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Exhibition: Collecting History

Collecting History: Coins, Banknotes, and Postage Stamps in Special Collections

Exhibition Dates: June – August 2017

Collected by people of all ages and status, coins, banknotes and postage stamps serve a practical function, yet can be considered miniature works of art that reflect the history and culture of their time. Featuring national symbols, notable individuals and events, and often putting forth ideas and propaganda, they show us how nations wanted the public to perceive their governments and cultures.

This summer exhibition features just a sampling of these materials from our collections, from ancient coins to foreign currency, and stamps from around the world.

Crunch Lit

Crunch Lit / Katy Shaw  –  The financial crisis of 2008 quickly gave rise to a growing body of fiction: “Crunch Lit”. These ‘recession writings’ take the financial crisis as their central narrative concern and explore its effects on consumer culture, gender roles and contemporary communities. Examining a range of texts including John Lanchester’s Capital, Adam Haslett’s Union Atlantic, and  Sebastian Faulks’ A Week in December, this book offers the first wide-ranging guide to these new millennial writings.

Capital / John Lanchester  –  Celebrated novelist John Lanchester (author of The Debt to Pleasure) returns with an epic novel that captures the obsessions of our time. It’s 2008 and things are falling apart: Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers are going under, and the residents of Pepys Road, London―a banker and his shopaholic wife, an old woman dying of a brain tumor and her graffiti-artist grandson, Pakistani shop owners and a shadowy refugee who works as the meter maid, the young soccer star from Senegal and his minder―are receiving anonymous postcards reading “We Want What You Have.” Who is behind it? What do they want? Epic in scope yet intimate, capturing the ordinary dramas of very different lives, this is a novel of love and suspicion, of financial collapse and terrorist threat, of property values going up and fortunes going down, and of a city at a moment of extraordinary tension. – available through PASCAL Delivers

The Futures: A Novel  / Anna Pitoniak  –  A heart-wrenching debut novel about a young couple trying to find out what they really want in life and whether or not that includes each other. Julia and Evan fall in love as undergraduates at Yale. For Evan, who grew up in a small town in Canada, Yale is a whole new world, and Julia – blond, beautiful and rich – is part of his vision for a successful future. After they graduate in 2008, they move together to New York City, where Evan takes a job at a hedge fund – another step forward in the life he imagines for himself. Julia, who has only known a life of privilege, graduates with an art history degree and no plan for her own future. She lands a low paying assistant job at a nonprofit, unsure about what she really wants, and wondering when everyone else figured that out for themselves. With the market crashing and banks failing around him, Evan becomes involved in an increasingly high-stakes deal at work, and begins to realize that the price of privilege may come with dangerous strings attached. Meanwhile, Julia reconnects with someone from her past, someone who offers her a vision of a different kind of life. Told in alternating perspectives, The Futures is a vivid story about love – falling in and out of it – betrayal, and the burning desire to be valued.

Union Atlantic: A Novel / Adam Haslett  –  At the heart of Union Atlantic lies a test of wills between a retired history teacher, Charlotte Graves—who has suddenly begun to hear her two dogs speaking to her in the voices of Cotton Mather and Malcolm X—and an ambitious young banker, Doug Fanning, who is building an ostentatious mansion on what was once Charlotte’s family land. Drawn into the conflict is Nate Fuller, a troubled high-school student who stirs powerful emotions in both of them. What emerges is a riveting story of financial power, the defense of tradition, and the distortions of desire these forces create. With remarkable scope and precision, Union Atlantic delivers a striking vision of the violent, anxious world we’ve come to inhabit. – available through PASCAL Delivers

The Darlings / Cristina Alger  –  Married to Merrill Darling, daughter of billionaire financier Carter Darling, attorney Paul Ross has grown accustomed to New York society and all of its luxuries. When Paul loses his job, Carter offers him the chance to head the legal team at his hedge fund. A tragic event catapults the Darling family into the media spotlight, a regulatory investigation, and a red-hot scandal with enormous implications for everyone involved. Will Paul save himself while betraying his wife and in-laws or protect the family business at all costs?  – available through PASCAL Delivers

Behold the Dreamers: A Novel / Imbolo Mbue  –  Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future. However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades. When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

Secrets, Leaks, and Investigations

Secrets and Leaks: The Dilemma of State Secrecy examines the complex relationships among executive power, national security, and secrecy. State secrecy is vital for national security, but it can also be used to conceal wrongdoing. How then can we ensure that this power is used responsibly? Typically, the onus is put on lawmakers and judges, who are expected to oversee the executive. Yet because these actors lack access to the relevant information and the ability to determine the harm likely to be caused by its disclosure, they often defer to the executive’s claims about the need for secrecy. As a result, potential abuses are more often exposed by unauthorized disclosures published in the press.

But should such disclosures, which violate the law, be condoned? Drawing on several cases, Rahul Sagar argues that though whistleblowing can be morally justified, the fear of retaliation usually prompts officials to act anonymously–that is, to “leak” information. As a result, it becomes difficult for the public to discern when an unauthorized disclosure is intended to further partisan interests. Because such disclosures are the only credible means of checking the executive, Sagar writes, they must be tolerated. However, the public should treat such disclosures skeptically and subject irresponsible journalism to concerted criticism. – summary provided by the publisher (Princeton University Press, 2013)

Investigating the President: Congressional Checks on Presidential Power   Although congressional investigations have provided some of the most dramatic moments in American political history, they have often been dismissed as mere political theater. But these investigations are far more than grandstanding. Investigating the President shows that congressional investigations are a powerful tool for members of Congress to counter presidential aggrandizement. By shining a light on alleged executive wrongdoing, investigations can exert significant pressure on the president and materially affect policy outcomes.

Douglas Kriner and Eric Schickler construct the most comprehensive overview of congressional investigative oversight to date, analyzing nearly thirteen thousand days of hearings, spanning more than a century, from 1898 through 2014. The authors examine the forces driving investigative power over time and across chambers, identify how hearings might influence the president’s strategic calculations through the erosion of the president’s public approval rating, and uncover the pathways through which investigations have shaped public policy. Put simply, by bringing significant political pressure to bear on the president, investigations often afford Congress a blunt, but effective check on presidential power–without the need to worry about veto threats or other hurdles such as Senate filibusters. In an era of intense partisan polarization and institutional dysfunction, Investigating the President delves into the dynamics of congressional investigations and how Congress leverages this tool to counterbalance presidential power. – summary provided by the publisher (Princeton University Press, 2016)

Impeachable Offenses: A Documentary History from 1787 to the Present  Using primary documents from all federal impeachments, including those for members of Congress, the judiciary, and the cabinet as well as the President, the authors evaluate what has and what has not constituted an impeachable offense, from the proceedings against Senator William Blount in 1797 to that of President Clinton in 1998. They also touch on Congress’ occasional attempts to use censure to tut-tut an official. – summary provided by the publisher (Congressional Quarterly, 1999)

Trust Betrayed: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the Selling Out of America’s National Security  Ex-Navy SEAL sniper Scott Taylor served his country for eight years. Taylor finally came home after he was injured during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Years later, he became outraged when he discovered that the Obama administration was leaking sensitive intelligence information for political gain. Now Scott Taylor is speaking out. Having served as a sniper in the same region of Iraq as American Sniper author Chris Kyle, Taylor knows first-hand how high the stakes are. From the bungling of Benghazi to the rise of ISIS, the White House has betrayed the trust of American forces. It’s time President Obama and his administration were finally held accountable. – summary provided by the publisher (Regnery Publishing, 2015)

Power, Politics, and Paranoia: Why People Are Suspicious of their Leaders  Powerful societal leaders – such as politicians and Chief Executives – are frequently met with substantial distrust by the public. But why are people so suspicious of their leaders? One possibility is that ‘power corrupts’, and therefore people are right in their reservations. Indeed, there are numerous examples of unethical leadership, even at the highest level, as the Watergate and Enron scandals clearly illustrate. Another possibility is that people are unjustifiably paranoid, as underscored by some of the rather far-fetched conspiracy theories that are endorsed by a surprisingly large portion of citizens. Are societal power holders more likely than the average citizen to display unethical behaviour? How do people generally think and feel about politicians? How do paranoia and conspiracy beliefs about societal power holders originate? In this book, prominent scholars address these intriguing questions and illuminate the many facets of the relations between power, politics and paranoia. – summary provided by the publisher (Cambridge University Press, 2014)

The Taming of the Press: Cohen v. Cowles Media Company  “Cohen v. Cowles Media Company” changed the course of First Amendment media law. After a quarter century of decisions interpreting the First Amendment to give media organizations preferential treatment, the Supreme Court ruled in 1991 that the Constitution did not give the press immunity from the laws ordinary citizens must obey. The American Bar Association quarterly “Communications Lawyer” (Spring 1998) calls “Cohen” a media law hall of fame case. The author, who was the plaintiff’s sole attorney in all phases of the case, provides detailed analysis of the complexities of constitutional litigation and the strategic and tactical considerations involved in formulating constitutional arguments in the Supreme Court and other courts.

This is a classic David v. Goliath story of a lone lawyer who worked out of his basement taking on media and legal giants and winning. Scores of attorneys from major law firms around the country represented the Minneapolis and St. Paul newspaper defendants and their allies in court in a case where experts were confident that the press could never lose. The “Cohen” decision has revolutionized the law regarding accountability for wrongdoing by media organizations, and many federal and state courts have relied upon the “Cohen” case in holding media organizations liable for their actions. This lively account will interest not only legal and media scholars, but all readers interested in correcting injustice. – summary provided by the publisher (Praeger, 1999)

The Transparency Fix: Secrets, Leaks, and Uncontrollable Government Information (available through InterLibrary Loan)  Is the government too secret or not secret enough? Why is there simultaneously too much government secrecy and a seemingly endless procession of government leaks? The Transparency Fix asserts that we incorrectly assume that government information can be controlled. The same impulse that drives transparency movements also drives secrecy advocates. They all hold the mistaken belief that government information can either be released or kept secure on command.

The Transparency Fix argues for a reformation in our assumptions about secrecy and transparency. The world did not end because Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, and Edward Snowden released classified information. But nor was there a significant political change. “Transparency” has become a buzzword, while secrecy is anathema. Using a variety of real-life examples to examine how government information actually flows, Mark Fenster describes how the legal regime’s tenuous control over state information belies both the promise and peril of transparency. He challenges us to confront the implausibility of controlling government information and shows us how the contemporary obsession surrounding transparency and secrecy cannot radically change a state that is defined by so much more than information. – summary provided by the publisher (Stanford University Press, 2017)

Meet Our Research and Creative Fellows

This year, Special Collections and Archives has two 10-week summer fellowships for Furman undergraduates. These competitive fellowships sponsored by Carolyn ’67 and Joseph ’68 Warden will allow students to perform original research using materials in Special Collections and Archives for a research or creative project of their own design.

Chrissy Hicks ’20 is a future Music major and classicist who will be working on our growing collection of medieval music manuscripts: studying the background of manuscript production, the uses of medieval written music, and looking closely at our manuscripts to confirm or expand their present descriptions and what we know about them.



Emory Conetta ’18 is an Art History and Studio Art double major who will be looking at our collection of Furman and Greenville Woman’s College scrapbooks from the early 20th century in a project that will study young women’s identity and practices of keeping and making memory in Greenville and the South. One of her aims is to start making her own scrapbook as a response to what she discovers, and this summer fellowship will form the basis of her year-long senior studio art project, which will culminate in a gallery show next spring.

On Display: Eclipse @ Furman

Currently on display in the Sanders Science Library is a selection of interesting books about solar eclipses. Please feel free to check out any of the books on display in preparation for the total solar eclipse occurring on August 21. Titles include:

Furman University is hosting a free viewing of the total solar eclipse Aug. 21, at Paladin Stadium from 12:30-3:30 p.m. Most of the United States will see only a partial eclipse, but Greenville, South Carolina, falls directly within the eclipse’s region of totality. The viewing party will include:

The Literacy Corner

The Literacy Corner students had fun decorating the bust of Charlie Peace today. Charlie’s ensemble includes everything from the basket…chicken mask, St. Patrick’s Day glasses, bow tie, pink wig, 3 hats, blue wig, pirate eye patch, red feather boa, flower lei, reindeer antlers, purple Mardi Gras beads, olympic medal, and a pig nose!

The Literacy Corner is a four-week tutoring program for students ages 6 to 14 taught by graduate-level, certified teachers in Furman’s Masters of Arts in Education program. The Literacy Corner program is held every summer in the James B. Duke Library.

Furman University Oral History Project

Furman University Oral History Project  This growing collection contains oral histories taken and recorded by history professor Courtney Tollison and her students. Many of the recordings feature Furman’s own rich history and the history of Greenville. Some of the notable interviewees include Max and Trude Heller, Charles Townes, President John E. and Martha Johns, John L. Plyler, Jr., and Dr. Lloyd Batson. Many interviews also contain searchable PDF transcripts available for download.

The Furman Hornet

Furman University athletes have always worn purple and white. However, the mascots they played under have changed over the years. The earliest teams were referred to as the “Hornets,” a name they shared with the student newspaper.

In the 1920s, the football team began to be referred to as the “Purple Hurricane.” The basketball team was also occasionally called the “Purple Paladins.” Other Furman teams continued to be known as the Hornets until 1961, when the student body voted to make the Paladin the sole mascot of Furman University athletics.

The belt buckle pictured above was donated to Special Collections & Archives by Tierce Riley Machen, Jr. (’47).  It is part of a collection called Furman University Memorabilia, 1826-2013

On Display: Winging It

A selection of interesting books about musical improvisation is currently on display in the Maxwell Music Library. This exhibit, called “Winging It,” includes the following titles:

Summer Session I Hours

The James B. Duke Library hours during Summer Session I are as follows (note the dates in bold offer extended hours during Summer Orientation and an altered schedule for the 4th of July holiday).  

June 5  Monday  8:00am – 10:00pm
June 6  Tuesday  8:00am – 10:00pm
June 7  Wednesday  8:00am – 10:00pm
June 8  Thursday  8:00am – 10:00pm
June 9  Friday  8:00am – 5:00pm
June 10  Saturday  1:00pm – 5:00pm
June 11  Sunday  1:00pm – 5:00pm

June 12  Monday  8:00am – 10:00pm
June 13  Tuesday  8:00am – 10:00pm
June 14  Wednesday  8:00am – 10:00pm
June 15  Thursday  8:00am – 10:00pm
June 16  Friday  8:00am – 5:00pm
June 17  Saturday  9:00am – 5:00pm
June 18  Sunday  1:00pm – 5:00pm

June 19  Monday  8:00am – 10:00pm
June 20  Tuesday  8:00am – 10:00pm
June 21  Wednesday  8:00am – 10:00pm
June 22  Thursday  8:00am – 10:00pm
June 23  Friday  8:00am – 5:00pm
June 24  Saturday  9:00am – 5:00pm
June 25  Sunday  9:00am – 5:00pm

June 26  Monday  8:00am – 10:00pm
June 27  Tuesday  8:00am – 10:00pm
June 28  Wednesday  8:00am – 10:00pm
June 29  Thursday  8:00am – 10:00pm
June 30  Friday  8:00am – 5:00pm
July 1  Saturday  1:00pm – 5:00pm
July 2  Sunday  1:00pm – 5:00pm

July 3  Monday  8:00am – 5:00pm
July 4  Tuesday  CLOSED
July 5  Wednesday  8:00am – 10:00pm
July 6  Thursday  8:00am – 10:00pm
July 7  Friday  8:00am – 5:00pm