The Mary Huntington Morgan Diary and Campus Collaboration

Mary Huntington Morgan was the daughter of Daniel Nash Morgan (1844-1931), Treasurer of the United States during Grover Cleveland’s administration. Her diary from 1896 (MSN/MN 8009-1-B) recounts the life of this young, single socialite in the nation’s capital.

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She narrates the demands of such a life—lunches and teas, dinners and dances, theater performances and lectures, ceremonial appearances at government events and diplomatic receptions. Yet, Mary also pens her personal endeavors, weaving through her music lessons and letter writing to her fondness for reading.

This semester (Spring 2017), the department piloted a new project to facilitate the diary’s use by a class in the Notre Dame History department, the United States’ Gilded Age. Collaborating with the professor, Special Collections digitized and made the Mary Huntington Morgan diary available in the Hesburgh Library’s new digital artifact viewer. In addition to being able to work with the physical object in Special Collections, students now have the opportunity to study the diary more extensively using the digital artifact, not only reading its contents but also learning skills such as how to transcribe text. The digitized artifact has made it possible for a class of 15 students to work on the same item simultaneously and to discuss their work and the diary itself in their own classroom.

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The Julia Stevens Buffington diary (MSN/MN 8009-1-B) has also been digitized for use this semester in another History class, the U.S. in the World in the 20th Century. Special Collections invites instructors interested in collaborating on similar projects to contact the department.

 

Evgeniia Ginzburg and Antonina Axenova Collection

Ginzburg and Axenova in Magadan, 1953.

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The Evgeniia Ginzburg and Antonina Axenova Collection is now open to students and researchers. The collection consists of several parts. The most important part revolves around Evgeniia Ginzburg (1904-1977), who spent 18 years in the Stalin GULAG and who chronicled those years in her memoir translated into English as: Journey into the Whirlwind and Within the Whirlwind. Ginzburg’s classic work is one of the earliest revelations of the Stalin camps and remains one of the most significant. The collection contains arrest documents, letters, some manuscript material, and many original photographs.

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Antonina Axenova with Evgenii Karelskikh in the movie I Serve on the Frontier (Lenfilm, 1974).

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Another part of the collection revolves around Antonina Axenova, who was born in the Kolyma camps and who was adopted by Ginzburg in 1949. Axenova became a film and stage actress, and the archive includes her documents, letters, photographs, scripts, programs, playbills, broadsides, and advertisements. Beisdes her career Axenova has also dedicated herself to preserving the legacy of her mother. She visited former KGB archives, made several trips back to the sites of the camps in the Kolyma region, and gathered together all of the material in the archive.

For a description of the collection’s over 700 items, see the finding aid. The collection also includes almost 100 books from the libraries of Ginzburg and Axenova. These books have been cataloged and can be located through the online catalog.

Fighting Words digital exhibit

Notre Dame’s Rare Books and Special Collections is home to perhaps the strongest institutional collection of boxing-related books and periodicals in the United States. A selection of these wonderful materials may now be experienced virtually, via the digital exhibit Fighting Words: English and American Boxing Literature from the Joyce Sports Collection.

Modern prizefighting is of English origin, and had developed a distinctive culture with a rich and abundant literature by the turn of the nineteenth century. Fighting Words includes many scarce items from this so-called golden age of English pugilism (ca. 1790-1830). It then carries the story forward to the United States, which by the second half of the 19th century had become the fight game’s new center of gravity. Publishers like Richard Kyle Fox (The National Police Gazette) and Nathaniel “Nat” Fleischer (The Ring) were central to prizefighting’s emergence from illegality into the American sporting mainstream. The exhibit concludes with materials from the 1950s, hearkening the erosion of U.S. boxing culture in the second half of the 20th century.

Questions and comments should be directed to George Rugg, the Joyce Collection’s curator.