To better improve accessibility to our archival collections, the archives staff has developed a new finding aid site. This site will house all of our finding aids for our processed collections (don’t know much about finding aids, click here) and eventually all of them will have links to the documents themselves (click here to see an example). The finding aids will also be searchable on our Library ILS system. So, if you need access to primary source material concerning YSU, this is the place to look.
For the last five months, the Archives Staff has been creating ocr’d pdf’s of all the Jambar Newspapers (1931-present). The first stage of the project was to have all the Jambar Newspapers scanned and put in pdf files. The second stage had the archives staff take the images and apply optical character recognition to each issue: which allows for each issue to be completely searched. Once that was completed, the staff uploaded the images to Dspace for immediate viewing. The third and fourth stages (yet to be finished) of the project will see the creation of tiff images and meta-data, with an in depth abstract analysis, which will be added to each issue on Dspace. Click on above image to go to the Jambar Archives.
Within the last several weeks, employees of the Maag Library’s IT, MMC, and Archive Departments have teamed up to start the conversion of analog oral histories to digital files (in cooperation with the YSU Oral History Department). This project is expected to take about two years and make available all of the YSU Oral Histories in both audio and text format. Providing researchers, historians, and all interested parties accessibility to this prized audio collection.
Coinciding with the African American Delta Heritage Archival Project, we are making available two digitized recordings concerning the experience of African Americans in Youngstown during the Depression. As we move forward with this project, we will be making more recordings available. The following are the two selections from the oral history collection (Courtesy of the YSU Oral History Department):
In February 1999, the Youngstown Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority celebrated Black History Month with a project commemorating the achievements of the local African American community. The women in this group took upon themselves the responsibility to continue the oral history tradition by creating an audio-visual presentation documenting the history of African Americans in the Mahoning Valley. The presentation, entitled Remembering Our Past and Moving Forward, premiered on Saturday, March 27, 1999, at the “Give the Children a Chance, Inc.” offices in Youngstown.
One part of this presentation was a series of posterboards of different sizes, each containing photographs, news clippings, and biographies prepared for the presentation, as well as other ephemera relating to thirty-nine African Americans who have made contributions both locally and nationally, spanning the mid-nineteenth century to the present. Local groups and institutions of pertinence, such as the McGuffy Centre, were also highlighted. This collection was graciously loaned to the Archives & Special Collections of Youngstown State University’s Maag Library in 2008 to be digitized and made publicly available online.
The biographies compiled by the Delta Heritage Project form a community portrait when viewed as a whole. We can see the story of a group of people who fought with determination and dignity to attain the equality upon which the United States of America was founded. Given our nation’s troubled history, this struggle naturally could be expected to appear as a common thread throughout such a collection as this. In a more general sense, however, we see people who lived their lives. In total, the Delta Heritage Project is a picture of human life, complex and multi-faceted, set against the backdrop of our city.
On an individual level, these aspects reveal themselves to be diverse, as well. In archival practice, records such as those that make up this collection are arranged thematically into specific categories, called series. For the Delta Heritage Project, the biographies were processed by the series “Persons by Occupation,” with several different occupations (such as “business” and “media”) serving as subseries. The process of defining a person in this manner can be a difficult judgment to make. The breadth of experiences of many of the individuals profiled by the Delta Heritage Project is that more boldy underscored when posed with the singular question, “What is this person’s occupation?” For instance, Herb Washington appears in the subseries “Business” as the owner of twenty-one local McDonald’s restaurants and the Steelhounds hockey team; however, he was also a professional baseball player and has long been involved in politics, from protesting the lack of black officials and faculty as a student athlete to serving on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Youngstown Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Ron Daniels is placed in the “Arts and Letters” subseries for his vast scholarship, but he is also the executive director of the Center for Constitutional Rights–and even ran for President of the United States in 1992 as a third-party candidate. When reading through the biographies created by the project, it becomes clear that community service alone could be rightly applied as a category for most of the people being commemorated. In addition to being lawyers and laborers, businessmen and broadcasters, however, they were also soldiers, protestors, scholars, volunteeers, actvists, athletes, role models, and more.
The materials preserved in the Delta Heritage Project Collection offer inspiration and information that is candid and close-to-home. In this collection, one sees that individual lives are truly the basis for “community.”
Additional resources of pertinence available through Maag Library and the YSU Archives include:
The following links are to articles from the Jambar Digital Newspaper Archive (Courtesy of the Youngstown State University Archives).
The following links are to oral histories dealing with African-American migration to Youngstown. (Courtesy of the Oral History Department at Youngstown State University).