May 20, 2014

2014 Patricia Stocking Brown Research Award Recipients Named

Casseus_small.jpg ALBANY, N.Y. (May 20, 2014) - The University Libraries at the University at Albany, SUNY today presented the 2014 Patricia Stocking Brown Fund for Feminist Social Justice Research Awards to University at Albany graduate student Tracey Casseus and undergraduate student Gail Bensen.

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Ms. Casseus, who just received her Master of Arts degree, with a concentration in History and Media, was awarded $500 for her ongoing project to create a 15 minute documentary about United Tenants of Albany, an area housing advocacy group. Professor Gerald Zahavi of the Department of History serves as faculty advisor to the project, which uses the United Tenants of Albany as a case study to examine the disproportionate impact of a lack of affordable housing on low income women.

A History major, Ms. Bensen received $100 to support a planned study of gender and power during her Fall 2014 senior research seminar. Her project will explore the life and work of Kate Stoneman, Class of 1866 and later faculty member of the New York State Normal College (now the University at Albany), who became the first female lawyer in the State of New York. Professor Kori Graves of the Department of History will supervise the study.

The annual Award honors Professor Patricia Stocking Brown, who taught Biology and Women's and Minorities' Studies for 35 years at nearby Siena College.

craab_drop.jpg Trained at the University of Michigan in comparative endocrinology, and a self-described feminist, Patricia Stocking Brown was the first female faculty member in the sciences at Siena. There she established an extraordinary career as a caring and rigorous teacher and researcher who promoted student research, feminist analytical thinking and evidence-based medicine. Brown was the wife of University at Albany Distinguished Teaching Professor of Biology Emeritus Stephen C. Brown.

Professor Patricia Stocking Brown died in 2004 from metastatic breast cancer. The University at Albany Libraries' Department of Special Collections & Archives holds Brown's papers along with those of the grassroots nonprofit Capital Region Action Against Breast Cancer (CRAAB!), which she co-founded in 1997 and the New York State Breast Cancer Network, a coalition of grassroots breast cancer groups around the state, she co-founded soon after.

Donors from the University at Albany's Women's Studies and Biology Departments, including Professor of Women's Studies Emerita Bonnie Spanier, established The Patricia Stocking Brown Fund for Feminist Social Justice Research in University Libraries to support and promote students' interest in and use of primary materials related to the study of social justice, housed in the Department of Special Collections & Archives. Award applicants must be a registered University at Albany graduate or undergraduate student and currently engaged in or planning a research project/class paper related to feminist social justice. Awardees must utilize at least one manuscript or archival collection at the University as part of his or her research.

January 13, 2014

Grant Winner: 2013 Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources

blogNDPA.jpgCouncil on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) awards a 2013 grant to the University's Special Collections and Archives

The University at Albany Libraries' M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections & Archives has been selected to receive a 2013 Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives grant from the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) for its project Building New Access Tools for the National Death Penalty Archive (NDPA). One of 22 selected from 75 applicants nationwide, the project is supported by a $119,900 grant for an arrangement and description project that will enhance access and discoverability of research material in the University at Albany Libraries' National Death Penalty Archive (NDPA). The grant project will be directed by principal investigator Brian Keough, Associate Librarian and Head of Special Collections & Archives.

The grant project provides funding for a full-time archivist to arrange, describe and catalog 710 cubic feet of NDPA collections over eighteen months, resulting in the completion of bibliographic records and of Encoded Archival Description finding aids that will be searchable utilizing the eXtensible Text Framework (XTF), an open source platform providing robust access to EAD finding aids. This grant will result in scholars increased access to historical resources, help teachers develop learning-centered curricula and offer researchers the full benefits of XML in retrieval, access and display. The project will improve access to many of the NDPA's nationally significant collections including the official records of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, the David Baldus Papers, and the Capital Jury Project interviews with over 1,200 jurors from 353 capital trials in 14 states.

The NDPA mission is to build a collection of archival materials from individuals and national organizations that played substantive roles in the history of capital punishment. Through a partnership between the School of Criminal Justice and the Library that began in 1999, the NDPA has acquired personal papers and organizational records to document the emergence, development and coordination of a political and social movement related to the death penalty. The NDPA collections present a comprehensive picture of political debate, reform, legal maneuvering and academic research from nationally recognized experts on legal executions in the United States. Scholars gain access to primary sources that provide insight into the process, influence and interplay of academic scholarship and political debate over capital punishment. The NDPA contains primary sources in compelling thematic areas, such as civil rights, advocacy efforts of victims' families and legal history as well as research examining challenges to the death penalty's constitutionality, deterrence, wrongful convictions and sentences for capital crimes.

CLIR is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning. In 2008, CLIR started the Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives initiative to help libraries, archives, and cultural institutions describe and catalog millions of items that have never been adequately described and remain inaccessible to scholars. The program supports innovative, efficient description of large volumes of archival collections that are unknown and inaccessible to scholars, yet contain substantive intellectual value. With the generous support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, since the program began, eighty-seven grants totaling nearly $20 million have been made to a variety of institutions nationwide. For further details about other funded projects go to:

September 18, 2013

The Death Penalty: Law, Litigation, and Social Change

henry_small_srop.jpgThe School of Criminal Justice invites you to join us for a special event of the National Death Penalty Archive.

The Death Penalty: Law, Litigation, and Social Change
Dedication of The Henry Schwarzschild Memorial Collection in the National Death Penalty Archive.
Materials donated by Eugene (Gil) Wanger
Guest Speaker: Professor Michael Meltsner, Northeastern University School of Law

Friday, September 20
4:00 pm - Reception and Group Tours of the Archive
4:30 pm - Dedication and Program*
M.E. Grenander Special Collections and Archives, Science Library

The event is free and open to the public.

* The program will include remarks from Eugene (Gil) Wanger and Professor Michael Meltsner. Discussion and a question & answer session will follow.

Eugene (Gil) Wanger occupies two important places in the history of the anti-death penalty movement. His first contribution came as the young Republican lawyer who wrote the language that made banning the death penalty a part of the Michigan Constitution in 1963. Wanger's second notable contribution comes from his role in preserving the history of the anti-death penalty movement - as a preeminent archivist and collector of historical documents and memorabilia. He also served on the board of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (NCADP) for many years and wrote the definitive history of the NCADP for its 30th anniversary in 2006.

As first assistant counsel to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in the 1960s, Professor Michael Meltsner was a member of the team that designed the anti-capital punishment litigation that led to Furman v. Georgia, the 1972 case in which the Supreme Court decided that capital sentencing laws in force in 39 states amounted to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. He represented Muhammad Ali in the case that removed legal barriers to Ali's return to the boxing ring after he refused induction in the Army based on his religious beliefs. Among his other work in the civil rights arena, Meltsner was a principal litigator in the case that led to the integration of southern hospitals. As a professor at Columbia Law School, Meltsner was a co-founder of the school's first poverty law clinic, a program that enhanced law students' education by giving them experience working directly with clients and in the courts. In 1979, he became the dean of the Northeastern Law School in Boston, where he currently is the Matthews Distinguished University Professor of Law. Michael Meltsner has been a Guggenheim Fellow and a Prize Fellow of the American Academy of Berlin. He has served as a consultant to the United States Department of Justice, the Ford Foundation, and the Carnegie Foundation, which sent him to South Africa in 1978 to help set up a law defense fund to advocate against Apartheid. He is the author of five books, including Cruel and Unusual: The Supreme Court and Capital Punishment (Random House, 1973) and a novel, Short Takes (Random House, 1979). Professor Meltsner's remarks will draw on his decades of experience as a civil rights attorney and will focus on: "The Death Penalty: Law, Litigation, and Social Change."

Eugene (Gil) Wanger will donate a portion of his collection of books and records to the National Death Penalty Archive in memory of Henry Schwarzschild. Schwarzschild was a leading death penalty abolitionist between the 1960s and 1990s.

For more information contact Diana Mancini at (518) 442-5210 or