Friday, February 27, 2015

Check out the AP Multimedia Archive for powerful images or audio for your presentations!

Mount Holyoke subscribes to a rich media resource for research use - its the Associated Press Multimedia Archive.  The AP Mulitmedia Archive contains current news photos as well as historic images from their library.   The archive's SoundBank also offers hours of recorded audio.

Looking to download a photo to illustrate a presentation or paper on a current or historical topic? Their photo library includes 4.6 million photographs dating back to 1826 and as current as a few moments ago. You can even download audio recordings from more than 4,500 hours of audio files of primary source news clips and excerpts from speeches dating from the 1920’s.

 To find the AP Multimedia Archive, just go to the LITS homepage and click on the “E-Resources A – Z” link to get to our alphabetical list of research databases.  

Dr. Martin Luther King, third from right, marchers across the Alabama River on the first of a five day, 50 mile march to the state capitol at Montgomery, Ala., on March 21, 1965. Source: AP  

 This Tuesday, July 29, 2014 photo shows a combination of six portraits of Syrian children at Zaatari refugee camp, near the Syrian border, in Mafraq, Jordan.  Source: AP

Friday, February 20, 2015

I Found Them in Special Collections: Three Mount Holyoke Women and Their Pursuit of Education

The seminary textbook collection in the Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections provides numerous insights into the lives of students who attended Mount Holyoke. These books are records of intellectual connections forged among students during the College’s early years. Because students followed a set curriculum, almost every woman attending Mount Holyoke at the time would have read the same books. Through their common education, students would connect with their peers, forming friendships that would continue throughout their lives.

At times, the personal stories of these students slip from the pages of their textbooks. This was the case when I happened across an unassuming copy of Virgil’s works last semester. Upon opening the front cover I discovered a small photograph of a woman in dark Victorian dress captioned “Mattie M. W. McIntyre, Holyoke Home Dec. 8. 1852” pasted inside. After some digging in the archives I discovered a box filled with letters and souvenirs from her time at Mount Holyoke. One of the most intriguing objects was an autograph book, filled with notes and signatures from her friends and family. Many signatures were from women she had met at Mount Holyoke. Remarkably, two of the women, Helen E. Carpenter and Anna E. Benton, had also donated their own textbooks to our collection.

The autograph book, textbooks, and diploma that belonged to Martha McIntyre

By following the stories of Martha, Helen, and Anna we can see how their education at Mount Holyoke allowed them to pursue their future with confidence. Although their paths took them to different parts of the country their experience at Mount Holyoke connected them in unexpected ways.

Martha (Mattie) McIntyre, a native of Massachusetts, graduated Mount Holyoke in 1854. While here she received a “brilliant education” and made many friends among her fellow students. From her husband’s letters we know that she particularly admired her principal, Mary Chapin.

Martha McIntyre

A year after graduation she moved to Marion, Ohio to teach. While there, she met her husband, Peter Oliver Sharpless; they were married in 1857, just two years after her arrival. They remained in Ohio for the rest of their lives, living in a quaint, ivy-covered house. After her death in 1898, Martha was remembered as “a brilliant, educated, intellectual woman, socially affable, and personally very popular with all in her circle of acquaintances.”

The home of Martha and Peter Oliver Sharpless

Helen Carpenter arrived at Mount Holyoke in 1852 after working as a teacher in Brookfield, Massachusetts. After completing her education at Mount Holyoke in 1855 she continued to teach in Woodstock, Connecticut for a number of years. In February 1871 she sailed to Maui, Hawaii to teach at East Maui Seminary, a school that had been modeled after Mount Holyoke. She followed Sarah Gilson Bowman (x-Class of 1850) as principal. During the twenty years she remained there, 412 girls came under her care. She eventually moved back to Woodstock, Connecticut where she remained for the rest of her life.

East Maui Female Seminary, Photograph taken by Anna C. Edwards in 1898

Like Helen, Anna Benton taught school for several years before beginning her own education. She arrived at Mount Holyoke in 1850 and was immediately swept into a busy schedule of classes and chores. In a letter to her aunt she confessed, “I never lived in such a hurry in my life. It is hurry to bed when the bell rings for fear of being tardy. Hurry and sleep all you can. Hurry and get up before you can see. And hurry all day.” Her favorite subjects were Latin and Mathematics although her studies covered a wide range of subjects.

Anna Benton King

In a 1924 interview she reminisced that, “even in those early days we had courses in economics and in political questions, although none of us thought then of women having the vote.” Anna met her husband Horace while he was visiting his niece, Sarah Roselle King at Mount Holyoke. According to a family member, it “was a case of love at first sight on the part of both.”* They were married in 1853 and moved to the King family home in Enfield, Connecticut. She remained in Enfield until her death in 1924.

Textbooks, letters, and a notebook that belonged to Anna Benton during her time at Mount Holyoke

In the preface to her autograph book, Martha predicted that, “Long after the writers shall have gone from sight may the work of the hand and the lettered thought remain. But not with the duration of perishable pages shall that of their influence be measured.” Although our knowledge of these women comes from the “perishable pages” they left behind, their true legacy lies in the friendships and connections they made throughout their life. At Mount Holyoke, these women were joined by friendship and a desire to expand their intellectual horizons. After they graduated, each sought to use her knowledge and passion for learning to educate others. In doing so, they forged an intellectual legacy passing their knowledge on to their students. Although their true influence cannot be transmitted onto paper, I am glad they thought to leave a paper trail so that, almost 165 years later, we can continue to learn from their stories.

*King, Cameron Haight, The King family of Suffield, Connecticut, it’s English ancestry and American descendants (San Francisco, 1908), accessed October 3, 2013, Google Books, page 358.

Emily Wells is the Special Collections student assistant and a senior history major. Read the Mount Holyoke news story about her internship at Historic Deerfield last summer!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Mary Woolley and Jeannette Marks: Life, Love and Letters Exhibit

Mary Woolley and Jeannette Marks were educators and partners who lived and worked at Mount Holyoke College during the early 1900s. Mount Holyoke Archives and Special Collections students have created a physical and online exhibit about their lives and relationship. The letters and photographs in the exhibition will introduce you to their life together, from their first meeting as Wellesley College professor and student to their retirement in upstate New York. Their love and commitment to each other spanned decades and resulted in hundreds of letters exchanged, a forced resignation from the presidency of Mount Holyoke College, and generations of students, staff, and faculty who were influenced by their passions for higher education. Both women have an incredibly important place in the history of the college and world history -- Mary Woolley was the only woman delegate to the World Disarmament Conference in Geneva in 1932! This exhibit exists to showcase their lives: their successes, ever present love for each other, and how they grew as individuals.

Mary Woolley and Jeannette Marks with a dog, circa 1930s

The exhibit is in two formats: physical in the Mount Holyoke Library in the MEWS and in the Archives and Special Collections, on the first floor and basement of Dwight Hall, and online here. The online exhibit has fully transcribed letters, images of the two together, and more information about the time period and historical context.

There will be an exhibit opening February 6th from 4-5pm in the Archives, with a student-led tour and snacks. Come and learn about these two amazing women!

Megan Haaga, Class of 2015, is a student assistant in Archives and Special Collections.

New Books for the New Year

Stretched between the reading room and the AskLITS Board sits the New Books shelf. This shelf, which is on the left-hand-side of the corridor is perhaps one of the most exciting shelves in the library, for it houses LITS's latest spoils. LITS orders NEW BOOKS all the time for the library, ensuring that the library's collection is up-to-date for people of all interests. (A picture of the New Books shelf is below.)

A fun activity (also, a fine method of procrastination) with this shelf is to browse through it without knowing what you're looking for. There's a sign above the shelf which points out which call numbers correspond to which topic. You might be surprised at how many interesting books you will find, even from outside your own field!

To put this this treasure-hunting theory to test I, a LITS student-worker and Humanities and Arts major, looked for three exciting booksbut the catch was that I had to pick two from areas I don't know very much about. A brief session of bibliothetical bonding (feel free to define that word here: with the shelf got me these three wonderful finds:

lost in language & sound : or how I found my way to the arts by Ntzoke Shange

This book of essays was my first pick from the New Books shelf. Of course, it was an easy pick for me since Shange, in this book, writes about her journey through poetry, music and dance, all things that I love. Wild in its form, oscillating between traditional prose and fragments of poetry, this book seems to be a whirlwind sounds, images, and emotion. In a piece on her mother Shange writes,

The Lindy Hop was not the only vernacular activity my mother mastered. There were collard greens and smothered pork chops. There were nights when sleep came dragging its heels and my mother had a rhythmic pat that was so soft yet steady that sleep gave up staying away from me. Let my mother calm my soul so that when my dreams came, I dreamt in color.

Sarah Martin ('15) checking out "lost in language & sound"

Savage Preservation: The Ethnographic Origins of Modern Media Technology by Brian Hochman

Found in the Social Science part of the New Books shelf, this book was truly a revelation to me. It tracks how modern media technology developed concurrently with Western anthropologists' need to document the world's "primitive races."  In the early-twentieth century anthropologists, concerned that these races were disappearing, tried to document them, and as a result the technology used had to advance to meet the anthropologists' needs. By delving into photographic archives this book accounts not only for historical developments, but also for concerns of race, empire, and representation that lie at the center of this period in Western anthropology. (FYI: I just borrowed this book for myself. Sorry, folks!)

cheMagic: Chemistry Classics and Magical Tricks by Khee et al.

If there's something that really isn't "my thing" it's science. But to stay true to the rules of my book-hunt, of finding books on topics I didn't know much about, I scouted the science section of the New Books shelf, too. cheMagic ended up being the perfect science book for me, because it is about performing science. There are pictures and step-by-step instructions for how perform some pretty nifty chemistry-magic-tricks for an audience. The theatre-kid in me was thrilled to find this book which also has pointers to prevent clumsy people like me setting the room on fire. My favorite trick from cheMagic is called "Marshmallow,"  in which you blow up and deflate a marshmallow using principles of vacuum. I've never liked the taste of marshmallows,  or s'mores,  so I'm glad to finally have things to do around a campfireblowing up marshmallows, oh yes.

My adventures through the New Books shelf were exciting and rewarding, and I have an interesting reading list to begin my year. The next time you're in the library check this shelf out for yourself. You can borrow any new book as soon as you find it, just as you would books from the stacks. I promise there's something on this shelf for you, too!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

We've got you covered: you don't need to buy, or pay to register, a clicker!

Taking a class where the instructor is using clickers to poll the classroom or start discussions? Not sure how to get a clicker? Been hearing that iClicker is asking you to pay to register a used or borrowed-from-LITS clicker?

Not to fear, we've got you covered. Here's how it works, and you may already have gotten updated instructions from your professor, if you're in a class that uses clickers:

1. Go to the Circulation desk in LITS and ask to check out a clicker.

2. DO NOT go to and register your clicker even if that's what you did in previous semesters. Yes, really. Do not pay an additional registration fee for your clicker.

3. Use your clicker in class as usual, and watch for further information from your instructor about how to register your clicker. If your instructor isn't grading any clicker questions, you may not have to take any further action. Definitely follow further instructions you get from your prof, though, that's just part of being a student, right?

3. Be kind to your clicker! LITS will charge for damage to clickers, just as they would for damage to borrowed library books or borrowed headphones. Don’t smash, drop, or wet your clicker.

4. Got questions? Get help by chat, phone, or email here, or in person at the Research Help Desk.

Image credit: Clickers for Engagement by Alan Wolf (CC BY 2.0)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Do It Yourself J-Term

Miss the opportunity to take a J-Term class but still want to build your skill set this intersession? No worries - LITS has you covered!  Check out our pilot subscription to, an extensive set of online video courses that offer training in technology, creative, and business skills. Learn to program, delve into InDesign, pick up digital photography, master project management and more - there are 5,778 courses to choose from. is available to all current MHC students, faculty, and staff. Better yet, you can even access it from off campus.  See this page for instructions on how to log in. Make this a productive J-Term wherever you are!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Download older Moodle materials by February 2nd, 2015

In order to comply with copyright law, LITS must turn off student access to Moodle course sites a few weeks after grades are due.

Copyright symbol

If you wish to save copies of any Moodle materials from a Fall 2014 course site, please do so by February 2, 2015. If you have an extension and require access to a course site beyond this date, please contact the course instructor.

Image credit: opensourceway via Compfight cc