There are two ever-present problems with audiovisual materials. The first is the preservation issue of how long the physical media will actually last. The second is the knowledge that the equipment needed to play the media may not be available in the future or even now. How many of you still have a floppy drive on your computer?
We are well into the digital age now with expectations that everything we hold will be digitized and available on the web. With over 18,000 boxes of records that's an impossible task, but we are making strides. We have scanned over 9,400 images since 2007, but with a collection of 750,000 photos we still have a long way to go. Scanning a print is one thing, we can handle most in-house, but digitizing a 60-year-old film is another thing entirely. It is difficult, time-consuming, and expensive.
So to get a handle on our audiovisual materials we are beginning with a media census. We will do a physical inventory of every box likely to contain media and record the type, volume, and the physical condition. We started with film reels as a test and already located a few that we identified as "at risk" because of their deteriorating condition.
Our charge is to preserve records that document the history of Syracuse University, and to make those records available for scholarly research. A good portion of that history is embedded in our audiovisual materials and our goal must be to ensure they are available for years to come.
Ed Galvin, Director
Founded in 1991 by her family, The Alexia Foundation honors the memory of Alexia Tsairis, one of the thirty-five Syracuse University students lost in the bombing. Alexia was a junior in the Newhouse School of Public Communications spending the fall 1988 semester studying photojournalism in London. Appropriately, the Alexia Foundation honors her spirit and passion by awarding scholarships and grants to photography students and professional photojournalists. To date, almost $950,000 has been awarded to over 140 individuals whose work exemplifies the ways in which photographers can act as agents of change.
The first donation by Alexia's parents and foundation co-founders, Peter and Aphrodite Tsairis, was made in December. Included were the winning submissions of many grant recipients. Examples of student entries include Tamara Voninski's "'One of the Boys': What Were Women Doing in the 90's," the 1991 inaugural winner; and Jeffrey Fehder's "Qalqilya, West Bank: Living in the Shadow of the Wall," the 2007 student winner. Among the professional grant recipients for whom materials were donated are Teru Kuwayama, whose "'Vanishing' Tibetan Culture: Tibetan Refugees in India" was the 1999 winner; and Peggy Peattie, the 1997 professional recipient for her work "Down in Dixie."
A second donation came to the Archives in February, when Aphrodite and Peter visited campus to attend the Foundation's 2015 ceremony. With this new set of materials the collection has grown to include Nicole Kekas' artwork for the foundation's original logo, as well as a range of exhibit and seminar materials. Among these are items related to "Eyes on the World," an exhibit that traveled to United Nations' locations around the world to commemorate the foundation's 15th anniversary.
The Alexia Foundation for World Peace Collection will be one of the larger collections within the Pan Am 103 Archives and will continue the story of the Alexia Kathryn Tsairis Family Papers.
The meeting of the seniors Monday afternoon was held not only for the purpose of deciding upon a class memorial but also to make up the class budget and to levy the class tax.
President Matthew E. Conklin presided and the first matter brought up was that of the memorial. The memorial committee recommended that either a statue of "The Wrestlers" be placed in the Stadium or that an electric chimes clock be placed in front of the Hall of Languages. Neither suggestion met with the approval of the class.
After some discussion it was pointed out that ivy plants for the various buildings of the University would beautify the campus and serve better as a memorial to the class than any other gift. A vote showed that the members were heartily in favor of this plan.
Ivy plants are to be placed about each building of the University, with the exception of the College of Applied Science, which already has ivy vines. The plants are to be set out in a scientific manner and will be properly cared for, a fund having been provided for that purpose by the Class of 1915.
An ivy committee was appointed to take charge of the arrangements but it has been dismissed and the memorial committee will look after the matter.
Among the faculty papers the SU Archives holds is the Giuseppe M. Ferrero di Roccaferrera Papers. Di Roccaferrera (1912-1999) was professor in the University's Quantitative Methods Department for over a decade. An avid painter and man of aristocratic blood, di Roccaferrera brought far more to the University than just management skills. His papers are a fascinating conglomeration of family history, fine art, and professional writings.
Di Roccaferrera was born in Turin. He began his service in the Italian artillery while working on his Ph.D. but was honorably discharged in 1939, prompting him to complete his degree at the University of Turin. In 1943, while teaching in Turin, his classroom was raided by German soldiers in search of "volunteers" for their work camps. Refusal from all faculty involved caused a brief stand-off. After escaping into the mountains, he fled to France, where he was briefly a part of the Free French resistance group. In 1958, he made his way to the United States.
After arriving stateside, he taught at several universities before joining the faculty here in 1965. This same year he gained U.S. citizenship and gave up his aristocratic title as a count. At Syracuse di Roccaferrera taught a wide range of topics, from management science to operations research. He was also an avid painter and musician. His still-life paintings of rare instruments in the 17th-century Dutch master style were exhibited widely, including at the Everson Museum in Syracuse. Di Roccaferrera retired in 1977.
The finding aid for Giuseppe M. Ferrero di Roccaferrera's processed papers include photographs of his paintings from his 1976 Everson exhibition, a translated family history, photographs from throughout his life, and a number of his published works.
Last fall, Joe McLaughlin '97 made two delightful donations to the SU Archives. First to arrive was a stereograph of the grandstand in Archbold Stadium. A stereograph is a set of two photographs mounted on a card. The photographs are the same image taken from slightly different perspectives and are viewed through a stereoscope, which create the illusion of one three-dimensional image. Joe also sent the Archives a marching band rain jacket as well as a Sour Sitrus rugby shirt.
In January Lorraine Elena Roses, Wellesley College Professor Emerita and author of Voices of the Storyteller: Cuba's Lino Novás Calvo, donated a photograph of Lino Novás Calvo and his wife, Herminia del Portal. The photograph was given to Roses by del Portal. We were excited to receive the print because the Archives does not have many portraits of Novás Calvo, a celebrated Cuban author who came to the United States in exile in 1960. He taught Spanish at Syracuse University between 1967 and 1974. The photograph of Novás Calvo and his wife, who was a poet and publisher, was taken in Cuba, circa 1958.
In February Eldora Mann Shattuck '49 donated her collection of old SU football programs, past issues of Syracusan, and a Spring Weekend program, all dating between 1948 and 1950. We were especially pleased to discover that her gift included both the ticket and the program for the SU-Colgate football game from November 1949. Tickets are so ephemeral -- to find one, in good shape, with its accompanying program is very special.
The Archives maintains a listing of SU buildings, past and present, on our website.
Assistant Archivist Meg Mason wrote an article, "Genealogical Resources in the Syracuse University Archives," that was published in the September issue of Tree Talks, the Central New York Genealogical Society journal.