Undergraduate Student Projects

The George Breck & Gilbert Reynolds Project: An Eyewitness Account of the Battle of Gettysburg

Daniel Gorman Jr. (class of 2014) prepared a transcription of George Breck's eyewitness account of the Battle of Gettysburg. Included is an essay with additional commentary about Breck, Gilbert Reynolds, Rochester's connection to the Civil War, and the Battle of Gettysburg. 

The Dime Novels Collection: Windows Into 19th Century American Pursuits and Values

Two students from Professor Joan Rubin's class, "American Culture Since 1876" (History 252), submitted final papers based on their work with selected items in the Dime Novel collection. Daniel Gorman Jr. (UR 2014) wrote his essay on Ned Buntline's The Black Avenger of the Spanish Main (1852), and Jacob Goldstein (UR 2010) analyzed four "Silverblade" stories (1891) authored by Joseph E. Badger. 

Dime Novels emerged as a new form of popular literature in the United States in the 1860s and flourished until around World War I. They enjoyed great popular appeal and widespread readership, especially among young boys and adults. Story plots grouped around familiar themes: the frontier and the West, war, science fiction and fantasy, sea stories, boarding schools, detectives, railroads, sports and athletics.

Rare Books and Special Collections holds an extensive collection of some ten thousand of these American dime novels in a variety of formats. The collection serves as a rich resource for studying prevailing popular beliefs, attitudes, and values in the second half of the 19th and early 20th century United States. 

The American Mind: History 267 & 268 

Students in two of Professor Robert Westbrook's courses in American intellectual history, "The American Mind, 1600-1865" (History 267) and "The American Mind, 1865-1990" (History 268), use manuscript materials as part of a research assignment. This assignment, called "Other People's Mail," requires that students transcribe a document and write an introduction to it, placing the document in its context and suggesting the ways in which it bears on significant themes in the course. Student essays along with transcriptions of the documents and images of the originals letters, have been digitized.

Anthony-Avery Letters 

The Anthony-Avery collection consists mainly of the correspondence between Susan Brownell Anthony and Rachel Foster Avery. The correspondence dates between the years 1882 to 1908, with the greatest number of letters having been written in 1887, 1897 and 1898. Most of the letters were written by Susan B. Anthony to Rachel F. Avery (161). As corresponding secretary of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, Mrs. Avery played an integral part in all the plans and problems of that organization. The correspondence to and from her, therefore, reflects many facets of the suffrage movement including the plans for the 40th (1888) and 50th (1898) anniversary celebrations of the beginning of the women's suffrage movement: the strategies for adding women's suffrage amendments to the constitution of various states: the problems of winning converts to the cause and raising money: the writing of Miss Anthony's biography and the personal relationship between Susan B. Anthony and Rachel Foster Avery. 

synopsis of each letter was created by University of Rochester undergraduate Lagusta Yearwood (class of 2000) as part of an internship in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections during the academic year of 1999/2000.

Claude Bragdon Essay

Karen Taylor (class of 2004) participated in an independent study project using the papers of architect, set designer and author Claude Bragdon. She prepared an essay, along with an annotated bibliography and annotations to some of Bragdon's correspondence (1918-1925). 

Sesquicentennial Essays

In honor of the University's Sesquicentennial, the library sponsored a competition for the best essay on any aspect of the University's history. Political activism at the University of Rochester during the 1960s provided inspiration to the winners, Craig Linder '00 (First Prize) and Brian Kowalski '02 (Second Prize).

World War II Letters

Catherine White donated her collection of World War II letters and photographs received from her fiance Lyman Smith, an Army private serving overseas. As an internship project, Beth Wightman and Rob Weinstein processed the collection and placed the letters in historical context.

The Novels of Horatio Alger, Jr. 

Designed under the auspices of the University of Rochester Libraries, both the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections and the Rossell Hope Robbins Library, The internship involved both evaluation of the nineteenth century dime novels of Horatio Alger, Jr., and analysis of the texts in a fairy tale context, particularly the Cinderella tale. Many of the books were drawn from the Department's dime novel collections.

Epitaph: The Friends of Mt. Hope Cemetery

This electronic version of the Friends of Mt. Hope newsletter, Epitaph, has been produced through the cooperative efforts of the Department of Religion and Classics and the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections and Preservation of Rush Rhees Library at the University of Rochester, with the kind permission of the Friends of Mt. Hope Cemetery.

Professor Th. Emil Homerin began teaching his course REL 167: "Speaking Stones" in 1999. This course takes students into Rochester's historic Mount Hope cemetery to examine grave stones and funerary architecture. Through detailed lectures, Professor Homerin introduces the students to western funeral ritual and practice, with emphasis on funerary architecture and cemeteries in the United States, and their relationship to religious and philosophical beliefs. 

Bridget Cougevan '03 scanned, proofread and formatted the newsletters and designed the website.

Rochester's Hope: The University of Rochester's Connection to "Our Quietest Neighbor"

The exhibit, "Rochester's Hope," explores the connections between Mt. Hope cemetery and the University; it was displayed in 2001 in Rush Rhees Library, and was curated by students from Professor Th. Emil Homerin's "Speaking Stones" course.

This on-line version of the exhibit was designed and executed by Corinne Carpenter '03 as an independent project. 

Hyam Plutzik, Poet: A Centennial Celebration

Curated by student Sergei Kriskov (English/Political Science, 2012), Hyam Plutzik, Poet: A Centennial Celebration showcases Plutzik's books, poetry manuscripts, broadsides and other selected materials from the Hyam Plutzik Papers. Sarah Young (English, UR 2013), has prepared a special exhibit "Rochester Students Read Plutzik" highlighting student responses to selected Plutzik poems.
The exhibit is open through January 15, 2012 and can be viewed in the Rare Books and Special Collections Department on the 2nd floor of Rush Rhees Library, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fiction, or Imaginative Truth: Poetic and Dramatic Modes in Hyam Plutzik's Horatio
by Phillip A. Witte (UR 2010)
An Astonished Eye: the Art of Kenneth Patchen

Held during the centennial of Patchen's birth, the exhibit presents a striking collection of more than 200 painted books, silk-screen broadsides, picture poems, paintings, photographs and inscribed first editions. The show pays tribute to a prolific artist whose work gained widespread attention and whose readings of poetry accompanied with jazz were a phenomenon in the 1950s. Published from the 1930s through 1972, Patchen writings have been labeled as Romantic, Proletarian, Socialist, Surrealist, Dadaist, and Beat, but ultimately defy easy categorization.
The exhibit is open through January 5, 2012 and can be viewed in the Rare Books and Special Collections Department on the 2nd floor of Rush Rhees Library, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m, Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Kenneth Patchen and Art Music
by Nicholas Stevens (Music, UR 2012)