Friday, September 16, 2016

Talking cookbooks in Special Collections with donor Pam Allison

One of our favorite recent acquisitions is the Pamela C. Allison Cookbook Collection, not only because it includes nearly a thousand Appalachian and Southern cookbooks, but also because we had the great pleasure of meeting and working with the donor, Pam Allison.

The Allison Collection is a critical resource for Dr. Erica Abrams Locklear’s LIT 374: Food in Literature class, and one of their projects is to examine and explore Appalachian and Southern food through recipes and community cookbooks in the Allison Collection. As part of the class, Dr. Locklear and her students came to Special Collections to meet with Pam Allison and have a conversation about her cookbook collection, cooking, and Southern food ways.

LIT 374 students listening to Pam Allison talk about her cookbook collection.
The class was very informal, and began with Pam discussing how she came to collect cookbooks, tracing her cookbook passion back to her early love of reading. She also talked about the process of becoming a serious cookbook collector, how she organized her cookbooks, how she found and purchased cookbooks, and how she came to donate them to UNCA's Special Collections. The class was then opened up for the students to query Pam, and the conversation revealed their own love of cooking: they asked questions about using specific ingredients, about varying written recipes (answer: Pam follows a recipe exactly as written the first time, then adapts it to her own taste), as well as a whole host of engaging and thoughtful questions about cooking techniques, food preparation, and finding specific ingredients for recipes. 

Pam Allison answering a question about a particular recipe
We had originally structured the class for Pam to spend about half of it talking about her cookbooks and fielding student questions, then we planned on touring Special Collections and talking about the Allison Collection from a Special Collections perspective. When we reached that halfway point we realized we were all having too much fun - and learning so much - by talking with Pam, so we devoted the entire class to working with her.

Dr. Locklear answering a question as the students examine the cookbooks.
After her talk and the Q&A period, students then explored the Allison collection, digging deep into cookbooks, and conferring with Pam individually about specific recipes, foods, and cookbooks (including a conversation about liver mush and/or liver pudding).  It was en extremely enjoyable and educational afternoon, one where we were all treated to the wisdom and experience of an experienced and gifted cookbook curator, Pam Allison.

The Pamela C. Allison Cookbook Collection is open for research for the public. Please see the Special Collections website for our Reading Room hours.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Housing Authority of the City of Asheville Publications: Exhibit Notes

History intern Kalen Doleman created an exhibit of publications from the Housing Authority of the City of Asheville Records. The exhibit can be viewed in the three display cases outside of Special Collections, located on the top floor of Ramsey Library.  Kalen also wrote this guide to the exhibits:
During the 2015-2016 Spring Semester, Kalen Doleman interned in UNC Asheville’s special collections as part of the hands-on history intern requirement. As an intern, Kalen worked on multiple collections processing information, scanning photos, and creating various finding aids. Partway through the semester, Kalen began processing and creating a finding aid for the City of Asheville Housing Authority (HACA) Photographic Media. While working on this collection, he noticed that the Photographic Media contained similar elements to the HACA publications; another collection he had processed much earlier in the semester. After organizing the physical collection, Kalen began to process everything electronically. While doing this, he decided to create an exhibit on the Asheville Urban Renewal Project.
 The actual collection had plenty of items from the 1940s to the 1990s. This enabled Kalen to create a very detailed exhibit spanning multiple decades, while simultaneously providing one overall theme to the story. The actual exhibit contains twenty-one items all organized into three different sections. Kalen’s goal for this exhibit was to provide some insight into the urban development program, by presenting some of its effects. And giving detailed evidence on the development program’s different stages. The main purpose of this exhibit is to show what changes were made in the Asheville area, and allow the viewer to determine the reasons behind these changes. 

From the 1940s to the 1990s, there was a huge push for urban renewal and development in the Asheville area. HACA really began its push in the 1950s, which is when they started executing the plans for urban renewal. This is reflected in the HACA publications collection. The program had many economic, social, and racial effects that can be seen even today. Based on the documents in the collection, it seems that the height of this program occurred during the 1970s. The documents emphasize a strong push towards demolition, and reconstruction, especially in low income areas. For the most part, these areas were residency areas for minorities. From what can be gathered it seems there was not much consideration for the people who lived in these places. One of the reasons for the Urban Renewal Program was to generate economic growth and development, with some emphasis on how the environment would be affected. The layout of Asheville demographically, and commercially, are perhaps the most noticeable long lasting effects of this program.

During the project, many people had no choice but to leave their homes and find somewhere else. The main cause of this removal, was the fact that the Urban Renewal Project destroyed many homes in order to construct new and more expensive buildings. This can be seen as part of a long-term process of gentrification, which happened over a fifty year period. There are also HACA records regarding different populations of people depending on the area of residency. So there is evidence that HACA conducted research into the standard of living and the demographic makeup of these gentrified areas.

 Commercially, there were also many changes in the business layout of the city. This is something HACA did a large amount of research on as well. Documents in the exhibit show that there was a focus on the local economy of the Asheville area. Looking at the documents, there seemed to be a cost benefit analysis of the environmental and economic effects of the program. This makes sense because the Urban Renewal Program was part of a plan for more economic growth and development. 

  The purpose of this exhibit is not to blame or justify HACA’s actions. The purpose is to make people aware of what happened, gather information, analyze the situation, and make their own judgment on the purpose of this program and its long-lasting effects. This exhibit provides plenty of information on the procedures, and policies that HACA used during Urban Renewal Project. To have a closer look, please visit special collections.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Remembering the Birds of The Great War...

While our collection focus is primarily on Western North Carolina and Appalachia, UNC Asheville's Special Collections also contains a number of collections of materials documenting World War I. Our student worker Cassie Crowe has been working on the Roland Sargent Collection, which includes several hundred copies of the rare Cross and Cockade Journal. Cassie became interested in the history of the journal and its various name changes, so we asked her to write a blog post about it.

Remembering the Birds of The Great War

By Cassie Crowe

In the fall of 1959 The Society of World War I Aero Historians was formed at the home of Hugh Wynne in California among several other WWI aviation enthusiasts. Their goal was to create a non-profit, scholarly society of enthusiasts and historians for the purpose of preserving the history of WWI military aviation from both sides of the battle lines and providing this information to anyone with a strong interest in the subject. In the spring of the following year, 1960, the first issue of Cross and Cockade Journal was published.

Cover of first issue - Vol. 1,  No. 1

 Members of the society were encouraged to form meetings and to seek out aviation survivors of the war, from known pilots to gunners to mechanics, in order to take down their stories that would otherwise go unknown. Stories on known and unknown service members alike were printed. The journal printed photos of the pilots and their planes in flight and on the ground, though not always in one piece, as well as technical diagrams of the planes and histories of their design and service in the war, complete with where they were stationed and their insignias and even their varying color schemes.

Members of Escadrille Lafayette and their mascots “Whiskey” the lion cub and “Soda” the dog, stationed at Chaudun, France in July 1917:
From C&C Journal Volume 2 Issue 1 pg 49

Technical diagram for the German seaplane Gotha UWD “Ursinus” 1916: From C&C Journal Volume 1 Issue 4 pg. 54-55

In the 1960's the society jumped the pond to England and formed the Great Britain branch which then started printing Cross & Cockade Great Britain in 1970, following the same goal and format as its American predecessor. In 1985, however, the U.S. society began to fold along with their U.S. journal, the last publication being in the summer 1985. As a result the British journal became Cross & Cockade International in 1986 and is still in production today under the same name. 

Left: Cover of C&C Journal Great Britain Vol. 2 No 1 (the earliest GB issue in collection)    Right: Cover of first C&C Journal International Vol. 17 No. 2
The U.S. branch did not stay down for long though. In 1985 Texas, George Williams, a member of Cross & Cockade editorial staff, came up with the idea to reform the branch into The League of WWI Aviation Historians and soon began printing the league’s current magazine, "Over the Front", with a similar format as its predecessor. It has become another well respected scholarly journal on the subject of WWI aviation. 

Left: Cover of the first issue of Over the Front published in 1986 showing German observer Hanns-Gerd Rabe, and his pilot and mechanic.
Right Top: The Pyramids of Giza taken during flight of German pilot Ltn. Schultheib and observer Obltn. Falke; From: OTF Vol 13 No 1 Inside front cover
Right Bottom: Doctored image of German plane flying over pyramids used for propaganda. From: OTF Vol 13 No 1 Inside front cover
The collection was donated by Roland Sargent who was a B-17 pilot in WWII. The collection also includes RAF/RNAS combat reports, flight logs, victory lists and communiques and aviation books collected by Sargent. The Roland Sargent Collection is available in Special Collections (at this link), and includes the Cross & Cockade and its associated publications.

Special thanks to Andy Kemp, Webmaster of, home of C&C Journal International for his information on the history of Cross and Cockade.
- Cassie Crowe
Interested in more materials related to World War I? Check out these collections:
  • Robert J. Godbey Collection - Godbey was a clerk for the American Expeditionary Force in France from 1918-19. He kept extensive diaries of his experiences. 
  • Otis J. Clontz Collection - Contains postcards, photographs, and memorabilia from WWI. 
  • Henry Martin Knauth Photograph Collection - A collection of two-hundred-eighty-four photographs taken by Henry Martin Knauth during his tour of duty in Europe in the First World War as a quartermaster for the American Army. 
  • Ernest and Magnolia Thompson McKissick Oral History - McKissick discusses his experiences in the army during WWI.  
  • Massie Collection of Jesse Morris Photographs - Documents the Oteen Hospital during WWI. 
  • Irwin Monk Papers - Monk served in the 30th Division (The "Old Hickory" Division) in WWI. Includes maps of the war front, journals, Signal Corps manuals, wartime correspondence, and extensive documentation of his activities with veterans groups after the war.  
  • Black Highlanders in World War I - a brief account of Asheville area African Americans who served in WWI
  • The Howard H. Peckham Collection - Contains over 100 first person accounts of individuals in WWI. These books are shelved in Special Collections.