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Digital Humanities in the Archives: the Jerome Epstein World War II letters and Omeka-S

Join our Special Collections Research Center from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in their seminar room (Fenwick 2306) on Tuesday, July 16 for a special presentation by Ben Brands, inaugural L. Claire Kincannon Graduate Intern and Ph.D. candidate in History at Mason.

Brands’ presentation will explore the process and results of using digital tools to display and make accessible a series of World War II letters from the Jerome Epstein papers. Ben will discuss the various challenges and discoveries of this project, as well as showcase the final results, a website hosted on the Library’s Omeka-S server.

About the Speaker: Ben Brands was the 2018 L. Claire Kincannon Intern at the George Mason University Libraries Special Collections Research Center. He holds a B.A. in History from the College of William and Mary and an M.A. in History from George Mason University, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at George Mason University. He has previously served as an infantry officer in the United States Army and as an Assistant Professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Brands has written previously about his experiences working with the Epstein papers on SCRC’s blog.

About the Kincannon Graduate Internship: The L. Claire Kincannon Graduate Internship Endowment for the Libraries was created by philanthropist Claire Kincannon in 2016 to provide paid learning opportunities for graduate students with interests, career goals, and skills related to archives. In addition to the notable theatre-related collection that she gifted to the University Libraries, Kincannon donated the Jerome Epstein papers in 2015, which documents the civilian and military career of an army private in the Second World War from 1943-45, as well as other items related to the Epstein family’s history. Epstein, who passed away in 2002, was Kincannon’s cousin.

Mason Libraries Announces Artist-in-Residence Program Pilot

George Mason University Libraries is excited to announce a new venture: the Mason Libraries Artist-in-Residence Program. For our first (pilot) year, we’ve invited Adriana Monsalve, a photobook artist and publisher, to join us in a research and visual arts project.

Throughout April and May 2019, Monsalve will be dividing her residency between the Mason Libraries (particularly the Fenwick Gallery and the Special Collections Research Center in Fenwick Library) and the Mason School of Art to lead a series of in-class lectures and workshops, and to conduct research in the library’s photobook and artists’ book collections. The residency will conclude with an exhibition curated by Monsalve, a special artist’s talk, and the publication of a collaborative zine produced by Mason students and faculty.

“I am a storyteller and visual communicator that produces in-depth stories on identity through the nuances in between. As a daughter of immigrants from the Caribbean Republic of Colombia, I have struggled with the concept of ‘home.’ As immigrants, we are everywhere and we have to belong somewhere, so we’ve made habitats for ourselves in pocket towns of people like us. I’m documenting to show you something I’ve found and ultimately, something I am. I’m documenting so you know I was here. I am an artist, book maker, and educator… but I am still reclaiming space. I am growing into the many things that were made for me at the intersection of personal, political, and poetic.”

About Adriana Monsalve: Adriana Monsalve is an artist and collaborative publisher working in the photo book medium. Together with Caterina Ragg, they run Homie House Press from Beltsville, MD and Lambrate, Milano, Italy. HHP is a radical cooperative platform where they challenge the ever-changing forms of storytelling with image + text.

Monsalve earned a Masters in Photojournalism from the University of Westminster, London in 2013. In 2018, she was awarded the Lucie Independent Photo Book Prize for her collaborative photo book, Femme Frontera, a project which was funded by the National Association of Latino Arts and Cultures and was part of the Master Artist Grant for 2017.

The works of Homie House Press have been collected in the Library of Congress, the Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, and Maryland Institute College of Art, among other private collections. At Mason, you can find Monsalve’s photobooks and HHP publications in the Mason Libraries Artists’ Book Collection, housed in the Special Collections Research Center.

See more on Monsalve’s work and HHP at http://www.adrianastories.com.


This residency is sponsored by the George Mason University Libraries, the Mason School of Art, and the Mason University Life Programming Fund. For more details about the program and upcoming events, visit the Fenwick Gallery website, http://fenwickgallery.gmu.edu/residency.

And the winner is…

Thank you to everyone who participated in our very own take on March Madness, as curated by our Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) team! SCRC selected their staff favorites, and each week the voting commenced, bracket-style. The competition was fierce, but the people have chosen, and the winner is:

Professor Arthur M. Whitehall, Jr. of the University of North Carolina, January 1950, Oliver F. Atkins photograph collection, C0036, Box 15, Folder 11, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries

SCRC’s Staff Picks will remain on display through August 2019, so please come by and check them out in person. They are also available for viewing in SCRC’s Flickr album.