Hat Ladies, Miss Gospel Queens and All-You-Can-Eat Dinners for $? – Gospel Concert Posters of the Late 1970s

We focus a lot – for obvious reasons – on the audio found in the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project, but sometimes the associated ephemera can sing a song that’s just as evocative of black gospel culture as any cover of “Old Ship of Zion.” This week, we added eight new posters advertising gospel concerts in and around Durham, N.C. to the collection, all of which date to the late 1970s. They were pulled off of telephone poles after the concerts had come and gone by Kerrill Rubman, a collector and scholar of black gospel music currently living in Canada. She graciously donated the posters – along with numerous albums, cassette tapes, 45s and assorted materials – to the project and we are excited to give our readers a closer look at these technicolor wonders.

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All You Can Eat $? and Adv[anced] Tickets at usual places

These two posters are similar enough in both layout and content – with several acts like the Swanee Quartet, Hi-Way QC’s of Chicago and the Brooklyn All-Stars reusing the exact same photo in each poster – that it’s likely they came from the same summer tour of North Carolina. We’re undecided if the lack of a specific price for the All You Can Eat dinner is due to a.) organizers really not knowing how much they plan to charge or b.) organizers trying to encourage more attendance by keeping it a mystery. Either way, $? is a great piece of typography and should be used at every possible opportunity as far as I’m concerned.

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Miss Gospel Queen and A Money Tree

These posters appear to be from the same tour as well: the general proximity of dates in the fall of 1977 along with the use of the same color treatment for the posters’ background would seem to bear that out. But the major differences in tour personnel and the presence of a sponsoring institution on the Durham poster – the Bell Yeager Baptist Church – lead me to believe the only things tying these two posters together are a place in time and a surfeit of tri-colored paper stock. The fact that both posters were produced by the Benton Card Co. of Benson, N.C. certainly has something to do with that.

Two major elements of southern society – not necessarily exclusive to African American culture – shown here are the crowning of a Miss Gospel Queen and the awarding of a “money tree” to one lucky concertgoer. Southerners love crowning queens at public events, be they football games, parades, carnivals, festivals or itinerant gospel concerts. The tradition of a money tree, which is most frequently seen at weddings in modern times, consists of a bouquet or other floral-themed display of paper money, usually in small denominations, that is presented to someone celebrating a major event.

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Shirley Caesar’s Crusade Convention and The Gospel “Mr. Clean”

While we only know the exact date of the concert advertised by the poster on the right, it is reasonable to assume that the poster on the left – which features a similar paper stock, is also from Durham and also highlights a performance by Shirley Caesar – advertised a concert in 1977. (A quick check of what years in the late 70’s had October 10th on a Monday via this site confirms this.) Another point of interest is the inclusion of Reverend Richard “Mr. Clean” White on three nights.

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Lady With Largest Hat and A Glaring Punctuation Problem

This one is arguably my favorite of the bunch. Not only do we get a pretty heinous punctuation error in the title of the headliner’s new album, but we take up a pretty significant portion of the poster’s real estate to advertise a prize for the Lady With [the] Largest Hat. (Incidentally, “Lady With Largest Hat” would make an excellent band name.) The title’s pretty great, too – “Look Who’s Coming to Greensboro!” – and the overall balance of the typography over the striated background is really well done.

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We hope to add more items like this to our Black Gospel Music Restoration Project in the future, so stay tuned. And if you have anything to contribute to the project – including materials, monetary support or simply background info on an artist found in the collection – email us at digitalcollectionsinfo@baylor.edu.

 
 

Announcing the New Look of Our Digital Collections Homepage!

If you visited our homepage, say, any time prior to earlier this morning, it would have looked like this:

RIP our old homepage (2012-2014)

RIP our old homepage (2012-2014)

 

Serviceable, effective, longer than a 4:00 PM Friday staff meeting: you remember how that felt, right? Well, we’re proud to announce that, as of today, the homepage has gotten a much-needed refresh!

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Thanks to the combined efforts of a team from the Digital Projects Group and the Electronic Library’s Instructional Technology team, we have an “above the fold,” streamlined homepage to replace its endless-scrolling predecessor. Let’s take a moment to unpack some of the new features you’ll find next time you visit the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections!

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1. A rotating slideshow of highlights from the collections. Right now, it points to five collections we think would be of high interest to casual visitors, but we’ll be updating it when we add new resources or reach milestones with our collections. Click on an image to open that collection or use the dots at the bottom (or the arrows at left or right) to scroll through.

2. One of the biggest new features is what we’re calling our “institutional landing pages” – newly created pages scoped to present only materials from their source collection. Want to see all the digital collections from the Crouch Fine Arts Library? Just click its name and you’ll see this:

The CFAL Landing Page.

The CFAL Landing Page.

This page contains some basic info about the source library, a list of collection highlights, links to the library’s website and a listing of all the collections in the Digital Collections that come from that library. It’s a convenient way for the special collections and our other partners to direct their patrons directly to materials found only in their physical holdings, and it’s the big reason we’re able to eliminate the long list of collections on the homepage. (Note: you can still see that list by clicking on “Browse All Items” on the new homepage. This will take you to the long, scroll-heavy list that was the homepage before the update.)

3. Quick links to our social media outlets. Now you can connect with our Twitter, blog, Facebook, Tumblr and Flickr feeds right from the homepage with a single click. We’ve also added a new Social Media page to the homepage and each institutional landing page (in the gray navigation bar up top).

4. These quick-look icons give users a one-click entry into some of our most popular searches: locating materials by item type. Want to see all the newspapers in the collections? Click the icon. Hear all the audio? Click the icon. View every post? You know what to do. For casual users or people with limited familiarity with the Digital Collections, these fast-links are a fun way to explore the collections without performing more complex, focused searches.

5. Actually, this text didn’t change at all. It was completely copied over from the old homepage. But it is in a gray box now, so that’s something new!

You’ll also notice that the new homepage features the official Baylor University-sanctioned header and footer, something we were unable to do easily under the old design.

We want to give a big shout-out to our colleagues from the Instructional Technology team – David Taylor and, especially, Karen Savage – for their invaluable help on this. Having Karen’s programming expertise on board meant I could focus on things like lining up content for the page, creating icons, organizing and creating the new institutional landing pages (using Karen’s code for the homepage) and doing the requisite bug testing and grammar/spelling/punctuation checks that have to happen on projects like this.

We’re very pleased with the new look, but we want to hear what you think! Take some time to click around on the new pages, explore them, try some searches and tell us if you see something you like/love/don’t like/doesn’t work, etc. We expect something to be a little off somewhere – there always is when you launch something with as many changes as this update represents – so put those searching and sleuthing skills to work.

We hope you enjoy the new homepage as much as we do, and thanks for being part of the Digital Collections environment. We look forward to continuing to bring you amazing new content, rich contextual information and unparalleled access to the unique library and archival holdings of Baylor University for years to come.

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OH, and it stands to reason that, since this is technically a completed project, we must FIRE THE CANNON!

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Behind The Image: Crowdsourcing A Mystery Graphic

"A Graphic Story of The Boom, The Crash and The Recovery of American Business, 1912-1936" by W.K. Cadman ca. 1936

“A Graphic Story of The Boom, The Crash and The Recovery of American Business, 1912-1936” by W.K. Cadman ca. 1936

From time to time, materials cross our desks that we just don’t have much information on, and we like to turn to you, our readers, for  help. The above image is one such example, and we hope there’s at least one of you out there who could help us shed a little light on this mystery graphic from the mid-1930s.

The Facts As We Know Them

Here’s what we know about this item:

  • It was created circa 1936 by an artist named W.K. Cadman.
  • It offers a very detailed examination of the ups and downs of the American economy for a 20-year period dating from before World War I to the mid-Depression years.
  • It is not an unbiased examination of the facts. It skewers Republican Herbert Hoover’s claim that his administration’s policies would put a “chicken in every pot and a car in every garage” by switching the verbiage to claim that after the 1929 stock market crash, there were “two cars going to pot and the chickens [were] in the garage.” This leads us to believe the graphic was distributed by or at least commissioned based on the ideals of the Democratic Party.
  • It was donated to the W.R. Poage Legislative Library as part of the papers of Caso March, a Baylor alumnus and three-time candidate for Texas governor (1946, 1948, 1950). In the 1930s, March was an attorney for the Federal Power Commission and a member of the Supreme Court of Texas.
  • Its size and general appearance lead us to believe it was either an insert in or was a supplemental to a newspaper.

And that’s about the sum total of what we know for sure. You can find a little more info on Caso March at his collection’s page on the Poage website, and you can see a higher resolution version of the image in our Historic Newspapers collection.

If you have more information on this piece or could point us to someone who does, drop us a line at digitalcollectionsinfo@baylor.edu or leave us a comment below!