Gilbert & Sullivan Come to Mason Libraries

George Mason University has announced the intention of benefactor David Stone to bequeath his massive collection on Gilbert and Sullivan to the University Libraries’ Special Collection & Archives.  In a Mason News story by Corey Jenkins Schaut at http://newsdesk.gmu.edu/2014/10/gilbert-sullivan-collection-make-home-mason/, the collection is described as “a treasure trove of Gilbert and Sullivan memorabilia, from original manuscripts to production materials to letters and personal effects of the two men and their partner, Richard D’Oyly Carte.”  The University plans to feature selected Gilbert and Sullivan treasures in occasional exhibitions stating this December.  The University Libraries is honored to be the future home of this collection with its inestimable research value for Mason faculty and students as well as scholars world-wide. The collection complements existing strengths in performing arts collections such as the Arena Stage Archives and Federal Theatre Project Collections.

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Annabelle and David Stone with a original poster of The Mikado

For example, the University Libraries’ Federal Theatre Project Collection includes materials on the “Swing Mikado,” a version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado, put to “swing” music and staged with an all-Black cast.  Visit the FTP Collection finding aid for more information at http://sca.gmu.edu/finding_aids/ftp.html.

Swing Mikado

Costume design for Swing Mikado, Federal Theatre Project Collection, C0002.

Happy Halloween!

Special Collections and Archives would like to wish everyone a happy Halloween!

Here’s a photograph featuring Mason students in their Halloween costumes from 1990:

Halloween disguise

George Mason University photograph collection, Collection #R0120, box 90, folder 2, Special Collections and Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

Special Collections & Archives 2014 Award Winners Vay and Suiter

During 2014, Special Collections & Archives celebrated awards won by two colleagues, Greta Kuriger Suiter and Robert Vay. Greta was honored with the Spring 2014 George Mason University Libraries’ Staff Excellence Award, “a semi-annual award presented to a library staff member in recognition of their outstanding contribution to fostering an environment of collegiality and teamwork, and ensuring library services exceed faculty and students expectations.” Greta met these criteria well, going above and beyond the call of duty in the following ways: promoting SC&A and its collections by coordinating social media outreach on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and blogs; taking a leadership role on the SC&A Digital Projects Committee, helping to create best practice guidelines and implementing them while completing digitization projects; leading the SC&A Exhibitions Committee; supervising the complex off-site Buchanan Papers processing project; and serving on a variety of cross-departmental committees.  In addition, Greta has been vigilant in  her development activities, submitting papers and speaking at conferences, attending training, and even completing a second masters in art history. We congratulate Greta for her well-earned Staff Excellence Award.

Greta Kuriger Suiter receiving Staff Excellence Award.  Greta is flanked by John Zenelis, University Librarian, and Yvonne Carignan, Head, Special Collections & Archives

Greta Kuriger Suiter receiving Staff Excellence Award. Greta is flanked by John Zenelis, University Librarian, and Yvonne Carignan, Head, Special Collections & Archives

Also in 2014, Robert (Bob) Vay won the George Mason University Libraries’ Distinguished Faculty Award “for sustained and outstanding contribution to the Mason University Libraries’ mission and to his field of expertise.”  Within SC&A, Bob’s recent contributions included taking a leading role in all the activities growing out of a Virginia Foundation for the Humanities grant supporting our partnership with Reston in celebrating their fiftieth anniversary.  Within the University, Bob sets a high standard for his graciousness and helpfulness, and letters of recommendation identified Bob as a great collaborator, contributing to success when working with a group.
Letters supporting Bob’s nomination came from across the University and cited his achievements in preserving Mason history by administering the Libraries’ exemplary oral history program; creating physical displays and interactive online exhibitions; and contributing to the success of Alumni Weekend and other Campus events. Bob has, in fact, taken on the role of de facto University Historian.
From outside the Mason community, Bob’s leadership of the desegregation of Virginia Education (DOVE) oral history project won high praise.
Bob’s  professionalism has been enhanced in the last few years by his certification by the Academy of Certified Archivists and engagement in the Society of American Archivist’s Digital Archivist Specialist certification program.
We congratulate Bob on winning the George Mason University Libraries’ 2014 Distinguished Faculty Award.
Robert Vay receives George Mason University Libraries' Distinguished Faculty Award from Associate Provost Kimberly Eby, April 2014.

Robert Vay receives George Mason University Libraries’ Distinguished Faculty Award from Associate Provost Kimberly Eby, April 2014.

Mason’s Fairfax Campus turns 50!

George Mason University’s Fairfax Campus turns fifty years old this Sunday.  On September 14, 1964 George Mason College of the University of Virginia opened its doors to 356 freshman and sophomores.  The faculty, which numbered fifteen, comprised seven full-time and eight part-time professors.

George Mason College director, Robert H. Reid (center) confers with state Senator, Charles R. Fenwick (left foreground) and Buildings Superintendent, Richard Best (right) in late August 1964. Temporary sign (removed from the Bailey’s Crossroads Campus) stands behind Reid. George Mason University photograph collection #R0120 Box 1, Folder 16. Special Collections and Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

The four original buildings were named North (now known as Finley), South (now known as Krug), East, and West.  A fifth building, the Lecture Hall, was scratched from the original build-out because of budget issues and later added in 1968.  The weather on opening day was sunny and seventy-five degrees. The students and faculty were treated to air conditioning, a luxury they did not have at the Bailey’s Crossroads campus. Actually, George Mason College at Fairfax was the first educational institution in the Commonwealth to be built with central air conditioning.

Fairfax Campus, Spring 1965. George Mason University Photograph Collection # R0120 Box 1, Folder 11. Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

Fairfax Campus, Spring 1965. George Mason University photograph collection # R0120
Box 1, Folder 11.  Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

 The Quadrangle, Fairfax Campus, ca. September 1964. George Mason University photograph collection # R0120 Box 1, Folder 11. Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

The Quadrangle, George Mason College Fairfax Campus, ca. September 1964. George Mason University photograph collection #   R0120Box 1, Folder 11. Special Collections & Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

During the early to mid-1960s students at George Mason College, following a University of Virginia tradition,  dressed up for classes to show respect for their professors. Men were expected to wear jacket and tie, while the women wore dresses or blouses (often with sweaters), skirts, and hose. The still image below, taken from a 1964 film of the Fairfax Campus, shows how the typical student dressed for attending Mason in 1964.

Student members of a tour group in the lobby of the North Building (now known as Finley), 1964.

Student members of a tour group in the lobby of the North Building (now known as Finley), 1964.