Artstor Now Available

Worldwide digital database made possible through various donations

The Artstor Digital Library is now available through the J.D. Williams Library at the University of Mississippi.

The resource was made possible through different funding sources, including the University Museum, Department of Classics, Department of Art, Department of Philosophy, Office of the Provost, College of Liberal Arts and the Library and a private donor. It also was made possible through a mixture of various library subject funds and additional funding from the Office of the Provost and the College of Liberal Arts.

“My contribution was in memory of my friend Robert P. Tettleton, who was chair of the art department from 1965 to 1977,” said Laura Harper, UM head of government information services and associate professor. “He retired in 1995, but continued teaching until 2000. A longtime member of Friends of the Library, he died Dec. 29, 2013.”

As a member of the library staff, Harper was aware of the efforts to put together the funding to acquire Artstor and thought a contribution in memory of Tettleton would be appropriate.

The Artstor Digital Library provides more than 1.6 million digital images in the arts, architecture, humanities and sciences with an accessible suite of software tools for teaching and research. The digital library serves educators, scholars, curators, librarians and students at more than 1,500 universities, community colleges, museums, libraries and K-12 schools in 48 countries worldwide.”

Collections are used for teaching and study in a wide range of subject areas, including art, architecture, music, religion, anthropology, literature, world history, American studies, Asian studies, classical studies, medieval studies and Renaissance studies.

“Through the cooperation of various campus units and donations, this superb resource is now available to UM faculty, staff, and students,” said Jessica Leming, UM visual collections librarian and assistant professor.”

For direct access to Artstor, visit





New Civil War and Slavery Database ‘A Treasure Trove’

The John D. Williams Library has access to two new databases on the history of slavery and the Civil War, collections described as a “treasure trove of rare, unique historical materials.”

The new databases are part of the American Antiquarian Society’s collection and are accessible to all UM students, faculty and staff through the library’s web site. Readex Research created the databases, which became available for purchase in March. With help from the Department of History, College of Liberal Arts, The UM Center for Civil War Research, UM’s African-American Studies Program, the Provost Office and the library, commitments for most of the funding were in place by July. The library was able to purchase access in August.

John Neff, UM associate professor of history and director of the UM Center for Civil War Research, said the database is part of one the country’s most respected archives.

“The AAS is one of the most respected archives in the country, and to be able to do research in their collections is an exceptional opportunity,” Neff said. “With the creation of these two databases, now our undergraduate and graduate students, as well as faculty, will have the chance to explore the American Antiquarian Society’s collections without traveling to Massachusetts.”

The two databases are still developing, which means they’ll only add more resources over the next two years, Neff said.

“In acquiring access to these databases, the University has demonstrated its commitment to academic excellence generally, as well as underscored the importance of both slavery and the Civil War to understanding our national history,” Neff said.

UM Dean of Libraries Julia Rholes said, “these two Readex collections provide a true treasure trove of rare, unique historic materials from this critical period in our history; we are thrilled to provide access to these resources.”

Access can be gained by going to the J.D. William’s Library’s website, and searching for “Readex: The American Civil War Collection, 1860-1922,” or “Readex: The American Slavery Collection, 1820-1922″ in the database search bar.

For more information on the database, contact Neff at

Ross’ Gifts Enrich Special Collections

Late researcher posthumously donates valuable documents to University Libraries

thompson_004Carolyn Jones Ross’s devotion to research was matched perfectly to her commitment to the University of Mississippi Libraries. Her combined loves yielded two gifts to UM’s Archives and Special Collections this year.

The Carolyn Jones Ross Memorial Collection began last March with an initial gift of primary documents from Jacob Thompson and his family. Included are nine letters signed by Thompson, 17 letters from his wife, Catherine, ledgers containing information on slaves and financial papers written between 1842-1885.

A second gift in September, the Carolyn Jones Ross Research Files, is a collection of the research files of Ross pertaining primarily to her own work on Thompson. Ross, who died last March, served three years on the Oxford-Lafayette Heritage Foundation board, during which her ongoing research into Thompson’s life was used to develop the marker at the Thompson Home Place site and the interpretive materials at the L.O.C. Lamar House.

Born in 1810 in North Carolina, Thompson moved to Mississippi in the 1830s. He got involved in politics early, serving in Congress from 1839-1851.

“During President Buchanan’s administration, Thompson was Secretary of the Interior until 1861 when the Civil War erupted,” said Julia Rholes, UM dean of libraries. “During the war he served in both military and legislative capacities for the Confederacy.”

Joyce Sidorfsky of Oxford was a longtime family friend of Ross. The two met as band students at Louisiana State University years ago and became inseparable.

“She was in the band because her father was the director,” Sidorfsky said. “I was the band librarian. That’s how we got to know each other on a daily basis.”

Ross and Sidorfsky traveled the United States and Europe together. She remembers her late friend as both a serious collector and a kind, benevolent human being who loved the performing arts.

“She collected everything,” Sidorfsky said. “She was particularly fond of giraffes. She has well over 300 of them in her house.”

“At the same time, Carolyn was always sticking her neck out for others. She was pleasant to be around and a great traveling companion.”

Ross was a retired speech-language pathologist whose career included stints in Iberville Parish, Louisiana public schools and LSU Medical School prior to nearly a quarter century in private practice in New Orleans. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from LSU-Baton Rouge and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She was an early pioneer in the use of Cued Speech, a phoneme-based system of hand shapes and positions that clarifies ongoing speech.

Ross served three years on the Yoknapatawpha Arts Council board.

By Edwin Smith


Shoemaker Papers Donated to Special Collections

shoemaker_001William Millard Shoemaker left a legacy of personal achievements and contributions to higher education in the state of Mississippi. Fittingly, relatives of the late University of Mississippi alumnus have donated mementos of his storied life to the J.D. Williams Library at his alma mater.

William M. Shoemaker Jr., the deceased’s only surviving child, and Robert “Bob” Hume, Shoemaker’s son-in-law, made the donation possible. Several scrapbooks, including one highlighting his tenure on the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning board, are among the items in the collection. Hume plans to fund the installment of the documents into the archives.

“There are letters from notable Mississippians in education and politics, including former president of [University of Southern Mississippi] Aubrey Lucas, former Delta State president Kent Wyatt, former UM Chancellor Porter Fortune, Congressman Sonny Montgomery and several others,” said Jennifer Ford, head of archives and special collections and assistant professor at UM. “A manuscript written by his daughter entitled, ‘William Millard Shoemaker, As I Remember Him,’ is also a highlight of the collection.”

Hume married Shoemaker’s daughter, Susan, in 1981. It was his late wife’s wish for the tribute to her father to find a permanent home at the family’s beloved alma mater, he said.

“Considering the amount of work my wife and mother-in-law put into the creation of the manuscript, this was the most appropriate and logical thing to do,” Hume said. “She would have wanted it this way.”

Shoemaker’s son recalled fond memories of his father’s service on the IHL board.

“My father’s time on the board was a time of student unrest,” Shoemaker Jr. said. “To students, the board was an unknown entity and viewed with suspicion. He proposed and put through a proposal allowing student observers to sit in certain board sessions. This was a creative approach to a problem, and I don’t think the board would have done this without his leadership.”

Though Hume only knew his father-in-law three years before his death in 1984, he described Shoemaker as a remarkable human being.

“He was just an instantly likable person who was brilliant at making people feel comfortable around him,” Hume said. “Perhaps because he began his career as a salesman, my father-in-law had the ability to remember people’s names long after he had met them.”

Despite Shoemaker’s easygoing manner, Hume said he was nobody’s pushover.

“As an IHL board member, he worked tirelessly and could be very convincing when he wanted to persuade people to follow what he felt was the best course of action,” he added.

Shoemaker Jr. agreed with his brother-in-law’s observation.

“I think it was Daddy’s fairness and integrity that made all the heads of the various colleges, universities and other board members respect him so much,” he said. “His business background coupled with [his] very clear admiration for learning made him one of the better leaders the board had experienced.”

Born in Lake Cormorant, the late educator and administrator enrolled at UM in 1931 as a Felix LaBauve scholar from Nesbit. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in commerce in 1935.

“As a student, Mr. Shoemaker served on the YMCA cabinet, was a member of the Cardinal Club, pledged Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity and was a recognized campus leader,” Ford said. “He and his wife, the late Alice Vivian Denman, had three children: William Jr., the late Susan S. Hume and the late Richard D. Shoemaker. All attended the university.”

Shoemaker served as executive vice president and general manager of the Meridian & Bigbee Railroad. He was later appointed to the board of trustees of Mississippi’s Institutions of Higher Learning by Gov. John Bell Williams and served until 1980.

Shoemaker Hall, which houses the UM Department of Biology, was named in his honor in 1984. The entire Shoemaker family was surprised and honored by the gesture.

“I gave his acceptance speech because multiple small strokes had slowed his speech too much for him to speak in public,” Shoemaker Jr. said. “The University of Southern Mississippi named a teaching auditorium for him, and the Gulf Coast Research Center named a research laboratory for him. My wife, Sally, and I flew from California for each of these events, and I can’t think of attending any other events that showed so much respect and love.”

After Shoemaker’s death, his widow established a scholarship for biology students in his memory. Their children later contributed to the fund, which provided funding for five students last year.

“The collection certainly provides detailed insight into his life, personality and work ethic,” Ford said. “Special Collections is greatly indebted to the Shoemaker family for the generous gift of the archive of this significant Mississippian.”










Library’s Wish List

iPad mini

Support the latest library success: technology lending program. We currently have 4 iPad minis that are constantly checked out. These devices are preloaded with e-books by Mississippi authors and UM Common Reading Experience texts, as well as helpful apps like GarageBand, Keynote, Pages, and iMovie. There is a huge demand for mobile device lending at the library!

Cost: $300 for a new iPad mini


Historical papers digitization project

We would like to digitize the Locust Grove Plantation slave ledger and the 19th century UM board minutes. Together they constitute about 1796 pages (4 ledgers) and we estimate it will take about 30 hours to complete. The Locust Grove ledger covers the time period 1825-1845. This is believed to be a ledger from the Postlewait family of Mississippi. Samuel Postlewait entered the territory in the early 1800s and was a successful planter and a founder of the Bank of Mississippi. This ledger is significant for its slave lists with notations on marriages, births, and deaths. The UM Board Minutes consist of the earliest two ledgers (1845-1897) of the Minutes of the Board of Trustees for the University of Mississippi. Information contained include references to financial expenditures, student enrollment and activities, slavery, the onset of the Civil War, and numerous other topics related to the University.

Cost: $1,000


Windows Tinting project

Following up on the success of the windows tinting project profiled in this Keywords, we would like to continue adding tinting to remaining Library windows. WE have 10 windows of one size, which cost $550 each. We also have 2 windows of double size. Each of those would cost $820 each.

Cost: $550 per window (for 10 windows) $820 per larger window (for two windows)




Exhibits and Events

Entertainment Collectors, Authors, and Critics:  Selections from the Mamie and Ellis Nassour Arts & Entertainment, Stark Young, and Herschel Brickell Collections.Faulkner Room, Department of Archives & Special Collections. January 22-December 18, 2015

“African-American Literary Collections in Special Collections.” Held in conjunction with the 2015 Oxford Conference for the Book which celebrates the work of Margaret Walker. Third Floor, J.D. Williams Library. March –August, 2015

J.D. Williams Library Puts Students in Motion

155784530The J.D. Williams library is now home to four exercise bikes, offering students an active option while studying.

Dr. James Spell and his wife, Markie, provided the funding for the bikes, which cost $400 each.

Spell, a University of Mississippi surgery resident from 1959 to 1964, said he was visiting Oxford when he discovered the bikes were on the library’s wish list in the Keywords publication.

“That struck my imagination as I recalled those four and six hour study sessions in the medical library at UMC  as a surgical resident.  I was fighting exhaustion and sleepiness most of the time.  I thought:  “what a great idea, to ride on a stationary bike to get energized and waked up.  Why didn’t some think of this decades ago”?

Spell said he couldn’t wait to contact the library the next day, fearing someone had already provided the funding.

The bikes are now available for student use during library hours and are located in room 310B.

Spell said he had the opportunity to see the bikes in action a fews months after the donation.

“They were everything we had imagined and more,” he said. “We are extremely gratified we had the opportunity to connect to the library in this fashion, and we will be very happy if the bikes are helpful to Ole Miss library students.”

University libraries development officer Angela Barlow said the library is very appreciative of the contribution from the Spells.

“Their gift will provide numerous students with a unique study break activity within our library walls,” Barlow said. “The university library is ever-changing, being innovative and supportive of our university’s committee needs. With donors such as the Spells, these progressive visions are possible.”


Planned Giving

Libraries grateful for increased support

Private support for The University of Mississippi Libraries continues to grow at a tremendous rate. When the fiscal year ended on June 30, 2014, private support from alumni, friends, faculty and staff totaled $688,999, a 159 percent increase from fiscal year 2013. This increase includes endowment support, which has more than doubled over the past year. This growth is only made possible with supports like you.

Not only are we growing our support in overall dollars, we are experiencing an increase in support from alumni as well as an increase in participation through our Phonathon efforts. We appreciate you taking the time to visit with our student callers as they share the need of your annual support to the libraries.

Your generosity has enabled numerous enhancements for our library. I thank you for supporting the entire university community through gifts to the libraries.

I hope you will consider making a commitment this year to the University Libraries. I ask that you view the Libraries’ Wish List included in this edition of Keywords. Each listing covers a great need within our library. Help us continue to offer our students and faculty the very best.

Commit to another fantastic year. Commit to The University of Mississippi Libraries.


Angela Brown

Development Officer

J.D. Williams Library tints windows with view toward sustainability

This Spring, the J.D. Williams Library Green Team contracted True View Window Tinting to install Vista low emissivity (low-e) film on the south-facing library windows to reduce energy consumption and improve the overall comfort level of the library building.

Initially, the library funded a project to cover one large east-facing window earlier in the year. After noticeable results in temperature change, and the overall comfort level for library patrons, they decided to move forward with a proposal to cover more windows.

“We happened upon the window film because we had already used it on the large, east-facing window,” said Buffy Choinski, the Library’s Green Team chair “We realized the window film would fit the UM Green Fund’s purpose in improving operational efficiency.”

It also helped them with their own mission of working within the framework of their strategic goals to help educate library users about the importance of sustainability, and to lead through example by cultivating and environment of sustainable practices in the library.

UM’s Green Fund contributed $5,132 to the project. The Library added an additional $2,500 to meet the overall cost of $7,632 to tint all of the south-facing windows. According to Lonnie Weaver, Assistant Director Physical Plant Systems Technologies, the film can potentially reduce energy costs by up to 40% in 8,000 square feet of space.

One of the biggest advantages to installing the low-e film is its projected return on investment while reducing the University’s carbon footprint in the process.

“The annual energy cost savings that Vista window tint provides allows a building to quickly recoup its costs,” said Choinski. “It seems to be the least expensive, most cost effective way to improve energy efficiency in a large, old building.”

The Green Team is currently collecting data to track any noticeable differences to library energy expenditures. They will continue to work with Lonnie Weaver to monitor electricity use and energy costs. Once they gather enough data, they will compare the data to previous years data. Assuming positive results, they will draft another proposal for covering some additional east-facing windows.

The Green Team and library do not limit themselves to just one sustainability project. They constantly recycle, they have replaced a portion of their light bulbs with more efficient bulbs and they were one of the first buildings on campus to have a water bottle filling station.. They also maintain a Library guide on sustainability.

They are also in the process of creating a blog on sustainability issues and the library.

The library’s Green Team consists of Buffy Choinski, Amanda Bennett, Greg Johnson, Stan Whitehorn and Jing Jing Wu.

Digitizing UM’s special collections becomes full-time job

Many collections now available online

20141008_0027From photographs of blues legend B.B. King to the historic images of the 1962 integration of Ole Miss, the digital collections of the University of Mississippi’s Department of Archives and Special Collections are a valuable online resource.

Archives and Special Collections staff digitizes an array of historic photographs, documents and interviews, including analog materials such as books, manuscripts, posters, maps and photographs, as well as audio and video formats such as vinyl, tapes, film reels and VHS.

Beginning in the early to mid-2000s, digitization, the process of converting various material types into digital formats, has become a standard practice in libraries, museums and similar organizations.

Aside from the Blues Photograph Collection and the Integration of the University of Mississippi, some notable digital collections include the Civil War Archive, Civil Rights Archive, Presidential Debate Collection, AICPA Historical Collection, Freedom Riders Oral Histories and University of Mississippi yearbooks.

“We have created a large amount of digital collections throughout the last decade at the University of Mississippi,” said Susan Ivey, UM digital initiatives librarian and assistant professor. “The digitization of Archives and Special Collections’ materials provides access to users that are not able to physically come to the library to use these materials.

“Digital collections also allow for new connections and links between materials to be made without the act of physically removing these materials from their original collections,” she said. “It also saves time for researchers who are able to visit the library.”

Hired as the new digital initiatives librarian last October, Ivey obtained a Master of Library Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she also worked in the Digital Production Center at Wilson Special Collections Library.

At the J.D. Williams Library, Ivey’s duties go beyond simply scanning materials. Not only does she train and oversee student workers in the scanning and imaging of materials as well as the creation of metadata and online finding aids, but she also handles all the uploading of digital files into a content management system for students and other faculty members who work in the department.

Other library personnel, including the web services librarians, the ACIPA reference librarian, as well as the technical services and IT departments, are included in various other aspects of digital projects as well.

“Students and faculty regularly use our physical and digital collections, as well as researchers throughout the country and even the world,” Ivey said. “We receive requests for digitization regularly.”

Long-term preservation and sustainability of these digital files as well as the funding is a concern for the department.

“Most of the digital collections are accessible, and especially born-digital materials, is an increasing issue within libraries and museums,” Ivey said. “Just like physical materials, digital materials must be taken care of so that they can last in the future.”

With the growth of the digital library field, Archives and Special Collections aspires to stay abreast of this evolving process.

“Our library just purchased a large format overhead scanner, and we are really excited about the opportunities that this will afford us for digitization,” Ivey said. “It will provide us the means to digitize larger materials and bound materials in-house, rather than relying on outside vendors.”

“We do, however, still have additional equipment and staffing needs for digitization, including additional server space, various type of scanners, new and ongoing software costs, and student and staff wages, to name a few,” she added.

All of the digital collections are accessible at as well as through the Mississippi Digital Library. Several digital materials are also available through other project portals, such as the UM yearbooks through the Internet Archive, and the new Association of Southeastern Research Libraries project, which will launch early 2015 through the Digital Public Library of America website.