New AKS Books for 2023

Each year, the Association of American Rhodes Scholars generously pays for the library to purchase approximately £3000 worth of books in memory of Frank Aydelotte (first American Secretary of the Rhodes Scholarships), Paul Kieffer (President of the Association of American Rhodes Scholars, 1957-1969), and Courtney Smith (second American Secretary of the Rhodes Scholarships) in order to develop the breadth and depth of the VHL Collections.

The 2023 AKS Books

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The collection for 2023 is now available and can be found on the ground floor of the Vere Harmsworth Library, next to the Alain Locke Collection. All books in the AKS Collection are loanable.

Selections from previous years are shelved as part of the main collection. The books currently on display separately can be identified by the ‘AKS’ shelfmark prefix.

A list of acquisitions for 2023 can be found on SOLO by searching for ‘AKS’ in the shelfmark (limit to the Vere Harmsworth Library) or on our LibraryThing page.

We are grateful as ever to the Association of American Rhodes Scholars for funding these purchases and for their ongoing support of the library.

If you have any further questions about the AKS Collection, or the display, please contact Bethan Davies. If you have any further questions about working in the Vere Harmsworth Library, please email vhl@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Trials: Black Nationalism and RAM; and Papers of Amiri Baraka (trial ended)

I am pleased to report that the Vere Harmsworth Library has organised trial access to Black Nationalism and the Revolutionary Action Movement and Papers of Amiri Baraka for Bodleian Readers. The trial ran until 18th February 2024 and is now finished.

Black Nationalism and the Revolutionary Action Movement: The Papers of Muhammad Ahmad (Max Stanford)

The Revolutionary Action Movement (RAM) came into existence as a result of a year of organizing for student rights and involvement in the civil rights movement among a collective of undergraduate students at Central State College (now University) in late May to early June of 1962.

Originally focused in Philadelphia, RAM, engaged in voter registration/education drives, organized community support for the economic boycotts of the Philadelphia “400” ministers led by Rev. Leon Sullivan and held free African/African-American history classes at its office. RAM participated in support demonstrations of the struggles then being waged in the South to end racial segregation. It was also active in coalitions to eliminate police brutality against the African-American community.

RAM became a national organisation in 1964, organising African American students, raising the demand for Black studies and campaigning for economic, social and political equality. It also sent organisers into Southern states. RAM was the first African-American organization to denounce the US government’s war of aggression against the people of Vietnam and support the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF). RAM was dissolved in 1968, following pressure from US government intelligence agencies (most noticeably the FBI) and local police forces.

This collection of RAM records reproduces the writings and statements of the RAM and its leaders. It also covers organizations that evolved from or were influenced by RAM and persons that had close ties to RAM. The most prominent organization that evolved from RAM was the African People’s Party. Organizations which worked with RAM included the NAACP, SNCC and Deacons of Defense. Organizations influenced by RAM include the Black Panther Party, League of Revolutionary Black Workers, Youth Organization for Black Unity, African Liberation Support Committee, and the Republic of New Africa. Individuals associated with RAM and documented in this collection include Robert F. Williams, Malcolm X, Amiri Baraka, General Gordon Baker Jr., Yuri Kochiyama, Donald Freeman, James and Grace Lee Boggs, Herman Ferguson, Askia Muhammad Toure (Rolland Snellings), and Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael).

You can access Black Nationalism and Revolutionary Action Movement using your Single Sign On here.

Papers of Amiri Baraka, Poet Laureate of the Black Power Movement

The collection consists of materials from the years 1913 through 1998 that document African American author and activist Amiri Baraka and were gathered by Dr. Komozi Woodard in the course of his research. The extensive documentation includes poetry, organizational records, print publications, articles, plays, speeches, personal correspondence, oral histories, as well as some personal records. The materials cover Baraka’s involvement in the politics in Newark, N.J. and in Black Power movement organizations such as the Congress of African People, the National Black Conference movement, the Black Women’s United Front. Later materials document Baraka’s increasing involvement in Marxism.

The collection has been organised into 18 series,

  • Series I: Black Arts Movement, 1961-1998
  • Series II: Black Nationalism,, 1964-1977
  • Series III: Correspondence, 1967-1973
  • Series IV: Newark (New Jersey), 1913-1980
  • Series V: Congress of African People, 1960-1976 – Organisation founded by Baraka in 1970 to advance his own vision of African cultural nationalism.
  • Series VI: National Black Conferences and National Black Assembly, 1968-1975 –Includes the 1972 Convention in Gary, Indiana, where delegates adopted the National Black Political Agenda, also known as the Gary declaration and formed the National Black Assembly (NBA).
  • Series VII: Black Women’s United Front, 1975-1976 -Formed  in 1974 by Amina Baraka (Sylvia Jones), the wife of Amiri Baraka.
  • Series VIII: Student Organization for Black Unity, 1971
  • Series IX: African Liberation Support Committee, 1973-1976
  • Series X: Revolutionary Communist League, 1974-1982 – founded by Bakara when CAP disintegrated in conflict, and reflects Baraka’s move away from nationalism to a Marxist position.
  • Series XI: African Socialism, 1973
  • Series XII: Black Marxists, 1969-1980–  includes materials on black Marxist contemporaries of Baraka, and older black Marxists such as Harry Haywood, C.L.R. James, and Odis Hyde. The series also includes files on the All African Revolutionary Party, the Black Workers Congress, and the Progressive Labor Party.
  • Series XIII: National Black United Front, 1979-1981
  • Series XIV: Miscellaneous Materials, 1978-1988
  • Series XV: Serial Publications, 1968-1984
  • Series XVI: Oral Histories, 1984-1986 –  transcripts from sixteen interviews conducted by Komozi Woodard and his assistants as part of an oral history project entitled, “The Making of Black NewArk: An Oral History of the Impact of the Freedom Movement on Newark Politics.” Most of the people interviewed were primarily local Newark activists, although there are also interviews with Baraka, Maulana Ron Karenga, and scholar John Henrik Clarke. This series of oral histories is one of the most unique and valuable parts of this collection.
  • Series XVII: Komozi Woodard’s Office Files, 1956-1986

You can access the Papers of Amari Baraka using your Single Sign On here.

Please send any feedback you have regarding these resources to bethan.davies@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Electric works (11th-14th DEC) and ALL DAY CLOSURE (15th DEC)

Planned essential electric works will occur throughout the RAI building (including the Vere Harmsworth Library) throughout the 11th-14th December, culminating in an all day closure on Friday 15th December 2023. Readers are advised that there will be some noise disruption throughout the week, and some reader spaces, including the 1st Floor Group Study Rooms, will be off limits.

The work will begin on Monday 11th December, and will be focused on the Ground Floor on the western side of the building (past the PCAS machine). This area from the electric cabinet onwards will be closed off to readers. Access to the PCAS machine will be maintained. The Library has been advised that there will be drilling for around half an hour, and that this noise will affect the Ground Floor level. Readers are advised to move to the upper floors to avoid disturbance.

After works on the Ground Floor are completed, the electricians will move up the building, to the 2nd and 3rd Floors. This work will be focused in the Group Study Rooms and RAI Office space (former Breakout Room). This will reduce noise disruption in the main reading rooms, but some disturbance may be expected.

Earplugs are available at the Enquiry Desk for readers if necessary.

The 1st Floor Group Study Rooms will be unavailable throughout the week of 11th-15th December. The Godfrey Hodgson Room will be available throughout the 11th-14th December. Please check the Bodleian Libraries Group Study Rooms pages for alternative spaces.

The entire RAI building, including the VHL will be closed on Friday 15th December 2023. The Library aims to re-open on Monday 18th December, subject to completion of works. Please check the VHL webpage or Twitter account for regular updates. Any change to the plan of works above will be communicated as soon as possible.

We would like to thank our readers for their patience during these essential works.

If you have any further questions about working in the Vere Harmsworth Library, please ask at the Information Desk, or email vhl@bodleian.ox.ac.uk. For further information about the planned works, email Bethan Davies, VHL Librarian at bethan.davies@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

VHL Opening Hours – Christmas Vacation

From Monday 4th December, the VHL will be operating under Vacation opening hours, which are as follows:

Monday-Friday – 9am-7pm

Saturday – CLOSED

Sunday – CLOSED

The Library will close at 5pm on Wednesday 20th December and will remain closed for the Christmas Holidays until January 2nd, 2024, when we will re-open at 9am.

Please check the Vere Harmsworth Library website for updates and upcoming closure periods. 

Access to online Anglican missionary archive resources – Early North American History

[The following is adapted from the History Faculty Library blogpost]

The landing page of USPG. It shows a black & white print of harbour scene, links to browse through volumes and documents, a link to view highlights. and a text box of insights which read: "The USPG and other missionary organisations aim to facilitate the spread of Christianity by appointing missionaries to visit and stay in various countries around the world. Whilst on a mission, representatives of the Church are expected to perform a number of tasks to promote Christianity. This may involve providing a Christian education, engaging in charitable work, and performing services."

America in records from colonial missionaries, 1635-1928

We are pleased to announce that Oxford researchers now have online access to 14 collections of the Anglican missionary archive, the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG), which have been digitized by British Online Archives. Previously only available in the Weston Library, the digitised material can now be accessed throughout the University and remotely with the Oxford SSO.

The USPG is a UK-based Anglican missionary organisation, founded in 1701, which sent missionaries to many parts of the world and was involved in educational, charitable and medical work as well as evangelization. The material also throws light on social conditions, travel and daily life abroad from the view point of British missionaries and their families.

The digitized material is relevant to British, Commonwealth and global history, covering the 17th to mid-20th centuries. It has been organised into 14 collections which can be found via SOLO or Databases A-Z

Of particular interest to North Americanists are:

  1. America in Records from Colonial Missionaries, 1635-1928
  2. ‘Bray Schools’ in Canada, America and the Bahamas, 1645-1900
  3. Colonial missionaries’ papers from America and the West Indies, 1701-1870
  4. The West Indies in records from colonial missionaries, 1704-1950
  5. Canada in records from colonial missionaries, 1722-1952

Early modern and modern source materials

The digitized material dates from 1635 to 1967 and includes letters, journals, reports, minute books, financial records, statistical returns, drawings, leaflets, questionnaires, school records, press cuttings, and printed books and magazines.

A single page handwritten letter from Franklin to Lyttleton.

Letter of 3 June 1786 from Benjamin Franklin, while President of Pennsylvania, to Rev. Thomas Lyttleton concerning the lease of land for a school.
Shelfmark: USPG Bray/N.America/3/f.2/item 4
©2014 Microform Academic Publishers with permission of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel

Topics covered include:

  • the establishment of the Anglican Church in north America
  • the American War of Independence
  • slavery and its abolition
  • the establishment of Christian schools
  • indigenous communities
  • women missionaries
  • the impact of colonialism
  • philanthropy

The digitized material represents a proportion of the whole USPG archive which is held on deposit in the Bodleian Library and is available for consultation in the Weston Library.

Lucy McCann, Senior Archivist, Special Collections, Bodleian Libraries

Other useful subscription resources:

New! Book the VHL group study spaces online

[UPDATE: room bookings can now be made at least 1 hour in advance, rather than the previous 2 hours – December 2023]

The Vere Harmsworth Library will be trialling a new online room booking system, alongside the Social Science Library and Radcliffe Science Library. 

Current University members will be able to book slots in any of the three VHL Group Study Rooms (including the Godfrey Hodgson Room). Users will be able to book up to 10 hours per week up to 10 weeks in advance. You must place your booking at least 2 hours before your booking starts. [UPDATE: this timeframe has been adjusted to 1 hour in advance – December 2023]

Screenshot of new online booking system homepage

Users of the Group Study Rooms on the 1st Floor of the Library will still need to come to the Enquiry Desk to exchange their University Card for the key to the room.

Visit our online page to check availability and place your booking here.

Please note that readers with a Bodleian Readers Card will not be able to place an online booking and should email vhl@bodleian.ox.ac.uk if they are interested in booking a study room.

VHL Opening Hours

Following the recent return of the Radcliffe Science Library to their new home in Reuben College, the Vere Harmsworth Library will be returning to our pre-RSL opening hours. We will revert to our term time hours for Michaelmas Term on the 2nd October 2023. 

The opening hours from 2nd October for Term time and Vacation times will be as follows:

Term

Monday-Friday – 9am-7pm

Saturday – 10am-4pm

Sunday – 11am-5pm

Christmas and Easter Vacation

Monday-Friday – 9am-7pm

Saturday – CLOSED

Sunday – CLOSED

Long Vacation

Monday-Friday 9am-5pm

Saturday – CLOSED

Sunday – CLOSED

Please check the Vere Harmsworth Library website for updates and upcoming closure periods. 

 

New: Women’s Studies Archive: Issues and Identities

[Partially re-blogged from the History Faculty Library blog]

As we continue to grow our eresources collections on women’s history, we are pleased to announce that Oxford researchers now have access to Women’s Studies Archive: Issues and Identities.

Home page of the resource showing a search box and an image of a line of suffragettes holding a poster which reads "Mr Presidents, how long must women wait for liberty".

National Woman’s Party members picket outside the White House in 1917 with the message, “Mr. President, How long must women wait for Liberty” Source: Women of Protest: Photographs from the Records of the National Woman’s Party, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C. 12 © Gale Cengage

This collection traces the path of women’s issues in the 19th and 20th centuries, drawing on primary sources from manuscripts, newspapers, periodicals, and more. It captures the foundation of women’s movements, struggles and triumphs, and provides researchers with valuable insights. It focusses on the social, political, and professional achievements of women, the pioneers of women’s movements, and is useful to understand the issues that have affected women and the many contributions they have made to society.

It is, however, more generally also a useful resource to research WWI, WWII, social and economic conditions, and world events in the 20th century, as described and seen from women’s perspectives and revealed in periodicals, correspondence and papers.

Individual source collections of particular interest to US historians are:

  • Periodicals and newsletters from the Herstory Collection, tracing the women’s rights movement in the US and abroad; alongside primary source collections focused on women’s health/mental health and the law.
  • Manuscript records of key women involved in political movements, missionary work or American pioneer activities.
  • Records of the Committee of Fifteen (1900-1901), a private group based in New York who collected evidence of “vice” – prostitution and gambling- to spur local authorities into action and promote anti-vice legislation.
  • Records of the Women’s Trade Union League (WTUL) and its founders.
  • Records of political anti-war movements, such as the Woman’s Peace Party (1914-1920), the Women’s Peace Union (1921-1940) and the United States section of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) (1919-1959).
  • Files from two key grassroots feminist organisations based in Boston and San Francisco, which were part of the second-wave feminist movement.
  • Records from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, including records from it’s predecessors (American Birth Control League and the Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau). Documents include minutes of meetings, conferences, subject files, correspondence and personal papers of key founders.

You can search across the above collections and other Gale databases via Gale Primary Sources. Please note that you will need to use your Single Sign On to access these resources.

New: Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive, part II: Slave Trade in the Atlantic World

[Partially re-blogged from the History Faculty Library blog]

We are delighted to announce that Oxford researchers now have access to Slavery and Anti-Slavery: A Transnational Archive, part II: Slave Trade in the Atlantic World.

This collection provides access to a wide range of materials to help understand the inception of slavery in Africa and its rise as perpetuated on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, with particular focus on the United Kingdom, France, and the United States.

It covers a wide spectrum of subjects related to the history of slavery: legal issues; economics; the Caribbean; children and women under slavery; modes of resistance; and much more, from 1490 to 1896.

This collection will be of interest to those studying the broader institution of slavery. Individual source collections of particular interest to US historians are:

  • Correspondence to the US Secretary of the Navy from the Officers of the Africa Squadron, a US-British manned squadron which patrolled the West African Coast to intercept and search slave trading ships.
  • Legal documents, including backgrounds, proceedings and prior rulings related to The Amistad slave rebellion, which became an important rallying point for the abolitionist cause.
  • Manuscript collections related to enslaved and free people of colour in New Orleans, such as deeds and estate appraisals, bank and tax files, military rosters, bills of lading, and many other municipal materials.
  • US Customs Service Records for New Orleans, documenting the transfer of incoming and outgoing enslaved persons from the port. These important records include key details such as names, destinations, enslavers and shippers.
  • The papers of Oliver Pollock, a former commercial agent of New Orleans and Virginia, who was a major financier of the American Revolutionary War, primarily through his role in the slave trade.
  • Collections from the British Library, such as the letter books of the Virginia Colony (1634-41) and manuscript collections from the Egerton Collection of official papers relating to the English settlements in America, 1627-1699.

You can search across the above collections and other Gale databases via Gale Primary Sources. Please note that you will need to use your Single Sign On to access these resources.

Say hello to an improved SOLO (August 2023)

Frontpage of SOLO showing the search box and at the top options to Browse, get help, do a new search.

[The following has been shamelessly borrowed and adapted from the original HFL blogpost. See their blogpost for guidance on using the new SOLO with Radcliffe Camera and Old Bodleian collections.]

Today (24 August 2023) we upgraded to a new library system. Most of the changes are ‘behind the scenes’ but we have also taken the opportunity to make some changes to some aspects of SOLO. For instance, we have made it easier for you to discover and locate physical copies of books and be able to tell whether you can borrow or consult a copy within a specific library.

Below are some key changes which are of interest to historians. See also the full list of changes and guidance on using SOLO (LibGuide).

[TIP = Please clear the cache in any web browsers you have previously used to access SOLO to ensure you are viewing the latest version.]

Easier to see all copies of a book held in the VHL

You will now see all copies listed under Vere Harmsworth Library where there are multiple copies of an item on the site.

A screenshot of the SOLO catalogue, showing that the VHL has two copies of the book Gilded by Deborah Davis.

This example shows that two copies of the same title are held in the VHL.

 

You will now need to sign into SOLO to see borrowing options 

If you are not signed into SOLO you will only see whether an item is available or not, rather than whether an item can be borrowed or for how long. It is always best to sign first as you get a better service from SOLO.

Once signed in you will now see loan periods personalised to you 

The terminology for loan policies has also been improved to make it clearer how long you can borrow the book for. (e.g. 7 days; 2 days etc). Please note that you can only borrow from libraries where you are a member, for example, the Bodleian Libraries and your college library.

Take the two copies of Gilded: how Newport became America’s richest resort by Deborah Davis (2009) shown in the example above If we click on each individual copy, we can see one title is a lending copy (Loanable) and one copy is not (Use in Library Only).

A screenshot of SOLO, the Library catalogue, showing that one VHL copy of Gilded by Deborah Davis, is available to borrow as a Vacation Loan.

An example of a loanable copy – in this example, available to borrow for the Vacation period.

A screenshot of SOLO, the Library catalogue, showing that one VHL copy of Gilded by Deborah Davis, has the status Use in Library Only.

The same title, but now showing a non-lending copy, with the status Use in Library Only.

 

Check for available copies before requesting from offsite 

To try to help you avoid reserving and waiting for a book out on loan when there are copies already available on library shelves for you to fetch immediately, we have added this additional message to SOLO:

 Before requesting, check for 'item in place' copies - it will be quicker for you to fetch it from the shelf than to wait for a request

Auto-renewals 

Bodleian Libraries lending copies will auto renew for up to 112 days – unless somebody else places a hold. Find out more about the Bodleian Libraries’ borrowing policy.

Book already on loan? Place a hold request!

If you want to borrow a loanable Bodleian Libraries book (which another reader already has on loan) we recommend you place a hold request via SOLO If you don’t place a request, the book will continue to renew automatically for the original reader.  

If you have a book on loan, you will be notified via email if it has been requested.

Alternatively, look for another copy, including one which can be used in the library (Use in Library Only).

Request a VHL Stack item

You can also use the hold request to get books from the Vere Harmsworth Stack, including historical material and theses. You will receive a notification once the book has been moved to the VHL Staff Desk, and is available for you to consult. Note that you will need to read any Vere Harmsworth Stack titles in the Reading Room only.

A screenshot of SOLO, the Library catalogue, showing The tour of James Monroe, President of the United States, in the year 1817, by Samuel Putnam Waldo. The Location information shows the the item is from the VHL Stack. There is a Green Request Button and a Blue Scan and Deliver button.

A VHL book currently held in the VHL Stack – use the green Request button to place a hold on the title and read it in the Reading Room. Or, use the Blue Scan and Deliver button to place a Scan request.

More information how to use SOLO is at SOLO LibGuide.

LibraryScan streamlined with Scan & Deliver service 

The LibraryScan service has now been streamlined with the existing Scan & Deliver service (for items in offsite storage) into a new integrated service. If scanning is an option for any type of item you will now just see the ‘Scan & Deliver’ button.

The Scan & Deliver request form has been improved, particularly the wording on how much you can have scanned (not the whole book!) including advice that you can ask for the index or table of contents in addition to your final choice of chapter.

Requesting items from other libraries, beyond Oxford

If we do not hold an item in Oxford it is now really easy to request an item from other libraries, beyond Oxford. Simply click on ‘Need more?’ from the menu at the top of the page and fill in the form.

Help & support

If you need any help, please do get in touch with library staff who will be more than happy to help you. Here is how you can contact us:

Your feedback matters

We have undertaken extensive testing of the new version of SOLO, gathering feedback from 80 students using the system in real-world situations, and consulting widely on the borrowing changes (see link above). However, we recognise that not everything will be perfect from the start, and development will continue. We are using this feedback form to gather feedback on the changes to SOLO, which will help us make further improvements.