Wading into Broadside’s Snapshots of the Smoky ’70s

This post was written by Greg Campbell, a former newspaper journalist and GAO analysts. He is nearing completion of a master’s degree in history with a focus on military history and the western United States at George Mason University. He is rounding out his skills as a historian through work at the Special Collections Research Center. Greg joined SCRC in March and has been working on digitizing images from our Broadside Photograph collection.

One of the striking things captured in the Broadside photo collection is that there used to be whole lot of smoking going on around here. In the 1970s, before second-hand smoke was harmful, photos of meetings sometimes show an ashtray in the center of the table and lots of people lighting up indoors. Striking, too, is a cigarette brand’s sponsorship of a women’s tennis tournament on campus. As the ad slogan said, we really have come a long way, baby.  The photo collection also includes a couple shots of tennis champion Billie Jean King practicing at GMU; she is a subject of the new movie, “Battle of the Sexes.”

The era of ashtrays on the table and indoor smoking. George Mason University Broadside photograph collection, R0135, Box 29, Page 19, Image 06, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

In addition to capturing evidence of the unlamented demise of gargantuan lapels and ties three times the current width, the photos show a variety of ancient technologies. For example, a Broadside photographer shot students, one smoking, playing the new computer game Pong, which was encased in a massive cabinet befitting such a wondrous miracle of modern technology.  Other shots show a story being written on an IBM Selectric typewriter for the campus newspaper, and class registration being carried out via the exchange of paperwork. No fun there.

A miracle of modern technology–the computer game Pong hits campus. George Mason University Broadside photograph collection, R0135, Box 29, Page 03, Image 06, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

The technology that produced the photo images is also a throwback to a different time—the laborious pre-digital photography era. The photo process used to go something like this for student photographers:  Buy 50 feet of black-and-white Tri-X film. Place it (in total darkness) in a bulk loader. Load each roll of film. Trim with scissors. Shoot the film, hoping you’d hit the right exposure and shutter speed. Develop the film by (in total darkness) cracking open each roll of film and winding it onto a stainless steel reel. Place that in a stainless steel canister with a lid. Add chemicals. Agitate at timed intervals. Dry the negatives. Cut up the negatives into groups of five and insert them in plastic sleeves. Print a contact sheet of positive images. Study with a magnifying loupe.  Pick an image. Place the negative in an enlarger. Pluck out photo paper (in total darkness) and place it in an enlarger.  Project the image on paper, sometimes dodging and burning to lighten or darken the image. Put photo paper in developing solution for a timed bath and then in fixing solution. Dry the print, and voila! The raw material has been produced for another multi-step process leading to publication.

A man playing the guitar and harmonica. George Mason University Broadside photograph collection, R0135, Box 29, Page 30, Image 33, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

The Special Collections Research Center is digitizing what are mostly masses of black and white negatives held in plastic sleeves in three-ring clamshell albums.  These include what were essentially the outtakes of the photographers’ efforts—the shots that never made it into the newspaper. For some of the students, it is clear the learning experience is underway.  There are some technical hiccups in the body of work—things a student photographer might not know until that moment of truth came in the darkroom. Others clearly had a photographer’s eye combined with technical skills and produced some excellent photos. All of them provide a snapshot of the past.

Our exhibition will be up until mid-August. Stop by anytime to view our materials on display. Special Collections Research Center, go to our website and browse the finding aids by subject or title. You may also e-mail us at speccoll@gmu.edu or call 703-993-2220 if you would like to schedule an appointment, request materials, or if you have questions. Appointments are not necessary to request and view collections.

University Archives Series: Student and University Publications

This post was written by Alina Moody, undergraduate finishing her degree in creative writing. She is an OSCAR student (Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities, & Research) and is a copy editor for Broadside. Alina has worked on a variety of projects for Special Collections Research Center over the last two years.

Special Collections Research Center keeps a number of materials from student and university publications dating as early as 1960. This includes everything from university pamphlets handed out during Mason Day festivals to copies of Fourth Estate’s predecessor Broadside. Recently, I have taken on the task of reorganizing and creating an inventory for the Student and University Publication collection to include any recent publications or additions to the collection. I look through each box within the collection and organize the folders inside, giving them a more accurate box number.


Once I’ve finished numbering them, I enter their information (box and folder number, name of the work or description of the materials and the year it was published) in an Excel spreadsheet to create an inventory. Once this process is complete, I will use this inventory to create a finding aid and upload it to our website so patrons can see what we have in this collection. This is a small part of our larger project to make materials within university archives more accessible as many collections still lack finding aids. Patrons will then be able to use these materials more efficiently and will begin to see how many interesting collections we have in university archives (our materials are split into manuscript collections, university archives, and rare books).

While working on this project for Special Collections, I have encountered many older publications that I never knew Mason had. One of the most interesting finds I’ve made while reorganizing, has been Mason’s Expulsion paper. Expulsion was described in its debut issue as a, “not-even-remotely-for-profit, not-even-close-to-being-political organization” to rival Mason’s established newspaper, Broadside. It lived up to its secondary title of “Mason’s Superior Underground Newspaper” through sheer witty sarcasm; it featured weekly articles that made light of George Mason University’s news, often appealing to student’s true feelings about the college experience at Mason. Expulsion ran from 1990 to May of 2006, publishing thirty-two volumes in total.

The cover of Expulsion’s 1999 April Fools issue, which features a (badly) photoshopped spread of former GMU President, Alan Merten, doing a “Merten” Klein underwear photoshoot.

Expulsion’s special Star Wars issue in May of 1999. The cover features Expulsion’s own mission to oppose, “the evil Broadside Campus Empire, led by not so evil emperor, Mertentine.”

To search the collections held at Special Collections Research Center, go to our website and browse the finding aids by subject or title. You may also e-mail us at speccoll@gmu.edu or call 703-993-2220 if you would like to schedule an appointment, request materials, or if you have questions. Appointments are not necessary to request and view collections.

Reorganizing the GMU Oral History Program Collection

This post was written by Emily Curley, our Oral History Program Coordinator.

The George Mason University Oral History Program has conducted over 200 interviews since 1999. Because we’re always adding to the collection, it’s time to reorganize the physical collection and the finding aid.

Oral History Collection, #R0122, in our closed stacks.

What we’ve done so far:

We’ve reorganized the physical collection. This included moving CD’s of oral history interviews into new boxes and arranging the individual interviews by date, rather than alphabetically. The collection increased from nine to eleven boxes and range from the late 1970’s to 2017. These histories cover a wide variety of topics including the history of George Mason University and Northern Virginia.

Our Next Steps:

  • Comparing the finding aid to the physical collection
  • Revising long abstracts and creating missing abstracts
  • Creating a new finding aid
  • Creating workflow for periodic updates of the Oral History finding aid

We will compare the finding aid to the physical collection and fill in any missing interviews. The finding aid was last updated in 2013, so there are over 50 oral histories that need to be added. After we have confirmed that all of the interviews are updated, we will check the finding aid once again and revise some of the abstracts. Some abstracts have too much information while others have too little. Our aim is to be as consistent as possible.

A box with an oral history pulled out to show what information goes on the labels.

After confirming that the abstracts are correct, I will be working with the Archives and Manuscript Librarian, Liz Beckman, to create a new finding aid, which is expected to go on our website sometime this summer.

Finally, I will create a guide for the next oral historian (who will start in September) so that they can periodically add new interviews and keep the finding aid up to date.

Links

GMU Oral History Program

Youtube

Finding Aid

Other Oral History Holdings

OMEKA Site

To search the collections held at Special Collections Research Center, go to our website and browse the finding aids by subject or title. Appointments are not necessary to request and view collections. Additionally, requests can be made to listen to oral histories in our Reading Room. Copies can also be made for a fee, which are listed on our website. Some oral histories may need to be converted to disk before they are available to patrons. For questions about oral histories, contact Emily Curley. To schedule an appointment or to request copies of an oral history, contact our Research Services Coordinator, Rebecca Bramlett.

Before a Mason Team Made it to the Final Four, We Made it to the Final Two. And Won!

George Mason University Soccer team members (left to right) Sis Koskinen, Pam Baughman, and Meg Romaine lift the NCAA Division I National Championship trophy. Mason Magazine, George Mason University Archives, University Publications, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

George Mason University Women’s Soccer team members (left to right) Sis Koskinen, Pam Baughman, and Meg Romaine lift the NCAA Division I National Championship trophy. Image is from Mason Magazine. George Mason University Archives, University Publications, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

While many college sports fans are familiar with the George Mason University Men’s Basketball team’s run to the Final Four in 2006, not as many know about the Mason Women’s Soccer team’s National Championship title of 21 years earlier. The author of this post recalls reading about this achievement in the student newspaper, then called Broadside, while an 18-year-old freshman at Mason back in 1985. With the A-10 Conference Championship Tournament beginning this Thursday, November 3, it is as good a time as any to take a look back at what happened 31 years ago this month.

In November of 1985, the George Mason University Women’s Soccer team captured the highest prize in collegiate athletics, the Division I National Championship. After a 15-2-1 season, the Patriots earned a spot in the NCAA tournament.  The tournament began with a first-round thriller against William and Mary, where Mason scored two goals in the final 13 minutes to tie and send the match into overtime. Mason would eventually win in a penalty kick shootout after two overtime periods. Next, after a 1-0 win over Cortland State, Mason faced off against nationally number-one-ranked University of Massachusetts, who had gone into the tournament undefeated. Mason beat UMass 3-0, scoring more goals than had been scored against them during the entire season.  All that remained for Mason was to defeat then 4-time National Champion, North Carolina. Carolina had beaten Mason 4-0 in an NCAA semifinal match in 1983.

1985 George Mason University Women's Soccer team. From 1986 yearbook By George, George Mason University Archives, University Publications, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

1985 George Mason University Women’s Soccer team. From the 1986 yearbook, By George. George Mason University Archives, University Publications, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Mason had drawn home field for the Final on November 24th.  Before a partisan crowd of 4,500 and an ESPN television audience of millions, Mason scored first at 3o minutes on an 18-yarder from All-American Pam Bauman. The Patriots held the Tarheels scoreless for the rest of the game, while All-American Lisa Gmitter scored for Mason in the 86th minute to seal the 2-0 victory. The win, against a team that had a record of 99 wins and 4 losses during the previous 4 years, was indeed the first shot heard round the world for Mason athletics.

Let’s do it again, Patriots.

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage

Hispanic Heritage month begins September 15th and continues until October 15th. In 1988 President Reagan formally established this 30-day period, which includes the anniversary of independence for many Latin American countries such as Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico and Chile, to celebrate and draw attention to Hispanic heritage and culture in America.

Chavez, Linda, Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation , Booknotes 1992-03-22, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

Chavez, Linda, Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politics of Hispanic Assimilation , Booknotes 1992-03-22, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

 

 

 

 

Linda Chavez in, Out of the Barrio, discussed immigration and the progress made by Hispanics in America while analyzing government policies, the importance of assimilation, and attitudes towards immigrants in our country.

 

 

Nichols, Madaline W., Sarmiento: A Chronicle of Inter-American Friendship , F2846_S26_N5_1940, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

Nichols, Madaline W., Sarmiento: A Chronicle of Inter-American Friendship , F2846_S26_N5_1940, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University.

 

 

 

 

 

Sarmiento is about the activist and President of Argentina (1868-1874), Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. This book is significant for telling the story of a man and his travels for which there is little known, written, or translated for an English-speaking audience.

 

 

 

Planned Community Archives, Collection # C001, Box 101, Folder 04, Page , Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

A look at Hispanic communities as part of George Mason University’s local history. Planned Community Archives, Collection # C001, Box 101, Folder 04, Page 22, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries. (Click link for Page 23)

 

George Mason University celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month in September 1995. Office of University Relations, Collection # R0004, Box 56, Folder 29, Page 3/3, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

George Mason University celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month in September 1995. Office of University Relations, Collection # R0004, Box 56, Folder 29, Page 3/3, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

 

Helpful Information:

GMU Calendar for Hispanic Heritage Month 2016

Hispanic Latino Leadership Association (HLLA)

Hispanic Heritage

PBS Films and TV

GMU Office of University Relations

Planned Community Archives

 

To search the collections held at Special Collections Research Center, go to our website and browse the finding aids by subject or title. You may also e-mail us at speccoll@gmu.edu or call 703-993-2220 if you would like to schedule an appointment, request materials, or if you have questions. Appointments are not necessary to view collections.