Gordon Hall Snippets

The blog is back! Sorry for the long hiatus – the Hall-Hoag grant project has been winding down very quickly the past two months, and there has been so much left to accomplish. Whenever any project is nearing its completion, it seems like something new pops up every day unexpectedly that needs attention or solving. One of these issues happened with the FileMaker Pro database. The database not only contains information on all of the Hall-Hoag organizations and people, but also the EAD (encoded archival description) and EAC-CPF (encoded archival context-corporate persons, bodies, and families) data needed for the upcoming website for the collection. To export the data should have been a simple task – literally as easy as clicking a button on the database. The previous project archivist had written and set-up the code needed to compute this data, so this should have been a relatively easy and low-stress task. We soon found that we could not export the EAD in any capacity (time was spent editing scripts, locations, ETC.), and spent much longer than anyone would have liked on this task. The good news was that the problem was a simple one – the file size appeared to be too large for FileMaker to compute, and a rewrite of the script to export the data in smaller parts should fix the issue.

Since we’re towards the end of the project, it seemed fitting to take the blog full circle. Below are two items from the collection directly related to Gordon Hall. The first is a newspaper article in “The Sunday Herald Traveler” from an April 9, 1972 issue, written by Gordon himself. The paper describes Gordon as a, “regular contributor on political extremism,” and the article tackles events concerning the Students for A Democratic Society at Harvard.

 

Article written by Gordon Hall for “The Sunday Herald Traveler”

 

The second item are snippets from an interview Gordon conducted with Richard Bayer on June 16th, 1968. Gordon spoke with Bayer about the National Renaissance Party (NRP), [1] a neo-fascist group with a doctrine that included white supremacy, anti-semitism, and opposition to democracy.  The National Renaissance Party, founded by James Madole, was known for its often violent protests and riots in New York City in the 1960’s and 1970s.  As an interesting side note, Madole enjoyed science fiction, in particular H.P. Lovecraft.  The H.P. Lovecraft Collection [2] is one of the most notable collections in the John Hay Library.

Below is a snippet of the typed version of the interview. The handwritten version can be found in the collection.

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After James Madole’s death in 1971 the NRP faded from existence. However, a similar party was founded in 1990 by a man named Jared Taylor called, “The New Century Foundation.”[3] The group has a page on the Southern Poverty Law Center website [4], and it appears that they maintain both a magazine publication and website titled, American Renaissance.[5] It is important to note that Taylor refers to the group as “white-separatist,” and not “white-supremacist.”

 

[1] https://renaissance88.wordpress.com/

[2] http://library.brown.edu/collatoz/info.php?id=73

[3] http://www.nc-f.org/

[4] https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/group/american-renaissance

[5] http://www.amren.com/

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Clinton for President Committee

With the 2016 Presidential race really beginning to gain speed, I thought it might be fun to visit another Clinton who once upon a time ran for the title of our Commander-in-Chief: Bill Clinton, husband of current Democratic Presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. Former President Bill Clinton first ran for office in 1992, going up against then President George H. W. Bush (in an ironic twist, Bush’s son Jeb Bush is running as a GOP candidate). The Hall-Hoag collection contains some items from Bill Clinton’s 1992 fundraising campaign. What I found most interesting about the items from former President Clinton were the glaring similarities to political campaigns today – the abundance of mail items that encouraged the recipient to vote for the candidate, and the many ways he will bring “change” to the United States.

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The above pages are excerpts from a 7 page document found in the collection. And, as his postscript clearly shows, dual-party disdain was just as prominent 25 years ago as it is today. Bill Clinton, like many current candidates, implores his supporters to commit to him and his campaign with a monetary donation. And, also like many candidates today, he entices support and giving with something in return. In this case, a lapel pin (of which the collection unfortunately does not have).0494_001

 

 

 

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Madison’s Experience as a Hall-Hoag Intern

Hello! My name is Madison and I have been working with the Hall-Hoag Collection since mid-September as an intern from Simmons School of Library and Information Science. I was initially drawn to the project because of this blog, so I’m really excited to contribute to it!

Since the start of my internship, I’ve been working with the oversized materials, which are all of the items that don’t fit into standard-size archival storage boxes. While sorting through these boxes, I came across lots of different kinds of items, including tons of newspapers, event posters, protest banners and signs, phonograph records, and the occasional reel of film. Before I started the project, the items in the boxes were in folders, but they were not in any kind of order. First, I went through each box and recorded every item into a spreadsheet. Then, I sorted all of the items in my spreadsheet in alphabetical order by organization name. Finally, I re-sorted the boxes so that every item reflected this order.

This was a big project, but I loved it! Taking inventory of each box gave me the opportunity to look at every single oversize item in the collection and decide what the best way to organize them would be. This was all new territory for me, and I loved learning how to format everything in a way that was understandable and useful.

After I was done organizing all of the boxes, Jordan taught me how to do some basic digitization! This final step of my project involved scanning some of the photos in the collection and using Photoshop to enhance them so that they’re as clear as possible. While some of these photos had captions or handwritten notes that specified where and when they were from, some of them did not and remain unidentified. Here are the results!

Labeled "MIT 10/9/69" on the back, with the name "Robin Hahnel," "Pete Bohmer," and "Allan Silverstone" handwritten along the bottom, presumably identifying some of the subjects.

Labeled “MIT 10/9/69” on the back, with the names “Robin Hahnel,” “Pete Bohmer,” and “Allan Silverstone” handwritten along the bottom, presumably identifying some of the subjects.

 

 

The caption on this photo explains that the man holding the sign is Josef Mlot-Mroz, a Polish anti-communist activist. Here, he is being ejected from a church for disrupting a memorial service.

The caption on this photo explains that the man holding the sign is Josef Mlot-Mroz, a Polish anti-communist activist. Here, he is being ejected from a church for disrupting a memorial service.

 

Handwritten notes on the back of this photo suggest that this photo depicts Josef Mlot Mroz staging a counter-protest outside of a Boston hospital. Along the right-hand side of the photo, protesters from Medical Professionals for Peace in Vietnam look on as Mlot Mroz burns a Russian flag.

Handwritten notes on the back of this photo suggest that this photo depicts Josef Mlot-Mroz staging a counter-protest outside of a Boston hospital. Along the right-hand side of the photo, protesters from Medical Professionals for Peace in Vietnam look on as Mlot-Mroz burns a Russian flag.

 

Since I am very much a beginner when it comes to Photoshop, I chose to keep it simple and adjust the contrast and brightness on each photo until all of the signs were as legible as possible. The second photo, depicting Mlot-Mroz’s ejection from the church, had some fading that only affected one half of the photo. I chose to blend the line down the middle of the image so that this contrast would be less visible. While all of the photos have some small amount of visible damage, they are still in great condition, which really helped make the scanning and editing process much smoother than it would have been with very damaged photos.

As my time with the Hall-Hoag Collection comes to an end, I’m so grateful to Jordan and everyone else who I’ve met since I started this internship. I’d never attempted photo editing or archival organization before, so this has been an amazing and informative experience for me. Since I want to be an archivist myself someday, learning how to make decisions about the organization of a collection was invaluable to me. I had a wonderful time working with this collection, and I can’t wait to take what I’ve learned here and apply it to my future career!

 

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Hall-Hoag Website Survey

Hello loyal Hall-Hoag blog followers! For those of you affiliated with Brown, we would love to have you help us out with testing the new Hall-Hoag Research website. The aim of the website is both to inform users about the Hall-Hoag Collection, and to assist researchers who are interested in utilizing the collection. To connect to the website, you must be connected to the Brown VPN, which can be done here (http://library.brown.edu/libweb/proxy.php).

Website link: https://dblightcit.services.brown.edu/hall-hoag/

Survey Link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2HWX8QV

Please complete the survey in its entirety, which allows us to obtain the widest breadth of information possible. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Project Archivist at jordan_jancosek@brown.edu.

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Nasty Secretary Liberation Front (Processed World)

One of the things that I find most interesting about this collection are the connections within the materials. For example, this week’s post was to highlight a flyer titled, “Nasty Secretary Liberation Front,” which appeared to be an organization. However, when conducting research to find more background information about the organization, I found that the Nasty Secretary mock leaflet was actually the work of a group called the, “Union of Concerned Commies,” more widely known today as Processed World magazine.

Processed World, as described in the history section of its website, was officially founded in 1981 by a group of dissidents in their early twenties from San Francisco’s Financial District, who were wholly unsatisfied with the notion of climbing the corporate ladder. Choosing to work as temp’s to avoid “business/yuppie professionalism” allowed the group to pursue their own innovative agenda. The group’s mission is best described verbatim from its website: “Thus, from the start, the project’s expressed purpose was twofold: to serve as a contact point and forum for malcontent office workers (and wage-workers in general) and to provide a creative outlet for people whose talents were blocked by what they were doing for money.” [1]

Going further down the research rabbit hole, I discovered that Processed World actually stems from another previously formed group, the Union of Concerned Commies. The UCC was founded in 1979, as a “left-libertarian intervention into the anti-nuclear movement.”[2]  The group utilized attention-grabbing tactics, such as cartoons, clever t-shirt slogans, and clever flyers. The UCC eventually took on more of a “theatrical” protesting-style, satirical in nature. For example, the group would re-word lyrics to patriotic and armed forces songs, and would attend anti-war and anti-nuke rallies performing in an egregious manner.

An example of Union of Concerned Commies proopganda

An example of Union of Concerned Commies propaganda [3]

The UCC’s aim and mission became lost for some members, and many of its constituents left the group or went in a different direction. A few of the former UCC populace already had a vision for continuing the spirit of the UCC. Chris Carlsson and Caitlin Manning (two former members of UCC) produced the satirical leaflet Nasty Secretary Liberation Front. One side was titled “Inner-Voice,” (an obvious play on an “invoice”) and on the other, “Rebellion Behind the Typewriter,” an essay exhibiting the lack of collective action in the secretarial field.

Innervoice #1

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Nasty Secretary Liberation Front  was an example of what was to follow in the magazine Processed World (PW), founded in 1981. [4] PW’s aim was to act as a community publication, uniting like-minded individuals against the monotony of professional society and to encourage critical thinking and artistic exploration.

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The last known issue was printed in 2005. Please feel free to peruse their website here: Processed World . I wasn’t disappointed, and I don’t think the reader will be either.

 

[1] http://www.processedworld.com/History/history.html

[2] http://foundsf.org/index.php?title=Union_of_Concerned_Commies_1979-1980,_agit-prop_theater_and_flyers

[3]http://foundsf.org/index.php?title=Union_of_Concerned_Commies_Crisis_and_its_uses

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Processed_World_(magazine)

 

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