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Past Lectures

2022--Using Objects of Intolerance to Teach Tolerance and Promote Social Justice: Lessons from the Jim Crow Museum

Dr. David Pilgrim is best known as the founder and director of the Jim Crow Museum, a 20,000 piece collection of racist artifacts at Ferris State University. Dr. Pilgrim is a prolific public speaker and one of this country’s leading experts on diversity, equity and race relations issues. 

This presentation will introduce the audience to the mission, vision, and work of the Jim Crow Museum, the nation’s most extensive publicly accessible collection of racist objects. Dr. Pilgrim, the facility’s founder, also shares lessons learned about race relations and social justice. 

 

2021--The Sweet Smell of Success: Michigan’s Perfume Industry from 1880-1915

Dr. Marie Baxter received her BA from Albion College and her PhD in History from the University of Chicago. She taught in the History Department at Albion College from 2008-2010. 

Perfume manufacturing in North America evolved from a cottage industry into a fully-fledged professional enterprise in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.  Perfumers in Michigan—including Foote & Jenks in Jackson—helped drive this transformation of their industry.  And the most important question of all—what did these fragrances actually smell like?

 

2019--I Had No Idea What I Was Doing: Tales of Rock and Roll Archiving in

Ben Blackwell

 the Modern Era

Ben Blackwell, part owner and co-founder of Third Man Records and archivist/historian for the band The White Stripes discusses how he accidentally became an archivist. Blackwell loves music and the underground Detroit rock and roll scene where he participated as a musician himself, and became a constant fixture at all performances done by The White Stripes. He began actively collecting documents, programs, flyers, and recordings completed by the band. Before he knew it, Blackwell was an archivist, and his knowledge became extremely helpful for the band.

Blackwell shares how passion for a subject matter can be just as important as official archival training.

 

2018—For the Next Seven Generations: The Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture

William Johnson& Lifeways and Cultural Resource Management

William Johnson, Curator of the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways, discusses his experiences designing exhibitions, organizing events for the Center, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Johnson’s NAGPRA experiences include the coordination of ancestral reburials for the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan. 

 

Aimee Lee Portrait

2017—Hanji: The Legacy and Future of Korean Papermaking

Until recently, Korean paper (known as hanji) was rarely studied, especially outside of its home country. This talk will review points along the long history of Korean papermaking, nearly two millennia long, and the culture that it shaped. The botanical perspective begins with the paper mulberry tree, which makes durable and versatile paper. An historical overview will trace paper's route from China to Korea and how it developed as Buddhism spread through East Asia, as well as its role in the USA. Images and videos, accompanied by samples of hanji and paper artwork—including paper made from plants harvested at Albion—will illuminate the technical details of this ancient but still valuable craft.

Aimee Lee is an artist, papermaker, writer, and the leading hanji researcher and practitioner in North America. (BA, Oberlin College; MFA, Columbia College Chicago). Her Fulbright research on Korean paper led to her award-winning book, Hanji Unfurled (The Legacy Press) and the first-ever American hanji studio, located in Cleveland, Ohio. She teaches, lectures, exhibits, and is collected internationally.

 

Jonathan Eller2016—From Match to Flame: The Evolution of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

For this year’s event, in partnership with the NEA Big Read, Albion College welcomes Dr. Jonathan R. Eller, a Chancellor’s Professor of English, director of the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies, and senior textual editor of the Institute for American Thought at Indiana University’s School of Liberal Arts (IUPUI).

Fahrenheit 451 seems as if it has always been a part of American culture, a cautionary tale about a future world where firemen don’t put out fires—they start them. Ray Bradbury drafted the final version during a nine-day blaze of creativity in the summer of 1953, but his nightmare world of book burning originated in a seven-year arc of drafts that spilled over into some of his most famous early stories. The unlikely evolution of Fahrenheit 451, its even more remarkable transformation into an international literary classic, and its contemporary relevance amidst the technological wonders of the twenty-first century form the core of this lecture.

Dr. Eller first met Ray Bradbury in the late 1980s, eventually developing a working relationship that lasted until Mr. Bradbury’s passing in 2012. Most recently, Professor Eller authored Becoming Ray Bradbury (2011) and Ray Bradbury Unbound (2014), biographical studies of Bradbury’s early and middle career (the final volume of this trilogy is in progress). He also edits The Collected Stories of Ray Bradbury, a multivolume series that recovers the original versions of Bradbury’s earliest tales. In 2013 he prefaced and prepared a new historical section for Simon & Schuster’s 60th anniversary edition of Fahrenheit 451. Three of Professor Eller’s books on Bradbury have been LOCUS award finalists for best nonfiction title in the science fiction and fantasy field.

 

Marieka Kaye Portrait2015—Leather, Paper, and Paste: The 1611 King James Bible – A Journey Through Book Conservation

This year’s lecturer will be Marieka Kaye, Conservation Librarian and Book Conservator at the University of Michigan Library. While a rare book conservator has the privilege of working on exciting artifacts, the journey from before to after treatment can be long and winding with many painstaking steps in between. Upon receiving the first edition 1611 King James Bible from Albion College, conservator Marieka Kaye planned and executed the lengthy process of repairing the extensive damage to the paper and creating a new leather binding. Because the King James Bible is so highly prized as the first bible to be printed in English, Marieka aimed to complete the treatment in such a way that this important book can be used and exhibited for generations to come. Having worked as a professional conservator for the past 10 years, Marieka gleaned much experience from her past training and treatments, especially when it comes to her focus on early printed books.

In this lecture, she will share the treatment of the King James Bible, as well as past projects throughout her career that have informed her knowledge and skill set over the years.

 

2014—Dr. John Kondelik, “Rare Books at Albion College: The Story of the McGregor Plan for Americana"

2013—Julia Miller, “Mysteries Abound: Observing, Interpreting, and Describing the Physical Elements of Historical Bindings”

2012—Dr. Frank Boles, “Just another Racist”?: When Good Archivists Collect Bad Records

2011—Dr. Marie M. Baxter, “Parchment, Pedagogy, and Periwig-Makers: Discovering the Longstreet Manuscript Collection”

2010—Jennie Thomas, Archivist at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library and Archives, “It’s Only Rock and Roll (But I Like It)”

2009—Dr. Joel Palka, Anthropology and Latin American Studies, University of Illinois, Chicago, “Exploring the Vann Archive and the Unconquered Maya in Mexico”

2008—Dr. Marcy Sacks, Associate Professor of U.S. and African-American History here at Albion, “Unmasking the ‘Deadpan': The Search for the ‘Real’ Joe Louis”

2007—Professor Richard Aquila, Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer and Director of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and Professor of History at Pennsylvania State University, the Behrend College, “‘Into the Fire': September 11, Popular Music, and Public Memory”

2006—Keith Donohue of the National Archives, “The Stolen Child”

2005—Hank Meijer of Meijer, Inc., “Search for Senator Vandenberg”

2004—Miles Harvey, journalist and novelist, “The Island of Lost Maps: A True Story of Cartographic Crime”

2003—Lawrence Taylor, Ph.D., Albion College Professor Emeritus and founder of the Geology Department, “The Outrageous Hypothesis of Dr. J Harlen Bretz, ’05: A Perspective on the Life of a World Renowned Geologist & Teacher”

2002—Dr. James Wyatt Cook, Albion College Professor Emeritus of English, “Confessions of of Stack Rat: Archives I Have Known & Loved”

2001—Candace Anderson Corrigan, singer, songwriter, producer and historical performer, “Through a Woman’s Voice”

2000—Cynthia Davis-Buffington and David Szewczyk of the Philadelphia Rare Books and Manuscripts Co., “Adventures in Bookdom: FAQs and Fiction”