Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Robert Manners Papers

          Brandeis University Archives holds the faculty papers of Robert Manners, Brandeis Professor of Anthropology from 1952 to 1979, and is happy to announce that the collection has now been processed and is available to researchers.

Robert Manners was born in 1914 in New York City and studied at Columbia University, earning a PhD in Anthropology in 1949 after a stint as an Army captain during the war. During his PhD studies, Manners conducted fieldwork in Puerto Rico with several other graduate students under the direction of his advisor and “intellectual mentor,” Julian Steward, focusing on tobacco farming in the rural community of Barranquitas. Manners, along with a large number of fellow graduate students and established anthropologists, undertook extensive studies in the Puerto Rican population from 1947-1949; this research culminated in The People of Puerto Rico (Steward et al., 1956).

         A Manners class at Brandeis, 1972

 
Manners kept impeccable records from this study, providing weekly reports for the period of April 1948 to September 1948, including local newspaper clippings, signs, and other documentation. With a great deal of documentation from his early studies, the collection provides a fascinating glimpse into his early career. Working mainly on the family structures of the various social classes of the small communities, Manners shows a special affinity for 
comparing the traditional observation of fieldwork with carefully analyzed government reports. The aims of the project were to examine and explain the political, economic, social, and familial structures of the “agrarian stratified society” in which they were working. The researchers tested a large number of theories, giving a sense of the broad scale and depth of the program. Seeking a generalized explanation of the rigid, insular society of Puerto Rico, the team, led by Steward, spread a wide net, looking beyond economics—Manners’s focus—into the very fabric of Puerto Rican society. The fieldwork crossed over two years, and included discussions on such topics as agriculture, household structures, Puerto Rican sex life, and the economy and politics of Puerto Rico; the collection also includes photographs supporting research into many of these subjects.
As evidenced in this collection and his later fieldwork, Manners maintained a long interest in the field of insular studies, providing the research for his dissertation. Perhaps it is not surprising then that he was involved, at least by association, with a movement to support an independent Puerto Rico following the shootings in Congress in March of 1954 by Puerto Rican Nationalists. A letter from A. J. Muste, noted early-twentieth-century pacifist, implored Manners to become involved with the Puerto Rican Independence movement. The relationship between Manners and Reverend Muste is unclear, and the letter was not addressed specifically to Manners. Regardless of the intention of the letter, Manners’s active participant in this controversial subject is unlikely, as he seems to have shown little interest in the subject beyond a personal inquiry.
            To read this letter and other documents from this Puerto Rican Project, as well as Manners’s course materials, lecture notes, correspondence, drafts, field notes, and relevant photographs, please access the finding aid here. To view this collection and others like it, contact ascdepartment@brandeis.edu or call 781-736-4686 to make an appointment.

description by Ben Schmidt, Archives & Special Collections Student Assistant and undergraduate student in History.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Lawrence Wien Collection now available

Lawrence Wien (1905-1988) played a variety of important roles in the Brandeis community, serving as a member of the Board of Trustees and benefactor to the university from its founding until his retirement in 1984. Wien, a lawyer and real-estate investor, donated generously to Brandeis, most notably founding the Wien International Scholarship Program (WISP), funding the creation of the Faculty Center, and supporting the placement of the Louis D. Brandeis statue on campus.
     The Brandeis University Archives holds the personal papers of Lawrence Wien, including correspondence between Wien and people from around the world, along with early data and responses to WISP, dating from 1958-1988. This collection contains letters to Wien from gracious WISP scholars, press clippings related to Brandeis, and programs from a variety of events that he attended and hosted while affiliated with Brandeis. Of special note is the large number of photographs in the collection, depicting Brandeis throughout its history in the eyes of a trustee. The impact of Lawrence Wien can be clearly felt throughout the collection, as personal letters from WISP scholars constantly reiterate affection and appreciation.
WISP has brought scholars to Brandeis from around the world since 1958. Receiving significant financial support from Brandeis for tuition, housing, and a round-trip plane ticket, WISP students are encouraged to apply their skills in their home countries to grow international discourse and ideas. In the hope of broadening international dialogue and cooperation, Wien sought to make Brandeis a center for international coexistence studies. His support for the university was far more than financial. Letters to Wien from WISP scholars throughout his life show the gratitude that students, administrators, and others shared for him. Following his appointment as the fourth chairman of the Board of Trustees in 1967, Wien sought to radically expand his international scholar program, giving an additional $2.5 million. Leading by the example of his significant philanthropy, Wien single-handedly established the single largest and most expansive privately funded international scholar program in the country. 
    Many of Wien’s donations to Brandeis took the form of endowments. In explaining his largess, much of which was contributed during his lifetime, Wien explained that he received great pleasure in giving donations; in a 1967 interview with the Boston Globe, Wien said, “You either die with a lot of money or you give it away in some way that gives you pleasure.” For Wien (affectionately known as Larry by his friends and acquaintances alike), pleasure took the form of providing financial gifts to his alma mater, Columbia University, acting as a patron of the arts in New York, working with the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, and serving as a trustee at Brandeis University.



From left: Lawrence Wien, Abram Sachar, John F. Kennedy, Wakako Kimoto Hironaka  (from the first class of Wien Scholars) Senator Leverett Saltonstall, George Kennan, Abraham Feinberg.

    From the beginning, the Wien International Scholarship Program has served as a unique opportunity for many of the scholars who have participated in its mission. With the goal of furthering international understanding and cooperation, WISP has very few requirements for applicants’ nationalities and areas of study, in the hope that this would expand the applicant pool and encourage a great dialogue and discussion on campus. The community of scholars that WISP forms draws connections across the world. Frequent letters to Lawrence Wien from his acquaintances include mentions of WISP scholars in their home countries and the immense credit they bring to their communities and the program that educated them. When one Wien alumnus learned of the death of Wien’s first wife, Mae, he sent his regrets, describing her as a mother to all WISP scholars, just as Wien himself was a father to them (he was affectionately referred to as Dad Wien by his legal partners, WISP scholars, and Brandeis’s first president, Abram Sachar). Adding to the outpouring of support and affection for Wien on his eightieth birthday, one former scholar sent a cartoon he had drawn for Wien, depicting a computer translating all of his birthday cards, and a person thinking, “I bet very few people receive such multilingual birthday greetings”; the caption reads: “News: a special computer used for translating b-day greetings sent to Mr. L. Wien….” Nearly all of the letters to him found in this collection, largely personal correspondence, share jokes and kind words with Wien. With correspondents such as Ronald Reagan, Brandeis presidents, and many others, it is easy to discern that Wien was a well-respected individual whose impact on his community was immense. In a letter sent by the Office of International Programs at Brandeis to Wien following the thirtieth anniversary of WISP in 1988 (his last public appearance, during which he gave an emotional speech discussing his life and philanthropy, and announced his terminal cancer), the author spoke of a WISP alumnus who came into his office to tell him about a dream. In this dream, the former student “had dreamed that we [WISP scholars] had all prayed together after our dinner that you would be healed; and he felt that if all of us, from so many different cultures and religions, prayed to our several gods together, it could not fail to help you.” Such love and affection for Larry Wien is shown in letters to him throughout his life, as he acted selflessly and kindly, always looking beyond himself to a global community that showed a constant appreciation for his generosity. Sadly, Lawrence Wien passed away a little over a month after the thirtieth anniversary of the program that bears his name.
     Wien’s immense impact on Brandeis since its founding helped the university to grow financially and academically and to take a leading role in the world of international education. As a close friend of Brandeis’s first president and as a generous and thoughtful leader, Lawrence Wien was able to influence the growth of Brandeis as a strong vibrant institution from its earliest, idealized beginnings.

For a list of contents in the Wien collection, which includes letters to Lawrence Wien, information on WISP, photographs, and information on the early years of Brandeis University, please access the finding aid at http://archon.brandeis.edu/index.php?p=collections/findingaid&id=182 To view this collection and others like it, contact ascdepartment@brandeis.edu or call 781-736-4686 to make an appointment.

Blog post written by Ben Schmidt, Brandeis University student in History.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Festival of the Creative Arts

This is a moment of inquiry for the whole world: a moment when civilization looks at itself appraisingly, seeking a key to the future. In this spirit we shall examine the creative arts during our four-day Festival—examine them by performance, by asking questions, by the answers we receive. We cannot pretend to wisdom; but through performance we can provoke thought and free discussion; through discussing we can learn; and through learning we can rediscover our culture and ourselves. – Leonard Bernstein


The Festival of the Arts made its first mark on the Brandeis University campus in June 1952, in conjunction with the university’s first graduation. With over 3,000 attendees, the newly built Ullman Amphitheater was filled to capacity as musicians, artists, dancers, and actors presented their debut performances. President Sachar opened the ceremonies with an address to the university, describing the events that would take place as a reflection of the quality of university achievements. According to Sachar, the Festival of the Arts was meant to be “stimulating and provocative as well as aesthetic and exciting.” The four-day event not only excited those involved with the university, but became well-known nationwide.



Led by Leonard Bernstein, a prominent composer and professor of music, the festival included works in jazz, poetry, opera, theater, and film. The festival kicked off on June 12, 1952, with an opening event entitled “An inquiry into the present status of the creative arts.” This conversation concerning the nature of the arts was moderated by Leonard Bernstein himself. Bernstein, for whom the festival was later named, also directed the world premiere of his opera Trouble in Tahiti on the first night of the festival. This domestic tragi-comedy was performed in seven scenes, depicting a couple living in suburbia trying to overcome the challenges of unhappiness. The show was later performed on air for N.B.C. Television Opera Theatre.



The first Festival of the Arts also included the premiere of Marc Blitzstein’s translated adaptation of The Threepenny Opera, which later opened off Broadway in March 1954. The opera was praised for both its accuracy in transforming the original German opera and its fantastic composition. Other performances included Symphonie Pour Un Homme Seul by Pierre Schaeffer, with the choreography of Merce Cunningham, and Les Noces, a choral ballet by Igor Stravinsky. Jazz concerts presented various trends in bop and Dixieland jazz, including a performance by Miles Davis. Poets Karl Shapiro, Ludwig Lewisohn, Peter Viereck, and William Carlos Williams also engaged audiences by reading their personal pieces. Throughout the festival, stimulating moderated discussions took place to explore all areas of the art displayed.


The first Festival of the Arts at Brandeis was not only praised at the university, but also had critics and journalists commenting across the country. According to the New York Times Magazine, the best part of the festival was that “the arts were represented as they must always bein their living state.” The article ended by stating, “There was, in sum, a sense of the ferment of ideas, and that is what Brandeis University hopes its annual festival of the creative arts will come to express to the world.” In another article, John W. M. Riley writes,
Such an event as this Brandeis festival of the Creative Arts, presented in the fourth year of the university’s existence, strikingly shows the vitality, awareness and creative energy which pervade the atmosphere at Brandeis.


In 2012, the Festival of the Creative Arts celebrated its 60th anniversary with performances by esteemed faculty members and students, exhibits at the Rose Art Museum, gallery openings, and community activities. More information about the Festival of the Arts can be found in the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections at Brandeis University, including original speeches, reviews, pamphlets, and photographs.


Many thanks to Brandeis University student Debra Friedman for writing this summary.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Milton Hindus Meets the Monstrous Giant Céline

Milton Hindus was born in 1916 in New York, New York and studied at City College (CUNY), Columbia University and the University of Chicago. Hindus taught at Hunter College (CUNY), the New School for Social Research and the University of Chicago before joining the Brandeis faculty in 1948. One of the original 13 faculty members, he remained an active part of the Brandeis community until his death in 1998. Hindus studied literatures in a range of languages, including (but not limited to) English, Yiddish and French. In 1959 he received the Walt Whitman Prize for a collection he edited entitled Walt Whitman: 100 Years Later. In addition to works on Marcel Proust, Charles Reznikoff and F. Scott Fitzgerald, he published a volume of his own poetry entitled The Broken Music Box (Menard Press, 1980). The Milton Hindus papers at the Brandeis University Archives contain a wide range of materials written by and relating to Hindus, ranging from an unpublished memoir to volumes of correspondence with literary greats including William Carlos Williams, E.E. Cummings and Upton Sinclair.



Of particular interest is Hindus’ complex relationship with the French modernist novelist Louis Ferdinand Céline. Hindus worked to popularize French literature in the United States, and became fascinated by Céline (born Louis Ferdinand Destouches), writing a preface to his classic novel Death on the Installment Plan when it was first published in the United States. Céline was a controversial literary talent whose style was marked by short, declarative sentences, near-constant use of slang and profanity, and ubiquitous exclamation points. The world described and satirized in his novels was full of filth, cruelty and folly, a fact that likely had something to do with Celine’s service in the First World War during which he was severely wounded. Just before the Second World War, Céline penned the first of three virulently anti-Semitic pamphlets, the last of which was published in 1941 during the German occupation of France. He also served as a physician to members of the leadership of the collaborationist Vichy regime, and was labeled a collaborator by the de Gaulle’s French government. Céline responded to this allegation by fleeing into exile in Denmark.

Hindus, who was proud of his Jewish heritage, had difficulty believing that his literary idol was an anti-Semite. He met with Céline in Denmark in 1948, and their harrowing series of meetings became the basis for Hindus’ 1950 book The Crippled Giant. Hindus’ papers include a large volume of materials relating to the writing and critical reception of The Crippled Giant, including a great deal of unpublished correspondence with and about Céline. The collection includes a petition supported by Hindus that argued for Céline’s innocence of the charge of collaboration, as well as Hindus’ correspondence with both French foreign office and U.S. State Department officials in defense of Céline. It also includes handwritten notes from the early stages of the writing of The Crippled Giant that show Hindus’ thought process in great detail. To see the finding aid for the Milton Hindus Collection, click the following link: Milton Hindus Papers



Photos of Milton Hindus are from the collections of the Robert D. Farber University Archives & Special Collections, Brandeis University.

Description by Drew Flanagan, Ph.D student in history

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Brandeis Course Catalog: A Hidden Gem

Anyone interested in the history of Brandeis University will be pleased to learn that all undergraduate and graduate course catalogs are now available in digital format via the Internet Archive. Known as the Brandeis University Bulletin, the university course catalog (undergraduate 1948-present; graduate 1953-present) is a surprisingly rich resource that offers far more than course descriptions. Particularly in the early years of the school’s founding, course catalogs served as promotional publications that sought to attract students and donors to the young university. Featured within their pages were photographs of campus structures (many now long gone), artists’ renderings of proposed buildings that never came to be, campus maps, and university master plans with full foldouts. Other photographs documented campus life and culture and helped to capture the prevailing zeitgeist. Students can be seen studying by the old wishing well, playing folk music in the Castle Commons, cheering at a football game, or dancing at a social. For those unaware that Brandeis once had a grape arbor and a terrarium (Brown Terrarium), that students once skated on Kane Reflecting Pool in Hamilton Quad (now Massell Quad), that General Education S was a required course for all students and featured guest speakers such as Robert Frost, Alfred Kinsey, and Margaret Mead, or that the original student center (Mailman) once stood where the new Shapiro Admissions Center currently resides, the course catalogs will confirm these and other noteworthy facts about the university’s past.

Click on the following links to view all Brandeis course catalogs (by academic year) on the Internet Archive’s website:
Undergraduate Catalogs
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Catalogs

description by Karen Adler Abramson, Associate Director for University Archives & Special Collections

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Camelot Comes to Brandeis

Fifty years ago, on January 2, 1960, John F. Kennedy announced his historic candidacy for the U.S. presidency. Later the same day, Senator Kennedy traveled from Washington, D.C. to Waltham, Massachusetts to appear on an innovative public television series hosted by Eleanor Roosevelt on the Brandeis campus. Produced by National Educational Television—forerunner of PBS—and filmed primarily at the Slosberg Music Center, “Prospects of Mankind” (1959-1962) provided a forum for prominent leaders and decision makers to discuss and debate important domestic and international affairs. Adopting a colloquium-style format, the monthly series included guests such as Ralph Bunche, John Kenneth Galbraith, Henry Kissinger, Edward R. Murrow, Bertrand Russell, and Adlai Stevenson. As a former delegate to the United Nations General Assembly who taught international relations at Brandeis in her last years, Eleanor Roosevelt was well suited to the role of program host.

Kennedy’s visit to Brandeis in January 1960 was not his first; two years before he had participated in a convocation celebrating the establishment of the university’s landmark Wien International Scholarship Program. During his appearance on “Prospects of Mankind,” Kennedy, a member of the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, was joined by Erwin D. Canham, Editor of The Christian Science Monitor and President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Paul Rosenstein-Rodan, Professor of Economics at M.I.T.’s Center for International Studies. The discussion focused on international trade, NATO, and the prospects for a joint European-American aid program to underdeveloped areas of the world. Following the program, Kennedy and Mrs. Roosevelt held a press conference addressing the Senator’s newsworthy announcement earlier that day. When asked for her views on Kennedy’s entry into the presidential race, Mrs. Roosevelt declined to comment, indicating that she would not be “for or against any candidate until after the convention.” Eventually, Mrs. Roosevelt became an ardent supporter of Kennedy and joined his administration as chair of the newly-created Commission on the Status of Women. Kennedy returned to “Prospects of Mankind” two more times after assuming the U.S. presidency: first to discuss the new Peace Corps (1961), and finally to address the status of women (1962).

For information on how to access recordings of John F. Kennedy on "Prospects of Mankind," please contact ascdepartment@brandeis.edu or 781.736.4686. To view a list of all episodes available in the Archives & Special Collections Department, click on the following link: http://tinyurl.com/ygrcezh.

description by Karen Adler Abramson, Associate Director for University Archives & Special Collections

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Brandeis Seal

The University Archives receives many questions about the Brandeis University seal, which has undergone several revisions over the course of the school's sixty-plus year history.

In 1948, the Brandeis University Bulletin (course catalog) showed a simple circular seal with the words "Brandeis University" surrounding two Tablets of the Law; the tablets were inscribed with the first ten letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

The university's first president, Abram Sachar, transformed the seal into a more secular symbol designed by Kenneth Conant, a professor of medieval history at Harvard University and an expert on heraldry. Conant created a shield containing an image of three mounds of ice with three licks of fire rising from them—representing a literal translation from the Yiddish: Brand (Fire) and Eis (Ice). The number three was a reference to the city of Boston, which was built on a trimount, and could be seen from the Brandeis campus. President Sachar decided to surround the shield with a quote from Psalm 51: "Truth Even Unto Its Innermost Parts."

The first seal was delineated by a simple line; in 1950 an ornate Baroque framing appeared and the Hebrew word "EMET" (Truth) was newly inscribed on the trimount. This design continued until c.1983, when a bold, blue and white seal was introduced. A committee was then formed to evaluate the new unofficial seal; though committee members recommended that the heraldic shield be replaced by a book, the shield remains to this day.



description by Maggie A. McNeely, Assistant Archivist