Friday, April 27, 2012

Week Fourteen

This week (April 27th) I finished the bibliography on the Philippines Campaign.

I also spent some time searching for pdf versions of some of the brochures that are kept on file in the new Veteran's Reference section. These were brochures on things like health care benefits, services, and support groups available to veterans, distributed by organizations like the VA, the Student Veteran's Association, the American Legion and the Attorney General's office. These pdfs will be uploaded on the Pritzker's website so that they can be more easily accessed by veterans across the country.

Then I spent a few hours doing searches in Ebsco, to help determine which periodical subscriptions the Pritzker should order or maintain, specifically for the Veteran's Reference section. I did searches on the National Guard and Reserve forces, specifically on the following search phrases: readiness, training, capabilities, deployment tempo, medical care, family support groups, reenlistment rates, and budget cuts. I selected the most relevant articles on these topics, published since 2008, and sent them to my supervisor to look at, so that he can determine which military periodicals will contain information most relevant to veterans, active service members, and their families.

Week Thirteen

This week (April 20th) I worked on more location changes, and also on a bibliography on the U.S. Army in the 1941-41 campaign in the Philippines. This bibliography, again, will be posted on the Pritzker's webpage for a film they will be showing on this topic over the summer.

As someone who has spent very little time studying WWII, this was mostly new information to me. I'd heard of the Bataan Death March, but really had no idea what it was. Here's what I learned during the course of making the bibliography:

Imperial Japanese forces invaded The Philippines on December 7th, 1941, the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Responding to both attacks, a combination of American and Filipino forces known as U.S. Army Forces in the Far East, or USAFFE,  invaded the island of Luzon on December 8th, beginning the Philippines Campaign, or Battle of the Philippines.
After an unsuccessful attack on December 22nd, U.S. and Filipino forces withdrew to the Bataan peninsula, where they fought a greuling three month battle which ended in a humiliating surrender to the Japanese in April of 1942, at the Battle of Corregidor. After victory at Bataan, the Japanese Army had to transport 76,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war. They were unprepared to deal with the sheer volume of prisoners, and disorganization, combined with abject cruelty, effected the deaths of thousands and thousands of prisoners through starvation, execution, exhaustion, and torture.
This was one of the darkest episodes for US forces in WWII. And it wasn't until 1945 that USAFFE took back Luzon and liberated the surviving POWs there.

The Pritzker has a lot of material on the battle of Bataan and its aftermath, including about a dozen eyewitness accounts written by American soldiers, including former POWs. Some of these are rare archival sources.

Here's a rather poor quality image of a print the Pritzker owns of a 1995 Don Millsap painting entitled "At a roadblock on the road to Bataan Luzon, Philippine Islands December 26, 1941":

And here's a print of a propaganda poster from 1943:

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Weeks Eleven and Twelve

I apologize for the over-long illness-related absence of blog posts.

I worked nine hours this week to try to catch up, and I've now finished a bibliography and pathfinder on Theodore Roosevelt. The Pritzker is having a guest speaker on T.R. over the summer, and the pathfinder and bibliography will be posted on the webpage for that speaker, for patrons who want to do some reading or research before or after the event.

Aditionally, I spent several more hours changing locations for in-transit books. I also helped catalog an entire newly-acquired collection, referred to as Kid's Reference. I think I mentioned in an earlier post that the library has created a new Veteran's section of the Reference collection, consisting of books which provide support and advice for service members and their families, focusing especially on the transition from military to civilian life. The new Kid's Reference section is right next to the Veteran's Reference section, and it consists of military-themed children's books, many--but not all--of which focus on the difficulties of having a parent in the military. To give you an idea of the collection, some titles include My Mommy Wears Combat Boots, The Enemy: A Book About Peace, and Uncle Sam and the Bald Eagle: Symbols of America. A few others are historical fiction books about wars in American history. Cassie's Sweet Berry Pie, for example, is about a teenaged Confederate girl during the Civil War, who makes overatures of peace to Union troops by baking them a mulberry pie. I think the collection is, in some respects, an interesting approach to children's public history.

This week, the Pritzker also offered me a cataloging internship for the summer. It's still unpaid, but it's also only six hours a week for eight weeks, and it's potentially valuable experience, since every library institution needs cataloguers. I'm probably going to take them up on the offer.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Week Ten

The thing I wrote last week about the NATO exhibit turned out to be inaccurate. Instead, I've been asked to work on the following two tasks:

A bibliography on Teddy Roosevelt, specifically A) as Secretary of the Navy B) as a Rough Rider in the Spanish-American War and C) as president.

Also, next year the library is hosting an event held by the Pew Research Center on "The Greening of the Military," so I've been asked to do some research on environmentalist initiatives undertaken by the military, and especially by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Weeks Eight and Nine

I did work over Spring Break last week, but for both last week and this week, I've just been doing more of the same stuff: putting the finishing touches on my two bibliographies and pathfinders, as well as writing collection analyses for both the 33rd Infantry Division and the Seven Years' War. the bibliographies and pathfinders will go up on the Pritzker's website sometime in the near future, to serve as research guides for library patrons. When they do, I will post a link. The collection analyses assess the strengths and weaknesses of the collection  a propos to the subjects I've been working with, and make suggestions for works which should be acquired.

I've been told that my next task will be to search for items of interest on important NATO nations, since there will  be a NATO exhibit for the summit this summer, and some of the dignitaries (or at least their wives) will be attending.

Here's a fun tidbit: while shelving this week, I encountered an Army training manual from 1985 entitled Rules and Procedures for Playing King of the Hill. It contains helpful information like, "King of the Hill should be played on a compact earthen mound, about ten feet in diameter." I guess nothing is spontaneous anymore.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Week Seven

This week I finished the second bibliography that I was working on.

The Pritzker is currently creating another section of the library called Veteran's Reference. It contains books on coping with various military stressors, and transitioning from military to civilian life. I spent several hours pulling books from the main stacks, re-cataloging them, and reshelving them in Veteran's Reference section.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Week Six

This week I started a new bibliography. My supervisor told me I could choose any subject, as long as it hadn't already been covered. So far the Pritzker hasn't done any analysis of its colonial-era collection, so I'm currently working on the Seven Years' War. Although the Pritzker's collection focuses much more heavily on twentieth century wars, it does contain some interesting colonial sources. I will probably divide this bibliography into two sections: the "French and Indian War" part (that is, the North American part, which will be the larger part, since the collection concentrates mainly on American military history), and then the rest of the Seven Years' War as a global conflict (for some reason, there are an inordinate number of sources on the Austrian military, so that will be the bulk of it).

Additionally, the Pritzker is trying to expand its collection of reference books on transitioning from military to civilian life. I spent a lot of time this week searching the collection for titles on this subject. The ones which were in the catalog I then pulled from the main stacks to be moved into the reference section.