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.

Prof. Yearwood moderated Grassroots Youth Activism

Watch our own Simone L. Yearwood, Deputy Chief Librarian, Associate Professor, as she moderates a discussion with QC Alum (Class of 2019) and newly elected New York Assemblyman (D) Khaleel Anderson on Grassroots Youth Activism as a bridge to elected office. Assembly Member Anderson, the youngest Black assembly member in New York State history, was elected to serve Assembly District 31 in Queens in the November 2020 election.

Watch Professor Yearwood moderate the discussion on YouTube:

Check out the Black History Month events on the YouTube Channel.

CUNY CHAPBOOK FESTIVAL

Dates: February 18, March 18, and April 15, 2021

“In an age when everything is never fast enough, the chapbook is a small anchor to the moment; it is a pause to read and relish,” says Kimiko Hahn, poet, professor, and one of the festival organizers.

The chapbook, a modest publication has had an impressive longevity dating from early printing press publications to today’s editions, whether stapled and photocopied, hand-lettered on hand-made paper, or digital. 

This three-day festival revives an earlier incarnation that took place at CUNY’s Graduate Center. Funded by the Executive Vice Chancellor Jose Cruz’s Office of Academic Affairs and the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library, the events are virtual and registration is open to the public.

Highlights include:

  • Keynote: Matvei Yankelevich, poet, translator and the executive director of Ugly Duckling Presse, will speak on “The Chapbook Then and Now.” He also recorded a video on how to make a chapbook, available on the website.
  • Musical performance: Cornelius Eady Trio will perform work whose lyrics are published in numerous chapbooks. 
  • Reading: Alicia Ostriker, N.Y. State Poet Laureate, will read from her chapbook Ideas of Order and Disorder, created just for the festival.  The presentation of this stellar hybrid collection will include her photographs. 
  • Panels include how to compile and chapbook and how to start a chapbook press.
  • Student reading: CUNY alumni from Brooklyn, City, Hunter, and Queens Colleges will read from their chapbooks.

The website also features an exhibition from the Library’s collection of chapbooks as well as a virtual Chapbook Fair. 

“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.

Library Faculty and Staff News

Library Events on Activism and Social Justice Continue

On October 6, Norka Blackman-Richards, Director of the Percy E. Sutton Seek Program at Queens College, moderated Fighting for the Future: Political Engagement and Student Leadership, a passionate and intellectually vibrant conversation that could not have come at a better time. We thank her and each of our panelists: Aysa Gray, Carmine Couloute, Siddharth Malviya, and Zaire Couloute, who shared their personal journeys as student and community leaders and their hopes and strategies for the future.

A recording of the event is available here.
 

This event was Part 2 of the library’s series How Can We Do Better: Creating a More Just and Inclusive World. We hope you join us on November 17 for the final program, which will focus on issues of power, representation, and inclusion in archives.  

Return of the Rare Books!

Did you know that the Benjamin S. Rosenthal Library is home to a collection of over 2000 rare books and manuscripts, the scope of which reflects the history of print culture over the past 600 years? Due to an unfortunate flood in the storage room where this collection was held, the materials became hazardous and were inaccessible for over a decade. Now, due to the generosity of Shirley Klein, a life-long bibliophile and loyal friend of Queens College, the entire collection has been remediated and will once again become an asset for the campus community.

Highlights of the collection include a 13th century manuscript copy of the medieval Persian poet Sa’di’s The Gulistan, 11 editions of Cervantes’ Don Quixote de la Mancha including the first edition printed in English in 1620, and three part-publications of Dickens novels including Dombey and Son (1848). There are over 600 titles of juvenile fiction from the late 19th to the first half of the 20th century, and many books autographed by the author, including some major ones, such as Graham Greene, Aldous Huxley, Virginia Woolf, Jack Kerouac, and José María Arguedas.

In December the books were taken offsite, where trained technicians used advanced HEPA vacuums, chemical treatments, and other specialized cleaning techniques to remove mold from each of the 2,500 books, rendering them safe for access. The collection was originally slated for return in April, but the library was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, on September 18th, the rare books made their triumphant return to Rosenthal, delivered to our brand-new, climate controlled storage space on nine pallets. 

Much work remains to be done to ensure that the collection is properly housed, shelved, and cataloged. For now, we celebrate the books’ return and express our gratitude to Shirley Klein for providing the library with resources needed to save the collection. Those who want a sneak peak can peruse digitized selections of more recent donations (unaffected by water damage) at https://www.jstor.org/site/queenscollegearchives/rarebooks/

Fall Library Programs Will Explore Racial, Social Justice

QC Library is pleased to announce How Can We Do Better? Creating a More Just and Inclusive Future, a series of online programs to be held this fall which focus on issues of racial and social justice and their connections to higher education.

The events will be broadcast live on Queens Memory’s Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/queensmemory/ They are free and open to all, and no advance registration is required.

Co-sponsored by the Center for Ethnic, Racial, and Religious Understanding [CERRU], Queens Memory COVID-19 Project of Queens College and Queens Public Library, the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Percy Ellis Sutton SEEK Program, and the Queens College Black Latinx Faculty Staff Association [BLFSA].

Schedule of Programs:

1. Black Lives Matter and Anti-racism in Higher EducationModerated by Queens College President Frank Wu. Tuesday, September 22 at 4PM.

2. Fighting For the Future: Political Engagement and Student Leadership. Moderated by Norka Blackman-Richards. Director, Percy E. Sutton SEEK Program, Queens College, CUNY. Tuesday, October 6 at 4PM.

3. Power and Oppression in the Archive: Building a Diverse Historical Record Through Oral History. Moderated by James Lowry, PhD. Graduate School of Library and Information Studies, Queens College, CUNY. Tuesday, November 17 at 4PM.

Image credit: Jules Antonio. Used under Creative Commons license: https://www.flickr.com/photos/julesantonio/49992664316/ 10 June 2020.