Global Communist Media at your Fingertips

Heat map of communist films for the eastern hemisphere. Any of those circles pique your curiosity?

A new e-resource, Socialism on Film: The Cold War and International Propaganda, brings a treasure trove of film to your fingertips. Digitized, captioned, and made searchable by Adam Matthew, Socialism on Film included documentaries, newsreels, and feature films spanning the early 20th century through the 1980s. British communist Stanley Forman collected the films which then became the ETV-Plato Films collection at the British Film Institute.

Global in scope, the films represent the world of Soviet, Chinese, Vietnamese, East European, and Latin American filmmakers. Interested in films from or depicting a particular region? You can use the interactive map feature to browse films by country, even by city, while also filtering by genre, era, or sub-collection. The sub-collections are thematic and include: The Holocaust and War Crimes; Nuclear War and Peace Movements; and Revolution in Cuba and Latin America, among others.

An interactive timeline lets you scan for interesting events or hone in on films from a moment in time that intrigues you.

In addition to the map, Socialism on Film includes an interactive chronology which embeds video clips from select films in entries noting key events from the Cold War period.

Due to their content, it is worth noting that many of the films are difficult. These bear warnings for the viewer to alert them to such elements. For example, the 1981 film, Women Speak up for Peace, from the USSR bears the warning: “features images of starving, injured and dead children.”

For students and scholars of history, politics, international relations, film, anthropology, or various area studies this collection is a veritable trove of potential sources.

The Baltimore “Redlining” Map: Ranking Neighborhoods

For those studying Baltimore’s social, economic, and redevelopment history, one of the most frequently referenced maps in our collection is the Residential Security Map of Baltimore Md.

Published in 1937 by the Federal Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC), this map is often called the Baltimore redlining map.  In drafting the map, cartographers used the colors red, yellow, blue, and green to “grade” Baltimore neighborhoods based on potential risk factors for residential mortgage lenders.  Areas shown in red, “Fourth Grade” or “D”, were consider the highest risk areas.  In the narrative documents associated with the map, the risk factors for the lowest grades, “D” and “C”, include terminology that often evokes racial overtones.

“The fourth grade or D areas represent those neighborhoods in which the things that are now taking place in the C neighborhoods, have already happened. They are characterized by detrimental influences in a pronounced degree, undesirable population or an infiltration of it. Low percentage of home ownership, very poor maintenance and often vandalism prevail. Unstable incomes of the people and difficult collections are usually prevalent. The areas are broader than the so-called slum districts. Some mortgage lenders may refuse to make loans in these neighborhoods and others will lend only on a conservative basis.”

During the depression, the HOLC produced Residential Security Maps for over 150 U.S. cities.  Yet most of these maps were never widely distributed and few are found in library map collections.  One of the earliest scholarly looks at HOLC maps was by Amy Hiller as she focused on the City of Philadelphia in “Redlining and the Homeowners’ Loan Corporation."

Screenshot of Mapping Inequality landing page.

Mapping Inequality Landing Page. (August 2017)

Later works, including contributions by Johns Hopkins History Professor Nathan Connolly, can be found on the website “Mapping InEquality: Redlining in New Deal America.”  This fabulous site serves as a gateway to the widest array of georeferenced Residential Security maps along with images of archived HOLC neighborhood assessments.  1930 and 1940 population figures on race and foreign-born are also included along with a clever tool that highlights grading and density outward from the city centers.  The subscription, database PolicyMap also recently added a new section called Historic Lending Boundaries incorporating HOLC content.

The Sheridan Libraries copies of printed Baltimore Residential Security maps came about via our search of the HOLC records at the U.S. National Achieves (Record Group 195, Box 106).  Since 2008 we have made high quality digital scans of this Baltimore map freely available for viewing and download via JScholarship, our institutional repository.  Also included in our collection is a draft version of the map prepared in 1936.   For Johns Hopkins GIS users, a georeferenced copy of the map is also available via ArcGIS Online for Johns Hopkins.  It is good to see our library’s copies so widely used and referenced in other sources.

For more information, contact Jim Gillispie, GIS Librarian and Curator of Maps, 410-516-4816.

Be Fierce! Apply to Be a Freshman Fellow!

2016-2017 JHU Freshman Fellows

2016-2017 JHU Freshman Fellows

Special Collections is accepting applications for Freshman Fellows, a one-year fellowship exclusively for first-year students.   The program is designed to introduce students to the joys, challenges, and thrills involved in conducting research with primary sources. Limited to just four undergraduates, Freshman Fellows provides its scholars with support by pairing each fellow with a mentor who will guide them through every step of the research process. Successful students will also receive a stipend of $1,000 in honor of their research!

Why should you apply?  Because you will get to do original research with awesome rare things, be mentored by curatorial staff, and never be at a loss for small talk when folks back home inevitably ask how you like studying at Hopkins.  In fact, your family will start hiding from you, taking turns eating turkey and pumpkin pie in closets as a way to consume their Thanksgiving dinners in peace.  “Why did you ask our dear so-and-so about Freshman Fellows,” your family and friends will exclaim! “All we wanted was a meal with no mention at all about the top-quality education at Hopkins,  the incredible depths of its Special Collections,  and the absolute support students receive from librarians, curators, and archivists,” they all sign in unison.

That’s right! Such potential family drama can be yours if you apply to be a Freshman Fellow! Fortunately for you, the application process is a breeze. All you need to do is write a 750-word essay on why you would like to be in the program and what you would like to research.  If you are at a total loss as to what to explore, then fear not.  Special Collections mentors have created nine different themed collections for you to discover, with topics ranging from communicating with the supernatural world to exploring various chapters in the secret history of Johns Hopkins University.  If you still need further inspiration to apply, then definitely take a gander at the projects undertaken by last year’s Freshman Fellows! They traced the development of student housing at Hopkins, had intense words with Hamlet, explored the relationship between fashion and feminism in the nineteenth-century, and translated early modern Latin texts.

Due to popular demand, we are extending the deadline to 11:59PM on Sunday, October 1!  Send your applications or any questions you have about the program to me, your liaison to the curious world of Special Collections. I am waiting with bated breath for your applications. Apply before I get a case of the vapors!

The Notorious R.B.G.

Are you a fan of the inimitable Ruth Bader Ginsburg? Or, perhaps you have some other supreme crush. Regardless, you now have new ways to see the important work of the Supreme Court through the Making of Modern Law: U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs 1832-1978 database. Do an author search for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or find her in the Author Browse list and you will find her first appearance in the Supreme Court records all the way back in 1971 when she was one of five attorneys for the appellant in Reed (Sally) v. Reed (Cecil). If you are looking for a topic closer to home, try exploring Thurgood Marshall, or dive into the documents to discover why a search for Johns Hopkins University pulls up documents from the landmark Brown v. Board case.

Print image of 9 Supreme Court Justices presiding over the court.

Supreme Court,
D.L. Webster Webster's Encyclopedia of Useful Information and World's Atlas (Chicago: Ogilvie & Gillett Company, 1889) 220

With basic and advanced search options, you can search through over 350,000 discrete documents encompassing approximately 11 million pages of Supreme Court records. The majority of these 150,000 Supreme Court cases did not receive a full opinion. In addition to keywords, authors, and cases, you can search by date—included date range, filing date, or opinion date, whether or not a case was heard, document typed, and either docket number or U.S. reports citation.

For students and scholars of race, gender, law, public policy, history, business, education, environment, or nearly any other field, U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs 1832-1978 is a source not to be missed.

 I would be remiss if I didn’t also highlight that U.S. Supreme Court Records and Briefs 1832-1978 joins the Sheridan Libraries’ Making of Modern Law collections Legal Treatises, 1800-1926 and Primary Sources, 1620-1926.

Best Library Duo: Information Desk and Research Consultation Office

You know those famous duos who work so well together, right? Batman and Robin, Han and Chewie, Lucy and Ethel. Everyone knows them. Well, get ready to add another duo to that list: the Information Desk and Research Consultation Office (RCO) in Eisenhower Library.

The graduate students and librarians who staff these desks are available many hours each week to help you efficiently utilize library services and tools.

Start at the Information Desk, and they'll help you with questions like:

If you have a research question, then the librarians in the RCO (behind the Information Desk) will be able to work with you on your topic. They can assist you with questions like:

  • I need some economic data to support my argument.
  • How can I publish my conference presentation slides?
  • What policy work has been done in the last 10 years to improve the drinking water quality in the United States?

Librarians are available via phone, email, chat, and text if you can't stop in. You can also contact the librarian that works with your academic department to set up a meeting.

Mining and Dining Workshop Series (Digital Humanities)

Curious about digital humanities (DH) tools, but don’t know where to begin? You’re not alone! In a survey last year, many graduate students told us that they don’t know enough about DH tools and methodologies. They wondered if text mining tools, for example, might help with their research, but are concerned about spending precious research time trying to get to grips with technologies that may or may not turn out to be useful. They also mentioned that they like food. A lot.

We at the MSE Library have the answer:
Mining and Dining!
Generously funded by the Idea Lab, we are offering a series of workshops over the coming year led by the MSE Library’s Digital Scholarship Specialist, Tamsyn Mahoney-Steel. These 90-minute workshops will each be stand-alone sessions devoted to a particular tool or methodology, with a particular focus on text mining. We will explore key functionalities of the chosen tool or methodology and discuss how it can be applied to research. Oh, and there will be food!

The first session on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 at 5.30pm will focus on Voyant, a suite of tools that offers “a web-based reading and analysis environment for digital texts.” The workshop will take place in the Center for Educational Resources Conference Room on Q-level of the MSE Library and you will be able to enjoy tasty sandwiches, salads, and cookies from Azáfran. You can sign up using Google Forms.

Space is limited to 10 participants, so sign up quickly. We are targeting this session for graduate student research, but if you’re not a grad student and would like to know more, please be in touch with Tamsyn:

Fall  2017

Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 5.30pm
Wednesday, October 4, 2017, 5.30pm
Tuesday, October 17, 2017, 5.30pm
Thursday, November 2, 2017, 5.30pm
Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 5.30pm

Spring 2018
Tuesday, February 15, 2017, 5.30pm
Wednesday, February 28, 2017, 5.30pm
Tuesday, March 13, 2017, 5.30pm
hursday, 29th March 2017, 5.30pm

Hugh Hawkins Fellow Michael Anfang on the History of Jewish Life at Hopkins

photograph Jewish Student Association

Students at a Jewish Student Association picnic in 1979. Personal photograph of Gail Kaden ('81).

Growing up, I had never heard of Hopkins being a particularly Jewish school.  Jewish friends and family would always note the Jewish life at Penn, Columbia, or Cornell, and as I looked at colleges I took it as implied that Hopkins was not a “traditionally Jewish” school.  But when I got on campus, I discovered that my expectations were completely unfounded: not only were there many other Jewish students on campus, but also Jewish life at Hopkins was rather robust.  This raised a question for me—what was Jewish life like on a campus that does not have popular Jewish life name recognition?

This summer, I set out to research and present the history of Jewish life at Hopkins through the Hugh Hawkins Research Fellowship for the Study of Hopkins History.  With the support of the fellowship, I was able to dig in to the University Archives and other Baltimore archives, as well as conduct alumni interviews to investigate the topic.  What I discovered was rather surprising and enlightening.

Abel Wolman ('13) was an active member of the University Menorah Society, along with Drs. Alan and Manfred Guttmacher ('19).

I discovered that from the start Hopkins had been welcoming to Jews.  Early Jewish faculty and students, such as J. J. Sylvester and Cyrus Adler report that they were welcomed on campus.  This was notably at a time when many other institutions openly discriminated against Jews, and in Sylvester’s case, barred him from a degree.  Hopkins’ early Jews were leaders in both the local and national Jewish and Zionist movements, with several students and professors on the executive board of organizations such as the Intercampus Zionist Association.

Jewish life grew over time, and by the late 1930s there were half a dozen Jewish fraternities and approximately 30% of the school was Jewish.  Many of these students came from major Jewish families in Baltimore, such as the Friedenwalds, Hutzlers, and Meyerhoffs.  This growth however, was hampered by the all-but-proven quotas instituted by President Bowman in the mid 1940s, carried out through the end of his tenure in 1948 and continued through President Bronk’s (1949-53).  During this period, Jewish students fell to 10% of the student body, and several Jewish fraternities were disbanded.

Yet, starting in the mid 1950s, more and more Jewish students came to Hopkins.  They reestablished several Jewish fraternities and established the Jewish Students Association, the main Jewish student organization on campus.  The Jewish population continued to grow through the 1970s, during which time students organized additional Jewish groups, established a kosher dining hall in the basement of one of the freshmen dorms, AMR I, and facilitated many events for both Jews and non-Jews.  According to the highest estimates, the campus was as much as 40% Jewish in the mid 1970s.

"A Revitalized AEPi," Hullabaloo Newspaper, 1988.

"A Revitalized AEPi," Hullabaloo Newspaper, ed. Austrian et. al. (Baltimore, 1988):229.

Starting in the 1980s, however, the Jewish population at Hopkins began to slowly decline from its peak, as many students started to go further away for college.  Jewish life at Hopkins remained robust, though, and was boosted by the hiring of rabbi Joseph Katz, a few revitalizations of Alpha Epsilon Pi, and finally the creation of Hopkins Hillel in the late 1990s.  Since then, Jewish life at Hopkins has been thriving, despite a proportion of the campus population that hovers around 10%.

Certainly after this project I can say that Jewish life at Hopkins has had its ups and downs, but the old popular myth that Hopkins has not been a “Jewish” school is definitely debunked.  I hope that this project will help share the story of Hopkins Jewish life with others, especially college applicants, to tell them about its robust history and present.  Additionally, this project will help reframe the conversation in Jewish communities about Johns Hopkins and other schools like it toward one in which Hopkins is a thriving Jewish option. This project would not have been possible without the aid of the archivists of the University Archives and the Jewish Museum of Maryland, Hopkins Retrospective Program Manager Jennifer Kinniff, Professor Kenneth Moss, several extremely helpful alumni, Hopkins Hillel, the generosity of the late Hugh Hawkins, and my parents.

Interested in applying for a Summer 2018 Hugh Hawkins fellowship? Watch for our announcement of the application deadline this fall, and read more about the program here.

In A Hurry? Use Self-Checkout!

Self-checkout kiosk (MSEL, M-level)

Want to check out a book?  Is there a line at the Service Desk?  Has the Service Desk closed for the evening?  No worries.  Use one of the library’s self-checkout options!

Option 1:  Use your cell phone!  Download the free meeScan app; scan your JCard, follow the online prompts and you’re on your way.  For books that you’re using in the library or keeping in a carrel or locker, check them out with your phone and you’re all done.

Download the meeScan app.

Google Play

iTunes App Store





If you’re taking books out of the library, stop by the station near the Information Desk to desensitize each book so you won’t set off alarms when you leave the building.  More detailed instructions are available at the station near the Information Desk.

Eisenhower library book deactivation station

Deactivation and self-checkout kiosk (MSEL, M-level)


Option 2:  Use a self check-out machine located near MSEL and BLC exits.  Scan your JCard and follow the instructions on the screen.

Questions? Service Desk staff will be happy to assist!





Hopkins Prepares its Future Faculty

Apply now to the Teaching Academy Program!

In response to the increasing demand for professional development opportunities to prepare our graduate students and postdoctoral fellows as future faculty, the Teaching Academy expanded this past year to offer its workshops and 3-day Teaching Institute on both the Homewood and East Baltimore campuses.  Be sure to check out the recent HUB article that features the 3-day Teaching Institute and the expansion of the Teaching Academy here!

Teaching Academy full tables in classroomHaven’t heard of the Teaching Academy? This professional development program offers doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows from all Johns Hopkins divisions, instructional training and academic career preparation opportunities through courses, workshops, teaching practicums, teaching-as-research fellowship appointments and individual consultations.  While academic preparation at a doctoral level primarily stresses research, PhD candidates usually graduate with little preparation - if any at all - for effective teaching, a skill necessary for those who intend to pursue careers in academia. The Teaching Academy offers participants training opportunities to acquire the critical skills needed for their initial faculty appointments, as well as certificates to help provide an added advantage in today’s competitive job market.

The program is open to all 2nd year Ph.D. students and post-docs across the University. Applications are currently being accepted through September 2017 for the 2017-2018 cohort. For more information about this program and to apply, click here.

Civil Rights History Immersion in Birmingham, AL

One of the most striking exhibits at the beginning of the Civil Rights Institute was the side-by-side comparison of two school classrooms c. 1953.

Recently I traveled to Birmingham, AL with my husband, somewhat on a whim for a long weekend.  We solicited advice from friends on what we shouldn’t miss in the city, and the one thing that kept coming up in the recommendations was a trip to the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.  We added that to our list of places to visit during our trip, and planned to go on our second afternoon in the city.  What we did not realize, and to our pleasant surprise, was that at almost every single place we visited, segregation and civil rights were seamlessly woven into the history.

Besides the Civil Rights Institute, the most obvious place to explore civil rights history was across the street at the 16th Street Baptist Church, where we viewed an exhibit, watched a short film, and participated in a Q&A with a church member about the bombing in 1963.  But even at the Sloss Furnaces National Historic Landmark, a city park, and the location of the “original iron man,” civil rights history was front and center.  If you’re looking for a long weekend trip to immerse yourself in exploring the Civil Rights Movement in America, Birmingham, AL is the place to go.

Sloss Furnaces was a major draw for many formerly enslaved men who were looking for work after the Civil War, and it played a prominent role in the growth and development of the city of Birmingham.

Usually my souvenir of choice from anywhere I visit is some type of book on the history of a particular neighborhood or spot that I enjoyed, or something about a person I learned about in the city.  This time, I came home with a Birmingham cookbook that not only contains recipes from the city, but contains contextual and cultural information about the food and the history of Birmingham.  As I often do upon returning from a trip, I check out Catalyst to find more information about something I learned.  Some of the resources about Birmingham that I am looking forward to exploring can be found below: