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Posts tagged: Special Collections

Jul 01 2013

NCSU Libraries Completes “Cultivating a Revolution”

The NCSU Libraries has recently completed a two-year project to digitize and make accessible over 40,000 pages of documents critical to understanding the history of agriculture in North Carolina.

“Cultivating a Revolution: Science, Technology, and Change in North Carolina Agriculture, 1950-1979” serves students, teachers, researchers, and the general public by documenting the development of modern agricultural practices and their economic impact across the state of North Carolina.  The industry currently generates $70 billion in value annually in the state. Drawing from thirteen different archival collections held by the Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center, “Cultivating a Revolution” provides primary source documentation and valuable historical information about the evolution of modern agricultural practices in North Carolina and the southeastern United States at large.

Highlights of the collection include drawings by Dr. William Johnson, Dr. William Splinter, and their graduate assistants in the College of Agriculture and Life Science of their designs for tobacco harvesters and bulk curing barns; correspondence with the international academic and business community regarding developments at NC State on bulk curing and mechanized harvesting of tobacco and other crops; and documentation of research into pesticide development, plant disease prevention, and genetic modification of crops.

In addition to the text and photographic materials, over one hundred and fifty 16mm films from the University Archives Film Collection and the Department of Biological and Agricultural Records at NC State are now available online.  The films include interviews with scientists, engineers, extension workers, and farmers who developed and applied innovative agricultural practices, as well as footage of the application of these practices around North Carolina. The films include interviews with the creators and users of the newly developed bulk curing barns in the mid-1960s, a visit to the NC State Dairy Farm in the 1950s, and test runs of sweet potato and cucumber harvesters at the university’s research stations.

The funds to support this work were awarded by the State Library of North Carolina and are made possible through funding from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

The “Cultivating a Revolution” website at provides more information on the project and links to the digitized materials. The NCSU Libraries’ Rare and Unique Materials website at also makes it easy to access the digitized materials from the project.

If you have questions or would like to learn more, please contact the Digital Program Librarian for Special Collections, Brian Dietz, at

Dec 07 2011

The Urge to Draw, the Cause to Reflect Opens at NCSU Libraries

Media Contact: David Hiscoe, NCSU Libraries,  (919) 513-3425

The NCSU Libraries is pleased to present The Urge to Draw, the Cause to Reflect: Drawings, Sketchbooks, Provocations, an exhibit that features over a decade of work by Marvin J. Malecha, dean of the College of Design at North Carolina State University and former president of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

Athena's Nest for Pegasus

Athena's Nest for Pegasus

The exhibit explores and embodies Malecha’s fundamental premise that the act of drawing—no matter the task at hand­—can release the innate powers of our own creativity, often bringing us to a state “when clarity is vividly present and understanding seems painfully obvious. It is a moment when all of the noise of extraneous considerations falls away and purpose is immediately before you.”  The exhibit taps deep roots at NC State, an institution where mechanical crafts have always been taught, valued, and practiced as catalysts for growth and creation.

Dean Malecha has had a multi-faceted career encompassing administration, education, research, professional service, and practice as an architect. After earning a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Minnesota and a Master of Architecture from Harvard University, he was dean of the College of Environmental Design at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, for twelve years before coming to NC State University in 1994.

In addition to his teaching and administrative work, Malecha has written several books on design and has maintained an active involvement with architectural practice through his work on a wide variety of projects—including the new chancellor’s residence under construction on NC State’s Centennial Campus. He is an Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) Distinguished Professor, was awarded the prestigious AIA/ACSA Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education in 2003, and served as President of the AIA from 2008-2009.

Ticino, near Lugano, 1998

Ticino, near Lugano, 1998

The exhibit reflects the strategies that produced Malecha’s recent book, The Urge to Draw, the Cause to Reflect: 100 Drawings and Reflections from Many Places, Times, and Spaces (NCSU Libraries Publications in collaboration with the NC State College of Design, 2011), in which a combination of sketches, evocative quotations, and short, impromptu notes or essays intermingle to capture the creative process at work. Always working with a drawing pad close by, Malecha shows how the notepad at hand in travels ranging from Hong Kong to Minnesota is integral to his practice as an architect and educator.  Both his book and the NCSU Libraries’ exhibit ask each of us to “Draw what you see. Draw to understand.  Draw to enhance your skill of seeing.  Draw to remember. . . . It will bring you an acute understanding of who you are.”

Visitors to the exhibit will quite literally be able to follow Malecha’s advice at two kiosks that invite them to draw what they see.  Facing D. H. Hill’s Conservatory and the landscape beyond, viewers at the kiosks are encouraged to add their own creative observations and experiments to the experience of the exhibit. Both traditional sketchbook and pencil and an iPad loaded with the Brushes app so brilliantly used by fellow artists such as David Hockney or Jorge Columbo will allow visitors to draw from life or from their own imaginations—either just for fun or perhaps to reach one of those moments “when clarity is vividly present and understanding seems painfully obvious.”

“I am so proud that the NCSU Libraries has been able to display Dean Malecha’s thought- and eye-provoking project,” says Susan K. Nutter, vice provost and director of the NCSU Libraries. “NC State excels in teaching our students to engage practical problems with a practical and inspired imagination.  Malecha shows us how to do it.   And the exhibit is not only a great entry point to scholars and the general public who aren’t yet aware of the tremendous cache of valuable architectural and design materials that the we hold in our Special Collections Research Center—its multimedia and immersive kiosks are a nice foretaste of the technology that will make our new James B. Hunt Jr. Library such a great place to showcase faculty and student work when we open it in early 2013.”  

The Urge to Draw, the Cause to Reflect will be open and free to the public in the D. H. Hill Library Exhibit Gallery during regular hours through December 31.  The exhibit was produced with generous support from the Goodnight Educational Foundation Library Endowment for Special Collections.

Sep 07 2011

Head of the Special Collections Research Center Appointed

M.J. Eleanor BrownThe NCSU Libraries is pleased to announce the appointment of M.J. Eleanor Brown as Head of the Special Collections Research Center, effective November 1, 2011. Brown will assume leadership of a special collections program that supports research, teaching, and learning with rich primary resources, comprising the archives of NC State, significant manuscript collections, and rare and unique books, photographs, architectural drawings, and digital resources.

Brown brings an outstanding and diverse background in special collections, along with a strong commitment to expanding access to primary resources in the curriculum. She is currently the Assistant Director for Programs and Services in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, as well as Curator of Digital and Media Collections at Cornell University Library. In these roles, she oversees archival processing, access to and preservation of electronic and born digital records, public services, and permission services. She manages and coordinates grant proposals, and has served as coordinator/curator for exhibitions, including “Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity: A Centennial Celebration,” and “Get Out the Vote: Presidential Elections.” She has been working extensively to facilitate access to the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art, a groundbreaking collection emphasizing digital interfaces and artistic experimentation. She served as a member of the Data Executive Committee and co-authored the report, Digital Research Data Curation: Overview of Issues, Current Activities and Opportunities for Cornell University Library.

At Cornell, Brown previously served as Head of Program and Project Management, and as Technical and Digital Services Archivist. Earlier, she held a series of positions at the National Archives of Canada including Photo Archivist, Project Officer, and Project Coordinator for the Canadian Memory Digital Access Projects.  Her professional activities include service on three Research Library Group (RLG) working groups and presentations at various conferences including “The Life Cycle of Archival Information,” at the Digital Library Federation Fall Forum, and “Web Design for Digital Collections,” at the Mid-Atlantic Region Archives Conference. She has published several articles in The Archivist – Magazine of the National Archives of Canada, including “The World’s First Daguerreotype Images- Canadian Travel Photographer, Pierre Gustave Gaspard Joly de Lotbinère,” and “Roloff Beny: The Pleasure of Photography.” Brown is the recipient of the Government of Canada Individual Merit Award (1999). She holds the Master of Arts from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Jun 16 2011

NCSU Libraries Brings Photographic History of NC State to the iPad

WolfWalk for iPadMedia Contact:
David Hiscoe
, NCSU Libraries,  (919) 513-3425

Drawing on a strong legacy of using mobile devices to open up the treasures of the university’s Special Collections Research Center to the widest possible audience, the NCSU Libraries has expanded its popular WolfWalk tool and made it available as an iPad app.

Initially launched in 2010 for mobile devices, WolfWalk: A Photographic History of NC State now turns the iPad into a virtual time and space portal. The iPad version of WolfWalk makes it easy for students, alumni, and other friends of North Carolina State University to steep themselves in the school’s heritage, regardless of where they happen to be at the moment.

Earlier versions of WolfWalk capitalized on the location awareness of today’s mobile devices to allow users to give themselves a self-guided historical walk through NC State’s campus. As users stroll around the grounds, their mobile devices detect their current locations and then draw on the mountains of material in the University Archives to deliver a tour of nearby buildings and other historically interesting locations.  The new iPad version provides a deeper, more immersive experience by taking advantage of the more expansive electronic canvas provided by the iPad.

WolfWalk for iPadThe iPad’s large, backlit screen quite literally widens (and heightens) the visual possibilities for mobile users. So WolfWalk has added two new sections—“Decades” and “Themes”—to explore over a thousand luminous photographic moments held by the University Archives in the NCSU Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center.

Decades organizes classic Wolfpack scenes by time periods, making it possible, for instance, to track the return of the thousands of veterans who entered NC State in the late 1940s or the glorious basketball eras of the 50s and 60s. Themes allows users to browse through historical photographs of student life, campus events, and Wolfpack athletics over the past 125 years.

“The University Archives and our Special Collections Research Center are two of the great treasures of NC State University,” explains Susan K. Nutter, vice provost and director of the NCSU Libraries.  “I love the idea that now it’s even easier for NC State’s friends to use them and to enjoy these riches. And the technological adroitness we have gained by pushing our own expertise forward will be invaluable in the near future as we leverage mobile services to make the new James B. Hunt Jr. Library one of the most technologically advanced learning spaces in the country.”

The iPad version of WolfWalk is available as a free download from the App Store.

Dec 17 2010

Noted Landscape Architect Places Papers with NCSU Libraries

Media Contact:
David Hiscoe
, NCSU Libraries,  (919) 513-3425

The NCSU Libraries has received the drawings and papers of noted landscape architect Gil Wheless.  A native of Durham, North Carolina, and alumnus of North Carolina State University’s School of Design (now College of Design), Wheless is known for incorporating natural plants, earth, and stone into sites to appear as though nature itself had created the design.

During the 1960s, Wheless studied under renowned faculty members Richard Moore and Lewis Clarke, both of whom advocated an ecological approach to landscape design.  While in school, Wheless also began working for A. E. Bye, one of the first landscape architects to promote the use of native plant materials and the restoration of native woodlands.  Wheless then became a principal partner in Environmental Design Associates, established in 1969 and at one time one of the largest landscape architecture firms in New England.  By tagging the firm with the “environmental” title, Wheless and his partners signaled to potential clients the importance of relating materials and design to the land.  The firm flourished and set the tone for this key movement in modern landscape treatments.

Wheless’s clients and projects have included, among many others, the beauty and healthcare enterprise Chesebrough Ponds, the Dow Corning corporate headquarters, the Bronx VA Hospital, the Bridgewater Commons mall in New Jersey, Canterbury Green in Stamford, Connecticut, and the Parker Jewish Geriatric Center in Hyde Park, New York.  He is also known for his residential work, which has included high-profile commissions from William F. Buckley, Jr. and Robert Rubin, and housing developments such as Crowne Pond Settlement in Wilton, Connecticut, and Springfield Farm in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.

Signature Wheless “negative-edge” pool on Cape Cod

Signature Wheless “negative-edge” pool on Cape Cod

The paper and digital collection that Wheless has donated to the NCSU Libraries includes drawings, plans, photographs, sketches, news clippings, brochures, pamphlets, and other materials.

“This collection is an important record of the influence of NC State’s School of Design beyond the time of Dean Henry Kamphoefner (1948-1973) as students carried into their practices the principles they absorbed during that formative period,” explains Susan Nutter, vice provost and director of the NCSU Libraries. “It also traces the seminal work of a celebrated landscape architect of the tentieth century and provides a very valuable addition to our Special Collections Research Center’s growing body of materials on work that has changed the architectural culture throughout North Carolina and the nation. We are proud to make this collection available to scholars and to those in the public who are interested in the design traditions fostered by NC State University.” Wheless’s drawings and papers join those of his mentor, Lewis Clarke.

Acquisition of the Wheless papers will also provide a powerful resource to support the teaching, learning, and research of NC State University faculty and students, especially in the College of Design. A guide to the Wheless collection can be found online and to access the collection itself, please contact the Special Collections Research Center at (919) 515-2273 or at

Aug 11 2010

NC State Time Machine Now Available as iPhone App

Media Contact:

David Hiscoe, NCSU Libraries, (919) 513-3425

WolfWalkWolfWalk, North Carolina State University’s mobile tour of campus history, is now also available as an iPhone application. Introduced by the NCSU Libraries in early 2010 as a web application, the tool has now been optimized for Apple’s popular mobile device and expanded to explore substantially more sites with substantially more images.

WolfWalk capitalizes on the location awareness of today’s mobile devices to allow users to give themselves a self-guided historical walk through NC State’s campus. As users stroll around the grounds, their mobile devices detect their current locations and then deliver a tour of nearby buildings and other historically interesting locations. Users who use a device other than the iPhone can access all new material through the web version of the tool, and owners of devices that don’t support GPS or other location-detection methods can still manually navigate through the web site to enjoy a tour of campus.

Memorial Tower mapIn addition to covering more sites on campus, the new version of WolfWalk also contains interesting images of student life and special events that have occurred at NC State, from the dramatic civil rights protests on the Brickyard in the 60’s, to early shots of tailgating at the newly opened Carter-Finley Stadium (complete with a VW bus!), to more recent photos of the Krispy Kreme Challenge that begins and ends each year at the Bell Tower. The new collection also adds photographic images of many of the prominent members of the NC State family for whom the buildings on campus are named.

The materials that form the basis of WolfWalk’s database are heavily drawn from the resources of the University Archives in the NCSU Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center, a vast array of documents, photos, audio files, and other historical materials from the founding of the school up through the present.

WolfWalkAccording to Greg Raschke, associate director for collections and scholarly communication at the Libraries, “we are delighted to make these materials even more easily available through the iPhone app. As the official repository for the university, our archives have mountains of incredibly interesting material about the history of NC State; the iPhone app and the expanded web version give us a great way to extend the reach of these materials and to give our donors and the people of North Carolina even more value from the history we collect for them.”

“The NCSU Libraries has a long tradition of incubating new technologies for the university and for the library community around the world. Looking forward, we see mobile technologies as a great lever for transforming the services we offer,” explains Susan Nutter, vice provost and director of the NCSU Libraries. “The new WolfWalk iPhone app gives us great experience that we’ll put to good use as we outfit the new James B. Hunt Jr. Library with transformative technologies.”

The new WolfWalk application is the first of many iPhone apps that the University is currently developing to leverage the huge number of these devices on campus and to explore how mobile computing can drive changes to university learning and life.

The Joyner Visitor Center at NC State also now offers a smartphone tour through the academic and student life areas of main campus for prospective students and their families. The tour—available from Go Explore as a free download for the iPhone G4—gives prospective students insight on how to succeed in chemistry, where their ENG 101 class will be held, what a residence hall room really looks like, and other key tips on life at the university.

WolfWalk is available for free download from the App Store.

Jun 04 2010

Beauty and Science Merge in Illustrators’ Exhibit at NCSU Libraries

Media Contact:
David Hiscoe
, NCSU Libraries,  (919) 513-3425

The best in the world of science illustration will be hosted in a beautiful display featured in the D. H. Hill Library Special Collections Exhibit Gallery at North Carolina State University from June 14 through the first week in August.  The Guild of Natural Science Illustrators (GNSI), founded at the Smithsonian Institution in 1968, is working with the NCSU Libraries to present “The Art in Science: Annual Exhibit of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators.” Ranging from pen and ink drawings to the latest digital animations, the juried exhibit is a great chance to see some of the most exciting work being done by today’s science illustrators.

“We are delighted and honored to host this event,” explains Susan Nutter, Vice Provost and Director of Libraries.  “NC State, of course, has a national reputation in the animal sciences, entomology, natural resources, and other natural sciences—and our design school is among the nation’s best.  This is a great opportunity for our students, faculty, and the public to see these disciplines combined into a unique blend of artistic aesthetic with the communication of scientific principles.”

The GNSI, which has thousands of members throughout the globe, provides a forum to celebrate and advance the work of the artists who illustrate the textbooks, journals, media, and other learning materials that permeate the academic and scientific worlds.

While the works chosen by the GNSI jury to be displayed at the NCSU Libraries serve mainly to make scientific principles easily to understand and enjoy, they are in themselves beautiful works of design and art.  The exhibit will be particularly inspirational for students who are thinking about a career in science illustration, faculty looking for ways to enhance their teaching, and anyone who loves nature and good design.

The exhibit is free and open to the public during regular hours at the D. H. Hill Library on the NC State campus.  Hours can be found on the Libraries’ web site.

Apr 06 2010

Hat Making on the Brickyard

Finals coming on too quickly for you?  Relieve a bit of stress and make something beautiful (or at least interesting).

As part of the Gregg Museum of Art and Design’s Artist and Objects Event Series, you can create your own head gear. The Scrap Exchange , a Durham nonprofit creative reuse center, will be on hand with a multitude of hat making paraphernalia. The only thing you’ll need is your creativity. And stop by the Special Collections gallery in D. H. Hill to see the wonderful hats on display from the Gregg’s collection.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Hosted by the Gregg Museum of Art & Design and NC State Libraries’ Special Collections

Feb 18 2010

Hold on to Your Hats!

hatsIn conjunction with the Hold on to your Hats! exhibit in the Libraries’ exhibit gallery, the curator, Mary Hauser, Registrar at the Gregg Museum of Art & Design, will discuss hats and headwear as elements of fashion, social status, and propriety. Bring your lunch, hats and questions to find out more about this wonderful installation.

Hold on to your Hats!
D. H. Hill Library
Assembly Room (2nd floor, East Wing, Room 2130)
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
12-1 p.m.

Please contact Zoe Starling, Curator of Education,, 513-7244 with any questions.