The Dykes Family Letters are an intimate exchange of correspondence between two African American servicemen during World War II. Nearly 40 letters from Private Leo Dykes, 5th Marine Ammunition Company to his brother Lawyer Dykes of Akron, Ohio describe his experiences serving from Camp Lejeune, NC to San Francisco to the Asian Pacific Islands from 1943-1945. The collection is augmented by a separate batch of 26 letters from Corporal Benjamin Peavy, 51st Aviation Squadron, to his sister Hattie Dykes, wife of Lawyer Dykes, while stationed at the Greenville Army Flying School in Greenville, MS from 1942-1944.
The letters are an exceptional display of the close familial ties shared by both men to their relatives back at home during a time of war. Though neither Dykes nor Peavy saw active duty during the war, the two share their experiences serving as African Americans in a still segregated military.
Post contributed by John Gartrell, Director, John Hope Franklin Research Center.
In June and July we’ll celebrate the beginning of a new fiscal year by highlighting new acquisitions from the past year. All of these amazing resources will be available for today’s scholars, and for future generations of researchers in the Rubenstein Library! Check out additional posts in the series here.
Some of the most celebrated, recognizable, and graphic images of the American Civil War come from Alexander Gardner’s Photographic Sketch Book of the Civil War and George N. Barnard’s Photographic Views of Sherman’s Campaign, both published in 1866. Among the most important pictorial records of the conflict, together they shed a stark light on the destruction witnessed during the war and its aftermath. As legendary examples of early American photography these albums also help us to understand the history of documentary photography and the emergence of the widespread documentation of war. Look for a feature on these important new additions to the Library’s Archive of Documentary Arts in the next issue of RL Magazine!
The Rubenstein Library is grateful to the B. H. Breslauer Foundation for their generous support of the acquisition of Gardner’s Sketch Book.
Post contributed by Kirston Johnson, Curator of the Archive of Documentary Arts.
In June and July we’ll celebrate the beginning of a new fiscal year by highlighting new acquisitions from the past year. All of these amazing resources will be available for today’s scholars, and for future generations of researchers in the Rubenstein Library! Today’s post features additions to the collection of artists’ books by women in the Library’s Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture. Check out additional posts in the series here.
Dear Literary Ladies by Nava Atlas. New Paltz, New York: Amberwood Press, Inc., 2010. Edition of 15. Gift of the author.
According to Atlas, “this artist’s book fancifully poses questions on writing and the writing life, with the replies derived from classic authors’ letters, journals, and autobiographies. Reaching back to answer contemporary questions with voices from literary history reveals the timeless concerns and challenges of writers, with a particular emphasis on these issues from a female perspective.” The book was also produced in a trade edition.
This unique artists’ book is made in the form of a skirt with custom fabric printed with scans of country of origin tags from clothing. Booklets made from fabric remnants and original textile tags are sewn on around the garment.
The images in this book were originally created from magazine collages overlayed on the pages of an over-sized Barbie coloring book. According to the artist, “it was created as a painstaking labor of love and reveals untold ways that Barbie is interlaced with modern American culture.”
Post contributed by Kelly Wooten, Research Services and Collection Development Librarian, Sallie Bingham Center for Women’s History and Culture.
In June and July we’ll celebrate the beginning of a new fiscal year by highlighting new acquisitions from the past year. All of these amazing resources will be available for today’s scholars, and for future generations of researchers in the Rubenstein Library! Today’s post features a key early work in the development of the concept of human rights.
Bartolomé de las Casas, a Dominican friar and one of the first Spanish colonists in the Caribbean, is best known today for his exposé of the horrifying treatment of indigenous peoples by Spanish settlers during the first decades of colonization. First published in a 1550s series of tracts in Seville, the tracts represented the first argument for the rights of American Indians to be treated as fellow human beings, the first argument for the abolition of slavery in the New World, and one of the first attempts to appeal to a universal code of human rights.
The tracts, especially the sensational details of torture, abuse, and murder, spread throughout Europe as evidence of the Spanish abuse of power in the New World. The Library’s new acquisition is the first Latin translation and first illustrated edition of Las Casas’ text, entitled Narratio Regionum Indicarum per Hispanos Quosdam Devastarum Verissimi…, published in Frankfurt in 1598. The work features a powerful series of eighteen copper engravings by Theodor de Bry, depicting abuses of the native peoples.
De Bry never visited the New World, and the images can be seen as prime examples of the “Black Legend” of sensationalistic, anti-Spanish (and anti-Catholic) propaganda used to curb the might of the Spanish empire. This edition of the work of Las Casas advocating for basic human rights for the native populations of the Americas was wildly popular and influential, thanks in part to the images, which retain some of their original power to shock and provoke thought about the treatment of the original inhabitants of the New World.
Post contributed by Will Hansen, Assistant Curator of Collections.
Dispatches from the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University