The Music Project at Marymount Manhattan College: An Opportunity for Greater Success

Authored by John Blodgett


This is an image of the program for the 1976 fall concert series for the Music Project, which would be held at the Marymount Manhattan College Theatre. It describes the numerous songs that will be played at the show, the order of the songs, and the members of the Music Project.

During the Fall 1976 semester Marymount Manhattan College differentiated from its growing dance, and theatre programs to introduce a concert series that brought classical music to New York City. Marymount Manhattan College was a religious college, and is a college that prides itself on diversity as its mission statement states, “Faithful to the vision of its founders, Marymount Manhattan has a long history of reaching out to diverse populations in need of higher education”(Marymount Manhattan College, n.d.). The Music Project was a key program in its promotion of Marymount Manhattan College’s goal to provide opportunities for diverse and underrepresented people. As the Music Project consisted of a group of musicians from across the world, and provided an opportunity for these musicians to start their careers.

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Aviation at Farmingdale State College: Bringing the World a Little Closer

Authored by Michael J. Krasnoff

Farmingdale State University of New York

Taken of an unnamed student at Farmingdale State University’s Engineering Technology program. This photo does more than portray a student and a plane, it is a living document of Farmingdale State University as a pioneer in creating a post-World War II college level aviation program that was previously only offered in vocational schools.

World War II played a major role in the evolution of the workforce. “The war left an altered economy that demanded a workforce whose education and training needed to be more technical in nature” (Cavaioli 2012, 139).

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The Many Faces of RMS Queen Mary and the Melting Pot of New York Harbor

Authored by Kyle Brinster

The British ocean liner RMS Queen Mary entering New York Harbor in June 1936.

Ocean liners like the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Queen Mary have a long history and deep connection with New York City. Beginning with the British government’s grant to Samuel Cunard “for the carriage of mail by steamship across the North Atlantic in 1838” (Pike 2018, 59), both passengers and merchants moving cargo used the ships scheduled arrival and departure times to reliably navigate across the world’s oceans. Continue reading

Class, Gender, and Race at the Center of Dutchman- William Harris Papers

Authored by Katie Ranno

Review of "Dutchman" by William B. Harris at the wellknown Perry Street Theatre in 1977. A one-act play with one location tackles the topics of race, class, and gender head on. Courtesy of Marymount Manhattan College
Review of “Dutchman” by William B. Harris at the wellknown Perry Street Theatre in 1977. A one-act play with one location tackles the topics of race, class, and gender head on.

My Academic Service-Learning (AS-L) project has been focused on gathering more information about the Dutchman review pictured above. The object was written by William B. Harris, a writer of many talents, including that of theatre reviews. He died in the year 2000 (Brown 2001, 2). Marymount College has since received a number of his works, and now it is their mission to keep his writings alive and accessible so that the general public can learn about part of New York’s theatre history through his writings.

This particular production of Dutchman took place at the Perry Street Theatre with performances beginning on February 10, 1977 (Salem 1984, 46). The one-act play was written in 1963 by LeRoi Jones (also known as Imamu Amiri Baraka) tells the story of a white woman named Lula and a black man named Clay who become interested in each other while sitting on a subway (Als 2007, 1). However, preconceived notions cloud their judgments, taking the play in a direction that tackles class, gender, and race head on.

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Is There Anyone Else Like Me? Representation in Graphic Novels

Authored by Stephanie Hilfiker

The graphic novel Princess Princess Ever After by Katie O’Neill. This graphic novel depicts diverse races, gender expressions, sexual orientations, and representations of love and acceptance.  O’Neill, Katie. 2016. Princess Princess Ever After. Portland, OR: Oni Press, Inc.

Recently there have been inclusivity movements throughout multiple industries, but how is representation fairing in literary circles, specifically in graphic novels? There is not always as much diversity in books as there is in real life. There is still a lack of representation of different genders, races, and abilities in young adult and children’s literature.

                Graphic novels, sometimes described as long comic books, have been a growing medium for years. Graphic novel sales have been on the rise, “up 17.2 percent in 2015-2016” (Batten 2018, 64). With increasing sales numbers, it is certainly expected that there should be more diverse representation within the medium.  

Looking at this year’s School Library Journal’s “Top 10 graphic Novels”, seven of the ten include minority characters, underrepresented populations, or characters dealing with serious issues that were once seen as taboo subjects. Even though this is a step in the right direction, there are other ways in which the medium could use proper representation (Alverson et al. 2018, 40-44).

                One great example of representation is in Katie O’Neill’s Princess Princess Ever After, cover pictured above. It is a story about two princesses, each different in attitude and expression. One chooses to be a tough yet compassionate warrior and one chooses to be effeminate and perky. As the story goes on and the princesses solve problems together, they fall in love. The characters embody diverse gender expressions, body types, races, and sexual orientation in positive ways that are typically underrepre-sented in children’s literature. According to the Kirkus Review (2016), the author, “challenges conventions with every twist of the plot but doesn’t veer into heavy-handed preachiness that pulls readers out of the story,” showing that we can have diversity without trying too hard to represent everyone. Diversity can be done naturally because it is natural.

                While representation in this specific graphic novel is diverse, there is still one specific area of representation under scrutiny: inclusion of people with disabilities. In a study done by the American Association of School Libraries, the authors looked at a sample of 30 graphic novels and noticed only twelve graphic novels contained characters with disabilities. Of those 16 characters, only three were seen as “inclusive members of their communities” (Irwin and Moeller 2010, 8-9). In their conclusion, Irwin and Moeller say that even though people with disabilities are represented, they are not represented well.

This sentiment is also expressed in Queer Media Images: LGBT Perspectives. The authors, Guthrie, Kunkel, and Hladky, point out that, when it comes to people who identify as LGBT in media, people need to see themselves in the characters, and if they do not, then the representation is not of good quality. When it comes to representation, we need characters who are positively complex and do not perpetuate stereotypes that harm the images of underrepresented communities (2013, 21). There is still work to be done in the realm of representation, but we as a society are working on it, and that is encouraging.

Resources

Alverson, Brigid, Robin Brenner, Johanna Draper Carlson, Lori Henderson, Esther Keller, Mike Pawuk, and Scott Robins.  2018. “Top 10 Graphic Novels.” School Library Journal 64, no. 12: 40-42. https://jerome.stjohns.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=tfh&AN=133354601&site=ehost-live

Batten, Tom. 2018. “Graphic Novels Survey 2018,” Library Journal 143, no. 20: 64. https://jerome.stjohns.edu/login?url=https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=133516363&site=ehost-live

Guthrie, Jennifer A., Adrienne Kunkel, and K. Nicole Hladky. 2013. “The Complex Relationship Between (and Within) the Oppressed and the Empowered: Contradiction and LGBT Portrayals on The L Word“ In Queer Media Images: Lgbt Perspectives, edited by Jane Campbell and Theresa Carilli, 19-29. Lanham: Lexington Books. PDF.

Irwin, Marilyn and Robin Moeller. 2010. “Seeing Different: Portrayals of Disability in Young Adult Graphic Novels,” School Library Media Research 13. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ888377.pdf

 Kirkus Reviews. 2016. Review of Princess Princess Ever After, by Katie O’Neill.  https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/katie-oneill/princess-princess-ever-after/

A Home for Us: The Lesbian Herstory Archives Moves to Brooklyn

Authored by Elana Weber

Taken in 1993, this photograph shows the Lesbian Herstory Archives (LHA) coordinators, or Archivettes, in front of LHA's new Brooklyn location.

Gwenwald, Morgan, Group of LHA Coordinators, June 1993, photograph, 8” x 10” (20.23 x 25.4 cm), Lesbian Herstory Archive, Brooklyn, New York, www.lesbianherstoryarchive.com. Courtesy of Morgan Gwenwald.

In 1986, Marge McDonald passed away. A midwestern lesbian, McDonald left her journals, books, and photos to the Lesbian Herstory Archive (LHA) (“Friends in Ohio” 1988, 2). Unfortunately, her family began auctioning off her belongings. LHA contacted the auctioneer, who would allow representatives a single day to come in to salvage what they could of the 6,000 belongings (“Friends in Ohio” 1988, 2). With the eyes of McDonald’s family and the community of Nelsonville, Ohio on them, two local lesbians worked until the 5:00PM cutoff to pack as many of McDonald’s items as they could into a pick-up truck bound for New York City (“Friends in Ohio” 1988, 2). Today, those rescued belongings form the “Marge McDonald Special Collection.” McDonald wasn’t famous. She was an ordinary woman.

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Letter of Grief: A Soldier’s Story in the Philippine War.

Authored by Monika Leubner

Scanned image of letter

This is a letter from Lieutenant Gibson to Ella Allard about the death of her son Clayton Allard which talks about how he died and when. From the Allard Papers in Melvil Dewey Library at Jefferson Community College.

A mother’s worse nightmare: “It is my painful duty to inform you of the death of your son” (Lawerance 1902, 1). Unfortunately Ella Allard had to read this from Lieutenant Gibson in a letter about her son, Clayton Allard. On June 4th, 1898, Clayton Allard enthusiastically enlisted into the army at Sacket’s Harbor, New York. During the time that Allard enlisted, the United States was seven months away from ending its war with Spain. In December of 1898, President McKinley issued an order to extend the role of the United States to the Philippines. In a testimony by future President William Howard Taft, “A government ought to be established under American guidance which and under which the Philippines shall gradually improve their knowledge of what is individual liberty” (Graff 1969, 52). Taft’s testimony explained why the U.S. wanted to take over the Philippines.   Continue reading

Treaties and Treachery: The Legal Battles of the 1837 Minnesota Treaty with the Chippewa

Authored by Jessica Manner

A photocopy of the Treaty of 1837.
The Treaty with the Chippewa signed in 1837, ceding the bulk of Native territory in Minnesota in exchange for payments and the rights to hunt, fish, and gather on the land. This treaty has been the basis for multiple court cases and a continuing presence of prejudice against Natives in the upper Midwest.

In 1837 the Chippewa Nation of Indians signed a treaty with the State of Minnesota, ceding most of their land in exchange for a lump sum, annual payments in goods and money for twenty years, and the right to hunt, fish, and gather wild rice in the ceded territory.

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The Long Voyage Home – The William Harris Papers: An Avenue for Social Justice

Authored by William A. Slone

The Playbill for Tennessee Williams’ The Long Voyage Home by Eugene O’Neill collected by William B. Harris, who reviewed the play

Tennessee Williams’ play, The Long Voyage Home, by Eugene O’Neill was performed by Washington Market Playhouse, Inc. at Morgan’s Old New York Grill, a tavern, which supplied the perfect atmosphere for a play about the sea and sailors (Harris, n.d.). The Long Voyage Home was most likely performed in 1976 on Saturday, January 10th and Sunday, January 11th (MMM, n.d.). William B. Harris was in attendance during those dates and wrote a review of the play. His review is archived in “The William Harris Papers,” a special collection housed in the Marymount Manhattan College Library. The playbill and Harris’ review provide two examples of the Vincentian concept.

William Harris described The Long Voyage Home as one of the “best hours imaginable” in a waterfront bar where he stated that, “The performers themselves become as natural a part of the bar as the drinking patrons” (Harris, n.d.). He described what one would expect to hear in a bar of sailors – tall tales and songs of adventure, alcohol, loves lost, and the ferociousness of the sea. Harris pointed out that, “most significantly the play contained the spirit of all voyagers: men without purpose who are outcasts except from the cheap dives they frequent while in port” (Harris, n.d.). Harris emphasized that “loneliness and monotony are temporary, and the freedom of choice is limited – a male predicament” (Harris, n.d.). With his description of the sailors in the play, Harris conveys a voice for them who are under-and/or misrepresented. The sailors had demanding jobs and they had to be strong to endure their harsh life.

Harris mentions that, “Alexander Sokoloff directed the play quite admirably” but mentioned, “there was some problem with the handling of foreign accents” (Harris, n.d.). His statement is quite interesting! Listed on the playbill under the heading “Characters” several of the actors have an asterisk beside their name. The asterisk identifies them as actors appearing through the courtesy of the Actors’ Equity Association. The Actors’ Equity Association established on July 18, 1919 negotiated rules concerning bonding, which required producers to post sufficient advance funds to guarantee salaries and benefits; minimum salaries; rehearsal pay; restriction on the employment of foreign actors and protections in dealings with theatrical agents (History of Actors’ Equity Association, n.d.). The foreign actors had the support of the Actors’ Equity Association in The Long Voyage Home. This is a second example of the “Vincentian Perspective.” They were provided a voice by the Actors’ Equity Association because they were under-and/or misrepresented among other actors.

William B. Harris was multitalented. Among many talents, he was a writer for SoHo Weekly News, an advocate for new dance artists and an informal adviser to dance producers (New York Times 2000). Morgan’s Old New York Grill, at 134 Reade Street in lower Manhattan was close to home (New York Times 1976). His review which praised The Long Voyage Home and the playbill each provides an important example of social justice.

Bibliography

Harris, William. n.d. “The Long Voyage Home.” William Harris Papers. Marymount Manhattan College. Accessed March 9, 2019.

“History of Actors’ Equity Association.” n.d. Organization. Actors’ Equity Association 1913. https://www.actorsequity.org/aboutequity/history/.

MMC (Marymount Manhattan College). n.d. William Harris Papers: Archives, http://www.mmm.edu/offices/library/archives.php.

The New York Times. 2000. “William Harris Writer, 49,” July 29, 2000. 2000. https://www.nytimes.com/2000/07/29/arts/william-harris-writer-49.html.

The New York Times. 1976. “Going Out Guide,” May 13, 1976. 1976. https://www.nytimes.com/1976/05/13/archives/going-out-guide.html.

Ludlam’s Feuding Families in Corn-William Harris Papers

Ludlam’s Feuding Families in Corn-William Harris Papers

Authored by Renee Pistone

left
Clipping of the musical Corn that was performed in 1978 from William Harris Papers

The object here is the program for the musical Corn. The program is archived in the William Harris Papers at Marymount Manhattan College (Brown 2001, 4). This program is the image selected for my AS-L project because Corn’s theme is Vincentian compassion for all marginalized people. This AS-L project gives voice to those in theatre who are misunderstood and often not heard from. Mr. Harris’ expert critique about Corn helped fill the seats. Harris embraced difference and appreciated Ludlam’s genius and the extraordinary performances in Corn. Corn won an Obie award as a critically acclaimed play that propelled Ludlam’s career forward. The information below takes the readers on a tour of one evening with theatre off-Broadway critic William B. Harris. Marymount Manhattan College is known for its dance and theatre programs and it is the perfect location to archive the William Harris Papers.

Mr. Harris went to the theatre at One Sheridan Square Playhouse to tell the world about Corn in 1978. The Chelsea Playhouse Theatre was later named after Ludlam along with the street in front of it. Ludlam influenced people within the gay community and anyone else open to his unique artistic style.

Ludlam gives meaning to the country singer Lola’s struggles to reconnect with her troubled past. The struggles that Lola faced are found in amusing songs and dances (Harris 1978, 1). The main character Lola overcomes exploitation from a greedy Manager to showcase Corn’s social justice themes (Edgecomb 2017, 17). The play features feuding families and images of Americana. Corn’s message is to encourage universal love and peace (Kaufman 2005, 25). In many ways their lives intersect because Ludlam created plays that helped people overcome life’s obstacles. Meanwhile, Harris wrote his reviews to bring attention to Ludlam’s quest. The Vincentian philosophy involves helping others in order to deepen our faith. It is especially important to stand up for people who face persecution due to some aspect of their identities.

Playwright Charles Ludlam wrote Corn to provide the audience with a parody about social justice issues (Ludlam 1992, 3). Ludlam’s plays routinely feature themes related to sexuality and acceptance of others.

References

Brown, Mary. 2001. “William Harris Papers: Archives.” Marymount Manhattan College, http://www.mmm.edu/offices/library/archives.pdf.

Edgecomb, Sean. 2017. Charles Ludlam Lives, Michigan: University of Michigan Press.

Harris, William. 1978. “As Corny as Kansas in August and Better.” The So Ho Weekly News.

Kaufman, David. 2005. Ridiculous: The Ridiculous Life of Charles Ludlam, New York: Applause Books.

Ludlam, Charles. 1992. Ridiculous Theatre: Scourge of Human Folly. New York: Theatre Communications Group.