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Posts tagged: finding aids

Dec 05 2016

Who would have thought comic books could be a part of Special Collections?

Comic books are an important part of pop culture, and with so many movie adaptations being released, they are now more than ever. Some comics can be regarded for their aesthetic and literary value, as they are diverse medium in genre and artistic style. Comics certainly can be considered archival material, and now they are a part of NCSU Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center. The Douglas Ward American Comic Books Collection has been processed by the SCRC, so its contents are now open to be viewed and researched, and its collection guide can be found online.

The collection was donated by Mr. Douglas Ward, a resident of Wake County and an information technology administrator, and his gift encompasses a selection of 2,057 comic books, published between 1975 and 1999, as well as a set of trading cards and art pieces.

Popular series: Wonder Woman, Star Wars: X-Wing--The Rogue Squadron, Black Panther, Doctor Strange

The comics are from various comic book publishers, chiefly of the “Big Two,” Marvel and DC Comics, in addition to Dark Horse, Image, and other publishers and independent presses. These materials are chiefly superhero comics, but also present are dramatic works, science fiction and fantasy titles, horror comics, comedic series, literary adaptations, crime books, anthologies, movie and television tie-ins, and counterculture “alternative” comics.

A wide variety of art styles and subjects: Martha Washington Goes to War, Astro City, Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, Harlan Ellison's Dream Corridor, Sin City, The Maxx, Groo

The art styles vary from: the “pop” design typical in mainstream comics; abstract works; ones inspired by classic comic strip and cartoons; highly detailed, fantasy-themed art; ones inspired by classic illustrations; and minimalist line-drawings. Some comics’ covers were designed to be eye-catching and may be holographic, iridescent, embossed, textured, or foil.

Show-and-Tell display at screening of the documentary She Makes Comics

You can browse the collection’s comics and items in its online finding aid, and if you are interested in viewing any, you can request them via this form.

If you would like to read more SCRC postings about the Ward Collection, please visit Processing Comics at Special Collections and Collection Highlights on Display at ‘Focus on Comics’ Event Series. To discover more information on Special Collections’ archival collections, please visit our Collections Guides, or browse through our Rare and Unique Digital Collections.

May 17 2016

New Finding Aid for the Greenways Incorporated Records and Charles A. Flink Papers (Previously: Greenways Incorporated Records) is Now Available

NCSU Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center is pleased to announce that there is now a fully processed (and recently renamed) finding aid for the Greenways Incorporated Records and Charles A. Flink Papers.

This collection now contains more professional documents from, and about, Charles A. Flink, President of Greenways Incorporated. The Professional Papers and Publications series in the Greenways Incorporated Records and Charles A. Flink Papers allows researchers insight into the details of the professional life of a leading landscape architect.  Within the Professional Papers and Publications (1972-2014) series there are documents about awards that Charles A. Flink received over the years, articles and information about various greenways, and papers pertaining to the book he co-authored, Greenways: A Guide to Planning, published in 1993.

Final decision on art to use for the book Greenways: A Guide to Planning

Charles A. Flink started Greenways Incorporated, a landscape architecture firm that specializes in the development of greenways, in 1986. Greenways are paths that usually run along naturally occurring or already created man-made corridors and are designated for pedestrian use. There are multiple greenway collections at the NCSU Special Collections Research Center.

In addition to greenways in the United States, Charles A. Flink has worked on some international projects. His international projects are admired and he has been nationally recognized as well. In 1995 Charles A. Flink and Greenways Incorporated received an Environmental Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration for the innovative Swift Creek Recycled Greenway in Cary, N.C.

Plan for the Grand Canyon Greenway

The path, created out of recycled material, is an example of some of the local innovative work done by Charles A. Flink and Greenways Incorporated. Another famous trail he worked on is located away from North Carolina, the Grand Canyon Greenway in Arizona has become known nationally as it is part of a national park.

As is evident in this brief description, this collection possesses information on many different greenway projects. Please refer to the recently renamed, Greenways Incorporated Records and Charles A. Flink Papers for further information.

Feb 19 2016

Finding aid for Institute for Emerging Issues Records now available

NCSU Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center is happy to announce that the North Carolina State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues Records has been organized and arranged, and its finding aid is now available to view online.

The collection contains files and materials from the Institute of Emerging Issues, an organization that was founded to focus on non-partisan public policy in the enhancement of North Carolina’s long-term prosperity. Still successfully operating today, it seeks to educate and engage North Carolinians on new issues affecting the state’s economic competitiveness while encouraging advancement through collaboration. The Institute hosts several conferences, and is most well know for the annual Emerging Issues Forum, the most recent of which was held earlier this month at the Hunt Library.

The forum has hosted a number of notable speakers, such as Madeleine Albright, Erskine Bowles, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Michael Dukakis, Steve Forbes, Newt Gingrich, Al Gore, Sanjay Gupta, H. Ross Perot, Carl Sagan, and Governor Jim Hunt. Forum themes have included international economics, health, economic forecasting, education, and the environment.

Additionally, the printed programs for Emerging Issues Forums of past years have been digitized and are available to view on Special Collections’ Rare & Unique Digital Collections.

To discover more information on Special Collections’ archival collections, please visit our Collections Guides to examine our finding aids, or browse through the Rare and Unique Digital Collections to view our digitized materials.

Jan 12 2016

Introducing New Finding Aid for The William L. Flournoy, Jr. Papers

After a recent re-organization of the William L. Flournoy, Jr. Papers, 1968-2015, it is evident that Flournoy did a great deal more for Raleigh than improve bicycle recreation.

Bicycling has become an increasingly popular activity over the past decade.  In Raleigh, North Carolina cyclists will surely have enthusiastically noticed new additions to the greenway system, many of which have come about within the last ten years.  While the new expansions of the right-of-way passages are exciting, and could mean greater acceptance of using bicycles as a green alternative to cars, many people who utilize these trails may not be aware of how far back the planning for them goes.

Flyer for Bicycle Information, Raleigh, N.C., 1977 Can be Found in Box 1-5 Folder 5

In fact, the Raleigh greenway was an idea developed by a North Carolina State University graduate of the Landscape Architecture program in the 1970s.

William L. Flournoy, Jr. proposed “The Benefits, Potential, and a Methodology for Establishing the Capital City Greenway” in 1972 to the city council, as a Master’s student.  Once the plan was accepted Flournoy continued advocating for, and further expanding the Raleigh greenway operation.  Flournoy kept track of the development of the greenways and is still involved with them today.

Raleigh was one of the first cities, especially in the Southeast, to develop such an innovative system, as documented in a related collection, the Charles E. Little Papers, 1975-1990.  Little and Flournoy corresponded about the development of the greenway, and these interactions can be seen in both the Little papers as well as the William L. Flournoy, Jr. Papers.

However, in order to get a more in-depth look into the development of the Raleigh greenways, please view the newly organized William L. Flournoy, Jr. Papers, 1968-2015. While this collection includes many interesting details about Flournoy’s involvement and development of the greenway plan, it also documents many other projects Flournoy was a part of over his career.

Letter from Ronald Reagan, 1981 Can be Found in Box 1-6 Folder 15

Flournoy worked on a number of things ranging from bicycle transportation and beverage container legislation, to the early implementation of the National Environmental Policy and State Environmental Policy Acts.  The Flournoy papers, and his career, range from the very local, including the development of Raleigh Comprehensive Plans and documents about the Duraleigh connector, to the national, with documents covering conferences on climate change and meetings about the Keep America Beautiful innitiative.  Anyone interested in recreation, open space preservation, or environmental and recreation-oriented nonprofits would be enlightened by the William L. Flournoy, Jr. Papers, documenting the career of a devoted civil servant.

Nov 16 2015

Introducing New Finding Aid for Raymond Leroy Murray Papers

Report from the 1975 International Astronautical Congress in Lisbon. Found in: Folder 11 Box 1-21.

Following an in-depth survey, organization, and rehousing of documents, a new guide to the Raymond Leroy Murray Papers is available on Special Collections Research Center’s website.  Including material dating from 1919 to 2011 and occupying more than 200 linear feet of shelf space, the collection documents the distinguished career of Dr. Raymond L. Murray, who headed the Department of Nuclear Engineering at North Carolina State University from 1963 to 1974 and contributed greatly to the study of nuclear power plants and nuclear waste management.

After studying physics at the University of California at Berkeley (including two courses from Robert J. Oppenheimer), Murray worked at Oak Ridge during World War II as a supervisor in uranium isotope separation production and as a senior physicist in nuclear criticality prevention. He completed his Ph.D. degree at the University of Tennessee in 1950 and began teaching at North Carolina State that same year. Murray assisted in getting the nuclear reactor built on North Carolina State’s campus in the 1950s and enhanced the education of future nuclear engineer students at NCSU, and across the country through his research and publications.  His collection contains early articles (earliest dates to 1935) and declassified government reports (earliest dates to 1919) from the field of physics, nuclear physics, and engineering.  The collection also documents Dr. Murray’s teaching career and his contributions to education through the drafts of the editions of his textbooks, such as Nuclear Energy and Understanding Radioactive Waste.

An illustration from a 1976 NASA Report. Found in: Folder 6 Box 4-17

This diverse collection contains material documenting a wide variety of topics ranging from the Manhattan Project to the development of curricula for teaching nuclear engineering, solar energy, the disaster at Chernobyl, the space program, recovery after Three Mile Island, and many others.  For more details, please view the finding aid here, along with this article from the College of Engineering


To request materials please look here:

Nov 02 2015

Ed Caram’s Photographs Captured Campus Life​ ​in the Seventies

Coach Norm Sloan cutting down the net after the 1974 NCAA championship win

The photographs of Ed Caram (BS, Horticultural Science, 1973) have recently been made accessible and discoverable.

Caram, a photographer for the Agromeck and Technician while a student at NC State, covered Wolfpack football, soccer, swimming, track & field, and basketball—most notably the 1974 NCAA Championship team that included David Thompson, Monte Towe, Tommy Burleson, and was coached by Norm Sloan.

Caram was also an important documenter of NC State’s campus, including the building of the original Talley Student Center in 1970, aerial photos of the soon-to-be demolished Harrelson Hall, and the Free Expression Tunnel when spray painting was first allowed.

For more information, read the full media release.  Please contact the Special Collections Research Center to view the collection.  Some images taken by Caram can be seen in NCSU Libraries’ Rare and Digital Collections.  Others are shown below.

Talley Student Center soon after opening, 1972

Coach Dean Smith confronted by Mr. Wuf

Protesters marching to the Capitol, 1972

Chancellor Caldwell at a parade

March to the Capitol, 1972

Sep 28 2015

Dr. Matthew Booker’s suburban history class meets with Special Collections

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!

Aug 31 2015

Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Records in Special Collections

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.

May 11 2015

Team Special Collections

By Rose Buchanan and Rachel Jacobson

We used a color-coordinated Excel spreadsheet to organize and share information about large collections.

There is a commonly held assumption that processing archivists work in dark, dusty rooms, all alone except for their precious manuscripts and their gray Hollinger boxes. Here at NCSU, however, processing archivists frequently collaborate on collections and divide the work between two or more team members. This is especially the case when a collection is very large and would take one archivist months to rehouse, arrange, and describe by him- or herself. With large collections, it is not unusual for a team of archivists to complete an initial survey of collection materials, decide together how to divide materials into series, and each process one or more series independently. The team periodically comes together to discuss their progress, interesting findings, and obstacles they encounter.

Since January, the Library Associates at the Special Collections Research Center have been collaborating on a particularly large collection: the Raymond LeRoy Murray Papers, a collection that is nearly 300 linear feet. Murray was a physics professor in the Nuclear Engineering Department at NC State University and was instrumental in establishing and operating the University’s nuclear reactor. His papers include research and teaching materials, publications, correspondence with professional organizations and other scientists, and software and programming materials. As the Library Associates have found, processing these papers together is challenging in some ways, but advantageous in others. The lists below outline some of the pros and cons of processing large collections in teams.


  • Collections are processed more quickly.
  • Archivists can bounce ideas about arrangement and description off of each other.
  • Archivists do not feel as anxious as they would if they were expected to process nearly 200 cartons of material alone.


  • Archivists working on individual series may have difficulty visualizing the collection as a whole and where the series they are working on fits into it.
  • Archivists may use inconsistent naming conventions or styles when labeling folders and creating finding aids.
  • Team members must be conscientious of each other’s work style and speed.

Overall, working together to process a large collection is the best option to ensure that things get done in a timely manner. That being said, how can archivists overcome some of the challenges that team processing can present?

Here are some of the guidelines we have for ourselves as we work in a team:

  1. Make sure to communicate with team members. Information found in one series may illuminate materials placed in another series. Sharing this information with each other will promote a richer, more integrated finding aid.
  2. Be flexible. Ordinarily, there is a method behind people’s madness!
  3. Be willing to share work. Remember, you are processing this collection together. Although you may work more closely with a specific series than other team members, that series does not become “yours.”
  4. Help your colleague if he or she needs it. Processing is not a race. You do not score points for finishing a series before your team members or for letting team members struggle.

Using these strategies, processing archivists can successfully collaborate with each other on large collections and make those collections more accessible for researchers as a result.

For a guide to the collection as it was initially received by Special Collections, go to the Raymond LeRoy Murray Papers, 1948-1993. For information about the current status of this collection, please contact Special Collections.

Feb 16 2015

Professor Meredith Davis: Design Education Leader

Davis designed this poster and others for the Virginia/North Carolina Power Company's Safety Series.

When asked about design education, Professor Meredith J. Davis is not one to mince words. As she once said in an interview for ID magazine, “One of the things missing in most foundation [design] programs is the development of an attitude of inquiry. We give students these lifeless exercises as though they were real problem-solving activities… We fail to link these abstractions to reality because the real world is messy and ugly and doesn’t fit the formal considerations we’re interested in.”

Yet, Davis has not let the messiness of the world stand in her way of improving design education, and her efforts are well documented in the NCSU Special Collections Research Center’s recently processed collection, the Meredith Davis Papers, 1975-2014. Davis taught for over a decade at Virginia Commonwealth University before coming to NC State in 1989. She has been here ever since, serving for ten years as the chair of the Department of Graphic Design (now the Department of Graphic Design and Industrial Design), and four years as head of the interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Design program.

In fact, Davis was one of the early advocates of Ph.D. programs in design. As she stated in another interview for ID magazine, “One of the characteristics that distinguish a profession from a trade is a segment of practice devoted exclusively to research. Design is now developing such practices, and there are students for whom this kind of work is very appealing.”  In her former roles as the president of the American Center for Design and the founding president of the Graphic Design Education Association, Davis led national efforts to promote more Ph.D. programs in design.

Meredith Davis designed "In Bondage and Freedom," an exhibition catalog, for the Valentine Museum in Richmond, VA.

Apart from higher education, Davis is also interested in the ways in which design can be used in educational reform efforts in K-12 schools, and the relationship between design and cognition. The Meredith Davis Papers contain examples of Davis’s published research on these topics, as well as presentation materials from the more than 140 lectures she has delivered nationally and internationally during her career. The collection also features the two interviews cited here and samples of Davis’s design work from the 1980s when she was principal in the graphic design firm, Communication Design. Many of Davis’s designs, including the safety brochure series for the Virginia/North Carolina Company (see above), have won awards on the national and international levels. The Meredith Davis Papers contain a number of these awards as well.

For all of her hard work, however, Davis does not appear to be stopping any time soon. She is contributing chapters to several graphic design textbooks that will be released in 2015, and she is currently under contract for a new book of her own that will be released in 2016. For now, though, researchers interested in her work and career can view the online finding aid for the Meredith Davis Papers here, or contact the Special Collections Research Center staff for more information.