85th Anniversary Exhibit Open for Viewing

The exhibit Under Construction: 85 Years of Building Futures at Queens College illustrates the evolution of the college’s buildings, grounds, and leadership from the early days to the present. The exhibition celebrates the college’s history of providing opportunities for so many students over the decades while recognizing that we are continually “under construction” to meet the demands of the future. The exhibit premiers on October 12th in conjunction with the celebration of the 85th anniversary of Queens College. 

Model of the Queens College grounds, circa 1937
Model of the Queens College grounds, circa 1937

Highlights of the exhibit include a never-before-displayed 1915 photo album documenting the Parental School (the predecessor institution to Queens College); a refurbished model of the grounds circa 1937; maps, images, and printed ephemera that document the campus and its activities throughout the decades; and even groundbreaking shovels.  

The exhibit takes place across three satellite locations and will be on view through the end of the fall 2022 semester. 

See the exhibit: 

  • Barham Rotunda at the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library 
  • Charles Tanenbaum Room 300i 
  • Music Library in the Aaron Copland School of Music building 

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Advanced Archival Practicum Provides Real World Experience to Students

By Annie Tummino and Caitlin Colban-Waldron 

A collaboration between the Department of Special Collections and Archives and the Graduate School of Library and Information Studies provided students a special opportunity to gain real-world experience in the library’s archives during the summer 2022 term. 

SCA Students
Students review materials in the Barbara Rosenthal Collection.

Danica Stompor
Danica Stompor reviews materials in the “Ephemera” subseries of Rosenthal materials.

In the course, “Library Science 790.3 Advanced Archival Practice,” students developed advanced proficiency in archival appraisal, arrangement, and access through embedded fieldwork. Under the supervision of course instructor Caitlin Colban-Waldron and with the assistance of Head of Special Collections and Archives Annie Tummino, students engaged in a hands-on project from beginning to completion, processing portions of the archival collection of artist Barbara Rosenthal. The class was held in the Charles J. Tanenbaum Room, funded by the Pine Tree Foundation of New York for use as a special collections classroom. 

Headshot of Barbara Rosenthal
Barbara Rosenthal Photo by Rhys Votano

Barbara Rosenthal, a QC alumnus and multi-media artist, whose donated work and materials served as the basis for all practical coursework, was an invaluable resource to the students as both a unique and compelling subject and as a rich source of information and context for the materials themselves. By the end of the term, students completed processing work on specific sections of the larger collection and will be able to translate coursework into tangible skills and outcomes for inclusion in their professional résumés. 

The course is one of several initiatives developed by the Department of Special Collections and Archives to fulfill its strategic mission of “training the next generation of archivists.” Barbara Rosenthal’s collection is an exciting new addition to the archives, encompassing a lifetime of record-keeping, notes, drafts, versions, and materials for every project in many media, plus household, family, and moment-to-moment life-recording and professional correspondences. 

Dr. Peter Archer Visits Queens College Libraries 

On April 12, the Queens College Libraries hosted Dr. Peter Archer for an on-campus visit. We are happy to announce that Dr. Archer is organizing his personal papers for donation to the archives, including research documents, photographs, and mementos from his lengthy career as a musician, educator, and academic.  

Dr. Archer is widely known as the real NYC music teacher who inspired Disney-Pixar’s ‘Soul’.  As explained by the Daily News

Peter Archer, a band teacher for more than 30 years at Middle School 74 in Bayside, Queens, served as a consultant on the movie, which has Jamie Foxx voicing Joe Gardner, a middle-aged teacher and musician. Archer, 58, helped pinpoint everything from the aesthetic of a middle school band classroom to the emotional tug of balancing a passion for music and a love of teaching. 

Here at Queens College, Dr. Archer is known as an alum with a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Performance and a Master of Science degree in Music Education. While working on his doctorate for Boston University, Archer also spent many long days at the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library archives conducting research for his dissertation, The History of The Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College: 1938-2010, which is available in the Music Library’s reference collection.  

Dr. Archer’s papers will join the collections of other prestigious ACSM faculty and alumni, including K. Robert Schwarz, Karol Rathaus, and Leo Kraft. We are thrilled that Dr. Archer is willing to add his own papers to our growing repository of valuable research materials! 


References:

Archer, P. A. (2014). The history of The Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College: 1938-2010.
Michael Elsen-Rooney. (2020, December 31). Queens music teacher added heart and expertise to Pixar’s ‘Soul.’ New York Daily News. https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/education/ny-queens-middle-school-teacher-pixar-soul-20201231-ncoh6ojaz5gjbgjpkka2f5zvoy-story.html
Sandy Kenyon. (2021, January 13). Meet the real New York City music teacher who inspired Disney-Pixar’s “Soul.” ABC7 New York. https://abc7ny.com/peter-archer-real-life-soul-teacher-from-disney-and-pixar/9589572/

Archivist Annie Tummino featured in JSTOR video

In September 2020, the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library’s Department of Special Collections and Archives launched a partnership with JSTOR to share digitized primary sources on their Open Community Collections platform (more on the launch). Since the launch, the Queens College collection has grown from 700 accessible items to nearly 3,000.

In this video, Annie Tummino, Head of Special Collections and Archives, discusses collections featured on JSTOR, and how they are used by researchers, students, faculty, and the Queens College community.

Head of Special Collections and Archives Annie Tummino discusses sharing digitized materials on JSTOR Open Community Collections.

Digitized collections on JSTOR include The Silhouette, the annual yearbook of Queens College since 1941; activist ephemera; Civil Rights Movement photographs; commencement records, and more. For more information or to schedule an archives visit, see our Special Collections & Archives page on the library website or email us at qc.archives@qc.cuny.edu.

Treasures from Special Collections and Archives: Oral History with Soribel Genao

In celebration of Black History Month, this month we share an item from our digital shelves: an oral history with Soribel Genao.

Soribel Genao is Associate Professor of Educational Leadership in the Department of Educational and Community Programs at Queens College. The interview was conducted by Obden Mondésir on September 15, 2020. It touches on many subjects, including Genao’s upbringing in Manhattan and Brooklyn, her career at Queens College, and the COVID-19 pandemic. In this featured clip, she discusses the development of the Black and Latinx Faculty/Staff Association (BLFSA) at Queens College.

And we were on a Zoom call for two hours, just dissecting and understanding who we were, but the most beautiful part was, here we are on Zoom having the Black and brown faces of Queens College connect for the very first time in a very formal way.

You can watch the full interview on the Queens Memory Aviary portal. You can read the full BLFSA 2020 statement and call to action here.

Queens College Library Acquires Barbara Rosenthal Archives

Headshot of Barbara Rosenthal
Barbara Rosenthal
Photo by Rhys Votano

The archival collection of influential cross-media artist Barbara Rosenthal ’75, “Old Master of New Media,” has been acquired by Queens College CUNY in a combined sale and donation facilitated by a generous patron. The artist’s materials are being organized and transported in stages to the newly renovated Pine Tree Foundation Special Collections within the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library.

Born in the Bronx, Barbara Rosenthal—no relation to the library’s namesake—studied at numerous local institutions, including the Arts Students League of New York and New York University, before completing a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. At Queens College, she earned an MFA in painting. In the decades since she graduated, she built up an international career, holding solo exhibitions and residencies across North America and Europe and winning acclaim for her distinctive photography, installations, and performance art.

“Barbara Rosenthal’s lifetime of record-keeping, notes, drafts, versions, and materials for every project in many media, plus household and moment-to-moment life-recording and professional correspondences, holds enormous value for current and future generations of artists and researchers,” said Annie Tummino, Head of Special Collections and Archives. “Her archives are revelatory of the creative process in ways unique among our archival collections.”

Watch Rosenthal speak about her work, archival collection, and the acquisition here:

 

Stories from the Civil Rights Archives: The Queens College Student Help Project of 1963

Event: Thursday, December 9, 2021, 4 – 5PM EST

Queens College is known for its involvement in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, especially the Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964. A year earlier, a lesser known, but no less important project took place, when 16 volunteers from the Queens College Student Help Project traveled to Prince Edward County, Virginia to tutor Black children who were shut out of public schools due to massive resistance to desegregation. There, they lent support to a long struggle for equal education dating back to the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954 and local, student-led activism for better schools.

In this presentation, primary sources from the archives will bring to life this important history, as documented through a year-long oral history initiative made possible by the Freda S. and J. Chester Johnson Civil Rights & Social Justice Archives Fellowship Program at the Queens College Library. Initiators/alumni of the Student Help Project will also join the event for the Q and A.

ANNIE TUMMINO is an assistant professor and head of Special Collections and Archives at the Queens College Library, where she manages over 5,000 linear feet of college records, personal papers, and rare books. She is particularly interested in preserving the social movement history of Queens College and connecting it to today’s activists and students. She received a master’s in library and information studies from Queens College in 2010 and a master’s in maritime studies from SUNY Maritime College in 2020.

VICTORIA FERNANDEZ is the museum coordinator at the Harriet and Kenneth Kupferberg Holocaust Center at Queensborough Community College CUNY, where she helps develop and revise exhibition content, instruct student programming, manage library and archival collections, and facilitate interactions with their Holocaust survivor support group. She graduated from Queens College in 2021 with a dual master’s degree in history and library science (MLS/MA) after receiving a BA in history and political science from the Macaulay Honors College at QC in 2018. She has held several positions within the field of archives, most recently serving as the 2020– 2021 Freda S. and J. Chester Johnson Civil Rights and Social Justice Archives Fellow at the Queens College Department of Special Collections and Archives.

Sponsored by the Office of Institutional Advancement

Processing 2020/21: Community Reflections

Timely, online programming presented by the Queens College Library’s Special Collections and Archives in Collaboration with Queens Memory.

Scroll down to view the live stream recordings of each event. 


Art and Archives: Creativity During COVID-19

Tuesday November 16 from 4:00pm-5:30pm

How do art and archives intersect? In this roundtable discussion, participants will discuss creative projects undertaken during COVID-19, and their connections to primary sources and archival repositories. Livestreamed on https://www.facebook.com/queensmemory.

Chair: Annie Tummino, Assistant Professor, Head of Special Collections and Archives, Queens College

Panelists:

  • Edisa Weeks, Director of DELIRIOUS Dances and Acting Chair of the Queens College Department of Drama, Theatre & Dance;
  • Members of the What Will the Neighbors Say? Investigative Theatre Company, Artists-In-Residence at Queens College;
  • Joyce LeeAnn, Certified Archivist, Interdisciplinary Artist, and founder of Archival Alchemy®.

Co-sponsored by the Kupferberg Center for the Arts, the Queens College Department of Drama, Theater, and Dance, and Social Practice CUNY.


 

Surviving & Thriving: Black and Latinx Faculty, Staff, and Students on Campus

Tuesday, October 19th from 4:00pm-5:30pm

What does it take for Black and Latinx faculty, staff, and students to not only survive but thrive in higher education? Join us for a roundtable discussion and presentation of oral history clips from the archives. Livestreamed on https://www.facebook.com/queensmemory.

Co-sponsored by the Queens College SEEK Program and Black Latinx Faculty Staff Association. 

Chair: Obden Mondesir, Associate Director, Barnard Archives and Adjunct Instructor in the Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies.

Panelists:

  • Norka Blackman-Richards, Director of the Queens College Percy E. Sutton SEEK Program;
  • Marco Navarro, Lecturer in English and Director of The Writing Center, Queens College;
  • Nathaniel Smith, Director of NYC Men Teach at The City University of New York, Queens College.
  • Jessica Alejandro, Queens College Graduate student majoring in Special Education 1-6

Documenting a Pandemic: What We’ve Learned

Tuesday, October 5th from 4:00pm-5:30pm

Members of the Queens Memory Project will discuss lessons from the COVID-19 Project, and how they worked together as a team to incorporate the diverse voices of our borough and campus into the archives during this momentous period in history. Livestreamed on https://www.facebook.com/queensmemory.

Chair: Annie Tummino, Assistant Professor, Head of Special Collections and Archives, Queens College

Panelists:

  • Meral Agish, Queens Memory Community Coordinator;
  • Obden Mondesir, Associate Director of the Barnard Archives and Adjunct Instructor, Queens College Graduate School of Library and Information Studies;
  • Dacia Metes, Queens Public Library Digital Archives Manager;
  • Jo-Ann Wong, Librarian, Queens Public Library, Hunters Point.

SCA Lightning Talk: Disruption, Transition, Adaptation

Wondering what Special Collections and Archives (SCA) has been up to during the pandemic? Check out our recorded lighting round for the New York Archives Conference, “Disruption, Transition, Adaptation: Archivists Working Under COVID-19” featuring staff, interns, and fellows associated with the department over the last year and a half. I’m very proud of our work during this time, as well as how we supported each other as a team.  

YouTube playlist

“Romaniote Memories” Digital Exhibit Launched

In 1999, photographer Vincent Giordano made an unplanned visit to the small Kehila Kedosha Janina (KKJ) synagogue on New York’s Lower East Side. He knew little about Judaism or synagogues, and even less about the Romaniote Jewish tradition of which KKJ, built in 1927, is the lone North American representative. In this he was not alone. Romaniotes are among the least known of Jewish communities. Beginning in 2001 and guided by members of the KKJ community, Giordano documented the synagogue and its religious art of the congregation using film, video, and audio. This included trips to Greece to document KKJ’s mother city of Ioannina, and its small Jewish community. 

In 2019 the Giordano family donated the archive of Vincent’s work to Queens College, where it is a major part of the Hellenic American Project and is preserved as part of the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library’s Special Collections and Archives. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Special Collections and Archives has not yet processed the physical materials in the Vincent Giordano collection. Fortunately, we were able to use scans of Giordano’s prints and negatives to create a new online exhibit Romaniote Memories, a Jewish Journey from Ioannina, Greece to Manhattan: Photographs by Vincent Giordano.” Many of these images have never been presented in public before.

The exhibition is curated by Samuel Gruber, President of the International Survey of Jewish Monuments and designed by Annie Tummino, Head of Special Collections and Archives, Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library. The opening reception, featuring a conversation with curators, distinguished guests, and friends, will take place via Zoom on Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 5 pm (register here). 

The exhibition is sponsored by the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library, Hellenic American Project, and Center for Jewish Studies at Queens College, as well as the International Center for Jewish Monuments, an independent non-profit organization. The Library and Center for Jewish Studies will be teaming up to offer a paid internship for a student to help process and catalog the Giordano collection during the next academic year.