Helen Keller visits the University

0001One of the first projects we are working on is digitizing the early issues of the student newspaper.   The University Archives holds all the known issues of the paper, although the collection is incomplete as many issues that have been lost to time.  Originally titled the Normal Star (1911-1923), the paper’s name changed as the institution grew – it became the College Star (1923-1969) and then the University Star (1969-present).

0002While photographing the papers, Jeremy spotted an interesting article in the March 17, 1916 issue (Vol. 5 No. 4).  A short article describes a visit by Helen Keller and her teacher, Anne Sullivan Macy, to the Southwest Texas State Normal School campus on Monday March 13th, 1916.  Following an introduction by her teacher, Helen Keller delivered an address on “Happiness.”  The tradition of bringing prominent guest lecturers to campus continues today – a century later – with events such as the LBJ Lecture Series and the Common Experience.

Helen Keller’s story is well known to most, particularly through the Oscar winning 1962 film, The Miracle Worker. Helen Keller, born in 1880, was left permanently deaf and blind at the age of nineteen months through illness. Her parents engaged Anne Sullivan Macy as her teacher, who successfully brought the outside world to her. She eventually learned to read Braille and lip reading, by covering the speaker’s mouth with her fingers. She published several books and graduated from Radcliffe College in 1904. Keller and Sullivan traveled the country giving lectures in support of the American Foundation for the Blind.


A New Beginning

dwsdiglabIn 2013 the Alkek Library created a new department to help increase digitization efforts at Texas State. The new department also brought together other library staff involved in managing digital information such as the manager of the Institutional Repository, the E-resources Librarian and the Library System Coordinator. New spaces were created specifically for digitization and a new position of Digital Media Specialist was created. After a lengthy search and review of a number of qualified candidates, Jeremy Moore was hired in April 2014.

Jeremy and the Digital & Web Services department head, Todd Peters, then began equipping the lab. The two largest repositories of material in need of digitization are the University Archives and the Wittliff Collections. These two collections differ greatly in their missions and the types of objects they house. After discussions with archivists from the University Archives and the Wittliff Collections about holdings and potential projects, it was decided that the most versatile setup would consist of a high resolution mediuIQ180m format digital camera and several desktop scanners.

At the end of July the library acquired a Phase One IQ180 digital back with 80 megapixel resolution, and a Phase One  645DF+ camera.


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A Digital Transitions Rcam Reprographic Camera with 72mm SES lens.



and  a DT RG3040 Reprographic System

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The lab is also equipped with an Epson 10000 XL and a Plustek Optibook A300 book-edge, and Nikon Coolscan 5000 ED Film scanners.

We have already started several projects and are excited to begin making the material available through the Digital Collections website.