Special Collections & Archives James J. Periconi Research Fellowship

In late 2021, James J. Periconi donated his collection of Italian-language American imprints to Queens College Special Collections and Archives. Lovingly curated over multiple decades, the collection consists of over 500 items that provide unique insight into what Italian immigrants to the United States were reading, writing, and thinking about at the end of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries.  

After a successful first year, the Queens College Library, in collaboration with the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute and generously supported by James J. Periconi, is again offering a research fellowship program that will defray costs for a scholar to conduct research with the collection over a period of two to four weeks. Read about last year’s fellows and their fascinating research in this collection.

Il Martello [The Hammer], Vol. VIII, No. 14. New York: Casa Ed. “Il Martello,” 27 Aprile [April] 1922

The collection can be browsed through the CUNY OneSearch catalog or on a curated website that includes images and essays. Research fellowship applications are due by April 15, 2024. This program is generously funded by James J. Periconi. Details are posted below.

Research Fellowship details and logistics

Details and Requirements: 

  • Scholars receive a stipend of between $2500-$4500 to defray travel costs, depending on budget and length of stay. The stipend is provided once the scholar is in-residence. 
  • Scholars are expected to be in residence for two to four weeks, between July 1, 2024, and June 30, 2025. Dates must be arranged with Special Collections and Archives well in advance.  
  • All research will take place at the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library Building, Queens College, City University of New York, during normal business hours. 
  • During the summer months only, on-campus housing may be possible just steps from the library. Detailed information upon request. 
  • Scholars at all stages of their careers from the U.S. or abroad may apply. Accepted applicants from outside the U.S. are required to obtain a J-1 visa
  • Fellows will have opportunities to interact with the Calandra Institute and associated scholars at The City University of New York, as well as James J. Periconi.  
  • Fellows are expected to share their research in-progress through a discussion hosted by the Calandra Institute. 
Three World War I Patriotic (Anti-German Militarism) Italian-American Chromolithographs. New York: Italian Book Co., 1918

Application details

Applications for the 2024-2025 fellowship are due by April 15, 2024.

Applications must include: 

  • A brief biographical statement of not more than 350 words 
  • An overview of the proposed project, and how access to the Periconi Collection will aid the research process (3 pages maximum) 
  • A current resume or CV. 
  • One letter of reference.  
  • One-page budget and proposed length of research visit (between 2-4 weeks) 

Submit applications with Subject Line “Research Fellowship Application to” qc.archives@qc.cuny.edu by the end-of-day on April 15, 2024. Applications will be judged by a committee of reviewers.  

James J. Periconi Collection Research Fellows

This month, in collaboration with the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, the Library’s Special Collections and Archives welcomes two visiting fellows who will be conducting research with the James J. Periconi Collection of Italian-Language American Imprints. 

To meet the Fellows and learn about their research, please register for the luncheon on November 14.

2023 Inaugural Fellows 

Lindsey Kingston
Lindsey Kingston

Lindsey N. Kingston is an Associate Professor of International Human Rights at Webster University in Saint Louis, Missouri. She directs the Institute for Human Rights and Humanitarian Studies, which includes overseeing the undergraduate program in International Human Rights. Kingston edited Human Rights in Higher Education: Institutional, Classroom, and Community Approaches to Teaching Social Justice (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018) and Statelessness, Governance, and the Problem of Citizenship (Manchester University Press, 2021). She also authored the monograph Fully Human: Personhood, Citizenship, and Rights (Oxford University Press, 2019), which won the International Studies Association’s 2020 Human Rights Best Book Award. She is an Italian-American dual national with advanced Italian language proficiency. 

Carmen Petruzzi
Carmen Petruzzi

Carmen Petruzzi is a postgraduate research fellow at the Department of Humanistic Studies at the University of Foggia. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Literature, a Master’s degree in Modern Philology, and another in Science of Education. In 2022, she passed the national competitive examination as a teacher of Italian and History at High School. She obtained her PhD in April 2019 at the University of Florence and immediately afterward she perfected her knowledge of qualitative and quantitative methods in a one-year internship in New York between the summer of 2019 and the summer of 2020. She currently collaborates with Antonella Cagnolati, Full Professor of History of Education and Comparative Education at the University of Foggia. She has always been interested in migration with a specific focus on the effects on children’s life histories and projects. Since 2020 she has been working on the reconstruction of educational processes within the broader topic of the history of Italian emigration. Her research investigation intends to illuminate the lesser-known path of autonomy and independence achieved between the late 19th and early 20th century, particularly by the second generations who filled the educational gap between the parent’s generation and long-standing American residents. 

To learn more about the collection, you can browse titles in the CUNY OneSearch catalog or explore a curated website that includes images and essays. 


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Meet BlackMass Publishing at the Library!

On Black Solidarity Day, meet BlackMass Publishing and celebrate the Library’s acquisition of the BlackMass Collection. 

Founders of BlackMass publishing

  • When: November 6, 2023 
    • 5:00-5:30pm: Open House / Browse the Collection 
    • 5:30-6:30pm: Talk and Q/A with Yusuf Hassan and Kwamé Sorrell of BlackMass Publishing 
  • Where: Rosenthal Library, Tanenbaum Room 300i 
  • Light refreshments will be served. 

BlackMass Publishing is an independent press promoting and publishing material by Black Artists founded by Yusuf Hassan in 2019. Combining archival photographs and found print material with poetry and jazz music, BlackMass grapples with the blurred lines and idiosyncrasies which make up the collective improvisation of African diasporic culture. 

Photo Credit, Portrait of BlackMass: Ari Marcopoulos

Queens College Special Collections and Archives recently acquired a curated box of over 60 zines from BlackMass Publishing that explore politics, jazz, religion, architecture and other themes. 

Sponsored by: Queens College Library Special Collections and Archives, the Queens College MFA Program, and Queens College Africana Studies, with the generous support of the Pine Tree Foundation of New York. Photo of collection by Annie Tummino.

For more info or to make an appointment to view the BlackMass collection, please contact qc.archives@qc.cuny.edu


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Reveal Digital Student Activism Collection

Special Collections and Archives (SCA) is pleased to announce that Queens College is now represented in the Reveal Digital Student Activism Collection. The completed collection will contain approximately 75,000 pages drawn from repositories around the country. The collection captures the voices of students across the great range of protest, political actions, and equal-rights advocacy from the 20th and early 21st century United States.  

Queens College Library was selected to participate in this project based on the richness of its student activism materials. SCA carefully collated and packed approximately 600 items and sent them off to Reveal Digital to be scanned and cataloged. The Queens College collection includes student publications created by Black and Latinx students, as well as papers from the collections of alumni Mark Levy, Harvey Silver, Elliot Linzer, Michael Wenger, Andrew Berman, and Phyllis Padow-Sederbaum, and faculty members Michael Wreszin and Oscar Shaftel. Issues such as academic and student freedom, civil rights, high school organizing, and the anti-war movement are well represented. 

The mission of Reveal Digital is to develop Open Access primary source collections from under-represented 20th-century voices of dissent, crowdfunded by libraries. Collections are made available through JSTOR, a database that provides access to more than 12 million journal articles, books, images, and primary sources.  

To learn more about Queens College Special Collections and Archives, book a research appointment, or inquire about instruction sessions, please email QC.archives@qc.cuny.edu. 


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Special Collections & Archives Launches Research Fellowship

In late 2021, James J. Periconi donated his collection of Italian-language American imprints to Queens College Special Collections and Archives. Lovingly curated over multiple decades, the collection consists of over 500 items that provide unique insight into what Italian immigrants to the United States were reading, writing, and thinking about at the end of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries.  

Thanks to library cataloger Ronnie Gomez, the Periconi collection is now fully cataloged and open for research.  What’s more, the Queens College Library, in collaboration with the John D. Calandra Italian American Institute, has launched a research fellowship program that will defray costs for a scholar to conduct research with the collection over a period of two to four weeks.  

The collection can be browsed through the CUNY OneSearch catalog or on a curated website that includes images and essays. Research fellowship applications are due by May 3, 2023 (extended from April 2). This program is generously funded by James J. Periconi.  Details are posted below.

Research Fellowship details and logistics

Scholars receive a stipend of between $2500-$4500 to defray travel costs, depending on budget and length of stay. The stipend is provided once the scholar is in-residence. 

Scholars are expected to be in residence for a period of two to four weeks between July 1, 2023, and June 30, 2024. Dates must be arranged with Special Collections and Archives well in advance.  

All research will take place at the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library Building, Queens College, City University of New York, during normal business hours. 

During the summer months, on-campus housing may be possible just steps from the library. Detailed information upon request. 

Scholars at all stages of their careers from the U.S. or abroad may apply. Accepted applicants from outside the U.S. are required to obtain a J-1 visa

Fellows will have opportunities to interact with the Calandra Institute and associated scholars at The City University of New York, as well as James J. Periconi.  

Fellows are expected to share their research in-progress through a virtual discussion hosted by the Calandra Institute within six months of their visit. 

Applications for the 2023-2024 fellowship are due by May 2, 2023 (extended from April 2).

Applications must include: 

  • A brief biographical statement of not more than 350 words 
  • An overview of the proposed project, and how access to the Periconi Collection will aid the research process (3 pages maximum) 
  • A current resume or CV
  • One letter of reference
  • One-page budget and proposed length of research visit (between 2-4 weeks) 

Submit applications with Subject Line “Research Fellowship Application to” qc.archives@qc.cuny.edu by end-of-day on May 3, 2023. Applications will be judged by a committee of reviewers.  

Treasures from Special Collections & Archives: Black History Month Edition

In Celebration of Black History Month, this month we share an item from our digital shelves: an oral history with Nathaniel Smith.

Nathaniel Smith is Director of NYC Men Teach at Queens College, CUNY. The interview was conducted by former staff member Obden Mondésir over Zoom in two parts, in November and December 2020. In the interview, Smith talks about his early childhood, family, and education throughout his life. He also touches on Hurricane Katrina, the organization of the BLFSA (the Black & Latinx Faculty & Staff Association) at Queens College, and the lockdown at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this clip, Smith discusses the work of the BLFSA on campus after the murder of George Floyd:

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.


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Queens College Library: #ColorOurCollections  

From February 6-10, 2023, libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions around the world are sharing free coloring sheets and books based on materials in their collections. Sponsored by the New York Academy of Medicine, the initiative is a wonderful way to publicize unique holdings and create new uses for public domain materials. Please download, print, and share your favorites

Here at the Queens College Library, members of the Special Collections and Archives and Web and Digital Services units teamed up to create a coloring book based on illustrations from the text Pepper and Salt or Seasoning for Young Folk (Harper Brothers, New York, 1885). The item is one of several hundred in our rare juvenile literature collection.

Please share your coloring on social media using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections and make sure to tag @qclibrary and @queenscollegearchives on Instagram and @LibraryQc on Twitter! 


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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/