Lehigh Valley Rail Road Collection Part 2: Organization of Collection and Scanning

Special Collections originally received the Lehigh Valley Rail Road Land Documents collection in two storage boxes with the documents in disarray, carelessly folded, crumpled, and dusty. After sorting through the contents, it was discovered that some of the documents had been previously numbered and organized, presumably by the Lehigh Valley Railroad office staff. Three quarters of the documents feature red stamped numbers, categorizing them into a certain order. This numbering system was maintained by Special Collections when organizing and processing the collection for use by researchers. With regard to the documents that did not have a red number stamped on them, they were simply organized according to associated references. Additionally, the documents are mostly organized in chronological order, though there are a few exceptions throughout the collection. It is a basic archival principle to maintain the original order used by the creator of the material, as this organization can itself provide useful information.

Physically, the collection now consists of four archival boxes,totaling two linear feet, and one flat box that is also two linear feet, making this a relatively small and manageable archival collection. The first four boxes contain regular sized documents relating to the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company and are number in numerical order from 1 to 4. The fifth box contains documents that were removed from the collection because they were oversized. Each box is compromised of folders and more detailed sub-folders that contain the documents themselves.

After organizing the collection, each document was scanned using one of Special Collections’ overhead scanners at the highest possible quality of 600 dpi. The digital files of the scanned documents were then placed into folders that mirrored the organization structure of the boxes. By the end of this scanning process, all of the documents in the collection had a digital version placed into files based on the physical organizational structure of the collection, making it easy for researchers to identify and locate both the original and digital materials. The digital files can be viewed and freely downloaded through Lehigh’s digital collections site. All of this information is now stored and made available in an archival finding aid, available online through the Lehigh Libraries website.

 

 

James Monroe’s Birthday

For the United States of America, April is a eventful month, having witnessed some of the most important events in the history of the nation. Many of these events are tied to the American Revolutionary War, which established the United States as an independent nation. The famous ride of Paul Revere and William Dawes occurred on April 18th, 1775. The American Revolutionary War began a day later on April 19th, 1775 at Lexington and Concord. Additionally, George Washington was inaugurated as the first President of the United States after the American Revolutionary War on April 30. Another important, though not as well known, event that happened in the month of April is the birth of James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States. James Monroe was the last president of the Virginia Dynasty and provided a vital role in the founding of the United States. About 260 years after his death, Monroe is perhaps best remembered for his famous foreign policy – the Monroe Doctrine. Today, we can use this piece of policy to understand the origins of America’s foreign policy stances.

The Special Collections Department at Lehigh University holds various letters written by James Monroe himself. These letters are addressed to other historical figures such as Alexander Hamilton. Moreover, Fairchild-Martindale Library at Lehigh holds a copy of President Monroe’s 1823 annual address to Congress. This copy contains the portion of the speech that introduces the Monroe Doctrine as well as a letter from Thomas Jefferson to Monroe regarding foreign policy. These documents allow us to understand America’s first foreign policy position.

Essentially, the Monroe Doctrine opposed European intervention in the Americas. Early American leaders wished to remain independent from the numerous European conflicts. In his letter to Monroe, Jefferson says that “our first and fundamental maxim should be, never to entangle ourselves in the broils of Europe.” However, these leaders also wanted Europe to respect the independence of the American countries. Thus, as president, Monroe voiced the beliefs of American leaders when he stated that America would physically oppose European intervention in the Americas. Monroe vocalized this idea in his speach when he said that such intervention would “endanger our peace and happiness” and that it would be impossible for America to treat such intervention with “indifference.”

The Monroe Doctrine serves as the key legacy of President James Monroe because it shows the first time America developed a solid, physical stance with respect to foreign policy. Before this policy, America focused on internal affairs and did not have a concrete policy regarding foreign affairs. As America began to develop as a nation, it decided to vocalize its foreign policy. The Monroe Doctrine was the first step in that process. Today, America continues this tradition of articulating distinct foreign policies. Recently, America’s relationship with Russia, China, France, and Syria reflect such foreign policy decisions.

Although the complexity of foreign policy has increased over the last couple of centuries, it is important to note Monroe’s impact on this particular part of American government. He was the first United States president to put forth a concrete foreign policy agenda. Foreign policy has since evolved, but Monroe’s original stance on foreign policy set the groundwork. Monroe’s birthday is an ideal time to remember the impact and contributions of the fifth president of our country.

Works Cited

Monroe, James, and Thomas Jefferson. The Monroe Doctrine: Also, Jefferson’s Letter to Monroe. [s.l.]: Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S., Americanization Dept., 1920.

Related Sources

Hamilton, Alexander. [Memorandum] 1797 Regarding the Statements of Mr. Muhlenberg and Mr. Monroe Regarding the James Reynolds Affair. 1797.

Monroe, James. The Writings of James Monroe, Including a Collection of His Public and Private Papers and Correspondence, Now for the First Time Printed. New York: AMS Press, 1969.

Monroe, James, University of Virginia. Library, and United States. National Historical Publications Commission. James Monroe Papers in Virginia Repositories. [Charlottesville: University of Virginia Library, 1969.

 

Lehigh Valley Rail Road Collection: Part 1

Part I: The History

The Lehigh University Libraries Special Collections department, located in Linderman Library, houses a collection of Lehigh Valley Railroad Land Documents. This collection contains approximately 384 documents (deeds, titles, indentures, correspondence and leases) for anthracite coal lands, 40 envelopes, 20 maps, two pamphlets, one photogravure, and one large colored “painting.” Many of these items are dusty, stained, crumpled, and some are very fragile, requiring care in handling. Most of the documents, envelopes, and maps in this collection belonged to the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company, which was created by Lehigh University’s founder, Asa Packer, in order to transport the large amount of coal being mined in Pennsylvania. Packer owned such coal mines around Mauch Chunk (Jim Thorpe), Pennsylvania and had relied on the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company to ship his coal on canal-boats to the industrial metropolises of the East. However, Packer came to believe that the Lehigh Coal and Navigation Company was charging him too much money to ship his coal along its canals. When the company refused to lower the prices for shipping, Packer decided to buy up railroad lines and create a transportation system that would allow him to ship his coal faster and cheaper. Asa Packer’s control of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company allowed him employ a measure of vertical integration in the coal industry, though Packer would later sell of his coal interests to focus on the railroad.  Thus, the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company served as a critical organization in the industrial history of Pennsylvania, and the United States at large. This collection of documents from the company gives us insight into the operations and transactions of a company that helped America become a world industrial power.

The Lehigh Valley Railroad Land Documents collection was recently digitized and is now available in its entirety through Lehigh’s digital collection site.

For more detailed information about the items in the Lehigh Valley Railroad Land Documents, please see the finding aid.

The records of the Lehigh Coal and Navigation company mentioned in this post have also been digitized and made available online, and check the finding aid for more information.

#BannedBooksWeek 2017: The United States v. One Book Called Ulysses

Today, James Joyce’s Ulysses is considered a classic novel with a secure place in the Western literary canon. English professors and scholars around the world praise the novel’s stream-of-consciousness technique and incredible depth. However, the novel was not always readily available to the public, being banned soon after its publication. In fact, when Joyce decided to publish the novel, he could not find an English publisher that would work with him. A French publisher, Shakespeare and Company, finally agreed to publish the novel and it was available in 1922. Despite this successful publication, several English speaking countries of the world banned Ulysses because of its “obscenity.” A series of court battles ensued to determine the legality of selling Ulysses in the United States.

The question of Ulysses’ legality in the United States was heard in the court case United States v. One Book Called Ulysses. In 1933, Random House, a publishing company with rights to publish the entirety of Ulysses, decided to instigate a test case against the ban of the book.  Random House therefore made an arrangement to import the edition published in France and have a copy seized by the US Customs Service when the ship carrying the work arrived. After Customs confiscated the copies of the book, it took the US Attorney’s Office several months to decide whether to proceed further. The office of the US Attorney finally decided to take action against the book under the Tariff Act of 1930, which allowed a district attorney to bring an action for forfeiture and destruction of imported works which were obscene.

Ulysses was considered obscene because of Episode 13. In this part of the novel, Leopold Bloom and Gerty have a sexual interaction in which Gerty exposes her legs and underwear to Leopold Bloom while she lays on the ground, watching fireworks. Leopold Bloom presumably masturbates as a result of Gerty’s actions as he “puts his hands in his pockets”. The scene’s climax occurs when the fireworks end with a firework in the shape of a “Roman candle bursting in the air.” This moment conveys Bloom’s orgasm and ends his sexual interaction with Gerty.

 

Judge John M. Woolsey presided over the trial of the United States v. One Book Called Ulysses and he decided that Ulysses was not pornographic. To make this decision, Judge Woolsey spent weeks reading Ulysses, which he described as “not an easy book to read or to understand,” and “a heavy task” (United States v. One Book Called” Ulysses”). The judge ultimately found that the novel was serious and that its author was sincere and honest in showing how the minds of his characters operate and what they were thinking. Therefore, Ulysses was not legally considered obscene and a decade after it was published, it was legally allowed to be sold and obtained in the United States.

Since the uplift of the ban on Ulysses, James Joyce’s novel has been enjoyed and celebrated by millions of Americans. It has been labeled a “literary masterpiece” and entered the American literary canon. The book is so highly praised because of its stream-of-consciousness technique. James Joyce popularized this technique and it is a literary technique that attempts to portray the complexity of human ideas and thoughts through literature. The novel’s attempt at showing the complexity of human thought has made it difficult to read and scholars have argued over the meaning of the novel since it was published. However, an important lesson to take away from Ulysses is that novels must be protected and allowed to be sold and circulated. Novels have the distinct ability of conveying important lessons and messages. Without protecting their legality, their messages will simply fade into oblivion. It is important to preserve the legality of books like Ulysses to ensure that their messages live on. Lehigh Special Collections holds three different editions of Joyce’s Ulysses: the first edition published by Shakespeare and Company, the Limited Editions Club version with artwork by Henri Matisse, and a facsimile copy of the manuscript.

References

United States v. One Book Called” Ulysses”, 5 F. Supp. 182 (S.D.N.Y. 1933).

Recent Transfer from the History Department

Special Collections has recently processed a new transfer from the History Department. The material in this collection is now open to researchers. More detailed information about this collection and its contents can be found in the ArchivesSpace finding aid. Special Collections also houses and has made public the personal papers of Professor Lawrence Henry Gipson.

The Department of History and Government was created in 1924 under the Presidency of Dr. Charles Russ Richards. There is no single document within the collection that explicitly describes the need for a Department of History and Government. Following Lehigh University’s creation by Asa Packer, it became primarily a scientific and engineering college. Nevertheless, the humanities and social sciences consistently grew in size. To accommodate this increased interest in the humanities, the History and Government department was formally established.

In 1924, President Richards brought Professor Lawrence Henry Gipson to Lehigh University to head the newly-created department. Gipson had previously been the head of the History Department at Wabash College in Indiana. Under Professor Gipson’s able leadership the department steadily grew in strength and prestige. In his time, Gipson became one of the world’s great historians. He became a renowned professor after arriving to Lehigh, where his name became intertwined with that of the University. As his prestige as a historian increased, so did Lehigh’s good name. Several other professors in the History and Government Department also helped Dr. Gipson establish and raise the young academic department.

Gipson
Professor Lawrence Henry Gipson

Dr. George Harmon was perhaps the second leading professor in establishing the History Department next to Dr. Gipson. Another key contributor to the early growth of the History Department was Mr. Sydney Brown. Years later, while recommending Mr. Brown to be named the Head of the History Department at Louisiana State University, Dr. Harmon called him the most brilliant man he had ever known. There were other men who contributed to the growth of the Department but these were the early key players. Articles by both Gipson and Harmon can be found together in the March 1937 issue of the Lehigh Review, a magazine published by students between 1927 and 1940.

Harmon
Dr. George Harmon

These professors also faced challenges while trying to grow the History Department. Dr. Harmon produced annual reports for each year, detailing the happenings, successes, and struggles of the Department. As far as happenings are concerned, the professors had quite eventful schedules. All of the professors worked on books, articles, and review that were typically published. Additionally, the professors vacationed and made scholarly trips to other countries when they weren’t teaching. The Department was rather successful. Many of its students went on to graduate school and law school at institutions such as Harvard, Yale, Columbia, and Penn. Dr. Harmon also vividly detailed the struggles of the Department. In building the History Department, there were struggles with who would teach which classes, limited office space, Department Budget, and how to recruit the best students. Despite these struggles, the actions of these professors played a pivotal role in starting the History Department and its subsequent success.