About Special Collections Staff

Swem Library’s Special Collections Research Center is a learning lab for students, much like a science lab, except the raw materials we offer for your experimentation and observation are original manuscripts, photographs, rare books, sheet music, maps, and other unique or rare treasures documenting humanity’s history and culture.

Processing the Christopher Bram Papers

Movie poster for Gods and MonstersI recently processed the papers of Christopher Bram, a 1974 graduate of William & Mary and novelist.  His papers are regularly used in library instruction sessions for creative writing students, and having a more complete description will provide faster and easier access for both our researchers and staff.

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“Ever of thee, I’m fondly dreaming”

"Ever of thee, I'm fondly dreaming" cutout valentine, circa 1870s Scherenschnitte, meaning “scissor cuts” in German, is the art of paper cutting. The designs are frequently symmetrical, and are often used to create silhouettes and valentines. This European tradition was developed in sixteenth century Switzerland and Germany, and immigrants brought the designs to Colonial America in the eighteenth century. Paper cutting traditions also exist in many other cultures. For example, China’s paper cutting techniques, perhaps the world’s oldest, date from the sixth century.

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From Collection to Exhibit

Title Poster for Re-Mixing the Old DominionFor the past few months, we have been working to translate the W&M Hip Hop Collection into an exhibit titled Re-Mixing the Old Dominion: 35 Years of Virginia Hip Hop History and Culture. In addition to selecting the “stuff” to showcase the collection and the history of Virginia hip-hop, a completely different set of skills are also needed to create a successful exhibit. The process of creating an exhibit entails a level of organization, public writing, and display techniques that are different from curating and archiving a collection.

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