Curtain Rises on Pabst Theater Archives
The Archives Department of the UWM Libraries is pleased to announce its acquisition of the historical records of the Pabst Theater, Milwaukee's oldest continuing operating theater. The archive consists of programs and playbills, photographs, architectural records, and textual records documenting the theater's illustrious history from the mid-1890s to the present.
The Pabst Theater was built by brewery magnate Captain Frederick Pabst in 1895 on the site of a theater known as Das Neue Deutsche Stadt-Theater (The New German City Theater). Designed by architect Otto Strack in the tradition of the great European opera houses, it was an outstanding example of Victorian Baroque architecture.
The theater was extensively renovated in 1928, then restored to its original style in 1976. It is a City of Milwaukee Landmark, a State of Wisconsin Historical Site, and a National Historic Landmark.
The Pabst family owned the theater until 1953, when the Pabst Theater Foundation was formed and took over management. The City of Milwaukee bought the Pabst Theater in 1961 and leased it to the Foundation. Philanthropist Michael Cudahy purchased the Pabst in 2003, and the theater is currently managed by The Michael Cudahy Foundation.
In the years prior to World War I, the theater was nationally known for its German-language stage productions. After that time, it continued to stage plays (in English), symphonies, and operas.
Although the Pabst still presents stage productions, primarily from touring groups, it is better known today for bringing contemporary musicians to Milwaukee. Over its 100 years, the Pabst has hosted performers as varied as Marcel Marceau and Leontyne Price, and the George Kennan Forum and Spoon.
The Pabst Theater archive amply documents all these aspects of the theater's history. Programs, playbills, posters, and news clippings tell the story of the stage productions, while the building's history is told in architectural drawings and surveys. Many notable performers are documented in the collection as well, including the German Stock Company, the Arion Music Club, and John Philip Sousa.
The Pabst Theater archive is a welcome and significant addition to the holdings of the Archives Department, which also includes the historical records of the Milwaukee Repertory Theater and the papers of several prominent individuals in the performing arts.
The collection is now open for research. For more information, please contact the Archives Department at (414) 229-5402.
Will Dodds and Michael Doylen
Library User Survey
This past spring the Libraries conducted its second assessment of user perceptions in four years, to ascertain current views of our services, resources, and facilities, and to measure those against our 2004 findings.
We recently received our results for LibQUAL+, a national survey instrument also employed by other UW libraries, and have begun analyzing the data.
As with the earlier survey, the Libraries will use the results to help identify ways to improve service and to better understand users' needs. We have made a number of positive changes since 2004, based on the first LibQUAL+ assessment. In response to the requests of survey participants, we created a coffee shop and a browsing collection/area, bought comfortable chairs for the lobby, and installed many more electrical outlets.
The majority of the comments offered in the 2008 survey were positive (a sampling can be found in the box below).
Library staff, services, and many of our recently added amenities were rated very highly. Our research community, however, was concerned about the availability of electronic resources, in particular full-text journals. There are collaborative initiatives moving forward to address this issue.
Undergraduates were also mostly pleased with the Libraries, but a few expressed dissatisfaction with the aesthetics of the building. This should change with the creation of the Daniel M. Soref Learning Commons, designed by the award-winning firm of Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc.
The project, tentatively scheduled for completion in early fall 2009, will remake the west wing first floor into a comfortable, attractive, and inspiring space to work in.
We will have more detailed assessment results in the spring on how we compare nationally and to other UW libraries.
A sampling of comments from respondent groups in 2008 UWM Libraries assessment of user perceptions.
Faculty member: Excellent services and the coffee shop and browsing sections make the library really welcoming. More of that type of atmosphere will make it even better.
Undergraduate: I love all of the librarians here; they are always very helpful. I never leave the library without the information that I need.
Graduate student: Distance Education Support is excellent! Keep up the great work!
Campus staff member: The staff is always willing to help you, even if you can't find what you need with their help. In addition, I was very impressed as a graduate student with the interlibrary loan system. I don't think enough students know about it.
Undergraduate: It is a pleasure to come to the library at any time of the day. All of the resources in the library are user friendly, which is a plus for me because I'm a non- traditional student. Thanks for your support.
Campus staff member: I do a lot of research (as do others) and am constantly frustrated at the lack of resources both electronic and published that are available. The Libraries seem to be behind the times in this area.
Undergraduate: I would love to see a separate area in the library for groups to meet and talk out loud without disturbing people who are independently studying.
Graduate student: In all, I think UWM Libraries staff and services are doing an excellent job given the resources they have to work with. More consideration and accommodation to their budgeting needs is long overdue.
Faculty member: The classroom instructional personnel are, for the most part, fabulous. Even when I sign my class up for an introductory session every year, I am continually amazed at what I didn't know and what I learn.
2008 Chancellor's Golda Meir Library Scholar Award Winners
Florian Sebert, a PhD candidate in Mathematics, and Rashi Sharma, pursuing a PhD in Geography, are the recipients of the 2008 Chancellor's Golda Meir Library Scholar Award.
Sebert's research concerns "compressed sensing," a new approach to signal processing that was introduced three years ago. Although the concepts behind this topic are contemporary, the mathematical theories on which they are based are often hundreds of years old.
With the aid of the UWM Libraries' Meta Search tool, Sebert has mined current articles and publications on the web; he has also read extensively from the Libraries' collections of relevant books and periodicals. He recently had a paper accepted for presentation at the ISMRM conference in Toronto.
Sharma's dissertation proposal, "The Dynamics of Real Estate Market Segmentation," aims to contribute to an understanding of the spatio-temporal dynamics of housing in Milwaukee. She has conducted feasibility studies for her research, including one for the city of Milwaukee, which was presented to the annual meeting of the Wisconsin Geographical Society in 2006 and won the Best Graduate Poster Award.
Sharma has used a variety of resources at the UWM Libraries: city directories and historic Sanborn maps; 19th and 20th newspaper articles on microfilm; and GIS databases from the American Geographical Society Library.
The $5,000 award, which supports the research of outstanding UWM graduate students, also includes special assistance from the Libraries for the completion of their doctoral research. Sebert and Sharma will present a report of their work in the "The Scholar and the Library" lecture series sponsored by the Libraries.
Libraries Receive Large Book Donation
Rudolph Martin Grebe, a scientist, computer engineer, and bibliophile who died on July 30 after a long illness, donated his large personal collection of over 2000 books to the UWM Libraries this past spring. His collection is wide-ranging-from art history to zoology-and includes many books in Spanish and Portuguese.
"We appreciate that Mr. Grebe considered the UWM Libraries a good home for his books," said Janet Padway, Head of Collections & Technical Services. "Because of his generosity, future generations of students and scholars will have access to this rich collection."
Grebe, a Fond du Lac native, was born in 1923 and attended UW-Madison, studying to become a concert pianist. He served in the field artillery during WWII; when he returned, he changed his major to mathematics and transferred to UC Berkeley, where he graduated with honors. Grebe also studied at Columbia University, the Sorbonne and the University of Strasbourg.
During his career, he worked with NASA in its first efforts to launch a spacecraft, and he helped Saudi Arabia computerize its airports. He traveled frequently in Asia, Africa, and Europe-including book buying expeditions to Blackwell's in Oxford-and lived briefly in Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires. Grebe eventually settled in Milwaukee, where he continued to add to his collection and occasionally visited the UWM Libraries to read books in Spanish.
Argentine Artist at UWM
Argentine printmaker, painter, and book artist Mirta Kupferminc recently gave two lectures at the Library: "The Jewish Artist in Latin America" and "The Prints and Artist's Books of Mirta Kupferminc."
Her presentations were underwritten by The Louis P. and Ethel S. Setlick Fund for the Study of Jewish Society and Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean, which was established in fall 2007 by Friends of the Golda Meir Library Treasurer Robert Meldman and his wife Sandra, and Michael and Reena Hais, in memory of Sandra and Reena's parents.
Sa�l Sosnowski, a poet and scholar who collaborated with Kupferminc on the artist's book Borges and the Kabbalah: Paths to the Word, also spoke.
Kupferminc's work, paired with that of Milwaukee artist Shirah Apple, is currently on view in the Zelazo Center's Mary L. Nohl Galleries through Oct. 19. The exhibition is curated by Max Yela, Head of UWM Libraries' Special Collections.
Mirta Kupferminc and Sa�l Sosnowski in Special Collections on Sept. 15, preparing to be filmed for a documentary
Thank you to the following donors who gave gifts-in-kind-books, maps, DVDs, and other library materials-from January 1, 2008 to June 30, 2008:
Charlotte Bleistein and Richard Anscheutz
Aaron G. Busch
Mary K. Conrad
Verena Fjermestad and Bruce Fetter
Carlos R. Galvao-Sobrinho
Rudolph M. Grebe
Donn K. Haglund
Cynthia A. Hasbrook
Robert L. Kealy
Victor J. Larson
Stacey Oliker and Lewis Friedland
Zachary W. Steuerwald
Lindsey Marie Stowe
A. Kamil Tahmiscioglu
Pat and Tom Van Alyea
Linda Wervey Vitamwas
June and David Wallace
Catherine and Bill Washabaugh
Mark and Janet Werner
Doreena P. Wilson
Griffin House Publishing
Japanese Literature Publishing Project
Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory
Pabst Theater Foundation
Polanki Library at the Polish Center
Robert Burns Club of Milwaukee
Seeger Map Co., Inc.
UWM Theater Dept.
Wisconsin Women's Health Fdn.
Woman's Club of Wisconsin
The Libraries welcome gifts of academic books and journals to augment our collections. These donations are retained at the Libraries' discretion. Other items are given to the Friends of the Golda Meir Library for its book sales. The proceeds from the sales supplement the Libraries' acquisition funds. For more information, visit http://www.uwm.edu/Libraries/Tech/Gifts-in-Kind.html