Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Clarke's Digital Newspaper Program

Today, Deborah Thomas, the Library of Congress coordinator for the National Digital Newspaper Project, is visiting Central's campus as part of the Clarke Historical Library’s involvement with the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP). This evening at 7:00 pm, Ms. Thomas will present "Digitizing Newspapers in Michigan and Across America" at 7:00 pm in the Baber Room of the Park Library. This presentation, made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, is free and open to the public.

The Clarke has been working on the Michigan Digital Newspaper Program as part of the NDNP since August 2012. The MichDNP team is charged with choosing material to digitize from historically important Michigan titles. These digital copies will then be permanently maintained by the Library of Congress in the Chronicling America database. Chronicling America is targeted to any user that could possibly find access to historical newspapers useful -- teachers, genealogists, and historians among others.

Some titles from Michigan already available in Chronicling America are the Cass County Republican, Constantine Republican, the Grand Haven News, Grand River Times, Northern Tribune (Cheboygan), Weekly Expositor (Brockway Centre - now known as Yale, Michigan), and Ypsilanti Sentinel. The current digital runs of these newspapers range from 2 to 22 years and the dates of publication fall between 1836 and 1892. More issues are being processed and uploaded on a regular basis and the date ranges for each individual title will continue to expand.

The Clarke currently works with a vendor who processes the raw electronic images created by the Clarke to create derivative files and metadata. This information is then returned to the Clarke, where it is verified. It is then sent to the Library of Congress, where it is again processed and verified. Finally, the fully searchable digital newspapers are ingested into the Chronicling America repository and website.

The current project will be complete in August of 2014. The newspapers expected to be available by then are the Copper Country Evening News, the Calumet News, Dearborn Independent, Charlevoix County Herald, East Saginaw Courier, the Owosso Times, the True Northerner (Paw Paw), and the Yale Expositor.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

by Casey "Ghostly" Gamble

It’s nearing the end of October, and Halloween is just around the corner. The leaves on the trees have peaked in their bright reds, oranges, and yellows, the nights are growing bitterly cold, and creepy Jack O’ Lanterns are appearing on porches, reminding us of one of our favorite Halloween tales: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

Washington Irving wrote the first edition of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow in 1820. The tale first appeared in a collection of short stories and essays called The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, the entirety of which can be found in the eerie Clarke Historical Library. We also hold several copies of other editions of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow from the 1800s through 1987, including the whimsical if not slightly sinister illustrations of Arthur Rackham from the 1928 edition.

The nightmare, with her whole ninefold
by Arthur Raskham
The chilling tale follows Ichabod Crane, one of the more famous underdogs from the nineteenth century. Ichabod is a schoolmaster in a town called Sleepy Hollow, renowned for its legends of hauntings, witchcraft, and of course, the Headless Horseman. Ichabod and his rival, Brom Bones, vie for the affections of Katrina Von Tassel, ending in a somewhat sad and surprising finale. It certainly is not a tale to be summarized – Irving tells it with superb attention to detail and haunting imagery, letting the characters’ distinct personalities show through in every scene.

However, if you don’t quite have the time to venture through the entire original version, we also have a shorter, more child-appropriate read called The Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow, retold by Cherney Berg and illustrated by Norman Nordel. This version features spooky illustrations that might be just as eerie as the imagery from the original legend.

So, on a frightful autumn day, if you find yourself in the mood to read what has become a classic Halloween tale, be sure to pay a visit to the Clarke, where you can spend some time with Ichabod Crane in Sleepy Hollow. Be weary after reading this tale, for if you hear the dreaded clip-clop of a horse’s hooves, you just may be the next victim of the merciless Headless Horseman.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Peter Sís Presentation

Thursday, October 17, acclaimed author, illustrator, and filmmaker Peter Sís will visit the Central Michigan University campus. Mr. Sís will deliver a talk as part of the Clarke Historical Library Speaker Series at 7:00 pm in the Park Library Auditorium. A reception will follow in the Clarke.

This event, made possible by the David M. and Eunice Sutherland Burgess Endowment, is free and open to the public.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Homecoming Queen Race of 1950

by Bryan Whitledge

This week is Homecoming week at Central. Alumni will be returning and reminiscing about times past, the CMU football team will face off in a big game against Northern Illinois this Saturday, and there are numerous events sponsored by the Office of Student Activities and Involvement taking place, such as the Homecoming parade and the selection of the “Gold Ambassadors.” Prior to 1997, “Gold Ambassadors” were referred to as Homecoming Queen and King and the Ambassadors were called the Homecoming Court. Before 1982, there was no King, only a Homecoming Queen and her court -- a tradition stretching back to 1946.

Sometimes the competition for Homecoming Court is so memorable that it lives on in infamy for decades. Such is the case for the Homecoming Queen race of 1950.

Friday, October 4, 2013

French Canadian Heritage Day in Michigan

by Therese Cleary and Bryan Whitledge

The Michigan House of Representatives has declared today, October 4th, French Canadian Heritage Day (H. R. 0173 (2013)). From Detroit to Marquette, there will be educational and fun activities celebrating the traditions and contributions of French-Canadians in Michigan's history.

The history of French-Canadians and French-speaking peoples in the Great Lakes region are documented in the primary and secondary sources kept in the holdings of the Clarke Historical Library. These resources include various scholarly books and journals, maps, and original documents relating explorers, voyageurs, and others involved in the fur trade. There are also materials documenting the history of French-speaking peoples in southeastern Michigan including the Campeau family and Father Gabriel Richard.