Thursday, June 16, 2011

Social hygiene pamphlets

Oregon was a leader in the Progressive-era social hygiene movement. Many social hygiene principles, such as eugenics, are discredited. However, through the energies of the Oregon Social Hygiene Society, the state earned a national reputation for excellence in sex education and combating venereal disease.

Tucked in to our copy of the 1912 annual report of the Social Hygiene Society of Portland, Oregon (the Oregon Society's predecessor organization) are a handful of educational pamphlets and circulars. These include educational literature about venereal disease, and a sentimental essay by Congregationalist leader Lyman Abbott about the virtues of womanhood. Most of these ephemeral items were produced by the society around 1912.

We hold additional materials on social hygiene in our historical collections, including local publications in the PNW Collection. The records of the Oregon Social Hygiene Society are held at Oregon Historical Society.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

RBMS Preconference, June 21-24

Next week I'll be in Baton Rouge attending the 2011 RBMS Preconference "In the Hurricane's Eye: Challenges of Collecting in the 21st Century." The preconference - so called because it falls immediately before the American Library Association's annuall conference - is organized by the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries. This year's meeting will be in historic Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Hence the hurricane reference, which is also intended to represent the theme of the meeting itself:

"In the last several years special collections and archives have assumed a new and more prominent role within our larger host institutions as well as in the wider library community. Once perceived as peripheral to core library services, our collections are now viewed as central. Despite – or perhaps because of – this centrality, we face a perfect storm of increasing needs in a time of decreasing support. How can we keep building and providing effective access to collections that will remain central in the future, fulfilling our obligation to provide stewardship of the cultural record?"

Blog posts will be light next week, but I promise to return with many shared observations about the state of special collections librarianship, and a review of the tour of the bird collection of the LSU Museum of Natural Science.