The Value of Relationships and Connections

Oral History Center Director’s Column
by Paul Burnett

It’s an honor and a privilege to address readers as the new director of the Oral History Center. I look forward to continuing the work I have been doing as interim director: helping to build new projects, increasing access to our collection, and facilitating the interpretive work that my colleagues do so well.

Students are back to school, and it is a time when everything can seem fresh for both our new and returning students. Although we experience this annual renewal with an incoming class and fresh faces, the academy is also a place of long, deep relationships, among colleagues, coworkers, and students. I interview people whose current friends can offer a window onto their activities and experiences over the past fifty, sixty years, all because they met here at Cal long ago. University is a place that connects people, and that ought to connect people.  

Paul Burnett, center, seated at a table with 5 other people engaged in conversation
Paul Burnett and a group of participants discuss projects at the OHC’s Advanced Oral History Institute, photographed on Aug. 8, 2019. (Photo by Jami Smith for the UC Berkeley Library)

In this month’s OHC newsletter, we see evidence of the deep connections people have with each other through institutions: government, foundations, and universities. My colleague Todd Holmes will be moderating an online panel discussion on October 18th with three influential women state senators who shaped and were shaped by the senate. Shanna Farrell and Amanda Tewes’ podcast explores local environmental activism through the history of the Save Mount Diablo Foundation, which was fueled by the long-term commitments and energy of the staff and the communities with which they worked. The new oral history of art historian and director of the Getty Research Institute Thomas Gaehtgens, also by Todd Holmes, is another example of decades-long dedication to institutions, disciplines, and practices.

Our student articles in this issue also explore the long-term relationships forged in efforts to change, or even survive, institutions. Intern Sari Morikawa explored the way in which individuals survived institutions such as the Japanese American incarceration camps. Shannon White explores the mutually supportive relationships of the suffragists, and the ways in which commitments to institutional change could take a toll on the personal obligations of activists. William Cooke marked the fiftieth anniversary of BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) by exploring its origins and the ways in which this new institution transformed the relationships between local and regional governments. 

Perhaps dedication, service, and long relationships are on my mind because of a passing of someone I met through the university. This person also talked about colleagues and students who became lifelong friends. We kept in touch over the years, and his passing reminds me of how wonderful it is to meet people from all over the world. The university, at its best, promises to be the departure lounge for a rich and rewarding life full of these connections and commitments.    

About the Oral History Center

The UC Berkeley Oral History Center preserves voices of people from all walks of life, with varying political perspectives, national origins, and ethnic backgrounds. You can find all our oral histories from the search feature on our home page. Search by name, keyword, and several other criteria. We are committed to open access and our oral histories and interpretive materials are available online at no cost to scholars and the public.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter featuring think pieces, new releases, podcasts, Q&As, and everything oral history. Access the most recent articles from our home page or go straight to our blog home.


Cuba: Grito de Yara (10 October 1868)

Each year, on 10th October, the Cubans all over the world commemorate the call for national independence. The “Grito de Yara,” is one of many important events in the complex historical trajectory of Cuba that unleashed the potential of the national consciousness through rebellions against the Spanish imperial authorities. The full text of the Manifiesto de la Junta Revolucionaria de la Isla de Cubacan be read by clicking on the link here.

At UC Berkeley Library, despite our West Coast location and our Pacific Rim orientation, we have a large collection of books that will enlighten our readers about what does “Grito de Yara” means. The other essential Open Access source is dLOC (Digital Library of the Caribbean) where one can browse documents related to the “Grito de Yara.

Some subject searches like the ones below will provide additional information on the print items on the topic that we have in our collections.

Below are some titles that might of interest to the readers of this blog. Since we believe in the equitable access, I am providing some links to the full-text of these items.

Betancourt, José R. (José Ramón). Las dos banderas. Apuntes históricos sobre la insurrección de Cuba. Cartas al excmo. sr. ministro de ultramar. Soluciones para Cuba. Sevilla: Establecimiento tipográfico del Círculo liberal, 1870. Print.

Palomino, Joaquín de, ed. Merecido ramillete que dedican los voluntarios de la isla de Cuba al mal aconsejado diputado a Cortes, Diaz Quintero, formado con las protestas, manifestaciones y composiciones poeticas publicadas en los periódicos de esta capital y precedido de varios dedicatorias en prosa y verso. Habana: Impr. Sociedad de operarios, 1870. Print.

Llofríu y Sagrera, Eleuterio. Historia de la insurrección y guerra de la isla de Cuba. Escrita en presencia de datos auténticos, descripciones de batallas, proporcionadas por testigos oculares documentos oficiales, cuantas noticias pueden facilitar el exacto conocimiento de los hechos. Ed. ilustrada. Madrid: Impr. de la Galeria literaria, 1870. Print.

Below is a clip from a film, “La primera carga al machete”


PhiloBiblon 2022 n. 4 (octubre): Ayuda de la Fundación Larramendi a PhiloBiblon

Nos es muy grato anunciar que la Fundación Ignacio Larramendi acaba de conceder una segunda ayuda al proyecto actual de PhiloBiblon: “From Siloed Databases to Linked Open Data via Wikibase.”

El patrocinio de la Fundación Ignacio Larramendi y de sus antecesores a PhiloBiblon remonta ya a más de treinta años. Conocí a Don Ignacio Hernando de Larramendi (1921-2001) en 1991 cuando visitó Berkeley para anunciar el estreno de las Colecciones MAPFRE 1492, reproducciones de 245 títulos fundamentales para la historia de España y la América Latina. Estos títulos, amén de otros muchos hasta un total de 1800, fueron reproducidos en disco CD-ROM por la Fundación Histórica Tavera entre 1997 y 2005. Uno de los mayores aciertos de Don Ignacio era su acogida de las nuevas tecnologías de la información, poco corriente entre las personas de su generación.

Se celebró el centenario de don Ignacio el año pasado y, siguiendo la metodología de la Biblioteca Virtual de Polígrafos, que es caso de estudio del W3C Library Linked Data y de Europeana, se implementaron sendos micrositios dedicados a la digitalización de las colecciones MAPFRE 1492 y los Clásicos Tavera, recatalogados en RDA, MARC 21 y también con la utilización de la ontología de Europeana Data Model en RDF.

El otro acontecimiento, menos trascendental por cierto pero de una innegable utilidad es que el sitio espejo de PhiloBiblon en la Universitat Pompeu Fabra ya está de alta otra vez después de haber estado de baja desde octubre de 2018. Nuestro agradecimiento más profundo a Marc Esteve y Joan Trenchs de la UPF y a Josep Formentí, ingeniero de informática de Terrassa que trabaja también con nosotros en el proyecto actual.

Por otra parte, acabamos de cargar nuevas versiones de BETA, BITAGAP y BITECA. Pocas novedades pero mucho trabajo en la limpieza de los registros para prepararlos para su eventual mapeo de la aplicación de Windows de PhiloBiblon a FactGrid:PhiloBiblon. De entre estas pequeñas novedades, sólo cabe destacar la incorporación a PhiloBiblon del documento inédito sobre Leonor López de Córdoba (BETA bioid 3168), descubierto por Óscar Perea Rodríguez en la Biblioteca del Congreso de Washington.

Washington, Library Congress. Family Mercy-Argenteau: 1, OV-4, doc. 4
Washington, Library of Congress.Family Mercy-Argenteau: 1, OV-4, doc. 4

Se trata de una carta de donación (BETA manid 6368) a través de la cual la conocida autora de las primeras Memorias (BETA texid 3650) autobiográficas escritas en castellano establece su vinculación con el monasterio cordobés de San Pablo, donde más tarde se edificaría el panteón familiar.

Charles B. Faulhaber
University of California, Berkeley


Oral History Release – Thomas Gaehtgens: Famed Art Historian and Director of the Getty Research Institute

“As a scholar, one’s career typically revolves around teaching, research, and scholarship. Once in a while, a scholar is lucky enough to have a hand in building something. I’d like to think I have helped build a thing or two in my career.”

Such were the words of renowned art historian Thomas Gaehtgens upon wrapping up his oral history at the Getty Research Institute (GRI) in the fall of 2017. That the words held an element of retirement was no coincidence. Gaehtgens had already enjoyed a long and successful academic career before assuming the directorship of the GRI in 2007, a position from which he would officially retire in the spring of 2018. True to form, Gaehtgens met retirement with the same productive stride that had underpinned his work throughout the previous five decades. Thus, after a fruitful delay, the Oral History Center and Getty Trust are pleased to announce the release of Thomas Gaehtgens: Fifty Years of Scholarship and Innovation in Art History, from the Free University in Berlin to the Getty Research Center.

Thomas Gaehtgens
Getty Research Center

For many in the academic and art world of Europe, Gaehtgens needs no introduction. Born in Leipzig, Germany, he completed his PhD in art history at the University of Bonn in 1966, and over the next forty years held professorships at the University of Göttingen and the Free University of Berlin. He is the author of nearly forty publications on French and German art, covering a wide range of topics and artists from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. 

Scholarship aside, Gaehtgens also made a mark through his globalist approach to art, fostering relationships that bridged the divides between universities and museums, as well as those between nations. He organized the first major exhibition of American eighteenth and nineteenth century paintings in Germany, expanded the art history curriculum in Berlin to include non-Western areas, and founded the German Center for Art History in Paris. These efforts made him a natural fit for president of the Comité International d’Histoire de l’Art (CIHA), where he advanced initiatives such as the translation of art history literature and broadening the field of art history through international conferences.

Gaehtgens brought this same spirit of inclusivity and innovation to the Getty Research Institute. In many respects, he helped usher the GRI into the twenty-first century by launching a number of programs that not only brought modern technology to the study of art, but also two principles close to Gaehtgens’ heart: international collaboration and equal access for all. The creation of the Getty Provenance Index proved a case in point. In partnership with a host of European institutions, the Index provided a one-stop, digital archive for researchers to trace the ownership of various art pieces over the centuries. Here, for the first time, the records of British, French, Dutch, German, Italian, and Spanish inventories stood at the fingertips of researchers. These same principles of technology, cooperation, and equitable access also underpinned the GRI’s creation of the Getty Research Portal, a free online platform providing access to an extensive collection of digitized art history texts, rare books, and related literature from around the world. Other important achievements of Gaehtgens’ directorship included the Getty Research Journal, a more internationally represented Getty Scholars program, and the Getty’s California-focused art exhibitions, Pacific Standard Time.

Thomas Gaehtgens retired from the Getty Research Institute in 2018, officially ending an art history career that spanned over fifty years. Fittingly, his decades of work have been recognized around the world. He holds honorary doctorates from London’s Courtauld Institute of Art and Paris-Sorbonne University. In 2009, he received the Grand Prix de la Francophonie by the Académie française, an honor bestowed by the Canadian Government to those who contribute to the development of the French language throughout the world. And in 2011, Gaehtgens was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Such honors highlight the indelible mark he left on the global field of art history, one still seen today from the German Center for Art History in Paris to the now-famed digital programs of the Getty Research Institute. Indeed, Thomas Gaehtgens was not just an influential teacher and productive scholar, but also an innovative art historian who helped build a thing or two.

You can access the full oral history transcript of Thomas Gaehtgens here. See also other oral histories from the Getty Trust Oral History Project.  

 

About the Oral History Center

The Oral History Center of The Bancroft Library has interviews on just about every topic imaginable. You can find the interview mentioned here and all our oral histories from the search feature on our home page. Search by name, keyword, and several other criteria. We preserve voices of people from all walks of life, with varying political perspectives, national origins, and ethnic backgrounds. We are committed to open access and our oral histories and interpretive materials are available online at no cost to scholars and the public.

Sign up for our monthly newsletter featuring think pieces, new releases, podcasts, Q&As, and everything oral history. Access the most recent articles from our home page or go straight to our blog home.


Professor Rebecca Herman’s New Book Published: Cooperating with the Colossus A Social and Political History of US Military Bases in World War II Latin America Cooperating with the Colossus A Social and Political History of US Military Bases in World War II Latin America

Front cover image for Cooperating with the Colossus A Social and Political History of US Military Bases in World War II Latin America
Author:Rebecca Herman, the image is being used for academic, educational, noncommercial purposes only.

UC Berkeley’s Professor Rebecca Herman‘s (History) new book –Cooperating with the Colossus A Social and Political History of US Military Bases in World War II Latin America on our entanglement in Latin America since the World War II is one book that I feel honored to post about in this blog.

According to the Oxford University Press, the book has several interesting facets that are quoted from its website as follows,

  • Offers a new perspective on the period of World War II and its importance in the longer history of US-Latin American relations
  • Brings together the local, national, and international arenas in which the history of wartime basing unfolded
  • Integrates the international history of US-Latin American relations together with local histories of labor, race, gender, and law
  • Moves between the realm of high politics and the ground-level social and cultural histories of the communities surrounding US bases.

I am also pleased to post a video of her presentation at the CLAS-Berkeley.

We have access to its electronic avatar through our catalog. Thank you, Professor Rebecca Herman, for always motivating me to do my best to collect difficult to find materials from Latin America!


September 22: National Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration at UC Berkeley Library

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month at the University of California-Berkeley’s Library!

The event will take place on Thursday, September 22 from 12 noon to 1:15 PDT/ 3 pm to 4:14 pm EDT.

The event is open and free to all with prior registration. Please first sign into your personal or institutional zoom accounts and then register.
http://ucberk.li/3sb

Speakers (in alphabetical order)
José Adrián Barragán-Álvarez
Curator, Latin Americana
The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley

Lillian Castillo-Speed
Head Librarian at Ethnic Studies Library, UC Berkeley

José Montelongo
Maury A. Bromsen Curator of Latin American Books
John Carter Brown Library, Rhode Island

Moderator: Liladhar R. Pendse, Librarian for the Caribbean and Latin American Studies



In Memoriam: Mikhail Gorbachev- the former president of the USSR

Please excuse this long post! No one likes to read these long posts anymore! I remember the Moscow Putsch in August 1991, when Mikhail S. Gorbachev, then the president of the USSR, was placed under house arrest and deposed for a time. I remember how Ronald Reagan pronounced in Berlin words inviting him to tear down that wall and how the times have changed since then. Today, some leaders in our homeland have asked for a wall and some tariffs on goods from other countries. So much for the politics.

After all, some aspects of politics are what muddies the water! I remember Gorbachev’s controversial fight against Alcoholism in the Soviet Union and how the zealots from Stud-Soviets used to show up without an announcement to inspect our dormitory rooms for evidence such as empty bottles of Vodka or beers. Students were let go from academic institutions to find an empty bottles. I remember his rebuilding (perestroika) of the Soviet Union. Now we have our Build Back Better! Not that these are similar situations.

However, we have tons of books about the Soviet Union and works authored by president Gorbachev. In memoriam! Прощайте, Уважаемый Михайл Сергеевич Горбачёв!

I leave you with the clip about the Soviet legacies, in which former UC Berkeley professor and historian Yuri Slezkine speaks!

 


Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean 2022: Trends and challenges of investing for a sustainable and inclusive recovery

The United Nation’s ECLAC has published a 2022 report on trends and challenges of investing for a sustainable recovery in Latin America and the Caribbean. Below is the self-description,  “The 2022 edition of the Economic Survey of Latin America and the Caribbean consists of three parts. Part I outlines the region’s economic performance in 2021, analyses trends in the early months of 2022, and the outlook for growth for the year. It examines the external and domestic factors that have influenced the region’s economic performance in 2021, trends for 2022, and how these factors will affect economic growth in the coming years.
Part II of this edition presents some region’s main challenges in investing for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. It analyses the trends in total investment over the last 70 years and highlights the profound change brought about by the 1980s debt crisis, with a slowdown in investment from the 1990s onwards.
Part III of this publication may be accessed on the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (www.eclac.org). It contains the notes relating to the economic performance of Latin America and the Caribbean countries in 2021 and the first half of 2022, together with their respective statistical annexes. The date for updating this publication’s statistical information was 15 July 2022.”

Please click on the image to access this Open Access publication.

 


Summer reading: Harlem Shuffle

Book cover for Harlem ShuffleHarlem Shuffle
Colson Whitehead

In Harlem Shuffle, Colston Whitehead’s protagonist, Ray Carney, takes readers through often intersecting communities in Harlem, in the late 50s-early 60s: into bars, laundromats, bakeries, and social clubs, through front doors and back doors, “doorways [that] were entrances into different cities—no, different entrances into one vast, secret city.” Carney owns a neighborhood furniture store, strives to move his family to a tonier apartment, and lives mostly on the straight and narrow, save a side gig as a fence. However, Carney’s world is upended when his cousin makes him an unwitting accessory in a jewel heist and lands him smack in the middle of trouble, entwined in a web of thieves, crooked cops, and mobsters. Increasingly, Carney sees fewer distinctions between the “straight” and “criminal” worlds.

Whitehead subverts the crime novel genre, blurring notions of “legal” and “illegal,” “just” and “unjust.” We root for Carney as he tries to save himself and his cousin and realize his ambitions. Along the way, Whitehead draws a map through Carney’s beloved Harlem—its history, characters, contradictions, triumphs, and enduring spirit.

LUISA GIULIANETTI
Curriculum Coordinator
Centers for Educational Equity and Excellence, CE3

This book is part of the 2022 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!


Summer reading: The Road to Wellville

Book cover for the road to wellvilleThe Road to Wellville
TC Boyle

In the early 1900s a group of strangers meet in the breakfast cereal capital of the USA, Battle Creek, Michigan. There they find the “San” (Dr. John Harvey Kellogg’s sanitarium), where they seek optimum health and enlightenment. This satirical, quasi-historical piece of fiction takes a bite out of “wellness” communities, the idea of food as medicine, and cult-like following of diet and alternative medicine gurus, not to mention get-rich-quick schemes. It’s an American tale through and through–one that is as relevant today as it was at the beginning of the last century.

MAGGIE SOKOLIK
Director
College Writing Programs

This book is part of the 2022 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!