This month’s reading room exhibit in the Special Collections Research Center highlights a new SCRC acquisition: two zines by Erin Moore, a printmaker and designer from Conshohocken, PA, exploring the hand lettering used in lesbian periodicals in the 1970s through the 1980s. Their work can be found on Instagram at: @bugprints .
The zines focus on the hand lettering used for article titles and on covers. Moore created downloadable typefaces based on the hand lettering of these periodicals, and one of the zines includes six type specimen sheets based on hand lettering used in the periodicals, with the source of the typeface given on verso of sheet.
The periodicals featured in the reading room exhibit are original copies of ones Moore mentions in their zines. Ain’t I A Woman? was a bi-monthly “Midwest newspaper of women’s liberation,” published by the Iowa City Women’s Liberation Front Publications Collective in the 1970s. Lavender Vision was founded in the 1970s in Cambridge, Massachusetts, by the Media Collective, and was originally written and published by queer women and men, with half of the newspaper dedicated to lesbian issues and half to gay men’s issues. Eventually, the two halves split into two separate publications: Lavender Vision and Fag Rag. The Ladder was published by the San Francisco-based Daughters of Bilitis between 1956 and 1972, and was one of the first lesbian publications in the United States. Onyx, a San Francisco newsletter published from 1982 to 1984, focused on Black lesbian life and included articles, poems, personal ads, art, and photographs.
In earlier decades before the internet, printed publications were a primary source of community and communication among queer people. There was little money, support, or access to printing and distribution tools for the people who created these newsletters, newspapers, and magazines. However, the creators found ways around the significant obstacles they faced, and these publications were a lifeline for LGBTQ+ people seeking community and information. They also frequently boasted delightful design elements, artwork, and lettering–highlighted in this exhibit.
–Katy Rawdon, Coordinator of Technical Services, SCRC
This month’s pop-up exhibit in the Special Collections Research Center features the work of Samuel R. Joyner, an editorial cartoonist and teacher. He is among the small number of African American cartoonists in the United States. Born in 1924, Joyner graduated from the Philadelphia Museum School of Industrial Arts (now the University of the Arts) in 1948. He attended the Teacher Certification program at Temple University and taught graphics communications/silk screening at Rhodes Middle School and Edward Bok Vocational High Schools from 1971 to 1990. Samuel R. Joyner died on March 24, 2020.
This exhibit features historical documents and original cartoons from the Joyner Artwork Collection in the Special Collections Research Center and displays both his talent and his views about popular issue such as the civil rights struggle, social commentary, and black achievement. In addition to the Philadelphia Tribune, his cartoons appeared in major periodicals such as The Houston Sun, The Milwaukee Times, and the Messenger Magazine.
Hosted by the Academy of American Poets since 1996, the National Poetry Month celebration is one of the largest of its kind with poetry lovers, educators, and librarians around the world participating in its various activities and initiatives. Every year the AAP produces a special poster, and this year’s poster is designed by Arthur illustrator Marc Brown and features a line of poetry from the U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón. For more information, check out the Academy’s website.
In celebration of National Poetry Month, we are featuring a few poetry books and manuscripts that represent the myriad ways that poetry can be found in the Special Collections Research Center’s collections. The selections can be found in a single case, pop-up exhibit in the SCRC Reading Room on the 1st floor of Charles Library, and can be viewed in April, Monday through Friday, 8:30-5:30.
The exhibit includes an 1836 volume of John Milton’s poetical works from Temple’s rare book collection with striking mezzotint engravings by John Martin. From our Contemporary Culture Collection, there are three volumes of poetry by Black women published by an important Black Arts publishing house, Third World Press, based in Chicago. The selection includes a volume by Philadelphia native and Third World Press founder, Johari Amini. Also exhibited are examples of an illustrated fine press edition of nature poems from our extensive fine press/private press book collection. An artist book that incorporates poetry by Philadelphia book artist Alice Austin and two examples of poetry zines round out the various representative examples of poetry in print.
In addition to these published examples, we are also highlighting two manuscripts by poets Ree Dragonette and Galway Kinnell from our extensive manuscript and archival collections relating to poetry and poets. Ree Dragonette (1918-1979) was a New York-based poet in the 1960s and 1970s who regularly performed with musical accompaniment. The typed manuscript with manuscript additions of her “Concerto for Bass and Poet” is featured. The SCRC also has a small collection of drafts of a poem entitled “The pen,” a work by Galway Kinnell (1927-2014), and the first page of these collected drafts is exhibited demonstrating the creative process of a poet.
Happy National Poetry Month and please do stop in to learn more about the SCRC’s poetry collections.
The Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW) was established in Chicago in 1974 as a constituency group within the AFL-CIO. Gloria Steinem was one of the founding members. Philadelphia’s chapter was chartered in 1975. CLUW united a diverse body of women across a broad spectrum of organizations. Broadly speaking, it aimed to connect the feminist movement to the labor movement, advocating for women’s health and equal pay, as well as organizing women and increasing their numbers in union leadership as well as in politics everywhere.
Locally, the Philadelphia CLUW has worked on a variety of advocacy campaigns with labor unions and other community and interest groups to advance the joint cause of labor and women. CLUW lobbied for a national single-payer health care system, as well as a women’s health agenda in the Pennsylvania state legislature that included contraception coverage and continued access to legal abortion. It fought for mandated paid sick time in Philadelphia, which was realized in 2015. It has also fought against the privatization of schools and Social Security and other governmental benefits.
The March 2023 pop-up exhibit in the Special Collections Research Center reading room features the records of the Philadelphia Chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union Women, a recent donation to the Urban Archives. They complement a large body of records already in the SCRC that document labor and unions in Philadelphia, extending back into the 1800s. Other collections include International Ladies Garment Workers Union; United Saw, File, and Steel Product Workers of America; and the Harold Ash Papers. Many of these colections were acquired for the archives in the early 1980s during an two-year National Endowment for the Humanities-funded special initiative to acquire Philadelphia labor collections.
Writing in a largely white-dominated space, Black science fiction authors have been creating fantastical stories since the earliest days of the genre. From space opera to alternative history to time travel to imagined utopias, their stories critique social structures, explore issues of oppression, and imagine futures and alternate realities for Black people throughout the world—and beyond. A pop-up exhibit in the Special Collection Research Center‘s reading room for the month of February 2023 highlights several Black science fiction authors using materials from theSCRC’s collections, including the Paskow Science Fiction Collection.
Martin Delany (1812-1885)
Martin Delany was an abolitionist, author, journalist, physician, Civil War soldier, and one of the most important African American political leaders of his time. Delany’s Blake; or The Huts of America: A Tale of the Mississippi Valley, the Southern United States, and Cuba, is considered to be the first work of science fiction written by an African American author. The story, an alternate history and utopian speculative fiction narrative, was published in multiple parts between 1859 and 1862. The novel as it is now known is unfinished, since the final parts were supposedly published in the May 1862 issue of the Weekly Anglo-African, and no known copies of that issue exist. Harvard University Press published a book version of the story in 2017.
The exhibit features Delaney’s Official Report of the Niger Valley Exploring Party. In 1859, Delany led an African American exploring party to the Niger Valley, seeking a possible location for a new Black nation of African Americans.
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825-1911)
Frances Harper was one of the leading Black woman poets of the 19th century, as well as an abolitionist, suffragist, speaker, and teacher. Her 1892 novel Iola Leroy was another early African American utopian speculative story.
The exhibit includes a copy of Harper’s Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects.
Samuel R. Delany (1942- )
Samuel Delany is a science fiction writer, memoirist, and literary critic. His work has won multiple Hugo and Nebula awards. Delany has taught literature and creative writing at multiple universities, including at Temple University from 2001 to 2015.
Octavia E. Butler (1947-2006)
Octavia Butler was one of the most important science fiction authors of the twentieth century. She won both the Hugo and Nebula awards multiple times, and she was the first science fiction writer to win the MacArthur Fellowship “Genius Grant.”
The exhibit includes photographs of Octavia Butler at the Inconjunction convention, Indianapolis, Indiana, July 1988, her first published story, “Crossover,” and her novel Kindred. “Crossover” appeared in the 1971 Clarion Writers’ Workshop anthology. Clarion : An Anthology of Speculative Fiction and Criticism from the Clarion Writers’ Workshop, Robin Scott, editor.
Butler’s novel Kindred, perhaps her best-known story, is a time travel narrative in which the heroine, a Black woman named Dana, and her husband, a white man, travel back and forth through time to and from a Maryland plantation.
SCRC’s first edition copy of Kindred (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1979) is inscribed by Butler “To Bea + Aubrey, Thanks for the complements, Octavia E. Butler,” and includes a program from “A tribute to Octavia E. Butler” held June 5, 2006, at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, as well as an advertisement for the tribute and a newspaper clipping of the New York Times obituary for Butler, dated March 1, 2006.
Rasheedah Phillips is a Philadelphia activist, artist, author, and housing attorney at Community Legal Services. She founded the Afrofuturist Affair, a science fiction and Afrofuturism community; is co-founder with Camae Ayewa of the Black Quantum Futurism (BQF) artistic collective; and is a founding member of the queer science fiction collective Metropolarity. She is a graduate of Temple University (2005) and Temple University’s Beasley School of Law (2008).
This exhibit includes a copy of Style of Attack Report (Philadelphia: Metropolarity, 2016) and The Telescoping Effect: Part 1 (Philadelphia, Pa.: AfroFuturist Affair, 2017).
–Katy Rawdon, Coordinator of Technical Services, SCRC
David Loeb Goodis was born in Philadelphia on March 2, 1917, and died on January 7, 1967. He was an author and screenwriter of noir crime fiction, creating short stories, novels, and screenplays.
Goodis was the oldest child of William and Mollie Halpern Goodis, both with Russian-Jewish emigrant roots. Goodis graduated from Simon Gratz High School in 1935. He then attended Temple University and graduated in 1938 with a degree in journalism. Goodis resided in Philadelphia, New York City, and Hollywood during his professional years.
Goodis’s first published novel was Retreat from Oblivion (1939). François Truffaut filmed Goodis’ 1956 novel Down There as the acclaimed Shoot the Piano Player (1960).
In 1965, Goodis sued United Artists-TV and ABC for $500,000, claiming copyright infringement. He said the movie The Fugitive was based on his 1946 novel Dark Passage. Although Goodis died before the case could be settled, the lawsuit continued to make its way through the courts. Goodis’ main beneficiary had also died, so the Goodis estate agreed that the case only had nuisance value and accepted $12,000 to settle. The case is still regarded as a landmark decision in intellectual property rights and copyright law.
Goodis has become a noir icon, supported by a group of devotees who founded and sponsor NoirCon, a “literary conference devoted to the dark, elusive, and seductive areas of art and life.” Around the date of his birth or death, the group also organizes a tour of Goodis-related sites in Philadelphia.
John Dowlin used the bicycle as a means of political, diplomatic, and environmental activism. In 1974, after recently relocating to Philadelphia, he co-founded the Greater Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition. Dowlin and the Coalition saw the bicycle as a viable, cheaper alternative to the car and the answer to environmental concerns, as well as traffic and congestion issues in the City. With a goal to increase bicycle ridership, they pushed for accommodations for bicycles on all public transit, including buses, trains and even planes, and safe bicycle lanes on city streets and even the Benjamin Franklin Bridge.
Dowlin was director of the Bicycle Parking Foundation, founder of the international Bicycle Network, and editor of Network News and the Cycle and Recycle reusable wall calendar. Internationally, Dowlin led Tour de Cana, bicycle touring in Cuba and Latin America, and was president of Citizen Diplomats, ‘people-to-people’ diplomacy in Cuba. In the 1980s, Dowlin participated in Bike for Peace, during which he and other bikers rode together from Leningrad to Washington, DC. He was also an active neighbor in West Philadelphia’s Powelton Village. Together with Drexel University and the Powelton Village Neighbors Association, he worked on the Westbank Greenway Project to improve the Schuylkill River banks in West Philadelphia.
A small selection of John Dowlin’s papers documenting his work is on display in the Greenfield Special Collections Research Center Reading Room, Charles Library, for the month of December 2022.
Dowlin, with the assistance of his daughter Debby, donated his papers to the SCRC in Summer 2020. Staff are preparing the collection for research use. Among his many projects, Dowlin also worked with Rick Shnitzler on Taillight Diplomacy, promoting the preservation and restoration of Cuba’s old cars. Shnitzler’s papers, also in the SCRC, were recently opened to research use.
Elaine Terranova grew up in Philadelphia, the daughter of Nathan and Sadie Goldstein, and studied at Temple University, graduating in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree in English. While working as a manuscript editor for J. B. Lippincott & Co., she attended Vermont’s Goddard College, earning a master’s degree in 1977. Her career shifted from editing to education, and she taught English and creative writing at Temple University until 1987.
Terranova developed a passion for writing poetry and began publishing her works while continuing to teach. Her poems have appeared in various publications including The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Ploughshares. She has also published several books of poetry, including The Cult of the Right Hand (Winner of the American Academy of Poets’ Walt Whitman Award for 1990), and Perdido, (2018) with the next, Rinse, is forthcoming in 2023.
On September 20, 2022, Temple Libraries was pleased to host a reading by Ms. Terranova, followed by a conversation between her and Rebecca Alpert, professor of religion emerita at Temple. Alpert was was among the first women in America ordained as a rabbi, at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in 1976. Her primary field of study is American Judaism in the twentieth century, focusing sports, race, and sexuality. View a video of that program.
On October 6, Temple University Libraries Book Club is discussing her memoir The Diamond Cutter’s Daughter, Princeton, NJ: Ragged Sky Press, 2021, about growing up in Philadelphia.
The Special Collections Research Center celebrates Ms. Terranova’s life and work with a pop-up exhibit in the reading room in Charles LIbrary. The exhibit, up for the month of October, presents a small sampling of material from her papers, which she donated to the Libraries in 2020.
The Special Collections Research Center is pleased to present our latest pop-up exhibit “Dog Days of Summer in Philadelphia, 1928-1981.” This fun and whimsical exhibit features items from the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin Photograph and News Clipping collections, the Urban Archives Pamphlet Collection, and the Newspaper Illustration Collection documenting how Philadelphians keep cool and have fun in the summer months. This exhibit was curated by student intern Abigail Boyer and will be on display in the SCRC reading room through August.
Philadelphia’s African-American population grew during World War II and in the decades that followed. Exacerbated by racial segregation, this population growth led to a severe housing shortage among the city’s Black population. In response, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Philadelphia Branch, and the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations led efforts to combat racial discrimination and segregation in housing. Records documenting these efforts are on display in the latest Special Collections Research Center pop-up exhibit in the reading room.
Fair housing efforts of this period at first focused mostly on appeals to principles of justice and fairness in order to reduce barriers to housing for African Americans. In the 1950s and 60s, Philadelphia became an epicenter for fair housing activism. Notably, in 1951 voters approved a Home Rule Charter, which banned discrimination in public employment, public accommodations, and housing. The new charter also created the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations (CHR), whose mandate was to enforce the charter’s prohibitions on racial segregation. Under Mayor Joseph Clark, the first Democrat to serve as mayor (1952- 1956) since the nineteenth century, the city instituted reforms on a wide variety of issues, including reforms aimed at fighting racial housing discrimination.
The CHR provided education about housing integration through publications, films, and neighborhood programs, a few of which are on display. Despite these efforts, racial discrimination, tension, and white flight continued. In response, the commission shifted its focus to crafting and supporting fair housing legislation more broadly at the local and state level.
The NAACP, Philadelphia Branch, under the leadership of Charles A. Shorter, also made important strides in extending civil rights during this period. Shorter led successful efforts to force department stores to hire black clerks, end segregated seating in Philadelphia theaters, and integrate the Philadelphia Real Estate Board and the Pennsylvania Parole Board, among other accomplishments in this era. In 1953, the Philadelphia Branch was awarded the Thalheimer Award, the NAACP’s top award given to branches for outstanding achievements.
Included in this pop-up exhibit are a selection of items from the NAACP, Philadelphia Branch Records, the Urban Archives Pamphlet Collection, and clippings and photographs form the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin Photograph Collection documenting efforts by CHR and the NAACP Philadelphia Branch to combat housing segregation and white flight during the economic and demographic changes of the post-war years in Philadelphia.
–Josue’ Hurtado, Coordinator of Public Services, SCRC