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By: Virginia Ferris

Women students and faculty have been making their mark on the STEM fields at NC State since the early 20th century.  We’ve highlighted a few of these women below.  Learn more about the legacy of women in STEM at NC State by exploring our Historical State timeline and our collections!

Mary Elizabeth Yarbrough, 1927.

Mary Elizabeth Yarbrough was the first woman to receive a master’s degree from NC State. Dr. Yarbrough was the daughter of Louis T. Yarbrough, a member of the first class to graduate from NC State (then NC A&M). A graduate of Meredith College, she earned an M.S. in chemistry from NC State in 1927 – the first year the college awarded degrees to women.  You can learn more about Yarbrough’s life and legacy in the Mary Yarbrough Papers.

Instructor Peele Johnson, Virginia Powell of Smithfield, NC, and Caddie Walker of Burlington, NC, studying engineering drawing in defense training, 1942.

The students in the photo above were part of a group of eighteen women who were awarded fellowships by Pratt and Whitney Aircraft to receive engineering training at NC State College during World War II. Pratt and Whitney committed to employ the women as engineering aides after they successfully completed the 48-week course. NC State was the only school in the South selected for the fellowships.

Frances Richardson, 1950s.

Frances M. Richardson was the first woman to join the School of Engineering faculty at NC State in 1951. She was a research associate in North Carolina State University’s Department of Engineering Research from 1951-1980, served as associate director of NCSU’s Engineering Operations Program from 1980 to 1983, and joined the faculty of the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering in 1990. Her research focused on the areas of fluid mechanics and infrared imaging thermography. In 1979, she was elected the first president of the Society of Women Engineers, North Carolina Section, and she is a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemists.

Civil engineering student Emily Brown with surveying equipment, 1951.

Emily Brown Blount of Fayetteville, NC, became the first female student to receive a B.S. in civil engineering from NC State in 1953, and received a profession degree in civil engineering in 1954. She entered a discipline dominated by male students at faculty and entered NC State at a time when relatively few women students were enrolled and the idea of welcoming female students was not universally accepted, as seen in this 1952 article in the Technician. Blount went on to become the first female licensed Professional Engineer in North Carolina in 1960, and in 2007 she was inducted into the North Carolina Transportation Hall of Fame.

Katharine Stinson with students, 1970s.

Katharine Stinson was the first woman to graduate from NC State’s School of Engineering, earning a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree, Aeronautical Option. Stinson was taking flying lessons at the old Raleigh Airport on US-401 when Amelia Earhart flew in for a visit in the early 1930s. When Stinson told Earhart that she wanted to become a pilot, Earhart advised her to become an engineer, a career Stinson pursued in spite of obstacles that prevented most young women from striving for such a degree.  Stinson went on to become the first woman engineer hired by the Civil Aeronautics Administration, now the Federal Aviation Administration, and was a lifelong advocate of women in Engineering and the STEM fields.  Learn more about Stinson’s legacy in her the Katharine Stinson Papers.

Student Angela Skelton at scanning electron microscope, 1974.

Carolyn Hunt, wife of Governor Jim Hunt, working in a testing lab in the College of Textiles, circa 1965.

Research Assistant Elizabeth M. Whitener placing slide in Norelco Diffraction Analysis Apparatus in Engineering Research x-ray laboratory, 1956.

Undergraduate student in Agriculture at microscope, working on a research project with Dr. Nusbaum and Dr. Bostian, 1966.

By: Gwynn Thayer

The Special Collections Research Center continues to scan new materials in order to improve access to its rich collections. We are pleased to share some new scans of the Dorton Arena that were taken during its construction. The images are a part of the James L. Brandt Papers, which include materials that belonged to (and were also collected by) NCSU Design graduate James Lewis Brandt. Brandt worked for architect G. Milton Small and retired in 1991. To explore more of our digital resources, click here.

By: Gwynn Thayer

Dr. Matthew Booker’s HI 491-002 class (Suburban Nation: Suburbs in American History) recently met with Special Collections and took a “deep dive” into some of the Landscape Architecture/Greenways collections. The course is the capstone research seminar for History majors at NCSU, and one of their primary goals is to produce a well-designed, well-researched, and original research paper. The students are learning how to use Special Collections archival materials as they develop their paper topic. Collections that are proving to be of special interest include the Lewis Clarke Collection as well as the William L. Flournoy, Jr., Papers. We’ll keep you posted as students continue to explore the collections during the research process!

By: Laura Abraham

If you pass through the NC State Brickyard this week, and see all the make-shift houses set up there, then you know that it’s the Shack-A-Thon! The Shack-a-Thon is an annual event held in the fall, where NC State students raise money for Habitat for Humanity while staying all week in the structures they’ve built.

While we wish everyone the best of luck (and clear weather) for the fundraiser, here are some images from NCSU Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center’s Edward T. Funkhouser Photographs Collection of Shack-a-Thon houses from past events.

If you would like to learn more about the Special Collections Research Center and our digitized materials, please visit NCSU Libraries’ Rare and Unique Digital Collections, which provides access to thousands of images, video, audio recordings, and textual materials documenting NC State history and other topics.

By: Gwynn Thayer

Last week was a busy week in Special Collections – two Graphic Design classes, GD 231 and GD 203 (taught by Russell Flinchum and Deb Littlejohn, respectively) reviewed a large selection of books with interesting design components.

GD 231, History of Design for Engineers and Scientists:

Russell Flinchum shared some background on this course:

During July 2015 I had a very special opportunity to spent a month at Drexel University in Philadelphia at a NEH Summer Institute on “The Canon and Beyond: Teaching the History of Modern Design.” With my 26 classmates, I had the chance to visit a number of special collections, including the Hagley Museum and Library, where Dr. Regina Lee Blaszczyk, Leadership Chair in the History of Business and Society at the University of Leeds, took us on an impressive journey on the role of color in 19th century design (her 2012 book, The Color Revolution, is highly recommended). Reggie’s workshop had clued me in to the extensive network of publications focused on color research and standardization and I was able to show my students the Hoechst Company’s impressive volume on Cotton Dyeing as an example of the primary materials that Professor Blaszczyk had worked from.

For the GD 231 class, Special Collections selected volumes on the early applications of electricity, mechanical engineering, supply catalogs, and other books that showed Flinchum’s students what “the state of the art” was over a century ago and how information-rich that environment was.

GD 203, History of Graphic Design:

The students in Littlejohn’s class had a large list of books to select from, such as this perennial favorite by  E. A. Seguy. While studying their books, the students will consider some of these questions, all provided by Dr. Littlejohn:

In the first (subjective) part, think about and write about your experience with the book, such as:

What is my first visual impression of the book?
What is the physical nature of the book? Size, weight, binding, paper
How do I sense the book? Look, touch, smell, hear (don’t taste!)
What about the physical nature of the book interests me?
What is interesting about the design? Typography? images? cover? layout? etc.

In the second (objective) part, research and answer some of these questions (all questions are unlikely to be pertinent to each book, choose wisely):

(everyone must answer this) Why is this book in the collection? Why is it important enough to collect?
What is this book valued for? (may be more than one thing) subject matter, author, design, age, writing, illustrations, printing, previous owners, where produced
Is this book mentioned in books about the history of books and printing? (Z 250 section of the library)
How does this book fit in with history? Printing history, art/design history, history of a discipline, etc.
Is this book an example of something special? a beginning, an end, a particular style, etc.
Is this book part of the development of something?
If there are important individuals involved in the book’s making, who are they?
Is this book connected with any other books in the collection? In a series, by the same author, by the same designer, about the same subject, etc. Does this add to its importance?

We look forward to working with these classes again next year!

By: Gwynn Thayer

Dr. Jayant Baliga, an internationally recognized leader in electrical and computer engineering, has donated his papers to the North Carolina State University Libraries. Lauded by Scientific American as one of the heroes of the semiconductor revolution, Baliga received this year’s Global Energy Prize.

In addition to being a distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering, Dr. Baliga is the director of NC State’s Power Semiconductor Research Center. Among his many accomplishments, he is perhaps best known for his invention of a power semiconductor device, the insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT), often used as an electronic switch in modern appliances, from electric cars to air conditioners to portable defibrillators. The IGBT, as he describes it, has had “a major impact on creating a sustainable world-wide society with improved living standards while mitigating the environmental impact.”

According to Dr. Louis A. Martin-Vega, Dean of Engineering at NC State, Dr. Baliga’s “groundbreaking scholarship and leadership have been instrumental in addressing major global societal challenges and helping the College of Engineering and NC State become a research powerhouse. Throughout his career, Jay has generously shared his expertise with our students and faculty so I am not surprised and very pleased that he has chosen to share his life’s work with future students and faculty through the NCSU Libraries.”

Baliga has received numerous awards during his distinguished career, some of which include the 2014 IEEE Medal of Honor, the 2011 National Medal of Technology and Innovation from President Obama, the 2012 North Carolina Award for Science, the 1999 IEEE Lamme Medal, the 1998 IEEE Ebers Award, the 1998 O. Max Gardner Award, the 1993 IEEE Liebman Award, the 1992 Pride of India Award (First Recipient), and the 2011 Alexander Quarles Holladay Medal for Excellence.

He is a Member of the National Academy of Engineering, the Electronic Design Engineering Hall of Fame, the Rensselaer Alumni Hall of Fame, the European Academy of Sciences, and he is an IEEE Life Fellow. Baliga has authored or edited 19 books and over 500 scientific articles and has been granted 120 U.S. Patents.

Baliga received his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering (1974) and his M.S. in Electrical Engineering (1971) from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. He spent fifteen years at the General Electric Research and Development Center, leading their power device studies. There, he received the highest scientific rank of Coolidge Fellow. Baliga joined NCSU in 1988 as a Full Professor and was promoted in 1997 as Distinguished University Professor.

His papers will be housed in the Special Collections Research Center at NCSU Libraries and include records from the Power Semiconductor Research Center—meeting documents, vendor information, software agreements, technical working group meeting reports, and related administrative files. Also included in his Papers are Electric Power Research Institute patent applications and other like materials.

The SCRC holds research and primary resources in areas that reflect and support the teaching and research needs of the students, faculty, and researchers at the university. By emphasizing established and emerging areas of excellence at NC State University and corresponding strengths within the Libraries’ overall collection, the SCRC develops collections strategically in order to support NC State’s growth as a world-class academic institution.

By: Laura Abraham

After its six-year renovation, the new Talley Student Union will have its official dedication ceremony held today, September 9, 2015. It’s an important event because the Student Union will play a big part in the spirit and heart of North Carolina State University, just as its past student unions and student centers have in the school’s history.

NCSU Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center has extensive information on the history of the University’s student unions and centers, much of it available to view online. To celebrate the occasion of new Talley’s dedication, here are some images of our student unions and centers, including the King Religious Center, the Erdahl-Cloyd Student Union, the (old) Talley Student Union, and the new Talley as it was under renovation.

If you want to learn more about NC State’s student unions and student centers, here is some more information:

Historical State Timeline on Student Unions and Centers
Special Collections News articles on University Student Center
Video of interview with former Student Body President Cathy Sterling on “The Transformation of the Student Union”

To discover more information on Special Collections’ archival collections, please visit our Collection Guides, or browse through our Rare and Unique Digital Collections.

By: Laura Abraham

The Division of Student Affairs, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Records, has recently been processed by NCSU Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center, and the updated  collection guide can be found online.

Talley Student CenterThe North Carolina State University, Division of Student Affairs, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Records contain correspondence, reports, memoranda, committee meeting notes, and artifacts from the office of Evelyn Q. Reiman, former Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, with a date range from 1955 to 2012.

The organization had the mission statement to provide “programs and services for students and the larger community to enhance quality of life, facilitate intellectual, ethical and personal growth, and create a culture which engenders respect for human diversity.” It is comprised of Business and Planning for University Student Centers, Campus Activities (including Parents’ and Families Services, the Student Organizations Resource Center, the Union Activities Board, and Witherspoon Cinema), the Center for Student Leadership, Ethics and Public Service (including the Chaplains’ Cooperative Ministry, Student Government, and Student Media), and the Office of Student Conduct. As of 2012, the Division of Student Affairs  has been transformed into the The Division of Academic and Student Affairs.

To discover more information on Special Collections’ archival collections, please visit our Collections Guides, or browse through our Rare and Unique Digital Collections.

By: Linda Sellars

A few of the topics discussed in Cleveland

SCRC staff attending the Society of American Archivists (SAA) annual meeting in Cleveland last week shared information about our work and had opportunities to learn about what’s going on in other repositories and the larger archives world.

Eleanor Brown, Head of Special Collections, told the Science, Technology and Healthcare Roundtable about “New Directions and Multi-Disciplinary Partnerships in Preserving the History of the Genetic Engineering and Society Center at NCSU.” This presentation focused on our innovative approach to documenting and archiving existing and emerging scientific technologies through video oral histories, which will be available on the World Wide Web. Roundtable members heard from other presenters about a project in which members of an undergraduate English class at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill used medical instruments from UNC’s Health Sciences Library to complete a material culture blog post assignment and an update on the Medical Heritage Library, a digital curation collaborative among some of the world’s leading medical libraries to promote free and open access to quality historical resources in medicine.

Digital Program Librarian Brian Dietz spoke about “Collecting Practices for, and Perceived Research Value of, Social Media Data’” at SAA’s Research Forum, a day devoted to reports on and discussions of research initiatives with relevance for archives. Later in the week, Brian also spoke in an education session on arrangement, description, and access challenges and solutions for digital archives. In that session, Brian joined with archivists describing efforts at the University of Delaware, Penn State, UCLA and Emory, to develop ways to make born digital material available to researchers.

University Archivist Todd Kosmerick participated in a session on “What’s In the Box? Caring for Unusual Materials in Collections.” Todd described our housing of electric guitars and anesthetic darts used by zoo veterinarians. Nine other archivists described experiences dealing with other unusual materials found in collections, including nitrate negatives, mercury, live radium, and human remains. Presenters discussed various aspects of caring for these materials, including preservation, disaster planning, and safety, legal, and ethical considerations.

Linda Sellars, Head of Technical Services for Special Collections, spoke to the Collection Management Tools Roundtable about Steady, a tool developed by Jason Ronallo in our Digital Library Initiatives department, which makes it possible for us to import pre-existing container lists into our collection management software with minimal editing and so then quickly publish a collection guide on the web. Presenters at this meeting shared “simple solutions” to common collection management tools problems, including “DAOs for Mass Digitization” (Andra Darlington, Getty Research Institute), “Excel and EAD” (Mark Custer, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University), and “Managing Collections (for now) through Open XML” (Gregory Wiedeman, M. E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University at Albany, SUNY).

Each of us could only participate in a small fraction of the meetings and events in Cleveland—the 70 education sessions; a day-long Research Forum; meetings of sections, roundtables, committees, task forces as well as other groups; and special events like a reception at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame—but we each came back with new knowledge, new connections with other repositories, and new ideas and techniques to improve our work here.

By: Laura Abraham

Hello new and returning students! We here at NCSU Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center want to welcome you to the new school year with images of NC State students from the University’s past.

For those unfamiliar with the Special Collections Research Center, we hold and manage the University’s archival materials, and we are located in D. H. Hill Library. We have a large digitized collection of Special Collections materials available online. This includes images of our students, who since the founding of NC State to today have shared the experience of settling in their dorms, attending classes, spending time with friends, and relaxing around campus.

We hope this school year goes wonderfully for you! If you would like to learn more about the Special Collections Research Center and our digitized materials, please visit NCSU Libraries’ Rare and Unique Digital Collections, which provides access to thousands of images, video, audio recordings, and textual materials documenting NC State history and other topics.