If you ever have a few moments to browse the Furman University digital collections for unique and interesting images, an excellent place to start is the Furman Glass Plate Negatives collection. The digital collection contains materials from both Furman University and Greenville Woman’s College from the 1910s through the 1930s. Tucked away in this digital collection is the following image of a young boy.
Taken in 1928 or 1929, the image shows a boy at Manly Athletic Field (on the old downtown Greenville campus of Furman University) clutching a football.
There is something charming and endearing about the old photograph. Perhaps it is the serious look on the lad’s face, or the smudge of dirt on his cheek, or the fact that his arm is barely long enough to hold the football, or his stance with stockinged feet slightly parted and hand extended in mid-air. Whatever the reason, this particular image reached out from the annals of time and put a smile on my face. I hope it does the same for you.
The Janie Earle Furman Rose Garden is starting to bloom on the campus of Furman University. Beautiful roses in shades of red, pink, and yellow line the walks and perfume the air. Here are a few photographs of the garden taken yesterday afternoon:
The beautiful rose garden we see today started out as an expanse of dirt back in the 1950s not long after the current campus of Furman University opened. Over time, a set of brick stairs was built, and finally the garden was landscaped in the familiar pattern we know today. The following black-and-white photograph shows the rose garden after the stairs were built but before any landscaping occurred. The photograph is part of the digital collection New Campus Photos, 1950-1962.
Greenville Woman’s College was an independent college for women that was established in 1854 by the South Carolina Baptist Convention. In the financial uncertainty following the Great Depression, it merged with Furman University but maintained a separate campus for nearly 30 years. In 1961, when Furman University moved to its current site, the two campuses were fully integrated. In spite of its close ties with Furman University, Greenville Woman’s College had its own rich and unique set of traditions. One such tradition was the annual celebration of May Day which involved the dancing of the Maypole, theatrical performances, and the crowning of a May Queen along with her full court.
Photographs of the May Day festivities dating from 1929-1931 can be seen in the digital collection Greenville Woman’s College.
A view of the 1930 May Day celebrations. On the left is the May Queen and her full court. In the center is the May Pole and the May Pole dancers. Click image to zoom in.
View all May Day photographs here
Earth Day provides a great opportunity to learn more about the earth’s natural habitat and the projects that seek to study and preserve it. One such effort is The Furman Cougar Project which is led by Furman University Biology Professor, Dr. Travis Perry. The Furman Cougar Project began in 2008 as an effort to monitor and research cougars (also known as pumas or mountain lions) in south-central New Mexico. Each summer Dr. Perry and his students travel to Sierra County New Mexico to photograph and track the large wild cats. The research team sets up a grid of cameras in key locations that are programmed to snap a photograph of any movement. The cameras help the team identify potential locations of the cougars. When a cougar’s location is identified, the team then safely captures, tags, and collars it with a GPS locator. In this way, they are able to track the movements and hunting patterns of the cougars. You can read more about this project in the blog, Tracking the Furman Cougar.
The Furman Cougar Project digital collection contains more than just photographs of cougars, however. Because the cameras are set to photograph every movement, there are pictures of a wide assortment of wildlife. Everything from skunks, to boars, to bears, to humans appear in the digital collection. Take a moment to celebrate Earth Day by browsing this truly one-of-a-kind digital collection.
View full Digital Collection
View photographs of cougars
The Digicenter is proud to announce its newest collection: The Furman University Faculty Notices. This collection contains over 1,500 items dating from 2002 to 2012. Materials in the collection include committee notes, annual reports, policies, presentations, curriculum information, program proposals, meeting minutes, and other documentation created by and for the faculty of Furman University. Because of its specialized nature, the collection can only be viewed by current Furman University faculty.
View the Furman University Faculty Notices collection.
Continuing our theme of National Poetry Month, today’s feature is an odd little volume entitled The Glosser, a Poem in Two Books written by Giles Julap and published in 1802. It can be found in the Jeffersonian Americana microfilm collection, and is one of many scanned titles relating to Thomas Jefferson.
Little is known about the poem, The Glosser, or the author, Giles Julap (which is most likely a pseudonym) although the book Poets of Virginia describes Julap as “a gentleman of more than ordinary convivial habits; and from the incoherency of The Glosser it is to be feared that the author while writing it drank not at the fount of the Muses.”
As the title suggests, the poem is split into two books and is a satirical piece aimed against Thomas Jefferson. However, the poem is sprinkled throughout with an odd assortment of digressions related to Constitutional politics, slavery, Roman gods, and seemingly non sequitur anecdotes.
Here is a small sample of poetry from The Glosser. It’s from the first book and describes some of the protagonist’s experiences during the Revolutionary War.
Those were the times that tri’d the soul,
And stamp’d the man or half or whole,
The times in which began my story,
And fir’d my thoughts with thirst for glory,
For honest fame, to serve my nation,
With zeal correct in active station,
In field, or cabinet, on ocean,
Where thrice I swill’d salt water lotion,
Lost two new wigs, one newly bought hat,
And thrice three times by foes was shot at;
Encounter’d peril’s fierce attendants,
To gain my country’s independence.
Read the full book here.
The Digicenter is actively seeking feedback from its users about the Digital Collections website. The website is powered by the software, LUNA, and contains 35 digital collections and over 55,000 distinct items. The Digicenter has been using LUNA since 2006, and is hoping that user feedback and input will help lead to improvements on the Digital Collections website.
Please take a moment of your time to complete the survey and help us make your Furman Library digital collections experience a success: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/C7J6CHL
Continuing with our theme of National Poetry month, the following poem was published in the first edition of the Furman yearbook, Bonhomie (1901). The poem is entitled “To Furman” and was written by Samuel Marion Wolfe, who graduated from Furman University in 1903, and went on to become the attorney general of South Carolina (1918-1924).
Samuel Marion Wolfe (1878-1947). Former Furman student, poet, and attorney general of South Carolina.
Grave child of destiny, of penury born,
Sweet emblem star of sanctity, of thee
I sing. Innumerable voices called thee,
Innumerable souls do hail thee, Furman!
Full many are the youths whose minds thy mould,
Hath ably shaped and left divine impress
Upon their characters. Yet many, too,
Are they who ‘neath the mark hath fallen, but
To thee no blame attaches, Alma Mater,
and from their deeds pray God thy cheeks with shame
May never blush–for ‘neath the nations’ suns
Thy sages proudly walk. Thy grim archways
And penciled walls; the old mahogany clock
With muffled tick and faded dial that
Has tolled the generations by and still
Ticks on in solemn way the moments as
They go; the towered bell upon whose face
The name of many a truant is inscribed,
Hath each its tale to tell. Thy shaded slopes;
The tiny streams that trip and break o’er pebble
And stone and wind through blossoming dells where zephyrs
Do come and drink sweet fragrance, and the birds
Are wont to sing, all make our tasks less irksome;
Our stay more pleasant; leaving more reluctant.
For half a century thou hast stood, and yet,
Each year adds radiance to thy halo, and
New laurels to thy wreath. With one accord
let ‘s swell the oratorio until
One grand continuous song thy praises shall
Resound throughout eternity.
View 1901 Bonhomie yearbook.
In 1996, the Academy of American Poets established April as National Poetry Month, a time to celebrate poetry and its vital and positive impact on humanity. It is celebrated across America by schools, book stores, publishers, libraries, and anyone who loves poetry.
Furman University embraces National Poetry month, and is a strong supporter of poetry and poets. The Special Collections and Archives within the Library is the home of the South Carolina Poetry Archives, a collection which includes the works of all South Carolina poets laureate, literary fellows selected by the South Carolina Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, South Carolina Fiction Prize winners, and recipients of significant awards. Moreover, Furman University is home of The Ninety-Six Press, a publisher that only focuses on the poetry of South Carolina poets, usually in single-author books, but sometimes in anthologies.
The digital collections in the Library also have an assortment of poetry and related resources ranging from poetry entries in student year books and newspapers to post cards. Throughout the month of April, we’ll be showcasing some of the poetry from the digital collections and providing updates about poetry related events around campus. Be sure to stay tuned for an inspiring month of postings!
The first little showcase of poetry within the Digital Collections is a group of 3 small full-color postcards featuring excerpts from the poetry of Indiana poet, James Whitcomb Riley. The postcards are part of the Greenville Woman’s College collection and were used in the early 1900s. One of the postcards was actually sent by Mary C. Judson, principal of Greenville Woman’s College from 1878-1912.
James Whitcomb Riley (1849-1916) wrote over 1,000 poems and is often known as the “Hoosier poet” for his connection to Indiana or “the children’s poet” for the quantity of children’s verse he penned. Although famous for his midwestern upbringing, he does have a connection to South Carolina. His mother’s parents (John and Frances Marine) owned a farm in Marlboro County, South Carolina prior to the birth of their youngest daughter (Riley’s mother). John Marine was a poet in his own right, often writing religious verses. In the 1820s, the Marines left the south, crossed over the Blue Ridge Mountains and settled in Indiana, and the rest is poetry history. Enjoy this small sample of Riley’s work displayed on strikingly lovely postcards:
View postcards in Digital Collections
Decorations for an Easter festival in Prague
As Americans prepare for Easter with egg hunts, chocolate bunnies, and the ubiquitous marshmallow chicks, other countries around the world are engaging in their own individual Eastertide celebrations. One of the more unique Easter traditions can be found in the Furman University digital collection “Czech Republic & Central Europe.” This digital collection contains photographs from Furman education professor, Michael Svec, taken during his visit to central Europe in Spring 2005. His photographs capture the cultural, historical, and scenic aspects of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Lithuania, and Poland. Among the many interesting items in the digital collection are a group of photos related to Easter celebrations in Prague.
On Easter or Velikonoce, in the Czech Republic, girls make kraslice eggs which are dyed and elaborately decorated with complicated geometric patterns, snowflakes, floral motifs, or stickers. Traditionally, boys make pomlázkas or whipping sticks which are flexible braids fashioned from intertwined pussy willow twigs. In the past, these whipping sticks were hand-made and braided in ornate patterns. However, most pomlázkas are now purchased from shops already made.
On Easter Monday, boys and young men armed with their whipping sticks seek out girls or young ladies and playfully spank them on the legs. The whipping is not meant to hurt and is meant to be symbolic. The tradition of whipping with pussy willow twigs is thought to bring health, youth, and vitality to the female targets. It is also the custom for the guys to sing Easter carols and receive treats from the ladies such as kraslice eggs, candy, or (for the adult men) kisses and plum brandy.
This boisterous and unique tradition has been captured in photographs contained in the “Czech Republic & Central Europe” digital collection, so be sure to check out the link below:
View Easter photographs here.
Kraslice eggs and the pomlázka (whipping stick) are part of the Czech Easter tradition