Two New Exhibitions in SC&A Feature Items from Collection of Rare Books by Jan Morris and Oliver Atkins Photographs

Jan Morris, as photographed in 1974.

Jan Morris, as photographed in 1974. Photo is from her 1974 book, Conundrum.

SC&A has completed two new exhibits of materials from its holdings.  On exhibit displays a group of books by historian and travel writer, Jan Morris, while the other features photographs from photographer, Oliver Atkins. Both exhibitions run through December 2015.

“Excerpts from a Life Well Traveled: The University Libraries’ Jan Morris Collection”

George Mason University Libraries acquired a collection of rare Jan Morris first editions and pre-release review copies in 2010. The collection consists of 135 books and one rare signed poster from the 1940s.  Born James Morris in 1926 in Somerset England, Morris underwent gender re-assignment surgery in 1972. In her highly personal work Conundrum: From James to Jan – An Extraordinary Personal Narrative of Transsexualism, Morris describes her life and sexual reassignment. Morris began as a newspaper writer, working on the editorial staff of The Guardian from 1957 to 1962 and was the first journalist to report the conquest of Mount Everest.

Destinations (1980) is a collection of Jan Morris travel essays for Rolling Stone Magazine.

Destinations (1980) is a collection of Jan Morris travel essays for Rolling Stone magazine.

Morris also served in the military, was married, and has 5 children. One of her children is Twm Morris, the musician and poet. Her most famous work is arguably the Pax Britannica trilogy, a history of the British Empire. She is also widely acclaimed for her travel writing, which includes famous profiles of Oxford, Venice, Wales, Hong Kong, and New York City. The collection is the generous gift of Philip M. Teigen. Teigen also donated a substantial collection of rare John Richard Green volumes to the Libraries in 2008. Teigen’s interest in collecting Morris’ works stems from his development of the John Richard Green Collection. He wrote in a letter to the Libraries that he views Morris as Green’s “20th century intellectual heir.” This exhibit combines images with excerpts from select works.

Oliver Atkins in China, 1972. Olliver F. Atkins Photograph Collection, Box 34, Folder 2. Copyright not held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections and Archives.

Oliver Atkins in China, 1972. Olliver F. Atkins Photograph Collection, Box 34, Folder 2. Copyright not held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections and Archives.

“A Life in Focus: A Look Inside the Oliver F. Atkins Photograph Collection”

Oliver F. Atkins was a professional photographer from the 1930s until the late 1970s.  He worked for several news organizations, the American Red Cross, The Saturday Evening Post, and the White House. He covered the Second World War and Korea as well as the American political and cultural landscape during the 1950s and 1960s.  Some of his subjects include Harry S Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard M. Nixon, John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Winston Churchill, Gamel Nasser, Nikita Kruschev, Josip B. Tito, and Jawaharlal Nehru.

High School students from Ozark, Arkansas visit Chinatown in New York City, May 1950.  Oliver Atkins Photograph Collection Box 12, Folder 13. Copyright not held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections and Archives. Images taken for the Saturday Evening Post are © Saturday Evening Post.

High School students from Ozark, Arkansas visit Chinatown in New York City, May 1950. Oliver Atkins Photograph Collection Box 12, Folder 13. Copyright not held by George Mason University Libraries. Restricted to personal, non-commercial use only. For permission to publish, contact Special Collections and Archives. Images taken for the Saturday Evening Post are © Saturday Evening Post.

In 1969, Atkins became the personal photographer of President Richard M. Nixon and chief White House photographer. Of his many images of Nixon, the series documenting the meeting of December 18, 1970 with Elvis Presley is the most famous and the most often requested. The collection, which contains over 60,000 images, is held in the University Libraries’ Special Collections & Archives department in Fenwick, C-204. This exhibition looks at various facets of Atkins’ life, career, and works. The collection, which contains over 60,000 images, is held in the University Libraries’ Special Collections & Archives department in Fenwick, C-204. This exhibition looks at various facets of Atkins’ life, career, and works.

Oral History Interview with Mr. Robert Flanagan

The George Mason University Oral History Program staff conducted an interview with Mason alumnus, Robert Flanagan (BIS, 1979 and MFA, 1983) on Wednesday, October 14th, 2015. The interview took place in Mason’s Gateway Library at the One-Button Studio in the Johnson Center. The interview focused mainly on his experiences as a nontraditional student (he began his undergraduate work at age 41 after 23 years in the military), Mason’s growth and change during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, and his affiliation with Master of Fine Arts-Creative Writing Program at George Mason, from which Mr. Flanagan was the first graduate. The interview also included his memories of the small but growing student facilities, Dr. George W. Johnson’s presidency, and Mr. Flanagan’s recent work as a columnist for The Hampshire Review in Romney, West Virginia and his trilogy of novels from a journal of his time as a soldier in Vietnam titled The A.S.A. Trilogy.

flanagan blog post

Mr. Robert Flanagan at Gateway Library’s One-Button Studio

The interview is available for viewing in the Libraries’ Special Collections & Archives department. For more information about the University Libraries’ George Mason University Oral History Program, please visit the program’s website.

 

 

Recent Acquisitions

Special Collections recently added notable collections that add to existing collection strengths in transportation, technology, and conflict resolution. Please note that most of these collections are unprocessed, so please allow us several days notice if you would like to use these collections. Visit the SC&A website for more information.

Transportation and Technology

Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit Project. Source: http://www.lightrailnow.org/facts/fa_prt001.htm

The Steven Barsony papers consists of speeches, reports, correspondence, and photographs on mass transit projects, particularly new technology developments such as the Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit Project in West Virginia. The bulk of the collection dates from the 1970s and 1980s.

The Robert Truax Washington, D.C., transportation collection consists of a variety of transportation-related documents, maps, and images. The most numerous group in the collection is approximately 150 postcards of Washington, D.C., from the early to mid-20th century, many of which include streetcars as well as famous streets and buildings. The collection also includes a variety of other transportation documents, including two large volumes of passenger and conductor receipts from around the turn of the 20th century.

The Interstate history research project collection documents the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (ASSHTO) project in the 1980s and 1990s to interview individuals that played an important role in the planning and implementation of the construction of the interstate highway system in the United States. Please note that some of these interviews have access restrictions.

The John Patrick Hawker papers consists of a substantial document archive of significant intelligence content, written and compiled by John Patrick Hawker, British SOE (Special Operation Executive), pertaining to British intelligence, cryptography and clandestine radio in the Second World War. Hawker was a professional and amateur radio engineer, who during the Second World War was actively engaged in British Intelligence services, and is associated with the Bletchley Park code-breaking center, working with clandestine radio to support resistance units. Hawker was involved in many aspects of radio, beginning in World War II as a member of the Radio Security Service (RSS) and its connections to British Security Service Military Intelligence Ml5 and the Secret Intelligence Service Ml6.

Conflict Resolution

Harold Saunders

Harold Saunders in 2008. Source: http://ncdd.org/3470

The Harold Saunders papers consists largely of speeches, meeting transcripts, newsclippings about Saunders, photographs, and approximately 150 pocket notebooks that he carried with him that include insights from conversations and other experiences that were important to him. Saunders worked at the National Security Council (NSC) Staff in the White House (1961-1974) and the State Department (1974-1981) at the center of U.S. policymaking toward the Middle East and South Asia.

The Louise Diamond papers consists of files created by Louise Diamond that include workshops, writings, consultations, and study groups. Diamond was a founder and co-founder of several peace study policy groups. She wrote many articles on the subject of peace and conflict resolution, and the articles were published in a wide variety of journals, magazines, and books. She held several degrees, including a Ph.D. in Peace Studies from the Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio (1990).