Join the staff of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture for an opportunity to learn how to edit Wikipedia articles, learn more about the rich history of women at Duke University, and then put that knowledge into action by creating and editing entries that document the lives and contributions of women alumnae, faculty, staff, and community members.
This edit-a-thon is part of a worldwide movement to increase the percentage of women editors and woman-focused articles within Wikipedia.
If you’re planning to attend, create a Wikipedia account in advance and sign up on the edit-a-thon’s meetup page (where you’ll also find a list of proposed Wikipedia articles that you can work on). Bring your laptop to the edit-a-thon if you can. You can also participate from anywhere in the world!
Date: Thursday, March 19, 2015 Time: 12:00 p.m. (Bring your lunch. Coffee, tea, and sweets will be served.) Location: The Edge Workshop Room, Bostock Library, First Floor Contact: Kelly Wooten email@example.com
Join the Rubenstein Library for an lunchtime program with poet, scholar, and activist Rachel Levitsky. Levitsky, who founded Belladonna*, will share its history, mission, and aesthetics and read selections from both her writings and work published by the Belladonna* collective. Levitsky will also share the collaborative work she’s done within Belladonna*, Pratt Institute, and the Office of Recuperative Strategies.
In 1999, Levitsky started Belladonna Series in order to investigate and promote feminist avant-garde poetics. Belladonna Series is now Belladonna* Collaborative, and Levitsky is a participating member. Levitsky is a faculty member at Pratt Institute in the MFA program in Writing, where she initiated the program of Creative Writing for Art and Design. With poet Christian Hawkey, Levitsky co-founded the Office of Recuperative Strategies (oors.net). Levitsky’s hybrid poetries and prose utilize politics, humor and abstraction to map the structural reality of everyday life. Her recent books are NEIGHBOR (UDP), The Story of My Accident is Ours (Futurepoem) and the chapbook Renoemos (Delete).
Sponsored by the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture, the Program in Women’s Studies, the English Department, and the Forum for Scholars and Publics.
Dearest readers and friends, we long to see you on Valentine’s Day. Won’t you please set our hearts a-flutter and come to our Valentine’s Day open house?
Do you fear that you will be too busy penning epistles of undying love to your own beloveds to join us? Ah, but this event is crafted especially for you: we’ll be sharing the most swoon-worthy of love declarations from the Rubenstein Library’s collections, so you may find just the term of endearment you need to woo your mate.
Perhaps a few examples to help the time pass more swiftly until we meet?
Or the more expressive route taken by Francis Warrington Dawson—writing to Sarah Morgan, his future wife–is always sure to succeed:
“How deeply should I thank God that he has allowed me to know you, which is to love you, for the sun now has a brighter light & the sky a deeper blue. The whole world seems truer & better, & this pilgrim, instead of lingering in the depths, is breasting the healthy difficulties of existence, with his eyes fast fixed on you. Whatever else may fail, believe always in this devoted & unselfish love of Francis Warrington Dawson!”
Or whose heart wouldn’t melt upon receiving this most adorable valentine, from our Postcard Collection:
And there might even be tips on how to present yourself when you present your valentine!
Have we convinced you yet? What if we mention that there will be chocolate and candy?
While I processed a collection of correspondence between two lovers, a handful of letters stuck out. Martha Simpson, then Martha Eleanor Booker, a young African American woman working on her teaching degree at Elizabeth City Teachers College, had a penchant for writing in code. Paul Simpson, her love interest, did not share the same inclination, but did indulge her in his responses. As I read through the letters, the code used in three of them piqued my curiosity. My search revealed that the code used seems to be a form of carnival Pig Latin, also known as Czarny, Z-Latin, or Carny (Hautzinger 30).
Martha first sneaks in her secret code at the closing of a letter from January 10, 1951, with a little taunt, “Ha, ha, I bet you can’t read it.” Paul’s response to this letter, dated January 13, 1951, briefly acknowledges that he, indeed, could read her secret language with the opening line “Dizear Cizheré,” before continuing his letter unencumbered by the extra z’s.
But Martha doesn’t give up. She continues the code in a response from January 17, 1951, written half in this “z-language,” eventually switching back to conventional English.
Martha’s next letter clearly was not on pink paper (did you catch that one?), but she did keep on with her code. The secret language was formed by inserting iz after the first consonant, and if there was no consonant present, beginning the word with biz. In linguistic circles, this is known as iz-infixation and has been linked to rap and hip-hop music. Examples include Frankie Smith’s 1981 hits DoubleDutch Bus and Slang Thang (or Slizang Thizang), both of which boast the iz-infix in their lyrics. More recent examples include work by Snoop Dogg and Kanye West (Viau 1). But these letters come decades before the iz-infix made it big in music, and the question remains: Where did this secret language come from?
We think the answer is this: carnival slang. Published accounts of Carny go back to 1926 (Russell and Murray 401), well before Martha was writing to Paul. It was a language immersed in the subculture of the carnival, intended to distinguish between outsiders and the true Carnies, given the questionable legality of the carnival. Sarah Hautzinger describes it as a dialect that “rearranges English to make it unintelligible to the unenlightened ear” (32). In Czarny, “a Z-sound is inserted after the first consonant, and if the word begins with a vowel, before the vowel sound, in the first syllable only” (32). This certainly seems a lot like the iz-infixes found in the letters between Martha and Paul. Rumor has it that this carny talk found its way into popular culture years later.
Whether or not their secret language was descended from Z-Latin, the coded (and uncoded) correspondence between Martha and Paul D. Simpson provides an interesting read. Recently acquired by the Rubenstein, these roughly 300 letters detail the love, life, and struggles of a young African American couple on their way to becoming teachers.
The grants are open to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, independent scholars, artists, and activists who live more than 100 miles from Durham, NC and whose research projects would benefit from access to collections held by one of the centers.
This is the last post in our pre-Thanksgiving Rubenstein Library Test Kitchen series. We hope you’ve enjoyed exploring our collections through food and found some find some historical inspiration for your own Thanksgiving. If you’re local join us on December 3rd from 3-4:30 in Perkins 217 for our tasting event and a chance to sample these recipes!
When I set off on my hunt for a recipe for my turn in the Rubenstein Library Test Kitchen, I knew only that I wanted a fun challenge. For a search that began with nothing in particular to guide it, I found a very lovely little book that seemed perfectly suited for me in my task. One thing I love about working in the Rubenstein Library is that I’m never sure what I’ll come across in a day’s work but I’m always delighted or intrigued by what I find, and this book was no exception! It is an artists’ book called Light and Flaky: Portrait of the Artist’s Mother: a Cookbook (1982) and was made by Lise Melhorn-Boe. The work combines Melhorn-Boe’s mother’s memories of experiences and adventures in cooking along with recipes from these stories and photographs of her mother throughout her life. And the handmade paper that covers the book is made from tea towels, aprons, tablecloths and dish cloths. The book was collected by the Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture here at the Rubenstein.
In the spirit of the book’s many memories about cooking for a large family, I chose two recipes to make for the lovely family that lives next door to me. The recipes I chose also give a good sense of the work as a whole, since these recipes are accompanied by touching and silly remembrances and photographs. I made a Corn, Rice, and Beef Casserole and a Blueberry Pie for my friend, her parents, and her two boys (4 and 8 years old respectively).
I began my cooking adventure as soon as I returned home from the Rubenstein one evening: I first made the pie crust. The recipe calls for an all-Crisco crust, and I just happened to have a very very old tin of it in my cupboard. Perfect! Also slightly disturbing, since I couldn’t figure out where it came from. I didn’t tell my guests that, though! I let the crust chill for a while as I assembled the casserole.
It’s an extremely simple recipe. I cooked up a cup of rice, opened a can of corn, browned a pound of ground beef, and threw everything together in a dish to bake for 20 minutes at 350. I thought I’d jazz up this plain casserole just a bit for my special guests, and added onions and a dash of ground cloves (a flavor sensation that I picked up from my own mom) to the meat, and threw a bunch of cheddar on top towards the end of its baking. When the dish was cooked, I also chopped up some parsley and chives from my porch for a tasty garnish. This was an easy and fast recipe to fix for a bunch of folks at a moment’s notice, and there could be endless improvisation depending on what you had on hand.
Back to the pie: When the time came during my preparations to roll out my crust, I had a lot of trouble keeping it together. My guess is that I hadn’t given it enough time to chill. But I was determined to have everything done in time, so I pressed shards of it into my pie dish anyway, in a slapdash and frantic fashion, and poured in 3 cups of blueberries that I’d frozen from the summer (tossed with flour, sugar, butter, lemon juice, cinnamon, and nutmeg, as the recipe suggests). Although the recipe noted that this crust would be enough for two, I didn’t find that to be the case, so I also whipped up a crumble topping with flour, brown sugar, butter, and spices.
Things came together just in time after all. The casserole was warming and hearty, and a good reminder that cooking for friends doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy. I noticed that one of my young taste-testers ate it up in a flash and quickly disappeared under the table to begin tying guests’ shoelaces together. I took this as an excellent review.
The pie wasn’t done until after the boys’ bedtime, which means that I had a lot leftover and have been enjoying it with ice cream for breakfast ever since. Despite small disasters in its making, and although it won’t supplant my tried and true butter-only pastry crust recipe, it was pretty delicious. It was also fitting that it would give me trouble since, in one of the stories in this book, Lise’s mother Pauline recalls summers when she would bake wild blueberry pies with her aunt; on one such occasion, her aunt mistakenly uses salt instead of sugar. Even in their attempts to hide the evidence of their error from an angry mother, they are beset with trials: “We tried burning [it] in a little old iron stove – we just had enormous clumps of large crystals, which we dragged out to the garden, and covered with earth and tears.” Luckily, no tears were shed in the making of my pie misshapen though it was.
I looked at this book alongside another by Melhorn-Boe called Recipes (2001), also part of the Sallie Bingham Center’s collection. It is housed in an old recipe card tin, and contains memories and reflections of several women about family and food, typed on recipe cards and divided by topic — including “Atmosphere” (stern, relaxed, in silence, in front of the television), “The Cook” (stories about mothers and fathers and how they shared kitchen work, or didn’t), “Force-feeding” (thoughts about weight, body image, and abhorrent foods forced upon the writers – like lima beans!), and “Manners” (mouths closed, guests served first, elbows off the table).
Both works are funny and sweet (and sometimes bittersweet), and contain much food for thought about women’s roles in the kitchen and in the domestic labour of family life generally, and how these have changed over time.
Post contributed by Dominique Dery, Research Services Intern
Want to make history this Thanksgiving? Every Friday between now and Thanksgiving, we’ll be sharing a recipe from our collections that one of our staff members has found, prepared, and tasted. We’re excited to bring these recipes out of their archival boxes and into our kitchens (metaphorically, of course!), and we hope you’ll find some historical inspiration for your own Thanksgiving.
For my shift in the Rubenstein Library Test Kitchen, I wanted to try something truly old-school. (When the idea for this series of blog posts was first proposed, one of the names we considered calling it was “Antiquarian Culinarian,” with the idea of recreating the flavors of times gone by.) Browsing the library catalog for cookbooks of yore, I came across a title that looked promising: The Young Ladies’ Guide in the Art of Cookery, Being a Collection of useful Receipts, Published for the Convenience of the Ladies committed to Her Care, by Elizabeth Marshall (T. Saint: Newcastle, England: 1777).
Marshall (1738-?) ran a cooking school in Newcastle-upon-Tyne from 1770 to 1790. Such schools were not uncommon at the time and catered to women who aspired to work as housekeepers or cooks for the wealthier class. As Marshall explains in her preface, the book came about after frequent solicitations from her former pupils to put her most sought-after recipes in writing:
It is at your urgent and frequently repeated request that the following Receipts have at length come abroad. – You were sensible of the necessity of having an assistance of this sort to your memory; and the difficulty as well as expense of procuring the Receipts in manuscript, suggested the present form as the most proper and convenient for answering your intentions. – I hope this will be considered as a sufficient apology for the design. For its execution I have less to say. – The subject does not admit of elegance of expression, though I acknowledge the language might have been more correct. It was my wish to have rendered it so, but the various other duties in which I am engaged, would not allow me leisure sufficient for the purpose. – Such as the work is, I hope it will be received with candour, and consulted with advantage.
The eighteenth century wasn’t exactly the heyday of British cuisine, and many of the dishes in Marshall’s book hopefully won’t be making a comeback anytime soon. There are entries on how to make Herring Pudding, Calf’s Foot Jelly, Stewed Turbot’s Head, Eel Pye, and something called “White Soop.”
Inspired by the changing of the seasons, I opted for something a little more autumnal (and less zoological): Rice Apples! The recipe not only looked relatively easy and tasty, but it also presented a rare opportunity to use my apple-corer, a handy but sadly neglected implement in my kitchen that only gets a chance to shine once every couple of years.
Here’s the recipe, which I’ve transcribed below in case it’s difficult to read the old-fashioned ligatures:
Boil a quarter of a pound of rice in three pints of water for a quarter of an hour
Strain off the water, and put to the rice, one pint of milk, one pint of cream, a stick of cinnamon, and lemon skin
Let them boil, and sweeten to your taste
Beat four eggs, leaving out two whites, put them to the rice, and let it stand on a slow fire a little
Keep it stirring till cool
Pare and cut the core out of your apples, put them in a dish well buttered, and strewed over with grated bread and sugar
Fill them with the above mixture, and cover them over with it
Strew it over with bread crumbs and sugar, and bake it a fine brown
Melt butter with sack and sugar, and cover them before they go to table
One thing you immediately notice about eighteenth-century recipes is their lack of helpful specifics. How many apples should you use, and what kind? Should the lemon skin be peeled or grated? (I went with grated.) Exactly how many minutes is “a little”?
Modern cookbooks don’t leave much room for interpretation. They give exact measurements, precise times and temperatures, and sometimes even brand-name ingredients, so that your dish looks and tastes as close as possible like the one in the book.
Not so with Mistress Marshall. Her instructions are more like general guidelines. A little this, a little that. But I actually appreciated that about her style. Cooking is more fun when it’s improvisational and you have to use your own judgment. In keeping with m’lady’s free-spiritedness, I even made a few modifications along the way, whenever I thought they might improve the final result. I’ll describe those here.
The recipe calls for three pints of water to cook the rice. That’s six cups of water, which is way more than you need for less than a cup of rice, and it would take forever to boil. I reduced the water to two cups, which was enough for the rice to absorb without having to strain any off.
I chose small snack-size Golden Delicious apples, the kind you can buy in a bag, instead of the jumbo-sized genetically modified ones you often see in the grocery store. The smaller ones seemed more historically authentic, closer to the size of apples you would probably find two hundred years ago. After coring and peeling the apples, I put them in a bowl of water with a little lemon juice to keep them from browning.
After adding the eggs to the milky rice mixture, you’re supposed to let it stand over low heat for “a little” and stir. I did this for about 15 minutes, until it started to thicken. Then I took it off the burner and stirred periodically for another 15 minutes or so, until it had the consistency of lumpy cottage cheese.
Instead of store-bought breadcrumbs, I bought a baguette and used a food processor to make fresh ones. And before popping the whole thing in the oven, I sprinkled a little ground cinnamon on top for good measure, because cinnamon and apples were made for each other. I think this was a good addition. I used a 350-degree oven and baked the dish for one hour.
The final step of the recipe calls for pouring over the apples a mixture of butter, sugar, and “sack.” I had to look up what sack was. Turns out it was a kind of sweet, fortified white wine from Spain, the forerunner of sherry. I’m not a big sherry fan, but I picked up a cheap golden variety in the wine aisle at the grocery store.
The verdict: Quite delectable, by Jove! The apples were tender and sweet, and the milky-rice-breadcrumb mixture was like an envelope of bread pudding. The sherry added a subtle boozy kick that seemed especially English. I would have no qualms serving this to company, however high or low their station.
Guest post by Aaron Welborn, Director of Communications, Duke University Libraries. Special thanks to Gwen Hawkes (T’16), Library Communications Student Assistant, for her help in researching this recipe and its historical context.
An Evening with Alix Kates Shulman: Fiction or Memoir—How to Choose
Date:Tuesday, September 9, 2014 Time: 7:00-8:30 p.m. Location: Durham County Library, 300 N. Roxboro St., Durham, NC
Join author and activist Alix Kates Shulman who has explored the challenges of youth and midlife in her novels, and in her memoirs has probed the later stages in the ongoing drama of her generation of women. Shulman is the award-winning author of 3 memoirs including To Love What Is: A Marriage Transformed and 5 novels including the ground breaking Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen. Also the author of many personal essays and stories, Shulman will discuss her process of deciding whether to tell her story as fiction or as memoir, and will examine some of the quandaries, fears, and competing motives that come into play whenever she confronts this crucial choice. This program is co-sponsored with the Durham County Library.
Digitizing the Women’s Liberation Movement: A Conversation with Movement Leader Alix Kates Shulman
Date:Wednesday, September 10, 2014 Time: 9:30-11:00 a.m. Location: Perkins Library, Room 217 Contact: Kelly Wooten, firstname.lastname@example.org
This program will give insight both to the women’s liberation movement and to the life cycle of a digital project, and celebrate the launch of the Women’s Liberation Movement Print Culture digital collection. “Documents from the Women’s Liberation Movement: An On-line Archival Collection,” was created in 1997 to support a Duke course on the Social History of American Women, and became one of Duke Libraries’ most popular digital collections. Alix Kates Shulman will reflect on her experiences as a feminist activist and writer during the 1960s and 70s, including the 1968 Miss America pageant protest, the iconic event that launched the myth of bra burning and the women’s movement in the popular consciousness. Molly Bragg, Digital Collections Program Manager, will share a behind-the-scenes perspective on how digital projects are proposed and how they are made to magically appear online, and Kelly Wooten, librarian with the Sallie Bingham Center, will share the process of stewarding permissions for this project and other challenges. Bagels and coffee will be served, remarks will begin at 9:45. Co-sponsored with the Professional Affairs Committee (PAC) of the Librarians Assembly.
Next week, July 18-19, a diverse group of energetic zine librarians from academic, public, and independent libraries, and archives will meet in Durham to share ideas and skills for providing access to zines to readers in our communities. The Bingham Center’s collection of women’s and queer zines from the 1990s to the present is one of our signature collections was one of the main draws for the selection committee who chose Duke University as the location for the 6th annual Zine Librarians (un)Conference. Though some elements of the program will be planned in advance, the unconference format allows the attendees to determine their interests, goals, and priorities for learning and sharing their knowledge as a group at the beginning of the event.
This conference will have no registration fee in order to increase accessibility to attendees, and will be open to all who are interested in zines and libraries. Elements of the program will be broadcast online to allow wider participation. More details via the zine libraries wiki.
Like zines but can’t make it to the conference? There’ll be a zine reading on Friday, July 18 from 5:30-7:00pm at the Pinhook in Downtown Durham! Open mic sign-ups to read from your own teenage angsty zine (or the one you wrote last week) or choose a passage from our pile of extras–you know you want to! Zinesters, librarians, riot grrrls, and everyone else are welcome to join. Donations will be collected to support participation by zine librarians of color in next year’s Zine Librarians (un)Conference. RSVP on Facebook.
The Rubenstein Library’s three research center annually award travel grants to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars through a competitive application process. Congratulations to this year’s recipients, we look forward to working with all of you!
History of Medicine
Cali Buckley, Pennsylvania State University, Department of Art History, for dissertation work on, “Women of Substance: The Materiality of Anatomical Models and the Control of Women’s Medicine in Early Modern Europe.”
Alicia Puglionesi, Johns Hopkins University, Institute of the History of Medicine, for dissertation work on “The Astonishment of Experience: Americans and Psychical Research, 1885-1935.”
Courtney Thompson, Yale University, Department of the History of Science and Medicine, for dissertation work on “Criminal Minds: Medicine, Law, and the Phrenological Impulse in America, 1830-1890.”
John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History
FOARE Fellowship for Outdoor Advertising Research
Craig Lee, Department of Art History, University of Delaware, “Letter Building: Signage, Supergraphics, and the Rise of Semiotic Structure in Modern American Architecture”
Daniel Towns, Department of History, Stanford University, “The View and the Value: Historical Geography of Signs in San Francisco”
John Furr Fellowships for JWT Research
Lisa Haushofer, Department of History, Harvard University, “Edible Health: ‘Health Foods’ in Science, Industry, Culture in Britain and the United States, 1884-1950
Alvin A. Achenbaum Travel Grants
Dr. Cynthia Meyers, Department of Communications, College of Mount Saint Vincent, “Advertising Agencies and the Decline of Sponsorship in the Network Era of Television”
Dr. Cristina Ziliani: Economics, University of Parma, Italy, “Premium Sales Promotions: A History of Practice and Research, 1890-1990”
Cara Fallon, Department of History, Harvard University, “The Emerging Concept of Healthy Aging in the United States, 1920-1990”
Catherine Hennessey Wolter, Musicology, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, “Sound Conversions in Print: A Cultural History of the Player Piano and Early Radio in America Through the Lens of Print Media”
Kelly Jones, History of Medicine, State University of New York – Stony Brook, “’New Hope for Headache Sufferers’: Pain and its Control in Advertisements for Headache Remedies, 1950s-1970s
Daniel McKay, Independent Scholar, “Trading Fears: Marketing the ‘Japan Brand’ to American Tourists and Consumers”
John Hope Franklin Research Center 2014-15 Travel Grant Awardees
Emilye Crosby, State University of New York-Geneseo Topic: “Anything I Was Big Enough To Do: Women and Gender in SNCC”
Paul Grant, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Topic: “Unimagining the Christian Nation: Alienation, Memory, and German-African Reciprocity in Akropong, Ghana 1835-1938”
Nicole Maurantonio, University of Richmond, Topic: “Ombudsman for Humanity: Chuck Stone, Mediation, and the Graterford Prison Hostage Crisis”
Gilet Rosenblith, University of Virginia, Topic: “Low Income African American Women in the South and the Carceral State”
Nicholas Syrett, University of Northern Colorado, Topic: “American Child Bride: A History of Minors and Marriage in the United States”
Adam Wolkoff, Rutgers University-New Brunswick, Topic: “Possession and Power: A comparative social and legal history of capitalist social relations in the late nineteenth-century United States”
Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture Mary Lily Travel Grants
Dr. Georgina Colby, linguistics and cultural studies, University of Westminster, for a book on Kathy Acker combining philosophical analysis with literary and critical theory, exploring connections between feminist theory, Acker’s use of philosophy, and her experimental writing practices.
Dr. Donna Drucker, civil and environmental engineering, Technische Universität Darmstadt, for a journal article on sexual behavior and the science of contraceptive testing in the mid-twentieth century United States.
Sara Mameni, Ph.D. candidate, visual arts, University of California, San Diego, for dissertation research on Iran-US relations in the 1960s and 1970s—leading up to Iran’s Islamic Revolution of 1979—through the lens of queer theory, feminist theory, and postcolonial studies.
Ivy McIntyre, Ph.D. candidate, history, St. Louis University, for dissertation research on South Carolina families in times of personal crisis in the early Republic.
Andrew Pope, Ph.D. candidate, history, Harvard University, for dissertation research on radical social movements and the New South in Georgia from 1968-1996.
Dr. Jason Scott, Dr. Annalisa Castaldo, and Jennifer Lynn Pollitt, for an edited collection of essays looking at how kink identities, behaviors, and lifestyles are represented in popular and cultural studies.
Mairead Sullivan, Ph.D. candidate, women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, Emory University, for dissertation research on questions of breastedness in feminist and queer theory.
Hope Tucker, independent scholar, for an artist’s video on the fragility of reproductive rights in the American South, as seen through the work of those who documented and labored for these rights in the second half of the twentieth century.
Dispatches from the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University