Archive for March, 2011

The Delzell Education Center sits where a small lake once existed?

According to the Dedication for the School of Education Building (1963),

Due to the type of soil it was necessary to drive 271 wooden pilings to a depth of about 35 feet. These wooden pilings, which are creosoted and approximately the size of large telephhone poles, serve to stabilize the soil and dsupport the building. The building rests entirely on these pilings.

Crazy, huh?

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Today we got a lesson in photography. Sarah, the digitization and photographs associate at USD, taught us how to use the Archives’ Pentax digital camera to take high-resolution photographs for our student projects. She introduced us to the camera and helped us figure out everything from changing the lens cover to setting the light manually. We struggled at first but, with practice, we became more comfortable with the camera. As you can see in these before and after shots, we went from major lighting issues to near perfection in no time!

before (photo credit: Hannah)

after (photo credit: Kelly)

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This article, published in Volume 7 of The Volante (Issue 3, December 1893, pp. 41-42), poetically describes the personal and philosophical significance of photography. The author E. Frank Peterson explains that as “we gaze upon that faded picture we forget our present environments, we live again in the blissful past, and again we pluck the coveted roses which Time has shorn of their thorns” (p. 41).

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Although I thoroughly enjoyed a restful Spring Break, I’ve decided it’s time to get back to work (and blogging) again. I chose the above photograph to kick start my return to the world of work, because its identification process could prove to be both fascinating and challenging. Obviously, one can tell from the subjects’ manner of dress that this photograph dates back to a pre-1900’s era. So I am not expecting anybody to have directly known any of the subjects, but there is always the possibility that someone has a copy of this photograph in their private/family collection. It is also important to note that this photograph is only a copy photograph, and the USD Archives does not have a copy of the original. It would be great to find the owner of the original photograph. If you have any information please leave a comment or contact the USD Archives and Special Collections.

–Information gathered from from the USD Photograph Collection, Series 3

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Are any of your favorite books set in an archives or a rare book library? Do they involve characters doing archival research? Here are a few of my favorite fiction books that feature archives or rare books.

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The Well-Tempered String Quartet was published in Germany in 1936 and in the United States in 1938. The book’s title may remind the thoughtful reader of the title of Johann Sebastian Bach’s eighteenth-century collection of preludes and fugues, The Well-Tempered Clavier. The reader would be correct in drawing such comparisons, as stated in the Translator’s Note: “The ‘Well-tempered’ of the English version was chosen after much deliberation, for its manifold appropriate implications, and with a thought of homage to the Father of Music and his ‘Forty-eight.'”

The book begins with descriptions of the joys of playing music, and potential ways in which a string quartet might come into being. The authors playfully remark upon readers’ potential doubts regarding the formation of string quartets, before reminding readers that all members of string quartets must meet one another somehow. Next are various descriptions of the temperaments that could be expected in each of the members of the quartet (a cellist, violist, and two violinists). Notably, each member of the quartet has somewhat of a secret ambition to be the star of the group. The authors have a great deal of fun elaborating on the likely personalities of string quartet members, before finally bringing readers to the conclusion that while each player may have a pet ambition, their strengths and weaknesses complement one another.

The authors go on to discuss at length practice techniques, performance tips, and ways to deal with various quartet-related problems that may arise (what to do if a member is absent, for example). This book is surprisingly cheerful and humorous, and provides quite a few interesting and/or useful suggestions for musicians who have any interest in quartet-playing.


Source:  Aulich, Bruno and Ernst Heimeran. The Well-Tempered String Quartet. Trans. D. Millar Craig. New York: The H.W. Gray Co., Inc., 1938. Print.

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The following article, published in the October 1893 issue of the Volante, describes the fire which destroyed Old Main (University Hall) on 15 October 1893.

The Fire, page 1

"The Fire" (p. 15)

The Fire, p. 16

"The Fire" (p. 16)

The Fire, p. 17

"The Fire" (p. 17)

The Fire, p. 18

"The Fire" (p. 18)

The Fire, p. 19

"The Fire" (p. 19)

The Fire, p. 20

"The Fire" (p. 20)

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