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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Special Collections and the Lemon Project Welcome Descendants of Solomon Northup

First Edition of Northup's Twelve Years A Slave, 1853In the summer of 2014, several descendants of Solomon Northup, whose story in slavery was depicted in the recent Oscar-winning movie, 12 Years A Slave, visited Swem Library to see the diary kept by Florence A. Barber, the daughter of Philip and Margaret Anne Stanton and granddaughter of Solomon Northup. At the end of the movie, it was Florence’s mother, Margaret Anne, who presents her first born, Solomon Northup Stanton, to her father.

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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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Phi Beta Kappa

Phi Beta Kappa Hall, 1926The first Phi Beta Kappa Hall was erected in 1926 to mark the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Phi Beta Kappa Fraternity, the first Greek letter fraternity, and to honor the 50 founders.  All but one were Virginians and with one exception were students the College.  Elisha Parmele of Connecticut was conducting a school in Virginia after his graduation from Harvard in 1778.  When he returned to the north in 1780 he took two charters, one for the Alpha of Massachusetts at Harvard and the other for an Alpha of Connecticut at Yale. These 2 branches were organized within 18 months and saved the fraternity from extinction.  The Alpha at William and Mary was forced to disband on January 6, 1781, when a British force began devastating the peninsula during the American Revolution.

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