The Bigger Picture: Visual Archives and the Smithsonian
Category: Behind the Scenes
Recent discoveries about our Women in Science (WIS) demonstrate the ways our audiences are helping us add more stories to our collections.
As a part of our on-going Women in Science Wednesdays, Effie Kapsalis has highlighted the #groundbreaking efforts of women researchers, inventors, pilots, and professors. In the past months, we have featured “Mrs. Alfred Gibson,” Dora Jean Dougherty Strother (McKeown) and Fern P. Rathe. We have also extended our experiences in crowdsourcing, uncovering more about these women’s lives from our audiences - a seriously amazing outcome, indeed!
You may recall we’ve discussed our fantastic community contributions on Flickr. These efforts helped us identify portions of SIA collections, while refining our knowledge of Smithsonian history. Now, we are excited to turn the page of our collections stories and fill in more details of these Women in Science - with a crowdsourced introduction and more details about pioneering women and Wikipedia.
Introducing Mary Wallihan Gibson.
First, on August 28, we featured an UNKNOWN Woman in Science, “Mrs. Alfred E. Gibson.” We explained that we did not know the details of her name and life – and we asked for your help. By the end of the day, we had gathered information from you in our comments and in tweets with @Smithsonian – special thanks to Erin Ryan and Penny Richards for their sleuthing and deducing.
Mrs. Alfred E. Gibson is Mary Wallihan Gibson, who graduated from the University of Denver. After marrying Alfred E. Gibson in 1910, she settled in the Cleveland, Ohio area. Here she was an active member of Pi Beta Phi, organizing gatherings and sitting on committees. She helped organized and was the first president of the Cleveland Pan-Hellenic Association.
At the time of their 1938 win of the "grand award" from the Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation, Alfred and Mary were "president and stockholder, respectively" of the Wellman Engineering Company. Their prize was $13,941.33 for their paper on "Commercial Weldery." What an achievement – and now we can put a name to her success!
Working Women in Science into Wikipedia
We have continued work in increasing representation of these women and their achievements on Wikipedia. Here are more fascinating facts about three of our Women in Science:
Featured for Women in Science Wednesdays on August 21, Dora Jean Dougherty Strother is another masterful pilot, as well as a human factors engineer. She not only set records in helicopter flight and earned the first PhD in Aviation Science from New York University, she was also a B-29 Superfortress demonstration pilot. Prior to working with Bell Helicopter, Strother served with the Women AirForce Service Pilots (WASP) and registered command over 23 different aircraft. Furthermore, she and fellow WASP Dorothea Johnson Moorman learned to fly the cumbersome B29 bomber in 1944. The aircraft was a more robust version of the Enola Gay and was considered very dangerous, even catching fire midflight for Strother. Within a limited two-week demonstration period, Strother and Moorman proved the aircraft was safe and reliable for men to fly, then trained male pilots to fly it during World War II.
We also were able to nominate Dora Jean Dougherty Strother’s Wikipedia article for the Wikipedia main page section Did You Know? It was successfully featured on Monday, September 16, 2013. Based on that main page exposure, Strother’s Wikipedia article was viewed 3817 times in one day! Her story was also expanded through efforts of other Wikipedia editors.
Furthermore, we discovered that two of our WIS worked together at the University of Chicago in the department of Zoology! Marie Agnes Hinrichs ( August 7, 2013) was an Officer of Instruction as an Assistant, while Libbie Henrietta Hyman ( June 12, 2013) served as a Research Associate in Zoology in 1919. Hinrichs later went on to earn her doctorate and moved from Research Associate in Physiology (1931) at the University of Chicago to Associate Professor and Head of the Department in Physiology and Student Health at Southern Illinois University (1938).
A resounding "Thank You" to our readers for your help and enthusiasm. We look forward to sharing more of our collections stories with you and continuing to make discoveries together!
If you have more information to share about these women or other scientists we’ve featured, please let us know in the comments. You can also help SIA build and improve Wikipedia articles for these women and our wide-ranging collections.
Here at the Smithsonian we will have a number of events to celebrate Native American Heritage Month. In 1990, President George H. W. Bush declared the month of November National American Indian Heritage Month, which thereafter came to be referred to as Native American Heritage Month. The month serves as a time to pay tribute to the rich ancestry and traditions of Native Americans. So please join the Smithsonian and its National Museum of the American Indian in celebrating the culture, traditions, music, arts, dance, and ways of life of Native Americans with these events throughout the month of November. The following slideshow illustrates just a small portion of Native American related material held at the Smithsonian.
Blogs across the Smithsonian will give an inside look at the Institution’s archival collections and practices during a month long blogathon in celebration of October’s American Archives Month. See additional posts from our other participating blogs, as well as related events and resources, on the Smithsonian’s Archives Month website.
It Creeps! It Sticks! It Lurks! It Smells! It silently and terribly feasts on whatever is in its damp path! It dies . . . or does it? It may rise from the dormant state to live AGAIN!!! What is this all-powerful horror?
In what has become a joyously ghoulish tradition around here, we are proud to present this year's Horrid Hallowe'en Creature Feature, starring the terrible, creeping . . . MOLD. Well, it might be mold, or then again, maybe not. It might be alive, but maybe it is just dormant, or maybe its really quite dead, but can still hurt you. How do you know what it is? Is it black? Is it green? Is it purple, brown, or orangey-red?! This is a frequently asked question in our Collections Care Forum: whether a musty or "old" smell in their book or paper collections is a sign of mold, mildew, or foxing, how are they different, and most importantly, how can it be gotten under control or removed? Happily, supplementing our Forum answer, more and more resources are now available online to help you identify mold in your collections. While in the past, many of these have been written up in lengthy fact sheets, the web now allows us to share terrific images that characterize mold species typical to books and papers. Some of these sites show you how to safely use your senses and observations so that you may contact the right professional, or take steps to remediate the problem yourself - within proper safety guidelines.
In this slideshow, we present new additions to our Gallery of Horrors. We've taken the liberty of using the annoying movie franchise naming convention to name them in serial fashion, Mold I, II, etc. To see any of these in larger detail, simply click on the set to go through to the Flickr site, and do look for the mouseover notes and description - a director's commentary track, if you will.
In the related resources below, we point to some of our favorite sites for visual identification and learning more about safely dealing with mold in your collection. It is particularly thrilling that one is made possible through the auspices of the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation. Yes, that Stephen King. And he knows a thing or two about books and horror!
In celebration of Archives Month, tomorrow (Tuesday, October 29th) from 10am to 5pm ET, four archivists specializing in audio/visual material, photos, and digital objects (or electronic records), together with a paper conservator will be on the Smithsonian's Facebook page to answer questions about your own archives. Questions from our readers in the past have ranged from how to become an archivist, to dealing with mold, to preserving a recipe archive, to dealing with digital photo archives.
Here are the folks who will be on-hand to answer your questions:
Jennifer Morris is the Archivist at the Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum. She oversees archival processing, cataloguing, and reference services. She has an interest in the care and preservation of family papers and community archives. She earned a BA in Anthropology from the University of Maryland and a MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh.
Nora Lockshin is a Paper Conservator at the Smithsonian Institution Archives, and conserves physical objects and consults on preservation goals with archivists, collection managers, and curators at the Archives and throughout the larger Smithsonian archival and museum community. She runs the Smithsonian Center for Archives Conservation, a service and teaching laboratory of Smithsonian Institution Archives Collections Care team.
Michael Pahn is a Media Archivist, specializing in audio, video, and motion picture film, at the National Museum of the American Indian Archive Center, a position he has held since 2003. He has a BA in Anthropology from the University of Pittsburgh and an MLS from the University of Maryland.
Marguerite Roby is the Photograph Archivist at Smithsonian Institution Archives and manages several large photographic collections. Her work involves establishing intellectual and physical control over these collections as well as contributing efforts towards digitization and the management of digitized assets.
Lynda Schmitz Fuhrig, Electronic Records Archivist at the Smithsonian Institution Archives since 2005, specializes in preserving born-digital materials that include images, audio, video, websites, and email from across the Smithsonian. Her work involves using tools and creating methods that help digital objects remain accessible in the future.
We hope that you’ll join us on Facebook tomorrow, and we look forward to your questions! See other events happening at the Smithsonian related to Archives Month.
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