain valuable insight into a remarkable institution and help shape the Corcoran's future.”

Due to lack of funding, the Corcoran archives were closed and sent to long-term storage in 2007. They have been unavailable to researchers since then. With the transfer to GW, the Corcoran’s history will be open to all interested researchers. In 2014, the Corcoran’s library collection also moved to GW. The Corcoran’s library collection brought more than 40,000 art and design books to GW.

Corcoran Materials at Other Institutions

All of the historical archives documenting the Corcoran’s rich institutional history came to GW. Other materials that were part of the archives but not necessarily institutionally focused—primarily art and artist records—have been distributed to other institutions, including the Smithsonian’s Archives of American Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum/National Portrait Gallery Library and the National Gallery of Art.

Researchers can learn more about the Corcoran archives here: https://library.gwu.edu/scrc/corcoran-archives  

"Maintaining the Corcoran legacy was an important priority for the Corcoran trustees," said Corcoran Trustee Molly Rolandi. "Finding the right home for the Corcoran archives is a critical part to that legacy and GW is that home. This is only the most recent example among many of how GW has fulfilled its commitment to maintain the Corcoran legacy and identity within the GW environment. “

William Wilson Corcoran’s History with GW

GW’s Special Collections Research Center already has notable historical collections related to William Wilson Corcoran, the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s founder. These include documents related to his partnership with George Washington Riggs and the Riggs Bank. Support from both Mr. Corcoran and Mr. Riggs helped the growth of GW. Mr. Corcoran also has other ties to the university: The School of Engineering and Applied Science at GW was organized on Oct. 1, 1884, as the Corcoran Scientific School of Columbian University and was situated in the University Building at 15th and H Streets, Northwest. The school was named for Corcoran, who was a trustee and president of the Board of Trustees from 1869 to 1888. Additionally, Corcoran Hall was named in 1924 to honor Mr. Corcoran, as one earliest benefactors of the university.

Welcome Class of 2020We are excited to welcome the #GWClassof2020 to the university and to the libraries by hosting several activities for Colonial Inauguration (CI) throughout the month of June.  

Expect increased noise and visitors on the entrance floor from 11 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. during an open house on the following dates:
Wednesday, June 22 • Tuesday, June 28

Expect increased noise and visitors on the entrance floor from 3:30 – 5 p.m. on the following dates:
Thursday, June 23 • Wednesday, June 29

All public computers on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floor –and- study carrels on the 3rd floor will be reserved for registering students from 8 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. on the following dates:
Friday, June 24  •  Thursday, June 30 

Gelman Library will help to welcome the Class of 2020 by hosting several activities for Colonial Inauguration (CI) throughout the month of June.  

Expect increased noise and visitors on the entrance floor from 11 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. on the following dates:
Thursday, June 9 • Thursday, June 16 • Wednesday, June 22 • Tuesday, June 28

Expect increased noise and visitors on the entrance floor from 3:30 – 5 p.m. on the following dates:
Friday, June 10 • Friday, June 17 • Thursday, June 23 • Wednesday, June 29

All public computers on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floor –and- study carrels on the 3rd floor will be reserved for registering students from 8 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. on the following dates:
Saturday, June 11*  •  Saturday, June 18* • Friday, June 24  •  Thursday, June 30 

*Library building open only for CI students and staff.

Memorial Day

Gelman and Eckles will be closed Sunday, May 29, and Monday, May 30 in observance of Memorial Day.

Gelman will close at 6 pm on Saturday, May 28 and reopen at 7am on Tuesday, May 31.

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GWU GraduatesCongratulations to all of our 2016 graduates!  After all this time together the libraries wouldn't abandon you to a libraryless existence.  Here are a few of the resources available to you as a GW alumni.

Access to Gelman
GW Alumni can present their valid GWorld Alumni ID card for access to Gelman Library.  For information about how to obtain your Alumni ID card, see the GWorld 2.0 Alumni ID Card web page.

Borrowing Privileges
Borrowing privileges are extended to GW Alumni for $50 per year.  Payments should be made at the Circulation Desk in Gelman Library.  For more information see details about Alumni borrowing privileges.

Selected E-Resources
Thanks to the the generous support of the GW Alumni Association, GW Libraries offer access to selected E-resources, including ABI/Inform CompleteProquest Research Library, and JSTOR Archive.  Visit the E-Resources for Alumni page for more information. 

Summer Hours24-hour access to Gelman Library is not available during the summer, but all of our online resources are available 24-hours a day to our current students, faculty and staff. Gelman will resume 24-hour access at the beginning of the Fall semester.  

 
 

Summer Hours*
Monday - Friday
7 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Saturday & Sunday
Noon - 6 p.m.

*Closed May 29 & 30 for Memorial Day and July 3 & 4 for Independence Day.

gelman lockersLooking for a secure spot to store small items while you are on campus? Gelman Library now offers lockers on the 4th & 5th floors for reservation by any GW student.

The lockers on the 4th and 5th floors are located in the hallway past the bathrooms and are reserved on a “first-come / first-served” basis. Lockers rent for $35 per semester (Fall, Spring, and Summer), but are being offered for the rest of the Spring semester for $20.  Locker rentals begin on the first day of classes for the semester and end on the last day of scheduled finals of the same semester. Students may rent lockers per semester or for the academic year (a total of 3 semesters, Fall, Spring and Summer).

To apply for a locker, please select a locker by taking the slip posted on the desired locker and complete the online request form (you must have the locker number to complete the form). A library staff member will contact you for an appointment to make the applicable payment and issue you a combination lock for the requested locker. 

Please direct questions to Jennifer Wesson at (202) 994-2937 or jwesson@gwu.edu.

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